Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

UK forum for general and technical discussion about the Z3 roadster

Moderator: Gazza

Post Reply
User avatar
Gordon13
Joined: Tue 16 Sep, 2014 19:45
Posts: 58

  Z3 roadster 2.2i

Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Gordon13 » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 19:39

First post on this Forum so 'Hello'

I was pointed in this direction on the BMWland forum (my current car is an E61 ) as I am looking at getting a Z3 for 'nice days' use.

I've had the 2.2 suggested as a decent choice but is the 2.0 that much different? I don't think I need to go for a 2.8/3.0

Any common faults to be weary of, or 'must have' goodies I should be looking out for?

Any help is much appreciated.

Gordon
Image

User avatar
Davejue1
Joined: Sun 22 Sep, 2013 08:25
Posts: 1249

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Mansfield

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Davejue1 » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 20:19

Hi and welcome, don't dismiss to 2.8. It's no more expensive to run than a 2.2 and you'll have more fun which is what having a zed is all about.
Common faults. Lift the boot carpet and check the spot welds haven't failed as this is an expensive repair, they are very prone to heavy stone chipping to the front off the bonnet and the front bumper. The wing mirrors swivel but are common to snap inside and tend to be "bodged" back together as these can be expensive. The engines are bullet proof if looked after so try to get something with a decent history. Others will be along as I'm sure I'll have forgotten something. :)

Cheers
Dave
Image

"Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional!"

TR4man
Joined: Wed 24 Oct, 2012 14:34
Posts: 431

  Z4 coupe 3.0si
Location: Woore, Near Nantwich, Cheshire

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by TR4man » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 20:40


Brian4
Joined: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 19:02
Posts: 536

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Hinckley

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Brian4 » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 20:48

Hi and welcome from me as well, also got an E61.

Best advice is try as many as possible with differing engines. Read through some of the posts in the Z3 forum and the knowledge base and most faults and remedies will be there.

As it just a Weekend/fun car miles per gal is less important than smiles per gal.

The 2.2 is the facelift body with what is called the 'arse lift', fromm 1999/2000 onwards, Most will have leather seats, Sports and heated seats are more comfortable but there were not many more options to fit to them.

Options were:-
Cruise control - rare but can be fitted with correct BMW parts.
Headlight wash
Auto gearbox - great for lazy drives and quick acceleration.
Aircon - useful
Differing sound system with cassette player but I guess most will have been changed to a CD player or better.
Brian
3.0I Topaz Blue


2000 E36/7 Z3 3.0i
2016 F31 335d
2015 F21 118i

deni2s
Joined: Mon 25 Mar, 2013 22:02
Posts: 747

  Z3 roadster 2.8

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by deni2s » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 20:53

Try to get the car with roll hoops and hard top fitting kit installed as it will cost much more if you will want to add these later.

Make sure the car has heated seats. Check for leaking roof - that might be the problem as rubber sealants are very expensive and there was a problem getting them even from dealers at least in my country.

Keep in mind that original OEM headlamps are much more valuable that aftermarket, also OEM airfilter is better than most aftermarket filters (unless it is Gruppe M or Simota intake kit).

Heated windows, electric roof, cruise control, board computer, air con are nice options.

2.8 has sexy wider rear wheel arches, while 2.0 and 2.2 will have more decent looking facelift taillights. 2.8 (M52B28) engine has more tuning options than any other non-M engine if you will decide to go that way. Engine swaps are possible, but it's much better to get the car with the right engine from the beginning.

Z3 in my opinion is the car to keep, you will not want to sell it, if you will get a good example and will take care of it. I think cars with bigger displacement are more easy to sell if you decide to do that.

Brian4
Joined: Mon 19 Dec, 2011 19:02
Posts: 536

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Hinckley

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Brian4 » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 20:54

Here's a link to a page with the brochures on can find them on here.

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh ... rice-lists
Brian
3.0I Topaz Blue


2000 E36/7 Z3 3.0i
2016 F31 335d
2015 F21 118i

User avatar
TitanTim
Joined: Mon 23 Jun, 2008 19:56
Posts: 5488

  Z3 roadster 1.9i
Location: Stafford

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by TitanTim » Wed 17 Sep, 2014 21:39

The 2.2 was considered the best all rounder engine wise and argubly the best sounding, in all honesty prices are so rock bottom I would go for the 3.0 or if you want best handling the 1.9 :)

Z3s are pretty much bullet proof when cared for but like any car when negleted will show faults, my short list of things to look out for,

Vanos noise.
Clunk from the diff when selecting first or changing up through the box.
Boot spot welds popped and damaged diff bracket.
Boot wiring loom failure where it passes from body to bootlid.
Leaking hood, windscreen A pillar, rear of hood.
Water entering boot from failed boot brake light gasket (prefacelift) or failed aerial grommit.
Airbag failure light, damage to underseat connector.
Electric seat motor failure.
Seized calipers (E36 trait).
Corrosion to front and rear of sills and leading edge of bonnet (Uncommon).

Remember though the youngest cars will be 12 years old now so would expect to see one of the above problems unless its led a pampered low mileage life.

Tim.
Image
2001 Z3 1.9 Roadster Sport - 2012 Z4 sDrive 2.0 M Sport

bertiejaffa
Joined: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 10:28
Posts: 1725

  M roadster S50
Location: Manchester

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by bertiejaffa » Thu 18 Sep, 2014 00:48

As people say,

- Check the boot, literally lift the carpet and check the corners of the boot floor, if it's cracked or rusty walk away.
- As for the vanos, it's a cliche but if it sounds good then it probably is, a poor engine sounds like a dog
- Obviously check the car for leaks... Be mindful that the carpets have a vast amount of sound proofing in them And therefore they might feel dry on top but could be like a sponge underneath, the best place to check is in the boot battery well and the carpet behind the roll hoops under the back window - at the end of the day leaks are generally one of a number of things... And all detailed on this site but it's not something you want as your first experience.

As for the difference in models appearance (discounting the m version) the facelift of 1999 is explained in http://i624.photobucket.com/albums/tt32 ... Styles.jpg - there are obviously other changes but body wise that it pretty much the main one.

As for engine size, it's your choice... As has been mentioned before on this thread, the price and general mpg difference is minimal... Get what you like. I have a 2.0l and I have an M version and I can honestly say that they are both very different to drive and I honestly love the 2.0l as much as I love the m if for very different reasons.

These are great, under-rated cars... They are made by BMW for one, the engines are great, the looks are timeless (in my opinion) and they are a lot of car for your money.... If there is anything wrong with them most problems are well documented on here. Plus if you want to start improving them you can do easily. Some people prefer the original specs, some make minor changes, some make major changes. It is all your personal preference... I guarantee that whatever you do (or don't do) people on here will like it. The thing to remember is that the z used the same loom pretty much throughout and therefore even though your might not have a hardtop or heated seats or cruise control, the wiring is hidden away there waiting to be used if you wanted to.

As for the other stuff mentioned.... Some seats are leather some aren't, some are heated and some aren't... All seats are interchangeable if you want and if it is a only a summer car then do you need heated seats...? Air con (I think) is harder to retro fit but cruise control is very very easy to fit if you want it.... And as for hardtops, they were optional extras and these days you can still get them but you have to time the purchase right... In the spring you can pick up a hardtop with a fitting kit reasonably cheap, however come autumn you can easily pay 600-700 for the hardtop and another 300 for the fitting kit....

This is a forum and everyone has an opinion, for me southernboy, gookah, Robert t, Brian h and mike fishwick have been great at offering advise (that's not ruling out anyone else before anyone gets upset). I'm sure other people will offer opinions as well, but now is a great time to buy with the autumn drawing in... And believe me they are still a great drive on a crisp sunny winter day, top down and all wrapped up with the heater on full blast.

Enjoy
Here come the girls.....
Image
My //M Refurb
My First Zed Journal

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by lightning » Thu 18 Sep, 2014 08:31

The Z3 is currently a bargain, compared to similar cars.

I bought a 3.0 Sport in May, for less than a similar age Mazda MX5. The Mazda is a great fun car but the Z3 is a step up, and has more character.
On the larger engine versions you do need to check the boot floor for failed spot welds, as mentioned above. In order to do this you need to remove the tool tray, which involves removing a nut holding it to the boot floor.
You can use the spanner in the tool tray to remove it!

However this fault can now be repaired for around £300 so it's not the end of the world, if the car is otherwise good.

Cooper01
Joined: Tue 29 Apr, 2014 09:06
Posts: 152

  Z3 roadster 3.0i

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Cooper01 » Thu 18 Sep, 2014 12:27

Thumbs up for all that was said above.

Also, once the tyres get old and hard the car is susceptible to what we call 'tramlining'. You can read all sorts of posts about this. Generally, unless something is obviously wrong with the suspension a change of tyres will cure the problem and she'll drive like new again.

Cooper

User avatar
lightning
Joined: Tue 27 Nov, 2007 08:15
Posts: 814

  Z3 roadster 3.0i
Location: Stockport

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by lightning » Thu 18 Sep, 2014 22:07

Four new tyres will cost you around £500 if you go for a decent brand.

bertiejaffa
Joined: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 10:28
Posts: 1725

  M roadster S50
Location: Manchester

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by bertiejaffa » Thu 18 Sep, 2014 22:42

lightning wrote:Four new tyres will cost you around £500 if you go for a decent brand.
My 2.0l suffered with tramlining a lot (m versions don't as far as I have seen due to having many more robust fitments). However, for the mot last week I needed some new tyres and bought some Barum Tyres (bravuris 2 for the rear and bravuris 3) for the front - £380 total, (they are made by continental) and this week I have done 500 miles in the car with no tram lining at all... Hope this helps too
Here come the girls.....
Image
My //M Refurb
My First Zed Journal

User avatar
Gordon13
Joined: Tue 16 Sep, 2014 19:45
Posts: 58

  Z3 roadster 2.2i

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Gordon13 » Fri 19 Sep, 2014 17:12

WOW huge response, thanks to every one that responded. Lots more info to peruse.

Recon on a post 2000 car, 2.2,2.8 or 3.0. - I think that's right, im still a little rusty on the aray of engine choices.

Vanos seems to be the Achilles heel. Which were single and which were twin ? Easy fix ?

Thanks for the link TR4man, I had already found it though.

Tyres seem not too expensive, about half the price of the 5 's boots !!!!!!!

I will also be paying very careful attention to the boot welds and as with any soft top, water leaks.

Thanks for help its much appreciated.

Gordon
Image

Mike Fishwick
Joined: Fri 19 Jun, 2009 11:27
Posts: 1991

  Z3 roadster 2.8
Location: Daglan, France

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by Mike Fishwick » Sat 20 Sep, 2014 08:59

Don't forget that on the M54 engines - the 2.2 and 3 litre models - the DISA valve pivot pin can fall out and in some cases has wrecked an engine. See:

http://germanautosolutions.com/diy_tech ... it_diy.php

Do not buy a car without air conditioning, as it is really useful in hot weather with the roof down - really. It also provides instant demisting without turning the car into a mobile sauna.

Aircon and alternator belt tensioner roller bearings can get noisy, but are only about £25 for new ones.
A Z3 is not just for Christmas - it's for life!

User avatar
TitanTim
Joined: Mon 23 Jun, 2008 19:56
Posts: 5488

  Z3 roadster 1.9i
Location: Stafford

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by TitanTim » Sat 20 Sep, 2014 11:01

Agree on trhe aircon as mine doesn't have it :( although its not a great issue as its a winter car :) But on a baking hot day and you just fancy the hood up its pretty much unbearable. I guess though its something else less to go wrong as the cars age.

Tim.
Image
2001 Z3 1.9 Roadster Sport - 2012 Z4 sDrive 2.0 M Sport

bertiejaffa
Joined: Fri 26 Jul, 2013 10:28
Posts: 1725

  M roadster S50
Location: Manchester

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by bertiejaffa » Sat 20 Sep, 2014 12:15

I'll do my (better together - opposition) part here regarding aircon and say that I think its a nice to have - my 2.0l doesn't have it, M does. Personally I used it 3 times this year when it was blistering hot but didn't miss it in my 2.0l. Like everything else, it is all personal preference of course..

If you find it is too hot with the top down you aren't going fast enough :twisted:
Here come the girls.....
Image
My //M Refurb
My First Zed Journal

gIzzE
Joined: Mon 06 Aug, 2007 22:32
Posts: 169

  Not specified

Re: Z3 purchase. Pros & Cons?

Post by gIzzE » Sun 21 Sep, 2014 23:37

I have to say that I don't miss the aircon, my wife has had several cabs with air con and never really noticed it, and not noticed not having aircon at all until the other day, it was humid and a thunderstorm and we got in the car wet and the windows steamed up, took a bit longer to clear, normally it is seconds but needed to but the blower on full for a good 30 seconds or so.

But never felt I needed it in the summer, the blower is still pretty cold.

Personally I think the 2.8 is the best buy, then the 3.0i. I average over 30mpg in the 2.8i and I only use it when having fun. I used it going back and forth for work stuff and it was showing nearly 40mpg after 3/4 of a tank, but don't worry, caned it for the last 1/4 and got it back down to 35mpg. :D
But I find that amazing for that sort of car with a nice straight six petrol engine.

My old 535d only used to average 27mpg.


As a second car, get a 2.8, 3.0 or of course a 3.2 if funds allow, think of that like saving money too, the M's are appreciating now.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 4 guests