2004 BMW Z4 3.0

2004 BMW Z4 3.0

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Jakg

Original Poster:

2,332 posts

121 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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Never really considered a Z4 until I saw this thread on Pistonheads - https://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?h=0&...

I've been after a "fun" convertible for a while - what I really wanted was an E46 M3, but the running costs were a bit too scary considering that this is a meant to be a "sunny day" car and I'm not sure how often I will end up driving it.

I've been keeping an eye out for one for a couple of months, but not really found any in the price range I am looking at anywhere local.

I found one advertised at £4,800 that looked ok, but that was well above what I wanted to spend. It was advertised for quite a while with the price very slowly being reduced. I sent the seller an offer which was initially refused, but then a while later came back to me saying "ok, still interested?".

Net result is that I am now the owner of a 2004 Z4 3.0 with 114,000 miles for £3,400. I'm still not sure if this was a bargain or a terrible idea!

It's in "Merlot red" which to be honest doesn't photograph too well, but having spent a few days with it is really growing on me.

Mechanically it seems in good condition, although the bodywork could do with some tidying.

First impressions are a mixed bag - it feels tiny (in a good way), driving without a roof is a lovely experience, and the engine sounds fantastic.

However, the car seems to tramline quite badly, which doesn't inspire confidence in the bends. Probably related to having runflats.
It also doesn't seem as quick as the stats would suggest - my daily driver is a 200HP diesel so I know I need to get used to the power delivery, but I think I may need to give everything a going over, especially the fabled VANOS.

Either way, I'm looking forward to getting to know it better.







I've just got to remember that this is supposed to be a cheap entry into the world of convertibles and resist the urge to start modifying it...

MissChief

5,415 posts

121 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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Love a dark red so this looks great! Far too many Silver, black and grey BMW's (and other German cars) out there already!

TwoStrokeNut

1,617 posts

194 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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Lovely!

Really like the colour. It'll look a lot better with silver wheels though, as the black does clash a bit.

It'll ride much better on non-runflats. Also it'll probably need some new shocks and bushes, rear RTAB in particular.

Enjoy!

MrB.

371 posts

139 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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I too had a Merlot Red 3.0 about 8 years ago (sold my Z3M to buy it.....I know, I know.......) and they are a good car. Lovely engine, good design and comfortable. Change the run-flats (as has been said) and you'll notice a difference in the ride quality and steering, but also check that the steering has been updated. I'm not very knowledgeable about this, as I found out about after I sold mine (to buy a Porsche 968 Sport - yay!) but I always felt mine had a tendency to "wander" with the steering going a bit light. From what I have since read on some of the BMW forums, there was a recalibration available for the EPAS which might help cure the tram lining along with the tyres. Just a thought.

Oh, and watch out for failing hood motors. The housing it sits in is encased in foam (for sound deadening), but then some bright spark put it in a place where water gets onto it and the foam acts like a sponge. Cost me £600 for the part alone back then!

Otherwise, enjoy it. I do miss mine.

Nickp82

2,228 posts

46 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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TwoStrokeNut said:
Lovely!

Really like the colour. It'll look a lot better with silver wheels though, as the black does clash a bit.

It'll ride much better on non-runflats. Also it'll probably need some new shocks and bushes, rear RTAB in particular.

Enjoy!
Totally agree on the colour and the wheels

NorthernSky

509 posts

70 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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Congratulations on discovering the Z4. They're at a real sweet spot on their depreciation curve, offering that top-down fun, a strong, sweet engine and a pretty good all round reliability factor, all for somewhere between 3-5k for the decent ones!

It may be worth comparing the Merlot you have discovered to any others for sale on the z4 forum. Some of those cars will have been kept well, or even better than, those you come across as trade sales on autotrader etc.

Quite smug to reply to this before Mr Tidy.

Oh and as others have said, treat the car to new tyres all round and get them aligned, ditch the runflats. Hopeless on UK potholed roads!

If you really want to splash out, add 4k to your budget and seek a 3.0si - 265bhp engine, sharp coupe lines too. Or get a roadster one.

Have fun!

TwoStrokeNut

1,617 posts

194 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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That's a good tip above on the roof motor. Mine had to be rescued, luckily it could be saved.

You can get it relocated to the boot quite easily, as all the connections are long enough. There are a few chaps that will do this and cure the problem once and for all. Have a look on the z4 uk forum.

Cheers.

Jakg

Original Poster:

2,332 posts

121 months

Friday 20th July 2018
quotequote all
TwoStrokeNut said:
It'll look a lot better with silver wheels though, as the black does clash a bit.
The wheels are growing on me (mainly as they are freshly refurbed) but I really want the Ellipsoid wheels instead.
TwoStrokeNut said:
It'll ride much better on non-runflats. Also it'll probably need some new shocks and bushes, rear RTAB in particular.
Considering the mileage it drives quite well. At some point I need to give it a proper check over. I'm trying to avoid refreshing the suspension as I have a habit of taking these things too far...

TwoStrokeNut

1,617 posts

194 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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Cool. Also consider the style 32s, as they are by far the lightest wheel for these, saving an average of 25kgs on other E46/Z4 18" sets.

That's probably going to make a good difference to the ride combined with non-runflats.

Edit: looking at the thread on the Z4 forum some chap has confused lbs with kg, so not that much difference at 27lbs lighter per set.

Edited by TwoStrokeNut on Friday 20th July 17:51

nunpuncher

1,476 posts

78 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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The steering on mine was awful even after I binned the RFTs and had the suspension sorted. Read a few threads on z4forum about an issue with the steering on earlier cars (think mine was 04). All sorts of guesses as to cause including the grease on the UJ drying out to the steering ECU being affected my heat. It was definitely worse if the car was parked in the sun all day. Anyway, it led to me getting rid after a few scary moments when the steering started doing its own thing.

Nice engine though. You need to do the sound generator mod if you haven't already.

SouthHamsGaz

514 posts

76 months

Friday 20th July 2018
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Check the front lollipop bushes, they are the usual cause of tramlining, along with RFL, if they are shot then the wishbones are probably not far behind.

Replace with Meyle HD, a very well regarded alternative to OEM. Easy DIY job if you are good with spanners, just get a full alignment done afterwards.

Parts for this will cost you roughly £220. Whilst you have it all apart then drop links would also be worth doing. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-E46-Z4-E85-E86-SPOR...

At the kind of milage yours has done other bushes on the back may be shot too. Upper outer rose bushes are easy to check for play, as are ARB bushes.

Mine was on 62thou when I bought it 12 months ago and some of the bushes had completely had it, since replaced, mostly with poly items. The shocks, which although felt fine were also dead once removed from the car. Since replaced with Bilstein B4 and the ride is much improved.

It is very easy to start modding these. A quick drop on Eibach springs with some wheel spacers makes the world of difference to the look of the car.

Mine.



Edited by SouthHamsGaz on Friday 20th July 18:09

MissChief

5,415 posts

121 months

Friday 20th July 2018
quotequote all
TwoStrokeNut said:
Lovely!

Really like the colour. It'll look a lot better with silver wheels though, as the black does clash a bit.

It'll ride much better on non-runflats. Also it'll probably need some new shocks and bushes, rear RTAB in particular.

Enjoy!
I didn't want to piss on his new car parade, but I agree about the wheels. I don't think any car is improved by black wheels.

Edited by MissChief on Saturday 21st July 15:37

Mr Tidy

11,028 posts

80 months

Saturday 21st July 2018
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Much later to this than NorthernSky! laugh

OP I really like Merlot Red, and that doesn't seem dear for a 3.0 litre.

Everyone seems to agree about ditching the runflats, so try that - if it solves the tram-lining that's great.

But if not at over 100K miles it may be due some bushes being replaced, and if that doesn't fix it a 4-wheel alignment is a popular next step.

There is a forum specific to Z4s that you might want to look at - a few people on there can relocate roof motors out of harm's way (and often revive motors that seem to have expired).

I hope you enjoy it - at least the weather is right for a Roadster! thumbup

Jakg

Original Poster:

2,332 posts

121 months

Monday 30th July 2018
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TwoStrokeNut said:
It'll ride much better on non-runflats. Also it'll probably need some new shocks and bushes, rear RTAB in particular.

Enjoy!
SouthHamsGaz said:
Check the front lollipop bushes, they are the usual cause of tramlining, along with RFL, if they are shot then the wishbones are probably not far behind.
Even though this is meant to be a sunny-day car, with the weather recently I hadn't driven my daily driver (RenaultSport Megane) since I bought it.

When I finally drove the Megane again it made me realise that the Z4's steering is all over the shop - at high speeds it seems to have a mind of it's own!

With that in mind I thought I'd work through some of the obvious causes.

Firstly - front wishbone bushes

Out with the old (one side was original, the other 10 years old)



Got the bush out easy enough but struggled to get the metal collar out without a suitably sized driver to push it out with



Came across a suggestion online to use a hacksaw blade to cut through it and then you can crush it out which worked a peach, just took a bit of time



Back together with Powerflex bushes. The old bushes were obviously less stiff but didn't seem loose or overly worn.



While there I also replaced the front anti-roll bar bushes.



Back together and to be honest - it was worse! The front end feels more agile - but with the front end being quite darty at speed this just exacerbates it.

Next then, rear trailing arm bushes (RTAB)

Dropped the trailing arm down - found this a bit harder than guides online suggested as there was various pieces of trim to remove before you could actually drop it all the way down.



I'm using 10-ton hydraulic puller to remove the bushes, and even then I really really struggled to get them out - although they made a satisfying "bang" when they started moving! Glad I have this tool as the threaded-bar tools off eBay wouldn't of done a thing.



Again replaced with Powerflex bushes. The old ones seemed fine though...





Back together and... still bad!

I've been reading up and my guess is the steering system next. Runflats at the front aren't helping but I'm loathed to chuck a pair of premium tyres in the bin when they have plenty of tread.

I also got to give the car a good going over and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found - all the rear bushes are looking good, no broken springs, engine mounts seem solid, brakes look good etc. Only issues are a broken exhaust mount and a potential oil leak.

Spacers were also mentioned - the car already has 15mm front / 20mm rear spacers fitted, and longer wheel bolts to suit.



Not my usual thing but having got used to how it looks now, it would probably look weird if I took them off.

Also retrofitted cruise control



On pre-facelift models all the wiring is already there, so it's just plug and play. Stalk was £110 from a dealer so not cheap, but worth it.

I enabled "comfort access" so that I can open the roof from the key remotely - https://youtu.be/BPdjZO5Oqe0 - it's not as neat as some of the aftermarket modifications to do the same thing (i.e. not one touch) but for free I'm chuffed.

First tank of fuel averaged 32MPG which I think is very good for an old 3.0 6 cylinder petrol.

Edited by Jakg on Monday 30th July 01:12

helix402

5,452 posts

135 months

Monday 30th July 2018
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Have you had the wheel alignment (4 wheel) done with the new bushes?

d_a_n1979

1,039 posts

25 months

Monday 30th July 2018
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Looks a stunning car; gorgeous colour too!

Love the wheels as well; my fave alloys for the Z4

Jez m

789 posts

148 months

Monday 30th July 2018
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New steering rack bushes and a full alignment sorted out my old Z4's 'nervous' and darty feel. Mine was on non-run flats too.. that made the biggest difference of all to the handling.

Berkshire bred

985 posts

28 months

Monday 30th July 2018
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Nice car, I like these a lot, deffinetly more than the knock off r26 next to it.

thecremeegg

1,404 posts

156 months

Monday 30th July 2018
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Nice one!

I've had mine 2.5 years now and it's now on 135k - was on just over 100k when I got it!

I've had mine lowered with new springs and shocks, it's got polybushes, 224M wheels, full wheel alignment and new clear rear lights, side indicators and 3rd brake light. It's also had the steering wheel recovered which was such an improvement! I've had the Vanos seals redone recently and the CDV removed. Both are worthwhile mods!

Problems wise, it's only needed a new starter (fingers crossed!) that I did myself and that's it! It does have an oil leak at the moment but it's minor and I cba to fix it!



Edited by thecremeegg on Monday 30th July 10:38

Jakg

Original Poster:

2,332 posts

121 months

Monday 30th July 2018
quotequote all
helix402 said:
Have you had the wheel alignment (4 wheel) done with the new bushes?
Not yet. That's the other thing on the list. The plan was to wait until the suspension was "done" before I did it.
Jez m said:
New steering rack bushes and a full alignment sorted out my old Z4's 'nervous' and darty feel. Mine was on non-run flats too.. that made the biggest difference of all to the handling.
Steering rack bush?