Re: PLEASE READ: Soft Top Recall? Class-action suit?????
Well, AoA decided that I did not own the car for long enough to warrant any assistance. Apparently major safety defects are only a concern to them if you pay an Audi dealer to change your oil. The dealership offered to sell me the part at cost, which would bring my cost down to a mere $5790. Thanks, but NO THANKS. I guess Audi thinks it is cheaper to lose a customer than to keep a customer.
The independent dealer I got the car from is willing to pay 100% of the cost of having a convertible top shop repair the adhesive issue, so I will be taking the car in on Tuesday to get the work done. If nothing else, it will buy me some time for free.
If/when the repair fails, I am designing a repair part to remedy this issue for this car and for the TT as well. (I run a custom vintage car business.) I am shopping around right now for a supplier of color-matched hard gasket material that would form a sort of "S" shape when viewed in cross-section. The intent would be to have a slim lip of the gasket fit around the top fabric, a seal surface to adhere to the window, and a series of stainless steel clips to attach the inner headliner and inner window surface to the gasket with tension. This is how many auto tops work; BMW 3-series convertibles use a similar arrangement. I will post here if I can develop something that works!
Maybe so, but AoA is doing everything they can to fight me. Honestly, if the top shop does a good job, I think I would rather have that work done than get another top that will crap out in a few years. The fabric is still mint, but if they still use the same glue, it is bound to fail. Audi has not changed the part number for the top, so the odds that they have changed the part are basically zero (according to the service manager at the dealer.)
I also found replacement OEM-quality tops with glass defroster rear windows from the manufacturer that supplies them to my insurance company for sale at $1000 per top, and the shop quoted ten hours labor. So, if anyone out there wants to get a new OEM top installed for less than 2K, let me know and I will pass along the info on the top - finding a shop is up to you, but it is a standard job any reputable convertible top/upholstery shop can handle. How Audi gets away with charging $6433 is beyond me.
So far, I have developed a preliminary approach to try with the window seal mod/repair. First, from what I have seen, the fabric does appear to shrink, but not enough to make the opening larger than the window - a very helpful fact. So, I have two repairs in mind, which may work better together than apart.
Either one of these approaches may work by itself, but I am inclined to use both to ensure total seal coverage and proper appearance. First, separating the fabric from the glass about 1/4" in from the junction of the glass and fabric will be necessary. Then, I plan to insert a strip of sunroof sealant tape into the gap. This product is what I will use: http://www.gordonglassusa.com/product/1003/CRL-Installation-Kits-and-Related-Items/2760/RM140/CRL-Sunroof-Butyl-Sealant-Tape.html
The optional fit-and-finish step, which will also likely anchor the first repair properly, will be to install a trim piece I will need to custom-make. A sunroof interior seal of hard vinyl will be the raw material; the one used on the Volvo 2 series cars is the right material, but is too small by six inches; I think the one from a Porsche 924/944 will work, but I am unsure right now what it is made of and will need to make sure it is the proper material.
The Volvo piece had about 5mm worth of material visible from the inside of the roof, hence the outside of the window on the Cab. It would be very subtle, and is textured vinyl so it would look somewhat factory. The material is black, so a black top would match nicely - for others, the trim would need to be painted (like for my dark blue top.) The hard vinyl will fasten to the fabric with weatherstrip adhesive easily, and will also attach permanently to the window glass with marine epoxy. If done right, what would be visible after these two repair steps would be a 5mm band of hard vinyl surrounding the rear window, like that on the previous generation of BMW 3-series convertibles with soft tops.
I will update this thread once I find a proper hard vinyl trim strip like the Volvo part in the correct size. For now, my car is at the top shop getting repaired at the dealer's expense. Hopefully it will come out well enough to buy me some time...
Also, thanks again very much to Xaviexavie for your help and information!
The dealership I got the car from (not an Audi dealer, just a local high-end Euro car place) is paying the cost of having one of the Robbins aftermarket tops installed by a local convertible top shop. So, a week from tomorrow the top will be brand new. Great news for my wallet, but that also means that I won't have a guinea pig for my engineered solution to the top problem. Given the choice, I think I made the right one, but it would have been nice to solve the problem on my own.
On another note, despite my repeated calls to supervisors and other higher-ups at AoA, I never got an offer above 10% off the original quote, which was $6433. Hardly incentive to get the work done! I think this is indicative of a standing policy against dealing with these tops, and I would encourage anyone looking to buy one of these cars used or CPO to check the top extremely thoroughly before purchasing, and ask the dealer to provide you with a WRITTEN claim that they will honor the bumper-to-bumper warranty on the top. Failing that, you are faced with a $2500+ repair that you are likely to be left with no choice but to pay for yourself.
It always irritates me when I read these issues with the windows falling out. I purchased my '03 in January '07 and the window started separating late spring. After looking into it online, almost everyone goes throught this problem. I believe it is wwaaayyy too short a period for the supposed quality of the car! Very irritating!!
Nice work TwoSeven!