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      12-28-2011, 10:09 PM   #1
DreamTheater
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'03 Z4 Soft top not coming down all the way

Hey guys, I've been reading the forums for a while now but haven't yet posted until now. Sadly my first post is for a problem with my Z4

Here's the long story:

I drove my car in to work yesterday and the top went down properly without any problems and in the spot that I parked the car was sitting in the sun all day (In Australia it was a pretty hot day and the temp was around 37-41 celcius) and when I left work I went to put the top down and it went down most of the way but stopped about 3 inches from being fully down. I slightly raised it and tried again, gave it a bit of a push down and it made the normal(?) clunk and locked into place.. I didn't think too much of it at the time.

Anyway I went to drive to work today and it was doing the same thing but this time it wouldn't budge at all, it stays stuck about 3 inches from being fully closed. I made sure that the luggage compartment is in the down position and not up and moved it up/down with those "bbq knobs" a few times incase the switch was stuck or something. I checked the switch itself and i think it looks normal, no sign of anything missing or snapped but I'll have a further look when I get home this afternoon.

The motor sounds normal when the top is going down and when it gets to the stuck position the motor stops however if I press the switch again the motor makes noise but it doesn't move. I'm not sure if the motor could be the cause or not because it moves to this one position up & down no worries it's only at this spot it gives up, could it be the motor is slowly dying and has run out of "oomph!"?

Does anyone have any tips or ideas? I've been searching a few forums & google and the most common causes for soft top failure is that switch I mentioned earlier or the motor, but if anyones had this problem or heard of it before and knows exactly what causes it I'd love to know so I can try to fix it

TL;DR:

My soft top isn't going down all the way, it gets stuck about 90% of the way and won't budge after that.

Any help is much appreciated!

Cheers,
Graham
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      12-28-2011, 11:49 PM   #2
Spaceman Spiff
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Sounds like a mechanical block. Unlatch the top (hold down the open button until it's unlatched and then release), then pull the red tab in the trunk to release the hydraulic fluid. Then try opening and closing manually and see if it goes all the way down when you close it 4/5 the way and let it fall down slowly. My top died the exact same way: at first it wouldn't completely latch, then it started going down less and less until one day it wouldn't work at all. The dealer told me it was a broken bolt inside but who knows.

Edit: also make sure the canvas folds properly. That can also prevent it from going all the way down.
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      12-29-2011, 04:05 AM   #3
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Cheers, I'll give it a go. If I pull the red tab will there be any issues if I want to use it automatically afterwards? It isn't like a brake hose where there shouldn't be any air bubbles or anything?

I've made sure the canvas folds in all normally and that's all okay.. I'll see if I can find any bolts that might be loose or anything - hopefully I don't need to take the whole roof off.
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      12-29-2011, 06:14 AM   #4
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I think I've found the problem.

I tried what you suggested, it had the same issue manually, made sure it was folding correctly and even checked all the visible bolts and joins, all are fine. After pulling the red tab and pressing the buttons the motor made noises but the roof didn't move even after turning the car off and back on which scared me a bit but it's all good now, weird.

Anyway, it looks like one of the panels came loose somehow and me constantly trying to close the roof (and maybe using a little bit of force ) has bent it out of shape.
I can't remove it or put it back where it looks like it's meant to go with the roof on the car as it's in a very tricky spot so it looks like I'll have to take the whole soft top off to fix it unless I can get in from the boot.. I'll see if I can find any guides and hopefully do it on the weekend.

Here's a picture of said panel, it's the best I could get as the glass is kind of dirty and reflective.

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      12-29-2011, 12:32 PM   #5
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I can't tell which part it is from the pic. Can you find it on REALOEM in one of these diagrams?

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partgrp.d...98&hg=54&fg=10

Also you must push the tab back in (in case you haven't already). With the tab out the motor won't move the top (no hydraulic pressure).
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      12-29-2011, 06:17 PM   #6
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I'm fairly sure it's number 4 in this pic, that took me quite a while to find on the site

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...20&hg=51&fg=40
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      12-29-2011, 11:11 PM   #7
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So it is not attached to the top itself? I have removed my top a couple of times and installed a new one and repaired that switch god knows how many times but don't remember having seen that part! I will look at my car tomorrow and see if I can spot it. Either way from the diagram it doesn't seem to be a top part and could be an easy (and cheap) fix.
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      12-30-2011, 12:21 AM   #8
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Not directly on the top, no. It looks like it's just a bit that sits behind the centre console trim/roll hoops to make it look pretty when the top is down. It must of come loose and was blocking the top from going down all the way.. I was kind of hoping it was just the switch as that looks like it could've been an easy fix.

from the looks of one of the guides to remove the soft top I might be able to get to it without acctually removing the top but through the boot instead, I'll give it a go over the weekend and see if I can fix/remove the panel
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      12-30-2011, 02:23 AM   #9
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It looks like you can reach it from the boot after removing the top tray. Shipkiller has a very good guide for that here including both the TIS and his own instructions:

http://www.shipkiller.com/SofttopToubleshooting.html
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      12-30-2011, 07:57 PM   #10
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Does anyone know if there is a quality difference between OEM BMW top versus an after market (I believe it is a gmph brand)? Some body cut my top. Insurance wants to replace with non-OEM, saying it is comparable. I think it is not the same quality (material, craftsmanship, headliner, window gaskets, etc.). Any one have more info so can strengthen the argument against the use of non-OEM. It is frustrating to say the least!

Thanks for any help you can give.
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      01-02-2012, 07:58 PM   #11
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I got the panel off, it was very tricky I did it before I saw that guide you posted, I think I used one of his guides for part of the removal though. The piece isn't really needed but I'll order a replacement anyway just to keep it tidy.


TSE - Unfortunately I'm not sure if there is a difference, aftermarket in some cases is usually a better quality but if insurance is replacing it I'd be arguing the same point saying it should be replaced with OEM. I don't have the manual with me at the moment but I believe that it should say always replace parts with quality OEM there.. just refer them to the booklet that says that, it's fairly standard with all car manufacturers I think.
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