What’s the Ultimate Fix for Chasis Flex?
Having the chasis welded by rabid English structural engineers
The rear cross member is made of folded metal. Chasis flex is what happens when this member is under heavy loads. The fix is to have Peter at Crayford Coachworks, in Marina Del Rey (310-577-9830) with years of experience reinforcing the Porsche GT2 race cars, go wild. They choose to seam and stich weld a new member into place that had been reinforced with steel tubes. They also seam and stich welded other areas of the frame. The frame of most cars such as BMW, Porsche and Mercedes have little spot welds when they come from the factory. These little welds do not last if you drive your vehicle hard and have a large object hit the underside of your vehicle.
Why I choose to fix my frame
If you find that you have to have the rear lower suspension replaced, you might as well take advantage of the opportunity and have them seam/stich weld the frame. They can also reinforce the rear cross members. I had a large object hit the underside of my vehicle. The Frame had cracks that started from hairline cracks into what you see to the right.
The strongest M Roadster Frame in the World!
Not happy with the way BMW attached the differential, they decided to reinforce that as well. Now I am ready to add the MechTech Turbo Charger!
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.
I got a new job! – Yay!
Better pay, better title, better crew to work with. However, there was one big problem: In my old job the Z3, which is my daily driver, got parked in a garage. Nice and safe, walls on both sides, protected from the elements. I am now faced with the issue of parking in a public lot, with loads of other people with their doors aimed squarely at my car on a daily basis. In addition, since I like to keep my tonneau cover on during the summer months, I had to figure out something to keep the car interior protected from the elements (in the winter I run with the hard top, so it’s not as much of an issue). I, of course, suggested to management that they build me my own, private garage. The suggestion was not well received.
What to do?
Z3Solution to the rescue!
I remembered that Z3Solution was now offering a cover that also includes unique padded door protection. This would allow me to not only protect the cockpit, but also the sides of the car from those that would poke my baby. A cockpit cover is a great idea if you park outside a lot. Remember – BMW says that you must use your tonneau when you are running top-down or your top may get worn prematurely. Putting the tonneau on and taking it off is much more of a pain that putting on a cockpit cover. A Cockpit cover will also keep your interior cooler than leaving the roof up.
I ordered the cover the week before I was scheduled to start my new job in order to give me some time to get acquainted with it. I also own another cover from MM Marketing that I have used on occasion, but it was no where near as nice as the Z3Solution cover. The Z3Solution cover is cut much fuller than the MM Marketing version and also includes the door protection with built-in foam pads. I can actually put the cover on the car with the top up or down and it fits just fine.
The cover attaches at several points:
* There are Velcro ties in the front that attach to the wipers.
* There are small “barrels” in the back. These are basically fabric-covered tubes that can be shoved down between the tonneau cover or placed into the trunk opening to secure the back.
* Unique to the Z3Solution cover are the tie-downs that slip into the crack at the bottom of the door. These help secure the sides and the side-padding.
The quality of the cover is excellent. It is well made from something called “Weathershield” fabric from Nextec. Weathershield is light, compact and very weather resistant. While most covers have a weatherproof layer appied onto them, Weathershield actually has the waterproofing applied to each individual strand of fabric. This means that the protection is much better than most traditional car-covers (see comparison chart). It compares very favorably with NOAH, but with significantly less bulk. The stitching on the unit is very sturdy and all the parts look like they will last a long time. The entire cover and all parts that touch the car are covered in a soft flannel. The number of connection points to the car is excellent: two in the back, two in the front, two on either side. There have been several windy days and the top stayed securely anchored and I have noticed no “rubbing”. I have used the cover for several weeks and have found that the design works well with the top up or down. The ability of the top to repel water is simply amazing!
As I intend to use the cover to protect my top from weathering, being able put the cover on with the top up was critical to me. In the spring and fall it will act as a safeguard against the torrential rains we sometimes get in New England and in the summer it will protect the top from sunlight and keep the cockpit cool.
With the top up, it’s easy to attach the cover. Simply plunk it on top and make all the connections. It does require a trip around the car, but I can do it in about 20 seconds. Removal is even quicker. It’s not quite as easy to put the cover on with the top down (it tends to billow around a bit), but it’s also not particularly difficult. In general, it’s much more time consuming to put the cover on than to put the top up (assuming you don’t use the tonneau cover), but the extra protection justifies it’s use for me. If you do use the tonneau religiously, you’ll find it much easier to deal with a cockpit cover than taking the toneau off and raising the roof.
Before ordering the cover, I also considered a full car cover. I decided not to go that route because I did not want to put the cover on the car when it was dirty. I was primarily interested in protection for the parts susceptible to rain and sun: the interior and the fabric top.
The Z3Solution cover doestouch parts of the car and I’ll have to see what the long term effects will be, but early indications are good: the sides do not move significantly because of the bulk of the foam padding and the tie-downs, therefore the cover does not rub on the paint.
At $109 The Z3Solution cover is slightly more expensive that some of the competitors (MM Marketing offers its unit for about $80), but the full cut of the cover, the Weatherguard material and the ding protection make it well worth the increment. It’s significantly less expensive than a full body cover and takes up less space in the trunk (but it should be noted that the padding makes it bulkier than a normal cockpit cover).
The cover comes with a nice carrying case, but so far I’ve never used it. I just fold the thing up and dump it in the trunk.
Cockpit covers may not be for everyone. I have a number of friends who are comfortable with parking their cars outside for long periods of time with no protection. For me, however, the protection afforded by the cockpit cover, including the protection from the inconsiderate co-worker’s doors, easily justifies the cost of this new accessory…..and I get to keep my new job!
Comparison chart from www.covercraft.com
Click on Pictures for Larger Image
Click on Pictures for Larger Image
I have been told that this coupe is one of 2 that was built by AC Schnitzer. One was built as an demonstrator and this one that was made for a custumer. The car is cosmos black and has black and red leather interior. The car is equiped with the following parts…
* RS height adjustable suspension front and rear
* RS brakes front and rear, 333 mm front disk internaly ventilated, with floating brake calipper and 328 rear disk internaly ventilated. 200 kph – 0 kph in 5,2 sec (app 140 meters)
* RS exhaust 2 x twin
* Removal of the toppspeed limit
* Front spoiler*
* Rear spoiler*
* Specially made Seats, reduce the weight of the car by app 50 kg
* Navigation system
* Velocity High End sound system.
* Short Shift system
* BBS Le Mans wheels 8,5 ET 30mm – 10 ET 23mm x18″
* Continental Sport Contact N1,225/40-18 and 285/30-18. This is a special tire developed for the Porsche 996 GT3 and has an extremly soft rubber mix
* The engine is stock but was build with the use of handpicked parts that are individually picked to fit 100% together
* Spoilers reduce the lift in the car form app 35 kg in the front and 55 kg in the rear to 0 kg front and rear at 200 kph
The former owner drove the Nurdburgring in Germany on 8 min,14. That is fast. They also tested this car on the Hockenheim ring and timed it to 1,15,38 sec. To compare the Ferrari 360 Modena use 1,17,09, Porsche 996 GT3 use 1,15,08 and the Viper GTS (Euro) with 384 HP use 1,16,34 sec.
ref: Auto Motor und Sport no: 23 3 November 1999.
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.
Z3 Safety Shell Exhibit
Picture taken at the 2000 Z3 Homecoming
Owner: Fred Kern