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E36 /7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 roadster and coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 09-21-2013, 09:57 AM
Curtamus Curtamus is offline
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Towing standard transmission Z3

I have a 2000 Z3 Roadster 2.8L standard five speed. I want to flat tow it behind a motorhome. Getting conflicting answers as to if this can be done. Anyone out there have any information on this?
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  #2  
Old 09-21-2013, 11:22 AM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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You can (and, most probably, will) damage the transmission due to oil starvation. A way around is to either disconnect the driveshaft every time that your Z3 is being towed (IMHO - forget it!) or have a tow-dolly on which you put the rear wheels of the car. In this case it is of extreme importance to keep the key in the ignition so the wheel does not lock. Check and double check to make sure that your wheel would not lock!!! Failing to do this will have extremely bad consequences!!! I have seen a Mercedes towed like that for hundreds of miles. Of course, the best solution would be to have a flat-bed trailer so the entire car is on it. Personally, I would go for this solution.
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  #3  
Old 09-21-2013, 07:26 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vladi View Post
You can (and, most probably, will) damage the transmission due to oil starvation...
Why would towing cause oil starvation in the transmission? Does it matter whether the gears are being turned by the engine or the rear wheels. As they turn, the gears should pick up oil from the transmission sump and cover themselves and the bearings with it.
Unless, there is a difference between which gears are turned by the input shaft vs the output shaft. If turning the output shaft does not turn the bottom-most gear shaft whose gears reach into the oil in the sump, then there would be oil starvation.
Edit: Well, this post says just that...
Quote:
The problem is that with the car in neutral and the engine off, none of the gears inside the transmission spin. Only the output shaft spins. Without the gear teeth dipping into the transmission oil, no oil drizzles down onto the bearings.
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...1#post15538011
The gears and shafts that are not spinning don't need oil, but the spinning output shaft does, and its bearings must be what are damaged by towing.

Last edited by vintage42; 09-21-2013 at 07:53 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-21-2013, 11:32 PM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
Why would towing cause oil starvation in the transmission? Does it matter whether the gears are being turned by the engine or the rear wheels. As they turn, the gears should pick up oil from the transmission sump and cover themselves and the bearings with it.
Unless, there is a difference between which gears are turned by the input shaft vs the output shaft. If turning the output shaft does not turn the bottom-most gear shaft whose gears reach into the oil in the sump, then there would be oil starvation.
Edit: Well, this post says just that...

The gears and shafts that are not spinning don't need oil, but the spinning output shaft does, and its bearings must be what are damaged by towing.
Exactly, that's the answer! Gearbox design is such that the gears provide oil agitation and, hence, delivery to the bearings and seals. No spinning gears (towing) means no oil circulation within the box so some components might end up without enough oil on them.
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  #5  
Old 09-22-2013, 06:22 AM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...06&postcount=8

Excerpt from the ZF repair manual: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...88&postcount=6

Given the age and enthusiastic following of these cars, there are very few new questions to ask, you'll find that most asnwers can be found with a quick and simple search.
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  #6  
Old 09-22-2013, 12:53 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
...Excerpt from the ZF repair manual: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...88&postcount=6...
Your post there says:
Quote:
The ZF manual stipulates: Towing in a horizontal position is permissible. If the vehicle cannot be towed in a horizontal position, the front axle can be lifted to create a maximum of seven degrees (7*) of vehicle tilt. If these guidelines cannot be observed, then the driveshaft must be removed before towing, or damage to the transmission will result.
Maximum towing speed: 80 km/h (50 mph)
Maximum towing distance: 100 km approx. (62 mi approx.)
I believe the 1.9/2.5 use the Getrag xmsn, but I doubt the precautions are any different.
So it appears that a manual transmission Z3 can be flat-towed a limited distance at a limited speed without damage. Evidently the front end must not be lifted more than 7 degrees, as onto a dolly, or the oil level shifts to the rear of the transmission, no longer contacting the output shaft gears, and not being thrown about to provide lubrication.
In short, the car can be towed up to 60 miles at under 50 mph if it breaks down, but cannot be towed indefinitely behind an RV.
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  #7  
Old 09-22-2013, 06:58 PM
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ebruder ebruder is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
Your post there says:
... Evidently the front end must not be lifted more than 7 degrees, as onto a dolly, or the oil level shifts to the rear of the transmission, no longer contacting the output shaft gears, and not being thrown about to provide lubrication.....

If the rear wheels are on a dolly, nothing in the drive train is spinning. The 7 degrees becomes moot if a dolly is used.

As earlier advised, make sure the steering wheel cannot lock.

EB
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  #8  
Old 09-22-2013, 07:48 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Originally Posted by ebruder View Post
If the rear wheels are on a dolly, nothing in the drive train is spinning. The 7 degrees becomes moot if a dolly is used.

As earlier advised, make sure the steering wheel cannot lock.

EB
Better remove the front bumper too, or it'll get left somewhere on the road...
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  #9  
Old 09-22-2013, 08:30 PM
Curtamus Curtamus is offline
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All 4 wheels on the ground

I was hoping that there were Z3 owners who have or are towing them long distances at highway speeds with only a quick release tow bar attached to front of the car. It appears that this is not possible without causing damage to my gears/bearings. Thanks to all who have passed along info I appreciate your interest. Curt
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  #10  
Old 09-22-2013, 11:52 PM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
Better remove the front bumper too, or it'll get left somewhere on the road...
Haha, good point Randy! Actually the Mercedes that a friend of mine towed was an E550 AMG with a pretty low front bumper. When the car was on the dolly, there was still about 4 inches of clearance between the bumper and the road and he had no problems towing it (on German highways, though) The dolly was very low, indeed. Another thing that helped is the specifics of this Mercedes - the distance between the front axles and the foremost part of the bumper is very small so when you lift the rear wheels you have very little leverage that lowers the bumper.
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  #11  
Old 09-23-2013, 03:38 PM
ObeyThePoodle ObeyThePoodle is offline
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  #12  
Old 09-24-2013, 07:49 AM
rudyrov rudyrov is offline
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That's the way to do it right there!
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2013, 01:40 PM
tohbi tohbi is offline
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wow! news to me. i always thought a standard trans could be towed indefinitely. glad i read this post.
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  #14  
Old 09-28-2013, 09:08 PM
Zedhead Zedhead is offline
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Had my 3.0 on the hoist the other day and can't see where there would be a problem removing the bolts at the rear of the driveshaft where it attaches to the rear axle. Lots of room to remove the bolts. Just hang up the driveshaft and you are good to go.

Paul
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  #15  
Old 09-28-2013, 09:51 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zedhead View Post
Had my 3.0 on the hoist the other day and can't see where there would be a problem removing the bolts at the rear of the driveshaft where it attaches to the rear axle. Lots of room to remove the bolts. Just hang up the driveshaft and you are good to go.

Paul
If they were "bolts" that might work. The threaded fasteners used are in fact a pressed fit into the flange of the driveshaft; so you can remove the nuts, but the expansion coupling won't collapse enough to let you clear of the differential's flange.

It's just not worth the hassle, get a Fiat 500 and put the drive wheels on a dolly.
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  #16  
Old 09-28-2013, 11:09 PM
Vladi Vladi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
...get a Fiat 500 and put the drive wheels on a dolly.
Or something like this:

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  #17  
Old 09-29-2013, 09:25 AM
Zedhead Zedhead is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes View Post
If they were "bolts" that might work. The threaded fasteners used are in fact a pressed fit into the flange of the driveshaft; so you can remove the nuts, but the expansion coupling won't collapse enough to let you clear of the differential's flange.

It's just not worth the hassle, get a Fiat 500 and put the drive wheels on a dolly.
That;s the first time I have heard about the threaded fasteners, I have the full workshop manual and have searched all the forum posts, so thanks for that.

I hope there is another alternative other than the Fiat 500. Live in Canada, winter in Florida, Z3 in Canada, mini van will tow 3500 pounds not 5000, Z3 and dolly would work but not interested in full trailer and new tow vehicle. Cheaper to get another Z3 in Florida (sounds like overkill), or to mod the current car so that it can be used for more than 4 months a year. I wouldn't mind changing out the pressed in fasteners once if it meant that subsequent disconnections would be easy.

Any constructive suggestions?

Thanks

Paul
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2013, 11:26 AM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Get another Z3, I'll babysit it during the summer...

Not sure there's room for a standard head fastener in the driveshaft's half of the flange__never needed to concern myself with an alternative. It might be possible with some aircraft-type hardware with a 12-point reduced size head, but they'd HAVE TO BE grip-length bolts, designed for use in a shear application, with NO PORTION of the threads inside either flange.
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  #19  
Old 09-29-2013, 01:22 PM
Zedhead Zedhead is offline
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I'm in Seminole so option one could work.....

Reading you signature reminded me of the time I went out to watch the local go-cart club races. I saw a group racing that appeared to be older, heavier guys running a bit slower carts and got interested. I asked the guy beside me what class was racing because he seemed to know a bit, he said they call the class ' fat bastards'.

Anyway, looks like the car won't be following me down this year....hmmm, how much is a Fiat 500.
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2013, 09:08 PM
Zedhead Zedhead is offline
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Is this the bolt, number 14? Looks to be a standard bolt here.

Thanks

Paul

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  #21  
Old 10-01-2013, 02:25 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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#14 knurled bolt; "means" it's a pressed in fit to the flange.

Have you considered shipping the car down? My regular transporter said that eight hundred (800!!) cars were being moved south THIS WEEK? People we know have reported seeing transporters on Longboat Key already (I always thought the biggest influx was after Thanksgiving...).

Call Deb McCauley at Ron McCauley Trucking for a quote: 419 490 4858
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1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 Wine Red
1961 McCulloch R1 go-kart Screaming Yellow
1995///M3 Coupe Dakar Yellow Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Coupe Estoril Blue Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
2001///M Rdstr Steel Gray
2011 X5 35i Sport Deep Sea Blue/Cinnamon
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:41 PM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Pressing (an old #14) out...



... and (a new #14) in:

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1957 Austin-Healey 100/6 Wine Red
1961 McCulloch R1 go-kart Screaming Yellow
1995///M3 Coupe Dakar Yellow Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Rdstr Cosmos Black Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
1999///M Coupe Estoril Blue Eurosport Twinscrew S/C
2001///M Rdstr Steel Gray
2011 X5 35i Sport Deep Sea Blue/Cinnamon
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  #23  
Old 10-01-2013, 02:55 PM
Zedhead Zedhead is offline
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Guess I'm kinda thick, but I get it now. Thanks
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