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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 11-07-2013, 10:22 PM
_alvin_ _alvin_ is offline
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Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 43
Mein Auto: 1997 2.8 Auto Roadster
Advice needed on M or non M and front bushes

Ok, I'm sorry to ask such a very obvious question, but I really like my 97 2.8 Auto (It had to be auto for the wife to drive), but not being a BMW aficionado and the only BMW owned, I'm having a little difficulty in working out how you tell simply and easily if my car is an M or non M, etc.

From what I've read I'm guessing mine isn't an M, but could someone just give me some really obvious pointers on how you clearly define this?

The reason for the need to get it right, is because I'm changing over my front and rear bushes to Powerflex and I had considered opting for the eccentric ones on the front rear wishbones, to give a bit more caster, but I'm not sure if I can do this as a simple swap out and whether it will cause grief with the shock mount and tyre position.

If someone knows and can give me a definitive answer/reason to not do this, then I'll stick with the standard replacement Powerflex bushes, as I gather there is definitely a difference between the M and non M shock mounting/caster angle set up, that may not allow me to do (nor possibly should I) a simple swap out in anything other than the standard center bushes.

Any thoughts/knowledge here would be greatly appreciated??... thanks
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2013, 08:43 AM
IgotBMW's Avatar
IgotBMW IgotBMW is offline
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Location: So Cal
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 1.9L M44
Advice needed on M or non M and front bushes

Post a picture of your car and we can tell you.


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1996 Z3 (M44)
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2013, 12:58 PM
Kornknarr Kornknarr is offline
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Location: Sweden
 
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Mein Auto: -98 Mroadster S50 Estoril
If it's a 2.8 it's not an M.
There are some non-Ms that have what is called a M-sports suspension. That is not the same that the real Ms have. You can enter the last 7 digits of your VIN number in for example http://www.bmwarchive.org/vin/bmw-vin-decoder.html and get a full list of all thing yor car was delivered with.

As for the bushes someone else have to fill in.
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  #4  
Old 11-08-2013, 01:31 PM
_alvin_ _alvin_ is offline
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Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 43
Mein Auto: 1997 2.8 Auto Roadster
Thanks, IgotBMW & Kornknarr

Here's the shot and no... that's not me(;->

Does the pic help and if so what's the opinion on whether to go or not go eccentric bushes at the front for my model, ie, do they just go on and you do nothing else other than an alignment, or is there/will there be a problem with the existing shock set-up and wheel position.
If there are any hassles, strain or extra parts needed here at all, then I'm more than happy to stay original. It's just that from other reading, I gather a bit of extra caster may also help improve the steering at high speed.



1997 2.8 Auto
PS. The side grilles were originally silver but changed by previous owner to the red.

Last edited by _alvin_; 11-08-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2013, 06:12 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
 
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Posts: 1,026
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
The usual answer is that, if you have to ask, you don't have an "M".

There are trade-offs for using rubber versus polyurethane bushings. You should look over this thread: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=495852

Many people stick with rubber Front Control Arm Bushing (FCAB) but switch to solid rubber ones for a balance of performance and harshness. Polyurethane FCABs can cause squeeks, harshness, and increased road noise. It's also very common to replace the front control arms with new ones with new ball joints and solid rubber M3 bushings. Meyle HD offers control arms that are superior to original.

You mention that you also want to use polyurethane in the rear, but it's not clear where. Without a doubt, rear subframe bushings (RSBs) should be replaced with polyurethane ones to stabilize the entire subframe to the car. This improves handling and helps prevent the complete failure of the differential mount to the trunk floor, which is not uncommon. Since there is no motion at the subframe mounts, you don't need to worry about squeeks. In fact, I've never heard a complaint about polyurethane RSBs.

Never use anything but rubber in the differential mount. Anything else is too hard and will likely tear the sheet metal mount out of the trunk floor. You can upgrade to the solid rubber M-style bushing.

Some people replace the Rear Trailing Arm Bushings (RTABs) with polyurethane, but that nearly always causes squeeking due the motion at that pivot point. This can be very annoying. Unless you are a racer, you will be happier with rubber RTABs.

The sway bar bushings have very little movement, so you may use polyurethane there. At least they are easy to change if you don't like them. On the other hand, there is not a strong reason to choose either polyurethane or rubber there.

There is much more information posted here. Near the top of the page, on the right, is a button labeled "Search This Forum." Use that to find more details on all of these topics.

Last edited by Blacklane; 11-08-2013 at 07:17 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2013, 07:47 PM
_alvin_ _alvin_ is offline
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Mein Auto: 1997 2.8 Auto Roadster
Thanks for coming back so quickly Blacklane,
Umm... The usual answer is that, if you have to ask, you don't have an "M".
Thanks, but it would have been nice to still know (as previously stated) what exactly it is that you see on or in the car that says it's an M. I was just curious as I don't live my life through my Z3, I have other pursuits as well and may not be as hip as some here. I'll take the patronizing smack down as being just playful banter, but the question still stands.

Ok, just to clear up any misunderstanding re my bushes query, yes indeed, I have not just lazily asked a question without doing some research.
I fully understand how some may be rather tired of questions by noobs who don't even google the car or the problems first.

I have in fact been trying to get as clear as possible picture on the best things to do with the bushes, by reading and re-reading quite a few things from forums and other online articles, but alas, there are only so many hours in the day and so many articles and I would never get to do the job if I didn't plunge in somewhere.

My initial query was because after getting serious toe/camber wear issues in my rear tyres and finding after a service that the subframe bushes were pretty bad, plus a rear trailing arm bush was shot, I started the whole research thing on bushes.

I've now read quite a few articles, forum comments and literature that pretty well gives Powerflex bushes a good tick and yes, I do indeed understand the potential problems and extra stiffness one may not find the same as before, but after a very long and intense love relationship many years ago with an Italian - Ducati that is, I'm up for sharper handling, compared to the slightly soggy feel I have now and the totally insane tyre wear problem.

So... in the process of finding out about Powerflex, I also (after reading many tales of woe and possible solutions - read welding the adjusters to the car), decided that if the back end was going to be a problem, then it might also be wiser to fit the adjustable bushes in the trailing arms as well, while it's in pieces.

Now, finally to the front Front Lower Wishbone Rear Bush. Again, after reading a lot of comments and articles, the consensus (to me - subjective of course) is that it does and will give you a lot better control over the tramlining and yes, I do certainly agree, I've had some new wishbones put in not long ago and they are running the solid rubber, but, I am still not impressed with the way the car wants to have it's own way sometimes on the road.
So, hence the original question as to whether I can/could/should go eccentric or straight Powerflex bush in my particular car, which is why the initial question about it being either M or non M was raised, as I had found up until now, the material just a little lacking or confusing to explain the difference. - if you take my drift.

As for your comments about the diff mount and sway bar mounts, all noted and I would tend to agree and I'm up for/open to any other wise words of wisdom, now that I've typed the (almost) complete story.

And as for the pointer to the search button, your dang right, what a clever invention it is, who would have thought (;->

Last edited by _alvin_; 11-08-2013 at 07:50 PM.
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  #7  
Old 11-08-2013, 08:42 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
 
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Posts: 1,026
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
The "M" version (Motorsport) is distinguished from the non-"M" by higher price, more horsepower, better suspension, different gills on sides, engine that says "M Power" on the valve cover, "M" badge on door sills, chrome around shifter and gauges, and other cosmetic changes. In the US, the rear license plate is moved, but I don't know if that's true in Europe. Since M cars are rarer and more expensive, people who own them don't have to ask if theirs is an "M".

If your rear tires are wearing too fast, it is probably the result of too much toe-out. The usual cause of that is a broken spring or lowered suspension. The rear suspension is designed such that, in a turn, as the outside tire is forced upward, its camber is increased and its toe is pointed outward, which helps prevent understeer. If the car is lowered or if a spring is broken, the same geometry happens constantly, which causes excessive tire wear.

Tramlining is usually caused by the rear suspension, not the front.

My recommendation for you is:
Polyurethane Rear Subframe bushings
Weld-in rear camber and toe adjusters from Ireland Engineering
New springs as needed
Rubber trailing arm bushings
Meyle HD front control arms
Solid M3 front control arm bushings
Whatever sway bar links and bushings you would like
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2013, 11:14 PM
_alvin_ _alvin_ is offline
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Location: Australia
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 43
Mein Auto: 1997 2.8 Auto Roadster
Thanks Blacklane,
Well first up, I bought the car 2nd hand, so no idea of it's 'true' original value, the engine data says 142kw, so I'm guessing it's going pear shaped from here for it to be an M.

Don't know about the gills being different, because as said originally, didn't know the difference between the M and non M in the first place, and, as I had a look under the bonnet and didn't see any 'Golden Arches' anywhere, and because no one has as yet tried any funny secret handshakes out on me, then putting all the data together from your info as well... it looks like i'm not in the M club (;-(

But then again, like riding a bike, it's not always the machine under you when you hit the corner, it's the capability of the rider/driver that sorts the men from the boys and as much as I would have probably love to have been supersized, this little beast will just have to do.

Soooo, back to the original question, in that as much as you make a very good point about the rear being the problem, I get a slightly different impression in that it has an add-on effect that has its roots in the front wishbone bushes, so I'm very keen to try the Mike Fishwick's path from his article 'BMW Z3 Subtly Stiffening a Z3' and I quote... ...an economic first step in the battle against tramlining is the fitting of stiffer wishbone bushes..., where he has used the Powerflex bushes (as have others) to great effect.

I certainly agree with you about the stiffer rubber and Mike himself says the later cars used this to do a better job than the Z3, but the Powerflex just nails the problem, so I wanted to not only do this on mine, but I have also read that a little bit of caster won't hurt either and thus the original post to see how others felt/knew about doing this (the caster thing) with whatever my version Z3 was, as there seemed to be some complication with the eccentric bushes if used with a particular shock mounting setup???

Completely agree about the rear tyre wear and why. Again, I've read heaps of information that nails that problem and why. I'm guessing that swapping in the Powerflex bushes into the subframe will go an awful long way to helping fix the problem, which it seems and awful lot of Z3 owners have in varying degrees, whether it's because of bushes or springs, or just a problem with their particular car (some have swapped and fixed everything to still find the rear toe is still out of spec).

So to help nail this problem and hopefully dramatically reduce tyre wear, I am reasonably keen to try as well some adjustable bushes on the back. I do know and have read quite lot of information about the weld-in plates and I'm not that keen to take that path yet. I've also read some fairly nasty stories of some of these plates having their bolts come loose on road and track (no such thing as a free lunch) and it means you have to make sure these suckers are checked fairly regularly and lock the nuts down really well either by double nuts or nord lock washers, etc. Something I don't really want to rush into yet.

My last service which was only a few week ago, my mechanic with 8 years experience in nothing but bimmers, gave the car a very thorough once over and only found one rear shock starting to leak, no other breaks or problem, and I do not think the car has been lowered, but will check this as you've raised it (no pun intended).

As for sway bars and other parts suggestions, etc, that will have to wait for the moment until I sort out the toe/camber alignment of all wheels, but the front so far is looking good, it's just the insane tyre wear on my rear inners due to the toe out problem (with the wrong camber as well).

Hope that sort of answers your points and any further suggestions will be happily mulled over and taken on board (;->




Last edited by _alvin_; 11-08-2013 at 11:33 PM.
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