318ti.org forum

Go Back   318ti.org forum > Technical, Maintenance and Modifications > Exterior

Notices

Exterior From spoilers, lights to body kits and window problems.

.
» Recent Threads
Finally introducing...
Yesterday 05:50 PM
Last post by hernandez706
Today 04:59 AM
2 Replies, 178 Views
Long time member/lurker.....
Today 04:14 AM
Last post by b0m
Today 04:44 AM
1 Replies, 93 Views
6 1/2" speakers in stock...
04-27-2008 12:21 AM
Last post by iski123
Today 04:32 AM
28 Replies, 22,037 Views
FRONT SPEAKERS 4" to...
11-28-2005 05:03 PM
Last post by iski123
Today 04:21 AM
11 Replies, 4,963 Views
Subwoofer wiring heat...
Today 04:02 AM
Last post by iski123
Today 04:02 AM
0 Replies, 77 Views
WTB: S50/S52 swapped or...
08-29-2021 04:22 PM
Last post by hernandez706
Yesterday 05:51 PM
7 Replies, 1,879 Views
1998 Cali Top
Yesterday 05:39 PM
Last post by hernandez706
Yesterday 05:39 PM
0 Replies, 108 Views
I miss C'ing Ti Pics
07-31-2021 08:08 AM
Last post by hernandez706
Yesterday 05:37 PM
9 Replies, 3,690 Views
Black 1998 Ti
09-19-2021 07:37 PM
Last post by J!m
Yesterday 11:05 AM
1 Replies, 367 Views
recommendations for...
07-13-2021 04:48 AM
Last post by J!m
Yesterday 11:02 AM
10 Replies, 3,426 Views
Reply Share/Bookmark
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-09-2016, 12:46 AM   #1
hotmilk400
Senior Member
 
hotmilk400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 1,106
iTrader: (13)
Default California Top motor gear replacement SOLUTION!

Hey Guys and Gals,
I have great news for Cali-Top owners. I am working on a Nylon replacement gear for your California top! We made attempts with our 3D printing and cast plastic but they failed. Nothing will be as strong as the original unless we make the replace the same way the original was made.

I need to do some market research, so I need your honest feedback! This is a personal investment so I need the honest truth from everyone. As of now, the gear will be made exactly like the original gear. It will be made in Nylon or a stronger plastic by using an injection mold. Some questions I have for everyone are:

1. Do you think there is a high enough demand for the gear? I know this is a common failure part for you guys, but I need to sell at least 250+ sets of gears in a 1 year period as a part of the contract (the minimum run is 500 parts). Is 250 sets unrealistic? I can wholesale to stores and people worldwide.

2. Are there variations to this motor/internal gears? I don’t want to get a set of gears that only fits 1 of 2 motor assemblies or something.

3. This is for the internal gears, but does the external metal gear that connects the motor assembly to the sunroof often go bad? Does the motor often go bad?

4. Does anyone know if the rubber part between the two gears has failed on them or can it be reused. I can produce that part, but it will add significant cost to the gear price. If no one has negative feedback, we can likley reuse it.

5. If the price was $50 shipped (In the USA) for 2 gears + new grease, would you buy them? I am working on lowering the price but I need to either sell a bunch of gears as a pre-sale or figure something else out. I know $50 sucks but the mold/labor/start up cost and shipping is extremely high.

Back story:
The idea originally came about while we were prototyping our comapnies current product. I was selling the prototyping service on here (I am sure some of you saw this). The gears failed after the first use, but I had made copies of the gears just in case we revisited this topic. Fast forward a year, and our company is ready to do injection molding for our product. (A LED grow light - www.stsln.com ). While talking to the injection mold company, we brought up the idea for the nylon gear. After a few negotiations, I got them to lower the minimum order amount.

Next Moves:
The parts and molds are all being made locally (in the United States) and I am eating the cost if it fails. There is not a lot of profit in this for me unless I sell all of the gears from the first run. I need to sell over half of those gears to just pay off the start up cost, after that it is profit for me. I won’t hide anything since it’s not like I am paying 0.02 per gear. Each run requires me to have a minimum order of 500 gears (250 Sets) and i doubt there will be a second run, so the price I set is what helps me pay off the cost plus pay for my time. If a demand exist for over 250 sets of gears for the first run, the price will drop signifincaly! I can spread my cost over more sets of gears that way. I can do additional runs of 500 gears/250 sets in the future but the start up cost is high. If the first run went well, I'd likely wait 5+ years for the second run, if ever.


I am going to research this more, but if I get good feedback and maybe a few pre-sales, I will get the ball moving on this. I could take pre-orders just by people sending me money, but I think people may trust me more if I put together a crowd sourcing page (like kickstarter) It cost me about 10% but that’s fine with me if people are more conformable with it. Your money is also safe, as it only charges you if the final goal is reached and the project moves foward. No collecting money and refunding it later.

What are your thoughts!?!
Thanks guys!
__________________
Check out our new website! https://soltechsolutionsllc.com/

Green Your Decor with the Aspect! Shop for the Grow Light Used by Interior Designers, Growers & People Like You!

Last edited by hotmilk400; 08-09-2016 at 04:56 PM.
hotmilk400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2016, 04:35 PM   #2
Andy_Nort
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Dallas
Posts: 7
iTrader: (0)
Default

$50 sounds perfect to me! If you could do two sets for a lower price, I would buy two.
Andy_Nort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2016, 04:42 PM   #3
hotmilk400
Senior Member
 
hotmilk400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 1,106
iTrader: (13)
Default

Thanks for the feedback, Yes, I can offer 2 or more at a lower price. This will be a limited run of 500 gears (250 sets) so people should stock up while they can. I can do more runs in the future or produce more gears during each run, but the cost to start a new run is expensive and has a minumum order of 500 gears each time. That is one reason I want to get feedback now. If i feel that I need to produce 600 or 1000 gears this first run, I need to know that now rather than later.

Thanks guys
__________________
Check out our new website! https://soltechsolutionsllc.com/

Green Your Decor with the Aspect! Shop for the Grow Light Used by Interior Designers, Growers & People Like You!
hotmilk400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2016, 08:32 PM   #4
Trusted-1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: San Diego
Posts: 174
iTrader: (1)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotmilk400 View Post
Thanks for the feedback, Yes, I can offer 2 or more at a lower price. This will be a limited run of 500 gears (250 sets) so people should stock up while they can. I can do more runs in the future or produce more gears during each run, but the cost to start a new run is expensive and has a minumum order of 500 gears each time. That is one reason I want to get feedback now. If i feel that I need to produce 600 or 1000 gears this first run, I need to know that now rather than later.

Thanks guys
I am surprised more replies have not come in yet however I have an active google search that Emails me whenever "cali top" is found on the web.

We have two cali top cars so I would be in for two sets as stand by.

Don't think there were too many US cars imported but international may add a chunk to the numbers.

Is there a way to leverage Odometer Gears to help with the volume or do they then just become competitors?

I know they charge a premium for gears to fix E36 seat recliners (I need a second set now) but they have the corner on the market and don't even discount to shops.
__________________

98 318ti MSport M52, 88 M3, 97 M3/4
Trusted-1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 03:49 AM   #5
hotmilk400
Senior Member
 
hotmilk400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 1,106
iTrader: (13)
Default

Hey, thanks for the feedback! Yeah, the international market is unknown as of now. It looks like only 2K-3K cali top cars were imported to the US. That is surely the reason why this part does not exist.

Odometer Gears/other gears won't help lower the cost of the cali roof gear. I still need to order 500 and the mold / start up cost is very high. If no one is making the gear, I would be glad to make it if the demand is high, but I would need to do more research on them. Thanks for the suggestion tho man!
__________________
Check out our new website! https://soltechsolutionsllc.com/

Green Your Decor with the Aspect! Shop for the Grow Light Used by Interior Designers, Growers & People Like You!
hotmilk400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 03:54 AM   #6
Will95m3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 6
iTrader: (0)
Default

I would be in for a set, would rather have them now and be ready if mine ever do strip out.
Will95m3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 05:16 AM   #7
Trusted-1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: San Diego
Posts: 174
iTrader: (1)
Default

hotmilk400,

I know you are on the injection molding plan but with the state of CNC mills these days, I wonder if shorter runs of parts milled from solid stock would be cost effective? Or if it would even be feasible.

I don't have any background in either of these technologies but it was just a thought.

Not to intentionally raise the sale price either but the Odometer Gears, E36 seat back repair gears are $40 each. If the gears have more value and fetch a higher price, where does the math work out? I have not recently checked but I am guessing the replacement California top motor is North of $750 if it can still be ordered.

Perhaps there is a sweet spot that is still reasonable and makes the math work. If the math does not work out, no one will have any gears... If it comes down to paying a bit more per pair to make the project viable, it might be the best option.

I don't know about Cali top owners but I have to think about it every time I go to move the top whether it will be the "last time". It would be nice to just use it and not have that worry.

I even told my daughter, "every day you don't use it is one more day it still works".
__________________

98 318ti MSport M52, 88 M3, 97 M3/4
Trusted-1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 01:50 PM   #8
Ulysses
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: San Diego
Posts: 12
iTrader: (0)
Default

How about plastic vent inserts for the fog light holes instead of the solid blanks? You could use the blank as a template and cut in the venting with the software.
Ulysses is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2016, 03:25 PM   #9
hotmilk400
Senior Member
 
hotmilk400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 1,106
iTrader: (13)
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trusted-1 View Post

"Not to intentionally raise the sale price either but the Odometer Gears, E36 seat back repair gears are $40 each. If the gears have more value and fetch a higher price, where does the math work out? I have not recently checked but I am guessing the replacement California top motor is North of $750 if it can still be ordered.".
*Warning – Boring stuff ahead*

Hey, Wow, so I actually did not realize the price was so high for those gears! Those guys are making a killing.

So here is the deal, $50 would be the price that I would feel comfortable paying if I needed a set of replacement gears. You have a great point, if the only alternative was $750, then a set of gears should have a value at least double or triple what I am asking, but I want to make these affordable for everyone so they buy two or three sets right away. My goal is to move the 250 sets right away. It is a long story, but the shortest version is that someone else (our companies metal heat sink company) is actually investing in this mold. I got them the contract to produce it for the injection mold company, in exchange they are holding the loan and paying all of my start-up cost for the gear. They are basically selling me the gears at a much higher cost to pay off the loan. Once the loan is paid off, I can get the gears at cost and I own the mold forever. (which I want to use a an art piece until it is needed again. haha) So, this being said, it puts me in an odd spot since I have to sell the first 250 gears in a short amount of time or I broke a contract with them and I owe them the balance of the investment.

That is why I am going to start getting pre-orders. I will likely keep the price at $50 per set until it leaves the pre-order stage. Once it leaves the pre-order stage, the price will be set by the first distributor that wants to sell these. It might be $100+ but they have no rush to sell them and have huge networks and can reach way more people. I can’t undersell them, so once the price is set, I won’t be selling them at a lower cost unless you can do a bulk order from me. I don’t want to set up a store, ect, selling these, I rather ship 25 - 100 to a single reseller.

CNC,
I actually looked into it. I went to our metal guy and asked about CNC production. They suggested the mold instead. It is more feasible.

--

As for the Plastic Vent inserts for the fog lights, Yeah, anything can be made. It would be the same deal, I would need to sell at least 500 of them within a short amount of time.

Lets try to keep the forum on topic tho. you guys can PM me ideas tho, I am always down.
__________________
Check out our new website! https://soltechsolutionsllc.com/

Green Your Decor with the Aspect! Shop for the Grow Light Used by Interior Designers, Growers & People Like You!

Last edited by hotmilk400; 08-10-2016 at 03:32 PM.
hotmilk400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2016, 05:26 PM   #10
BlackBMWs
Senior Member
 
BlackBMWs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,451
Vehicles
iTrader: (7)
Default

Good morning Guys!

A few things:

Mike, I will ship a complete working motor for you to work with this weekend.

The last NOS motor I picked up like 2 years ago, was $415 and was sourced from Germany.

I suspect $50-75 for the gears would be a good price. In metal and solid, if I needed a set, I'd pay $75-100 knowing a functioning top would be well worth it.

None of the motors I have have a bad rubber fitting, however with solid gears, would the rubber be a next failure point?

once the gears are repaired, for what it is worth, I do recommend cleaning and dry lubing the top slide mechanism to lessen the stress on the overall top operation and of course the motor, cables and gears.

Thank you for pursuing this once again! I know I would be sooooo bummed if my top was not working.

I'd query in BFC and Fest as well to check for interest. If you need a hand with that, I can help asking around.

Cheers!

Rich
__________________


1998 318ti Sport - "Cali" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, Cali top
1998 318ti Sport - "Max" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, S52
1997 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior
1995 318ti Active - "Blanca" Alpineweib III/Schwartz leather interior

Other Current Bimmers: 2006 530i / 2000 2.3L Z3 / 1997 1.9L Z3 / 1999 540it

1997 318ti Sport - "Huera" - RIP
1995 318ti Active - RIP
1995 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Sold
1994 325i Sedan - "Jade" - Sold
1991 318ic - "Bert" - Sold
1985 635csi sold
1984 533i "Max" Sold
1984 318i sold

BMWCCA #160411

SUPPORT 318ti.org! CLICK THE LINK ABOVE!
Hosting a forum like this is not free. 318ti.org is one of the best BMW forums on the web because it is member supported, not vendor supported. The cost to become a Supporter is a nominal $10.00... A YEAR! DO IT! NOW!
BlackBMWs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2016, 09:06 PM   #11
FunElan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Dodging potholes in SoCal
Posts: 439
iTrader: (1)
Default

I would be interested in this as well. Still wondering why nobody has 3D printed one yet...

Here's a cali top car in Dallas I found on Copart, randomly: http://www.copart.com/us/Lot/28540566?searchId=67046883
__________________
'96 318ti California Edition- Montreal blue
'68 1600-2-Caribe blue
FunElan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2016, 09:00 PM   #12
4dimnzn
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Easton, MD
Posts: 4
iTrader: (0)
Default

I would be interested in this. Actually, I'll do it - no reason to say maybe.
4dimnzn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2016, 03:48 PM   #13
hotmilk400
Senior Member
 
hotmilk400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 1,106
iTrader: (13)
Default

FunElan, We actually did 3D print the gear at first but it failed. 3D printing is not very strong, even with Nylon filament. Injection molding is the only way to go.

Thanks for the feedback guys.

I will work with the engineer and get a mold soon! I'll keep you all posted.
__________________
Check out our new website! https://soltechsolutionsllc.com/

Green Your Decor with the Aspect! Shop for the Grow Light Used by Interior Designers, Growers & People Like You!
hotmilk400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2016, 09:21 AM   #14
Uber E30
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 281
iTrader: (0)
Default

There is a place local to me that does 3d printing in essentially any material. Could easily get them made in various metals/plastics.
__________________

-Alex
Uber E30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-19-2016, 12:26 PM   #15
hotmilk400
Senior Member
 
hotmilk400's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bethlehem, PA
Posts: 1,106
iTrader: (13)
Default

3D printing isn't strong enough. We tried it. When they say they print in metal, they mean 90% plastic with microscopic flakes of metal in it. 3D printing is great for some things but it can't produce this gear. The teeth are too small and get eaten up by the metal worm gear in minutes. We tried variois materials and print techniques with no luck.

Injection mold is just the highest quality way way we can produce these gears.
__________________
Check out our new website! https://soltechsolutionsllc.com/

Green Your Decor with the Aspect! Shop for the Grow Light Used by Interior Designers, Growers & People Like You!
hotmilk400 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
California Top motor gear replacement pnosker Exterior 37 08-09-2016 02:34 PM
California Top Swap? Aaron_497 Exterior 3 12-23-2014 06:01 AM
California Top Motor replacement pnosker Exterior 1 12-30-2011 11:28 PM
SAP (Secondary Air Pump) Repairs cali-ti Knowledge Base 5 01-23-2010 10:10 PM
Replacement Parts for California Top? jnthn-utk Exterior 2 08-11-2006 02:27 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 07:27 PM.


.
Powered by site supporters
vBulletin Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ©1999 - 2021, 318ti.org
© vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.2
[page compression: 135.65 k/160.47 k (15.46%)]

318ti.org does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information or products discussed.