How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Beware

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Memz4
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Hi shipkiller

Post by Memz4 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:48 pm

Thanks for the write up.great job.I followed your instructions and successfully replaced the motor but after I put the top together the top closed but won't go back down or even un do the locks!do I have to synchronize or rebooth the system.if so how to do that??

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by Johnnyone » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:29 am

Respect and thanks to Shipkiller.

I have just completed the replacement or the motor and put everything back together. It doesn't work! But hey, no-one ever said it would be easy, so here we go again. Just a few comments though, which may help others, and comments I haven't seen anywhere else.

My pump came with 2 wires (blue & green) about 50mm long, on the opposite terminals to the original blue & green wires. I don't yet know which is correct but I have reversed the connections inside the car to save removing the roof, but it makes no difference. I'll post again when I know.

The infamous W clips are easy when you know how!! Put them in from the INSIDE of the car. You can't see what you're doing but can feel your way reasonably well. You could try using a mirror or a beautiful assistant, but I did it without either quite quickly.

Getting the bolts back in the 'hoop' was a nightmare because they aren't really long enough to grab the thread. I managed to get the front 5 in with a lot of pushing and a 'G' clamp, but the 2 at the sides I had to replace with longer ones.

No-one seems to mention the root cause of the problem of motor/pump failure, which is water build up in the drainage well. Even without all the tape, water will not get into the pump housing unless it builds up in the well; and even WITH all the tape, it will still get in if the water DOES build up! There is only 1 small hole in the well, and it will get blocked with gunk, allowing a build up. So, while you have the top off, drill a few more holes about 25mm away from the original one to improve drainage.

More to come when I crack it...

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BettyBmw03
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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by BettyBmw03 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:48 pm

I wonder where the holes you drilled will drain to? Bc themain hole is connected to a dain line at the rear of the side skirt. There were posts discussing keeping that line clear by blowing air up the drain hole at the bottom. Just curious...

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by Johnnyone » Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:50 am

The drain pipe expands out to a funnel under the hole, so as long as you drill quite close to the original hole, the water should still go down the tube.

Another point by the way, for people following Shipkillers guide - "driver's side" doesn't mean the same thing to those of us with the right hand drive version, so beware!

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by deka » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:03 am

Thats an impressive first and second post.. removing you roof on the first attempt/post..

Welcome along.

I removed my roof test the motor got it working ok, put it back together and errrr nothing.. i presume you have checked the fuses 12 31 and 55 (thats from memory so dont quote me). Let me know how you get on before for i embark on attempt number two (or may be delayed till next year as i have a hardtop[ and the weather is not getting any better).
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Gone But not forgotton. Z4 06 roadster 2.5 Midnight blue Hardtop (in monoco blue currently for sale) black heated leather, stubby, phone kit, 108's PDC. ZHP
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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by Johnnyone » Mon Sep 03, 2012 10:23 am

Actually now the roof works...after a fashion. It takes ages and there are some strange sounds, maybe cavitation in the pump? Anyway, eventually it does the job, but occasionally it seems to time out (perhaps there is a timer somewhere in the motor control circuit). However, turning the ignition off and on again gives another allocation of time and then the roof completes its cycle. Sometimes I give it a bit of help as well!

I'm wondering if the manual release cable is twisted somewhere and the hydraulic fluid release button on the pump is very slightly pressed. Trouble is, the thought of taking it all off again to find out is a bit daunting...

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by Johnnyone » Thu Nov 01, 2012 7:51 pm

I now have a fully functioning soft top, following the painful experience of completely removing it (again) and putting it back. The problem (see previous post) was caused by lack of hydraulic fluid in the pump. I bought the new pump from a dealership (amazingly, their price was slightly lower than other independent options) and virtually no fluid was lost in the original replacement, so basically there isn't enough in the pump to begin with. The problem arises I believe, because the soft top has to be down in order to do this job - this being the only position where there is no fluid pressure in the lines and actuators. It also means though, that all of the oil has been returned to the pump resevoir, leaving only minimal quantities in the lines/actuators, so when the pump is removed, the fluid goes with it. This would be fine if the new pump came with the same amount of oil that the old pump had when it was removed, but it doesn't.

The solution is simply to drain the old pump into a clean container (there is only a few ml of fluid anyway) and put it into the new pump. Make sure it is very clean and filter it if necessary. This is easily achieved by removing the hex screw on top of the plastic resevoir cap. This chamber is not under pressure even when the pump is pumping. Alternatively, no doubt BMW will sell you some new fluid.

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by BPM-Z4R » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:53 pm

Johnnyone wrote:I now have a fully functioning soft top, following the painful experience of completely removing it (again) and putting it back. The problem (see previous post) was caused by lack of hydraulic fluid in the pump. I bought the new pump from a dealership (amazingly, their price was slightly lower than other independent options) and virtually no fluid was lost in the original replacement, so basically there isn't enough in the pump to begin with. The problem arises I believe, because the soft top has to be down in order to do this job - this being the only position where there is no fluid pressure in the lines and actuators. It also means though, that all of the oil has been returned to the pump resevoir, leaving only minimal quantities in the lines/actuators, so when the pump is removed, the fluid goes with it. This would be fine if the new pump came with the same amount of oil that the old pump had when it was removed, but it doesn't.

The solution is simply to drain the old pump into a clean container (there is only a few ml of fluid anyway) and put it into the new pump. Make sure it is very clean and filter it if necessary. This is easily achieved by removing the hex screw on top of the plastic resevoir cap. This chamber is not under pressure even when the pump is pumping. Alternatively, no doubt BMW will sell you some new fluid.
Exactly the same here, roof fully working. great guide :thumbsup:
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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by NYZ4Jack » Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:48 pm

Firstly, I would like to thank ShipKiller for his wonderful writeup, and following it step by step, while being meticulous with everything, I was able to complete the job in 8 hrs, that's including waiting 3-4 hrs for the silicone to dry on the housing. So in reality, it took me 4-5 hrs for the actual job.

I've finally been afflicted with the infamous soft top motor issue on my 2005 Z4. Numerous times I've found the drain plug clogged with some debris and water up a few inches in the drain area despite cleaning the drains twice a year and keeping the car garaged. It was only a matter of time, especially knowing how "well" BMW sealed their motor housing. no pun intended..;) Anyway, I wasn't suprised the motor finally went.
I was also not surprised to find the entire motor corroded and rusted beyond belief (looking at all the rust, etc. I'm surprised it even worked only a couple of months ago), the insulating foam was completely soaked in rust water, with parts of it corroded permanently on to the motor itself, and the whole thing reeked like a dirty old dish towel.

When I finally put everything together, I realized the electrics were reversed on the motor (I put my hydraulics the same lay out as old pump, ignoring the numbers) and now close is open, vice-versa. Unfortunately, I bolted everything down already and don't feel like redoing the whole thing.

I am planning to reverse the blue/green wires from the connectors behind the subwoofer grill trim area. It's essentially the same wires coming from the motor itself. Would this be a viable solution? Does anyone see an issue with this?

TIPS for others attempting to do this:

1. Make sure you have someone to help you to remove the top and reinstall the top.

2. Silicone/RTV the entire box housing to prevent water from getting to the motor in the future. Make sure it's dry before handling it. RTV has a way of smudging a little off your fingers and then coming off on your top and staying there for good.

3. Good time to clean the inside glass and roof floor/tray.

4. Mask tape edges and side and be generous with the tape!

5. Watch the microswitch when you reinstall the roof floor/tray - that little arm is FRAGILE!

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by Johnnyone » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:47 pm

Yes this will work. I did the same thing when I took my roof off the first time and reversing the connections was fine. When I had to remove the roof the second time (insufficient fluid) I put everything back to how it should have been. Sorry I can't confirm the colours of the wires because I can't remember them but I recall it was pretty obvious which were the right ones. I also recall that I had to modify one or both of the connectors because when swapped, they don't mate properly. Good luck - hope you've got enough fluid in the pump! By the way, just to re-iterate from my previous post (23.08.12) I don't personally believe that sealing the pump completely is either possible or the right solution. I prefer the option to ensure drainage exists (by drilling additional holes) and then the water won't build up anyway. Still, your call...

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by fixit man » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:40 pm

Johnnyone wrote:Yes this will work. I did the same thing when I took my roof off the first time and reversing the connections was fine. When I had to remove the roof the second time (insufficient fluid) I put everything back to how it should have been. Sorry I can't confirm the colours of the wires because I can't remember them but I recall it was pretty obvious which were the right ones. I also recall that I had to modify one or both of the connectors because when swapped, they don't mate properly. Good luck - hope you've got enough fluid in the pump! By the way, just to re-iterate from my previous post (23.08.12) I don't personally believe that sealing the pump completely is either possible or the right solution. I prefer the option to ensure drainage exists (by drilling additional holes) and then the water won't build up anyway. Still, your call...
Hi Johnnyone,

I'm interested to know what made you take your roof off again for insufficient fluid, was the roof slow to operate ??, since I replaced my motor last year is is very slow to move , sometimes it times out, I was thinking of taking it off again and putting more fluid in.

Where did you get the hydraulic fluid from ? thanks

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by flanok » Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:30 pm

Confused about where the fluid should be filled to.

Should it be to the line with the roof in the open car position "letting the sun in" (ie cloth compressed together)
Or should the fluid be to the line with the roof in the closed car position keeping the rain out (ie cloth spread wide)

Also can any hydrolic fluid or is there a special fluid.

Thanks

Mark

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fixit man
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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by fixit man » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:14 pm

flanok wrote:Confused about where the fluid should be filled to.

Should it be to the line with the roof in the open car position "letting the sun in" (ie cloth compressed together)
Or should the fluid be to the line with the roof in the closed car position keeping the rain out (ie cloth spread wide)

Also can any hydrolic fluid or is there a special fluid.

Thanks

Mark
I'm not sure either, but what I would do is check the level in both positions and draw a line on the reservoir, then whichever one is the highest top it up in that position leaving a little space for expansion !!

Not sure about which type of hydraulic fluid either but you will have to get the correct stuff bcause there are different types and you could damage the seals etc. if you use the wrong type.

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by flanok » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:16 pm

Hi
when the roof is folded (in the open car position) the fluid comes up to the line above the +
But when the roof is expanded (in the closed car position) there is no fluid to be seen (all in the pipes).

I read in another forum, that the fluid should go to the line above the +, when it is in the expanded position (in the closed car position), but the comment wasn't from an expert just someone guessing.
(There does appears to be enough space for the fluid to rise further)

But this was not from an expert, just someone guessing, I wanted some reassurance, its just too much work to take the roof off again

Thanks

Mark

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Re: How to Remove and Replace your Soft Top Motor..56k Bewar

Post by fixit man » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:36 pm

That's interesting, as I said i'm not 100% sure,It's a fine line between putting too much in and not putting enough in and like you said... it's not a simple job to take the roof out again ! maybe someone else can help or ring a BMW garage..they might know ??

I think that's the problem with mine when it's open fully the fluid in the reservoir goes so low that air is introduced into the system, so It's letting air in, then self bleeding , vicious circle.

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