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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 and coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #1  
Old 12-02-2004, 04:02 PM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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M Coupe

I fell in love with the M Coupe ever since I lined up behind 1 during autox, and been wanting to get 1 ever since.

I've started to do some research on picking the right M Coupe for me. The first Obvious choice I need to make is pre-2001 or post-2001. That extra power is extremely tempting, but do I really need it for everyday street use? What about the issues with S54 engine failure? How serious is it?

Are there any other issues I should be worried about? I've heard something about a welded piece in the rear breaking off. How serious is this?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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  #2  
Old 12-02-2004, 04:12 PM
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bob lindquist bob lindquist is offline
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well you, as they say, have hit the nail on the head.

S52 engine is bulletproof and able to be modified a lot. Its been around a long time.

S54 is a special high RPM race engine for the street. Its a work of art!

late vintage S54's should be safe.

This is all IMO of course for the S54
The S52 I don't think anyone will disagree with my opinion.

The rear end isn't a problem for everyone. a lot has to do with how much abuse they had.

Love My Coupe S52
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  #3  
Old 12-03-2004, 02:13 AM
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There have been some S54 failures. IN teh E46 M3 LOTS of failures (but only of cars built ina certain time frmae, a muc lower rate in general). But the engine has a 100,000 mile 6 year warranty against such failures. So it blows up, you get the engine replaced. Nice thing is, you get an updated engine.

But the S52 is definately more bullet proof. And with the cam kit ($3000 plus install) you get most of the HP back (about 295 after mod), or you can slap in a supercharger. So for the same money you can get more car in the S52. For the price difference you can do the suspension and the engine, and keep some change.
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  #4  
Old 12-03-2004, 09:11 AM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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Thanks for the info guys. Is there any significant suspension difference between the S52 & S54? I don't think there is, and I haven't found anything online about it, but then again, there isn't much info on this car.
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  #5  
Old 12-03-2004, 09:15 AM
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TR6 TR6 is offline
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I'm fairly new around here, but I'll toss in my 2 cents. I recently purchased an S52 M Coupe after going through a lot of the same searching and research that you are doing. I decided on the S52 based on price vs performance "bang-for-the-buck". After scouring the web for a couple of months, I found that the 0 to 60 and other performance stats (except for top speed) seem to be very close between the two as measured bone stock vs bone stock, but the prices are very far apart (I got my S52 for about $13,000 less than I would have paid for an S54 coupe). A great deal of this is due to the rarity of the S54 vs the S52. Far fewer S54 coupes were built (although there are not exactly a lot of S52 coupes around either compared to Boxsters, etc). To a lesser degree, some of the price gap is of course due to the fact that an S54 is a newer year model than an S52.

I found an S52 coupe that someone had already put the 3.73 diff into, so the 0 to 60 performance of my S52 is probably equal to or better to any stock S54 coupe (opinion only, since I have never drag raced an S54). However, the S54 has a higher redline and consequently a higher top end speed than my S52. But for me, I had to honestly ask myself if I ever really expect to exceed 137 mph, even on the track. Probably not. On the track, its mostly about accelerating madly out of one corner and then quickly decelerating into the next corner. For this, the S52 with the 3.73 rear end seems well suited. (Some day, I hope to put a 6 speed in it.)

My S52 also serves as my daily commuter and it will probably have 100K miles on it before it gets retired to a weekend toy, so I also appreciated the fact that the S52 engine enjoyed a better reputation for long term wear than the S54.

Having said all of this (and with a slight bias because I own an S52), I would still love to have an S54 mostly just for its rarity and uniqueness (is that a word?). And to be able to watch people's reaction when you tell them how much horsepower it has. Apples to apples, the S54 is a cooler car than the S52. But given the large price difference, its not apples to apples. You will have to ask yourself if it is $12K+ cooler and if that price tag is worth it to you. And, for me, I would be less inclined to use an S54 as a daily commuter than an S52 mostly due to its rarity. Of course, if the right S54 coupe came up for sale, I would probably mortgage my house to buy it. ;-)
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  #6  
Old 12-03-2004, 09:55 AM
rader rader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcoupe
That extra power is extremely tempting, but do I really need it for everyday street use?
"need" is a very subjective word

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  #7  
Old 12-03-2004, 09:58 AM
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fpa1974 fpa1974 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TR6
I found an S52 coupe that someone had already put the 3.73 diff into, so the 0 to 60 performance of my S52 is probably equal to or better to any stock S54 coupe (opinion only, since I have never drag raced an S54).
Probably not since you will need a shift to third to get to 60mph with a 3.73. (on S52s). If not for the shift you would be probably correct. The nice thing about the S54 is that it can still get to 60mph with a 3.73 in 2nd.

Florian
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  #8  
Old 12-03-2004, 10:15 AM
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rlcanon rlcanon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcoupe
What about the issues with S54 engine failure? How serious is it?

...a welded piece in the rear breaking off. How serious is this?
An oil analysis gives you pretty good insight to the current health of an S54 as far as the bearing failure issue goes. The torn dif mount/subfloor is more of an issue across the Z3 range. I believe the Ireland Engineering or other poly subframe bushings will go a long way toward preventing the problem, but if it doesn't there are several well documented repairs to serve as models if the time comes. Randy Forbes is getting it down to a science and produces an end result that is truly drool worthy!

In any case, M coupes are such cool cars you won't regret getting one, no matter which flavor it is!
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2004, 10:31 AM
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ANY M car is great and you will not regret it.

And yes, while 0 - 60 will suffer due to the extra shift, for most driving, the S52 with 3.73 will be great. Of course with an S54 you can still drop in the 3.73.

Or for the really nuts, there is a BMW 4.10 LSD diff setup for E30s.

In my mind the big thing is the HUGE price difference, which pays for a lot of tweaking and modding. But if you want a box stock car, either one is fine also.
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2004, 12:54 PM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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Thanks for all the input guys. I took the plunge and got me a 99 Metallic Blue M Coupe with 12k miles. It's from a FL Ford dealer of all places. Once I get it shipped to CA, I'll have a certified mechanic take a through look along with smog test.
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  #11  
Old 12-15-2004, 01:03 PM
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Mpire Mpire is offline
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Where in FL?
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  #12  
Old 12-15-2004, 01:13 PM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpire
Where in FL?
Ft. Myers
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  #13  
Old 12-15-2004, 01:18 PM
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I think there are a couple guys down there. Might want to see if anyone wants to go check it out.
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  #14  
Old 12-15-2004, 07:41 PM
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eVal eVal is offline
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Just FYI, there are other differences between the various years of the car - ie DSC vs ASC, etc. I'm sure a full list has been posted several times so a search might answer that for you if you are interested.

In any case I'm sure you'll be happy with your Coupe whichever you end up with
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  #15  
Old 12-15-2004, 09:52 PM
MDork MDork is offline
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where are you in CA?
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  #16  
Old 12-16-2004, 07:42 AM
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kevjandon kevjandon is offline
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How much are they asking for a 99 with 12K miles? Curious.
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  #17  
Old 12-16-2004, 08:23 AM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MDork
where are you in CA?
I live in Tri-Valley area. Who knows for how much longer though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevjandon
How much are they asking for a 99 with 12K miles? Curious.
$23k and change. From all the internet searching, it seemed like a good price. My current ride is a 01 330i 5-sp with sport, and premium package. My out of pocket expense shouldn't be too bad after selling it.
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2004, 03:34 PM
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Sounds like a pretty good deal. I don't know how much shipping will cost you, but I'm guessing in the end the cost will be pretty close to what I'm selling my car for. But since I don't know where the TriValley area is, I guess you are not very close to me in the LA area. Enjoy, you made a good choice, assuming it's a sound car .
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2004, 07:58 PM
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Sounds like a resonable price if it is what you described. This is the time of year to drive rag tops in Fl. A nice air conditioned coupe would be more enjoyable in the summer here. IMHO

For Bob
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  #20  
Old 12-17-2004, 02:25 AM
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SHIP????

Heck man, ROAD TRIP.
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  #21  
Old 12-17-2004, 09:16 AM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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After researching this forum (and few others), it seems like the easiest fix to the subframe issue is to replace the stock bushing with Ireland Engineering ones, beef up the diff mount ear (welding on few L brackets should work, or adding 2 more ears), and turning spot welds to continueous welds. Does this sound about right?
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  #22  
Old 12-19-2004, 07:51 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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Well the BEST fix right now seems to be the Randy Forbes job.

And even that is not yet long term proven. Only time will tell. Anythng less may or may not work as well.
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  #23  
Old 12-19-2004, 10:55 AM
MDork MDork is offline
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very cool...another bay area coupe! saw an imooola red coupe on my way out to half moon bay....im spoiled seeing a coupe almost every day out here!
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  #24  
Old 12-19-2004, 11:56 AM
6i9 6i9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcoupe
After researching this forum (and few others), it seems like the easiest fix to the subframe issue is to replace the stock bushing with Ireland Engineering ones, beef up the diff mount ear (welding on few L brackets should work, or adding 2 more ears), and turning spot welds to continueous welds. Does this sound about right?
If you consider all that "easy..."
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  #25  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:13 AM
Mcoupe Mcoupe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6i9
If you consider all that "easy..."
Compared to what Randy Forbes is doing, yeah it's easy.
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