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It's Finally Coming Together



This is probably the worst documented project ever, but I'll attempt to breathe new life into my project blog as it's about to finally fire up.

Several years ago and just before the economy puked in 08'........

I found a 1971 02' on eBay sitting in Visalia, CA. Looking back now, I was ill prepared and didn't know nearly enough about 02's before winning the bid and taking a trip from the Bay Area to the Valley to pick up my little can of worms. I probably paid a little too much for the "running" car that sputtered and hissed as I test drove it around the block. The car was not the in the condition described in the auction, but I won the bid and towed her home anyway.

"Look what I just got (and have no idea what I've gotten into) :D "


I married that beautiful French woman the very next summer :)


Summer of 2007:

I installed a few needed upgrades like new front brakes, a Weber 38 carb and Bilstein sports all around. I think I was able to drive the car about 300 miles before the engine grenaded. Apparently I should have taken the oil light seriously :o .

Winter of 2008:

During what I like to refer to as the "Great Winter Layoff Blues of 2008/2009", it became clear that I was facing a bumper to bumper rebuild. I started with putting the saws-all blade to the raspy glass pack that came installed on the car (it sounded like a single engine cessna struggling to get lift). I eagerly gutted the car without paying much attention to, or photographing for that matter, how the car was before dismantling.




Spring 2009:

The engine came out and received a top to bottom rebuild by Terry Tinney in Livermore, CA.


Summer 2010:

Meanwhile, the car went out for body work and painting. She went from dog-vomit-metallic-blue to pop'n factory BMW Alpine White II. The minor rust spots and blemishes were mostly eliminated and I'd describe the body work as decent, which is just fine as I fully plan to drive and enjoy this car.




Giant gap in progress (2011 - 2012)

Completed a 5-Speed conversion

Summer 2013:

The interior now has beautifully reupholstered Recaros and perfect black door cards. Plumbing and electrical were recently completed and fluids are in the car. I'm thinking another weekend will see her turnover. It's only been 6 years and 4 addresses from San Francisco to San Diego back to San Francisco :D .




Sunday October 6, 2013


She's finally turned over after 6+ years! The car will actually be able to move on it's own now. One minor issue impeded a full test drive over the weekend. Apparently, the 5-Speed I purchased years ago lacked the speedo drive gear assembly all together, which resulted in a vomit-hitting-the-pavement sound upon ignition. Parts are on the way and I look forward to driving what I've referred to as a boat anchor for for quite a while. In addition to technical abilities and brute strength, I've found it absolutely compulsory to keep repeating "I love my BMW, I love my BMW, I love my BWM...." in order to get to this major milestone. Hooray for progress!


Sunday October 20, 2013

She's officially running now! The transmission issue (fluid leaking through the speed cable port) has been resolved. The motor is running strong and dialed in for the most part. The clutch pedal needs an adjustment and the hydraulic line requires another bleeding as I had some problems engaging gears. Next steps are rebuilding the front end and installing new H&R springs as well as mounting the Ansa exhaust. Here's a quick video of her "tiny test drive":

Tiny test drive

This entry marks a HUGE turning point for my project and I'm obviously super excited to get her on the road as 2014 approaches!

Sunday October 27, 2013

The mayhem continues....

I never thought I'd take it this far, but the car is receiving a much needed Rust-Oleum undercoating while suspension parts are being shipped. After 40 years of road grime was scraped away to reveal a differential that I otherwise assumed was a giant toad that made his home in the nether regions of my car. Also, the previous owner(s) must have enjoyed using the car as some sort of "street luge" judging by the curb rash up front. Did I mention the bullet hole in the car? There's one in the transmission tunnel and it appears to have exited the car from the inside. I'm pretty sure it's not listed on the CarFax.

There's still plenty work to be done, but this wave of momentum is massive and I'll ride it until I hit land and drive off on all four!





Sunday October 27, 2013

More big chores accomplished including removal of front struts and dropping the subframe out of the car for DIY reconditioning. The subframe removal is a massive, unplanned job and big thanks to my gearhead buddy J for suggesting it. Apparently the 02 subframe removal is child's play compared to a Datsun 240. ALL bushings are being replaced with Ireland Engineering front/rear urethane kits as well as the subframe mounts (might as well, right?). Spring isolaters are being replaced with IE parts all around as well. Speaking of springs, my H&R's arrived and are damn sexy with some form of silvery, blue alien-manufactured coating! The car already had new Bilstein Sports installed before the "oops, the oil light means business" tragedy. Nearly ALL front end components are being replaced including: control arms, ball joints, center link, tie rods, etc. I guess I should mention that the car also has new front brakes with steel braided lines all around. We'll paint the calipers this time since that surface-rust-orange just doesn't work for me. Here are a few pictures of the progress to date. The ripping and tearing resumes this weekend!

PS - The Datsun is my buddy Jason's car and it deserves some love here on the FAQ. He's helping me finish my car for a little inspiration to finish his own. He's part animal, part machine. Enjoy!

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Saturday December 21, 2013

Since my last post, the car's front and rear suspension have been completely removed, disassembled and prepped for painting. In fact, the first coat of paint is currently curing on the suspension bits. I upgraded phones last week and lost some photos unfortunately. I'm pretty sure everyone in this community knows what the the dirty, chaotic mess of making the bottom side of your car as pretty and reliable as the top side looks like. While the paint drys, we're rebuilding the half shafts which were in pretty decent shape. Re-greasing, replacing boot covers and a little paint should see the half shafts done. It absolutely amazes me how robust and well engineered these cars are when you consider the millions of movements the half shaft internals have made over 40+ years! For now, the goal is to have the car mechanically sorted by February and with any luck drive her to the Bay Area 02 swap meet in May!






Saturday January 25, 2014

The holidays combined with the CA death-plague-flu and some surgery put a little hiatus on wrenching for a few weeks, but we're back at it. All of the suspension bits that needed painting and general caressing have been attended to. Now, it's assembly time which is turing out to be much more fun than dismantling and degreasing the car. Who knew? My half shafts are painted and new boots are in. They just need to be reassembled. For now, here's a glimpse at progress:

Subframe looking sexy and mocked up

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Differential shined up nicely

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Oh yeah, my control arms were just a little tired ;)

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Saturday February 1, 2014

I finally got around to rebuilding my half shafts and I was really pleased with how smooth the entire process went. This was my first pass at doing the job and with a little input from the pro's, the rear axles are as good as new. As plenty of you know, reassembling the races, cages and bearings can be a tricky chore that requires focus and ample patience (which I'm full of at this point). Initially, I thought maybe I had some beginners luck because I finished the first assembly in what I considered good time and without major snags. However, when the remaining three units were suddenly sitting in front of me, completed with precision of a neurosurgeon, I knew it was simply my mojo shining through :)

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Now that I can put a check in this box, next up is reattaching the subframe to the car and getting back to the front suspension. I might just drive this damn thing to the Bay Area 02 swap meet after all!

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Saturday February 15, 2014

The rear end is now complete and bolted to the car. I'm really happy with how the subframe came together. The silver and black paint scheme is even more appealing than I had imagined. I can only hope that the poor bastards that I talk into crouching down and rolling all over the pavement to look at it appreciate it as much as I do :D. Probably not, but one can always hope.

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Thursday July 10, 2014

It's been too long since I've posted any updates, so here we go. After several weekends of attempting to bleed the hydraulic system, it looks like the car has a bad master brake cylinder and booster as well. We tried many techniques in terms of bleeding and even used a pressure bleeder, but still couldn't get any clutch or brake pedal. To add a little salt to the wound, we discovered that air was hissing out of the back of the booster as the brake pedal was pumped. I was missing a check valve to the booster so it's possible fuel killed the booster's internals. Now I know :( . A new master cylinder has been ordered and the booster will go out for a rebuild soon.

Once the hydraulic issues are resolved, it's time for a real test drive! In the interim, it's arts and crafts time. I've had these ratty wheels from a parts car and finally got around to dressing them up. I'll run these 13's for a while, but plan to upgrade to some 15" rotas eventually. I'm pleased with how they turned out and all those years of hauling them around have finally been validated :D


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Sunday July 21, 2014

It turns out that my floor boards are in pretty good shape after all with minimal rust from the heater's condensation. Of course it took about 20 hours of putting the heat gun to work and scraping off the factory tar paper to find out for sure. Either way, it's nice to be making more progress while we wait for brake parts to arrive. Once the paint thinner is done doing it's job, we're going to paint the floor with some battle ship, rust proof paint that will do just fine for the rest of my life with the car. So close, I can smell it (even after all that paint thinner) lol. Notice the large caliber bullet hole in the tunnel. I don't even want to know what actually happened when the shot(s) were fired from inside the car apparently. We're going to leave it as it's another detail that adds to the car's colorful history!


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Nice story I can relate to the initial purchase and having no idea were this journey will take you. Looks like your well on your way to enjoying your labor of love.

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