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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 03-01-2013, 08:23 AM
Meat Head Meat Head is offline
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Location: Borden, IN
 
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Mein Auto: 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8
Help, purchasing 1st Z3/possible Z4, what do I need to know??

Hello, I'm giving serious consideration to the purchase of a Z3 or Z4. I'm willing to travel for the right auto. This will be my first BMW so I'm going to need some help from the experts on this site on what I should look for. I have a $10,000-$11,000 budget. I want a car with low mileage (under 60k) and garage kept. I have found a few nice cars that fit my price range but I don't want to rush into a purchase without some input from people with more BMW savvy. What options/packages are a must have? What motor is the most reliable/powerful/mpg (pros and cons for each). As far as power, I'm looking for the best bang for my buck but not a two seated gas hog (I drive a Charger SRT8 for power fix lol). Z3 vs. Z4??? Thanks, in advance for your input.
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  #2  
Old 03-01-2013, 08:43 AM
ghpup ghpup is offline
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Location: Idaho
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 272
Mein Auto: 07 X3si, 00 528, 00 MZ3
While I can't speak much about the Z4, I can say it is actually a much larger vehicle than the Z3. As a tall person, just under 6'4", I barely sit in my car with the top up. I had two priorites when looking for my car:

1st, I could fit my golf bag and clubs in the trunk. Originally, I was easily able to accomplish this by removing my longer clubs and angling them in the back. Unfortunately, the newest stock of drivers is now getting to be 45.5 inches long and that is literally about a 1/4 inch too much.

2nd, I could sit in it with the top up. If you were to see me with the top down, you would not believe that this is the case. I can say that sitting in it is more than possible though my hair is in contact with the top, but it isn't uncomfortable.

I sit well below the windscreen of the Z4 while the top of my head is above that of the Z3.

The above said, I have an ///M so I am not sure a 3.0 Z4 would meet my expectations. I know it would be close. I am very confident that a Z4M would meet them, but that is well out of your budget range.

I don't have a lot of technical considerations that others may have, but the practicle considerations are important too.
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  #3  
Old 03-01-2013, 01:19 PM
Z3Papa Z3Papa is offline
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Location: Bloomington
 
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Posts: 610
Mein Auto: 2002 Z3 3.0
You would need to search pretty hard to find a 3.0l Z4 with low miles for $11,000 in nice condition. You can find many Z3's and probably several Z3M 's in the S52 variety. Most of the cars are in pretty good condition but you need to inspect them. The Z4 has a better chassis but the Z3 is considered to be more classic in terms of styling. Assuming the cooling system was done and rear subframe inspected to be ok, I would not hesitate to get a higher mileage version of either to get more car.
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  #4  
Old 03-01-2013, 02:05 PM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
formerly updmst
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 681
Mein Auto: 2000 M Coupe, 1997 318ti
In your price range, given proper maintenance, all the engines should easily go over 200,000 miles. And without the proper maintenance, all the engines will be dead in under 100,000 miles. With 138 hp, the 4 cyl. engine is too slow for me but do get the best gas mileage. My M gets 20 to 22 mpg around town, 24 to 26 on the road. With less enthusiastic driving, I sure the car could get even better mileage (but what's the point of that). IMHO, none of the 6 cyl's are gas hogs.

As expected, the bigger engine, the greater the power.

The best bang for your buck will be the best condition car with service records you can find.
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  #5  
Old 03-01-2013, 05:01 PM
solarstone solarstone is offline
solarstone
Location: Akron, Ohio
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: '04 Z4
Each key is worth ~$250 the windscreen $300 to $500. Does new car have these? Check. Found out that this car does not ever need a new timing chain, they last forever. If it's a dealer have it bluetoothed, to save you money, (see ticketing expenses). Good luck.
Have you looked on Cars.com for [ALL] to understand the total market. Traveling to buy costs $$$ add that cost to your spreadsheet.
Just paid $13,300 plus tax for an '04 with 66k miles. One owner pristine. Dealer wanted $17,900. I offered $12,500 then smiled and shook hands to say goodbye. After a few steps He hollered "Let me check". Then came back with $13,000. Then stuck on $300 for B.S. I was in a hurry late in the day. The Z4's are tiny. I think there was more storage room in the old MGB's. Look hard at the interior. Blems can show up where you would least expect and help your negotiations. Good Luck again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meat Head View Post
Hello, I'm giving serious consideration to the purchase of a Z3 or Z4. I'm willing to travel for the right auto. This will be my first BMW so I'm going to need some help from the experts on this site on what I should look for. I have a $10,000-$11,000 budget. I want a car with low mileage (under 60k) and garage kept. I have found a few nice cars that fit my price range but I don't want to rush into a purchase without some input from people with more BMW savvy. What options/packages are a must have? What motor is the most reliable/powerful/mpg (pros and cons for each). As far as power, I'm looking for the best bang for my buck but not a two seated gas hog (I drive a Charger SRT8 for power fix lol). Z3 vs. Z4??? Thanks, in advance for your input.
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2013, 08:10 AM
Meat Head Meat Head is offline
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Location: Borden, IN
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 37
Mein Auto: 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8
Thanks for the input guys! Keep it coming! I need all the information I can get.

I want a 5 speed but I found a really clean 01 Z3 with 48k miles, 2.5 engine but has the auto trans that can be switched to manual. What are your opinions on this type trans????

Last edited by Meat Head; 03-02-2013 at 08:16 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-02-2013, 10:50 AM
xspook xspook is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4 2.5
Z4? Make sure the top motor works

If buying a Z4, make sure the top motor works and ask if it's ever been replaced. They are very common to fail and the fix is easily $2-3 thousand. If it's never been replaced, ask if the car has been garaged. If it's been stored outside, the odds are the motor has been flooded with water and will fail sooner than later.

I bought a 2003 Z4 2.5 last year for $9,000 knowing the top motor was bad. It cost around $2,000 to fix.

You can expect to pay at least $10,000 (probably $11-13 thousand) for a late model Z4.

A few things bug me:

1. The CD player won't play mp3's, but the stereo is the best I've heard (I have the 10 speaker system).

2. My model didn't have steering wheel controls for the stereo and cruise controls. (Most do).

3. The Z4 has no spare wheel, as they are sold new with run-flats. There is room in the trunk, but you then lose most of your trunk space.

4. The older models have no real cup holder to speak of and no room for one. There is a cup holder, but it is basically a joke and is useless. So, if you have a manual transmission, you can forget drinking your coffee on the way to work.

Other than that, it runs great, and is a blast to drive and own.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2013, 03:36 AM
brock5ga brock5ga is offline
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Location: Monroe, GA
 
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Mein Auto: Z4
Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by xspook View Post
If buying a Z4, make sure the top motor works and ask if it's ever been replaced. They are very common to fail and the fix is easily $2-3 thousand. If it's never been replaced, ask if the car has been garaged. If it's been stored outside, the odds are the motor has been flooded with water and will fail sooner than later.

I bought a 2003 Z4 2.5 last year for $9,000 knowing the top motor was bad. It cost around $2,000 to fix.

You can expect to pay at least $10,000 (probably $11-13 thousand) for a late model Z4.

A few things bug me:

1. The CD player won't play mp3's, but the stereo is the best I've heard (I have the 10 speaker system).

2. My model didn't have steering wheel controls for the stereo and cruise controls. (Most do).

3. The Z4 has no spare wheel, as they are sold new with run-flats. There is room in the trunk, but you then lose most of your trunk space.

4. The older models have no real cup holder to speak of and no room for one. There is a cup holder, but it is basically a joke and is useless. So, if you have a manual transmission, you can forget drinking your coffee on the way to work.

Other than that, it runs great, and is a blast to drive and own.

Mine is an 03 3.0i. 1. My CD player will play music burned in mp3 format, but it cannot be on a CD-RW, just a CD-R. I know a lot of the earlier radios had issues with mp3 music. My daughter has transferred music to I-Tunes and I have downloaded music from mp3orion.com and burned with the default program on my computer with no issues. 2. It is my understanding than none of the 03 models had the steering wheel controls, a feature I too wish that I had. Though once driving a while, the cruise control and stereo controls are in relatively easy reach compared to other vehicles I have owned. An issue that bothered me at first, but doesn't really now that I am used to it. 3. Tires have come a long way, and you rarely have flats as often as in the past, while it is still a possibility. Most newer cars aren't coming with spare tires either, just an inflater with a can of fix-a-flat or some other substance attached to inject into your tire. I keep a AAA membership just in case towing is necessary, but my main concern would be that if a flat did occur, what is the chance of finding a tire store that would have your brand or size in stock. At least the 18 inch tires are not a popular size tire. Ultimately, this is up to your personal security factor. I , personally, am not paranoid about taking a 400+ mile trip without a spare, while it may bother others to even drive to work without one. 4. Ultimatecupholders.com. Position your seat where you drive and then position the cup holder directly in front of the seat. Holds a 20oz cup perfectly. Does not interfere with my leg. Easily accessed. Factory cup holders are junk and have a reputation of breaking. Will hold a 12oz soft drink can but other than that they are useless. Main Z4 roadster area, lift the battery compartment cover in the trunk and look for signs of water. The convertible tops will rot in the back out of sight and leak in the trunk, as will the convertible top drain pans when the drains plug with leaf residue. Water intrusion will take out the amplifier, which is mounted in the battery storage area. Plenty of leg room in the Z4. I had a 03 2.5 5speed for a short period of time, and it was replaced with a 03 3.0 6speed (long story). The 3.0 has a substantial amount of power difference, especially with the sport package, as well as getting better fuel economy with the 6speed. I agree with Z3Papa. It will be hard to find a Z4 in that price range, especially with low miles and no issues.

Last edited by brock5ga; 03-03-2013 at 04:05 AM.
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2013, 07:43 AM
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amancuso amancuso is offline
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Mein Auto: 128i, 330i, Z3 2.3, R56
2.5i Z3's are great cars. That being said, if you really prefer a manual, buy one. There are plenty of examples out there for sale.
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  #10  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:51 AM
Meat Head Meat Head is offline
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Location: Borden, IN
 
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Mein Auto: 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8
How important is a power top???

I found a really nice 2001 Z3, 2.5 engine, 5 speed with only 33,000 miles for $11,500 but it doesn't have a power top. What other things should I look for on this year and engine??? At some point I would like to put the wide M style wheels on this car, would the 2.5 have any issues with that?
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  #11  
Old 03-04-2013, 10:53 AM
xspook xspook is offline
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Location: FL
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4 2.5
No power top or top doesn't work

To make sure I'm clear on your last comment - it has the manual top; not a broken power top?

If it's a broken power top, raising and lowering it is a huge PITA and not something you want to do.

I don't have any experience operating the manual top.
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  #12  
Old 03-04-2013, 11:20 AM
Meat Head Meat Head is offline
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Location: Borden, IN
 
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Mein Auto: 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8
I was mistaken! The car does have a functioning power top! I have only looked at this car through pics (because it is almost 3hrs away) but it looks very clean. I can also tell in the pics that it has the "M" emblem on the steering wheel (what does that package include?). The owner is asking $11,500. He said the absolute lowest he would go is $11,000. Would $11,000 be a good price for a 2001 Z3, 2.5 motor, 33,000miles, silver, black top, black leather int???
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  #13  
Old 03-04-2013, 12:49 PM
xspook xspook is offline
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Location: FL
 
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4 2.5
Per wiki 2001 - M52 based cars changed to M54 engines while the M model upgraded from the S52 to S54 - this ensured all models had more power. They also had redesigned wheels and BMW's Dynamic Stability Control which replaced the ASC traction control for 2001. M models also now included a low-tire-pressure warning system.

More info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_M_Roadster

Quite a few owners will add M options to their vehicles, (fake M badges bug me...but that's another story), but the car isn't actually an M model. The 2.5 motor makes me think it's not a Z3 M.

Per this site, the M has a 3.2...

http://www.thecarconnection.com/spec...-roadster-3-2l

IF an actual M model, Kelly Blue book shows around $10-$12K for my zip code.

If non M, KBB shows around $7-$9K

Edmunds shows around $7,800 for private party sale.

I bought my 2003 Z4 2.5 last year for $9,000 + $2,000 to fix the top and other misc. issues.

Last edited by xspook; 03-04-2013 at 01:19 PM.
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  #14  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:10 PM
Meat Head Meat Head is offline
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WOW! I can't find anything within 500 miles for $9,000-$10,000 unless it has 80k+ miles! This 2.5i Z3 only has 33k miles. Mileage is a big factor for me as I don't trust other people to take care of their cars to my standards LOL.
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  #15  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:18 PM
tmoua328 tmoua328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 00 M Roady
It's not an M model. If it was, at 33,000 miles, the seller would be asking around $21k. It has the M steering wheel and more than likely Sports Seats too, not the M-seats. The dead give away for an M model, if the owner hasn't done any mods to the interior, are the analog clock, battery voltage, and oil temp gauges (below the radio head unit).

In addition, if you plan to put M Roadstar wheels on the 2.5 to get the "deep-wheel-well" look, you cannot use the rear M wheels due to the huge difference in wheel offset. You'll have to use 4 front M Roadstar wheels.

Last edited by tmoua328; 03-04-2013 at 01:23 PM.
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  #16  
Old 03-04-2013, 01:21 PM
xspook xspook is offline
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Mein Auto: 2003 Z4 2.5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meat Head View Post
WOW! I can't find anything within 500 miles for $9,000-$10,000 unless it has 80k+ miles! This 2.5i Z3 only has 33k miles. Mileage is a big factor for me as I don't trust other people to take care of their cars to my standards LOL.
The prices I quoted are for my zip code; they may be different for you.
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  #17  
Old 03-04-2013, 02:40 PM
BStanton BStanton is offline
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Mein Auto: 1998 BMW Z3
If you're not in a hurry to purchase, keep an eye on Craig's list daily. I found my Z3 on Craig's list one Saturday morning. I had been looking for weeks, I travelled a couple hours to other states to look at Zs... Then that particular Saturday Craig's list had a post ..the car was about 20 mins away... I bought it. If you're not in a hurry, keep checking Craig's list, cars.com, carsforsale.com, etc... You may be surprised and find one locally.
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  #18  
Old 03-04-2013, 03:16 PM
SC2003Z4 SC2003Z4 is offline
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Mein Auto: '03 Z4 2.5i Silver/Black
Brother, my advice is go to a car lot and drive both Z3 and Z4.
I wanted a Z3 for EVER....till I drove a Z4 (thank you BMW and Susan Komen Fund event).
I still think the Z3 is very, very cool but somewhere between the plastic back window and the number of Z3s I see out there, I decided to go for the Z4.
My car had 73K miles and though it is not in perfect condition....it runs like crazy. Compromise on the millage and you might can get a newer car with a 3.0 and have an easier time finding it.
Pre-purchase inspection is a must!
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  #19  
Old 03-05-2013, 01:19 AM
Bellarose Bellarose is offline
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Mein Auto: BMW 2001 Z3 2.5 I
My rare find 2001 Z3 2.5I

My rare find white 2001 Z3 2.5 I sport package. Purchase it July 2012 with only 13000 miles on the clock. Brand new Michelin tires. Never was driven in the rain or snow. Always stored with here blanket and well maintained. Car is show room condition - spotless. I payed $17,000 for here and for me was worth it.
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  #20  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:10 AM
crappyattitude1 crappyattitude1 is offline
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Location: Crappyville, TN
 
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Mein Auto: '99 ////M Roadster
If you are interested in ////M's.....

http://www.mroadsterbuyersguide.com/listings/ has a pretty wide range of mileage-prices.....

Crappy : )

(Just outside of Nashville)
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  #21  
Old 03-05-2013, 05:51 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
formerly updmst
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 M Coupe, 1997 318ti
Quote:
Originally Posted by SC2003Z4 View Post
Brother, my advice is go to a car lot and drive both Z3 and Z4.
I wanted a Z3 for EVER....till I drove a Z4 (thank you BMW and Susan Komen Fund event).
I still think the Z3 is very, very cool but somewhere between the plastic back window and the number of Z3s I see out there, I decided to go for the Z4.
My car had 73K miles and though it is not in perfect condition....it runs like crazy. Compromise on the millage and you might can get a newer car with a 3.0 and have an easier time finding it.
Pre-purchase inspection is a must!
Although I came to the opposite conclusion, this is very good advice. The Z3 and Z4 are very different cars. The Z4 is much more a modern car. The Z3 a re-interpretation of the classic sports car. Only driving both will tell you which one you prefer.
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  #22  
Old 03-05-2013, 07:10 AM
SC2003Z4 SC2003Z4 is offline
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Mein Auto: '03 Z4 2.5i Silver/Black
Quote:
Originally Posted by dougmcintyre View Post
Although I came to the opposite conclusion, this is very good advice. The Z3 and Z4 are very different cars. The Z4 is much more a modern car. The Z3 a re-interpretation of the classic sports car. Only driving both will tell you which one you prefer.
hahah, don't get me wrong, I still love the body of a Z3. Sometimes I wish I had gotten one. My biggest thing is I like smaller cars. Not "Smart car" small, just smaller than regular cars nowadays. I'm a SUV hater!
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  #23  
Old 03-05-2013, 08:28 AM
dougmcintyre dougmcintyre is online now
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 M Coupe, 1997 318ti
I think we are in 99% agreement. We just have a slight difference in preferences. I would love to have the Z4's stiffer chassis and rear suspension on my Z3.

I'm in 100% agreement on small cars and SUVs. My wife and I call our VW GTI "the big car."
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  #24  
Old 03-07-2013, 02:00 PM
Meat Head Meat Head is offline
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Location: Borden, IN
 
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Mein Auto: 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8
I'm looking at a 1998 M Roadster. It's black on black and has 62k miles. What things should I be looking for? Is there any major maintenance issues I should be looking for at 62K? If I spend the extra $$$ to pick up the M, my funds will be depleted for a while. Should this vehicle be good to go for awhile? I'm looking for a fun reliable auto that I can commute back and forth to work (only on good weather days, no rain or snow) without breaking the bank. The last thing I need is a money pit! Thanks for you input!

Last edited by Meat Head; 03-07-2013 at 02:17 PM.
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  #25  
Old 03-07-2013, 03:14 PM
tmoua328 tmoua328 is offline
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Mein Auto: 00 M Roady
Regardless of which roadster variant you buy, due to the age of these vehicles, make sure the cooling system has been addressed (ie, thermostat, water-pump, hoses, radiator, and expansion tank), check the differential mount for cracks, and look for popped spot-welds in the trunk.

As long as these issue have been addressed or non-existent (differential mount cracks and trunk spot-welds), the only running costs will be fuel and regular maintenance.

Last edited by tmoua328; 03-07-2013 at 03:24 PM.
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