Bimmerfest - BMW Forums - View Single Post - Buying an E36?
Thread: Buying an E36?
View Single Post
Old 12-31-2012, 07:44 AM
dc_wright's Avatar
dc_wright dc_wright is offline
bimmerfest Supporting Member
Location: Orlando, Florida
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 11,939
Send a message via ICQ to dc_wright
Mein Auto: '06 Z4 3.0si, '11 128CiC
Originally Posted by jonesin View Post
For 'Verts, these should help. As for what to look for specifically, I've never owned one, so I couldn't say. Hopefully one of our "Vert Guru's will chime in here.

Don't buy a vert with a top that isn't flawlessy functional and in good condition without extracting a significant price concession from the seller. The list below provides typical failures of the BMW vert top and some reference repair costs as examples. Labor rates vary significantly geographically so you should get a local quote to make an informed decision. My figures provided are intended to either put your mind at ease or scare the crap out of you and some sense into you BEFORE you make your purchase decision.

Typical faults and costs to repair:

Center of top interferes with storage compartment lid while opening or closing - Needs gas struts replaced. Parts are about $130 and it's about a one hour job and fairly easy DIY. Dealer will charge about $500.

Forward edge of storage compartment lid contacts or jams against the driver side base of the top frame - The tension straps that pull the rear most bow of the top up are shot. Many have successfully made a kluge fix with bungee cord or surgical tubing for less than $20. Tension strap replacement requires removal of the top so look at $1,500 to $2,000 at the dealer for just the strap replacement due to the amount of labor required.

Rear window cracked or badly yellowed/fogged - If it's an OEM top the window can be zipped out and replaced. OEM replacement window is about $500 but aftermarket can be purchased for about $200 and it's not a hard DIY if you've got a helper.

Top canvas has holes, seams are splitting open, or seam thread is breaking down - Means it's top replacement time. After market tops can be purchased for about $500 but add another $500 for tension straps, bat wings, and lacing cord kit. It's possible to do it yourself but it's time consuming. After market installation of a top. tension straps, and required hardware is $2,500 - $3,000 drive out.

Semi automatic top not moving when control button is pressed - Can be as simple as a microswitch needing adjustment or replacement ($50 DIY -$300-$500 Dealer) or a defective top drive motor or controller which are in the $1,000 ea to have replaced.

Fully automatic top not moving when control button is pressed - Everything for the semiautomatic top plus add broken drive shafts for the front latching mechanism ($$ unknown) or a bad forward drive motor ($$ unknown)
2006 Z4 3.0si Sport Package (But I'll still hang with my "homies" in the E36 forum)
Reply With Quote