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  #1  
Old 12-20-2007, 07:15 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Question Z3 hardtop installation. Advice needed!

Hi all,

First of all, thank you so much for all your help with my new acquisition. The project is really coming along!

My issues du jour are with regard to a used hardtop that I am installing. The seller supplied not only the top but the installation hardware, sans instructions, and sans the special alignment tool doohickey.

Anyway, I think I have it fitted correctly, but I'm not sure:

Vertical spacing: I'm supposed to space the top vertically with a gap of 0.2mm between the top of the alignment tool (that I don't have) and the bottom edge of the top. So how thick is the alignment tool? Put another way, how much gap should I have between the sheet metal on the car and the sheet metal on the top? For now, I just kept the vertical spacing the same as it was with the prior installation.

Wind noise: When I first tested the top, I definitely had a gap or two somewhere on the passenger side -- the sound a "cracked" window would make. After quite a bit of fiddling, I hushed that noise up. HOWEVER, there is still wind noise -- quite a lot of it, IMO. Rather than being from any specific location, it's "all over," which makes me think it's not a fit issue, but rather just the design of the thing. When I "knock" on the ceiling, I feel and hear the clunk of metal, so there seems to be hardly any thickness or mass to the headliner. I presume that means that normal wind noise over the top will penetrate to the cabin pretty easily? Anyway, when tooling down the highway at 65 mph, the wind noise "all around me" is very slightly louder than the engine noise when I drop to 4th gear. (3.0 engine, 2001 roadster). Is that about what I should expect?

Wiring: The seller supplied a small adapter that inserted between male and female ends of an electrical connector just beneath the left rear mounting pin, providing power to the rear window defogger. So that's all connected up. I also purchased a defogger switch from the dealer. When I popped out the rear switch panel (already wired for the power top), I expected to find a connector that would plug into my new switch. Unfortunately I did not. I crammed my hand into the hole and felt around extensively, but to no avail. Where is the thing? Do they attach it somewhere out of the way? Do I need to remove the center console to access it?

Also, I see that the defogger switch operates a relay. Although I would expect BMW to do prewiring for accessories such as the window defogger, I would be a bit surprised if they also installed relays that might not be used. Where would the relay go? And *is* there wiring pre-installed, running to the electrical connector near the left rear mounting pin? Perhaps there is an adapter (similar to the one described above) that inserts between the power top switch and its connector, branching off to the window defogger switch???

In other words, what do I need to get/do, in order to complete the wiring?

Thanks so much for your help! What little I've obtained in the way of instructions is woefully inadequate!

Peace,
Sarah
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2007, 08:04 PM
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rjcoston rjcoston is offline
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Look at post #15 for a link to a pdf file that has the first fitting instructions.

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...hlight=hardtop

I recently ordered a set of the left and right mounting gauges used to adjust the vertical spacing at the rear of the top. I'll have to look for them and will measure the thickness.

I personally think the interior of my car is a lot quieter than when the convertible top is up, but I have seen posts where others think their hardtop is noisey. The top is made of a composite material.

You should be able to find the wiring for the defroster switch under the emergency brake boot. But mine had been folded back toward the dash and was secured to some other wiring with a zip tie. I had a very hard time releasing it and routing it back toward the rear of the console.

Regarding the relay, look at post #2 of this thread and follow that link.

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=119288
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2007, 08:46 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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rj,

Thanks SO MUCH! I searched the archives (honest!), but I guess I'm not very good at it.

One of the photos shows a connector sticking out of a hole forward of the shift. Was that the approximate location of yours in its folded-back state? And to retrieve and reroute the connector, do I need to remove the center console? Or does the emergency brake boot pry up?

I had already found the first fitting instructions (but thanks!). I think they leave a lot to be desired, but when I had the parts in hand, I could pretty much figure it out. Removing the @#$%ed covers was an exercise in frustration, though! I had also found some other posts/writings that were helpful. Everything assumed I had an alignment tool, though.

I can understand both sides of the noise issue. With the hardtop, I don't hear as much traffic noise (i.e. from other cars), but I sure do hear the wind whizzing by! Anyway, I'll take this all to mean that I've achieved a proper fit. Cool.

Thanks for the clarification re the composite makeup of the top. That would explain why I see white (and not primer gray or rust) in one badly chipped up area. I'll be going after it with touch-up paint tomorrow.

I really appreciate your help and look forward to that measurement!!

Peace,
Sarah
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Old 12-20-2007, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
One of the photos shows a connector sticking out of a hole forward of the shift. Was that the approximate location of yours in its folded-back state? And to retrieve and reroute the connector, do I need to remove the center console? Or does the emergency brake boot pry up?
Be aware that there are two versions of the connector for the defrost switch. Make sure you get the switch for your year, or it won't match the harness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
Removing the @#$%ed covers was an exercise in frustration, though! I had also found some other posts/writings that were helpful. Everything assumed I had an alignment tool, though.
The alignment tool isn't a bad investment.... And when I left it to a dealer, they broke one of the screws holding those @#$%ed covers -- no surprise, but they didn't admit to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
I can understand both sides of the noise issue. With the hardtop, I don't hear as much traffic noise (i.e. from other cars), but I sure do hear the wind whizzing by! Anyway, I'll take this all to mean that I've achieved a proper fit.
Gummi pflege on the seals, all around, including the back deck seals, seems to help in my case.
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2007, 09:41 PM
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My connector was on the driver's side of the tunnel, forward of the emergency brake boot but not as far as the shift boot. I think the location of mine was unusual. You should not have to remove the console. Hopefully yours will be under the brake boot. To remove it pull carefully up on the back of the boot. It is held in place by tabs on the front and rear.

I'll look for the mounting gauges tomorrow. I believe they are about 3/16" thick.
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2007, 10:12 PM
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Z3M Roadster hardtop

Some unsolicited advice..I just took my roadster our for the first trip of the "winter" (not that cold here in NorCal) with the hardtop on. Approx. 150 miles of freeway, local poorly paved streets, and beautiful twisty rural roads. About 2/3rds of the way into the trip, the noise increased and a new rattle appeared. I pressed different places and decided the main sorce was the front left attachment point. The advice of re-tightening the top after some driving was right on. I could tighten that bolt another 1/4-to-1/2 turn, which eliminated a lot of the noise.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2007, 11:38 AM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Thanks, everyone! I did manage to find the defrost switch connector. It was very tightly bound underneath a wrap of black tape, under the frontmost edge of the cutout in the body (the cutout for the little switch panel). I found it by looking with a mirror. I should have done that in the beginning, rather than to feel around and pull stuff out. (Duh!)

To my surprise and delight, the main electrical box had both the defroster relay and the fuses in place.

I'll get into fine tuning everything after the holidays -- making the final vertical adjustment per specs (with the measurement rj is so kind to take for me), treating the rubber, touching up the paint a bit better, etc. For now, I have a fully functional top that looks pretty cool.

Thanks everyone!

Peace,
Sarah
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2007, 05:48 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Hi all,

I finally got around to taking a few quick snapshots. The top and car were different colors, and I was a bit concerned whether the combination would look good. I would have preferred buying a dakar yellow top if I could have found one, but black seemed to be my most available option. Now that I have it on the car, I think the black top looks better than a yellow one would. It's a bit like a little bumblebee, no?





I mention this, because I see the issue of different color combinations discussed often. More times than not, a person will play it safe by getting a top of the matching color, even though they were originally inclined to try a contrasting top.

Thanks, everyone!

Peace,
Sarah
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2007, 06:12 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Looks sharp!

Considering the soft top is black, no reason to think a black hdtp wouldn't look good too.

I've juggled my hdtps around, but the steel gray actually looks better on the black car than the black one looks on the gray car. So lighter upper/darker lower looks okay too.

However, I wouldn't suggest a Dakar hdtp on a black car
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Old 12-21-2007, 06:38 PM
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Thanks!
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  #11  
Old 12-21-2007, 08:05 PM
Giznaz Giznaz is offline
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However, I wouldn't suggest a Dakar hdtp on a black car
I'm confuZed. Why not a yellow top on a dark car?


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Old 12-21-2007, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Giznaz View Post
I'm confuZed. Why not a yellow top on a dark car?


Making an exception for teams colors?
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:27 PM
Giznaz Giznaz is offline
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Even Pro teams!

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  #14  
Old 12-22-2007, 09:49 AM
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cngizbleevng cngizbleevng is offline
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I'm a patriots fan, so my arctic silver top is a pretty good match for the topaz car.
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Old 12-22-2007, 04:02 PM
Tudorbug Tudorbug is offline
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I would be interested to know of those mounting gauges are BMW part numbered items.

I'm just starting the effort to purchase an installation kit and, if the guages come from BMW, I'll have to order them separate from the kit.
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  #16  
Old 12-22-2007, 04:18 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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I understood that the gauges were included in the kit. I could be wrong, though.

Peace,
Sarah
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  #17  
Old 12-22-2007, 05:44 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
I understood that the gauges were included in the kit. I could be wrong, though.

Peace,
Sarah
They weren't in the kit I installed for Z3M2000. They must be a separate item. I'll have a go at looking for them after I get the Diva her dinner...

Coincidently, while I was looking for pictures of the hdtp kit I installed for Chris, I came across this picture of my black car...

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  #18  
Old 12-22-2007, 08:57 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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Hi Randy,

Not bad -- gray on black! It looks a lot better than I thought it would -- pretty sharp, even!

Sarah
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Old 12-22-2007, 10:11 PM
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The part number for the mounting gauges is 54 21 9 408 881 and a set of a L and R retail for about $8.50. They are made out of hard plastic and are not included in the hardtop mounting kit. I just ordered these recently. They are kind of T-shaped and have downturns or legs on each end. It looks like the legs are inserted into the gap at the top of the trunk lid and in the gap between the fender and the body panel above the trunk lid. The other leg must rest on this body panel.

Sarah, the thickness of the gauge not including the leg that apparently rests on the body panel is 1/4" and including the leg it's 7/16". I'll try to post a picture tomorrow.
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  #20  
Old 12-23-2007, 12:16 PM
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rjcoston rjcoston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjcoston View Post
The part number for the mounting gauges is 54 21 9 408 881 and a set of a L and R retail for about $8.50. They are made out of hard plastic and are not included in the hardtop mounting kit. I just ordered these recently. They are kind of T-shaped and have downturns or legs on each end. It looks like the legs are inserted into the gap at the top of the trunk lid and in the gap between the fender and the body panel above the trunk lid. The other leg must rest on this body panel.

Sarah, the thickness of the gauge not including the leg that apparently rests on the body panel is 1/4" and including the leg it's 7/16". I'll try to post a picture tomorrow.
Holding the gauges up next to where they would likely be placed on the car, and based upon the illustration of a mounting gauge in the first fitting instructions, it appears that the gauge marked "L" would be placed on the passenger side and vice versa.
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  #21  
Old 12-23-2007, 01:27 PM
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Ron Stygar Ron Stygar is offline
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Originally Posted by rjcoston View Post
it appears that the gauge marked "L" would be placed on the passenger side and vice versa.
L should equal left (drivers side).
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  #22  
Old 12-23-2007, 01:59 PM
FastWoman FastWoman is offline
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I think a picture is worth a thousand words. Thanks, rj! Now that I see it's sort of a three-dimensional configuration, it looks as though I'd better get the gauges -- especially since they're only $8.50. (I didn't know BMW sold *anything* that cheaply!) I think it would be way too easy to get it wrong without the gauges.

The height of the front vs. the height of the rear seems to be very critical. as that determines how all of curved surfaces come together. I had commented on wind noise "all around" me, but that was a misperception. While driving today, I flipped the passenger sun visor down, and the wind noise became a lot louder. So I apparently have an air leak between the windshield and the top. I think I'll be ordering the gauges, so that I can get the heights exactly per specs.

Anyway, thanks for showing me the guages, so that I could see why I need them! I also appreciate the measurements, but I honestly don't think they would help nearly as much as the gauges!

Peace,
Sarah

PS Cnizbleevn, I think those colors are blue and grey -- Rice University's colors!
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  #23  
Old 12-23-2007, 06:12 PM
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phrider phrider is offline
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I've got to get a set of those to go with my hardtop adjustment wrench....
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  #24  
Old 12-23-2007, 07:09 PM
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rjcoston rjcoston is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Stygar View Post
L should equal left (drivers side).
I agree Ron. It did seem that the gauge with an "R" on it was consistent with the illustration of the driver's side on page 6 of the first fitting instructions, and this gauge looked like it would fit properly on that side. But the illustration may not be accurate and I might not have had the gauge turned in the right direction. The hardtop will have to be pulled off to tell for sure.
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  #25  
Old 02-12-2008, 07:51 PM
propmaster propmaster is offline
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hardtophelp

Well I decided to get hardtop for my z3 after just 2months ownership.Cold and noisy softop and leaky backwindow... fixed backwindow with glue from auto parts store seems to be better than silicon ex-owner tried. Found top on E-bay got it for under $500,and190 fed ex from Ca to AL.total just over $600 so deals are out there,It came with instalation kit. I down loaded first fitting artical from this forum but it does not seem to start with where to mount hardware to car befor you get to first fitting is there a earlier set of instructions to start instalation or do I have to go to BMW shop for help.
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