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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 02-09-2008, 08:09 PM
lets lets is offline
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Z4 hydraulic pump for top, location

Anyone know where the hydraulic pump that raises and lowers the top is located? Top stopped moving (it unlocks) and I want to check if it's getting power first off.

03 3.0

thanks
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  #2  
Old 02-10-2008, 10:59 AM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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It's in the trunk compartment on the lefthand side, just above and behind the wheel well. First take the cover off of your tail light assembly. Then undo the trunk compartment liner immediately behind it. You can flex the liner enough to access the hydromotor. To get your top up and down manually, you can turn the T-handle on the unit a half turn to the left.

Mine stopped working too. My solution (which cost me $60, rather than $600) was to remove the hydraulics and put in a gas assist spring, which works just fine for me. However, be warned that pulling the hydraulic lines out is harder than one might expect, as they are tied down at multiple points in areas that are difficult to access. My recommendation, if you go this route, is to remove the hydromotor and the hydraulic cylinder and to leave the hydraulic lines in place. Just blow them out with compressed air to avoid a mess.

Good luck!

Peace,
Sarah
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  #3  
Old 02-10-2008, 08:01 PM
lets lets is offline
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Just to double check, I'm talking about a Z4 (it looks like you own a Z3)
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  #4  
Old 02-11-2008, 06:58 AM
sean300d sean300d is offline
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Yeah, I think the Z4 is different. I always understood that the top assmbly must come out to access the hydraulics. Have you checked your microswitch yet? This is a common problem with our generation of Z4s (mine is an 03 also). You can manually raise and lower your top, but I'd check the microswitch first and then go from there. Another problem our Zs have is the motor shorting out or seizing up due to water getting down in there and not being able to escape. Do a search on this subject as there is lots of threads on it. good luck.
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  #5  
Old 02-11-2008, 07:39 AM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lets View Post
Just to double check, I'm talking about a Z4 (it looks like you own a Z3)
You're right! I saw "03 3.0," and my dyslexic brain probably saw a "Z" in that pack of 3's somewhere!

Oh well...

Peace,
Sarah
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  #6  
Old 02-11-2008, 10:12 AM
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epbrown epbrown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean300d View Post
Yeah, I think the Z4 is different. I always understood that the top assmbly must come out to access the hydraulics. Have you checked your microswitch yet? This is a common problem with our generation of Z4s (mine is an 03 also). You can manually raise and lower your top, but I'd check the microswitch first and then go from there. Another problem our Zs have is the motor shorting out or seizing up due to water getting down in there and not being able to escape. Do a search on this subject as there is lots of threads on it. good luck.
I've got the technical training guide, which says the motor is on the left side below the locking posts for the hardtop, ahead of the wheel well. And it has the same procedure FastWoman posted - an allen key in the side slot given an half-turn with bypass the fluid and let to move the top manually.
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  #7  
Old 02-11-2008, 01:49 PM
lets lets is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean300d View Post
Yeah, I think the Z4 is different. I always understood that the top assmbly must come out to access the hydraulics.
That's what I heard elsewhere, and promted my question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean300d View Post
Have you checked your microswitch yet?
I'm doubting this is the proble as when I push the button to lower the top, the windows go down and the top unlocks from the top of the windshield. However, do you know where this is located?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean300d View Post
You can manually raise and lower your top,
What you say? I know you can manually raise it, but I can't figure out, nor find in the manual how to manually lower it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sean300d View Post
Another problem our Zs have is the motor shorting out or seizing up due to water getting down in there and not being able to escape.

With my luck, and the MULTITUDE of many numerous problems I've had with this car, I'll be lucky if this is all it is.
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  #8  
Old 02-11-2008, 02:09 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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[[With my luck, and the MULTITUDE of many numerous problems I've had with this car, I'll be lucky if this is all it is.]]

Er, well... Replacing the motor is probably pretty easy. *Paying* for the motor is not! For the Z3 it's over $600 (maybe a bit cheaper online). I don't know about you, but I'm thrilled to save $600 by raising and lowering the top manually a few times. It's not very hard. I can always justify it to the next buyer by claiming I was trying to strip out a bit of useless weight. (Yeah, that's right. That's the ticked. Yeah...) Anyway, a gas assist spring was very easy to install in place of the hydraulic cylinder, and it was only about $60. HIGHLY recommended!

Peace,
Sarah
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  #9  
Old 02-12-2008, 06:40 AM
sean300d sean300d is offline
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Epbrown; that's good to know about access to the motor. I'd always heard it all had to come out, frame etc.

lets: I'm not 100% sure but I think the microswitch is in the center back wall of the trunk. There's lots of threads on this and some have some pretty good pixs. There should be a little red handle in your trunk that you pull one way or another that allows you to put the top down. Also: you'll have to pop off the plastic cover on the front bow and use an included allen wrench to unlock the bow from the windshield (I think?)...

I have an entire convertible top assmbly in my attic, still in a huge box with everything, hydraulics, motors, framework, headliner, top etc. I bought it for this very reason (my Z is out of warranty)

What other major problems have you had with your Z?
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  #10  
Old 02-12-2008, 12:14 PM
lets lets is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post

*Paying* for the motor is not! For the Z3 it's over $600 (maybe a bit cheaper online).

Peace,
Sarah
Well, the Z4 is obviously much better than the Z3. The hydraulic motor for the Z4 is twice the cost @ $1200. But the labor to replace it is only 8 hours = $1000

Dealer's going to actually diagnose (and estimate) the problem on the 26th. They only want $155 for the estimate.
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  #11  
Old 02-12-2008, 05:35 PM
lets lets is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sean300d View Post

What other major problems have you had with your Z?
Nothing truly major... but, here's the list of factory repairs:

(the first number is the mileage at which the repair was done)

496 - top broke, replaced header cover and windshield frame cover
- center console was adjusted (I told them it was broken, see next entry)

1034 - center console hinge broke, door replaced
- center console wouldn't open with key remote

1618 - Rubber trim falling down from top and replaced
- Key remote wouldn't unlock passenger door
- Top realigned due to rubbing on rubber seal (stain is STILL on the top and is unremovable)

7657 - Windows adjusted due to air loud leak
- Broken right headlight adjuster replaced

10403 - instrument cluster replaced

13937 - Reported top still rubbing on sealing gasket leaving black mark on the top, they now tell me this is normal. See 1618 above. The stain is now permanent and can not be removed.
- Some rattling behind the drivers seat corrected

14685 - Top adjusted due to rubbing on sealing gasket
- Dash panel replaced due to staining from original air bag sticker
- Another rattle, from the B pillar fixed

18444 - Leaking radiator cap replaced
- Sticker indicating transmission setting replaced
- Key lock in drivers door wont open with key
- Defective radio replaced

21954 - Repaired wiring for passenger side seat tilt
- Windshield replaced due to pealing rain sensor
- Defective key replaced
- Adjust drivers side window (again) for excessive air leakage

23682 - Replaced drivers side door main speaker
- Replace faulty hood switch for alarm

26784 - Front tire developed a bubble in the side wall

28195 - Front splash guard fell off and needed to be reattached (5 screws somehow, just fell out).

28732 - Splash guard fell off again, and needed to be replaced (and no, I never ran over anything :-)

38393 - Replaced faulty radio, again (see 18444)
- Windshield replaced due to pealing rain sensor, again (see 21954 )
- Wipers made a clunking noise when turned off (intermittent they turn off ALL the time), relay module replaced (this has started back up again, may still be under warranty as this was "repaired" less than 1 year ago).
- Low beam burned out in one headlight
- Both front doors started leaking in the rain, moisture barriers were replaced.

40833 - Left A pillar trim panel replaced due to crack (I suspect the dealer may have caused this the last time they replaced the windshield)
- Third brake light replaced

I didn't include any recalls or SIB repairs done as these aren't really "problems" I experienced
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  #12  
Old 02-12-2008, 09:32 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lets View Post
Well, the Z4 is obviously much better than the Z3. The hydraulic motor for the Z4 is twice the cost @ $1200. But the labor to replace it is only 8 hours = $1000

Dealer's going to actually diagnose (and estimate) the problem on the 26th. They only want $155 for the estimate.
SERIOUSLY?!

So ask yourself how many times you expect to raise and lower the top during your ownership of the car. Divide $2650 by that number. That is how much you will save each time by reaching back and manually pulling the top over your head (or getting out of the car and manually lifting the top. So would it be worth that amount to you? A gas assist spring should be looking pretty attractive! If the Z4 doesn't have a spring available for it, no problem. Neither did the original Z3's, as far as I'm aware. The top really isn't very heavy, and even a weakling should be able to manage the top just fine without a spring. Honestly, I don't think I would have paid any more than $250 for the electric/hydraulic top AT MOST.

And just think, if you replace the thing, how long will it last? What is the monthly cost of this electric top feature?

By the way, remember that the very cheapest, easiest fix is to open the little bypass valve all the way and leave the hydraulics where they are. The only drawback is that the top moves somewhat slowly, making it a bit more difficult to raise and lower the top. That, and you'll have a useless piece of hardware in your machine that contributes dead weight. But you won't have to take anything apart, and it won't take you any time.

Peace,
Sarah
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  #13  
Old 02-13-2008, 06:16 AM
lets lets is offline
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Dead serious (though joking about the Z4 being twice as good as the Z3 :-)

Typically, if it's above 50 degrees, and not raining, the top goes up or down bout 4 times a day. Accessing the pump, my understanding is the top has to be removed. While in the Z3 it's in the rear of the wheel well, in the Z4 they moved it to the front of the wheel well, just behind the drivers seat (passenger seat for you UK drivers)

I haven't been able to fine any threads re the motor shorting out or seizing up due to water getting down in there and not being able to escape (9sean300d), but the service adviser kind of eluded that that's a reasonable possibility. If so, I'll find out how to check and clean the drain on a regular basis, hopefully preventing this from happening again...... Though, here might not be an "again" as I'm in the market for something new.
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  #14  
Old 02-13-2008, 07:19 AM
sean300d sean300d is offline
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lets, that's terrible. I have had the inst. cluster replaced and an entire new top assmbly due to the same "rubbing" problems you were having. Short of those two things, nothing else. I've been lucky I guess. I'm very picky so if there were to be anything else I would've been on it. My first thought was the microswitch, then secondly the motor itself. You raise and lower your top waaaaay more times than I do. Mine only has about 30k on it now but it's out of wtty due to it's age. At one time I was considering a Boxster. My uncle has one and I did enough research on the Boxster forums to "scare" me away from them. Another thing, I think it makes a big difference if your car lives outside. If so, you're getting a lot more rain, moisture etc. down into your top mechanisms. hummmm? Sorry to hear of all the bad luck.

sean
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  #15  
Old 02-13-2008, 08:44 AM
lets lets is offline
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Cars garaged, most of the time, when not on the road. I've tested the micro switch and unfortunately that's not the problem. Funny thing is, as many problems I've had with this car (and I think I missed listing a few), I'm actually considering a 08 3.0si. I've never enjoyed driving a car as much as this one, and the lines, look, and style, IMHO can't be beat. About the only other thing that I have any possible interest in is a 350z....but there's just something wrong about it I can't put my finger on.
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  #16  
Old 02-13-2008, 12:06 PM
sean300d sean300d is offline
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The 350Z? .... Hummmm.. maybe it's because they have no soul? I like them too but I see 10 for every one Z4 on the road. They're a great car though!! I would certainly consider one.
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  #17  
Old 02-13-2008, 02:09 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lets View Post
Dead serious (though joking about the Z4 being twice as good as the Z3 :-)

Typically, if it's above 50 degrees, and not raining, the top goes up or down bout 4 times a day. Accessing the pump, my understanding is the top has to be removed. While in the Z3 it's in the rear of the wheel well, in the Z4 they moved it to the front of the wheel well, just behind the drivers seat (passenger seat for you UK drivers)
Hmmmm.... Well, to look at this objectively, you would need to add in in the "opportunity cost" of your money. For instance, if you could put the $2500+ into an investment at 5% annual return (not being particularly optimistic, here) or use it to pay down your mortgage (saving you 5% per year on the money you no longer have to borrow), then your total cost for the motor would be closer to $3400. Now, on a nice day, you actuate the top 4 times. I'm assuming that not every day is a nice day in the SF area, so I'm guessing you AVERAGE 2 actuations (or less) per day. Over a 5 year service life, that's 3540 actuations. So your motor will be costing you approx $1 per actuation, $2/day, $60/mo, and $700/yr. Kinda pricey! Personally, I think I'd just raise and lower manually!

Regarding the water issue: I think that's probably correct. My Z3 has a slow leak in the antenna rubber, just over the hydromotor. It's possible that some water dribbled on the motor and got trapped. All I know is it's not a short, and it's definitely not an open circuit. The motor seems to be locked up hard, I'm presuming with rust.

Peace,
Sarah
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  #18  
Old 02-13-2008, 06:19 PM
lets lets is offline
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$2 a day? WELL worth the cost :-) ! !
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  #19  
Old 02-14-2008, 02:00 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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$2 a day? WELL worth the cost :-) ! !
Glad I'm not paying the tab!
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  #20  
Old 06-29-2008, 10:28 PM
On Sale On Sale is offline
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Dear FastWoman: This is about Z3 retrofit power top.............................

Its seems like you know or at least have some knowledge about the power top motor.

I will be deeply appreciated if you can post the pict of the location of the

1) Pump
2) Cylinder

I just got the kit off the ebay. I will post a detail retrofit instruction after I successfuly installed the retrofit kit.

I have the instruction from the dealer but they have nothing to mention about how to install the cylinder and the mechanism on how cylinder & the soft top works.

I assume BMW wants me to install at the dealer and charge me a big time. I went to 3 dealership and none of them know what it is???

I also realize there are Z3 owners want to know this retrofit and I will be the starter and benefit others

For others, you can get the parts from ebay & junk yards for about $300 to $400. It will include most parts. Except I need some knowledge regarding the microswitch for the control. The is my last think to work on.

Please let me know if you can help me on the picts.

Thanks
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  #21  
Old 08-20-2008, 03:40 PM
mikelomeli mikelomeli is offline
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Hello friends. soooo. Im in cabo , mexico, away from reality, I need to do this my self. I need to fix teh top prblem. how do I start, what do I check firrts pump and how .

help,help
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  #22  
Old 07-18-2009, 10:51 PM
Jermy1304 Jermy1304 is offline
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You know....I think FastWoman is onto something with the concept of using a Gas Assist Spring Versus using the Typical Hydraulic Pump to put the top up. I drive a 2003 BMW Z4 3.0i and with the numerous forums i have read regarding the Motor and Hydraulic Pump malfunctioning in such a short period of time, investing some time into designing an effective use of a gas assist spring would be MUCH cheaper in the long run....and possibly even more practical. Think about it, pre-2006 Z4's are doomed with this water corrosion problem. Why invest even another $1200 into something that will most likely break one more time within your ownership of the car. It's just not logical. Gas-Assist Spring's offer the same function for literally a fraction of the cost. I love the car and I'm not going to sell it, but I'm not 100% manually operating this top for the rest of my ownership of the vehicle. I'm going to the drawing board on this one and i have you to thank FastWoman!

Last edited by Jermy1304; 07-18-2009 at 10:51 PM. Reason: typo
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  #23  
Old 07-19-2009, 06:50 AM
caseysc1 caseysc1 is offline
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Top Removal:

http://www.z4-forum.com/forum/viewto...p?f=12&t=10189

Motor Replacement:

http://www.z4-forum.com/forum/viewto...p?f=12&t=10190
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  #24  
Old 07-19-2009, 01:20 PM
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The motor is attached to the softtop. The links that Caseysc1 posted are the pics I took when I replaced my Z4's softtop hydraulic motor. No really special tools are required except a good set of Torx bits..

One person in the UK did this repair. He pulled his hydraulic motor out, dried it out at low temps (about 100-140') in an oven and tested it out. It worked. This is just an option....
A new motor and housing will run you about $500.00 for both.

After you read the two threads, let me know if you have any questions.
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How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively?
Furthermore, does legality establish morality?
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:25 PM
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shipkiller shipkiller is online now
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Oh, one more thing. The guy in the UK used my How-To's and had it top out in about 1.5-2 hours.... It took me six or so hours but I was the first....

I could do it now in about 1.5 hours...
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How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively?
Furthermore, does legality establish morality?
Slavery was legal; apartheid was legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of morel people. - Walter E. Williams
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