09/19/17

My Tijuana Paintjob: 1 Year Paint Update

Just an update on the car paint  wow it's been just about a year since I got the car back from paint in Tijuana.  I'm very happy with the results still.  Is it perfect?  No, but to get a better paint job probably would have cost 4 times as much.  My only REAL complaint is the headliner and they have agreed to redo that.  It's just coming undone in one corner.  

 

Here are some pics of the car I just snapped.  Nothing special.

09/10/17

Cracked Header Fixed!

So I took the car to Ken at Vintage BMW racing to look at the header and help me diagnose it. We determined it was the number 4 cylinder tube near mounting plate. So on my next day off I removed the header and took it to the muffler shop that’s been doing the work on the car lately OC Muffler I Costa Mesa.

Here is the crack.

Once it was welded and patched the header went back in a hell of a lot easier than it came out and wham! No more noise!! Excellent result! Cost me about $50 for the repair including a new exhaust manifold gasket.  This is a temporary fix though.  The plan will be to replace the header.  This will probably be the Ireland Engineering Alpina style header which is about $500 plus install and any pipe work that may need to be done by the muffler shop.

09/8/17

Old Car Woes

Nothing new here just part of owning a 41 year old car. It’s just that when it rains it pours lol.

So first I have a rather bad ticking and rattling sound coming from the engine bay. Turns out the sound is a cracked header. So we will see if the answer is to repair or replace.

Then I am experiencing a lot of groans and moans from the transmission. Yup bearings are pretty worn. Replaced the fluid with redline MT90 and it smoothed the shifting considerably but it’s still quite noisy.

Lastly in addition to the transmission noise my leaky diff is making a lot of noise as well. I have topped it off with diff fluid and it got quieter but it’s still leaking and will need to be swapped out.

So time to get some of these things fixed!!

07/27/17

A 2002 first for me…Windshield Washers!!

The car has been running great. Problem free. So it's giving me the opportunity to do some little things to make the car more liveable on a day to day basis. This is my second 2002 and neither have had a working windshield washer system. So my plan was originally to get all the factory parts but they are a little unruly looking in the engine bay. Not what I wanted since I'm trying to clean it all up. So I measured and found a great place. Just behind the headlights there is a small area. I found a aftermarket washer bottle designed for a vw bug that was pretty small and has a built in motor. Perfect! Rather than drill I used some industrial velcro and it keeps the bottle in place. I wired the pump to the stock wires for the washer so the stalk on the steering column activates the washers just like it should and I ordered new washer nozzles from the dealer at $20 each and put them in. The kit came with tubing that was perfect and I bought a T connector from Home Depot for $.99.

Costs:
Empi VW Bug Washer Kit $30
BMW Washer Nozzles $40
Wire, Velcro, T Connector $10

Total $80

The results:
Love it. Its something that I have reached for at times when I have a dirty windshield and realized its never had it. Works like a stock system, yet its got a tiny bottle thats in a nice stealth location.

Empi VW Bug Washer Kit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washer Bottle installed behind headlight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Washer Nozzles Installed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of the Results

SaveSave

04/25/17

Painting The M10 Valve Cover

7 years ago I bought a hand painted valve cover on eBay for something ridiculous like $50.  It’s the one that’s on the car now, black with the BMW M stripes. Time has taken its toll on it and it’s now looking a bit dodgy. It’s faded, and the oil and dirt in the engine bay have stained it. So I decided to have a go at it. I googled BMW valve covers for some inspiration. I decided to try a white one and maybe a grey one, both with the BMW M stripes. Since successfully painting my BBS wheels with pretty good results I decided to get some paint and give it a shot. Here was my first result. 


Not bad but a few flaws. 

One.  The valve cover wasn’t prepped well enough and the masking take peeled the paint off. I will have to not only clean and degrease it well, I will scuff the surface to give the primer something to bite into and adhere to. 

2.  The stripes are too small. 

3.  Not feeling the white

4. Masking job wasn’t good enough. There was some bleed of the stripes. 

So I went at it for the next attempt. This time I sanded down the old paint. Then I promoted it again and shot it with the same medium charcoal metallic grey I used on my wheels. Then I made the strip a a bit wider and started at one corner of the valve cover. The paint held up to the masking tape and the results were pretty damn good!


I hit this with a good amount of clear coat and I was pleased.  I made the stripes a little bigger and I think they are just right. Then I made the mistake of attempting to dremel the BMW down to the metal and well that sort of ruined the middle blue stripe. So I masked it again and prim red and shot the middle stripe and I got some overspray and it just wasn’t as clean as it was originally. The masking tape also pulled the clear coat off in spots so I sanded it down and shot it again with the clear and it just wasn’t that good. 
So I grabbed a spare valve cover and started again but this time wiser from the lessons learned!  

Here is the starting point 


I doused it with degreaser and scrubbed it then attacked it with wet 400 sandpaper to take the thought texture down a bit as well as clean it and give the primer a nice surface to adhere to. 


Here it is after the primer coat. Wow!  Looks amazing already!  I hit the texture lightly with wet 800 grit paper. Then proc ended to give it 3 coats of medium metallic grey duplicolor paint. 


Now it’s ready for the masking and the stripes. This is a simple yet tedious task. Be very diligent in the masking process. If not then you will get overspray and lines that are not straight. Get it right and you will get sharp and crisp lines on the edges of the stripes. 


After the stripes and a few touch ups I then shot it with a few coats of clear. And here are the final results. Not bad!!!  I like it a lot!  It’ll look good in my engine bay as part of my engine bay cleanup project. 

04/19/17

New Gallery…15″ BBS on Fjord Blue BMW 2002

Had the chance to pull out the Nikon D700 and shoot a few pics of the car instead of the normal iPhone pics I normally post.  In addition to this being the first real pics of the car with the new BBS wheels installed, I also did a quick detail with a new product I'm trying out which is the Mothers Quick Detail spray.  I'm VERY impressed with this product.  More on that in another update .  Enjoy the pics!

 

04/15/17

BBS Rims Installed!!!

Flord Blue BMW 2002 with 15" BBS Rims

Woohoo!!!!  This is a great day.  The loooong project BBS is complete!  The wheels are installed on the car and look great!!  What a process. The one thing that I can say is that I have never seen another 2002 with this wheel on it.  Very custom, yet very classy.  I started the process by finding a great condition set of Mazda RX7 mk II BBS wheels and had them re drilled, lips polished, centers painted, and rare blue BBS center caps ordered from Germany. Then I had longer wheel studs installed, found a bad hub and axle in the process then measured for spacers and decided on 17mm on the rear and 9mm on the front. With the longer wheel studs on the rear the center caps didn't fit, so I had to grind down the plastic around the locking mechanism and that gave me just enough space for the cap to fit.

Rear hub with 17mm spacer on the longer wheel studs.

Front hub with 9mm spacer installed.

Initial impressions.  Feels smooth!  The ONLY thing is the car has lost a bit of oomph.  I think this is due to the smaller overall diameter.  It's not huge, but I noticed.  The car is definitely more responsive and more chuckable. The lighter weight wheels can be felt.  When I get new tires I will go with either 195/55/15 or 205/50/15 to be closer to the stock rolling diameter.  In the meantime, I'm enjoying the look and feel!!  As a kid, I wanted a 2002 with BBS rims. Now I have one!!

04/8/17

April 2017….New list of things to complete! #goals

1976 BMW 2002 in Fjord Blue Bbs

1976 BMW 2002 in Fjord Blue

#Goals

Things are moving along on the car! The motor rebuild has made driving the car a blast. I am driving around like a menace and I love it!!

Last year I had 3 major things on my list and tons of minor things. The major things were:

  1. Paint and bodywork
  2. Bottom end motor rebuild
  3. 5 speed upgrade

I’m happy to say that numbers 1 and 2 have been completed! Now I have a new list of things to get done in no particular order.

  1. Headliner repair:
    The shop in Mexico replaced the headliner when the paint was done. It was coming unglued in a few spots. I will either take it back to Mexico and have it fixed or get some upholstery contact cement and fix it myself. Leaning toward the latter option.
  2. Front End alignment:
    The front tires are wearing unevenly.  Before I install the new wheels I wanna get an alignment.
  3. Rear wheel studs:
    This will allow me to put spacers on for the 15″ BBS rims. Which brings us to number 3…
  4. BBS 15″ install!
    This has been a 2 year process! Redrill, polished lips, painted centers. Lightweight, 11 pounds a wheel!
  5. Ireland front spoiler:
    I had this painted with the car. It’s just gotta be installed. I have been waiting for the BBS wheels to be installed to do this. I feel the polished lips on the BBS will be a better match to go with the spoiler.
  6. Chrome belt line trim:
    I have the chrome trim in a roll and it’s ready to be installed.
  7. Sunroof Seals:
    I have the rear sunroof seal, just need the front seal and then need to install them.
  8. Re-seat the rear window:
    The rear window needs to be reseated.  Just bought a factory BMW seal to replace the URO seal that popped out.
  9. Bumper rechrome:
    Because the paint came out so good, the bumpers now show their flaws. Having them rechromed will go a loooong way in the overall appearance of the car.
  10. Coco floor mats, pedal pads:
    This literally will finish off the interior. I’m torn over the color of Coco mats to get but I already have the new pedal pads. Just need to put them on. I have a new drivers side floor carpet section so that will be new as well.
  11. Carb adjustment or dual carb install:
    I’m gonna set the float level and see if that fixes the flat spot. If not maybe install a larger fuel needle. If that doesn’t solve the problem maybe it’s time to put those DCOE 40s that are on the shelf.
  12. Engine bay and wiring clean up:
    A lot of wires and ugly stuff in the engine bay. a good engine steam clean as well as cleaning up the wiring and removing extra wires from the smog equipment. The plan is to get the engine bay to match the outside of the car.
  13. Gauge Cluster rebuild:
    My needles shake and my odometer and trip meter do not work. I also want to possibly do a custom color around the gauges where the factory faux wood grain is. I also want to use yellow LEDs for the lights to match the Nakamich radio and VDO gauges.
  14. Custom painted Valve Cover:
    I bought a custom painted valve cover many years ago.  Now it’s starting to show its age. If I clean up the engine bay then the valve cover should be be either repainted or my original one should be painted.  I’m thinking a metallic silver with the BMW M color stripes.
  15. 123/Tune distributor swap:
    I got an advance unit of the Bluetooth distributor. It works amazingly well except when it’s hot it loses the ability to change curves. They say it’s a firmware update that needs to happen to fix that. The problem is I have to remove it and send it back to the Netherlands. I hate to do it because it runs so good!!  I will have to bite the bullet and put my Tii distributor back in and send it back.
  16. Front Bumper Alignment
    I need to get the bumper perfectly aligned.  Its not quite perfect now.  I have 2 options. 1. Try and lower the center section, or 2. Raise the attachment points on the bumper ends.  I may do this after the spoiler is installed just in case that interferes with the bumper end attachment points.

Phew!  Thats a huge list!  lol. Actually the majority of those things are in process and won’t take long to complete.  Stay tuned!!!

 

 

04/8/17

BBS Rims and Hankook tires…Test fitting! #BBS

This has been a long term project that is near completion. I have posts about the process in previous posts so I won’t go into specifics. I wrapped my refreshed BBS wheels in Hankook Ventus V2 195/50 tires. Since they are ET40 I will need at least a 10mm spacer. This requires longer wheel studs. The front end has longer wheel studs because of the big brake kit.  The rear wheel studs are going to be installed by Ken Blasko this weekend and the last step before mounting the new wheel and tires is the spacers.  I want to be exact on what spacers I will get so I am going to test fit them.  I got a bunch of washers from Home Depot and I put them on the wheels studs and then mount the wheels.  When I find the desired fit I measure how many washers were used and thats the spacer I need.  The front was easy thats 8-10mm.  The rear though had plenty of room.  I will probably end up with something like a 15-20mm spacer.  This was satisfying and nerve wracking!!  Would the wheels fit?  Did I miscalculate?  Well it looks amazing! The fit is perfect!   I will have enough room to truly dial in how I want the wheels to fit inside the fenders.  The other upside to all this is weight.  The weight of the old wheel and tire combo was about 31 pounds.  The weight of the new combo is 28 pounds.  That saves 3 pounds a wheel of rotational mass.  Thats not insignifigant!  That means the car will accelerate faster, turn faster, and stop faster.  All very good things.  So not only is this a visual upgrade its a performance upgrade!  My only things is now I think I want the front end down another inch…coilovers.

 

 

 

 

03/28/17

Project BBS Lightweight! From start to finish.

BBS RZ lightweight 15x6.5 from a Mazda RX-7 convertible.  Lips polished. Centers painted.

BBS RZ 15x6.5 Lightweight

These wheels began their lives on a pretty hot car in its day. An 80's era Mazda RX-7 convertible.  They were stock wheels for that car.  Mazda had BBS make a pretty special wheel for the car. It was a a 15 inch wheel with a 6.5" width and was a one piece forged design.  

One cool thing about it was its weight.  11 pounds a wheel!  That's lighter than my 14" whyeels by far.  Usually bigger wheels means more weight which means slower braking, turning, and acceleration, but usually a nicer look.  In this case, we get all upsides and no downsides, except for maybe a a ride quality reduction because of the thinner sidewalls on the tires to maintain the correct rolling radius.  

There are 2 problems though with these wheels:

1. Bolt pattern.  The RX-7 uses a 5 hole bolt pattern (5x114.3), the 2002 uses a 4 hole bolt pattern (4x100) so the old bolt holes needed to be filled and the wheels redrilled to fit the BMW.  Not all wheels can be redialed because it needs a solid bolt bed.  These wheels just happen to be compatible with redrilling.  

2. Offset.  The offset of the wheels are ET40.  The desired offset for 6.5" wheels is ET30. Because they at 6.5" wheels I can probably get away with ET25 wheels and still fit within the wheel wells without rolling the fenders.  This will need to be done with 10-15mm spacers.  Cheap and easy, but I will need longer wheel studs to accommodate the spacers.  I already have longer studs in the front because of the big brake upgrade, so that just leaves the rears to be installed.  

Both of those problems are not difficult to overcome but I wanted to let people know they are not a simple bolt on.  

Why do that to these wheels instead of just getting BBS wheels that fit a 2002?

Cost and Performance and Uniqueness.  

The Process

The wheels I got for $200 used.  Not a huge market for them because not many people want stock RX-7 wheels.  They are forged 1 piece wheels and are very light.  Performance will be enhanced.  Wider tires, mean more traction and cornering grip.  Stiffer sidewalks will give me better cornering.  Less weight will make it accelerate, turn and stop faster.  Because I will have the lips polished and they are not made for  2002, they will truly be one of a kind in the car.  If I go to a car show, no one will have my wheels except me, making the car very unique.  

The first step was to have the wheels redrilled.  Pro Tire & Wheel in Norwalk did the work.  They filled the old holes and drilled new ones.  Simple.  Cost was $120.

Here are the BBS wheels after being redrilled from 5x114.3 to 4x100.

 

Then it was time to polish the lips.  Pro Tire & Wheel also did this and again for $120 I got the wheel lips polished to a shiny chrome like finish.  They are now like mirrors!  Amazing.  These wheels are unique in that they are correct widths for the 02 without flares or modifying the fenders and yet they have a lip and deep dish design.  This gives the wheel a very prominent lip and a deep dish look.  

BBS Polished lip

BBS RZ wheel with polished lip

Now that the lips have been polished and look amazing it's now time focus painting the centers and getting them ready for tires. So I was searching for a medium metallic grey. The one I used before I think was a tad dark so I wanted same thing lighter. I was off to O'Reillys auto to see what I could get. The lightest medium grey color I could find was a GM color Medium Metallic Grey. Here are some results of the first 2 wheels after a few coats of white primer and a few coats of Medium Metallic Gray and a few coats of clear. 

Wheels masked and primered in white high build primer.

 

BBS wheels after Metallic Grey Paint

Center Lug repainted in Duplicolor chrome paint.

BBS RZ, polished lip, painted center

Finished BBS wheel with blue BBS center caps.

BBS RZ, polished lip, painted center

Finished BBS wheel with blue BBS center caps.

The results are amazing! These wheels look like brand new BBS rims.