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Thread: Perfomance Package available

  1. #1
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    Perfomance Package available

    Dear BMW Z8 Club Members,
    dear BMWZ8 Owners,

    There is movement on the availbility of the Performance Package.
    Please take a look at the attached file.

    Responsible for the handling of the delivery to the dealerships in the US will be Mrs. Nina Englert of BMW NA. Mail: [email protected], phone 201 263 8202. Please contact her for further information. The supply of the kit in the US will be possible in about two weeks from now, according to BMW.

    We will send the attached circular letter with standard mail to all of our Club Members, including the installation manual. This manual is currently available in German only. Please ask your local dealership or Mrs. Englert for the English version.
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  2. #2
    Z8 Novice BostonZ's Avatar
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    Well, this could definitely be a good thing ...

    if it works.

    I am supposing that Andrew's disappointment is that the brace looks relatively small and lightweight (and maybe needing a paint job? Some chrome bolt heads?).

    There are two possibilities: 1) it is too small, or 2) it is big enough. Hoping BMW has thought this through, I am guessing it is good enough to protect the cars. Being light and relatively inexpensive ($500 parts) is good. It won't throw off the 50/50 weight balance or handling with excess front end pounds, and at considerably less than $5000 it will get installed in many cars. Gees, maybe they even heard us on price, too?

    Doesn't look like aluminum, though, does it?

    OK you disbelievers, this is where you tell me I am wrong ...
    John from Weston, MA
    2001 Silver/Black

  3. #3
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    The strut supports and the reinforcement ring are made from steel, whereas the original supports were made from aluminum.
    The brace certainly doesn't look like aluminum.

    Bad news for Alpina users though.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  4. #4
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    Does look a bit frail....

    ...but I'm no expert. I cannot help but wonder if BMW actually tested this on Z8s to determine whether it would actually withstand a harsh pothole or if this is simply something provided to shut us up. Seems to me, to actually test the effectiveness they would have had to "break" a number of Z8s, then take other Z8s through the same process with the brace and determine the extent of damage. That said, I'm trying to stay optimistic that this will put this issue to rest forever!

  5. #5
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Well we got what we wanted...

    I can only assume with all the threats of litigation, bad press, etc. BMW is focused on developing a sound solution to put the issue to bed and alleviate the concerns of us owners. However, I agree with some of you that the appearance is a bit underwhelming, but I'm no engineer. I do believe that this is better than nothing at all. It does appear that this is something that could be installed by a competent dealer.

    Strangely, this is a vastly different solution from the one suggested by the sources at Villa d'Este. Were they wrong, or did BMW down-grade the fix after the backlash on the initial price release.

    I wonder how long it will be before we can get a comment from Dinan on the compatibility of their existing suspension upgrades with the fix. The appearance of the new rings does suggest use of the Dinan caster as a preventative was a valid intermediary solution.
    thegunguy

  6. #6
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    Unhappy As an Alpina owner I

    am disappointed to hear that the long awaited "fix" from BMW does not fit our vehicles. A quick exam under the hood clearly indicates that the brace itself would not fit over the engine, but in the mean time would it not make sense for BMW to place the strut supports and reinforcement rings on the car? It would seem to me to at least offer some additional support while they engineer the correct solution for the Alpinas.

  7. #7
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Very underwhelming

    I believe the aftermarket could easily out enginieer this set up.

    Did someone say $500? The drilling and riveting are another turn off.

  8. #8
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Can you guys discern any angle or tube bracing in the cross-brace? Seems like a flat piece of steel would very flexible - read worthless.

    It is a disappointment that the Alpina was overlooked with the "fix", but I'm guessing the rings/plats would still fit eventhough the cross-brace won't work with the 4.8L engine. It would not surprise me to see Alpina release a modified fix of their own now that BMW released the initial version...just a thought.
    thegunguy

  9. #9
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    I asked Jurgen why the price had come down so much from the original $3500 - his answer is:

    "Hi Ron,
    the former price was EUR 3.900,- including the installation. Now it will be about EUR 1.500,- including the installation. BMW told me that they did produce a lot more than they wanted (sic planned) to do. Many people asked about the kit and so it was possible to reduce the price because of the larger amount of the kit.
    All the best,
    J?rgen"

    One problem that I seem to have is that BMW UK are saying that the package is not available in the UK. I am pressing this point with them as I write.

    Perhaps British cars dont have the chassis problem (even though mine came from Bahrain!!)

    regards
    Ron

  10. #10
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I've never had a problem ordering parts directly from Germany via my dealer here in the States. The key is having the part number. I don't see why you couldn't order the part in the UK in the same manner.

    In the US its hard enough to find service specialists that really know the car, and this is where half of the cars were sold. It would seem like maintaining a Z8 in the UK is going to be a challenge for the life of the car. Since all the cars are LH drive, did BMW UK ever deliver a single one, or have they all been imported from other markets?
    thegunguy

  11. #11
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    BMW sold a couple of hundred directly through their dealer network. They have Z8 accredited engineers to work on the cars and my local dealer has said that he will get one engineer accredited at his dealership as I am getting the Z8 serviced by them.

    The problem is that the dealership orders parts through BMW's system and this does not have the part number available for the UK.

    If all else fails, I will order it directly BUT I want BMW to fit it (and therefore order the parts) to have an implied warranty. I will wait and see what BMW UK's reply is.

    regards
    Ron

  12. #12
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Also;

    Looks like only the front is addressed. Will this boost our anterior ride height?

    Do the caster plates from Dinan apply to the rear as well?

  13. #13
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Wow --- Underwhelmed is right !

    Quote Originally Posted by macfly View Post
    I can only say I hope to see a Cartridge alternative soon!
    I do not see any angles or tubular or I-Beam construction to the strut brace. I looks like steel, which could have been chosen as an alternative material due to the thinness required to fit under the hood when it is closed. This piece looks like it is about 2 mm thick. A piece of aluminum to achieve the same strength would need to be a bit thicker and may not have fit as the clearances are very tight under there. However, the steel being thinner to achieve the desired strength may not give much torsional support given it's flat appearance, but once installed and IF it is tensioned at all as part of the process, it's strength to bending or flexing or tortion increases. Again, not enough design rationale or information to know for sure.

    The rivets do not particularly worry me. The new holes become a stress riser in that part of the front chassis but would not weaken it to any substantial degree. Worst thing for me (other than whether or not it will work) is it is downright FUGLY and is no way consistent with the aesthetics of the rest of the car, including the thoughful look of the engine compartment.

    Andrew and Rifle, I agree, I too can not wait for the aftermarket alternative (maybe Dinan) but I doubt Cartridge will make one to fit the Z8 as Bob's car is an Alpina, and looks like he will have to engineer his own or do a combined effort with Alpina.

    Still, not quite what I expected but better than nothing I suppose.
    Best Regards,

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

  14. #14
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8-NL's Avatar
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    Agree it is not the best looking solution.
    however in the mean time I have ordered it as I do not want to take any chances. Can always look at other options going forward.

    Understand BMW Nederland did not have a clue but my dealer has more Z8's in maintenance as was/is aware of the upgrade.

    Cheers from NL
    and hope to see some of you at the fall meeting at the "Ring"

  15. #15
    DSC Off Orcatek's Avatar
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    I am considering painting it to match the car. I think that would help the looks. Still concerned about how it will work. Does not look strong. Not thrilled about drilling holes in the car either.

  16. #16
    Z8Mania
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    What I find note worthy is the bar itself does not really attach to the top of the strut towers, which I always figured it would so thats what I was expecting. Instead it seems to brace the rounded part of the frame of the car on both sides. I have no way of proving this, but my opinion is that this will work well for the concerns we have. Yes, its not very pretty though. I suppose you could get it painted. It might be fun to get it painted the M colors?

  17. #17
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    Would chroming the strut reduce its strength in any way? - I think that this would look pretty good?

    regards
    Ron

  18. #18
    Z8Mania
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    I think you have to wonder how it would affect its fitment, also any warranty issues with doing this and any chipping which would end up looking ugly. As my car is black and the kit looks like its black or a dark color, I will leave it be.

  19. #19
    Z8 Novice gordini's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Using tennis shoe with a smoking or toxido

    I am in the scrap bussiness as second generation. I bought a car with SS muflers, aluminum and they offer a cheap steel flat instead of SS this is for me an insult.

  20. #20
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Robert Linton's Avatar
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    We could do one in carbon and titanium but it would be expensive (before you ask, in excess of $2500 each - assuming at least 20 components).

  21. #21
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    That is half of what I was prepared to pay BMW and after seeing your products, I would have to believe there would me more "heart" put into the engineering.

    I will commit to join a list of 20 .

  22. #22
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Also; why couldn't the attachment to the towers themselves be on the top like most of the other systems on the market?

  23. #23
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Don't forget, Bob's price does not include installation.
    thegunguy

  24. #24
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Robert Linton's Avatar
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    And don't forget that Bob is questimating.

  25. #25
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Linton View Post
    And don't forget that Bob is questimating.

    Fair enough but we have to start somewhere

  26. #26
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    youall seem to be so happly about this fugly fix and so happy to pay bmw for it , but i am not so happy .......BMW do not take responsibility for your defect, just give us the option to get the fugly fix gratis... thanks and take your coupon for another Z8 experiance (500$) back. ps did anyone spend 3000$ to use your 500$ coupon?

  27. #27
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    A couple of thoughts...

    This is all we are going to get from BMW, as far as I can see. So they won't change their position, it is ALL OUR FAULT if there is any frame damage. They don't give any guarantee that the kit will prevent further damages, so it will continue to be ALL OUR FAULT if anything else happens to the frame with the kit installed.
    BMW suggested to Z8 owners to NOT INSTALL the kit because it wouldn't get them any benefit unless they would be driving in a spirited fashion on bad roads.

    The way how BMW behaves ensures that the frame & kit discussion will accompany the Z8 forever. For every single car that will be bought in the future, the recommendation MUST be:
    - check its alignment
    - check whether the kit is installed
    - if not, check for frame damages as follows....tbd...
    Instead of closing this discussion now and forever, BMW is the party here that will keep it open.

    ----------------
    second thought:
    I am surprised to see how many just look at the outer appearance of the kit. The kit looks fundamentally different from what we were told in Como, so I assume that they have done some serious work on this. NOBODY ELSE, including Bob (sorry, Bob), does have the CAD data available to investigate the true outcome of these reinforcements and their impact on the rest of the frame.
    I will definitely use the BMW solution, and be it only to be sure that I can go back and tell them at a later time that they still didn't fix it.

    --------------
    third thought:
    I think it was impossible to position the brace on top of the strut towers because their is so little room between the (moving and shaking) engine and the hood. It is a clever move to do it this way IMO.

    BTW, at the Z8 meeting 2 weeks from now, we will have the frame and the kit on display, so everybody there will have an excellent chance to review the situation.

    Sorry for the long post.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  28. #28

    Thanks Dieter.....

    and I would love to see some shots of the 'fix' up against your bare frame. I hope you guys have a wonderful meet and tour at the ring, and please do send some pictures too.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  29. #29
    Z8Mania
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    Good points as usual Dieter. Without any kind of engineering background, what this kit seems to do is address 2 concerns. 1 is the relative strength of the shock towers. there is reinforcement there that happens beneath the towers so perhaps this will resolve the matter for those of us with slight doming as it might attach in a way that spreads loads out to the part of the aluminum that has not been stressed yet and the top part creates a sandwich. The "strut bar"/ its really more of a frame bar/ reinforces those "frame straps" so if there is a hard impact that wants to pull the frame it is spread out and off set. To my sense of the situation, I think this kit is quite cleaver. I have a higher degree of tolerance for the situation than some of you here so thats just me. Its too bad that this will always be a somewhat open discussion, but nothing is perfect in this world. I will continue to enjoy my Z8.

  30. #30
    Z8 Novice gordini's Avatar
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    I will enjoy my big gray but.........

    I wil enjoy also my dream car but they must selecte another metal. The one they selected is US$600 per metric ton plus the fabrication cost, but I am pretty sure that this will not cost more that US$2 per pound. This means that this piece will cost BMW less than US$40 per piece and if you do it for example with Stainless that is as hard as steel and sometimes better you will spend to fbricated this piece for less than US$150 and it will looks better and give the car a better presentation. Using the carbon/titanium I think that maybe it will be very costly because ther is not so much production of scale of this material but in SS there is and is as strong but not as ligh as the titanium.
    I will order this tennis shoes and hope that we can enjoy without more surprises the car.

  31. #31
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    OK,Now a decision...

    Do we race to the dealership for the install and be one of the first? Everyone knows that putting something together the second and third time is easier and comes out better than the first time. That's why they don't have 1st year medical students fooling around with heart valves. But what if the first few cars get special "trainers" sent to the dealership? Then the result may be much better than the second or third car when the local technician is on his own. But what if the first few mass produced "upgrades" aren't perfect, and they come out with an "upgraded upgrade"? I would want one of those. And what if the first car hits a pothole on the way home and the newly drilled hole with the blind rivet rips the aluminum that its bolted to? I want to be first, I want to be second, I want to be tenth, but what I really want (and can't have) is that this whole thing was not necessary. Too much to think about, especially when it concerns an irreplaceable and very meaningful work of art. Its not fair, but not much that happens in any given day really is...

  32. #32
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    I for one will wait to see what Cartridge may decide to offer us before I buy this factory fix.

    That said, I have a few questions for the engineers;

    1 How does the Monte Carlo Bar connecting to the front of the shock towers help the weak area which is the top of the tower? I do understand the cross chassis stiffening performance aspect. This idea has been around a very long time.

    2 If we are sandwiching the tower tops, wouldn't a broader ring give even more reinforcement than these? These appear to be less than an inch wide.

    3 Is the fact that the Monte Carlo bar and the top reinforcement "plate" are not connected as one is because it would make very apparent how deformed some towers really are? (when installed it would really show)

    4 If this the best we are going to get (ie no aftermarket options), Would welding a small rib (end to end)on the inderside of the Monte Carlo bar give us more rigidity?

  33. #33
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Robert Linton's Avatar
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    Dieter is 100% correct - we do not have the data (CAD being only a part of it) to develop our own solution -- nor would Cartridge even attempt it without proper information and testing. What we could do, but are not planning to do, is to produce a better version of the BMW brace. As to the price below, I simply responded with an estimate (which, incidentally, I believe is relatively accurate) to a question -- particularly as I do not expect 20 or more people to put up $2500+ each for braces.

  34. #34
    Z8Mania
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    Aesthetics aside, I think the BMW kit will work well and I will quote Grease Monkey:

    As I expected, BMW has chosen to use the tried and true approach of a strut brace and tower reinforcement plates to help prevent deformation. While a fully triangulated brace would have been preferable, BMW's brace appears to directly address the frame deformation issue in the area most likely to be affected. While I haven't seen the installation details, I believe the brace will be attached to the exposed box frame rail, not to the tower itself. Since this is the part of the frame which can be bent, this makes perfect sense to me. Please note that the pictures supplied with the announcement have the brace against the tower and I think this is incorrect. The large hole on the mounting plate should provide clearance for the air box mount. To prevent deformation of the tops of the towers, BMW has come up with a substantial (read unbendable) shock tower mount coupled with a reinforcement plate to be installed on top of the tower. Based on my experience with the Dinan caster plates preventing tower deformation, this approach should be more than adequate. Also, as an added bonus, I believe the two pieces will act as a compression sandwich when bolted together and this should flatten out some of the bulging on affected towers. All in all, looks like a good fix to me. I plan to install the brace but will most likely retain the Dinan plates instead of using BMW's.
    Grease Monkey
    This is purely my own wild speculation. for 2112's questions (btw- I am a big Rush fan so kudos!)

    1 How does the Monte Carlo Bar connecting to the front of the shock towers help the weak area which is the top of the tower? I do understand the cross chassis stiffening performance aspect. This idea has been around a very long time. I suspect the tower strengthening is from the under tower piece you see in the PDF and then there is a ring that gets mounted to the top of the tower. Whether this is the optimal method or the only option due to the shallow engine bay clearance I do not know.

    2 If we are sandwiching the tower tops, wouldn't a broader ring give even more reinforcement than these? These appear to be less than an inch wide. ?I have no idea- good question- but this is what we got.

    3 Is the fact that the Monte Carlo bar and the top reinforcement "plate" are not connected as one is because it would make very apparent how deformed some towers really are? (when installed it would really show)
    This one I doubt- I do not think you could physically fit the bar across as in a typical shock tower brace bar. If a tower is that deformed I suspect the frame is also really out of spec too.

    4 If this the best we are going to get (ie no aftermarket options), Would welding a small rib (end to end)on the inderside of the Monte Carlo bar give us more rigidity? I dont understand this one but I would not go second guessing BMW as we just don't know.

    As to Ken's question. I will see about being first with my dealer. I will probably be one of the first. I have no reservations. My feeling is if your fears come true and the bar pops off due to a bump, it will damage the shock tower, and the engine compartment and possibly the hood and parts of the engine too. My common sense says- would BMW design this to cause these problems? Putting aside any cynicism for a moment- if that happened to my car, I would demand all the damage be repaired/ replaced free of charge to me as I am sure everyone here would.

  35. #35
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    Fix

    The price is certainly more palatable - but it does look cheap. I agree that it will likely prove effective. If it were to prove defective and/or damage other parts BMW would have to back up the product.

    As per Grease Monkey - I will stick with my Dinan castor plates. I would entertain purchasing a similar but more aesthetically pleasing bar (Bob Linton - Cartridge).

    Dave P

  36. #36
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    The fact that there have been confirmed offers by BMW to provide the performance package at no cost to select individuals under a gag order and unconfirmed reports of offering the performance package as a "fix" for damaged cars, leads me to question anything done by BMW. Do they have the capability, expertise, and experience to engineer an adequate fix? Absolutely. Is that what we got? I'm not so sure.

    First, the fix that was described to us in Italy was far more intricate, involving additional bracing towards the front of the car. This was the solution that was originally announced at an expected price of $5,000. While, I'm pleased at the new price, the substantial reduction raises some question. I see four possible reasons for the change in price - either individually or in combination.
    1. The Como story and the information released to the Z8 club was smoke and mirrors.
    2. The backlash over the $5k price and the resulting discussion of class action suit could have caused BMW to "de-engineer" the fix to a less costly solution so that it wouldn't be so bad of a hit if they ended up having to fix all of the cars as a result of a suit.
    3. After the backlash, BMW realized that the had underestimated the concern over the fix, and in-turn decided that they needed to produce more units of the kit. More units = cheaper unit price.
    4. Testing may have suggested that the braces in the front had no impact on correcting the issue. As such, they were deleted, resulting in a cost decrease.

    My guess would be primarily 3 & 4, but who knows...

    Again, each of these could have happened on their own or in a combination, but a drop in price from $5k to $500 (plus installation) is a pretty big swing.

    The second thing that concerns me is the apparently flat rib of the brace (no angles). Imagine holding a yardstick or ruler between your hands so that the flat faces are oriented towards the ceiling and floor. Now, move your hands together. What happens? The yardstick bows either up or down. Now with the yardstick still oriented with the flat faces up/down, try to pivot your wrists to get it bend away from your body. What happens? You can't do it. So, we have observed that a yardstick is flexible in one axis and rigid in another.

    To solve the flex we can add a second yardstick at a ninety degree angle. Now each yardstick compensates for the other’s flexible axis. This creates a vary rigid structure. Of course, most of you know this already, but this is why frames for cars, buildings, air planes, etc. use angled metals or boxes, one of the most common applications being the I-beam. Tubes are also uses as their circular structure essentially is an infinite number of angles as in the above example.

    So, why does this concern me on the fix? Well the issue is the apparent tendency for the frame to rotate in towards the engine and bulge the strut towers. Under this scenario, it seems like the cross-brace would do little to stop frame from bending inward. Even worse - it could just bow upward and damage the hood or down and contact the engine. As GM correctly points out the cross-brace is certainly a "tried and true" method for correcting the weakness in all frames of front-engined cars. However, I've seen lots of cross-braces, and I've never seen one that wasn't constructed out of some sort of angled metal, a tube, or a rod (still better than flat metal). There may be flat braces out there, but I've never seen one. Again, BMW has every capability of producing a great solution, but I can't but wonder if that is what they've done.

    That's the sad part of this whole story. I've been a die hard BMW owner and enthusiast for many years of both their two wheel and four wheeled products. Just a few months ago I would never have dreamed of second guessing anything that they did, but after all of the changing scenarios, casting blame on sporty driving in what should be a sporty vehicle, lack of communication, mis-communication, back-room deals, gag offers, damage cars swept under the carpet, and most importantly lack of commitment to some of BMW's most valued customers, I simply have lost faith in them as a company. Great engineering – no heart.
    Last edited by thegunguy; September 17th 2006 at 15:13.
    thegunguy

  37. #37
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    I for one will wait to see what Cartridge may decide to offer us before I buy this factory fix.

    That said, I have a few questions for the engineers;

    1 How does the Monte Carlo Bar connecting to the front of the shock towers help the weak area which is the top of the tower? I do understand the cross chassis stiffening performance aspect. This idea has been around a very long time.
    IMO, it doesn't. The main problem with the strut towers are the forces along the axis of the strut, i.e. vertical ones. This strut brace can not help with these forces.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    2 If we are sandwiching the tower tops, wouldn't a broader ring give even more reinforcement than these? These appear to be less than an inch wide.
    That is what I had expected, actually I was expecting some strut support that would match the shape of the tower plus then a ring on top. Apparently, changing the material did the job already.

    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    3 Is the fact that the Monte Carlo bar and the top reinforcement "plate" are not connected as one is because it would make very apparent how deformed some towers really are? (when installed it would really show)
    I don't think so. The assembly instructions clearly state that the cars has to be checked for proper alignment before installing the kit. If the car is not within legal ranges, the kit must not be installed.


    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    4 If this the best we are going to get (ie no aftermarket options), Would welding a small rib (end to end)on the inderside of the Monte Carlo bar give us more rigidity?
    I wouldn't weld or change anything. This is a BMW part, if it doesn't work, we can all go back to BMW and beat them up. As soon as you go there with your own handcrafted kit or a modified bar, you will lose this.

    In general, about flexing and rigidity.
    I am pretty much convinced that BMW engineers know about the benefits of I-shaped or L-shaped bars. If the didn't do it there must have been a reason. Cost is certainly not the issue, this would cost a couple of dollars more only.

    Reason 1:
    This is all that is needed. Remember, the kit must absorb of the peaks only, not of all forces. We are not building a race car here with ultimate rigidity, which then - the stiffer you build it - will break the car elswhere, i.e. welding seams etc, if driven hard.

    Reason 2:
    The brace's purpose is probably only to maintain the right distance between the strut towers. On top of the quite rigid frame there is not so much needed to do this.

    The top reason why we wanted a fix was the deformation of the strut tower tops, which is where the new supports and the sandwich will work wonders.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  38. #38
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    With regard to TGG's comments, I think sometimes when you get too close to something, especially when emotions are involved, its easy to lose perspective. I'm not saying you have lost it, but just that its possible that you get so close that you live and die with every nugget of new info and therefore when you get to the end you get kind of exhausted and distrustful because all the turns you had to go through. I have no information so I do not KNOW but my speculation is that the guys when talking in Italy were just voicing the then current guestimate as to what this would be and as time has gone on they have managed to make a kit that yes does cost less and still accomplishes the goal. But because many here are so close its hard to reconcile the difference between what was said and what was made and this discrepancy lends itself to conspiracy theories. I do not believe there is any kind of conspiracy here, I think they have better things to spend their time on.

    My opinion is that while the road has been bumpy at times, it appears that BMW has delivered for a relatively small number of enthusiasts of their flagship and I appreciate this.

  39. #39
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    bar not flat?

    Examination of the photos leads me to believe that the bar does not have a flat cross section. The upper and lower welds to the plates show slight curvature. I would make a s.w.a.g. that the cross section is a flatted or truncated oval, most likely hollow for weight savings. This cross section should help somewhat (in comparison to a flat bar) with bowing under compression loads. It isn't particularly elegant, but it may look better installed than the photo would suggest. We'll see.

  40. #40
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Good points ZBobZ and Dieter. Again, there is no doubt that BMW has the capability of producing a proper fix. I'm just reacting to the apparent departure in structure from every other strut brace that I've ever seen. It's hard to tell from the photo, but I can see a possible "flat oval" shape which would certainly better. Until we get our hands on the kit, we won't know for sure.

    Jerry, I'm certainly a little "punch drunk" from the countless discussions on this issue, as I'm sure we all are, and I do not intend to suggest that there is some massive conspiracy from BMW against us. In fact, you are absolutely correct – they have better things to do with their time. I cannot fathom that they would ever do anything intentionally to our detriment. However, I cannot be sure that intend to work for our benefit.

    The fix reported in Como was described by people that had seen it in testing as “ready for production”, and the estimated price was released by BMW to the Z8 Club in Germany. So, I cannot help but wonder why the kit that was reported as “ready for production” by people at BMW and planned at a price of $5k is recently reduced $500. Now both from an academic and professional background, I have a firm grasp on production economies, and a 90% reduction is pretty amazing, especially considering that the maximum lot wouldn’t be much more than 6,000 units considering all cars produced and an allowance for defects and spare parts. Also, there is also no explanation for the deletion of the forward braces that were part of the “ready for production” kit. If I were to speculate, I would suggest that the “ready for production” kit still lacked a few upper management approvals. Upon passing through these gates, the project probably received the instruction of make it do the same thing but for cheaper. At least, I hope this is what happened. The other scenario is that they guys at Como really didn’t know, and they flat out lied to us.

    However, this yields yet another question. Why announce the $5k price in the first place? Is this the old under-promise, over-deliver strategy?

    In my personal case in dealing with BMW on this issue, they have exhibited a poor example of customer service, and this is the cause for my doubt. I just don't trust that they are acting to defend my loyalty as an enthusiast and a repeat customer. As one who has managed a product line with over seven million residential customers, I've seen and walked the full spectrum of good and bad customer service. An element of good service is realizing that perceived problems are just as important as actual problems because they cause an equal amount of concern to the customer. Not once have they taken the initiative to address my concerns. In EVERY case I have had to proactively make calls, ask questions, follow-up on their promises, etc. Zero initiative on the part of BMW.

    To me it's not about whether there is damage or not. It's about how you address the issue, and silence, denial, and blame shifting are not good tactics for maintaining customer confidence. I contend that they could have produced the same result in developing the fix while using a different communication and contact strategy and maintained the loyalty me and many of us here. We all know that you can't please everyone, but the informal polls and posts on this board support my point that BMW has done a poor job of maintaining customer loyalty. Said another way, they have done an excellent job in chasing many of their most valuable customers to other brands. In the end, it's not always what you do, it's often how you do it.

    I continue to love my Z8, but this year, BMW broke my heart.
    thegunguy

  41. #41
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Great points .... waiting to see what BMW NA does

    at this point , since they are the ones we will have to deal with.

    Regarding the price -- I am pleased of the $599 (+12 hours labor @ $100 / hr labor =$1800) but is not as far a swing as the original price including labor was nearly $5 grand.

    At present, I am just waiting to see what or IF BMW NA is going to contact me about it.
    Best Regards,

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

  42. #42
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    I'm glad to see they followed through with providing a "fix" and that the price is much more reasonable than originally stated.

    However, I still don't think any of us should lose sight of the fact that BMW should be responsible for the entire cost of the kit and installation. Remember... you and I didn't create the latent defect that this fix is intended to prevent... BMW did.

    I guess it's all for naught for the Alpina owners anyway - despite the early discussions that the Alpina differences should be considered and applied to the design.

  43. #43

    performance package.....

    I think by myself shall I order or not ??!! There is no letter around from BMW to see how the tests were made or even any info on how they get to this solution. ....I think I will waite to see how it works when its prepared by other Z8-drivers......ch-roland

  44. #44
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    I really don't think you have much choice.

    Guys:

    I hate to say it, but I think we have to order the kit if we want to preserve the value of the car. In the future, should you ever decide to sell it or trade it in, knowledgeable buyers and dealers will want to see if you've done the "fix" - if you haven't, your car will be seen as suspect, whether it is or not. Even if you could imagine and perhaps create a superior alternative, try convincing either a prospective buyer or a dealer: "Yeah, it's not the BMW part, but it's just as good as that kit." Sounds like a hard sell to me. I'm not happy about this, but that's the view from my fighting position.

    Mike

  45. #45
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Rifle,

    about the shape of the strut brace:

    A German Z8 driver has posted the info that the brace has an elliptical / oval shape, so it is not flat.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  46. #46
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    Installed








  47. #47
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    That really does not look very bad....

    as far as black on black. I have Silver so I think all of those parts will most definitely stand out more and really show off the poor aesthetics of the design.

    Maybe.... paint the cross bar and tophats to match the color of the car?
    Best Regards,

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

  48. #48
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Somehow, I envisioned the "tophats" would reside directly on the part of the tower that bulges. They appear to rest higher on the upturned radius of the opening.

    Thanks for the pics ! Any close ups pf the towers?

  49. #49
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    Perplexed by BMW handling & concerned that 'something' is missing!

    I see both Dieter's and TheGunGuy's points of view. Via the bizarre manner BMW has handled this whole 'issue', the company has insured that Z8 will have a question mark next to its name for the foreseeable future. That indeed is very unfortunate. The only thing that I believe will perhaps have 'surprising' bearing in this whole issue is a topic we have not talked about much in this forum. And that is the statistical results of the massive Z8 inspection program that BMWNA arranged in the USA during the summer and that it might still be continuing as we speak. Indeed, I don't know if BMW has also conducted this inspection in other countries where it sold the Z8. If at its conclusion, BMW announces that, say, 95% or 98% of all cars inspected have zero damage to date, including many with high mileage, the company will charge that this whole 'scare' has been 'manufactured' and the Z8's reputation has indeed been maligned - but not by them, but by us in our forums and our clubs. So I am waiting for this other shoe to drop. This might be the 'missing' link. We might be in for interesting times ahead!

  50. #50
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Z8-NL's Avatar
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    Looks good Kai!

    I have ordered the "upgrade" but obviously in NL they will be delivered later then in Germany where there are so much more of them. So afraid I will not have mine "upgraded" prior the fall-meeting.

    Do you notice anything changes driving the car?

  51. #51
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    The Fix

    I wonder what an install will cost for those fitting the strut tower bar only (ie I have the Dinan castor plates and am sticking with those).

    The bar actually looks a lot better installed than I anticipated.

    Dave P

  52. #52

    BMW and the inspections....

    I am certain that BMW will be able to spin the results of the 70 odd cars inspected this summer to say that many/most were indeed "within spec". I believe that going along with this is in the owner group's best interest because it will underwrite the strength and value of the car, as well as BMW's responsive reaction to the perceived problem.

    In my opinion I see the outcome of all this as a win-win for everyone going forward. The unfortunate potholes we've hit dealing with BMW NA during this year will fade into the past, and the Z8 will rise up as the true classic it is. BMW have proved to us that the Z8 is indeed well supported by the factory who built it.

    I think it is time to put down the swords, and move ahead with broad smiles in a beautiful car.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  53. #53
    Team Z8 zed8's Avatar
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    I ordered the package today and I`m happy with the solution BMW came up with. Everybody expected BMW to find a solution for this problem at first. Than they came with a price tag of 5000 USD. Some members were angry that they will have to pay for the upgrade regardless of the price, some members found the tag too high and the others felt OK. Now they come with a very small price tag. OK most of you seem to be happy with the price but now some of you don`t like the look of the brace. I think whatever solution BMW would come up with, there would still be some members not happy with the solution. So this is the solution we all have and I don`t think we should consider any different solution like Cartridge. Be happy to live with it.
    By the way, It will cost me 770 EUR for the package itself plus the labor which is 50 EUR / hour roughly 400 EUR. Total 1270 EUR. BMW Turkey has never been informed about this situation and when I told them about this issue they looked at me as if I`m an alien.
    I`m the first one to order. There are still 10 more cars to go in Turkey. One of the cars (Black Shamu) is resting with zero kms on the clock at the BMW Museum in Istanbul. I don`t think they will need to install this package since the car will never be driven. The other 9 cars? I`m not sure whether they will be informed about the situation or not.
    Hattat

    AF77768 Topasblau / Schwarz

    PP installed
    Motorsport 20" style 101 wheels
    Eisenmann catback
    Supersprint headers
    CDV removed
    Quaife LSD
    3.64 gearing

  54. #54
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Has anyone been able to order...

    in the US yet? What has your experience been?

  55. #55
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    Service manager at my dealer in Indy said he's heard nothing and call to folks he deals with at BMW yielded no info.

    M

  56. #56
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    Probably Best to First Contact Ms. Englert and not the Dealer

    I sent a very polite email to Nina Englert at BMWNA two days ago and have yet to receive a reply. She is the person Juergen told us would be responsible in the USA for coordinating the implemenation of the 'performance kit' for our Z8s. I asked her when the parts would be available, who would do the job (dealer or VPC), cost and whether BMWNA thought of handling it as a courtesy customer relations exercise for no additional expense to the owners. Hopefully, she will respond in the near future.
    "Mrs. Nina Englert of BMW NA. Mail: [email protected], phone 201 263 8202"

  57. #57
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    I have been speaking to BMW UK's Customer Service Department (is that an oxymoron?) who have been unable to get their own parts manager to return their emails or calls?? I guess customer service really doesn't exist anymore........

    regards
    Ron

  58. #58
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    No luck here yet. I got this response back from my CT dealer on Tuesday, "I emailed Nina and my field service engineer and this part is not aviliable to the USA as of yet, but I except to hear some information in the near future, when I do you will be the second to know via email."

    I've also emailed Nina and Ken Green at BMWNA but haven't heard back from them yet.

  59. #59
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    This is the response from Bill Stuart on Sept. 14

    "...as soon as the Performance Package is available in the USA along with pricing, installation instructions and supply, which we expect to be very soon, BMW NA will be sending a flyer to all Z8 owners of record as well as notifying all BMW dealers."

  60. #60
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norcal View Post
    in the US yet? What has your experience been?

    My dealer ordered one for me today and gave me an ETA of Sept. 27th.

  61. #61
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    I sent an email to Ms. Englert...

    the first evening the news was posted. The next day Bill contacted me by email concenring notification when the fix would be available in the U.S. At first I do not think he was aware that the fix does not work for the Alpina vehicles. When I pointed this out to him he followed up with a response that he would get back to me once he knew more. As for the color of the fix, while it would be nice if it matched the body of the cars, I wouldn't lose track of the most important fact of whether it works. If it does, then I could live with the color match with little loss of sleep. Hopefully BMW will resolve the issue for those of us who own the Alpina version shortly.

  62. #62
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Dogsbreath's Avatar
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    Frame fix

    I emailed Nina asking when the fix would be available and, if it would be available just with the strut bar. As a number of us with Dinan Stage 3 suspension will be in a similar situation I will post her response (or Bill Stuart's if he replies). I also asked what the price differential would be.

    Dave P

  63. #63

    Would they .... could they have missed this? ...Naahh.

    If the brace is riveted, I'm going to guess that the engine will be dropped (and never need to be pulled) for service.
    I personally don't know if you can replace rivets to the same tolerance as the first placement.

  64. #64
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Thumbs up YES IT"S TRUE -- the kit IS available in the US!

    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    My dealer ordered one for me today and gave me an ETA of Sept. 27th.
    I checked two different parts dealers, one was my dealer parts department, the other an independent BMW parts dealer. The part number is a european part number and your dealer has to look in a different data base to find it but it IS here.

    According to the parts dept. at my dealer, there are currently only about 45 units available in the US as of yesterday and are located at various regional parts warehouses across the country. I ordered mine at $599 + tax. It should be here on Tuesday (he said it usually takes 3 days from the warehouse).

    I will post detailed pics of the kit once I have it. I do not plan to install it until I hear from BMW NA regarding the installation as I do not 'trust' my dealer's service department do to the work at this time as they have not been provided any instruction (and as of yesterday, they did not even know it was available).

    Again, what is up with BMW -- the left hand again not knowing what the right hand is doing, considering the delicate nature of this topic?
    Best Regards,

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

  65. #65
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Bender View Post
    If the brace is riveted, I'm going to guess that the engine will be dropped (and never need to be pulled) for service.
    I personally don't know if you can replace rivets to the same tolerance as the first placement.

    Word on the street is that only the retaining bolt is riveted into place thus the bar can be removed and reinstalled without changing out rivets.

  66. #66
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z8doc View Post
    I checked two different parts dealers, one was my dealer parts department, the other an independent BMW parts dealer. The part number is a european part number and your dealer has to look in a different data base to find it but it IS here.

    According to the parts dept. at my dealer, there are currently only about 45 units available in the US as of yesterday and are located at various regional parts warehouses across the country. I ordered mine at $599 + tax. It should be here on Tuesday (he said it usually takes 3 days from the warehouse).
    I e-mailed him the PDF from this thread to be sure he was getting the right kit. I too will wait on installation until some water passes under the bridge.

  67. #67

    info on the rivets and the brace....

    This is an illustration of how the Rivets work.

    Here too is BMW's own diagram of the part.
    .
     
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  68. #68
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    good stuff

    I have used riv-nuts which are essentially the same type of product. These work very well in applications such as this.

  69. #69
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    There is now a rumor (the old board) that U.S. Distribution of the kit has been halted.

  70. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    There is now a rumor (the old board) that U.S. Distribution of the kit has been halted.
    I "think" it's just that a rumor. I ordered mine yesterday and according to my parts guy there are several in BMWs Ontario, CA parts warehouse.

  71. #71
    Z8Mania
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    Kai,
    Thank you for posting the pictures!

    Do you feel any improvement in how the car drives? In other words, does the kit make a perceptible difference in handling? Does the car feel a little stiffer or more immediate?

    TGG,
    I understand your point of view, but on this I think in the end Andrew has is right when he says this will fade into history and the car will be viewed very positively into the future. I think it is clear that BMW's communications could have been better, but I also think that compounding matters on "our side" is that we- to differing degrees- are used to nearly instant information and any manufacturer moves at a different speed. When we don't get speedy and clear communications we all tend to get frustrated- each to varying degrees. We are also left to fill in the blanks with our own experiences so some of us will fill them in with very negative possibilities and others with less negative. To BMW's credit they did produce the kit as we can see in Kai's car. Lets hope this is the beginning of the end.

  72. #72

    On that note....

    Lets hope this is the beginning of the end.
    This morning I reorganized the site to reflect this, and the next step of our ownership experience, the full enjoyment of our cars without the fear of pothole inflicted damage. By reordering the forum I hope to show that this issue is something that has been addressed by BMW, that it is a problem we have solved together and is now (hopefully) behind us.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  73. #73
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Here, Here ....

    I agree, it is time to move on to the most enjoyable aspect of owning a Z8, driving it!

    At this time, I wish to express my thanks to the Z8 club and everyone on this board, who without everyones input and time, putting pressure on BMW, I fear it would have not been brought to this stage of conclusion in such a short amount of time (corporate time that is). It is nice to see that we can disagree on the issue but stay focused on the same object -- getting our cars fixed so we can enjoy them. We are at a long awaited point and I for one, am glad this is nearly over as it has consumed us.

    I will say though, the main positive affect of this whole thing is that it has brought us all much closer and together as an ownership group, which I am grateful for (I just wish it had been something more pleasureable! ) Now, I have to go as it is a glorious cool autumn day here in Oklahoma and I am going driving!
    Best Regards,

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

  74. #74
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Interesting moves...

    I am not sure what to think right now. Certainly I appreciate what BMW has done by producing the kit. And I don't expect an apology for bad communication.

    However, a handful of cars have the kit installed by now, not more. And if everybody WHO KNOWS about the kit will have it installed, it will only be a fraction of all Z8's out there.
    So all other Z8's will continue to drive as is...

    The issue will definitely continue to be glued to the car, unfortunately.

    And the most important issue remains unchanged:
    A relatively small event like hitting an obstacle (call it an accident, if you wish), can damage the frame to an extent that MAJOR repair work is needed. There is no solution like exchanging strut towers like in other cars.
    I must say that I am quite happy to have a spare frame, unless BMW develops repair methods that are a bit more clever than the current ones.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  75. #75

    Dieter, your car is a most interesting case...

    Is the damage on yours sufficient that BMW AG say you need a new frame, or do they say your problem can be corrected by having the 'fix' correctly installed?

    The best way to move beyond the stigma that this issue has created around the Z8 is to make sure that all the owners who we come in contact with are made aware of the upgrade, and ensure they have it fitted. It has always been my opinion that this should be an upgrade that BMW does to every car, because without there will always remain a question about our cars and their customer service, but it seems there is little chance of that happening now.

    I think the best way for us to move beyond the stigma and fear of running in Cinderella's Glass Slipper is to fix and use our cars, so people see them out there, looking good driving fast.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

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