BMW Cars 1999-06

Convertible Tops

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The convertible tops on are available in three versions, manually operated, semi-automatic, and a fully automatic power top.


WARNING
The E36 models with an electrically operated convertible top require a special battery. This battery is designed to withstand excessive vibration generated by the opening and closing of the top. A battery not designed for this application will be subject to premature failure.

The rear window for the top is made of a strong, flexible vinyl which is available separately. The replacement of the rear window should be performed by a BMW or a specialist.

The manually operated tops built after 12/97 on some models have gas charged struts mounted to the roof frame to assist with opening the manual roof.

The semi-automatic convertible tops must be manually released from the windshield visor latch plates and pushed back slightly. Once past the released position, the automatic retracting motor and linkage will and pull the top into the storage compartment behind the back seat.

The fully automatic top, allows total operation of the top, from fully closed to fully opened by pushing the toggle switch on the console. As an added safety feature, the top switch has a "top-unlatched" indicator light.

The fully automatic top front latches have an actuation motor installed in the front bow assembly of the convertible top. The motor operates the latches which releases the top from the visor latch plates and then pulls it back far enough for the main retracting assembly to open the top.

The latches and motor are accessed by removal of the front trim cover for the convertible top.

Adjustment



The visor latch is adjusted as follows:

  1. Check the operation of the front latches for ease of release and locking.
  2.  
  3. If necessary the height of a latch is changed by the adjusting screw.
  4.  
  5. To adjust the latch tension:
    1. Remove the trim on the front bow of the top.
    2.  
    3. Adjust the ball joint pull rod length, then lubricate the latch as necessary.
    4.  

  6.  
  7. The visor latch plates are accessed by removing the trim and moldings around the pillars and top of the windshield. The latch is secured to the top of the windshield with three fasteners. Adjust as follows:
    1. Loosen the latch top bolts.
    2.  
    3. Carefully align the top.
    4.  
    5. Tighten the bolts.
    6.  

  8.  

Power Convertible Top



Automatic/Semi-Automatic Models

CAUTION
The emergency closure procedure must only be used to close the top. Do not attempt to open the top with this procedure. Consult a BMW dealer or capable repair facility for proper repairs.

A loss of electrical power or failure of the top motor or another fault in the convertible top system could cause the top to be stuck in open, closed or somewhere in-between.. Use the following procedures as suggestions in order to close the top only in an emergency situation. Resetting procedures for convertible top operation after emergency closure should be carried out by a BMW dealer or specialist.

To release the top linkage from the motor:

  1. Lift the left corner under the rear seat and access the emergency release handle and pull forward and down to release.
  2.  
  3. Carefully push the top by hand until it is almost closed.
  4.  
  5. On semi-automatic tops:
    1. Press the top toward the windshield.
    2.  
    3. Seat the top and lock the front latches.
    4.  

  6.  
  7. On fully automatic tops:
    1. Press the top toward the windshield.
    2.  
    3. Remove the plastic cover for the latch motor in the front bow of the top.
    4.  
    5. Seat the top and using the S-shaped hex tool from the vehicle's tool kit, lock the front latches.
    6.  

  8.  


NOTE
A micro-switch located in the right convertible top lid latch that prevents the luggage compartment from being opened when the lid is up If necessary in emergency situations, to override the lockout and open the luggage compartment cover, press on the micro-switch and activate the release.


WARNING
The luggage compartment cover and convertible top lid operation is timed to not interfere with one another and cannot be open at the same time. To avoid damage their painted surfaces, have a helper keep the lid down until the luggage compartment cover is closed.

Removal & Installation



Motor/Pump Assembly Replacement
  1. Open the convertible top until the top lid is fully open, then remove the lid.
  2.  
  3. Press on the micro-switch in right convertible top lid latch to release the luggage compartment lock-out, then open the luggage compartment.
  4.  
  5. Remove the compartment trim and inner lining from left side.
  6.  
  7. Locate and release the electrical harness connectors for the top motor, then disengage the emergency release cable from the lever.
  8.  
  9. Push the lever upward to release the motor.
  10.  
  11. From within the convertible top storage compartment located behind the driver's seat, remove the convertible top linkage rods from top of the motor.
  12.  
  13. Remove the fasteners mounting the motor to the body, then remove the motor from the luggage compartment.
  14.  

To install:

  1. The installation is in reverse order of removal noting the following:

    Use a new sealing gasket where the motor mounts to the body
     
    Apply a suitable locking agent to the motor mounting fasteners
     
    Torque the motor mounting fasteners to 88.5 inch lbs. (10 Nm)
     

  2.  

 
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