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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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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  #1  
Old 07-24-2011, 10:13 AM
stateof328 stateof328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 328ic 528
Tonneau Cover Won't Close.....

Hello,

In my 98 328ic the tonneau cover will not close properly. (see photo below) This may or may not be linked to the problem with my convertible top not working properly as well. I have watched and done the online tutorials for resetting the motors which did not work. In my amateur opinion my tonneau motor seems to be an issue. When i went to reset it, the motor seems to have shifted out of place. I say that because when i watched the video it was obvious my motor was moving around when i pushed it and in the video his didn't. So......

1.Does anyone know why my tonneau cover won't close?
2.Does anyone know how i can get it to close?
3.Does this have anything to do with my convertible top not working properly?

Currently i am using an allen wrench bit in a cordless drill to open and close top. It sucks...but it does get the job done relatively quickly. I can open/close in about 60 seconds with this method.
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2011, 02:20 PM
cbnsingram cbnsingram is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328i Convertibl
Tonneau cover won't close

Yes, this could be either a symptom of the top movement problem or part of the cause. Here are a few things that come to mind since I've dealt with them myself.

The soft top might not be sucking all the way down into its home. This is often due to the top not folding correctly at the first fold point from the front. The metal rod there must arch upwards, and after awhile the fabric holding it in position rips and allows it to move out of position and arch downward. This causes the top fabric to hang on the felt covered seal at the front of the top's compartment, preventing full closure.

The driver's side tonneau cover latch, right under the open area in your picture, may not be lining up. I just ran into this myself while replacing the tensioner rods in the roof compartment. Lift the cover and watch that the closing bracket on the drivers side of the cover is properly entering the latch. Mine was falling behind the latch at one point. In my case it was related to the black rod on the lid motor coming loose and jamming in the motor pivot when I tried the sync the motors after replacing the top rods (no permanent damage thank goodness,) but I imagine other miss alignments might cause it as well.

It is also possible that the rods in the compartment are out of sync. Not likely unless they have become bent or disconnected, but worth comparing their position when the back section of roof is vertical to the position shown in the attached document.

Since you've been Googling already you may have already found these two compilations of convertible links and also my attachment - but here they are if you've missed them.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ight=reset+top

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?p=4687851
Attached Files
File Type: pdf converttops.pdf (1.35 MB, 249 views)
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  #3  
Old 07-24-2011, 02:42 PM
stateof328 stateof328 is offline
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Hey, thanks for that. The first thing about it not folding down right....I don't think that's it and here's why. When i have the top up they still do not close right. They are closed more than you see in the pic but still open about a centimeter. When i drove or go over bumps it has a bouncy sound which is annoying as hell!

I'm going to check the latch now. Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 07-25-2011, 12:57 PM
cbnsingram cbnsingram is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328i Convertibl
Hmmm. If it ends up being only an issue of closing the tonneau more tightly, moving the lid motor may help. I found a tighter tonneau closure was an added benefit when moving mine forward to help prevent the top from banging the cover on the way down.

Moving the assembly forward in the car is a know DIY for helping prevent the tonneau cover from being hit. There is a nice one out there somewhere with pictures, but the gist of it is to loosen the four standard mounting nuts and push the assembly towards the front of the car while re-tightening. A lever is suggested in the DIY, but in my case I was able to push it to the front of the bolt's adjustment slot by hand.

Not only did I find the tonneau cover no longer gets banged, but I noticed it closes much more tightly than it did before.

In the interest of full disclosure, I had the motor assembly out of the car to fix a problem with the motor re-engaging. In the process I found the star bolts holding the motor to the box were loose and the motor was floating slightly. When I tightened those I was able to also slightly adjust the motor up and foward a bit. But this adjustment was so small that I don't think it was part of the solution. If you do decide to try this, be sure to use some blue locktite to keep the bolts tight in the future.

By the way, the temporary fix to allow engaging the motor was applying grease to the gear (rather than hitting it with a hammer as some others have suggested.) At some point I will try a more permanent fix by enlarging the hole the gear must pass through to engage. This alignment problem must happen over time due to stress on the assembly.
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  #5  
Old 04-26-2013, 04:19 PM
sdb48 sdb48 is offline
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I'm having a similar problem with a non powered top and closing the tonneau. ('99 323ic) Seems to be an issue with one of the latches inside where the top collapses into. Not on the lid, but inside the compartment itself. I don't know if it's supposed to face the same way the passenger side faces or not. The one on the passenger side has it's opening (where the lid latch locks into) facing the bumper. I tried to flip it around and that seems to make it worse. I may have to just buy a new one and replace it. Can you advise?
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2013, 08:57 AM
pianoaaron93 pianoaaron93 is offline
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I have exactly the same problem! Did you ever get it fixed? Im still figuring out what it is
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2013, 05:39 PM
sdb48 sdb48 is offline
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Yes, all fixed.
I had been pressing the wrong way on the passenger side release latch (it needs to be pressed towards the rear of the car) and I eventually had to get get it replaced, spring/coil and all.
All good now, but I still have to press down on the drivers side tonneau cover a bit when pulling the release lever in the back seat to open the cover when I put the top back up. The convertible top is packed pretty well in that little compartment and is probably pushing the cover open a bit.
Not a big deal but I can see why people eventually get the cables inside the top replaced at some point so the top collapses and expands easier. If you have 2 people to fold the top down it makes life a little easier.
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2013, 08:47 PM
rufus2004 rufus2004 is offline
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Tonneau Cover Won't Close

I am having the same problem with my 1997 328ic. Having driven convertibles for many years, I learned that folding the top properly by hand often times solves the problem. I usually lower my top in 3 or 4 steps, manually folding as I go along, then light pressure on the frame at the end to drop it into the well. It is time consuming, but it might save you money in the end. It could also be weak straps, but you do not want to go there! Hope this helps.
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  #9  
Old 11-20-2013, 11:19 AM
sdb48 sdb48 is offline
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Yes, there is definitely a process to putting these tops down, and you're correct about the folding, esp plastic window.
I've heard about those straps and that it's anywhere from $800 and up to replace them. Going to wait until thats absolutely necessary before doing it.
Sounds like the powered tops can be a pain as well
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  #10  
Old 05-26-2015, 10:20 AM
Robbiecocktail Robbiecocktail is offline
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Hello there. I know this is an old thread but the 1998 e36 with a fully automatic top that I just purchased is having the same problem closing that your did. Can you tell me how you fixed this problem and any guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:32 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbiecocktail View Post
Hello there. I know this is an old thread but the 1998 e36 with a fully automatic top that I just purchased is having the same problem closing that your did. Can you tell me how you fixed this problem and any guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Have you run the sync procedure yet?

Have you checked the seal on the front of the storage compartment to ensure it hasn"t gotten pulled loose and is getting caught and keeping the top from closing? Mine did that once or twice before I got it glued in place properly.

Have you checked the head liner to ensure it's folding properly and isn't getting wedged in the top frame?
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Old 05-26-2015, 02:39 PM
Robbiecocktail Robbiecocktail is offline
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Yes I ran the sync procedure twice with no results. When the motor is engaged it just winds and moves nothing. The top worked fine just a few weeks ago and now its all kinds of messed up. I have to it can be put down manually and now the tonneau will not close completely. The seal look to be in fine shape and the headliner and top are all folded and tucked away properly. its really giving me fits. Mine is looking exactly like the fist pic in this tread.

Last edited by Robbiecocktail; 05-26-2015 at 02:43 PM.
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  #13  
Old 05-26-2015, 05:56 PM
sdb48 sdb48 is offline
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I would check to make the top is folding correctly as it goes down, but you're saying "When the motor is engaged it just winds and moves nothing" Sounds like something is not being grabbed etc. Maybe those bungie cords are going bad?

DC - Good suggestion on the front storage compartment seal. I should check mine as well.
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  #14  
Old 05-26-2015, 08:16 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robbiecocktail View Post
Yes I ran the sync procedure twice with no results. When the motor is engaged it just winds and moves nothing. The top worked fine just a few weeks ago and now its all kinds of messed up. I have to it can be put down manually and now the tonneau will not close completely. The seal look to be in fine shape and the headliner and top are all folded and tucked away properly. its really giving me fits. Mine is looking exactly like the fist pic in this tread.
When the cover is trying to close, does the motor keep running when it gets to the point where it's stopping short, or does the motor stop there too? If the motor keeps running, do you hear a clicking noise along with the motor noise?
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Old 05-27-2015, 08:58 AM
Robbiecocktail Robbiecocktail is offline
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The bungee cords are def shot. I am going to replace those later today. The motor does nothing/ moves nothing, it only makes noise. sd....think you are right in that nothing is being grabbed cause there is no movement. As much as I would like to use the fully automatic top feature, I will be happy doing it manually and getting the cover to close completely.




DC.... I have heard no clicking noise. When the top is up or down and motor is engaged it just makes noise with no movement at all. I have them disengaged currently. It seems like the latches are not pulling the cover down into position. I dunno
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