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  1. #1
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    Yes | No

    99 Z3 Speedo goes to 60 mph, then stays there no matter how much faster you go!

    Speedo accuracy is typical for a BMW speedo up to 60 MPH. Then, no matter how much more you accellerate, speedo hovers at around 60 maybe bumping up to 65 when I am actually exceeding 80.
    Anyone experience this? Known cure?
    Thanks in advance.
    Also, sorry for not logging in - its been years and the forum format has changed - I cannot find my old username or password.
    Tom
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  2. #2
    Carlin/96/M44
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    UUUmmm...Think it this way, if you get a speeding ticket you wil have proof that the

    speedo was not working properly (did not know) etc, etc. Maybe BMW also will fixed for free, and you might win on both cases.
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  3. #3
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Cluster Bad?

    As I understand these systems, the speedometer is just a faked-up electronic version of the good-old cable-type that actually drove off a spinning cable from the transmission, back the day when men were men and sheep were nervous.

    Instead, these modern speedometers use a pulse signal from a one or more of the ABS sensors or a sensor on the transmission, and then drive the speedometer needle to the appropriate position (controlled by a microprocessor) to indicate speed, just like the "Steam gauges" of yore.

    So...... what does this mean?

    Well, the pulse train that drives the speedo signal is either there or it isn't. I can't imagine a scenario where it would generate pulses properly to 60 mph and then go haywire. But I suppose anything is possible.

    Usually you either get signal or you don't, and clearly your instrument cluster is getting signal.

    So I suspect the cluster is bad. Again, the speedometer is sort of a faked-up display that merely emulates the mechanical speedometers of yore. If the needle drive is jammed or broken, then it might just go to 60 and then stop.

    Changing out the cluster would be the answer, but then it gets tricky as the odometer has to "talk" to the engine computer and if they disagree, it signals odometer tampering - as I understand it.

    I used to have a spare E36 M Cluster laying around, but I sold it on eBay. I believe the electronic part (display and processor) was separate, as that part was missing from that cluster.

    That's all I know - which ain't much.
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  4. #4
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    RE: 99 Z3 Speedo goes to 60 mph, then stays there no matter how much faster you go!

    hummm... well Robert, I also have intermittent ABS warning lights that seems to go on and off at will - maybe related to your "cluster" suggestion? My Z3 only has 60k miles on it (very occasional use car given I have 8 cars), so I would hate to have the car engine computer insist that it has an "odometer tampering issue" - mine is a low milage example, 100% garage kept and 100% under cover in a calm northern Calif climate. That said, between the speedo issue, warning lights, failing door locks, failing door handles, stuck heater controls, rattley glove boxes, wobbly seat bushings, a shifter with crubled plastic mount allowing the shifter to pull off in your hand, air bag lights on, etc, etc... "cluster" is a pretty good description for the whole car. I've had it going on 13 years and if I needed it every day, I would have dumped it after 6 momnths. Definately my LAST BMW product. Now, that said, the engine has been great - its just everything else attached to it that BMW underwhelmed. All advice appreciated, but it appears this speedo issue may be something I need to have a professional diagnose - I'll call my mechanic in the AM.
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  5. #5
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    Well you let is sit in the garage and rot so problems are to be expected... With all those troubles low mileage is hardly a virtue.
    <center><b>
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    Well this would be a sig if I was allowed to use html... *sigh*
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    In my vast experience in troubleshooting these kinds of problems, start with the simple stuff. First adjust the speedo signal pickup. Not sure if BMW puts on the transmission output shaft or a wheel sensor, but would guess it is transmission, cause that would give cross check to the wheel speed for the ABS function. A magnet is counting the teeth on a gear, and at speed something is out of adjustment.
    Bill
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  7. #7
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    The speedometer sensor should be on the rear diffential cover- and there is a wiring connector that attaches to it. Per the Bentley Manual I have for the Z3, they note that in the event of a malfunctioning speedometer to check the wiring connector at the pick up for crud build-up, broken or frayed wires, etc. If wiring looks good, then replace the sensor itself, which looks to be relatively easy. The gage cluster itself has a built in self-diagnostic function which you may not want to get involved with because it appears fairly complex and you will absolutely need a manual to follow the directions- which vary with the build date of your car. Pulling out the gage cluster also appears to be a major project- the manual shows that the steering wheel and the driver's side airbag need to be removed. Hopefully you just have a bad wiring connection at the differential, or a bad sensor. Since your car is stored a lot, I would also not be too surprised if some of your local "critters"- cats, mice, chipmumnks, squirrels- have found the wiring at the differential cover a tasty treat. I'm in Buffalo, NY and store my Z3 in an unheated garage from Nov to April each year. I put mouse pellets all around the car while in storage- and often find them eaten, even though the garage door closes pretty tightly.
    Doug
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  8. #8
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    RE: 99 Z3 Speedo goes to 60 mph, then stays there no matter how much faster you go!

    Ooh, thanks Doug. That is a great tip. I have a lift in my garage, so I'll pop it up on the lift this weekend and check that sensor which is much lower risk than opening up the cluster (which I would not do - exceeds my comfort level). Oh, and my garage is quitre rodent free (I know, saying that just jinxed me).

    Z3BigDaddy... OUCH.. "Left to rot..." ?? Really? My Z3 sits comfortably in the garage next to my 62 etype Jag, 49 MGTC, XJ8L, etc. Nothing rots in there. It is used regularly (at least weekly in the summer months and maybe twice per month in the winter months). Being a car guy, I could not leave it to "rot." Moreover, all the problems I mentioned are problems more correlated with high use. I'll trust the comment was just meant in jest.

    OK Team, this has been helkpful. Thanks much. If I spot a diff sensor problem I will resolve it myself. If not, off for service it goes to a pro.

    Thanks!!
    Tom
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    Tom- IMHO as compared to the maintenance on a '62 E-Type, the Z3 should seem pretty reliable. My brother in law had one- a 66 or 67- and between the Lucas electrics and the Girling brakes and attempting to keep the carbs in synch the car was a real nightmare- but he loved it anyway.
    Doug
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  10. #10
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    RE: 99 Z3 Speedo goes to 60 mph, then stays there no matter how much faster you go!

    Hi Doug... isn't it funny - my experience is the opposite. My 62 etype is dead realible. When I restored it, I DID have the engine rebuilt. And, I'll admit, I hated the original non-syncro-first 4-speed transmission with the 3.54 rear. So when I reinstalled the rebuilt engine, I added a modern 5 speed supplied by a Jaguar specialist in Austin. The assembly went with ease and due to the age, everything was pretty straight-forward technology-wise. My triple SU carbs are also pretty easy to balance/tune, though I wish I had three tailpipes to mate to the 3 carbs instead of 2, then adjusting the richness would be incrementally easier to evaluate via exhaust diagnosis. And, Lucas electrics have never been a problem either... Maybe I am lucky, but with Lucas on my eType, my 49 TC and my 56 MGA, it all seems quite functional. The secret to these cars for me seems to be to find the right state of tune... and then LEAVE WELL ENOUGH ALONE! :o) I think people fiddle too much!! Now, all this said, I will also confess to another modification... when my eType engine was built, the head and the block needed to be re-surfaced. As such, I lost some height. I used a special-order taller Cometic head gasket to compensate, but even with the fat gasket and retarted spark, I was never able to tune out a bit of engine ping that I would experience in some accelleration situations, regardless of which spring combinations I used in the distributor. So, with reservations, two weekends ago I threw the distributor in the trash and installed a custom EDIS system bolting the sprocket/magnetic-reader to the crank, adding a coil pack, and running a MegaJolt system to program my own timing curves. The install took me an entire weekend day, and I am now preparing to start experimenting with custom advance curves fed via my laptop. I know, I know... the purists will cry about this... the supplier of the EIDS kit preloaded it with a default advance curve for my 3.8 engine and I am happy to report that even on his default curve my pinging is gone and my idle is dead smooth! So, its only up from here. Your brother-in-law is a smart man, the etype is an amazing car. I hope he still has it! To return this thread to Z3s... it was my British cars that caused me to buy the Z3. In the late 90's I got to the point where it worried me to leave a car of the etypes stature sitting in the work parking lot. So, I wanted a newer roadster with classic British appeal (long bonnet, inline 6, 2 seats, etc). At that time, MG was making new cars again, but only for the UK - none for the US. Jag had the XK8, but it was a luxury car, not a sports car. And Miata just didn't do it for me. So, the Z3 was the choice.
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  11. #11
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    Staylor, you have good inputs but just to add to one comment...

    You don't have to remove the steering wheel to get to the gauge cluster. Do some searches in the forum and you'll find that you can do it by turning the wheel while slowly wiggling it out. I've done it to replace a bulb and it wasn't too bad. Otherwise, you're likely right with your suggestions.
    TexZan


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  12. #12
    Robert Platt Bell
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    Sensor problem, perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    hummm... well Robert, I also have intermittent ABS warning lights that seems to go on and off at will - maybe related to your "cluster" suggestion? My Z3 only has 60k miles on it (very occasional use car given I have 8 cars), so I would hate to have the car engine computer insist that it has an "odometer tampering issue" - mine is a low milage example, 100% garage kept and 100% under cover in a calm northern Calif climate. That said, between the speedo issue, warning lights, failing door locks, failing door handles, stuck heater controls, rattley glove boxes, wobbly seat bushings, a shifter with crubled plastic mount allowing the shifter to pull off in your hand, air bag lights on, etc, etc... "cluster" is a pretty good description for the whole car. I've had it going on 13 years and if I needed it every day, I would have dumped it after 6 momnths. Definately my LAST BMW product. Now, that said, the engine has been great - its just everything else attached to it that BMW underwhelmed. All advice appreciated, but it appears this speedo issue may be something I need to have a professional diagnose - I'll call my mechanic in the AM.

    If your ABS light is coming on, then maybe you have an intermittent sensor connection somewhere. It never hurts to pull connectors and clean them and apply dielectric grease. I recently yanked these on the X5 when I overhauled the front suspension, and it was interesting that BMW designs this nice case to protect the connectors, but leaves a hole at the top, to let dirt in. The connectors were packed with dirt and brittle as glass. Just getting them apart was a chore. I packed those things with silicone grease and reconnected them, and so far, so good.

    Note that the SRS light will come on any time power is disconnected from the battery. It goes out after a few feet though.

    The SRS/ABS light also comes on when it is ACTIVATED, so if you are losing traction, you will see it go on. I see this when I take the on ramp to the Lanier bridge a little to fast. This is normal operation of the system.

    Someone pointed out there is a sensor on the differential (see Bentley manual, page 330-3). I am not sure if the ABS uses this signal in addition to the four wheel speed sensors. From what I can see on the wiring diagrams, it does not appear to be the case. So I doubt the ABS light is related to your speedometer problem.

    It would seem odd to me that the differential sensor would just stop sending signal at 60 mph. But again, it can't hurt to test the sensor and clean the connectors.

    But I think you are right - you need to take this to a good independent mechanic, if you are not "handy" and comfortable dicking around with electrical stuff.

    And FWIW, a 13-year-old Honda would be giving fits right about now, too. So this isn't a "BMW thing".

    These are, however, boutique cars, not mass-produced products. They only made about 400,000 Z3s over the entire production run. Chevrolet makes that many Cruz's in about a year.

    That being said, my 1999 M Roadster is the most reliable of the five BMWs I have owned - but that is probably because it is the least complex of any of them.

    The cluster and the odometer part are separate as I recall. I bought a used cluster on eBay once, to replace a flaky cluster on an E36 (bad pixels, typical problem) and was chagrined to discover that the previous owner had removed that portion of the cluster.

    Good Luck!
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