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So what have i done?

Eric Henrichsen

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Hey, everybody, and welcome to my first project/blog

So, not long ago, I got a sudden itch to go autocross or track racing or something. Being a mechanic by trade, I'd figured it wouldn't cost me too much to buy a nice little rear wheel drive stick shift to throw around the parking lot. Now, there was a lot of sensible options in the budget out there, including a newer BMW 3 series, but this little nugget caught my eye. No trim, no seats, almost no interior, engine, 4 speed, wheels and brakes, and the only pieces of outer trim was the 2002 badge and the headlights. And it had no title. I couldn't stop thinking about how cool this thing would look going around the track as just a roughed up classic. So I made up my mind. I had to have this thing.

A 3 hour drive to Prineville, OR later, here it was, sitting next to a much nicer and more complete 2002 and behind a couple of planes in this hangar. It was a little rougher than I had hoped it might be from the pictures. This was also the first time I had really seen one of these 2002s for the first time face to face. This car was a lot smaller than I had thought, but I was still getting excited thinking about its potential. I took the car home for 700$ and the price of a uhaul and trailer to get it home in Vancouver, WA.

My first couple of tasks for the car was to get the carpet out ASAP. I knew there was a couple of spots with severe rot in the foot wells. I also need to start on figuring out why the engine was stuck and if I could fix it. Removing the carpet revealed a large hole under the heel of the gas pedal and some other spots in the rear foot wells that had daylight coming through them. I planned on patching these spots at my shop later when I knew more about the engine situation.

The engine was frozen as long as the previous owner had had it as a parts car. There was still plenty of oil and coolant in the engine which prevented some of the components from going totally bad. I began pulling parts off of it. The original carburetor's main throttle plates were frozen shut and was full of pine needles, telling me this thing was under a tree while it was left outside. Pulling the head off revealed that the number 3 cylinder was still full of coolant. 2 and 3 were at bottom dead center, more or less. Problem was that number 3 sat about half an inch higher in the cylinder than number 2. I was honestly hoping that something in the head was the cause for the engine failure. As it so turns out, number 3 sat higher because its connecting rod was sticking out of the block just under the starter. The cylinders themselves were honestly in questionable shape as it was, being fairly rusty in large patches across the walls. In good news, I managed to free up the butterfly valves on the carburetor and a rebuild kit is on the way.

As it stands right now, I'm probably going to get a fresh short block from the guy i bought the car from in Prineville. My plan is to build the whole long block out about as far as I can. Race bearings, H-beams, maybe forged high compression pistons, I just don't want to worry about whether or not future bolt on upgrades will melt something or not. Everything else on the car will be re-purposed where I can help it to save money for later. I still need to put fluld in the brake system, find a new radiator for the vehicle, and maybe find some side glass for it. For now, the priority is to make it run, then I can crank everything else out relatively quickly, I hope



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