Last post on Dec 28, 2012 at 10:38 PM
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BMW Z3, Convertible
#92 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [hambonecampana]
Dec 02, 2011 (9:05 pm)
I concur with being slapped silly at the light. I have a 97 1.9L Z3 and it definitely lacks.. I can still fishtail easily enough, but it just does not have it off the line. I would definitely go for a larger engine. I have also owned an MR2 in the past and while it was fun, I would be more inclined to stay with a convertible like the Z3...you can find them VERY reasonably priced and with low mileage. There are certain things that have aged on mine and include seat bushings, window bushing, leather quality, shift boots and brake covers, various plastic parts, like door sills...be sure to look closely at those. ..also be sure to do a test drive at various speeds to make sure the drive axle is good. Door and trunk liner foams should be in good shape and check the a/c and heater fan, make sure its working ...and not intermittent...I am just about to replace the resistor on that...check the inside of the soft top for cracking...these are the issues ive come across on mine...150k miles and quite clean otherwise....ive also moved to ceramic brakes with standard full face discs...the metal pads for me were noisy but Im in vegas...
#93 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [hambonecampana]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 02, 2011 (9:15 pm)
The Honda S2000 is a whole different animal than the BMW Z3 with the 6 cylinder. The BMW motor is torquey and the S2000 is peaky. So if you like Japanese motorcycles and how they drive, you'll like the S2000. But if you prefer the feel of a big-bore bike, then the BMW suits your driving style more I think. The MR2 is a neat car, but I don't think I could live with the exhaust note or engine sounds----it's like a can of gnats.
#94 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 02, 2011 (10:56 pm)
Here is my Z3 story. I didn't want one. I wanted a Boxster, but I like to wait until things come to me. (I notice no one threw a Boxster into the mix. Too pricey? Different class?) So, when a 97 Z3 ad kept running in Tucson, I thought I should check it out, and the owner was almost begging me to make an offer. Crap, the 1.9 4 cylinder. Not good for an old muscle car guy. But a solid car, so my wife and I took it for a drive. Neither one of us liked it, but first drive in a strange car, and heavy city traffic in an unknown area. It handled OK but not much power as mentioned. We decided to wait for a Boxster. We had tried out a new one and both loved it. Well no Boxster showed up, but a 2 owner 99 Miata with 83k, a new engine and top for $3800 did. Crap. Girls car. How can a guy that has owned Vettes do that? But alas, I procrastinated a bit too long and it was bought before we got there. My bad, but things are meant to be.
But to back up a bit. Last summer, there was another 96 Z3 1.9 for sale back home. After the ad ran for a few weeks indicating a deal may be had, I reluctantly decided to look at it. The car body was rough but no rust and the leather seats had weathered well over 109k, unlike what I see in Arizona - Boxsters especially. What do they use for leather in those things? Anyway, I thought What's to lose by taking a drive even though I already Know I don't like it. Hmmm, solid lil sucker. Drives great.
Somewhere on that drive I was shocked to discover Hey, I like this one.
But, I didn't buy it. I still wanted that Boxster and the Z's never really appealed to me.
OK, so now I'm in Arizona still looking for that 2k or newer Boxster private party. Nothing. But along comes the Miata. So, missed that one. In the back of my mind was that Z3. Ya know, I think I'll see if she ever sold it when I get home. I drove past and called multiple times. No car and no answer, so I figured it was gone. Then after a few weeks, I saw the ad laying there. What the heck. I'll try one more time. Phone rang and rang..... and rang. Finally, she picked up. "Do you still have your BMW for sale?" "How you know I have BMW? "I looked at it last year." People wast my time. Not buy my car. They not interested. (Testy little Chinese gal') "Well, I must be interested, I'm calling you.
Anyway, my wife, grandson and I went over and I drove it again while wife and G'son waited in the car. BTW, my wife was not thrilled with this adventure. I went back to thr car and my wife starts out with " You didn't buy it did you? Yup. Guess who now likes it? We both do. It's getting a nice dark blue top to match the upcoming Montreal Blue paint job. But right now, I'm back in AZ while the Z rests, still looking for that elusive Boxster.
Oh ya, the 1.9. For some reason, this one seems to have lots more power than the one in AZ, but it could have been my mood that day, who knows?
Good torque and just shift at 1.5 - 2.5k for normal driving. Step it down on the road and the speedometer moves up rather smartly too. Totally adequate, especially when you consider the great gas mileage - just under 37 first tank but that may have been an anomily. Another owner I spoke with proclaimed that the 1.9 runs on fumes. What do you other owners get for MPG. We are now quite happy that we have the 4 cylinder. I can drive my 55 Chev with the 396/425 HP if I want to smoke em. Good luck with your car. I think you'll like it.
#95 of 104 Re: Looking for a car 
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 03, 2011 (11:44 am)
You have to be very careful with Boxsters, especially the early ones, as they have a potentially fatal engine defect---intermediate main shaft bearing failure. Always take any used Boxster to a Porsche specialist, where, if they know what they are doing, they'll remove the oil filter and cut it in half and look for signs of bearing degeneration. If you don't, you may be in line for a $12,000 engine...or...if you catch it in time, a $4000 retro-fit for the bearing.
#96 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 03, 2011 (11:47 am)
What are everyone's thoughts on the Audi TT? I automatically shy away from Audi's because I worked at an Audi Dealership a while back, and they always seemed to have problems. You got to know customers pretty well as they seemed to be in so often.
#97 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright] Boxster
Dec 03, 2011 (12:16 pm)
EYOW! Thanks for that bit of info. Is there a point where they resolved that problem? I was looking for 2000 or newer. Is there more in a Boxster or other forum etc? How about the 911?
#98 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright] Boxster 
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 03, 2011 (12:41 pm)
This video explains the problem.
While there were some attempts at rectifying this issue, you can't be entirely safe until the redesigned 987 in the year 2009 I believe.
Not every Boxster will do this of course, but god help you if you don't have any potential purchase thoroughly checked out.
#99 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright] Boxster  [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 03, 2011 (1:38 pm)
Thanks. You can be sure any potential purchase will be checked out. I assume even if good at purchase, it could happen at any time unless it was just a certain series of bearings that were bad. I can't imagine any responsible manufacturer allowing a fatal problem like this to continue in production without an upgrade to deal with it. I guess the safest thing is to stay with Japan, and I hate to say that, but they earned it. We have an 03 Toyota Avalon that just turned 100k and still drives like new, but with a suspension upgrade by choice at 50k (See 04 and earlier forum), and just read where a guy just turned 200k with his. Kept it because it was the best of any car he has owned.
Maybe the Z3 wasn't a bad choice after all. I will say that the 1.9 seems to be a sweet engine, and sounds like an engine.
BTW, it seems that your Spell Check isn't working.
#100 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright] Boxster  [Mr_Shiftright] 
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 03, 2011 (1:59 pm)
#101 of 104 Re: Looking for a car [Mr_Shiftright] Boxster  [Mr_Shiftright]  [Mr_Shiftright]
Dec 03, 2011 (2:16 pm)
I corrected misspellings myself as I knew they were there when I clicked on spellcheck. It said No spelling errors found, so I fixed myself.