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Old 04-26-2015, 12:20 PM
bkmurf bkmurf is offline
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Angry Top repair adventure part 1 (more involved)

Well, thanks to the excellent documentation & discussions on this site I was able to complete part 1 of my top motor replacement. Got the top off.
Unfortunately somebody had been in there before me as the motor seal was not factory.

The reason I was digging in in the first place is that when attempting to cycle the top, the motor would run and run, but virtually no movement. Eventually it would time out. With a hundred threads pointing to top motor, it seemed a natural place to start.

Upon removal of the top, the reservoir (which holds the top motor housing) was coated with oil. Left side hydraulic cylinder seems to be leaking fluid in a big way. I've confirmed its not any of the connections or hoses, as it's coming from the very top of the hydraulic cylinder.
Tomorrow, I'll call ECS tuning and get a new "Convertible hinge-left" coming. It's a hefty piece with the hydraulic cylinder built in. Since it's hefty, it's spendy. It'll double my parts cost of this project.

While I'm in there I'll go ahead and replace the motor, and seal everything up nicely. No point in doing all the work without performing a little preventative maintenance.

On the day of the purchasing test drive I recall hearing a little gurgle once when trying to cycle the top. I know a little about hydraulics, they're not supposed to gurgle. Should have been a clue, but no matter what I had to get to this point to know, and repair. A second clue might have been the ease of manual operation without pulling the release ring. Not enough fluid in the system to offer resistance.

I got a great deal on this little car because the top was defective. Now I know it was just a little more defective than I'd hoped. Still, all part of the ownership adventure. I'll post part 2 as soon as parts arrive, and fingers crossed there will be no part 3.

Last edited by bkmurf; 04-26-2015 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 04-26-2015, 07:14 PM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Before you pull the trigger with ECS, check out this place.

http://www.tophydraulicsinc.com/en/55-bmw-z4
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:27 AM
bkmurf bkmurf is offline
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Well, I supposed two re-built units for the price of a single new one is something I should really consider. Thanks for the pointer, I'll contact top hydraulics today and see how this works.

It'll add a week to the overall repair, but here in Montana it's still winter a couple of days a week; not quite top down weather yet.
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Old 04-27-2015, 10:58 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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Happy to help! I think you're on the right track getting the 2 for 1 deal. It's the seals that go and if they've blown out on one side it makes one wonder if the other side might not be far behind. It would be a real downer to replace the one with a new cylinder only to have the other one go and essentially have to do the job all over again.
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Old 04-27-2015, 12:06 PM
bkmurf bkmurf is offline
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Top hydraulic cylinder/hinge replacement

Okay, DC. I really appreciate the tip on the hydraulic cylinder re-builder. They had a pair in stock for advance replacement and I'll send in my cores when I get things changed out. I could get this project back on track by next weekend.
$400 for 2 is far better than $450 for one. ECS will make it up by shipping me a new housing, cowl, windshield molding, etc.

New motor, despite the old one working I figure newer is better. New hydraulic cylinders, Basically a mechanical overhaul of the convertible top.

Anybody know if hydraulic fluid is semi standard? I have some for my tractor (new and clean) and was thinking it should work. I guess I'll have to jumper the motor and run it through a couple of cycles to make sure I have enough fluid. Any thoughts?

If I'm going the wrong direction here I'd appreciate any advice on bleeding the hydraulic system. I did a quick search on the forum but couldn't really find anything on adding or bleeding the top hydraulics.
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Old 04-27-2015, 01:52 PM
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The top is self bleeding. You just need to make certain you have enough fluid in the system. I HIGHLY recommend you get what they call the Hydraulics Repair Kit, part number 54347114081. It comes with all the bits and pieces you may need for the job, including the metal seals for the hydraulic lines, etc.
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Old 04-27-2015, 04:38 PM
bkmurf bkmurf is offline
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Ahh. When I don't know anything, I get very literal and do as I'm told.
The kit was mentioned in several "top motor replacement" threads and documents, so i purchased it along with the motor. I'll be sure to utilize the copper crush washers and other components that'll help freshen up my top mechanism.
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