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      06-21-2013, 06:32 PM   #1
Nate4641
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Drives: '07 M Roadster
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Warner Robins, GA

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Nate's build/adventure thread

So I got to take a little bit of leave to go home and I decided I wanted to treat myself and my car to some mods. Since I was going home for 12 days I decided to do 12 mods. Some were just maintenance, some were cosmetic, and some just to make the car a little more enjoyable. I should have taken more photos of the installs, but I went through everything quickly and was busy the rest of the time I was home so I apologize for that. I'm back in Germany now so I can't take any photos for about the next year.

Heres the list:
SmartTOP roof controller
Aero side skirts
F10 M5 shift knob
Replacement swaybar bolts since 3/4 fell out
DKF Hangers
Trunk storage pouches
LED light strip for trunk
Zeckhausen Racing CDV
LeatherZ Mk4 Armrest
ZPost stickers
DansDecals Reflector decals
Vanos filter & O-rings

I started ordering parts a couple months ago to make sure everything would be waiting for me when I got home. Luckily getbmwparts.com is located on the way home from the airport so I ordered the skirts, shift knob, and swaybar bolts and selected for local pick up to save on shipping. Even though traffic was crap on the way I luckily made it there in time to pick everything up. The boxes for the side skirts are HUGE and barely fit in my parents' Pilot. Heres everything minus the reflector decals which came in late.





The installation for most everything was very easy and straight forward. I started in the trunk with the LED strip and trunk storage. I cut a small section of the LED strip off to get it to fit better and followed the instructions SD Z4MR put in his thread. However I routed the wire behind the carpet. I disconnected the factory light housing from its harness to make the wiring easier. I took the exposed wires from the LED and wrapped them around the bulb housing on the factory part, put it back in the carpet, connected the harness and it was perfect! This is where I put the strip..

I wanted to put it on the silver part closer to the top, but it wouldn't stick there. The trunk storage piece went in almost too easily. Just some plastic plugs pushed through the storage unit into pre drilled holes in the trunk lid. I bought this just as somewhere else to keep some cleaning rags and maybe some some paperwork. Unfortunately the velcro is a bit weak, the pouches are smaller than I thought, and the whole thing sits very close to the back of the trunk (top part when trunk is open) so its hard to get some things in the pouches.


After getting the trunk done I went inside the car to install those items. The LeatherZ armrest was pretty simple to install. I wasn't able to use the little plastic tube thing for the BMW assist cover since that nub had broken off apparently. After using the alcohol pad i just lined up the armrest and put some pressure down on it for the adhesive strips to stick. I picked up the armrest with a slight discount since they said it had a blemish in the leather. It was a barely noticeable mark that looks like it was just slightly used already. I definitely saw the appeal in this thing after the first drive with it in. Its so much easier to pop my wallet in there, sunglasses, and some loose change then its just so much more comfortable while driving. I'm also glad I went with black on black instead of trying to add more beige to the interior.

The shift knob took a little bit of careful work to install. I couldn't find any wire cutters or needle nose pliers so cutting the knob free of the shift boot was a bit tricky. It would have been nice to swap the whole boot into the car, but I didn't want to play with getting it off the M5 ring base and onto the Z4 one. After getting the M5 knob off its boot swapping it out was pretty easy. When I got the new knob installed I did notice it didn't sit quite flush to the boot. I only really noticed this when I touched it though. I wish I had a photo of this thing in the dark because the difference in how it lights up compared to the stock Z4M knob is really night and day. The weight also helps a little with shifting and the silver ring accents with the aluminum trim in my car too.


After getting these installed I put in the smartTOP module. I was waiting for the group guy to pan out of this, but it never did so I picked one up off ebay. A lot of the E85 guys were put off by this because it wasn't plug and play, but it took me all of 15 minutes to put this in and 5 of those were just trying to figure out how to get the factory convertible computer out from behind the interior paneling. You only need a small jeweler's type flathead screw driver, some pliers for crimping a wire tap and a 10mm socket. Swapping out the wires from the harnesses is SUPER easy and other than the wire taps you can take this out and leave everything as it was from the factory is you so choose. Programming it was also very easy. Using just the convertible top buttons you cycle through its menu and it pops up with the selection option on either the Nav screen or the radio screen as well as using the turn signal arrows on the dash to signal what options are selected. Turning off the module if you're dropping the car off somewhere is also super simple. The ONLY downside I seem to have with this thing is that my windows don't roll up automatically anymore. I need to contact mods4cars to see if thats normal. I wish I would have taken photos of the install to show how extremely simple this was. I would highly recommend this to everyone with a roadster and auto top. It seems like a lot of money, but if it doesn't break the bank its totally worth it. I love the one touch up/down and being able to drive with it operating. Jump on the group buy and get one!

After this I put the car up on ramps and installed the DKF hangers. I have to say, Doug Davis from DKF is The Man! I ordered the hangers maybe a month ago and right away he let me know every step of the way the progress of my order. He ran into an issue with the company that cut out the rubber pad and immediately let me know. Then when they were done he ran out and mailed them right away so that I would get them in time for when I got home. THEN he even emailed me to ask if they got in OK. And a couple days later emailed me to ask if I got them installed ok and offered to provide any info if I had issues getting them installed. THAT is customer service!

Dubsesd had taken some nice pics when he got his hangers and mentioned the quality and how beautiful a piece these things are. He was not kidding. It is a shame these things get hidden under the car because they look great for just being an exhaust hanger!

Installation was pretty simple. I wanted these so that I could adjust the position RPI cans I put on the last time I was home. I put a jackstand under the mufflers and took off the factory hanger, then replaced it with the DKF, got the position down and tightened everything down. I didnt have a ruler handy to get the tips perfectly symmetrical but I think I got them pretty close.


and yes my tags are expired. I'm trying to get it switched ti MD tags, but just as CA was a pain to try to get them renewed, its hard to get them to send the info to switch it too.

After the hangers I put on the swaybar bolts and the Vanos filter kit. Nothing special there. 3 of the 4 bolts had fallen out.

Then I put on my ZPost stickers. I ordered 1 light and 1 dark sticker. I put the light colored sticker on the radiator shroud and the dark on the rear window. I ran into an issue with the one under the hood in that it didnt want to stick to the plastic, probably because of the armorall I had cleaned it with last time I was home. They also stick to the paper they came on pretty well too which made getting them on kind of hard. No pic of the one under the hood, but here is the one on the back.


Next I tackled the CDV, and this is where my day went to shit. For everything I installed I spent time reading how-tos and any instructions I could find. I THOUGHT I knew what I was doing here... I was wrong.

After lifting and putting jackstands under the car and removing the shield underneath I looked around to figure out what I needed to do. I had read that I needed to clamp the clutch line to prevent fluid from coming out, but I didn't have a C-clamp so I grabbed some vice grips. I also read not to camp it too hard to I found what felt like good pressure, clamped the hose and started disconnecting the CDV. A little fluid came out as I expected, but as soon as I got it disconnected it started to pour out. I scrambled to find a cup and rags to soak up the fluid and got some splashed in my face in the process. After sprinting to the kitchen to wash my eyes out, all the fluid in the line had come out onto the garage floor. I swapped out the CDV with the Zeckhausen one. I then grabbed the girlfriend and had her sit in the car to help bleed the clutch. At this point I realized I didnt have a wrench the right size of the bleed valve, then later after an hour of failing to bleed the clutch figured out how the brake/clutch fluid reservoir works.

At this point I realized I had to run to go pick up some scuba gear I had being service from a local shop that was about to close. I put the car down, pushed it back into the garage so I could close the door and took off. On the way back I found on my phone that the fluid reservoir takes fluid from the top for the clutch so while it looked full, it had drained to below the hole I needed fluid in. So I stopped at Walmart to pick up some fluid and a syphon since it has a better hose than the one I was using and then Home Depot to get a set of wrenches because I couldn't find anything that said what size the clutch bleed valve is. After getting home and filling the reservoir I finally got the clutch bled and working.

The CDV made a pretty good difference in shifting. I didnt have any 1-2 grinding the whole time I was home after putting this thing in. Lesson learned, clamp the shit out of the hose. Its a lot tougher than I thought it was. This wrapped up everything I could do on my own until the reflector decals came in.

On my way to the beach I dropped the car off at a body shop to have the side skirts installed. One of my best friend's brothers works there so he hooked me up with getting it in and out in only a few days. I told them about the little bit that needed to be cut, dropped off the boxes with the skirts and left. He said he had to do a little work to get the color match perfect, but he did an amazing job. I instantly saw the difference and love the way they look on my car. Definitely not the cheapest or most useful mod, but I love the way these things look. They really should have been on from the factory.





A couple days before I left I got the stickers for the reflectors. I was not happy with the customer service from Dans Decals. I dont recall ever getting a confirmation email from them, or a shipping notice. I emailed them to ask about it and never got a reply. I had pretty much forgotten I ordered them when I got them in the mail. The color was pretty close, but my paint isnt nearly as metallic as the stickers so maybe they'll fade a bit after washing and waxing. It is only noticeable up close. I took these photos yesterday after washing the car, putting the decals on, and moments before leaving to catch my flight back to Germany.



I wanted to post this thread a week ago so people could ask for photos of anything they wanted to see closer but was busy every day I was home. Between the last time I was home and this time I sold my 3000GT, after driving the Z4 again, I made the right choice. I absolutely love this car. I also brought a bunch of my camera equipment with me planning to do a photo shoot of the car, but never got around to doing it. Spent too much time driving the car and enjoying topless weather!
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Last edited by Nate4641; 02-10-2015 at 08:44 PM..
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