Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

BMW Z3 Maintenance & Repair



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    The "M" means manual, but what it does is put the transmission in the gear you select---you have to shift out of every gear yourself. This button confuses a lot of people. It's possible for instance, that if you press M while driving down the highway, when you come to a stop, you'll start out again in 4th gear---not a great idea---UNLESS---you *want* to do that, say for snow conditions.

    My advice would be, that unless you are slipping badly in snow, to ignore that button and just downshift manual in the regular "A" mode.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • jose5010jose5010 Posts: 7
    Hey Dave I understand but THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your help you are a great person and hopefully a good friend!!!! I went to the only dealer in town today for a part and again asked them the dreaded A/M button question on my car and there best guess is close to what Mr. ShiftRight stated in the e-mail to me along with yours.It's still ironic that BMW of San Antonio cannot answer a simple question as mine??????? :( Again no matter what anybodys Thanks very much for youe help!!!!!!!!!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Even people in the BMW club are confused about that button :P

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • jose5010jose5010 Posts: 7
    edited March 2010
    Yea, I know all the dealer or the book can tell me is that it puts the car in 4th gear and leaves it there until you press the button again,which if you come to a stop you need a heavy foot to get the car moving.I guess I'll take the BMW service tech's guess that it is for highway use???????????????This is the way the book lays it out D-DRIVE/ 3-SPORTS FEATURE HIGHER REV'S GIVING YOU MORE POWER OUT OF THE ENGINE/2&1 ARE FOR TOWING!!!!!!!!!! :confuse:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    I think the M button is really a primitive form of traction control, to prevent you from spinning the wheels on snow or ice.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    "Do you mean if I install the KN Air Filter, I break the bmw factory warranty?"

    Doesn't really matter. If something happens, just put the stock one back on before you take it in. Pricky dealer if he would make a hassle out of that anyway. A supercharger would be a different story.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I just bought a 96 Z3. OK, I wanted a Boxster but didn't find one, then this Z3 dropped into my lap for about 1/3 the cost, so thought what the heck. I can try it and resell it. We had tried out another but neither of us liked it. A dog. Probably not use to it yet and city traffic. 78k for about $5k 2 years ago. 109k on this one but mechanically very sound. I wanted the 6 cylinder. but have changed my mind. This 4 cylinder is really a gem and doesn't perform bad at all. The body is solid but a bit rough and the paint really should be taken down before repaint. The people I bought it from said they had an estimate of $1300 which I knew was wrong. Or maybe it was from 1990. Many shops said they won't do complete paint jobs anymore because of material costs., Just want collision work.

    Boy, did I have sticker shock when I priced a paint job. $4800 from a GM dealer. Another guy guessed at $8000. One good shop was $2500 but I used to buddy around with his dad, so maybe he treated me right. Some suggested looking for part time guys or small shops that may need the work. Still looking with a $1500 target but I may strip it myself. One guy said anyone can shoot the case coat as it won't run. May try it. But for now, I'll just try to fill the chips and may try slightly contrasting colors on the depressed area by the 3rd brake light, between the tail lights and maybe the hood bulge. Anyone have a reference to unique paint jobs? Now is the time to play as I can correct it with the paint job. I just picked up some dark blue spray cans. I think I can mix a lighter and darker color to get a good match to cover all the white primer chips. Anything is better that it is now. BMW wants $28 for 2 little bottles of touckup. Comments welcome.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Mine shifts OK, but there is a long throw for 5th and it seems to travel farther than it should, then there seems to be about a half inch of play. I'm wondering if there isn't a bad bushing. As soon as I get a trailer and stuff off my pit, I will go under to check. Anyone have this problem?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    K&N filter is a waste of money anyway, unless you like loud sucking noises. :P

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    The kick panel speakers are bad in my Z3. No problem I thinks, just spin out the bolts. Not so fast dummy. The bolts just spin easily and stay put. I thought - Oh, stripped, so I put pressure on the back of the speaker flange. Nothing, I finally reached through the torn surround to feel the backside. I cannot feel any bolt turning and it doesn't feel like there is a regular nut there. Maybe a clip nut, but lifting the flange while turning the bolt should work. But all 8? C'mon.

    So, what am I missing here? There is a Clarion aftermarket stereo installed with a power amp in the trunk, so someone must have been there. And the 5"? woofers have a plastic cone. Is that OEM? At any rate, does anyone know what the trick is here? Probably simple, but I'm stumped.

  • roostaroosta Posts: 1
    My 1997 Z3 starts when cold and 5-15 minutes after stopping but if stopped for 30 - 60 min it will turn over 5-6 seconds before starting. Has anyone heard of this and what's the fix..Thanks
  • same deal here....both kick speakers are crackling and Im interested in changing them out on my 1997 Z3 1.9L I managed to get off my butt and take a test look down at the panel , which is quite the tight squeeze for me, but didnt see any obvious removal approach to it... did you have any luck on your replacement? any pictures, guidance available?? and did you decide on a specific replacement part? Im not interested in going overboard on components, just a quality replacement works for me. curious as you your approach.. thks
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Pretty simple to remove. There is a plastic locking screw about mid panel near the door end. Just turn about 1/4 turn to release, then work the panel out a bit and towards you. You may have to release a locking clip from the dash at the firewall end. There are 2 vertical tabs that are stabilized by going through slots in the firewall carpet.

    The surrounds on my speakers were split so to see if it was the problem. I fixed them with contact cement and reinforced the break with a thin coating of adhesive caulk. So far so good. Will eventually replace them but not sure with what. BTY, one speaker looked fine but still buzzed. Upon further insoection there was a crack not visible until I flexet it outward with my finger.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    Just for a test, trying flooring the gas pedal and holding it down when you start the car HOT and let us know if that improves, makes no difference, or makes the starting duration worse. What I'm sniffing out here is a leaking injector.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • ok..thanks for prompt feedback..i will take a closer look. maybe i will get lucky and just have to cement mine as well. i saw the plastic locking screw, but it didnt seem to do much, but i will take a closer look on that and the clips and hopefully take a few snapshots for others as i go along..
  • Managed to get the panels off without issue. Will pull the speakers tomorrow. Look like 5 1/4 round at most. I couldnt see any issues with the speakers still mounted, will probably just change them out if i can identify a quality replacement. Not really interested in doing any major system upgrade, just a speaker swap. they seem to mount directly into metal frame, so dont want to have to deal with anything than just a swap. Seems like it would be some metal cutting and such and dont want to do that. if anyone reading has some suggestions for some quality replacements, please let me know.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    The screw isn't really a screw. Just a quarter turn lock. Turn it and try to move the panel toward the console to see when unlocked.

    Google Madisound speaker to see wjhat they have for replacements. They have been around forever and also sell high quality speaker kits. I would guess they could suggest quality replacments. Please post what you find for replacements.

  • Just for documenting purposes. Looks like the stock speakers are 4 ohm, LPT 130, 40watts. Here are some other #s on the label in case its of any use: 33867 or possibly eyes arent that good. Nokia audio electonics, 49104 30246/02 Made in germany. They look to be 5" diameter cones with a metal housing with a 4" hole center to hole center square layout (in other words, four screws). The speaker was close to 2" deep, but the space seems to be able to accommodate up to about a 3" depth minimum. and yes, I did indeed fine a split in the cone once it was taken out. The wire attachments were assymetric slide on posts so the speaker wire was easily detached. there is actually a pair of these on ebay right now for $100, but I hate Ebay and rather go aftermarket.
  • latest update. It seems the biggest trick here is finding a suitable replacement speaker primarily from fit. The diagonal dimension of the screw holes is 5 5/8". Verifying that the 5.25" speaker mounting holes extend this far out has been an issue and as a result, I have yet to purchase anything. I was looking to just replace the driver, but it seems most quality speakers are either component system, or 2,3 or 4way system or coax connected. As Im trying to minimize headache, I am not pursuing an coax systems. I am likely to go with a 2,3 or 4-way system if I can find a suitable 4 ohm one with correct mounting. If anyone has some suggestions here, please let me know.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    If you can't find a 4-ohm speaker, then I would look for an 8-ohm one that had the right mounting hole pattern, if your goal is to not do any sheet metal work to the car or speaker.

    An 8-ohm speaker would give you a slightly lower sound level, but should not damage anything, and you can always turn the volume up a bit to compensate - that is, unless your drive around with the volume turned up to max all the time anyway :P .
  • So to followup on the end result. Many of the 6.5" speakers I found had mounting hole configurations that were well matched to the preexisting holes in the sheet metal. I ended up just putting in a 2-way Sony XS-GTF1627. a pair for under $50 online or you coudl just go to bestbuy for a little more. These speakers are only rated at 35W which is a little light for my receiver, but it works well enough for my purposes and i didnt have to do any cutting whatsoever. i would recommend better matching though in this regard. I get overmodulated when I want to turn it up on the highway, but for the most part, they are ok sounding. The existing connectors fit directly on the slot posts of the speakers. Also, the stock grills may tend to just touch the flexible portion of the speaker cones as they have a 5" protruding ring on the inside. But whatever, its done and under an hour easily and closer to 30 minutes. A single flat head screwdrivers and a small socket wrench and socket were all thats needed and less than an hour total time.
  • oh..and those are 4 ohm
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I'm sure I would have gone the same route. Most speakers are probably a lot better than my ears anyway.
  • Spiegel Online set the rumormill ablaze with an unconfirmed report that General Motors is seeking some sort of cooperative deal with German automaker BMW. Speigel says The General's interest in BMW is primarily related to the German firm's gasoline and diesel engine technology.

    Read more: html#ixzz1XqL9OQDh
  • I'm looking to purchase an inexpensive, older two seater (ideally a convertible) that I can keep for years to come as a second car. I'd like it to be reliable, fun to drive, won't plummet in value, and a car that, if something breaks, there's information out there to teach me how to fix it. I'm pretty young, and I don't know a whole lot about cars (although I am pretty handy), but if I learn on the way that's great. I don't want it to start out as a project car, but if over the years it gives me some projects, I'm okay with that. I'm thinking about an older BMW Z3. According to edmunds prices a 96 would should come in at about 4-5k. Would appreciate thoughts from some that have gone before me. Thanks all!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    edited December 2011
    Well I'm not so sure you really want the little 1.9L 4 cylinder engine, unless you don't mind being slapped silly by minivans at the stop light. But a '96 is affordable to buy, that is true. It would be nice if you could opt out for the first 6 cylinder model....was that 1997? Yeah, I think that's right.

    As for fixing them, you'll have to gear up some, and get a good scan tool, a volt/ohm meter and a factory workshop manual. No reason why you couldn't do things like fluid changes, brake pads, tire rotation, belts and hoses, that sort of thing. It would be a much higher learning curve to get into engine work or electronics.

    It would be a great idea also for to a) join the BMW club of America and b) line up an independent BMW repair shop that you can develop a relationship with. To take care of a car like this, you need a support system so that you are not dependent in any way on the dealer for service or parts.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • Wow. Thanks for the quick response! I've read mixed reviews about the 4 cylinder, a couple people said that the weight balance was better so it had better handling. I do have a great mechanic that works on imports who's a family friends.. He's been doing it for years and has 4 garages in my area. I was also considering the Toyota MR2 spyder and the Honda S2000. Any other cars that you think I should take a look at? Or is there another forum that I should post this under? (It's my first time posting in the Edmunds form).
  • I concur with being slapped silly at the light. I have a 97 1.9L Z3 and it definitely lacks.. I can still fishtail easily enough, but it just does not have it off the line. I would definitely go for a larger engine. I have also owned an MR2 in the past and while it was fun, I would be more inclined to stay with a convertible like the can find them VERY reasonably priced and with low mileage. There are certain things that have aged on mine and include seat bushings, window bushing, leather quality, shift boots and brake covers, various plastic parts, like door sure to look closely at those. ..also be sure to do a test drive at various speeds to make sure the drive axle is good. Door and trunk liner foams should be in good shape and check the a/c and heater fan, make sure its working ...and not intermittent...I am just about to replace the resistor on that...check the inside of the soft top for cracking...these are the issues ive come across on mine...150k miles and quite clean otherwise....ive also moved to ceramic brakes with standard full face discs...the metal pads for me were noisy but Im in vegas...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 53,819
    The Honda S2000 is a whole different animal than the BMW Z3 with the 6 cylinder. The BMW motor is torquey and the S2000 is peaky. So if you like Japanese motorcycles and how they drive, you'll like the S2000. But if you prefer the feel of a big-bore bike, then the BMW suits your driving style more I think. The MR2 is a neat car, but I don't think I could live with the exhaust note or engine sounds----it's like a can of gnats.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Here is my Z3 story. I didn't want one. I wanted a Boxster, but I like to wait until things come to me. (I notice no one threw a Boxster into the mix. Too pricey? Different class?) So, when a 97 Z3 ad kept running in Tucson, I thought I should check it out, and the owner was almost begging me to make an offer. Crap, the 1.9 4 cylinder. Not good for an old muscle car guy. But a solid car, so my wife and I took it for a drive. Neither one of us liked it, but first drive in a strange car, and heavy city traffic in an unknown area. It handled OK but not much power as mentioned. We decided to wait for a Boxster. We had tried out a new one and both loved it. Well no Boxster showed up, but a 2 owner 99 Miata with 83k, a new engine and top for $3800 did. Crap. Girls car. How can a guy that has owned Vettes do that? But alas, I procrastinated a bit too long and it was bought before we got there. My bad, but things are meant to be.

    But to back up a bit. Last summer, there was another 96 Z3 1.9 for sale back home. After the ad ran for a few weeks indicating a deal may be had, I reluctantly decided to look at it. The car body was rough but no rust and the leather seats had weathered well over 109k, unlike what I see in Arizona - Boxsters especially. What do they use for leather in those things? Anyway, I thought What's to lose by taking a drive even though I already Know I don't like it. Hmmm, solid lil sucker. Drives great.

    Somewhere on that drive I was shocked to discover Hey, I like this one.
    But, I didn't buy it. I still wanted that Boxster and the Z's never really appealed to me.

    OK, so now I'm in Arizona still looking for that 2k or newer Boxster private party. Nothing. But along comes the Miata. So, missed that one. In the back of my mind was that Z3. Ya know, I think I'll see if she ever sold it when I get home. I drove past and called multiple times. No car and no answer, so I figured it was gone. Then after a few weeks, I saw the ad laying there. What the heck. I'll try one more time. Phone rang and rang..... and rang. Finally, she picked up. "Do you still have your BMW for sale?" "How you know I have BMW? "I looked at it last year." People wast my time. Not buy my car. They not interested. (Testy little Chinese gal') "Well, I must be interested, I'm calling you.

    Anyway, my wife, grandson and I went over and I drove it again while wife and G'son waited in the car. BTW, my wife was not thrilled with this adventure. I went back to thr car and my wife starts out with " You didn't buy it did you? Yup. Guess who now likes it? ;-) We both do. It's getting a nice dark blue top to match the upcoming Montreal Blue paint job. But right now, I'm back in AZ while the Z rests, still looking for that elusive Boxster.

    Oh ya, the 1.9. For some reason, this one seems to have lots more power than the one in AZ, but it could have been my mood that day, who knows?

    Good torque and just shift at 1.5 - 2.5k for normal driving. Step it down on the road and the speedometer moves up rather smartly too. Totally adequate, especially when you consider the great gas mileage - just under 37 first tank but that may have been an anomily. Another owner I spoke with proclaimed that the 1.9 runs on fumes. What do you other owners get for MPG. We are now quite happy that we have the 4 cylinder. I can drive my 55 Chev with the 396/425 HP if I want to smoke em. Good luck with your car. I think you'll like it.
Sign In or Register to comment.
BMW Z3 Maintenance & Repair - Page 3 — Car Forums at