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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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  #76  
Old 04-04-2014, 04:03 PM
thirtysixOs thirtysixOs is offline
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Mein Auto: E36 318i Cab
Just got my 318 and of course the top doesn't work. I can't seem to find a motor in the back, and all I see is a "ASC" button on the center console. I need assistance ASAP


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  #77  
Old 04-04-2014, 06:18 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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You probably have a manual top (which is good....the auto tops are a PITA eventually)

Go here: www.realoem.com . Click "enter here"

Put the last 7 digits of your VIN in the Serial Number search box and click "search"

when it loads the information on your car, click "browse parts" at the bottom.

When the parts groups load, click the "sliding roof/folding top" icon

Click on the automatic top diagram. If it comes up with "no parts found for your car" you have a manual or semi-automatic top. Click on the "manual top" diagram. If it shows part numbers, that's what you have.
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  #78  
Old 04-04-2014, 06:28 PM
thirtysixOs thirtysixOs is offline
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Thanks I'm gonna go check this out now


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  #79  
Old 04-04-2014, 06:44 PM
thirtysixOs thirtysixOs is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
You probably have a manual top (which is good....the auto tops are a PITA eventually)

Go here: www.realoem.com . Click "enter here"

Put the last 7 digits of your VIN in the Serial Number search box and click "search"

when it loads the information on your car, click "browse parts" at the bottom.

When the parts groups load, click the "sliding roof/folding top" icon

Click on the automatic top diagram. If it comes up with "no parts found for your car" you have a manual or semi-automatic top. Click on the "manual top" diagram. If it shows part numbers, that's what you have.
so i tried it and it seems like a full list of parts and prices popped up. so how do i find out how to fix this problem. i still cant find any motors in the trunk
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  #80  
Old 04-04-2014, 08:13 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Go back to the start of this thread and READ all of it. Click the links and READ. Download the .PDFs and READ them. If there's something missing that you need, I cannot imagine what it is. This thread is VERY complete, and was started for the exact reason you present: my top doesn't work/i can't figure it out.

If you have a full set of parts listed in RealOEM, you either have the automatic top and the parts are still there, or someone got tired of putzing around trying to keep it working and pulled the motors in an attempt to make it a manual top.
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1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira" 1985 635CSi "Katja" 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"
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  #81  
Old 04-04-2014, 08:47 PM
thirtysixOs thirtysixOs is offline
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Well I guess this will be my first project lol appreciate your time man


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  #82  
Old 04-05-2014, 06:07 AM
thirtysixOs thirtysixOs is offline
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So after further inspection, it is a manual top. Found the cover latch in the back on the drivers side lol


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  #83  
Old 04-10-2014, 09:05 PM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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This sticky is a lifesaver. Ran though the steps and got the top to start moving. Ran into a couple problems, 1 of them is pretty big.
The first thing is that when the top is going down the windows are good, top going up drivers window freaks out about half way up and then stops once the cycle is completed. I have to go through this sticky again but I think I read this somewhere already.

The next problem is the 'claw' that grabs the tonneau cover and pulls the tonneau down, that center pin that the claw pivots on is pressed into its bracket. Somehow it was broken off. I fixed it with another bolt for the time being but are these available for purchase? RealOEM doesn't have them tagged in any of the exploded views.

Here is the big issue, the tensioner arm, the rivet on the end that connects to the cam that is attached to the top motor. It popped. The rivet just blew out. I found a replacement, its the whole unit, the tensioner arm and the cam... should I buy it ($200) or should I try and drill and tap the old cam and remount the original hardware. (FYI the tensioner arm and the cam were pretty oxidized) The part number is 54348174834 (#1)
http://realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/a/j/19.png

Please any suggestions would be good. If I have to buy it I have to buy it but if anyone has seen this and come up with a remedy let me know.
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  #84  
Old 04-10-2014, 09:18 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skogz16 View Post
This sticky is a lifesaver. Ran though the steps and got the top to start moving. Ran into a couple problems, 1 of them is pretty big.
The first thing is that when the top is going down the windows are good, top going up drivers window freaks out about half way up and then stops once the cycle is completed. I have to go through this sticky again but I think I read this somewhere already.

The next problem is the 'claw' that grabs the tonneau cover and pulls the tonneau down, that center pin that the claw pivots on is pressed into its bracket. Somehow it was broken off. I fixed it with another bolt for the time being but are these available for purchase? RealOEM doesn't have them tagged in any of the exploded views.

Here is the big issue, the tensioner arm, the rivet on the end that connects to the cam that is attached to the top motor. It popped. The rivet just blew out. I found a replacement, its the whole unit, the tensioner arm and the cam... should I buy it ($200) or should I try and drill and tap the old cam and remount the original hardware. (FYI the tensioner arm and the cam were pretty oxidized) The part number is 54348174834 (#1)
http://realoem.com/bmw/diagrams/a/j/19.png

Please any suggestions would be good. If I have to buy it I have to buy it but if anyone has seen this and come up with a remedy let me know.
I'd try your DIY fix first. You really have nothing to lose by trying. Won't cost more than a couple $ for the parts max and if it works...woohoo! If not you can try finding the arm and cam in a salvage yard or worst case spring for the new part for $200.
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  #85  
Old 04-11-2014, 06:36 AM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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DC youre definitely right. I slept on it last night and thought the same thing. worst thing that happens is that it breaks again.

Anyone have suggestions on the windows? or that claw part?
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  #86  
Old 04-11-2014, 02:09 PM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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DC, drilled and tapped the stud that the top rod pivots on. Threw a fender washer under the bolt and perfect. works like a charm. Will it last forever? Probably... there shouldn't be any tension on that bolt. The reason it broke in the first place was that it was severely bent. Not sure why but it was.

So the entire top is working and working pretty good for motors that are 15 years old. The problem I am having now is that the tonneau cover will not release when it gets to that point in the sequence. I was able to sync the motors so that the top is up. {Note: I did this by following the steps on the first page of this sticky. Because the tonneau will not release, if you hold the buttons, the entire sequence follows through. Once the windows are up the sequence is over. SO what I did was manually release everything and put it in the top up position with a drill and an allen key. Then re-engaged the motors.)

So I tested the top and once it gets to the point in the sequence for the tonneau cover to raise nothing happens and then things aren't happy anymore.

Not sure why this tonneau is stuck. I can hear the motor spinning, when it is disengaged I can push on the cam that pushes the top up and I can see that it wants to move (so its free, I think). But for some reason it just wont go.
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  #87  
Old 04-11-2014, 08:45 PM
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You have to do the sync with the top in the fully down position, not the fully up position. If you've done it with the top up then the top controller is lost as to where the top actually is positioned. There are some sync instructions that tell you to put the top fully down, then hold the top control button in the "top up" position while turning the key on and continuing to hold the button. Usually the top will run the sync by pulling the top down into the storage compartment, then closing the compartment lid, then the top will go into the raising mode. I've seen a couple cases where the position info wasn't correctly stored in the top controller when its done this way. I've seen more consistent results running the sync by releasing the motors, putting the top in the fully down position, re-engaging the motors, then holding the top control button in the "top down" position while turning on the ignition. Keep holding the button down fro at least 10 seconds and the top should run the sync by pulling the storage compartment lid down all the way and then stop. This is the procedure detailed in the trouble shooting guide. You should be good to go after this.
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  #88  
Old 04-12-2014, 11:57 PM
Wrightbenz Wrightbenz is offline
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96 semi auto goes up but no down.

I have been messing with this thing long enough. My top will not go down. If I release the motors and lower manually it will usually close automatically but it will almost never go back down. I have replaced the micro switch on the left side but that hasn't cured the problem. I am wondering what to try next? Motors? Control unit? I know the motors all work but I see that they have some micro switches built into them so possibly this is a problem? How often do the control modules fail?
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  #89  
Old 04-13-2014, 08:11 AM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
You have to do the sync with the top in the fully down position, not the fully up position. If you've done it with the top up then the top controller is lost as to where the top actually is positioned. There are some sync instructions that tell you to put the top fully down, then hold the top control button in the "top up" position while turning the key on and continuing to hold the button. Usually the top will run the sync by pulling the top down into the storage compartment, then closing the compartment lid, then the top will go into the raising mode. I've seen a couple cases where the position info wasn't correctly stored in the top controller when its done this way. I've seen more consistent results running the sync by releasing the motors, putting the top in the fully down position, re-engaging the motors, then holding the top control button in the "top down" position while turning on the ignition. Keep holding the button down fro at least 10 seconds and the top should run the sync by pulling the storage compartment lid down all the way and then stop. This is the procedure detailed in the trouble shooting guide. You should be good to go after this.
Dc. Exactly what you described and what is described in the instructions in the first page of the sticky is what I did. Put the top completely down, held the up button and resync. I'm going to try the top down button resync. I really think there is a problem releasing the tonneau cover. I was looking around and I don't see much to the top release so I don't get why it would be stuck. I'll try that and repost see what happens. Thanks dc for the help. You the man
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  #90  
Old 04-14-2014, 06:35 PM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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DC

So you are correct. You can resync the top with the 'top down' button instead of the 'top up' instructions that are in the resync instructions.
So the problem I have is still there. For some reason the tonneau cover will not release once it is in the fully down position. Here is what i do know. If i disengage the tonneau motor the cam that is supposed to push the rod and lift the tonneau is free. I can move it with my hand.

So can anyone help explain this? These are my 3 thoughts. 1) the motor is bad (but during resync it pulls the lid down) 2) the springs that are on the claws that grab the tonneau are not strong enough to pop up? (seems unlikely) 3) there is a microswitch that is bad that is not telling the tonneau motor to start up and move....

The microswitch seems most relevant to me at this point but when i read the manual that describes the process in which the top works and goes through all the switches and there positioning, the description for when the tonneau is being released is a little vague... as anyone experienced this or have any thoughts on this? Any help would be apprecaited.
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  #91  
Old 04-14-2014, 06:46 PM
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There's an interlock to prevent you from opening the storage compartment lid and the trunk at the same time. If you try opening them simultaneously they interfere. There's a microswtich on the forward right portion of the storage compartment, and a similar one on the upper right hand of the trunk. If there's a problem with either of them the top won't move and if the cover is closed it won't unlock......
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  #92  
Old 04-14-2014, 06:58 PM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
There's an interlock to prevent you from opening the storage compartment lid and the trunk at the same time. If you try opening them simultaneously they interfere. There's a microswtich on the forward right portion of the storage compartment, and a similar one on the upper right hand of the trunk. If there's a problem with either of them the top won't move and if the cover is closed it won't unlock......
I know of the interlock microswitch that is in the storage compartment. Its in that 'claw' (or whatver you want to call it). This is the switch that you can lean on to unlock the truck.

Would you suggest that I could similarly lean on the trunk lid (if the switch is still good) and that should close the switch which would then allow the tonneau to release?
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  #93  
Old 04-14-2014, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Skogz16 View Post
I know of the interlock microswitch that is in the storage compartment. Its in that 'claw' (or whatver you want to call it). This is the switch that you can lean on to unlock the truck.

Would you suggest that I could similarly lean on the trunk lid (if the switch is still good) and that should close the switch which would then allow the tonneau to release?
I'd visually inspect both to make certain they aren't broken or damaged and then yes, I'd press on both.
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  #94  
Old 04-14-2014, 07:27 PM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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Ok cool. I know the storage compartment switch works properly... i will have to check the trunk switch... I wont be able to look at it until the end of the week but I will post up the results to keep people up to date incase one day someone else has the same problems.
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  #95  
Old 04-17-2014, 12:50 PM
slMagnvox slMagnvox is offline
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I am able to manually lower my full auto top, I can access the trunk by engaging the lid cover microswitch on passenger side and then reengage both lid motors. When I run the resync procedure (hold switch in TOP DOWN position while turning key to ON position) the lid is pulled down tight and the lid cover locks into place.

As soon as that occurs, one of the motors begins making a ratcheting noise like it is skipping splines on it's shaft. It continues until I turn the key to OFF. Releasing the switch does not stop it. I do not know which motor is trying to move since I cannot have eyes on it with the trunk closed.

I rechecked to make sure both motors were properly engaged. Trying a second time, since the lid is already down tight & locked, the ratcheting sound just begins immediately (after the ~5sec delay) and clatters until I turn the key off.

Which motor is trying, and failing, to move at this stage of the resync? What is a good first step to begin troubleshooting this situation?
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  #96  
Old 04-17-2014, 03:34 PM
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The problem is the motor for the storage compartment lid. The sheet metal bracket that it's mounted to bends outward over time leaving the gears partially engaged. At some point they begin slipping. The fix is to take the motor out and bend the bracket back into place.
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  #97  
Old 04-22-2014, 06:32 AM
Skogz16 Skogz16 is offline
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Ok cool. I know the storage compartment switch works properly... i will have to check the trunk switch... I wont be able to look at it until the end of the week but I will post up the results to keep people up to date incase one day someone else has the same problems.
Yep another set back. I checked the trunk switch and it definitely is functioning. and yet, still the tonneao cover will not lift up once the top is in the stored (down) position.

I have been able to test that the top motor and the tonneau motors are working in sync and they are. The issue is once it is closed, that tonneau cover will not pop up on its own. For some reason when the button is pressed to go "up" the tonneau motor doesnt start up and releae it. Everything else in the sequence works.

Why would the tonneau not release if the trunk and tonneau microswitchs are operational... is it the hall sensor that I have read about? Anyone have an idea.

My set back now is that when i was messing with the top, testing it, that main bar that connects to the top motor literally bent in half when it was trying to accordian the top. But thats a whole seperate issue now (probably why it broke the first time,
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  #98  
Old 04-22-2014, 08:33 AM
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If all the electricals look to be functional then the latches may be sticking. Lube them with some good penetrating oil like PB blaster, CRC, etc. 3 in 1 oil will work too if you have some. Put some lithium grease on the points on the storage compartment cover that the latches grab also.
Does the storage compartment lid release easily when you pull the emergency lever to release it and the motors? If not then check the cable supports for the cables that run from the motor to the latches, particularly the cable going to the passenger side latch. There are some plastic fasteners that hold the cable in place where it runs across the back of the storage compartment. If those are broken and the cable is free it reduces the amount of travel at the latch. They're items 6, 7, and 19 in this diagram. The motor doesn't provide as much movement as the release lever does so if you're having to really pull on the release lever to get the lid to unlock, stiction or a cable issue may be the problem.
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  #99  
Old 04-22-2014, 09:32 AM
slMagnvox slMagnvox is offline
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Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
The problem is the motor for the storage compartment lid. The sheet metal bracket that it's mounted to bends outward over time leaving the gears partially engaged. At some point they begin slipping. The fix is to take the motor out and bend the bracket back into place.
Yes indeed. Wrestled the lid motor out this morning:



Can the motor be separated from the bracket without a press? Love that all the Bentley manual has to say on the subj: "The lid drive motor can be removed and replaced from the luggage compartment."

I have a limited set of tools with which to attempt to straighten it back out, thinking C-clamps and maybe 2x4's for leverage?

Alternatively, as my bracket is looking rather beat up I'm thinking about ordering new bracket (PN comes up on tischer search, list ~$30) and maybe taking it to a machine shop for assembly if they'd be game.
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  #100  
Old 04-22-2014, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by slMagnvox View Post
Yes indeed. Wrestled the lid motor out this morning:



Can the motor be separated from the bracket without a press? Love that all the Bentley manual has to say on the subj: "The lid drive motor can be removed and replaced from the luggage compartment."

I have a limited set of tools with which to attempt to straighten it back out, thinking C-clamps and maybe 2x4's for leverage?

Alternatively, as my bracket is looking rather beat up I'm thinking about ordering new bracket (PN comes up on tischer search, list ~$30) and maybe taking it to a machine shop for assembly if they'd be game.
I'd take it to a machine shop or auto shop that has a press. They'll be in a far better position to support the bracket properly than you will with a home made rig. I doubt they'll charge very much to do it and if you mangle your new bracket you'll be kicking yourself for not doing it.....
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