24 June 2017

Sniggley Bits

Worked a few annoying repairs on my S54 this week.  When I originally installed aftermarket amps and speakers, I (like many other coupe owners) used a JL 6" sub.  This sub sounds fantastic and with a spacer fits into the stock ported enclosure.  But, since I have owned the car, I have gone through 2 or probably 3 of them.  I don't think I'm over-driving them, but the southern humidity doesn't help them.  In all cases, the foam surround has failed.  I am tired of replacing them and you cannot anymore.  And, while you might find new old stock 6" JLs, I am sure their foam isn't in fantastic condition (or age) either.  So, I am switching to a Kicker unit, like the one I used in the coupenut S52.  This driver has a rubber surround and is slightly smaller.  Does it sound as good?  I don't think so.  But, it handles more power and also it's got what should be a longer-life rubber surround.

Next annoyance was the glovebox.  I had installed a glovebox re-enforcement plate years ago, but it was a shoddy solution with a weird combination of nuts and bolts and it never fit exactly right.  I but the bullet and upgraded to one from Never Done Garage.  This is the most premium solution out there for Z3 gloveboxes.  At the same time, I removed the inner steel crash protection from the glovebox door, like I did on coupenut S52 car.  Not only does removal help the sagging issue, it just makes the glovebox feel nicer when using it.  The Never Done striker plate, which will be visible, comes in sanded aluminum raw finish.  I primed and painted mine semi gloss with SEM Trim Black.  Much nicer.  Never Done does use stainless cap screws, which is a nice look when finished.  At the same time, I studied how I added a light to the glovebox ~15 years ago, which I had done after Ron Stygar did.  I will do the same mod on the S52 car, as I have been missing a glovebox light on that car.

Last one I worked on was the instrument panel.  When this S54 car was at Randy Forbes' for work, Randy noted upon receipt that the speedometer wasn't working.  All other gauges and functions in the cluster did.  No error codes either.  Turns out the speedometer failure was intermittent too.  I am sending this cluster to North Hollywood Speedometer, a vendor LeatherZ has used since the beginning, and what I consider the premier source for VDO repair work in the United States.  Hopefully they can track down a piece of cracked solder or something obvious inside the cluster.  Randy replaced the signal generator in the differential just to be sure, but that didn't fix the issue.  At any rate, I have had an issue with the instrument cluster before on that car, so this is actually the second one in the car.  When I replaced this one in circa 2003, the cluster (complete, new from BMW) cost me $285.  That is a discounted price, but still pretty cheap.  Same part today in 2017 is $1025.  And while it is not "No Longer Available" there are none in the US or Germany and there is no estimated ship date for one.  I am also posting the video Randy made for me last fall of the cluster failure in action.  Or lack thereof!

Once I get the cluster back from NHS, I am planning on replacing all the bulbs like I did on the S52 car, just to keep them all new and fresh.

The forth annoyance I am working on is seat rocking.  I have identified the source of the rocking, but not the solution yet.  Stay tuned.

You can repair some woofer foam surrounds, and you can even replace them, but I am out of patience with the JLs.

US crash protection plate removed from glove box door.

Painted Never Done striker plate.

Cat Code Plug (moved over to this second cluster) is under the pink retaining bracket.

I am going to send both clusters to North Hollywood Speedometer for repair.  Only need one, but might as well.  And, 15 years from now when I need another, who knows if NHS will still be in business or if anyone will know how to work on these "ancient" electronics!!

11 June 2017

Press Release Photos... reprise

I was able to finally get my hands on an original German Z3 and M coupe press release kit.  The kit is in German, sadly, but it did have an original, unused CD-ROM with all the press release pictures in original high resolution.  I have never been able to get the high res versions of these.  Click on an image for full size.  There are also a few new ones I didn't have and hadn't actually seen, too.