• entries
  • comments
  • views

About this blog

Power sunroof

Entries in this blog


What wooden wheel

Hey, what's that? A stock 71-73 tii wheel I found in a shelf in summer of 2015. A slotted three-spoker. Spokes rusty and the foam... Gone. And now, what to do with it? Paint the spokes, yes, but the foam? I'm not familiar with replacing or shaping foam. Oak sounds some similar, so let's go oak.


The wheel's core:





Hm... A kind of oval steel profile around. I started a first try to find out what's doable:


P6030008.JPG  P6030009.JPG







The pic above is taken from another project; just to demonstrate what's going on. The oak is really very old (its provenience is known, it's pre-war), but some areas have been eaten by worms and some covered with soot since mom's house burnt down several years ago. The house is ok again, but I had to choose the needed sections very carefully. Here's the rim in the groove:




I had to do this two times, one for the front and one for the back. The gaps are turned to the centers of the opposite sections. Glued everything together:




What a monster. I let it dry over night. The next morning I started to fraze the borders:





Reminds me somehow to a boat rudder. Can you hear the Evinrudes, too? The funky arrangement I used:




Not free of danger. But it lead to this:




This was still more dangerous:




At this point I had to stop. Since I'm not a carpenter, coloring and clear coating wood is not my profession. I gave the wheel to a buddy of mine who knows somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody that can do it. This guy did it- but it took more than ten months. In September 2016 my now wooden wheel returned to me- colored in mahagony with a distinct stitch into red. However, the paint job including the spokes was done very well- nothing to nitpick. We checked it out in a 72 verona:




but the color combi is not good. The verona's owner refused it. Afterwards, I installed it in a lapisblau 74 to have another impression:





Sold in the very same minute to the owner of the 74.


I think everybody who has got some solid wood, some spare wood and a good frazer can do this DIY at home. This is my alternative for foam. Thank you for watching!







Additional gauges? Why not? Sporty cars need sporty gauges. And the center console looks some empty with only ashtray and stereo. Some space left to be used.


So let's go VDOs. Gauges and sensors are easily available and cheap; indeed I found the requested ones in one of my grabbleboxes. Oil temp, oil pressure and volts.


But not like this:




More like this (borrowed from John_im_VA, hope you don't mid, John):




Ok so far. But the face design!!?! Let's have a look at the stock tach and compare with the voltmeter design:





Not really the same. In the VDOs the white has become some tan, there are colored sections, the font is incorrect and way too many lines and numbers. Too obtrusive for my taste, even if there are fellers that like such:



Looks like a vegetable shop.


So whenever I modify Jérôme I try to find a design that fits to the car and is as close and similar as doable to the design BMW may have chosen in those years- if they had. And since my speedo cluster is made my way, the three small ones should look like that, too.


I took them apart. The front rings and screens were not longer requested. White paint inside, I didn't know before how the illumination may appear later:




Getting it darker is easier than getting it lighter. A wooden plywood with frazed holes holds the gauges with the light rings, covered with 2mm acrylic and finished with an aluminium front plate I frazed also.





Oh sorry, Esty and gentelmen. I do know that this machine is called router, but I think “frazer” hits better the sound it develops while operating. “Frraaaayze...” Yaah. So if you don't mind let me call it frazer.


Well, the arrangement is done and the installation into the console will be some work but no real problem. The pressure sensor will be located instead of the switch with an adapter next to the dizzy, the temp sensor probably into the oil filter socket- not entirely sure yet, but I'd like to know how hot the oil really is and not how cool in the pan. Running wires... Lousy but no problem, too.


And now the face design. Thanks xfer and jmr we know the figure font “Century Gothic” is close enough to the fonts in tach and speedo. At some point I've found all positions of the figures, but from here I was out. CAD unfortunately is not my business- but it's my old school friend Thommy's business. So I contacted Thommy, we met and palavered about the design and he agreed to create a file.


In the meantime I cared about the three hands. I wanted them with the same design as temp and tank in the bavaria what's the same in the 02's speedo and tach, but smaller. I started to modify the current hands but this was no way. They are made of three very thin metal layers and have a peak on top. There's simply not enough material there. Here's an essay:




No. Too rough. The hands themselves may be ok, but not the hubs. So I bought base material:





Knurled plastic screws M4. I treated them to get a similar shape to the bav hubs and drilled them longwise to 0,35mm. The gauges have hand shafts with 0,37 to 0,38mm, I could easily push the plastic onto the shafts.




To make the hand's needles was nervy. I got white triangle profile from a modeling ware shop, 1,5x1,5mm and a special fine knife set to cut the peaks. This was a real challenge. The profiles are pretty filigrane and I had extreme problems to hit their center to create an exact peak. More than a dozen essays were needed:




Well, at some point there were enough to choose three of them to use. They were glued to the hubs with special modeling glue. Here installed in comparison to a 2x2mm profile:




Then we have a wire adapter inserted between the plugs to the heater box fan:




So switched power and the gauge illumination are easily brought into the console. A small additional fuse box accessible from the glove box:





There's an adjustable resistor next to it (an old driving light switch) to regulate the illumination intensity. That's quite good because it turned out to be much too bright. The result:




Note that this is a direct view. You'll see that the single gauge units are located downwards and to the passenger side. This is done because when driving the car, the driver looks disangled onto the gauges and not directly. This way the front rings of the aluminium and the gauge's faces align much better. Using stock gauges in the center console, a small section of the face's left bow is cut off by the front ring and on the right the bright illuminated housing is visible what I always disliked. Here's approximately the driver's view:




And the entire thing:




The clock's front ring has to be modified, but all in all, that's it. Thanks for looking in!




My Sicily cluster

Well, what would we do without ideas? Waiting 'til the day is gone? Nonono.

I've got a lot of ideas. Good ones and new ones. Unfortunately, both of them have a disadvantage: the good ones are not new and the new ones are not good. Mh.

However, here's an old one I'd like to introduce: my custom gauge cluster. I call it the „Sicily cluster”. My parents used to have an 02, then they switched to a 3-series. When we got this car I instantly noticed the fine designed arrangement of the gauges and controls that nestled so perfectly under the steering wheel's upper bow. Not that I dislike the 02-cluster, absolutely not. But it hasn't got this harmonic thru'n'thru symmetry that I really like. I'm a big fan of symmetry.

In all the years, from time to time, I was thinking about how to arrange the gauges and controls in an 02-cluster like it is done in the 3-series. But since there was no necessity I never started any serious essays- until the electric power steering was installed. This SCU provides a control light turning on when the ignition is switched on (goes out when the engine is running) or when there's something wrong with the steering. And since this control pin is offered, the lamp has to be installed, too- but where?

My first thoughts went to something with an LED in the speedo or in the tach. So I took a speedo with poor optics, drilled a hole and held a green LED behind- absolutely awful, it looked like a cheap Volkswagen gauge.. I HATE Volkswagen, so this was no way.

Yah, and then I digged out this old idea and started a serious essay this time. This is the very first vision:


Quite funny, but not what I wanted. The plan was to have a front plate with each a round hole for temp, tank, tach and speedo, two more for the control lights and one for the daily odo reset pin. But round holes wouldn't fit to the 02's „temp” and „tank”. I didn't want to have holes in the front shaped like a pie-slice. Round holes, please.

This took me to the Bavaria gauges. Round, same year range and at least the temp would probably fit to the 02-sensor. Tank we would see but I was confident that there could be found a way if sensor and gauge wouldn't work well with each other.

So I made some experiments, and here we have the first arrangment that I liked and what I was aiming at:


Reset in the center, smaller gauges outside down and the controls into the upper corners. Already very similar to the E21-series, but in an 02-cluster. There used to be several 02s with the entire E21- or E30 dashboard but this is a kind of modification that's too heavy for me. Let's stay on the bottom.


Here it is obvious: the 02-cluster is too small and no base as a gauge housing. I started to get free from it with an own creation:


Aluminium L-profiles. Easy to cut and to drill and much better concerning exactness and measurements. Here I planned to give the tach the same hole system as the speedo. Later on I learned that this was not such a good idea. Tcha- learning by doing.

This is the way:


Note that temp and tank are now located closer to the driver- in front of speedo and tach and not behind.. This allows to put them closer to the center and to get the rear carrier more narrow. The 02 cluster's hood is screwed to the aluminium backframe in its four corners.

Control trios:

blogentry-42081-0-72510100-1438112761_th blogentry-42081-0-18880600-1438112784_th

Glued together with epoxyde. Electric lines scratched into the platines with wires for temp/tank and reserve control bulb. Here you can see why the controls can't be arranged different, there's not enough space. The housing's rear threads are directly next to the trio capsules.

blogentry-42081-0-21450800-1438112810_th blogentry-42081-0-89780600-1438112830_th

And the very first impression of the entire thing:

blogentry-42081-0-63518500-1438112856_th blogentry-42081-0-76682400-1438112879_th

with temporary hard paper, pool folio and some transparent I found somewhere. Just to see how it may look like one day. Found some acrylic glass in dad's cellar and cut a front screen:




The central plug is taken from the 02 combi platine, but that's not good. The copper lines are too narrow to sold wires in and the'v got an awkward design. Too much holes around. Later I made an own one.

Oh yes, the wire colors are exactly the same as they are in the 02 stock harness. I've got a destroyed harness that gave the correct colors. Only the wires for the e-brake and the EPS have different ones.

Time to check out the new position in the car:


The speedo and its bolts are now located 50mm to the left, but the height is the same. So I just had to mark the sideward position and brought over the opening for the speedo cable. A job for the air saw:

blogentry-42081-0-51373900-1438113857_th blogentry-42081-0-20398400-1438113885_th

Dad's frazer again:

blogentry-42081-0-74815700-1438114249_th blogentry-42081-0-42329200-1438113011_th

For those ones of you who want to know how to use a starter gear:


The silver holes are sand papered to clean them from scratches and then rubbed with steel wool. I didn't want them to shine like chrome (the steering wheel spokes are shiny enough) because it's overdressed and getting me nervous. They've got slight funnel shape. Covered with self-adhesive velvet folio and in the car:


The holes are too big and the trio lights need covers to stress the trapezoid shape, but that's how to get experiences. The small red section in the tank gauge is a tiny red light for the fuel reserve.

To be honest: if I had knewn before what a giantic orgy this project would become I perhaps may not have started it. But now everything is working, it's finished except some fine issues and I'm glad to having realized one of my not-new ideas...

Thank you for watching!


Oh, sure, sure.

The 02 is not a car that does need a power steering. It's easy enough to drive and, if it's not wheeled like a monster truck, does not need too much effort to steer.

Some things I did to my car are not done because of their effect but because of the making. I like changing and improving things and, if possible, realizing my own ideas. How to fix this, how to connect that, how to combine those... The way is the target! Some of them are invisible, for example the sunroof drive, but whenever I'm driving and it's not raining, I enjoy the comfort.

The other aspect is... We all get older. Don't we? Let's imagine: when we are 70+ or 80+ years, we may think about choosing the 02 for an afternoon drive to a coffee with friends or choosing the modern car because it's more comfortable and the 02 gets forgotten in the garage or is for sale. Horrible.

And the third: many years ago, I used to know somebody who has lost his right arm in WW2. To be able to drive, his car was modified to his special demands and today I wanted to find out how to modify an 02 for certain special demands. I think it can't be excluded that even a handicapped person wants to drive an old 02, so let's make this possible for him or her.

Ok, here's a short description of the project.

This is a power steering unit taken from a 2001 Renault Twingo:


I had to buy this lower part of the Renault spindle extra because the delivered spindle wasn't massive enough to be connected to the BMW shaft:


The black part is scrapped, the silver part is fixed to the lower BMW spindle by a sleeve I let lathed.

The installation into the car was quite easy. All the Renault stuff from the power unit upwards was removed and the yellow/gold pipe was shortened to about 20mm. The black BMW pipe was shortened, too, and slotted. After removing the paint inside the BMW pipe could be pushed over the Renault pipe. Fixed with a strong clamp taken from a child's scooter- finished. In the lower area I added a kind of torque support to the left bolt of the heater box. Now the steering column can't be dragged downwards while deboarding.

blogentry-42081-0-97439700-1432945278_th blogentry-42081-0-10321400-1432945316_th

The blue part in the background is the support, behind it the heater box, to the left the remaining BMW spindle and above the upper blower hose. The later added sleeve is located inside the black pipe flange in the firewall- invisible from the engine bay (no pic).

The upper crossover was some more difficult because the Renault shaft has got a kind of oval O-profile. The crossover could be done between ignition lock and top bearing, what is easier, but the slots in the sleeve for the lock are much wider than the BMW slots. This would mean much more clearance even if the wheel is locked and it would be quicker to knock out what I didn't want. Here's an overview:


02 lock with switch, Renault shaft and 02 shaft. The 02 shaft was routed or milled to this oval profile, too, and connected to the Renault unit by this oval sleeve inside the lock sleeve. The measurements had to be some exact because there's not so much space between lock housing and steering unit.

Now let's come to the electric part. It's enourmous. There are seven wires coming out of the Renault steering control unit: 30 (power), 31 (ground) and 15 (switched power). No problem. The next two are for diagnosis -not needed- no problem.

Then there's a wire for the engine signal. The SCU requires a negative square signal. This doesn't need to be the exact RPM, but only to tell the SCU if the engine is running or not. Since I don't have a TDC sensor or something similar on my engine, I bought an adjustable aftermarket simulator unit made for Opel Corsa from Portugal. Unfortunately this unit delivers a positive signal, so I had to reverse it into negative by a small transistor circuit with a base resistor. In the meantime, these units are available for Renault SCUs, too.

The last one is the speed signal. This signal is parallel delivered by the Opel simulator unit but it is always fix- if adjustable or not, there's no dependance on the real speed. This means that the power steering is in order while driving with 80mph on the highway and the 02 gets swammy like a 59 Cadillac Eldorado. No way.

So I bought a VDO speedo cable sensor:


Just a little bigger than a thumb. A male thumb. It delivers a square signal with the correct polarity and six beeps per turn. Basing on the fact that the SCU in the Renault switches off the steering at 70kmh and the 02 has W 0,91, I calculated that now in the 02 it switches off at about 58kmh. That's ok.

Well, the steering unit was ready to be installed, crossovers made, all signals provided- but no space for the SCU near the steering column. It is still a bit bigger than a 318i ECU. So I located it under the passenger seat with a kind of aluminium basket. This meant to prolong 15 wires to 2,5 metres- an entire afternoon job with solding, shrink hose and so on. Gosh:

blogentry-42081-0-35553500-1432945421_th blogentry-42081-0-12995000-1433008742_th

Ground is everywhere, and power I already ran under the rear seat for the Pioneer steamer. The costs: 70 or 75€ shipped for the steering, 25€ for the spindle, 35€ for the simulator and 44€ for the speed sensor. Not too expensive I think.

All in all, this upgrade is not done in a lunchbreak. Especially the wiring action was much more effort than expected, but: maybe we get older...

With improvized wiring and not taped yet, but already working:


Feel free to ask for more pictures, if interested! Thanks for watching!


Homemade steering wheel

Hello to all,

here I am again with my next quirk.

Propably all of you know the early ti/i steering wheel with the slotted black spokes, and also everybody knows the here so-called 3-spoke-sport-steering wheel what is very widespread.

In my car used to be the wooden version, maybe out of a 1600ti or 1600GT. I drove with this for several years but the grip is not the very best, and the major thing is: it doesn't fit optically to the car. The car is held in blue, black and silver/chrome/grey and the brown wood was irritating. An alternative was wanted.


I do like the sports wheels and I've got one in acceptable condition, but like so often I was looking for something individual that is not in any other car. For I like the holed spokes on the one hand, the dished shape on the other and a tiny flat hub on the third, I started to create my own wheel before the wooden one is entering the world of pain.

Here we go. Step one: kill an Alpina four-spoke to get the hub with inside denting:


4mm-steel plates:


And an andaptor disc for the spokes:


The hole for the horn contact had to be copied from the 02-position because the hub is from an E28 or such. Those have a contact ring and the tip is at the steering column. In the 02's, it's the other way round.

First loose fixing of the spokes to check the angles between them:


And here cut to triangles each fixed with two inhex screws to avoid overturning:


The M6 in the middles are needed later for the top cover. Then I stamped out black stickers to get an impression where are the best positions for the holes. I thought this was important because of the difference between flat and dished shape, but finally I located them feeling free by the stomach. The end cover is taken from a E21-series or 2002 turbo, I don't know. God bless the grabbleboxes. By this end cover the hub diameter was ruled.


Ok, here we have the hub, holed spokes, fillings for the gaps between them and a ring taken from an old barstool. The ring was not solid enough, that's why I later chose massive material.


My 82-year old friend Klaus who brought the hub unit into cone shape:

blogentry-42081-0-84270100-1423708426_th blogentry-42081-0-07102500-1423708451_th

The lathe in his cellar is still 20 years older- but works well!

This are two hard wooden plates to fix the spokes next to each other and fold them in identic angle. The spokes are already polished- simply by an excentric grinder like used for bondo. This job wasn't that easy, the material is quite hard.


The barstool ring was too weak. I ordered a massive 16mm-bar and bended it around an old 13” rim.

For I wanted the ring segments to overlap, I made a kind of setting (?) tool:


Installation on the lathe to check angles and tumbling:


It tumbles less than 3mm, stock wheels sometimes are much worse.

Inhex screws to draw spokes and segments to another:


And now the theme of upholstery. Here I used adhesive foam for sanitary isolation what's not perfect because it's too soft. The dark dots around are stamped out of stiffer foam to give the shape for the fingers. They are placed a bit outside of the middle because I expected the later drawn-over leather to draw the dots to the inside, what has happened indeed. Let me already now note that the foam or any material for the upholstery should better have the same color as the leather.



And the leather on the ring:


When you run the lines for the holes to sew the leather by a pattern tracer, don't choose a low gear. The distances between the holes drawn on the ring are very much smaller than they are when it's lying flatly on the table. Make sure the holes left and right are exactly parallel to another; otherwise there will be mistakes in the seam. Use a half-round needle.


I didn't measure, but there must be three or four metres of yarn between the upper spokes. When you start with about 80cm or 30- 35” of yarn, make sure the knot for the following 80cm is as close as possible to the cover. Otherwise you'll have to draw the knot through too many holes and it may tear.

On the first way from one spoke to the next it is easy to avoid to touch the foam- on the way back it's just impossible. The knots are tearing tiny fuzzles out of the foam that are then sticking in the leather holes and you have to push them back into the cover. Or there will be light-grey microdots on the seam that appear white what's not so attractive. That's why the foam better should be black, too.

Here we have the result:


And installed in the car:


Propably one of the heaviest steering wheels in the world, but I'm pretty happy with it.




Hi dear readers,

after years I managed somehow to let paint the roof of my car Jerome. Now, before installing the headliner, I wanted to reduce the noise of the electric drive because it's too loud.

The genuine e-motor is loud and the rubber shaft is loud, too. All 2nd hand shafts you can get are all worn out or stiff or both and shiver while rotating. The one in the pic below has already lost its outer coat. The new available BMW-spare is simply inacceptable. It looks like a gardening hose and only works when it's warm enough outside. Otherwise it is much too stiff and you can count each single rotation- while there's 4500 rpm written on the motor.

That's why I was looking for a better solution and I think I've found one that is also good for installing an electric power drive on a manual sunroof. Maybe the one or other guy is interested.

So here we have the regular e-drive-system, looking upwards:


Bosch motor, rubber shaft and Golde (BMW-) drive box. Then there's a tin bridge with a big round hole above leading from the mirror's socket to the subframe of the sunroof. The profile below is for the switch and two foam panels- or, if installed, there's the recess for the manual crank.

Let's remove all this. Any system that uses a shaft between the motor and the drive box makes too much noise. I tried out several versions, but all no good.


The hard papers are protection from sparks. In this status it doesn't matter if there is a manual or a power sunroof. Good space there for new ideas. I also removed the inner holder of the old motor because it's disturbing the new housing.

Now let me introduce my idea of upgrading a manual /improving the power sunroof.

This is a motor/drive unit taken from a 92 Nissan Primera bayed for 11$ shipped:


Units taken from Ford Explorer, Volvo 740 or Fiat Croma offered here look as good as the same. The distance between the two fixing holes right and left to the drive shaft is exactly the same (78mm) as it is in the subframe of the BMW 02-roof. Seems as if this unit was made for BMW 02's. I could easily drill threads M8 into the holes, there's enough material around- and the unit was (concerning this matter) ready for being installed in the 02:


Easy job! Here a new grey tin bridge with a holder for the unit at its front is already welded in. The opening in it above the motor is not really necessary, but this could not safely be seen before. However, now there's some space for the wiring.

The wiring is homemade with the correct colors (really important because it will never be seen again) because obviously Nissan used other cable colors in the 90s than BMW used in the 70s- and some cables were too short. The switch can not longer be located close to the mirror, where it normally is. I relocated it behind the shifter in the center console. I like it much better there because when it is near the mirror, you have to look for it. Having it in front of the handbrake lever, you just need to feel it.

Not any switch can be taken. The old motor has got three pins: +left turn, -ground and +right turn. Nissan has got two pins: +/-left and -/+right turn and that's why the old switch doesn't fit to the new motor. Indeed I don't know where the new switch is taken from, I guess E3 series. Found one in my grabblebox.

The motor is turned in the unit's housing for 180° to have better access to the pins. The two white 45°- angles are holders for the foam panels (appearing later).

These dark grey foam profiles left and right at the subframe are BMW/Golde power sunroof version. In case of upgrading a manual sunroof, the (manual) foam profile has to be replaced because the power drive box is higher than the crank drive box. BMW foam and Nissan housing fit quite well to each other. As far as I've found out, these foam stripes are no longer available.

Unfortunately the drive shaft of the unit is too long, so the cog for the ropes sits too high. This is the only thing of the project that needs real effort. To say it in a few words:

Disassemble the Nissan drive unit.

Disassemble an old 2nd hand manual 02- crank drive to have a crossover from Nissan- drive shaft to BMW-cog.

Shorten the Nissan-shaft to its new length:


The shaft must not be longer than the hump (or shaft tower) on the housing. Here the hump is already reduced to the frame's level, still centering the unit's housing to the frame (diameters fit perfectly). Please compare pic 3. Sorry, no more pics.

Here also the creating of the new tin bridge on a dummy-frame can be seen.

Drill the Nissan-shaft inside to a 6,00mm bore from above but not the entire length because the spare part taken from the old manual drive is not so very long.

Lathe or turn or machine (? Sorry for my english!) the BMW-shaft to about 6,05mm.


Press BMW into Nissan:


The new length of the shaft now should be about 30 – 30,5mm.

Drill this combi from below inside to 4,2mm, not too close to the upper teething for the cog. That's the space for the lock-spring.

Bore three holes 2mm crosswise and rasp to copy the slot for the emergency-lock bolt into the BMW shaft. In the pic above this is already done.

Shorten the spring for the lock.

Assemble the shaft with plastic cog, spring, its pilot pin and bolt.

Assemble the shaft into the unit and make sure the lock for the emergency crank can be released by pressing the pilot pin.


Background: combi shaft with metal cog for the clickwheel

Foreground: plastic cog to the motor with bolt, pin and spring.

To fix the old Golde drive box to the roof's frame, there are two special threaded sleeves, maybe made by Golde: slotted with a V-profile head, M8 outside and M4 inside. The M4 inside are for the upper rope guide on the top. But the foam panels now have to be fixed to these sleeves, too- no other way. That's why I had to lathe new ones in a longer version leading through the entire Nissan housing. So the panels can be fixed with M4 bolts from below and the rope guide from above like before. All this meant half a day at the lathe.


Foam panels to be fixed in the sleeves and a small aluminium shied to simulate the former Golde drive. Propably it's easier to fill the gap with foam, too. When there's a manual roof to be converted, there has to be created new foam somehow or other, then the drive housing can be hidden that way.

Ok, so far for the main action. The entire system is running really very quietly and the outfit doesn't differ very much from standard. Actually not at all:


Only the noise of the switches in the unit are well to hear- not that bad. Nearly ready to install the headliner.

Then here we have the counter cog inside with the humps to stop the panel in certain positions:


Obviously the Nissan panel can be popped up, the 02 panel cannot. But I absolutely wanted to keep the front stop position to prevent the small plastic levers at the ends of the ropes from breaking. And I had to relocate the rear stop position to prevent the inner panel from sliding behind the skyliner- a blog for itself...

Thanks for watching!