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Thread: New rear window: OEM or aftermarket?

  1. #1
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    New rear window: OEM or aftermarket?

    I can't decide which one to order. The price difference isn't significant enough to be a major factor. Which one is the highest quality?

    emiata?

    Oem?

    This guy on ebay? http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-Z3-M-ROA...-/150839598053
    - Marc


  2. #2
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    go OEM, its the only one with the bead around the window

  3. #3
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    I've had both, my preference is for the OEM.

    My car came with an eMiata window installed. Very high quality, very clear window material, somewhat decent fit. What I didn't like about it was the glued down canvas trim around the edge that kept coming back up and curling up. I used silicone sealant, rubber cement and contact cement trying to keep it down.

    The OEM window has a nice, clean, finished look with the bead around the perimeter that you tuck the top into. While not as durable as the eMiata material, hitting the window surface every 3-6 mos with some Meguiars PlastX will keep it looking nice and clear.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkindig View Post
    I've had both, my preference is for the OEM.

    My car came with an eMiata window installed. Very high quality, very clear window material, somewhat decent fit. What I didn't like about it was the glued down canvas trim around the edge that kept coming back up and curling up. I used silicone sealant, rubber cement and contact cement trying to keep it down.

    The OEM window has a nice, clean, finished look with the bead around the perimeter that you tuck the top into. While not as durable as the eMiata material, hitting the window surface every 3-6 mos with some Meguiars PlastX will keep it looking nice and clear.
    Which sealant/glue worked best with emiata?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADAz3M View Post
    Which sealant/glue worked best with emiata?
    Contact cement worked the best, but not as well as I would have liked. The canvas edging STILL kept coming up, especially at the corners and where the windows folds.

    Conversely, on the OEM window, I ran a 1/4" bead of Permatex Flowable Windshield Sealant around the perimeter of the window (mine was used, a new window has a self-adhesive strip there) before I tucked the top material under the bead, and it has held up for two years and counting without coming loose.
    Last edited by dkindig; 09-25-2013 at 07:21 PM.

  6. #6
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    Gotcha! Thanks

    I was doing some research on other forums regarding canvas top glue for patches and window installs. Seems like urethane window adhesive seems to be the strongest thing out there. I think I might give that a shot. Although there's probably less room for error.

  7. #7
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    My vote is for the emiata. I bought the OEM but returned it and bought an emiata. The emiata is of a higher quality plastic, and much easier to install. The trick to glueing the canvas is in the prep work and in using more glue than they provide with the window. Either way, look for the window install threads (search or manifesto) and read up on it first--there are several install tips and tricks of note.

  8. #8
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    I'm curious. The bead on the OEM window hits the second bow from the back of the top when the top is down. This causes the marks typically seen in the top fabric on each side of that second bow. Does the emiata window make any marks in the top fabric?
    John

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bingley View Post
    My vote is for the emiata. I bought the OEM but returned it and bought an emiata...
    You and I were both unable to install the OEM window because the zipper tab became frayed after a few tries to get the zipper pull started. And if this is done too many times, the zipper tab on the top becomes frayed and you have to get a new top. After trying two OEM windows, and a shop telling me they did not want to mess with the second one, I got a new top.
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...5#post22334895
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...5#post26664805
    So, the OP will have a better chance of getting the Emiata window installed. Then he just needs to be careful and neat about gluing down its canvas trim.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vintage42 View Post
    You and I were both unable to install the OEM window because the zipper tab became frayed after a few tries to get the zipper pull started. And if this is done too many times, the zipper tab on the top becomes frayed and you have to get a new top. After trying two OEM windows, and a shop telling me they did not want to mess with the second one, I got a new top.
    Yes, this is true--I was posting from my iphone, and so being brief. This is why I returned the OEM window I bought. Mine was new from a dealer, but so old that the zipper fabric simply frayed upon touch, and was uninstallable; it very nearly ruined my top as well. The emiata window was a breeze to install in comparison--it just zipped right in first try. It was an extra added bonus that the plastic is thicker, harder and more pliable. I've had mine on for a couple of years now with no issues and the canvas is still glued right in place--no lifting or curling. Ive installed another in a different Z during that time, and it too is holding up well with no issues. But my vote is based on how easy it was to instal in comparison the the OEM, which made me cry and pull my hair out.

  11. #11
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    I've tried both, and have had a much better time of it with OEM windows. Emiata presented significant fitment issues, though perhaps in recent years that has been improved upon. I'm also not a fan at all of emiata's method of gluing the canvas overlap- IMO it looks tacky and unfinished compared to the OEM window's retaining trimming which makes for a better, finished look. My vote is OEM by a landslide in terms of fitment and presentation of the finished product.

    BMW M3 - Ferrari 348 - Chevrolet Chevelle

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 07090 View Post
    I can't decide which one to order. The price difference isn't significant enough to be a major factor. Which one is the highest quality? emiata? Oem? This guy on ebay? http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-Z3-M-ROA...-/150839598053
    I bought an OEM and returned it messed up, cancelled an order to the guy on eBay when he was slow to deliver and I realized that he was buying Emiatas and reselling at twice their price, bought an Emiata and returned it unused because the zipper and canvas seal looked poorly made, bought a second OEM and messed it up, before finally getting a new top with sewn-in window.
    The price difference between OEM at $300 and Emiata at $80 seems significant. The Emiata plastic window is at least equal quality. The Emiata zipper and canvas seal look very crude out of the box, but the zipper is concealed after installation, and the canvas seal can look OK if carefully glued.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Itsablurr View Post
    ... My vote is OEM by a landslide in terms of fitment and presentation of the finished product.
    My vote, too. But I was unable to install two of the OEMs, and a shop refused to keep trying to install the second one. OEM becomes very expensive if you fray the fragile fabric of its zipper starting tab.
    Last edited by Vintage42; 09-26-2013 at 12:42 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vintage42 View Post
    My vote, too. But I was unable to install two of the OEMs, and a shop refused to keep trying to install the second one. OEM becomes very expensive if you fray the fragile fabric of its zipper starting tab.
    I found when installing the OEM windows that the piece has absolutely zero tolerance for being started on the wrong tooth engagement (shifting the window every so slightly offset left or right within the top), which then causes the teeth to pull apart from engagement when put under tension from zipping the circumference. It was also necessary to have the top disengaged at the windshield and 'popped up' into its detent position to provide enough slack for fitting the window without putting undue damaging stress on the replacement window during zipping.

    BMW M3 - Ferrari 348 - Chevrolet Chevelle

  14. #14
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    OEM $275+ vs emiata $100

    I don't like the plastic bead, since I bought the thing new, it was always necessary to tuck the top cloth back in the bead - unless you glued it - then you arrive at what the emiata does in the first place.

    I just replaced my OEM after 13 years with an emiata- I am happy, yes the tough part is applying enough glue neatly with emiata, all else it is superior IMHO!!
    Last edited by ZGator; 09-26-2013 at 07:46 PM.

    “Great wisdom is generous; petty wisdom is contentious.” 无为

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsablurr View Post
    I found when installing the OEM windows that the piece has absolutely zero tolerance for being started on the wrong tooth engagement (shifting the window every so slightly offset left or right within the top), which then causes the teeth to pull apart from engagement when put under tension from zipping the circumference...
    My recollection is that the OEM window could not be started on the wrong tooth. The zippers on both the window and the top had fabric tabs that inserted equally into the zipper pull to get started.
    It was the Emiata window that could have its zipper started on the wrong tooth, because the window zipper had no tab. You had to count teeth to start it right.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by ZGator View Post
    ... I don't like the plastic bead, since I bought the thing new, it was always necessary to tuck the top cloth back in the bead - unless you glued it - then you arrive at what the emiata does in the first place...
    My PO tried to glue the plastic bead that was coming off. You cannot arrive at the Emiata solution because the OEM window has no canvas seal to cover and hide the glue. You just glue the OEM bead to the window and the edge of the canvas top, all exposed and messy. And, any thick stiff glue on the edge of the canvas top can make it impossible for a new OEM window's bead to receive the top. That bead is a very fine, tight channel into which the edge of the top must be forced.
    Last edited by Vintage42; 09-26-2013 at 08:54 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by WisM View Post
    I'm curious. The bead on the OEM window hits the second bow from the back of the top when the top is down. This causes the marks typically seen in the top fabric on each side of that second bow. Does the emiata window make any marks in the top fabric?
    Does the emiata make any marks on the canvas top when it's down like the bead on the OEM does?
    Last edited by WisM; 09-29-2013 at 06:38 AM. Reason: Clarification location of marks
    John

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by WisM View Post
    Does the emiata make any marks on the top when it's down like the OEM does?
    No.

  18. #18
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    Thanks Ralph.
    Seems that would be one of the pluses for the emiata. Never saw anyone mention it.
    The marks from the OEM really look bad to me.
    John

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vintage42 View Post
    My recollection is that the OEM window could not be started on the wrong tooth. The zippers on both the window and the top had fabric tabs that inserted equally into the zipper pull to get started.
    It was the Emiata window that could have its zipper started on the wrong tooth, because the window zipper had no tab. You had to count teeth to start it right.
    Interesting. All of the OEM windows that I have done could be offset a tooth or so either way (and it would take a couple tries of starting the zip, and following around the first corner, up the side to feel it out). All purchased through OEM parts dealers in BMW packaging with BMW embossing.



    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Bingley View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by WisM View Post
    Does the emiata make any marks on the top when it's down like the OEM does?
    No.
    Curious if you could expand a bit on that. Marks on the fabric top? ... or clouding across the fold point in the vinyl window?

    BMW M3 - Ferrari 348 - Chevrolet Chevelle

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsablurr View Post
    Interesting. All of the OEM windows that I have done could be offset a tooth or so either way (and it would take a couple tries of starting the zip, and following around the first corner, up the side to feel it out). All purchased through OEM parts dealers in BMW packaging with BMW embossing....
    The OEM window must be started with the zipper tabs inserted up side by side into the pull. All the photos here show that:
    http://zroadster.org/wiki/bmw-z3/mai...n-replacement/
    The OEM instructions say that the leading edges (tabs) of both zippers must be flush with the fastener, and if any offset occurs, an offset of only one tooth is allowed.
    http://www.roadstersolutions.com/media/PDF/Z3RW.pdf
    To me it did not seem easy to offset the teeth, and as for a couple of tries starting the zipper, that is what frayed my tab and cost me two OEM windows.

    It is the Emiata instructions that say to start one zipper and then count the teeth on the other:
    ... see how far (how many teeth) to push the zipper slider on the window. You will notice that there is no starting tab on the window, the zipper must be started on the window first.
    http://www.bmw-convertible-window.com/NewBMWInstructions.htm
    As for making marks on the window:
    Quote Originally Posted by WisM View Post
    Does the emiata make any marks on the top when it's down like the OEM does?
    According to this post, it does:
    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...2#post26590912

    To protect my new window, I use a Roadster Solutions Rear Window Guard/Protector:
    http://www.roadstersolutions.com/page6.html
    I also lay a tube of foam pipe insulation in the fold.

    The canvas seal turning the corners is why I returned my Emiata without trying to install it; I was afraid the canvas would not lie flat.
    Quote Originally Posted by sdcrwatch View Post
    DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT. Materials they use are fine. Their design is not good. They changed the design and now the curves will not lay flat unless you clip the material around the corners. The finished look will be very disappointing...
    Here is what it looked like:
    http://s49.photobucket.com/user/vint...tml?sort=9&o=1
    Last edited by Vintage42; 09-28-2013 at 08:02 AM.

  21. #21
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    I'm curious...at this day and age, how much life is left to any original top?

    My OEM top had a new window put in it about 4 years ago by the previous owner. Fast forward to today and while the top cloth looks so-so, the stitching thread is rotting away. There are small sections where the stitching is gone and if I take my fingernail and scratch any of the remaining stitching...it just flakes away! That prompted me to order a whole new top that I'll be installing in a few weeks.
    Z3M Racer '99 M Roadster

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z3MRacer View Post
    I'm curious...at this day and age, how much life is left to any original top?...
    My Z3 was built in 10/96 and had 32,000 miles when I bought it. The plastic rear window was good, except the black plastic trim was coming off. The tan canvas fabric and its stitching were like new. Evidently the car had been garaged all its life.
    The life of the top depends on exposure to weather and sunlight.
    Last edited by Vintage42; 09-29-2013 at 08:21 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itsablurr View Post
    Curious if you could expand a bit on that. Marks on the fabric top? ... or clouding across the fold point in the vinyl window?
    For what it is worth, my comments were about the marks made on the fabric top by the OEM window bead when the top is down. Here is a closeup of the damage to the fabric from the bead.
    49eb4827-82e7-407d-8794-3cb0d25f367e.jpg
    And here is the effect the top has on the bead.
    ced7b4e0-3826-4e8e-97d2-703d3ecad226.jpg
    I've seen this on several Z3's and my question to Mr. Bingley was whether the emiata window did this. I'm pretty sure his answer was relative to this condition not existing with the emiata window.

    Hope that helps.
    John

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by WisM View Post
    For what it is worth, my comments were about the marks made on the fabric top by the OEM window bead when the top is down. Here is a closeup of the damage to the fabric from the bead.
    49eb4827-82e7-407d-8794-3cb0d25f367e.jpg
    And here is the effect the top has on the bead.
    ced7b4e0-3826-4e8e-97d2-703d3ecad226.jpg
    I've seen this on several Z3's and my question to Mr. Bingley was whether the emiata window did this. I'm pretty sure his answer was relative to this condition not existing with the emiata window.

    Hope that helps.
    On the emiata window there is no bead to rub the top, just a canvas lip.

  25. #25
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    My vote is for the emiata window. When you get it it may look crude and rough around the edges, but once installed with the canvas lip securley glued it will work well and in my opinion look much better than the stock window. I installed the window in just a few minutes less the time for the glue to dry. They clearly don't come with enough glue so buy some contact cement that works with canvas before you start installing. I found some at my local hardware store. DSCF1963.JPG

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