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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 02-14-2011, 01:16 PM
bostonbuck bostonbuck is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 325ci Convertible
Convertible window rattling w/top down and windows up

The car had an accident involving the driver's side rear quarter panel two years ago and was professionally repaired.

The driver's side rear window rattles when the top is down and both driver's side windows are all the way up (passenger's side doesn't have this problem). If I put either driver's side window down just a tiny bit, so the two windows are no longer touching, the rattling goes away.

Also, if I apply pressure on the front driver's window - pulling the window in toward the cabin - the rattling goes away.

So, it seems that the rattling with the top down and the windows all the way up is the result of the two driver's side windows not pushing against each other hard enough - I think the noise is the two windows hitting each other over bumps. The noise doesn't occur if just the rear window is up, the noise only occurs when both windows are all the way up - it's a rattling.

Is there a way to adjust something or apply more pressure inward on the front driver's window? Or apply pressure outward on the rear window? Or add pressure between both windows or something?

The passenger side doesn't do this, so I'm assuming it's because of the accident. Maybe there's an adjuster for the rear window that isn't applying enough outward pressure or something.

THOUGHTS?
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  #2  
Old 02-14-2011, 04:57 PM
jtb.baker jtb.baker is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 330CiC
I have an 04 330cic. I occasionally spray the rubber between the windows with silicone to prevent squeaking. Problem not the problem here but just some food for thought if you get irritating squeaks with the top up.

I had a similar rattling problem except that the front (door) window would make this noise. It turned out that one of the nuts holding the window frame inside the door was missing and another one was loose. Replaced the missing nut and tightened the other and the noise was gone. I don't know how to access the frame in the rear window although removing the rear panel is easy so it should not be too hard to get to the window frame to see if that is the source of the rattle.
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2011, 03:54 AM
bostonbuck bostonbuck is offline
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On second thought, I think it's actually the front window that's making the noise. I noticed today that the noise went away when i lowered the front window a tad.

Did your window rattle in the up position with the top down? If so, how long did it take to tighten the bolts/nuts?

Last edited by bostonbuck; 02-15-2011 at 03:56 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2011, 07:23 AM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 325 Convertible
Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonbuck View Post
On second thought, I think it's actually the front window that's making the noise. I noticed today that the noise went away when i lowered the front window a tad.

Did your window rattle in the up position with the top down? If so, how long did it take to tighten the bolts/nuts?
My front window seems to do this too. If I clean the top track well, and then lubricate with silicone, it goes away for a while. Annoying to say the least. If you find a permenent solution, post back. I really don't want to go digging in the door.
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2011, 08:30 AM
stickbuilder stickbuilder is offline
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Something that I've always wondered. Why would you have the top down and the windows up? I have owned several convertibles, and have never done this. I really think it looks odd.
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2011, 08:55 AM
jtb.baker jtb.baker is offline
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Windows up when the temp is marginal. Under 50. It does look bad, but it cuts the wind down when it is that cold. Crank the heat and turn on the heated seats and you are good to go.

I got the rattle with the top down and windows up. I could also hear it when I closed the door. Didn't have a solid clunk, but a little rattle. Window also wiggled a little bit at the top. Nuts are very easy. After removing the interior door panel (there is a good DIY on this on e46fanatics or search for any window regulator diy- it is easy), you have to carefully pry off the vapor barrier on either side of the door. Do not remove the whole thing. Just need to access the edges on the left and right side.

There are four nuts. Two near the top of the door on either side and two near the bottom of the door on either side.

If you see a bolt with no nut, you have found your problem. Check for looseness as well. Do not tear the vapor barrier. Take your time when pulling it back. When you are ready to reattach the vapor barrier, use a hair dryer to soften the glue on the vapor barrier and restick it. Works like a charm.
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  #7  
Old 02-15-2011, 08:57 AM
jtb.baker jtb.baker is offline
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BTW on the time. If you have never removed the door panel and vapor barrier, this will probabaly take about an hour. Once you get the hang of it, removing the inner door panel takes about 10 minutes.
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  #8  
Old 02-15-2011, 11:54 AM
bostonbuck bostonbuck is offline
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Thanks. I can't imagine how silicone would fix a "rattling". I can see how it would fix a 'squeaking' sound, but this is a loose rattle or clanking, like glass on glass or metal on glass - no squeak. I'll report back.
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  #9  
Old 02-15-2011, 03:32 PM
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SJBimmer SJBimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonbuck View Post
Thanks. I can't imagine how silicone would fix a "rattling". I can see how it would fix a 'squeaking' sound, but this is a loose rattle or clanking, like glass on glass or metal on glass - no squeak. I'll report back.
My problem may be different than yours. I can only describe it as a noise. Not a clank or a squeak for sure. My noise goes away if I lower the window slightly, or press on the glass. Maybe I do have the same problem, but it is not in such an advanced stage. Def. post back, as I and others may need to do the same repair in the future.
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  #10  
Old 02-15-2011, 04:31 PM
bostonbuck bostonbuck is offline
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Mein Auto: '04 325ci Convertible
Brought the car to La Jolla Independent - very nice guys. Chris was the guy that worked on my car. He was super helpful but wasn't 100% sure what was causing the rattling. He suggested applying silicone to the rubber seals and possibly replacing the rubber seal between both driver's side windows, as it may have worn over the years. I did notice that the tolerances along this seal were not as tight and consistent as the passenger side. He also mentioned that the next step would be to inspect the 4 nuts/bolts in the window track or regulator or whatever (I can't quote exactly what he said, I was receiving a ton of information about my inspection in a relatively short time). Apparently, I'll need a special BMW tool to adjust these bolts (something about a torx in the middle and an allen screw on the outside) and if it's not adjusted properly, the window could shatter upon slamming the door shut.

I love driving with the top down and the windows up when it's cold out. Turn up the heated seats and blast the heat on my hands. It's a lot easier to put the windows up versus putting the top down if it's cold out and I end up on the freeway or a cold spot by the ocean.

Last edited by bostonbuck; 02-15-2011 at 04:33 PM.
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