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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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Old 07-31-2006, 04:25 PM
Yal Yal is offline
4th BMW, 1st bimmer
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 44
Mein Auto: '03 Maldives Blue Z4 psc
Dumb Z3 question

I just test drove a 2000 Z3 2.3. Fun car, only 66k miles. I had only one complaint. The seats are rather firm. Is this so with all the Z3s? I'm looking at a 2001 if the rear end is intact that I'll probably buy. Am I going to have to replace the seats? I'm 5'11" and only 190, so i'm not huge (I used to be tho!).

I neglected to mention that is not an M model or a model with a sport upgrade.

I tried a search, but the server was too busy, so please don't flame me for not doing my research

After 20 years of riding Beemer motorcycles, i'm having trouble with this whole Bimmer thing.

Last edited by Yal; 07-31-2006 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 07-31-2006, 07:48 PM
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JonM JonM is offline
Location: Charleston, SC
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 4,066
Mein Auto: 01 Mc, 08 M3, Motorrad x2
Not a dumb question.

Yes, all of the seats are rather firm. There is relatively little padding in them compared to most other automotive seats. I always assumed this was for headroom/legroom purposes. You could have the seats re-built with better quality foam and/or you could use additional seat pads. Or, live with it for a while and see if it's really as much of a problem as you suspect.
Jon Maddux

08 E90 M3 | 06 M Coupe | 01 M coupe | 99 M coupe
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Old 07-31-2006, 08:04 PM
Yal Yal is offline
4th BMW, 1st bimmer
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 44
Mein Auto: '03 Maldives Blue Z4 psc
I liked the car, really fun. The seat didn't bother me that much, just wanted to make sure that this wasn't some broken down seat that i'd be replacing soon. My only problem is the rear subframe issue, and is it going to bite me sometime in the future.
After 20 years of riding Beemer motorcycles, i'm having trouble with this whole Bimmer thing.
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Old 07-31-2006, 10:22 PM
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wildag wildag is offline
///M 'n it up!
Location: Reston, VA
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Mein Auto: '06 Z4 M Roadster
I just purchased an 01 (09/00 production) Z3 3.0i w/ 55k and it does not have the rear sub-frame problem. Though the passenger door handle did fall off.

Here are a list of all the things I have learned are "common" in the Z3 (things to definitely look for, because they will cost you):

- Check and DOUBLE CHECK for the rear subframe. Some have found it only as a hair line crack in the rear diff. mount towards the pansenger side of the car

- At about 60k the water pump and fan clutch need to be changed; basically they have or will fail right around 60k

- At 60k there is a major scheduled maintenance, it is quite expensive but certainly must be done

- Note that the glove box does and will continue to rattle; be sure you're ok with this or with fixing it

- Note that the driver's seat will move back and forth ever so slightly during spirited driving; there are fixes, some are cheap and easy, other's are a pain but well worth it

- Many people have reported the stock stereo components (especially the sub) go out after 4 or 5 years. The kick panel speakers are most notorious for going out, but the sub is the most expensive to replace

- Check and DOUBLE CHECK for leaks in the soft top. Especially along where the rubber gaskets 'join' above the window; right around the joint in the middle of the top. Try hosing down the top and check for dripping water running along the gasket that seals to the window

- Check that the previous owner had the fluids changed at a BMW dealership. The coolant especially. Some dealerships use the cheapest antifreeze they can find, and often the "coolant" part of this is not attiquate for the Z3. Remember that the Z3 has a 30psi coolant pressure cap where most cars use a 10 or 15psi cap.

- GET A WARRANTY. Preferablly one from a dealer (like Nissan's non-nissan used car warranty named Quality Guard). These warranties are well worth the price and have saved my butt twice in two cars. Both times I've purchased a warranty, the warranty company has paid out almost double what I paid for the warranty and law states they have to give you a pro-rated refund if you sell the car before the contract is up.

Don't let the above deter you! I bought my first Z3 a month ago.. I've already had two random women drop notes in my driver's seat telling me to give them a call if I was single! (No, I'm not lying!) Of course, I opted for the black on tan sexiest-convertible-ever
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