How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

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Beynon5
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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by Beynon5 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:17 pm

Hola All,

So my 2004 (Jan) Zed decided its roof motor didnt want to work from a few weeks ago onwards. So I read all the Shipkiller pdf etc about having to take the roof off, and though well there has to be an easier way. And would you believe it.. there is.. I completed it today and more than happy to share it all with you as the help I've had so far from other posts on here about other problems more than makes up for it.

So here goes.. I didnt take any photos because really I was just going along with what I thought would work (If I was a BMW engineer where would I...etc etc). But I will be posting generic photos of where I'm describing - some from this forum and some from elsewhere.

1) So First step is to remove the shelf in the rear.. this is quite simple, as you lean into the boot (Trunk for all of you not in the UK!) you'll see clips running down the edge of the hinge from the shelf to the hinge, they look like this...

Image

You squeeze the little triangle bits and they pop off (and upwards out of the way - you can retrieve them when you get the shelf out!)

Once you've done this you need to pop the half tube clips from the shelf off that go over the hinge bar.. see below.. In the top left of this photo you can see one of the clips I'm talking about.. just get a flat head screwdriver in there and gently pop them off.

Image

Then just angle the shelf out of the boot!

2) Now we get to the slightly more difficult task of getting the bits ready to get to the motor, so first thing first.. get into the boot so that your head is now sat where shelf was looking towards the back of the car and you will see the hydraulic lines going around the edge of the boot towards where the motor is situated (which by the way, if you are sat as I've described.. its to the right of you.) So, you will see clips holding the lines in which look like image 12 in the following diagram..

Image

You need to lever the lines out of these clips to give you enough space to manoeuvre the motor out, take them all out of the clips from the left side to the right you should now have a bit of slack in the lines. Its important to stress here that these are hydraulic lines and you need to be pretty careful with them as if they get damaged then your roof is kaput eitherway.

3) Onto the most difficult part now, (or maybe just for me because I have fat hands!). So now that you have a bit of slack in the lines, you need to reach into the gap that is behind where the shelf was on the left hand side (if youre stood at the back of Zed looking towards the front). Get your hand in there and go all the way to the outer edge and run your hand forward.. and you'll feel a bump, a round ish bit of plastic that is sticking up from the floor of the plastic.. aaaand holy mother of cow that your roof motor in that casing!

4) Now that you can feel the motor, and probably see it if you look in from the rear window or from the front over the seat. You need to get the top off the roof motor casing, so the first part involves putting your hand all the way over the casing towards the front of the car and reaching down behind it to take the lines (and bowden cable) out of the clip holding it to the casing see below.. its the grey clip holding 4 lines.

Image

It also shows the next problem.. the tape around the box that is holding it shut. I managed to get some of this tape off around it, I used some solvent cleaning products to soften its grip and then it started to peel off.

5) So once you've done these few bits, its a bit of brute force here.. you need to pull the top of the casing off. The way I found easiest was to put my fingers down the side of the motor casing to feel where the join was and then get my nails/fingers in there and pull it up and off. Once the top is off you can see the motor, it now possible to pull the motor out of its watery cess pit and lay it on that plastic area.

6) This next bit is a massive PITA and I cant even find any photos to describe how to do it. But basically the bottom half of the casing is cable tied as the bottom to the roof section and is holding the hydraulic lines down so I managed to get my finger down behind it and slowly get the cable tie off the end of the casing (you could cut it I guess but I'm not sure if you'll get snips down there or a blade - I was too scared of damaging the lines to cut it). But basically slide it off over the end of the casing and you will then have released the lines and the motor can be pulled into the boot (Gently!! and make sure none of the lines are pinched or twisted in the process!).

Now you have the motor in the boot, I gave mines a good couple of minutes blast of WD40 and a quick shot of diesel to clean it up and it worked first press of the button (obviously put the shelf in first to activate the micro switch or wedge it like I had to test it). So now the motor is in the boot, cleaned, working and now just needs to be housed - so for me I simply got a few cable ties and cut some holes in the plastic trim on the left side and fixed it securely there. And just like that, I now have a working roof, and all without removing the roof.

Btw, I'm based in Swansea, South Wales UK. If anyone is near and wants some advice/a hand/the work done let me know.

Again sorry for the lack of pictures but I was simply going with what I thought would get me out of the brown stuff and it did. Also this is just a guide for you and I take no responsibility for anyone else's cack handedness for any damage caused to their own vehicle.

Good luck!

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enzed4
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Re: How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by enzed4 » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:12 am

Can you please post up some pics of the finished result? Interested to know how you pulled everything back through the existing space, when others have needed to cut a slot in the top of the 'shelf' next to the tray to feed the cables through.
Do you think it's possible to bring the motor back into the boot while still inside the sound insulation? Mine is RTV'd shut (so should be virtually impossible for water to get in), so I wouldn't be able to separate the top half by hand while reaching through.
Cheers.
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owm
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Re: How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by owm » Fri Mar 11, 2016 2:37 am

Fantastic! Thank you for this! This shall be my project later in the year!

This is another guide on carrying this out which will help those planning on doing this recommended mod:
http://www.zpost.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1215892
1988 Mercedes Benz W126 300SE
1991 Mazda MX-5
2003 BMW Z4 3.0i build thread:viewtopic.php?f=11&t=83101

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sw4nny
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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by sw4nny » Thu Mar 17, 2016 2:02 am

Thanks will give that a try

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by maxman » Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:35 pm

Top marks for doing the job and taking the time to do the write up. :thumbsup:
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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by daggers » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:48 am

Well its happened - my roof motor failed this weekend - roof was down (2003 3 litre 80K miles )
Just managed to push it back closed and locked OK - override cable seemed to be seized as the roof was very reluctant to go back up manually but at least its up now.
Hope to follow your instructions to get the motor out and dry it out - we shall see
Annoyingly I religiously kept the drain tubes clear but its a crap design as we all know
Thanks for the post I will give it a go
Cheers
Steve

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by goldbcfc » Mon Dec 05, 2016 6:25 pm

you make this sound so easy. I had to release some bolts the other week along the roof carrier i was on my back in that awkard position. The looks i got keep climbing out was funny i didnt know my body could get in such position in a small space. My back was bad after its all fun and games thanks for the write i might give it a go..........or pay someone :poke:

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by daggers » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:09 am

Its me again
Update time
I've been dropping the roof manually for some time now and to be fair it's no big deal having had many convertibles with manual roofs over the years it isn't an issue but as the Z4 has a power roof I need to get it fixed
I've managed to get the motor out of its wet plastic bucket and unbolted it from the pump
I've tried to dry it out and sprayed it with wd40 but it wont run on the bench, unfortunately so I'll be getting a replacement soon.
The problem I still have is getting to the tie wraps that hold the plastic motor housing in place to the hood frame
I've tried for hours on and off and although its loose I can't get down the tie wraps.
I need to do this so I can bring the hydraulic lines and pump into the boot area and relocate it.
I'm now thinking I will have to remove the roof assembly which is something I was hoping to avoid.
I've made up a long rod with a cutting edge on the end which I was hoping to cut through the tie wraps but I just can't be sure I'm getting to them
Bit of a pain
Any ideas?
Cheers
Steve

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by wegras » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:04 am

Contact Bowser 134 and save hours of frustration ,he is around Camberley
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Hughesy99
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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by Hughesy99 » Tue May 09, 2017 6:01 pm

I have the same problem as Daggers and its really p*ssing me off now. As far as I can tell there are 2 staggered vertical slots in the lower housing anchor point, The one nearest the housing had a ZIP tie that I managed to get some snips to, I thought that I had cracked it but it would seem the second slot is also anchored in some way but there is nothing visible. I know in this thread and in others that I have seen it just says to wrench it of and break the moulding, but I just cant get it to break, there isn't a lot of room to get leverage, obviously and I have tried from the boot side and also from above down from behind the passenger seat. Any suggestions would be most welcome, while my knuckles still have some skin left on them.....

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by Ducklakeview » Tue May 09, 2017 7:31 pm

Unfortunately, it's hard to actually describe how to do the job. Just be careful you don't break a hydraulic pipe like a member did recently. They aren't cheap!

Takes me about 10 mins from opening the boot to having the motor in my hands. But I have done a few. If it's been out before with the roof I find they do like to go mad with the cable ties.

Mike

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by mikeriden » Tue May 09, 2017 10:23 pm

New member to z4 forum. Bought a 2008 z4 4 weeks ago, roof motor failed last week, made numerous enquiries to have said problem resolved. Quotes even from BMW independent in excess of £600 plus VAT, plus the doom and gloom story as to additional cost if hydraulic lines are faulty. Then, with a bit of searching, and the use of the Z4 Forum, came upon Mike in St Helens, rang him Monday, arranged to take car to him Tuesday 6.00pm, left 45 minutes later with roof in complete working order. This guy is the nicest person you will ever meet and a miracle worker, and I do not say that lightly. Do not entertain going to any independent or BMW direct just make contact with Mike and your roof problem will be resolved pretty well as soon as you can get to him.

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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by Hughesy99 » Wed May 10, 2017 2:30 pm

Made some progress today, managed to get the lower casing out, was just a case of applying the right force in the right direction in the end to break the clip. So the motor is now out of it's watery pit and I have removed it, cleaned it up (terminals were a mess) re-connected it to the power without putting it back on the Hydraulic body and it's running fine from the switch in both directions now. Again thought I had cracked it but when I put it back on the hydraulic body no dice. I can hear the motor running but there is no movement on the roof. Though maybe it was the manual bypass but the mechanical pull is definitely in the off position on the hydraulic body. There is fluid in the resevoir up to the +marker. Running out of ideas, anyone have any other suggestions before I'm forced to bite the bullet and replace the whole lot?

Hughesy99
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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by Hughesy99 » Wed May 10, 2017 6:29 pm

The other thing I'll mention is that as soon as the roof lower button is pressed, the red indicator starts to flash. This is while the lock mechanism is still running and the roof motor has yet to kick in.

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enzed4
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How to replace soft top motor without removing roof.. DONE!

Post by enzed4 » Thu May 11, 2017 1:22 am

Hughesy99 - get the codes red, it might give you a better indication of what the fault is. When you had the motor out, did you specifically test the bypass valve that the bowden cable connect to (which allows the roof to be raised/lowered manually)? I'm just wondering if it's stuck pushed down, so permanently in 'bypass' mode. I imagine the motor will still work when power's applied, but because the there's no hydraulic pressure the roof won't go up/down.
Either that or could it be one of the Hall sensors? They've been known to get damaged or knocked when removing the roof, but it seems you haven't actually touched the roof, so they should be ok.
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