Just a small entry for today. The tires on the car were cracked and dry-rotted, a consequence of sitting in a garage for a few years. I'd been pricing out my options for replacements on the 14" Bottlecaps, but as many here know, 15" tires are more available and cost effective. I'd seen the E30 "Style 10" wheel posted here very infrequently, and though the wheel looks far more modern than the 2002 design, I feel like they stay in character with the vehicle. I found a great set available and jumped on them. I gave the wheels a fresh coat of wax throughout and paired them with Yokohama S.Drive in 195/50/R15.
The fronts stand a bit proud of the fender with the 24 offset, but the car will receive new suspension with camber plates before long and that will be remedied. The car is still scruffy, but I think it is starting to look like someone cares for it again.
I've been chunking away at the car in small bits and pieces as time and money allow, I figured I'd write an update to keep myself honest with the progress. I took the advice given here and have been addressing the issues that could potentially injure or kill me.
I've replaced the fuel filler neck, fuel lines from the sender to the carburetor, adjusted the valves and cleaned up the engine bay. I'm impressed by the increase in 'pep' from the motor with the adjustment, and the elimination of fumes is important when driving with my 9-month old co-pilot. I also bought the LED taillight set from Blunt, I was initially upset about my impulse control, but I'm impressed by the light output and I can chalk it up to a safety improvement as well. Here is a side-by-side of the running lights, stock on the right:
A keen eye can see that the motor is running way too rich. I wanted to get the motor tuned and desmogged, and since I was unhappy with the tone of the exhaust I opted for a full change. Since it was welded together from the downpipe back, I sprung for the full Ireland kit from header to tip. I sawzalled the old exhaust off, removed the header studs and replaced with the Ireland studs and copper nuts, then wrestled it into place. I'm missing the exhaust hanger mount just past the differential, so the exhaust bangs around during starts, but it is a major improvement. I'll take it to a muffler shop for final adjustment, but I don't have to push the car into the street to start it anymore for fear of waking the baby.
I removed the smog equipment and received a valuable lesson in tuning the motor. The previous owner tuned the motor with a vacuum leak, so it was dumping excess fuel in the mix in an effort to overcome the leak. I made the vacuum leak worse by using the wrong silicone gasket-maker when installing the Intake manifold block plate, so the car would not hold idle. The carb was torn down and inspected, the jets are nearly identical to C.Diesel's prescription, so the car is finally tuned and happy - starts on the first crank and is totally transformed.
I've got Porterfield R4S pads, new rotors, rear drum shoes and stainless lines waiting in boxes on the garage floor for a free weekend. I wanted a running car to bed the brakes properly, so that will be upcoming. The tires are dated 2003 (rear) and 2007 (front), so I opted to upsize to 15" wheels before getting better rubber. The wheels are Style 10 and will be delivered tomorrow, hopefully I will be running them by next week. Sorry purists.
I found a set of E21 comfort seats locally and installed them. They do not match the interior but I now have a place to sit without getting tetanus. Finally, I got frustrated with the finish of the original paint and tried a bit of rubbing compound on the trunk lid, and... it left a clean spot. I've been working panel by panel with it, and though half of the car is in primer, I'm satisfied that the Orange is coming back to life. My co-pilot seems to like it, and my goal is to have it safe enough to drive from Sacramento to Brisbane and back next month. Cheers!
I've had a few spare moments to get the car cleaned up a little bit by going panel by panel with a rubbing compound and a claybar and deep cleaned the interior. I'm still pleased as punch to own this car, but it's sort of like peeling an onion - the more time I spend in/around/under the car, the longer the list gets. Full disclosure: I'm brand new at maintaining these cars, I've been learning what I can on these forums and in the Haynes manual but I'm totally open to guidance and commentary.
I inventoried the spare parts I received with the car.
New in box:
Turn Signal relay
Muffler hangers (2)
Fuel filler neck
Flexible silver trim for the door cards (?)
I have the original/spare:
8-10 rectangular side reflectors both red and amber
License plate lights
Knee trim (under steering column)
Sides of rear bumper
Upper and lower rear trim
Set of exterior door handles with keys
Glasspack style exhaust resonator
In addition to all of this I received a case of Oil, Transmission Jack, Floor Jack, and Engine Hoist. Porsche Bob (the previous owner) was generous enough to give me all of this stuff on a return trip, and we have an open line of communication if he is able to dig up any more parts. His garage is like a German car museum, I didn't want to trouble him to dig any further than he already had. I did have to pay back fees to get the car registered which was a bummer, but not unexpected.
I've probably put 25 miles on the car and have been hearing all kinds of noise from under the car, nothing ominous sounding, but enough squeaking/rattling and occasional grinding to give me warning. Turn signals stopped working, wipers do not currently work, and the stereo turns on but I have no sound. I plan to take the car to a shop for a safety inspection and compression/leakdown test to get a better idea of what could be going on. I'm not seeing any smoke on accel or decel, but the car is definitely running rich and blowing black sooty particles all over my garage and driveway when it is warming up, and the underside of the bumper is getting pretty black even in the short amount of time I've been driving it. I changed all the fuses and gave it an oil change with plans to do brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid, coolant flush etc.
The car has a Weber 32/36 on it, which needs a tune at the very least. The hose situation on the top of the motor is a little intimidating, I'm trying to get an understanding of how much can be simplified there.
I'm finding some strange things that need addressing as well. The car has what looks like an E21 radiator installed, but the hose setup leaves some to be desired. The lower hose contacts the body, and it appears that a preventative fix was created out of the side of a steel can. The metal piece midway up the hose (Thermostat?) is contacting the front of the motor and grinding away the bolt there.
Crawling around under the car was encouraging, it is extremely dry rust-wise. The driveshaft is newer, Guibo looks like it's in decent shape, and the motor mounts look fresh. There is a 32/36 shaped ding on the underside of the hood, I'm going to guess the mounts were changed shortly after that occurred. Passenger side control arm and bushings appear new, all the rest is pretty dried and looking tired. The exhaust is a Magnaflow Can with no resonator, I'll need to replace everything from the header back since it was welded together, it is loud and a bit raspy for my taste.
The Interior will be a job unto itself. I removed the sheepskin covers and the towels that were used as seat padding and found this. The seats are in very poor shape, the carpet is totally done, and I can see the ground through the pedal box. Is there a cover on the box that I'm missing?
Overall I'm staying optimistic about this car. I've got a pretty strong sentimental attachment to it and look forward to slowly bringing her back up to driveable condition. I've put together a list of things I'd like to replace immediately just to get it to a baseline, again I'm open to critique:
Stainless Brake lines
All suspension bushings
I've been eyeballing the steering and suspension refresh kits from Blunt, and will need to get new tires. Basically anything consumable I'd like to replace. Down the road I will look into different ignition setups and dive deeper into extracting performance, for now I just want to be safe. I was able to take my wife on a date in the car last night, I'd forgotten how much attention these cars get. Too fun.
About this blog
I just picked up a 1973 2002 and I'm very excited to be a part of this community again. I'd always wanted a 2002 after being fascinated by an Orange one across the street from my preschool as a kid. I joined FAQ in 2011 when I bought my first 2002 - a Chamonix 1974 that I didn't own long enough to make any measurable changes to for better or worse. I sold the car to attend Paramedic school, I needed dead-nuts reliable transportation at the time and was heartbroken to sell it. I was also making $10/hr on an Ambulance and living in a 300sq/ft sunroom with no garage, so fun quirky transportation ended up low on the list. Fast forward several years and a recent move into a house with a detached 2-car garage and the hunt was on.
The car I picked up is a Colorado Orange slicktop that was owned by a guy who goes by 'Porsche Bob.' He was a mechanic for one of our local German car dealerships and suffered a stroke about 5 years ago with left-sided deficits, and can no longer drive stick. I'd attended the day-care directly across the street from his house, and grew up staring at his driveway and garage. This is THE car. The actual Orange one that started the fascination for me, and I'm absolutely thrilled to own it, warts and all. Here is a scan of a photo dated 1994, you can imagine how captivating a sight like this could be for a car-crazy kid and why it stuck with me.
I had initially been looking for a sorted, complete car that I could use as a daily driver, and was looking at buying something and shipping it home, but I was stuck on wanting an Orange roundie. I'd inquired about this car on my way home from an errand about 2 years ago and like most owners, Porsche Bob said he'd be willing to part with it for a much higher amount than I was ready to pay. The car was about 2 miles from my house, and my supportive and understanding wife urged me to go have a chat with him about it once I started hunting for a car. I knocked on his door out of the blue about 2 weeks ago to see if he would sell the car to me, and we struck a rapport and I was able to see the car again.
The car was hit in the back in 2009 and repaired but not painted. The rear panel had been grafted on and left in prime, but the car was about as solid and rust free as I'd seen. He used it until he had his stroke and then parked it - starting it once or twice a year to get up to temp. I made arrangements to return to check out the car with a local guy who daily drives a 5-speed '72 and an E9. We spent about 2 hours going over the car, the only rust we found is in the front under the battery box in the strange spot that seems to rust out on these cars. We got the car started that day but it was dumping fuel from the pump and the fuel line. Some shots from that day:
After some soul-searching and negotiating I returned with a trailer and brought the car home. I've got the original manual and service book, receipts from La Jolla independent for a NOS rear panel and used bumper, as well as the receipts for the bodywork to get the car together again. The sides of the trunk are still solid Colorado, so the car doesn't look to have been kinked and is square. No rust in the tire well, shock towers, sills, floorpans. Bilstein struts and unknown lowering springs. The interior is tired, I can stick my hand straight through the seats to the carpet. In the sale I got several boxes of parts, 2 sets of taillights, all the trim, a Haynes manual and several other goodies. I'm stoked. I got the fuel issue sorted and have been able to take the car on several spins around town.
My short list:
Sort the brakes (brake failure is lit, feels like it is dragging a brake)
Address any immediate engine needs
Refresh the suspension, it is creaking and groaning coming out of my driveway
Refresh the interior - the seats are shot and the console wants to come apart
Eventually the car will see a repaint and overall restoration, but we have a 6-month old son and a new house with endless projects, so my time is limited. I just want to get it sorted and start driving the heck out of it, and hope to make it to Brisbane. I'm very excited to be back in the game, and absolutely tickled to have the car that started it all for me. I know she isn't perfect, but I've come full circle and am looking forward to a long ownership. Cheers!