Z3 light track use?

euroz

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Hey all, I've picked up a 97 z3 its the 1.9L 5 spd man, Its going to be a daily but id love to take it to our local track, I'm not wanting it to be super fast because i know its not, just wanting to attack some corners and have a bit of fun. After some light research i see lots about the car being pulled from the subframe ? and problems with the rear of the car... is that for the beefier engines? or still a problem with the 1.9L engines... If I'm planning to track it for fun what should I be upgrading or reinforcing ? thanks heaps guys as I'm totally new to bmw's.
 

hard top

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Welcome on the forum @euroz (strange name for a Kiwi ;))

is that for the beefier engines?
Yep, never heard about problems with the 1.9 mostly the ///M's as BMW did not upgrade as they introduced larger engines .

The Z3 chassis was originally designed for the 1.9 M44 four cylinder engine developing 138 horsepower. From 1997 to 2002 BMW introduced progressively larger displacement/horsepower engines, from the 2.5 M52 six developing 170 horsepower through the final 3.2 S54 ///M version in 01' and 02' developing 315 horsepower. However, BMW did not re-engineer the chassis to handle the additional horsepower. There was also a problem of undetermined origin at the Spartanburg plant that effected the spot welding of the trunk floor and frame crossmember.
 

euroz

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heya @hard top thank you very much for the quick reply and warm welcome. Yes I could have been more creative haha, I just went with Euro due to the car and z because of z3 :). Im very excited to pick up my z3 tomorrow :) and thats good to hear so I should be able to have a bit of fun without worrying about things tearing off, cheers for that! until my next question ;o
 

Ianmc

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Welcome on the forum @euroz (strange name for a Kiwi ;))



Yep, never heard about problems with the 1.9 mostly the ///M's as BMW did not upgrade as they introduced larger engines .

The Z3 chassis was originally designed for the 1.9 M44 four cylinder engine developing 138 horsepower. From 1997 to 2002 BMW introduced progressively larger displacement/horsepower engines, from the 2.5 M52 six developing 170 horsepower through the final 3.2 S54 ///M version in 01' and 02' developing 315 horsepower. However, BMW did not re-engineer the chassis to handle the additional horsepower. There was also a problem of undetermined origin at the Spartanburg plant that effected the spot welding of the trunk floor and frame crossmember.
Don't want to appear too anal, but I think the first Z3 was a 1.8? :thumbsup:
 

motco

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Hello from the Old Country! The sub-frame weld failures are less likely to happen on a track than on the ordinary roads - if you're a traffic light Grand Prix fiend anyway. It's all down to the excessive torque transmitted to the rear end by the brutally powerful S54 but principally in the lower gears when final drive torque levels are highest. I would certainly not fret about that.

However, in my experience with my 2.2i Sport on a track is that the brakes aren't really up to the job. Normally I track a Westfield (Lotus Seven replica in case you don't see them in NZ) but one December (equivalent of June in the antipodes) I chickened out of track running my Westfield because of the low temperatures and took my hard-topped Z3 instead. Despite its 'average' road tyres I found it handled very predictably with the crossover between over and understeer being controlled by the accelerator pedal. After a few laps, though, the brake pedal went 'long' and under heavy use it was possible to actually reach the stop on the floor. I abandoned any further running as I had a hundred miles or more journey home ahead and didn't want to be driving with little braking ability. The rest of the day was spent in my son's Z4M Coupé :thumbsup:

Anyway, after a couple of hours the pedal firmed up a bit and on the road home (two hours of motorway mainly) it steadily improved. My son's ///M had had the same problem until he started using competition pads and Racing Blue* DoT5.1 fluid. Furthermore he fitted a home made cooling duct taking air from the front apron and ducting it to the caliper/disc area. Even that isn't the definitive answer and he's about to acquire an AP Racing 6-pot Big Brake Kit. In short, have fun, remember the brake issue and don't get into a situation where you have nowhere to go if the fluid boils and the pedal hits the floor!

* No longer available in blue but still can be had in amber. Blue makes flushing out the old stuff easier but the US DoT outlawed the 'color' (sic).
 

Ianmc

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Don't want to appear too anal, but I think the first Z3 was a 1.8? :thumbsup:
Didn't know this:
Original Z3 engine was 1.8ltr M43 B18 - single cam, 114 bhp. Base model (but not sold in USA).This engine was discontinued in Sep 98.
1.9ltr M44 introduced from 1996 (base model in USA) - twin cam, 138bhp.
Interesting bit - the 1.9 M44 was downgraded (redesignated as M43 B19) to a single cam in Sep 99 (losing 21bhp), to 117bhp.
 

hard top

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Don't want to appear too anal, but I think the first Z3 was a 1.8? :thumbsup:
True but let me be anal then .... ;)

1.8 1996-1999 M43B18
4-cyl 85 kW (114 bhp)
@ 5500 rpm 168 N⋅m (124 lb⋅ft)
@ 3900 rpm 195 km/h (121 mph) 10.1s Roadster 0 to 60

1.9 1996-1999 M44B19 (What I had)
4-cyl 103 kW (138 bhp)
@ 6000 rpm 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft)
@ 4300 rpm 204 km/h (127 mph) 9.1s Roadster 0 to 60

1999-2002 M43B19 (Detuned)
4-cyl 87 kW (117 bhp)
@ 5500 rpm 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft)
@ 3900 rpm 196 km/h (122 mph) 10.0s Roadster 0 to 60
 

Ianmc

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My guess is that BMW reverted to a single cam in Sep 99 to reduce the cost of production, thereby increasing profitability.:)
 

Ianmc

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True but let me be anal then .... ;)

1.8 1996-1999 M43B18
4-cyl 85 kW (114 bhp)
@ 5500 rpm 168 N⋅m (124 lb⋅ft)
@ 3900 rpm 195 km/h (121 mph) 10.1s Roadster 0 to 60

1.9 1996-1999 M44B19 (What I had)
4-cyl 103 kW (138 bhp)
@ 6000 rpm 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft)
@ 4300 rpm 204 km/h (127 mph) 9.1s Roadster 0 to 60

1999-2002 M43B19 (Detuned)
4-cyl 87 kW (117 bhp)
@ 5500 rpm 180 N⋅m (133 lb⋅ft)
@ 3900 rpm 196 km/h (122 mph) 10.0s Roadster 0 to 60
I am also fortunate in having the M44B19 engine, pure chance when I bought the car last year. I had a 1.8 in Oz when they first came out and you really noticed the reduction in performance when the aircon was on. Replaced it with a S50 MR, but that's another story.:)
 

Ianmc

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Lost all my OZ license points in that car within 12 months of ownership in the late 1990s (in OZ you get points and they were taken away for speeding offences, rather than the other way round as in the UK). Received a 4 week driving ban from a colonial "hanging judge". The local plod had my red MR on their radar (think they thought I was a drug dealer driving a then 150K AUS $ car) and I was regularly stopped, once for accelerating too fast from some traffic lights. I was younger then!!!:)
 

smiffy

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......The sub-frame weld failures are less likely to happen on a track than on the ordinary roads - if you're a traffic light Grand Prix fiend anyway. It's all down to the excessive torque transmitted to the rear end by the brutally powerful S54 but principally in the lower gears when final drive torque levels are highest. I would certainly not fret about that....
just thought I'd add that boot floor spot weld failure isn't limited to ///M engined cars. My 2.8 currently has a number of failed welds awaiting repair. I'd suggest @euroz checks the boot of his new Zed regardless of engine size!
 

spurs fan in a coupe

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Hi and Welcome @euroz

I've had a couple of Z3 on track, a 1.9 and now a 2.8

https://zroadster.org/threads/the-track-journey-begins.12647/

https://zroadster.org/threads/artic-silver-2-8-track-car-project.16209/

My advice, bigger brakes (1.9 is solid disc as standard, all 6 cylinder engines have vented discs) - very easy DIY mod, high temperature brake fluid, decent tyres, semi slick (Nagkangs sound rubbish but are good and cheap). If the suspension is original then renew it - expensive so maybe one for later down the line (no idea of your budget). Eibach/bilstein are a favorite, I had ST coilovers and thought they were great.

People go on about strut braces, but I'm yet to be sold, polybushing the old suspension bushes would be wise if original too. If the car has no roll hoops I'd think about getting some fitted for piece of mind, but I'm sure someone will be along shortly to say that the structural integrity of the cars without roll hoops is in the windscreen surround and back of the seats - I'd rather not chance it.

Enjoy, any questions fire away
 
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