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N62 Z3 Part 27: The Part Where I Drive It & Power Steering

Now that it's mechanically about where I want it, it's time to get the car all one color and a bit more complete as far as cosmetics go! The first step is the bumper and the hood side grills, plus adding on some M mirrors. I still have a full color changed planned in the future but for now I just want to get the car all one color so I am using color matched rattle cans and spraying in my backyard...

Thought I would also mix it up with black over silver valve cover trims, not sure how I like it, but it might just be because I got used to how the silver parts looked

Installed the fender liners

Then painted the bumper

I am not happy with how the paint came out, there was poor coverage and it was advertised as a single stage but it very clearly needs a clearcoat to have the proper gloss, it's a matte finish as it is. Sometime down the road I will get it repainted properly

The rain kept temps a lot cooler, which kept the IAT's cooler as well as the coolant temps. The aux fan in front never had to activate the high speed but I did see the low speed kick on a few times, it was nice to verify that worked properly

Then I polished the headlights, but first I wanted to address this little "feature" of the Z3 lights. They have this black painted part but it just terminates sort of randomly. So I masked off the light and "finished" the black paint out to the edge of the lens

Then I began the process of polishing the lights. I always found this very easy and enjoyable to do on the Z3 headlights since they are pretty much "flat" it is easy to sand

Next step

Then a UV clearcoat specifically designed for plastic is applied

Here's a before and after

Let those daytime running lights shine!

And the lowbeams... clarity is phenomenal!

Indirect lighting from a cloudy day does wonders to make a car look good

I also put the silver engine covers back on...

License plate came in as well...

At this point I've managed to put just under 700 miles on the car. It's a lot of fun. Although every third or fourth long drive it would develop a misfire, which - until the last drive - could always be resolved by re-seating the coil packs. So I thought I would swap them from cylinder to cylinder as I was starting to suspect some had gone bad. Cylinder 8 really put up a fight. When it finally let go, it came out in pieces

I also had not yet installed the newer style spark plugs so decided I would put new plugs in with the new coils. The car had also developed smoking from time to time, the plugs indicate this is isolated to cylinder 7. Further investigation will be required

The plugs are laid out in their respective positions here, with bank 1 being on the left of the image and cylinder 1/5 at the bottom of the image

Close up on cylinder 7, the only one with "wet" oil present

New plugs, this is the updated design for the N62TU which is why they look a little different

Updated Delphi coils on the top, very different looking than the Bosch coils

Since doing the coils and plugs I haven't driven it a ton, though I have taken it out for a few drives now that the weather has cooled off to verify the coils and plugs helped and they made a pretty big difference though I think a lot of that is also the cooler weather. First time I took it out in cooler weather, about ~50 degrees, the difference in performance was startling. Flooring it in second from 2000 rpm it'd spin the tires. I couldn't even film anything because I had to focus on keeping it on the road. The lack of traction control didn't seem to be an issue previously but it seems the cooler weather is keeping the tires from sticking as well and also giving the engine a noticeable increase in performance. Maybe after a few runs the tires would be properly warmed up...

Recently I took it out for a quick little jaunt. It was struggling for traction despite the roads being completely dry. In the video I let up on the throttle in second, yet it still gets to redline pretty quickly. Definitely not my best run of the night either but the only run that I filmed. I should really invest in a suction cup mount or something, so I can get some video while still being able to steer and shift at the same time

Also still haven't installed the power steering lol. I took home my box of power steering stuff from storage so I have all the parts here - the supply line I already fabricated, I'm going to use an E46 power steering cooling loop attached to two of the mounting locations for the aux fan as pictured below and the high/low pressure lines I just need to jack the car up and get em done. It really shouldn't take more than 2-3 hours to get it all done and that's assuming both the high pressure lines need modification. But whenever I have 2-3 hours free, I decide to go drive the car instead of working on it...

And in very, very unimportant news, I found this brake fluid reservoir in my storage unit. I think I'm going to replace the one on the car with it because I think it looks nicer, the shape seems like it makes more sense in the space and will give more access to the coils and as a nerdy plus, I think it's the same reservoir the V12 Z3 used...

Got the dragy in a bit ago, but have been focusing on organizing my storage unit in my free time. It's finally organized though so I hit up some private roads near me to do some runs tonight while my lady was getting her nails done. I do like that with my job I visit a lot of private, completely deserted roads - all the guys I'm cool with, I ask if I can run there off hours and they are usually cool with it

I learned that the car needs one really big mod. A driver mod. My first run was a 5.85 0-60 and 14.20 quarter mile. Those of you more familiar with drag racing and stuff will notice the mph achieved with this run is quite odd. I didn't even notice it at the time. 14.20 @ 84.81mph

The first few runs I just rolled gently until the clutch hooked up then floored it and so I was hoping for 13's when launching it but didn't quite get it. I didn't even look at the mph so I was just expecting more times around that range and I let up early in every single run... d'oh.

I didn't know how to really read runs yet on the app either and realized a 5.15 0-60 popped up somewhere so I thought, cool, I can definitely get into the 4's if I launch it. So I tried launching it and just kept spinning tires... the 5.15 was the best 0-60 I managed off a very gentle launch (about 1500rpm) and it was spinning into second too, you can see it lose speed at the shift and not pick up speed again for a moment afterwards. They also do a one foot roll-out time, which is 4.94 - supposedly this is how magazines test 0-60 times

Somewhat ironically, the 5.15 0-60 was during my slowest recorded 1/4 attempt

I thought my times were getting slower as it was getting heat soaked or something but in hindsight, I think I just kept letting up early

I'm going to take it back out later, for just a few runs. I am hoping for maybe a 13.8 and 0-60 of about 4.9

...well I did take it out a bit later and some drama ensued. launched it really hard and it was spinning the tires pretty good, went to shift into second, it was like a brick wall. Would not shift into second at all. Ohhh shoot. I could get it into neutral but after shifting into neutral it was pretty hard getting back into first so I didn't want to risk being stranded so left it in first and drove it home. Revved it out in first, coasted with the clutch in, repeat, until I made it home. Was very annoying, luckily there wasn't much traffic on the roads and I was fairly close to home. I was planning on taking the transmission off, so got everything dropped and was just about to remove the bellhousing bolts when I realized I could shift with the shift carrier removed.

Further investigation revealed the gearshift rod joint (as bmw calls it) was binding against the carrier a little bit when the transmission was flexing. So when I launched it, when the trans was flexing a fair amount, it knocked off the securing clip and it seemed like this was preventing it from allowing it to shift properly, forcing the trans to be stuck in first or a sort-of-neutral-but-mostly-first-gear position. I re-secured the c-clip, added clearance at the carrier and re-installed everything, voila... I have all my gears again! Also with the car up I got a good look at the diff mount area, CSB, guibo, etc... everything seemed like it's in the shape it was when I installed everything, so that's good at least. The solid subframe bushings are definitely doing some good work as far as minimizing subframe deflection

However one thing I did do when inspecting the shift issue was drain the fluid. While waiting for fluid to arrive from FCP (I'm a sucker for that lifetime warranty) I took the opportunity to spend a couple hours getting the power steering stuff installed. E46 cooling loop installed in place

Supply and return lines from reservoir installed

Only one line needed more modification than just some trimming, this one needed to be welded so I tack welded it in place, removed it then welded it fully

All installed... I do needa new pulley though!

And once the fluid finally showed up, I couldn't find my fluid transfer pump. Hit up two Autozone stores near me and both were sold out so I decided to just find a way to make a siphon pump work. Not the most elegant solution, but it certainly worked!

It was basically filling just from gravity so it did take a little while, but that gave me some time to finish the power steering stuff, getting it all installed with hose clamps and fresh crush washers

While buttoning things up underneath I decided to also put the heat shield in place, the trans tunnel got pretty toasty beforehand!

Also decided to just bolt the X-brace on for now. It still needs a little work to be "done" like welding in one of the supports I cut off, adding mounts for the inner bolts on the front end and cleaning the rust up, but I thought it'd be good to just have in place. At a few spots it was just kissing the oil pan so I ended up stacking two washers under each of the rear mounts (not pictured) to get the clearance needed. When I finish the rest of the X-brace, I will weld those washers to the brace

Grabbed a good power steering pulley, installed the alternator idler (was previously not installed as it wasn't really needed without the power steering pulley) and installed the stock belt as well

Then took it on a little test drive... more in the next part!



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