BMW Z3 Roadster

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ventucky Red, Oct 2, 2020.

  1. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nephew is looking at one of these and asked my advice on them... which I know absolutely nothing about these scooters..

    I think he said it was a 1999 with the four cylinder, manual, with under 60K miles on the clock.. The gal selling is the second owner and from the pics he sent it appears to be good shape and she has some detailed records.. she is asking $7,500 for it and said that he is the first youngster she has neet in a long time that knew how to dive a stick... it pays to be a cool uncle...

    I ask here as the kid has been working his arse of to earn the money to buy a car and I don't want to see him buy a money pit.. I would prefer that he buy a Toyota Corolla et al, but you know kids and cool cars..

    Advice?
     
  2. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I’ve been having a midlife crisis for 20 years. Your nephew is smart to start young, it’s a great ride.

    That low of miles on a car like that? It’ll be fun, have its issues, but sounds like a good value to me. No it won’t be as reliable as a Corolla but nobody dies wishing they’d bought more boring cars or spent more time in the office.
     
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  3. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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  4. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Seems pretty pricey for a 21-yr old Bimmer. I'd think it would be a few grand less unless it's just pristine and had way below market miles.
     
  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    With under 60k miles that’s way below market miles, and I’m assuming it’s in good shape with so few miles...
     
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  6. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I’d spend the money on a more recent vintage Miata. Less likely to break, and if it does far cheaper to fix.
     
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  7. rtk11

    rtk11 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I bought my nephew a BMW 318ti many years ago and I spent a fortune even doing most of the wrenching myself. A BMW is not cheap to own, even older ones. Parts are still expensive. If he's OK with that, and can put away money for any repairs, the BMW Z3 can be a fun vehicle.

    A more modern sporty little car might work better, like the Miata that Steingar mentioned. Mechanically simple and plenty of them around and in wrecking yards to get parts for it. Alternatively, he can go older also where there's less electronic assistance and it will make it a much easier car for him to learn to work on. I bought my son a Porsche 944 to learn to wrench on and for him to learn to drive a manual transmission vehicle with. He thinks its the best thing since sliced bread...
     
  8. MarkH

    MarkH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I love those old Zs, and (in my opinion) the manual 4 banger was the best.

    For $7500, it better be absolutely cherry. 60k miles is as suspect as it is beneficial, it would have to be a garage queen that has records showing that it was driven at least a couple thousand miles a year for the last 5 years.

    Some things I would look for first: I would want to see a repair history at that price, in that history look for plastics. Radiators killed more than few of those, if the plastic radiator has not been replaced with an all metal unit then it needs to be. Cracked rear differential subframe (all of the straight 6s cracked this, most of the 4s did too). The suspension on those is amazing but after if the rubber bushings have not been replaced then they need to be. Plan on a shiftier rebuild if it has not been done.

    Everything on that list is negotiable, but I would not pay $7500 for one with any of those problems. Replacing the top is expensive and labor intensive (keep that in mind if the to is in any way questionable).

    I'd point him toward a Miata or something else less bad plastic era German, but if you are buying a 1999 BMW, that is probably the easiest one to maintain (even if that is a bar so low that you can take the subway over it).
     
  9. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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  10. NJP_MAN

    NJP_MAN Pattern Altitude

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    Get it and cram an 2J into it. 1100 HP and that will be a certified ripper.
     
  11. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    I had one. Better interior, worse exterior.

    No.
     
  12. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    I had a '93 325i. Best car I ever owned. A Z3 with the 6 cyl engine is one of the very few cars I still wistfully think about....

    Having said that, the advice to look for a Miata instead is dead on point.
     
  13. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Ugly.

    And slow.
     
  14. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I knew a guy who worked for the company I did at the time (Tandem Computers) who lived in Germany. Pronounced BMW as B M TroubleU. He did not think highly of their reliability. This was in 1987, so take it for what it's worth. What did he drive? A Subaru. I had one of those, a 1974, back in the day. It wasn't too reliable, either. You pays your money, you takes your chances.
     
  15. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    M Coupe with the S54 :drool:
     
  16. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    Only if you like something that’s always broken. :)

    The engines in the M cars were all junk back then as far as reliability and durability go. But the normal engines back then were decent.
     
  17. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Just another anecdotal data point... '93 E36 325i 6-cyl went 235k miles before the central NYS salt ate it, and the engine was bulletproof....still running and driving beautifully. The car had 60k on it when I bought it, and I put the rest on it. Only things I had to do over its lifetime were the usual maintenance things..brakes, fluids, rear suspension, water pump, alternator, and one coil pack. In the 170k I drove it, it left me stranded exactly once. Overall, it was the cheapest (paid $8500 for it used from a Mercedes dealership) most reliable fun-to-drive car I've ever owned. They were simpler back then, and made for drivers. Times have changed...
     
  18. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait

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    I think thats the issue. BMW, and most car manufactures, started really pushing lightweight and cheap in the 2000's. Lots of plastic bits that really should be metal, at least in the 2012 BMW 335i I had.
     
  19. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Pattern Altitude

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    Yep. A good friend of mine recently bought a new car...and not one I would have recommended, but that doesn't matter. He excitedly told me, "You know what sold me in this car and what I love the most? It has a usb port that I can plug a flash drive into with my tunes on it!" I love the guy, but he probably represents most customers these days. Manufacturers have figured out that they can sell expensive cars by adding gizmos that cost them almost nothing, while cutting corners on areas where quality does matter for longevity, especially in trim material.
     
  20. MyDimeIsUp

    MyDimeIsUp Pre-Flight

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    My 2013 Audi allroad is opposite. Metal front skid plate and "diffuser", metal surrounds on the window switches, power seat functions, and the knobs. The door trim and center console trim are all aluminum (and it is cold to the touch when it gets cold). Where there is plastic, its all soft-touch. The 80s - 2000s, the plastic was ugly and overdone agreed. Not anymore though 2013+ (for German cars that is).
     
  21. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    “nobody dies wishing they’d bought more boring cars or spent more time in the office”

    S65 will always by my favorite bmw engine though.
     
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  22. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait

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    I was more talking about plastic oil pans, water pumps buried deep in the engine or fuel pumps.
     
  23. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    Well played! :)

    But somewhere in there is a balance between interesting and so interesting you never drive it. I ran V12 Jaguars as my daily drivers for a long time. Strong motors so long as you didn’t overheat them.

    But the BMW engines they started putting in M cars in the late 90s routinely need rod bearings before 100k miles, which if you’re buying a used one isn’t a good thing.
     
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  24. MyDimeIsUp

    MyDimeIsUp Pre-Flight

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    Ah that to yes. The new Gen 3 EA888 engines use plastic oil pans on the GTIs and water pumps are buried under the intake manifold. I'd say though with that, the engines are much more reliable. The B8.5 and B9 generation of Audis and other VW/Audi that use the 2.0T have no more timing chain tensioner problems, intake manifold flaps, intake valve carbon build up, PCV problems. German car engines seem to be so good, Toyota is using BMW engine in the Supra and when asked why, its because they said the BMW engine passed Toyota's reliability testing.

    Though lets also not forget the timing chain job on the N20 BMW engine where you can only see via the upper timing chain cover. You just pull the chain out with the guides and slide the guides and chain back in blindly.
     
  25. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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  26. MyDimeIsUp

    MyDimeIsUp Pre-Flight

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    Scotty Kilmer is, while I hate to sound like such a Gen Z, stuck in the past of carburetors and big blocks. Check out the discussions mechanics have about Scotty. Plastic is coming and if made correctly, a better and cheaper replacement. There is also a replacement for displacement. He also put a compression fitting on a brake line. That is gonna blow given the pressure in brake lines and you’ll be stuck without it brakes while driving. I’ve learned not to listen to him after my grand pop, who’s been working on cars for 50 years and still works on cars that require coding and computer software said he’s full of crap about cars now days.

    To that point, I’d love to have a 54-57 Caddy or 57 Chevy with a small block 283

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2020
  27. Arbiter419

    Arbiter419 Cleared for Takeoff

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    For reference, in central PA I paid $8k for a 100k miles 2007 Z4. Black with a black top, premium package options, 3.0l inline six with a six speed. Great car, hasn't given me a lick of trouble. I expect I'll be able to sell it for around $9500 if I can wait for the right buyer. It is in wonderful condition, the miles shouldn't scare anyone too badly. $7500 sounds WAY high for a Z3 to me. Just wanted to throw a datapoint out there.

    If anyone near PA is looking for a great black/black manual Z4 with the big engine, PM me!
     
  28. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

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    As they say in the amateur sports car racing world, "The answer is always Miata." (I had two, and also two BMW 2002s). The BMW Z3 is fine when working and the Miata offers tons more reliability and maintenance affordability. The four-cylinders have reasonably comparable performance and if you want to have more fun, I strongly endorse www.FlyinMiata.com.
    Have fun!
     
  29. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    I have had 2001 Z3 with 6-cylinder 3.0 L engine, great car, manual, very few issues, right now at 78 K miles. 4 cyl?? really, I thought they were only 6 cyl. This '4 cyl' seems suspect to me.
     
  30. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted Management Council Member

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    They made 4-cyl ones. They weren’t very popular because of the fact that they were slow.

    I really enjoyed the Z4 I had. Even with the 3.0 it was too slow. I’d considered adding a supercharger to it but bought an E55 Kompressor internet.
     
  31. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    Actually there are a few of them on autotrader (low mileage cars) and this price doesn't seem out of line, it is actually quite reasonable (assuming the car is clean).

    You are right, I checked, there was 1.9l 4-cyl made, I personally would never get it, you can have 2.3 or 2.8 Z3s in the similar price range.
     
  32. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    All well and good, but asking and paying are two different things, especially with the 4-banger. It's not a terrible ride, but I can think of a lot better 2-seaters to have than the Z3 for the same or less money. To each their own!
     
  33. DanStrange

    DanStrange Ejection Handle Pulled

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  34. Dave Arata

    Dave Arata Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Having owned a used BMW, the best advice I could give anyone is NEVER own a BMW without a warranty. Some models are unnecessarily complicated and can cost a fortune to repair. I have no first hand experience with the Z3 and wouldn't want any. Count me in as another huge advocate of the Miata. I used to road race a Mustang that was incredibly well build for the American Iron series and those darned Miatas would hand me my shorts on an autocross course.