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.
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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.
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
* End position micro-switch
* The operating switch itself
* An issue with the pump unit, but I doubt this, due to the intermittent nature. However, do check the hydraulic fluid level.
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.
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.