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.

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.

Prototype Camera Mount

Picture taken at the 2000 Z3 Homecoming

Owner: Arnie Coleman

Video taken from this prototype camera mount can be seen here. The final version will probably differ from this prototype. It was my opinion that the additional contact points around the roll hoops was overkill. The heavy metal support has a thick rubber pad under it. The rubber keeps the unit from sliding, even after a day of mountain driving it never moved. The straps on the prototype were velcro, I’m hoping the final version will have clip-straps like the BMW roll hoop windscreen.

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).

Chrome Windshield Washer Sprayers

Pros: More Chrome (always a good thing)
Cons: Loose “Heated” Option
Cost: $59 from www.zchrome.com

BMW makes two different windshield washer sprayers for the Z3, a regular version and heated version. If your BMW Z3 has heated seats then it also has heated side mirrors and heated windshield washer sprayers. www.ZChrome.com sells a chrome version of the regular BMW windshield washer sprayers. My Z3 came with the heated version but the two versions are interchangeable so I decided to add an additional touch of chrome to my Z3. I don’t live in an area where it gets cold enough to freeze windshield washer fluid so loosing the heated option didn’t concern me.

Two make the swap you will need two of ZChrome’s chrome windshield washer sprayers, about an hour of time, a phillips head screw driver and a roll of electric tape. If your Z3 does not have the heated washer sprayers then you will not need the electrical tape.

Open the hood of your Z3 and notice the two areas on the hood pad that have preformed square bulges. Behind these bulges are the back sides of the windshield washer sprayers. To get to this area you will need to at least partially remove the hood pad. To do this you will need to use the phillips head screw driver. Along the edge of the hood pad you will find phillips head screws in plastic clips. Remove whatever screws you need to so you can work comfortably behind the pad.

The phillips screws go into these plastic clips. You do not need to completely remove the phillips screws from the clips. Just loosen the screw enough so the entire clip can be removed from the hood.

The hood has holes in in that these plastic clips snap into. The screw spreads out the legs out and hold the clip and the pad to the hood.

Next Step

The heated washer sprayers have two connections, one for washer fluid another for power to heat the windshield washer sprayer.

Non-heated washer sprayers just have the washer sprayer connection.

Remove the washer fluid hose first. Then unclip the gray portion of the power connection from the black part of the connection.

To remove the wiring clip from the hood rotate the mount counter clockwise a quarter turn and it can be pulled straight out.

The washer sprayer snaps into place. The connection is tight and will require some effort to remove. Pinch the top side while pulling up on the unit. At the same time tilt the lower so it pushes through to the other side. The unit will be removed from the top side of the hood once we work it loose from the bottom. Be careful not to use to much pressure so you don’t dent the hood.

Once the unit is loose you can pull the entire washer sprayer out from the top (outside) of the hood.

The www.ZChrome.com replacement part slides in from the top.

Push the side opposite the washer sprayers down and towards the front of the car.

It will take some pressure to snap the front (washer sprayer) side down into place. Be Careful, this area of the hood can be dented if you push down to hard. If you are having trouble use more forward and less down pressure.

Hook the washer fluid hose up to the new chrome non-heated washer sprayer.

Make sure the connection is tight. BMW’s washer sprayer system uses more pressure than you would expect.

Those who started out with heated washer sprayers will need to make a decision as to what to do with the remaining power connection.

I choose to use electrical tape to wrap the connection and secure it to the washer fluid hose.

There is actually one remaining step, you will most likely need to adjust the tiny hose nozzles inside the windshield washer sprayers. The first time I used them four stream of washer fluid shot over the car without even touching the windshield. I used nail with a fine tip inserted into the hole of the washer sprayer nozzle to adjust the aiming. The washer sprayers will pivot under pressure so through trial and error you can re-aim the nozzle sprayers if yours need adjustment.

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.

How to Build a Z3 Dual Arm Rest

With a trip to your local BMW dealership for one $25.00 part and a visit to your local Home Depot for another $20.00 in hardware you can construct this dual arm rest (uncovered) for your Z3 or ///M with simple hand tools.

This arm rest was inspired by my wife Sharon. I would be the driver, she would be the passenger and as I would raise my arm to shift she would steal the arm rest or as I would raise my arm to steer she would steal the arm rest. I decided to invent my Z3 dual arm rest. In doing so I have also come to learn that it is now possible to rest my elbow on the new arm rest while steering. This is not really possible with the OEM arm rest as it is to far away. I’m 6’4″ with long arms and people with shorter arms that have tested the dual arm rest prefer this arm position. So many thanks to my wife Sharon.

I have tried many different variations on this project and what I give you now is the best I have found to work. You have a few choices to make, such as, color of hardware and felt, painting it or dipping it and whether it is going to be leather covered by Jon Maddux at www.leatherz.com. It’s REALLY not that complicated once you read through the instructions and get a better understanding of what I’m talking about. My personal choice was brass hardware with a black felt covered forward bumper support catch that was dipped in black Plastic coat. Then sent to Jon M. at www.leatherz.com for matching tan cover with the word Roadster embroidered on it.

Generally speaking the parts will cost you anywhere from $34.00 to $42.00 depending on if you get a discount at BMW dealership, the choices you make regarding felt and plastic dip, sales taxes and what you may already have available to you. The tools on the other hand could add up to $150.00 or more. Then if you are sending it on to leatherz to be covered more $. Yeah, but it’s your “baby” right.

You will need to remove the cupholder assembly from your Z. The one in your car now is not the one we will be working on but will be replaced by the new . Note: there may be cases where the one in car is the one to be retrofitted. Anyway this is no big deal. We are talking about removing one screw or one nut and bolt. OK it is a tight spot but you can do it. There is even a great article on the www. leatherz.com site for removing the cupholder assembly. See Rachels excellent cupholder assembly instructions there.

If you are not having this leather covered (why in the world aren’t you) you may want to spray paint the top ring of the rivet nut and possibly both hinges black to match the lids. If you are doing an installation WITHOUT the rivet nut the top nut and lock washer should be painted or better yet plastic dipped black to match lids and prevent clothes catching on it. This nut REALLY bothers me especially if it’s going to be leather covered so I wish you would reconsider and do the rivet nut option.

Collecting the Parts

Start by collecting all parts and tools you will need. Here is the list.

1. Cup holder assembly BMW part # 82-11-1-469-516

2. 1 pair of 2″x 3/4″ hinges. National or simuilar with removeable pin in brass or silver (your choice). Home Depot # 218-995 (brass) # 218-979 (silver)

3. 1-Grip clip. Home Depot # 201-739, 4 to a package, only need one.

4. 1-7/8″ dia. bumper. Home Depot 3 524-062, 4 to a package,only need one. Black if you can find it but I couldn’t.

5. 1- 8″x 11″ sheet of felt (or less) with sticky back. Color of your choice. I got mine at Rag Shop in black, two sheets to a package. Home Depot -Felt Gard # 423-234. Choice of biege or brown in medium and heavy grade. I suggest medium.

6. Opinional. Plastic dip. Available at Home Depot in red, yellow and blue. I used black and got mine at local hardware and also available from Harbor Freight. This is to coat brown bumper black or cover exposed nut and lock washer in non- rivet, non-covered lid. Note: you can get away without plastic dip if you chose to leave bumper brown or paint it. But you should use it on non-nut rivet installations.

7. 1-Machine screw (1 1/2″ 10-24 thread) slotted round head in brass or silver (your choice)

8. 3- 10-24 nuts and 3- #10 lock washers (color match)

9. Loc-tite or Permatex nut lock (permanent type) only for non rivet nut installations. READ ON FOR MORE INFO ON THIS TYPE INSTALLATION.

10. Styrofoam ( the softer white that comes with everything. Not the harder flower arrangement stuff.)

***Part #’s are for reference only. Please make sure you get what is described.

Tools

* Drill

* 3/16″ and 17/64″ possibly 11/64″ drill bits

* Normal rivet gun

* package of 3/16″ with 1/4″ bite aluminum rivets

* *Rivet nut gun – This can be gotten via Harbor Freight for $20.00. It is a cheap(er) version of one that is available at Napa car stores for $114.00. Both come with the 10-24 nut rivet you will use.

* Razor knife

* Scissors

* Hacksaw with blade

For cupholder assembly removeal and installation:

* Allen wrench

* Metric or adjustable wrench

* I’ll tell you how to do it without this tool but it is much better with nut rivet!

Let’s Make It

DISCLAIMER: The writer of this article assumes no responsibility what-so-ever for this armrest. It is given to you as a do- it- yourself project and you and you alone assume ALL responsibility for it’s construction, installation and any possible damage to your vehicle in connection with it. Also note that it may be unwise or illegal to obstruct the hand/emergency brake. Again you and you alone bear full responsibility. READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS THOROUGHLY BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THIS PROJECT.

First if your OEM arm rest has no metal rod in back for the rear lid, has only little rubber bumpers without plastic surrounding them and a rubber mat in storage compartment instead of nice soft material you have the “old style”, pre-1997, and I would highly recommend you use the new cupholder for this job. For everyone else why not use the new cupholder anyway since it’s unscratched and not in the car. Yes, you will have to remove the cupholder assembly in the car and replace with the hinged one you’ll make. I see no way to drill, align and rivet on the assembly while still in the car. It’s only one screw or one nut and bolt.

OK, Let’s begin to make YOUR Z3 dual arm rest.

If you are going to dip or paint the bumper stop DO IT NOW! Screw in 1 1/2″x 10-24 machine screw through bumper until it’s recessed under the opening and flush with bumper base. Bumper is not threaded so this will require a little force. Give bumper 2 coats of dip or paint. Try to keep dip off threads. Let dry overnight. Take lids off new assembly (un-hook o-rings). The lids in your car now will replace these on this side of cupholder assembly LATER. Remove with either a hacksaw or razor knife the lid latch tabs on both lids. Cutoff flush with lid side.

PUTTING ON HINGES

Pull the pin out of one of the hinges. Get some seperation using putty knife then use wide blade screwdriver to pry out. Align 2 barrel half with the back edge of assembly, get it lined up with lid and even with top edge. Mark holes and drill 3/16″ holes. Clean off any drilled material. Note: Line up back lid (SMALLER ONE WITH BOTH CORNERS CUT OUT) with outside edge of assembly. This gives a nice space between old and new lids. Line up hinge on lid and back of assembly. Make sure edge of hinge is even with both lid edge and assembly edge. This is very important to understand, pay close attention to this picture. First visualize that the back lid is on the top left hand side of the assembly (where I made the pen marking.) You need to line up the lid with that side in order to get space between the two armrests. Now you also need to align the hinge halfs. One on back lid and one on assembly. Take note that this hinge half is NOT centered in that assembly space so we can create that needed spacing BUT it will be centered to the matching other half of hinge. We do that by holding up the FULL hinge with lid on assembly and marking sides of top and bottom hinge. Now one more thing. When you get set to mark holes you line up hinge half with edge of assembly (this case) or in next case edge of lid. This is the model you follow for each hinge. VERY IMPORTANT!

Get rivet gun loaded with 3/16 rivet, place hinge over holes and rivet. Keep it level and flush (both assembly edge and hinge edge are flush.) **Please note these rivets touch the inside wall of the assembly when first inserted, pushing the rivet head away from hinge. With a light squeeze take up on the rivet so that it gets flush with hinge and only then finish snapping rivet. Take other 1 barrel half of that hinge and do the same to the back (2 arched cut outs) of rear (smaller) lid. Be careful to line up hinges and keep hinge and lid edges level and flush with each other

Follow the same proceedure. Remove pin from second hinge and use the 1 barrel half for the front (non arched cut out side) of rear (smaller) lid . Continue on by putting the 2 barrel half on the back (non sloped end) of the forward lid. Again be careful to line up hinges with each other and have hinge edge with lid edge and keep centered. Remember to clean off any excess drilling material. *SMALLER BACK LID SHOULD NOW HAVE A 1 BARREL HALF OF HINGE ON BOTH SIDES.

Next Step

This next step is for rivet nut installation ONLY! – Hole for and installation of nut rivet in lid

Drill 7/64″ hole in the front of front lid (large lid arch cutouts on sides) at this exact location (see picture). Hole is on the OPPOSITE side of where the arch cutout is. That is the driver side of armrest. Look at lid and you will see where rounded edge ends and flat top begins a straight line appears. Pencil (red in picture) a straight line on top of it. Do this on front edge and side edge. From front line measure in 3/8″ and place a mark and from side (non-arched side) measure in 5/8″ and place a mark. Drill a 17/64″ hole where marks meet. Clean away any drilling material. Load up rivet nut gun with 10/24 rivet nut and insert into hole, (put 10-24 nut on thread of arbor as block) squeeze nut in place. Note: I stripped 2 rivet nuts. (cheap rivet nuts??) The theaded arbor on rivet nut gun pulled right through. I suggest you thread arbor all the way through rivet nut and place a 10-24 nut on arbor thread to act as a block so arbor can not pull through. Be gentle but make sure nut is firmly in place. Feel and touch sort of thing!

This next step is for those NOT using rivet nut. – Hole for machine screw with nut on lid

Dril1 3/16″ hole in the front of front lid (large lid arch cutouts on sides) at this exact location (see picture). Hole is on the OPPOSITE side of where the arch cutout is. That is the driver side of armrest. Look at lid and you will see where rounded edge ends and flat top begins a straight line appears. Pencil (red in picture) a straight line on top of it. Do this on front edge and side edge. From front line measure in 3/8″ and place a mark and from side (non-arched side) measure in 5/8″ and place a mark. Drill a 3/16″ hole where marks meet. Note: If you have a 10-24 tap drill a 11/64″ hole instead and tap it. This will add some strength.

Felt and Grip:

Place grip onto felt and trace width of grip. Add 1/16″ to 1/8″ when you cut felt with scissors. I found it better to use one continuous strip from inside grip from bolt hole around both loops and back to other side of bolt hole (approx. 7″x 1/2″ ). Leave hole uncovered. Trace open sides (outside diameter) to exact size. Flip over grip and do other side. This makes a “butterfly” shape. One for each side. DO NOT COVER YET! Now place the grip on the Styrofoam and push grip into it to fill holes. My piece of foam was 1/4″ thick and I placed on ground and hammered on block of wood. Did this twice. This filled the cavities in grip. Cut off any extra so foam is flush with sides of grip.

Next Step

Bumper support catch for nut rivet installation:

If you have not done so already, remember dipping, thread the 1 1/2″ 10-24 machine screw through the bumper. After screw is all the way into the bumper ( screw head is recessed in bumper) put screw through hole in grip from the inside to the outside. Push bumper to be flush with grip metal. This can be very tight. You need to bend the grip a bit for bumper to get seated and you also need that bend plus a little more so grip guides onto hand brake and does not clamp it. It should have just some grip. This is a good time to test it on your hand brake. OK, now put on a #10 lock washer and 10-24 nut and tighten. Put another 10-24 nut and #10 lock washer onto screw about 3/4″ down. This is then screwed into the nut rivet on the front lid. The nut down the threads is to adjust height of arm rest to match other and then tightened to lock in place. ** You do not send this to Jon M. Put aside with your hinge pins. Remember where you put them! You can install this when they are returned covered.

Bumper support catch for non-nut rivet installation:

If you have not done so already, remember dipping, thread the 1 1/2″ 10-24 machine screw through the bumper. After screw is all the way into the bumper ( screw head is recessed in bumper) put screw through hole in grip from the inside to the outside. Push bumper to be flush with grip metal. This can be very tight. You need to bend the grip a bit for bumper to get seated and you also need that bend plus a little more so grip guides onto hand brake and does not clamp it. It should have just some grip. This is a good time to test it on your hand brake. OK, now put on a #10 lock washer and 10-24 nut and tighten. Put another 10-24 nut and #10 lock washer onto screw about 3/4″ down. This is then screwed (if tapped) or put through hole on the front lid. The nut down the threads is to adjust height of arm rest to match other and then tightened to lock in place. If there is extra screw protruding out top cut of with hacksaw and grind /sand. Use permanant lock thread compound on top nut and thread to help prevent it coming off. If you are not and perhaps even if you are sending lids to be covered I’d suggest you use plastic dip on top nut. Tape around it leaving a little hole cutout enough for dip to attach to lid and then coat nut. Let dry and razor cut dip in circle shape. If you are sending this to Jon M for leather covering YOU MUST SENT IT ATTACHED WITH LIDS. He will cover over that nut and washer.

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU ARE DONE.

Well I don’t know about you put but I sure would want to test this out in my Z. It takes minutes to exchange the cupholder assembly in your car PROVIDED you take your time AND do not drop the nut into the well. Go to www. leatherz.com and read Rachels how to install cupholder assembly. My first experience in removing the assembly I encounter “old style” anchor screw (see picture in extra picture section) that just keep on turning and turning. Finally I lifted up on back of unit and forced it up. New style gives bolt and nylon lined nut. That nut is what you DON’T want to drop. It’s a tight fit but I haven’t dropped one yet. I would suggest to you, DO NOT put on the nut for testing out your new dual armrest. Just the bolt in hole and tabs in front will be OK for now. Plus nylon lined nuts are meant to be screwed on ONCE. Have Fun!

Final notes:

You need to talk to Jon Maddux concerning filling the front corner. Originally I had all 4 corners filled with Styrofoam. When Jon went to cover it his glue dissolved the Styrofoam. Jon made up wood corners for my arm rest and covered it. This was alot of work for Jon and also caused some “stacking” problems with the leather. We feel it is best if only the front corner is filled. The back two you don’t see and the other front lids back corner is on the side facing the other arm rest and will also be unnoticed. Besides Jon does great work on the regular corners and it may well look fine with out ANY corners being filled.

When you put lids on assembly for “final” time push pins in all the way. this takes out some play in them. This is a little tough if assembly is in car but I use a pair of wide channel locks and squeeze pin in WHILE supporting lid and hinge with my other hand. You will find it is also a little harder now that it is leather covered. You will also notice arm rest unit is less wobbly. A putty knife blade will seperate pin from barrel enough to get a wide blade screw driver in that space to remove pins.

Titanium 130R Shift Knob

Pros: Increased shift feel, great looks
Cons: Cold/hot to the touch depending on the season
Cost: $139 from Titanium Cavallino

Titanium 130R

Short shift kits have become a popular upgrade for Z3 owners, but the good kits can be quite expensive. The popular UUC short shift kit, reviewed elsewhere on the ///MZ3.net, is $300 and the imported AC Schnitzer shifter—try that five times real fast—is an eye watering $1000+. Richard Carlson’s ///MZ3.net article on short shifters, ‘The Short End of the Stick’, offers a clear overview of the concepts and techniques involved in designing an effective short shift kit, and touches briefly on a low-cost approach to improved shift feel—a shorter shift knob. Richard experimented with an inexpensive round plastic ball, which he admits didn’t enhance the appearance of the cockpit, but which did result in snappier shifts.

Compare Stock vs 130R

Titanium Cavallino offers an attractive shift knob which they call the 130R knob. Styled along the lines of the classic Ferrari round knob, the 130R is beautifully presented in polished titanium, and is 9/16″ shorter than the stock BMW knob. If you’re wondering whether a 9/16″ shorter knob will make any difference, refer again to Richard Carlson’s article. He presents a table which indicates that a 3/4″ shorter shifter on an M Roadster would result in a 12% reduction in throw. I figure that the 130R will shorten throw by 8-10%. Additionally, the 130R weighs 9 ounces—5.5 ounces more than the stock knob. That extra heft should further improve the new short-shift feel.

Unlike many aftermarket knobs, the 130R is designed expressly for the BMW. This means that, rather than being installed using set screws, the 130R is fixed to the shift lever in the same way that BMW engineers have designed for the stock knob; a snap ring arrangement to hold the knob on the shaft and, to prevent turning, a pin inside the knob which engages a notch in the top of the shaft. Once properly installed the knob cannot rotate, and it would take 80 pounds of vertical pull to remove. If you worry about the knob coming off in your hand in the middle of a fast sweeper, this is the only way to go.

Installation is quite easy. Remove the stock knob by grasping it firmly with two hands and giving it a strong upward yank. Careful that your chin isn’t in the way! Knobs with internal lighting have a long enough wire that breaking the wire shouldn’t be a problem, but take care. If the knob is wired then lift the edges of the shift boot, locate the connector at the end of the wire, unplug it, then thread the wire and connector through the shaft hole in the boot. Installation of the new knob is just the reverse. Slide the knob down over the shaft, insuring that the internal pin is aligned with the notch in the top of the shaft, then press down until the snap ring engages. Done!

Road test time! So, what does it feel like? As expected, it doesn’t change the feel in any revolutionary way. The throw is tightened up, and the extra weight of the knob adds some inertia which helps the shifter across the gate. To my eye the looks are wonderful, but don’t leave the car outside with the top down or you may burn your hand. At the other end of the temperature spectrum, the knob is unpleasantly cold to the touch until it picks up warmth from your hand. I particularly like the standard BMW mounting method and, on balance, I consider this a worthwhile addition to my M Roadster—at least until Santa brings me a UUC shifter.