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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 08-06-2014, 05:06 PM
brandydan brandydan is offline
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Location: Texas
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 2008 X5 4.8i sport
Question I found a Z3 I like (well, actually, I found THREE)

Hi everyone, newbie (sorta) here.

We used to have a '98 Z3 ages ago, had to sell it, and now, many years later, I am in the market for another Z3. I am selling my '04 Crossfire so I can go back to BMW.

Living in southernmost TX, any car I want will have to be shipped either to here (impossible), or I will need to head to Houston to meet any car transporter. We had to do this when we picked up our '08 X5 4.8, which for the time being has been my daily driver, but she is a gasoholic and I miss a small car.

I found not one, but three that I really like, and yes, I know I am asking virtual strangers for some imput.

Two are 2001 3.0i, one is a 2001 2.5i. All have hardtops (I want this option). One of the 01's has 40K miles, the other has 122K, the 02 has almost 90K.

The carfaxes on the higher mileage 01 and the 02 (both are now in dealerships) show standard things, no accidents, nothing major, cars were taken to shops for standard maintenance and inspections. the owner of the lower mileage one sent me his maintenance records, also showing basic issues, except he had the water pump replaced (a nightmare; we did the water pump on my '98 323is, so we know this is not a dealbreaker).

My husband is picking on me saying that as a 'chick' I am leaning toward the 2.5i one simply because its red, and maybe he's right (but then again, I can get any car painted), but I am wavering between the two 01s.

The higher mileage (122K) is listed for $4k less than the lower one (40K). I see a lot of Z3s online that are way over 150k and I know these things are pretty much bulletproof if taken care of.

I guess I wonder what any of you might do if you needed to get a Z3 and had these choices (and would any of you have any references for car transports between Houston and either Scottsdale AZ or Marietta GA?)
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:24 PM
katfish1121 katfish1121 is offline
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Location: Florissant
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 78
Mein Auto: 07 328i 97 Z3
I am waffling on a Z3 myself. I like your use of the term "need".

Here is what I did. I educated myself here online about what to look for. I made a checklist and went to the dealership 3 times. Once to test drive and chat. One to crawl all over and inspect everything. And once for a REAL test drive, checking electronics and cruise.

Bulletproof you say? Hmmm...maybe my decision is getting easier.
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Old 08-07-2014, 06:50 AM
wrench13's Avatar
wrench13 wrench13 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Long Island NY
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 167
Mein Auto: Y2K 2.3 blk; 01 3.0 Cp
Lower mileage one, with the maintainence records is the one I'd try and go with. Someone who keeps these records is likely more of an enthusiast and have taken better care of the car. Changing water pumps on Z3s is more of a scheduled maint item, rather then a 'when it starts to leak or go bad , change it' item. On any of them, you should budget in a cooling system replacement ( hoses, reservoirs, and other plastic used in the system) as these are more affected by time and start/stop cycles instead of just mileage. plastic gets brittle with age and heat cycles. Search the forums also for sub-frame weld failures and what to look for to see if the car has this condition. That is not common, but happens enough so warrant a look see, on roadsters fairly easy to check - pull up the carpet and insulation in the trunk , again searching this and other Z3 forums will shows pictures of the condition and what/where to look. Remember these are 13-14 yr old cars and that takes its toll.
Fasteners get rusty, dirt and road grit builds up, rubber and plastic get brittle or loose their elasticity. Seals, both engine and body, can get dried out and leak. I'd douse which ever one you choose with a garden hose really well to see if there are any water leaks into the passenger or trunk areas.

I have a 2000, 2.5L roadster, with 90K on her now, bought with 58K, had it almost 3 years. Easy to DIY most stuff and the support for Z3's online is superior to most cars - again its more of an enthusiasts car at this point, so owners tend to know a hell of a lot more then the casual owner. Good Luck!
Y2K Roadstar, w/60K ( motorcycle)
Y2K Z3, 2.3, w/66K, now 92K in 2-1/2 years
2001 Z3 Coupe, 3.0 w/55K - new for me - WHooHoo
Astro 1990 w/290K

Suck, Bang, Blow, that's what it's all about.
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Old 08-10-2014, 03:33 PM
brandydan brandydan is offline
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Location: Texas
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: 2008 X5 4.8i sport
Thanks everyone.

Y'know, I guess I use the term 'need' as more of 'I have to if I want _____'....lol

I'm leaning more to the lower mileage one, mostly because of the reasons that wrench13 mentioned; this is the seller's baby (though his wife doesn't seem to broken up about it) and it will come with the bracket/brace thing that holds the hardtop in storage, a car cover and car bra. My husband loves the copper/bronze color.

As for my phrase about these things being bullet-proof, I really think it comes down to how well the car has been maintained. We didn't own our first Z3 long enough to have to deal with any issues, but the 323is we had was such a sad car. It had 60K for a '98 (we bought it in '06) but it had been run literally to the ground. Our '08 X5 was purchased last year with 100K and outside of a small coolant leak and a thermostat that failed, she has been a dream.
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