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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #51  
Old 06-02-2013, 07:28 AM
toonky toonky is offline
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Mein Auto: Bmw e36 320i cab
Quote:
Originally Posted by brinkadore View Post
is it a full auto top? there is a difference in micro switches and in the operation between auto and semi-auto. Mine is full auto, and the only time the switch light didn't work, the controller behind left rear panel was unplugged.
this link has good info for troubleshooting:

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1585851
Thank you for the good answer!

But where is ''left rear panel''? and what is the ''controller''...?

I'm from Sweden...you'll have to be patience with me..

I know ''rear ''is in the back so i guess you mean that there is a cable that were disconnected in the trunk behind the panel to left? By the ''black engine'' to the tunneaucover?

/ Tony
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  #52  
Old 06-04-2013, 05:55 AM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
The only difference is the full auto top has two additional micro switches in the front bow area that help control the operation of the mechanized latching system in the front. All the other micro switches are in the same location and serve the same purpose. The only difference in operation is the release and lift of the front portion of the top past the tension point is done with motors on the full auto where , on the semi auto the front bow is release and lifted past the tension point by the driver.
Full auto top, no S4 switch... and I can't find the S3 on mine either. I know it's there somewhere, just well hidden.
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  #53  
Old 06-04-2013, 06:03 AM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toonky View Post
Thank you for the good answer!

But where is ''left rear panel''? and what is the ''controller''...?

I'm from Sweden...you'll have to be patience with me..

I know ''rear ''is in the back so i guess you mean that there is a cable that were disconnected in the trunk behind the panel to left? By the ''black engine'' to the tunneaucover?

/ Tony
From the back of the car, left rear window, there is a panel with the speaker grills in it. Carefully push/pull this panel towards the front of the car to remove. Inside is the convertible top controller. I would strongly suggest getting a multimeter and REMOVE AND CHECK FUSES for continuity! Then check for 12 volts throughout the system before doing anything else. If there is no power on the system, that is where you start trouble shooting.
Pulling components and replacing them gets expensive fast.
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  #54  
Old 06-04-2013, 10:05 AM
toonky toonky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brinkadore View Post
From the back of the car, left reewar window, there is a panel with the speaker grills in it. Carefully push/pull this panel towards the front of the car to remove. Inside is the convertible top controller. I would strongly suggest getting a multimeter and REMOVE AND CHECK FUSES for continuity! Then check for 12 volts throughout the system before doing anything else. If there is no power on the system, that is where you start trouble shooting.
Pulling components and replacing them gets expensive fast.
Thank you! I've checked all the fuses with a multimeter, they were all correct.
I had 12v on the controller on the big cables. I have no idea now what to measure...
I tried a semiautomatic controller (because i could find one for free) and it happend nothing.....
I'm so tired if the car...I only had it in a garage for a few months and now it's dead...

/tony
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  #55  
Old 06-04-2013, 10:59 AM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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I do not think a semi-auto controller will work in a full auto top, there are several switches that are different. I would seriously pull the fuse in the trunk and clean the contacts, and install a new one. If you can't manually store the top and get it to re-sync, then I would take it to a dealer that can diagnose it. The problem seems to have been going on for 2-3 months, and sometimes you got to let the dealer takeover.
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  #56  
Old 06-18-2013, 05:33 PM
Fburg BMW Fburg BMW is offline
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1999 323ic...Water behind rear seat and drivers side rear floor

I have a 1999 323ic that I just purchased with 60K original miles...Sounds great....hmmm not so much after 2 weeks. Drives great...Knock on wood...However I had to put a new drive shaft flex seal and rear wheel bearings. Now my son gets in the back seat and he says the seats wet (rained all day)...Sure enough the drivers side floor is soaked and behind the rear seat had a bunch of water. The convertible top is practicably new and seal seem good. Are there drain plugs under the car? I am thinking the water is coming from underneath the car.
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  #57  
Old 06-18-2013, 06:00 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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There are water drains in the very forward part of the top storage compartment. If they get clogged the water that gets into the compartment collects until it finds a place to run into the passenger compartment.
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  #58  
Old 06-29-2013, 02:19 PM
jimjambeal jimjambeal is offline
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1997 328 Hood Issues

Hi All,

Could I please request some guidance please on how to move forward with fixing the semi-auto convertible mechanism on my 1997 e36.

I only purchase the car today and the hood has developed a fault already - bummer!

During the test drive and once I had driven away the hood worked fine. Then throughout the day it became temperamental and now won't open at all.

The issue seems to be around the tonneau cover. When I try to put the top down, the hood raises back, the window area raises to allow clearance for the tonneau cover - but the tonneau cover doesn't raise and is stuck tight.

I have found the lever to disconnect the motors as well as the motors themselves in the boot/trunk. Someone has obviously pulled the lever before as it's slightly out of shape. Pulling the lever disconnected the hood motor, but it doesn't appear to have released the tonneau cover as it won't budge - but the cable appears to be slightly slack.

I have also noticed that when I push the hood motor back up in place, the gear doesn't sit completely in the slot available. The motor still moves on it's hinge slightly.

So...

Is it possible to stretch the release cables - as odd as it may sound? I'm wondering if someone has been to heavy handed with the lever (hence it being out of shape) and pulled to hard on the cable?

And as importantly, what could be preventing the tonneau cover from opening in both manual and auto modes?

'm no mechanic, but will attempt to fix something - if I know where to start. Should I just put it in to a garage?

Thanks in advance for any help.


Jamie
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  #59  
Old 06-29-2013, 03:34 PM
klixtokw klixtokw is offline
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Hi Jim sorry you have this on a new purchase. I recommend you take it to a mechanic knowledgeable in tops. Be forewarned you have a long and tedious search for such an individual. Ask your friends and local postings as well as the local branch of the AAA. And if you are lucky enough to find such an individual that also is honest be prepared to PAY! Nothing is cheap on this work as nobody wants it because its time consuming. Parts are very expensive. I have a 2004 and just paid $1200 for the hydraulic pump. Good luck!
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  #60  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:06 AM
Earnhardtfan79 Earnhardtfan79 is offline
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NO!!! the Attachments are blocked at work due to Provocative Attire?????????
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  #61  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:11 AM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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Missing gas shocks ?

I spent a weekend getting my top to function as designed with the help provided by this forum, and the 'vert forum on Bimmerforums. I adjusted all linkages and switches as outlined in the pdf and bentley book. I removed the top motor, cleaned and lubed the S1 and S2 switches and bench tested and adjusted them. I put everything back together, synched my top, and for the first time my fully auto top is working right(YAY). However, I could not locate the gas shocks for the tonneau cover, or any mount spots for them. I had the lid off at one point to replace a bowden cable, and did not even realize that there was supposed to be shocks in there. The P.O must have removed them at some point. My question is, will their absence cause a problem? the motor lifts, holds, and lowers the flap with no problems, so can I live with out them until I replace more urgently needed parts (rear tires, ball joints, window regulator etc.)?
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Last edited by brinkadore; 07-18-2013 at 10:13 AM. Reason: I spelled flap wrong!
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  #62  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:17 AM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Earnhardtfan79 View Post
NO!!! the Attachments are blocked at work due to Provocative Attire?????????
Why are you dressed provocativly at work?
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  #63  
Old 07-18-2013, 10:26 AM
Earnhardtfan79 Earnhardtfan79 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brinkadore View Post
Why are you dressed provocativly at work?
Tryin to get that raise so i can afford to get the top fixed
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  #64  
Old 08-01-2013, 03:17 AM
gazoll gazoll is offline
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Keeping the E36 Cabrio top working

This is the procedure to reset the E36 convertible top in case you have used the emergency release handle that's located under the rear seat. This works on my '97 328iC, which has the fully-automatic top. It may also work on other E36 models and years (caveat emptor). The owner's manual says to take the car to a dealer for service, but why do that when the procedure is so easy?

The owner's manual describes the method for closing the top manually, presumably in case you have a dead battery with the top down and it starts to rain. The top mechanism is driven by two electric motors that are located in the trunk -- one for the lid of the storage bin and one for the top itself. Closing the top manually requires (1) releasing the two motors from their transmission drives (using the afore-mentioned lever, which through a cable release mechanism causes the motors to pop away from their drives), pulling the top out of its storage bin, and then using an Allen wrench (from the tool kit in the trunk) to fully close and lock the top to the windshield. The allen wrench gets inserted into a socket that's hidden behind a plastic cover at the leading edge of the top, and then you turn it many many times to simulate the action of the electric motor. Note - there are interlocks between the storage bin lid and the trunk that prevent you from opening both at the same time.

Once the two motors have been disengaged, the top can only be operated manually -- the LED in the control switch blinks, and the owners manual says you have to take the car to the dealer to reset the correct operation of the top. The reason is that the two electric motors have to be re-engaged with their drive mechanisms and also re-synchronized with each other (you wouldn't want the top to crash into the lid of the storage bin).

Never fear, there is a fairly easy way to reset all of this yourself. The following is courtesy of Brett Anderson, who came to my rescue on this topic. I was having a new subwoofer and amplifier installed in the car, and the installer had the rear seat out when he decided to pull on the release handle to see what would happen (it has a red tag on it that just seems to scream "pull me" -- who could resist?).
First, manually open the top as described above (the motors must first be disengaged - so if the red hadle hasn't been pulled, now is the time to do so). Place the top back into its storage bin, and then close the lid of the bin as far as it will go.
Open the trunk so you can get access to the motors. You may need to push down on the storage bin lid so that it closes far enough to allow you to open the trunk - there's a safety interlock that prevents the trunk from being opened if the lid is open at the same time.
Working inside the trunk, remove the carpet liner from the left side (driver's side) of the trunk. There are two plastic clips that hold the liner in place -- you can pry them out with a screwdriver.
Behind the liner are the two motors that work the top mechanism -- one drives the top and the other is for the lid. Each motor is mounted on a spring-loaded pivot mechanism. The gears on the motors normally engage the gears for their respective transmission mechanisms, but when the release lever is pulled the motors pop away and disengage. So you have to push the motors back into their original positions so that the gears re-engage. When you do this the spring-loaded catch mechanism will firmly latch in place. Be sure that the motors arefirmly seated into the drive, and not just partially engaged.
Once both motors are re-engaged, get into the car, and with the ignition key in the off position press and hold the top control switch in the up (for closing) position. Continuing to hold this switch, turn the key to the "accessory" position (without starting the car) and hold it there. After about twelve seconds the lid will be sucked down into the locked position, and then after a few more seconds the top will start its normal closing procedure.
The motors are now re-synched, and should be all set. Work the system a few times to ensure that both motors are properly engaged and all is well. 2013 MERCEDES BENZ SL-CLASS
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  #65  
Old 08-04-2013, 08:28 PM
Bimmerlemar Bimmerlemar is offline
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Okay, the bar above the rear window on my car has springs that are supposed to connect to it so when i push the switch it folds, right? Well they're missing and i need to add them back. Has anyone had this problem?
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  #66  
Old 08-14-2013, 10:50 AM
harocho harocho is offline
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Where are the gas shocks?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brinkadore View Post
I spent a weekend getting my top to function as designed with the help provided by this forum, and the 'vert forum on Bimmerforums. I adjusted all linkages and switches as outlined in the pdf and bentley book. I removed the top motor, cleaned and lubed the S1 and S2 switches and bench tested and adjusted them. I put everything back together, synched my top, and for the first time my fully auto top is working right(YAY). However, I could not locate the gas shocks for the tonneau cover, or any mount spots for them. I had the lid off at one point to replace a bowden cable, and did not even realize that there was supposed to be shocks in there. The P.O must have removed them at some point. My question is, will their absence cause a problem? the motor lifts, holds, and lowers the flap with no problems, so can I live with out them until I replace more urgently needed parts (rear tires, ball joints, window regulator etc.)?
The gas shocks are connected to the arms that raise the tonneau cover. They are difficult to see and replace. Raise the top partially to the point where the tonneau cover is fully raised, now look in the hole where the arms retract, and you should be able to see them. they attach to the car body on the other end. If they have lost pressure, the top bow will hit the tonneau cover lid on the way to the storage well. To replace you should work from the inside of the trunk
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  #67  
Old 08-16-2013, 04:57 PM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harocho View Post
The gas shocks are connected to the arms that raise the tonneau cover. They are difficult to see and replace. Raise the top partially to the point where the tonneau cover is fully raised, now look in the hole where the arms retract, and you should be able to see them. they attach to the car body on the other end. If they have lost pressure, the top bow will hit the tonneau cover lid on the way to the storage well. To replace you should work from the inside of the trunk
thanks for the heads up, sounds like I need to dig deeper. Right now I am getting ready to repair trunk wiring, my license plate lights keep blowing, so I figure its the nefarious wire bundle failure.
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  #68  
Old 08-16-2013, 05:00 PM
brinkadore brinkadore is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerlemar View Post
Okay, the bar above the rear window on my car has springs that are supposed to connect to it so when i push the switch it folds, right? Well they're missing and i need to add them back. Has anyone had this problem?
My '97 has small springs on strings that connect to the plastic plates that hold and guide the headliner, but that is all they do, the elastic straps lift the bars, at least on mine...
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  #69  
Old 08-16-2013, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harocho View Post
The gas shocks are connected to the arms that raise the tonneau cover. They are difficult to see and replace. Raise the top partially to the point where the tonneau cover is fully raised, now look in the hole where the arms retract, and you should be able to see them. they attach to the car body on the other end. If they have lost pressure, the top bow will hit the tonneau cover lid on the way to the storage well. To replace you should work from the inside of the trunk
It's actually much easier to mark the mounting locations on the storage compartment cover, remove the 4 bolts that hold it in place, and work from the back seat of the car. When they're disconnected from the cover the arms have a bit more travel and you don't have to compress the gas struts to get them to line up with their mounting points. If you remove the cover note that there may be some shims between the cover and the lift arms to align the cover with the car body. You want to keep track of how go on each side so that everything will be lined up the same when you reassemble it.
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  #70  
Old 10-15-2013, 08:18 AM
MrJbga MrJbga is offline
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This appears to be the place for me to post my convertible top questions. I have a 1997 328 I base convertible with a fully automatic top. I took the car off the road for about a year. Prior to storing the car, the top worked fine. However, after reviving the car, the top no longer works. I have two problems, The first problem being the top does not lower. The second problem is that I need to change the rear shocks and it looks like the top shock mounting bolts are under the top cover.

My first attempt to diagnose the problem, I tried to disengage the motors via the latch under the rear seat. The top cover motor drops down as it supposed to. The top cover motor was stuck un the engaged position. In this position, I could not re-sync the motors. Nothing happened. I was able to gently tap on the top motor and it finally disengaged. However now the motor will not re-engage. It seems to be hitting the housing (the lower part of the gear hits the housing). I tried to remove the motor with the bracket but could not figure out how it comes out after removing the four mounting nuts on the bracket. Now the light in the counsel switch no longer blinks but I cannot re-engage the top cover motor. I also believe that the top must be in the lowered position in order to re-sync the motors.

All that being said, regardless of the top working properly, I still need to open the top in order to replace the rear shock absorbers. I tried to lower the top manually, I can get the head liner to release but the rear of the top will not unlock. Is there a way to manually open the top? If this can be done (I am assuming there is a way) how do I remove the top cover motor to see why it is out of alignment. Any advice will be VERY appreciated.

Thank you.
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  #71  
Old 10-15-2013, 05:52 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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To manually lower the top first ensure the top motor and storage compartment lid motors are disengaged by pulling the release lever under the rear seat. Next using the tool for the front bow of the top, turn until the front unlatches and the front portion of the top raises up past the tension point for the top. This is farther than the point where the head liner releases. It will seem like you're turned to tool about a million turns to get to this point......
When the top is past the tension point you'll need to pull up on the front of the top and the rear bow at the same time.....
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  #72  
Old 11-08-2013, 09:32 PM
buz420 buz420 is offline
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Same issue I think

99 full automatic. Did a reset 3 times to get the top to work.
I had to use an allen tool to release the top to a point that I could get it in the back. The top reset and the top would raise to 80% and stop the motor in the top spins but top does not move anymore or tries latching.. light is flashing... If I put the allen tool in crank and crank and crank I can get the top down and light off. Then I can put the top down with button but once again. It will not fully go up with out help of the Allen tool. (now a drill with allen bit.)
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  #73  
Old 11-09-2013, 08:14 AM
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Sounds like you've got an issue with one of the micro switches, possibly S8 which is in the front latching assembly. If one of the micro switches opens or closes at the wrong time, the top controller immediately stops the top to prevent damage because at that point the controller doesn't know the position of the top.
If you look at the E36 convertible adjust PDF file at one of the links at the start of this thread it shows where the micro switches are and what each does.
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  #74  
Old 11-09-2013, 08:31 AM
buz420 buz420 is offline
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So most likely need to replace a switch not try re sync again. Everything was fine before I took it out of storage. Battery when dead
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  #75  
Old 01-09-2014, 01:53 AM
Arran123 Arran123 is offline
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Mein Auto: Bmw E36 M-sport cab
Bmw cab

Hello i have a bmw E36 1999 M-sport convertible and the roof wont work atall?i have been told its becouse the drivers window wont work?Anyone know what it could be?

Thanks Arran
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