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      02-02-2023, 02:55 PM   #1
noirmiaskratch
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Z3 M Roadster

May have found a really good deal on a 1999 M Roadster hitting the century (100K miles) mark. I have owned two Z4's in the past but am really attracted to the retro styling of the Z3. I have no experience with the Z3, and particularly the M roadster. Are there any known major issues with this vintage?
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      02-02-2023, 03:07 PM   #2
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the only one I'm aware of is potential rear subframe issues
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      02-02-2023, 03:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noirmiaskratch View Post
May have found a really good deal on a 1999 M Roadster hitting the century (100K miles) mark. I have owned two Z4's in the past but am really attracted to the retro styling of the Z3. I have no experience with the Z3, and particularly the M roadster. Are there any known major issues with this vintage?
Things to consider:
- rear subframe attachment point welds can fail. I had mine preventatively re-enforced for less than $2k.
- the VANOS is known to need work. I have not had mine worked on yet (I have less than 60k miles), and mine is quiet and working fine. This might be more of an S54 issue than for the S52 in your candidate car
- seat tracks deteriorate causing a sliding motion when accelerating and under braking. DIY fixes exist that are cheap and <2 hours.
- interior mirror can leak fluid on the console
- seat belt guides crack, but there are some cheap, easy fixes out there
- glove box door sags, but this is a problem for all of the e36-series. Here is my favorite fix after trying a couple: http://www.donewhenimdead.com/garage/gbfix
- most shops recommend getting the rod bearings replaced, but you can do a Blackstone oil analysis to stay ahead of them. Still, I think this is definitely an S54 issue and not an S52 issue, but I haven't paid much attention to S52's
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      02-02-2023, 05:12 PM   #4
noirmiaskratch
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Thanks for the quick replies. Any way to determine if the issues regarding the rear suspension have or are about to occur?
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      02-02-2023, 06:02 PM   #5
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Rear subframe is the big one, and also keep an eye out for the oil pump nut loosening on the S52 causing oil starvation.

I had four Z3Ms back in the day, two S52 roadsters, an S54 roadster, and an S54 clown shoe. Adorable cars and loved every minute behind the wheel. I did blow the rod bearings in the clown shoe car but thankfully it was under warranty, you'll have no such rod bearing concerns with a 99 model year.
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      02-03-2023, 11:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noirmiaskratch View Post
Thanks for the quick replies. Any way to determine if the issues regarding the rear suspension have or are about to occur?
I have seen discussions about the spot welds failing. But when pics were posted, the failures just were not obvious to me. So, I made the decision to get mine proactively addressed.

Randy Forbes might be the most influential regarding this topic and he had a few pics on his site. However, he retired and rarely replies to emails. Good guy, but moved on in his golden years. http://www.spcarsplus.com/
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      02-03-2023, 03:07 PM   #7
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The subframe issue can be overblown on forums and the internet. That being said I would highly recommend a pre-purchase inspection by an independent BMW specialist. Call them ahead of time, make sure this isn't the first Z3 they have ever seen.

https://www.autoengineering.com/port...points-repair/
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      03-11-2023, 10:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noirmiaskratch View Post
May have found a really good deal on a 1999 M Roadster hitting the century (100K miles) mark. I have owned two Z4's in the past but am really attracted to the retro styling of the Z3. I have no experience with the Z3, and particularly the M roadster. Are there any known major issues with this vintage?
Did you pull the trigger? This one is on my acquisition list too so Iím curious as to what you get and what you will need to do to fix it up.
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