Question about 1999 BMW 323 Series

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The cover of my 2000 323ci E46 was recently forced into its compartment by a reckless passenger and now I cannot get it to go back up-- I have been told to look for an "emergency release" handle of some kind under the left rear seat, but I have removed the rear seats ENTIRELY and have never seen such a handle! It's gonna rain someday and when it does, well, it's gonna become an aquarium. Did BMW put the emergency release handle somewhere unusual in the 2000 E46 model?? Please advise before the flooding begins. THANK YOU!

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  • Kirby Aug 03, 2010

    Done. Thank you.

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BMW 2000 323ci E46 Top wont close Check the expandable luggage compartment flap. Read about it in your owner's manual. It must be down or your top won't work. Have you checked to see what the level of oil is in the pump? It is located behind the carpet in the left side of the trunk.

I assume you have all doors and trunk closed, engine running? work. It would be good news if this were the problem.Try to make it work by disconnecting the battery for 10-15 minutes as a last resort. Also check the convert. top fuses by glove box, if blown replace, if not pull them out and put them back in sometimes they get a corrosion factor that stops the top from powering up. I believe if the windows arer not closed they have sensors that will stop the top from working as well .

Posted on Jul 31, 2010

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  • Kirby Jul 31, 2010

    Thank you for responding! Let me elaborate a bit on the problem:

    First, I get mixed up with the terms "Up", "Down", "Open", "Closed", etc. when referring to a convertible top. "Closed" means "Up", and "Open" means "Down", or some such, though a top can also be "Closed" when "Down", it seems, so I will try to stick to the words "Open" (meaning the top is folded away in the trunk compartment) and "Closed" (meaning it has latched overhead and the rain will not get it).

    Okay. Now. Then engine runs fine: I start it up, everything seem to be operating normally. I then push the dashboard button that is supposed to close (i.e., expand) the convertible top. The light on the button turns red, which is normal, indicating that I want the top to close. In the past few weeks I have had to push this button longer and longer, it seems, to finally get the motor to engage and begin the process of folding out the top, but it has always worked eventually. The same has been increasingly true of my attempts to retract the top: hold the button, wait for it, wait, THERE it goes! But not until the aforementioned passenger became impatient with the closure process and just decided to "help move it along" by pushing it into place one day have I had the buttons just fail to work. I am concerned the hydraulics are ruined (is this unlikely?) and that no amount of fuse inspection is going to get the top back up.

    What I want to do at this point is to simply, manually, close the top! I will gladly do this by hand, cranking whatever handles I need to crank, to get it up so that It won't continue to be scorched daily by UV radiation and invite the disaster that is going to be the next rain storm. I do not have the cash right not to take it to a dealership to have them repair the mechanism for me (plus I hear these mechanisms are VERY expensive to repair because they are so complicated). The car has seen better days, and any number of little things could now be preventing me from closing/ raising/ expanding the top. But I need to get it closed/ raised/ expanded as soon as possible.

    You did not mention this as an option in your response to my original question... Is it NOT an option? IS there no manual release located somewhere inside the car?? Please advise. And thank you again for your other suggestions: I will try to give them a shot as well as soon as I am able to do so.


  • JOHN DAVIDSON Aug 01, 2010

    Remove the center of the rear seat back (where the subwoofer and/or ski pass is).

    There's a little leather trim piece that goes from the center rear of the seat bottom to the base of the ski pass/subwoofer opening. the leather clips to a metal crossbar on the bottom center of the seatback. Pull that plastic clip off the metal bar. Pull back the leather strip, that will expose the emergency button and allen key.

  • Kirby Aug 02, 2010

    We are so close...

    I found the subwoofer cover, and removed it. I found the leather strap and clip, and unclipped it. I found the slot for the allen wrench and the release button. I pushed the button (Hooray!) but I don't seem to have the corresponding allen wrench! Is this supposed to be located nearby or is it was it originally located in the toolbox in the trunk? (if the latter, it is no longer there... Am hoping it is the former).

    So close...!


  • JOHN DAVIDSON Aug 02, 2010

    Just get an allen key to match the size and you are done.... go to Auto Zone.

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