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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 08-01-2016, 11:09 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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Location: Hebron, KY
 
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Mein Auto: '98 Z3 2.8
soft top

is it possible to insulate/ install headliner in my 98?
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2016, 02:09 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
There is a part number:
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/show...diagId=54_0309
A vendor shows it available:
http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com/p...310028841.html
A thread about installing it:
http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...or-Z3-roadster
Post #4 in here has PDF instruction file that downloads when clicked:
http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ight=headliner
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2016, 02:25 PM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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Location: Hebron, KY
 
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Mein Auto: '98 Z3 2.8
Thanks. We spent the night at Elks Creek Winery in Owenton, KY last night. KY st. rt. 330 is fun to drive on. But we put the top up on the freeway & the road noise is loud.
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2016, 02:59 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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That was going east to I-75 from the winery. SR 227 going south from the winery is a Tail-of-Dragon road for Louisville motorcycle riders. I mean to take the Z3 over there someday. The winery is about 90 minutes from here.

Last edited by vintage42; 08-02-2016 at 05:59 PM.
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  #5  
Old 08-03-2016, 04:29 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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Location: Hebron, KY
 
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Mein Auto: '98 Z3 2.8
Their website said 227 was the scenic route, I should've taken it. We'll try that the next time. My twin brother's band "Velvet Frost" plays there sometime this month & we plan to go hear them for the first time.

Last edited by rbaldenhead; 08-04-2016 at 09:56 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-04-2016, 09:56 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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Mein Auto: '98 Z3 2.8
The band's name is "Velvet Soul" & they're playing in September at Elk Creek Winery.
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2016, 06:43 PM
TMair TMair is offline
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Just wondering are the head liners worth it? I live in cold winter country.
Thanks
Terry
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  #8  
Old 08-07-2016, 03:41 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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This site shows the head liner as two layers, fabric and felt, that should have some insulating value.
http://www.autotopsdirect.com/1999-2...04-e37-001.htm
It also costs $250 instead of $100, and says it will not retrofit to Z3s that did not come with a head liner.
This may indicate a difference between retrofit and replacement -- maybe the retrofit head liner is a cheaper single layer and the replacement is a more expensive double layer.
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  #9  
Old 08-07-2016, 05:03 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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Mein Auto: '98 Z3 2.8
So I may have to replace the entire soft top to have insulation, that is if that style would even fit. I'm only concerned about road noise since it's garaged in winter. When I'm driving it the top is usually down but there are the times when it gets too hot, or you get caught in the rain, or the passenger just got her hair fixed, etc. The top is in good shape but not perfect. I've had to glue the pipng trim around the rear window in a few places, & there's a small spot on the thin lining's edge about midway at the drivers' window where the tension cable shows through when the top is lowered halfway. It's not visible when the top is up or down, but since it's in a place where a retaining strap holds the top to the frame it allows the top's edge to stick out a little when down. It's not been a problem so far, I just tuck it in before installing the tonneau cover.
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  #10  
Old 08-07-2016, 08:24 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbaldenhead View Post
... The top is in good shape but not perfect. I've had to glue the pipng trim around the rear window in a few places, & there's a small spot on the thin lining's edge about midway at the drivers' window where the tension cable shows through when the top is lowered halfway... it's in a place where a retaining strap holds the top to the frame it allows the top's edge to stick out a little when down...
I think the condition of the top is questionable. Gluing the window trim means the window's days are numbered. An Emiata window is inexpensive and appropriate for a top in such condition.
But I wonder if the retaining strap problem means a new top is needed. If a new top is in the future, I wonder if it makes sense to retrofit a headliner. Perhaps a new top can be chosen that either comes with or accepts an insulated headliner.

Last edited by vintage42; 08-07-2016 at 12:53 PM.
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  #11  
Old 08-08-2016, 02:31 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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I have thought of replacing the top, but since it looks great from the outside when it's up, (except for the window trim) it's hard to decide. But if a new top w/headliner would fit the framework it'll be worth it. Then I could put these issues to bed. I'm not sure my nerves could withstand installing it myself; I'll get an estimate first at a local shop.
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  #12  
Old 08-08-2016, 03:54 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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The shop will likely buy the top from one of several vendors -- mine got a GAHH. They all cost around $500 depending on features like new tension straps, side relief vents, rain gutters.
http://www.robbinsautotopco.com/bmw.php
http://www.gahh.com
http://www.autotopsdirect.com/1996-2...04-e37-005.htm
https://www.topsonline.com/model/Con...E37_Body).html

There are tops on eBay as low as $350, for those who do their own installation and don't want the quality assurance of a name brand top.

Shop installation ranges from $500 to $1,000. It takes a experienced man and a helper about 6-7 hours. I think removal of the top can lead to a leaking sealing frame if the frame gets broken, or the butyl sealing tape is not properly replaced. If the plastic frame gets broken in removal, the shop will not have a new part so will reuse the old. And removal of the frame pulls apart the butyl sealant which should be completely removed and replaced, rather than patched up, which a shop might be tempted to do. I have not done a top, only read DIYs, and these items appear to me as potential problem areas.

Last edited by vintage42; 08-08-2016 at 05:01 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-09-2016, 02:20 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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That settles it for me. It's well worth paying for. There's a good trim shop in Covington near Cinci, I wonder if they've done a Z3. I'll probably wait until late fall or winter since there are no leaks & the window is still clear. Thanks for your help.

Last edited by rbaldenhead; 08-09-2016 at 02:37 AM. Reason: something to add
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  #14  
Old 08-09-2016, 03:45 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Interview the shop. Z3 experience would be good, though I think the more common Miata has the same kind of top. One that seals under the body with a sealing frame, rather than overlaps the body. Ask what top they would use -- mine was used to dealing with GAHH and had their catalog, so that's what they got for me. I was desperate because I had had no window for a month, and my shop was the only one in town.
Fabric for all good tops is Haartz Twillfast II. Look at Robbins' description of features like relief pockets (thru ventilation), tension straps, bow cables, rain seams (divert roof water from falling into open window or door). Cheaper tops may not have any of these.

Last edited by vintage42; 08-09-2016 at 03:48 AM.
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  #15  
Old 08-09-2016, 10:50 AM
rudyrov rudyrov is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW Z3
That's a lot of great information, thank you gentlemen!

I am getting ready to have my soft top replaced as well and that pricing sounds about right from what I have seen in this area (Seattle, WA.)
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  #16  
Old 08-10-2016, 02:11 AM
rbaldenhead rbaldenhead is offline
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Yes, thank you vintage42.
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  #17  
Old 08-18-2016, 11:32 AM
Lovinight Lovinight is offline
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Mein Auto: Z3
1996 Z3 Headliner

I know the 96 did not come with a headliner but since the top fits the newer models, why won't the headliner? Are there tops with insulation in them? I am about to replace my top and hoping for noise insulation, plus I think it would look better than it does without one!
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  #18  
Old 08-18-2016, 01:05 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovinight View Post
I know the 96 did not come with a headliner but since the top fits the newer models, why won't the headliner? Are there tops with insulation in them?...
You say the 96 top fits the newer models that have headliners, but I don't think so. Conversely, you say tops with headliners should fit the 96, but I don't think so.
According to this, there was a change in design in 1999, either to the canvas or the bows or both.
http://www.autotopsdirect.com/1999-2...04-e37-001.htm
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