Back in November 2001 one cold morning I started the car and my foot sliped off the brake while the car was in first gear. The car flight forward into the garage wall. Got the hood bend real bad and front spoiler cracked open. So I decide to give the car new look. The body kit was $1400 from Vielside, after long search this only body kit I like. This body kit Vielside only make for the 1.9l (4cl) so the side rocket panels wouldn’t fit on the 2.8l v6. I have the body shop cut one part from the stock side rocket panel and mate with the new rocket panels so it will fit perfectly.
The Car is a 1998 Mroadster. I found the car 1 year ago at a local (orlando) Mercedes/Porsche dealer. As the story I was told goes, It was owned by the guy who trucked the ring around for the WWF. He never drove the car due to the fact that he was on the road all of the time. One night his wife told him she wanted a boxster instead of the M. They got in a big fight and surprise, she won. The car was on the lot 1 day when I saw it, I immediately put down a deposit and drove it home the next day with 950 miles on the clock.
The very next week I ordered the H&R lowering springs from RacingZone Auto House and had them installed (thanks Brian). From there it went a little nuts. All of the orange in the lights HAD to go. I ordered the front headlights, side markers, and bumper light from Circle BMW (found through MZ3.net). I ordered my controversial Taillights from Racing Zone Autohouse in Orlando Fl. They are from Inpro but have since been discontinued and are very hard to find. People either love them or hate them.
Next I started on the interior, the pedals are from AJUSA.com and are a good set of pedals that look right at home in the retro interior. The carbon fiber kit is from Joshua Tree and I think it gives the cars interior a racy look. I also have a ///M Hood emblem and Chrome door handles from a website that I can’t quite remember.
For the exterior I went to my friends over at RacingZone Autohouse again. The rims are 19″ Hartage Classic’s, 19×8 (front) with 235/35/19 Yokahama AVS Sport Tires and 19×9.5 (rear) with 265/30/19 With Yokahama AVS Sport Tires.
The Body Kit is Zeemax and was ordered through Eric at Supreme Power Parts (www.supremepowerparts.com). It was done after all of that Zeemax stuff with SMS and Eric is now able to order Kits Directly from Zeemax. The cost was right around $1,920 shipped to my door. The fit was great, some minor mods had to be done by the body shop to make it PERFECT. All of the paint and body work was done by Moores Precision Collision in Orlando Fl. (www.precisioncollisioninc.com). The wing is from Veilside and was ordered from RacingZone Auto house also. The shipping company cracked 2 of them before I finally got one that wasn’t damaged.
All and all the car has taken a year to get to its current state. Now I am going to focus on performance, not that the car really needs it, I am looking into the forced induction options available and am leaning towards the Mech-Tech turbo system, that big mouth up front is just screaming for a huge intercooler.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me out in this last year:
Thanks to Everyone at Jade Motorsports
Brian at RacingZone Auto House
513 N.Semoran Blvrd.
Orlando Florida 32807
Eric at Supreme Power Parts
1025-B Ortega Way, Placentia, CA 92870.
Edward Hickman at Moores Precision Collision
420 N. Kirkman Road
Orlando, Fl 32835
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!
|Pros:||Looks good, matches Larry’s steel gray/black Z3|
|Cons:||Evaluation kit, product canceled and is not available|
|Cost:||Unknown, Product Unavailable|
To my knowledge this is the only black wood dash kit made for the BMW Z3. It is an evaluation kit made my a company in Korea. However just after developing this evaluation kit the model year 2000 Z3s showed up and it was apparent that this kit was already out of date so the manufacturer decided to cancel the project.
Even though the project was canceled I thought owners would like to see what a black wood dash kit would look like in a Z3. The carbon fiber shift knob was added later and is a nice (matching) addition to the looks. Hopefully another dash kit maker will consider adding black wood to their collection for those looking for something a little different.
Even though this particular black wood dash kit is not available, MG Racing has a black wood dash kit. If you are looking for a very unique dash kit that looks really good with black interior this may be what you have been looking for.
|Pros:||Reduced shift throw, solid shifts (no “play” in linkage)|
|Cons:||Requires some crawling on the ground if you don’t have access to a lift|
|Cost:||List price: $300 (from UUC motorwerks)|
The UUC motorwerks M roadster/coupe short shift kit comes with all the parts you need to reduce the shift throw of your M roadster or coupe by 15-20%. The kit includes a replacement M roadster shifter lever with a custom bend in it, a CNC machined adaptor to mate the shift lever to the shift selector rod, all clips, pins, washers, and lubricant needed for the installation, replacement Delrin bushings for the shift carrier, and a special tool for removal of the shifter cup.
The kit also comes with a 17-page booklet detailing every aspect of the installation. The instructions are detailed, but it is wise to take some time to familiarize yourself with all the different terms used before beginning, and to constantly go between looking at the parts on the car and the pictures and descriptions in the booklet. If you don’t know what all the parts are (I didn’t when I started), it may not be immediately obvious what the “carrier” is, for example.
Besides all the parts in the kit, you will need some tools. An 8mm hex bit or 8mm allen hex wrench is absolutely necessary. You will also need some blue “Loctite” threadlock. A small hammer may be necessary to tap some things into place, and a flashlight is a must. A large flat-bladed screwdriver is needed, and snap ring pliers (tips to the side, not straight out) and work gloves are recommended although not absolutely necessary (I made do without them, but having them would have made the job easier). You will also either need access to a lift (recommended if you have any chance to get your car on one) or jackstands to lift the front of the car. Two final notes before beginning: First, make sure the car is cool. You will be working all around the exhaust. Second, some parts of the installation are almost impossible without two people. For example, sometimes one person will need to be under the car, working to attach something to the bottom of the shift lever, and at that time it is very useful if you have someone else above the car to hold the shift lever in place and keep it from flopping around.
Step 1 is to remove the shift knob by pulling up on it forcefully. Be careful not to mash your nose, and also be careful not to rip loose the wires for the lighted shift knob that M roadster and coupes feature. After you have the shift knob loose, pull on the leather boot on the sides towards the center and lift the boot up. This will expose a foam insulating insert which covers the connection to the lighted shift knob.
Tug the foam insert up out of the way and unplug the connector for the lighted shift knob. You should now be able to set the shift knob, leather boot, and foam insert to the side.
If you feel like having a little fun at this point, you could try driving your car around the block using just the stub of the shift lever–the effort is noticeably increased, but you get a great Miata-like feel to the shifter. This just makes you look forward to getting the short shift kit fully installed!
Notice in the pic of the bare shift lever that there is a rubber boot around its base. Your next step is going to be to pull up on it to remove it.
Once the rubber boot is off, you can see the top of the aluminum carrier. In this is the nylon cup which holds the ball of the shift lever in place.
Now that the rubber boot is out of the way, push the shift lever to the right and look down on the left hand side of the carrier underneath it. You should see a circlip. This clip is what is holding the selector rod in place in the hole in the bottom of the stock shift lever. You can push the clip off with a screwdriver, use a pair of snap ring pliers to remove it, or push it off with a gloved hand. After removing it, remove the small yellow washer and you should then be able to push the selector rod pin out of the shift lever.
I was naive about how the shifter lever in an M roadster actually connected to the transmission. I had no idea what a “carrier” was. The carrier is a metal piece that attacnes to the top rear of the transmission and extends rearward into a rubber fitting behind the shift area. The shift lever itself has a round ball that mounts into a nylon cup which fits in the circular area of the carrier. The bottom of the shift lever is under the carrier and attaches to a selector rod which extends forward to the transmission. The UUC instructions are about to tell you to remove the nylon cup and then to remove the carrier. This is a picture of the carrier next to the car so you can realize how long it is–this will keep you from a little bit of puzzlement as you try to figure out where various clips are (that you need to remove) in relation to the shifter lever.
I’m going to fast forward a bit in the installation. The instruction booklet from UUC contained better pictures than I could take with my camera–since I didn’t have the car on a lift, I just didn’t have room to try to take any pictures from under the car. The UUC instructions clearly take you through removing the shifter cup (either with the supplied shifter cup removal tool or, in a pinch, with a pair of small screwdrivers). The instructions then take you through removing a clip/pin that attaches the front of the carrier to the top of the transmission. Take your time feeling out where the carrier ends and where this clip is. It is not immediately obvious and is hard, if not impossible, to see–you just have to feel along. The clip can be hard to pry up–as the instructions say, “some cursing and swearing tends to make the job easier”. I really recommend trying this tip, as it really works!
Once you have the carrier out of the car (see picture above of it laying next to the car), you can remove the stock rubber bushing shown already out at lower right in this picture) and replace it with the Delrin bushings shown on either side of the hole in the carrier in this picture.
Before reinstalling the carrier, you need to flip the selector rod (which is currently still attached at the transmission end) from side to side and end to end. You will need to remove a circlip from it at the transmission end just like you did at the shift lever end. Make sure to note where yellow washers are used when you take it off and put new ones (supplied with the UUC kit) in place when you reinstall the selector rod. When you take the selector rod out, you should see that in its original position, it had its pins pointing towards the left side of the car, and had a “kink” or bend in it near the transmission end, which bend “pointed” up, giving the rod a little clearance over the driveshaft. When you flip the rod end to end and side to side, you will be reinstalling it with the pins pointing to the right side of the car. If done properly, the kink will now be towards the rear of the car and will still be pointing “up”. This is important to maintain clearance of the drive shaft.
After moving the selector rod, you now need to reinstall the carrier. Again, the clip that fastens it to the transmission is going to give you fits. UUC provides a replacement clip, which you need because you will probably destroy the original clip when you remove it. Make sure to get the replacement clip snapped down all the way when you install it.
Once the carrier is back in place, you should slip the UUC-provided new nylon cup over the ball of the shift lever, slide the cup into the hole in the carrier, and snap it into place as per the instructions. Use the provided grease to lubricate the ball of the shifter before placing it in the nylon cup. Unlike the stock lever (shown at bottom of picture), the UUC lever (top of picture) has a bend in it. Make sure that the lever leans towards the back of the car, and that the bottom part of the lever is also pointing towards the back of the car.
You now will install the supplied adaptor onto the bottom of the shift lever. Note that it can be installed in one of two positions. You should install it in the 15% reduction position to match the way you have now flipped the selector rod. Continue with the instructions to attach the selector rod to the adaptor.
Back to the rubber boot–after you have the shift linkage reassembled, and you have tested your way through the gears, you need to reinstall the rubber boot. The instructions do tell you to make sure to get the bottom of the rubber boot around the top “lip” of the carrier. However, they don’t say that the best way to do this is probably from beneath the car. Get your fingers up in there and tug the boot down around this lip–this is important to keep dirt from getting in the pivot point of the shift mechanism. After reinstalling the rubber boot, reinstall the foam insulation, reconnect the lighted shifter wires, and reinstall the leather boot and shift knob, all in the opposite of the order in which you took them off.
gear pair Stock
4-5 3 11/16″
3 11/16″ 3 3/16″
3 1/4″ 1/2″
7/16″ So, what is it like when you are done? I took the following measurements. In general, the UUC short shift kit reduces the throw about one-half of an inch between each pair of gears. This may not sound like a lot at first, but it certainly feels different when shifting and is a very nice change. The shifter feels like it should have come this way from the factory.
The animation below shows the stock shifter on the left and the UUC shifter on the right. This gives you some idea of what it is like to shorten your shift throw the UUC way.
All in all, I recommend the UUC short shift kit. The installation is difficult for a first-timer, but having been through it once, I think it would be much easier the second time around now that I know where all the components are and what they look like. It feels great in my car, and I have been enjoying it each day since I installed it.
Discuss this article and other Convenience upgrades in the
///MZ3.Net discussion forum.
|Pros:||Looks great, Very solid, 1-2 hours to install (depending on how anal you are)|
|Cons:||Pricey for a vanity upgrade, Adventuresome ordering and shipping process|
|Cost:||$95.00 from MG Racing & Tuning|
Most of the upgrades to my Z have been either to make it go faster, louder, or handle better, but not really to change its physical appearance. OK, so the wheels are very noticeable, but they were justified as a handling upgrade. Anyway, for no apparent reason I decided to spice up the grill area. I called all three Houston area BMW dealers to get a price and delivery date on the MY2k chrome grill, and received answers of: “Huh?”; “they don’t make those”; “the grills haven’t changed”; and so on. I decided to order the chrome grill insert kit from MG Racing & Tuning instead.
MG Racing & Tuning is an unusual business. Based in St. Maarten, N.A., they are a small company that sources cool parts for cool cars from all over the world, and sells them over the Internet. It can be a slow, tedious process, due to the weird Caribbean telephony, parts delays, and service and attitude problems with their US shipper. Giampiero, owner of MG Racing & Tuning is an honest guy, and will shoot straight with you. The problem is making contact. The best method is via eMail, and then Giampiero will call you back. I had initial problems with the ordering process, due to my extremely impatient nature, but Giampiero made it right. I would order from MG Racing & Tuning again.
I placed my order and 24 days later it arrived. The kit is packaged nicely, and the English instructions were a pleasant surprise. These would be important later. The instructions would have you install the slats with the grill on the car, but I decided to remove the grill assemblies to clean them thoroughly. Besides, it was hot as hell that day, and I wanted to work inside. Please note that if you want to work with the grills out, you will need to remove the chrome trim ring to help align the slats. One side note, I was very disappointed to see that the “chrome” trim ring on the Z3 is a cheap piece of chromed plastic. For BMW, happiness is cutting corners.
To remove the grills, I simply gave them 2-3 whacks with the palm of my hand, and they popped right out. No problem. The chrome trim rings had some sticky foam/tape inside of them (they’re hollow, too), but they pulled off as well. The car now had a toothless look to it, and a huge amount of wax build-up that I cleaned away. With grills in hand I went inside to work.
I gave the grills a nice bath in the kitchen sink with some Maguiars. I didn’t wash the trim rings that way, since I didn’t want to get the foam/tape wet. Next came the tape. The kit supplies exactly enough double sided tape to put two pieces on each grill fin to receive a slat. Simple enough. Where I made my mistake was applying the first slat without having the trim ring in place as a guide. As a result on a trial fitting, the slat was too high, so I had to remove it, snap the trim ring in place, and then put on the rest of the slats. They went on pretty easily, especially when I followed the instructions advice to use a little soapy water to ease the fitting. A few of the slats were spread too wide, but a little squeezing made them fit perfectly. I would imagine that installing the slats is easier with the grill off the car, since you can press them into place from overhead. Whichever way you do it, you may want to wear some gloves, as it can be pretty rough on the thumbs after eighteen slats.
Each slat has a number and letter to signify its position. It works best if you orient the box (where the slats are in proper order) and the grill the same way to make sure the slat and fin locations are matching. Once I finished, I popped the trim rings off the grills, and was ready to reinstall them on the car. The grills now weighed about two pounds each – very substantial.
Reinstalling the grill assemblies on the car was the worst part (another argument for installing them on the car to begin with) due to the fact that the hood hydraulics wanted to lift the hood past the optimal working position. Also, the rings had to be stretched a little bit to clear the grill slats. But, after fifteen minutes of work, the grills were on the car, and looked fantastic.
A week later I am still amazed by the appearance of the grills as they are simply dazzling in the bright sunshine, and complement the Boston Green paint very nicely. While this is purely a vanity upgrade, it is one I’d recommend if you are in the market for such a look. About the only thing I’d do differently is to install the slats with the grill on the car.