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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 09-29-2013, 07:04 PM
pyedog pyedog is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW Z3
z3 in Raleigh NC needs a new top

My wife bought a 1998 Z3 with 98k miles. It is generally in good shape, but it has the dreaded (by me) oil filter leak and it needs a new top.

I'd be interested in any recommendations anyone has for someone to replace the top in the area.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 09-30-2013, 08:52 AM
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tim330i tim330i is offline
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Location: Boston
 
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Mein Auto: Ti Silver 03 M3
Welcome to Bimmerfest! I've moved your thread over to the Z3 forum. You'll get help from other members with Z3s here.

Good luck,
Tim
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2013, 12:45 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
BMW CCA 1405
Location: Louisville, KY
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyedog View Post
... 1998 Z3... needs a new top. I'd be interested in any recommendations anyone has for someone to replace the top in the area.
This place was recommended by a forum member as a good Z3 top installer:
Auto Tops and Interiors
303 N. West St.
Raleigh NC 27603
(919) 821-4425
info@autointeriorsandtops.com
http://www.autointeriorsandtops.com/convertible.htm
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  #4  
Old 10-04-2013, 12:52 PM
midget midget is offline
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Pyedog: I'm in Raleigh as well and am also in need of a new top. Did you have any luck in finding anyone? Price?
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  #5  
Old 10-04-2013, 01:03 PM
pyedog pyedog is offline
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Our top is in pretty bad shape, so we have to do it. Auto Tops and Interiors (919-821-4425) in Raleigh will be doing it in a couple weeks for around $1350.00 - which stings, but we don't drive the car if rain is even remotely possible so I'd rather spend the money and have a car I can actually drive. I asked and they won't give a quantity discount - ah well.

I purchased a beige top from https://www.convertibletopguys.com in January but I simply don't have the time (or patience) to do it. I decided it was better to get it done right and spend extra money rather than keep not doing it. I replaced the leather on the seats (and added seat heaters) but the top seems more daunting. It seems to be of good quality, and I can make someone a deal on it if they have more time and skill than I currently have.

Hopefully it will come out nice. I'll post pictures when it is done.
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  #6  
Old 10-04-2013, 01:19 PM
midget midget is offline
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Thanks! Do you know what brand / type of top they'll be putting on? I take it they wouldn't install the one you bought?
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  #7  
Old 10-04-2013, 01:33 PM
pyedog pyedog is offline
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I didn't even ask about them installing my top - I figure if I'm paying them to install it I want them to guarantee it. The last thing I want is a leaky roof with everyone saying it is the other guys fault. They claim 1 year warranty on labor and 6 year warranty on parts. I figure if it doesn't leak the first year it will probably be good to go.

Not sure who makes the top - I'll let you know when I find out, but I suspect it might be a Robbins top (someone else said they got a Robbins top from them a couple years ago).
Material is Dark Beige Sonnendeck Canvas - same as the top I bought but didn't install. Should be the same as original (more or less), although it will have a sewn window rather than zippered.

Fingers crossed.
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  #8  
Old 10-04-2013, 06:12 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyedog View Post
... Auto Tops and Interiors (919-821-4425) in Raleigh will be doing it in a couple weeks for around $1350.00...
That is a little less than what I paid a good top shop here to furnish and install a GAHH 150-04-35120-04, Hartz Sonnendeck (Twillfast II) fabric, 237 Sandalwood color, tinted sewn-in window.
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  #9  
Old 10-28-2013, 08:38 AM
pyedog pyedog is offline
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I figured I'd report back:

It looks good and was ready in 2 days as promised, but they said to give it 2-3 weeks to stretch the fabric before lowering the top. Apparently 2 weeks is normal in warm weather, but with things cooling off they felt 3 weeks would be better.
It is actually a GAHH top. The install/fit seems good, no folds/puckers/etc. - it is VERY tight everywhere. Much better job than I would have been able to do.

Only 2 minor complications:
1) They said a screw or nut (I can't remember which) fell under the driver's side seat. The raised the seat to get it and it wouldn't go back down, so they had to take the seat out and manually run it down a bit. It seems to work fine now, but they put the seat belt on backwards so it had a twist in it. Not too difficult to fix, but annoying since it is a long(ish) bolt for the location when the seat is installed. Couldn't get a socket on it so I had to use a box end which took a while. I need to invest in some metric ratcheting box end wrenches. Maybe for Christmas.
2) One of the straps that positions the bows in the back on the right side seems to be twisted. It will work fine and isn't noticeable unless you look for it, but I'd have to drill out the rivet and redo it in order to fix it. Not worth the trouble.

Other than those trivial issues, it looks good and doesn't seem to leak (my wife washed the car with the hose). I'll report back in a couple weeks when we lower the top - they said even then it will be tight closing it for a while.

I can post some photos if anyone is interested.

Now I need to fix the oil cooler leak ... it never ends ...

Thanks for the Help!
-Jim
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  #10  
Old 10-28-2013, 03:28 PM
ashevillez3 ashevillez3 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 Z3 2.8 Roadster
Quote:
Originally Posted by pyedog View Post
I didn't even ask about them installing my top - I figure if I'm paying them to install it I want them to guarantee it. The last thing I want is a leaky roof with everyone saying it is the other guys fault. They claim 1 year warranty on labor and 6 year warranty on parts. I figure if it doesn't leak the first year it will probably be good to go.

Not sure who makes the top - I'll let you know when I find out, but I suspect it might be a Robbins top (someone else said they got a Robbins top from them a couple years ago).
Material is Dark Beige Sonnendeck Canvas - same as the top I bought but didn't install. Should be the same as original (more or less), although it will have a sewn window rather than zippered.

Fingers crossed.
I'm on the other end of the state.. Asheville area. Funny, I got a quote for an install of a replacement top, and the installer said it would be less expensive if I purchase the top myself and pay him to install it. He wants $600 labor for the install. While I was at his shop there was another Z3 getting a top installed. I can pick up a Robbins brand top for around $400, so my total would be around $1000.00. Not bad I guess.
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  #11  
Old 10-28-2013, 04:27 PM
pieceofwork pieceofwork is offline
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Mein Auto: 97 Z3 2.8 Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashevillez3 View Post
I'm on the other end of the state.. Asheville area. Funny, I got a quote for an install of a replacement top, and the installer said it would be less expensive if I purchase the top myself and pay him to install it. He wants $600 labor for the install. While I was at his shop there was another Z3 getting a top installed. I can pick up a Robbins brand top for around $400, so my total would be around $1000.00. Not bad I guess.
I like the Robbins with the sewn-in rain gutter - I would think this helps with the amount of water that drips on the seats when you open the door on the OEM top.
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2013, 11:23 AM
safetyfast1500 safetyfast1500 is offline
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Location: Boone, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 3.0 Roadster
Quote:
Originally Posted by ashevillez3 View Post
I'm on the other end of the state.. Asheville area. Funny, I got a quote for an install of a replacement top, and the installer said it would be less expensive if I purchase the top myself and pay him to install it. He wants $600 labor for the install. While I was at his shop there was another Z3 getting a top installed. I can pick up a Robbins brand top for around $400, so my total would be around $1000.00. Not bad I guess.
What shop in Asheville?
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  #13  
Old 11-06-2013, 02:05 PM
ashevillez3 ashevillez3 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2000 Z3 2.8 Roadster
Quote:
Originally Posted by safetyfast1500 View Post
What shop in Asheville?
It's in Fletcher... about 5 miles south of Asheville. James Auto Upholstery, 828-650-6505. I hope to get my Z3 in there in the next month or so.
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2013, 03:11 PM
RhoXS RhoXS is offline
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Make sure the shop also replaces the "bow straps". These are flexible (like rubber band flexible) straps that help control the top. They are probably completely flaccid now and will provide no tension so the top wont behave well. With the new stiff canvas it will slam on top of the windshield and will not open without you helping it. I discovered the need to replace these straps when a supposedly reputable shop in Stuart, Florida replaced my canvas. The top worked perfectly as described in the manual before they replaced it but could not be adjusted afterward. The shop blamed it on new stiff canvas but BMW replaced the top in warranty and it worked perfectly then. I later discovered the "bow-straps" should always be replaced when the top is replaced. I had BMW redo the top and it worked fine again.
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2013, 09:32 AM
Bimmer1954 Bimmer1954 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 X5, 2001 Z3
For the what it's worth department, on 9/26/13, I had Auto Interior & Tops in Raleigh (919- 821-4425) replace the roof on my 2001 Z3 and they did an awesome job. The roof was manufactured by Robbins Auto Top, LLC part number 2750CTWBGB which is a beige top. I worked with Travis and Tom there. Tom knows the owner of Robbins Top personally. They [Robbins] do have a limited lifetime warranty that does not include the rear plastic window (no manufacturers cover the plastic window after installation). There are other exceptions to these manufacturer lifetime warranties, but Auto Interiors & Tops backed the roof for 6 years and if there is ever a problem with Robbins roof, they work directly with Robbins to replace it. I paid $676 for the roof and the labor was $612 adding the tax of $45.63 brought the total price to $1333.63. I had this same shop do other work for me about 15 years ago on two other vehicles and their work is great quality and lasts. Thus the reason I went back to them for the top on my Z3.

Hope this helps,
Rick
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  #16  
Old 11-07-2013, 11:58 AM
pieceofwork pieceofwork is offline
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Location: VA
 
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Mein Auto: 97 Z3 2.8 Automatic
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer1954 View Post
For the what it's worth department, on 9/26/13, I had Auto Interior & Tops in Raleigh (919- 821-4425) replace the roof on my 2001 Z3 and they did an awesome job. The roof was manufactured by Robbins Auto Top, LLC part number 2750CTWBGB which is a beige top. I worked with Travis and Tom there. Tom knows the owner of Robbins Top personally. They [Robbins] do have a limited lifetime warranty that does not include the rear plastic window (no manufacturers cover the plastic window after installation). There are other exceptions to these manufacturer lifetime warranties, but Auto Interiors & Tops backed the roof for 6 years and if there is ever a problem with Robbins roof, they work directly with Robbins to replace it. I paid $676 for the roof and the labor was $612 adding the tax of $45.63 brought the total price to $1333.63. I had this same shop do other work for me about 15 years ago on two other vehicles and their work is great quality and lasts. Thus the reason I went back to them for the top on my Z3.

Hope this helps,
Rick
Awesome information, thanks for sharing. I have a Robbins top on my MGB - great product.
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2014, 10:01 AM
safetyfast1500 safetyfast1500 is offline
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Location: Boone, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 3.0 Roadster
I just scheduled my 2001 Z3 for a new top at Auto Tops & Interiors in Raleigh.
He said it will be a bit over $1500.
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  #18  
Old 05-20-2014, 02:01 PM
Haschish Haschish is offline
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Location: Marietta, GA
 
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Mein Auto: 1999 Z3 2.3 Roadster
Quote:
Originally Posted by safetyfast1500 View Post
I just scheduled my 2001 Z3 for a new top at Auto Tops & Interiors in Raleigh.
He said it will be a bit over $1500.
From $1350 (Oct 2013) to $1500 (May 2014) seems a bit of a stretttttch!
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  #19  
Old 07-28-2014, 06:21 AM
biker6977 biker6977 is offline
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I bought a top and will be replacing it myself in the next couple of weeks. Paid $400 for the top off line, Will replace the bow straps as well. Will attach pictures when finished.
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