BMW Side Impact Protection

At BMW factory in South Carolina there is a Z3 Safety Shell Exhibit that shows off some of the design and technology BMW is using to make these cars as safe as possible. One of the improvements they are especially proud of is the yellow bar you see running horizontally across the door.

It looks simple enough but this bar is designed to protect the occupant by spreading the impact in front of and behind the driver. At the exhibit we were told that this could easily make the difference between walking away from an accident or not.

Okay forget marketing hype, Mike Dwyer saw this device work in real life. “I had someone run a red light and hit me directly on the drivers door at about 35mph. Only a few minor nicks for me, but the M roadster had the back left wheel tweeked and the total bill was almost $12k”

Looking at this picture you can see that the door was the impact zone. But notice the raised ridge (and picture that yellow bar from the safety shell exhibit).

Cleaning the Conforti Air Intake System

I’m a big fan of the Conforti Air Intake System, since installation the unit has not given me any trouble and has offered great performance (plus it sounds good). But the time had come to clean the filter. Thankfully cleaning this air intake is nowhere near as involved as cleaning the dinan air intake.

I simply unscrewed the bracket around the filter and then gave the filter a light tug. Once removed, I beat the dust off the filter with my hand then used water to flush it clean. I let it sit awhile to dry, then sprayed some more of that dust catching spray that came with the Conforti kit on the filter and reinstalled it. Later I was informed that soap and water is the recommended cleaning method.

While the filter was drying I looked at the area under the filer, there was a lot of sand and debris in there so I used a shop vac to clean up the area. Once everything was back together I went for a drive to see how much more power I could feel…. couldn’t tell a bit of difference, oh well cleaner is better anyway.

Chrome Gas Cap

This upgrade may be a bit too flashy for a lot Z3 owners, but for those owners with a chrome fettish (such as myself) MG Racing sells chrome Z3 gas caps. These are original BMW gas caps that have been chromed by MG Racing. Simple direct replacment for your stock gas cap, and installing it couldn’t be easier.

To install the MG Racing chrome gas cap, you will need about 10 minutes of time and a screw driver with a Torx-30 tip.

The gas cap is held/clamped in place with two torx-30 screws. The two holes in the support allow you access to the torx-30 screws. You don’t have to remove the screws, as the screw head are really just clamping/holding the gas cap on.

It took quite a bit of force to initially break the paint seal, I took this as a suggestion to use just as much force when I re-installed the chromed version.

There are two add-on parts that you will need to move from your stock gas cap to the new gas cap. There is a rubber bumper that slides out of place pretty easily. The black plastic thing is designed to hold your gas cap while you are refilling you car. It’s a little harder to pop out of place, but still quite easy to move from one gas cap to the other.

Sold By:

MG Racing

http://www.mgracing.an/

800-788-1281

Rear Wings and Spoilers for BMW

This article contains a series of photos on all the rear wings (aka spoilers) that I have seen on the BMW Z3.

Dinan ///M Air Intake

The ///M engine can benefit from additional air (mass) intake, however the Dinan design (specifically for the M roadster and M coupe) concerns me. Look at the picture below, the air filter is exposed in the lower air intake (front bumper). While this may provide additional performance I really question the long term effects. The K&N filter is rather durable, but what happens when it gets wet. I’ve heard a report of a check engine light coming on after a car wash. I also look at the amount of rock chips this section of my bumper has picked up and wonder how long a paper filter could last against this kind of impact abuse.

For these reasons I would not recommend the Dinan intake unless it was only for Autocrossing or Track use, even under those circumstances I question if the Dinan design has any advantage over the ECIS or Jim C design.

Update: I have been informed “Dinan is now shipping (for free) filter covers, a la K&N condoms, which are supposed to solve these issues”. I think this shows great customer service and reminds everyone why Dinan is such a popular company to do business with.

BMW Chrome Door Handles

Pros: Looks good, matches other chrome trim
Cons: Expensive BMW part, difficult installation.
Cost: Roughly $400 retail*

# Chrome Exterior door handles: Left: 51 21 8 401 625 (BMW Part) $184.00 retail*

# Right: 51 21 8 401 626 (BMW Part) $184.00 retail*

# Chrome Exterior door handle surrounds: Left: 51 21 8 399 239 (BMW Part) $17.90 retail*

# Right: 51 21 8 399 240 (BMW Part) $17.90 retail*

* BMW Retail price at the time this article was written. Using discounts, online vendors or a BMW parts department that doesn’t charge full retail can save 10 to 20 percent.

Hamann Gas Tank Lid

Pros: Looks Really Good
Cons: Difficult installation, Painting Required
Cost: $490

There is an re-emerging trend, the Audi TT and a few other sports cars are starting to bring attention to, rather than hide the gas cap. If you’re looking to draw a little more attention to your Z3 gas cap, then Hamann has what you’re wanting.

This Aluminum performance gas tank cap kit from Hamann Motorsport contains everything you need to install it yourself, however one of the parts needs to be painted (body color). The installation sounds a little scary, but you can install it yourself in a little over an hour. The included instructions are in German the following is an English translation.

1. Take off right rear wheel and inner fender lining.

2. Take off tank flap with assembly. Take off tank cap.

3. Take off rubber lining around tank filler opening (will not be needed any more).

4. Install new HM tankcover insert and rotate into correct position (it will only fit in one position).

5. Drill insert at marked place with 2mm drill (picture).

6. Take off insert and enlarge drill hole to 3.5mm.

7. After painting of tankcover insert apply a thick coat of P1 adhesive to frontal area of tankfiller opening.

8. Attach HM tankcover insert using supplied 4×15 screws. Smooth out any excess adhesive.

9. After adhesive had hardened attach the HM-tankcover and gasket, align and mark drill hole point.

10. Take off HM tankcover and drill marked spot with 6mm drill.

11. Attach HM tankcover,gasket and some gasket material (?) with provided Senkimbus screws.

12. Reattach inner fender material and wheel.

There is some debate if you really have to take off the right rear wheel, one owner reported to me that he successfully installed the kit without removing the rear wheel. Not sure if he cut the rubber lining out or was able to just man-handle it out of there. If you’re going to tackle a project like this use your own best judgement. The “scary” part of the installation (in my opinion) is step 7. Your gluing the painted fiberglass sleeve onto your gas tank filler opening, better get this done right the first time.

Everytime you start your Z3, the gas tank is “tested” by car. If you listen close you can hear an air pump pressurizing your gas tank. The system then monitors that pressure, if the pressure drops too quickly it triggers a check engine light because it thinks there is a leak in your gas tank. If you don’t get an air-tight seal while cementing this part in place you’re going to have check engine lights haunting you.

Dinan ///M Exhaust