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A newbie's first 2002.

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So the car's interior wasn't bugging me much until I had spilled my soda after going to an IN n OUT drive through. So I decided to update the interior a bit. After removing the center console that came with the car. The PO had done a very novice job of puting the gauges and stereo together. I removed the old alpine tape stereo which was semi-permanently screwed under the dash.

Here is what it previously looked like, which was not very appealing to me. And also a very bad use of space.


after removal, here is what was behind the console, EEK! What did I get myself into...


I labeled each wire so I could wire a harness later on.

Here is the back of the console..EEK again! haha.


So with some inspiration from other 02' members, I decided to get a little creative and do my own center console.


Drafting my own template. I've decided to remove the outside temp gauge that the PO put, which I don't see a real use for.



After a trip to the crafts store for some vinyl and foam for the recessed looked and adding an e36 euro clock, here is my finished result. I wanted an updated OEM look. Being that the e36 clock has amber lighting, I have converted all the gauges and my gauges on the dashboard to amberlight lighting, it feels more like a BMW now. Haha!


before and after panel console



I also built a harness for the gauges and clock so that it would be easy remove if you need to.


Here are the 2 harnesses I built for the radio, center console and , of course, the hazard light switch. Much easier plug and play.


After doing the center console, I looked at the interior and noticed that the carpet was in much worse condition, especially after putting the new center console so I decided to replace the carpet with the etsy carpet.






I finished putting the black carpet which was not too bad, but it did take a whole day with the trimming and letting the carpet sit with the glue. It looks, feels and smells much better inside the car!

I also ended up rebuilding the rear shelf tray which was made of the same material as the center console (grey faded suede) so I put black vinyl instead and put new 6x9 JBL speakers in place of the outdated, non working 6x9 speakers the PO had installed. its much cleaner now and the stereo is awesome. Unfortunately I don't have pictures at the moment so I'll add these current pictures of the car. I've been driving the car a lot and enjoying it. It rides very well for the suspension setup, very streetable. Handles and brakes well!

I had tuned the car based on pulling the plugs, I had initially thought I couldn't get the car to run right but found out that I needed to replace the bushing behind the gas pedal, after replacing the bushing, it made a world of a difference and the car runs and accelerates pretty well!

Here are pictures from last weekend at mulholland highway. Enjoy!





It's been sometime since I posted and a good amount of work has been done to the car since. I started with the carbs. I wanted to get the car prepared to be properly tuned so started by adjusting the valve clearance and then rebuilding the carbs since I don't really know it's history. Thanks to Le Tran (02 garagewerks) for helping me with advice on how to go about it the best way.

There was some build up inside so I soaked the carbs to get all of the gunk build up out. Removed all the jets and hardware and cleaned them and bought a new rebuild kit for both webers.






I discovered that the manifold was port matched to the webers. Which I thought was cool but probably a little overkill. Lol. I also cleaned up and painted the manifold.


While the carburetors were off, I also decided to clean up the coolant water neck and replace the hoses under the carburetor ( I had some leakage at the track after a couple of laps). I also flushed the cooling system completely. I was able to remove a lot of the calcium build up in the system using straight pine sol.





I've also recently added and MSD 6al which made the car run and idle better. Both webers are now running better (but still needs tuning). After the rebuild, I had discovered that both floats were off so I re-adjusted accordingly. The car is now also on complete IE silicone coolant hose with a custom HPS silicone hose from pipe under the carburetor (for some reason, it was different from IE's typical one and I needed a longer hose so I ordered through HPS). The radiator, engine and heating radiator were flushed and now on distilled water with redline water wetter additive and coolant. I've only gotten the temps pretty high at the track so I'll find out how it does on the next track day.

More to come soon!...


I finally finished the front suspension as the parts came trickling in last week. I was scrambling to finish everything by saturday as I attempted to make an appointment with ken blasko for front alignment and a quick tune.

Swift springs Came!


Here is the rest of the parts, new calipers, porterfield brake pads


I assembled it first without the rotor to build the new hardlines from the calipers to the bracket on the strut.



cleaned the hubs for new bearings



New bearings and race



Finished assembly



The car had been sitting for weeks. So after I bled the brake system, I pulled it out on friday afternoon and gave it a wash.

The suspension is a little too low for me, that's the highest it goes. Since it's setup for autocross, I might have to extend the strut so I can get 2-3 inches of stroke on rebound.



I'm really enjoying the color under sunlight when it's clean.


Saturday At Vintage BMW Racing.



The car drove pretty well on sunday. Tom from Vintage BMW racing gave the carbs a quick tune and it made a very noticeable difference in MPG and driveability.

I did have some cooling issues throughout the day, I think I may need a higher pressure radiator cap and silicone hoses. Possibly and oil cooler in the future.

But I'm overall impressed with the suspension setup it has now. I still have th do the rear bushings better rear brakes.

Overall I was able to do a 1:38.3 with the current setup and an open differential. I'm hoping to shave a few seconds off after getting a 3.91 LSD diff and rear bushings and brakes.



Till then!


Last week, I worked on the car after work as much as I can as I waited for the rest of the parts that came trickling in. I was signed up for Open track at Streets of Willow on Sunday so I was eager to finish hoping there would be little to no setbacks.

One setback I encountered was that I was actually running the brake system with DOT 5 silicone fluid. So I wanted to switch back to DOT 4 or 5.1 for better brake pedal feel.

This is somewhat a general quick write-up in case someone accidentally mixes DOT 3/4/5.1 (non-silicone) with DOT 5 (silicone) brake fluid and don't want to spend an arm and a leg getting it flushed at a shop.

From my online research, denatured alcohol was the solution to flushing silicone out of the brake system. I disconnected the rear brake lines and attached empty water bottles to it. I took another water bottle, clear rubber hose, and end cap from a gear fluid bottle and attached it to the rear main line on the master cylinder. I slowly poured the denatured alcohol and gravity fed it to the rear. It worked! All of the gunk and silicone fluid flushed out until the fluid was clear.




Here is some left over fluid

Sorry I don't have more pictures of the old fluid, I forgot to before I dumped it. It was really dirty.


Here is the clean fluid. After the flush, I just blew the rest out with my air compressor



I did the same method for the front lines since my lines were disconnected waiting for the new calipers. I just put a cup at the end of the lines and poured the denatured alcohol through the system till the fluid was clear and blew it out with the air compressor.

Once I had my brake system back together, I manually bled the system through pumping the brake pedal with the help of my sister. After I got all the air bubbles out, and did an extra bleed rotation just in case. Everything works fine now and my fluid is clear and clean! Brakes are much firmer than with DOT 5

Hope this helps you guys! I will update another blog with the finished suspension.


I've been driving the car as much as I can since I got it. I took it for some spirited driving and was surprised at how well the car handles.

The previous owner had mentioned that he would like the car to go to someone that will enjoy driving it and as we discussed. I was looking for a car that I could enjoy driving. So after a couple of hundred miles of driving the car, I decided to go a more street/track version of the car in order to be able to enjoy as much as possible. So I have since sold my CSi wheels to a happy tii owner and bought a set of 14x7 enkei RPF1 wheels for a miata. The wheels don't fit perfectly in the front and I had to ad a spacer. I'm running dunlop z1 tires for grip. I'm happy with the look as I wanted a retro/modern look for the car. Hence why I decided to run a 14" rim. Not to mention the rim only weighs 8lbs! I noticed a good amount of difference under acceleration.



I also added some cibie headlights with yellow vintage h4 bulb covers to give it a more nostalgic look and bought some good condition driver grills for the car. I'm very pleased with the look at this point.


I've also decided to rebuild the shifter, which made a huge difference in driving feel. Using the z3 shift lever with new parts from IE, the car feels much more solid when shifting.










I've also realized that the car came with tii struts/brakes. Which was great! I cleaned them up and refreshed them.


So I started to piece together the e12 calipers so I can do a big brake upgrade. But as a working student, I decided it might be better for me to build a non-tii coilover setup over the tii struts. I then sold the tii struts to fund my coilover setup. I was able to acquire a Ground control/koni suspension. I thought this would be a better setup for what I wanted to do.

Since I was about to upgrade the struts, I thought I might as well upgrade other parts of the suspension with what I had saved up. I started with the front first and will do the rear suspension later on. So I got urethane bushings, Steel braided lines, new ball joints to refresh the front suspension.

Since I was refreshing the front suspension, I decided to take off the sway bars, control arms and tension rods. After measuring, I realized I had 25mm sway bars up front and 22mm in the rear. So I decided to get them powdercoated along with the tension rods to refresh them up.







The only left is to complete is the brakes and coilover springs. I ordered some swift coilover springs to see how well they would be for the car setup I'm planning. Swift's coilover springs are one of the most accurate linear springs available.

Here's a dyno test explaining by a privateer.


Which translates to a more predictable and comfortable driving feel. I'm hoping this well yield a pretty comfortable ride yet aggressive enough for maximum handling capability. This has been pretty successful for the japanese tuners who have tried it. I'm hoping I could accomplish the same with a 7kg/mm = 391lb spring.

I'm still waiting on the front calipers I ordered through my uncle's shop. I've ordered a set of porterfield rs-4 brake pads for the girling volvo calipers. I will update as soon as I complete the setup.

I've also signed up for a track day later this may to do some testing, I'm hoping to finish the front suspension and brakes by then to do some shakedown testing.


Engine Cleanup

Here pictures of the engine, as you can see, the car was painted inside out except the engine bay. I wanted to clean it up a bit so I decided to pressure wash then pastidip the engine for now to clean it up (until I have enough to re-do the paint in a couple of years). My Booster failed recently so I had that rebuilt and also gave the car a slight tune up with Iridium spark plugs and IE wires and a new cap and rotor and electronic ignition by hotspark. The Weber 45s still run rich, even after I leaned it as much as I can while running as best as possible. Might need to re-jet and add msd.




As I'm going through the car and fixing it here and there, I started with the paint. It's in pretty good shape for a car painted in the 90's. I noticed that it was never wetsanded so I took the time and hired someone to help me wetsand the car and here are the results!





After, I was very pleased with the results.


Around this time, I also restored a set of CSi wheels I had acquired. I took the bolts off, had the centers painted satin silver and I hand polished the lips (which was very tiring)




First coat of polish



After Paint




Final polish, my arms were pretty sore after this...


I couldn't wait to have them intalled so the very next day, I got the tires mounted and put them on. I was happy, for the meantime..haha.





Hello 2002 Community,

My name is Clarence Trinidad. I'm new to the 2002 community but I've been an automotive/motorsports enthusiast since I was a 2 years old ( I have old photos for proof, ahah).

I do come from the japanese side of automotive motorsports. I competed in a pro-am series of topdrift about 2 years ago here in California.




As much as I loved racing and competing. Growing up is inevitable. Qualifying well was very satisfying but lack of funding/sponsorships and a crew can take a toll. Certain situations led me to retiring and finishing school. So here I am now.

My main experiences a geared towards toyotas(anything 1987 or earlier and RWD).

Here are some of the car's I've owned/built it the past..





Though I've learned a lot about them and car's in general, I decided that I wanted something different and unique (which somewhat reflects my personality) and also something Non-smog since california has very strict emissions laws.

I had my eye on some 2002's because they were affordable and I really liked how much character the car has ( aside from its history).

So I've aquired my first 2002 looking at a hemmings ad book while at a Barne's and Nobles bookstore. The ad had no pictures and a very brief description.

After I emailed and chatted with the owner, who was pretty particular on who he wanted to sell the car to. He sent some pictures and I was pretty happy with what I saw.

He has owned the car since the late 80's and did a resto-mod on the car around the 90's from what he told me. He had reciepts to include with the car that dated back from the early 80's from his previous owner.

We were able to make the deal happen and I was pretty excited.

I've owned the car now for several months so this introduction is late but I'll start with how the car looked first when I first got it from him.

I will slowly updated with what I've done to the car now. My goal is to build a fairly agressive driver that can make an impression with newer cars (on back canyon roads and track).

While keeping a subtle modern-classic look with a hint of japanese inspiration


Here are first pictures of the car when he owned it.



And now in my garage


The car is in very decent shape with only a little bit of surface rust here and there but the trunk area and undercarriage is pretty rust free.