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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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Old 04-26-2014, 07:35 AM
JMF56 JMF56 is offline
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Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Mein Auto: 98 328ic, 96 328i
Cannot synch top - DIS reports lid motor shorted to ground

I've been fighting an non-operational top for a few weeks now and am at the point of where I am out of ideas. I'm hoping someone can shed some light on what might be going on.

1/98 328ic Fully automatic top
Purchased the car late last year, top did work once then quit.

What I know/ have done
Tried doing the synch process with the top stowed, no motors will active, switch led blinks.
Checked all fuses: ok

Hooked up DIS and read fault codes and status:

Fault code I am seeing is: Code 1 - Motor Outputs Short Circuit to Ground. MOLID1 & MOLID2. I'm assuming 1 & 2 refers to motor outputs (Pins 9 and 5 on the CVM)

I did a Status Check with DIS both with the top open/stowed and with the top up/locked. Terminology is as reported by DIS.

Top Down and Stowed
S3: Top Stored: Yes
S4: (Not Fitted in Automatic)
S5: Closed
S7: Open - Not locked
S8: Closed - Top Unlocked

Lid Motor M100: Off
Top Motor M101: Off
Hall Sensor: bar graph shows "closed"

Top Up and Locked
S3: Top Stored: No
S4: (Not Fitted in Automatic)
S5: Closed
S7: Closed - Locked
S8: Open - Not Unlocked

Lid Motor M100: Off
Top Motor M101: Off
Hall Sensor: bar graph shows "closed"

As far as I have read and understand al the microswitches are correct.

I've disconnected the connectors at the motors and measured the resistance to ground and measured open. I measured each motor resistance:
Top Lid Motor: 1.2 ohms
Top Motor: 1.7 ohms

Can someone confirm this is normal?

Verified that there is not any conductivity between each of the motor terminals and the metal case of the motor, so this would rule out a direct short to ground.

I am able to power the motors directly by using a battery (tested both at the motor and at disconnected X13156 at CVM). Motors were disconnected from gears. Ran for several minutes ok, in both directions. Measured current draw:
Top Lid Motor: 1.4A
Top Motor: 1.0A

Verified wiring from CVM to motors: ok

Tried running motors from DIS (there is an entry in DIS to do this, but it appears to be only for the top motor): no response from motor, but sets the same fault code.

Replaced CVM with identical part number from ebay, same issue. I'm assuming ebay CVM is good.

At this point, Im wondering if the lid motor is bad. Just dont know if the resistance I measured is acceptable or is that triggering the CVM to think it is shorted.

Thanks is advance for any insight...


Last edited by JMF56; 04-26-2014 at 02:19 PM. Reason: added clarification
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Old 04-26-2014, 08:19 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW 740i
Have you measured the resistance between the motor leads and the ground? The motor may have an internal short to the case.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:46 AM
JMF56 JMF56 is offline
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Mein Auto: 98 328ic, 96 328i
Good point, but I just remeasured that again and it shows its open. I even engaged and disengaged it from the gear, still the same.

Thanks for the suggestion though
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Old 04-26-2014, 02:38 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
Have you released the motors and moved the top manually to verify there's no mechanical binding?

Also, try checking from the motor connector to chassis on the connector that comes from the CVM to see if you see a short there. If that's good then either your eBay CVM is bad or your motor......
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
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Old 04-26-2014, 05:08 PM
JMF56 JMF56 is offline
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Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Mein Auto: 98 328ic, 96 328i
I've verified that there are no shorts to ground (or each other) on the cable that comes from the CVM to feed the motors (X13156).

Tried doing a synch with the motors disengaged, no motor movement.

DIS has a motor test that spins the disengaged motors for 1 second clockwise or counter-clockwise, depending on which of the two tests you pick. No movement.

I am able to move the top thru the entire range without much difficulty.

As far as the ebay CVM, it is operating identical to my original one, so either their both bad or it is a motor(s)...

I think the next test I'll perform is the DIS motor spin test with no motors plugged in and my DVM connected to see if the CVM is sending voltage....

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Old 04-28-2014, 04:48 AM
JMF56 JMF56 is offline
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Location: Chicago, IL
Join Date: Apr 2014
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Mein Auto: 98 328ic, 96 328i
Hooked up DIS again, cleared faults, pulled motor connectors, hooked my DVM into lead coming from CVM to motor and re-ran the 1 second motor spin test: no voltage being read from CVM to motor.

Maybe both CVMs are bad (bad output stage?)

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Old 06-11-2016, 11:12 AM
Steveo Steveo is offline
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Mein Auto: E46 M3 Convertible - SMG
What's the Status of Your Issue?

I'm having trouble with my 2003 M3 convertible top, and looking for answers. How did you resolve your problem? My top works OK, but, I had to disconnect the battery for about 10 days while I reworked the vanos. Connected the negative cable to the battery, engine started, and I raised the top. Since the windows didn't raise fully, I used the console switch to raise all windows. As soon as I pulled that switch, the engine went dead, and the entire car acted like the battery had been disconnected; no lights, gauges, nothing. You can see why I need to find this problem, and am wondering how you resolved your problem.
Aside, any suggestions about a fix for my car?
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Old 06-11-2016, 07:09 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Mein Auto: E24x2,E36x1,E30x1, F150
Steveo, the E46 convertible top operates entirely differently than an E36 top. You really need to ask in the E46 forum.
I think you may have activated the EWS II system when you operated the windows. That's just a guess, but I know they react poorly after the battery has been disconnected for some time.
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