"In this special series about the CSL carbon roof of The Phoenix, I document my unboxing impressions, required hardware, professional fitment and final aesthetics.
In this journal entry, I unbox the Karbonius roof and document the + & - ."
First things first, Karbonius knows how to package.
The carbon roof is a PITA to ship: it is a dimensionally enormous yet light product with surfaces sensitive to scratches.
To make matter worse, Karbonius uses DHL. They're good as a courrier / parcel service, but they're still just a parcel service.
The courrier guys don't care: quantity over quality.
Karbonius packages the roof in the thick, corrugated cardbox box with an additional cardboard internal wall.
Thick, dense foam is added on edges of the roof and across the carbon outer shell to have a fixed state of package: it doesn't move during transport.
The clear-coated carbon is protected with thin, scratch-resistant paper to ensure the clear coat remains pristine.
Additionally, they label the package "FRAGIL" stickers all over.
1:1 CSL Design Replica.
The Karbonius CSL structural roof panel is a true 1:1 replica in its design and carbon manufacturing process.
I've documented at length BMW's use of pre-preg carbon fiber on the CSL and how all replica parts I've sourced for my build used this same process.
It's not for bragging rights, a roof is structural and the process matters.
Many replica roofs on the market use carbon vacuum infusion processes as it is cheaper and doesn't require an autoclave. This can lead to visual shrinkage of the weave from heat exposure.
This isn't a risk I'm willing to take on an expensive installation of product that's essentially a giant black solar panel.
The process uses a negative mold in which pre-impregnated carbon layers with a resin system. As a result, the prepreg carbon is ready to lay into the mold without the addition of any more resin.
Once the necessary thickness and aesthetics are achieved, the pressure and heat of an autoclave are used to laminate the pre-preg carbon.
It ultimately produces a part that is both extremely strong, flexible, light with perfect aesthetics to boot*.
"Handling the roof is a weird experience, it's 3.3kg! It's light as a feather for the size and is very a flexible piece."
The Karbonius roof uses the same 1x1 weave pattern as the OEM CSL roof. BMW M has kept the weave pattern for all of its carbon roof production ever since.
1x1 is tightly weaved, it makes it easier for Karbonius craft-mans to handle without creating distortions on larger surface applications.
Aesthetically, I find it looks better than 2x2 as well.
Compatible with peripheral hardware
As a 1:1 replica of the CSL roof, the Karbonius carbon panel is compatible with the peripheral hardware required to complete the install.
It incorporates the brackets required to install the CSL black roof trims and the extended sections on which the front & rear glass will be bonded.
The inner shell has spacing required to fit the required cross-brace and bond it to the panel.
As with anything aftermarket, proof will be at fitment.
The somewhat expected meh.
I've often discussed the requirement for professional paint & body installation on new body panels for these M cars for fitment and a perfect color match paint.
Sure, these are 1:1 replicas of OEM parts. They're still replicas of parts that were installed at the factory on brand new, perfectly assembled cars 20 years ago.
This CSL roof isn't any different - but for different reasons then you'd expect.
My roof's clear-coat popped...
My roof was delivered by Karbonius earlier this Summer and has sat in a temperature controlled garage away from sun light.
Upon a quick inspection at delivery, the roof's clear was in perfect condition except one visible dust spec under neon lighting.
...months into storage.
notice the little dots? This is popping.
It's all over the roof. No way to hide this.
What is this?
I've covered what clear-coat popping is with the 1:1 CSL diffuser unboxing here.
In short: 2-component automotive clear coats harden over time and continue evaporating solvents for over 30 days after application.
This is commonly called "outgassing".
Karbonius isn't any different to other aftermarket companies in this industry: their clear coats are sprayed by humans in not perfectly sealed environments with a necessity to get products out the door to keep the production flowing and customers happy.
The popping happens before drying time, conditions or chemicals were not perfectly selected and applied per the varying conditions of the environment.
Why did I expect it?
I was active in the automotive paint industry for 4 years. I've spent hundreds of hours in paint booths chatting with world leading painters as we prepared SEMA show cars.
"I know what to expect when it comes to aftermarket paint & body.
It's never perfect unless you're willing to spend sums of extreme diminishing returns."
How I'll fix this.
The Phoenix is going through a complete paint & body restoration. It was my intention to have the roof re-cleared fo further protection and a perfect finish before the final PPF protection.
I'm not happy about this to be clear, but I understand it's part of the process. How these issues are fixed is what matters.
I will communicate with Karbonius to better understand what would be offered to you should you experience this. Karbonius backs their roof with a 2 year warranty.
Up next: later on this Winter, we fit the roof, document the process as part of the complete exterior CSL'ification.