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Faults, Fixes and DIY Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix!


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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 04:38:53 PM   #1
deilenberger
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Default DIY: Quiet down your convertible

I've been asked to do this by both E36 and E46 M3 convertible owners, and what I'll show is photos of the E46, but the same principles apply to the E36 (which IMHO is inherently noisier..)

The goal is noise reduction, along with making the top work with as little effort on the mechanism as possible. As the tops get old - the pivot points, which were greased at the factory - start to dry up, and this makes it harder for the motors to open/close the top. Eventually - this causes wear and failure of the motors and drive units, which gets expensive.

A properly lubrciated convertible top should open/close in under 30 seconds (mine take about 22 seconds) - so you can do it at the average traffic light.

But we also want to get rid of the creaking noises from the top - and that requires some selective lubrication of the top seals and mating parts.

General rules:
  • If it's rubber to rubber and one side has a fuzzy finish on it (flock) - you want it CLEAN and no lubricant on it.
  • If it's rubber to rubber and both sides are smooth - it needs some lubrication.
  • If it's rubber to glass or plastic or metal - and the rubber has fuzz on it - it should be CLEAN and not lubed.
  • If it's rubber to glass or plastic or metal - and the rubber is smooth (more common on the E36) - it should be lubed.
  • If it's metal to metal and it moves - it should be lubed.
Lubes I use:
  • All rubber parts - BMW's GummiPhlege - which is NLA. A good substitute is a silicone grease (which is what GummiPhlege is). Dow Corning makes these for lots of purposes - I've used Dow Corning Silicone High-Vacuum Grease - a bit thicker than GummiPhlege, but works fine for this purpose. Silicone grease is not a good metal to metal grease - it is a good rubber to anything else grease and it protects the rubber from oxidation (due to ozone in the air.)
  • All metal pivot points - either a good lithium based grease (good for any sliding contact), or a decent synthetic motor oil (doesn't matter what kind or viscosity.. I use what I have around..)

How to lube:
  • To get access to all the top pivot points and spots that need lubrication, you'll need to partly lower the top, and move it to different positions. On the E46 this can be done on battery power alone, on the E36 - I'd suggest starting the engine to do it - it draws a lot of current and doing it repeatedly will end up with a discharged battery.
  • Applying the lithium based grease - usually this grease comes in a spray can with the little red tube that disappears into the darkest corner of your garage. The trick in using it - don't overspray on something that isn't supposed to get grease on it (like the top - inside or out.) Use old towels BEHIND whatever you're spraying if there is ANY chance of overspray getting on something you don't want.
  • Applying the motor oil - small drips of oil on pivot points works well. I use a small screwdriver dipped in the oil to carry a few drops to the point to be lubed. I then touch the tip of the screwdriver to the pivot in question and the oil is sucked off (capillary action) into the joint. AGAIN - put old towels under the pivot points if there is any chance of oil dripping on some of the fabric of the top.
  • Silicone grease - a fingertip is good. Gummiphlege comes with a built in foam applicator.. In my experience, it puts too much of the grease on the rubber surfaces. I'd rather squirt a bit on a fingertip and use my finger to get it exactly where I want it to go..

OK - on to the photos in the next posting..
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..

Last edited by deilenberger; Sun, Jul-09-2006 at 10:43:52 PM.
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 04:43:32 PM   #2
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Default Pivot points

I'll first show an example of a pivot point (and follow that with a few more..) These are the spots where the top frame folds. If these are allowed to dry up, they will get noisy and stiff. The stiff isn't good since that means the mechanism requires more force to open/close.

The bottom one is one of the primary fold points - it's lives above the front doors..

You want OIL on this - and any pivot point that looks like it. Look for where the metal to metal moving contact is - that's where the oil should go.

The one in the right corner of the photo is a combined sliding/pivot point. Some lithium based grease would be good worked INTO the joint.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg folding joint pivot points - oil.jpg (80.6 KB, 3840 views)
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 04:48:21 PM   #3
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This next photo shows three different lubrication needs. There is a pivot point that needs oil used on it - and on an E36 - the rubber to rubber at this sort of joint needs silicone grease on the rubber contact surfaces. A very light film is best (doesn't attract dirt so badly.) On the E46 - the rubber surface on the left has fuzz (flock) on it - so NO grease is used on this rubber to rubber contact.

You might also notice a U shaped metal piece on the left and a corresponding pin that it locks to on the right - this should get a very thin coating of the lithium grease. The pivot point for the U shaped piece should get a drop of the motor oil.

Three different lubrication challenges in the space of about 2"..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg folding joint seal.jpg (75.0 KB, 3173 views)
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 04:55:27 PM   #4
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Here we have the front edge of the top - with multiple lube opportunties

My finger is pointing to a pin (on an E46 top - the E36 is simular) - which should be lubed with a bit of silicone grease (it has a rubber noise buffer on it - an O ring - and silicone will help this last.)

There is also the locking latch just to the right - the inside part of the hook (the silver piece) should have a bit of lithium grease and the pivot point for the hook should get a bit of lithium grease also.

Finally - there is the front edge seal - the black rubber going across the entire width of the front edge. This should get a very thin coating of silicone grease (best put on with fingertips IMHO.)

Notice to the right of the latch mechanism - there is a black pin (not too easy to see - but look for the slight tear in the rubber seal) - this should get a bit of lithium grease... applied with a fingertip.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg front guide pin O ring.jpg (63.9 KB, 3257 views)
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 05:00:44 PM   #5
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The front "header" seal also should get some attention. On the E36 - this should be lubed with a bit of silicone grease (fingertip application is good..) On the E46 - since the seal shown in the last photo "mates" to this one, and we already lubed it - it doesn't need any additional lubrication.

Note the round part on the left (and one on the right) end of the seal. This is a primary water seal that keeps water from dripping down inside the car. This should get a very light coating of silicone grease (you should barely be able to see it) to help it seal well. On the E36 - the design is a bit different, but the same idea applies - a bit of silicone grease here helps it seat properly and helps eliminate the annoying drips on your left knee..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg front header seal.jpg (89.6 KB, 2710 views)
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 05:02:18 PM   #6
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Here is another photo of the front top seal - it should be easy to see the different lube points..

Two things to note:

The shiny part of the seal at the bottom of the photo - should get a coating of silicone grease... and just to the right of that (not too easy to see in the photo, but very obvious in real life) - there is a the round end of the long window seal that mates with the round seal shown in the prior photo. This should get a thin layer of silicone grease.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg front top seal.jpg (132.8 KB, 2667 views)
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..

Last edited by deilenberger; Sun, Jul-09-2006 at 05:04:30 PM.
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 05:09:26 PM   #7
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This photo shows the top-rear track. This is the track that the rear edge of the top sits in when the top is up.

On the E46 - the rubber seal that mates with this track has fuzz on it - so NO lubrication is used. It helps keep it quiet if the track is clean and polished. I wax mine with Zaino when I do the car.

On the E36 - the rubber seal that sits here is not flocked, and is a primary cause of NOISE and squeaks if it isn't kept lubricated. I used to lube this seal using the rubber pad on the GummiPhlege tube. A thin but noticeable coating is good.

E46 - clean and wax
E36 - clean and lube
Attached Images
File Type: jpg top rear tract.jpg (59.4 KB, 2299 views)
__________________
Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 05:12:19 PM   #8
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Finally we have the tonneau lid (the foldiing cover for the top..) There are several important points to lube on this (and they differ very slightly on the E46 to E36 - but are close enough the E36 people will get the idea..)

The forward edge has the latch points and some rubber seals.

The latch assembly should get lubricated with a lithium grease wherever moving metal touches metal. Specifically - in this photo (the silver part) - the pin in the latch should get a nice coating of grease (thin, but noticeable)

The rubber points should all get a fingertip coating of silicone grease.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tonneau lid front edge.jpg (89.3 KB, 2438 views)
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Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 05:15:06 PM   #9
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This photo shows LOTS of lubrication opportunities..

At the very bottom is the rubber seal on the body of the car that seals the tonneau cover when it's closed. This should get a very thin coating of the silicone grease. At the top center - you see the rubber seal for the front edge of the tonneau cover to the inside of the car - on the E46 this has fuzz - so no lube necessary. On the E36 (from memory) - it is bare rubber - so some silicone lube is a GOOD thing.

You can also see some of the primary pivot points for the top bows (left bottom) - these should each get a drop of motor oil at the point where moving metal touches metal. Some of them are down inside the car a bit - but they can be reached easily from above.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tonneau mechanism details.jpg (67.7 KB, 2401 views)
__________________
Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..

Last edited by deilenberger; Sun, Jul-09-2006 at 05:17:38 PM.
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Old Sun, Jul-09-2006, 05:19:40 PM   #10
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Found one more..

This one shows the seal on the leading edge of the top.. and my finger is pointing to the part that should get lubed. It follows the general rule - if there is bare rubber to bare rubber contact - silicone grease..
Attached Images
File Type: jpg front seal detail.jpg (59.5 KB, 2296 views)
__________________
Don Eilenberger AKA bellymeisterburgermeister and denilegiiiiiiiiiiiiibennnnegerieragher (but that's misspelled..)
  • About a dozen other BMWs through the years..
  • 2001 M-Coupe - TiSilver/Black - Das Boot.. - SOLD
  • 2002 M3C/6 - Imola Red/Black - SOLD
  • 2003 525iT - Green/Tan - SOLD - replaced with Lexus
  • 2006 Cayenne/S - Iceland Silver Metallic/Stone-steel Gray - Truckster. - SOLD
  • 2007 R1200R - Roadster, black mit/white pinstripes - SOLD and not forgotten..
  • 2012 R1200R - Roadster, Ruby Red - the new REAL BMW..
  • 2011 Lexus RX-350. SWMBO's toy.
  • 2011 Porsche Cayenne Turbo, white/black. My new toy..
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Discussing DIY: Quiet down your convertible in the Faults, Fixes and DIY Forum - Please share your experience and knowledge with other members by contributing your own DIY, or by helping another member find the elusive fix! at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)