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Buying a Z3M

Discussion in 'Z3 M Roadster & Coupé' started by Medskipper, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
    British Zeds

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    Hi guys!

    I’ve just put a holding deposit on a beautiful year 2000, Z3M with the S54 engine £78k miles and will be inspecting it next week.

    Can any of you knowledgeable people tell me what really important things I should be looking for with a car like this?

    I already own a really nice year 2000 Z3 1.9. So I’m well aware of bodywork things to look out for but I’m looking for advice on the large lump under the bonnet! How to spot Vanos problems etc.
    Possible problems with emissions or anything else that I should be aware of as I don’t want to make an expensive mistake!

    Very grateful for helpful advice, and looking forward to posting pics shortly,

    Barry
     
  2. Nodzed

    Nodzed Zorg Guru (V)
    Supporter British Zeds #ZedShed M Power

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    Welcome to the club :welcome:
    Service history, Boot floor spot welds, Vanos rattle, clunking from the diff when pulling off/lifting off. ANY smoke from the exhaust.
    Rest is the same as other Z3s, bushes, brakes. rusty sills etc

    @Pingu will probably be a good source of advice.
     
  3. Ianmc

    Ianmc Zorg Guru (III)
    British Zeds The M44 Massive

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    Are you sure it's a S54? These were 2001/2 I believe.
     
  4. Mark Gutteridge

    Mark Gutteridge Dedicated Member

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    Yes they are. March 2001
     
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  5. Pingu

    Pingu Zorg Guru (I)

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    The main unique issues are what @Nodzed said.

    I would check for service history. I'd want to do a valve clearance check (done properly), unless you are 100% confident that it was done properly at the last service.

    All oils, fluids and filters should have been changed by now. Look for evidence that gearbox oil, diff oil, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid and fuel filter have all been changed. All are additional items to a BMW inspection.

    If you are not handy in your coveralls, get an RAC inspection.
     
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  6. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
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    Right , just the sort of info I need! Dealer stated it’s an S54!
    So I sense a porky pie?
    Would anyone know what a year 2000 Z3M has? It’s a W reg so early part of the year 2000?

    Keep it coming guys!
     
  7. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
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    A0CCAA5F-DB6D-4EC0-BC78-C41A640F3D2D.jpeg 35583526-FD50-473E-B7A8-18C5A1091CE1.jpeg This is a picture of the engine,
     
  8. Mark Gutteridge

    Mark Gutteridge Dedicated Member

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  9. Mark Gutteridge

    Mark Gutteridge Dedicated Member

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    Had mine 10 years never failed in any way.

    I did upgrade the vanos bolts.

    Changed the gearbox and diff oils.

    That's it.
     
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  10. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
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    Is the S54 a better engine than the S50 then?
    Pros and cons?
     
  11. Mark Gutteridge

    Mark Gutteridge Dedicated Member

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    10 years no problems. Hmmm let me think !
     
  12. Ianmc

    Ianmc Zorg Guru (III)
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    S54 cars attract a significant premium over S50 cars; it is most unlikely that a 2000 car is a S54.
     
  13. Mark Gutteridge

    Mark Gutteridge Dedicated Member

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    A 2000 car is an S50
     
  14. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
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    Would having the S50 engine stop anybody buying the car?
    Or should I carry on searching for a Z3M with an S54?
     
  15. Mark Gutteridge

    Mark Gutteridge Dedicated Member

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    I would not swap my s50 for any other car
     
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  16. Pingu

    Pingu Zorg Guru (I)

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    They are much the same.

    I defy anyone to tell the difference from the driver's seat (yes, I know the gauges are slightly different, but I hope you know what I mean).

    However, the S54 will always be a premium as there are only 73 RHD ones.

    It's like a rare £1 coin. It's only worth more than £1 to someone who collects £1 coins. To someone who just uses £1 coins to spend money, it is just another £1 coin.


    Re S54 v S50, there are two potentially catastrophic areas of the engine. The VANOS and the big-end bolts.

    Big-end bolts are as likely to fail on either and equally catastrophic.

    If the VANOS cover bolts on an S50 fail, the result is a very noisy VANOS and lots of oil. Engine failure is as a result of loss of oil.

    If the VANOS sprocket bolts fail on an S54, the result is catastrophic damage to the top of the engine if you don't catch it in time.
     
    #16 Pingu, Sep 7, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  17. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
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    Great comparison! Thanks
     
  18. Medskipper

    Medskipper Dedicated Member
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    Pingo says there were only 73 RHD produced with S54 engines.

    Do any on you experts out there know how many were produced with the S50 engine?
    Just for the matter of interest!

    Barry
     
  19. Pingu

    Pingu Zorg Guru (I)

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  20. Pingu

    Pingu Zorg Guru (I)

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    I notice that one has cruise control. It's quite rare to see that on an S50 as it is electro-mechanical and not an easy retro-fit. S54 cruise control is just plug'n'play.
     
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