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Thread: Z8/Alpina buyer and seller checklist?

  1. #1
    Z8 Novice
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    Sep 2017
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    Z8/Alpina buyer and seller checklist?

    I'm admittedly a Ford/Shelby guy who can do a PPI for a '65 or 66 GT350 quite easily but when it comes to these BMWs I'm a total newb. I'm good at listening, I'm good with cars, and I'm good with a camera. I am going to help my friend sell his Alpina and I have ONE chance to photo-document everything there is to know for a potential buyer. I'm also meeting with the original owner who was the last one to drive this car. It is just over 100K miles, but not running and has a dead battery. The engine hasn't run in 11 months or so. I posted here a while back that it had more miles, but I was mistaken. Any way to verify the mileage without a battery? The car has been in inside climate controlled storage for months. It was a daily driver until it simply no longer would run. Again, I have access to the original owner so I can ask him anything I want.

    Can anybody help me determine what information I need to find out, and what to document? I've heard stories of quarter tests and shock tower failures but have no idea if any of this is relevant to a high mileage driver or how to evaluate them. Keep in mind, the battery is dead and we can't even open the trunk to service it. I think there is a way through the back seat so I will try that. Is there a special battery needed to at least get the accessories on and or odometer to illuminate? We tried to hook up a portable battery charger to the terminal we found under the hood but it did nothing.

    Thanks!
    Troy

  2. #2
    Z8 Novice
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    Mar 2016
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    You can access the trunk/battery. Fold the passenger seat forward (pull the leather strap on the seat back). Open the storage/fuse box behind the seat. There is a pull lever or tab there to open the trunk. My memory may be a bit off on the details of that box but I've done it.
    There are battery/power connections under the hood as well. They have plastic caps on them (+ or -)

  3. #3
    Z8 Novice
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    Whoops, didn't read far enough. Don't know why you couldn't power it up from under the hood. Maybe a dead key? Not sure how that effects things, hope I never find out.

  4. #4
    Yes, a dead key can be responsible for that.

    I'd say start out with replacing the battery, put it in, then put it on a trickle charge, and leave the key in the ignition, turned off, overnight.

    That should put the charge back in the key.

    If that doesn't work, report back and we'll work through it.
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  5. #5
    You can purchase a perfectly serviceable battery from Advance Auto or Autozone for around $125.00 (Group size 49, 900CCA), a small investment to be able to fully evaluate the condition of the car going forward. Aside from mileage, a prospective buyer will certainly want to know if the brake/taillights work properly ($3k per side to replace), along with other lights and accessories that should be tested. If you search the forum you should find checklists of things to be evaluated, including the shock tower deformation issue (significantly overblown in the media as to frequency, but you wouldn't want to buy any Z8 without checking this). The drivetrain is normally fairly bulletproof, so I am surprised the engine has seemingly given up entirely.

    As a side note, I owned SFM6S914 for twelve years back in the 80's/90's. Wish I had it back!

    Bill

  6. #6
    Z8 Novice
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    Thanks guys. Keep the suggestions coming. Bill, you reference a checklist. That's exactly what I'm looking for. I couldn't find one in my search so if anybody has a link that would be great! Bill, too bad you sold that GT350...my favorite car ever!

  7. #7
    I did a quick search of the forum for the list I used when I purchased my Z8, it appears to no longer be accessible. However, aside from the usual stuff you check when doing a PPI, there are some common "issues" with the Z8 which I will try to list from memory. The biggest, of course, is the frame issue, you should be able to push a Quarter along the gap between hood and fender on both sides without experiencing any rubbing or binding. Typically you might see a slight narrowing of the gap as you move from the windshield to the front of the hood, not a problem as long as the gap is uniform on both sides and the quarter will pass freely from front to back. I also mentioned the taillight issue, the neon turn signal and/or brake lights can crap out over time, very expensive to replace. There are multiple neon tubes within the taillight, make sure all are lighting. I believe the amber front light and the light within the BMW logo on the side are also neon, but don't seem to be as problematic. Still probably worth checking as they will be expensive as well. The headlight units frequently become clouded, they cannot be cleaned and must be replace, quite expensive. Check the leather on the top of the dash, it frequently separates from the underlying panel and looks puffy and loose. The audio head unit is prone to failure, as is the tape deck. The plastic shell on the backside of the seats will often come loose as the glue fails on the clips, not an expensive fix but a PITA. The canvas top has strings that fail and cause the top to chafe when folded, cause holes to develop in the top (ask me how I know! Top is VERY expensive. The interior top liner tends to sag on the accessory hardtop and the canvas top. The component that directs heat and A/C to the floor is prone to getting stuck such that you can't direct air to the floor, a fairly expensive repair (although not a critical one). The cable release for the gas cap cover is prone to failure and can leave you stranded.
    Additionally, the Z8 came with a lot of accessories, and the car ideally should have all or most of these. This would include a serial number-matching coffee table book, a hard top and stand, a Z8-lettered car cover, a Motorola cell phone, leather boot cover with case, a leather windbreaker with case, a tool roll, a clip-on cup holder, a leather zip-up case with owners manual and other documents.
    This is mostly from memory, perhaps other board members will chime in with additional things to look for. I have a standard Z8, I don't know of any issues specific to the Alpina version. If the car doesn't run, it will obviously be difficult to evaluate the transmission, brakes, differential, air conditioning, power steering, suspension, cooling system, etc.
    Hope this helps.
    Bill

  8. #8
    Z8 Novice
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    Bill - thank you. Yes, very helpful. I want to make sure my weekend documenting the car is done as complete as possible. I will have my friend purchase a battery before I arrive and will install it for him and at least get that part working (:

    Troy

  9. #9
    I'm not sure which list you're looking for, but this is in the for sale section - http://www.bmwz8.us/forum/z8s-sale/b...ines-1170.html
    Andrew Macpherson

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

  10. #10
    Z8 Novice
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    Awesome - thanks!

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