BMW Repair Questions? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a BMW tech, hopefully I can help you with your decision today!
How's it going Brendan
Not too bad, I didn't plan on being up this early but here I am!
I appreciate it man
No sweat, I just happened to get up and saw your question so I figured I'd help you out!
I like both cars a lot
Cool. Not really sure how this works...?
I'm partial to the 3.0 engine as this is what I have in my 330xi ('03)
And my car just hit 225k miles the other day
that's good to know
and it's still fun so I can't complain
any major bumps in the road?
I have a customer with an '01 330i with over 300k on it and it's still going strong as well
Avoid the SMG transmission if you go for the Z4
yeah, i've seen them with 250k running like new
but both cars should just require basic maintenance
I recommend a shorter interval than BMW does though
5k on oil (with synthetic) and 60k on plugs and fuel filters.
that's totally doable
you recommend synthetic?
any particular brand or viscosity?
You're right, the repairs on the Z4 are going to be pricier, IE: having a fuel pump in the center of the tank which requires dropping the exhaust and driveshaft to access...
But I'm still telling my customers to buy the newest car they can afford
The trick is though, buy the LAST car of the bodystyle you can afford
even if you can afford the first of the next generation
So if you can get a Z3 from the end of the production run and a Z4 from the beginning of that run, the Z3 will be a better car over time
Yeah, like a late '02 Z3 might be a better investment than an '03 Z4?
Good. To. Know.
But if you can get a late Z4 from before the new style change, that will be much better than the earlier one
Like an '06
Off the top of your head, what are some common issues I'll run into with an '02 Z3?
Say around 100k, 120k, 150k?
with each year BMW makes small refinements that often aren't visible to the casual observer but having worked on them and owned them it does make a difference!
Quite honestly, the worst issue I see on those cars (Z3s) are from lack of use
Brake rotors going rusty in a damp garage, mice eating wires and vacuum lines
What sort of issues from lack of use?
If you stick to the 5/60k interval that I use there isn't much else that jumps out
We do an occasional window regulator, maybe a secondary air pump, once in a blue moon I see a key or door handle fail
Oh, that's not bad
but these are all single incidents so I can't say "WATCH OUT" really
I've heard people that claim to change the oil as often as every 1500 miles?
Is that ridiculous?
Not if you only drive that far a year
Also, what's the lowest octane fuel that she won't cough?
In California, Premium isn't as high octane as the rest of the country...
if it's a summer car I'd make sure it's changed once a year, just to prevent moisture buildup in the crankcase vent system
is it 91 out there?
I always run 91 or 93 but my 330 has hot cams and upgraded software so I don't have much choice
Generally I use premium in everything but my truck!
Given a choice between an '02 Z3 with 80k and an '06 Z4 with 120k, which would you say would fit the bill better?
(if they were priced equally)
I'm kind of partial to the Z3 still so I'm a bit biased
Generally my Z3 customers seem to be happier people but I don't know if that's because of their cars or the rest of their lives!
Z3 is a sweet car
I'm old school though, I like to feel like I'm connected to what I'm driving and that it's connected to the road
Yeah you can feel the road more in a 3
So I'd go for a 3.0 or M Z3 as late as I could find
The Z4 is fun and sporty, but the drive felt pollowy and more "distant" - mechanical
Is that just the electronic gearbox?
Sure, you don't NEED the extra power of the 3.0 or 3.2 but it's nice to have and I feel like the cars with bigger engines are a little better built
That can be, those gearboxes are a nightmare
And they're very expensive to repair and replace!
How greatly will the bigger (3.0 or 3.2) effect the fuel economy?
Honestly that's going to be up to your right foot.
And LA Traffic!
But I know the 2.8 will get pretty stellar mileage per gallon
Is the 3.0 in the same wheelhouse?
Or does it tend to run thirstier?
My girlfriend and I have similarly equipped 3.0 engines and she get's MUCH better mileage than me
But I have AWD and she doesn't
so that's a factor
Does she just drive more conservatively?
The 3.0 should be the same or better than the 2.8
Good to know
it has a little more torque so you don't have to tromp it quite so hard
which let's you drive a little more conservatively when you want to
In the five series they had both engines between '97 and '03
The 528i realistically got 24 mpg and the 530i got much closer to 28 mpg
just based on the extra torque to move the heavy chassis
this is less of an issue in the lighter Z3 body but it gives you an idea
Personally I'd go 3.0 because they seem to be trimmed out better. Nice wheels, nice dash trim...
I'm sure there are 2.8s that are just as good but of the cars I see the 3.0s look "nicer"
that's the M54B30 i6 in the 3.0, right?
And for your money, it's a solid BMW engine?
I bought one!
The mrs. bought one
I got the 2.5 version for my parents
Well played sir
They wanted a wagon, it was the only option :-)
Anything specific to look into with the M54B30?
Tools to invest in for home maintenance?
Just maintenance history and what's been done previously and why
Buy yourself a Bentley Service Manual
it is the BEST tool you can have
It has all the jobs laid out neatly, what tools you'll need
Sorry, Bentley Publishing
Not Bentley car
That sounds crucial
It's a life saver
As a pro tech I use one at least once a day
sometimes it's just to look up a torque spec but it's still there
and totally worth it if you're going the DIY route
What's the best (affordable) tool I can jack into the oil service reset
If it's made after 9/2001 it's your index finger
You can reset the lights from the dash
Actually that might be 9/2000...
Last time I did it I had to use this circular wire tool that went into a housing under the hood
Basically if it has the round diagnostic plug under the hood you need the reset tool
but they stopped installing those for MY2001
so the dash reset worked
Did not know that they don't do the round diag plug anymore
Shows how up to date I am
That reset tool isn't that pricey though
Ha, it's all good!
I still have an '89 325is!
And I'll bet it's running like a champ
So the Bentley Publishing Service Manual, my index finger... anything else Bimmer specific I should invest in?
Well, it's pretty modified, it's my track car
A good set of metric sockets and wrenches
maybe some hex bits
and some Torx bits
Got those *minus Torx
the usual, screw drivers, pry bars
What type of oil do you put in your 330ix?
a 36mm socket to pull the oil filter cap off
I use LiquiMoly 5/40 Synthetic
And I use the 10/60 RaceTech in the track car and both have been stellar
Actually we use the 5/40 Synth in pretty much everything at the shop now
When I was at Audi, we were told to encourage customers to go synthetic
My boss even tried it in his '90 325ix and swears he got an additional 3 mpg...
I believe it
I see no reason not to
Unless you have the Healey MKIII you want...
That's probably ok on 20/50 GTX
That car would cost an arm and a leg
Unless I was restoring
So, to get an overview...
The 2002 Z3 3.0i 6-cyl 5M Roadster sounds like the bell of the ball
In my opinion yest
That's all I'm here for (your opinion) :)
this is where you'll find the most car for the best price with the least issues down the road
based on what I've seen this far
In five years it will be interesting to se how the Z4 holds up
Any other bits of general wisdom, specifically regarding a 2002 Z3 3.0i 6-cyl 5M Roadster?
Go find your local BMWCCA and do an Autocross!
AH, I just remembered one thing!
I think the 3.0 cars have better brakes!
I know it's true in most of the other body styles and I'm 90% sure it's true here too
Slightly bigger rotors, better cooling and better stopping power
Which is helpful in LA traffic too...
I've actually gotta run to an appointment
Not that I can think of! I can still reply to you after you've rated my answer so if anything comes to mind I'll hit you back
I'm a happy customer here, I'll definitely give our talk all 5 stars
and if you need help with the decision process feel free to request me in the future!
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX it!
Also, if you think of something, or should simply out of your own volition like to add something you think of later, please feel free to email me aXXX@XXXXXX.XXX
I understand if you're too busy, but if you're anything like me, as soon as we bounce, you'll think of something crucial hahahha
Unfortunately the site blocks emails
so I can't see it :-(
I'll reply here and the site will email you
that would be awesome
thanks again for your advice and wisdom sir
No worries, have a good one!