Checking the oil level for the Z3 1.9

  1. Drive the car to bring it up to temperature
  2. Park the car on a flat surface
  3. Leave the car to cool for 5 minutes
  4. Pull out the dipstick and clean it with a lint free rag or paper tissue
  5. Put the dipstick back in to the engine making sure it is pushed in fully
  6. Pull out the dipstick and check the level
  7. The level should be between the lower (min) and upper (max) marks.
  8. Add oil as required
  • The difference between the lower and upper marks on the dipstick is approximately 1 litre of oil.
  • Do not fill above the upper mark as too much oil can hurt the engine.
  • Do not add oil until the level is just above the lower (min) level
  • Oil for the Z3 1.9 petrol engine is 5W30.

Re-Attach Rear View Mirror

My rear view mirror dropped off during the winter. I have tried various products to fix it back but none worked that well. Eventually I tried the Loctite 319. This stuff is awesome.

  • Remove the button from the mirror so that you are only glueing the small part and not the weight of the whole mirror. 
  • Take the mesh that comes with the Loctite and cut it to the required size of the button.
  • Clean the window with some cleaning alcohol to remove any grease, etc
  • Clean the button with some cleaning alcohol to remove any grease, etc
  • Put the glue on the button
  • Place the cut down piece of mesh on to the glue and use the glue stick to make sure the mesh is covered
  • Place the button on to the window (making sure you have it properly oriented with a notch to the top) and hold the button in place and count slowly to 30. 

The button should at this point be fairly secure. I then left it to set for about an hour. I then reattached the mirror to the button. Feels really firm and secure.
I should also note that I waited until it was a warm sunny day so that there was no condensation or moisture on the windscreen and the windscreen was warm. This helps the glue work to its full effect. 

Z3 Central locking not operating boot from doors

My Z3 has a strange central locking issue that I need to look in to. When I use the key in either the passenger or drivers door it will operate the central locking for the doors. The boot does not lock or unlock if the key is used from the doors. If I use the key in the boot lid to unlock / lock the boot it also operates the doors. So, if I use the key in the door to unlock the door, both doors unlock but not the boot. If I lock the door from the door, both doors lock but not the boot. If I unlock the boot using the key in the boot, the boot will unlock and both doors will unlock. If I lock the boot from the boot lock, the boot will lock and both doors will lock. So, if I unlock the car from the boot and then lock the car from the doors, the boot will not be locked.

It appears that the signal from the central locking from the doors is not making it to the boot actuator. There is a known issue on the Z3 where the wiring loom that goes from the boot in to the car can sometimes contain broken cables. It could be that there is a broken cable in the loom. You can see examples of broken wires in the photos below (courtesy of @jonco on zroadster.org). Detailed below are the indvidual wires and there function.

As soon as lock down allows I will be out to the car to break open the wiring loom to see if any of my wires are broken and causing my issue. I will update the post with what I find.

I have documented here the details of what each wire is used for is noted below (courtesy of @jonco and @BrianH on zroadster.org)

There are 9 wires in the boot loom. The lock/unlock and switch position functions are controlled via the central ZKE module
The two wires below are part of a common loom that triggers the door actuator/lock.

1.5 BL/GR blue/grey – boot lock motor wire

1.5 WS white – boot lock motor wire

The three wires below are supply wires and lock position wires, the supply is fed from fuse 7 (5amp)

0.35 RT/GN red/green – boot lock switch – supply wire

0.5 WS/BL white/blue – boot lock switch – unlock wire

0.5 WS/GN/GE white/green/yellow – boot lock switch – lock wire

The two wires below are for the third brake light, the fuse for the third brake light is fuse F46 (15A) and controlled via the brake light switch.

0.5 BR brown – 3rd brake light – earth

0.75 BL/RT blue/red – 3rd brake light – supply Wire

The two wires below are for the boot interior light, this switch is located in the boot latch. The fuse for the boot light switch is F33 (10a).

0.5 BR/WS brown/white – boot light switch supply wire

UPDATE: I finally got around to opening up the loom and found that I had a blue wire that was broken. I stripped back the wire and soldered it back together and now the central locking works exactly as it is supposed to.

Touring Hydraulic Tailgate

My touring came with the hydraulic opening / closing option. This is a really neat option and when the car first came out this would have been really impressive. Of course, most cars these days come with this option as standard but I still think it is great.

When I first got the car the hydraulic lift was not working as it should and I have been asked a few times on how I got this working again. The system is quite simple and there  are really only a couple of things to look at if the tailgate does operate but not to your satisfaction. If the hydraulic pump has gone and you get nothing then this will be an expensive fix. If it does work but needs some help then it will most likely a combination of the hydraulic fluid needing to be topped up or the struts for the tailgate and window section that need to be replaced.

I started off with the simplest check, the hydraulic fluid. The fluid recommended is AeroShell Fluid 41. You can buy this from many places. I got a 1 ltr can for around £10. You can get it from eBay, Amazon or direct from a number of aircraft parts websites. The place I got mine is the URL below.

https://transair.co.uk/aeroshell-chemicals/aeroshell-fluid/aeroshell-fluid-41/aeroshell-fluid-41-1us-quart-defstan91-48-om15-mil-prf-5606h

Once you have the fluid you need to carefully remove the fluid reservoir from the pump. This is a push on affair with a clip. You need a screwdriver to loosen the clip and then really carefully pull off the reservoir. It is only a small holder so does not take much liquid at all. Fill it up just past the max level and put it back on carefully. You will no doubt spill some.

Once you have the reservoir back on then grab a hold of the tailgate and move it up and down a few times to pump the liquid around the system. Do this before you try it with the buttons.

When I first changed the fluid  it seemed to make little to no difference to the system but should always be tried in the first instance.

Next came the more difficult check which I left to my local garage. What I noticed was that if I opened the window portion of the tailgate and then pressed the button to open the tailgate then it would magically work with no issue. The hydraulics could not lift the weight of the tailgate and window combined. What we did next was to change the struts for the tailgate and the window so that they are all new and at their best. Changing the struts can be a bit fiddly, which is why I left it to my local garage, but can be done.

Check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VaFBlyuk6Y&t=77s

Once I had the struts replaced the tailgate now works as it should. It does have some difficulty if the car is pointing down a hill. I am figuring that this is because the tailgate will need more of a push to get it going and the system is not up to it.

Would be great to hear if this has helped or if you have other suggestions for getting this working or making it better.

Refurbish Wiper Arms

The wiper arms on the E52 were looking a bit worse for wear. The black had gone very pale and in some places had come off altogether and there were rust patches. It was time for a refurb.

I used a 17mm spanner to remove the bolts holding the arms on and a battery terminal puller to extract the arms off the spindles.

Using sandpaper and spray that I already had in the cellar I set to work.

Sanded down the arms with 250 grit followed by 1500 grit to remove the worst of the rust and to smooth where the original paint had peeled. I then used three coats of grey etch primer followed by two coats of matt black.

I waited at least five minutes between each coat of paint and then left the arms for 24-hours to dry before fitting back on the car.

The end result is astounding and makes such a difference.

The Before

The After