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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,

So I'm about 8 months from retirement after 20 years in the Army, and considering what I can do as a side job to pull in extra income. I had my plastic parts on my convertible latch break, and did the "fix" in the sticky above.

I'm happy my top works, but I'm not happy with BMWs quality of parts, or the longevity of the fix. I am thinking of manufacturing parts to replace the crappy parts BMW is putting in their cars, but I'm not sure how much of a market with the current users I would have if I committed to invest time, capital and effort. I already own a manual lathe and milling machine and will be taking welding courses at the local tech college to learn TIG, MIG, and mixed gas welding.

I'm posting this feeler thread to feel for potential sales. Please respond with interest and how much you think this part should cost. (remember, I still have 6 mouths to feed, so I can't do it super cheap. Military pay is 1/2 base pay with no entitlements at retirement). If there is enough positive feedback and potential money to be made, I'm going to dive in and start when I have the time. I am under no illusion that I will not be able to stop working until I die, so these parts will be made when I get home from the day job.

This is intended to be an updated thread that I will periodically post developments to as time progresses, so please subscribe if you are interested. Whether or not I decide to sell to the public, I plan on making at least 2 for my own car and will show the results and pics as they develop.

Andy

Also, if you think of something else that could be made better, please post your ideas here. There is a good niche market for things that the OEM doesn't care about fixing. I know that there is an aftermarket company making solid aluminum expansion tanks to replace the plastic one. (About 350.00 Ouch!)
 

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First, thank you for your service. Brass seems like it would be clearly stronger than plastic, BUT that's an expensive metal, and I wonder if the extra weight would produce a problem down the road. Do a Google search on carbon Fiber blocks. I think you can use the same tools to create the pieces out of CF, make it lighter and less expensive than brass. I would market them on the bmw boards and you might get more exposure from Indy shops that just order the same ones. Price is tough. I'd say $100 a pair in CF would be a good deal and lower your costs from buying brass.

Hope that helps
ed in NJ
 

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I have two 'verts, and have paid to repair the broken plastic on both.

If I could have found something in brass when I was in 'fixit' mode, I would have purchased it.

The shop I had reinforce and repair the stock parts charged $175 on each car (I feel it was money well spent for the piece of mind). The repair was solid: They designed a 'clip' that slid over the already-broken (but not-yet non-functional) plastic block. They drilled the rod, added bolts through the rod and 'clip', then epoxied the broken plastic block between the clip, over the bolts, and around the broken plastic block.

The 'clip' and bolts bear the load, and the epoxy keeps it all snug. It's a solid repair, but something in brass would be preferred.

I think the only question would be the weight: brass is heavy...

If I ever have it to do again, and there is a brass alternative for ~$150, I'd buy it...

Dan B
 

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The ideal material for the latch thread blocks would be nylatron, it is inexpensive, easily machined, self lubricating and extremely strong.


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