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Convertible top question!

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by ericrandalls, Jul 6, 2008.

    ericrandalls guest

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    Hello Everyone. I am new here, but have owned BMWs ever since I was old enough to drive...

    Well, some joker decided to slash the top. So, I've got a gigantic hole in the back window of the car, and the rest isn't looking so well either. So, I've been looking for replacements. I know about the replacement plastic windows, which is an ok option, but I REALLY want to replace the whole thing.
    I've heard they go for about $1,200 at the dealership, but online I can only find them for $2,400.
    Is the word of mouth just wrong on this, is there a cheaper place for the tops, or should I just go to the dealership? I was hoping maybe I could get a decent percentage off with my BMW CCA membership. :)
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    Brian A

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    Sorry to hear about the top. There comes a point where the fabric is just to fragile to replace the window only.

    Car upholstery shops can change the top and/or window for you. The dealership may have a recommendation for a shop they send their cars out to. If the dealership is willing to do the whole job (part and labor) for $1,200, compared to my experience, that is a good deal. Getting the top changed ain't cheap.

    I replaced my E30 top for $1,000 ($450 part and $600 labor) (or maybe it was the vice versa) a couple of years ago. There were several after-market and OEM tops to choose from. When I asked at the dealership, they said the BMW part alone was something like $1,600. Frankly, I don't know what brand of top I have, but I like the fit and look. I was told it was an OEM top. The fabric texture is ever so slightly different than the original (a little finer pattern).

    Replacing the top DOES require a skilled expert. This is not a DIY job. Special tools, skills and extreme precision are required. Look for a shop filled with vintage cars which they are restoring the interiors and talk to them about the job. You don't want a bumbler. Boat top people might do it too. They'll all know which companies make the part. The fellow I used was recommended by a local (major) BMW parts recycler.

    Best wishes; a new top is realy nice to have.

    ericrandalls guest

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    Thanks for the detailed and helpful reply, will be trying this soon! :)

    damien_ro guest

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    I replaced my top recently with GAHH

    http://www.gahh.com/store.php?cPath=28_101_688&products_family_id=1

    they are true professionals i also used them to replace the leather on both my front seats. i highly recommend them. the best around in my opinion. then have them shipped to a quality shop that you trust and everything will work out just fine:D
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    lodes17

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    top

    I was at a wreckers yesterday in Memphis and saw a good used one, it was a light brown, camel. Masseys auto parts.
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    John in VA

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    Brian A

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    Note that at Tischer the $1,767 is for part number 54312264441 which is the fabric top alone. The fabric top needs to be stretched, stitched and glued over the metal frame (part number 54348135204) which is still probably reusable in your car. Unless you are really good at this kind of stuff, the fabric top needs to be mounted on the frame by a professional (per my prior post above). It's not DIY.

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