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2003 bmw 325ci convertible

I put the top down on my BMW and now it won’t go back up. Is there a way to manually put it back up? How do I unlock the compartment holding the top in?

There most likely is a procedure to manually restore the roof in case of a malfunction. Check the owner’s manual and see if the procedure is in there.

If you have the owner’s manual, it will tell you. It might not be the same but the BMW Z4 convertible has a cable pull bypass in the inside top of the trunk. The cable pull is an orange plastic ring in the Z4 but, as I said, it might not be the same as yours.

Do I just pull it?

I have a green one

Yes, you pull it. That should open a bypass in the hydraulic motor so you can manually raise or lower the top. You should only need to pull it, let go and then be able to lift or lower the top.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem to work perfectly, at least that’s what happened on my friend’s 2003 Z4 I was fixing. It might be if you stop moving the top, it can reset and you would have to pull the ring again. If it doesn’t work perfectly, try using a helper. While one person pulls on the cable and holds it, the other can move the top. No need to pull the cable too hard. It only pulls out about an inch and as long as it moves until it stops, you’re good.

I don’t know if yours is the same and it might not be but the Z4 has a poorly designed placement of the electro/hydraulic convertible top motor. Water, either from rain or simply washing the car, gets into the motor compartment and, while there is a drain hole, it is undersized and will clog with debris after awhile. This will eventually result in a failed, corroded out electrical motor. In addition, in the Z4 the motor is clad in a protective plastic cover that is lined on the inside with foam. Unfortunately, the foam tends to soak up the water like a sponge and keep the motor wet for days or weeks or who knows how long. Replacing the motor is very labor intensive as you have to remove the whole convertible top assembly and access to some fasteners is a challenge. The motor itself costs around $650 at the dealer although there are online sources that sell for about $360. I only did it once and I would prefer not to do it again anytime soon.

Anyway, sorry for the long winded extra detail. I just mentioned it for context. Your model likely has design differences and might not be as bad.

Thank you for your help. Turns out that green handle didn’t really do anything. And also they didn’t give me the convertible manual as I would expect would come with the car? I had to download the right one and it showed me how to. I had to remove a piece from the back seat and push a button to unlock the compartment that holds the top. Then I manually did it until the motor was strong enough close the rest. Thanks for your help anyways!

Sorry, I couldn’t help more. It sounds like the motor is starting to fail.

“Turns out that green handle didn’t really do anything.”

It probably opens the trunk from the inside. Just in case someone gets locked in accidentally or as a prank. Now that your top is up, what are you going to do? I think that you should get it fixed. Maybe the mechanism just needs to be lubricated. That could account for the “weak motor”.