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BMW Z3 Maintenance & Repair



  • 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: 44,404
    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.


  • 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: 44,404
    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.


  • 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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    You have to be very careful with Boxsters, especially the early ones, as they have a potentially fatal engine defect---intermediate main shaft bearing failure. Always take any used Boxster to a Porsche specialist, where, if they know what they are doing, they'll remove the oil filter and cut it in half and look for signs of bearing degeneration. If you don't, you may be in line for a $12,000 engine...or...if you catch it in time, a $4000 retro-fit for the bearing.


  • What are everyone's thoughts on the Audi TT? I automatically shy away from Audi's because I worked at an Audi Dealership a while back, and they always seemed to have problems. You got to know customers pretty well as they seemed to be in so often.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    EYOW! Thanks for that bit of info. Is there a point where they resolved that problem? I was looking for 2000 or newer. Is there more in a Boxster or other forum etc? How about the 911?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    This video explains the problem.

    While there were some attempts at rectifying this issue, you can't be entirely safe until the redesigned 987 in the year 2009 I believe.

    Not every Boxster will do this of course, but god help you if you don't have any potential purchase thoroughly checked out.


  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Thanks. You can be sure any potential purchase will be checked out. I assume even if good at purchase, it could happen at any time unless it was just a certain series of bearings that were bad. I can't imagine any responsible manufacturer allowing a fatal problem like this to continue in production without an upgrade to deal with it. I guess the safest thing is to stay with Japan, and I hate to say that, but they earned it. We have an 03 Toyota Avalon that just turned 100k and still drives like new, but with a suspension upgrade by choice at 50k (See 04 and earlier forum), and just read where a guy just turned 200k with his. Kept it because it was the best of any car he has owned.

    Maybe the Z3 wasn't a bad choice after all. I will say that the 1.9 seems to be a sweet engine, and sounds like an engine.

    BTW, it seems that your Spell Check isn't working.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,404
    what's misspelled? :confuse:


  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I corrected misspellings myself as I knew they were there when I clicked on spellcheck. It said No spelling errors found, so I fixed myself.
  • I recently wrecked my Jeep and now have a chance to buy a 2000 BMW Z3. It has the power top and a optional hard top and rack. The car truly is mint. Only 30,000 miles from individual who found it to be not a practical car for them so it sat in a garage. My problem is the only other cars i find like this within 500 miles usually have close or over 100,000 miles or more. I would have to pay $3000- $4000 over current book value for this car. $13,000- $14,000 is what I think I can buy it for. Forget practical, Would you pay the "over price".
    Any input would help. Thanks, John
  • I'd say yes, but it's a tough call. 3 years ago I got a 1999 BMW Z3 Coupe for $16k with 12k miles on it. It's had some work to do from sitting around so long, but otherwise very pleased. Though I think the coupe is worth more for the uniquness factor. I think 13,000 is reasonable, realizing it'll still have some work down the road.
  • I bought it. Drove it. I'm in love with it. I'm used to all out American muscle. I have a 1970 Z/28, too nice to drive. A 1969 big block Camaro convertible, too Wild to drive . A 1995 Trans Am. OK to drive. But this Beamer just seems to shout " class " to everyone who sees it. Fun to drive. :) A different kind of power.
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