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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 11-11-2012, 06:30 PM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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barn find

I have the chance to get a 1997 6cyl. for next to nothing. (I can probably get it for free.) It has not been driven in two years. I put a battery in it and check the fluids and it started right up. it has 180K on it with bmw service records up to 155k. Here is the down side so far... air bag light is on, check engine light is on, brake and stability lights are on. It is also over heating because the electric fan is not coming on. (dont worry, I didnt let it get hot enough to do damage.) It needs a soft top. and the power seats aren't working.

My question is---is it worth bringing home or am I staring into an abyss of a money pit? Car idles good, doesnt smoke in spite of sitting, and the body is in perfect shape. I have thought about having it towed to a mechanic and have an estimate. I am just not sure about spending money on a car I dont yet own! Part of the obsession is that I hate to see it just sit there and ruin! any input will be appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2012, 06:45 PM
Wertles Wertles is offline
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Get it home! Most of the problems you describe are normal maintenance items that all Z3 owners will eventually have to do anyway. The cooling system will need an overhaul. New water pump, radiator, thermostat and housing, hoses and overflow tank. New brakes and sensors should take care of the brake light. The airbag light can be as simple as poor connections under the seat. Aftermarket tops can be purchased relatively cheap. You will also want to change all fluids (engine oil, transmission, rear diff), air, oil and fuel filter changes and spark plugs of course. The tires are probably ready for replacement as well. All of this work can be done by the average DIY'er. Give yourself a budget of 2-3 thousand, a time frame of a few weeks, and you will have a great running, mechanically sound car. Once the car is ready to go, then spend money on the fun things like suspension.

Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2012, 07:34 PM
RufusKing RufusKing is offline
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please do keep us informed of the outcome. That is a wonderful find. I would also take pics and post the results along the way to back on the road. if you do we would love to see them.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:01 AM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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My wife just got an email from the owner of the z. He told her that he thought about it over the weekend and realizes that I have a genuine interest in the car. He said that he knows I will give it a better home than he has. So he wants to give it to me! Picking it up Saturday!
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:06 AM
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supertech777 supertech777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhopper View Post
My wife just got an email from the owner of the z. He told her that he thought about it over the weekend and realizes that I have a genuine interest in the car. He said that he knows I will give it a better home than he has. So he wants to give it to me! Picking it up Saturday!
Nice !

Sent from my Desire HD using Bimmer App
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  #6  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:08 AM
Wertles Wertles is offline
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Awesome!! Take pics. This site and another will help you out immensely and answer many, if not all if you use the search button. There is a DIY write up for everything that I have mentioned.

Congratulations.
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  #7  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:16 AM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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For years I installed car stereo. One of the very first z3 cars of the line was preordered by one of my customers. He brought to our store before he even took it home. I have had a soft spot for these cars ever since. I can't believe I am going to own one! I apologize in advance for all the dumb newby questions I wll pester you with!

Last edited by mhopper; 11-12-2012 at 06:18 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-12-2012, 09:26 AM
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morrieschoice morrieschoice is offline
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search this thread

Congratulations on your find. Most of what you will need to do has been done by many forum members and more than likely there is a thread with detailed information on these DIY projects. Just click on "search this thread" at the top of the home page and type in the project name you want information about (example: cooling system). This forum has been extremely helpful to me and has saved me losts of $$. Best of luck with the car.
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  #9  
Old 11-12-2012, 10:24 AM
3PointO 3PointO is offline
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feeling kinda jealous right now; most if not all of us had to pay for our toys! Keep us updated on the progress...
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  #10  
Old 11-12-2012, 12:07 PM
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IgotBMW IgotBMW is offline
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Mein Auto: 1996 Z3 1.9L M44
Free is always good. Make sure you get yourself a Bentley manual (there's one specific for the Z)

Oh and pics when you get her home.
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:12 AM
SC2003Z4 SC2003Z4 is offline
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Wow, great find and at the best possible price!

Where in SC are you? I have a local indy mechanic in the Florence are that has worked on my Z4 and is very reasonable.
You are going to love that car. That is what I always wanted but never had the money for....
Then when time finally came to buy one I ended up getting a Z4 because of the glass window on the soft top. But I still think the Z3 is an amazing looking car.
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2012, 12:21 PM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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I am in York County, near Rok Hill.
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  #13  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:39 PM
Ballinallthetym Ballinallthetym is offline
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Oh wow!! That's really awesome. I am Jealous!!
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2012, 09:03 PM
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Terry J. Harris Terry J. Harris is offline
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So cool.
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  #15  
Old 11-16-2012, 05:46 PM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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Bringing it to South Carolina in the morning!!!
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  #16  
Old 11-17-2012, 03:10 PM
Ballinallthetym Ballinallthetym is offline
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Please keep us updated. I've been following your thread
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  #17  
Old 11-17-2012, 05:26 PM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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I brought it home today. I found an independent BMW mechanic that was highly recommended by a friend. He is gonna look it over, fix the cooling system, and tell me the good, the bad, and he ugly. I couldn't believe the looks it was getting on the trailer on the way home. I will try to put a picture up tomorrow.
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  #18  
Old 11-17-2012, 07:31 PM
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ish ish is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhopper View Post
I brought it home today. I found an independent BMW mechanic that was highly recommended by a friend. He is gonna look it over, fix the cooling system, and tell me the good, the bad, and he ugly. I couldn't believe the looks it was getting on the trailer on the way home. I will try to put a picture up tomorrow.
Oh my godddddddddd.............I've been waiting all damn day for the friggen pics.....common already
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  #19  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:33 AM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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  #20  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:39 AM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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Hope you like the goat sign in the background. Yep, rescued from a goat farm!
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  #21  
Old 11-18-2012, 05:11 AM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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Mhopper!!! Damn it boy, you hit the jackpot with your speedbuggy!!! LOL Fantastic find and "opportunity". You're going to love the car. Like others, I had to put some greenback on the table to get mine, but am enjoying the drive everyday. Good luck and happy motoring. BTW, did he throw in a goat just for cleaning out his garage? LOL Lawnmower!!! LOL
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  #22  
Old 11-18-2012, 05:01 PM
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ish ish is offline
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Looks really sweet, a good run thru the mechanicals, change ALL the fluids and a detail job and it looks like it will be quite the gem.
Is the body and paint as good as it appears?
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  #23  
Old 11-18-2012, 05:21 PM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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The body and paint are pretty good. There are a few hail dings, but nothing major.
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  #24  
Old 11-18-2012, 06:52 PM
Ivanhoe1997 Ivanhoe1997 is offline
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How did you get it on that trailer? Would think it would rub big time. ic
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  #25  
Old 11-19-2012, 03:41 AM
mhopper mhopper is offline
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drove it right up the ramps! No issues! No rub!
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