Tag Archives: z4

BMW Z4 Roadster Maintenance Day

Today was a Bimmer maintenance kind of day… after taking the car out yesterday to get new rear tires installed I had to talk the owner into doing oil and all the filters change… after all it’s been nearly a year since the last oil change I did on this car.

Interestingly enough the Bridgestone Potenza’s the car had fitted only 20k miles ago were bald. So she went with a newer Bridgestone run-flat that seems to be a much softer tire, drives smoother.

…and it was significantly cheaper price wise than the Potentza’s.

Driving the car to the tire place I noticed the TPMS was illuminated on the dash… turns out someone tried to patch the run flat…

I liked the idea of two jacks lifting the whole car up, I went and ordered a second jack for my garage. Lucky for me Sears had one deeply discounted. I picked up a Craftsman low profile 2 1/2 ton jack for $23 dollars out the door!

Driving the Bimmer I also realized that as similar as this car is to my Miata, it’s significantly different also. Besides the obvious 6 cyliner vs. my 4 cylinder, it has a bigger fuel tank too.

old vs. new tires

When I got home I also went shopping for some Air Filters. I had already ordered the oil and oil filter from Walmart previously, by far the best place to buy oil at only $26 bux a jug for 5QT and $8 bux each additional QT… and another $10 for the oil filter. I went with Castrol EDGE 0W40 Euro Formula like last time.

Walmart didn’t have the air filters. So I shopped around and it’s amazing how arbitrary the pricing is. Both online and in store. Advance Auto had it the cheapest, the Wyckoff store had both the Air Filter and the Cabin Air Filter for $23 total. (*$4 off per filter), I had some gift cards I wanted to use up so I went to the store and the price there was not discounted showing up at $33 total. So I stood at the counter and placed the order on the Internet. It showed up in their system 5 minutes later and I walked out with the same product for $10 bux less than what they sell ins tore. I didn’t get a chance to use my gift cards though… Touche!

I did some more research for the identical filters online and Pep Boys had the air filter two bux cheaper, but cabin filter was nearly double the price… and I’m talking the same exact Purolator stuff.


I love this Bimmer. I got to drive it long before I bought my Miata and in many ways this car inspired me to ditch a big four door sedan and start looking for a little red convertible, my very own roadster.

Much like last year the weather was kind of iffy… but the rain held off

I tackled the Air Filter first… as expected there was a lot of debris…

I don’t believe it was changed in a long time… comparison of old vs. new below:

The Cabin Air Filter was next, and it wasn’t much better. A ton of leaves came falling down out of the cabin filter slot:

So I made sure to vacuum everything in there to make it nice & clean

And the final job was to do the actual oil… first time using my new Craftsman jack, fresh after being picked up in store just minutes ago

Using two jacks makes life so much easier!

It’s amazing that this little car uses almost 7 QT’s of oil… it seemed like it was pouring out there forever:

I left the thing unplugged for a good half hour so all the oil dripped out, but when I went to button it up it was still dripping!

While waiting for the oil to drain I did the filter change on top of the engine which is very convenient!

I don’t know how these mechanics do it… it wasn’t particularly hot day, maybe in the upper 70’s F and I was sweating bullets!

Had to go take a shower when the job was done…

Filling up with oil took no time, and unlike last time when I poured 6QTs in and bought another one of which only half was used, I went ahead and poured in 6.9QT like the forums recommended. The car has no dip stick so I relied on the onboard computer for the read out. The level went up when I went for a drive. And I was more comfortable with it being over half on the read out than on the first mark like in the previous time I did the same oil change. Car felt super smooth after the oil change. I’m really pleased with the way everything worked out.

And it’s time to return the car to it’s owner… What a joy it is to drive!

JAX MX-5 Club Monthly March Meeting, Enjoying Seafood with the First Coast Miata Club

While the Northeast is under Blizzard warning and my home town in New Jersey is under at least half a foot of snow I’m really enjoying all that the Sunshine State has to offer. In the past I complained: “Where have all the Miata’s gone?” while in Miami, it turns out they are all hiding in Northern Florida. Specifically in the Jacksonville area where I’ve joined the First Coast Miata Club for their official monthly meetup at a nice seafood place in the Mandarin area of Jax.

It was a cool experience, I was there to see all the cars, so without further delay here are all the pix:

Several Copper Red Mica NC1’s in attendance…

Not a Miata.

Not a BMW.

Hey! It’s an /M edition X-5.

Not a Corvette.

Everyone was ranting and raving about the seafood. Since I had been on a day-long Foodie Tour of the Minorcan Clam Chowder… I decided to eat light… and ordered two appetizers: Conch Fritters and Gator Tails. I’m not sure which was which, both tasted kind of like batter, so I’m not really certain what it is that I ate…

My buddy Arved showed me the $38 dollar eBay spoiler which inspired me to buy one also. His had straight edges while mine are rounded. It was cool to see them side-by-side now.

Euro turn signals:

BMW Z4: Oil Change with Castrol Edge 0W-40 Euro & Mann HU 816 X Oil Filter

Today’s little project was an oil change on my former bosses BMW. This particular Bimmer was my only chance to drive a manual / stick car in the US and I’ve had the privilege of running some errands in it since it was new in 2007. In fact this Bimmer inspired me to buy my Miata, not that the Mazda is in any way better than the BMW, it’s just something that I could afford. And the reason for me doing the oil change and not a local shop that I took this car to yesterday was also cost… I was quoted $124 all in at an oil change joint while the DIY cost me less than $50 bux!

To start I went on the forums to research what oil to use, how the oil change should be done, etc… The forums were a fucking mind fuck! Holly shit… do these people get carried away with their bullshit and without really answering the questions presented to them. So the purpose of this blog post is to share what I’ve done to my friend’s car and hopefully it will help someone in the future with a similar project on their car.

So BMW recommended Castrol in 2007, says so on the oil cap. I searched for the Castrol products. BMW Z4 takes 5W-30 oil weight and boss wanted synthetic. Great… I searched around, WalMart was cheapest at $25 for 5 quarts and another $7.50 for the 6th quart (of which the engine apparently takes between six and seven)… and all was good. Once I picked up the oil at the store and looked on the back, nothing was mentioned about BMW certification. So I searched for the “German Castrol” that everyone recommended on the forums. Luckily WalMart carried Castrol Edge European Formula (Made in Germany as opposed to Made in USA) but only in 0W-40 weight. I searched the forums again to see if it would work. Reached out to a few people I know who own or work on BMW Z4’s and they said that oil will work. The in-store price of the oil was even cheaper at $22.97 a jug! (Whereas Advance Auto Parts or AutoZone sell the same thing for $35+). I did order a Mann Oil filter from Advance using their famous 20% discount coupon to buy the Mann HU 816 X for just $9.99 plus tax.

That was yesterday. Early this morning I went to the office to pick up the Bimmer and bring it home. Figured the engine would warm up nicely while I drive it the 5 miles home… It certainly did. Perhaps even too much as everything in the engine compartment was scalding hot. And then it started raining… so my oil change was in the wet… Just my luck!

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The actual process of an oil change in this car, that for some weird European or maybe German reason doesn’t even come with a dip stick anymore, is fairly straight forward and simple. Only a few steps. I started by undoing the filter which is on the top of the engine. A strap wrench worked fine while many forum posts recommended a “special” tool… old filter was pretty filthy. Popped the new filter in, changed two O-rings, put some oil on them and screwed it back in.

Getting under the car was tricky much like the Miata. But I figured using two jacks would get the job done. I used a 3 ton Sears jack to raise one side. For the other side I used a scissor jack from my Ford Explorer to raise it high enough for my fat belly to fit under the car. Once there I was expecting to find an aluminum door that covers the bottom of the drain pan… it was missing. So I had direct access to the 17mm nut which came off pretty easily. Drained the oil, put a new crush washer on the nut to tighten it back up. Filled the car up with new oil… and voila!

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Next step was to reset the on-board computer so the oil light doesn’t come on. There are two buttons right above the steering wheel closest to the instrument cluster. Held one button down while turning the key one click, held for five seconds and the display changed to something I couldn’t really read. I assume it reset. Took the car for the drive back to the office and selected the “Oil” setting on the dash and the diagnostic said OK… that’s the electronic dipstick at work… but it was showing oil on the first mark, so I’ll buy another quart of oil to top it off to at least mid-point on the dipstick.

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Easy peasy!

I had such a Jeremy Clarkson moment that “I mended something!” I decided to change the oil on my dad’s van too…

2012 Dodge Grand Caravan that now runs Mobil 1 5w-30 synthetic.

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