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About this blog

I decided that it was probably time to document some of the restoration work for my 1970 BMW 1600.  I bought this car after Danco posted some pictures of it on the FAQ.  It was part of Rey's inventory in San Juan Capistrano and was rumored to have been owned by one of Carl Nelson's mechanics at La Jolla Independent.  Danco delivered it to my house in Scripps Ranch and I started the process of tearing it down for paint. 


The car was very rust free.  The only real issues were the bottom of the rear quarter windows where water had pooled and rusted through and the hood had some bad spots.  Other than that, no apparent accident damage or rust could be found.  Whoever owned the car before me, spent some serious time and money to upgrade the suspension and brakes in preparation for a performance street build.  Most of the components were brand new when the work stopped and never made it to the road.  When I pulled the subframes, the car had Tii struts and brakes in front and 320i brakes in back, new ST Suspension springs and Bilstein HD shocks all around.


Originally I was planning on using this shell for my S14 swap, but I may change direction after the car comes out of paint.


Thanks for watching and stay tuned for new posts on my progress.





Entries in this blog

Chasing Leaks and Tuning Idle

Well, one good thing about getting the motor running, it does provide some quick feedback on if you have any leaks.  After going through the mis-adventure of the leaking heater core, (turned out to be just the hose clamp to the heater core on the driver's side), I did identify 3 leaks while running the motor.  I had an oil leak at the oil filter housing, a coolant leak at the thermostat and a transmission leak at the back of the transmission (output shaft seal, shift selector seal, or both).  Tw

Installing Seatbelts in my 1970 BMW 1600

This subject has been covered a lot, but after searching through dozens of posts, some key questions never seen to get answered.  My car originally had Klippan's installed front and back.  I originally thought about finding a nice set of Klippan seat belts and installing them for the originality, but couldn't find a set that was nice enough and had all the original hardware, covers, hooks, etc.  While searching the endless posts on Klippan seat belt installation, I determined that there is no ro


Mark92131 in Installing Seat Belts

Slogging through the Electricals

I promised myself that before I started messing with the ECU setup and the related electrical systems to support it, I would sort out all the electrical gremlins that were original to the car.  Little did I know that was going to a lot harder and take longer than I could ever imagine.   When I hooked up the battery for the first time after completely removing the wiring harness, I had some pleasant surprises and some "what the hell" moments.  First off, when I turned the ignition key f


Mark92131 in Electrical Testing

The Never Ending Task List Gets Shorter

OK, it's been a while, but the road to the next milestone, (firing the motor) is getting shorter.  In the last post, I had some things that needed solving, how to marry the passenger side heater core hose to the bigger connection on the back of the head and other issues like throttle cable linkage and installing the driveshaft.  I happy to report that most of those issues are resolved.   Coolant Connections I needed to connect the passenger side heater core to the back of the head

Odds and Ends, The Never Ending List

So I haven't posted in a while because after the Euphoria of installing the motor came the depression of all the tasks that lie ahead.  I still haven't installed the driveshaft, mainly because it takes two people and my brother has been busy with his Triumph GT-6 build.  Other sources of depression were self inflicted, as I was staring up at the transmission and thought, may as well hook the clutch line to the clutch master and promptly cross threaded it.  Just more things to fix!   Fo


Mark92131 in Odds and Ends

Major Milestone - The Motor is In!

So last blog post tracked the issues relating to the first test fit in the 1600 and a whole bunch of stuff that needed sorting after that test fit.  As you may remember, the lips on the inside of the frame rail was preventing the S14 header and the steering box from clearing and lifting straight into the engine bay.  So while I was waiting for the injectors to arrive from the UK, I decided to use my angle grinder to notch the inside lips of the frame rail.  When you do this procedure, it require

Solving Problems With More Cash

So, after sorting out the S14 flywheel, clutch, pressure plate clearance issue with the Getrag 245 transmission debacle, I decided that it would be wise to test fit the motor/trans and subframe installation and see if any adjustments would be needed.  Well, turns out adjustments are needed.  First off, while lifting the subframe, motor and trans on the motor jack while subsequently lowering the car it turns out that S14 header and the steering box hang-up on the inside lip of the frame rails on

Moving Slowly to Front Subframe Install

I haven't posted in a while, but I've made some progress towards getting the engine mounted in the subframe and the subframe reattached to the car.  First off, the flywheel debacle is finally complete.  My 2 week flywheel lightening project at IE took over a month to return, (my fault for expecting a quick turnaround during the Thanksgiving break).  Then there was the issue of the 22mm vs 28mm ARP flywheel bolts, ordering the wrong size (needed 28mm version) set me back $75 and 2 weeks.  But wit

Oil Pan Progress

So while I was waiting for IE's machine shop to finish weight reducing my S14 flywheel, I decided to button up the oil pan.  As you may remember, I thought the oil pump chain was a little stretched, so I bought 3 of the .25mm shims from IE and ended up only using 1 of them along with the two, .1 mm shims already installed.  The new shim did the trick and I was ready to install the baffled oil pan and crank scrapper.   I had already gotten my brother to weld in the IE Baffle and after s


Mark92131 in Oil Pan Progress

Scope Creep

The longer I take to finish this project, the greater the opportunity for scope creep.  While perusing the FAQ Classifieds, I saw a post from @Ian that he was selling his BluntTech Ultimate 5-Speed conversion kit.  Well, I already had purchased an IE 5-Speed conversion kit for my Getrag 245 OD Box, so obviously, I don't need that part, but the nagging voice in my head kept telling me, "The BluntTech kit was better".  When Ian adjusted his price, I jumped at the chance to get the "better" of the


Mark92131 in Scope Creep

Finishing the Gas Tank Install and a New Project

So while I wait for my S14 flywheel to return from the machinist, (I dropped it off at the IE booth during the SoCal Vintage).  I figured I would finish off the trunk by completing the installation of the gas tank.  All that was remaining was to simply install the rubber fill pipe and figure out how I was going to vent it.  Well, things are never simple with this car.   First off, the rubber fill pipe is the longer one for the early car and the original one I removed from the car was i

Brake Lines, Fuel Lines, Gas Tank, Oh My!

Work continues on the 1600 S14 Motor Swap.  I switched positions in the garage with my M2 Competition and put it up on the MaxJax in anticipation of finally installing the motor, trans and front subframe.  Several tasks needed to be completed before getting to the motor installation, notably the brake and fuel return line.  I had already run the fuel feed line (5/16 copper nickel) through the cabin in the same routing as the plastic line.  I used what was left of the 25' coil to run the return l

A Couple Of Steps Forward

Between Kid's Soccer games and an Epidural in my spine I made some progress the last two weeks.  My back feels so much better, I tackled the under-dash wiring and started prepping the S14 for installation.   S14 Work I started out by flipping the spark plug wiring harness so the terminals face the EDIS coil on the firewall instead of the the OEM distributor.  Next I pulled the distributor cap to verify I was still at TDC with spark plug #1 and my 36-1 crank wheel VR pickup was ind


Mark92131 in S14 Prep and Dash Wiring

Getting Closer to Finishing the Electrical

In my last post I mentioned buying a Deutsch 29 Pin bulkhead connector to handle the wiring between the engine compartment and the MicroSquirt ECU.  This week while waiting on the endless list of parts, I decided to get the connector installed so I could start wiring the pin side from the ECU.  The Deutsch connector only has 4, AWG pins, so I'm going to use 2 pins to power the 2 banks of injectors (1 & 3 and 2 & 4).  I originally had 12V+ Switched power off the Main Relay running to a 2

Slow Progress is still Progress

I try to do something every week to get it closer to installing the front subframe with motor and transmission.  This week I continued to edge towards the S14 engine installation by figuring out what I was missing to complete that task.  One of the hurdles would be ignition and running EDIS-4 wasted spark, what to do with the S14 Distributor.  Now had I planned better when I bought this motor, I would have purchased on of Lee's S14 Massive Distributor block-off plates, but of course I didn't, an

Cool Oil Cooler Idea Theft

So, no matter which engine ends up in this car, I was going to use the oil filter housing from the S14 and convert it to 10AN fittings.  The stock S14 Oil Cooler is too long and large to mount anywhere it can get decent air flow, so I figured that something aftermarket was in the cards.  After watching a Jay Leno's Garage Video posted by @NYNick on a 1972 BMW 2002 Restomod, I was inspired by how @Shad (the Builder), fit an aftermarket Earl's Oil Cooler in this beautiful car.  I reached out to Sh

Changing Directions

Sometimes you plan and things don't go exactly to plan, so you need to change directions.  So I installed my clean one-piece dash in my 1970 BMW 1600 and have been struggling trying to get the older style switches around the instrument cluster installed because the original lock nuts are too short and the dash is too thick.  I was also planning to install the old style hazard switch in the original position, in the dash cubby just left of the instrument cluster.  While I was waiting for my WTB a

Bling from Germany

With so many of the remaining tasks fighting me at the moment, it is nice to have one project go exactly as I planned it.  Although I don't have a radio plan in place for the 1600, I did have the issue of what to do with the 4 holes in the passenger side "A" pillar that supported the original radio antenna.  I figured I'd just find a old school antenna and install it in the existing holes and be done with it.  Turns out, there doesn't appear to be a universal mounting standard for 1970 radio ant

Heater Box Restoration

Now in theory, living in California I could have just re-installed the original heater box and prayed it didn't leak.  But this wasn't going to work in the anal retentive world I live in.  So time to crack open that box and get it right.  Chris Blumenthal documented this process in a beautifully illustrated article in 2006 and Auto Dynamik in San Francisco has assembled a restoration kit with all the parts you need to get this job done.  Now the Blumenthal article outlines the process on a later

Radiator Installation

So I didn't have a stock radiator, but I did have one out of a BMW 320i that I bought on the FAQ several years before.  After reading some posts on the FAQ about how people install this radiator, I came up with a plan.  The mounting tabs/ears are slightly wider than the stock radiator.  I decided to use the top mounts and then add brackets to the bottom to hold the radiator in place.  I used the existing mounting hole on the top passenger side and drilled a single hole on the driver's side for t

Electrical Progress

One of my biggest fears on disassembling this car for paint was pulling out the wiring harness.  So many connectors and wires, how was I ever going to re-install it correctly.  Well, here's how I did it...   First off, this car was missing a "shit-ton" of parts (like turn signals) when it arrived on my driveway and the PO had it set up for extras (electric fan, electric fuel pump, etc.) so I spent a lot of time sorting things out.  Before I pulled the wiring harness out, I labeled most

MVP Rear Bumper Installation

So originally, the car came to me without bumpers.  But I wasn't worried because years before, I traded a spare LSD for a complete set of newly re-chromed bumpers for a pre-74 car.  These bumper pieces came to me in a custom-made wooden crate and although I had seen pictures, I didn't actually take them down from the rafters and out of the crate until just recently.  So after un-crating them, I realized that it was a mixed set of beautiful chrome bumpers, the front bumper was from an early car (

MaxJax Installed, Rear Sub-frame is In!

I have been working more and posting less, so I thought I would share some progress.   I finally got my MaxJax installation finished.  I had to wait until my wife was out of town because she usually parks her Cayenne in the middle spot of our three car garage and that's where I was planning on putting the MaxJax.  So while she was out, I bolted the two lifting posts into the holes I drilled the last time she was out of town, moved her car to the far right spot, and finished installing

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

In my last blog post, I covered some of the work I did on getting the Pedal Box and brake system sorted.  Then I saw a FAQ post on firewall insulation and thought that I should probably install one while I have room in the engine bay.  Unfortunately, most of the Pedal Box work needs to be removed to get the firewall insulation pad under the brake booster bracket on the firewall.  While I waiting for parts, I was tempted into bolting on some shiny bits to make it look more like a car.  


Mark92131 in Odd and Ends

Pedal Box Progress

Since the car has returned from paint, I have been trying to wrap my mind around the tasks, and order of tasks, required to re-assemble the car in a timely manner.  I would like to get this project to the roller phase, so re-installing the subframes seems like a good idea.  I am still on the fence with S-14 or M10 motor choices, but lately have been thinking that selling the S-14 and using money to build a nice injected (Jenvey) M10 with MicroSquirt for engine management might be a better strate


Mark92131 in Pedal Box

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