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E30 ragtop in cold weather?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by impster, Sep 26, 2010.

    impster guest

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    I'm contemplating the purchase of an E30 convertible as a year round fair weather daily driver (no rain, no snow) and the occasional multi-day tour. Having never driven an E30 ragtop, I'm wondering how weather tight it is. Is the door-glass seal effective at speed? How noisy is it? I'm not expecting to go through a car wash but can it keep out the moisture if unexpectantly caught in a rain storm? Can the heater keep up with winter cold?

    I'm not expecting it to be as air tight as a modern hard top sedan but I've owned (and still do) a number of British ragtops that required a roll of duct tape to seal the window / top joints during anything wetter than a heavy fog. So any subjective opinions regarding the E30 are appreciated.

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    John in VA

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    The heater should be able to keep up, depending upon where you live. The condition of the top and, as importantly, the seals are what keep the water out. The seals are quite pricey, and I'm not sure if all of them are still available.
    I wouldn't consider owning a convertible if it couldn't be garaged or had an optional hardtop.
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    Brian A

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    I own a 1987 325i convertible which I drive 12 months a year here in Northern California.

    It sounds like you know what you're getting yourself into buying a convertible, so I will respond on that basis.

    The E30 convertible is a beautifully designed convertible compared to the British predecessors that you've owned. Specifically, the top mechanism is brilliantly designed. It is watertight and goes up quickly and consistently. I have jumped out at a stoplight to yank up the top at the beginning of the cloudburst and had enough time to get back in the car before the light turned green.

    Wind noise is another matter. The top is very tight so does not flap, but it is only a single canvas layer so traveling at speed is substantially noisier than in a tin-top car. For the E30, wind noise rises to a roar above 75 mph (ironically, the car becomes quiet above that speed with the top down).

    Be aware that there are are motorized electric top E30s, which I have no experience with, but they do have a reputation for mechanical problems.

    The key problem with a mechanical E30 soft top is that the plastic back window is vulnerable to yellowing and loss of transparency. I replaced my top about six or seven years ago or so and the total cost was over $1000. That's just for the canvas and plastic. If you need a new frame, that's over $1500 itself.

    The other poster mentioned the heater, and I agree with the comment: heating and air conditioning are great and E30s. Top-down or top-up, both work great to keep the car warm or cool. Needless to say, with the top down, you still need a jacket in cold weather and the A/C is fighting a losing battle in extremely hot weather. Top-up, they work great.

    impster guest

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    Thanks Brian A,

    Exactly the sort of info that will assist me in my final decision. Any other comments?

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