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It all started in late February of this year. I was 15 at the time and was looking for a first car to purchase with my whopping $1000 to spend on a car. I knew I wanted an old bmw and I was mostly looking at e30s. But all of the ones in my area were owned by people that cheaply lowered them beyond belief and expected $5000 for their crap 325e. Anyway, while looking on craigslist with my dad, there was a 2002 listed for I think $2000. My dad suggested instead of finding an okay e30, why not find a 2002 that we know would need work and wouldn't surprise us later on. After talking to the owner via email for a while I asked if the title was clean... I did not get a response back ever... But luckily there was a second 2002 listed in the Portland craigslist for $1000. (listed as seen below)


When we got down there to pick it up, the guy had two 2002s, one with an m42 swap and the other was an m20 swapped race one. From first inspection the only major rust area was the trunk which was hardly there anymore... And I found out the hard and sort of funny way that the seats in the car were not bolted in and so I fell backward in them... Because it wasn't starting, we had a hell of a time getting it up onto the u-haul trailer because of how narrow the street was. I tor down the car interior and exterior wise pretty quickly with nothing special to note.

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One of the more nasty dents on the body that I am still working on.^




Interior was in bad shape due to it sitting for so long in Oregon in a barn with little tiny holes in the roof. And there was the broken seals everywhere.


The fine powder on the trunk is the little chips of what used to be the back windshield seal..


The back panel is going to be replaced with the trunk pan. The amount of pimple dents was too damn high


This side was relatively un-dented apart from the one on the drivers door.


The center grille area is so bad that I don't think I will ever get it back to perfect (without replacing the nose of course)


The windshield and its seal were new, but on the way back up a rock hit the corner of the screen and cracked it clean in two (not visible in photo). The passenger side seemed more promising than the drivers side, but later it revealed the amount of bondo that was used to make it that way...


Above is a great photo of the trunk at its worst^^ One of the gas tank bolts wouldn't budge, no matter a hammer was able to break it free.


^Here is a photo of the engine while it was still in the car.^ At this point in post you may be wondering, "Why did he title it 'Resto-mod-ation'?" That is because I am restoring it with metal patching, body work, paint and interior; but then at the same time refurbishing the suspension and engine to a higher spec... And you may be wondering how I will be able to afford it, since I used my grand to buy the car. Well I had about $2500 in savings from mowing my neighbors lawns and other various gardening things, and my dad has been so generous to give me a line of credit so that the car wont be apart forever in the garage where our gmc yukon used to sleep. I know, I am very thankful for my dad to do this, but on the other hand it was his idea to do the restoration part, I was just going to get it running with new weather strips. Anyway I will add more tomorrow if I find the time, to skip ahead to where I am at today and where it is going tomorrow (not literally). I hope you have enjoyed thus far, and hope you stick around 'til the end.


Ted C

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Okay, I have found some time today before I leave to California for Winter Break. I am not sure if I will have any updates unless I stop at 2002ad or Ireland Engineering. Ok... where was I? Right I know, so I managed to gut the interior and most of the glass and exterior trim off of the car within two weeks, since it was spring break at the time. And as you can see from the photos, outside behind my house, and that was because it was sunny those few weeks and had no chance of rain. Rather luckily, the day we moved it into our garage, it started to rain minutes after getting it fully in. I wish I had some pictures of the process, but I don't. We used our gmc yukon Xl to pull it off the dirt patch because the dirt was soft and the tires were low and the car made its self at home in the dirt. Then we filled the tires back up/ washed the dirt off and rolled in into the garage. My mom made me clean the dirt off so it wouldn't bring it into the garage, but little did she know that the car would soon bring oil, rust, and 43 year old grease to the floor of the garage. I don't have pictures that are step by step every bolt of the way of the disassembly, but I do have a couple that are more into detail of the state of areas of the car. And let me just say, with later findings as I tore everything apart, I am glad we (my dad) decided to do a restoration because every little thing had something wrong with it. Okay now some pictures...


I am not sure why I chose portrait for this photo but whatever, this was just after getting into the garage where it has spent almost all of its time thus far...

The next few(there are a lot) photos are of the front and rear suspension, rust areas and other pictures of the car(just the entire thing basically)...

















































Where'd the engine go?!?!



Oh there it is...


This was just before we put the engine on the engine mount. The same day the engine came out of the car was the same day that I was able to get every last little trim piece or brake line out. Which brings us to the fun bit. My dad (and I, I guess) didn't want to spend all the time in the world going through floppy disk after floppy disk to remove the paint/ rust... Sooo, he/we decided, after some serious crunching on numbers, to get the car chemically dipped, which did save us a lot of time and about $350 ish bucks, and I freed up space to work on the suspension tear-down. I have a photo of it on the trailer getting ready for the journey to Eugene, Oregon and getting it back on the trailer in Eugene when it was done taking a bath. (A week after dropping it off, we went on a cruise to Alaska for my Dad's Dads 80th birthday) And I was able to get the main suspension pieces torn down and to a powder coater before we left. Here are the photos of it going, and coming back.




^This one^ was sent to me via email by the shop that was doing this when we were just an hour away...

These photos below are the suspension pieces mostly assembled and where the car is at the moment..









And here is the new back panel (which annoyingly already had a bend...) and the front suspension and springs. And all of the original glass minus the windscreen.



And now a list (from Ireland Engineering):

  • (1) Adjustable 22mm Sway Bar Set & Stage 2 Springs Combo
  • (1) Bilstein Front Sport Strut Inserts pair
  • (1) Bilstein Rear Sport Shock Absorber pair
  • (1) Urethane Front Control Arm Bushings Kit
  • (1) Urethane Rear Trailing Arm Bushings Kit
  • (2) Ball Joints lower
  • (2) Tie Rod Assembly(s)
  • (1) Center Track Rod 
  • (1) Steering Box Refresh Kit
  • (1) Steering Idler Arm Bushings
  • (2) Rear Rubber Subframe Mounts (OEM)
  • (1) Performance Pedal Box Kit

​Those are all of the parts I have ordered that are new so far.. And now you see the 'modification' part of the 'restoration'. So far the engine doesn't have any visible cracks in the block or head. Soon, once I take apart the engine and stuff, I will be rebuilding it with moderate 'upgrades' that I think are necessary to make a durable engine. Okay now I have to finish packing because we are leaving soon and I have run out of interesting things to show/tell even though I could tell future plans but that takes the suspense away... 


Thanks for reading,

Ted C

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Hi Ted,

Looks good so far.

Where did you get the sub frame powder coated and would you recommend them? I'm planning to have a few things coated soon.


I used Seattle Powder Coat and for the front+rear subframes and control arms and trailing arms + other things cost $700 and yes I would recommend them.





Ted C

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Hi Ted,


Great progress, so far.  Enjoying to see a high-schooler go gung-ho on a project like this (without the intent of "slamming" it).  If you have a chance to swing by IE sometime next week, let me know prior and I'll be sure to clear a bit of time.


Hello Andrew,


I would love to stop by IE sometime while I am down here in socal, I will have to see if we will be in the area anytime soon. I will let you know when I know. A lot of my typical high school friends want me to get bags or just "slam" it, but my response is always the same, I want to drive my car not ruin it for the so called "good" look of a slammed car. It would be good to go to you at IE because I still need help planning engine and brakes and various items for my 02.





will pm you if/when I find a day that works

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok so this weekend didn't go to plan as I mentioned on Thursday, but none the less we did get some things done. For starters, the cutting-out of the trunk was halted by a neighbors birthday party that we didn't want to ruin with the sound of metal cutting. So instead I got started on the wiring, as in just looking at the mess it has become over the years. The real work was on the engine. The engine block is the original, the VIN matches the chassis VIN, but the head... well according to the number on the side, it was made in '84 as seen bellow.


Anyway. We disassembled the block, I didn't take too many photos of the process, but just ones for reference. 













Also my oil pump seams to be in excellent shape and maybe the miles are indeed correct on the odometer 71,xxx miles.



We hope to finish the metal work and bondo work so the car can be sent to a paint shop soon before the real winter settles in. I don't have any pictures of the wiring harness yet, but I may get some soon to show how crappily put together some of the connections are. Any one in the Seattle area know of a good machine shop that also puts together engines or at least cylinder heads because I don't have some of the necessary tools for the job or experience. Anyway this was a small update but large progress for me. Hopefully will have more to report soon.








This is my friends e60 M5 


And just recently this happened to it...


Yes he knows that the car is dirty.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey Ted, I'm really liking your car and where its going!  I'm in a very similar situation, a '76 2002 being my first car.  I'm a junior in high school and I spent all my job money on buying myself a 2002 and parts for it.  You can check out my slow going thread in my signature.  I look forward to seeing what you have in store!



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