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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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  #1  
Old 03-31-2016, 01:32 PM
Alex Post Alex Post is offline
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Location: NJ
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: Z3 and X5
Got a second chance with an old friend (Z3 v2.0)

Funny how things work out, especially when you have a great family.

Grandfather had an Isetta, my first car was my dad's old 528e and I've been hooked on BMWs since. A while back I had a 1998 Z3 2.8 that my folks got me, silver with black interior, "upgraded" HK stereo (ha...), wood trim. Had it through my training when my wife and I lived in NYC and we were going to have to give it up to start a family and would need a car with more than two seats. The universe beat me to the punch when a NYC cab (Crown Vic LTD, likely started out as a police car) tried to beat a light and failed. Z3 saved my life (IMHO) and had the cab been an SUV or something higher in stance I could have be paraplegic, quad or dead. USAA claimed a total loss (bent frame) and swears the car was scrapped. Since then, every time I saw a Z3 with the top down I would lament "Happy car" while my wife likely rolled her eyes.

Fast forward 15+ years and two kids later when my father in law found essentially the same car (this time a 1.9L, no wood, manual top) in Hilton Head SC with 135K miles on it. The car had been well cared for and supposedly babied by the prior owner (though I wonder about the Go-Pro mount between the seats). They got it for a song, redid the interior upholstry (it had been red and black and faded) and shipped it up as a surprise. Best wife *ever*.

Already put 8K miles on it, replaced a few bulbs, switches, scratched mirrors, did the Whalen's bushings on the driver's side and someone already did the passenger side. Had to have the driveshaft giubo replaced but all in all a good car in good shape.

I now find myself taking a 15 year trip back into internet past reading threads / fixes that from 2005-2007, seeing non-updated pages from the earlier days of the internet, and reading about health issues of Z3 gurus who's work I greatly admire (thinking about you, Ron Stygar).

The same issues exist with the car but some of the people / parts / companies / innovative DIYers may not be as available as in years past. I'm not looking for a complete overhaul and am not looking to dump huge amounts of money into the car but I'd still like some bang-for-buck upgrades with either 1990s/2000s solutions (if they are the best ones out there) or 2016 solutions if better ones have come along. I'm starting from scratch all over again.

Stereo upgrade (got a local shop willing to tackle this w/ subwoofer still between the seats)
Clutch stop (Ron Stygar's or another)
Rearview mirror elevation
Hardwired Valentine One (?maybe as part of the SW housing, mounted at head height)
?Sway bar (I like spirited driving, can already get into trouble but miss the 2.8)
?Foggbox
LeatherZ improvements to the armrest
Replace rubber seals around door handles

Other thoughts?

Thanks from someone newly returned to the Z3 fold.
- Alex
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2016, 02:26 PM
vintage42's Avatar
vintage42 vintage42 is offline
BMW CCA 1405
Location: Louisville, KY
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,255
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3 1.9 5MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex Post View Post
... 1.9L... with 135K miles... I'd still like some bang-for-buck upgrades...
Stereo upgrade (got a local shop willing to tackle this w/ subwoofer still between the seats)
Clutch stop (Ron Stygar's or another)
Rearview mirror elevation
Hardwired Valentine One (?maybe as part of the SW housing, mounted at head height)
?Sway bar (I like spirited driving, can already get into trouble but miss the 2.8)
?Foggbox
LeatherZ improvements to the armrest
Replace rubber seals around door handles
Other thoughts?...
Stereo: Good info in the forums.
Clutch stop: I got one, but it does not allow the engine to start unless the clutch stop switch under the dash is adjusted, not so easy. I did not do it.
Mirror: I am 6-1 but don't object to the mirror.
Sway bar: I see no need.
Fog box: I think this does better...
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...ht=intake+duct
Armrest: I have a LeatherZ armrest; it' nice, but the extension toward the driver means that if you shift with your elbow down there, it catches on your arm, raises and slams the cover.
Door handle seals: The ones you see are trim gaskets behind the handles, not actual waterproof seals which are inside.
http://www.roadstersolutions.com/med...imSurround.pdf
http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...0#post29030880
http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...im-Replacement
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2016, 06:45 PM
amancuso's Avatar
amancuso amancuso is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: New Jersey
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,650
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Mein Auto: Z3 2.3iA/5MT 528iA VW GTI
Wow, great story. Z3s are really well built for safety. Where in NJ are you? You should consider checking out the ZSCCA. We in the NJ / NYC chapter have monthly get togethers throughout the driving season. We also have fix it days which can really help cut the costs of ownership!



You can find us on Facebook here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/zscca/
and at www.zscca.org

-Al.
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2016, 08:28 AM
tohbi tohbi is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: arizona
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 408
Mein Auto: z3 '97 atlanta blue 2.8
you sure that frame was bent? did you put it on the rack and check wheel alignment front and rear?
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