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Thread: The definitive subframe strategy thread

  1. #26
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    Thanks

    Thank you for the comments. This issue is the only thing holding me up from pulling the trigger on one of these cars. I've got a call in to Dinan to find out more about their diff reinforcement kit and the labor cost to install.

  2. #27
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    I just got back from the dealershop VIA a friend's car. Going to spend some time without the M.

    They wanted me to leave it with them ASAP and I said NOW. They said they'll call me in the morning. I have my fingers crossed and BMWoA on my speed dial. haha

    |Bav | Sammich | dirty | e30

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archimedes
    Thank you for the comments. This issue is the only thing holding me up from pulling the trigger on one of these cars. I've got a call in to Dinan to find out more about their diff reinforcement kit and the labor cost to install.
    There's a shop in San Diego that has already installed one of my differential mount upgrade packages. The locals in the BMWCCA (autocrossers) can bring you up to speed on the shop and the modification.

  4. #29
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    Hey Randy, can your reinforcement kit be "installed" if the car already has welds popping? Or is it too late by then. I am sure this has been addressed but I can't seem to remember. When it comes to the cost of this reinforcement be it yours, or Dinan's, if I understand correctly, the bulk of it comes from labor and not parts, right? Welding, disassembling the rear of the car, etc.

    thanks in advance.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jshkrauss
    Hey Randy, can your reinforcement kit be "installed" if the car already has welds popping? Or is it too late by then. I am sure this has been addressed but I can't seem to remember. When it comes to the cost of this reinforcement be it yours, or Dinan's, if I understand correctly, the bulk of it comes from labor and not parts, right? Welding, disassembling the rear of the car, etc.

    thanks in advance.
    Absolutely! I repair the damage first, and then the reinforcements are installed. It's never too late, even for Z3speed4me's car.

    Correct; the steel package costs (roughly) 20% of the total cost of the job.

  6. #31
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    automatics?

    I just bought my wife a 2002 Z3 2.5 automatic and was about to go look at some M roadsters to buy one for myself. I would use the M at driver's eds, at Sebring, Moroso and Homestead. Having read all of this thread, I think maybe a different vechicle is a better idea for me. Do automatics encounter this problem? I'd rather my wife didn't get injured.

    TIA
    DG
    Fort Myers, Florida

  7. #32
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    Concern:
    If and when the repair is authorized, what if the body shop runs with the idea of just re-welding the existing trunk floor. My concern would be rusting from within the welds, and mainly along the seam that separates on the left side of the trunk.

    Questions:
    1) Can a technician seal a weld with zinc and 100% be sure no rust is there?
    IF NOT
    Randy I think your earlier post mentioned that you had your trunk floor replaced.
    - What did you say to convince them to go that route?

    2) Finally, does anyone know if BMW has released any kits to bring the trunk back to OEM? You know to make it easier on the body shops.
    Last edited by blueMRoadster; 08-31-2005 at 02:32 PM.

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueMRoadster
    Concern:
    If and when the repair is authorized, what if the body shop runs with the idea of just re-welding the existing trunk floor. My concern would be rusting from within the welds, and mainly along the seam that separates on the left side of the trunk.
    Going back to from-factory state just means it'll happen again. It's a bad idea, and one BMW really shouldn't be pursuing or approviing.

    Questions:
    1) Can a technician seal a weld with zinc and 100% be sure no rust is there?
    IF NOT
    Randy I think your earlier post mentioned that you had your trunk floor replaced.
    - What did you say to convince them to go that route?

    Randy convinced them to _not_ replace his trunk floor (i.e. to not cut an otherwise perfectly good car in two). It's a huge piece, it's not just the floor (it's the forward wall and parts of the sides, including the subframe mounting stud receivers).

    2) Finally, does anyone know if BMW has released any kits to bring the trunk back to OEM? You know to make it easier on the body shops.
    No kit needed, they'd just buy the huge piece (there's one in my basement). It's more work than Randy's kit, and the piece isn't cheap.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwm
    No kit needed, they'd just buy the huge piece (there's one in my basement). It's more work than Randy's kit, and the piece isn't cheap.
    yep, no official replacement/reinforcement kit, that would admit fault and force a recall, correct?

    They did however recognize the Dinan kit and sell that in the delaerships. If you can convince BMW that it should be repair with a kit, Dinan or similar(randy's),then you have a good shot. BMW would most likely pay for replacement parts (new trunk) and authorize a shop to do the work. You can try and negotiate a fix with the shop and have them get buy-in from the BMW rep that it is the best way to proceed without upping the cost to BMW. From there, you may be able to get Randy's kit. That is the approach I am heading towards if they cover mine.
    -Jason

    Weekend Car

    '99 Boston Green M Roadster - intake, M50 manifold, schrick cams, magnaflow exhaust, TCK D/A Coilovers 500/600, RD front bar, ltw flywheel & clutch, harddog rollbar, schroth harnesses, zionsville radiator, S54 oil cooler, stewart pump, etc ..... ~245rwhp

  10. #35
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    Here is the email I sent to the local dealer a couple weeks ago.

    Dear Scott,

    I wanted to send you an email as a follow-up to my visit on friday,
    August 19, 2005. It was nice to meet both you and Mike Hardy, and I
    want to thank you both for taking the time to look at my car. I have
    always had good service when I have come to buy replacement parts and
    maintainance items for my car at the dealership.

    We discussed the issue of my trunk floorpan tearing away and pulling
    spotwelds. I was alerted that there may be a problem when other owners
    alerted me that they have experienced the same failure. When I pulled
    the trim out of the trunk, the floorpan showed the damage that you saw
    during my visit. I know you and Mike both mentioned you had been
    unaware of the issue, so I just wanted to send you the information we
    discussed.

    For reference, here are 3 VIN number of cars that have been covered by
    BMW: LC90268, LJ80510, and LC61638. I am aware of another that is
    currently being fixed, and I may be able to supply that VIN number in the
    coming weeks. Here is a link to a website where some owners have
    chosen to document the problem.
    http://www.thelargeglass.com/bmw/subframe/
    A few cars on that listing also claim that thier cars were covered in
    full by BMW. There are a few other owners (that I am aware of) in the
    current situation as I am and are visiting their respective dealership
    asking for assistance.

    I would like to discuss this further with you when you get the
    opportunity. Also, please pass this information on to Mike Hardy so he
    can be aware as well. Please let me know when we may be able to meet
    again and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you for your time,

    Jason Brown


    Well, I received word back from Scott today by phone. The service manager of The BMW Store in Cincinnati, Scott Klein, told me that they will not be covering the damage and it is not a waranty item. I told him that it should be covered because of many people experiencing failures due to the design flaw, and I would be pursuing other routes to get this resolved.

    Question: How the hell can they deny this after being given proof that they acknowledged and fixed this on multiple other cars?

    Question: What should be my next step to pursue this, because it is FAR from over.
    -Jason

    Weekend Car

    '99 Boston Green M Roadster - intake, M50 manifold, schrick cams, magnaflow exhaust, TCK D/A Coilovers 500/600, RD front bar, ltw flywheel & clutch, harddog rollbar, schroth harnesses, zionsville radiator, S54 oil cooler, stewart pump, etc ..... ~245rwhp

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBgotM
    Question: What should be my next step to pursue this, because it is FAR from over.
    Well, this is where we are at for most folks.

    Some things we know. This is a real problem. We know it happens on all manner of Z3 cars with all manner of engines and modifications. There will be more issues going forward.

    So, how do we handle this matter after your dealer has rejected the claims?

    1. Keep the awareness level up. Make sure we keep the snowball rolling. The NHTSA seems like it is going to be our best bet in the long run. We need to prove to the NHTSA that there is a "defect trend" and that when this happens to the car, even though in theory it would have a resale value of $19k, it can't be driven. They have the power to do something about it and BMW would fear any public action by the NHTSA. They key is public action. At some point this will get ugly for BMW. They don't care about us individually, hardly any corporation would, I don't mean to single them out, but collectively, we can keep the pressure up.

    2. Contact BMWNA HQ in New Jersey. They need to know that this is happening. If they keep hearing it over and over they will know they can't keep sweeping it under the rug. Right now it seems like a total crap shoot as to whether or not people can get this fixed through official channels.

    3. If you have the defect, and the dealer rejects the claim, and you escalate to BMWNA HQ and they give you short shrift, then, at this point, it seems we are out of options. We may be stuck fixing the car, and hoping for NHTSA action that leads to reimbursement.

    Any other input?

    I have some ideas for making this more public. Soon it may be time to try some things to make this a little more ugly in a coordinated public sense.

  12. #37
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    While I agree it would be NICE for BMW to pay for the repair, they simply do not HAVE to, if the car is not under warranty, and it does not pose a safety threat (which I believe in their opinion, it does not). Goodwill repairs given by dealers are just that - good will. Throw in the fact that many of our cars are equipped with aftermarket suspensions and engine modifications, whether these things contributed to the problem or not, it only serves to further lessen their obligation to cover the repair. I am sorry but in my opinion, convincing BMW to adopt a blanket 'policy' to cover all of these repairs is wishful thinking. The best bet is if you have a longstanding relationship, with a good dealership, to see if they will do it in good will, as they have with some.

  13. #38
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    I do not agree.

    Stock 1.9 cars have split. It definitely seems like a "defect trend" which is all that is needed to get the NHTSA interested.

    Safety issue? If it happens, I'm not thinking it's driveable. Would you drive the cars you've seen damaged? It's not a safety issue only because you can't use the car.

    The structural integrity of the body is just not a "wear item."

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by count_schemula
    I do not agree.

    Stock 1.9 cars have split. It definitely seems like a "defect trend" which is all that is needed to get the NHTSA interested.

    Safety issue? If it happens, I'm not thinking it's driveable. Would you drive the cars you've seen damaged? It's not a safety issue only because you can't use the car.

    The structural integrity of the body is just not a "wear item."
    Like I said, it doesnt matter if modifications actually contribute to the failure. If you DO have mods on your car, your claim loses credibility. It's just a fact.

    When I looked at the NHTSA form, I think it was pretty evident that they were looking for safety failures, and I think you noted that very same thing in one thread.

    It is hard to say whether or not this is actually a safety issue. Not being an engineer or mechanic, I couldn't say. What matters is that BMW does not feel it is a safety issue. And in most cases like these, it takes someone to prove them wrong, and get in an accident and be injured as a result of this failure, followed by a nice lawsuit, for there to be any kind of action by BMW. And so far, I don't know of anything of the sort happening. Sorry.

    And calling this problem a matter of the car's "stuctural integrity" is bit of a stretch, IMO.

  15. #40
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    JBgotM,

    Looks like you have to take one for the team. Go crash that thing!

    I just don't see how the NHTSA is gonna look at that structural damage and not think there is a safety issue of some sort. Also, remember, we on the boards are a very small percentage of the owners of the Z3 model. A lot of owners have no clue this is even possible. That's part of the other angle.
    Last edited by count_schemula; 09-13-2005 at 08:06 PM.

  16. #41
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    Thumbs up

    Had mine looked at last week and sure enough, it has at least one popped spot weld. The dealer's body shop manager tells me he spoke to a BMW engineer and they are probably going to fix it (back to stock) but wanted more information about Dinan's and Randy's fix before they would decide to do it too. I am supposed to take it back this Friday to take the heat sheilds and everything out so they can evaluate all of the welds, take pictures for the rep, etc.

    I'll let everyone know the outcome.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim98Mrdstr
    Had mine looked at last week and sure enough, it has at least one popped spot weld. The dealer's body shop manager tells me he spoke to a BMW engineer and they are probably going to fix it (back to stock) but wanted more information about Dinan's and Randy's fix before they would decide to do it too. I am supposed to take it back this Friday to take the heat sheilds and everything out so they can evaluate all of the welds, take pictures for the rep, etc.

    I'll let everyone know the outcome.
    Can you do my a really big favor? Find out the name of the regional BMW rep. The one here is Mike Hardy, and I would like to get the name of yours so that I can approach them and put the names together to make a further argument. Also you VIN wouldn't hurt.

    Also, if anyone remembers Freeplay's car had the differential literally FALL from its mount, that indeed is a structural safety issue.
    -Jason

    Weekend Car

    '99 Boston Green M Roadster - intake, M50 manifold, schrick cams, magnaflow exhaust, TCK D/A Coilovers 500/600, RD front bar, ltw flywheel & clutch, harddog rollbar, schroth harnesses, zionsville radiator, S54 oil cooler, stewart pump, etc ..... ~245rwhp

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBgotM
    Can you do my a really big favor? Find out the name of the regional BMW rep. The one here is Mike Hardy, and I would like to get the name of yours so that I can approach them and put the names together to make a further argument. Also you VIN wouldn't hurt.

    Also, if anyone remembers Freeplay's car had the differential literally FALL from its mount, that indeed is a structural safety issue.
    OK, I should be able to. You know how secrative these guys seem to be... I'm not getting too excited yet, have to see what they come up with.

  19. #44
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    I posted this on a separate thread, but will mention it here as well:

    I looked thru the Office of Defects records recently and there aren't any reported cases for the 2002 or 2001 models. None for the 1996-1998 models either. Several for 2000 and 1999.

    While certainly there is the distinct possibility that the records on their site aren't complete, I'm concerned that those that are having issues aren't reporting them to the NHTSA.

    My point is that I went looking for a government paper trail and couldn't find it. Case by case, we as consumers will never win. If you have or had a broken car you have a responsibility to other MZ3 owners to report it, whether or not BMW fixed it. The government can only force a recall if they know there's a problem.

    Seth

  20. #45
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    I only started publicizing the NHTSA site recently, before that, I'm not sure people really specifically knew how to or if it would benefit us. It definitely helps for anyone with the problem to please take the 5 minutes to submit it to the NHTSA.

    I'm no engineer, but the pictures of the damage look like a "safety defect trend." Sure if someone died or burst into flames, that would help us out a lot, but, I don't think that's the bare minimum for action.

    [edit] I just searched 1999 and found 2.

    Problem is, there are three structure categories.

    STRUCTURE
    STRUCTURE: BODY
    STRUCTURE: FRAME AND MEMBERS

    I'm guessing that FRAME AND MEMBERS is the best choice for future filers?

    [edit2] For 2000 there was only STRUCTURE. And to further complicate things, there are Z3, Z3 Roadster, M Roadster and M Coupe cars. So, I need to figure out how to aggregate these reports.

    Does anyone know what the difference is between a case number, and a ODI number? I entered a case number into the ODI seach box and it found it.

    I guess I can collect all known case/ODI numbers as well. People in JbgotM's position should present my website along with printouts of the NHTSA cases. I bet the NHTSA cases will get some attention.
    Last edited by count_schemula; 09-13-2005 at 08:08 PM.

  21. #46
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    so it sounds like we need 1 or 2 people to take one for the good of the many and wreck their car due to the subframe failure. any takers?

    ECIS Intake:M50 Manifold:Supersprint:Bilstein/H&R Sport:RE RSM:WSM:MZ3 Front Bumper:3.73 LSD
    Waiting List: IE Bushings

  22. #47
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    Most important is document, document, document. Every name, every rep, every reported incident needs to be compiled. Someday someone who can make an appreciable difference will ask for proof. Then the burden is on us.

    Seth

  23. #48
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    my NHTSA complaint number is lit in post 11 of this thread. I called them today to talk to somone but evidently the person I talked to knoy know how to tell people they should file a complaint and thats all she knew.

    I posted my email with names and the BMW reponse here for documentation.
    -Jason

    Weekend Car

    '99 Boston Green M Roadster - intake, M50 manifold, schrick cams, magnaflow exhaust, TCK D/A Coilovers 500/600, RD front bar, ltw flywheel & clutch, harddog rollbar, schroth harnesses, zionsville radiator, S54 oil cooler, stewart pump, etc ..... ~245rwhp

  24. #49
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    WOOHOO!!!!!

    I got this email from Scott Klein today.....

    Hello Jason,
    I have gotten another answer from BMW on the Z3 subframe cracking, BMW has agreed to repair the vehicle back to original appearance. Please call me to make arrangments to get an estimate and get the repairs done.

    Scott Klein


    Evidently, they are hearing our voices with the many cars going in and showing damage. KEET IT UP GUYS!
    -Jason

    Weekend Car

    '99 Boston Green M Roadster - intake, M50 manifold, schrick cams, magnaflow exhaust, TCK D/A Coilovers 500/600, RD front bar, ltw flywheel & clutch, harddog rollbar, schroth harnesses, zionsville radiator, S54 oil cooler, stewart pump, etc ..... ~245rwhp

  25. #50
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    Awesome news.

    Power to the people.

    So, it really seems like BMWNA HQ knows about this?

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