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.

09/8/17

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!!

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!!

04/14/17

New Studs, new stub axle and hub…#nevereasy

Took the car to Ken Black at Vintage BMW Racing to have him replace the wheel studs.  Should be simple and straightforward right?  WRONG!

#nevereasy

So the axle bolts on the rear and the hubs came off easily.  Too easily.  The drivers side was fine.  Tight, no play, splines on the stub axle looked good as well as the teeth on the hub.  The passengers side though…that was bad.  The teeth on the hub were mangled.  In fact they were smooth and completely worn away in some spots and the splines on the stub axle were worn.  Lots of play when moving the hub on the axle.  On top of that I had a brake cylinder leak.

So Ken had a used stub axle and hub in great shape that he put on the car.  Stub Axle failure is NOT a good thing.  If it fails the hub will detach from the car and the wheel with it, leaving the 02 scraping the pavement in a shower of sparks on the rear subframe and bodywork.  You are lucky if thats all that happens. There are some very dramatic photos and stories of stub axle failures on the web.

Stub Axle failure on a BMW 2002.

After Ken and Tom had the stub axle replaced they pounded the old studs out of the old hubs and installed the longer ones to accommodate the spacers for the wheels. The did the wheel bearings and replaced the leaky brake cylinder. Bled the brakes and buttoned the car up.  Everything felt great.  I got home and decided to do another final test fit so I can order the appropriate spacers.

I jacked the car up, removed the old BBS wheel, put 8 washers on each stud (about 15mm), bolted the new wheel onto the car, lowered the car onto the ground and it looked good.  I decided to put the center cap on just to check everything and guess what….it hit the longer studs and wouldn’t lock!!

#nevereasy

So now I’m scratching my head.  Hundreds spent on refinishing the wheels, installing longer studs, redrilling, polishing and now the center caps won’t fit!  So I did a few things.  I put another washer on the hubs to give the locking mechanism a tad more space simulating a bigger spacer so now it’s about 18mm.  Then I grabbed the trusty dremel tool and removed some plastic around the cap locking mechanism.  I ground it down just enough to be able to lock the cap on the wheel. Phew.

So I decided on a 9mm spacer in the front and a 17mm spacer in the rear. If the rear is too aggressive, I’ll go with a 15mm and maybe use a cutting wheel and cut the studs down a bit. I think they are 80mm long.  65mm would probably be perfect.

So the story ends well, but it sure took a long time to get there!  With 40+ year old cars, its #nevereasy!

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.

03/17/17

BBS Rims…ONE STEP CLOSER! Look at those lips!

BBS with polished lip

OK..so I was going to do the polishing myself because I wanted to do as much as possible. I called a local BMW 2002 guy who sells rims and has offered polished lips in the past if he had any advice on doing it and his advice was...take them somewhere! Have a shop do them and they will be perfect. Ugh. I was a bit disappointed but nevertheless I put them in the back of the car and dropped them off at the shop that redrilled them. The shop is soooo laid back and nonchalant is hilarious. I talked to the owner who said "gimme your number, and put them there next to the garage. I'll cal you in a few days.". That was it. No receipt, no detailed questions. OK. I called back in a few days and he said to come pick them up. I was expecting good...but DAMN! They are PERECT. Wow. I almost didn't recognize them as my wheels! The next step is to paint the centers. I'm still torn on repainting them silver (classic but boring) or a darker grey (more contrast but too much?). I think I'm gonna do grey. If I dont like it, its only paint, I can repaint the centers. Here are a few pics!

03/1/17

Bottom End Refresh Complete!

Just picked the car up. Ken worked hard on this one! Haha. Nothing is simple when it comes to old cars and their upkeep and repair. Some parts may be 40 years old and you NEVER know what you have until you get into the guts of the job.

The plan was to strip the block down in the car. Pull the pistons out and replace the rings then put it all back together. The things to worry about were the block itself. Whats the condition of the cylinder walls? Luckily the cylinder walls were in good shape. The rod bearings were tired so they needed to be replaced. The surprise was the pistons. The ring landings where the rings fit in were WAY out of spec. The other surprise was the actual pistons in the car were low compression pistons. So I set out on a mission to find a set of 89.47mm high compression pistons that will work in a late model e12 M10 head. There are 3 heads used on the M10 engine. So the pistons have to be matched for the head. They also have to be the correct diameter. 89mm is the stock piston diameter. As it wears, you have it bored out slightly to get a perfect bore and take out just a little material and you replace the pistons with a slightly larger diameter piston. So my block has been bored slightly in its 40 or so year life. The problem with that is as you bore it more and more the cylinder walls get thinner and thinner and this compromises the durability of the engine block. The advantages of boring the cylinders is you increase the engine displacement thus making it more powerful. If I was doing a true rebuild I would have gone up to the next size piston, 90mm. I will also go with a shorter piston and longer rods to increase the stroke, or make it a "stroker".

So finding a 89.47mm high compression piston wasn't exactly an easy task, but I found a set in Kansas City and had them shipped to Ken. They were used so we had to make sure they didn't have the same issues as my pistons. The pistons were within spec so they went into the motor. The oil pump was refreshed. The top end was rebuilt about 2 years ago with new valves, valve stems, cam, rockers and valve springs, so there was nothing needed except a valve adjustment to the top end. Once the engine was complete then Ken gave it a pretty good tune. It was his first time with the 123/Tune distributor and he liked it! He was not only able to give me a pretty good curve but also dialed in vacuum very nicely as well. Sweet! He also replaced the Guibo as well as the bushings in the shift platform. I drove the car and it's got a nice smooth power delivery, the shifter feels like I'm driving a different, much more modern car. In a very good way. Very direct shifting. It was very vague before, now it's very precise. It's got a smooth idle and that flat spot in the midrange is gone. He also replaced my spark plug wires, a soft motor mount, fixed an exhaust stud oil leak, replaced an exhaust gasket, checked the float level and rejetted the Weber 38/38 carburetor.

After just a few hours of driving it, I am very pleased with the outcome. Smooth and pepper are the words that come to mind.  I covered the tailpipe with my hand for maybe 20 seconds and there was ZERO oil spray or anything like that coming out of the tailpipe. That's the second of the 3 major things that needed to be done to the car. The last major work to be done is the 5 speed conversion. Before that happens though, I need to reseal the rear window, get a front end alignment, finish the BBS wheel refurb, install the longer rear studs, clean up the engine bay wiring, get the headliner fixed, install the chrome belt line trim, install the air dam,finish the coilovers and maybe rechrome the bumpers. Phew! That will keep me busy!