|Pros:||Better Performance, Improved (Lower) Sound, Easy Installation|
|Cons:||Expensive, Not Stainless Steel|
|Cost:||$801 (includes shipping) from MG Racing|
The stock exhaust on the M roadster is pretty good, however I was always wanting a little more rumble and sound. Previously I owned a 1.9 Z3 and had upgraded its exhaust using the Remus brand. I was very pleased with the results and when the itch to upgrade the M roadster exhaust hit me I decided to try the Remus M exhaust.
After placing my order and waiting a week the doorbell finally rang. It was the UPS delivery man with two very large boxes for me. Just like the 1.9 exhaust the new Remus exhaust was packaged without any padding inside the cardboard box, one of the boxes was fairly chewed up the other one only had slight damage. I didn’t notice it at the time, but one of the supports on the passenger side exhaust had been slightly bent. Let me just get this complaint out of the way, would it kill them to package these things in Styrofoam or something. Just like the 1.9 exhaust this one had become damaged (support rod bent) in shipping, the damage is easily repairable but it sure would be nice if I didn’t have too.
The good news was that the chrome tips on each exhaust arrived unharmed. Measuring the exhaust tips I found that the inside diameter was the same as the stock exhaust, but the thickness of the exhaust tip was 5mm bigger making the overall outside diameter of the Remus exhaust 10mm bigger than the stock exhaust. On the top of each chrome tip is an engraved Remus name logo. Once the exhaust is installed both the name and the logo can be seen. The shipping weight on the Remus exhaust was 70lbs total (35 per side), while I have not weighed the stock exhaust myself I remember BMW saying it weighed roughly 100lbs.
The hardest and longest part of the installation was the first step, getting both the Z3 and the new exhausts to the installation location was more difficult than I thought it was going to be. There was no way these big things were going to fix in the Z3. They also did not fit in the trunk of my wife’s 318i, luckily I found a way to fit one in the back seat and another in the passenger seat. I ended up having to drive the 318i (carrying the exhausts), then drop off the exhaust, then return home, then drive the M roadster to the shop, install the exhausts, drive the M roadster home, return with the 318i, load up the stock exhausts and them drive them home. I probably spent more time driving cars around than it took to actually install the exhaust.
The actual installation process was very easy, but before I could start I needed to let the exhaust cool off. During the installation process you will be holding some parts of the car (like the muffler) that get quite hot while the car is running.
Once it had cooled down the first step was to remove the stock exhaust. There where 10 bolts in total (5 per side) holding the stock exhausts in place. On each side there are two bolts mounting the exhaust to the catalytic converter (top right), two bolts holding the rear of the exhaust in place (bottom right), and one bolt in the middle (middle right).
I should point out that the exhaust is actually held in place via some rubber hangers that allow the exhaust to slight move and adjust in normal operation. The bolts I’m referring to attach the rubber hangers to the car.
Instead of removing the rubber ring that was holding the middle of the exhaust in place, I decided to remove the bolt that holds the bracket that the rubber ring is mounted on. This made lowering the exhaust a little easier. I started by removing the rear bolts first, then the middle, and then the front. But I had someone holding the rear (muffler) exhaust while I was doing this.
The only part I replaced (at the advice of Larry Nissen – BMW tech) was the ring seal that fit between the cat-back exhaust and the catalytic converter. Larry didn’t think this was “necessary”, but it was possible that a exhaust leak might occur using the old rings, so we decided to replace them just in case.
After one last side by side comparison it was time to install the Remus exhaust. I was quite impressed at how easily and precisely the Remus exhaust fit into place. Starting with the rear bolts first (while someone held the front of the exhaust) the new exhaust was put into position. The first pass the bolts were left loose, a second pass tightened them all down. The only part of the installation that wasn’t smooth was the support that had become bent in shipping. But after a few whacks with a hammer it was bent back into position and the installation was complete.
Once the Remus exhausts were installed I took a look at the exhaust tips to see how centered they were in the cutouts of the rear bumper. I was concerned that an off center exhaust tip might melt some of the rear bumper because I have seen that happen with some aftermarket exhaust. But I was relieved to see that the exhaust tips were perfectly centered in the cutouts. The Remus exhausts really were a direct replacement, practically plug-and-play. They fit precisely in place of the stock exhaust without any modification. But now that they were installed the next question was, “what will this do to the M roadster’s performance?”
I always liked the Remus exhaust I put on my previous 1.9 Z3, but I regretted not doing “before” and “after” dynos on the car to see how much of a performance gain the aftermarket Remus exhaust gave me. I didn’t make that mistake this time, a “before” dyno was recorded with the M roadster in stock condition after it was broken it (click on the graph for a larger view).
After the installation the car felt quicker and it seemed to run through the upper RPM range faster. In fact I even bounced it off the rev-limiter a few times on accident until I got use to the new tach speed. But all this was just non-scientific (what some people call the “butt-dyno”) data. I knew the car felt quicker but what I needed was a real dyno to prove it. I returned to the same place where I had my M roadster dynoed before to see just how much of a gain the Remus exhaust gave me (click on the graph portion to the right for a full screen view).
What the dyno did was prove what I was feeling, the Remus exhaust boosted the torque across nearly the entire RPM range. The biggest gains were found in the range between 3500 and 5100 with a peak gain of 13 ft/lbs of torque at 3800 RPM. The only exception was the RPM range between 2300 and 2500 which showed no gain. A few skeptics said that an aftermarket exhaust might gain power in one area but then loose it in another. What the dyno showed me was that the Remus exhaust never hurt performance, improved the performance across most of the RPM range, and even smoothed out some of the torque curve where dips in power occurred on the stock dyno.
I was hoping to back up the dyno data with performance timing, so I purchased a GTechPro which measures 0 to 60 and quarter miles times. I took several measurements before the exhaust upgrade and several measurements afterwards. However I don’t think that data can be trusted because what the GTechPro really did was teach me how to drive the car faster. In between the before and after testing I had improved my driving skills enough to make those tests invalid. I also didn’t pay much attention to the temperature variations which might also explain the gains I was seeing. So really the only thing I got out of the timing tests for this article is this fairly cool real video.
The Remus makes the exhaust note lower and slightly louder, but rather than have me try to describe the sound in words check out the sound files below. You will need the RealPlayer to hear the audio, if you don’t have the RealPlayer the good news is it is free!.
For the following sound recordings two ’98 M roadsters were put side by side. A Hi8 camcorder was used to capture the audio, I was standing about 10 feet behind the two roadsters and did not move between recordings. RealAudio is by no means a crystal clear audio media, but comparing the sound files (Stock vs Remus) is a really good comparison of the real life difference.
Stock M roadster
Remus M roadster
Long Term Update
I think my initial figures are incorrect, especially after looking at the other exhausts articles and comparing the results. When I initially posted the article I used before and after dynos taken on different days. I think the ODBII adaptation caught me, because if you look at the numbers it would appear that I had a peak gain of 7 ft/lbs, average gain of 5.8 ft/lbs across the entire RPM range, 7.8 ft/lbs gain in the 3k to 5k range (driving range). The 7.8 ft/lbs of additional torque is roughly a 4% gain in power in the highly used 3k to 5k RPM range.
What’s interesting is if you compare Alan and my “after” dynos you see that they are practically identical. How can the Remus give me a 4% gain and the Supersprint give Alan a 2% gain, but we end up at the same numbers? I think the answer is that my original “before” dyno is questionable. What I did to try and “fix” this error was take the two different “before” dynos and combine them by using the high points from each graph. I then used this new line and compared it back to Robert’s original “after” dyno.
Looking at the “fixed” comparison, I think these figures are more correct. Peak gain of 4 ft/lbs, average gain of 2.9 ft/lbs across the entire RPM range, 3.7 ft/lbs gain in the 3k to 5k range (driving range). The 3.7 ft/lbs of additional torque is roughly a 2% gain in power in the highly used 3k to 5k RPM range.
Since you can never have enough chrome in an M Roadster (open to debate, perhaps) I decided to add the BMW chrome gearshift knob. However, if I did that I would loose that cool lighting effect from the stock gearshift knob. I decided to try and make a chrome lighted gearshift knob.
You will need to remove the standard shift knob. Lift the cover up around it (it’s just held in place by small tabs on the side), and find the connectors for the wires leading to the knob. Disconnect these and simply pull straight up on the knob. It’s tight, but it should come off. Be careful not to hit yourself while pulling it up.
The first thing I did was to take apart the stock knob to see how it worked. It’s really just 3 tiny LEDS and a resistor under a knob emblem that let’s light shine through. Since BMW does not sell this emblem as a separate piece, you will need the one from the stock knob. Put your fingernail under the edge and simply pry up. It’s held on by double-sticky tape and should come off easily. Be careful not to scratch either side. Also important, the “silver” look of the numbers is not really paint. It’s some sort of dust that very easily wipes off. Do not get your finger anywhere near it, or you’ve just ruined the emblem.
The next thing you will need is the wire connector off the standard gearshift knob. Cut the wires (but leave some space to work with). I choose to get some nylon connectors from a local electronics store and solder it on the end of the BMW connector. That way I can still take my knob off without dealing with the BMW connector (which is a little big and won’t come off though the hole in the cover that easily).
Now it’s time to work on the chrome knob (which you need to purchase, of course). You need to get the emblem off without scratching the knob itself. The knob itself is covered in some sort of thin film that protects the metal (which is very soft). If you scratch the knob, it will look BAD. So don’t do that *smile*. The emblem is held on by the same double-sticky tape, but lots more or it. The best way I found is to use a dremel and drill directly into the center of the emblem with the dremel screw-like attachment, then yank the emblem off. Remove the remaining double-sticky tape, but save it – you will need it later.
Under the emblem you will find a little hole which is almost the right size. If you were to put the M emblem over this hole, the “R” and the “5” would not light up, because the hole isn’t big enough. Carefully grind the edges away where those two spaces would be (i.e. instead of a round hole, you would create a hole that looked like it had mickey-mouse ears). You don’t need to go very deep, long enough so that light can shine through. Now look at the underside of the knob. Inside you will see a couple horizontal plastic bars that hold the knob in place and keep it from spinning around. Through the center of the knob (in the hole on the top) drill out a vertical line that intersects the horizontal bar. Go all the way through till it’s completely open. You are almost done at this point.
Go back to your car. Figure out where that horizontal bar would go (it’s plainly obvious). Now cut (grind, actually) a small groove down one side of the stick. It doesn’t need to be very big, but you need something to run the wires in. On the stock knob, the wires actually run along the outside of the knob, but with the chrome knob we can’t do that so we need this grove. It won’t affect the functionality at all, there’s still PLENTY of metal left. When I did this, I took a vacuum and left it up close to where I was grinding to keep all the particles from spraying through the inside of my car.
Back to the chrome knob. Take some very small gauge wire (I used the individual strands of a telephone wire) cut two 18″ pieces. One one side, solder an LED to it. I used a jumbo orange LED from radio shack, their part number is 276-206 and the color matches the rest of the car pretty well. On the other end of one of the wires solder a 470 ohm resistor. Then solder on the mating end of the connector that you soldered on the BMW connector.
Go back to the car. Thread the connector attached to the knob through the leather shifter cover, and place the cover back on the car. Now carefully place the chrome knob on the car. Line up the wires in the groove you cut and on the top have the wires come out next to the horizontal bar (i.e. the LED [attached to the wires] still isn’t in it’s final position, it’s sticking out further). If you did everything right, the knob should be in position and on tightly, but if you hold both ends of the wires you can gently slide the LED back and forth. Pull on the wires until the LED is flush in the hole.
Lastly, you need to put a diffuser and the emblem back on. For a diffuser, you can use the white plastic one from the stock shifter, or simply cut a piece of white paper in the appropriate size. Use that double sticky tape you saved earlier to put the emblem back on. Re-connect the wires and put the leather cover back in place, and you are all set!
Another thing to watch out for is to test-fit the emblem into the chrome knob. I’ve had two different knobs, in one the M emblem fit just fine, but in the other I had to slightly grind the emblem down to get it to fit. Also, be careful not to push too hard getting the emblem in place, it CAN crack internally and have ugly white lines running through it. In direct sunlight, the knob can get VERY hot – so you may want a pair of driving gloves. And the wires you use to connect the LED can get damaged very easy, so if you take the knob off again you may want to plan to replace those wires.
All in all, I’m happy with my unique shift knob!
I started with the excellent article on adding a motion sensor to the BMW alarm. I encourage everyone to read that article first, as I’m not going into enough detail to do the whole job. Consider this as a set of “release notes”. Also, I assume both the BMW alarm and the motion sensor have been installed at this point. Read over all of this first, since I make comments like “connect with to power” then later talk about “put a switch in”. It’s better to do this all at once, but easier to explain using several passes at it. Remember: measure twice, cut once, measure again.
Changes desired from the existing article:
I wanted to use a dual-stage sensor, thus the car would “chirp” when someone got too close to it, before setting the alarm off
I wanted to know which stage sensor had been set-off, by visual inspection (i.e. LED)
I wanted a cutoff switch for both the motion sensor, and the outer stage “chirp”
I wanted to have the sensor be easy(er) to adjust [i.e. not have to pull the car apart to adjust the sensitivity]
I purchased a dual-stage sensor from www.autotoys.com. This sensor is basically the same as the one mentioned in the previous article except that it has two stages of detection and comes with a small piezo buzzer to use as the outside “chirp” sound.
The first thing I did was to decide how I was going to wire everything and and measure everything. Based on other articles and talking with various people, I decided to put the sensor in the center dash, between the seats (under the cassette storage area). After removing the cassette storage bin, I was able to use my pocket knife to lengthen the hole already there to be just long enough to slip the sensor in. I put velcro tape on the sensor and the underside of the dash, and attached the sensor there. This had the advantage of making the screw to adjust the sensitivity easily accessible. I just remove the cassette bin (no tools needed), then use a small screwdriver to adjust the sensitivity. Thus, desire #4 was satisfied.
Next, I wanted an LED to show the status of the sensor. The sensor has an LED already attached to it, a bicolor red/green LED. I simply desodder it, sodder in extension wires, and added the LED to the end of those wires. I was able to snake that new cable (I used heat-shrink tubing to hold the wires together) through the gear-shift area (the shift boot cover comes off easy) and into the blank punch-out button area (which the light for the alarm itself and the glass-breakage sensor already were). I drilled another hole, and used one of the radio-shack LED black plastic covers to give it a professional look. It’s a little crowded there, but still looks good. OK, desire #2 is done.
I needed a place to put the buzzer that was going to serve as my outside warning. I decided it needed to go in the engine compartment, since that was the place the siren was, etc. It’s small so it can go anywhere. I choose up by the drivers wheel, inside the engine compartment. I tie-strapped it into place.
Now I had to find a way to get a couple wires into the interior of the car. If you look where the battery used to go in the ’96 model Z3, in the M roadster there is what looks like a bunch of cables doing just that, but they are fully covered and have a rubber grommet around them. I was able to move the rubber grommet just enough to snake the cables through to the interior. They come out just above the kick-panel speaker in the passenger wheel-well.
OK, this part is from memory (so PLEASE test all your connections before listening to me). I believe I hooked the red wire on the buzzer to the unswitched power supplied to the alarm. The black wire (ground) from the buzzer was attached to the green trigger wire on the motion sensor. I believe when motion is detected, this wire to connected to ground, thus the buzzer goes off.
Now I wanted to install cutoff switches, so I needed a good hidden location. I found one beneath the glove compartment. There is a piece of plastic that goes out from the firewall at a 90 degree angle, that’s what I used. It’s the piece of plastic that has the 2 or 3 plastic turn-screws to keep it on. In the center I was able to cut the holes for the switches themselves. I picked up a couple neat-looking blue auto-switches from a local electronics place and test-fitted them there. Make sure when the switches are in the plastic that there will be enough space to put the piece back on. Some of the tolerances were pretty tight. Now, cut the wire that supplies power to the motion sensor and connect one side to one terminal on one of the switches and the other side of the wire to one of the other terminals. Do the same thing for the cutoff for the “chirping” buzzer. OK, item #3 on my list is done.
OK, one last problem. When the car is running, so was the motion sensor. This has two side effects: the green light keeps going off indicating movement and the outside buzzer is also going off! While driving! This was unacceptable to me.
The solution was to use a relay, like is often used for fog lights and such. Make sure you get a real relay that has both an “87” and “87a” connector (the first one I bought said it had both, but really only had two “87” connections). Basically, you hook power up to the relay and based on whether power is applied to a third connector (or not), passes or does not pass power. The difference between “87” and “87a” is that they are the inverse of each other (one has power when the other doesn’t, and vice-versa).
I don’t remember the details (I’m a computer guy, not an EE), but it should be easy to understand based on the diagrams with the relay. Basically, hook ground an unswitch power directly to the relay. Then the terminal that determines whether power should run or not is hooked to the car’s “switched” power (the violet wire with a white stripe in the alarm harness). Then the terminal that has power with the terminal just mentioned does not have power should be feeding power to the motion sensor. Now, the motion sensor (and the outside buzzer) are only on when the car is switched off!
If you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope you never have to see your Z3 in this condition, but below are some pictures of a Z3 after its airbags had been deployed. I’m not sure whose Z3 this is; it was parked at a BMW dealership.
This first picture shows the passenger side airbag. It is much larger than I expected it to be. The fabric looks like a thick, almost canvas like surface.
The driver’s side airbag was much smaller, but it looked like someone has pushed part of the bag back into the steering wheel. Looking around the cabin, I expected to see some white powder, but the interior was clean.
What surprised me the most was how little damage there was to the front bumper. I expected to see a lot more damage if the impact was enough to set off the airbags. It is my understanding that the Z3 knows if you are wearing your seat belts or not and will deploy the airbags in a lesser impact if you are not wearing your seat belt. I don’t really know any details, just observing how little damage there was to the front bumper.
|Pros:||Easy Installation, Perfect Fit, Great Look|
|Cons:||Shift boot tie string|
With the introduction of the M roadster, BMW showed 1.9 and 2.8 Z3 owners how a chrome ringed shift boot would look in the Z3 interior. It gave the Z3 interior a more retro look, some liked the retro look, some did not. Those 1.9, 2.3 and 2.8 that liked the look were left longing for the same addition to their Z3.
Unfortunately the standard Z3 shift boot is different than the M roadster shift boot. A direct replacement using BMW parts was not possible unless the owner replaced the entire Z3 center console with the center console from the M roadster. To do this would cost over $500 plus several hours of labor, so for most this was not a viable alternative.
However an aftermarket replacement is now available from MG Racing that is a direct drop in replacement specifically designed for the 1.9, 2.3 and 2.8 Z3. To swap the stock shift boot with this chrome one all the Z3 owner has to do is pull off the shift knob, loosen the shift boot (its just clipped down) and remove it.
The replacement drops snuggly right into its place and secures tightly with a set-screw. The fit was very precise and the entire installation took less than 5 minutes. The new shift boot has a draw-string tie that is used to tighten the leather just below the shift knob.
In many ways this aftermarket replacement is ever better than the M roadster chrome shift boot. This one is real metal rather than plastic. The screws around the chrome ring are cosmetic so they can be replaced with any screw design the owner would like. It comes with silver colored screws, but many might prefer black screws (to more closely match the M roadster).
The replacement will also work with the BMW wood dash, the fit is a little tighter but it will work.
|Pros:||Good Fit, Great Look|
Looking for a little more chrome accents for the Z3 interior? How about chrome trim for the triangle shaped speakers in the door. This product is similar to the wood dash kits that many Z3 owners have used. The chrome trim is really just chromed plastic with the patented ultra-sticky 3M tape behind it. Installation is easy, just heat the plastic piece and tape up using a hair dryer. Once the plastic and 3M tape get really hot (almost too hot to touch) the plastic chrome piece becomes semi-flexible and the tape gets really sticky. Peel off the protective liner off the back side of the tape, be very careful with alignment and just stick it on. I would recommend that you practice dry fitting the piece a couple times, because you don’t get two chances at this. I rushed my installation a little and didn’t get the driver’s side on as well as I would have liked too.
As a general rule, I usually don’t care for the stick on parts if you can see the edges of the product or the 3M tape under it. But the location of the trim piece is in a recessed area that enables the thin plastic piece to fit into the indentation and blend into the interior without looking “stuck on”. The end result is a very clean and neat look. Only real downside to this upgrade is the price, its pretty expensive for what you get, but then again it’s a custom made piece especially designed for the Z3. This same company makes additional chrome trim pieces for the Z3 interior, this is one of the more expensive pieces but the quality and accuracy of the fit is very high. Check out their website for their fill line of chrome trim pieces for the Z3 interior.
I’m very pleased with the look, it’s just enough chrome to catch your eye and glimmer in the sunlight without being overly dramatic. Since most the the area around the chrome is black the majority of the reflection is black. Problem is, the additional chrome looks so good that it leaves me looking around the interior for other places where similar chrome trim could be added…. I think the radio is my next target, a chrome trim ring around it would look really good as well.
One other note: a couple weeks after installing these I had a tweeter go bad on me (the speaker behind the now chrome trimmed grill). I was worried that I would not be able to remove the grill because of the sticky 3M tape. However the chrome trim fit so well that it did not get in the way at all. I was able to remove the speaker grill with the chrome ring on it without any additional effort.
Let me state for the record that I DO enjoy the fact I have a folding rear window like the classic roadsters of days gone by. The day I start whining about wanting a defrosted glass rear window, seating for four, and more storage space — please sentence me into a LeBaron for 30 days. Even so, after reading Robert’s eye-opening article on Meguiar’s plastic window product, I figured I should recommission the one I bought months ago and shelved away.
I’ve never really done too much to clean mine since delivery back in September ’96. Upon recommendation from the dealer, I remember once trying Pledge spray on it. That didn’t work well. It just resulted in me having to exert lots of work getting rid of oily residue off the surface. I HAVE taken care of the window by using the supplied Rear Window Blanket #82-11-1-469-778, but two years will build a hazing no matter what precautions are taken. This hazing or fogging is caused by microscratches on the surface. The bad practice of using a glass cleaner might rid the surface of dirt and waterspots, but thanks to FredK’s excellent explanation, you’ll know better to stay away from it…besides, it doesn’t remove the microscratches.
Robert used the heavy-duty regimen of Meguiar’s #17 Cleaner followed by Meguiar’s #10 Polish. I used a slightly different product, Meguiar’s #18 Cleaner/Polish. I suspect most who’ve cared for their rear window as I have will only need to use this all-in-one product. The steps are quite simple — spray on, wipe with cloth, and use a drier side to buff clean.
I elected to use smooth cotton polishing cloths. They were the consistency of a thick cotton t-shirt (which would probably work just as well). One cloth was used to spread the sprayed liquid, another cloth was used to polish dry the area. I worked in small sections at a time and only used straight back and forth motions… not circular! Both inside and outside of the window was cleaned this way. The passenger’s half was done first to show how dramatic the difference was.
Use newspaper or a beach towel to line the rear console plastic as errant spray droplets will be bothersome to buff clean. Once you’re finished, the plastic window will look just as clear as the day it rolled off the assembly line! The bottle was hardly used and I suspect the window will only require no more than three cleanings a year.
|Pros:||Better Visibility, Neat Fade In/Fade Out|
|Cons:||Requires cutting interior, Warranty|
The picture at the end of this article is of a typical BMW M roadster interior, except in this M roadster a set of footwell lights has been installed. The picture to the left shows a close up of the footwell lights installed flush in cut-out sections from the underside of the dash. The lights fade in and out just like the overhead light. There is one light in the passenger side footwell and another light in the drivers side footwell. They make a nice addition to the interior, the inside of the car lights up and makes it very easy to see anything down on the floor.
I don’t have the specific part numbers for the lights, but I know they are BMW parts. I believe they are lights from a 5 series but I can not confirm that. At one time a kit was being sold online but the person that was selling it stopped so a certain amount of information on how to do this was lost. The instructions below are from that now extinct kit, hopefully it is enough for you to figure it out yourself.
These are instructions ONLY.
Installation is at your own risk.
This is in no way related to BMW
Remove lower dash panel. Remove clips (1) from panel by turning 90 degrees with screwdriver. Do this to driver and passenger side. These panels are where you will install the footlights
Next open glove box and remove screw caps with small screwdriver or pick. Remove screws where (1) pointing to.
Remove glove box by taking screws out located by (1). Lower right side of glove box first. This part is a little tricky but work glove box around center console. Watch out for the metal clips. They will scratch the center console.
Next you should see something like this. On connector (1) it is black. There should be a brown wire with a black stripe in pin FOUR. This is the wire that you will splice in to for power. Use the blue crimp connector and splice the yellow wire to the BROWN/BLACK WIRE.
Here is a photo after this splice was done.
(Editors Note: Remember these instructions were part of a kit, obviously the yellow wire and blue crimp device were part of that kit).
Next run the wire over the drivers side.
(Editors Note: This wire will be used to power the light on the drivers side).
Next remove the passenger speaker cover. Turn the screw head 90 degrees (Black arrow). Pull speaker cover towards you like the White arrows shown. You will see a body ground behind cover. This is where you install the ground wire.
(Editors Note: Here is a photo of the ground wire referred to in the previous step).
You will need to cut 2 ¾” by 1 ¼” holes in the lower dash panel for the footlights.
(Editors Note: Refer to the very first image in this article for a photo of the lights installed in these cutouts.)
Missing from the instructions is the step of actually hooking the wires to the lights, but you get the idea. The key here is the identification of the wire that should be used as the source. I would also like to add one final word of caution, notice in the very last picture in the instruction that the lights used in the kit had a thin metal heat shield like thing behind them. The shield is important because once you put all this back up under your dash you don’t want to harm any wires that may come in contact with the back side of the light. Now these lights typically are not going to on for any extended period of time but I would still recommend being a little extra picky about what lights you use.
|Pros:||Increased visibility, looks|
|Cost:||Less than $200 installed|
As we all know, ///M Roadsters do NOT come with factory foglights as either standard or optional equipment. In order to obtain them, we must look to aftermarket suppliers. The decision as to whether or not I needed them was made for me by virtue of the fact that I live on Cape Cod, which just may be the Fog Capital of the Eastern Seaboard. After seeing Walter’s at the Escape to the Cape Drive this year, I know I would be purchasing a similar model. Walter had chosen PIAA 1400’s in Amber. I opted for the same lights but picked the clear lens version, as they are a bit brighter. I purchased them for $149.95 from 4 Wheel Parts Wholesalers (800-421-1050) as they had the best price.
When they arrived, the only question in my mind was where to mount them. Walter mounted his in the engine intake and they look quite good there. I, however, being the Contrarian that I am, decided to mount them in the outer (brake cooling) intakes. Please note that these lights are very small and should not seriously impede the airflow to the disc brakes.
Wiring these lights was easy, I mean REALLY easy. It should take about 1.5 hours for most anyone.
Step #1 – The switch wires and switch:
The first step is to unravel the wiring harness provided with the foglights. I decided to mount the relay (included) and the fuse holder (also included) in the factory fuse box. This would keep the electronics centrally located and dry. Cut the 2 wires that run to the switch plug about 24 inches from the switch plug itself.
Snake the cut wires through the large grommet already in the firewall on the driver’s side.
Unscrew the fuse holder (remove 2 front screws and loosen 2 read screws) so that you may lift it up.
This will allow some additional access to feed the wires up and through the factory hole in the bottom of the fuse holder.
Once that is done, attach a female spade connector to the input side of the switch wire and (using a fuse tap) connect to the switched side of fuse #44 (note: this photo shows the wire tapped into fuse #33 which is not switched). Attaching the wire to this location will allow the foglights to be turned on whenever the ignition is on. Some locations may require that they be wired in such a way that they may only be turned on when the low beams are on. If this is this case in your area, then you may want to tie this wire into your low beam power wire.
The switch itself was mounted to the knockout panel to the left of the steering wheel where the factory switch is located. I simply trimmed the back of the switch to allow the wire to run straight off the back and I drilled a small hole in the knockout panel. The switch was attached with 2 sided tape. Finally, ground the switch to one of the 4 brass bolts under the driver’s side of the dash (I think they are 7 mm).
Step #2 – The rest of the wiring:
Remember that the entire wiring harness is complete when you buy the kit so the only connections that have to be made are power, ground and any wires you cut during the installation itself.
Re-attached the switch wires that you cut. Run all the ground leads down through the fuse holder and out the front (via the rubber grommet there). Route them towards the factory ground point on the front left fenderwall. They may all be grounded here.
Run the wires for the lights out the same rubber grommet and down towards the front grill. The wires may be hidden in the factory wire-loom. This picture shows the foglight wires hidden inside the factory wire-loom and the ground wires grounded at the factory ground point. At this point, the last wire to connect will be the power wire. It can be connected to the hot side of the fuse box (passenger’s side) below the fuses. You will see a nut than can be unscrewed and the power lead attached. I couldn’t get a good shot of this but you will see what I mean. This is an adequate source of power as the foglight kit has it’s own in-line fuse. Once connected, you may screw the 4 screws back in place that hold the fuse box down.
At this point, all you need to do is wire-tie the relay, in-line fuse and extra wiring neatly together and put the top back on the fuse box.
Step #3 – Mounting the foglights:
Run the foglight wires so that they are just to the driver’s side of their respective brake air intakes. Then, carefully cut a small slice in the plastic (about 8” inside the intake) and pull the wire through. The foglights are attached using 2 sided tape and screws (optional). The 2 sided tape is really strong and should be enough to hold them in place. Plug the foglights into the wiring harness and turn them on. If you installed them correctly, they should work. Turn them off again so they don’t get too hot to handle. Unscrew the mounting plates but don’t remove them. Stick the 2 sided tape to the mounting plate and hold the light in the brake intake duct. With the lights (low beams too) on and shining at a wall, aim the foglights where you want them.
Only concern yourself with the left-to-right angle at this time. When they are pointing where you want them, stick them to the roof of the intake. At this point, you have just mounted the mounting plates. Remove the foglights only and ensure that the mounting plates are firmly attached. If you wish, you may at this time use the screws included with the kit. Re-attach the foglight to the mounting plate and adjust the up-and-down angle before tightening completely. Repeat for the other side and it should look like this.
Step #4 – Enjoy!
They greatly increase your visibility off to the sides of the road as well as in the fog without blinding oncoming traffic. I’m quite pleased with the results – for safety as well as aesthetic reasons.
Turns out the air intake box on the M roadster is slightly different than the air intake box on the 2.8 liter Z3. The difference stems from the fact that the M roadster has an additional air intake “snorkel” that is connected down to the hole on the front bumper where the 2.8 liter Z3 fog lights are installed.
I was curious to see how BMW redesigned the air intake box to account for this additional air intake. Dissecting the M air intake box might also be informative to 2.8 owners who are looking to increase the airflow to their roadsters. It appears you could even retro-fit the M air box into a 2.8 and install your own snorkel, but I’ll let a 2.8 owner try that one.
First step was to remove the air filter so I could see inside the box. Two plastic clips hold the filter housing in place. After the clips are unclipped, the entire filter housing slides out (FYI: this is also how you replace the filter). I believe I’m still on my factory filter and have over 11,000 miles on my M roadster. The filter still looks fairly clean, but I knocked some dust off since I had it out anyway.
Once the filter is removed you can look into the wide slot on the top of the air box. The following pictures are of inside that open slot, but because it is dark in there it is difficult to make out what you will be seeing. Just remember you are looking down into the now open slot where the air filter used to be.
First notice the debris that had accumulated in the air box. It was mostly sand and dirt, but I did find one pebble about 5/6th the size of a dime (guess this is why we have air filters). But the important thing to notice in this picture is the tube inside the air box. This tube is what carries air INTO the air box.
Getting the camera positioned just right, you can actually find the right angle and see down into the air box, through that air tube, down the snorkel, to the bumper and catch some daylight. I’m sure this is probably the path that nearly dime sized pebble took, but the point is it is also the path that a LOT of air took.
The other air intake position is just to the left of the driver’s side headlight. Although this area is not directly exposed behind the kidney grill on the hood, it is pretty close and should catch a lot of incoming air. This air intake is identical to the air intake on the 2.8 liter Z3, although in the 2.8 it is the sole air intake. In the M this intake works in addition to the other one. They are both connected to the air box via the same tube I showed you inside the air box (so there is a “Y” connection somewhere just outside the air box).
Looking back in the air box (remember the air filter is removed in this picture) you can see a second tube that would normally be on the other side of the air filter. This tube moves air from the air box into the engine. Just out of frame but to the right of this picture is a air flow meter that monitors the airflow and passes the information onto the roadster’s CPU.