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new 2003 Z4 owner in Tampa Florida area

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Just purchased a new to me 2003 Z4 3.0i W/13,600 one owner miles.
It replaces a 1997 328i convertible I had only 4 months before an idiot totaled it.
Everything works, but I could use some advice for the future:
Anyone know a good independent service center in the Brandon area?
Any local Z4 owners who would like to get together and discuss what they like, what breaks and how to fix it, aftermarket parts they want to show off, etc. etc.
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Wow! 03 with under 14K? That is quite a find. Make sure all the fluids have been changed regularly. You may encounter the steering column issue which makes the rounds here constantly. There seems to be a temporary fix, or a new column($$$). Also, make sure to clean your top drains to prevent motor failure due to immersion.
Hi Larry,

Re: the blocked drain issue mentioned already - it can also leave you with a couple of inches of water in the battery compartment (in the trunk) which will also cause the amplifier in there to have a serious meltdown - if you've got the DSP amp (premium sound), that's about $1250 from the stealer for a new amp... check in the battery compartment soon just to see if there's any sign of minor leakage - the amp is pretty easy to take out, and if there's any green corrosion on the heatsink (which sits at the bottom), then the issue may be slowly building up and needs looking at asap even though there is no standing water. Hopefully all is good in there so all that you need to do is get on top of the maintenance/prevention of the roof drains and there's a tutorial on here. Also, check to see if your third brake light is cracked (our produciton year had a Service Bulletin for incorrect bolt/spring tension) - if cracked, it will also let water in the trunk and you need it sealed tight to handle the Florida summer storms! Search on here for the SB and it will give the part numbers for the new springs/washers. Let me know if you need help.

We bought our one-owner 2003 Z4 about 2.5 years ago when it also had about 13k miles on it. Because it was too old for CPO at that time, we got 30 days warranty on it. During that time, they had to fit a new MAF sensor (check engine light started coming on regularly once I started putting some miles on it - saved about $750). Also, the door seals had compressed so there was some whistling at high speed (I was being very fussy whilst having 30 days!) - they replaced them, but BMW do have shims available if you're paying and need to fatten 'em up a bit! I was worried about what else might need working on after the 30 days ran out, but nothing else needed doing that they hadn't done already (battery, fluids and a few belts). I'd check the belts & fluids just because standing around probably hasn't done them much good, and the heat in FL does you no favors with anything made of rubber!

Biggest thing that put a smile on my face was when the OEM Bridgestone tires were worn enough to justify replacing them - after a lot or research (and a desire to stay on run flats which is not everyone's choice), we ended up on the Michelin PS2 ZP's which completely transformed the Z... no more tramlining, a lot quieter and much tighter steering feedback - the difference was unbelievable and it was like a whole new car. Only (minor) downside is that the side-wall on the Bridgestone had a wide shoulder which almost overlaps the rim of the wheel giving you a lot of protection from kerbs. The Michelin doesn't have that so just watch those kerbs! Plenty of info on here if you want to move away from the run-flats.

If you start getting funky things going on with the electrics anytime soon, the battery is likely due for a change. It seems to affect things in lots of strange ways that you wouldn't necessarily expect... could be worth you looking at when yours was manufactured whilst you're in the trunk checking for water and maybe just change it out now if it's old (or even the original).

I live in Florida also (Sebastian) and the sun starts taking it's toll VERY quickly if you're parked outside at work during the day. My rubber mouldings around the windscreen are pretty much split everywhere now and I've got replacements on order. Also, the roof fades quickly in our heat, so get that UV protector spray all over it, or get a simple cover maybe - mine is garaged at home so it is just being parked up in the week that's killing it... our roof fabric is quite a few shades lighter than it was because I really can't be bothered with a cover every day! You can get the custom interior sun shade for about $50 from BMW and that is a must. Part Number is 82110417516. When I do park outside where there is no shade, I leave the Z parked facing into the sun with the interior sunshade in place - I figure it's a lot easier to replace the rubber mouldings on the front of the car than the rubber around the rear window.

Just one word of caution with the sun shade - it doesn't protect the rear-view mirror from the sun and after about 18 months of owning the car, the fluid bag leaked inside the auto-dim mirror so I'm adapting mine with a flexi section to go around the mirror. Fortunately, it didn't leak into the interior and I got the mirror repaired - there's a couple of places that do a good job for < $100 (instead of $500+ from BMW). If you do need any new parts, is a good place for a 20% discount - it's actually a dealer in another state. They do charge about $15 shipping so it's only worth it if you're spending > $80.

Few final things I've learned (some from here, some the hard way!) - the gas in FL is terrible - I now mostly fill up at Chevron (highest octane) and I buy a stock of the 20oz Techron additive when it is is BOGO at Advanced AutoParts (which is often!). I add a full 20oz bottle maybe every 4th tank and you do notice an improvement, especially if you've been using crappy gas. They usually have good offers on the Mobil 0-40 Euro blend oil too... and you can usually get a few freebie MANN or FRAM oil filters when you buy a few cases of the oil... you need 7 quarts on the change, and the MityVac 7201 is awesome for the oil changes given that you access the filter from the top. My Z4 is the 2.5 so please double check quantities etc for your 3.0!

I think that's about it for now. You'll love the Z4 - especially in Florida! Just stay on top of the few things mentioned and you should hopefully stay pretty much trouble free. No doubt with a 9 year old hardly used car, there will be a few teething items to take care of as well as the fluid/belts/roof drains now that it's being driven, but other than that you should hopefully be pretty much trouble free! I've never had the steering issues, so hopefully the intense sun is working in our favour for something - other than making batteries last for ever and making the car look great in photos!! Show 'em if u got 'em!!

Congrats!! Nick


Indy Shop

Just purchased a new to me 2003 Z4 3.0i W/13,600 one owner miles.
It replaces a 1997 328i convertible I had only 4 months before an idiot totaled it.
Everything works, but I could use some advice for the future:
Anyone know a good independent service center in the Brandon area?
Any local Z4 owners who would like to get together and discuss what they like, what breaks and how to fix it, aftermarket parts they want to show off, etc. etc.
Nice deal on the Z-4.:beerchug:
We trust our 2000 Z-3 and '03 525i to Europa Motor Works, 4309 W. Pearl Ave. Tampa, FL 33611 Phone is 813-839-4044. This independent shop services and specializes in BMW, Porsche, M-B and Volvos. Parts and labor are reasonably cheaper than the local stealers. They truly seem to appreciate Bimmers. The shop fixes the boo-boo correctly the first time & they back their work. They take the time to explain what's wrong, what it costs, your alternatives, plus they give you the old parts back & show you where the part failed. If you want to take the chance, tell 'em Gary West sent ya.:thumbs: Call and get on their mailing list as once or twice a year they send out some killer $$$$$ off coupons.
I trust 'em and that's the first auto repair shop to earn that bit of praise from me. :clap:
Having said that. check and for other shops. It's my understanding that there is an excellent shop in Brandon and another one in Zephyrhills although I've dealt with neither.
Check out the local BMW club at
Hope this helps.
BMW Repairs in Tampa

ALi at MOTORWORKS in South Tampa has the best prices for service. I have repaired our 325 and 535.
03 Z4 newbie....

Mikey here in TX and an '03 Z4 owner for almost five years. Currently 68,000 miles. Need battery? Interstate has one for $149, half the cost of BMW. Also the electronics do not have to be re-flashed by BMW. If you have the original tires, check closely for cracks.
BMW dealer could possibly tell you (by your Vin #) if the steering column was replaced under warranty. Seal your top with Raggtopp (online purchase only). Lift up your rear when entering the car as the seat bolsters wear out rapidly. Buy a repair manual from Haynes (cheap) or Bentley (pricey). Use Mann oil filters and BMW oil. Change at 7,500 miles, not 15,000 miles. Plugs are called lifetime but I replaced mine at 45,000 and they are damned expensive. Don't forget changing cabin filter under dash. Available at all auto stores. Consider K&N air filter for a liitle extra oomph and neato sound. Re-oil as directed.
Enuf for now? Enjoy.
I recommend Rennen Imports:
1917 W. Kennedy Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33606

Phone: 813-876-0606
Visit Website »

good honest guys. reasonble prices. I used to drive there from Valrico.
Shawn at Lutz Performance lives in Brandon, so you might get some insight from him (he's built himself a 600 whp__trubocharged Z3M Rdstr). Shawn is truly an artist with stainless tube & a TIG torch (the manifolds he creates are worthy of their own exhibit).

I'm an "old" Z3M owner (>10 years with the same two cars) but I'll very soon be "new" to an area near you! We should get of CO (certificate of occupancy) sometime around February. We'll be just a bit south of you, with a mailing address just outside of Parrish, FL. You can check for my references on here, if you want to consider bringing your car down to me.
Congratulations on the new ride! You are going to love it! :thumbup:
2003 z4

does anyone have the service bulletin numbers for the third brake light; the drain plugs on convertibles and the water in the trunk. I have had all 3. I am on my third motor for my convertible top (88000 miles); third replacement for the brake light; but I believe the water in the trunk is fixed for now. Thanks.:p
Third Brake Light Service Bulletin

Don't know if external links work on this forum or not, so paste the following into google: "S.I. B63 05 03" - you will get a link to a PDF as the first result on google - this PDF is a copy of the service bulletin and lists the part numbers for the springs/washers etc. My brake light spit down the middle (not where it is indicated on the bulletin) but also the top of the red plastic lens separated from the backing mount which is what caused the severe leaking prior to replacement.
Welcome to the club waywardhome ! I hope you have many miles of fun driving in your Z4 ! Enjoy !
I guess the warm reception and all the tips and help were too overwhelming for him; only one (1) single post, from more than a year ago.

I guess he won't be back, maybe another "idiot" came along...?

Welcome to the club waywardhome ! I hope you have many miles of fun driving in your Z4 ! Enjoy !
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