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Thread: Frame & Strut Tower FAQ's

  1. #1

    Frame & Strut Tower FAQ's

    1. Can anyone with a Z8 anticipate a problem with domed struts and/or top frame rail/hood misalignment?
    Many reports by Z8 owners have indicated that hitting a bad pothole or similar obstruction under normal driving conditions can cause damage to the front strut towers (doming) and distort the upper frame rails, which in turn can cause a misalignment of the front quarter panels and the hood. These reports have come from numerous owners of both stock and modified cars, including a couple of Alpina owners.

    2. Are there parts available from BMW to correct this problem before it occurs?
    In the autumn of 2006 BMW AG released a "Performance Package" (PP) which they say will enhance the handling performance of the car over rougher roads ? thus the name. However, it is widely accepted that the release of the PP is BMW?s way of giving us a preventative solution without admitting to there being a problem. More info on the PP can be found here.

    3. What is the price of the PP and the install?
    The PP retails for under $600 and the install will be around $800, with most board members are reporting around $1400 all in.

    4. Where can I get the PP and have it installed?
    You must order and have it fitted by your BMW dealer, but it is very important to make sure you go to a dealer with Z8 experience, as this thread shows. Having the kit installed by a service center with little to no Z8 knowledge could result in increased installation costs and possibly an incorrect installation.

    5. Is the PP color matched to the car?
    No, the PP comes in a black powder coat finish that matches the engine and air box, but some owners have color matched or chromed theirs.

    6. Beyond fitting the PP what can I do to minimize the chance of suffering this damage?
    BMW NA's official position is that there is a NOT a problem, and thus they will NOT suggest any preventative measures, including the use of the PP. However, the Z8 Club in Europe has suggested that the OE run-flat tires are the key contributer to the damage as they are very heavy and have extremely stiff sidewalls. All the preproduction testing of the Z8 was done using Michelin Pilot Sport tires, the Bridgestone Run Flats were an eleventh hour addition to the car demanded by BMW's Marketing Department, which is almost certainly why the issue didn't surface during the rigorous preproduction testing. Using regular tires both lessens the unsprung weight and the more compliant sidewalls absorb much more of the force that might be transferred to the strut towers in an sudden pothole impact. It is also worth noting that all the owners who opted to fit Dinan castor plates under the front strut towers escaped any damage.
    Some owners have opted to install the more complaint Alpina suspension on their Z8's to lessen the possibility of the damage, as only two Alpinas are known to have sustained this damage.
    NB: Dana Caldwell at Peter Pan BMW will be offering the full Alpina suspension kit for Z8 owners.
    (Personally I had Dana fit the PP and the Alpina suspension kit with 20" BMW Motorsport rims and Pirelli P Zero tires to my car, and am delighted with the result.)

    7. How can I tell if a Z8 has this type of damage?
    The first frame thread gives you all the information on the issue, with images of what to look for.

    8. What should I do if my Z8 has this type of damage?
    The ONLY way to officially confirm damage on a Z8 is to contact BMW Customer Relations (Bill Stuart - 201 263 8210) and schedule an inspection by a Field Service Engineer. This inspection is done at your local BMW Service Center.

    9. How difficult or expensive is it to repair this type of damage?
    If the shock tower domes are only slightly distorted and there is no pinching of the hood gap lines then fitting the PP should be sufficient, as it will have the effect of sandwiching the the top of the dome, and stabilizing it. If however the shock tower crowns are badly domed, and the upper frame rails are distorted, the car will have to be returned to one of the three BMW Aluminum Repair Centers in the US. They will remove and replace the front half of frame, which involves removing the engine, and disassembling the entire front of the vehicle, which is both a lengthy and expensive process.

    BMW NA have suggested to some owners that this should be handled as an accident insurance claim, but BWW NA has also taken appropriate care of regular/repeat customers who are the original owners of the car. This is decided on a case by case basis with BMW NA.

    Nov 2008 addendum.
    BMW AG is working on a kit to replace domed strut crowns and upper frame rails without doing a full front end frame removal/replacement. Full details and images of this new solution will be posted as soon as we have them.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  2. #2
    Z8 Novice
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    Does Dinan Supply a solution?

    I have noticed that Dinan offers a strut tower brace that seems similar to the BMW Performanve Package. Anyone have any idea if it would suffice in place of the BMW PP? I called Dinan today for some input but they have not called me back yet.

  3. #3
    You know I think that their website is a little misleading, because they show a generic picture of a kit with a strut brace, but if you read the list of included items for the 3 different Z8 kits they don't offer a strut brace (as yet anyway).
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  4. #4
    Sport Button On - DSC Off jim's Avatar
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    I just had the PP installed at Braman BMW in West Palm Beach last week. It's the second one they've installed. I had purchased a PP kit from FLOW BMW for $450. where I purchased the car. Braman charged me, ehmmm, $2,137 for the install. They said they have to do 2 alignments one before and one after...whatever. I hope it works.

  5. #5
    Team Z8 dwz8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    I just had the PP installed at Braman BMW in West Palm Beach last week. It's the second one they've installed. I had purchased a PP kit from FLOW BMW for $450. where I purchased the car. Braman charged me, ehmmm, $2,137 for the install. They said they have to do 2 alignments one before and one after...whatever. I hope it works.
    I think you win the prize for being forced to pay the highest amount for the PP upgrade.
    Best regards, Dieter

    ....

  6. #6
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Maybe BMW West Palm Beach has different 'labour costs' than most of the BMW dealers Dieter..... The price of the package is about the same right?

  7. #7
    Sport Button On - DSC Off jim's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by RRZ8 View Post
    Maybe BMW West Palm Beach has different 'labour costs' than most of the BMW dealers Dieter..... The price of the package is about the same right?
    Don't know about that, what I can tell you is that they're car dealership who makes money on turning our current assets into their current income. I do know they made a big deal about "aligning" it twice...how much could that be? Has anyone else heard that one?

  8. #8
    Actually yes, it costs me between 700-900 to get a track car properly set up and aligned, and if it is done well with corner balancing it can be a four-five hour job. Sadly I don't think you got that kind of quality alignment, I think you got the other kind, align the owner and the value of the car with what we think we can get him for!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  9. #9
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    I guess BMW (Puma online mechanics system) demands an alignment before and after installation. The first might be to check if the Z8 isn't too far offset (?) twisted frame (?) The second one to deliver the car perfectly aligned?

    @ Jim: 'normal' alignment (with four laser guided sensors) on four wheels will take about 30 minutes and over here in Holland will cost you about 50 euro's (75 dollars).

    @ Andrew; does the '700-900 dollar race-alignment/cornering setup' include a 4 wheel weight setup too?

  10. #10
    Yes, a full track alignment will involve putting the car up on scales, with the drivers weight in the drivers seat, measuring the weight at each corner, then adjusting the shocks to try to balance it out. Once the weight is even then you set camber, castor, and toe. Attached here is my last set up sheet for the Exige S, it took around 6 hours from beginning to end.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  11. #11
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Andrew, are you suggesting that your Z8 is corner balanced? How was that done without adjustable height?

    I'm doing the Alpinas soon. So, I'll likely follow your settings from the Button Willow day with Craig.
    thegunguy

  12. #12
    I don't think that there is easy or simple ride height adjustability on our cars, that was just an explanation of how there can be a justifiable $900 alignment!!

    I really love the Alpinas combined with the 20" rims & Pirellis and Dinan swaybars on full hard all round on my car, it is a simply superb set up!
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  13. #13
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    Re: the Perf Package, I was quoted $1350 plus 240 for the alignment. I already own the package.

    I am setting up an October appt with Dana at Peter Pan. I told him that some of you folks had highly recommended them.

    Scott

  14. #14
    Z8 Addict Z8doc's Avatar
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    Wow....

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Pettit View Post
    Re: the Perf Package, I was quoted $1350 plus 240 for the alignment. I already own the package.

    I am setting up an October appt with Dana at Peter Pan. I told him that some of you folks had highly recommended them.

    Scott
    $1350 for labor seems very high considering it is only supposed to be no more than a 6 hour job and I thought the whole install and labor was to be no more than around $1400? $200 / hour labor?? Labor here at my local BMW is $100 / hour. $240 for a 4 wheel alignment seems high too as I only have to pay $150 for that in OK... maybe I am just lucky on both accounts.
    Best Regards,

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

  15. #15
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    Their rate is very high (160/hr) however, they are the most experienced at this install of all the BMW dealerships in Northern Cali.

    The book states that it is a 8.5 hour job plus they do an alignment before and after the install. That alone is $240.00 bucks. Did your dealer do yours in 6 hours?

    Everyone that I have talked to who had it done at Peter Pan has said that they paid around 1800 for parts and labor.

    I guess that my preverbal man jewels are caught in a vise.

    Scott

  16. #16
    Scott, I can confirm that that is both the right price, and the right number of hours.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  17. #17
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    Thanks. The vise doesn't feel so tight now.

    By the way, I ordered the picture today. Nice folks at the lab.

    Scott

  18. #18
    Sport Button On zed_eight_eh's Avatar
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    Hi - to clarify, can / will BMW dealers install the PP as a preventative measure, whether or not your car appears to have the damage?

  19. #19
    Yes, it is only and solely a preventative measure, not a fix.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  20. #20
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    For sure. This will not "FIX" any real damage, but will help prevent damage. So yes, install it if the car is fine. The PP should keep it that way!

  21. #21
    Sport Button On - DSC Off gutMD's Avatar
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    And don't forget to replace the run flats if not already done.
    ---------------------------------
    Regards,
    Gary
    2002 Topaz // Crema

  22. #22
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    Anybody know where I can purchase the kit? Thx

  23. #23
    Any BMW dealer.
    Andrew Macpherson

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  24. #24
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    Thanks for the response. But it's been discontinued!! I thought BMW was going to supply enough parts for 50 years. Thank you.

  25. #25
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Juergen Wunderlich's Avatar
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    Only the whole set has been discontinued. The individual parts can still be found. Here is the list of all ingredients of the former "Performance Package":

    Part no. Description Supplement Qtty
    07 11 9 905 374 Self-locking collar nut M8-10 ZNS3 6
    07 14 6 989 335 Blind rivet nut, flat headed M8 6
    31 30 0 422 419 Sealing washer DA 147 2
    31 33 0 422 175 Guide support 2
    41 61 8 217 419 Torx-bolt with washer ISA M8X18 6
    51 71 0 420 759 Strut 1

    Please note that these are the "German" part numbers but it should be the same in the US too!
    Best Regards,

    Jürgen

  26. #26
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Doug Dolan's Avatar
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    That's odd. The Performance Package P/N 51710420758 shows up with pricing on several on-line US BMW parts sites including RealOEM, GetBMWparts & Penske parts. And it's less expensive than it was a few years ago! I'm guessing that's 'cuz BMW produced a lot more of them than they sold initially.
    Doug Dolan
    61297 - Stratus / Crema

  27. #27
    Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    When you go to BMW Group Classic - Ihr Offizieller Online Teile Shop you can order only the separate parts. and BMWClassic is responsible for now for the parts of our car.
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  28. #28
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-acht View Post
    When you go to BMW Group Classic - Ihr Offizieller Online Teile Shop you can order only the separate parts. and BMWClassic is responsible for now for the parts of our car.

    Good to know Ton, are you sure?

  29. #29
    Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRZ8 View Post
    Good to know Ton, are you sure?
    Yes Remko ...since march 2013.

    from the minutes of the Z8 club...

    "BMW Classic has been looking after the Z8 since March 2013. A direct and fruitful cooperation has beenestablished. BMW has asserted its pledge for the "50-year warranty". This warranty, however, does not guaranteea continuous availability of parts or overnight service as with modern cars. Z8 owners must expect shipping delays, high prices and color restrictions (e.g. for floor mats). "
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  30. #30
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z-acht View Post
    Yes Remko ...since march 2013.

    from the minutes of the Z8 club...

    "BMW Classic has been looking after the Z8 since March 2013. A direct and fruitful cooperation has beenestablished. BMW has asserted its pledge for the "50-year warranty". This warranty, however, does not guaranteea continuous availability of parts or overnight service as with modern cars. Z8 owners must expect shipping delays, high prices and color restrictions (e.g. for floor mats). "

    Not so nice to know.......

  31. #31
    My thoughts exactly!
    Andrew Macpherson

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  32. #32
    Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    The 50 years are a kind of marketing thing: special car , special treatment but on the end the parts are delivered with the same speed and for the same high price as every other classic BMW.
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  33. #33
    Z8Mania
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    Agreed. What else would we expect. The thing is- the Z8 is a very important car for BMW so I think so long as we are realistic and patient parts will be available. I've had a lot of experiences with several high line automakers and while it might not be 100% absolutely perfect to my ideal of perfect, I find BMW to be the best.

  34. #34
    Knowing a bit more now about how BMW AG corporate works, I realize their system of swapping people around every two years can make it hard to get a consistent and dedicated specialist in any department for any length of time, especially one who is devoted to keeping parts supplied for older cars. Of course that's totally understandable, the glamor and glitz for all the employees there is in launching the new, rolling out the next, not looking after the old.

    However I hope with Classic we may be in better hands, but overall the BMW AG's prime business isn't in looking after it's yesterdays, its in making and selling its todays and tomorrows. Thomas Tischler is an incredible ambassador for BMW, and I would love to see a team as dedicated as he within AG with the power to get things done, get parts made, and keep the heritage we all love and enjoy so much alive, and that's what I hope Classic will become.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  35. #35
    Z8Mania
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    I agree- what works for rolling out the new doesn't usually work for caring after the old. Never the less, for over 23 years I've been a satisfied BMW customer. There were moments where I held my breath, but it worked out.

  36. #36
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Kevin's Avatar
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    I find it weird that you can't order the whole set, I ordered a complete Performance Pack for my Z8 3 months ago at my local service center.
    2003 Z8 Silver/Black AH62031 (Sold)

  37. #37
    Z8 Madness Z-acht's Avatar
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    I ordered a complete Performance Pack for my Z8 3 months ago
    Is the PP on backorder?
    Ton
    1 of the 71 original Dutch sold cars (jetblack/red)

  38. #38
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Kevin's Avatar
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    Wasn't for me, it showed up at my service center 4 days later.
    2003 Z8 Silver/Black AH62031 (Sold)