30 March 2016

3M Window Weld = No good

The sun even shines on a dog's ass some days.  I don't know what that means but I heard it years ago and I like it.

So the tint shop reefed on my passenger side door panel like a bunch of gorillas and I had to remove and replace it.  As luck would have it, this gave me an opportunity to inspect my previous work.  When I serviced the window regulators I used 3M Window Weld to replace the factory butyl tape.  It felt and seemed to be about equivalent to the factory butyl beads and it got good reviews from other BMW owners on Amazon.  Not so, in my experience.  The vapor barrier was un-stuck from the 3M Window Weld, basically rendering the panel useless.  Maybe it is the SC heat or humidity or maybe there is an install trick I didn't know (hard to believe, it is a pretty simple product) or maybe it's just the wrong choice.

I added 3M Weatherstrip adhesive I had in stock instead.  This product is actually a contact cement, so you have to put adhesive on both surfaces to be bonded.  Then wait until it's tacky, then press the surfaces together.  I did not remove the Window Weld from the metal part of the doors as it was really well bonded to the sheet metal, I just glued on top of it and also around it.  Seems like the Window Weld just doesn't like to stick to the foam of the vapor barriers.  The results are very stout.  I have been driving around the last few days without door panels (I re-did the driver's side too) and the vapor barriers still pass my pull tests.  Complete removal may not go so well for the vapor barriers (they may need replacement at that time) but the seal is fantastic.  So, lesson learned.  Don't use Window Weld.  Do use Weatherstrip Adhesive.  Maybe the broken door panel was a blessing in disguise, as I would have eventually had water intrusion and or damage from un-stuck vapor barriers.

27 March 2016

Rear Hatch Trim

Slowly putting the interior back in.  First up is the rear hatch.  I had to replace the upper trim near the hatch hinges, the piece had been cracked a few times when I got the car and it couldn't mate to the female fasteners in the car anymore.  While I was at it, I took a good look at the lower hatch trim at the same time.  On this car, it looks like someone over-loaded the cargo area then slammed the hatch on it.  This caused the bosses of several of the inner screws to fail (see pics).  In fact, 2 of the bosses were sheared off altogether.  Someone really wanted the hatch closed, I think.

This rear hatch panel squeaked a lot.  M coupe interiors will squeak if they aren't reassembled perfectly (and I mean perfectly) or if a clip or two is missing or damaged.  You have to be slow and deliberate and careful.  To help this hatch trim, I sealed in the hatch lock trim panel with clear latex caulk (see pic).  There was plastic-on-plastic squeaking there.  I restored all the broken bosses I could and also used a dab of caulk inside them too, before screwing the parts back together.  Lastly, I used felt (in pics some is black and some is yellow) wherever there was plastic-on-plastic and I could get away with some additional thickness.  Super quiet now.

While I was at it, I added a piece of nappa leather over the factory carpeted piece.  LeatherZ sells these pieces, and I have one on my S54.  Nothing says quiet cockiness like a leather-lined hatch, I think!

Failed plastic boss, typical, I found 4-5 more like this one.  Either someone over-torqued the screws (unlikely) or someone had the hatch really, really full of cargo and they slammed it closed.

Added felt pieces

You can see the caulk here, not quite fully cured (white) waiting to become clear.

Leather panel for the rear hatch trim.


After I sorted out the issues with the tint, I did finally get to wash the car and take some updated pics.  I am really pleased with the progress and I love the look of the silver with dark tinted windows.

This pic makes the edge of the tint near the dots appear to be obvious.  In real life, it is not and the quality of the work is very, very good.  They just owe me a new door panel.


The black ceramic coating on the inside of the rear hatch glass had started peeling away.  I wanted to fix it and the only way is to replace the rear window glass.  The part was not phenomenally expensive from BMW, which was nice.  The sunroof glass is another story.  Also, this car had old, mirrored silver window tint on it that had been scratched in several places.  Living in the south, I wanted maximum heat rejection capability.  I also wanted to add more tint to the glass roof panel for better heat rejection.

I tried unsuccessfully to install Lamin-X headlight film, so I asked a pro to do it right.  And, I wanted to add Xpel film on the rear fender flares.

I did all of this work in one stop at Impact Auto Glass and Audio Evolution, both in North Charleston.  They are actually located right beside one another.  I have used both shops in the past and like their work.  Impact was unable to remove the old hatch glass without breaking it.  Not that I really wanted the old glass, but for reference, it's really well attached!

I had used Audio Evolution for tint in the past and was completely happy with their work.  Not this time.  After they applied the tint the first time, there were numerous bubbles and flaws.  OK, no problem.  They reworked them.  I let them keep the car as long as they wanted so there would be no time pressure.  Sure enough, they re-did 4 windows and all was well.  Except after a day or two after I got the car home, I noticed someone had yanked on the passenger side door panel and broken the upper triangle plastic piece away.  And in the process, they yanked the securing screw right through the wood pulp of the door panel, totally destroying it.  I was and am pretty pissed.  I don't have pics as I found it... my wife was pretty pissed too and she removed the plastic triangle piece beforeI could photograph it in place.  I could go back and forth with these guys and they would tell me "it was like that when it came in" or I can write about it, find a new tint shop, and move on.  So that's what I will do.  Luckily, I had a spare door panel in stock from a 2000 M roadster.  So that will go into this car.  What a pain just to get tint right.

I also refitted the rear hatch spoiler (finally) after repainting it.  I was able to find new weather stripping that is slightly larger than what BMW uses.  I did use the correct sealant that TIS specifies.  The U-shaped shims (I assume they are there to work as shims?) on the outer holes of the hatch spoiler were a surprise to me... they aren't listed or shown in the parts catalog.  I removed them and the adhesive tape they were stuck on with, and I replaced the tape with 3M VHB tape.  See pics.  However, if I were to do this job again, I think I would have used larger pieces of tape and completely surrounded the holes in the hatch steel.  This would completely prevent water from getting in.  I didn't do it that way, I made U-shaped pieces of VHB.  So, after the install was complete, I went in to the inside of the hatch where the self-locking nuts are and added some silicone caulk to keep any water from getting in (if that's even possible).

Formatting on Blogspot really sucks sometimes....

Rear window glass, 51318399014, $301.00r
Labor to replace rear window glass, $220.25, Impact Auto Glass, Charleston
Remove and replace window tint with Llumar GTX 15%, add Llumar GTX 40% to glass roof/sunroof panel, install Lamin-X headlight film (thick) and Xpel rear fender protection, $623.15
Rear Wiper Arm cover, 61628357518, already accounted for in previous post
Rear wiper blade, Trico 15-110, already accounted for in previous post

Hatch spoiler nut cover, need 3, 51711964810, $0.48r each 

Total cost of this mod = $1145.84

Total investment in vehicle to date = $10,770.49

Sheared out through-hole.  Thanks, jackasses.

I can probably salvage the door panel and keep it for stock.  Luckily I had a near-perfect one in stock.

This is the edge of the rear hatch glass, showing the delamination.

New glass from BMW

This is the seal I used under the rear hatch spoiler, you need to cut 3 pieces of it.

Rear hatch spoiler, repainted and ready to install

TIS specifies Sikaflex to glue the hatch spoiler in place in addition to the 3 bolts.

This curious washer/spacer doesn't show up in TIS.  I secured it with 3M VHB tape, similar to what the factory did.  If I were to do this mod again, I would have used VHB in a circular shape to fully seal the hole from any chance of moisture getting in.

Here is the location for the bead of Sikaflex.  I suspect Betalink would work too.

New hatch glass, albeit out of focus.

Great reflection of our Palmetto trees, but again out of focus.  Trust me, it looks just like a brand new car now.  No fading and jet black right to the edge!

08 March 2016

Steering Wheels from Tainik

I bought a newly remanufactured steering wheel for this car from ebay user Tainik.  His real name is Dimitri Maar.  I plan to install the wheel I bought after I put the headliner back in.

When I got the wheel from Dimitri, I was thrilled with the quality.  The black leather he uses in a full grain leather, like Nappa leather.  Not the corrected grain like on the stock wheel.  And, he adds a little padding to the wheel making it much nicer to hold (thicker) and look at.

After getting the first wheel, I ordered 2 more from him.  One for my S54 coupe and one for AndyM's (my brother) Z3 coupe.  For my wheel, I sent Dimitri OEM BMW walnut leather.  I have a few hides of walnut that I picked up before they went NLA.  For Andy's wheel, I sent him black Spinneybeck Marissa suede (currently used in Andy's car) and specified that Dimitri use Dakar Yellow thread.  Andy also wanted the ///M badge on the steering wheel deleted.  The results are fantastic.

When you need a new wheel for your car, I highly encourage all of you to buy one from Dimitri.  His work is better than factory.

This wheel will get installed in the Coupenut S52, after the new headliner is installed.