Painted Wheels

[adsense_id=”4″]Recently there were some discussions on the Z3 message board regarding painting wheels. In response to that discussion I went through my Z3 photo collection looking for photos people may want to see in regard to wheel color and/or painting. In this first photo the owner found some aftermarket wheels that already matched the color of his car (no painting required).

Okay it’s not really painting, but chroming wheels is another way to change the look of your stock wheels. In my opinion chrome adds to the retro look of the Z3, this picture jumped out at me as I was going through my collection because the white and chrome combination looked so good.

If I owned a white Z3 (and someday I may), I would consider painting the wheels white just like this M owner has. The white on white look is fantastic (in my opinion). It reminds me of the early 80’s Porsche 944’s that apparently had a white wheel option if you got the white exterior paint.

Not sure if it’s the quality of these photos or the specific lighting in these photos, but personally I would be after a more flat white look (but that’s just me chasing my memory of the old Porsche white wheels).

Now at the other end of the spectrum (sorry couldn’t resist that pun) we have black wheels. I’m sure this look is very hard to photograph, but these photos don’t appeal to me because you can’t make out any details of the wheels.

You can see more details of the wheel in this photo. Maybe its the matching black exterior paint but this photo makes the black wheels look better than the previous photo. Notice how the dark paint makes the disc brake stand out. Some red caliper paint would really stand out.

Activate Keyless Remote

I purchased a 1997 Z3 1.9 roadster in June and only received one keyless entry remote, even though it came with two sets of keys. Two weeks ago, I was searching for another remote, and found that if I were to purchase a keyless remote (part # 82 11 1 469 448) at a BMW dealership, it would cost around $120. Also, if I wanted to have the remote activated, so that it would operate on my vehicle, it would cost an additional $70. For all us BMW owners out there, doesn’t it seem a bit odd that you bought a $30,000 sports car, and yet BMW still feels free to charge excessive amounts of money for relatively simple things. Activating a keyless remote is a simple thing. To make a long story short, I managed to buy a copy of the instructions, on how to activate or deactivate the keyless remote, for $7. I feel that something so simple (and actually pretty fun), should not cost $70. It all boils down to highway robbery. I know that this works on a ’97 Z3, and with a keyless remote part # 82 11 1 469 448, so, without further adieu, here are the instructions for activating a keyless remote on a BMW. FOR FREE!!!!

Each remote transmitter has a unique identification (ID) code. In order for a replacement remote to operate your security system, or to delete the ID code from a lost remote, you must follow the procedures detailed below so that your system’s control module will learn/delete the desired ID code(s). This code-learning initialization procedure must be followed precisely within the sequence and time constraints specified, in order for the procedure to be carried out successfully.

Preparation

1. Close all doors, trunk, and hood.

2. The security system must be in “disarm” mode. The key must be removed from the ignition key slot.

Enter Code-Learning Mode

3. Open the trunk and leave it open.

4. Open the driver’s door and sit in the driver’s seat.

5. Close the driver’s door.

6. Cycle the ignition switch five times between the “off” position and position 2 (ignition “ON”, all dash warning lamps will illuminate). The red status LED will illuminate continuously, and the siren will “chirp” once, to indicate that the code-learning mode has been initiated.

DO NOT START THE ENGINE

The ignition switch cycling in step #6 must be performed within ten seconds.

The sequence in steps #1-6 must be performed within 45 seconds.

Registering/Delete ID Code(s)

7. Open driver’s door, (remain seated in driver’s seat)

8. Close driver’s door.

9. Press and release any button on the remote you wish to register into the system. The status LED will shut off momentarily to indicate that one ID code has been registered.

10. Repeat steps 7 through 9 to register the remaining three ID codes.

Exiting Code-Learning Mode

11. Open driver’s door, and exit from vehicle, leaving the door opened.

12. Close trunk.

13. Close driver’s door. The LED will turn off and the siren will “chirp” twice.

14. The initialization procedure is now completed, test all remotes to confirm operation.

It is possible for the system to memorize a total of four different ID codes. As a new code is initialized into memory, the oldest code in memory is automatically deleted. If you had lost your remotes and wished to delete the lost remote ID codes from memory, you could initialize the ID code from a newly purchased replacement transmitter four times thereby deleting the previous ID codes from system memory.

If you have any questions, I can be reached at KitIson1985@aol.com.

1998 1.9 100,000 mile report

“This little four-pot BMW is all the sports car I need.”, Road & Track, March 1999.

Our 5/98 1.9 recently hit 100k miles. At the time of purchase, deciding between an 2.8 and an 1.9 was difficult. Well, after exactly forty months of ownership, I’m pleased to reflect that, for a myriad of reasons (most anticipated, a few not), choosing an 1.9 has best fulfilled our requirements as a fun *tool* as opposed to a less practical *toy*. I knew it didn’t have much power beforehand, of course. However, it’s turned out to do everything else sooo well…Surpassing my overall expectations. In fact, my only real gripe about the decision is having to look at those Z-Stars…Urgh!

No major problems/repairs, as of yet. Tho, a cracked upper radiator hose left Mrs BMV stranded once. It still has original battery, brakes, clutch, and top.

Not my first, second, nor, presumably, last BMW…Neither the sportiest (R65LS), nor best (E30 325e) BMW…Just simply and unequivocally the most FUN!

Nonetheless, being a finance guy, the following #’s & $’s provide a better synopsis.

100,003 miles

89,344 mi. – from OEM front ‘Pilots; last 38,749 while mounted on back.

49,595 mi. – from OEM rear ‘Pilots.

$47,049.76 = total expenditures.

$32,545 = MSRP = $29,425 Base + $1,150 Leather + $750 Power Top + $500 Heated Seats + $150 Chrome Trim + $570 Destination.

$30,840 = purchase price, incl. $100 *tip*.

$20,046.98 = accum employer auto allowances –> *tool*.

$16,209.76 = accum oper & ‘admin’ expenses (defined below).

$8.949.66 = accum operating exp of gas, oil-related, parts & accessories, service/repair, tools, and club memberships

$7,260.10 = accum ‘admin’ exp of taxes, fees & insurance.

$5,842.05 = gas exp; 3,429.627 gals @ $1,703 avg px; 90.30 ‘composite’ octane rating.

$3,837.22 = allowances minus expenses.

3,429.627 – # of gals pumped.

$2,560.34 = $1,416.68 parts & accessories + $596.65 service/repair + $248.10 tools/books + $161.34 car care + $137.57 clubs dues.

1,217 – # of days to reach 100k mi.

$547.27 = oil changes + samplings.

426 – # of trips to the gas station.

421.0 miles – furthest range on single tank; 11.686 gals.

$201.15 = accum BMW CCA discounts (only $2.25 from impulse item).

$112.57 = prorated BMW CCA dues.

85 – # of tankfuls ranging 300-349mi., 12+1x 350-399mi., 3x 400+mi.

~82.2 miles – avg distance driven each day, everyday.

30 – # of oil filter changes.

29.693mpg – current incremental mpg, since Dinan CAI & StageII and Bosch Plat +4’s

29.159mpg – overall mpg, Life-To-Date = 100,003mi / 3,429.627gals.

28 – # of oil changes.

$22.30 = fuel savings from +4’s over 18,570 mi., vs. $25.88 cost.

2 – very happy owners!

$0.27 = cost per mile, if we’re to give away tomorrow.

$0.099-$0.128 = net cost per mile using KBB.com estimates of $17,095 private resale (LOL!) & $14,205 trade-in, respectively.

Statement of Cash Flows (‘freestyled’ Direct Method)

CFO

$20,046.98 – auto allowances

($16,209.76) – oper & admin expenses

$3,837.22 = Cash Flow from Operations

CFI

($30,840.00) – orig purchase price

$14,205.00 – value using more realistic kbb.com trade-in estimate

($16,635.00) = Cash Flow from Investments

CFF

$0.00 = Cash Flow from Financing

===========================

($12,797.78) = Net

BMW Z3 Wacky Gas Gauge

One of the most consistent failures in the BMW Z3 is the gas gauge. I’ve heard different excuses as to why the gas gauge fails, but rather than pretend to be an engineer or parts inspector let me just share with you some observations I have made regarding my wacky gas gauge.

Let me start by saying I never had a problem during my first year of ownership. But others were having problems during that time so I heard a lot of speculation regarding what caused the failure and I got to see what BMW’s fix was for those under warranty. I can almost pin-point the exact time mine started acting up. I was refueling and for some reason, when the gas pumped stopped I squeezed the pump trigger one more time. I don’t know why I did it, I had been warned not to yet for some reason I did it.

It was long afterwards I saw the gas gauge do its first flip-flop dance between empty and full. The error was initially intermittent, but over time it has become very consistent. Now mine always (and I do mean always) does its dance between empty and full right after I refuel. This will continue until I travel roughly 30 miles, I’ve never noticed the problem beyond the first 30 miles of a tank. Couple months ago I decided to try an experiment, instead of refilling until the pump clicks off I started buying my gas in $10 increments (never filling the tank all the way). The gas gauge never did its dance during the 4 or 5 tanks that I did the $10 thing. So at least in my case, these observations seem to back up the theory that the failure is related to the sending unit. I’ve learned to live with it, but learn from my experiences and resist the urge to squeeze that gas pump trigger again once it clicks off.

I have made the decision to live with it rather than have it fixed because I am not comfortable with the “fix”. To get to the sending unit BMW has to cut the carpet behind the passenger seat. Then they have to hook a hose and drain the gas tank (hopefully without leaving your interior smelling like gasoline). If you look behind the right hand seat you can see a seam in the carpet, this is where they will make the cut. Once the sending unit is replaced the carpet is glued back down. Sounds simple enough but I have seen more than one Z3 after this fix where the carpet flap has come unglued and ends up looking like a bad toupee. It also appears the new sending units are not necessarily any more reliable than the original ones.

I’ve owned my M roadster over four years now and my refueling habits are fairly consistent. I’ll usually refuel before the low fuel light comes on, if I push it and the low fuel light comes on then pull off at the next available gas station. I use my trip odometer to measure distance on a tankful, and on average it usually says around 240 miles since my last refueling and it will take around 12 gallons to fill the tank back up.

One day after work I pushed it a too far, the engine sputtered then quit. I zig-zagged a little and got another second or two of runtime before it quit for good. Luckily I was going downhill at the time so I managed to coast into the gas station and right up to the pump. I got lucky, and this provided me with an opportunity. I now know it takes 13.3 gallons to fill a completely empty tank. I started taking notes after that and refilling at different points on my gas gauge. It takes 8.9 gallons to fill a tank that my gauge indicates is half empty. 12.3 gallons to fill a tank right after the low fuel light comes on. I will continue to take measurements at various points on my fuel gauge and update this page.

One last final note: Remember that my fuel gauge has problems so my measurements may not be typical of most Z3s.

Stopping Brake Squeaks

For some reason I associate brake squeak with old junker cars. It was embarrassing for me when my Z3 started making those annoying high pitched squeaks every time I came to a stop sign. After some research the solution was cheap and easy.

The first thing I learned was that I misunderstood what brake squeaks were. I thought it was the friction between the brake pad and the disc that caused the squeak. Turns out that most brake squeaks are from the brake pad moving around and rubbing against the caliper.

I had heard of anti-brake squeak stuff before but I always dismissed it because I thought anything between the brake pad and the rotor was a temporary solution at best since it would wear away quickly. Once I learned this stuff was for the back of the brakes everything made since. The guy at the NAPA store laughed and said “can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this stuff used on the wrong side”. NAPA’s CRC Brake Disc Quiet was roughly $3 a bottle, and it was more than enough for two cars.

It comes out as a thick rubbery goo, and dries in about 10 minutes. Once dry, simply reinstall the brake pad then wipe down the excess red goop that squeezes out. It’s a little messy, but you’re probably wearing rubber gloves when working with brake pads anyway.

Once installed the difference was night and day, no more brake squeaks.

Changing Brake Pads In My BMW

The very first step is verify that you have a 7mm allen wrench, it wasn’t part of my little allen wrench kit so I had to make a quick run to the local hardware store. While you are there you may want to also pick up some rubber gloves. As you know the stock brakes spread break dust everywhere. Once I had the right tool for the job replacing the pads was pretty easy.

The first (and possibly hardest) step was getting the car up on a jack and jack stand. Especially considering the BMW M roadster does not come with a jack. Once that small task was done and the wheel was removed the rest was fairly easy.

If you are working with the right rear wheel or the left front wheel there will be a brake sensor (blue arrow). This sensor is clipped into a notched out area of the brake pad. Get your fingers as close to the brake sensor as possible and wiggle-pull it free.

The next step is to remove the retaining spring. I used a few choice curse words to aid in its removal, you will want to squeeze and push in on the clip (red arrows) while lifting and pulling out on the back (yellow arrows).

On the back side of the brake, there are two plastic caps that cover the 7mm hex bit guide screws. The plastic caps can be pulled off with your hands, they are snapped into a rubber housing. Once the caps are out of your way use the 7mm allen wrench to remove the guide screws. The screws should be completely removed.

The only thing holding the brakes in place now is brakes themselves. If you are having trouble working the caliper free apply constant even pressure on the brake piston by pull on the outside of the brake (use caution – remember your car is up on a jack and jack stand). You are not going to be able to compress the piston with a single yank, just use medium sustained pressure and you will feel the piston loose pressure and release. It took me about 40 seconds of medium pressure for this to happen.

Once the caliper is removed, replace the inner and outer brake pad. The inner brake pad is clipped into the brake piston, pull straight out to remove.

The outer brake pad was just kind of stuck there. Note the sticky stuff on the stock outer brake pad, if the new pads you are installing do not have this you will probably want to take a look at my Stopping Brake Squeaks article.

Once you have the new pads in place, you may have to put some more pressure on the piston in order to reinstall the brake caliper since the new brake pads should be thicker than the worn ones you just removed. The rest of the installation is just retracing the steps you took to remove the caliper.

TWO VERY IMPORTANT NOTES: You will need to pump your brake pedal several times to get pressure back to the brakes. Use extra caution the first time you drive after replacing the pads.

When new, brake pads have a slightly rounded surface that ensures once broken in you get a maximum contact patch. But until they get fully broken in you are concentrating the friction to a smaller patch. This means that when brand new the friction/heat is in a smaller area so you should avoid overheating the rotors.

Porterfield Brake Pads

Pros: Possibly Better Performance, Almost No Brake Dust Mess
Cons: Initial Brake Squeal, but Easily Fixed
Cost: $94 Front, $75 Rear from MyRoadster.net

After 60,000 miles on the stock brake pads I assumed I was getting close to needing to change them. I’ve been pleased with the performance of the stock BMW brake pads, but the brake dust was always a mess. The photo to the right is for real, this is how my wheels usually look. I wanted to find some replacement pads that offered equal performance but without all the brake dust mess.

The Porterfield brand caught my attention, it appeared it may be what I was looking for. MyRoadster.Net carried the Porterfield brand so I asked some questions via their info@myroadster.net address. I learned that Porterfield makes three different kinds of brake pads depending on your needs.

* R-4 for track use only

* R-4S for street and light competition

* R-E for endurance racing events

The “Porterfield R4-S Carbon/Kevlar Street Brake Pads” matched my needs, and the feature list impressed me.

* Low Dust

* Light Pedal Effort

* Rotor Friendly

* High Friction, Hot or Cold

* Low Wear Rate

* Fastest Stopping Road Pad Available!

* Friction Coefficient:

* OEM: Between .2 and .3

* Porterfield: .4

* Temperature Tolerance:

* OEM: 500-700 degrees F

* Porterfield: 1,100 degrees F

After installing the pads (see ///MZ3.Net’s brake pad installation article for details) I resisted the urge to make any judgements until I knew the pads were really broken in. I was also cautioned to avoid excess hard breaking during this initial period. When new, brake pads have a slightly rounded surface that ensures once broken in you get a maximum contact patch. But until they get fully broken in you are concentrating the friction to a smaller patch. This means that when brand new the friction/heat is in a smaller area so you should avoid overheating the rotors. At least that’s how a BMW tech explained it to me, it wasn’t something specific to the Porterfield brand, just a general caution for all new brake pads.

8,000 Mile Update: How does the saying go, if I knew then what I know now….

I put up with the stock brakes and their mess for 60,000 miles. From my experience, the Porterfield R4-S brakes offer at least equal performance (maybe even a little better) but with almost no brake dust mess. That was exactly what I was looking for so I am very happy with the Porterfield R4-S pads brakes. My only complaint with them was some initial brake squeal, but that was easily fixed (see Stopping Brake Squeaks article for details). For the cost ($94 front, $75 rear) and backed with MyRoadster.Net’s money back guarantee, the Porterfield R4-S pads seem to be what most Z3 owners should be looking for when either they need to replace their stock pads, or are just fed up with cleaning up after the BMW pads.

Veilside Z3

Owner: Khalifa Cobra

The body kit is from Veilside, the hardtop and rear wing are from Hamann Motorsport Hardtop II, the exhaust Muffler is from a german tuning company called G-Power.

Chrome Roll Hoops

Pros: Look Really Good, Easy to Install, Half the price of the AC Schnitzer.
Cons: Doesn’t work with the BMW windscreen.
Cost: $595 from MyRoadster.net

I’ve always enjoyed the chrome (actually polished stainless steel) roll hoops on my Z3, but the AC Schnitzer price (ouch). For those Z3 owners that are looking to replace the stock (black) BMW hoops, but cringed at the AC Schnitzer price, MyRoadster.net offers similiar polished roll hoops for much less money.

The shape of these roll hoops are slightly different than the stock BMW hoops and the AC Schnitzer hoops. MyRoadster.net’s design is more round on top and much thicker. They remind me of the Audi TT roll hoops, very sporty. 60mm or 2.4 inch diameter (compared to approx 50mm on the Schnitzer design). With a wall thickness of 2mm or .08 inches. The installation of these roll hoops is nearly identicle to the AC Schnitzer hoops (installation instructions). Three torx 40 bolts hold the hoops in place, the installation is surprisingly easy the only non-standard tool needed is a torx 40 driver (I found one at my local hardware store).

The difference between the installations is the (gasket like) rubber rings at the bottom of the roll hoops. The rubber rings are partly for cosmetic reasons, but they also make sure you don’t end up with metal on plastic rattles. Installing the rubber rings was a little confusing. There is a slit in the rubber ring, its designed to slip on over the end of the roll hoop. That installation isn’t as easy as it sounds but the design is better than the Schnitzer solution (at least the ones I received).

MyRoadster.net also provides roll hoops to Z3Solution.com, you can purchase from either vendor and end up with the same high quality product at nearly half the price of the AC Schnitzer brand.