Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07-30-2011, 05:13 PM
bluesteel1969 bluesteel1969 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 103
Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Vert
Trouble shooting 1999 323i Convertible Top

I know these things are a nightmare, and I recently fixed the top cover transmission gear slipping on my previous 99 M3 vert. The problem I'm having with this one is that I'm not getting any switch response whatsoever. I have tried re-synching, and checked all associated fuses. I'm not sure if a bad passenger side top cover microswitch could be the problem, mechanically it seems ok, meaning it still clicks. I just remember with my M3, when you pressed down on the passenger side of the top cover, you could hear a locking solenoid or something. This one makes no sound when depressing that area, or by physically pressing the microswitch.
Any thoughts, or direction would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
Reply With Quote
Advertisement
  #2  
Old 07-30-2011, 08:13 PM
bluesteel1969 bluesteel1969 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 103
Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Vert
Fixed.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 07-30-2011, 09:10 PM
hornhospital's Avatar
hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You Kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 20,790
Mein Auto: E24x2,E36x2,E30x1, F150
It'd be nice if you stated what you found and how you fixed it. Next to questions about oil, spark plugs, wheel fitment and non-starting issues, problems with convertible tops are a frequent subject of "help me!" postings.
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 & New Member Intro Forum Mod/Bimmerfest Misplaced-Posting Tow Truck
BMW-CCA #441426 Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know, and I don't care!

1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"

Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-30-2011, 11:48 PM
bluesteel1969 bluesteel1969 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 103
Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Vert
Quote:
Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
It'd be nice if you stated what you found and how you fixed it. Next to questions about oil, spark plugs, wheel fitment and non-starting issues, problems with convertible tops are a frequent subject of "help me!" postings.
You're right I probably should have, but the solution was an embarrassing oversight
When I started working on it today, I had someone nearby who could tell me that both the motors at the trunk weren't on at all. After I replaced the rear fuse, I checked it again, ths time by myself. I heard no top cover motor. I checked the top cover microswitch on the rear passenger side and noticed that the switch arm was tweaked just slightly so it may have not been making good contact with the button, I adjusted it. I tried the re-synch again, and all was good. It was noisy outside, and the motors are fairly quiet when not engaged, so either I didn't hear it after changing the rear fuse, or it was in fact the microswitch.

As far as ones I have fixed, that had the awful grinding noise, 3 out of 4 were fixable without replacing the assembly.
If you don't let the motor go on too long grinding, on multiple occasions, I would say you have an 80% chance of fixing it yourself for free as opposed to the hundreds they cost even used. It is very straight forward to take out, and if the grinding noise starts right when you press the top button, it is always the motor assembly closest to you by the taillight. Removing it is very easy, nothing in particular to watch for.

Once removed you can see on the spring loaded assembly of the transmission portion that there is a slight gap between the mating gears, even if you can't see it it's there.
The long arm portion of this entire assembly gets twisted, hard to believe how, but it does.
A vice and a large crescent wrench are all that you will need to just torque it a little to get the twist out (it does take a bit of force).

Sorry, I can give a lot more detail if anyone needs it, and they can PM me, just didn't want to bore everyone. I'm not a mechanic at all, and I was able to do this without much trouble.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-31-2011, 08:30 AM
hornhospital's Avatar
hornhospital hornhospital is offline
D'oh, You Kids!
Location: In the Grumpy Chair
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 20,790
Mein Auto: E24x2,E36x2,E30x1, F150
Excellent summation of what you did! Thanks! I'm sure it will help others in the future (if we can only get all the noobs to search first, then ask questions).

Two thumbs up!
__________________
Quotes to live by:
guessing gets expensive...drivinfaster
nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW...c4harpe13
buying a ratty example (of a BMW) is a parasitic relationship.(and you ain't the mosquito) 7pilot
Ken Kanne, Silverhill, AL, E36 & New Member Intro Forum Mod/Bimmerfest Misplaced-Posting Tow Truck
BMW-CCA #441426 Which is worse, ignorance or apathy? I don't know, and I don't care!

1995 318is "Bebe"; 1993 325is "Elvira"; 1985 635CSi "Katja"; 1984 633CSi "Sylvia"; 1987 325is "Odette"

Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-31-2011, 09:14 PM
bluesteel1969 bluesteel1969 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: San Diego
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 103
Mein Auto: 1999 M3 Vert
No problem, hope it helps someone. The power tops can be very frustrating, and very expensive to take to a mechanic.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-02-2014, 04:51 PM
submarine steve submarine steve is offline
Registered User
Location: st.pete
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 1999 323i convertible
Thanks for the tip. My plate was twisted. Tonneau cover and top motor working good. Last latching motor not engaging. Darkness put the job on hold. I will check fuse tomorrow. Maybe using the cordless drill for final closing I went too far one way or the other or not enough. At least I am closing in on it. Update. I did not have the allen absolutely as far as it could go. So let me go through the whole story, maybe it can help. Loud clicking from trunk, top not working. pulled red handle and used allen in cordless drill. This is where I made the mistake. You must keep turning past the point where the top can fold down. Keep going as far as you can. Use a little common sense if you are using a cordless drill, don't break it, just go all the way so that the microswith engages. Then go through the re-synch process. So I removed the tonneau cover motor and brought it inside and, it was bent like Bluesteel 1969 said ( thank you very much, you put me on the right track) straightened it out, put it all back together, opened the cover so I could see the top drive linkage, set the allen all the way and it worked after re -synch. No cost. Wife happy. I am an electrician and an ex-submariner so I'm a little bit handy. I was almost ready to install 3 switches under the console and take manual control of the 3 motors. Anyone ever heard of that being done? I was going to use a double pole double throw momentary-off-momentary switch from West Marine. Put the motor leads in the middle. Feed on one side, and reverse polarity feed on other side. This would give me forward/reverse for each motor. Sounds like it would work.

Last edited by submarine steve; 10-06-2014 at 02:37 PM. Reason: job now complete
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-26-2017, 10:30 AM
jeffg1010 jeffg1010 is offline
Registered User
Location: Mooresville, NC
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 1999 E36 Convertible
Reviving an old thread, but I am brand new and experiencing this same issue. I just got the car yesterday and it is grinding. Hopefully I can save it before its too late.

I started to remove the motor based on what you mentioned in this thread. Removed the four 10mm bolts, started to pull it off but then paused to re-read this thread. So, what plate gets twisted? When I start to remove it, is there anything that I need to know. (removing those retainer clips? the long bar that comes from the top boot?)

I am a solid DIY'er when it comes to classic cars but this one has me a bit intimidated.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-26-2017, 12:11 PM
dc_wright's Avatar
dc_wright dc_wright is offline
bimmerfest Supporting Member
Location: Orlando, Florida
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 11,267
Send a message via ICQ to dc_wright
Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
The top motor and the motor for the top storage compartment are on hinged brackets that can be released to disengage them in case they've quit with the top down and you need to raise it manually. The bracket is formed sheet metal and gets bent over time from the load from the motor. It causes the gears to be only partially engaged and when the take up a load they slip across their ends which makes the grinding noise.
__________________
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-26-2017, 12:18 PM
jeffg1010 jeffg1010 is offline
Registered User
Location: Mooresville, NC
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 1999 E36 Convertible
OK, took it off and straightened the plate. Put it all back together, went through the motions again, and no grinding! Perfect. Only one problem. Now, the cover (tonneau, flap, whatever) that opens to allow operation of the top is now doing nothing. It closed up tight after I hit the button and turned on the key and now ... nothing.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-26-2017, 12:28 PM
dc_wright's Avatar
dc_wright dc_wright is offline
bimmerfest Supporting Member
Location: Orlando, Florida
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 11,267
Send a message via ICQ to dc_wright
Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
Make certain your trunk is fully closed. If it is, then check the micro switch in the trunk to make certain it's functioning correctly. Because the trunk lid and storage compartment cover can interfere with each other, both have a micro switch to determine if the other is closed. If the top controller thinks the trunk is open it inhibits top operation, and vice versa for the trunk lid.
__________________
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-26-2017, 12:36 PM
jeffg1010 jeffg1010 is offline
Registered User
Location: Mooresville, NC
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 6
Mein Auto: 1999 E36 Convertible
I spoke incorrectly. After a few seconds, I can hear (what I think is) the top motor running for about 10-15 seconds then cutting of on it's own. Then, if I hit the down button, it runs for another 10-15 seconds and then shuts off. However, the lid never opens and nothing even happens. I just tried to manually release it again and now the lid wont even open up.
Reply With Quote
Reply

See More Related BMW Stories


Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series & 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On



Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001-2015 performanceIX, Inc. All Rights Reserved .: guidelines .:. privacy .:. terms