Procedure for resetting the E36 convertible top
You will need to use this procedure to reset the convertible top on your e36 if you have replaced a motor for the top or if you did any other work which involved pulling the emergency release handle that is located under the rear seat.
Two motors in the trunk are what drives the top mechanism. One of these motors drives the storage bin lid and the other motor drives the actual convertible top. When you close the top using the emergency handle, the motors pop away from their transmission drives. In this DIY, you will learn the steps needed to snap these motors back to their drives.
- Make sure the emergency handle under the seat has been pulled to disengage the motors.
- Manually operate the top with your hands and put the top back into the storage bin.
- Close the lid on the storage bin as far as it will go down.
- Open the trunk to access the motors. There is a safety interlock that prevents the trunk from being opened while the storage bin is open so if the trunk wont open, put a little pressure on the storage bin lid and then try again.
- Working inside the trunk, use a screw driver to pry out the two plastic clips that are holding the drivers side carpet liner to the left side of the trunk.
- You can see the two motors now that the carpet liner is removed. These motors are on a pivoting system which allows them to be disengaged and engaged without having to remove any bolts. You need to push these motors back up against the drive mechanisms that they control. You will feel the motors latch back onto the drives and lock in. Just be sure that the motors are fully seated onto the drive.
- Close the trunk and get into the e36 cabriolet.
- Without having the key in the ignition, press and hold the switch for the top in the up position (to close the top). While continuing to hold the switch, turn the ignition to the ACC position (without starting the car) and leave it there.
- After 12 seconds passes, the lid will be pulled down into the locked position. Then after a few more seconds, the top will start closing like it normally does.
- Your top should now be completely re-synced. You may want to run the top up and down a couple times to be sure that the motors are fully seated.