My Alpina rebuilt motor finally arrived from Germany on September 22nd. Very exciting day. I waited 2 years for this gem and now the work could begin to prepare its final home, a 1976 2002 California car with a sunroof, 5 speed tranny, LSD, and volvo 4 pot brakes.
Now, this build is going to be about perfection. All new hardware (which I have found is incredibly cheap to do, just requires a bit of patience), full colour change and every pc of mechanical hardware reviewed, powder coated, fixed or replaced on the way back.
First, had to remove all the trim, the interior, and the engine and transmission. I decided to go with the drop out technique with the subframe. I have gone with the lift out technique in the past and the risk for something going wrong is much higher! To drop in out with the subframe, it is 12 bolts and your out (in addition to the stuff you have to do pulling it from the top.
When I got the Golde sunroof out, I decided there was an opportunity to improve the appearance of it. I took it to my local chrome plater (lucky for me) and had it chromed.
It came out great! I did the aluminum plates for the M series pedals, and the dome light bezel while i was at it. These guys did a great job!
See for yourselves
With subframe out, it was a good opportunity to restore it.
I replaced the control arms, track arms, CV boots and bushings (IE Urethane). I put new front bearings in both of the hubs. I had the hub faces sandblasted and professionally coated on the non-braking faces. I re-painted the brake callipers painted classic sporty red and sandblasted the front sub and stabilizer. The subframe and stabilizer were powder coated and came back better than new! This was a really fun job. Nothing like a perfectly clean and new front subframe. Completely tight and looks like showroom quality.
See it here all built
To go with the new build, I added some Bilstein HD struts. These are gas shocks so no oil required in the newly powder coated strut boots! Sorry, no pics. Needed to get the subframe off so I could get it to the paint shop!
First go at the body shop!
This is the way these things go, you take the car to the body guy, he hums and haws and tells you what he doesn't want to do. You get him to do a bit and then you need to take it back and do a whole bunch yourself unless you are into paying instead of doing.
Off we go for round 1!
The humming and hawing ends with a plan. The windscreen corners front and back are healed. The big surprise to both of us is that the rust on the roof skin is evident of far more extensive rust damage in the roof than we thought! This is not good. Time to go find a roof skin.
PS. if you have a sunroof car, replace your $20 sunroof seals! That is all you need to invest to keep your 02 from rotting out up there and ruining your car or setting yourself up for serious and expensive body work!
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a new roof skin. The only way to get one is to get a roof clip and drill out the spot welds. Believe me, I talked to a lot of people who know a lot of people who have been rebuilding out beloved '02's for many many years.
After some digging, Coupe King had a beautiful roof clip from an Inca orange car that now became mine. In a crate it went and on to my garage/ shop for the joy of spot weld drilling.
I have to say here that many have gone with just welding the new clip onto the car. It seems to be a personal choice. The big seals on the cars windows seem to allow for a less than perfect alignment of the roof. I am going with the skin to get it on the original cage and get everything perfectly straight with a little less grief.
Pick up and delivery
So, wanting this to be done right, it was time to pick up the car again after welding of the rotted out windscreen corners (also because of the sunroof seal failure) and planning is done.
There is no way I can put my newly built Alpina motor into a less than perfect engine compartment, myself in a less than perfect cabin and I might as well do the boot at the same time. Fortunately, I have found my sandblaster who also has a paint shop for an immediate RM Epoxy to seal in the work!
Sandblasting is serious work. If it doesn't done right, you can warp up the panels and have a bigger problem on your hands than some paint you don't like.
I pulled off the subframe again and we got to work on the sandblasting. Now, I elected to pull out all of the original interior damping material and the PO did (roofing tar, thanks for that one!). I spent hours with a scraper and blow torch melting out said tar and chased it with aircraft paint stripper to "melt" all the left over tar away. Rubbery things are impervious to sandblasting!
Once again, another shot of a sandblasted and epoxied car. The exterior bits will be left for the body work pro!
I decided I am going to replace the front floor pans and then it is time for the roof clip.
Nothing like a freshly rebuilt motor in a crate!
Unfortunately or fortunately, the motor didn't come with a flywheel, clutch...
So, know it is big decision time. Aluminum or steel, 228 or 215... I decided to go with the aluminum flywheel but I went for 228 to get what I expect to be higher torque at an increase in weight offset by the aluminum flywheel. I am excited to see what this combination is going to react like!
In addition, this is the first time I get to get out of the serious "dirt work!" So nice working with a clean engine, clean parts and new nuts and bolts.
PS, you pretty much need an impact wrench for this job. Doing up the flywheel bolts to 110 Nm without one would be near impossible. In addition, no need for locktite red on the flywheel bolts. The new flywheel bolts with the yellow locktite on them are ready to go. And, don't even think about re-using the old ones. 110 Nm... You don't want to do that 2x...
Everything bolted up nice and to full torque. Can't wait to see this engine turn over a prop shaft.
Roof Skin and Wiring Harness
This had to be the job that I was living in the greatest fear of. The spaghetti that came out of my car that i would need to sort out.
3 things I did that made a really big difference.
1. I bought a used '74 wiring harness.
2. The Haynes manual really came in handy!
3. Mount the thing on a board.
The used wiring harness made a huge difference. Having a reference harness gave me a lot of confidence in what was original and what was add on crap. Not to mention, when things were "so so" with the harness I could poach the other harness for connectors and wires. Absolutely critical. Best 75 bucks I have spent so far.
I want to have another good look around at it before I close it all up with the Painless classic sleeve braiding but here it is all labeled and sorted:
If anyone is looking for some help sorting theirs, shoot me a note and I will try to be helpful. I think I have a good idea of what is going on now after spending nearly 12 hours with mine and after a frustrating start.
This job is not so much fun. I need to get the roof skin off of the cage for the perfectionist who is doing the body work. It took a bit of time to figure out what was best to use on what surface. Ultimately, the Blair spot weld drill bits are AWESOME but you CAN'T run the dry or you will only get 6 holes per tool. I used WD40 after burning through 8 sides of the hole tool. I thought it was because of catching on edges, etc, but if you run it with WD, you will last a long time!
I spot weld drilled the front windscreen and got the grinder out for the side. I finished 2 sides in 3 hours. Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of liberating my perfect roof skin from the cage and ready to be put on the car.
Dec 24th and 25th
Finished with the roof clip! The Blair spot weld tool worked great with a shoot of WD40 between each cut. The tool did all the spot welds I had left to do (about 40) and is still good to do more! Big difference to the 9 or so I was getting before.
I ground the troughs down the sides. Too many welds and the size of drill needed would have turned it into swiss cheese.
All the tools I used
-Dremmel with metal cutting disks
-Blair spot welding cutter.
-Pertex assembly fluid. (this is great stuff by the way. A bit of lube to help thinks go together is very very good)
Here it is, ready to go after 7 hrs of grinding and cutting
Time to put this thing together.
I got a new clutch cylinder from Roger's Tii. Mine still works but the boot is shot. Good time to replace.
-Ireland Engineering complete pedal box rebuild kit
-New clutch cylinder.
All hardware was cleaned up.
I had the box and pedals blasted the powder coated. Whatever hardware I couldn't replace, i had zinc dichromate coated. Not the best for anti corrosion (I found out later) but it looks close to the original cadmium coating which is getting hard to get for environmental reasons..
This is what it looked like before (grab a bag...)
What a mess.
There is a large rectangular hole in the bottom of the box. Once the pedal box insulation foam inside the engine bay rots out, that thing is open and the pedal box and driver side floor pan are filling up with dirt and water. Not something to leave unchecked. I am going to see if i can make up some kind of a plastic cap to close it up.
So, after all the blasting coating and replacing
The pedals all operate effortlessly. That IE kit comes with no instructions so make sure to take lots of pictures so you can put it back together with less figuring than i had to do. Fortunately, I have the German mechanics manual to turn to in addition to all the photos I was taking along the way...
My cast aluminium ignition on the steering column was cracked. I think the PO tightened the collar with the locking nut fully seated. This is a no no. The nice crack was straight through and made the column feel looser than it should.
I got a new casting which had the side benefit of perfect new door handles and a tight new ignition. Not to mention, the steering column lock was broken or removed by the PO. Now she locks up tight.
I paint stripped and painted the column and the steering shaft since it is visible in the engine bay.
I don't have a before but here is the after...
Tight and turns nice and smooth. I hooked up that nice little brown and yellow wire that makes the horn work as well as part of my wire clean up. All the extra wires gone... It is amazing what people will do to avoid running a proper wire with a fuse to run a stereo.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that homemade lazy stereo installs are the death of most of these cars. From cut door panels (don't do it, 200 to replace!) to hacked up wiring...
That is about all I can do until next week. I am going to go take my trust Blair spot weld cutter, WD40 and dremmel over to my buddies where my body is hanging in epoxy and cut out the floor pans so I can get the replacements welded in.
More coming soon!