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Thread: The first Frame thread - Jan 13th 2006.

  1. #76

    I too had heard about the issue affecting the 5's and 6's....

    but wasn't sure it was a fact.

    They knew nothing about this matter and said that perhaps it is similar to what they have seen on new 5's and 6's in that hard pothole impact sends the strut tower "north" deforming all sorts of things (sheetmetal, supports, frame members).
    I think this shows that BMW could be in far, far worse trouble than we imagined, they are having a slew of cases for the rear axles falling off the Z3's right now, then they have us, and now the new 5's and 6's are showing exactly the same issues with the aluminum shock tower distortions.

    This does not bode well for us getting a solution quickly, since they obviously have a lot of bigger fish to fry.

    Rule 1.) NEVER, EVER buy a car with an aluminum chassis ever again!

    What about the insurance industry? With aluminum framed cars being written off for fender benders that could easily be straightened out of a steel car, how long will they stand by an let the motor industry use putty metal to frame cars without putting a huge loading on them?

    I really think that if the insurance companies were smart they'd do a cost analysis of the cars that get destroyed in the crash tests, because Aluminum cars seem to cost far more to repair in any given situation.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  2. #77
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Dealer inspection probably smart

    Following the lead of some of you, I think taking the car to the dealer to put them on notice of a potential grievance and educate them on the issue is probably wise. While in most cases I find the dealers mis/uninformed and far removed from the corporate level, they certainly have some communication back up the ladder. I know BMW is aware and investigating our issue, but I don't think it would hurt for to bring all of the dealers up to speed from our perspective. There's power in all of the dealers querying back to BMW "hey, what's going on with the Z8 - we had several owners in this month telling us about a potential frame issue". After all, the dealers would surely be concerned about potentially losing future sales to their top customers over a manufacturing flaw on the flagship model.

    That being said, I believe that any interaction with the dealer, or anyone at BMW for that matter, should be nothing but calm and professional. The emotionally outraged complaint rarely gets satisfactory results. At this point we need to stand behind a common front giving BMW time to research the issue, and if there is a flaw expecting them to devise a fix within a "reasonable" timeframe.
    thegunguy

  3. #78
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macfly
    What about the insurance industry?
    I wonder what the insurances will say about past cases once this has been admitted to be a design flaw. They might go back and re-evaluate these cases.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  4. #79
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    Another Insurance Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    I wonder what the insurances will say about past cases once this has been admitted to be a design flaw. They might go back and re-evaluate these cases.
    Will an ordinary auto insurance policy provide any protection agains a substantial drop in the market value of a Z8 due to a design flaw?
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  5. #80
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    Just got my car back.

    I've just returned from Cleveland BMW. As a goodwill gesture they fully inspected my '01 (3,300 miles) regarding the alleged structural shortcomings. They found nothing wrong with my car. The shock towers, frame, suspension components are all per factory specs and show virtually no signs of damage or stress. They put it on the rack and found all alignment settings in-check and provided me with a copy of the readings noting that the car was not loaded with weights (ie. sandbags) to replicate true loading conditions. I gave them a printed copy of the Business Week Online Z8 article. It is my humble recommendation that all Z8 owners make an appointment with their dealer and have their cars inspected and therefore documented for this matter. If the "fur is going to fly" with BMW, we must all have established a baseline of data for them to work with.

  6. #81

    No, but they are bound to cover any accidental damage...

    Quote Originally Posted by blkz8
    Will an ordinary auto insurance policy provide any protection agains a substantial drop in the market value of a Z8 due to a design flaw?
    and that is how all the frames in the EU have been replaced. BMW hasn't paid for one repair as yet.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  7. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by blkz8
    Will an ordinary auto insurance policy provide any protection agains a substantial drop in the market value of a Z8 due to a design flaw?
    Absolutely not. Your only relief is with the manufacturer.

  8. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8bimmer
    Absolutely not. Your only relief is with the manufacturer.
    Sure.

    But, I can see how this could get a bit ugly between the parties. Imagine a minor fender-bender accident causing frame damage. Clearly the insurance company has to do something about this situation. Will they throw this at BMW? The owner?

    I think, if the insurance companies drop our policies, that is one thing. Otherwise, in the event of an accident (no matter how minor) they are obligated to repair the vehicle or compensate us for the true-market-value. I do not see anything in my policy that excludes Z8 frame and BMW has not acknowledged this as a flaw, so I think we are protected.

    Just before filing a claim, find a good size pothole and aim good
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  9. #84
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Just got mine back from the dealer....

    While BMW sits quietly, Dinan has stood behind their modification and products. I had recently (10/05) performed the Dinan Stage 3 Suspension Upgrade for my Z8. I found it to be overly harsh... too harsh, IMHO and complained to Dinan before this frame issue was known. Dinan said that it sounded as if I were "hitting the bump stops" of the suspension travel and most likely was due to either defective springs or they had sent the wrong set to me for installation. They proceeded to send a replacement set of springs about a month ago and I just had them installed. No problems and no alignment issues were encountered this time (there were alignment issues with the first set of springs such as excessive cross camber and cross caster readings). The ride is superior to what I just had with the first set of springs but still noticibly stiffer than the OEM but with improved handling. With definite improvement over the OEM setup (the goal), I would recommend it, despite the frame concerns and I will explain below.

    This was "no charge" and Dinan basically considered it a "warranty issue" and replaced them for "customer satisfaction" (their term, not mine). Something BMW could learn a lesson from right now?

    While at the dealer, I had them do a thorough inspection of the top and bottom of the shock towers (front and rear) and all other suspension components on my Z8. I showed my dealer the information on this site and the letter from the Z8 Club and the article from Business WeekOnline. Fortunately, NO DAMAGE FOR ME at 35,000 miles on my 2003 Z8.

    They had no idea of this issue regarding the Z8 but they did have several issues just like this with the 3 series, 5 series and one or two on the new 6 series (therefore he was not surprised to hear it affected the Z8 too). My dealer informed me everyone he had seen had been under warranty and ALL of these problems on these other models were fixed as a warranty issue, regardless of whether the vehicle had been modified or not. He admitted a couple were "accident related" -- like the person ran off the road over a curb and into a ditch) and insurance took care of those customers. He said the warranty vehicles were straightened at a local Tulsa Body shop who used metal plates over/under the shock tower connected to a hydralic frame straightening machine. Then the dealer reinstalled the suspension components. A few had to have the shock towers removed and new ones welded in place. NO problems afterward..... so he says. He said more commonly, it affected the right front. Not surprising, the right front tire / wheel gets scraped more too as it is harder to navigate or estimate the distance over that corner.

    I see this as a good sign for those of us still in warranty, which is why I would recommend from this point on, having your Z8 checked every 6 months or so by the dealer (more if you drive it alot) in order to find and/or document any damage now or in case it developes later or worsens. For those out of warranty, I am not sure but hopefully, now that it is under investigation and given BMW's track record with the other models, most likely they will be covered too, especially given there seems to be a precedence here.

    I see this a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel and I am more optimistic of a satisfactory outcome for everyone involved.

  10. #85
    2001/Titan/Red Z8Cookie's Avatar
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    So what are the implications to safety?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc

    If the chassis has a fatigue failure, the shock tower could come loose, what if that happened at any sort of speed? I suspect that a single wrongful death suit would or could cost BMW more. Being a trauma orthopedic surgeon, I suggest no one drive their car for now. Too bad to, I really love this car but can not keep it if it is going to be unsafe. Hope to hear from BMW soon.
    Having been away while this all blew up, like everybody I am very concerned as to the outcome.

    I have always had issues with the ?usual symptoms? that this problem now has answered, but what has worried me more than anything is the trip I made last week! 150+mph on the motorways in Europe & some serious mountain road driving in a car that could have?? what? What exactly are the implications to safety etc?

    I had the right hand strut etc changed June 2005 but I notice the bolts are clearly still ?bent? & the tower crown has a fair bulge in it. The space on both sides of the hood looks OK except for a slight narrowing in the middle. What I have noticed though is the size of the gap of the boot (trunk!) near rear window. I?m sure it?s a lot larger that it used to be!

    Colin

  11. #86

    Trunk lid and rear end deformation.

    If the rear crowns have distorted the trunk lid will no longer sit perfectly. If the issue is only on one side it will close slightly off in one direction. If both sides have the damage it may catch the rear deck lid panel by the center stop lamp as it opens.

    So far we don't seem to have had too many cars check in with rear end issues, but the car you see in the current GALLERY at Buttonwillow was a 50K mile car, and all 4 corners were distorted. The trunk lid was notchy to open, catching the rear deck at the back center of the trunk lid, and it sat skewed to one side when closed.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  12. #87
    2001/Titan/Red Z8Cookie's Avatar
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    Thank's Andrew,
    I?m going to give the car a good look at this weekend & see about a check over next week at my dealer. I?ll keep the forum posted.

    I have also noticed the hard top is slightly higher on the right side & the seams either side of the centre stop lamp have different sized gaps! I really hope all this can be resolved, as I don?t want to have to part with my ?perfect? car. What else even comes close!

    Colin.

  13. #88
    2001/Titan/Red Z8Cookie's Avatar
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    I have also noticed the hard top is slightly higher on the right side & the seams either side of the centre stop lamp have different sized gaps!
    I should have taken that as one photo! Anyway, it still shows the difference between the gap sizes.
    Odd I?ve never noticed it before! Measuring from the centre of the roundel to the wheel arch the right hand side was 7mm higher than the left. The trunk lid still closes perfectly.

    As for the front..Do my nuts look straight?

    To think a week back the only thing I was bothered about was the chrome pealing back on the door mirror!

    Colin
                 

  14. #89
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Cookie
    As for the front..Do my nuts look straight?
    Hi Colin,

    the towers look bulged to me, especially the passenger side. Unless you used a fisheye lens, the bolts are definitely not parallel IMO.
    The gaps around the trunk lid are the worst that I have seen so far, not only are they unequal, but also the surrounding gaps seem to be misaligned. Hard to say whether all this can be corrected simply by adjusting the gaps, or whether there is some underlying damage. However, looking at your hardtop gaps I fear for the latter.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    The gaps around the trunk lid are the worst that I have seen so far
    Hi dwZ8,

    Thank's for that, cheared me up no end!

    Colin.

  16. #91
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Cookie
    Hi dwZ8,

    Thank's for that, cheared me up no end!

    Colin.
    I am sorry for this, Colin, I thought you wanted to hear people's opinion about this.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  17. #92
    2001/Titan/Red Z8Cookie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    I am sorry for this, Colin, I thought you wanted to hear people's opinion about this.
    Sorry, yes I do, That's just my odd way of trying to be humorous! (Irony ie: Basil Faulty / John Cleese Style)

    Colin

  18. #93
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Cookie
    Sorry, yes I do, That's just my odd way of trying to be humorous! (Irony ie: Basil Faulty / John Cleese Style)

    Colin
    Well, John would probably have phrased it this way:

    I am afraid that my belief in your car being in pristine condition is probably not as strong as the one I have in Great Britain's monarchy...
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  19. #94
    2001/Titan/Red Z8Cookie's Avatar
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    This is how Basil Fawlty would deal with the problem!


    Colin.

  20. #95

    This email just in from Roger in Munich....

    he asked me to post this, so you can see it......

    Andrew...I stopped into the BMW dealership on Frankfurter Ring in Munich. They are the only dealership in Germany authorized to fix the Z8's. I spoke to the service manager who said that there was no structural weakness in the chassis of the Z8 and that the only way to damage the frame was to have a severe impact collision. He did not believe this would be a problem for normal driving conditions.

    There have been 10 cars repaired so far. The repairs took about 4 months, had to be done at this one dealership in Germany or several others around the world. The cost of repairs is about 70,000 euros.

    So this is the information I got. For me, I will continue to drive the car every day with the idea that it can't be replaced so therefor makes me more cautious.

    One impression I got was that BMW is not working on any structural fix so for those not driving the cars because they are waiting for some structural retrofit, they may be wasting their time.

    Take care.

    Roger Minkow
    Andrew Macpherson

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  21. #96
    Z8Mania
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    Thats a cool $83,000! OUCH!

  22. #97
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Well, I wouldn't expect a BMW dealer to make any statements that could compromise BMW itself.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  23. #98
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    RE: No help from Irvine BMW

    Just spoke with Irvine BMW, asked them for an appointment just to inspect the car and compare to factory specs. They refused this and gave me the name and number of Ken Green at BMW N.A. They said they will not look at the car until they get some direction from BMW N.A. I asked them again and told them that I was ready to pay for an inspection. They repeated that they wont look at it until they hear from BMW N.A.

    Left a message for Ken and when he called me back he told me that BMW N.A. is waiting for instructions from Germany, and they wont do anything until then.

    Was rather surprised by the refusal to simply inspect my car, especially considering the fact I have 3 BMW's in the garage all from BMW Irvine. I could not run my business that way.

  24. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvandersluis
    Just spoke with Irvine BMW, asked them for an appointment just to inspect the car and compare to factory specs. They refused ...
    Same happend to me. I was told to contact Ken Green (or something close to it).

    I've not called Ken yet, but I assume he'll tell me the same story about BMW NA waiting for directions.

    To add to that, in a way I'm not overly anxious to take the car to the dealer. So far, no one has been able to articulate how the dealer would go about checking for damage.
    2016 Porsche GTS/MT

  25. #100
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    The fact that you both were both told ...

    to contact the same person implies to me that BMW NA does indeed know about the problem and that BMW NA is waiting for instructions from Germany, which is obviously good to know. Can you post Ken Green's contact information here so that those of us interested can contact him as well?

    Do you know what his particular position is with BMW NA is (Customer Service and/or at what level within BMW is he)?
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  26. #101
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    Ken's number is 201-263-8227, BMW N.A.

  27. #102
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    These responses only reinforce my belief that the factory will not be coming to the rescue.

    I still think it will be up to the owners to make the fix necessary. Not trying to rain on anybody's hopes. We can still keep hoping.

  28. #103

    I honestly do believe that BMW will take care of us....

    and I know I've been accused of waiting for the tooth fairy, and for Santa Claus, by those of you less inclined to believe that any corporation will address such an enormous problem head on.

    If we have to go to the law there is plenty of time for that, and we will know exactly what BMW's game plan is in just a matter of weeks, and can respond accordingly, so let's hang in there for a bit longer.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  29. #104
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    My car is at my dealership right now, they told me that a BMW engineer will come from Munich to inspect it. My dealer had reported the issue to BMW, and apparently they start reacting.

    They are working on it.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  30. #105
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    My car has excessive wear on the insides of the front tires after a total of 10,000 miles. Is it possible that a distorted frame can cause this? The dealer is giviing me new tires at no cost and will attempt to realign the wheels, but if it is a frame issue, this won't help. Any comments? Thank you.

    Bob

  31. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERTSZ
    My car has excessive wear on the insides of the front tires after a total of 10,000 miles. Is it possible that a distorted frame can cause this? The dealer is giviing me new tires at no cost and will attempt to realign the wheels, but if it is a frame issue, this won't help. Any comments? Thank you.

    Bob
    Make sure you get a report after the alignment. In particular, it would be interesting to see to what degree they had to adjust the knobs to fix the misalignments. If they had to go into the extremes, then there might be a frame damage. At least, that seems logical to me.
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  32. #107
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    Question Mileage Related?

    I just turned 10,000 miles on my Z8 and do not have any signs of damage. I don't remember hitting any bad potholes or speedbumps, but do drive the car with some spirit on occasion (no track time). I can't help but wonder if this is a structural flaw, is it likely to present after xx number of miles, absent of any significant impacts? Should we consider a poll of those with damage remembering any signficant impact and/or their mileage?

  33. #108
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    No, No, No....

    Quote Originally Posted by blkz8
    Make sure you get a report after the alignment. In particular, it would be interesting to see to what degree they had to adjust the knobs to fix the misalignments. If they had to go into the extremes, then there might be a frame damage. At least, that seems logical to me.
    get your independent report (just get a reading but no actual re-aligment) of the Z8 BEFORE you take it to your dealer (BMW's representative don't forget) and then take it to your dealer to have it checked. Does it match with the before readings they get?? Then ask for a reading after they correct it. Large differences in the cross caster and cross camber readings as well as large differences in total toe between sides can be indicative of a frame issue. I would not trust your dealer 100% here that's all and have an independent read before you take it in.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  34. #109
    ZedAcht
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    Strut Bar As Possible Fix To Distortion Problem

    I am working with Paul Ebeyer of strong strut to design a strut bar for the Z8. I have one of his strut bars on my M roadster and it is great. I also helped work on the application for the M5. So far, my Z8 shows no signs of the problem with 8,700 miles. He will make one similar to one that he designed for the M5 that will have threaded ends on the bar so that the bar can actually slightly change the angle of the tower. I am not an engineer so pardon me if my terminology is not perfect.
    I have his complete strut/body strut kit for my M roadster and it has prevented the squeaks that they are famous for in addition to making it handle like a coupe. I feel that a stitch in time is worth nine and want a good strut bar for my Z8. he is looking for at least 12-15 prepaid buyers to make it worth his time to undertake this project.
    I will lead the effort to make a group buy if that is what it takes. Look at his site at Strong Strut then contact me or Paul if you are interested.
    MARTIN

  35. #110
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Robert Linton's Avatar
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    Although I too wish for a quick (and inexpensive) solution as I am second to none in my desire to keep my Z8, given that the reported flex and resultant (and possibly ever increasing) fatigue of the aluminum could be lateral, vertical or longitudinal or any combination of the foregoing, a strut brace could help to ameliorate, have no effect upon, or actually exacerbate the situation.

    Further, if the perceived problem is caused by something other than a materials problem in a limited number of cars, the situation is genuinely complicated and difficult and a permanent solution appertaining thereto entailing not only fixing/removing existing damage, but also preventing future damage, might be more complex than one might like to recognize or imagine at first. While one must applaud all amateur attempts at solution, in likelihood, only the manufacture has the design & test data, facilities and equipment to render a fix that is proper, safe and lasting.

  36. #111
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    Yes, you are correct! BMW needs to step up and tell their owners the truth, not this BS lawyer speak....C YA.
    If there is a problem we (BMW) will fix it.... you bought our car and our trust..... No Law Suits.

  37. #112
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    It appears to be a problem that is independent of...

    Quote Originally Posted by Z Man
    I just turned 10,000 miles on my Z8 and do not have any signs of damage. I don't remember hitting any bad potholes or speedbumps, but do drive the car with some spirit on occasion (no track time). I can't help but wonder if this is a structural flaw, is it likely to present after xx number of miles, absent of any significant impacts? Should we consider a poll of those with damage remembering any signficant impact and/or their mileage?

    milage on the vehicle. I have currently 35,000 miles, driven on reasonable but not always pristine roads, hit a few typical potholes at highway speeds and tracked my car a few times since buying my Z8 in Nov. 2002. I have No VISIBLE signs of damage but I can not be sure there is or is not any damage, point is, there is really no way for any of us to tell.

    GM on another board states he thinks the Dinan caster plates might help reinforce the top of the strut tower and have probably prevented his car from deforming over his 18,000 spirited miles -- IMHO, I just think there is no way to tell for sure. I too have the Dinan Stage 3 Suspension upgrade but have only had it for the last 3,000 miles. Considering that fact and that 32,000 miles were without visible damage and were without the Dinan caster plates, I do not think one could assume these caster plates will prevent anything.

    A strut tower brace has the benefit of making the frame more rigid but you have to be careful of how this is done as without the proper engineering information from BMW and proper testing, this could make things worse (Physics principle: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction), which could lead to more stress applied to a different area of the chassis which was originally NOT intended to handle that stress. Therefore, ANY bracing should be manufactured with the help of BMW -- which given the situation as it stands now, I do not see them cooperating with that.

    Any strut brace manufactured without that information, IMHO, would be just that , a strut brace and really have no assurance it will prevent anything. It might make you (or me) feel better about driving your car and certainly I do not critisize anyone attempting to be proactive in this damn situation, which we certianly need.

    So, since I do want to continue to drive my car -- count me in on the pre-order for a strut brace. If it still breaks, well, time to move on -- maybe that new retro-ish 928?
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  38. #113
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Robert & Jeff, excellent posts!

    Within a couple of days, even the small group of Z8 owners posting on two boards has lost its focus.

    Whereas some time ago there was a unanimous feeling that - given the importance and complexity of this issue - a fix MUST come from BMW, and that they are the only ones who have enough data to determine
    - the true causes for the damages
    - the points on the frame that need to be changed/reinforced
    (ref to actio = reactio)
    - the design of a fix

    We are talking about a perceived weakness of the frame, about a safety issue in the long run, about something that could hurt us years from now.

    IN PRINCIPLE, some kind of sandwich for the towers should work, it is an obvious fix, and I think I suggested that the first week when the whole issue came up.

    However, we all should know that any reinforcement like this - and please add also coilovers or other setup mods - are typically done to prepare the car for heavier use on tracks. It is a known fact that stiffer suspensions alone stress the bodywork a lot, it will show after a couple of years.
    So I don't object to those who want to modify their cars, I did it myself. However, for those who don't know exactly what they are doing: stay away from it now.

    We seemed to have one voice and one interest, which was to get a proper solution from BMW. There also appeared to be enough patience to give them time to work on it.

    But it took days to turn this group of owners into a chicken farm, where some want to manufacture their own fix, some want to ignore the issue completely, some pray for Steve Dinan, and some just want to go with GM's directions, although I doubt that he wants to take the responsibility for this.

    Nice picture that we are presenting to BMW. Apparently we don't care anymore...
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  39. #114
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    dwz8 - It is my perception that most everyone does care and would like BMW to step up and provide a solution, or at least guidance. However, given their response, that doesn't appear likely. What do you suggest? Has there been any indication that BMW is working on this?

  40. #115
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZbobZ
    dwz8 - It is my perception that most everyone does care and would like BMW to step up and provide a solution, or at least guidance. However, given their response, that doesn't appear likely. What do you suggest? Has there been any indication that BMW is working on this?
    Hi Bob,

    to me, all signs are set to green. Everything I have seen so far coming from BMW is a very normal behavior for such a big company. I personally think that less than 10 days after their first statement is a little bit too short to conclude anything.

    The statement was necessary to cool off a couple of people and evaluate their chances in front of court, nothing more. And it did its job. Of course, it was disappointing, however, I try to read between the lines:

    Quote Originally Posted by BMW
    Recurrent dynamic driving along bad sections of road can lead to slight distortions in the area of
    the suspension strut towers. This again is not specific to the Z8. Slight distortions in this area have
    no effect on driving safety and drivability.
    So they admit that it is normal that distortions may happen. This is not specific to the Z8, as they say. In all other cases, they have provided some kind of "fix". Why shouldn't they here?

    My guess is some kind of High Performance Kit or similar for those of us that want to do "recurrrent dynamic driving". And I'd be happy with it.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  41. #116
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    New communication

    Just stumbled on a new response from BMW AG to the BMW Z8 Club e.v.


    Email from BMW Group on information about distortions in the area of the
    suspension strut towers to the BMW Z8 Club e.V.
    February 25, 2006
    Please note, this is not a translation made by the BMW Z8 Club e.V. but comes
    directly from BMW Group !!!
    Dear Mr. Wunderlich,
    Thank you for your letter dated February 22 and your offer for cooperation. As mentioned in our
    statement dated February 14, 2006, recurrent dynamic driving along bad sections of road can lead
    to slight distortions in the area of the suspension strut towers. This is not specific to the Z8. Slight
    distortions in this area have no effect on driving safety and drivability. As also explained, it cannot
    be ruled out that this could also lead to minimal shifts in the body panel seams, e.g. in the area of
    the engine compartment. Such non-critical changes ?as distinct from damage arising from
    borderline accidents ?are present when the frame geometry complies with factory
    specifications/target values, as may be the case following for example a correction of the tracking
    alignment. In case of doubt, a tracking alignment check can ascertain whether a car has been
    driven beyond the normal range of use.
    To further reduce the possibility of such changes ?albeit non-critical but involving visual
    impairments ?for these situations, and in order to meet the wishes of Z8 owners who have
    approached us, we are currently investigating the possibility of a retrofit.
    Best regards
    Andreas Klugescheid
    BMW Group Corporate Communications
    Head of Heritage Communication
    Petuelring 130
    D-80788 M?nchen
    Tel.: +49 89 382 27797
    Fax.: + 49 89 382 23927

  42. #117
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Interesting, isn't it?

    Great news.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  43. #118
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    perseverance

    A lot of credit has to go to Jurgen and his team in maintaining this partnership with BMW. I hope that the fix that refered will address our concerns so that we do not have to search for an alternatives that may void our warranty .
    Thank you Jurgen.
    KG

  44. #119
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    Good news! This is what I expected from a company like BMW. The Z8 Club did a great job, thx.

  45. #120
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Smile Great news

    However, I still don't like the "Cars driven beyond normal use" stuff. I've owned and driven similarly, many cars, as I'm sure most of you have, and have never had issues with frame distortions. We are driving these cars within normal use. On the other hand. I don't really care what they call it, I suppose, as long as they develop a fix!!

  46. #121
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree that this is indeed encouraging but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Norcal
    However, I still don't like the "Cars driven beyond normal use" stuff. I've owned and driven similarly, many cars, as I'm sure most of you have, and have never had issues with frame distortions. We are driving these cars within normal use. On the other hand. I don't really care what they call it, I suppose, as long as they develop a fix!!
    the language or inference that all of this damage may be from "cars driven beyond normal use" is ridiculous. I suppose... that for those who have routinely tracked their car and sustained the distortions, the track is not what the car was designed for BUT, most of the cars I have heard about, were NOT track cars and were driven on the street, as it was designed. Besides, most tracks I have seen are better than most of the roads any of us routinely encounter so I am not exactly sure what they mean when the use the "beyond normal use" or "recurrent driving dynamic"terminology.

    Definitely this most recent letter is a step in the right direction and much of the thanks goes to Jurgen and the Z8 Club membership for working on this. I do credit in part this board and our "lively and spririted" posts for part of this success and even in part, the discussions of the class actions. Reason is that their are
    others" who are monitoring this board and it's contents.... ever notice there are frequently "guests" browsing the site? I suspect that at least a few of the guests are BMW representatives trying to stay abreast of what we are thinking.

    Glad to see a retrofit coming with BMW input. It is the only way to ensure we can minimize any side effects of a strut brace or tower reinforcement on other areas of the chassis. Light at the end of a long tunnel I think and maybe in time for the meet in the middle?!
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  47. #122
    Z8Mania
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    I happen to think discussion of lawsuits is what causes a company like BMW to go beyond their extra cautious nature in written communications so I think they are counter productive.

    However, a big thanks to Jurgen, Olaf, the Z8 Club, Andrew for running this site and those members making productive comments. I would also suggest that there are perhaps some who will benefit from the Club's work who have not joined the Club. I think the Club proved its value and if someone is on the fence they should consider this as a good reason to join.

  48. #123
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    I agree -- it is ALL good!

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8Mania
    I happen to think discussion of lawsuits is what causes a company like BMW to go beyond their extra cautious nature in written communications so I think they are counter productive.
    I was referring to the "entire" discussion as reasons why BMW is now attempting to develope a retrofix. When you look at the whole discussion, including the talk of Class Acitons, for or against, it gives those at BMW monitoring the situation the entire spectrum to consider when they are deciding what they wish to do [ i.e., to develope a retrofix or not]. I am not a fan of law suits either but they do have their purpose. I am an ardent supporter of the Club and I know that I did make several references in favor of a Class Action but that was when BMW was NOT DOING ANYTHING! I did discuss this issue with other Z8 Club members privately and I decided to play that "legal" side of the equation to exert pressure from that perspective. There is no way to know for sure whether legal talk helped or hurt the situation but hey, the end result is ALL GOOD! Certainly this most recent letter is the first time BMW has mentioned or agreed to a fix "for the Z8 owners who have approached us". Even the Club mentioned the legal representation when they were going ahead with the test as they were going to have an attorney present. No matter how you look at it, all of it played a role and we now appear to be on track with getting a properly engineered fix ...er, I mean "retrofix" for those who want it.

    Certainly, Jurgen, Olaf and the rest of the Z8 Club membership should be thanked for their continued hard work on this difficult issue and I could not agree more that all of us Z8 owners should support the club and if anyone is not a member yet, they should be. Hopefully, that process will be easier sooner when Andrew finalizes the Credit Card payment method for us US members as that will be easier than the wire transfer.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  49. #124
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    Yes- my point, which is not necessarily directed to you Jeff, is that when you approach someone by saying: we're gonna sue, and we've gone to the press is that it should be no surprise when the response back reads like it comes from the legal and PR departments. Because that is who you have forced them to involve. My point earlier of: what is our goal here? Is to get us as a group to consider what we want and whom we want to be talking to. IMHO we have an engineering concern which needs to be handled by engineers- as it seems to be now.

    Btw- an overdue thank you is to the people at BMW. In my experience with them they have always stood by their products.

  50. #125
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    Retrofit: when/how ?

    All I am gathering from the thread is that BMW Group will develop a retrofit. Will that be free to all Z8 owners and do we know when it will become available in the US ?

  51. #126
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    z8jan - We're all wondering the same

    Actually BMW has only stated that they are investigating the possibility of a enhancement (fix). This is not a firm comitment of production, much less any indication of what/when.
    thegunguy

  52. #127
    Sport Button On - DSC Off mollyshark's Avatar
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    The problem with not being original owner is they can always point to it and say hey, somewhere in the 4K miles on the car before you bought it someone drove the hell out of it. I figure the chance of someone driving the hell out of it on 2K miles a year was pretty slim.

    We'll just wait and see, but have to confess, it was 80 degrees out today and yeah, I was out for 2-1/2 hours. Still has the yee-haw value no matter what. Hey, I've been called a little twisted myself. We'll get through it together.
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  53. #128
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    So why is everybody so thrilled ?

    We have no commitment for a fix whatsoever; but I seeing the whole crowd reacting as if your problem is solved. It isn't.

  54. #129

    Everyone is thrilled because....

    none of us wanted a 3-5 year knock down drag out lawsuit that would waste millions, and do no end of harm to our car's value, BMW's reputation, and our overall happiness. This was a loose/loose for all, except maybe the lawyers.

    BMW saying they'll engineer an upgrade for those of us whole want to use our cars more enthusiastically gives everyone a gentleman's way forward, so without admitting to anything our problem is solved.

    Almost every owner I have spoken to has no problem paying for an upgrade (so long as it is reasonable) as things are always discovered when products are in the public domain. Everyone understands and accepts this, and is happy to pay BMW for an upgrade that will ensure the longevity of our cars.
    Andrew Macpherson

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    Unhappy

    I so much disagree, pay for a retrofix. I do not want to insult those who want to pay, but I do not expect a car for $140,000 ever to need a retrofix in the first place, but I do agree when lawyers get involved ..they only win.. I am waiting for my letter or reply from BMW... Sorry but I do not trust them.

  56. #131
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    The 2/25 message is the first bit of good news since this started...

    Quote Originally Posted by z8jan
    We have no commitment for a fix whatsoever; but I seeing the whole crowd reacting as if your problem is solved. It isn't.
    Actually, I'm a bit surprised in the swing from the "sky is falling" to "all is solved" when there is no guarantee that a retrofix (insert BMW euphemism here) will see the light of day. Again, all they said was that they will "INVESTIGATE the POSSIBILITY of a retrofit" - not we plan to, not we will, etc. This is why I say there is no guarantee. That being said, I do believe the statement is BMW?s way of showing us their hand, and that they intend to provide a fix.

    Unlike some who have criticized BMW for "hiding behind" their attorneys, I can't blame BMW's cautious progression on this issue. In today's litigious society, company's can get burned for even doing the "right thing" - can't please everyone. So, it appears to me that they are following the path of:
    1. Establish that there is no safety issue (major liability issue)
    2. Establish that damage is caused by accidents (dismiss liability for repairs - put it on insurance providers)
    3. Offer a performance/visual oriented "enhancement" (we can make it better, we have the technology)

    This way they can appease the owners, maintain brand loyalty, and save face in the press. Sounds to me like BMW has a pretty smart team of product, PR, and legal specialists.

    However, all of the above does not help anyone who has a damaged car. While the damage is unfortunate, I believe the best action is to file an insurance claim. The deductible and time of repair are nothing compared to the agony of gathering data and fighting BMW.
    thegunguy

  57. #132
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    AT least someone makes sense of it all, good comment

  58. #133

    Indeed.......

    That being said, I do believe the statement is BMW?s way of showing us their hand, and that they intend to provide a fix.
    Those with more knowledge than I say exactly this.

    The 20% of owners who have damage to their cars aren't helped by this, but I'm certain that there will be some solution for them with shimming the under tower plates that will be a part of the upgrade. This will take care of all but the very worst cases. If you have one of these, and plan to keep it, this will likely have to be a case for your insurance company.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  59. #134
    Sport Button On - DSC Off mollyshark's Avatar
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    Sooooo glad I bought a really good extended warranty. Ahem.
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    Puzzled

    I can not understand why some of us are volunteering to absorb the cost of the fix. We do not even know how much it is going to cost. Someone mentioned, as long as it is reasonable, by whose definition?
    Allow me to remind you that our main concern was the damage our cars may suffer from normal driving and not due to driving enthusiastically.
    If BMW is reading this thread and they see that some of us have no problem in swallowing the cost, what do you think they will do, absorb it themselves!
    What am I missing?
    KG

  61. #136

    Marriage is always a compromise.....

    divorce is always a battle.

    Let me tell you what almost every email has said, one way or another -
    PLEASE PROVIDE A FIX FOR MY CAR!
    About 60% of you didn't want to go to court.
    About 25% of you did.
    The rest were sitting on the fence to see where BMW would come down.
    Almost everyone said they didn't mind paying a reasonable sum for an upgrade/fix/solution as long as we got to keep our cars. What is reasonable? I'd say $1-2K is reasonable, or acceptable, much over that and eyebrows get raised. Over $5K and there will be howls, over $10K and no doubt everyone will be wanting to go to court again!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  62. #137
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Andrew makes sense to me

    AM - your threshold of pain levels seem about right.

    If you want to fight BMW, feel free, but don't kid yourself. Even without knowing the cost of the "fix", I am comfortable stating that the cost (time and financial) of fighting will far out pace paying for the fix ourselves. So, it comes down to a simple cost benefit analysis.

    Do you:

    A. want to pay $5k for a "fix" that provides a high level of certainty that it extends the life of the car to the original 50 year threshold and beyond?

    or

    B. want to pay who knows how much to fight BMW for who knows how long towards an unknown outcome?

    Either way, it?s pointless to debate over who is going to pay for the fix at this point. As I have stated before, there?s no guarantee of a fix yet anyway ?INVESTIGATING?POSSIBILITY?. Again, I still believe (intuition only) one is forthcoming in light of the vague language.
    thegunguy

  63. #138
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    To quote someone on another thread...

    "blah, blah, blah". I agree, all of this rhetoric at this point is indeed pointless as thegunguy has pointed out, key words are INVESTIGATING and POSSIBILITY. But, my suspicion in reading between the lines is that they are going to give a fix -- IF one can be engineered. The statement they gave gives them the wiggle room they need to have in case their testing is not good enough to do the job. (I assume they will test a fix before they offer it) Not to be pessimistic, but what IF their engineers can not find an adequate fix to pacify us? What will we all say then??

    Having said that, let's not jump the gun too quick either way and let's see where this latest statement from BMW leads us. Let's face it, we have not done anything but have a circular dialogue regarding this topic on multiple threads.

    I agree that for those that already have damage, an insurance claim is probably the best bet to get your car fixed, IF mine were, I would start that one right away.

    Also, regarding the extended warranty, -- how do you get one of those? I am still in warranty so am I still eligible??
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  64. #139
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Jumping the gun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    let's not jump the gun
    I haven't been jumped in a long time. Well, other than by my wife.

    Keeping up lighter comments - Hydrogen.
    thegunguy

  65. #140
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Extended warranty

    Also, regarding the extended warranty, -- how do you get one of those? I am still in warranty so am I still eligible??[/QUOTE]


    You should be able to buy the extended warranty from BMW now, because you are still under the original coverage. I was too late and will have to go outside BMW for any extended coverage. So I was told at my dealer. The BMW one is not cheap, but likely worth it given all the minor issues, vanos, soft top, glove box etc, not to mention anything more major.

    Just my POV

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    Emotions and reality

    Curmudgeon here. Okay I have a great product here, best in its class. Well so you used it 4 times, its still under warranty, and it doesn't work the way I told you, the press and advertising it would. Well I can't say it isn't right or it isn't wrong. In fact I can't say anything but if you pay me AGAIN I promise I'll fix it although it's not broken.
    So guys how many of you are going to buy this product from me now? Lawyers aren't the right answer, but you are all smart self made people and none of you would pay under other circumstances. I must be the cheap guy here but $1 dollar is too much to pay to repair a defect with or without and admission. I'm sure there are some entrpreneurs on this board, how long would you be in business if you treated your A+ clients like this. We are car guys who love this car and are willing to take more than we should from the manufacturer because of this. But don't be so cavalier. Paying twice for anything is a fools game.

  67. #142
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    Warranty Info

    The warranties aren't cheap, but they cover a ton. Send me an e and I'll be glad to give you a phone number and who to talk to. I have about 15 Warranty Companies as clients and there are only two I even asked for pricing, so that tells you something!
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  68. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunnslo
    But don't be so cavalier. Paying twice for anything is a fools game.
    Whether legally declared or not, a defect is a defect. I think we should make it clear that BMW should pay for any "fixes" required to make the car suitable for it's intended purpose - the one we all bought into.

    Secondly, I don't think we should refer to this as a "retrofit". That term has implications of something that one voluntarily does to improve the product and it usually involves additional cost. Personally, I believe this is a simple error in engineering and nothing more. Just fix it! This is not a voluntary issue.

  69. #144
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    If I calculate right, it's the fourth day after the statement from BMW has posted. And off goes the speculation about all kinds of things...ready...set...go...

    My guess is it will take
    - less than a week for the first major emotional wave
    - less than two weeks for the first post asking to reconsider the class action
    - less than one day between any two posts claiming that there won't be a fix at all, that nothing is there, nothing is confirmed...

    I wonder what people think how a company works. BMW makes a statement that there is no frame issue, and that they don't take on responsibility for the damages.
    Uproar and disappointment.
    Then there is another statement announcing the possibility of a retrofit.

    Whose company would authorize such a second statement if there wouldn't be a fix?
    Assume for a second, that this is all bogus, they are not working on it, or they simply pretend to be working on it, but not putting too much work into it.
    So what will the next message look like?
    Solution A:
    We found out there is no need for a fix.
    Solution B:
    We found out it is technically not possible to provide a fix.
    Solution C:
    We'd rather drink Bavarian beer than to talk to you suckers.

    Yes, it is a fact that the fix is not there yet. And yes, there is the question about who is going to pay for it, how long is it going to take, and a couple of more. (I've said enough about damaged cars already).
    But please don't question this message per se. This is unreasonable IMHO. You can question it 4 weeks from now if you want.
    I wonder what those of you running a company would say if their customers would question your integrity in a way as it is done here...
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  70. #145

    Timely thoughts.....

    The BMW AG team are in Geneva now, but I'm hoping we'll have some more solid news over the upcoming weeks. I'm personally convinced that BMW's statement indicates that they will stand by our cars, and I think that patience is now the order of the day.

    I feel certain that there is no need to say or do much until April 21st, because with so many of us descending on BMW HQ in Munich, and then going on to the Villa D'Este as BMW's 'special guests' to put the Club's Z8's in a special show/corrall, they'll want to have good news for us. They certainly don't want 40 or so Z8 owners wandering around the show telling all the assembled journalists and auto affecionados that the Z8 is a source of sadness, not joy!

    For those in the US who don't know what I'm talking about, BMW AG kindly invited the founding members of the Z8 Club to drive to the Villa D'Este Classic Car Show they host every year. Since I was a founding member I got invited too, and I wouldn't miss it for anything - it is the most exclusive, and glamorous classic car show in the world.

    Interestingly our BMW AG 'frame contact' is also in charge of the Villa event....
    If you should require press material on the Concorso d?Eleganza Villa d?Este,
    please contact Andreas Klugescheid ([email protected])
    Press material of the past events can be found at www.press.bmwgroup.com (restricted access only for media)
    Andrew Macpherson

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  71. #146
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    Andrew,

    this is exactly the timeframe I am looking at, for exactly this reason. If we don't have more information before that date, I will bring some "Fastest Banana" stickers for everybody attending the show... ;-)
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  72. #147
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    I agree with Macfly and dwz8, patience right now...

    is in order. However, I am most worried about Solution B: There is technically no fix possible. I doubt that this will happen but I have been around long enough to realize "you never know" scenarios.

    I asked who was going to pay for the fix first on another thread as I do not think we should have to pay for this as an "upgrade". To me, this simply makes the car the way it I though it was when I bought it. I am not sure anyone can assume the term "retrofix" implies that we would have to pay for it but any improvement that comes out later to enhance an old design is always referred to as retrofitting. Certainly when someone does such a thing voluntarily, then that would obviously be at our cost. The letter sort of implies that when it states "for the Z8 owners that have approached us".

    So... we will just have to wait and see. In the meantime -- I am proceeding with a couple final modifications I have been putting off -- on faith the retrofit will come.

    Andrew and Dieter -- have fun at the Villa D'Este in April -- wish I could be there too.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  73. #148
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    Andrew and Dieter -- have fun at the Villa D'Este in April -- wish I could be there too.
    Hey Jeff,

    just buy a ticket and come over, I'll buy you a nice bottle of wine...
    I am sure we will have lots of fun there.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  74. #149
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    I seriously looked at coming over but....

    Quote Originally Posted by dwz8
    just buy a ticket and come over, I'll buy you a nice bottle of wine...
    I am sure we will have lots of fun there.

    I just can't work out the time -- too many "irons in the fire" at this time. Maybe next year! I still am trying to work out a Germany trip sometime this summer (my niece is stationed at Bamberg) but details on that are still up in the air.
    Best Regards,

    Jeff
    61995 Silver /// Rot - Original Owner
    Z8 Club of Germany e.V. #102

  75. #150
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc
    I just can't work out the time -- too many "irons in the fire" at this time. Maybe next year! I still am trying to work out a Germany trip sometime this summer (my niece is stationed at Bamberg) but details on that are still up in the air.
    So be it then...
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

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