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Thread: Fixing my ZHP

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Rancho Cordova
    Posts
    14

    Fixing my ZHP

    Hello everyone
    This is my first time starting a journal on anything, but I'll try my best

    I own a 2005 330ci ZHP in Sparkling Graphite Metallic with a black leather interior and an automatic transmission.
    I bought it for $6000 in September of 2017 with around 113,000 miles.
    The history of this car during my ownership is basically this:
    I bought the car not thinking about the cost of ownership. Someone i knew owned a ZHP coupe, and after driving it, i knew i had to have one. I had saved up (with help) and bought one in 2017 while working part time and going to college. I looked through craigslist for a while before, and finally found my dream, a Sparkling Graphite ZHP coupe. It was love at first sight when i saw it back out of the owner's garage. I test drove it, and bought it a week later. I drove it to and from school, work, and every coffee shop around town, and the car seemed bullet proof. I never did any maintenance other than oil changes, and that seemed like enough. The friend of mine with his ZHP bought his from an older gentlemen that maintained his car to perfection, so he never did any maintenance. I thought i would be as lucky. For a year and a half i never did any maintenance on my car, but over that time i started noticing strange issues with my car. Issues that made me question the sanity of the previous owners. I started to think that the previous owners lied about the maintenance they performed, and the "special 100k mile maintenance" they had to do on the car. So i got a full time job a year ago and put effort into fixing all the issues on my car, and maintaining it like i should have as soon as i bough it. I found a great mechanic who i can trust to do the work on my car, and i got busy fixing.
    I did, regrettably, get into a car accident a year ago. The left side of my car was hit and bashed in. The driver door and rear fender were bent inward. It could have been so much worse. The airbags didn't deploy, no windows broke, and the only mechanical damage was the rear left camber arm. The real damage came after. I didn't work full-time at the time, and my dad offered to take it to a "friend" for cheap repairs. The friend poorly pulled out the dents, which broke the door handle carrier, dislocated the driver side seat belt carrier, the interior b pillar covering, and the rear left door card. The friend then caked the left side of the car in bondo and painted over it. I've been horribly bitter ever since, and will never hand over the keys to anyone other than my trusted mechanic friend.

    Now for all the issues with my car:
    The first issue i noticed while test driving was that the steering was too light, and the wheel was much easier to turn than i remember while driving my friends'. I didn't think too much about it, since the looks of the car sold me before the test drive. While with my Mechanic, i found out that the previous owner switched the steering rack to another that my mechanic couldn't identify. The steering rack had over 3.2 turns to lock and was way too easy to turn. The previous owner probably put it in so he could steer faster and drift the car. I've since switched the steering rack back to the ZHP one.

    The second issue is the AC. The AC doesn't blow very hard, only when i turn the fan speed up to the last 3 settings does the air current reach me. The side vents barely blow air at all, even on the high settings. Even weirder, if i close the air vents and turn the fan speed high, air will blow out from the dashboard, in between the gaps of the radio/hvac and storage compartments. The front windshield defrost also doesn't work. If i press the front defrost button, the vents on the back of the dash don't work, instead, it just turns the fan speed on max for the front facing vents. The AC does blow cold air, but it doesn't blow heat well. It doesn't blow hot unless i turn the climate control above 80F at normal engine temperature, and then the heat "runs out" after 15 minutes unless i turn the temperature up higher.

    The third issue is the sound system. The previous owner installed an aftermarket radio, and messed a lot of things up. The radio was an ugly lcd screen that sat in an adapter plate, which took up the whole dash. The climate control was moved to the bottom of the dash, and hung loose in that spot without anything securing it. Inexplicably, there was a wire running through the outside of the dash, from between the gap where the climate control was housed, underneath the steering wheel, and into a gap between the underside of the steering wheel column and the dash. I pulled on the wire and it was attached to nothing. I've bought an OEM radio to install, but when i removed the radio, i found that it was not secured to anything, and was only held in place by the adapter plate. Even worse, after removing the radio, i found that the previous owners, or whoever installed the radio, cut chunks of plastic out from behind the radio's compartment in the dash, which exposed wiring and metal tubes on the inside of the dashboard. They also mangled the wiring for the OEM radio, and the harness is gone. I'll need to find an OEM harness and solder all the wires back to their original spot, but i've left the OEM radio in anyway to save me from that eyesore. I've also found out that the wires to the rear deck speakers have been cut, and the driver door tweeters don't work
    While on the topic of wiring, when i first saw the car as the owner backed out of the garage, i noticed that the left reverse light was out. I thought i'd just fix it later. After i bought the car, i bought two new bulbs for the reverse lights. I took off the trunk carpet to install them, and for some reason, a random 5 inch wire was soldered in to the reverse light wire that led to nothing. It was soldered about 3 inches from the bulb housing. I installed the new bulb but the reverse light still didn't work. I followed the wiring and found that the wires had been cut at the point they enter the roof of the trunk. I soldered them back together and the reverse light worked again.
    Another wiring issue is with the driver door speaker. At random times while the car is on, the driver door speaker will start to squeak loudly for minutes on end. The unbearable squeaking must be the result of the poor installation of the aftermarket radio. I thought it might be the AC's blower motor, but the squeaking continued after the AC was turned off. Even after the radio was removed, the squeaking persists, but goes away if i turn the engine off.
    The fourth issue is the headlights. Everything about the headlights work except for one weird thing. On automatic mode, the headlights self-level and turn with the steering direction, but they don't turn left. The direction of the beams turn center to right, but won't turn center to left, like something blocks the travel of the projectors once they're back to center.

    The fifth issue is the paint. The paint was in good condition when i bought the car, but i've had to keep my car outside 24/7 since i got it. Parents have dibs on the garage, and because of that, the clearcoat is fading on the hood above the engine, and on the whole roof.

    The sixth issue is the suspension. The front strut mounts are cracking, and both the front pair and rear pair shocks/struts are different. I don't know the brands or types they are. I think the springs are correct though. The front springs have a white and red stripe, and the rears have three bluegreen stripes.

    The seventh issue is the exhaust. The exhaust doesn't sound right. I watch videos of drives in E46 ZHP cars with the microphone in the car, and it sounds much different than my car does. I don't know if i can explain it right. My car has a deeper and lower tone while accelerating than in the videos, and my car doesn't make that sound of "rolling their R's" if that's a good example. My car's exhaust just sounds like a constant bass tone under acceleration. I've compared the sound while driving my car and my friend's ZHP, and i know the difference is there. I think the previous owner had changed the exhaust headers to something else. If i know how to check by looking at it.

    The eighth issue is the driver side door and rear quarter panel. The person who said they'd fix the accident damage did a bad job. They didn't shape the door properly, and now the handle sticks out from the door a few millimeters, leaving gaps that the seals can't cover. The person didn't shape the fender correctly, and it's just a terrible job. The bondo caked over the fender is now cracking, from the top of the fender up to the ridge line in the bodywork. What i should have done is find another E46 coupe at a junk yard, cut off the fender, cut my fender, and weld the good one on, then repaint it. I also need to buy a used driver side door from another E46 and repaint it, then install it in the place of the ruined one.

    The ninth issue is everything else cosmetic. The previous owner scratched the black cube trim on the left door handle to hell. The dash trim has some parts where the black color was scratched down to the metal, the driver seat stitching is torn all the way through on the bottom. The plastics on the center consol are scratched and the rubber coating ruined. The center arm rest lid is broken and sits only attached by the release mechanism. The fabric on all pillars has been peeled off. The rear right passenger seat back's metal bar that locks onto the rear shelf has been bent down, not letting the seat be locked in place. Under hard braking, that seat back will slam forward. The wheels are pitted and scratched and are the coating on them is fading.

    Since i started working full time a year ago, i've put in around $5k fixing my car
    I put in the OEM airbox (previous owner put in dumb cold air intake, which sucked in hot engine bay air)
    Replaced oil pan gasket
    Replaced valve cover gasket
    Replaced the DISA valve
    Replaced the CCV and hoses
    New M3 engine mounts and transmission mounts
    New front control arm bushings
    Used left door mirror after accident
    New radiator
    Power steering pump hoses
    Coolant lines
    New fuel pump (when i replaced it, i found out that the car still had the original pump, after 135k miles!)
    Bought a new battery
    Put the ZHP rack back in
    Needed a new secondary air pump
    New left taillight (most of the LED's were out when i bought the car)

    Now there's only one question i have. Should i keep trying to fix all these issues on my car, or would it be more cost effective to buy another one and try to sell mine?

    I need a break from the ranting or i'll get so mad at the previous owners i'll pop. Sorry about all the errors in grammar, Goodnight everyone!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    4,249
    Dang, that's a lot of facts and background on the car. Nice that you took the time to describe it all.
    Sounds like the previous owner did only cosmetic crappy things to your poor car and it will take a lot of help, money, time and effort to bring it back to normal.
    Then it will take even more money to continue maintaining it.
    I would move on or be ready to drop some $$ on fresh suspension at least, then wheels, then this, then that and the other.
    My 2 cents.
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    5,827
    Well, that's a long list of issues. If you aren't a DIY guy, it may be wise to sell and buy another car. Labor can get pricey very quickly. But you already completed a lot of repairs, sounds like you are almost done. I have a couple of ideas.

    - You can refinish the wheels and they will look brand new. Locally the price is around $125 per wheel. So $500 will take care of this issue. When I bought my 2006 e90 I didn't know about the refinish option. I went to the trouble of finding another set of wheels and then selling my old set.

    - The AC system has a temperature knob. For the heater, make sure you have it all the way to the red. I don't have my ZHP handy, but I found this pic from an e90 so you have an idea. Check the top of pic.

    Name:  knob.jpg
Views: 218
Size:  17.9 KB

    Good luck on your decision.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    150,000 miles

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Rancho Cordova
    Posts
    14
    Thanks for the replies, Oli77 and fredo!

    I'm so indecisive about selling or keeping my car. If i do decide to sell it, i want to fix more of it's issues first so the next owner doesn't have to deal with them. I'm about to replace all my brake rotors and pads, and upgrade to stainless steel lines. Hopefully within two months i can refresh the suspension with Bilstein B6 all around and an M3 front sway bar.

    Also, i should've remembered to say, but i do turn the dial for temperature all the way hot. I keep the dial between the center vents on the three red dots, and still the heat runs out. The heat lasts a little longer if i turn off the AC button

    I'll also post pictures of everything once i make a photobucket account. I don't have as many pictures as i'd like, but after i wash my car today, i'll take pictures of everything

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    4,249
    Could have your coolant thermostat stuck so it does not transfer hot coolant to the inside radiator that heats the cabin. It is worse in the winter?
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Rancho Cordova
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by Oli77 View Post
    Could have your coolant thermostat stuck so it does not transfer hot coolant to the inside radiator that heats the cabin. It is worse in the winter?
    I'd say it was the same in the winter. I didn't think about the coolant thermostat, i'll have to ask my mechanic when i visit him this weekend. I did notice though, that the issue got worse when i removed the aftermarket radio, and saw the big hole behind it in the dashboard. That big hole must have something to do with the AC not working properly, whoever dug out the plastic to make the radio fit must have damaged something back there. It must be where the air is coming from, that's blowing through the gaps in the radio and storage.
    I'm also thinking that whoever cut out the plastic damaged a solenoid or something that activates the front windshield defrost, that switches the direction of air to the rear vents in the dash for defrost.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    4,249
    Oh my, that's pretty drastic hacking going on behind the radio.
    Does you engine temp reach normal levels (middle of the range)? If it does, then its not the thermostat. Perhaps related to the internal demolition behind your radio!
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    17,168
    Awesome! What they said. Good luck!

    Sent from my SM-G988U using Tapatalk
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


    ZHP Performance Package, Cold Weather Package, Leather, Jet Black/Black/BlackCube, NAV
    ESS Stage 1 Twin Screw Supercharger, Sprint Booster, BMW Perf Intake, Magnaflow Exhaust, Dinan TB & STEP S/W, Ground Control Coilovers, UCC Sway Bars, Apex EC-7 18x8.5 ET38
    Dynavin D99+, Hardwire V1 (w/V1 Connection), BSW Stage 1 Speakers, Kicker Amp/Subwoofer
    BMW Performance Strut Brace, Orion V2 Angel Eyes, No-holes License Plate, SMG Paddle Shift Mod, Besian VANOS, Gold DISA, Fan Delete, M3 Side Mirrors
    Note: Actual car no longer resembles signature picture

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Socal
    Posts
    1,197
    Yeah that sound like it's in pretty poor condition for a 6k car. That's what I see when I shop for 2k cars tbh. Just doing the door and fender is going to cost like at least another 3k. It shouldn't even have clear coat failure. I mean I park my car outside too. I don't have a garage so it's always outside. I didn't have any clear coat failure. Although, my car has been repainted by now cause mods.

    Yeah the A/C issue, is definitely from the cutting. When I read that part, it sounded like they attempted to install a double din, which requires cutting that area. I know that if you fuck up, it fucks up all the vents lol You basically no longer have control on how you want to vent anymore. There's like this little arm that you can't break. I forgot what, but I've done the double din install a couple of times and it's always a bitch to not break anything while doing the cuts so you could fit the metal bracket.

    I would just sell the car for cheap, like as a project car for someone or something. You don't need to fix the issues as long as you're upfront about everything. But it's going to be a big loss. I don't see it going for much.

    But if you're planning to keep it and fix it, I might have some parts I could donate to your cause. You're going to have to drive down here to get it lol I have a door (from e46 m3). I also have rear fenders (because I'm doing m3 fenders). I'm pretty sure I saw them sitting somewhere at the shop.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Location
    Rancho Cordova
    Posts
    14
    I'm going to my mechanic friend's shop tomorrow to solder the radio harness back in. I'll take a few pictures of everything going on and post all my pictures after.
    I just remembered that i left a CD in the affermarket radio.

    I think i'll settle after i replace my car's brake rotors/pads, then replacing the shocks/struts and mounts. Then save up for something better, and sell mine for anything i get

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