Buying a 90k+ E85 Z4 - what I’ve learned...

2003 - 2009, roadster, coupe, facelift
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Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:56 pm

Buying a 90k+ E85 Z4 - what I’ve learned...

Post by Langers » Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:19 pm

I don’t know if this has been discussed before, thought it might be interesting to compare notes.

In September 2018 I bought a 2003 3.0i Z4, manual, 92k mi. I knew there would be work to do, this was part of the appeal - to try and do everything myself.

Now I’ve had the car for almost 18 months, and it’s up to 106k mi. I used it as a daily for most of that time, but I work from home now (ideal, I enjoy the car more when I’m not using it every day).

Here’s a list of everything I’ve modified/replaced (in addition to annual oil/filter service).
  • Pioneer DAB radio, DAB aerial.
    Gear knob (old one peeling), went for leather M sport
    Clear centre brake light (old one cracked)
    Control arm bushes (worn), powerflex for longevity
    Front brakes binding: discs, pads, refurbished callipers, hoses
    Anti roll bar bushes (badly worn), powerflex
    Spark plugs (noticeable difference to smooth running)
    Cabin filter
    Oil filter housing gasket (leak)
    DISA valve fix - x8r upgraded design kit (more even power output after)
    Air intake boot elbow (split)
    Expansion tank (body shop did this, as the hairline crack gave up just as I pulled up for bumper repair)
    Rear tyres did 11000 fairly enthusiastic miles
    Control arms (ball joints worn)
    Drop links (one side very worn, clunk in steering)
    Tie rods (rusted solid, couldn’t adjust alignment).
+ cleared out the drain holes for the hood motor, motor is fine, preventative maintenance!
+ Refurbished second hand bumper fitted after someone reversed into me (body shop did this)

This summer I plan to:
  • VANOS seals repair + valve cover gasket (another x8r kit)
    Refurb some paintwork - door edges, few scratches
    Possibly - refurbished wheels. Paint is getting very flakey.
Some notes on ownership:
I find the Z4 pretty good to work on, thanks to the style, the engine bay is large leaving plenty of room to work.

I have made some wooden steps to drive onto though, as I don’t have a low profile jack. Jacking the car is a bit awkward, my routine is to use the rear jacking points to lift each side of the car, placing an axle stand under the front jacking points (one side at a time). Then place the jack under the rear struts (centre, at the diff), lift the car, and put axle stands under the rear jacking points.

For anyone new / looking at E85, parts price and availability is good as so much is shared with the E46 3 series. However, bodywork is expensive.

Question to the community: I have replaced all bushes/ ball joints in the front suspension, is there anything that is known to wear in the rear suspension? Particular joints or bushes to keep an eye on?
Last edited by Langers on Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 206
Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:37 pm

Buying a 90k+ E85 Z4 - what I’ve learned...

Post by eddiemunster » Sun Jan 19, 2020 9:48 am

Langers wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 8:19 pm
I don’t know if this has been discussed before, thought it might be interesting to compare notes.
Your attitude is the same as mine; buy a car, go through it with a fine toothcomb to find that a car that someone has advertised as mint/100%/enthusiast owned etc. will still need £2k upwards to get it into a position that I think it's then worthy of their original claim.

To me, half-doing a job is the same as not doing it or doing it shoddily, it's not something I'd ever entertain. Granted, people can be constrained by their budget, or by their time, so it may take them 2 or 3 bites at a job to get it done properly. But, my biggest bugbear given what I did for a living is cheap, nasty tyres; I'll see someone spend £1k on a stereo and then fit Rama-lama-dingdong tyres. The laws of handing are still the same, work backwards; tyres, bushes, shocks, springs.

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