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Fair warning, this post is a little more introspective than mechanical. But how we feel about and interact with cars is part of the experience right?   I've realized it has been about two we

Yesterday was a good day.   I took the day off work and headed to lexington. After fighting with those cursed metal encased early trailing arm bushings, we decided to save time and just send

Against my better judgement, I recently purchased a 66 1600-2. For those of you playing a long at home, this makes 3 projects running at the same time (other builds here and here). No, my wife hasn't

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Yesterday was a good day.


I took the day off work and headed to lexington. After fighting with those cursed metal encased early trailing arm bushings, we decided to save time and just send them to a machine shop for removal and instillation. We've got too much to get done with not enough time, so we pulled the ripcord. I would have liked to have done everything 'in house', but i want to drive the car more.


With the suspension out of the way we moved on to other items on the list. First, the least cool accomplishment.


License Plates!



Check out the color difference that was under the euro plate holder! Crazy




The wear that the plate holder caused around the edges has clued me into the need to install some sort of gasket when I install the sameholder on my 67 project.


Next we installed a (second) rebuilt carb. After rebuilding and installing the weber, i found that one of the gaskets was leaking. Instead of just ordering another gasket and replacing, I used this as an excuse to rebuild an original solex 36-40 PDSI. One of my goals for this car is to return as many stock/correct parts to this car as possible, and this was a good opportunity. So, if anyone needs a good weber single barrel, I'll have one for sale soon.

If anyone is interested in seeing photos of the grimy carb being torn down, here's a link. http://s590.photobucket.com/user/johndmetz/library/1966%20BMW%201600/solex%20rebuild




After some tuning, it runs pretty well. After we get the suspension sorted out, we'll really be able to rip on it and get it dialed in.

Next we set to work on the seat mounts. This took a lot of time, but went way too smoothly. zero snafu's and a really good end result.


On the passenger side the front of the mount that has the captured nut had separated along the top edge and was essentially flapping in the breeze. (sorry for the TERRIBLE Photo



We cut it off and were left with this:



andrew cut and welded a piece of angle stock to fit. He decided to weld in a stud instead of using a regular nut and bolt. Not super pretty, but it does the job excellently.



Now on to the drivers side. The condition of the mount was far worse. A good portion of the front had rusted away, and someone drilled a hole and tried to wedge a bolt in sideways to hold a goofy bracket in for the front of the chair....i don't even know, it was really bad.





So i had cut the chair mounts out of another early parts car, and it was definitely needed for this one.


Spot welds drilled out:



Original mount drilled out:




And Of Course I forgot to take a photo of the replacement mount welded in. I'll just say, it was way easier to install than we could have imagined. The spot welds on both were identical, and it fit properly first try. We tacked it into place, mounted the seat to check, removed seat and welded the rest of the way. I couldn't have gotten this part done without the help of my friend Andrew. He has been a huge help through this entire project (and others), but he did all the fab and welding on these brackets.


So here's the end result:



HOORAY correct seats. Here's the car when i bought it, with later seats:

I also got the correct steering wheel from the same car as the seats. I installed it a few weeks ago, but hadn't posted about it yet. I'm really happy to have these correct parts back in the car, it makes a huge difference.


Before: DSC_0873_zpst5j1vjlg.jpg



Finally, After we had everything installed, I GOT TO DRIVE THE CAR!!! It was raining, and the steering isn't quite right, so we only did about half a mile....but it was joyous.



Edited by dasfrogger
Credit for welding, Thanks Andrew!
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On 4/29/2016 at 4:42 PM, tinkwithanr said:

 Fingers crossed I can check it out in Lexington in a few weeks (crap is it that soon already). 


My fingers are crossed that you'll be able to check it out in a few weeks too. We've still got a lot of work to do.


I went down to lexington last night to deliver some parts and to do a little bit of work. The list of things has expanded....


Since we're down to crunch time, Andrew has generously offered to work on the 66 when I'm not there. He was able to get all the bushings pressed out and in (the machine shop threw in the towel and returned the parts), the rear end installed, and the front dropped and reinstalled the subframe only. For whatever reason, i only took one photo. He took a bunch, and once i get them ill post them up.



As he took the suspension apart, he found that the bilsteins that we thought were in good shape were totally dead. He had a set of rear HD's, that were installed.



When I tried to buy new HD's for the front, i found out they'd doubled in price. I ended up ordering Sports for the front. With how loose the suspension will be with no swaybars, I doubt I'll tell a difference. IIRC front sports/rear hd's was the cool thing to do back in the day too.


The second scope creep was the rear seal on the transmission. When pulling the driveshaft to replace the front guibo we discovered a big leak. The seal wasn't immediately available, so we decided to swap in the transmission from my 67. It's much drier, and looks like it has been gone thru at one point in it's life.

Old trans:


We also figured, while we've got the trans out, we should replace the rear main seal since we didn't do that when we did the clutch.
Shot of the installed clutch for posterity:


Third scope creep: Front timing cover leaks! Because why not. I'm glad we decided to go this route for two reasons: A) it needed to be done, B) it will give us an excuse to do all the other associated things at the front of the motor that had been put off (replace water pump, flush coolant (again), confirm polarity of the generator, etc).  It was definitely a good thing, the water was nice and dirty again, and the waterpump was pretty crusty.



We go the timing covers off and everything looked leaky, but pretty good. Got to be extra careful not to bust the head gasket.




Drained the oil and pulled the pan. bottom end of the motor looks good too. Based on the "81" datestamp on the oil pump and the fact that the vin on the block identifies it as an early 1.6, I'm betting that this motor was rebuilt (or at least refreshed) at some point in the 80's before it was transplanted into this car.





The remaining list/ plan is:
Install rear main seal, then clutch and transmission.

Install new guibo and drive shaft.

Install timing cover/oil pan/ water pump etc

Confirm Polarity on generator & install belt

Install new strut inserts into struts, assemble front suspension and install.

Install brakes, bleed system



Sounds like the plan is to have everything but alignment done tomorrow, since Andrew needs his lift back ASAP. Then we'll drive it for a week and try to break everything and fine tune the carb.

Two weeks to vintage! Fingers Crossed.






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Andrew has done a lot this past week. It's back on 4 wheels and is steering. He also took the time to degrease and pressure wash the underside of the car and it looks nice. Overall the 'new' transmission is better than the original, no leaks and shifts better overall, but the 2nd gear synchros are going out. it grinds going in unless you do a good job rev matching.




The new motor mounts made a world of difference.



The car has a brand new set of front and rear billy sports to go with the eibach springs that were on the car when i bought it. seems pretty silly for a 66 1600, but with no swaybar front or rear any stiffness will be appreciated.



If you noticed the lack of cotter pins on the castle nuts above, good eyes! We're going to put a torque wrench on every nut & bolt tomorrow morning to confirm spec then install pins.


When I arrived the car had no exhaust or brakes and that was the goal for the day so we could get the car to alignment.

If you've ever wondered what a 1600 sounds like at the downpipe, here's the answer:


I had brought a Bosal Center section and muffler to replace what had been currently installed. Unfortunately, the center section wasn't long enough due to the short downpipe. I brought the original back and we installed it with the Bosal muffler. Much better.

Next was breaks. reinstalling the rear shoes was more of a pain in the ass than i remembered. After a few curse words everything was back in place and good to go. We also replaced the hard line that goes from the wheel cyl to the soft line in the rear. The old ones were weeping fluid and were one hard stop from complete failure. Got some nice cunifer line from autozone and were back in business 10 minutes later. I'll try to grab photos of everything tomorrow. After adjusting the Ebrake cables we noticed a bad repair on the ebrake handle platform. We'll have to do a little welding to make it a bit stronger. the good news is that the ebrake works great and the car can now stop itself!


The fronts didn't go quite as well. I had ordered rebuild kits since both calipers were pretty badly seized, but we were only successful in rebuilding one. The drivers side caliper wouldn't give up either of it's pistons. I thought i had a NOS driver caliper, but the mounting spacing is totally wrong. It might be for a 700? i'll have to find out and pass it along to someone in need. Its a pretty caliper, but wont work for me. Luckily I have two pairs of early calipers at home, & i've got one very corroded pair soaking right now. With any luck we'll be able to be driving and stopping tomorrow afternoon.


The passenger side cleaned up nicely and we got it installed with new bosch pads.




With my hopes of driving it to the alignment shop dashed until Monday, we did the only responsible thing....went out and drove the tar out of it. It was totally sketchy with only the ebrake, but really good to feel the car move under its own power.

Tomorrow will be:
Install driver side caliper

Bleed brakes

Confirm torque on all bolts underneath the car

confirm timing with timing light

drive hard and tune carb.


Monday it'll get aligned and a spare tire.

Tuesday and Wednesday I'll clean it up some and change the oil again.

Thursday we leave for vintage, bright and early. Yikes








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Speaking of spare tire, FYI, I had to replace my original spare tire (yes 40 years old) yesterday and bought Barum 175/70R13.  Barum is Continental privet label. I thought to share if you in to purchase a new one. BTW, Discount tire has them as stock item. And it fit just fine with half board on top it.



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Vintage or Bust.

Sunday was eventful. Started off by cleaning up and installing a good drivers side caliper from the '67, bleeding the brakes and getting hyped when the car could stop itself. Fun fact about pressure bleeding an early system, you've got to pump the pedal a few times for each wheel otherwise you won't get any fluid. We had to do this when I first got the car, but I can't remember if I mentioned it or not.

With the brakes in good shape we moved on to checking the bolts under the car. After a little time with some cotter pins and a paint pen we were in good shape.






The car came down again, and there was much celebration.

Last on our list was to time and tune. Another fun fact about the early cars - no inspection window on the flywheel for timing. We ended up painting the mark on the front of the engine orange so we could see it with the timing light. Luckily the light we had available was able to run off 6v. On top of all that, we were almost dead nuts on via timing by ear. Spec is 25 degrees BTDC @1400 rpm, we had set it to 23 degrees. Timing complete, fiddled with the carb a little, and we were off.


Oh boy. Golly Jeez. This car is good.


The little 1.6 pulled a lot harder than I ever expected. It runs strong. Shifts good (after i figured out the synchros are fine, you just have to mash the clutch pedal to the floor), handles.....good but different. The sports and eibachs are really nice, and useful since the car has no sways. But not having sways is W E I R D. It's going to take a lot of getting used to before I feel comfortable really pushing it in the twistys. Speaking of pushing it, I've been getting a lot of Sammy Hagar "I Can't drive 55" jokes from friends and family when talk about this old car. We got it up to 76 mph (GPS verified) before I chickened out. I think the car is pretty comfortable up there, but I'm not sure I am yet. As long as we stick to the speed limit on the way to vintage, I should be good to go. 


So, The car totally crushed both of our expectations and then promptly knocked the wind out of our sails. We got back to the shop after a 30 minute drive and saw a coolant leak.


No problem, it's probably a hose that was leaking earlier in the week. .... Hoses are dry, leak is coming from the block area.... Oh no.... Probably the head gasket... that sucks, but we can fix that. ... not the head gasket, but A CRACK IN THE HEAD. Dang.

It's a very fine crack, but has two small holes to the right of the #1 exhaust port that water is dripping out of.



Silver lining time: at least we caught this today instead of at any point during the trip to or from vintage.

I headed out of Lexington and back to my shop in Louisville. I have the motor from the 67 on a stand and It ran well before I pulled it off. This head is our only shot, and it had to be back in lexington before Monday if the job was going to get done in time to leave town. I was able to pull the head, get cleaned up and be to family dinner on time - For never getting this far into an m10 I was feeling pretty good about getting that part of the job done in under an hour.


The head looks pretty good. Andrew is going to clean it up and install tonight after it's back from the alignment shop. As long as everything goes smoothly, I'll still be able to pick it up tomorrow evening and we'll be able to get it to vintage.





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Over the past two days the head was cleaned and prepped for installation. It looked good and shows evidence of a recent rebuild. If Karl reads this - did you have the head rebuilt?







Since we were in a time crunch there wasn't any time to order parts for this job. Luckily, I've been hoarding parts for the impending m10 rebuild for the 73 and had a full gasket set available. However, this was a 2L gasket set, not a 1.6. Most everything was close enough to be used, but the manifold gaskets were way off. The 118 head has tiny ports, so we had to get creative. I can't take credit for a lot of this build, but I'm pretty glad I remembered gasket maker sheets. I lucked out and got the last available at our local Autozone...crisis averted.




The other item we were missing were head bolts. I hadn't gotten around to buying bolts yet, but fortunately Andrew hoards m30 parts, and had a set of ARP head studs. Way overkill for this motor, but it's going to get us to vintage! The studs fit well, with two exceptions: 1) we had to remove the 'plate' on the bottom of the valve cover that leads to the breather tube for clearance, and 2) the oil light comes on at idle (which i understand is a common problem with these studs on m30's).




Gaskets cut, manifold installed

And BOOM, head is on the engine!





Top dead center mark



Boom! Carb & fuel Pump installed


ARP Studs Torqued


After getting everything buttoned up underneath the motor, we drained & replaced the oil, added coolant, & tightened up the dizzy. Moment of truth...Crank crank crank, no fire. Whaaat! After messing with timing and trouble shooting, we realized that some doofus (me) forgot to install the fuel pump rod into the head before installing the fuel pump. 5 minutes later we were back in business.



Took for a test drive and got nervous as the temp was immediately under the red very quickly. Pulled back to the shop and checked with an IR thermometer. Everything in good range. Figured the sender may have been bad in the 'new' head, so we did a quick swap. Known good sender showed same results, but now we were able to notice that hitting bumps etc caused the temp needle to dance. Hypothesis is that there's a short in the wire somewhere (sheathing was pretty brittle) that's causing the problem. The car could likely stand to have a second ground on the instrument cluster too. Satisfied that everything was A-OK I rainx'd the windows as the 6v wipers aren't worth much and it was raining pretty hard and got on the road. 


We made two stops on the way home - one about a third of the way home after a good stretch of 55mph state highway, and a second another 3rd after a good strech of 70mph highway. Car was very happy and temps were nice. Two issues noticed on the way home: 1) the charge light is on faintly & 2) the fuel gauge is not accurate. I'm suspicious that the charge light is just due to light bleed from the speedo lights though, more investigation will be done this afternoon in the daylight.


I need to say a big thanks to a few people. First, Andrew for spending a lot of time working on this car to help get it back on the road. Second, to my brother who drove me an hour and a half to Lexington, then waited around for 5 hours (till 1:30 AM!) while we finished the car so he could follow me back in an untested machine. Finally, my wife, who puts up with this madness...at least most of the time.


So, we made it. The car is good. I'm really tired after 3 hours of sleep, but vintage is tomorrow and we're going...Unless something else breaks.


I've got a lot to do this afternoon in vintage prep - need to pick up some spares and supplies, fit some kind of rear view & side view mirror, change the oil, clean and re rainx the windows, and pack everything else into the car. I can't wait.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked for vintage prep, but we still got there with no problems. I spent most of my time running errands that had to get done before leaving. I picked up a spare 6v battery, some fluids and a 'wink' style 5 panel mirror. I didn't know if I had time to install the swan side view i had fixed a few weeks ago, and wanted the benefit of a wide view in the rear view mirror. Plus I figured the wink style mirror would be more period correct than a generic AutoZone stick on mirror. The instillation was pretty painless, especially since the headliner at the front windscreen was already pulled up prior to my ownership. I’m not sure I’d have messed up a headliner for this mirror.  If you install one, plan to have an extra set of hands, it makes a big difference.


I cleaned all the windows, went over them with some 0000 Steel wool, then cleaned again. The windows had already been lightly cleaned once, but were still filthy from years of storage. I was really happy with the result, and the steel wool definitely made a difference. Plus, I had some bad corrosion on the passenger vent window frame which came right off with a little steel wool attention. I finished everything up with a nice coat of rainx which definitely came in handy for the weekend. As the windows fogged up I finished packing the car so I could hit the sack early.


Thursday morning was a blur – on the road by 9:30, met a friend in his M5 outside Louisville by 10:15, arrived in Lexington at the caravan meet up site about an hour later. A few folks had beaten me there and it was really nice to relax and catch up with old (and new) friends while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive. My first vintage had officially begun, and it was already shaping up to be a memorable event. We got everyone gassed up, had a quick drivers meeting, and were off behind Mike Self by 12:15. We had a huge caravan – started off with 12 cars, and we added a few more along the way.


Ben Younce took a good video of me driving up the interstate

We made a long stop in Corbin, KY to regroup. It ended up being a good stop as we picked up Jason Gipson and the Tinker’s. One of the e30’s in our caravan had an issue with their fan shroud that got addressed at the same time.





Otherwise it was an uneventful drive to Asheville. We arrived around 7PM safe and sound. I was really impressed with the 1600-2, it did a great job the entire way, and was very happy buzzing up and down the big hills into Asheville.

Grabbed dinner with some of the Gearbusters at Thirsty Monk in one of the suburbs. Good food, good beer, and a great time with friends. After that, we spent the night hanging out in the parking lot checking out all the cars.


Photo Credit Jim Denker:


Friday was extra rainy. Started off by having the nice folks at odometer gears install a new gear. My trip odometer couldn’t be fixed at the vintage, but they put a new odometer gear in and the action is much better.


From there we headed down to Greer, SC to the BMW X Factory. It was an awesome tour and I’m really glad I got the opportunity to see the factory.


After the plant tour, we headed over to the zentrum for a photo op. Even though it was closed, it was still neat to see the building in person.




We got back to Asheville late in the evening, and Did a lot of hanging out in the parking lot. What a cool event – there were so many great cars and great people.


Saturday was the main event! The vintage was here! We took a small caravan down to Hot Springs, and caught up with a large group of modern BMW’s  on the way. Our caravan (E28 M5, 72 2002, e30 eta, and me) hung with and passed those cars with ease, and I think some of the youngtimers were surprised that grandpa could still boogie. We made to hot springs and got a pop tent up and kicked back to start enjoying the day.


What an awesome event and day. Even though it was a little soggy, it was still a blast. Noting like Vintage BMW’s and vintage BMW people. It was really cool to meet people and cars that I’ve only seen online before.



I’m also excited to report that the 1600-2 won Paul Wegweiser’s ‘Bomber’ award. I was totally surprised – I didn’t expect to win anything unless there was an “oldest 02” category. There were a lot of great cars in attendance and it’s a huge honor to drive away with that trophy.



We left Hot Springs in the opposite direction from how we came. I thought the roads on the way to the event were fun, but apparently that was the less fun way. I had no idea what I was about to get into – the roads on the way back totally beat me up and took my lunch money. It was non stop switchbacks, with elevation changes, and lots of soggy gravel. I’ve been pretty proud of how well the little 66 has done this trip, and while it made it home, this car might not belong on roads like that. With lack of sway bars, the car likes to understeer, but with the sharpness of the curves, I was adding enough steering input to overcome understeer just to the point where oversteer wanted to take over. It totally felt like frying pan -> fire all trip long. At one point there was what seemed like a 3 mile decent where I roasted my brakes so bad Jim could smell them in his car behind me. The transmission doesn’t like to shift down into 2 at any significant speed, which left engine braking out of the question, and if I tried to coast, the decent added more speed. 


My big take away from this leg of the trip: the driver needs more experience and instruction on how to negotiate roads like this. Big swaybars etc would have helped, but the loose nut behind the wheel needs some tightening up too.


At any rate, I made it back. Once I got back to the hotel, I felt like something was wrong and popped the hood. It had a terrible belt noise over a few hundred rpm. Turns out the belt had stretched out and wasn’t really turning anymore. I guess a little more than an hour of 6k rpm and twisties killed the belt. Since the bracket was already at full extension, I got a ride from the Tinkers to an O’reilley and bought two belts that were smaller than ‘stock’. We were able to get the smaller belt on with plenty of adjustment left in the bracket and I was back on the road.  Huge thanks to Jon & Wil Tinker for carting me around for parts and helping me get everything installed at 10pm.


Sunday was a bummer. Vintage was over, it was time to go home. Ben Younce had talked me into taking a detour on the way home to see the “Wheels thru Time” motorcycle museum. I’m not a big motorcycle guy, but this was the coolest museum I’ve ever been to. Most everything still works, and they will fire up bikes in the museum at will. The owner even will go pick a bike and take it out for a ride, just because he can. If you ever get the chance to stop by, don’t miss it.





Plus, they had a traveling “wall of death” on the grounds that weekend and that was such a bonkers show.




Some Videos:

After an uneventful ride home, it was all done. Vintage was officially over and I was back to real life. But what an experience. Huge thanks to Scott Sturdy and everyone else that helped.


The 1600-2 did great the entire time. It used less than one quart of oil the entire trip, averaged 30 MPG (35 MPG on the longest stretch between fillups @231 miles), and only had one minor issue with the belt. It was very composed at speed and was very comfortable with the exception of how bouncy it could get. The low springs and sport shocks were likely the main contributor to the bounce, and while it was noticeable sometimes, it wasn’t awful.  The little 1.6 had more power than I expected and could hold its own around other cars in most situations. This car is really good and I’m looking forward to a lot of adventures with it to come.




 Photo credit Ben Younce



Edited by dasfrogger
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