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    i want to be a Z3 owner

    Hi,
    I live in Toronto and been looking at U.S. Z3s for sale for the past 2 months. So many to choose from.
    Not certain what engine to get....also stick or auto. My problem is i really cant drive down and inspect the car. I want a southern car as to have less rust or signs of it. I know one main thing is sub frame. All cars ive inquired about told me they checked it and all is good. I also try to look at cars from BMW dealers so then i know its been checked out. I'm not someone looking for high speed but mostly handling. Any help with engine type and which would last longer with the least problems would be appreciated as any other tips. I want to be a Z3 owner soon.Would it be possible with the help of this forum someone can possibly oversee my purchase if close by to them and give me a report of what they think.
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    2002 Z3 3.0L Topaz Blue/Tan
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  3. #3
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    Have you been checking the Toronto newspapers? Years back we had a small local Z3/Z4 club down here in Buffalo, and when we had an event, there were a large number of Z3s that came down from the Toronto area. In looking at cars in the States, I would suggest that if you find a car that interests you, simply look for someone who does appraisals in the location where the car is located. It may cost you $200. or so for the appraisal, but it's worth it compared to flying down to the States and ending up looking at a clunker. Years back I sold a very nice Plymouth muscle car thru an ad in Hemmings. The fellow that bought it lived a thousand miles away, and simply called the Pierce-Arrow car museum here in Buffalo and contracted with the curator to come over to my house and check the vehicle out. I think he was charged $150., and got back a very detailed appraisal prior to his purchase. All parties ended up happy, and that's where I got the money to pay cash for my new Z3 in 2002.
    Doug
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    As a fellow Canadian, I got our Zed 3 from a dealership in NJ. Although I may have spent more than I would have from a private deal, I still saved thousands from buying in Canada. I reviewed the Car Fax before buying and it did take a leap of faith. The worst part of the car was the top and had I gone to inspect the car I would have seen that but we still got 3 more years out of it. It has been and remains a reliable car and we are very pleased with the car. It had 31,000 miles when purchased and it was a one owner. The owner actually left the original sticker in the owners manual. The car now has 42,000 miles, a new top and a few other enhancements.
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    I think that at the minimum you need to determine whether you want a stick or an automatic. If I did almost exclusive city driving 75% or more I would opt for the auto - but you say you are interested in the car handling which means that you drive a bit outside of the city meaning you want the 5-speed. Your choice.

    Engines are the 1.9(4cyl), 2.5 or 2.8L or the 3.1L for the M version. The 2.3(2.5) is a little easier on gas, the 2.8 is a good compromise for performance and economy and the M is strictly for performance.

    Then again you didn't mention the roadster or coupe choice which is also available. Most of us here have roadsters, but living in Canada a coupe would have its advantages during the winter. Are you going to use it as a winter driven car? If so you are going to probably need another set of steel wheels with snow tires. Good Luck in your search!
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  6. #6
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    There were more engines than you list. If I recall correctly, the 4 cyl motors were 1.8 and 1.9 liter. The 6cyl were available over the years as a 2.0, 2.2, 2.3, 2.5, 2.8, and 3.0, with the engine for the Z3-M being a 3.2 liter.
    Doug
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    Geez Stan - don't overcomplicate the matter - I believe in the KISS principle. Yes there were other engines as you have noted - however, most of the differences were that they were the Euro model engines which this person is not really interested in as he lives in NA.
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    I think my first choice would b a 3.0 stick. 3.0 are hard to find. So 2.8 may be my choice for choice. I do not plan on driving in winter as i have my jetta diesel (575,000KM :) ). I do own a 2007 Mitshubishi eclipse and i only have 31,000KM on it . I'm selling this one this spring. it has never seen snow or rain and is in showroom condition. I just want a 2 seater. I'm pretty good at working on cars so i would be doing a lot of the work on my Z3. I'll keep looking and hopefully i will own one soon.
    Thanks
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    The 3.0 was introduced at a time when sales were dropping off, so the 2.8 cars are much more prevalent. I have a 3.0 Steptronic, 5-2002 build date which was near the end of production. The dealer tried very hard to get me to take a 2.5 or a Z3-M from national inventory, rather than the 3.0 which would have to be an ordered vehicle. The price for the M was discounted to within $1000. or so of the 3.0, which was very tempting. However, the M engines in that period were having bearing failures, and the word had spread, and buyers were avoiding the M cars. I really wanted the Steptronic, since I have a bad left knee. I have no complaints about the 3.0 Steptronic combination other than the car needing some airbox mods to cure a slight off-idle bog- that probably doesn't show up on the manual transmission 3.0's. The 3.0 Steptronic comes with a numerically higher rear axle ratio than the manuals
    (3.46 vs 3.07)which tends to mask the performance advantage of the stick shift during straight line acceleration.
    Doug
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    I'm looking at a 2001 3.0 with Steptronic. Are there issues with this transmission. Will i regret the automatic. Would kind of mods to the airbox?I never owned an automatic in my 40 years of driving. Car has 60,000miles and they want 10,990. Looks in good shape.
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  11. #11
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    I'm completely pleased with the Steptronic transmission- which in a Z3 3.0 is actually a General Motors TurboHydromatic transmission built by a GM facility in Europe. I have the fluid changed every 5 years- or 30K miles, something I've always done with all my automatic transmissions over the years, since I don't buy the so-called "lifetime" fluid claims- the joke being that "sure it's lifetime- for the life of your transmission which just died!". If you want to drive the twisties with a Step you run it in manual shift mode, and you just have to go for a gear change understanding that the tranny takes about 1/2 second or so before it shifts. I once had an interesting game of follow the leader on the backroads with two Z4 3.0's, one with the SMG transmission in front of me, and one with a stick shift behind me. They were both surprised that the Steptronic had no issues keeping up with them, and indeed I found myself pushing the lead car coming out of turns because the Steptronic plus the 3:46 rear axle gearing gave the Step Z3 an advantage. If you buy the car and notice the so-called "3 liter bog" when accelerating moderately from a dead stop then post the problem here and I'll give you the mods which are quite simple and quick. If your car doesn't have the bog then don't worry about it- it only shows up on some 3 liter engines in various degrees.
    Doug
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    Personally, I can't stand an automatic. The manual is faster (straight line), more reliable, gets better mileage, and is more fun (that part is just my opinion). For a 2-seater, fair-weather car, I wanted fun and something that would last a lifetime and the manual does both. There are so many moving parts in an automatic that it's just asking to fail sometime down the line. Again, just my opinion. That being said, on a track, the steptronic will usually be faster because you don't need three feet when downshifting, but that's why I like the manuals...they make me work and let me drive the car instead of the car driving me.

    I have the 2.8 (1997) and although it won't win a drag race these days, it gets up to speed quickly enough and handles very well. The 1.9 4-cylinder, however, is better balanced and will take the curves better, but lacks the oomph of any of the sixes, unless you get a turbo or, at a minimum, a cold-air-intake. I have a 3.0 in my 2003 530 that drives wonderfully. It's a heavy car but still goes so I can imagine that putting a 3.0 in the Z3 would make it fly. No issues with either engine. I have replaced the water pump in both as a precaution, though. As has been mentioned, the ///M is a rocket. Anything 2001+ will be the 315hp version that had some previously mentioned bearing issues, 98-2000 is the more reliable 240hp.

    Good luck and post pictures whenever you finally get one!
    TexZan


    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top
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    It is such s tough decision. My left foot keeps twitching when i look at a steptronic :)
    I really appreciate all the advice pro or con on any z3 like which year was better ect....
    I have my clunker 2000 jetta i use to and from work . Never had really any huge issues. 575,000 KM on it and still original clutch,engine ect... Thanks to the Jetta forums ive had a lot of help with any issues ive had and it seems if i get my ZEEEEE i will get the same help here. So if you guys to keep this thread going and give me as much advice it would be appreciated.
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  14. #14
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    I think what it's going to come down to is finding one and driving it to see if you like it. Preferably finding a couple so you can get a feel for the differences. This would have been much easier ten years ago...and in the summer :-)

    Good luck!
    TexZan


    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top
    Whalen Shift Machine, polished - Type II windscreen (non roll-hoops) - Bilstein HD shocks/struts
    Axxis Metal Master pads - Brembo rotors - Doug Whalen seat bushings
    Passenger Eject (unfortunately non-functional) - OEM Passenger Airbag Disable switch
    Polk Audio all around - Blaupunkt PA amps - LeatherZ Mark II armrest - Strong Strut Trio -
    AUX input via tapedeck
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    To each his own- Never discount the ability of the Z3 w/3 liter and Steptronic in a straight line run. The original factory literature shows the 3.0 Step as 0.1 seconds slower in 0-60, but I assume they had a very skilled driver on the stick shift. The big and little tire combo on my 2002, coupled with the Z3's near 50-50 weight distribution allows you to simply hammer the throttle and get a near perfect hole shot everytime. I have surprised numerous cars that on paper are much quicker solely due to the Z3's hole shot. The only car I've driven in many years that will pull my Z3 (with DSC off) out of the hole was a '09 Hemi Charger with AWD. After the hole shot, just sit back and let the Step do all the work in Sport mode shift setting with the computer handling the shift points. I gave up on stick shifts in 1970 after going thru the 4th hand built 4400 lb pressure plate clutch on my '68 Cuda- which is most likely the reason why my left knee is shot today. I most certainly agree that with the limited number of cars available that you should buy the nicest Z3 you can find for what you want to pay- no matter what tranny it runs.
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  16. #16
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    Oh believe me, I don't discount the 3.0 at all, manual or auto. I also don't discount a skilled driver (I was passed by a Mini Cooper on the Nurburgring...in my defense, it was my first lap EVER there). It all comes down to personal preference, and that's why they make different cars for different people :-)
    TexZan


    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top
    Whalen Shift Machine, polished - Type II windscreen (non roll-hoops) - Bilstein HD shocks/struts
    Axxis Metal Master pads - Brembo rotors - Doug Whalen seat bushings
    Passenger Eject (unfortunately non-functional) - OEM Passenger Airbag Disable switch
    Polk Audio all around - Blaupunkt PA amps - LeatherZ Mark II armrest - Strong Strut Trio -
    AUX input via tapedeck
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    Quote Originally Posted by bryanclar View Post
    Oh believe me, I don't discount the 3.0 at all, manual or auto. I also don't discount a skilled driver (I was passed by a Mini Cooper on the Nurburgring...in my defense, it was my first lap EVER there). It all comes down to personal preference, and that's why they make different cars for different people :-)
    Hey, don't be dissin' the MINI! My JCW Coupe has the same official 0-60 time as a 2.8L Z3 (and a much higher top end). :-)
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    I'm not dissing the Mini! I like the Mini! I was complimenting the driver on the 'ring (I was in a no-kidding racecar and was passed by a stock Mini...slow car, skilled driver that knew the track).
    The JCW is a different animal, anyway :-)
    TexZan


    97 2.8 Arctic Silver - Tanin Red interior with wood console - black top
    Whalen Shift Machine, polished - Type II windscreen (non roll-hoops) - Bilstein HD shocks/struts
    Axxis Metal Master pads - Brembo rotors - Doug Whalen seat bushings
    Passenger Eject (unfortunately non-functional) - OEM Passenger Airbag Disable switch
    Polk Audio all around - Blaupunkt PA amps - LeatherZ Mark II armrest - Strong Strut Trio -
    AUX input via tapedeck
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  19. #19
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    the right z3

    i owned a 1999 2.8 with Dinan supercharge and cool air intake I sold it last year for only 8k Big mistake I just bought a great 2001 mRoadster I didnt realize when i bought it but most enthusiast consider this one of the best Z3 s I firmly agree Its so much better than my last z3 I think you could get a good z3 in a 2.8 or 3.0 with less than 60k miles for under 13K$ I belong to the bluegrass bimmer club in the midwest Indliana actually I would be happy to look at a car for you or take it to a local mechanic or even the dealership in Louisville KY I know of a couple high mile z3 for under 10k$ within 30 minutes of my home my email is [email protected]
    happy hunting
    duane
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