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    Thread: 1997 BMW Z3 radio repair

    1. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 12:22 PM #1
      While I have my wife's Z3 for the winter I decided to address her "Honey-do" list all at once.

      Her seat clunking is due to sacrificial spacers that had sacrificed themselves. It only creates a quarter inch of movement it feels like an inch.

      The heater controls were jammed due to a cable coming out of a socket that had cracked. Super-glue and Gorilla epoxy fixed that problem.

      New carpet retainers are on the way and a new clutch hose is ordered because the existing hose expands under hydraulic pressure.

      The center console cover broken lid turned out to not be broken at all. It was just missing two o-rings used as rubber bands.

      The last item is the stock radio. The volume control goes crazy and you can't adjust it with the knob. I'd replace it with a new radio, but it has a feature that increases the volume with speed for top-down driving. She never listens to the radio, just mix CDs she burned herself. Since it stopped working the neighbors have missed her cruising by, singing at the top of her lungs.

      I called the dealership and BMW dealers no longer service '97 models. They will gladly replace it, but not fix it. He said he used a firm called Radioman, but a web search reveals a slew of them.

      Who would Vortex use?


    2. Member arozanski's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 01:03 PM #2
      Would it be cheaper to buy a new OEM radio? Or are they not available? Does the knob feel like it is a rheostat type control, or is it digital?
      2002 Harley Fat Boy, 2004 Yukon XL Denali, 1993 F-250

    3. 12-12-2016 01:34 PM #3
      I have a January '97 Z3. What you describe re: the seat spacers giving up the ghost is common. I fixed the driver's seat, but not the passenger. I have a laugh at their expense when on a spirited drive.

      Re: stock radio, replace it. eBay has similar year BMW Professional heads that will fit perfectly. I replaced the OEM head unit with a Nakamichi head unit, threw Focals all around, and have a Soundstream amp in the trunk. Here's a pic of the head unit, which looks very close to OEM, same BMW orange/yellow glow:



      Perhaps get creative and add a hidden bluetooth module to be able to stream music or take calls with the top down at 80+mph. I do.

      The Z3 a fun car. Post some pics? Here's mine:

      Last edited by Golgo-13; 12-12-2016 at 01:38 PM.

    4. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 02:04 PM #4
      Quote Originally Posted by Golgo-13 View Post
      The Z3 a fun car. Post some pics? Here's mine:

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      12-12-2016 02:11 PM #5
      Have you tried LKQ online? www.lkqonline.com

      I has to replace the radio in the Mini, as I left parked face down, sunroof open, during a rainstorm. It was about $100 shipped, with a 1 year warranty.

    6. 12-12-2016 02:23 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Nice car.

      From your photo, yours appears to be an early '97 as well. In mid '97, the bean counters at BMW decided to make roll bars mandatory. As if. IMO it changed the look of the car for the worse.


    7. Member saron81's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 02:26 PM #7
      We use United Radio in Syracuse, NY. 1-800-448-0944.
      They could probably fix that one if they don't have an exchange unit.

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      12-12-2016 02:48 PM #8
      I've got one of these floating around if you want to upgrade to those newfangled compact disks. It is from a 2002 Z3.


    9. Member YellowDieselGolf's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 03:25 PM #9
      I recently fixed an old blaupunkt unit by pulling apart the face and spraying the volume dial with isopropyl alcohol. Might be worth a try if you want to keep the original unit.
      Quote Originally Posted by alleghenyman
      Is it weird that I want to cram into the back seat in cycling clothes and feel the mechanical vibrations as you tear around the Outback?

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      12-12-2016 05:29 PM #10
      A used CD43 (the above radio) is a direct fit replacement that will work with the trunk CD player and is the same tint of amber as the rest of the interior. The unit you have is the C33 they are easy to find on ebay too.

    11. Global Moderator Paul@VWvortex's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 06:29 PM #11
      Barry I have a friend in Maryland who repairs factory radios for many of the dealerships in the area. I would be glad to refer you to him-- he has been doing it for about 25 years now and he is amazing.

    12. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 06:36 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul@VWvortex View Post
      Barry I have a friend in Maryland who repairs factory radios for many of the dealerships in the area. I would be glad to refer you to him-- he has been doing it for about 25 years now and he is amazing.
      I would take a strong referral like that. We discussed it and she would rather have her radio repaired. She saw no need for a single disc player when she has a system in the trunk. I got a price from an outfit in California of $225.00.

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      12-12-2016 08:54 PM #13
      Have you tried spraying with contact cleaner (drenching) from the top, side, front of knob, then (with vigor) working the knob to clean out the contact points?

    14. Member fbobberts's Avatar
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      12-12-2016 09:00 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by Realjones88 View Post
      A used CD43 (the above radio) is a direct fit replacement that will work with the trunk CD player and is the same tint of amber as the rest of the interior. The unit you have is the C33 they are easy to find on ebay too.
      This is the usual c33 swap.
      Touareg Hybrids are pretty nice, and the warm fuzzies I felt while driving the hybrid was actually the fingers of all of the German tax payers trying to reach into my wallet to get their money back. (Brendan@bwalkauto)

      Quote Originally Posted by Wellington P Funk View Post
      Simpleton? I think you've both got me mixed up with someone else.

    15. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      12-13-2016 08:06 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by YellowDieselGolf View Post
      I recently fixed an old blaupunkt unit by pulling apart the face and spraying the volume dial with isopropyl alcohol. Might be worth a try if you want to keep the original unit.
      Quote Originally Posted by MVZOOM View Post
      Have you tried spraying with contact cleaner (drenching) from the top, side, front of knob, then (with vigor) working the knob to clean out the contact points?
      Highly recommend trying this. Use a cleaner designed for cleaning electrical contacts, though. This stuff isn't cheap, but it works amazingly well. My dad gave me his old home stereo system (1970's era) a couple years ago. As far back as I can remember, one of the switches has always been wonky. My dad even said he took it all apart to see if he could fix it about 25 years ago. I sprayed it with some Deoxit and worked it back and forth a few times and it no longer has an issue.

      -Andrew

      1980 Rabbit Truck Resurrection

      Quote Originally Posted by A&F View Post
      Modifying cars and car projects should always be viewed as throwing money away.

    16. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-13-2016 02:31 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul@VWvortex View Post
      Barry I have a friend in Maryland who repairs factory radios for many of the dealerships in the area. I would be glad to refer you to him-- he has been doing it for about 25 years now and he is amazing.
      I spoke to your friend and gained all the confidence in the world that he knew what he was talking about. He told me, as suggested here, that the volume control might just need cleaning, but has the part and will likely replace it. His price was about 1/4 of the guy in California and offered the same warranty on the repair. I sent it out today.

      Thanks for putting us together. I find that so satisfying that I go out of my way to help other people find each other. Mechanical match-makers.



    17. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      12-14-2016 08:40 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by Paul@VWvortex View Post
      Barry I have a friend in Maryland who repairs factory radios for many of the dealerships in the area. I would be glad to refer you to him-- he has been doing it for about 25 years now and he is amazing.
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I spoke to your friend and gained all the confidence in the world that he knew what he was talking about. He told me, as suggested here, that the volume control might just need cleaning, but has the part and will likely replace it. His price was about 1/4 of the guy in California and offered the same warranty on the repair. I sent it out today.

      Thanks for putting us together. I find that so satisfying that I go out of my way to help other people find each other. Mechanical match-makers.
      More info on this gentleman?
      -Andrew

      1980 Rabbit Truck Resurrection

      Quote Originally Posted by A&F View Post
      Modifying cars and car projects should always be viewed as throwing money away.

    18. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      12-14-2016 08:47 AM #18
      I will gladly post that if he performs well. I suspect he will.

    19. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      12-14-2016 08:54 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I will gladly post that if he performs well. I suspect he will.
      In for results.
      -Andrew

      1980 Rabbit Truck Resurrection

      Quote Originally Posted by A&F View Post
      Modifying cars and car projects should always be viewed as throwing money away.

    20. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      04-20-2017 12:25 PM #20
      Didn't get quite the personal attention or communication I expected, but the price and turnaround time was quite good. $60 with return shipping. Got a nice radio-specific shipping box out of it, too.

      The rest of the list is done except the air bag and check engine light. I'll let the dealer take care of those.

      The most astounding thing is that the clutch slave hose replacement completely cured the gear grinding. I'm amazed that that little expansion of the hose would affect the movement of the piston in the slave cylinder that much.


    21. Member fbobberts's Avatar
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      04-20-2017 12:39 PM #21
      For BMW guys...I do like RadioMan out of San Diego. He was able to fix both my original 1986 Alpine CM 5804 (which is my backup radio) for my 635 and the cd changer driving, next gen early 90s Alpine CM 5903L I actually use. I've been to his place in SD and he has the parts and know how to do this well.

      http://radiomanrepair.com/

      He is not cheap.
      Last edited by fbobberts; 04-20-2017 at 12:44 PM.
      Touareg Hybrids are pretty nice, and the warm fuzzies I felt while driving the hybrid was actually the fingers of all of the German tax payers trying to reach into my wallet to get their money back. (Brendan@bwalkauto)

      Quote Originally Posted by Wellington P Funk View Post
      Simpleton? I think you've both got me mixed up with someone else.

    22. Member Bladecatcher's Avatar
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      04-20-2017 01:32 PM #22
      Shameless bump.

      I am currently searching for a Z3. Some form of the 6 cylinder. If anyone knows of one for sale in or around Ohio, let me know!

    23. Member Giovanni's Avatar
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      04-20-2017 09:59 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by Bladecatcher View Post
      Shameless bump.

      I am currently searching for a Z3. Some form of the 6 cylinder. If anyone knows of one for sale in or around Ohio, let me know!
      They're all over CL. This one is in Queens NY for $5600. Some kind of rare edition.







    24. Member Stromaluski's Avatar
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      04-21-2017 07:55 AM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Stromaluski View Post
      More info on this gentleman?
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I will gladly post that if he performs well. I suspect he will.
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Didn't get quite the personal attention or communication I expected, but the price and turnaround time was quite good. $60 with return shipping. Got a nice radio-specific shipping box out of it, too.
      More info on this gentleman?
      -Andrew

      1980 Rabbit Truck Resurrection

      Quote Originally Posted by A&F View Post
      Modifying cars and car projects should always be viewed as throwing money away.

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