29 May 2016

Rarity Sunday: The Z Keychain –or– The Perfect Gift for a Coupenut

Sometime in the 1996-1998 time frame, BMW released a keychain that was simply “Z”.  The font exactly matches the Z3 font.  It was a well-made, heavy piece.  The rumor was however, that Nissan sued BMW over the keychain claiming they had trademarked “Z” for the 350Z car.  Regardless of the truth, the keychain became No Longer Available (NLA) very quickly and it was replaced by the currently-still-available “Z3” keychain  80230432391 for $29.95r.  Andy and I have always liked and collected BMW keychains and I have posted about them before on this blog.  This one is no exception.  In fact, we used to sell these at LeatherZ back in the day.  Neither Andy nor I have ever been great about inventory management...  Turns out we over-sold these keychains and I had to give my personal new in box one to a customer as a sold order.  That was nearly 20 years ago. 

This year for my birthday, Andy sent me a small box.  Inside was a used, but still in original box, “Z” keychain Andy found on ebay Germany. For me this was the one that got away.  I am pretty proud and excited for it.

15 May 2016

Rarity Sunday: Dealer Interior Samples

In the 1980s, my mom shopped for a E30 325i at one point.  I remember the trips to the dealer to look at them.  I studied the brochures and knew every word eventually.  In the 1980s, and even into the late 1990s, BMW dealers used to have physical samples of both paint finishes and interiors that you could have so you could better make decisions about your cars.  I don't think that's the case any more.  In fact, I think the availability of printed brochures in general is pretty grim at this point.  Back in the very early days, the dealer we (LeatherZ) used to buy parts from sent me 2 interior samples for interiors he knew I was interested in.  I didn't even own my coupe at this point.  Anyway, these are the 2 samples.  One is Walnut, for the Z3 2.8 coupe, the other is Kyalami Orange, for the M coupe.  The Walnut sample has Walnut leather on one side and the other section is a sample of the vinyl texture that covers the glovebox and door panels.  The Kyalami sample has both Kyalami Orange leather and black Napa leather.  And also the vinyl texture from the door panels.  Both samples are about 6" x 8" in size and marked as shown.  Does anyone else have these?  I think they are probably pretty rare at this point.

06 May 2016

3-point “G-string” Cargo Net

BMW never made a dedicated cargo net for the coupes.  The 3 attach points in the hatch are ideal for a 3-point net and not much else.  At some point Andy and I figured out the early X3 had a 3-point net that was fitting quality of a BMW part.  This is it.  You need an S-hook or a carabineer in order to make it work.  It is double-ply so you can put things into the G-string, not unlike, well, you know.

Cargo net, BMW 51472183902, $50.00r

Hook of some kind, $ on you.

Total cost of this mod = $50.00r

Total investment in vehicle to date = $11,688.25r

A few more pics from Schuh Syndikat 2016

Taken by others, and I really like them.  I don't want them to get lost on Facebook or in the internet somewhere so I am re-posting here.

02 May 2016

Seat Tilting Kit

Finally got around to installing the Thayer Motorsports seat-tilting kit.  The kit raises the 2 front mounting points of the seats a small amount, creating a more inclined seat bottom.  This increases the contact patch between you and the seat, reduces some of the pressure on your back side, and makes the whole car more comfortable.  Installation is a snap with Thayer’s instructions:  https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0741/9527/files/Z3_Seat_Mod_Kit.pdf?9136814087368276212  When I installed the kit per the instructions, the seat would rub on the two front 13mm mounting nuts as it crossed them.  Not cool.  To fix, I reluctantly put 2 fender washers under the seat rails on top of one another, and no fender washer under the stock/factory 13mm nuts.  Now it doesn’t rub.  Now you don't see a silver fender washer.  The factory seat rail is quite stout and should distribute the load under the nut ok without the fender washer.  I think the threaded rods in the kit are a tiny bit too long.  Please reply to this post if you have noticed a similar issue!!

Total cost of this mod = $17.99r

Total investment in vehicle to date = $11,638.25r

Steering Wheel and Instrument Cluster Bulbs

Finally got around to installing the refurbished steering wheel I bought from ebay user Tainik.  Looks even better in the car.  I moved the original slip ring from the original wheel over to the new one.  While I had the wheel out of the car, I removed the instrument panel and I replaced all of the bulbs.  I figure they have been there since 1999 and I might as well replace them pre-emptively.  I used OEM parts (not BMW OE) from ECS Tuning for the bulbs, and they are identical to the factory bulbs in every way.  Save money this way.  I was hoping that I had a bulb or two out, but all were fine.  I guess the S52 cluster doesn't light up perfectly evenly like the S54.  Oh well.

Refurbished MZ3 steering wheel from Tainik on ebay, with shipping from Germany, Nappa Leather, $385.00r

Illumination bulb, 3 watt, need 3, BMW OE, 07119905358, $3.00r each

Warning bulb, 1.2 watt, need 14, Osram Sylvania, 62131383311, $1.99r each (versus $4.90r each for OE BMW)

Odometer illumination bulb, 1.5 watt, need 2, Osram Sylvania, 62111391260, $3.95r each (versus $5.98r each for OE BMW)

Total cost of this mod = $429.76r

Total investment in vehicle to date = $11,620.76r

BMW versus Osram/ECS bulbs, no difference.

Flash from the camera makes the airbag look shiny, in real life the wheel and the airbag look fantastic together.

Clutch, Revisited for the last time?

Even though I reworked the clutch pedal in another post, I still wasn’t happy with it.  Even with nice Delrin bushings and carefully-lubed points, it still squeaked.  And felt “funny”.  I had forgotten that on my S54, when I did it’s pedal ~14 years ago, I deleted the overly-complex M over-center spring and replaced it with a non-M simple extension spring.  I should have done this right the first time.  Anyway, I took the pedal back out, added 2 grommets and the extension spring, and buttoned everything back up.  Now the 2 cars have the same clutch pedal feel.  Now there is no squeaking.  Now the clutch pedal doesn’t rest in a somewhat canted position.  Much better.  I also screwed the UUC big boy clutch stop that came with the car all the way in.  Now the car goes into first gear much smoother, although I have to push the pedal down another 1/8 inch.

Clutch spring, 35 21 1 158 489, need 1, $3.76r

Clutch spring grommets, 35 31 1 113 725, need 2, $3.41r each

Total cost of this mod = $10.58r

Total investment in vehicle to date = $11,190.50r

Parts with part numbers

Lower part of the spring visible here