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New Top for my Cabrio

Posted by Bob in Everett 
January 14, 2012 11:46AM
I have given up on my top and put a deposit on a new one being ordered. I have chosen the "German" material for it in the hope that the slight differences are worth the extra money. The installation cost is almost twice the cost of the material. Instructions for the install are vague enough that I do not feel comfortable doing it myself. They say it is about a 10 job (for someone that knows what they are doing). It will be nice not to have to worry about parking the car outdoors in a little rain.

I hope the new one will fold easily and not cause more holes to be formed where the material is stressed.

Bob in Everett
rkj
January 15, 2012 01:03PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
I have given up on my top and put a deposit on a new one being ordered. I have chosen the "German" material for it in the hope that the slight differences are worth the extra money. The installation cost is almost twice the cost of the material. Instructions for the install are vague enough that I do not feel comfortable doing it myself. They say it is about a 10 job (for someone that knows what they are doing). It will be nice not to have to worry about parking the car outdoors in a little rain.

I hope the new one will fold easily and not cause more holes to be formed where the material is stressed.

Hey Bob, Having a pro install your new ragtop is a good idea; it's a tricky business. And just think, you'll be able to see out the back!

There are stress points (that's why people leave their top un-hinged if the car sits inside) for the canvas where it hinges on the frame work or comes in constant contact with the wind chafing up against when the top is up and the car moving at speed. All these areas on the frame work can be covered with something soft or an extra piece of canvas can be glued to the inside of the top material. Contact glue is the best to use for the later.

I used to have a 323 Baur with constant issues on the top. Take a few pictures when it's done (might as well bug poor Peter)....Cheers, Rick
January 15, 2012 04:39PM
The old top does not look bad in pictures. It is just the rubber inner layer of the material that apparently has failed. Particularly along the stitching where it seeps water inside. I was looking for some "Raggtop" treatment for it but that probably would not cure it. I do have some white streaks in the window. I have read that a heat gun will clear them if it is carefully done. I might ask for the old window to be saved for me so I can try it and report results.

Bob in Everett
rkj
January 15, 2012 11:32PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
The old top does not look bad in pictures. It is just the rubber inner layer of the material that apparently has failed. Particularly along the stitching where it seeps water inside. I was looking for some "Raggtop" treatment for it but that probably would not cure it. I do have some white streaks in the window. I have read that a heat gun will clear them if it is carefully done. I might ask for the old window to be saved for me so I can try it and report results.

I used to get a product that actually did clean fogged plastic windows up a little, it made them very shiny too, but the window was still hard to see through even after many trys at cleaning it. Between my Alfa spider and the 323 I've tried everything. I think the plastic just degrades to the point of no return. Pity Bmw didn't go the glass route, even cheap american cars did..... confused smiley

I think the trick to plastic rear window longevity is keeping the sun off them as much as possible.
January 16, 2012 06:12AM
The sun cooks the plastic, and older materials were less resitant.
Even newish cars that came with plastice front light lenses are now fogy or dull, due to the sun aging the material.

Best route when possible is rerplace by compeltely new material.
February 22, 2012 07:45PM
car pictures here:
[bmwe30network.net]

Bob in Everett
February 23, 2012 06:15AM
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Bob in Everett
car pictures here:
[bmwe30network.net]

Nothing like a winter sunny day to enjoy the cabrio...
Is that you behind the weel?
:cool2:
February 28, 2012 09:34PM
Not me that time, I let my son drive and I was taking the pictures. We were driving through Glacier Park on the "Going to the Sun Highway" on a nice summer day.

Bob in Everett
March 10, 2012 11:10PM
Have had the new top for a few days now and am a bit dissapointed in it. The new material looks just like the old except it is a lot thinner. I measured some old at 0.039 thick and the new at 0.030 inches thick. The feel of the new material is a lot more flimsy. The sound level inside the car is also a lot higher. Somehow the material just is not the same.

Bob in Everett
May 30, 2012 10:41PM
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Bob in Everett
Have had the new top for a few days now and am a bit dissapointed in it. The new material looks just like the old except it is a lot thinner. I measured some old at 0.039 thick and the new at 0.030 inches thick. The feel of the new material is a lot more flimsy. The sound level inside the car is also a lot higher. Somehow the material just is not the same.

The top shop has taken my complaint to heart and replaced the flimsy top with one a lot thicker material. It is noticably quieter. They want me to wait a week to fold it to let it stretch into shape. I hope the thicker material folds well and does not become a problem stressing the stitches. We shall see. On the road it does not flutter and is really quiet.

Bob in Everett
May 31, 2012 08:50AM
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Bob in Everett
The top shop has taken my complaint to heart and replaced the flimsy top with one a lot thicker material.
That sure was decent of them.
May 31, 2012 11:09AM
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Ferdinand
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Bob in Everett
The top shop has taken my complaint to heart and replaced the flimsy top with one a lot thicker material.
That sure was decent of them.

:cool2:
You sure have those guys very well educated, over here is very hard to get complaints attended to.
May 31, 2012 11:59PM
I am glad I chose this shop. It has a good reputation and was less expensive than the other one I tried. Could be the best one in Seattle.

Bob in Everett
rkj
June 04, 2012 06:10PM
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Bob in Everett
I am glad I chose this shop. It has a good reputation and was less expensive than the other one I tried. Could be the best one in Seattle.

For a trim shop to show this kind of loyalty it has to say something about the customer....thumbs up
June 04, 2012 09:20PM
The new top with the heavier material seems to fold pretty well too. Tried it out on Saturday and it worked fine.

Went to a body shop to get another estimate on fixing a dent and coincidentally the shop owner had some interior panels in work at the same top shop I had used.

I must be in the right network.

Bob in Everett
rkj
June 05, 2012 05:57PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
The new top with the heavier material seems to fold pretty well too. Tried it out on Saturday and it worked fine.

Went to a body shop to get another estimate on fixing a dent and coincidentally the shop owner had some interior panels in work at the same top shop I had used.

I must be in the right network.

Sounds like it. It's so nice to be around the right kind of people/shops. smileys with beer
June 06, 2012 08:39AM
I thought about this story yesterday evening, when I saw an old Peugeot 304 Cabriolet.
[en.wikipedia.org]
It was blue, new paint, good condition overall, except for the folding top.
It was poorly adjusted around the door glasses, apparently it wouldn't close tight enough, leaving such gaps where two fingers could be inserted.
I bet that top leaks in big time when it rains, and the noises when moving should be awful.
Is sad when an otherwise nicely restored car is ruined by a defective or substandard part.
June 06, 2012 02:44PM
Well if I had to restore a cabriolet, I'd tackle the top as one of the last parts as it starts to age as soon as it is on there. Maybe this owner was keeping this as one of the last steps as well?
June 08, 2012 06:19AM
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Michiel 318iS
Well if I had to restore a cabriolet, I'd tackle the top as one of the last parts as it starts to age as soon as it is on there. Maybe this owner was keeping this as one of the last steps as well?

I would prefer to keep the old top patched than a new one that won't close right and leaks in!
Maybe he got a cheap top and is regretting that move every time he uses the car!
June 08, 2012 02:21PM
OK, I got you wrong there. So the top had been replaced. Shame then! You're right, better have a patched up top than an bad new one.
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