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Thread: roadster rear window install - lessons learned

  1. #1
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    roadster rear window install - lessons learned

    Just finished replacing my rear window this afternoon and came up with a couple tips/ideas that I hadn't seen in any of the write ups and make parts of it go easier. This was an OEM window not the cheaper aftermarket one.

    First off I more or less followed write up from bimmerforums uk. All the major items are covered in that write up. Good detail and pictures.
    http://www.bimmerforums.co.uk/forum/...5&d=1304451823

    what I discovered in the process:
    #1> instead of trying to hold the window in place while trying to get the zipper started while wedging yourself through the seats, do this: Lay the tissue that came with the window on the back trunk lid. Lay the window with the inside facing up.
    You can then lean over from the outside of the car, start the zipper once you get the ends lined up.

    (this was taken from the left rear side of the car looking down into the area behind the seats). This also prevents you from starting on the wrong side of the zipper that I've heard a few had problems with when you get to the end.
    Then zip it the first 15" or so without having to move anything.

    To get the zipper started/engaged I found that a twisting motion on the zipper pull (like you were driving an awl) helps to move things around until they line up. Start with the zipper pull on the fabric at the end of the zipper, line the ends up square and start the zipper with a twisting motion. It should go on in a couple seconds.

    If you prep the window with 3 strips of 2" blue painters tape (top corners and center, you can see one of the corners top of last pic), you can then flip the window up in place, tape it down to the top and then go inside and finish the zipping. Read #2 before you do.

    #2> give yourself some slack. Open the roof and prop it up with a 9" long 2x4 or something similar. (about 3" more than the roof normally opens to when you push it up).

    When I first started zipping the window in when I got to the top center (180 deg from start point) it started separating from the tension against the window. I then propped the roof up as described and it went on without problem from there.

    While trying to get the clasp on I ended up spiting the zipper a couple times (once with "help") and had to take it out and start over again. the third time it took 5 minutes tops to zip the window in.

    The clasp thingy is the real problem with this whole process in that you have to have someone on the outside holding the part with the pins still while you work from the inside to put the plate over the pins and crimp them down. needlenose pliers are required for this step (at least I found it the best tool). Try fitting the two parts together before you stick the pointy things through the zipper. I spent probably a half hour trying to get the pins to line up with the plate only to discover that I had the pin part 90 degs out.

    Other than the struggle with the clasp it wasn't that hard a job. I could probably do another one in 30-45 mins now that I know how rather than the 2+ hours it took to discover the above points.

    Looks great now!


    I've always said that seeing while driving is not overrated.

    fj..
    Last edited by grat; 07-10-2011 at 10:45 PM.

    photo by Gary Glades

  2. #2
    mherington is offline Passing Gas... BMW CCA Member
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    Just went through this process myself. Was fairly straight forward, but would loved to have had your writeup. I did cry a little after putting the top down and back up again after a long drive... Even with the roadster solutions blanket it creased a little. I'm blaming it on the heat and the new soft plastic. Oh well.

    Thanks for the writeup and notes!

    M.

  3. #3
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    I've heard that someone has used a piece of a beach toy called a Noodle to help avoid the crease.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by twozees View Post
    I've heard that someone has used a piece of a beach toy called a Noodle to help avoid the crease.
    Cutting a piece of those to fit "inside the window" - so the crease wraps around the rounder contour of the noodle, would probably work well for that.

    New window looks great and thanks for the write-up, this is definitely on my short list

  5. #5
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    Nice write up, I will be using this next time I need to do a rear window replacement.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackxs View Post
    Cutting a piece of those to fit "inside the window" - so the crease wraps around the rounder contour of the noodle, would probably work well for that.
    I have an idea along this line too. Didn't have the things on hand to try it out last weekend. Will update the thread with details next weekend.
    Quote Originally Posted by blackxs View Post
    New window looks great and thanks for the write-up, this is definitely on my short list
    Quote Originally Posted by wildvan View Post
    Nice write up, I will be using this next time I need to do a rear window replacement.
    np. glad to add to the bf knowledgebase.

    fj..

    photo by Gary Glades

  7. #7
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    Well, your timing couldn't have been better--well maybe a week earlier, but better late than never.

    I bought an OEM window and started the install process a week ago, but the window I got was defective in that the zip would not start and the fabric where the zipper attaches was frayed and just came apart on the 2nd try. To make matters worse, it pulled the fabric attaching the zipper to my top apart as well--after I had pulled the old window out--so I then had no window at all.

    After I calmed down (a couple of days) I took the stitching apart on my top and repaired the zipper on it (with my wife's help "it's a sewing problem, not a car problem, get out of the way.").

    After that experience, I decided yesterday to order an emiata window. $45 extra for next day air (you have to call for this option) and it came to the office today. I left work at 5:00 and put it in tonight--with your guidance it went in first try and fits like a glove. I am sure I could do it again in a half an hour now that I've done it once.

    Since I got both an OEM (which I will be returning for a 10% restocking fee), and an emiata, I can compare and contrast the two. If I had it to do all over again, I would definitely go with the emiata from the start. Cost, mind you, is not a concern, so that does not influence me in saying this (I ordered an OEM first after all).

    The emiata fit is and finish is better, and the construction and plastic are sturdier and clearer than the OEM. That said, the emiata window has a canvas trim and not a rubber seal. I like the look better, but that is a matter of personal preference.

    The emiata window installed much easier, to say the least. The tube of contact cement it came with was way not enough for the job; I had to run out to Lowes for more. And the needle and thread they provided was only enough to stitch one zipper closed, and I had to use my own thread for the other. But these were minor short comings compared to the OEM window I got. I prefer sewing the zipper ends closed to the little metal clasp, and recommend doing this with either window.

    I masked off the top and window before spreading the cement, and I recommend this as well. I also recommend having extra contact cement and thread handy before you start.

    I put a towel down on the trunk before laying the window out on it, as the emiata window only came with a paper lining and not the fancy cloth one the OEM did--I closed the towel in the back of the trunk lid to hold it in place. Mine has a luggage rack, which I removed for the job. Propping the top up with a length of 2 x 4 was perfect and a great idea. With your tape idea it is a one man job.

    So thanks again for the clues, and people should seriously consider the emiata top when doing this job--a surprisingly good product when compared to OEM.

    Of course, now that I have my window back, the weather says sunny days for the next two weeks--no complaints here though, I hope I never use it again as far as that goes.

  8. #8
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    I despise plastic windows BUT if you're careful they can last 'forever'. Here is what I came up with:

    1. Buy a Pool Noodle Toy.

    2. Hold it up to the window and cut it so it is the same width.

    3. Buy a large, soft towel. Preferably black or tan (if you have a tan interior).
    * color kinda matters as you will see it when the top is down (unless the boot is on).

    4. Spray the noodle with spray on adhesive.

    5. Cut the towel on the sides so that it is now the same width as the noodle / your rear window.

    6. Cut the remaining towel hanging off the noodle but leave a flap of towel about 5 inches long. The Z3 window has two issues. It can crease and the canvas rubs on the window when the top is down. Leaving this flap will prevent the top from rubbing against the window.

    7. Now you're down and your rear window is saved!

    If anyone likes, I will take pictures of it and pictures of it working so you can get a visual. I also make them for people for about $12.
    -Dusty


    05' BMW 325ci, Sapphire Black
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bingley View Post

    So thanks again for the clues, and people should seriously consider the emiata top when doing this job--a surprisingly good product when compared to OEM.
    Thanks for the info - I will be doing the window or top replacement soon.

    Please post some photos of the emiata window.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bingley View Post
    Since I got both an OEM (which I will be returning for a 10% restocking fee), and an emiata, I can compare and contrast the two. If I had it to do all over again, I would definitely go with the emiata from the start. Cost, mind you, is not a concern, so that does not influence me in saying this (I ordered an OEM first after all).

    The emiata fit is and finish is better, and the construction and plastic are sturdier and clearer than the OEM. That said, the emiata window has a canvas trim and not a rubber seal. I like the look better, but that is a matter of personal preference.

    The emiata window installed much easier, to say the least. The tube of contact cement it came with was way not enough for the job; I had to run out to Lowes for more. And the needle and thread they provided was only enough to stitch one zipper closed, and I had to use my own thread for the other. But these were minor short comings compared to the OEM window I got. I prefer sewing the zipper ends closed to the little metal clasp, and recommend doing this with either window.
    glad you found it useful. I had thought about sewing the zipper shut too instead of the clasp, as it was a real pita but didn't have a ready helper for that at the time.

    Would you take some pictures of yours? I'm curious as to the canvas closure and what it looks like.
    [edit]
    Quote Originally Posted by mva View Post
    Thanks for the info - I will be doing the window or top replacement soon.

    Please post some photos of the emiata window.
    yeah, what he said. :-)

    fj..
    Last edited by grat; 07-13-2011 at 01:48 PM.

    photo by Gary Glades

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mva View Post
    Thanks for the info - I will be doing the window or top replacement soon.

    Please post some photos of the emiata window.
    Not my car or window I bought the OEM one. But I did ask the same question about the emiata window and a member posted this picture for me in another thread.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  12. #12
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    I've got my M at the tire shop having a set of Hankook V12's mounted at the moment, but I'll take pics of the emiata window and post when I get it back later today.

  13. #13
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    Ok, better late than never. Here are some pics of the emiata window. It's had a week or so to settle in and has been folded down the whole time (with blanket), so you can get a sense of how it looks after that.










  14. #14
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    Looks good - thanks for posting!

  15. #15
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    Hey MrBingley, did you use the glue that came with it? Thanks for the heads up!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackburnzero View Post
    Hey MrBingley, did you use the glue that came with it? Thanks for the heads up!
    I used that glue, but I also bought a can of contact cement at Lowes (or Home Depot--they are next to each other) and used that as well--the glue they provide is contact cement, and is good, but there isn't enough of it for the job. Be sure to mask off where you apply the glue as you don't want any to show on the top.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bingley View Post
    I used that glue, but I also bought a can of contact cement at Lowes (or Home Depot--they are next to each other) and used that as well--the glue they provide is contact cement, and is good, but there isn't enough of it for the job. Be sure to mask off where you apply the glue as you don't want any to show on the top.
    Alright great! Thanks for the heads up. It also sounds like I need a bit more thread? (ill be doing this hopefully today if weather holds up)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackburnzero View Post
    Alright great! Thanks for the heads up. It also sounds like I need a bit more thread? (ill be doing this hopefully today if weather holds up)
    Too much is better than not enough is what I always say. Be sure to report back with pics.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by twozees
    I've heard that someone has used a piece of a beach toy called a Noodle to help avoid the crease.
    Genius!!

    Tony
    On the hunt for Westvleteren. Have some? PM me.


  20. #20
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    Thanks grat for the tips. I was able to swap the window alone, and using your technique was a big reason for that.

    Getting the metal clip off was the worst part of the job for me. I had a heck of a time getting those little claws bent back close to straight.

    I went with the emiata window with the tint. Compared to the original window, it almost looks like there is no window:


    If you look close you can see that I haven't yet sealed it. I will probably need some help for that part, so we can apply pressure from both sides.
    Last edited by Scarceas; 06-20-2012 at 07:34 AM.

  21. #21
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    Now i just need to feel like doing this lol

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by E36ic4Me View Post
    I despise plastic windows BUT if you're careful they can last 'forever'. Here is what I came up with:

    1. Buy a Pool Noodle Toy.

    2. Hold it up to the window and cut it so it is the same width.

    3. Buy a large, soft towel. Preferably black or tan (if you have a tan interior).
    * color kinda matters as you will see it when the top is down (unless the boot is on).

    4. Spray the noodle with spray on adhesive.

    5. Cut the towel on the sides so that it is now the same width as the noodle / your rear window.

    6. Cut the remaining towel hanging off the noodle but leave a flap of towel about 5 inches long. The Z3 window has two issues. It can crease and the canvas rubs on the window when the top is down. Leaving this flap will prevent the top from rubbing against the window.

    7. Now you're down and your rear window is saved!

    If anyone likes, I will take pictures of it and pictures of it working so you can get a visual. I also make them for people for about $12.
    After investing in a new window, I tried the above approach. There were a couple of minor issues with it, though:
    1. Unless perfectly aligned in the crease, the noodle interfered with the top, preventing it from going all the way down. The top was maybe 1/2" from down-down.
    2. I noticed a little stretching on the window where there'd normally be a crease. Perhaps misalignment caused this, too, perhaps not, though.


    After a couple of months of messing with my toweled noodle, I decided to get the roadstersolutions.com window guard. It addressed the issues above, since it's thinner and has aligning straps. I'm very happy with it.

    Because the straps close into the windows, I feel safe just leaving it attached to the car when I park (in good weather).
    Last edited by rwalker; 06-20-2012 at 12:42 PM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarceas View Post
    Thanks grat for the tips. I was able to swap the window alone, and using your technique was a big reason for that.

    Getting the metal clip off was the worst part of the job for me. I had a heck of a time getting those little claws bent back close to straight.

    I went with the emiata window with the tint. Compared to the original window, it almost looks like there is no window:


    If you look close you can see that I haven't yet sealed it. I will probably need some help for that part, so we can apply pressure from both sides.
    How do you like the emiata window so far ? Install go smoothly ?
    I am on the fence about replacing the rear window on mine. My top isnt exactly new at this point. If i spend the $250 plus on an OEM window i had mind as well spend $450 on the whole new top ! At $90 for the eMiata window its a bit easier to swallow if the top is only going to be around for another year or so.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtdevilnc View Post
    How do you like the emiata window so far ? Install go smoothly ?
    I am on the fence about replacing the rear window on mine. My top isnt exactly new at this point. If i spend the $250 plus on an OEM window i had mind as well spend $450 on the whole new top ! At $90 for the eMiata window its a bit easier to swallow if the top is only going to be around for another year or so.
    I was in the same boat. I was planning to replace the top with an aftermarket one b/c the OEM window was so costly. This original top has not seen a lot of weather (despite 165K miles) and I honestly think it could last a few more years. I read a few stories on the emiata window and decided to try it and extend the life of the top.

    Now I am glad I did; it looks so much better and was relatively inexpensive.

    I had a heck of a time with getting the OEM metal clasp off, and getting the old adhesive off was tough. Some places it had really fused in to the top's fabric. I also goofed during the seal (didn't mask well) and got a dab of cement on the window. Mostly cleaned off but already it is not pristine, which actually fits the "high mileage, not a show car" look I was going for.

    Some said there wasn't enough contact cement; I had some left over. I did two "passes". I made a thin seal on the under side inner edge between the top and the window trim during the first pass. The second pass I came behind it and "painted" the under side of the canvas flap, pressing it down to the top. I used thin pieces of cardboard as a straight edge "paint brush" with the contact cement and I still had some left over. The tube emiata sent was not small so I wonder if they have started sending a larger amount of contact cement. I also managed with the provided amount of thread, but there was definitely none of that left over.

    Overall this job is not difficult, but is kind of time consuming. I did most of it alone but sewing the ends would have taken forever by myself and I was glad to have help with passing the needle back and forth.
    Last edited by Scarceas; 06-21-2012 at 10:59 PM.

  25. #25
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    Bumping this b/c it's such a useful thread. Just replaced my window today, and the tips here combined with the linked DIY were great!

    I didn't see it mentioned here, but we found getting the zipper clips off was easiest by cutting the old window away and coming over the trunk to the clip. Also seemed to be the easiest way to get the first new clip started (obviously without cutting the window).

    -Todd

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