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Thread: Current Status: Shock Tower Repair

  1. #1
    Z8 Novice BostonZ's Avatar
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    May 2006
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    Current Status: Shock Tower Repair

    Dear Fellow Z8 Enthusiasts:

    I have lurked and enjoyed this forum immensely for some time. Andrew, thank you for all you do (and put up with)!

    My Z8 has shock tower doming. I have written Bill at BMW NA and he has been courteous and responsive. The car has been to the dealer, Foreign Motors West in MA, and they were quite knowledgable and helpful to understand better what is happening, measure and document distortions, photograph etc. (In fact I would say they have been fantastic about it so far -- I would recommend them to Z8 owners in the New England area.) The car goes back to them so that the Field Engineer can come out to see it next Wednesday.

    I have read the forum a couple of times. Some of you may know more that is written here. I'd like to know what we know (rather than what we hope or fear) and how we are moving this forward. [My intent, BTW, is to give BMW every benefit of the doubt. This can't be easy for them, or fun.]

    1. Does anyone know there is a fix? I ask because a few appear to have letters that mention it, then afterwords most letters stopped mentioning it. They know I have a problem, for instance, yet I did not get any announcement of a fix in my letter. If you have bona fide evidence other than "the letter", either post or PM please. Of course, a particular interest of mine is whether the fix can be applied to a car with ST distortion that is still deemed "within tolerance."

    2. In particular, has anyone been given a date or promise that the parts would be forthcoming for their car?

    3. Has anyone any evidence of a ST problem growing worse? Apparently I am about 70% of the way to "out of spec" at my current 12K miles. I have had two alignments in which the tech said it was "pretty bad." Does anyone have sequential measurements that show the problem growing worse over time?

    4. Several measurement proposals have been mentioned on the site. Have we, or has BMW, come up with a standardized way of measuring the distortions and documenting the status of a shock tower?

    5. This of course started as a "frame" issue. Is there any evidence of widespread frame distortion (versus just the top of the ST)? Of course ST distortion is serious, but we can certainly see how to get through that one. Other than occasional seriously damaged cars, which could happen to any model, are most of our issues confined tothe top of the ST, or do we have evidence to the contrary?

    Boy, I know firsthand that this can be disconcerting, but I am hoping as a community that we can be seen, within our group and at BMW NA and BMW AG, as constructive as an owner's group can be at finding solutions and cooperating with the manufacturer, out of respect for them and our love of the car as a long-term keeper of instant-classic status. I think they could use our patience and understanding, and certainly we need their help!

    John
    John from Weston, MA
    2001 Silver/Black

  2. #2

    Welcome!

    Here are the answers to the best of my knowledge at this moment:

    1. Does anyone know there is a fix?
    Yes, BMW have announced it both in Germany and here.

    2. In particular, has anyone been given a date or promise that the parts would be forthcoming for their car?
    Yes, it will be here later this summer.

    3. Has anyone any evidence of a ST problem growing worse?
    Yes, it will take a considerable hit to start the doming, but it will take a lesser force with each subsequent hit.

    3a. Does anyone have sequential measurements that show the problem growing worse over time?
    Yes, in particular I know of two owners who have measured, had subsequent hits and remeasured the distortions.

    4. Have we, or has BMW, come up with a standardized way of measuring the distortions and documenting the status of a shock tower?
    I am certain that BMW have - but in engineering terms we have not, it is a simple line of sight method to tell if the S/T's are flat and true or domed.

    5. This of course started as a "frame" issue. Is there any evidence of widespread frame distortion (versus just the top of the ST)?
    To the best of my knowledge the only other areas of concern are the front shock tower support arms and the top frame rail which can also both bend inwards in sympathy causing the gap narrowing in the hood that can be seen in the pictures in the main thread. The Performance Upgrade addresses this tendency, so once it is fitted your car will be completely rigid and fully protected.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Z8 Novice BostonZ's Avatar
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    May 2006
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    Thanks

    I know it has been discussed, but do we know if the fix will work if the car is already showing doming?
    John from Weston, MA
    2001 Silver/Black

  4. #4

    My understanding is yes, to a point.

    This will have to be defined exactly by BMW's engineers, but my understanding of what is coming is that the shock tower crown will be sandwiched between two plates that will both add rigidity, and also act to compress any slight doming. What the limit of this is/can be we will have to wait and see.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.