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E85 / E86 Z4 (2003-2008)
E85 Z4 Roadster, E86 Z4 Coupe, E85 Z4 M Roadster, and E86 Z4 M Coupe talk with our BMW gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 06-17-2015, 01:10 AM
eric86alan eric86alan is offline
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I bought a 2003 Z4 2.5i 5-Speed with some issues

Hi there, I was hoping to get some thoughts from people about the issues my Z4 has. I bought it for $6800 with 121k miles this weekend and it has some issues...

2003 BMW Z4 2.5i 5-Speed Manual - Convertible, Sport Package, Maldives Blue interior and exterior, 18" 3-Series rims with RFTs, VIN: LR64631

Needs:
Windshield cracked
Alignment is off
Shocks - pretty sure because the ride is stiff and you hear bangs over certain bumps
Radio turns off and on by itself with no consistent pattern
Airbag light is on
Passenger side window needs a new regulator

The ride quality and the radio are bumming me out. I know when it comes time to replace the tires not to get run flats.

Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2015, 03:47 AM
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bwitherel bwitherel is offline
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Purchase an OBD to check for and clear fault codes on your Z. Can get one on Amazon for 70 bucks. Once you know the faults, you will know what work is needed. You could also disconnect battery for 30 minutes and allow all systems to shut down and restart. Also go online and check for recalls.
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2015, 03:49 AM
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bwitherel bwitherel is offline
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Also, most auto ins includes glass coverage with no deductible - check into that. I had Safelite replace mine and it has rain sensor. They did nice job.
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  #4  
Old 06-17-2015, 03:49 AM
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bwitherel bwitherel is offline
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Good luck to you
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2015, 05:27 AM
kalali kalali is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4 2.5
Not sure what sort of help you're expecting but it looks like you'll need to start replacing some parts. The window regulator is around $180 and is a DIY if you're handy with hand tools and pay attention to details. A Z4 with a Sport package has a firm ride right out of the box, especially with 18" tires and RFT. So you need to switch to all season tires to get a little better ride. If you hear clunking over humps, you need to find out why and the usual suspects are the front control arm bushings, if you're lucky. OBDII scanner is not going to help you with your airbag light and besides, you'll need to fix whatever is wrong and you're looking at somewhere between $400 for something small like door wire harness issue to around $1000 if it's your seat mat, or more if it's something more serious. I can also safely assure you that your shocks/struts are shot with that many miles, so count on roughly $800 if you do the work and twice that if you have someone do it. Do an alignment after you replace the struts. Radio issue is hopefully a loose connector somewhere. Aside from all these, you should consider replacing the fluids all around if there's no reliable service history. The good news is the drivetrain is pretty much bulletproof so once you fix up these known issues you should be good for another 100K miles. Aside from that, read up on the power top failure issues and do what you can to minimize the chance of failure. Stay away from automatic car wash and keep the drain tracts clean. Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2015, 05:40 AM
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bwitherel bwitherel is offline
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Kalali raises all good points. I seen the $$ signs as I read the original thread but did not want to freak you out too bad. You probably need to put $2k into it doing most work yourself and you will have a ride you can enjoy and not worry about. You don't need to do it all at once, so just tackle most critical first (control arm / suspension). As long as the bones are good and the ride looks good, it will be a good investment.
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2015, 05:56 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is offline
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With respect to the SRS light being on, power to the SRS controller comes from a terminal block in the battery compartment. There have been some reports of SRS issues caused by loose or corroded connections at this terminal block. That would be the first place I would look since it's quick and cheap. If you find something to fix there, you'll still need to find an indy shop that can do it or go to the dealer to get the SRS reset to turn the light off.
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  #8  
Old 06-17-2015, 06:52 PM
stnecut stnecut is offline
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If what you say is all true, It seems like the car has just not been cared for. You Mentioned the ride quality is bothering you. I'd bring it someplace for an alignment. A reputable shop will also be able to advise you on the suspension issues. In fact if the suspension issues are real "issues", they'll not align it without fixing other things first.

If you're lucky, you ride to the shop angry about the ride, get the suspension fixed and alignment done for reasonable price, then drive home happy.

It seems daunting, but do one thing at a time, come here for advice on specific issues, and for instructions on tasks you are struggling with. The stickies threads offer GREAT instructions on COMMON problems, read them, search for solutions etc.

I have that exact same car model color, (a few of the same issues) on the east coast, bought it cheap, offered it some love after reading how to on the forum and now its my daily driver.

It takes time to bring a car back from the brink, be patient
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  #9  
Old 06-17-2015, 07:09 PM
stnecut stnecut is offline
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oh, and Eric, As with all used cars where history is unknown....please add to your list:

Change Oil
Change Air Filters
If the Rear is making ANY noise at all, replace Diff Fluid.

You will be surprised how much you learn about the car, and how much better it drives/sounds and how much better you feel about the problems that are left.
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  #10  
Old 06-17-2015, 08:56 PM
pokeybritches pokeybritches is offline
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SRS light - this can only be reset with a dealer-level tool. While it could be an issue, many times it's not. I've had an SRS light three times - once from a body shop replacing a window regulator without disconnecting the battery, once when I removed a seat, and once when I jump started the car. All three times were fixed with a simple ($100 at the dealer) reset. Ask them to read the fault, but more importantly, ask them how many times it has appeared.

Shocks - at 121k miles, the original shocks are trashed. By trashed I mean they should have been thrown away 40k miles ago. Standard maintenance.

Alignment - get one. Now.

RFT - ditch them asap. All seasons won't necessarily ride better than others. I prefer max performance summer. Ride quality is more a function of spring rates, spring type (linear/progressive), shocks, unsprung weight, tire profile, tire pressure, and bushings.

Windshield - replace it now.
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  #11  
Old 06-17-2015, 09:07 PM
thunderkyss thunderkyss is offline
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I like my run flats. Cost a little more yeah.... but I don't like changing tires on the side of the road either.

Not the way some of you drive.
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  #12  
Old 06-17-2015, 10:24 PM
eric86alan eric86alan is offline
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Thanks to everyone that has included their input.
I have 4 shocks on the way. I'll check out the control arms and bushings while I'm in there.
I'm pricing out windshields. I haven't asked insurance for two reasons; I just added the car to my insurance and I remember checking in to it before for another car, and there was a deductible which made it pointless to use Progressive, but I may check anyway.
Yes, I agree the fluids should be changed. I do have a record of the oil being recently changed but nothing else.
The window regulator will be next.
I'm going to try a short list of things I can do on my own to diagnose the radio turning on and off randomly. That's my biggest annoyance and causing the most nervousness.
I have a couple of months on the back tires so I'll see how the run flats handle the new shocks.

Thanks!
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  #13  
Old 06-17-2015, 10:54 PM
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Clearancediver Clearancediver is offline
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The radio amp has temperature sensor(s) according to the INPA software that I have. I'm presuming that it will shut off the amp if it over heats for some reason.
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  #14  
Old 06-18-2015, 05:10 AM
kalali kalali is offline
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There are a couple of youtube videos on the window regulator that I found helpful when I did mine. Battery must be disconnected to avoid tripping the SRS light but that may be a moot point in your case. Good point on the corrosion in the battery wiring block. I believe it's the single thin red wire from the block in the battery well to the battery that needs to be checked. If the body and interior of the car are in great condition, your purchase price leaves room for fixing all these items and still have a decent deal.
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  #15  
Old 06-18-2015, 06:45 AM
Twixboy Twixboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric86alan View Post
Thanks to everyone that has included their input.
I have 4 shocks on the way. I'll check out the control arms and bushings while I'm in there.
I'm pricing out windshields. I haven't asked insurance for two reasons; I just added the car to my insurance and I remember checking in to it before for another car, and there was a deductible which made it pointless to use Progressive, but I may check anyway.
Yes, I agree the fluids should be changed. I do have a record of the oil being recently changed but nothing else.
The window regulator will be next.
I'm going to try a short list of things I can do on my own to diagnose the radio turning on and off randomly. That's my biggest annoyance and causing the most nervousness.
I have a couple of months on the back tires so I'll see how the run flats handle the new shocks.

Thanks!
Might as well change your FCABs while you're in there. Get the ones from Turner - they will last the lifetime of the car.

Glass insurance is a separate $100 deductible on my Progressive insurance policy and does not affect your premium if you make a claim. You might want to check into that since laws differ from state to state.

Last edited by Twixboy; 06-18-2015 at 06:46 AM.
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  #16  
Old 06-19-2015, 12:04 AM
eric86alan eric86alan is offline
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Control arms with bushings on the way.
Regarding the radio turning off and on...
The amp doesn't get horribly hot after 30 minutes of driving. I would think that once it heats up it would stay off and not randomly start powering off and on within 30 seconds of the car being on.
The red wire in the back with the battery is clean and tight, no corrosion.
Battery connecters, no corrosion, very clean.
The battery was disconnected overnight and didn't do anything.
Yesterday I started seeing "disabled" for a split second when the radio comes back on before it shows the radio station.
Took a look at the speakers to make sure they were all working. One of my thoughts is a short with one of the speakers. I didn't fully check the front speakers by taking off the grills on the the front but I did pull the grills off the ones behind the seats... I noticed behind the passenger seat, next to the sub there is a purple wire with a connector on it. I wiggled it around to see if the radio would react since it seemed out of place. The radio seemed at first to power off more frequently when wiggling it for a short time then didn't seem to react as much. I'll look in to it further soon. I thought it might be pre wired for a phone hook up, but I'm familiar with that type of connector for and XM radio antenna.
Thanks and have a great Friday people!
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  #17  
Old 06-19-2015, 05:06 AM
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bwitherel bwitherel is offline
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Hmmm....if radio showing disabled even for a second it generally means going into anti theft mode. Could be sign of weak battery (if battery older than 3 years, replace it) or the radio just needs to be reprogrammed. See below.

Locate the vehicle's personalized radio code in the car's manual. The radio code is usually located on a small white sticker on either the front or back cover of the owner's manual.

Place the key into the ignition and turn the vehicle on. Turn on the power button for the radio.

Use the station preset buttons to enter the radio code into the system and press and hold the "Volume" button to complete the code. If entered correctly, the radio will become enabled and ready to use normally.
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  #18  
Old 06-23-2015, 12:56 PM
eric86alan eric86alan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwitherel View Post
Hmmm....if radio showing disabled even for a second it generally means going into anti theft mode. Could be sign of weak battery (if battery older than 3 years, replace it) or the radio just needs to be reprogrammed. See below.

Locate the vehicle's personalized radio code in the car's manual. The radio code is usually located on a small white sticker on either the front or back cover of the owner's manual.

Place the key into the ignition and turn the vehicle on. Turn on the power button for the radio.

Use the station preset buttons to enter the radio code into the system and press and hold the "Volume" button to complete the code. If entered correctly, the radio will become enabled and ready to use normally.
Thanks for the info but I don't think it would be a weak battery since it starts the car every time. I only see the "disabled" about 20% of the time. I really think something's shorting it out. I feel I would get some other indication that there was a weak battery.
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  #19  
Old 07-03-2015, 11:00 PM
eric86alan eric86alan is offline
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Update: the back struts have been replaced along with the battery and windshield - more suspension work to be done. The replacement did not fix the radio issue. Upon replacing the battery I checked out the amp again and it was very hot. I'm going to pull the amp out later to get the part number from it and start to look for a replacement.

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Last edited by eric86alan; 07-03-2015 at 11:27 PM.
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