Glove Box Light

Here is some information on a glove box light I made. I bought a keychain flashlight that used a bright blue led for the light. I got it from LL Beans for $20, but I see them for sell everywhere. It is a sapphire crystal led, and two 3-volt lithium batteries. The cells have a 10 year shelf life. All I wanted was the led and the 2 batteries.

I took the light apart and just used the led and the area that holds the batteries, cutting the rest of the body off.

I then acquired a metal cased mercury tilt switch. Durakool (http://www.aecsensors.com) has various tilt switches. I bought part #4929 from Newark Electronics (http://www.newark.com). It was around $5.00, but there was a minimum order, or a $5 penalty. It operates at a plus or minus 7 degree angle. It is very tiny, being around 1/4 inch all round in size. I placed all the parts in a small fuse box (the one that the cylinder type buss automotive fuses come in). It seemed like a perfect candidate since the plastic part of the box slides off easily from the metal top and it is small and shallow.

I drilled a hole in the plastic part of the box for the led to come out, and the rest (batteries in their holder and tilt switch) was placed inside and held in place with electrical tape. I had previously soldered circuit board wire from the tilt switch to the light. Some final touches like an LED holder from radio shack and some chrome tape on the box gives it a more finished look.

This small fuse box was attached to the left side of the glove box and held in place with velcro. The angle of the box had to be adjusted to get the light to turn on and off at the appropriate time when opening and closing the glove box door.

Pleased with the finished results, it puts a nice blue light inside the glovebox that allows me to see the things inside.

LeatherZ Shift Knob

LeatherZ just keeps coming out with new ideas and products for the Z3. When I first heard that LeatherZ could recover the stock BMW shift knob with their higher quality leather, I knew I would want to have one. After thinking over the additional color options LeatherZ offered I decided to try something different and go with a two-tone dark gray and black. LeatherZ’s dark gray is an almost perfect match to the dark gray on the seats in my 1998 M roadster, and it’s also a great complement to my LeatherZ covered armrest.

Removing the stock Z3 shift knob is fairly easy, the M series has one additional step due to the lighted face. Basically all you have to do is pull it off. With the M series you’ll want to get under the shift boot first and disconnect the two wire plug. Once I removed my shift knob I mailed it to LeatherZ and waited for its return. I went about a week without a shift knob, surprisingly it wasn’t that big a hindrance to shift without the knob in place.

LeatherZ provided a couple interesting pictures (1, 2) of the shift knob during the recovering process. You can see how the lighted knob is internally wired in these pictures. Once LeatherZ completed the upgrade they mailed the shift knob back to me. Reinstallation was fairly easy, I threaded the 2 wire connector plug through the shift boot and plugged it in. Then noted the “U” shaped pattern to the receiving end of the shift lever, aligned the shift knob and pushed it back down (adding a whack with the heal of my hand for good measure).

I’ve heard of some Z3 owners having shift knobs come off while driving. I wouldn’t recommend using glue but maybe some lock-tight inside the “U” indentation would provide some additional holding strength for those that require it.

LeatherZ Pricing Options:

If LeatherZ provides the shift knob (new):

1. Black, Beige, Dark Gray, or Tanin Red monochromatic or 2-tone Leather Shift Knob – $100.00.

2. Illuminated M-style Leather Shift Knob in Black, Beige, Dark Gray, or Tanin Red monochromatic or 2-tone Leather – $135.00

3. Illuminated M-style Leather Shift Knob in Black, Beige, Dark Gray, or Tanin Red monochromatic or 2-tone Leather with Corrected Amber (not red) LEDs – $165.00

If customer provides shift knob:

1. Black, Beige, Dark Gray, or Tanin Red monochromatic or 2-tone Leather Shift Knob – $40.00.

2. Illuminated M-style Leather Shift Knob in Black, Beige, Dark Gray, or Tanin Red monochromatic or 2-tone Leather – $75.00

3. Illuminated M-style Leather Shift Knob in Black, Beige, Dark Gray, or Tanin Red monochromatic or 2-tone Leather with Corrected Amber (not red) LEDs – $105.00

In most cases the customer can specifiy a different shift pattern insert at no additional charge.

LeatherZ is also planning to carry BMW brushed and matte chrome (real metal) shift knobs that also illuminate. These knobs are shorter than stock and should be similar to the one in this article.

Custom Gray and Black Leatherette Seats

Custom Gray and Black Leatherette Seats

During the downtown Greenville party at 2000 Z3 Homecoming I noticed this really good looking black and gray 1.9 Z3. These custom seats appear to have originally been gray leatherette seats that have had custom black inserts added to them. The two tone look was very striking with the black exterior paint.

The gray inserts inside the door are part of the original gray leatherette package. The dash had a carbon fiber kit installed that really matched the black and gray interior. The steering wheel was also different, three section of ridges and the entire wheel appeared to be a little thicker.

Custom (Z8 Like) Speaker Grill

Picture taken at the 2000 Z3 Homecoming

Owner: Fred Kern

BMW Z8

BMW Z3

Skaggs Pedals

I have been wanting to install a set of aluminum pedals for quite awhile on my Z3. Most of the sets I’ve seen I don’t really care for the looks of. A few months back a friend sent me some pictures of the pedals that John Skaggs builds, installed on his M Coupe. After seeing them they were the ones for me. Problem was John didn’t have them in production at the time so I had to wait for the next batch which turned out to be a four month wait. The wait was worth it.

The three pedal set (clutch, brake, gas) costs about $96 but John also builds a heel/toe gas pedal as an option. I decided to buy both throttle pedals to determine which I preferred. The cost was about $160 for everything.

To install the pedals you will need:

* drill with 7/64″ drill bit (and safety glasses)

* open ended wrench (1/4″) and also a socket and wrench of the same size

I started off on the clutch pedal. You just remove the rubber cover from the pedal and center the new aluminum cover on the pedal itself. While holding the cover in place drill out the bottom hole. WATCH YOUR FINGERS!!! Now install which ever color bolt you want (black or silver) through the cover and secure in place with the nut. The supplied Allen wrench will let you tighten the bolts, the nuts will start to thread until they hit the nylon lock-stops. After that point you will need to use the wrench or socket (whichever fits better for that position) to tighten the bolt.

Make sure you have the pedal leveled and drill one of the remaining two holes and fasten it in place, then repeat that with the third hole. The clutch is the easiest to do as you can easily get the nuts on and the pedal is plastic so it is easy to drill.

Next is the brake pedal. Do exactly the same with it as the clutch. This is a little harder as the pedal itself is metal so drilling takes a little more care and time.

Now comes the fun one… the gas pedal. The new pedal just mounts over the factory plastic pedal. If you are trying both pedals install the regular (smaller) one first. If you do the heel/toe pedal first you might position the mounting holes so that the regular pedal will not totally cover the black plastic when viewed from straight on.

Position the smaller gas pedal over the factory pedal in such a way as it is covering the black plastic. If you stand the aluminum pedal on the plastic I found that the aluminum pedal needed to be tilted counterclockwise slightly for good coverage. The bottom right side of the pedal does not quite rest flush with the floor in the positioning I used. When you have it positioned properly hold it in place and drill out the bottom left side hole, again watching your fingers, and install the nut+bolt and tighten it down.

Double check that the pedal is still positioned properly, adjust as needed, and drill out the upper right hand side hole. Again, fasten it with the nut and bolt. This is where it gets interesting as it is very hard to get behind the pedal to get the nut threaded as you have to go by feel. I found a pretty simple way of doing it though.

Take the tape and cut off a small piece and double it over so it is sticky on both sides. Put that on the tip of your finger and stick the nut to it.

Do not put the bolt in the hole yet but have it and the Allen wrench ready. Reach around behind the pedal with your nut/finger while looking through the hole. Position the nut so it is pushing up against the back of the pedal and align the two holes. Now just hold that in place and put the bolt in and tighten it down. When the nut starts to spin on the tape it means you have it threaded. The tape can be removed from the nut and you then tighten it down fully. You will need this trick for the remaining two holes.

Drill the either of the remaining holes and secure with the bolt+nut then do the other one.

If you went with the regular gas pedal it will look like this.

The black plastic on the side of the gas pedal is visible only from the side as the pedal itself is fairly deep. I positioned the pedal so that it was even along the length of the aluminum pedal.

The heel/toe is below.

After that just vacuum your carpets to get out all the shavings from drilling and you are done.

It took about 2 « hours to install everything and that was including both gas pedals and struggling with the gas pedal nuts before I came up with the trick.

I liked the heel/toe pedal so I’m going to leave that one on for now. Heel+toeing is VERY easy with this pedal installed. My size 12 feet probably make it even easier. In fact it is so easy you may do it by accident until you get the hang of it. If you don’t know what heel+toeing is or don’t really know why you would want to do it you should probably just use the regular gas pedal. Ditto if your car tends to be driven by more then just yourself as it could throw another driver.

BTW, I have it on very good authority that these pedals are not slippery when wet like most aluminum pedals are said to be. Haven’t tried it myself yet but considering the source I’m sure that will be true.

Pro-Road Racer Pedal Set

Pros: Great looks, much improved heel-toe
Cons: Some required hardware not supplied
Cost: $159.95, plus options, from BMP Design

A popular after market accessory among Bimmer owners is a racy looking pedal set. Most offer a cosmetic advantage only, but a pedal set I saw in BMP Design’s catalog, called the Pro-Road Racer Pedals, offers real practical benefits to drivers who pride themselves on their expert high-performance driving techniques. Unlike most sets I’ve seen, BMP’s Pro-Road Racer Pedals offer an optional heel-toe extension they call the Fast Track. In addition there is a matching dead pedal, also an option. The Pro-Road Racer set costs a not insignificant $159.95, while the Fast Track heel-toe extension is $69.95 and the dead pedal is $75.95. All are CNC machined billet aluminum, the heel-toe extension black anodized while the other pedals are in brushed finish.

For those not familiar with heel and toeing, a brief explanation. The technique is employed when entering a corner to simultaneously brake and downshift in order to put the car in the optimum gear to accelerate through and out of the corner. Smooth downshifts require raising the revs as the shift is made. With one foot on the brake and one on the clutch, a third foot would be useful to “blip” the accelerator! If you don’t have a third foot then the best you can do is to use the right foot to operate both brake and accelerator. At one time racing cars placed their accelerators between the brake and clutch and it was practical to brake with the toe while pressing the accelerator with the heel, thus the term. Now, a true heel-toe motion would require a clumsy, uncomfortable twist of the ankle. A more workable technique on modern cars is to brake with the left side of the right foot while blipping the accelerator with the right side. Assuming that you can physically span the gap between the brake and accelerator here’s how it goes. Place the left side of the right foot on the brake pedal with the right side poised over the accelerator. Depress the clutch pedal with the left foot and blip the accelerator with the right side of the right foot as you downshift, then release the clutch.

Most cars I’ve driven are almost impossible to heel and toe because the brake and accelerator pedals are too far apart and/or because the relative heights of the two pedals doesn’t permit the necessary gymnastics. Apparently BMW engineers have heel and toeing in mind when they determine pedal placement because I’ve never driven a Bimmer which wasn’t fairly easy to heel-toe. As a matter of fact I learned to heel-toe over 30 years ago on my 2002. Still, it would be helpful if the brake and accelerator on my M Roadster were closer together and if the accelerator were just fractionally closer to the same height as the brake pedal. BMP’s Fast Track heel-toe extension does both jobs.

Installation of the pedal set is straightforward. The BMP pedals are attached using provided machine screws and nuts after removing the rubber brake and clutch pedal covers and drilling the factory pedals. The clutch and accelerator are plastic and easily drilled, while the brake pedal is steel and takes a little more effort. The dead pedal is attached to the car’s plastic dead pedal cover using power-drive screws…no drilling required. It turns out that the machine screws provided with the Fast Track heel-toe extension are not long enough to pass through the Fast Track, aluminum accelerator pedal, and plastic accelerator so a quick trip to the hardware store was required. Note that the Fast Track can be installed without the aluminum pedal, if desired, and then the machine screws would be the right length.

Once installed, the new pedals really do the trick. The aluminum brake and clutch pedals are about the same thickness as the stock rubber pedal covers. At the same time, the combined extra thickness of the accelerator pedal cover and the heel-toe extension raise the height of the accelerator to just the right level for easy heel-toeing without a clumsy twist of the ankle, and the increased width of the Fast Track places the pedal right under the right side of my sole. To my eye, the new pedals add a racy new look to the foot well, though I wouldn’t spend too much time looking down there while driving. Meantime, I’ve been reacquainting myself with the heel-toe technique, honing my lost skills by doing heel-toe downshifting even at low speeds. At first I was pretty clumsy, but after a few weeks practice it’s become second nature. Even if you aren’t planning any racing activities, it’s one of the skills which add greatly to the sports car experience. Let the fun begin!

BMW Aluminum Shift Knob

Just added a new polished aluminum shift knob which replaces my illuminated shift knob. I like the feel of the polished aluminum much better than leather. This polished aluminum knob is also shorter than the illuminated knob, so the shifts between gears feel a lot sportier.

Part #82-23-9-405-686

Retail: $85.00

Update: Jon Maddux sent pictures of some additional BMW shift knobs and their BMW part numbers. There are several kinds of “chrome” shift knobs available from BMW. They have subtle differences, but before you drop $70+ on a shift knob, they are worth noting. Note that both “bright” knobs are plastic. The brushed and matte knobs are solid aluminum. Ron Styger reports the weight of the different knobs are .081kg (25-11-1-434-003), .079kg (25-11-2-492-481), 0.132kg (82-23-9-405-686) and 0.128 (25-11-9-416-257). Retail prices are $85 for (25-11-1-434-003), $65 for (25-11-2-492-481), and $98.25 for (25-11-9-416-257).

Black Wood Dash Kit

Pros: Looks good, matches Larry’s steel gray/black Z3
Cons: Evaluation kit, product canceled and is not available
Cost: Unknown, Product Unavailable

To my knowledge this is the only black wood dash kit made for the BMW Z3. It is an evaluation kit made my a company in Korea. However just after developing this evaluation kit the model year 2000 Z3s showed up and it was apparent that this kit was already out of date so the manufacturer decided to cancel the project.

Even though the project was canceled I thought owners would like to see what a black wood dash kit would look like in a Z3. The carbon fiber shift knob was added later and is a nice (matching) addition to the looks. Hopefully another dash kit maker will consider adding black wood to their collection for those looking for something a little different.

Update:

Even though this particular black wood dash kit is not available, MG Racing has a black wood dash kit. If you are looking for a very unique dash kit that looks really good with black interior this may be what you have been looking for.

Leather Covered Z3 Console Valet with Universal Transmitter

Pros: Convenient, Looks Great
Cons: Wired to switched power, so it doesn’t work when the car is off.
Cost: The retail BMW price of part number 82-11-1-470-399 is $179.00. This does not include a “base” which retails for $25.00. The LeatherZ version starts at $300

Ever since Alan posted an article detailing his James Bond-ish garage door opener I’ve been wanting to add the same functionality to my Z3. Like a lot of projects I never got around to doing it, but this time procrastination rewarded me. BMW released a new accessory, BMW Part number 82-11-1-470-399 is a console valet universal transmitter. It replaces the rear lid on the (optional) Z3 center console and provides three programmable buttons. Jon Maddux of LeatherZ worked his magic on the plastic BMW part and covered it in matching gray leather so the new rear section would match my custom LeatherZ armrest. Once that was done, it was time to install this new armrest. The BMW instructions were pretty good. My only real complaint with the BMW instructions was that the text instructions were difficult to match up with their drawings. The rest of this article will contain those original BMW instructions (in black) with my additional comments in red and my own original pictures. You can click on any of the pictures in this article to see a closeup view.

The Z3 Console Valet must be removed to allow for drilling of wiring access holes and the routing of the wiring harness. When you order BMW part 82 11 1 470 399 the following parts are included with the kit. 1 Z3 Console Valet rear lid with Universal Transmitter Assembly. 1 Z3 Console Valet forward lid. 1 Universal Transmitter wiring harness. 1 White two position socket (female) terminal housing. 1 White two position pin (male) terminal housing. 2 Cord clip with self adhesive mount.

1. Removal of the Console Valet Remove trim cap located in small rectangular well at the rear of the console valet.

2. Detach hand brake “boot” to gain access to console valet fastener located under console.

3. Remove socket head cap screw and locknut.

4. Carefully lift rear of console valet upward and pull rearward to dismount forward position tabs of the console valet.

These instruction assume the console valet is installed via BMW’s latest instructions. I’ve seen two other methods dealers have used to install the console valet. Sometimes the rear bolt is just a screw. Sometimes screws and bolts are not used at all and the valet is held in place via velcro. It’s rare but some have a second screw in the bottom of the storage area

1. Preparing the Console Valet Remove rear console valet lid by “slipping” the two O-rings off of the stanchions located to the rear left and right of the lid. Pull the rear lid clear of the hinge rod.

2. Locate the position where the top hole is to be drilled. Drill a 17/64″ (7mm) diameter hole.

3. Turn over the console valet and drill a 17/64 (7mm) diameter hole through the inner support rib. For ease of installation, a larger diameter hole may be drilled through the inner support rib since it will not be visible.

4. Remove debris from the previous drilling procedures.

5. Remove the forward console valet lid by “slipping” the two O-rings off of the stanchions located on the lateral left and right of the lid. Pull the forward lid clear of the hinge rod.

6. Install the kit supplied replacement forward console valet lid in reverse order of the previous step.

You can see the location of the hole I drilled in the picture below. I did not replace the forward lid since my current forward lid was already leather covered by www.leatherz.com

1. Installing the Console Valet Universal Transmitter Lid Remove the three self tapping screws that secure the inner cover to the Universal Transmitter lid.

2. Feed the pin (male) and socket (female) terminated wires (one wire terminal at a time) from the top to bottom through the upper hole until the heat shrink portion of the wire harness is centered in the top hole.

3. Insert the 3-position connector into the Universal Transmitter module connector.

4. Affix a self adhesive cord clip to the underside of the Universal Transmitter rear lid.

5. Position the harness neatly from the Universal Transmitter module connection and running adjacent to the Universal Transmitter module through the cord clip feeding all excess wire harness down through the upper hole.

6. Reinstall the three self tapping screws that secure the inner cover of the Universal Transmitter to the lid.

7. Feed the pin (male) and socket (female) terminated wires (one wire terminal at a time) through the lower hole until most of the excess wire harness is positioned forward of the lower hole.

8. Affix a self adhesive cord clip to the underside of the console valet.

9. Attach the Universal Transmitter lid to the hinge rod and reattach the O-rings over the stanchions. Note: Care should be used not to cur or score the O-rings during this step

10. Gently pull any excess insulated wire down through the upper hole leaving sufficient length of heat shrink covered harness sufficient length above the hole for the Universal Transmitter lid to open and close easily without binding the wire harness.

1. Wiring Locate the factory installed cellular telephone (provisions) connector X400 in the area adjacent to the hand brake. This connector is a black AMP 8-position connector with five socket (female) terminated wires occupying the housing of this connector. Note: Disconnect the X400 connector if currently connected to the cellular telephone connector.

2. Using the BMW special tool #61 1110 2.5mm electrical contact extraction tool (found in BMW Electrical Repair Kit III) extract socket (female) terminated violet/black wire from position #5 of the connector X400

3. Insert the white wire socket (female) terminal of the Universal Transmitter into position #5 of the connector X400

4. Insert the socket (female) terminal of the violet/black wire into position #1 of the 2-position white AMP socket housing connector.

5. Using the BMW 2.5mm electrical contact extraction tool extract socket (female) terminated brown wire from position #2 of the connector X400

6. Insert the black wire socket (female) terminal of the Universal Transmitter into position #2 of connector X400

7. Inert the socket (female) terminal of the brown wire into position #2 of the 2-position white AMP pin (male terminal housing connector.

8. Insert the Universal Transmitter white wire pin (male) terminal into position #1 of the 2-position white AMP pin (male) terminal housing connector.

9. Insert the Universal Transmitter black wire pin (male) terminal into position #2 of the 2-position white AMP pin (male) terminal housing connector.

10. Connect the white AMP 2-position socket (female) and pin (male) terminal housing connectors together to complete the electrical connection of the Universal Transmitter.

11. Reconnect the X400 connector to the cellular telephone connector if previously disconnected

1. Reinstalling the Console Valet Re-install the console valet by positioning the two forward positioning tabs of the console valet into the two slots located in the forward edge of the center console. Ensure that excess wire is neatly positioned underneath the console valet and are not pinched.

2. Reattach the socket head cap screw and locknut and tighten securely.

3. Reinstall trim cap.