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About this blog

This is a blog to follow the progress of whatever ends up happening to the 1968 BMW 1600-2 that's currently sitting in my garage.  



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Prime Time

After all the metal work, it was time to prime!




(Note to admins and readers- I couldn't format photos on this post correctly! Any time I tried to click a photo to edit it, it brought me to new page and lost all my previous saved writing! So, sorry the photos aren't like I want them to be...)


I've used a few epoxy primers, but in terms of protection, ease of use,customer support and price, SPI's epoxy primer is easily the best for me.  So I ordered some paint and prepped up the garage spray booth.  Since it is not a real spray booth, I am very dependent on the weather for being able to paint, and it just so happened that I got the perfect weekend weather-wise for using epoxy a couple of weekends ago: mid 80s  during the day and mid 70s at night, low humidity and no wind.  


Everything went on smooth with 2 coats on everything, except for the bottom which got 3 coats.  After it set for a few days, I went back with some 3M seam sealer ( photos towards the bottom ) everywhere I had welded, to make sure any pinholes would stay water tight, and then hit those areas with another light coat of primer as well.


My next step is to get it rolling so that I can move it around a bit more easily for the filler work.  More on that later!












the last thing that was to be done before calling the metal prep complete was to get all the paint and all the undercoating off of everywhere.  getting paint off of most things was easy enough with some aircraft stripper, a good respirator, and some very thick rubber gloves.  


unfortunately, the wheel wells and most of the underbody were covered with anywhere from 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch of some kind of tar based undercoating which was impervious to all kinds of strippers, and that tar coating was my bane of existence for 2 or 3 weeks.  i tried stripping it, which didn't work, and i tried grinding it with a wire cup wheel and that kind of worked but it also just melted and spread it.  in the end, the solution was to use a heat gun and do it inch by painful inch.  that was the most successful tool at taking off the most tar.  after the heat gun, then I went to the stripper and then finally the wire cup wheel.


next time i do something like this i will bite the bullet and take it to a sandblaster!


after it was all stripped i took about 5 days to clean the garage ( joking, mostly ) to prepare for the garage becoming the paint booth.  with everything clean, i wiped it all down with a chemical based wax and grease remover solvent that is compatible with the primer i will be using.  then i used ospho rust treatment on problem rust areas to neutralize the rust, and made sure to clean it off very well since it doesn't really work well with epoxy primers.  after that, one more wipe-down of the wax and grease remover and I was ready for paint!


i never did end up setting up a rotisserie for this work, which made removing stuff from wheel wells and the underside very difficult.  after a while of sitting on my back and scraping stuff and having it fall into my face ( note: not fun), i decided to get a little crazy and tipped some stuff over.  that made things much easier!



the interior underside ended up looking pretty good:



and the interior wasnt too hard to strip:




and here's the whole shebang in different angles






up next, primer time!




ok, photo heavy post coming up! i'm trying to catch up on documenting the body work/welding that occurred on the old 1602, so this should bring it mostly up to speed.  lets get down to business.


the nose needed a lot of work, particularly towards the bottom. here's the drivers side after the welds and then after grinding:



and heres the passenger side:




ok, lets move on to the trunk!  it was bad.  I did my best.  I think I preserved at least 15% of the original spare tire well, but it is all solid steel now! that stupid thing took me like 40 hours.  You'll notice in this photo too there is a patch in the rear of the drivers side rear wheel well, and I kind of remade the bottom of the arch that goes over the wheel well.  not my best work, but structurally sound and rust free! 



I had to do the same thing for the passenger side rear wheel well.  there was also a patch I needed to do towards the middle of the shock tower, which you can see in this photo:



and the surround of the gas tank was pretty much gone, so I ended up replacing most of that with by mad fabrication skillz as well.  you can also see where the new lower rear fender has been welded in.  what you cant see is where a new lower rear bumper skirt thingy has been welded in too!




ok, so this is a lot of work.  make sure to take a drive in another classic vehicle that you've finished rehabilitating, if you have one.  this will help to remind you of why you're doing all this:



and then get back to work.  the rear left fender was very bad, and the wheel patch you get from wallontesch wasn't going to cover it!  this photo also shows the new inner wheel fender welded in place:




and here's the whole bottom side of the passenger side fender from the door back all welded back together:




now do the same thing, but on the driver side!



and heres the final result of the drivers side fender replacement:



and with that, we'll call the welding mostly complete for now.  sheesh



After getting the drivers side inner sill in, I felt in a good place to start the floor pans!  Here's the rear one clamped in place:



You can see there that the floor pan wouldn't quite cover all of the areas that needed to be replaced.  I decided to weld in what I had and come back later with more patches.   I'd like to note that on this one, I did a butt weld, which made the whole process much more difficult.  It is not easy to cut things perfectly for a butt weld when there are so many curves and corners, and I ended up spending a lot more effort on it that I had expected.  For the rest of the floor pans, I left a 1/4 inch overlap when cutting out the old stuff, so I could do a lap weld and that worked out much better.  Here's the front floor pan welded in:




In the front footwell, you can see the immense damage around the pedal box as well as the, well, whole footwell!  Heres a photo with more of the footwell cut out, as well as some initial repair attempts around the pedal box:



(also, note behind the photo the trusty Hobart Handler 140. If you need a solid body work welder I can't recommend this enough!)


After some more repairs, the front footwell looked a little bit like a frankenstein inspired piece of work. I wasn't really happy with it, since I was still getting a handle on the Hobart, and ended up coming back to tidy this up.




Also, you'll see in these photos some dangling wires and stuff.  If I were to do it again, I would have removed those wires and everything else before going forward.  The wires did end up being removed.  Hindsight, etc.  Anyways, after the floor pans and initial footwell repair, I moved on to the passenger side, which was just as bad as the drivers side.  Here's the starting point:




You'll notice on the bench behind there a cup of coffee.  That was a very important part of this process!  


So now was the time for the same drill:  inner sill, outer sill, rear floor pan front floorpan then front footwell repair.  It went a little faster the second time, but I hope I never have to do it a third time!  After it was all complete, there was one part that I was avoiding since I wasn't sure how to proceed- the rear subframe mounts on both sides were corroded and in need of replacement.  So I ordered some subframe mounts from Wallontesch and crossed my fingers and started cutting.  Here's the drivers side with the subframe mount cut out:





There's a metal cylinder in the middle of the subframe mounts that don't come with the new pieces ( its kind of a slotted deal for the bolt to sit in), so I had to cut that out of the old ones without harming it.  In the following picture you can see it welded back into the two pieces that arrived from Wallontesch:




It was a bit confusing how the new pieces and the old thing fit together but after some trial and error I figured it out.  If anyone has any questions about it let me know, I'd be glad to explain in further detail.  Anyways, heres the other side of the subframe mount after it has been welded back together:




Do that process x2 and you've got new rear subframe mounts!  I don't currently have any pictures of them welded back in place but I'll take some later today and add them to the post.  Also, I don't have any good photos of the whole floorpan/floor setup with all the various extra repairs, so I'll have to take some photos of that to add to the floor pan repair party blog post entry.


Whew, that was exhausting just describing all the work up to that point, and we haven't even touched any exterior body work yet!  More updates to come.  


been a while since i've updated, but there has been some major work happening in the garage.  i'm much further along than what i'll share here, but i just would like to post a few images at a time.  i'm realizing i didn't take enough photos throughout the process, so i'm going to make sure i take photos of everything before i proceed much further.  will be good to have records of all the surgery!


anyways, it started by cutting out the old rusted driver side frame rail.  i don't have room/space for a rotisserie, which would make everything easier, but I decided instead of that i could use my engine hoist to support the front of the car via chains through the shock towers while it didn't have a sub frame.  below is a frame rail-less shot and of course all the tools on the floor.



frame rail installation wasn't too hard, but i had to be careful to make sure it was positioned correctly.  i tacked it in a couple of times and it wasn't just perfect, and had to remove and redo until the measurements were proper.  anyways, now i have a brand new drivers side frame rail! 


with the frame rail installed, i was able to move on to the driver side inner sill.  cutting that out left the car with about zero structure since the floor pans were so compromised, so that was another instance of tacking in place, measuring, guessing, re-doing and crossing my fingers.  I think it ended up in the right place!  the photo below shows the vehicle without the sill, but you can see the new frame rail if you look closelyIMG_2691.thumb.JPG.6a48ab51e5521c85bf2d50cf70009268.JPG


and then heres the inner sill clamped in place during installation




there's a lot more that has been done since then, so stay tuned for updates! I'll try to work through the process i took. 


take it all off

so in order to go forward, it is time to get to the root of things.  i've got all the interior stripped, as well as the engine, and front and rear chassis and doors.  only thing left of the car is the body shell, or what's left of it!


there is much rust, and then there is more rust, and then on top of that yet even more rust!  





since the photos were taken, i've also pulled off the dash.  fortunately there was no rust underneath there!  but it will make it much easier to replace the vinyl on the old 3 piece dash that seems unobtainable.


i have the following parts of sheet metal ordered from wallontesch and sitting in the garage, which will go a long ways to bringing 1602 back:

-left frame rail

-all floor pans

-both outer sills

-both front of rear fenders that become the lower outer rear sill

-left inner sill

-lower portion of the tail end

-and last but not least the right lower rear fender



some might say, why don't you just get a body shell and work with that. and to that i say, well i don't think i could find one for very cheap in good condition, AND i didn't think this all out and i kind of want to do this anyway :)


so i'm not really sure what is up next.  everything is down to brass tacks, and we have all the tools and supplies that will be needed (for now).  i guess this is where the real fun begins!







My first action upon getting the car was, naturally, trying to get it to start.  When I went to look at the car to buy it, the previous owner noted that it turned over and seemed to have compression, so I asked if we could try to start it.  After throwing in a battery he noted that the ignition switch was inoperable and actually missing, but he was using a screwdriver jammed into the ignition cylinder to try and start it ( a screwdriver he kindly included with the vehicle!).  He was correct— it did turn over and seem to have the desire to start, but ultimately wouldn't.  No amount of starting fluid sprayed into the carb would do it.  And so when I received the car in the garage that is where it was at.


My dad came over the first day I had it and we fiddled about for a couple of hours trying to get it started ourselves- cleaning off the rotor and cap contacts and wiggling spark plugs, all with no luck.  By the end of it, the screwdriver method of turning the ignition to the start position no longer worked since it had bent the metal, and we had to give up for the day.  Before we gave up, however, we determined that at the very least it wasn't getting spark.  


I ordered new plugs, wires, cap, and rotor and waited a week for them to arrive.  In the meantime my goal was to rig up a temporary starting mechanism.  At this point I wasn't sure I wanted to spend  too much money on the car, so I wasn't keen on buying a new ignition switch for $200.  Here my collection of switches and buttons came into use.  After cobbling together via various online PDFs and forum posts a crude understanding of the ignition circuit, I was able to wire up an ignition mechanism that would be easier than jamming a screwdriver in the steering column!


A simple toggle switch is wired to the battery lead, and the output of that is routed to the other wires that should be engaged when the vehicle is in the 'on' position.  Another wire from that switch feeds a 2 inch green button on a longer wire, which feeds the ignition wire.  With this setup I can engage the starter while not sitting in the vehicle, a setup I found to be quite useful!



-Big red wire is power

-2 red wires together and both green wires should be hot during 'on'

-Black wire goes to starter


So with an ignition system in place I put in the new cap, rotor, wires and plugs, applied generous amounts of starting fluid and tried it out.  Still no luck.  Could it be fuel, I thought?  I undid the hose to the carb and turned it over — some old dark fuel dutifully pumped out.  Good to know the fuel system works!  ( Later I drained the old stuff out of the tank, which somehow doesn't have any leaks in it.)   So it was still spark. 


I'm no expert with vehicles using a mechanical ignition system, in fact this is only my second vehicle with one. After scratching my head and googling around I determined maybe it had something to do with these points everyone is talking about.  An so I dissembled the distributor and cleaned off the contact areas on the points and adjusted the gap to .016. 


This gave me a chance to set the base timing, so I followed a procedure documented somewhere to get the engine at TDC by looking at a mark towards the back of the camshaft sprocket.  With that in place I turned the rotor to 90° behind the #1 mark on the edge of the distributor and put it back in.  To my surprise it turned as I inserted it and ended up pointing right at #1!  I slightly tightened it down so I could still turn it back and forth and crossed my fingers.  Time to see whether these points were all that important.


So with my big green ignition button I stood outside the passenger door and held the distributor so I could rotate it.  I pressed the button, held it down and the little 1.6 came to life! After rotating the distributor a bit I was able to find a steady idle, though the idle seemed high.  I let it run for a minute or so like that before shutting it off.  Then I remembered the choke was all the way out, so I put that back to normal and started it again.  This time it seemed to run at a much more acceptable idle, surprisingly quiet too.  It seemed the exhaust system was all still functional!




This was all very exciting to me... to start up an engine that hasn't run since I was 8 years old.  I'd like to say it took some kind of skill or expertise, but that would be lying.  All it needed was to follow the maintenance procedures to set the point gap and it started right up!    


The only thing left between me and a running and driving project, or so I imagined at the time, was to try out the transmission and clutch.






An Introduction



As far I can tell, the photo above is how the vehicle sat from around 1991 or 1992 until April 2016, when the brief owner previous to me purchased it from this scrapyard.  That owner intended to use it for something but didn't, and ended up selling it to me on September 6th of this year for $600.  Before that, it was last titled in 1989 to a person in Menomenie, Wisconsin.  All records of the vehicle before that are currently unknown.  


The only history that currently remains of the car is hidden within its mechanical and aesthetic remains, which, poor as they appear to the casual observer, do upon closer inspection reveal at least a glimmer of the faintest hope that one day this auto will take to the road again and give pleasure to its owner.  


And so against my better intuition, the advice of my father and all common sense, here we go.  More updates to come :)