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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My name is Tony and just saying HI!
Last night I took posession of a '97 1.9 Z3, 77k, black with hardtop + the obvious s/top, T&T until June and was my daughter's old car along with an Audi TT which she also owned but, she has now sold the Audi and bought a BMW X3 so, she let me have the Z3 for a very nominal sum so, I'm quite fortunate.
The Z3 seems to run very well but, is cosmetically in need of a little tlc and maintainance and I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty in bringing it up to decent condition once again.
A few questions:
The heater/demister fan only works on the maximum speed (setting 5) while the other settings (1-4 don't respond) - am I right in thinking that the problem is a a resistor failure which causes the problem?

The symbol for airbag(?) is remaining lit - are there any known common causes for this? A car I own has a known airbag warning light problem that often occurs when the seat is moved regularly in that the snap connector under the seat occasionally works loose just enough to trigger the warning light - I'm just wondering if there are any similar known problems with the Z3 so that I can check it all out before finally, if necessary, taking it to a main agent!

I suspect the cam belt has never been replaced so this is number one priority after the airbag problem is sorted - what sort of time ( in hours) does it take to replace?

The wing mirror bases appear to have corroded(?) where they mount the outer skin of the door and have been re-touched relatively poorly - are they difficult to remove so that I can re-spray them properly or are they better off being replaced if available as a separate part?

And finally, the driver's seat ( black leather) is coming away along one seam for about 2-3 inches ( nearest door) - any suggestions for this as a temporary measure until I get time to find maybe a replacement seat?

As I'm new to owning a BMW, any other commonly known problems I should watch out for?
Sorry for the lengthy first post but I look forward to any advice you can give.
Regards...
Tony
 

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Hello and welcome Tony :)...some answers.

The heater/demister fan only works on the maximum speed (setting 5) while the other settings (1-4 don't respond) - am I right in thinking that the problem is a a resistor failure which causes the problem?
If you have AC then that will be your problem.


The symbol for airbag(?) is remaining lit - are there any known common causes for this? A car I own has a known airbag warning light problem that often occurs when the seat is moved regularly in that the snap connector under the seat occasionally works loose just enough to trigger the warning light
You might need to get the codes read as it could be a pre-tensioner fault.

I suspect the cam belt has never been replaced so this is number one priority after the airbag problem is sorted - what sort of time ( in hours) does it take to replace?
What belt? You have a timing chain...should last lifetime of the car...:D

The wing mirror bases appear to have corroded(?) where they mount the outer skin of the door and have been re-touched relatively poorly - are they difficult to remove so that I can re-spray them properly or are they better off being replaced if available as a separate part?
It is fairly easy to remove once the trim panel is off.

And finally, the driver's seat ( black leather) is coming away along one seam for about 2-3 inches ( nearest door) - any suggestions for this as a temporary measure until I get time to find maybe a replacement seat?
You will find there are good auto upholsterers out there to help you, possibly without removing the seat :thumbsup

As I'm new to owning a BMW, any other commonly known problems I should watch out for?
As long as your car is regularly serviced, then you won't have any major problems. Feel free to post any problems you do have in the future...we will be pleased to help. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply.

Hi Neal,
thanks for the welcome and replies to my questions.

Fan switch - As far as I can tell, it's a simple heater system and not an AC unit. Does that make a difference?

Air bag light - I thought that it might need the codes read to find the cause.

Timing belt - Well I did say I was new to owning a BMW LOL - I think the last car I actually owned with a chain driven cam was a Triuph Stag. Does the tension auto-adjust or has it to be manually adjusted?

Mirror bases - sounds ok to sort out - a precursory look suggested that they are made from some sort of alloy, which has corroded.

Seat repair - If anyone knows of a good auto upholsterer in the East Yorkshire area, by all means let me know.

As for the rest of the car - I'll have to get hold of a good car-repair manual ( any suggestions?) and work my way through the car to ensure everything is as it should be. It's a long time since I've had time to own a car merely as a project car. Once I have it mechanically sorted and the seat leather put right, I only have a small amount of bodywork to sort where some %^&*$ 'keyed' the back offside wing and put a small dent in it, which should be relatively easy to do myself as it's black or should cost less than a couple of hundred pounts if professionally done - so, it's a very cheap and eye-catching motor for the price. The best accessory on the car so far seems to be the hard top - great for winter.
It's funny, as soon as I saw the first Z3 on the road way back in '96, I said that one day I would own one. I think they are a real modern 'classic'
Regards and thanks again...
Tony
 

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Fan switch - As far as I can tell, it's a simple heater system and not an AC unit. Does that make a difference?
You still have a blower resistor for your heating control, but different to one with AC. That will still be your problem...see no.3 HERE.

Timing belt - Well I did say I was new to owning a BMW LOL - I think the last car I actually owned with a chain driven cam was a Triuph Stag. Does the tension auto-adjust or has it to be manually adjusted?
Yes, your tensioner is hydraulic and will adjust itself. However, it may need to be changed after approx. 150k+ miles...depending on how you drive.

They will be other members who will hopefully suggest an upholsterer and good workshop manuals for you Tony :thumbsup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You still have a blower resistor for your heating control, but different to one with AC. That will still be your problem...see no.3 HERE.


Yes, your tensioner is hydraulic and will adjust itself. However, it may need to be changed after approx. 150k+ miles...depending on how you drive.

They will be other members who will hopefully suggest an upholsterer and good workshop manuals for you Tony :thumbsup.
Thanks Neal,
I did do a quick check on google and it suggested from looking at other comments on appropriate pages about the problem, it might just be the resistor - so hopefully, that will be the answer - now getting at it to fit it is another problem - if anyone has done this job before, I would be appreciate their advice as it usually entails a great deal of stripping down from my past experiences!

Sounds like good news about the timing chain - the reason I asked us that I'm used to cars which have the belts changed about every 75K - I never risk going past that recommended figure as so many do, which often results in an engine re-build when the belt snaps!

Thanks again for your help Neal.
Regards...
Tony
 

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On my E36 is was behind the glovebox. Even though the URL below is for a different model it should give you an idea of the location. It's a bit fiddly to get at. Just for reference I have had to replace this on two of my E36's! They are about £50 from GSF.

http://www.540i6.com/finalstagereplacement.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Ian

On my E36 is was behind the glovebox. Even though the URL below is for a different model it should give you an idea of the location. It's a bit fiddly to get at. Just for reference I have had to replace this on two of my E36's! They are about £50 from GSF.

http://www.540i6.com/finalstagereplacement.html

Thanks Ian, looks like the problem is well documented by the sound of it - it looks awkward to get at but, probably not nearly as bad as when I've had to strip away half a dashboard just to renew a small leaking heater hose or some dash lights.
Tony
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Update

Well on Monday, I dropped the Z3 off at my regular ( non-BMW) garage for a full service ( end to end engine and brakes) - I'd resisted the temptation to drive it until it had been serviced as the previous owner hadn't had it serviced since I don't know when.

While it was being serviced, I asked them to possibly do an MOT test if it was sound enough as I thought the MOT was due in early April.
Anyway, all that was required was the brakes to be stripped and cleaned ( which was part of the full service I'd asked for) and a lower bottom ball joint/wishbone and I got a full year's ticket on it.
The airbag light was cleared and they did a full diagnostic check and all is in good working order. All told, a bill for some £325.00 for everything which I didn't think too bad considering
What I didn't realise was that I'd looked at the wrong MOT certificate and it wasn't actually due until June and not April as I had thought - bummer - anyway, not to worry, it needed doing!
I will be getting the fan 'resistor' fitted next week which hopefully will solve the problem I mentioned earlier.
However, I have just noticed that the boot lock doesn't work, neither by key or remote - the barrel wont actually turn when the key is inserted ( seized???) - is this a common fault?
Also, the nearside passenger lock will turn either way with the key inserted but won't open the locking mechanism - the passenger lock does work when the remote is pressed or the key is inserted in the driver's door - I just wondered if this was a common problem?
Any help appreciated with regard to the locks...
Tony
 
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