Home BMW Repair BMW Z3 Service Manual: 1996-2002

BMW Z3 Service Manual: 1996-2002

BMW Z3 Vehicle Identification and VIN Decoder

This service manual covers 1996 through 2002 BMW Z3 models (Z3 Roadster, Z3 Coupe, M Roadster and M Coupe), and is specifically designed to cover only those models built for sale in the United States.

BMW, and most accessories and parts sellers specializing in BMWs, refer to the Z3 family of cars covered by this manual as the E36/7 (Roadster) and the E36/8 (Coupe) platform. E36 is BMW’s internal code for the basic platform shared by all of the cars covered by this manual. The 7 and 8 are a further classification within the E36 family. Except for the engine and a few other components, the models covered by this manual share many of same components such as suspension parts, body panels and the interior pieces. When ordering parts, especially body parts, knowing the platform code may be helpful. Engine codes for Z3 models are listed in 100 Engine?General.

Some of the information in this manual applies only to cars of a particular model year or range of years. For example, ?1999 m.y.? refers to the 1999 model year. The model year does not necessarily match the calendar year in which the car was manufactured or sold. To be sure of the model year of a particular car, check the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the car.

The VIN is a unique sequence of 17 characters assigned by BMW to identify each individual car. 4USCN33492LK51496 is an example. Each of the 17 letters and numbers indicates certain facts about the car and its manufacture.

Your BMW's VIN can be found on the top of the dashboard, on the driver’s side where the number can be seen through the windshield. The 10th character is the model year code. The letters ?I?, ?O?, ?Q? and ?U? are not used for model year designation, for example, ?T? for 1996 m.y., ?V? for 1997 m.y., etc. This manual covers BMW Z3 models for the model years 1996 through 2002. The table below explains some of the various codes in the VIN for models covered by this manual.

VIN Position
DescriptionDecoding Information
1Manufacturing countryW Germany
4, 5 USA
2ManufacturerB BMW AG, Germany
3Vehicle TypeA Passenger vehicle
S Passenger vehicle (Motorsport)
4Model lineC Z3 Roadster, coupe (1996-2002)
5SeriesH Z3 roadster, 1.9L, 2.5L, 3.0L (1996-2000)
J Z3 roadster, 2.8L (1997-1998)
K Z3 coupe (1999-2002), M roadster (1999-2000)
L M roadster (2001-2002)
M M coupe (2000)
N M coupe (2001-2002)
6Body type5 Z3 coupe, z3 roadster (2001)
7 Z3 coupe, Z3 roadster
9 Z3 roadster, M roadster, M coupe
7Vehicle type3 passenger vehicle
8Restraint system2,3 Manual belts with Dual front airbags
4 Manual belts with Dual front and side airbags
9Check Digit0-9 or X, calculated by NHTSA
10Model YearT 1996
V 1997
W 1998
X 1999
Y 2000
1 2001
2 2002
11Assembly PlantL Spartanburg, South Carolina
12-17Serial NumberSequential production number of the specific vehicle