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Old 09-26-2009, 09:05 PM   #1
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Default California roof switch and wire harness problem

The headliner/upholstery cover for my 1996 318ti California sunroof switch started detaching about a year ago. It began on hot days where the temp inside the car got really hot. At first I could just push it back up and keep going. Over time it got worse and worse and the glue that held the velcro melted/came loose. I have replaced the velcro many different ways and I just can't get it to stay up. I even switched to the velcro that holds up elephants and still it falls down. Things progressed until the brown wire detached from the switch from falling so much-so I no longer could open the top unless I held the wire to the switch. Now things are totally #!/)@!! because I asked my neighbor-the mechanic-to reattach the wire and he decides to remove the wiring harness. Now the plug that inserts to the cover motor is out but the metal tabs that make the connection to the motor are broke off in the motor unit. So now the cover sits on the seat beside me.
I can't take it to the dealer-at least not now. Can anyone tell me what I should/could do to correct this mess? Does the wire harness come with the purchase of a new switch? How do I get the broken tab out? If I pushed the plug back in and the tab touches the plug, would it work (assuming I can get the brown wire touching or back in place on the switch} Please, ti experts, help me!
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Old 09-26-2009, 10:50 PM   #2
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hmm.... might need to post pictures so we can have a better idea of what is wrong/needed. and no, the harness doesnt come with a switch. you should've just bought a new cover b/c they are cheap. sucks man. post a picture or something so we can help you out. might be able to meet up to help out a bit.
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:48 PM   #3
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Marv 17-thank you for your reply. I am trying to get a couple of pictures that shows what happened. In the meanwhile, it would be of great help to hear what is the proper removal of the plug that goes from the open/close switch to the back of the california roof motor (the plug opening faces the windshield and you have to look in it with a mirror) The switch is the black one with the part where the wires are inserted are white. The 2 wires that lead from the switch to the plug in question are 1 black and 1 green. Thanks. Also, why is it that I cannot access the Cali roof articles in the knowledge base? I actually purchased the BMW service manual from e-bay but it came on cd-rom and I don't can't access the files on it either. I'm having a time of it lately, aren't I?
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Old 10-07-2009, 06:59 PM   #4
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FYI the files for cali top removal are in the maintenance articles section of thi site in .pdf format. they might show you what you need.
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Old 10-07-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately for me, this site will not give me access to the Cali roof articles. I tried again and again and all I get is access denied. Please enlighten me as to how to open these files. For now, won't someone just tell me if there is a secret to unplugging the 2 wire connector from the motor that has the green and the black wire in it-or if it's even considered removable? live in California and I need some air!
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Old 10-08-2009, 03:36 AM   #6
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just emailed them to you.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:56 PM   #7
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Dear ya'll,
Thanks for sending the Cali roof files. The instructions were a little different than for my BMW. It is the German model and made slightly different than the pictures in the articles. The articles did, however, give me enough clues that I was able to correctly size-up the situation and get the roof opening and closing again perfectly. I know you guys probably fix things properly but sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.
Tools and materials-dremel, electrical tape, metal tabs from inside an old battery operated shoe polisher, cigarette lighter, needle nose pliers. Cost to get it working-zero!
When I find and can afford the correct replacement parts, I know how to fix it back properly. I now know the plug that bears the green and black wires should not be removed from the motor. It has metal tabs that are soldiered to the motor connectors. The roof motor with wires intact is easily removed by removing 2 screws and then it is easy to reinsert wires back into the switch assembly. If for some reason you simply must remove the soldiered plug, there is a round silicone window in the motor housing adjacent to where the interior connection/plug tabs make contact. You can access the area through these holes to desoldier for removal, soldier to replace or just check for proper contact. This is how mine is put together-maybe it was rigged already? Best you just leave that plug alone unless you break off the metal tabs like my neighbor, the mechanic, did. For now-my Cali roof works! The velcro is holding the interior cover that houses the switch-for now. Sometimes life is good! If only it weren't raining....
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