Question about 2001 BMW Z3

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2000 Z3 power top failure

Top has been operating intermitently and now not at all...adjusted pump to operate manually as per the owner's manual...could it be the switch or fuse related?

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  • dj_dbl_j Feb 16, 2009

    I had the same problem a year ago. I believe some of the wires connecting to the motor were fried. The service technician did a repair to the wires, but said I would be needing a new motor for the top. I think there is now a short in the repair because the battery is constantly draining while in storage.. Didn't do this before the repair was made.

  • krugerm Mar 04, 2009

    I've got the same problem. I've checked the fuses, brake switch, & motors, but have not yet found the problem. BMW suggested that the Hall Effect sensors (which tell the control system how far up the top is) might have shifted, which would prevent the top operating because it thinks it's already up. Have yet to replace because it's an expensive operation - replacement only. Did you have any luck with your problem? Any suggestions?

  • krugerm May 11, 2010

    The motors run fine if I manually short the control switches to turn them on. I figure it's got to be a failure of wiring or switch in the control system - brake switch, top microswitch, or Hall sensor.


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I had the same problem and BMW told me it will cost 1200 AUD to fix. I fixed it for free. inside there is a tiny kill switch above the passanger side. it wont let the roof operate unless you lift the roof. that was the problem. it was faulty. I by passed it and it has been fine for 5 years. I can't find the switch to replace so when I watch and lift the roof like you normaly do when want to open it.

Posted on Dec 20, 2009

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Are the top motors running? If the motors are not running, check the 2 relays by the pump motors. They are known to fail. The part number for the relays are on them.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009

  • greg benton Mar 17, 2009

    If your brake lights are working, then I would probably eliminate the brake light switch. If you have verified the relays at the pump are ok, then I would probably look at the wiring harness. Make sure that it has not rubbed through, especially where the top folds at the hinges. I have seen a few harness cut due to usage.


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I have the factory wiiring book for your car, maybe the shop manual to. $7 for wiring book and $25 for manual plus postage ($5) if interested.

The top is tied into the parking brake circuit. The park brake must be applied to operate the top. this is because some owners and valet parking drivers try to raise & lower the top while driving the car. The top then makes a nice parachute, except it bends the top frame and rips the top material.

Try applying hte parking brake. Report results.
If this helps, please rate highly. Thanks.


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In general, without any testing or diagnosis, you could be dealing with any of the following:

* Open relay - Located at the pump unit
* Close relay - Located at the pump unit
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The windows do not have to be down for the system to run.

The brake pedal must be pressed while operating the switch. There is a switch at the pedal that signals the convertible top system, but if your brake lights are functioning, the brake switch will not be at fault.

The system is pretty simple and some quick electrical tests should locate the faulty item.

The Bentley repair manual for the Z3 has all of the electrical wiring diagrams, for use in the diagnostics. You can purchase this at Bavarian Autosport 800-535-2002.

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There are a number of switches that need to be closed in order for the motor to operate. In particular there's a microswitch in the hood just above the left-hand seat which makes sure the motor doesn't operate until the hood has been lifted slightly.

My hood stopped working and I found the cable to the microswitch had been cut by the hood mechanism. Replacing the cable solved the problem.

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