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      07-01-2014, 09:35 PM   #1
mazdaspd96
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convertible top problems

Well well well...

When I bought the car 2 months ago, convertible top was not working because the red security manivel was pulled in the thrunk.
Since I pushed on it, top was working A1...

Tonight, I tried to close my top and it lose power half up... Now, nothing... sometimes, it does move a bit... Red light is flashing...

Is it the pump??? What to check first?

I have a 2006 Z4!

Thanx
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      07-03-2014, 08:21 PM   #2
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Sometimes the battery is weak. Not saying this is the reason. But it could be a possibility
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      07-04-2014, 11:22 AM   #3
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Has anyone (Ship?) written a "how to triage soft top problems" post/sticky? We have enough collective knowledge it would seem. Maybe the place to begin is by listing possible symptoms. This could end up being a solution flow chart that would be a great reference and place to direct people to. I'm sure enough of us have access to Visio and someone could do the final creation.

So, here goes (please chime in):

Convertible Top Problem Symptoms06-08 model years)
-Top will not open
- When pressing open button red light flashes and nothing happens. I hear no noises at all
- When pressing open button I hear noise from behind my head that sounds like the pump but the top doesn't move
- When pressing open button I hear a noise near the windshield header, but no noise from behind my ear. I can push the top open a little bit with my hand
-Top will not close
- When pressing close button red light flashes and nothing happens. I hear no noises at all
- When pressing close button I hear noise from behind my head that sounds like the pump but the top doesn't move

Ok, any other first level symptoms to add here?
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      07-04-2014, 06:56 PM   #4
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Noise from the motor (or lack there of) is no indication that the motor is good or bad. Many failed motors make sounds like they are trying to work but are really dead.

Two ways the motor dies.
Electrically, where the motor, is corroded, frozen and just humming or barely rotating.
Mechanically, where the pump attached to the motor is corroded to the point where it will not operate.

One of the main indicators of major corrosion (either electrically or mechanically) is the hydraulic bypass (in the trunk) does not seem to work. The bypass valve is an approximately 1/8" ball (valve) that is pressed when you pull the bowden cable. When pressed, the valve allows the hydraulic fluid to flow freely through the pump housing when you manually move the top. When it corrodes, the ball will not depress.

When Opening (lowering) the top, if you press the button and the top unlocks, but there is no movement normally (95% of the time) means one of two things. Rear Micro-switch or the motor.

The quick way to isolate this first issue is to open the top by hand (half way is sufficient) and then attempt to close (raise) it normally with the controls. If the top closes normally, then its the rear micro-switch. If not, then most likely its the motor.

Normally, when trying to raise the top and nothing happens, it almost always is the motor.

Lately some of the older cars have been experiencing hydraulic fluid loss from a rolled or worn O-ring in one or both of the power cylinders causing most of the fluid to leak out. The motor runs but cannot generate enough force (due to lack of fluid) to raise the top.


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      07-04-2014, 08:48 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shipkiller View Post
You never have enough time to do the job properly the first time, but you always seem to have the time to do the job a second time....
As my Grandpa said "There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it twice."

Shipkiller, as a new Z4 owner, I can't express enough my appreciation for all the work an knowledge you have given this group. You've already saved me a couple hundred buck in three weeks of ownership (plus all the stuff I checked on pre-buy).
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      07-06-2014, 02:37 PM   #6
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My 08's top motor gave out in early 2012 (I bought it CPO in Jul 2011) and the local dealer told me that it was most likely due to water damage from clogged drains and wasn't covered by the warranty. They knew the car was fairly new to me and even though I told them that there was no way the drains could clog in the limited amount of time I owned it (plus the fact that I kept it garaged at work and at home), their hands were tied, so much for CPO making sure everything is good to go prior to your purchase, eh? Anyway, I pulled the bowden cable and just operated the top manually, i.e. press the button to unlock the top and then manually lift it up or bring it down and then lock the top again. It bit of a hassle but worked just fine. I also pulled the rubber covers off the drain exits and did my best to clear them although I didn't see much debris fall out. A few months later, our local indy guys, RRT Racing, were working on my car and, unbeknownst to me, released the bowden cable and raised the top normally. It appeared my top's motor sorta resurrected itself. It will now open the top just fine but struggles to close the top so I give it a bit of an assist. It does move better (up or down) when the engine is running than it does just on battery power.
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      07-20-2014, 11:35 AM   #7
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Hey ShipKiller and others,

How often do you clean the drains? I live in NY and given that the car needs to be jacked up for drain cleaning and the amount of rain we get here, it's a hassle to do (I am assuming every 3 months or so?) Do you guys have a more permanent solution to make sure corrosion doesn't happen again?
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      07-21-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
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Unless the car is radically lowered, you should be able to diddle the sphincters at the bottom of the drains without jacking it up.

Thanks for reminding me. Mine are due for a diddle now that the Jacaranda's done dropping stuff on the car.
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      07-22-2014, 09:24 PM   #9
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How do you get to the drains though? Shouldn't you remove the wheel arch liners?
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      07-22-2014, 11:19 PM   #10
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They don't drain into the wheel arches, they drain onto the street.
They're a little tricky to find., but you can get a finger or two on them.
Enough to tweak them and make sure there's no debris clogging them.

They're near the little "reverse mud flap" air deflector in front of the rear wheels.
See this thread.
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      07-25-2014, 08:26 AM   #11
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You can also remove the rubber flapper thing covering the drain exit by pulling down on it. That's what I did with mine.
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      07-25-2014, 09:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff View Post
How do you get to the drains though? Shouldn't you remove the wheel arch liners?
It is possible to reach the drain plugs, remove/replace them without removing any panels IF you don't have very large hands. I do this a few times a year. It helps considerably to jack/raise the rear wheel of the side that you are working on and on the driver side I find using my right arm is better (wrist can bend in the direction of the plug).

Lying on the ground parallel with the door (legs facing the front of the car) in front of the rear wheel, in front of the little mud flap there is a hole that feels like it is triangular shaped. Using your right arm, stick your hand into this hole and palm up, feel around towards the front of the car for the rubber plug. It pulls straight out.

I usually shove a piece of plastic hose into the drain tube and first suck out any debris. Then I either blow back into the hose or use my compressor to try and clear any loose debris that may be at the top of the drain.

You'll get your hand a little scraped up, but this can be done and I my hands are kinda wide.
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      07-25-2014, 09:20 AM   #13
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Drainage Tube Cleaning

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Russ
You can also remove the rubber flapper thing covering the drain exit by pulling down on it. That's what I did with mine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by StickMon
. . . you should be able to diddle the sphincters at the bottom of the drains [near the little "reverse mud flap" air deflector in front of the rear wheels] without jacking it up
I'm assuming the 'rubber flapper thing' that Uncle Russ references is the same 'sphincter' at the bottom of the drains that StickMon likes to periodically 'diddle'?

I recently had a similar motor failure in my '08 -- and the car was 8 days out of CPO warranty! We've banked quite a bit of goodwill with BMW and the Dealer over decades (long story), so the repair was - thankfully - covered.

Troubling, however, was the answer to my query about periodic maintenance on the drains, as I have no desire to go through this again. I was told that they "do not routinely clear the drains for customers but not to worry as the new motor was warranted for two years anyway." Not the answer I want to hear. Another more candid tech was honest enough to tell me that these cars need to be garaged or the less-than-optimum design of the drainage WILL eventually cause the motor to fail. I think that may be an overbroad caution, as diligent cleaning should allow a car to be kept on the driveway (if there is no more room in the garage).

Although I've archived and studied the drain clearing DIY, I've not yet crawled under there to have a go at it - but intend to this weekend. It does seem to me, though, that access to the driver side drain, especially, is quite difficult and that successful clearing is hit or miss at best.

I have a few questions that might help in optimizing a reliable method and a gauge as to when cleaning is really necessary.

If I pour a bucket of water down the back of the raised soft top, I should expect to see two streams of water - one in front of each mini mud flap just forward of each rear tire, correct? If I see no streams, or one stream, or weak streams, then I've presumably got a problem, right?

Does the design of the well and the placement of the motor and drainage tubes make water accumulation more likely when the parked car is inclined with the nose lower? - or the tail lower? - or does it make no difference at all? I saw some pics of a disassembled well that seemed to indicate that tail UP/nose DOWN parking might be a better option for best drainage, as the driver side hole is in an even deeper well (housing the motor) at the front left corner of the soft top stowage cavity, and if the nose is up water could possibly pool in the rear of the cavity and never even flow to the motor housing well fro drainage.

Should the rubber 'sphincters' be permanently removed, or left in place unless actually cleaning the tubes?

Is the design and 'plumbing' such that blowing compressed air from the bottom of the tubes (sphincter removed) up into the well a viable method, or will any debris simply accumulate in the well and then re-clog the drains? Is blowing DOWN even possible?

Is there a position that the soft top can be halted during deployment such that access to the drains is easier? Is there a position where the well can be vacuumed clean or blown out?

Appreciate any thoughts from those who have been through this?

Thanks
Mike
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Last edited by Kimolaoha; 07-25-2014 at 12:27 PM.
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      07-25-2014, 11:10 AM   #14
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Also very interested to know what you guys think about Kimo's questions, as I am putting in the new motor this weekend.
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      07-26-2014, 07:07 AM   #15
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Can anyone answer any of these questions?
Thanks


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimolaoha View Post
I'm assuming the 'rubber flapper thing' that Uncle Russ references is the same 'sphincter' at the bottom of the drains that StickMon likes to periodically 'diddle'?

I recently had a similar motor failure in my '08 -- and the car was 8 days out of CPO warranty! We've banked quite a bit of goodwill with BMW and the Dealer over decades (long story), so the repair was - thankfully - covered.

Troubling, however, was the answer to my query about periodic maintenance on the drains, as I have no desire to go through this again. I was told that they "do not routinely clear the drains for customers but not to worry as the new motor was warranted for two years anyway." Not the answer I want to hear. Another more candid tech was honest enough to tell me that these cars need to be garaged or the less-than-optimum design of the drainage WILL eventually cause the motor to fail. I think that may be an overbroad caution, as diligent cleaning should allow a car to be kept on the driveway (if there is no more room in the garage).

Although I've archived and studied the drain clearing DIY, I've not yet crawled under there to have a go at it - but intend to this weekend. It does seem to me, though, that access to the driver side drain, especially, is quite difficult and that successful clearing is hit or miss at best.

I have a few questions that might help in optimizing a reliable method and a gauge as to when cleaning is really necessary.

If I pour a bucket of water down the back of the raised soft top, I should expect to see two streams of water - one in front of each mini mud flap just forward of each rear tire, correct? If I see no streams, or one stream, or weak streams, then I've presumably got a problem, right?

Does the design of the well and the placement of the motor and drainage tubes make water accumulation more likely when the parked car is inclined with the nose lower? - or the tail lower? - or does it make no difference at all? I saw some pics of a disassembled well that seemed to indicate that tail UP/nose DOWN parking might be a better option for best drainage, as the driver side hole is in an even deeper well (housing the motor) at the front left corner of the soft top stowage cavity, and if the nose is up water could possibly pool in the rear of the cavity and never even flow to the motor housing well fro drainage.

Should the rubber 'sphincters' be permanently removed, or left in place unless actually cleaning the tubes?

Is the design and 'plumbing' such that blowing compressed air from the bottom of the tubes (sphincter removed) up into the well a viable method, or will any debris simply accumulate in the well and then re-clog the drains? Is blowing DOWN even possible?

Is there a position that the soft top can be halted during deployment such that access to the drains is easier? Is there a position where the well can be vacuumed clean or blown out?

Appreciate any thoughts from those who have been through this?

Thanks
Mike
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      07-26-2014, 02:51 PM   #16
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I have a few questions that might help in optimizing a reliable method and a gauge as to when cleaning is really necessary.

If I pour a bucket of water down the back of the raised soft top, I should expect to see two streams of water - one in front of each mini mud flap just forward of each rear tire, correct? If I see no streams, or one stream, or weak streams, then I've presumably got a problem, right? YES

Does the design of the well and the placement of the motor and drainage tubes make water accumulation more likely when the parked car is inclined with the nose lower? - or the tail lower? - or does it make no difference at all? I saw some pics of a disassembled well that seemed to indicate that tail UP/nose DOWN parking might be a better option for best drainage, as the driver side hole is in an even deeper well (housing the motor) at the front left corner of the soft top stowage cavity, and if the nose is up water could possibly pool in the rear of the cavity and never even flow to the motor housing well fro drainage. I DONT THINK THIS WILL MAKE A MUCH OF DIFFERENCE. IF DEBRIS GETS IN AND CLOGS IT WATER WILL EVENTUALLY COLLECT AND BUILD. THAT SAID, PARKING NOSE DOWN WOULD MAKE WATER COLLECTING ON THE TOP RUN TOWARDS THE WINDSHIELD AND NOT THE REAR WHERE IT WOULD EVACUATE VIA THE DRAINS. WHAT WOULD ALSO MAKE A DIFFERENCE WOULD BE IF THE CAR WAS TILTED MORE TOWARDS THE PASSENGER SIDE.

Should the rubber 'sphincters' be permanently removed, or left in place unless actually cleaning the tubes?

Is the design and 'plumbing' such that blowing compressed air from the bottom of the tubes (sphincter removed) up into the well a viable method, or will any debris simply accumulate in the well and then re-clog the drains? Is blowing DOWN even possible? BLOWING DOWN IS NOT POSSIBLE. THE MOTOR COMPLETELY BLOCKS ACCESS (compare to the passenger side). WHEN I BLOW UP, DEBRIS FLIES OUT THE TOP. EVENTUALLY IT STOPS APPEARING. I TAKE THAT AS A SIGN THAT THERE IS NO MORE. I WILL THEN USE A VACUUM AND CALL IT A DAY. NO MORE THAT CAN BE DONE

Is there a position that the soft top can be halted during deployment such that access to the drains is easier? Is there a position where the well can be vacuumed clean or blown out?NOT FROM MY EXPERIENCE

Appreciate any thoughts from those who have been through this?

Thanks
Mike
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      07-26-2014, 06:48 PM   #17
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So I did mine today and left the rubber pieces out. The passenger side drain was clogged so bad that I had to use Draino on it. Worked like magic.

I also put in the new motor and sealed up the housing. Had to redo as I had forgotten one of the screws. The second time I left the foam thing that wraps around the motor out, but didn't open it again so I hope that's not an integral part. The motor seems snug enough in the housing and isn't moving around so should be fine.




Quote:
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Can anyone answer any of these questions?
Thanks

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      07-29-2014, 08:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff
So I did mine today and left the rubber pieces out.
Thanks Spaceman Spiff - and elerner61.

I was not able to get to my Z4 drains over the weekend (chipping the E31 took priority).

Were you able to get to the plugs without jacking/raising the rear? Any other interesting observations?
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      07-29-2014, 08:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimolaoha View Post
Thanks Spaceman Spiff - and elerner61.

I was not able to get to my Z4 drains over the weekend (chipping the E31 took priority).

Were you able to get to the plugs without jacking/raising the rear? Any other interesting observations?
It is possible if your forearms are not very long.
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      07-29-2014, 09:05 AM   #20
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Quote:
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It is possible if your forearms are not very long.
Damn!
My forearms are grotesquely over-developed from years of wrist curls and steroids!
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      07-29-2014, 11:44 AM   #21
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I got them off without jacking the car but putting them back on would be harder. Also not sure how effective cleaning would be from below, as my vacuum cleaner wasn't strong enough to remove the debris from the passenger side drain (it's a 5hp shop vac). Hopefully the sealed-up housing will keep the new motor from rusting!
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      07-29-2014, 12:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff View Post
I got them off without jacking the car but putting them back on would be harder. Also not sure how effective cleaning would be from below, as my vacuum cleaner wasn't strong enough to remove the debris from the passenger side drain (it's a 5hp shop vac). Hopefully the sealed-up housing will keep the new motor from rusting!
Mine's also 5hp, which is actually pretty heavy duty compared to most residential shop vacs. Sounds like you had a compacted mess in there.

It's beginning to look to me like the only effective way of cleaning these tubes with the top in situ is to blow compressed air from the bottom of each tube, and then to verify proper drainage by pouring water down the back of the top and gauging the outflow from the two egress points.

I wonder if a 'snake' auger would work or whether there are too many twists and turns in the drains?
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