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E89 Z4 (2009 - current)

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Old 04-26-2014, 12:55 AM
zeefourzee zeefourzee is offline
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Location: Romania
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: Z4
Bought a car, found steering side was changed afterwards...

Hello everyone,

I need a piece of advice please. I recently bought a Z4 dating back to 2010 and found just recently that the steering side was changed from RHD, to LHD. Here is the long story, short:
a) I went to a BMW dealer before buying the car, paid (60 euros or so) to track down any anomalies, problems, etc. and they provided no feedback claiming the mileage was real (about 13k mi), the mechanics are good, engine looks good, no damage reports, previous history record showed the car was serviced at about 10k, just some paint issues (which I said I will solve myself by repainting later on). That encouraged me to get the car, so I did. (I did also check the VIN myself on sites online and it turns out the car was originally with RHD steering - but did so only recently after being worried about the discovery, not previously...)
b) I then went on and painted the parts of the car that needed painting, then the guys at the shop told me there was an unusual welding there in the dashboard... I looked closely, and after studying the components of the car on the Internet (and checking the VIN number of the car from the factory...) I realized that it was the area of the steering, which was welded back to change the car from RHD to LHD.
c) the hood was repainted (probably by the previous owner, or by someone before him) and it seemed as if it had been brand new from the beginning (as the paint started to peel off and the bare metal was left off there, so it had been a brand new hood; not sure if hood replacement is necessary when changing RHD to LHD... so that's why I'm specifying this). Of course, now the car looks good and drives very well. Since then, I had replaced the brake pads, coolant and brake fluid, just to be sure.
c) the rims were the original design, as they came out of the factory. That made me thought that maybe the car has had no severe accidents in the past, and that the only change was the one related to the conversion.
d) the car drives great, I do love it and I already drove it for about 1500 mi so far and had no issues (except a light bulb which I replaced), did a computer diagnosis and no problems were there either.

However, I do have some concerns regarding reliability and, why not, its past... now that I realized that this change was done (and was NOT informed about it originally by the BMW dealer, which could have easily been done if they just barely checked the VIN). I do realize such a change is actually quite a big deal, so maybe you can shed some light here please and some insights into how you see the following:
a) how safe is it really now to drive this car? now that the area where the steering was re-welded to accommodate the LHD, is there any possibility of increased damage in case of an accident?
b) is there any chance of the engine being switched off the car and replaced with another? If so, does that mean that the real mileage may have also been altered as a consequence? Shouldn't the BMW dealer be able to tell if the engine was changed, or if the mileage was altered?
c) the dashboards creaks when I push it (the aluminium parts mostly), but I did read this is somewhat of a common problem in the Z4s (and we have really bad roads here that "help" with these things).
d) what would you recommend me to do in this scenario? should I just get rid of the car, or continue to enjoy it for 1-2 more years, then resell it?
e) I tried checking the car by VIN in the UK (the country it was built for), but had no luck... and I don't know the plate numbers that the car used to have in the UK unfortunately.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me here!
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Old 05-15-2014, 06:40 AM
200mph's Avatar
200mph 200mph is offline
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Location: Lake Norman, NC
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Mein Auto: '15 428i, 911,Benz & MGs
If the BMW dealer did not sell you the car, they would have no liability (here in the US). Its possible they've never seen one modified like that, and so they didn't know what to look for.

Similarly, they probably didn't check the VIN too closely because they didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary. I think a good body and frame shop would have been a better choice to evaluate the car, given its past damage and repair.

But maybe the dealer would help you out. They can pull the car's history for you from the VIN, including its original engine number. They can tell you which body parts are stamped or labeled with the car's VIN, so you can determine how much has ben replaced.

Given the amount of time and money you have invested after purchase, I would just drive and enjoy it. Once a year, visit a competent body shop and have them inspect the suspect area for weld cracks, etc.

When you sell it, you'll have to decide whether to disclose what you now know, or risk being liable for claims from future owners.
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