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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > Z Series > E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)

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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  #1  
Old 08-12-2015, 04:58 PM
Father Gino Father Gino is offline
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Location: Connecticut
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 2000 z3 2.5
First Imprssions of Newbie

I've owned my 2000 2.5 5sp Topaz Blue roadster (82K) for about two weeks. Took it on a 200 mile trip tooling around the back roads of western Connecticut last Saturday. I'm very, very happy with the car overall. I think it's a great compromise between a minimalist roadster and a real car. And of course it looks spectacular!!! It's not super fast but way faster than the classic roadsters of the 60'/70's. You have to use the gears to get any real acceleration but that's the idea, isn't it? Maybe I'd have liked a 2.8 a little better but I really liked the blue/black interior of this one.

Took it to a local repair joint that seems to specialize in German cars. They replaced the accessory belt and the front rotors. Other than that there's nothing wrong with it. Everything works. They thought it handled just fine but I'm not so sure it couldn't be better. Never having driven a new one of these I'm not sure what to expect. It seems kind of loose and softly sprung to me. To put it another way, my 2011 2.5 Mazda 3 is much tighter.

The Z isn't horrible or anything but it wallows and flexes more than I would have expected. The rear end seems to get upset pretty easily on bumpy roads. The rear wheels hop and pitch the car around a bit. I've read a bunch of this forum and I'm thinking about what I might do about this but probably not till next year. Not looking for a bone crushing race car set up and I don't want it even a millimeter lower (I could do without the front lower spoiler altogether). The urethane sub frame bushings seem like a good bet. Rubber for the rest of the bushings. Probably new shocks. This mechanic recommended Bilstein touring or Heavy Duty, not the sport. The Heavy duty Bilsteins are listed as a set on Bavarian Auto's site but they say the rears are for lowering only which I don't understand. The rears are also the same pt# as the rears shown with the sport shocks.
http://www.bavauto.com/shop.asp

I'm not so sure about the front strut bar. This thing is a convertible and it's gonna flex some. I don't think I'm going to push it hard enough to make the bar worthwhile.

My trunk floor does not seem to be falling off.

The seat mod and a new shift knob are coming soon.
http://bimmerdiffs.myshopify.com/col...3-seat-mod-kit
http://leatherz.com/product/ZHPSSKnob.html

The shifter is somewhat notchy. Maybe I'm just not used to it. The clutch engagement is lovely. It's really easy to let it slip some when you want to and not jarring at all. Better than any I've experienced.

The rear window is cloudy and the rubber trim is falling off. Hey, it doesn't leak. I'll get to it someday.

The radio kinda sucks but it's good enough to get NPR. Mostly I want to hear the motor and whirring gears anyway. Could use a louder muffler maybe but not until this one falls off.

The spare tire is hilarious. I dropped it just to see if I could. It had zero psi. It probably hasn't seen the light of day in 15 years. I'm going to renew my AAA membership.

For the rest of this year I'm going to drop the top and motor around in the glorious New England Autumn. Should it rain or get too hot or too cold I can put the top up and motor on home in relative comfort without burning my thigh on the transmission tunnel.

Great forum you've got here. It's a marvelous resource.

Last edited by Father Gino; 08-12-2015 at 05:01 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-12-2015, 05:49 PM
Bob's Shoe Bob's Shoe is offline
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Location: Newport News, Virginia
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 174
Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 E36(7) M44
Welcome! There is a lot of smiles in these little cars.
At 82k you are right about the suspension needing a refresh. Look at you cooling system to refresh soon as well.
This is a popular replacement to the 16 year old spare.
http://www.tirerack.com/accessories/detail.jsp?ID=38

Post pictures when you can!
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2015, 06:25 PM
Father Gino Father Gino is offline
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Location: Connecticut
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 8
Mein Auto: 2000 z3 2.5
I'm not sure what to think about the cooling system. I've read here to expect the water pump to explode @ 50K "like clockwork". Now maybe this car's pump has been replaced though the car fax only listed a new cat and "scheduled maintenance" @ 50+K. Then I've read here that the car can have one of three styles of pump with some lasting longer than others. Will the cooling system reveal its woes in a slowly progressive manner or will it just blow up and dump all the coolant on the road one fine day? How about radiators and overflow tanks? Do they give warning or just disintegrate? So far all I know is that the temp gauge quickly points straight up and stays there going 80 on the highway or stuck bumper to bumper in 90 degree heat. The hoses all look OK.
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  #4  
Old 08-12-2015, 06:42 PM
Bob's Shoe Bob's Shoe is offline
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Location: Newport News, Virginia
 
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Posts: 174
Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 E36(7) M44
It's not just the water pump, it the plastic and rubber. The plastic gets brittle. The hoses and connectors. I am in the process of collecting parts and will be doing a refresh soon. I try to inspect the engine a couple times a week before I start the car. I have 96 k on the odo, but I have the 1.9 , they may not be as problematic.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2015, 06:50 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
BMW CCA 1405
Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,363
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's Shoe View Post
It's not just the water pump, it the plastic and rubber. The plastic gets brittle. The hoses and connectors. I am in the process of collecting parts and will be doing a refresh soon. I try to inspect the engine a couple times a week before I start the car. I have 96 k on the odo, but I have the 1.9 , they may not be as problematic.
I think the two plastic connectors on the 1.9 make it more problematic than the sixes. The one on the back of the head is a time bomb that has ruined many a 1.9 engine.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2015, 06:53 PM
Bob's Shoe Bob's Shoe is offline
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Location: Newport News, Virginia
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 E36(7) M44
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
I think the two plastic connectors on the 1.9 make it more problematic than the sixes. The one on the back of the head is a time bomb that has ruined many a 1.9 engine.
How did cooling system refresh go? Sorry. For the drift ...start a seperate thread if you don't mind. I was looking forward to your notes.

Last edited by Bob's Shoe; 08-12-2015 at 06:54 PM.
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  #7  
Old 08-12-2015, 07:10 PM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
It went well. I furnished the radiator and the plastic connectors, and the shop furnished everything else -- radiator brackets and mounts, water pump, belts, tensioner, idler, all the various hoses and clamps, intake gasket and PCV valve -- a page full of parts They charged 7 hours labor and $600 parts. I kept all the old parts to look at.
Gone is an unpleasant sound at cold idle -- a squeaky chirpy rattle that also varied with a press on the throttle. Must have been one of the parts on the front of the engine. They said they did a lot M44 heads because of cooling system failure and overheating -- I guess most of those would be 318i as Z3 1.9s are not common here.

Last edited by vintage42; 08-13-2015 at 07:11 AM.
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  #8  
Old 08-12-2015, 07:12 PM
Bob's Shoe Bob's Shoe is offline
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Location: Newport News, Virginia
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 E36(7) M44
See any difference on your scan gauge?
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  #9  
Old 08-13-2015, 04:28 AM
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vintage42 vintage42 is offline
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Location: Louisville, KY
 
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
I saw a big difference when I replaced the original thermostat about a year ago. The temperature was fluctuating between 170 when cruising and 195 in the city. I drove like that for two years. The cool temp still gave good mileage, and I figured it was prolonging the life of the plastic parts in the system. I had read in a 318 forum that BMW had become aware of the plastic problem and had fitted cool thermostats in the later M44 engines.

The new thermostat kept the temperature at a steady 207 +/- 1, no matter what. That thermostat was retained in the cooling system replacement, and so the temperature was not affected.

BTW, the car's temperature gauge does not show temperature at all. It only shows the rise of temperature to the operating range,and the next rise toward overheating. From 160 to where ever overheating begins, the needle stays on the 12:00 mark. When the needle is on that mark, all you know is that the temperature is in the operating range. Had I not been able to see the actual temperature on a ScanGauge, I would not have known that the old thermostat was causing temps so cool and varied.

EDIT: Re" I had read in a 318 forum that BMW had become aware of the plastic problem and had fitted cool thermostats in the later M44 engines. " No source or reference was given to that forum post, however I think it was referring to a change in the thermostat specs, which I don't know about either.

Last edited by vintage42; 08-14-2015 at 06:54 AM.
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  #10  
Old 08-13-2015, 07:03 PM
Bob's Shoe Bob's Shoe is offline
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Location: Newport News, Virginia
 
Join Date: May 2014
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 E36(7) M44
Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
I saw a big difference when I replaced the original thermostat about a year ago. The temperature was fluctuating between 170 when cruising and 195 in the city. I drove like that for two years. The cool temp still gave good mileage, and I figured it was prolonging the life of the plastic parts in the system. I had read in a 318 forum that BMW had become aware of the plastic problem and had fitted cool thermostats in the later M44 engines.

The new thermostat kept the temperature at a steady 207 +/- 1, no matter what. That thermostat was retained in the cooling system replacement, and so the temperature was not affected.

BTW, the car's temperature gauge does not show temperature at all. It only shows the rise of temperature to the operating range,and the next rise toward overheating. From 160 to where ever overheating begins, the needle stays on the 12:00 mark. When the needle is on that mark, all you know is that the temperature is in the operating range. Had I not been able to see the actual temperature on a ScanGauge, I would not have known that the old thermostat was causing temps so cool and varied.
Thank you Vintage
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  #11  
Old 08-13-2015, 07:52 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Location: Springfield, Ohio, USA
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,450
Mein Auto: 1998 Z3 Roadster
As Vintage42 said, the temperature gauge in the cluster is driven by the engine computer, not the water temperature. It's no better than a light. If the temperature is in the normal range, the needle will point to just a little above center.
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