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BMW Z3 Maintenance & Repair

spirollispirolli Posts: 50
I just purchased a 2001 Z3 2.5i factory demo. 15k Miles, Sienna Red Metalic w/ Black Power Top and Black leather interior, Manual Trans, Premium Package, Harmon Kardon Premium Sound system with Single CD and Chrome accents. I paid $29k even.

Wow, is this a great car.! I got lucking with the factory demo. It seems the factory demo (unlike dealer demo's) have never been titled, therefore as far as BMW is concerned, they are treated like new. Full warranty, full road side assistance, free scheduled maintenance, ect. Plus, this car was simply in immaculate condition. Not a scuff, scratch or blemish in the paint, interior, tires or rims. The tires are Continental ContiSport Contacts. They seem very well suited for this car.

I have only a few gripes. 1. The plastic rear window is pretty lame. BMW should really incorporate a glass window. The BMW Executive who drove my car must have never put the top down. There is no creases or scratches on the platic window. (Compared to others I have seen) 2. The stereo system, despite the fact that I have the upgraded Harmon Kardon system, is OK at best. It's certainly under powered and I believe that is it's biggest problem. 3. I wish it had a 6 speed manual instead of a 5 speed manual. Once you hit 70MPH, that 6th gear would come in handy. At least that's the case with the 2.5i motor, not sure about the 3.0i 4. Gas Tank- the car gets pretty good gas mileage but the tank is so dam small, that I am getting only 200-240 Miles out of a full tank of gas. Therefore, I am stopping for gas more than I'd like.

Since the purchase 3 weeks ago, I have added some extra's to the car via HMS Motorsport (www.hmsmotorsport.com) ask for Kael and tell him Steve Pirolli sent you. They are great to work with. I purchased the BMW wind deflector which works great, a black leather arm rest which I can believe BMW doesn't just include when you buy the car, a rear truck lid organizer for additional storage, a KN Air Filter (supposidly increases horse power 3-10hp, the black magnetic stone guards (which look sort of cheesy) and the felt rear plastic window protector for when the top is down.

At some point I will probably purchase the Cool Air Intake and possibly the software upgrade. I am looking at the Shark and Dinan versions of the upgrade.

I plan on taking it back to dealer soon for some quirks that arose in the past 3 weeks. I noticed a very annoying rattle in the passenger seat, my cigarette lighter light seems to be possessed as it blinks on and off when it wants to and there is also a rattle in the passenger door that you car hear when you open and close the door.

Other then those items listed above, I am more then impressed with the power, handling and styling of the 2001 BMW Z3. And by the way, this car turns heads !

Steve Pirolli
Bucks County, PA
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Comments

  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    I think it makes good sense that you opened a general Z3 repair and maintenance topic. I don't think we had one before, even with the BMW-Z3 owners club.

    As a follow-up on the other topic ("Z3/Inspection II"), I started the maintenance myself. I did about the first half today, and it has been very easy so far. As I suspected, the Z3 is actually a very easy car to service.
    However, I will give a complete report once I'm done.

    ...

    Yes, the Contis are great tires. I have the 4-cyl. model, and while the gas tank is the same size, I have roughtly a 350 mile range. When I got the car almost two years ago, I compared it with the 2.8 version. I liked the wider rear fenders and the engine, but in the end the difference didn't justify the price. Also, while I prefered the I6 over the I4, I liked the Getrag transmission better than the ZF in the 2.8.

    Interior rattles: My advice is to learn to live with them. My car is still under warranty, but even with all the repairs at the dealer, the interior never became completely rattle and squeak free. The rest of the car however is rock solid.

    Other than that, the way the car drives easily makes up for those nuisances.

    A 2001 Z3 turns heads ? Maybe in PA. Here in CA you need something more. An M3 convertible, maybe ? But would you really want the attention when you can just enjoy the drive ?
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    Yes, this site was in desperate need of a "Repair and Maintenance" discussion group. I am looking forward to more input and other owner experiences related to engine add on's, software updates, etc.

    Wow, that is a substantial difference between the 4 and the 6 cylinder engines in terms of "distance to empty". (350 vs 240 miles to empty). Again..., it needs a larger gas task.
  • lm_lm_ Posts: 2
    hi all ... it's been a while since I've chatted at any of the Edmunds sites, but when I read your message, I had to respond.

    I've read that the Z4 is going to have a glass window and the 3.0i is going to have a 6 speed manual tranny. I have a 2000 2.8 and love it. The plastic window doesn't bother me ... neither do the marks from putting it up and down ... after all, it is a convertible with a plastic window. I have some good plexiglass cleaner that doesn't remove everything, but makes the window pretty good for when I have to top up, which isn't all that often ... usually in the rain ... then I have raindrops to look through anyway ... no biggie to me. I've accepted the plastic window for what it is. Also, it's my understanding that the window is fairly easy to replace should the need arise.

    About accessories ... check out z3solutions.com. The map pocket cupholders are fabulous!!

    Gas & mileage ... I get about 260 on a tank - 240 without worrying where the next gas station is (only when I'm out wandering those back winding country roads and haven't thought much about gas) I believe I get somehwere around 23 mpg.

    You sound like you got a beautiful car and a great deal! Enjoy your drives ... and if it's not everything you wanted ... trade it in for a Z4 - they sound pretty awesome too.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    Steve,

    I still have too much warranty left to try a KN Air Filter, but I would be interested if it made a noticable difference on an engine that had no other performance modifications. Also, if you notice the impact, at what RPM range does it become noticable ?

    Thanks,
    Martin
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    Do you mean if I install the KN Air Filter, I break the bmw factory warranty ? I only have 15k miles on a 2001 Z3. I too have "a lot" of warranty left.

    Anyone know if this is true ?

    Steve
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    Is it true that the BMW 325 has the same exact (185) horsepower as the 2.5i engine found in the Z3 ? Obviously they are both 2.5 liter but do they have the same output is the question.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    I would have to look at my warranty agreement to see if such an airfilter would void it. But that would probably be beside the point anyhow, because it will probably depend on how much slack the BMW dealer will give you in case of a warranty repair.

    Overall, performance enhancements are where many manufacturers and dealers draw the line. But that line is very fuzzy. There is a difference between using Bosch Platinum plugs vs. OEM plugs or dropping in a supercharger.

    Usually, I would contact the shop or manufacturer of that part, to see if it's use was approved by BMW.

    That being said, I would assume that a KN Filter on a stock engine would have very little effect overall.

    ...

    Yes, it appears that the 2.5 liter engines are identical. (If they are not, they have exactly the same specs.) However, the gearing of both the transmission and the final drive seem to be different in the two cars.
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    When I purchased the 2001 Z3 about 1 month ago it had a plastic tab/clip missing from the CD Radio. The sales person and manager assured that they would order the clip direct from BMW and mail it to me. To make a long story short, he called me a few days ago and told me that he couldn't order the clip, that I should bring the car into the dealership and they would replace the entire radio.! I thought that was excellent customer service.

    I am also going to see if they can take care of a few other items. 1- When pressing the auto-up drivers window...the window will go up to about 1" from the top, stop and go back down to about 4" from the top. Something is faking out the safety sensor in the window. It's something in the roof or molding in the roof since it only happens when the top is in the up position. 2- There is a mean rattle in the passenger seat. It actually sounds as if the seat is loose or something. 3- The cigarette lighter light blinks on and off at will.

    I did have a wobble in one of the front tires at 69MPH. I had all 4 of the tires speed balanced and sure enough, one of the front tires was slightly out of balance. However, I am starting to feel a wobble at 79MPH instead of 69MPH. It's an ever so slight wobble but still a wobble. I'm thinking that either the tires were not balanced properly or it's just me.

    Does anyone else feel an ever so slight wobble at a given speed.?

    Other than that, the car is a great piece.

    Steve
  • vjoe_udovjoe_udo Posts: 30
    haspelbien, did you do your own inspection II?

    I did a bunch of stuffs (engine oil, spark plugs,

    fuel filter, air filters, etc..) and then took

    it in and paid $300 for the dealer to do the rest.


    I'm going to do all the inspection myself from

    now on. Try this message board for your questions.

    http://bimmer.roadfly.org/bmw/forums/z3/

  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    I popped the cover off of the sub woofer today and noticed that there is no snorkle tube like I have read about. I bought my car used and I am wondering if anyone knows if all 2001 H&K sub-woofers have the snorkle tube ?

    If so, I'll have to call the dealership where I purchased it.

    Please advise.

    Steve
  • spirollispirolli Posts: 50
    I heard back from the dealer. Apparently, there are some (earlier) 2001 Z3 with the older style sub-woofer (no port tube) and the newer style with the port tube. I must have the older style. I can not confirm weather or I have 2 sub's or 1. When I pop off the H&K cover, I only see 1 speaker looking me right in the face. Not 2.

    Can anyone confirm this or shed some light on this issue.

    Steve
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    Yes, I did the inspection myself. Actually, with the change of the plugs, air filter, oil change and fuel filter, you were almost there.
    (Changing the large fuel filter is a real peach, isn't it ?)

    I further changed my coolant, replaced the transmission fluid, inspected the brakes for wear, lateral runout and cleaned them. Plus a whole list of smaller items, like servicing the battery.
    Overall, being the first time, it took me about half a day to complete the service. But I also didn't exactly try to set a speed record.

    I further wanted to change the rear differential fluid, but the fluid is BMW specific. The dealer sells it only in that they call "the bucket", meaning that you'd get 5 gallons worth for $300, when you actually need about a quart.
    However, the service advisor simply told me that they don't even touch the differential until 100K miles. So, I left it alone.
    Maybe it's just me, but I found the service advisors and parts people at the dealers highly cooperative, and they more than once told me 'not to worry' when I was ready to 'overservice' my car again.

    I did however read that in BMW's with traction control, a special tool is required to properly flush the brake system. So I had that done at the dealer, which set me back about $110.
    I further paid around $60 for a the service light reset tool, which worked like a charm.

    Overall, I probably paid around $400 less than what it would have cost me at the dealer.

    P.S.: I just spent an upsetting $140 on special tools just to service my Benz, but that is a different story.
  • luauluau Posts: 3
    Hello all,

    I am just about to purchase a 1997 6-Cyl Z3 with 25K Miles on it and I don't have access to its service records yet (or the Owners Manual).

    It is pretty cherry and I am excited about the prospect of owning it, but I was wondering what to expect in the way of annual operating costs (expecting to put 3-5K per year). In addition, are there any issues I should look in to on the car before purchase.

    I'm reasonably handy with a wrench, and will probably tend to the simple stuff, while taking it in to the dealer for the rest...

    So, what do you learned (and newer Z3 owners) think? I hope to be back in this section with my first impressions of ownership.

    THANKS for your input.
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    That really depends on the condition of the vehicle. The Z3's weak spots are mostly the interior and (as with any convertible) the top and its seals. The windows and the top will probably need some adjustment from time to time. If you don't want to do it yourself, you're looking at BMW labor rates.

    Other than that, here is the list of the problems I've encountered in 1.5 years of ownership:

    - Glovebox latch replacement
    - Seatrail replacement (driver's side)
    - Replacement of all seals of the convertible top
    - Replacement of convertible top latch (passenger side)
    - Replacement of shift linkage seal on transmission
    - Replacement of numerous minor fasteners in the interior

    A major service will cost you around $600 at the dealership and should come up around 30K to 36K miles.

    If it wasn't for the warranty, I probably would have around $1500 in that car, and that does not include the depreciation.

    That being said, it has been a very enjoyable car, which shines through its handling and powertrain, and disappoints through the interior quality.

    I hope this helps...

    P.S.: The service records are normally stored electronically in BMW's service network. Depending on how the previous owner performed the service, you may have a mix of electronic and paper records.
  • luauluau Posts: 3
    Thank you Haspelbein!

    I have been talking with other owners as well and they have similar experience with the Z...

    Should find out this weekend if it's mine...
  • haspelbeinhaspelbein Posts: 227
    And I hope you'll enjoy your Z3 !
  • I am seeking suggestions on the best possible luggage rack for my trunk.

    The BMW rack has a puny weight limit of 40 pounds. From the web, I have discovered that www.hmsmotorsport.com is selling a Fapa rack for $195. Classic Carriers has one for $395.

    Does anyone have another suggestion or an opinion. I would appreciate a direct email to me at: with_garlic@hotmail.com
  • Its time to buy new tires. Any suggestions?
  • ynowakynowak Posts: 2
    hi. my husband and i recently purchased a 1998 BMW Z3 with 90,000 miles. We had a local mechanic look at the car. We were told by the mechanic that the car never needs a transmission fluid change. is that true? we were also told by another mechanic that getting it changed at 100,000 was a good idea. should we take it to a BMW dealership to have the fluid changed? how much would that service cost? thanks for any advice. ymnowak@tampabay.rr.com
  • I just purchased a 97 Z-3 with 119K miles on it, runs great and looks like it just rolled out of the factory (rear window excluded) Any thoughts on maintenance I should do?
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