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E36 /7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 roadster and coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 05-22-2012, 05:39 PM
fields911 fields911 is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 Z3 Roadster 2.3
Easy/Reliable Z3 upgrades

Hello all,
I just got a 99' z3 2.3 and I'm looking to boost the power for as cheap as I can be it as I'm still in college. I read a post saying headers were good, but that would probably be a difficult thing to change. Also, not as cheap but curiosity has got me. Turbos, how expensive and are there any adverse effects? I'm new to BMWs but love mine and I'd love to get some more power!
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  #2  
Old 05-22-2012, 07:31 PM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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A good turbo setup, install, tune and reinforcements will run you well north of $6000.
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  #3  
Old 05-22-2012, 08:01 PM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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There is the "fogged air box" mod that is very popular and inexpensive: http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=600581

The mod (actually a fix) that made the biggest difference in performance to my Z3 was replacing the VANOS seal: http://www.beisansystems.com/. I no longer have to rev my car like it's Japanese to take off from a standstill. It just digs in and goes.

However, most Z3 owners concentrate on handling and stability, not horsepower. The engine is already pretty remarkable.
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  #4  
Old 05-22-2012, 10:47 PM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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IIRC the "fogged" airbox is for the 1.9l 4 cylinders only.

But there is little you can do cheaply for any real gains on an OBD2 engine (96 and later). OBD1 engines get good gains from bolts ons (CAI, high flow MAF, software, headers). The OBD2 cars really require cams or forced induction to get real gains.
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  #5  
Old 05-23-2012, 04:59 AM
fields911 fields911 is offline
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How could you check the VANOS seal? I feel my car takes off pretty well.
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  #6  
Old 05-23-2012, 05:09 AM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
IIRC the "fogged" airbox is for the 1.9l 4 cylinders only.

But there is little you can do cheaply for any real gains on an OBD2 engine (96 and later). OBD1 engines get good gains from bolts ons (CAI, high flow MAF, software, headers). The OBD2 cars really require cams or forced induction to get real gains.
This. For all the bolt ons I've done, CAI, Shark, Magnaflow and pulleys, I may be lucky to have gotten 10 hp. Terrible bang for the buck. I will say if you are not in a CARB area, headers with no cat can make a substantial difference if the CEL light doesn't bother you. Upgrade suspension is the best investment.
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  #7  
Old 05-23-2012, 06:45 AM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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Quote:
How could you check the VANOS seal? I feel my car takes off pretty well.
Look over the Beisan Systems website: http://www.beisansystems.com/

For the VANOS rattle symptoms (which is not a performance issue) there are several YouTube videos of it.

I thought my car was strong, but decided to replace the VANOS seal when I replaced the radiator at 115,000 miles. I was surprised at the low-end torque that must have been there when the car was new. I don't notice any difference in performance above about 2,000 RPM.
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  #8  
Old 05-24-2012, 01:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Z3Papa View Post
I will say if you are not in a CARB area, headers with no cat can make a substantial difference if the CEL light doesn't bother you.
CARB doesn't matter. Removing the cats is a Federal CRIMINAL violation. EPA can fine and send you to jail for removing cats.
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  #9  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:52 AM
fields911 fields911 is offline
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I'm from the midwest, everybody removes cats and nobody gets arrested.... Lol
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  #10  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:20 AM
fields911 fields911 is offline
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What's the best manifold/exhaust for the Z3? Right now the car is stock except for no more limiter chip.

Last edited by fields911; 05-24-2012 at 05:22 AM.
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  #11  
Old 05-24-2012, 05:29 AM
Wertles Wertles is offline
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If you are in college and on a limited budget, forced induction is most likely way out of your price range. It would be cheaper to sell the car and buy an M which comes stock with more HP. An economical way to make your car faster is to change your rear differential to shorter gears. They can be found for around $200 give or take and can be changed without too much difficulty. This will make your car quicker and rev easier with the trade off of higher rpm's on the highway and slightly decreased fuel economy. Headers are a pita to change, and an exhaust will add minimally to increasing your HP. Both are high dollar items (headers for the install and exhaust for the system) and will most likely not give you what you are expecting.
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Last edited by Wertles; 05-24-2012 at 05:32 AM.
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  #12  
Old 05-24-2012, 04:16 PM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
CARB doesn't matter. Removing the cats is a Federal CRIMINAL violation. EPA can fine and send you to jail for removing cats.
In my 22 years of practicing law, I have never heard a single person in any area near me getting an EPA find or being sent to jail for this. I'm becoming amazed at how frequently you are an alarmist or contrary to anything I post. Maybe that is your gig on this forum.
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  #13  
Old 05-24-2012, 07:13 PM
tohbi tohbi is offline
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well, pinecone is right. removing the cat is illegal although enforcement is lacking. but, conceivably, if you had an accident and a cop noticed the cat gone, he could probably cause you some trouble.

then, there's the air you want your grandchildren to breathe.......

for the racetrack the sky's the limit. for the street, just get the bigger engine.
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  #14  
Old 05-24-2012, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z3Papa View Post
In my 22 years of practicing law, I have never heard a single person in any area near me getting an EPA find or being sent to jail for this. I'm becoming amazed at how frequently you are an alarmist or contrary to anything I post. Maybe that is your gig on this forum.
Interesting attitude for a lawyer. Since no one has been prosecuted, that you know of, one should break the law. Will you take the defence pro bono? You seem to be encouraging people to ignore this law.

As for my stance, my intent is to inform people. If no one told them it was against the law, and they got caught/fined/imprisoned, that would not be good. So this way they can at least make an informed decision. If they want to go ahead and follow your advice, then fine, that is their choice. But telling them to do something, KNOWING it is against the law and not informing them is NOT in the spirit of this forum.

And BTW, how much HP did you gain from deleting the cats?
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  #15  
Old 05-25-2012, 11:18 AM
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CJ645Bern CJ645Bern is offline
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if u paint your calipers, you gain approx 56 HP! LOL
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  #16  
Old 05-25-2012, 12:33 PM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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CJ645Bern, you know that's right! Heck, another tick hardly anyone knows about is to keep the passenger seat always 1in forward than the driver's side and never fill up the windshield reservoir past 2/3rds. Gives you 6 more points of compression. Shewr-nuff!!! LOL
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  #17  
Old 05-25-2012, 04:02 PM
dolphin717 dolphin717 is offline
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Hey...IMHO these are wonderful little roadsters, if you want more power and torque move up to a larger engine model or an M model....I have a '99 M and it is awsome....it is great to drive and great to push a little, its fast, nimble and a blast to drive.....if you want something to abuse get an old Mustange or something and make some mods to it...WC
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  #18  
Old 05-26-2012, 07:55 AM
Blacklane Blacklane is offline
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I think dolphin717 said it best. If your goal is to add a bunch of "easy/reliable upgrades," especially to the power train, you bought the wrong car. I was going to suggest a big-block Chevrolet, even a Corvette, but I think an older Mustang might fit your budget. Maybe a high-revving Japanese car such as a Honda Civic. There are lots of options for changing the characteristics of those cars.

By the way, a 1999 Z3 is in the primary zone for a lot of maintenance. You should concentrate on that first. At the top of the forum page, on the right, is a button called "search this forum." It will be your friend. You will need to look into cooling system replacement including water pump and radiator, clutch, shock absorbers, subframe bushings, VANOS, and more. You will also find threads on cold air intakes, differentials, suspension components including coil-over systems, lowering kits, camber plates, trailing arms, etc.
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  #19  
Old 05-28-2012, 05:31 AM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone View Post
Interesting attitude for a lawyer. Since no one has been prosecuted, that you know of, one should break the law. Will you take the defence pro bono? You seem to be encouraging people to ignore this law.

As for my stance, my intent is to inform people. If no one told them it was against the law, and they got caught/fined/imprisoned, that would not be good. So this way they can at least make an informed decision. If they want to go ahead and follow your advice, then fine, that is their choice. But telling them to do something, KNOWING it is against the law and not informing them is NOT in the spirit of this forum.

And BTW, how much HP did you gain from deleting the cats?
Don't chide me about what is the spirit of this forum or not. Please skip the condescending assessment of what can or can not be said on the forum. I suppose it was probably against the law to race up Brevard or even reckless but you admitted doing it. I made the rare to disclosure of what I do a living to indicate from where my assessment came. Sorry but no one is going to be imprisoned by this offense. For the record, I have not deleted my CATS which are are integrated into the exhaust manifolds because it is not class permitted to move the CATS more than 6" from their current location. I would have no issue with migrating to high flow CATS and a better flowing exhaust which would reduce 40# and bump performance across a full spectrum of power band.
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  #20  
Old 05-28-2012, 10:47 PM
fields911 fields911 is offline
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How loud are Z3s without mufflers?
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  #21  
Old 05-31-2012, 07:45 AM
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I would like to see the free flow cats and exhaust that gives you 40 HP boost in power.

As for the difference, I did what I did. I did not tell people it was OK to break Federal emissions laws without a warning that they COULD be at risk of a fine and possibly jail time for doing so.


And what I did was not in violation of Federal laws, just state ones.
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  #22  
Old 06-01-2012, 05:09 AM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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40# = 40 lbs. Terry -- we obviously have a difference of opinion and don't really know each other. We have acquaintances in common who would say we are both stand up guys. I'm going to stop posting here on this topic as I'm tired of discussing this with you since you tend to take my statements out of context and then argue the mis-stated point and are pretty determined to illustrate that as an instructor of HPDE students, you know more. I suppose my background as an instructor does not merit.
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  #23  
Old 06-01-2012, 06:31 AM
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Where in this thread did I mention being an instructor?

Sorry for misreading your 40#. I had asked how much power you got from a free flow exhaust and high flow cats? Especially since OBDII BMWs get very little gains from any external modifications.

My issue with a number of your statements, is that you fail to provide the full context. Such as here, suggesting removal of cats, without pointing out the potential downsides of doing so.
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  #24  
Old 06-10-2012, 09:05 PM
cgamach cgamach is offline
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AFE makes a throttle body spacer. It is supposed to give 8 hp and 12 ft-lb torque. Can buy from BAV Autosport
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  #25  
Old 06-11-2012, 08:09 AM
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And I have ocean front property for sale, at a great price. It is in Arizona.
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