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Thread: Broken plastic tabs on convertible top boot

  1. #1
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Broken plastic tabs on convertible top boot

    Sunday morning, I was VERY CAREFULLY installing the leather boot over my retracted convertible top when the larger of the two plastic tabs that holds the boot in place on the bulkhead behind the roll hoops suddenly snapped in two. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach since I thought and confirmed that BMW does not sell this simple plastic piece separately; rather, you need to buy an entirely new boot and they list for almost $1,900!! The tab is held in place by one plastic rivet. I took my cover and the broken piece over to my independent Mercedes mechanic and he seems to think he can duplicate this piece in aluminum "easier to work with and strong enough to do the job without breaking" and then get the piece anodized black. By the way, I broke the right hand side which is longer than the left hand side. The right hand side seems to be the one that breaks more easily since it is longer and tougher to get in place. Just curious how many else of you out there have had this happen? The left hand tab will still keep the boot securely in place but it drives me nuts to have anything broken. Shame on BMW for not supplying this cheap plastic piece that is so easy to replace!!!
       
    Marty

    2001 Z8
    2014 Range Rover sport Autobiography
    2013 Ford Raptor
    2011 Porsche 911 turbo S coupe

  2. #2
    I have not had one of these pieces break on me, but it's matter of when, not if. If you are satisfied with what your guy does, please post a message. I would like to pre-empt the problem and have the aluminium parts retrofit you are doing.
    C.A. Cardenas (AKA Dan)2003 (last one?) Z8 - Hellrot / Sport Rot Original Owner - Munich Tourist Delivery-- Others --1988 M6 - 32K mi. - Original Owner1989 DINAN 750iL - 73K mi. - Original Owner1998 M3 - 63K mi. - Original Owner2015 X5 (F15) Diesel - Daily Driver2008 Porsche Turbo Cab - 9K mi. (Mezger motor/6-sp. manual)

  3. #3
    Z8Mania
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    I had the same thing happen years ago and I ended up buying a replacement cover which never fit right so I had my shop take the tong off that and put it on my original cover. Now all is happy. 4 figures for a tong. Yeow!

  4. #4
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Right now all he is working on is the right side, longer, most vulnerable tong. Will keep you posted.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  5. #5
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Would you consider making a production run of these? It might defray some of your costs and make it worthwhile to do as opposed to a "one-off" run.

    Might I suggest powder coating instead of anodizing? Well, actually I am assuming hardcoat anodizing which is black. Hardcoat will leave all the sharp edges intact making the potential for damaging the receiver more likely. Powder coat leaves a relatively soft corner, less likely to cause harm.

    .
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  6. #6
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    I suggested powder coating and he said anodizing was better but I will ask him again. Once he has made the template and made the first one for my car, we are going to check how it works before it goes out for either powdercoating or anodizing. I can ask him if he could make a run of these. I think after the first one is made, duplicates would be much easier. Show of hands: how many would like one? Not sure on cost yet, but I assume not too much, especially when considering the alternative.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayvenhurstkid View Post
    Show of hands: how many would like one?
    ME!
    Quote Originally Posted by hayvenhurstkid View Post
    Not sure on cost yet, but I assume not too much, especially when considering the alternative.
    I don't care (within some modicum of reason).

    Anodize seems more durable. But not critical.

    Thanks in advance.

  8. #8
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    I am in too.

    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  9. #9
    Count me in also.
    C.A. Cardenas (AKA Dan)2003 (last one?) Z8 - Hellrot / Sport Rot Original Owner - Munich Tourist Delivery-- Others --1988 M6 - 32K mi. - Original Owner1989 DINAN 750iL - 73K mi. - Original Owner1998 M3 - 63K mi. - Original Owner2015 X5 (F15) Diesel - Daily Driver2008 Porsche Turbo Cab - 9K mi. (Mezger motor/6-sp. manual)

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hayvenhurstkid View Post
    Show of hands: how many would like one? Not sure on cost yet, but I assume not too much, especially when considering the alternative.
    I'm interested. I thought there was an earlier post this year from someone else who fabricated this part with input from either Charles or Jerry?
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  11. #11
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    I searched days ago but found nothing. Please let me know if this part has already been fabricated. I did speak with my guy and he said anodizing for durability. I told him I had a bunch of Z8 owners who would want one. He wants to fabricate one first and test it before talking mass production.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  12. #12
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    I'm in!
    BTW - there is a reason for the long and short tangs. The long one on the right is intended to be put on first and then move to the left side of the vehicle to insert the short one. The long one holds the boot in place while you move to the left side to insert the short tang. Makes overall installation easier.
    If you reverse the installation, there is much more pressure required to install the long tang without the short one popping out. This could cause premature failure.

  13. #13
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    You are absolutely correct. That is exactly what I was doing, exerting very gentle pressure to get the tab in place when it just snapped. I have done this a million times before with no issues, but this one just broke.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  14. #14
    Z8 Happy
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    I am in as well.
    AKA Mark from SoCal

    2003 Alpina - Black/Black
    Original Owner

  15. #15
    Z8Mania
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    Depending on cost, deal me in too!

  16. #16
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Will keep you all posted on progress. This will happen, I just don't want to push him too hard. I may have him make the shorter left side too as this will be a permanent fix.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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    Thank you.

  18. #18
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    Thanks for the heads up. Could it avoided with some kind of lubricant?
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  19. #19
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    No. You would just make a mess out of everything.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  20. #20
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayvenhurstkid View Post
    No. You would just make a mess out of everything.
    yeah, sticky... but I got to inspect mine
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  21. #21
    Actually, both pieces slide in quite easily without lubricant anyway. The problem is that, as we all know, plastic becomes bridle as it ages and those pieces are now over 10 years old in most of our cars. Like I said before, it's a matter of when, not if...
    C.A. Cardenas (AKA Dan)2003 (last one?) Z8 - Hellrot / Sport Rot Original Owner - Munich Tourist Delivery-- Others --1988 M6 - 32K mi. - Original Owner1989 DINAN 750iL - 73K mi. - Original Owner1998 M3 - 63K mi. - Original Owner2015 X5 (F15) Diesel - Daily Driver2008 Porsche Turbo Cab - 9K mi. (Mezger motor/6-sp. manual)

  22. #22
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    My guy does not have the ability or desire to mass produce this piece. He said he will make one for me but then it would have to be mass produced by someone with access to a CNC machine. So, anyone out there have access to such a machine?
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  23. #23
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    I do. If quantities are less than 20 or 30, I also have a Bridgeport machinist that is very capable and not too expensive. Some CNC shops charge a lot up front to write the program making the cost prohibitive for a short run of parts.

    Using yours as a template or having a good blueprint would be all either needs.

    LMK
    .
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  24. #24
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    PM me with your contact info. Thanks.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  25. #25
    Z8Mania
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayvenhurstkid View Post
    No. You would just make a mess out of everything.
    Can I?

    SHOULD I?

    Make a funny comment here?

    Nah- you already figured it out

  26. #26
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lisa's Avatar
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    This may be a future job for a 3D printer

  27. #27
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    It seems like these parts were going to be developed and made by the club in Germany but this project is now dormant. They had made some in stainless steel with a plastic coating that made the new parts indistinguishable from the originals. Maybe the new board of the international club can pick up where the old board left off. In the meantime, in addition to the one my guy is now going to make out of stainless steel instead of aluminum for me, I am in contact with another forum member who has contact with a guy who works with stainless steel a lot. He is thinking about removing his two tangs from his boot and taking them to this guy and see if he can make them and run off 30 or so sets. I know I would buy two sets, one for each of my Z8s. In my opinion, this part would be 100 times easier to make than the lower bumper reinforcement bracket the club so brilliantly made for us.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  28. #28
    I'd take a pair in plastic covered stainless for sure.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  29. #29
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Apparently this was close to being produced. I'm not sure who could now pick up where the old team left off, but this is something that the international club should do, especially since it was so close to going into production. I will be in Palm Springs this weekend for the Gullwing Group's National Convention and I will be seeing Christian Schmidt there, so I will bring up this topic when I see him on Saturday at the 300SL show.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  30. #30
    Z8Mania
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    I would definitely buy a few of these. Its worth it to have spares.

  31. #31
    Ditto what Z8Mania said.
    C.A. Cardenas (AKA Dan)2003 (last one?) Z8 - Hellrot / Sport Rot Original Owner - Munich Tourist Delivery-- Others --1988 M6 - 32K mi. - Original Owner1989 DINAN 750iL - 73K mi. - Original Owner1998 M3 - 63K mi. - Original Owner2015 X5 (F15) Diesel - Daily Driver2008 Porsche Turbo Cab - 9K mi. (Mezger motor/6-sp. manual)

  32. #32
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Doug Dolan's Avatar
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    I'd take a pair (or two pairs) in plastic covered stainless.
    Doug Dolan
    61297 - Stratus / Crema

  33. #33
    I'm in! Thanks for your help.
    Greg AH61930 - 2003 - Silver/Black

  34. #34
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Me too for the stainless covered in plastic... When it happens

  35. #35
    Team Z8 zilver8's Avatar
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    I'm in too. Thanks!

  36. #36
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    We have this in the works. We should know by Friday the feasibility of doing this project. 2112 has been kind enough to remove his tongs and they will be going to a machinist. Let's hope the machinist can make them and the cost within reason. I estimated that fifty sets would sell quickly to forum members with the possibility of several hundred sets or more if made available through the international Z8 club.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  37. #37
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    In case you have never had yours out, here are pictures of the two side by side.

    Anyone have suggestions on the exact type of plastic coating? (I was thinking thick, flexible powdercoat). We will need the thickness of the coating to know how to compensate in the size of the metal piece itself.

    .
       
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  38. #38
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Thanks for helping take on this project. Amazing BMW won't just supply these pieces instead of making you buy an entire new boot. Makes no sense to me at all.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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    2013 Ford Raptor
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  39. #39
    I would definitely buy a set. Every time I use the cover I feel lucky one doesn't snap. Thanks.

  40. #40
    Z8 Novice
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    Count me in for two sets.

    The CE

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
    Anyone have suggestions on the exact type of plastic coating? (I was thinking thick, flexible powdercoat). We will need the thickness of the coating to know how to compensate in the size of the metal piece itself..
    I like your idea of using a durable and flexible powder coat for the tongs. Along those lines, a critical attribute of the replacement tongs is a smooth surface (i.e., no metal burrs) to prevent cutting into the oval-shaped plastic receptacles.

    Thanks for driving this project to the next step!
    My Best,

    Ed

    2002 Z8 Jet Black//Sport Red
    2012 SLS AMG Obsidian Black/Classic Red

  42. #42
    Team Z8
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    I'm in for one set...

    as you said "...it's just a matter of time...".

  43. #43
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    I'm in.

    My vote is plastic too...easier, smoother, and more durable than powder-coating.
    thegunguy

  44. #44
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    It should be a Teflon-like plastic so it doesn't bind... Slides in easily.

  45. #45
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norcal View Post
    It should be a Teflon-like plastic so it doesn't bind... Slides in easily.
    Quote Originally Posted by thegunguy View Post
    I'm in.

    My vote is plastic too...easier, smoother, and more durable than powder-coating.

    Do you guys have a product in mind? We need to find this out up front to make sure the metal is downsized the correct amount to allow adding the coating and keep the OEM finished dimensions.

    Absolutely on deburring and smoothing edges. Must make them so they will do no harm.
    .
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  46. #46
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    I think the plastic coating is a great idea as far as keeping the original look, but I think a finished stainless steel piece anaodized black will do no harm at all, plus it isn't something you see when in use. As long as the machinist says it won't greatly complicate the finished product then that is fine.
    Marty

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  47. #47
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    I'm in for a set. Is the rivet reusable or a replacement available?

  48. #48
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    The rivet is easily replaceable. It is a standard type rivet used on BMWs and Mercedes Benzs.
    Marty

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  49. #49
    Team Z8 JoshB's Avatar
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    Let me know the cost but put me down for a set.
    2002 Silver Black/Red

    Dinan stage 4 software
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  50. #50
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayvenhurstkid View Post
    The rivet is easily replaceable. It is a standard type rivet used on BMWs and Mercedes Benzs.
    I believe that's the first time that I've heard of anything Z8 that is standard and easily replaceable!

  51. #51
    Team Z8 tomfakes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenZ8 View Post
    I believe that's the first time that I've heard of anything Z8 that is standard and easily replaceable!
    One of my under-hood light bulbs fell out and broke a few years ago. The entire replacement unit was $13. I was suitably shocked at the parts counter.

  52. #52
    Z8Mania
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    You guys all have great suggestions. All I can say is "count me in".

    Next project: rear lights!

  53. #53
    in Coral Gables, Florida DirkZ8's Avatar
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    One pair for me please. Thanks.
    Dirk

    Alpina #142
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  54. #54
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    I'm in for a pair...With these as a back up, I'll not have to hold my breath quite so much each time I install the plastic boot tongs.
    Mark

  55. #55
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    i'm in for a pair as well...even all the moisture we get in the air up here may not be enough to "save" the originals!

    Thanks guys.

  56. #56
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    I'm in for a pair too - preferably plastic coated. Chris

  57. #57
    Z8 Madness 2112's Avatar
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    Somebody needs to come up with a name of a product for the plastic coating to get that under consideration. The dimensional thickness will play a large role in how the stainless is sized.

    Anodizing and Powdercoating are known coatings commonly used in Aerospace. If you know of a plastic coating, your help would be appreciated.
    .
    2000 Red over black
    heavily modified for performance. Although, not to the level of GM's car

  58. #58
    The Other Red ZAchterbahn's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Thank you from the Z8 Club e.V. International Board

    Marty,

    I have addressed your project in yesterday's BMW Z8 Club board member telecon and have Germany looking into European club members' take on this.

    In the course of our conversation I found out that apparently the tonneau cover is not being used a lot by our German friends due to the unpredictability of weather. They prefer being ready to raise the top back up quickly in case of rain showers.

    We are really blessed with all the sunny days we get to enjoy here in this great country and besides that we just drive faster should a sprinkle or layer of fog hit us!

    I am with you though, not only does the car look better with the tonneau cover installed, it also keeps the inside of our soft tops free of dust and road grime. I will contact you directly to discuss Club interest in more detail

    Thank you for getting the ball rolling on this. It is members like you who bring great value to our Club through proactive ingenuity and resolve to get things done.
    ZAchterbahn
    2001 Z8

  59. #59
    Z8Mania
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    I suggest they change their practice because my understanding is not using the cover is very bad for the soft top.

  60. #60
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    I assume that if you use the car as a daily driver than weather could be an issue.....but if you use it mainly with "top down" weather.....what is the problem?: I will definitely use it!
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  61. #61
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    I wouldn't drive the car without the tonneau installed. First of all, it looks way better installed. Secondly, it does protect the headliner of the top from road grime, dust, and fading due to the sun. I have seen many a Z8 headliner sun faded where the boot would normally cover and protect it.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  62. #62
    Z8Mania
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    Third, the wind at speeds past ~40MPH is strong enough to begin to stress the soft top structure and prolonged use like this- I am told an it makes sense to me- will shorten the tops life.

  63. #63
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    New tabs

    Mine haven't broken yet but please put me down for two sets.

    Pandaman

  64. #64
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Spoke with the machine shop today. They are looking into having drawings made up of the pieces. The drawings have to go to the company that would laser cut the pieces out of the stainless steel, and those would have to go to another company to be stamped into the proper shape. The anodizing would most likely be done down here in LA. So, it is in the works but still waiting on a cost per pair estimate.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  65. #65
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    Wow ...
    Thank you for all of this work.
    FWIW - I have no problem with your making some kind of $$ for yourself on this. You're providing a valuable service.

  66. #66
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    It is my pleasure helping out the Z8 brotherhood.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  68. #68
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    Smile

    Pair for me thank you

  69. #69
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    SURPRISE!

    As a new owner I want the car in splendid condition. On this moment I am working on improving the convertible top boot. On the OEM parts drawing a "repair set" was listed, so I ordered it for 16 euro....could always be convenient. Today I got this set and other parts and you don't believe it..................the repair kit is a complete set of tabs!! So you can order for about $20 an OEM set with part number 54347057683
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  70. #70
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Wow!!! Thanks! I will look into this later this morning as soon as the BMW dealer's parts department opens. I was told the whole boot or nothing. Still think a long term solution is needed as these will continue to break and eventually will not be available.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  71. #71
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    Just confirmed that this is a good part number. There was one set in the US "now mine" and 15 sets in Germany. I ordered a second set from Germany. List price is $37 before the discount I get. Thank you Z-acht!!!
    Marty

    2001 Z8
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  72. #72
    Beyond the Valley of Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    My pleasure Marty! I also ordered a 2nd set :-) My german list price is $20
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  73. #73
    Z8Mania
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    OH HELLO. I will be calling my dealer on this once we get out from under the chaos of the storm. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

  74. #74
    Team Z8 jawz's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Posts
    368
    Thanks for the tip. I put a couple on order, but we'll see if they arrive. Not holding my breath...
    Probably a good idea to keep this alternative approach open especially if these are original and over 10 years old. Being plastic, they might just deteriorate over time.

  75. #75
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    1,113
    Order quickly. Down to like six sets left in Germany.
    Marty

    2001 Z8
    2014 Range Rover sport Autobiography
    2013 Ford Raptor
    2011 Porsche 911 turbo S coupe

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