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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 03-07-2010, 08:36 PM
garevans66 garevans66 is offline
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Convertible hardtop sensor alignment

Hi all,

This is my first post. I actually have not yet owned a BMW but have coveted one for some time - so I guess that I've been a BMW voyeur in the forums for a long time.

So, I've saved my pennies and am considering making the plunge into the crazed world of BMW aficionados. I'm looking hard at a 3-series convertible. A friend who knows that I have been scouting this purchase for awhile talked to a service tech at a dealer about the car and he reported that if the sensors for the hardtop get out of line, they can be a bear to fix. I've read about some of this on the 6-series forums, but haven't found much chatter about this here. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with hardtop sensors becoming misaligned? Are there any other cautions about this series in the hardtop convertible format? Reliability is a big issue for me since I tend to invest in quality autos and drive them for a long time.

I've noticed a few posts about rumble possibly attributed to the top (in the up position) once the car reaches 50 mph, but it's not clear that anyone has really identified the origin of this issue.

Thanks much for any comments or ideas.
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  #2  
Old 03-07-2010, 09:13 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garevans66 View Post
....he reported that if the sensors for the hardtop get out of line, they can be a bear to fix.

I've noticed a few posts about rumble possibly attributed to the top (in the up position) once the car reaches 50 mph, but it's not clear that anyone has really identified the origin of this issue.
10k mi, no problems.

No rumble to well over 100 mph.

Hey, get a Smartop module - love being able to start the top up; walk away assured my ride will close & lock w/windows up & mirrors folded in. Always seem to check before out of sight though.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:51 PM
hoopics hoopics is offline
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I had one of the roof sensors fail on mine after about 7,000 miles, resulting in the roof not wanting to come back up out of the trunk. It took them about two days to diagnose the issue, and then a couple of hours to fix it. It has not been a recurring problem for me since then. If you're going to buy, you should know that the BMW standard extended warranty does not cover many of the roof components. You should also know that if the roof catastrophically fails -- as happened to one poster here two years ago, mercifully under the original warranty -- it has been estimated to be a $30,000 repair involving the manufacture of a new custom roof in Germany which needs to be shipped to the U.S.

I have never leased a car in my life, but if I were to get another e93 I'd without question lease it and not buy it. If at lease end it proves to be reliable, you can buy it at that point. If it is a problem car, you can wash your hands of it after three years and get a new one with a new factory warranty.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:23 AM
roadkillrob roadkillrob is offline
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I have an 08 with no rumble, the rumble was mostly 07 and some 08 models and was determined to be an issue with the trunk lid vibrating - there is a tsb to fix it that involved injecting foam into the empty space in the trunk lid.
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  #5  
Old 03-08-2010, 04:59 AM
garevans66 garevans66 is offline
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Thanks to each of you. Each of you had a great suggestion that I will follow-up on. Hoopics, I've never leased a car in my life, but you make a strong case that I should consider one here. Since I will be looking at an '07-'08 model that will soon exhaust it's original warranty, your advice about what is not covered by the extended warranty is critical.

Thanks to each of you for the generosity of your time.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:21 AM
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No leaks and I don't have the infamous flutter. Top has - to date - never been an issue.
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:07 AM
garevans66 garevans66 is offline
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Thanks, Brian. And yours is the '07 too! That's good to hear.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:39 AM
hoopics hoopics is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garevans66 View Post
Thanks to each of you. Each of you had a great suggestion that I will follow-up on. Hoopics, I've never leased a car in my life, but you make a strong case that I should consider one here. Since I will be looking at an '07-'08 model that will soon exhaust it's original warranty, your advice about what is not covered by the extended warranty is critical.

Thanks to each of you for the generosity of your time.
If you're going to buy / lease used, in addition to getting an independent mechanic's inspection of the car before you buy, I'd make a condition of the sale that you get to drive the car through an automatic touchless car wash (i.e. the high pressure spray kind) first. If the roof seals leak at all (which has been a problem for a handful of people), this test will tell you instantly.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:50 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoopics View Post
If you're going to buy / lease used, in addition to getting an independent mechanic's inspection of the car before you buy, I'd make a condition of the sale that you get to drive the car through an automatic touchless car wash (i.e. the high pressure spray kind) first. If the roof seals leak at all (which has been a problem for a handful of people), this test will tell you instantly.
And then take the car for a run on a highway at 70 mph immediately after exiting the car wash. After the 70 mph run, try some tight radius turns at 35 mph in an empty parking lot to further stress the seals. If no leaks after the run on the highway and tight radius turns, then the seals are likely okay. Look for the tiniest bit of water at the A-pillars and along the windshield frame-convertible top seam. Also look for water leaking at the seal between the front and rear windows. No leaks, and the car is probably good for 100,000 miles. If there is any water leaking, it will only get worse with no repair possible that will completely solve the leaking.

If you want to see what the E93's top seal should have been, check out the windshield frame-convertible top seal on the latest gen Z4s - that is a seal.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:17 PM
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mclaren mclaren is offline
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  #11  
Old 03-08-2010, 01:30 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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And my 2008 E93 was repurchased under the California lemon law for un-repairable water leaks. Water leaks are an issue for the E93. Test before buying (or an ounce of prevention beats an incurable disease).
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:02 PM
KHarney KHarney is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anE934fun View Post
And then take the car for a run on a highway at 70 mph immediately after exiting the car wash. After the 70 mph run, try some tight radius turns at 35 mph in an empty parking lot to further stress the seals. If no leaks after the run on the highway and tight radius turns, then the seals are likely okay. Look for the tiniest bit of water at the A-pillars and along the windshield frame-convertible top seam. Also look for water leaking at the seal between the front and rear windows. No leaks, and the car is probably good for 100,000 miles. If there is any water leaking, it will only get worse with no repair possible that will completely solve the leaking.

If you want to see what the E93's top seal should have been, check out the windshield frame-convertible top seal on the latest gen Z4s - that is a seal.
Wouldn't this test just dry up any water anyway ?!?!?!
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  #13  
Old 03-08-2010, 02:21 PM
anE934fun anE934fun is offline
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Originally Posted by KHarney View Post
Wouldn't this test just dry up any water anyway ?!?!?!
You are not looking for water on the outside of the seal. The run at 70 mph and the tight radius turns push the water that has collected inside of the seal to go somewhere. The somewhere is not supposed to be in the interior of the car.
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  #14  
Old 03-08-2010, 04:29 PM
garevans66 garevans66 is offline
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Should one naturally expect to replace seals and/or sensors on any hardtop convertible after 100,000 miles. I am going to drive this car only about 6,000 - 8,000 miles a year so I was planning to hang onto it awhile. I figured that I might have to reseal it at some point given that I live in North Florida and the collective effects of heat, sun and torrential rains will test that top. I wasn't sure if I should figure that adjusting sensors would be a natural part of owning this car that long.
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:01 PM
hoopics hoopics is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garevans66 View Post
Should one naturally expect to replace seals and/or sensors on any hardtop convertible after 100,000 miles. I am going to drive this car only about 6,000 - 8,000 miles a year so I was planning to hang onto it awhile. I figured that I might have to reseal it at some point given that I live in North Florida and the collective effects of heat, sun and torrential rains will test that top. I wasn't sure if I should figure that adjusting sensors would be a natural part of owning this car that long.
I think the jury is still out. The oldest of these cars on the road haven't even turned four yet. While some folks may have gotten through 100k miles already, they would likely be highway miles, and the number of roof openings / closings would be limited by the days in service, not miles. I'm not an engineer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I'd guess that age (given how rubber degrades over time) and open / close cycles on the roof will be more directly related to failure than mileage.
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