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Hey everyone, have had my 02 (which has been lovingly named Trinker) for about six months now. I bought it as a birthday present for myself last year. I paid 3k for it (way too much) and have been sprinting to try and get this stupid thing consistently running as a reliable daily driver. Anyhow, I'll just jump into the pictures.

October 5, 2012, I made the purchase. It is the first car I've ever bought, I didn't know how to drive stick, knew little to nothing about the mechanics of a car, but was set on an 02. When I bought it, the radiator was terrible, the distributor was shot, idle-stop solenoid was broken (learning to drive stick on a car that doesn't idle was fun hehe) and many other things. Looking back, I wish I'd talked the PO down probably at least another 1000 dollars but I was set on making it happen.

Anyways, here is a photo of the car when I went and picked it up.


My friend driving the car home for me since I didn't drive stick yet


About a month and a half after buying the car, I threw a rod and ended up having to swap the engine (money just draining at this point....). Me being the mechanical doofus that I was then wasn't checking to see if the engine was burning oil. Cars don't like to run without oil.

And where we are now.

Currently the stuff I've done:

New wheels: Momo Altair 14x6 et 25 w/ old Dunlop 190/60/14
Ireland Engineering Distributor
Ireland Engineering Aluminium Radiator
Ireland Engineering Electric Fan (was necessary to fit the radiator as the front end has been pushed in from PO fender bender)
Redline air cleaner for the Weber 32/36
Replaced front windshield with OEM glass and seals
Front bumper swap w/ E21 bumper
Front and rear bumper tuck.
Sound system

Of course, I have to get the Respect Your Elders sticker to put all my friends with E30s in their place... Duh.

Really need to restuff the passenger seat. Minor tearing on driver's side.

The ugly


Rear tuck

Front bumper tuck and fitment. E21 bumper follows the bodyline so much better than the 02 big bumper. I ended up having to custom fab brackets to mount this as my shocks had previously been decompressed (PO crashed it) and drilled into to keep the decompressed. I used galvanized electrical piping to make the brackets.

Currently fixing the front trim piece, that will go back on soon



Previous owner neglect :(


And a few photos from her many photo shoots (I'm a photographer by trade so my car gets shot anytime I'm bored).


What's next (going to try and document things more closely here on in):

E21 320i M10 w/ Getrag 245 swap for fuel injection and 5 speed. Head and timing cover gasket are going slowly on the current motor so instead of going through the hassle of pulling the engine and doing the gaskets, I'm just going to do the fuel injected M10 as it is something I've wanted to do for some time now. I will be picking up the motor and other bits necessary this weekend so that should be done in the next week or two.

Also, these just came yesterday

16x7.5 et 15 OZ Fittipaldis in 5x120. I'm currently working towards doing the engine but the ultimate plan is to put my car on air ride and run these wheels. No money to do the air ride and body work for another couple months but I'm excited to make it happen.

Here is a general idea of what I'm thinking for aired out stance (minus the massive fender pull I am going to need to do to fit my wheels)



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Those wheels look awesome!

What is that blue cable that runs on the top front of the engine compartment?

5 spoke fittipaldi rims are old skool goodness.

Beautiful pictures. You need to get some of these pics in for the calendar.


Edited by Dave_PA
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Those wheels look awesome!

What is that blue cable that runs on the top front of the engine compartment?

5 spoke fittipaldi rims are old skool goodness.

Beautiful pictures. You need to get some of these pics in for the calendar.



Thanks Dave! I'm pretty excited for September when I'll have the money to do the suspension the way I want it! I wish air ride wasn't so expensive :( I was searching around for wheels one night and came across the Fittistars on an 02 in a craigslist ad and knew instantly those were the wheels for me. Ended up staying up until like 8AM searching for the wheels for sale and lucked out on this set from someone on r3vlimited and snapped them up the next day. 500 bucks shipped! I'm debating whether to just run adapters or have the wheels redrilled. I have a bit of time to think about it though :)


Blue cable is a power cable for a sub. I'm having some issues with the whole system currently but pulling the cable out is too much work and it's not doing anyone any harm hanging out there so that's where it shall live for the time being ;)


Also, where should I submit the photos for the calendar?

Edited by jackrabbit
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So I finally learned how to tune my Weber 32/36. I was down to like 15 MPG highway and the frequency of my trips to the gas station forced me to finally get off my ass and learn how to tune the carb. The car is running soooooooo smooth now... I don't know why I waited so damn long to learn as it was SOOO easy to tune. Anyhow, after I tuned the carb, I found a vaccum leak in the power brake booster system, specifically where the little plastic connector that is attached to the hose coming off the intake manifold attaches to the drum that holds the pressure. When I took out the connector and the grommet (gasket ring?), I found the grommet had a tear in it. I tried to rubber cement the tear until Monday when I could have my shop order the gasket ring/grommet for me but that didn't work. As the leak was causing my passenger side brakes to drag (not a fun sound), I decided it was necessary to improvise. I went down to Autozone and found a GM grommet for the oil dip stick that was the perfect diameter for this application (Autozone part #65113), 16" of coolant system hose and some silicone gasket maker and just replaced the whole problem section. The brakes have never felt so strong!



Oh also, I picked up an M10 from an 1980 E21 320is over the weekend with a Getrag 245. Really excited to swap this in! I'm debating whether I want to do the CIS fuel injection or just run my Weber. I know the CIS will improve my mileage if I get it set up properly but now that I know how damn easy the Weber is to tune, I'm not sure if I want to deal with the hassles the CIS will present.


Also, can I use the 02 bottom end with the E21 head so I maintain the 2.0L displacement? Regardless of whether I'm running that with the CIS or the Weber, it should still provide a little bit of a power boost correct? I read somewhere that the design of the head on the later M10s was improved. I already know about the reverse cam/distributor gear but I got the E21 distributor with the engine so there wouldn't be an issue on that side of things. Would that all work out nicely for me? Anyways, exciting stuff happening. Also, will the 02 intake manifold with a carb block off plate work with the CIS fi should I choose to go that route?


I'm pretty damn broke at this point so I will need to wait a bit to do the engine swap as I don't have the money for the shortened driveshaft and mounts and all the rest of the things I will need for the 5 speed so I'm stuck for a little bit. Should have the money to move forward with everything in a few weeks.



Edited by jackrabbit
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  • 2 weeks later...

For the calendar send it to Brad Day (he is on the list). 

That is THE EXACT vac leak I had. Paul (Zen Wrench) help me tune my 38. Were you able to use CD's prescription? 


Keep up the great work!

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I am seriously terrible at taking photos along the way of this build. I'll give a little textual update here and really try to make sure I take photos in the future.


So my front passenger side wheel bearing decided to catastrophically fail on me... No good. Also while I was poking around fixing the vac leak in the brake booster, I discovered a bunch of old brake fluid inside the booster so I decided I'd go ahead and give my master cylinder a refresher. I haven't actually installed the master cylinder yet but I think I will refresh the paint on the booster while I am in there to try and make everything a bit prettier on that side of the engine. The whole engine bay could really use a good cleaning. Can't wait to give it a solid pressure wash when I start my swap.


I also ended up breaking off the idle solenoid into the threads of the carb body last week while trying to get everything tuned so that set me back a bit. Was able to extract it with a bolt extractor. Once I got that done, I figured I'd take apart the carb and clean everything so I did that and then went and picked up brand new jets from Ireland Engineering and got some solid insight from those guys on planning my swap. Put the carb back on and now something seems to be amiss with the choke... The butterfly valves don't seem to want to shut quite so snappy... I think I might have put something together improperly inside the carb. Annoying. I also somehow managed to strip one of the threads that secures the choke to the carb. Also annoying. For now it's fine though. Everything seems to be on tight enough for the choke to function at the capacity my putting it back together has limited it too. Going to need to get that checked out by someone greater than I.


I also went out and took some pictures right after sunset today (just missed sunset by a bit :/ ). My iPhone's lockscreen has never looked so good!



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