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  • Writer's pictureBarney

The Workshop week

BMW M3 Ravaglia (E30)

It was nice to be reunited with the red e30 M3 Ravaglia you see above, and its happy owner. We sold the car to him a year ago following a nut-and-bolt restoration, and it was back for its first MOT & oil service a few thousand miles later. We were happy to see that the car was still in tip-top condition and ready for more motoring adventures.

The relationship between soggy carpet & empty pockets…

These pictures represent advice to all of you Z3 owners out there. Now the summer is over, keep a close eye on your floor carpets and ensure they’re not damp!

Even if you’ve a hard-top fitted to your Z3, water can creep in due to poorly adjusted or worn rear seals. Soft tops can often leak around the window seals, are we’re also noticing that the hoods themselves are starting to fail.

These leaks often manifest themselves in the form of electrical maladies; namely that the traction control and ABS lights are stubbornly illuminated on the dashboard. As water slowly collects in the floorpan of the car it submerges the lateral-g and rotational speed sensors situated on the passenger-side floor. These slowly corrode over time; the sensors fail and have to be binned. The cost of replacement sensors is in excess of £1000 and in the meantime you’ve no ABS or traction control; not ideal in damp, autumnal conditions – and also, an MOT fail.

So, if you’ve got a Z3 take a moment to check the carpets; if they’re damp – give us a call. We can get the car in, remove the seats & carpets, dry them and source and fix any water ingress before it creates issues with the vital electrical systems in your car.

Market watch – E37 BMW Z3

In the past six months or so we’ve seen an increase in the numbers of these little roadsters turning up at our door, and we’re noticing that enthusiast owners are snapping them up. They represent tremendous value for money, offering rear-wheel drive wind-in-your-hair motoring for as little as £3000, and people are now buying these cars as ‘keepers’; often investing the purchase price or more to get them into tip-top condition and getting affordable, enjoyable motoring in return.

The 1.9 example you see in the picture above is a cherished daily driver, and was in our workshop for an inspection and report which we classified into four main areas: Immediate mechanical needs, areas showing wear that will need attention in the next year, cosmetic maintenance and finally, preventative maintenance required.

Mechanically speaking, the car was in fine fettle, requiring only service items; a coil pack to cure an intermittent cold start issue, rear shock top-mounts, front anti-roll bar drop links, timing cover and cam cover gaskets to cure slight oil leaks and a set of polybelts. We also replaced the bonnet gas struts as the originals were becoming weak.

On the bodywork, cosmetic and preventative side, it’s very important to remove the sill covers, wheel-arch liners and splash shields when assessing these cars’ structures as the gaps between the structural sills, the cosmetic sill covers & associated bits are very good at trapping mud, road grime and moisture which can lead to hidden corrosion.

With these parts removed we detected some small areas of surface rust so these were treated with Kurust, etch-primer, a layer of Gravitex (BMW’s textured stone-chip finish) was applied and finally all of the car’s cavities were thoroughly waxoyled.

The cosmetic completion of this preventative makeover was to replace the rather tired-looking sill covers, leaving a car offering turnkey reliability & structural integrity for years to come.

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