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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:41 AM
briano72 briano72 is offline
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Location: Texas
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 54
Mein Auto: 325xi
New z3 owner - my z3 story

Just wanted to share my z3 story.

I've been without a sports car since 2009. I really wanted a boxster but they were just a little too expensive. I never really considered the z3 because the price difference between it and the boxster was only a few thousand dollars.

I had been checking out craigslist everyday for interesting BMWs and Porsches. A few inexpensive z3s started showing up. first a $4,500 red one. it was kind of far away and a 4 cylinder so i didn't look at it. then a silver one with a hardtop showed up for $3,000 but it didn't run and was a 4 cylinder (if i was going to get a z3 it had to be a 6). Then a black with tan interior 1999 2.3 automatic with 140k showed up and I went to look at it.

The car was listed for sale by owner but it really was at a dealership. The craigslist ad said it was a mechanic special.

when i got to the dealership the car looked pretty good except for the rear window. it had 2 holes in it and you could not see through it (thank you Texas sun). The paint did look good. for a 13 year old black car in Texas, it had to have been garaged most of it's life. The front bumper was all pitted and needed to be re-painted. and there were a few small dents here and there. the engine compartment and interior were covered in a layer of dust. the seats were in good condition with little wear and no rips or tears. both door pulls need to be fixed and the window lift mechanisms need to be looked at.

I got into the car for the test drive and it fired right up and the a/c worked. we started out and one of the wheels made a vmm vmmm vmm sound each revolution. the salesman thought it was an unbalanced tire. All of the lights on the dash were on (ABS, traction control, check engine, worn brake pads, and airbag). when we stopped at a light the a/c stopped working (it would only work when the car was moving). and the fan would only blow on high speed. but the car felt good.

I've owned a couple of 318ti's so i had some general knowledge of the e36 platform and i decided to buy it. i did not know how much a new rear window would cost but i estimated $300. I figured it would be $1,000 to get the car in good runing order.

the car was $3,000 + tax, title and dealer fees, for a total of $3,500. which i thought was reasonable for a 6 cylinder z3.

As i was driving it home the traction control and check engine lights went out (ALL RIGHT 2 problems solved!).

I got it home and started looking for a rear window. found out that the window zips out and costs $85. so i ordered one. the next day i started looking the car over. I tried to get the wheels off, but they were stuck on (strange for a Texas car). so i ordered some parts that i thought i would need (oil filter, spark plugs, etc).

I took the car to discount tire to have them pull the wheels off. after that i got home, took the wheels off, and found out that the car had new brakes front and rear. the brake pad sensor wire had been cut, causing the brake pad light to come on (another easy fix).

the wires for the aux fan (causing the a/c not to work when the car stops) were disconnected, so i re-connected them.

the new rear window came and it took me and my wife about 45 minutes to install it.

So far I've:
replaced 2 rubber intake boots
air filter
fuel filter
brake pad sensor
center mounted brake light seal
oil change
transmission fluid
brake fluid
rear window
misc plastic trim
wheel center caps
front roundel
blower fan resistor
windshield wipers

i need to fix the ABS light, airbag light (seat belt receptcle), spark plugs, door pulls, window mechanisms, glovebox sag, and replace a few more roundels.

i'm up to about $1,200 right now including new tires (kuhmo ecsta $400) and a dinan strut tower brace

the car has the following options: tan leather, power top (black), wood trim, automatic transmission, cd player, cruise control, fog lights, and an alarm system

the car is just fantastic. it's a true sports car and a blast to drive.
I've never owned a convertible and i am loving every minute of it.
I also own a 2011 e90 328. when i come to a stop in the 328, i can feel a vibration through the seat. there is absolutly no vibration in the z3. amazing!

i'm glad i purchased it.


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