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E36 /7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 roadster and coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 11-16-2009, 07:20 AM
alandelucia alandelucia is offline
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Z3 Subframe. How bad is this

Looks like its starting for me. Should I worry yet? Is there any way to be preventative now (rivets, new welds?) Thoughts?


From the trunk, you can see the left 2 spot welds are coming one. The first one is much worse.

At the diff, the hanger is cracking. The crack goes in 2 directions.
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  #2  
Old 11-16-2009, 10:39 AM
chgrec chgrec is offline
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2 words - Randy Forbes...

You need to fix this as it will get worse. I did a temporary floor repairs on mine a few years ago but didnt do the diff tab because it hadnt starting tearing. a couple of weeks ago it tore loose while pulling out of a driveway. Thrilled that it didnt happen while on the interstate during rush hour.

I bought Randys kit and since I can weld, did a modifed version of the install myself over a weekend. Amazing precision on the kit, excellent instructions and the car is solid as a rock.
A couple of threads:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=388187
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1285717

I feel your pain.....But it isnt horrible to fix especially since you caught it early..
Chris
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  #3  
Old 11-16-2009, 05:22 PM
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chgrec has given you the best advice!
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2009, 11:28 PM
z3couper z3couper is offline
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Call BMWNA. They will fix it, on their dime. Don't let them say no. I know of 2 confirmed recent fixes that BMW covered. I have heard of several others.
If you want lots of info on subframe issues, check this thread.
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  #5  
Old 11-19-2009, 06:48 AM
chgrec chgrec is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z3couper View Post
Call BMWNA. They will fix it, on their dime. Don't let them say no. I know of 2 confirmed recent fixes that BMW covered. I have heard of several others.
If you want lots of info on subframe issues, check this thread.
Sure and Santa is bringing a pony and the government can do everything cheaper and faster....

Not to disparage your optimism, I'll bet I can find 10X as many people who BMW told to go jump in a lake, including myself. After spending hours and hours arguing with BMW NA (and the local dealer where we had spent $$$ on my wife's new 3 series conv), and after many many times being told that I was either an idiot or a horrible driver, they said no.

So while it is worth a shot, I wouldn't get your hopes up.
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'03 Jeep Wrangler Sahara (car #57 / 1st truck)
'98 BMW 3 series conv (53rd car owned - wife's former car) **For sale**
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  #6  
Old 11-19-2009, 08:51 AM
z3couper z3couper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgrec View Post
Sure and Santa is bringing a pony and the government can do everything cheaper and faster....

Not to disparage your optimism, I'll bet I can find 10X as many people who BMW told to go jump in a lake, including myself. After spending hours and hours arguing with BMW NA (and the local dealer where we had spent $$$ on my wife's new 3 series conv), and after many many times being told that I was either an idiot or a horrible driver, they said no.

So while it is worth a shot, I wouldn't get your hopes up.
I don't care how many people you can find that haven't had BMWNA fix it on their dime. Ignorance would be the reason it didn't happen. I can find you just as many people who ignorantly gave up, or didn't try at all to have BMW fix it for free. Now that the E46 lawsuit has been settled, BMW has become more willing to work with Z3 guys. It's a matter of fact. The variable is that you need a good dealership who is willing to go to bat for you. Lucky for me, there are several in the Phoenix area. If/when I have subframe issues, you can bet that I'll get it fixed for free.

kthxbye
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  #7  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:06 AM
chgrec chgrec is offline
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Originally Posted by z3couper View Post
I don't care how many people you can find that haven't had BMWNA fix it on their dime. Ignorance would be the reason it didn't happen. I can find you just as many people who ignorantly gave up, or didn't try at all to have BMW fix it for free. Now that the E46 lawsuit has been settled, BMW has become more willing to work with Z3 guys. It's a matter of fact. The variable is that you need a good dealership who is willing to go to bat for you. Lucky for me, there are several in the Phoenix area. If/when I have subframe issues, you can bet that I'll get it fixed for free.

kthxbye
I don’t want this to get to be an argument as this is not the thread or place for that. I can only base this on my previous history and extensive research done over the past several years. I can guarantee you that I am not ignorant. I can also say that with the exception of this issue, Global Imports in Atlanta is one of the best BMW dealers around. They were simply following lock step in what BMW NA told them to do.

I'm also not talking about people who didn’t try but well educated, persistent people who had very valid arguments that were ignored or discounted by BMW. If you'd like to show me or document your "It's a matter of fact" facts, I'd be more than happy to listen.

Of course their fix is to put it back to the factory setup. And that is why it failed in the first place, poor engineering and even worse implementation.

Hopefully you wont have to test your theory. I just don’t want folks to think you simply stroll into BMW and they will roll out the red carpet to fix your Z/M’s rear end tear.

Chris
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  #8  
Old 11-19-2009, 09:13 AM
z3couper z3couper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgrec View Post
I don’t want this to get to be an argument as this is not the thread or place for that. I can only base this on my previous history and extensive research done over the past several years. I can guarantee you that I am not ignorant. I can also say that with the exception of this issue, Global Imports in Atlanta is one of the best BMW dealers around. They were simply following lock step in what BMW NA told them to do.

I'm also not talking about people who didn’t try but well educated, persistent people who had very valid arguments that were ignored or discounted by BMW. If you'd like to show me or document your "It's a matter of fact" facts, I'd be more than happy to listen.

Of course their fix is to put it back to the factory setup. And that is why it failed in the first place, poor engineering and even worse implementation.

Hopefully you wont have to test your theory. I just don’t want folks to think you simply stroll into BMW and they will roll out the red carpet to fix your Z/M’s rear end tear.

Chris
Ignorance does not mean ignorant. Ignorance is simply a lack of knowledge. It was not intended as an insult to anybody. Sorry if I offended you.

Each instance will certainly vary. I don't have anything to prove. Believe it or don't. I just don't want people to think that they *have* to pay for it out of pocket. If you are roiling in dough and a few grand means little to you, save your time and just pay to have it fixed. However, if you don't have money to just throw around, be prepared with info from the thread I posted, among others. Call BMWNA, state your case, and cross your fingers. There isn't a recall, or SIB on the subframe. So showing them that you know what you are talking about is half the battle.
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  #9  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:12 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z3couper View Post
I don't care how many people you can find that haven't had BMWNA fix it on their dime. Ignorance would be the reason it didn't happen. I can find you just as many people who ignorantly gave up, or didn't try at all to have BMW fix it for free. Now that the E46 lawsuit has been settled, BMW has become more willing to work with Z3 guys. It's a matter of fact. The variable is that you need a good dealership who is willing to go to bat for you. Lucky for me, there are several in the Phoenix area. If/when I have subframe issues, you can bet that I'll get it fixed for free.

kthxbye
No, there have been plenty of people that tried all the right angles and were denied. Trust me, I've provided data for a lot of them, and they ultimately turn to me.

While it's good if BMWNA will fix your car, please remember that it is only fixed back to its original factory condidtion; and we know where that leads, which is okay if you don't plan on long-term ownership.

It's good that you have dealers in Phoenix that will work with you, and I suggest you get started down that avenue right away, because the LSB car already has trouble brewing. I provided you with pictures (cracked around the manually added tack welds).
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  #10  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:27 PM
z3couper z3couper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
No, there have been plenty of people that tried all the right angles and were denied. Trust me, I've provided data for a lot of them, and they ultimately turn to me.

While it's good if BMWNA will fix your car, please remember that it is only fixed back to its original factory condidtion; and we know where that leads, which is okay if you don't plan on long-term ownership.

It's good that you have dealers in Phoenix that will work with you, and I suggest you get started down that avenue right away, because the LSB car already has trouble brewing. I provided you with pictures (cracked around the manually added tack welds).
From what I understand, BMW has stated that the new trunk floors that they are installing are a new design, or at least have a different method used to put them together.
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  #11  
Old 11-19-2009, 02:35 PM
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From what I understand, BMW has stated that the new trunk floors that they are installing are a new design, or at least have a different method used to put them together.
Parts procurement people at the local dealership have found no succesion of parts. In other words, no improvement.

From a logistics standpoint, I do not think that they can "improve" that assembly without creating a real problem for themselves, as the bodyshell that they used to pass crash-worthiness tests would not be the same as the one post-repair.

In fact, the replacement trunkfloor panel assemblies that I have seen do not even have the tack-welds that were added to cars assembled for mid-year onward 2000 models. Now seeing that those too are prone to failure...







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Last edited by Randy Forbes; 11-19-2009 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:40 PM
z3couper z3couper is offline
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Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
Parts procurement people at the local dealership have found no succesion of parts. In other words, no improvement.

In fact, the replacement trunkfloor panel assemblies that I have seen do not even have the tack-welds that were added to cars assembled for mid-year onward 2000 models. Now seeing that those too are prone to failure...
The statement that I made was in reference to a replacement that was done in the last 3 months. Could there be a recent change, or is BMW blowing smoke? I'd rather have your reinforcement anyway Randy. I just don't have the extra cash right now.
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Old 11-19-2009, 02:56 PM
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I know, but I wanted to hold your car hostage...

I just looked up the part number from one of my oldest ETKs (circa 2001) and the number hasn't changed: 41 12 2 489 960. Currently a "good" number, listing for $2586.25 (higher than my $2300.00 base reinforcement installation price).

On the surface, looks like the same trunkfloor as originally installed, though I can almost hear the service advisor(s) now...
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:02 PM
z3couper z3couper is offline
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Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
I know, but I wanted to hold your car hostage...

I just looked up the part number from one of my oldest ETKs (circa 2001) and the number hasn't changed: 41 12 2 489 960. Currently a "good" number, listing for $2586.25 (higher than my $2300.00 base reinforcement installation price).

On the surface, looks like the same trunkfloor as originally installed, though I can almost hear the service advisor(s) now...
That does suck if that's the case. Good for your wallet though!
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:40 PM
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I had my car on the lift yesterday for some maintenance before storing for the winter . I studied the rear frame area etc. I noticed the extra factory welds between the spot welds, everything so far is like new. At what point Randy do you suggest getting your repair kit and installing it. Now, when still like new, or do I have time until I see what the OP in this thread now sees on his car?

It makes no sense to me to have the dealer just put it back the way it was ( it would never look factory again, Dealer does not mean "factory" ). If your going to redo everything it should be done so it won't happen again, in fact I would like to see a dealer repair job, we know its not a fix but I'll bet look wise it's not as nice as Randy's permanent fix. I don't understand after all this time why BMW doesn't adapt something to prevent it from happening again like Randy has done. I don't think BMW cares if it happens again or not as far as they're concerned they did their part. I mean you have it all apart why just put it back the same. I could see the dealer's repair even making it weaker then factory.

Last edited by Mroads; 11-19-2009 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 11-19-2009, 04:35 PM
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Jeff Butler at Haury's Lake City Collision in Seattle developed a reinforcement fix for Z3s not showing any signs of broken welds and differential bracket cracks. The reinforcement plates consist of 1/4 inch plate stock on either side of the floor seam secured with adhesive and bolts inserted in between the weld points. The reinforced differential bracket is basically two OE brackets sandwiched together.
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Modified diff bracket
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OE diff bracket
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I had this mod done to my Z3MC at about 60,000 miles and ran the car in numerous track events until I sold it at 105,000 miles with nary a crack or broken tack weld.
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Old 11-19-2009, 04:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
Parts procurement people at the local dealership have found no succesion of parts. In other words, no improvement.
I thought there were differenent parts. Not the trunk panel though. We discussed it here if I remember right.
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:17 PM
Mroads Mroads is offline
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Originally Posted by jmillet View Post
Jeff Butler at Haury's Lake City Collision in Seattle developed a reinforcement fix for Z3s not showing any signs of broken welds and differential bracket cracks. The reinforcement plates consist of 1/4 inch plate stock on either side of the floor seam secured with adhesive and bolts inserted in between the weld points. The reinforced differential bracket is basically two OE brackets sandwiched together.

I had this mod done to my Z3MC at about 60,000 miles and ran the car in numerous track events until I sold it at 105,000 miles with nary a crack or broken tack weld.
That looks like it would work and very neatly done. I would prefer Randy's close to factory look that I have seen from Randy's pictures. Although I don't think I have seen the fix before something happens. I don't want to sound like a jerk but the car is like brand new and all original. I want to keep that original look but prevent damage from happening.
I don't track the car or dump the clutch in first. I do however go thru the gears fast, is that enough to cause damage?

Last edited by Mroads; 11-19-2009 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Stygar View Post
I thought there were differenent parts. Not the trunk panel though. We discussed it here if I remember right.
I guess I missed this post; sorry Ron

There is a new differential mounting bracket that includes a section of channel. I can only presume that it was developed to make a quick and easy repair for the dealerships to use. Interestingly enough, the only picture I've seen of it being used, was on a car being fixed in the UK.

BMWNA seems to prescribe the entire trunkfloor assembly, which is a much bigger project. I know, as I had a car so bad this past winter that required the entire assembly to replace a split LH longitudinal rail. Most of the cars are easily repaired using just my reinforcement package__MUCH less invasive than replacing the trunkfloor.

An example of replacing the entire trunkfloor can be seen below:



























This entire project, from start to finish (717 pictures) can be seen at: http://www.rfdm.com/gallery/album124
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:39 AM
Z3SteveJ Z3SteveJ is offline
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Originally Posted by Mroads View Post
That looks like it would work and very neatly done. I would prefer Randy's close to factory look that I have seen from Randy's pictures. Although I don't think I have seen the fix before something happens. I don't want to sound like a jerk but the car is like brand new and all original. I want to keep that original look but prevent damage from happening.
I don't track the car or dump the clutch in first. I do however go thru the gears fast, is that enough to cause damage?
With all of this talk about the subframe, I checked mine for the first time this past week. No indication of a problem. I've decided to just keep checking and not worry about it until I see a problem. I haven't seen any posts where an owner was careful with periodic checks and suddenly encountered a bad problem. From all I've seen, I think you'd be OK to just keep an eye on things and use Randy's fix at the first sign of trouble. I have 40K on my 2002 2.5, and it's a year round daily driver. Lots of short trips, with a cruise at least weekly of 30-40 miles. My check consists of just looking at the spot welds on the trunk floor.
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:00 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Originally Posted by Z3SteveJ View Post
With all of this talk about the subframe, I checked mine for the first time this past week. No indication of a problem. I've decided to just keep checking and not worry about it until I see a problem. I haven't seen any posts where an owner was careful with periodic checks and suddenly encountered a bad problem. From all I've seen, I think you'd be OK to just keep an eye on things and use Randy's fix at the first sign of trouble. I have 40K on my 2002 2.5, and it's a year round daily driver. Lots of short trips, with a cruise at least weekly of 30-40 miles. My check consists of just looking at the spot welds on the trunk floor.
That has been my recommendation to concerned owners over the past five (5) years.

Of course for owners that want to be proactive, I'm okay with that too
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Old 11-21-2009, 04:43 PM
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You need more vice grips Randy.
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  #23  
Old 11-24-2009, 06:39 PM
IanR IanR is offline
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Hello everyone newbie here. I just purchased an 01 M roadster with 39K miles and I'm looking to do Randy's kit preemptively. Anyone happen to know of a good bodyshop in San Diego that could do this work?
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  #24  
Old 11-24-2009, 09:53 PM
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You need more vice grips Randy.
Beat me to it
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Old 11-25-2009, 09:59 AM
Mroads Mroads is offline
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You need more vice grips Randy.
If you want it done right you need the tools to do it, in this case vice grips, you can never have too many.
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