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Follow Remy's journey to restoration

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Remy: The Begining Of A Long Journey

In 2010 my son was turning 16 and anxious to get a car/project of his own. (Not just wrenching on one of mine.) Around the corner from our house was BMW 2002 in a side yard that I had never seen move. Every time we would drive by I would suggest he go up to the door and ask if the car was for sale. He was never interested. I had two project 2002s previously and I did my best to explain the 2002 would be a fun car and easy to work on too. He was not impressed and continued to dream about twin-turbo Supras. One night while driving by we saw someone at the house and I stopped the car. My son was terrified to go up to the door, but I insisted and went with him. As it turns out the car had been in the family since nearly new. It had been parked in the 80's and hadn't moved since. It was NOT for sale but they took my name and number anyway. Fast-forward several months. I get a call from the fellow who owns the car asking if we are still interested. After explaining how we would care for, and restore the car, he told us to come down and get it... We could have it for FREE! My son has helped me off and on with the car but it's never been his thing. He got a Jeep Cherokee XJ and the 2002 became mine. My wife and I restore cars as a hobby and she named the 2002. Based on his humble state when we acquired him the name fits. "Remy" is the rat from the movie Ratatouille. The custom license plate says it all: RAT02E I hope you enjoy the journey and maybe find something useful along the way If I can be of any help, just shoot me a PM. NOTE: I have been taking pictures of my progress with this project since day one of ownership. As I get time I have been adding pictures and commentary in chronological order by the date of the associated pictures. As of 8/21/13 I'm altering the order of my posting to assist others here on the FAQ who have asked specific questions. So if the dates start to jump around you'll know why. September 10, 2010. We picked up Remy. The condition of the car left a lot to be desired, but the body was rust-free and had no signs of any major damage or repair. Once the car was safely in our back yard, I began to assess the situation in the engine compartment. The hood was not closed but rather 'placed' on the car for all those years. The engine sat with no carb installed... I could only imagine what had gotten into the engine. November 20, 2010. Time to take the manifold off and see what, if anything, had made its way into the intake. Using a Snap-on video borescope I was able to determine nothing was on top of the valves. Looking through the spark plug holes I was also pleasantly surprised to discover no foreign objects in the cylinders either. I added a generous quantity of Marvel Mystery oil to each cylinder in preparation for turning the engine over soon. Although I was pleasantly surprised on not finding any junk IN the engine I was not prepared for what I would discover under the intake manifold... Rube Goldberg gone wild. April 23, 2011. The shop is finally free and Remy is moved in. My first goal was to see if I could the engine running. Much to be done. Why is it that every project car comes with a electrical nightmare pre-installed? My wife went to town cleaning the engine and engine compartment with hot water and Oil-Eater. If you're not familiar with this product it is the BEST for cleaning and degreasing ANYTHING! I buy it from Costco. It comes in a white gallon jug and includes a spray bottle. It is a concentrate you mix with water and is skin/environment friendly. I HIGHLY recommend it. I have a solvent tank in the shop and often find myself using this stuff with hot water in the slop sink instead. April 28, 2011. The radiator is not looking so good. Obvious contact with fan. (Lose radiator, bad motor mounts, or both?) I removed it from the car. The coolant system was full of coolant so I know the radiator is water-tight at zero PSI... I spent a LONG time cleaning and straightening all those fins. (The radiator has a transmission cooler built-in so it's obviously not the original.) BEFORE: AFTER: April 29th, 2011. More issues. The alternator pulley was out of alignment with the other pulleys so I installed new bushings. Why the alternator is out I replaced the coolant hose that lives below the alternator. In the picture is also the new OEM negative battery cable. With fresh oil added I'm ready to crank the motor. (Turned by hand previously.) No go. The ignition switch would not make the starter turn. Could it be the starter, or all of that funky wiring? Not wanting to dig into the wiring at that point, I use my remote start switch to determine the starter was shot. With a quick call to my buddy, Chris Willet, at Sin City BMW in Las Vegas, I sourced some spare starters. May 1, 2011. All of the new hoses have been installed. Ready to fill the cooling system and test. The system holds pressure... for a bit. Not surprisingly the leak was in a hose I had not replaced. A hose that is a p.i.t.a. to replace. Notice the heater control valve is not looking so good nor the plastic mount that holds it. I was not surprised when I got the valve out to discover the mount was broken. And here's the culprit. The hose literally fell apart once removed. I fixed the mounting bracket with some JB Weld. I knew this would be a temporary fix as I had intentions of rebuilding the heater box in the future. The heater control valve was not so simple. Initially I thought to just replace it... That is until I researched the cost. Although they appear to be made of brass, apparently they are actually made of solid gold! Luckily with a trip to the hardware superstore, McFadden-Dale, I was able to get the correct O-rings, stainless hardware and narrow hose clamps needed to rebuild and replace the valve. (Standard hose clamps are too wide for this application.) May 3, 2011. Final preparations before attempting to start the motor for the first time. I've installed new: plugs, cap, rotor, ignition wires and fuel pump. I've cleaned the 32/36 carb and installed a small inline filter. I've bypassed the wiring nightmare for now with a remote start button and a single wire to the coil. It's ALIVE! http://youtu.be/lk-wMQs501Y The engine started on the first attempt! Unbelievable how much smoke and crap came out of the exhaust! Speaking of exhaust... Now that the engine has run, it has come to my immediate attention the exhaust system need some serious work. My wife and I took a trip down to Southern California to visit Ireland Engineering. Nice folks and TONS of goodies I added to the wish list. I left IE with a complete polished stainless exhaust system and ceramic coated header. We also visited 2002AD which has to be the world's largest collection of used 2002 parts. June 4, 2011. After more cleaning with Oil-Eater the passenger side of the engine is ready to receive some attention. Can you tell the difference between the old and new exhaust systems? I installed the header with the appropriate gasket and hardware. As beautiful as the stainless system was from IE, I could not get it to fit. Believe me I tried EVERYTHING. I wrestled with it for days. The folks at IE were very helpful and understanding. The end result was that I returned the stainless exhaust system and kept the header. To bad as it was beautiful. June 17, 2011. During the exhausting (I couldn't resist the pun) process I had removed the fuel tank for better access to the muffler. When I did, I noticed some light surface rust on the body and tank. I believe the old foam gasket was holding moisture. I removed all of the rust from the body. I primed the body and installed a fresh foam seal. I thoroughly cleaned the fuel tank and then sprayed it with black, fuel-safe, epoxy. I topped it off with a new rubber fuel neck $$$. June 24, 2011. Since the car actually runs now, its time to address some other issues. I picked up some DOT braided brake lines for all four corners. The more time I spend under the car, the more I see that will need attention: 'TURBO' style mirror had to go. I picked up some OEM steel wheels and new tires. I did not care for the wheels that were on the car. (I've still got them if you know anybody that's interested.) I polished a old set of chrome center caps and acquired some new roundels. I was torn between two colors for the rim paint, so I painted one each color to help to me decide. I ended up going with the gunmetal color. I like the contrast with the chrome lug nuts and center cap. July 3, 2011. The stock air cleaner came with the car but would not fit on the Weber carb I installed. I discovered, and acquired, a adapter piece that would allow it to be fitted to the Weber. The original air cleaner looked less 'boy-racer' than the chrome K&N filter and also had a rubber tube that provided for cold air intake. The factory air cleaner needed to be slightly modified. The flange and rubber seal that mate to the original carb. (Bottom of air cleaner.) Flange removed and replaced by aluminum adapter. From inside the air cleaner the 'venturi' fits perfectly inside the adapter below and flow directly into the Weber. From this view you can't tell its not stock. July 4, 2011. Strange noises under the car... I assumed it was the guibo... Found much more. The rear transmission mount had seen better days so I replaced it. While I was in the area, I figured I would replace the original rubber guibo and center bearing. The center bearing replacement was straight forward, but the guibo... Not so much. When I got a closer look at the rear of the transmission I realized I had just opened Pandora's box. The guibo was actually OK. (I still replaced it as it looked like the original.) but the drive shaft snout bushing was shot. This allowed the drive shaft/guibo to move enough to eat into the rear housing. When I removed the shifter console I also noticed the mounts were shot and both mounting holes had been mangled by a previous repair attempt. I cleaned the area completely so that I could monitor for any possible future leaks. I repaired the shifter console mounts and replaced the shift shaft seal. Knowing that a 5-speed conversion was planned, I repaired the transmission housing with JB Weld around the new seal instead of a replacing the rear housing. (As of Fall 2013 it has not leaked a drop! The bad drive shaft snout bushing had damaged the transmission shaft. I de-burred and polished the shaft. Drive shaft snout bushing rebuild. New shifter console mounts and rebuilt shifter console. (As long as I was 'in the neighborhood' I might as well make it right too.) The new rear transmission mount changed the engine/transmission angle so now the down pipe connected to my IE header was rattling against the bottom of the car. Again, I knew I would have a complete new exhaust system at some point, but needed a fix to solve the immediate issue. Enter the MIG welder... With some careful measuring I added/removed a section of pipe to give the body clearance I wanted without changing where the downpipe connected to the rest of the exhaust system. July 21, 2011. Time to rebuild the head. Although the engine was running remarkably well, all things considered, the #3 sparkplug was bothering me. It didn't seat well and I could see the sparkplug threads had been 'repaired', not to mention the crud/deposits under the valve cover. Reason enough to dig-in. The cylinders look ok. No damage or scoring. Carbon buildup even and not excessive. Head gasket looked ok. Piano top pistons marked 89.47mm (2nd over bore) so I know the bottom end has been done at least once. (That junk in the cylinder is from the head removal.) The bottom of the head looks OK as far as the overall sealing surface is considered. Here is what a properly seated spark plug should look like. And here is what the #3 spark plug looks like when its FULLY seated. I wonder if this is affecting combustion in this cylinder? Someone had attempted to repair the threads in the #3 spark plug hole and did not use the proper tool/technique. You can NOT use heli-coil or other standard thread repair tools/techniques to repair spark plug threads. They do not provide a proper seat for the plug nor conduct heat properly. The proper tool is called a TIMESERT. The inserts are not costly but the installation tool isn't cheap. If you need this repair done, and don't do this all the time, find a buddy or a shop who has the TIMESERT tools and inserts. As long as we're on the subject of special tools, I highly recommend the use of the valve spring compressor/cam removal tool made for the M10 engine. It compresses all of the valves simultaneously allowing the cam to be easily inserted or removed. It can be tricky to remove/install a cam without this tool and you risk damaging an expensive camshaft. Once the cam is removed, work can proceed on removing the rocker arm shafts. The shafts are driven out of the head with wooden dowels or long BRASS drifts, nothing else. Do not damage the end of the rocker shafts. If you mushroom the end of the shaft you will damage every item you force it through. I Highly recommend letting the head soak in a parts washer over night at least. Once everything is clean, use a oil can to apply fresh, clean oil to the rocker arms, shafts, etc. while you drive them out. Take your time. Don't lose your cool and get out the BFH. I used plastic rods to keep all of the components in order as I took them off. Mating, moving parts develop wear-patterns over time. Make sure parts go back in the positions they came out. (If you're using new parts this doesn't apply.) Stay tuned... MUCH more to follow. I'll keep adding as time allows. Cheers!