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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 10-08-2004, 07:39 AM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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Has anyone here fitted a hardtop fitting kit to a Z3 themselves?

Has anyone here fitted a hardtop fitting kit themselves - and would like to impart their knowledge to me - if I was to not fit all the electrical parts and wiring - am I right in thinking that I just have to fit two brackets - towards the back of the car - and that surely cannot take that long

I have the PDF of the fitting instructions to hand - but am looking for real-world experience here

Thanks In Advance
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  #2  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:44 AM
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phrider phrider is offline
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I avoided the experience:

1. The results of a slip in placing / adjusting the top are too ugly (Murphy's Law would attract the big mounting pins to the exterior car finish). Adjusting the front A pillar and rear brackets means the top is on/off several times. It is not a project that should be done without a full size helper.

2. Some have had a challenge finding the wiring.

The BMW instructions state a relatively low number of labor units -- try talking your dealer into doing the install for that number of labor units.

PS: I have posted a set of instructions here (http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...3&page=1&pp=25), but they are incomplete on the bracket adjustments. Is your set of instructions more complete? If so, could you post them?

Last edited by phrider; 10-08-2004 at 07:53 AM.
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  #3  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:55 AM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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I will be fitting the hardtop itself with help - but not the mounting points - allow me to explain

We got a hardtop with fitting kit in new condition from eBay for my wife's roadster - she does not have the fitting kit on her roadster - so the options are

1) Hire a van and collect the top and fitting kit - drive back 200 miles and fit it all in the comfort of our garage
2) Drive up with PN's roadster, fit the two rear mounting points, lock the hardtop on - drive back down, remove the hardtop - fit the electrics in the comfort of garage, remount the hardtop
3) Buy a new fitting kit - fit it to PNs roadster - drive up, mount the top, drive back down, fit the mounting kit that comes with her top to my ///M Roadster (in anticipation of me getting a top too)

D
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  #4  
Old 10-08-2004, 07:57 AM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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Having my dealer fit the mounting kit is not an option - they are refusing to budge from a 4 hour fit time - at 100 per hour - plus VAT - plus the cost of the mounting kit itself
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  #5  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:04 AM
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phrider phrider is offline
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Yeow!!! My dealer, who had not done it before or in a long while, committed to $185. It probably cost them 400 pounds in direct and supervisory time, but they stuck to the price. Your dealer must know what they're doing....

If importing the mounting kit is a reasonable option, Paul McLaughlin at South Motors BMW has sold the mounting kit in the $300 range.

Others here have done the mounting kit -- I recall KCSails and others have done it.
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  #6  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:19 AM
khammack khammack is offline
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I'm part way through it

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM
Has anyone here fitted a hardtop fitting kit themselves - and would like to impart their knowledge to me - if I was to not fit all the electrical parts and wiring - am I right in thinking that I just have to fit two brackets - towards the back of the car - and that surely cannot take that long

I have the PDF of the fitting instructions to hand - but am looking for real-world experience here

Thanks In Advance
I purchased an M to replace my Z3 and removed the two brackets from the Z3 and put them on the M. The hardest part, so far, was removing the foam filler in the M so that I could install the brackets. Its glued in. I used a small pry bar and lots of sharp words. The brackets are easy to install, but be careful not to drop anything into the body. I dropped one of the bolts and it was a real pain trying to get it out from the area under where the brackets mount. I have not tried mounting or adjusting the top yet, so I can't offer any advice with that except to plan to spend some time doing the adjustments.
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  #7  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:22 AM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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khammack - is it as simple as it looks with just a couple of bolts securing the mounting points?
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  #8  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:23 AM
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01silber 01silber is offline
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when you fitted the brackets did you have to take apart all the rear trim around the roll hoops or just bolt them in
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  #9  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:36 AM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM
I will be fitting the hardtop itself with help - but not the mounting points - allow me to explain

We got a hardtop with fitting kit in new condition from eBay for my wife's roadster - she does not have the fitting kit on her roadster - so the options are

1) Hire a van and collect the top and fitting kit - drive back 200 miles and fit it all in the comfort of our garage
2) Drive up with PN's roadster, fit the two rear mounting points, lock the hardtop on - drive back down, remove the hardtop - fit the electrics in the comfort of garage, remount the hardtop
3) Buy a new fitting kit - fit it to PNs roadster - drive up, mount the top, drive back down, fit the mounting kit that comes with her top to my ///M Roadster (in anticipation of me getting a top too)

D
All three (3) are viable options, just a matter of which one you choose.

While I have not fitted a hardtop to an un-hardtop'd car, I have removed and replaced the hdtp (rear) brackets on my 01 as a result of some rollbar juggling.

Option two (2) or three (3) should pose no insurmountable obstacles. You may not get the best possible fit straight away, but you should be secure enough for the trip home.

As long as you know what the procedure is (set hdtp in place, start bolts at windshield header, secure rear pins, tighten bolts at header) I doubt you'll run the risk of loosing the top on thereturn trip. Might get a bit of wind rustling noise if the adjustment is off.

The rear brackets themselves should be quick enough to fit, I'd say a half hour tops. Be certain to have a small assortment of combination wrenches and sockets (10 mm & perhaps 13 or 14 mm; don't remember what the sizes are for certain) And you'll need a smallish Torx wrench set to remove the cosmetic cover over the brkt. With any luck, it will be you that removes them from the donor car and you'll get all the experience you'll need.

Can't have too many hardtops...

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1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 Wine Red
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Last edited by Randy Forbes; 10-08-2004 at 08:39 AM.
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  #10  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:50 AM
khammack khammack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM
khammack - is it as simple as it looks with just a couple of bolts securing the mounting points?
Yes, it is a very simple install (once you get the foam out!), but you will need to spend some time making the adjustments.
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2004, 08:52 AM
khammack khammack is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01silber
when you fitted the brackets did you have to take apart all the rear trim around the roll hoops or just bolt them in
No, the only thing you need to remove is the foam filling the area where the brackets are installed and its glued in REAL GOOD.
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2004, 09:07 AM
Razorbak Razorbak is offline
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I installed the hardtop kit on my M roadster. It was about 2 years ago, so I don't remember all of details, but I do recall that it wasn't that difficult. Just make sure you have the right tools and a reasonable bit of mechanical aptitude before you tackle any DIY project like this. The instructions on the PDF are pretty good. Takes a bit of time to install and make adjustments. I think it took me a total of ~5 hours start to finish to get the kit installed and the top adjusted correctly so that there was no noticeable wind noise. (I was taking my time and intentionally working slowly to avoid mistakes.) That includes putting it on and taking it off about 3 times to make the necessary adjustments. I'm glad I did it myself, because I would have hated to pay a dealer their suggested installation cost (~$500-$600, IIRC) and having little control over the quality of the final adjustment. ("Ah, that wind noise is normal. They ALL do that. Nothing to worry about. Move along now." )

I'd be a little wary of removing and reinstalling someone else's kit, because you don't really know until you get there that the original installer used all of the required parts. (Does the rear window defrost work?) Plus until you've gone through the installation once yourself, you probably won't be able to easily decipher where all of the parts are located. I know somebody else on this board was having trouble locating the electrical connector while attempting a similar first-time disassembly of a used conversion kit on another car. If you want to make sure that you get all of the parts that you need, you might be better off just ordering a new conversion kit, and then installing it on your car before you drive up. There's nothing worse than making a long trip to someone else's home, and then not finding all the parts, or learning that you need some tools that you didn't plan for, and realizing that you are now in unfamiliar territory. ("Umm, can you please point me to the nearest hardware store?")

JMHO.

PS - I didn't have any problem whatsoever removing the foam from my car.

Last edited by Razorbak; 10-08-2004 at 09:15 AM.
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  #13  
Old 10-08-2004, 09:10 AM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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Thanks all - for your swift - and (as usual) helpful replies
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  #14  
Old 10-08-2004, 09:26 AM
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weoilmen weoilmen is offline
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Hard Top

I sold my Hardtop on ebay
We installed it on the buyers car in about 45 min, My top had all ready been fitted to my old car so it went on very smoothly and fit sung without any adjustments.
I called them and they said they had no problems and no leaks.
So don't make any adjustments on the top, and if your lucky it will fit great.

We did not do the wiring, He took the switch home, and did that latter, just remember there is two plugs to find on the Drivers side, and one more in the center console.

Infect I need a spanner wrench to adjust my Hardtop on my new used M Roadster
let me know how much you want for it
Thanks all
Good Luck
Mike T
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  #15  
Old 10-08-2004, 09:36 AM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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Mike T - you describe almost exactly what I am proposing - perfect - so if I allow 90 minutes to get the kit fitted I should be ok (famous last words)

With regard to having all the pieces - I have the PDF instructions and Ron's Parts diagram - we intend faxing it to the guy to verify he has all the parts before we make the journey
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  #16  
Old 10-08-2004, 10:56 AM
Razorbak Razorbak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weoilmen
I sold my Hardtop on ebay
We installed it on the buyers car in about 45 min, My top had all ready been fitted to my old car so it went on very smoothly and fit sung without any adjustments.
Very smoothly, eh?

Weren't you the member that I was referring to about having some problems finding the connector?

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66927

Selective memory?

Last edited by Razorbak; 10-08-2004 at 06:31 PM.
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  #17  
Old 10-08-2004, 01:34 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbak
Very smoothly, eh?

Weren't you were the member that I was referring to about having some problems finding the connector?

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66927

Selective memory?
David's primary objective being the transportation of the top to his home. The little details can be worked out later in the comfort of his own garage.

Let's not lose sight of what the original request was (not that your information, and Mike's isn't beneficial to other lurkers).
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1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 Wine Red
1961 McCulloch R1 go-kart Screaming Yellow
1995///M3 Coupe Dakar Yellow Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Coupe Estoril Blue Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
2001///M Rdstr Steel Gray
2011 X5 35i Sport Deep Sea Blue/Cinnamon
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  #18  
Old 10-08-2004, 04:11 PM
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DavidM DavidM is offline
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Yup - Randy has hit the nail on the head - the electrics I will do after the event - getting it from it's current location to home is the primary aim here

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  #19  
Old 10-08-2004, 05:53 PM
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dwm dwm is offline
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And I agree with Randy, you shouldn't have any trouble getting it secured well enough to get home with it installed on the car. I might not do it in a downpour, but otherwise you should be fine.

My dealer tweaked mine for free, and I watched the tech do it. Unfortunately it was so long ago (week of delivery) that I don't remember much, other than the fact that he used the windows to check alignment. It would be difficult to make it leak from the front or rear (it'd have to be way off), so I think most of the attention to alignment is focused on the side windows. That's assuming all the rubber is in good shape all around. Bring some Gummi Phledge with you.
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  #20  
Old 10-08-2004, 06:25 PM
Razorbak Razorbak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidM
the electrics I will do after the event
... if you find all of the necessary parts and get them off the other car before you leave.

I'm just trying to forewarn you that some of the parts (esp. the electrical connectors) are not easily identified upon first inspection, as the thread I posted above illustrates.

Remember, you asked for "real-world experience", right?

Good luck with your installation. Post an update when you're through, and we'll all celebrate your victory.

Last edited by Razorbak; 10-08-2004 at 06:29 PM.
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  #21  
Old 10-09-2004, 07:50 AM
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weoilmen weoilmen is offline
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Yep

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbak
Very smoothly, eh?

Weren't you the member that I was referring to about having some problems finding the connector?

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66927

Selective memory?
Yes I was the one Looking for the Plugs! But I did find Them Too, with help from the folks on this site.
Thanks all
I email the new owner where to find them, and how to do it.
What's your point?
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  #22  
Old 10-09-2004, 08:11 AM
Razorbak Razorbak is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weoilmen
Yes I was the one Looking for the Plugs! But I did find Them Too, with help from the folks on this site.

Thanks all
You're welcome.

Quote:
What's your point?
I'm just trying to save David some headaches and a potential wasted trip if he returns home without finding and removing those connectors first. He asked for real-world experience, and I relayed yours.
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  #23  
Old 10-09-2004, 08:22 AM
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01silber 01silber is offline
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how about someone snap some photos of the brackets installed So I ; I mean we can see the jist of it
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2004, 08:44 AM
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weoilmen weoilmen is offline
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If your Hard Top does Leak

OH If your Hard Top does Leak
If you have a leak at the back end of the windows (air or Water) make adjustments.
But first check the Weather striping Gaskets, for a Good seal!

When I bought My first Z3 it came with a Hard Top. Two weeks latter the rains came.
Water poured into the car on both sides just at the A pillars.
I did some checking on the web = and found that this was common when the weather striping was old and has lost its spring and is dry.

What the Dealer did was replace the weather striping from the bottom of the A Pillar to and over the Top of the windshield all the way to the bottom of the other A Pillar. This fixed the Leak

You may also have a gap between the two weather striping where the Hard top mates with the top of the A Pillars on both sides of the car at front corners of the side windows.

You might be able to push them together by moving the weather striping. Be very careful
Good luck
Mike
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  #25  
Old 10-09-2004, 11:58 AM
kcsails kcsails is offline
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I've fit 4, so feel free to e-mail any questions

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