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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 11-21-2006, 09:19 PM
jmai jmai is offline
Joe
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 98 2.8 Roadster
Z3 Extended Leather Peeling Dash Repair (long)

The Problem

My car is a 98 2.8 with a tanin red, extended leather interior. Car has been garaged and does not excessively sit in the sun. Many tanin red, extended leather owners have mentioned peeling. (see pic) Most common is the passenger side airbag cover and instrument panel bezel. The leather shrinks and peels from the edges. Other difficulties are the glue lifting and creating bubbles.

New Parts

New parts are $$$. Whole dash is approximately $2700
driver's side, complete instrument panel section-$1000
passenger side, complete section-$1000
passenger side airbag cover-$300

Repair Procedures

Repair involves removing the whole dashboard which includes removing console, all switches, radio, heater, airbag, steering wheel, instrument panel assembly, turn signal and wiper stalks, lower dashboard, then the whole dashboard! At that point, you either replace the parts with new ones or take off the damaged part from the main dashboard and have it recovered in new leather. In most cases, the leather cannot be "restretched".

Leather Replacement

The first step is to find a competent repair shop. I chose a restoration shop with a full time upholsterer. I discussed the project and decided to take my dash apart and bring the instrument panel bezel to be reupholstered. I cannot imagine how expensive it would be having to pay for labor to take dash apart, do the repair and then reinstall dash.

I had two choices for leather:

have the shop supply the leather and match the color-approximate cost was $100

buy half a hide from BMW for $330 (see pic)

this is what I did. I would also have extra leather for the future. It took calls to three dealers before I could find a piece from Germany. I was told there were 12 rolls left. Be diligent when ordering these unusual parts and find a competent parts department who will work with you. (thanks to Real OEM for preliminary research). Shipping took 3 weeks. The piece I received was approximately 8' by 3'. The upholsterer took 2 1/2 hours to do the repair and charged $178.

Instrument Panel Bezel Removal

Once the dash is out, turn it over and remove some plastic brackets, driver's side defroster vent and plastic vent tubes to gain access to the driver's side instrument panel assembly. Once removed, the curved top panel must be separated from the black plastic oval section that holds the actual instruments. Because I had no directions at this point, I chose to remove the black oval section, along with the curved leather top, as one unit. The black oval piece is held in with some plastic tabs that are melted over a slot. (see pics) I ground them off and separated the two pieces from the main, curved dash section. Next, the curved leather top can be removed. Ther are 3 tabs with screws and speed nuts, however, once removed the top was still attached at the front, lower corners. Something was holding them on the black plastic oval piece. After many attempts, I managed to unsnap the cover. There is a large tab with a small projection on it on the underside of the leather cover. (see pic) This snaps into a slot with a hole on the black plastic oval part. It takes a lot of force to pull them apart. I never did find an easy way to do this and it makes an awful noise when it comes apart, like plastic breaking, but the tabs are thick and appear to be rugged. Now all three pieces were apart. (see pic) You can see how much the leather has shrunk by the underside picture. The black curved edge was where the leather was originally attached. (see pic)

Reassembly

Reassembly is straight forward. Snap on the top and attach the three screws. Fit the top and black oval part into the tabs that were previously melted. Once fitted, I had to use some glue to keep them together because the tab extensions were now level with the slot. There are also some other screws that secure a different area of this assembly to the oval section of the dash. Next, secure the total driver's section to the main dash, put back the brackets and vents and begin reinstallation of the whole dash.

Notes

When trying to separate the leather top from the black oval plastic piece, there may be a different method the would not involve grinding off the melted tabs. (I have not tried this, but thought it may be possible once I got things fully apart) The leather top is secured with three screw and speednuts at the back, but still held on by the two snap tabs at the front. It may be possible to separate the top by just pulling up? Be cautious and proceed at your own risk. This way will not give as much access because the black oval section is still attached to the main driver's section. This limited access may pose other problems?

While the dash is out, replace heater and dash bulbs.

The top of the dash is atttached to the body with 3 screws covered with round plastic covers. These are difficult to remove. They are held in place with 3 tabs. The best way to remove them is to use a thin plastic pry tool or a thick credit card cut to a taper and try to pry it under the cover starting at the edge away from the windshield (the edge closest to the driver). Be careful when prying these because you don't want to gouge the plastic on your main dash. Don't use metal. If all else fails (and I had to use this with one cover) just "sacrifice" the cover by poking a hole in the middle (not easily done, but doable) and then just pry it up. Covers are $5, scratches and gouges in the dash are forever. Once removed, the bolts are obvious, but you need a stubby rachet set up because of the angle of the dash to the windshield, there is not much height. Once removed, the nuts have a very small brass spacer on them. Be careful when removing.

Removing the console and dash takes some research, especially when disconnectiong the electrical connectors. Lots of good articles. I used this one for the console. http://www.368s.com/review.phtml?ArticleID=107

In the end, I spent $500 and I have more leather left. Removing the console and dashboard is a medium level project. Get good info, take pictures, make notes and go slow. In the end, you save hundreds in labor and gain confidence and satisfication for a job well done.
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  #2  
Old 11-21-2006, 09:49 PM
Ron Stygar's Avatar
Ron Stygar Ron Stygar is offline
19,585 Miles
Location: CT
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 11,143
Mein Auto: Z4 M Coupe 6LL93033
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmai View Post
The Problem

My car is a 98 2.8 with a tanin red, extended leather interior. Car has been garaged and does not excessively sit in the sun. Many tanin red, extended leather owners have mentioned peeling. (see pic) Most common is the passenger side airbag cover and instrument panel bezel. The leather shrinks and peels from the edges. Other difficulties are the glue lifting and creating bubbles.
Nice job!!!

Can you share the name of the restorer?
I assume that they do seats too.
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  #3  
Old 11-22-2006, 05:35 AM
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cngizbleevng cngizbleevng is offline
hardtop potentate
Location: Boiling Springs, PA, USA
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 475
Mein Auto: 2001 Z3 3.0i Steptronic
jmai, you joined in 2002 and only have 7 posts??? At least your posts are top quality!
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  #4  
Old 11-22-2006, 07:12 AM
robrez robrez is offline
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Mein Auto: Topaz Blue 3.0i Z3 Coupe
Put this in the sticky how-to thread. I may need it one day
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2006, 07:23 AM
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rjcoston rjcoston is offline
///M Practical
Location: Boise, ID
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Great job! Thanks.
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  #6  
Old 07-13-2012, 01:11 PM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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this august I'm gonna make the same work (same issue, same leather color).

Hope who wrote this topic already read there, but is open to everyone ever opened the dashboard.
When disassembling the plasitc parts from the leather-covered ones, have you noticed if a little part of the coated ones that remains "hidden" by the black, plastic one?

I see the coated parts wedge into the remain part of the dashboard, but I can't figure out if there are some millimeters or more.

I was thining to put in addiction to the cements some staples on those lower parts, if they remain hidden. Is there a part that remains covered by the central dashboard part to put them?

here's a stupid schematic:


Last edited by resunoiz; 07-13-2012 at 01:40 PM.
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  #7  
Old 07-14-2012, 07:39 AM
jmai jmai is offline
Joe
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 98 2.8 Roadster
I'm glad this thread is still helpful. My repair is still good, but I do cover my dash with a dashboard cover and do not park my car for long periods in the sun.

A couple of points:

I was told that once the leather has shrunk, it will not stretch out back to original size. A new piece must be cut and glued.

The glue that is used now (in the US) is not as good as it once was due to the change in formula. Try to use the best glue you can find.

The leacher does go under the plastic and up the inside edge about a centimeter. You can see this in the photo below. You can also see where the old leather peeled away (top of photo). I do not think staples will work. The plastic is too thin.

Good luck with your repair.
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  #8  
Old 07-15-2012, 11:19 PM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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thank you so very much..hope to make a job fine as yours.
"dismantle" the piece that covers instrument cluster is easy?
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  #9  
Old 07-16-2012, 11:42 AM
wrench13 wrench13 is offline
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Location: Long Island NY
 
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Mein Auto: Z3, 2.3
Jeez, I always jonesed for a red leather interior... now, not so much ! Nice job BTW
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  #10  
Old 07-16-2012, 02:51 PM
jmai jmai is offline
Joe
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 98 2.8 Roadster
Read the directions I give above in the section called "Instrument Panel Bezel Removal".

You will need to separate the curved top cover with the leather from the black plastic oval which holds the instrument gauges.

The tough parts are the three melted plastic posts. Just remove enough so they come apart. You will want to remelt them during reassembly if you can or just use some glue to connect them.

The next part is the most frustrating. Separating the oval from the top. There are two tabs, one on each side, with a bump on them. This bump fits into a thick tab with a hole in it. Look at the pictures in the original post. You have to pull really really hard to separate them. The plastic is thick so hopefully it will not break. It also makes an awful noise when it comes apart. You cannot see the tabs until it comes apart.

I would like to see pictures of your completed work.

I've included a picture of my interior. It is one of the best things that I like about my car.
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  #11  
Old 07-16-2012, 11:53 PM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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Location: italy
 
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Mein Auto: z3 1.9 M44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmai View Post
Read the directions I give above in the section called "Instrument Panel Bezel Removal".

You will need to separate the curved top cover with the leather from the black plastic oval which holds the instrument gauges.

The tough parts are the three melted plastic posts. Just remove enough so they come apart. You will want to remelt them during reassembly if you can or just use some glue to connect them.

The next part is the most frustrating. Separating the oval from the top. There are two tabs, one on each side, with a bump on them. This bump fits into a thick tab with a hole in it. Look at the pictures in the original post. You have to pull really really hard to separate them. The plastic is thick so hopefully it will not break. It also makes an awful noise when it comes apart. You cannot see the tabs until it comes apart.

I would like to see pictures of your completed work.

I've included a picture of my interior. It is one of the best things that I like about my car.
thanks for the precious tips...yes, I will do pics of the works
and for your interior..look awesome. extended leather was one of the things I couldn't renounce searching a Z
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2012, 05:40 AM
Spanky27usa Spanky27usa is offline
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Location: Germany
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2002 Z3 3.0
Hi, nice post, I am glad to see someone else starting this repair. I have been contemplating it myself for about a year. My question is do you need to remove the steering wheel to get the dash out?
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  #13  
Old 07-21-2012, 07:32 AM
jmai jmai is offline
Joe
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 98 2.8 Roadster
Repair involves removing the whole dashboard which includes removing console, all switches, radio, heater, airbag, steering wheel, instrument panel assembly, turn signal and wiper stalks, lower dashboard, then the whole dashboard!

Also, here is a new link for the dashboard removal

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=258312
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2012, 09:23 AM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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I'm on the go! the cover for the cockpit was replaced because of too dried leather, and preferreid it black. The side leather parts were wixed with original leather..and super-stapled!






Last edited by resunoiz; 08-12-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2012, 03:59 PM
jmai jmai is offline
Joe
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 98 2.8 Roadster
Looks good. Interesting solution with the black leather. Now its really a custom interior.
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  #16  
Old 08-12-2012, 05:42 PM
dkindig dkindig is offline
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Okay, so when you say the side leather sections were fixed with original leather, do you mean that you managed to stretch the existing leather pieces back out and staple/glue them in position?
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  #17  
Old 08-13-2012, 11:14 AM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkindig View Post
Okay, so when you say the side leather sections were fixed with original leather, do you mean that you managed to stretch the existing leather pieces back out and staple/glue them in position?
oh yes, is right
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  #18  
Old 08-20-2012, 12:16 PM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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work done! here are some pics of all done.
and, for all of you that think the original leather can't be re-used, for the strument cluster part it was so. was too stretched. But for the side parts, I was able to reattach it, with a new (and stronger) glue used for shoes, and stapled it in an invisible mode. Here are some picrs of the work done!







the new black dashboard cover










ssssoooo happy =D
and, for jmai, final pics of my interiors! your post was very very useful!! thanks!








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  #19  
Old 08-22-2012, 02:38 PM
jmai jmai is offline
Joe
Location: Massachusetts
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 34
Mein Auto: 98 2.8 Roadster
Excellent job and great pictures. I'm sure you are very satisfied with the results.

Can you give me some details on the type of staples you used?
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  #20  
Old 08-25-2012, 04:59 PM
resunoiz resunoiz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmai View Post
Excellent job and great pictures. I'm sure you are very satisfied with the results.

Can you give me some details on the type of staples you used?
simple staples used for shoes, almost 8 mm long and 3 mm large

yes, I am VERY satisfied of it
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