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About this blog

This is the story about the restoration of a 1-owner car, a 1975 2002 by a reasonably experienced and mechanically inclined 7 car owner.  This is my 14th BMW and 5th complete car restoration. The goal is to have this car complete and show ready in time for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in July of 2018.  I want the car to be mostly stock, with a slightly more modern, aggressive stance.  I will try to write about the journey and will show pictures along the way.    

Entries in this blog

 

It was a good day for paint to die!

Today was soda blast day!  I spent the last week stripping the last bits off of the Polaris and pulling out nearly all of the interior and every clip and metal piece off of the car.  The only thing left was the window trim, which I taped over.  I had originally planned to leave most of the interior and tape over the door seams, but that didn't make any sense once I realized how many holes there were that would let baking soda into the car.  So I pulled all of the dash components and the door and
 

Seats for Chamonix

Last year, I bought a beautiful set of E21 Recaro seats and mathcing rear seat covers for the Chamonix '02.  Since this is the sportier my two '02 cars and it had the old-style marshmallow wide headrest seats, it made sense to install them in this one.  They look A-MAZ-ING!   Although the seats are the same height as the old seats, they are much more firm so you end up sitting about 2 inches higher than before.  That's going to take some getting used to.  I will not be cutting into the seat moun

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The Chamonix puzzle box is shaping up nicely!

I got the Chamonix '04 back from paint the other day and have been working on little things to make it a little more fun to drive.  The weather here is briefly in the 60s during the day and very nice.  Still too cold for convertible weather, but perfect for a 2002!      I pulled the E30 steering wheel and replaced it with a beautiful 360mm Nardi wheel. It makes the car much easier to get into, makes it much more go-kart-like and I'm not having any real issue with the smaller whee

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Slow progress on the Polaris

The polaris 2002 was in a remote warehouse for several months but last month I found a place much closer to my home so I can finally start working on it again once it gets a little warmer.  I completely broke down the front and rear subfames and sent the parts out for stripping and powdercoating and they came back looking terrific.  Subframe powdercoating doesn't seem like much and I know there are hundreds of hours in front of me on this project, but seeing how nice it looks helps motivate me t

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I found a great puzzle box!

When I restore cars, I like to have both the puzzle car and a puzzle box car.  Sometimes that is pretty diificult. Sometimes it works out great!  I am still bogged down with another project and have not been able to bring my stripped down Polaris '75 back from the warehouse yet, but I came across an amazing deal on a puzzle box 2002!  It is a Chamonix '74 and it is an older restoration that still looks spectacular.  I picked it up today in New York and hauled it back home.   The car is pristine

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A frustrating move using a U-Haul trailer!

My youngest daughter is graduating from high school this year and her grad party is in 2 weeks.  My wife has been working on tent rentals, catering, etc. and unfortunately, I promised her that the 2002 would be out of the garage by then.  I honestly thought it would be at the paint shop.  Well, I explained in a prior posst that my scheduleis way off and I'm not going ot have this car ready for Oktoberfesdt/PVGP, so I had to get the car battened down for a trip to the warehouse where I keep a cou

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Day 179: Brake booster and schedule delays

First, the good news.  I shipped my brake booster off to Power Brake Exchange in San Jose/Bell Gardens and Louis turned it around in about a week.  (http://www.pwrbrake.com/ )   I have not had a chance to test it yet, of course, but oit looks great!   Here is a before image.  BRake fluid had stripped a lot of the paint off and there was a layer of crud, of course.  And here is an after shot.  They dismantled, soda blasted and repainted the unit.  The only things they did not do i

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Day 162: Seats out, tank out, more trim off and new fenders

With the dolly done, I've been working on pulling parts off of and out of the car in preparation for soda blasting and paint.   First, I drained and removed the gas tank.  I have a small marine gas pump and an extra 4 gallon gas can, which I completley filled 3 times (and dumped the gas into my truck).  So that was over 75 lbs in gas and another 15 lbs or so for the tank.    Then I took the seats out.   The seats are a bit of a mystery.  The latches for both backs are broken and the he

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Day 158: Car dolly for non-welders

Today I built a car dolly out of 4x4 lumber and 3/4 inch OSB.  It is a little taller than I expected, but it turned out OK.  A while back I asked for images of dollies and I got a bunch of nice ones but I didn't really like the stacked matchstick designs of most of the wooden ones.   I have a general contracting license as another one of my hobbies and I have scratch built a lot of stuff....like this out of pressure treated timber.   So I designed something that others have made out of square st

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Day 151: Rear subframe removal and a surprise!

For some reason,  dropping the rear subframe seemed a little more daunting than dropping the front.   Maybe it was because I haven't had to crawl under the back end of this car much so far.   I also did not have a complete plan for how I was going to do this and did not have a punchlist for completion like I did with the other items I've removed so far.       And then there was something that has never happened before.  At the end, I got a prize!   If you hate long winded blogs, skip t

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Day 150: Remaining engine bay stuff out!

After dropping the front subframe earlier today, and stopping to write about it, I kept going in an effort to get everything out of the engine bay in preparation for a thorough cleaning and probably soda blasting.  Like pulling on a thread, things starting coming out in a fairly systematic way.  Front brake lines, brake reservoir, master cylinder, brake booster (what a PITA those tight bolts are), pedal box, labeled and unclipped the wiring harness, lights, firewall heat shield, drains, clips an

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Day 150: Front subframe out

My big goal today was to remove the front subframe and as many have said, it really was not difficult since I already had the engine and transmission out.   Many people here provided great info on the subframe drop process, but I took a lot of pictures with the idea that I will post a brief article for those who want to do the same thing.  The whole subframe with the steering box attached weighs about 90-100 lbs.  It is not difficult to deal with, but you can't just let it drop either.    

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Day 144: Engine and transmission Out!

Funny how all frustration about a project can go away when some big milestone happens.  That was Saturday when I pulled the engine and transmission.  Many people told me that I should do this and that it would not be terribly difficult, especially considering what I had already done to remove most of the auxillary pieces on the engine. Compared to some things I've done to later cars, this was pretty easy!  Unfortunately, I do not have many images of the actual event because I was working by myse

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Day 120: Emissions controls out, plus more....

4 months.  That's how long I've had this 2002.  And it has been sitting in the garage on jack stands for nearly 3!  The problem I've had is the same problem many of us have had this winter: It's just too damn cold in the garage to work!  Especially with the wife coming and going in her car.    Well, today was a really bad day, weather-wise.  So bad that my wife did not try to go anywhere all day so the garage was relatively warm.  So I took the day and worked on the car a little.  I've been doin

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Day 40: Finally getting started.

I was finally in a position to set an entire day aside to work on the 2002 today. (Well, really about 4 hours.)  The first item on the agenda was removing the reactor/exhaust manifold and installing a new header as part of removing the emissions controls.  I will try to make an article out of this emissions control removal process.  But not today because, you know, gauntlets.     Today I discovered 3 things:  1) The Previous owner or his mechanic tried to remove the manifold/reactor be

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Day 31: The OZ wheels arrived from Budapest

The OZ wheels I ordered arrived from Budapest.  I thought they were coming from Vienna, Austria, but I guess somebody was confused about that whole World War One Austria-Hungary thing.  These wheels were packed really really well and they look awesome.  I am going to have a hard time deciding which set to use on the car, these or the euro weaves.  I still need to take the weaves over to my reconditioning guy.  The weaves came with a set of tires, so I'll mount tires on two OZ and two recondition

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Day 28: Still waiting on parts...and some space

I've been travelling and tied up with other projects and have not had a chance to start working on the 2002 but I'm almost, almost, almost ready to begin work.  Most of the parts I ordered have arrived.  I figured an image of all the stuff going into the car is in order, and laying it all out helps me get organized.  I also wanted to identify duplicates (there are a few duplicates for various reasons....).    So here are some of the parts I'll be working with over the next couple of months.    

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Day 6: Up on the rack

Today I took the car over to my regular mechanic, who put it up on a rack so I could look underneath.  We poked and prodded and looked around for rust and leaks.  Almost no rust.  Three areas that will need to be addressed: a small rust spot in the box-beam between the gas spout and the gas tank, a quarter sized spot in the front quarter panel in front of the drivers door and a slightly larger spot on the passenger side of the front air dam under the bumper.  Wow.  Lots of grime and oil, but no

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Day 3: Starting the clean-up

Today, I took the car over to the self-service car-wash and sprayed the engine compartment with foamy engine bright...several times.  It made a reasonable difference but there were decades of oil and grime on this engine.   Normally, I would have covered the distributor, carb and condenser, but they were all covered with oil too, so I just shot the whole thing and figured I could wait for it all to dry if the car didn't start.  It started and it smelled like a tar pit for the trip home.     My w

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Day 2: The before pictures.

Today, after taking the car over to the tag and title place still on the trailer and then returning the trailer,  I pulled the car out of the garage and took "before" pictures of everything I could.  You can NEVER take too many before pictures of a car you are restoring.  They will be your puzzle box for putting it back together.  You can't put the car back together correctly if it isn't already reasonably correct (which is why you want an unmodified car) and you can't use the images of the car

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Day 1: A drive to New Jersey

Early on the morning of Tuesday, October 10th, I started up my Dodge Ram 1500 toy hauler, left my home outside of Pittsburgh and headed off to New Jersey to look at and probably pick-up my new project, a 1975 BMW 2002.  It was about a 5 hour drive. The plan was to drive to Allentown, PA, pick up a U-Haul car carrier and, since the banks were closed Monday, pick up the cash needed to pay for this car.  I chose Tuesday because it was between storms. Hurricane Nate had not yet made it this far nort

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