The Budget Bimmer Project!

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The Budget Bimmer Project has begun!!  


The challenge:  To restore/repair/ return to running condition my poor little '76 2002 (currently names Princess BB for Blau Bimmer) and attempt to reuse/recycle/renew everything I can on the car and to try and do as much as possible by myself and on a minimal budget. Princess BB has been sitting in the Bimmer Haus for several years waiting to be returned to her former beauty and glory.  The Bimmer Haus was built by me and a friend out of completely reclaimed lumber and supplies, including four old doors from a horse barn!! More on that another time!


bmw 2002 July 004.JPG



Where better to start than at the bottom with the wheels?   As you can see here, bmw 2002 July 018.JPG


they were in nasty, rusty condition and also covered on the inside with thick, icky oil combined with dirt (FUN!!)   First step was to scrub them with soap pads and degreaser ($2,00 at dollar store!) and get all the grease and dirt off and then dry them in the sun.  I bought an angle grinder, wire cup and face shield at Harborfreight (fwith my extra 25% coupon $17,25)   I provided much amusement for my neighbors  dressed in over-sized filthy sweats,  gloves, dust mask and face shield in 89 degree weather!  Have to be protected from the bits of wire that go everywhere!  It took a couple of hours to get the wheels down to pretty much bare metal. I had to use sandpaper and a small wire brush ($2.00 at dollar store, I LOVE dollar store!!) to clean and smooth in the tight areas and then cleaned the wheels everywhere with rubbing alcohol and repeated that until the paper towels were completely clean.  I watched a cool video for wheel painting on youtube that suggested using index cards stuck into the rims to protect the tires while painting...


Voila!!  Pretty tire flowers!!  

bmw 2002 July 021.JPG


I did three coats of primer about four minutes apart, then let the primer dry about ten minutes, then put on three coats of metallic aluminum on the inside of the wheels...For the outside of the wheels I wanted PRETTY  (I am a girl and Bimmer is a Princess after all!) so I decided to go with Duplicolor Chrome paint that was rated the best on many auto blogs.  It was also recommended to use several coats of gloss black under the chrome to make it pop more.  I got two cans of primer/a can of metallic aluminum and a can of gloss black for $17.00 and a can of Duplicolor chrome for $7,75.


  bmw 2002 July 025.JPG


Luckily I have a truck that provided a perfect outdoor work space for the wheel project.

bmw 2002 July 027.JPG


The inside of the wheels came out really great!  



bmw 2002 July 023.JPGbmw 2002 July 024.JPG


Then it was time to do the outer part of the wheels so I did extra careful sanding and cleaning with rubbing alcohol to get them as perfect as possible.  I did three coats of primer four minutes apart then waited ten minutes and did two coats of black gloss paint four minutes apart and waited ten minutes and then did three coats of chrome paint ten minutes apart as the can suggested.  I did light coats for the first two passes with primer and chrome and then a heavier coat at the end.  


bmw 2002 July 029.JPG


After polishing the center cap with metal polish samples that a super nice dealer sent me for free (thank you!! ) and putting on my new center cap rondels ($6.99 for four shipped from Yu in Beijing through a rather questionable but ultimately cool website)  I think they look 1 million times better and they are now PRETTY (for those with sharp eyes, yes, there was a bit of overspray in this picture that I easily removed with a scrub pad and yes, the wheels do have a few dings on the sides that are part of their charm)!!!  Total cost of the wheel renewal project was $52.99 and a few hours of time, not bad for four greatly improved wheels!!  Now it's on to the front and rear brakes and calipers!!! :) 


bmw 2002 July 030.JPG

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A bit of backstory...


Princess BB has been parked for a few years after I got a massive ticket ($600!!!) for pollution (yes, seriously!) due to all of the smoke that would billow out when I drove her.   At the time I did not know anything about cars and was told that I had  blown piston and bad valve guides and seals that would need a very expensive fix.  I was able to get rid of the ticket by driving to the prescribed station, parking around the corner and dumping in two huge bottles of no smoke so I could pretend I had fixed the problem and the police would sign off on the ticket.  I then drove directly home and parked and took the bus while I searched and saved for another car!  Fortune smiled and I found a wonderful 1985 325e being sold by the original owner and in perfect condition for my daily driver! 


 A few years ago I towed BB out to a remote property when my incredibly wonderful friend offered to help me build the Bimmer Haus out of entirely reclaimed lumber and supplies and keep her there.  We even reused old screws from an old barn and four horse stall doors that were given to me by a farmer and made the roof out of a huge tarp from Harborfrieght!  There she has sat for the past couple of years.  I put her up on blocks and pulled the engine and everything else off the car and it has all been in tupperware bins  in a large semi-container.   I discovered I had a head cracked in three places and some seriously blown pistons along with other problems so started a search for a new head that circumstance made go on for a few years.   Thanks to Patrick at Midnight Motors in Seattle, who found me a perfect new E21 head for a great price!!  


And many, many thanks to the magnificent Rob of 2002 Haus not only for his incredible knowledge and kindness in finding and selling me a fantastic new set of pistons for a price within my budget but for his gracious and always patient answers to my endless questions as I go through this journey!  On to brakes and calipers shortly!!!




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Any updates to this restoration?  Very interested in the "budget" aspect.  My first 02 was a 76 polaris.  



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