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Thread: Lots of problems

  1. #1

    Lots of problems

    I am new to this board but have had my 2001 Z8 about 6 years. It had 7500 miles on it then and I believe I was the second owner. The car gets light use and now has 17,600 miles. I fell in love with the Z8 when still in concept form as it appeared in many car mags and auto shows. Initial pricing was through the moon and dealers were adding huge premiums as you know. I waited patiently for the froth to fade. Then in 2003, I began searching. Looked at many cars and settled on a nice silver with black example which I was able to buy for $95k at a nearby dealership with CPO warranty.

    Prior to owning the Z8, my experience with high end performance cars included three 911s, a 928, a Boxster and an Acura NSX, over a 20 year period. All except the NSX were purchased used. Other than tires and oil changes the Porsches required almost no maintenance and nothing ever broke. The NSX used up the first battery in a couple months but after that it was perfect.

    The Z8 is a different story. I have had battery problems, almost total delamination of the leather dash, top stings disappear, intermittent key problems, intermittent radio problems, seat backs becoming unglued, trunk lid falling on my head, trunk fails to open half the time from inside, and an oil light the seems to come on randomly even the dipstick indicates sufficient oil. I thought I had a lemon, but this Forum has made me realize that nearly everyone has some or all of the same issues. None are life threatening, just frustrating. So I admit that I have not attempted to have these problems addressed by a dealer. I really don't have a relationship with one of the many dealers in my area and I don't particularly want one. If I did I would have bought a Ferrari.

    Anyway, I was aware of the possible frame issue based on a letter from BMW NA back in 2006, but I didn't pay much attention due to the low miles I was putting on the car. Now that I've read the frame thread, I am in constant fear that the next pothole will twist the car like a pretzel. The roads in NY/NJ are only slightly better than Bagdhad these days, so its only a matter of time.

    I love driving the Z8. I love its unique style. I hate all the problems. I know I must find a competent dealer to install the performace package and maybe get rid of the run flats, to be safe. I know I should get the other stuff fixed as well. The question I have now is whether its worth all the expense and aggravation or whether I should put it on Ebay. Does anybody out there understand my dilemma?

  2. #2
    Absolutely!! If it is the car you really want, and want to keep then I'd suggest contact Bill Stuart at BMW NA (201-263-8210) who looks after us Z8 folks. He is in NJ, and should be able to point you towards a good dealer who will help iron out all these little issues. You should certainly swap the Run Flats for either Michelin Pilot Sports, or the new Dunlop Star Spec's and add the Performance Package for peace of mind. All the other other issues are 'normal' ownership issues with a small production run hand build special. Either way I'd fix everything, then see if this is the car you want to live with.

    I've had several others (M3smg, GT3, Elise, Exige S, MB SL500) and the Z8 is still my favorite to take up the coast, or drive to an event with. There are a lot of other great cars out there, but none delights my eye the way the Z8 does.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  3. #3
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    OT: I too am very much intrigued by the new Dunlops. They're getting amazing reviews and comments all over the web. And they're less!
    thegunguy

  4. #4
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Of course this is totally up to you... If you would ask me; find the right dealer (although we do not own a Ferrari, it is still absolutely necessary to have a good relationship with a capable and reliable BMW dealer....) get the PP and the other (minor...) things fixed and enjoy this great car! Good luck with your decision (and keep us posted!) best regards from the Netherlands R.

  5. #5
    Thanks. I will probably make the effort to get these things sorted. I do find it to be surprising that BMW would produce a halo car with so many flaws, and quality short comings. My experience with their run of the mill 3 series cars has been quite good. My only complaints have been related to dealer service.

    Eric

  6. #6
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    I agree with all the replies. The problems you noted are common and all can be resolved. The last thing you want to do is sell it "as is" because most Z8 buyers these days review this web site before they buy so they will check all these things on your car and price it accordingly. I am not sure why you don't want a relationship with a dealer but if you really don't, fix the car, sell it, and buy a Lexus. Like Andrew said, this is a limited production car and so it will have ongoing problems requiring dealer interactions and personal dedication.

    Bob

  7. #7
    No need to be insulting. I've never owned a Lexus but the 5 Porsches I've owned were bullet proof. I'm not sure why I should expect less from the Z8. Limited production should be synonymous with higher quality. Thanks for your input.
    Eric Wentzel

    2001 Z8 silver / black
    2008 650i cp silver / black


  8. #8
    Team Z8 RRZ8's Avatar
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    Eric, I think what we try to say is that no car on the entire world is really perfect.
    Of course we expect our Z8 to be at a certain level of (very high) quality, but absolutely perfect? I owned 3 Porsches (1 964 and 2 993's) all 3 had their (minor) problems. I think we have to look at this issue a little different, not in an 'absolute' way but in a 'relative' way. When you look at the brand Ferrari or Maserati for instance, you will see that 'our' BMW's are of a quality that is almost superb.
    Of course the Japanese built high quality cars too, but hey; How do they look?
    Overall I really think that the Z8 has a high level of quality, aside from the PP (the dealer still claims it was not really necessary with my private non-track use..) I only had a blown third braking light in the 4 years I owned my Z8, not too bad imho.

  9. #9
    Team Z8 KenZ8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericw View Post
    The question I have now is whether its worth all the expense and aggravation or whether I should put it on Ebay. Does anybody out there understand my dilemma?
    I don't want to be insulting, but it appears that you are looking for someone to tell you that you should sell what you feel is a disappointing car, or an ongoing argument on why you should not. You will not find either scenario here. We are a group of automotive enthusiasts who own (or wish to own) and enjoy (or wish to enjoy) the limited production Z8 and Alpina and the social network that it brings with it. No car is bulletproof, especially if you let it sit on 8 year old runflats in a garage for 6 years driving an average of 28 miles per week. Sensors will clog, actuators will stick, and glue will come, well, unglued. And yes, limited production, hand made cars may experience a higher percentage of problems due to the mathematical fact that there are so few actually produced. Unlike mass produced cars, the production line is not alerted to potential problems until the run is already ended.

    If you don't love it quirks and all; fix it and sell it. But first, take a look in the gallery at some of the photos of the people and places that were brought together by this car. Then look at photos of the car itself in places around the globe submitted by members of this forum. Check out the site of the International BMW Z8 Club with its world-wide membership and wonderful organized trips and events. Then, if you still don't want to fly down to the tire shop and rip off those runflats and really enjoy this vehicle- sell it and let someone else achieve their dream. We come to this forum to discuss fun and interesting things, not to talk someone into liking their car.

    One more thought- which of those 5 Porsches were worth the same or more after 6 years of ownership? The Z8 is truly unique in many ways.

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    Eric,
    I did not mean to be insulting and so I apologize. I was only making a point about expectations being quite different for perhaps a Lexus vs. a Z8. It sounds like you bought a car from someone who really didn't care about it and so all the problems you listed were passed on to you. So the choice now becomes yours: fix it or sell it. Owning a Z8 requires vigilance and some work. If this website didn't exist, there would be no way for owners to share their experiences and questions. There probably would never have been a performance package created and run flats would still be on almost all of our cars.

    Therefore, please accept our comments as helpful. My schedule doesn't allow me to participate in any of the Z8 events except last year at Pebble Beach and I have to say that this one experience made owning a Z8 totally worth the glue, bad batteries, crazy tail lights, and all the other nutty things about this car. The people on this website make the car great and are always ready to help.

    Bob

  11. #11
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Perfectly put Ken.

    The Z8 is an experience, not just a car. It has it's issues, which are minor to me, but the overall experience more than makes up for the short comings.

    As Ken notes, the car is what it is. It either works for you or it doesn't - nothing wrong either way. Could BMW done a better job with some of the issues? Sure. Is it better than 99% of similar cars for its time and market? Absolutely. Furthermore, BMW's commitment to resolve post-production issues, even out of warranty, has been peerless.

    At this point, you really have no down side. 1) you'll either come to know a wonderful car and experience after getting a few things resolved, or 2) you can sell it for likely more than what you paid. I'd love to see you keep it and get involved in the "experience" that comes from enjoying the shared time with other owners, but if you'd rather sell, that's cool too. You'll make someone else's dream. Eric, best of luck in your dilemma.

    Friendly Porsche jab - Google "rear main seal".
    thegunguy

  12. #12
    Sport Button On - DSC Off Lisa's Avatar
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    How often in a Lexus do you get people shouting "nice car" or someone pulling beside you to ask "what's the model of your car?" BOTH of those happened to me just today on a short drive through an area that sees it's share of rare and expensive cars. I've never been in the z8 where someone doesn't want a pic or says something nice about it. Never seen that happen in a Lexus. Yeah it has it's problems but we plan to keep this car forever. The Z8 is far more than just a "nice car". And for some reason this car seems to attract some of the nicest people I've ever met. When are you all coming to visit us in Seattle?????

    Weirdly enough our very early run z8 doesn't seem to have many of the problems that others are seeing - maybe it's because we live in a cooler/moister climate?

    Anyway! Only you can determine if the problems are worth it to you. Cause on this board you would probably get a pretty much unanimous "YES it's worth it!"

  13. #13
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    I've had all the usual problems with my car, but since they occurred here and there along the way since I purchased over 8 years ago they have not accumulated to a disappointing level. Of course, all of my drives have been a great pleasure, so on balance there has been a lot of good and a tiny bit of bad, all nicely spread over time. It must be quite different to face all of the little things at once because a previous owner didn't attend to them, and not have the counterpoint of all that driving pleasure under ones belt already. I can understand the negative feelings there.

  14. #14
    Z8 Madness
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa View Post
    And for some reason this car seems to attract some of the nicest people I've ever met.
    So very true

    There is probably more to this than coincidence.
    62050 - Z8

  15. #15
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    I have an Alpina and other then the canvas on the back window coming unglued, which is clearly a design problem, I have had no issues. Maybe being the end of the production run they worked out the kinks or maybe my car just has not hit the "wall" yet, but in any case I plan on keeping it for a long time. Toyed briefly with trading it for a DB9 but never pulled the trigger on that idea. I live in NJ and have found the team at Flemington BMW to be most helpful.

  16. #16
    OK. Bill Stuart at BMWNA has recommended a dealer and service manager about 30 miles away to work with on the Z8 issues. Taking the car there tomorrow to give him a clear understanding of the tasks. I was a little troubled that he seemed uninformed about the performance package but I'll reserve judgment for now.

    I really don't want to sell the Z8. As I said in my original post, I love the car and its style. And, one of the reasons I bought it is because its NOT a Porsche. I appreciate the enthusiastic support for this car from all the people on this website.
    Eric Wentzel

    2001 Z8 silver / black
    2008 650i cp silver / black


  17. #17
    Bill Stuart referred me to Prestige BMW in Ramsey NJ. Met with the team there and they seem very good. They did not recommend the performance package. Service manager felt it was completely unnecessary. I've decided to hold off for now, although I am replacing the run flats with Michelin PS2s.
    Eric Wentzel

    2001 Z8 silver / black
    2008 650i cp silver / black


  18. #18
    I'd make sure you get a letter from the dealership agreeing they will underwrite any damage to the shock towers that might happen as the result of a pothole etc. Not sure how the roads are in your part of the world, but if you follow the stories in the Frame Forum, the damage has happened to all kinds of cars in all sorts of places, bridge joins, roadworks, potholes, railroad crossings. However if the dealership haven't done one yet then you don't want them messing about with it on your car either!

    Swapping out the runflats will do a huge amount to protect your car, but I'd still keep an eye open for a dealer with PP experience, and get it done in the nearish future.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  19. #19
    Agree. Of course, they left the decision up to me, so no letter will be forthcoming. My decision to wait was mainly because I don't want to be their first PP installation. The roads around here are much worse than sunny California. However the opportunity to put miles on the car is also quite limited due to weather and daily commuting via mass transit.
    Eric Wentzel

    2001 Z8 silver / black
    2008 650i cp silver / black


  20. #20
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    Eric,

    If a dealership told me that an item that is highly recommended by the folks who designed and built the car for the purpose of preventing damage was not necessary, I'd smoke my tires leaving their property and never go back. Especially when the car is as prone to the problems that the Z8 is.

    In fact, I'd get their opinion in writing and send it to BMWNA. But that is the A.H. that I can be.

    As far as the letter that Andrew suggested-the dealership will never agree to accepting liability.
    Scott Pettit
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  21. #21
    Z8 Ate My Homework! Norcal's Avatar
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    Even with regular tires (non run-flats), damage can happen at any moment for sure. Get the kit installed ASAP by a dealer who has done many and does not have their head up their @#$.

  22. #22
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    Eric,

    Not knowing where you are in the NJ/NY area but I had the PP installed at Westchester BMW in White Plains. They have done several and had no issues what so ever. Ask for Tim Stone, service manager. His direct line is 914-286-5836.

    Henny

  23. #23
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Eric,

    Before going with the PS2s, check out the new Dunlop Star Spec. They appear to the be next tire to have with improved performance, and they're a little less. I haven't checked sizing. Since they're new, they may not come in the OE fitment, but it's worth a check. All the reviews read very well, even surpassing the bread-and-butter PS2.

    As far as the PP: just do it, but finding a service center with install experience is a good move.
    thegunguy

  24. #24
    I'm excited to try the Dunlops too, they really have leap into hot ticket first slot quickly, they must be pretty stunning tires!
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  25. #25
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    Flemington NJ BMW did my install and there was no issue. Not sure if they have done any other then mine.

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    Food 4 Thought

    Nice thread, passionate responses and well reasoned expectations - but I feel this car is of the rarest kind - passion, style, elegance, power, handling, uniqueness and is an investment to boot.

    I would only say that the PP is always worth it because even in the most urban of areas you can come across a bump, hole or obstacle that may rattle you in your seat and

    I think $2500 bucks is well worth a frame bending investment curving $80K frame fix. I got it more for piece of mind and frame protection in an ounce of prevention...

    That is why you should get the PP or you may just have another reason why not to enjoy the car.
    Zed0037

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  27. #27
    Z8 Madness
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    This is one of the first ebay Z8 listing with the PP already installed. The PP combined with the very low milage suggest that this car has been well cared for.

    It is a great time to be buying a Z8!
    62050 - Z8

  28. #28
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    I have seen that car and I think it is in Illinois and the dealer was looking for $124K which is still a good deal for a Z8 with this number of miles, color combo and being complete.

    What is the 'Blue Plastic Tube" by the battery in the open trunk view of this car?

    I know I have the tube aluminin rails, but I don't have anything in it. Do I need one more missing part?
    Zed0037

    #60217 Silver/Crema
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    #60037 Silver / Red
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    All blacked out, 21" wheels, chipped to 560hp

    Hobby car 2009 Z4, dual exhaust, 19" M3 wheels

  29. #29
    It is EU spec folding red safety triangle for breakdowns, I don't think it is legally correct in the US, so was never sold with the cars here.
    Andrew Macpherson

    Expert Z8 Inspections, with full support for both Z8 sale and purchases.

  30. #30
    Z8 Addict Scott Pettit's Avatar
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    $2500 for a PP install is high. $1800 is the norm.
    Scott Pettit
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  31. #31
    Ouray, if you have the name of the service advisor you worked with at Flemington, I'll give him/her a call. Thanks
    Eric Wentzel

    2001 Z8 silver / black
    2008 650i cp silver / black


  32. #32
    Z8 Millennial Monster hayvenhurstkid's Avatar
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    My car has the "blue plastic tube" with the warning triangle in it and it was there when I bought the car from the original owner last year and it is a U.S. car. Not sure why my car came with it. Maybe because the original owner had special connections with BMW which is why he was able to get the sport red interior with the stratus exterior?
    Marty

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  33. #33
    Administrator thegunguy's Avatar
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    Mine came with the triangle too, but I think my sleeve is orange.
    thegunguy

  34. #34
    Freedom Ouray's Avatar
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    I have it at work and will send it to you monday. Sorry I did not respond sooner but I was in London most of the week and just got back.