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Hi everyone,

     I just picked up a '71 2002 and have some work to do. I know there are plenty of threads covering what I am about to ask but I would like to compile them all into one and eventually write an article on weighing the options of things to upgrade and what works best.


I want to build my car as a restomod but I am not a purest by any means.


My car was parked about 9 years ago due to a brake failure and the owner never got around to fixing it and sold it. I believe the brake setup is original and I would like to upgrade to something better.

The first thing I found was the Wilwood kit from Ireland Engineering. I like the look of the kit for 15" wheels how they fill out the entire rim but is it overkill for street use and an autocross every now and again.

If I am going to upgrade the front brakes I would like to put disk on the rear as well. I would like to match the front and rear with wildwood on both but for the cost of the Wilwood kits am I getting anything better than what I could piece together? I know there is a VW setup that I can run on the rear too but read something about the bleeders being on the bottom and having to take the caliper off in order to bleed it.


Next I was considering upgrading to coilovers. I know these cars handle well as is but I would like to upgrade to something that may be adjustable for street and autocross use. I do not necessarily need to do the rear end but would like to if I can do it for a reasonable price to performance ratio. Should I just buy a set already made or should I build them myself.


lastly for now I would like to put down more power than the stock m10. I was considering an m42 or an m20 with the potential of eventually a turbo build just other upgrades to get me in to the 200hp range. Thoughts?


Like I said I know all of this has been covered before but please don't be an asshole and tell me to just google it. Many of the links I find for this site give me an error and are too old that I wouldn't get a response If I asked a question.


P.S. I am currently deployed and have yet to actually see my car in person so as of now this is just a guide/debate for what options for different areas to upgrade are best cost per outcome. BMW2002-list.jpghttps://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=video&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiM14z0xK3PAhXFOxoKHQ2TClIQtwIIHjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DpOgXzB3bMLo&usg=AFQjCNFsKqaB70sL22Ae_N1Q6dT_DtTz8gbmw-2002-turbo-arches-fender-flares.jpgcaughtslippin1.jpg





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Welcome to the FAQ.  Best wishes on the remainder of your deployment.

Quick note, you are MORE than welcome to bump old threads.  In fact, it's encouraged around here.


1)      Brakes.  Yes the IE 15” BBK’s are going to be your biggest/baddest setup.  They will certainly slow things down quick and fill that space behind the wheel.  However, given your use/application you could also consider the IE/Volvo kit in the front paired with a set of 250mm drums in the rear.  It won’t look as sexy, but they will do the job admirably.

2)      Bear in mind that if you start swapping engines you will quickly find yourself non-competitive with others in your class.  The 2002 is very capable in FSP, however you are restricted in regards to what you can do.

If you are not comfortable with your fabrication abilities, then certainly have someone else do the coilovers.  Just note that a supplier like IE will generally send over reference photos upon request.

With suspension, it is very easy to go race-car-for-the-street very quickly.  If that is what you want, great.  However, showing some restraint may yield a car that will put more smiles on your face (rather than grimaces).  Lowering springs, fresh bushings, and swaybars can make for a GREAT handling car.

3)      Power Plant.  A hot rod M10 can be very fun, but if your stated goal is a streetable car with north of 200whp then you are on the right track. 

a)      A properly built 2.9L M20 stroker will get you over the 200whp bump whilst having an addicting NA torque curve.  Match that with a lightened flywheel and you’ve got a very zippy car.

b  )   A turbo’d M42 (or M10 for that matter) can get you there, although the driving experience is a tad different with the forced induction.  It should still be a blast when sorted.


A word of advise on swaps, many can make an engine swap look sexy.  However, looking sexy and functioning well are two different things.


Quick note.  There are an innumerable amount of times I’ve seen people get so excited and dive headfirst into a project, only to run out of enthusiasm and/or funds half way through.  To have the odds of success in your favor, enjoy this time of enthusiasm, but remain rational.  This car might require a lot of decidedly non-sexy work to become a viable means of transportation.  The smart money is always on “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”   You CAN rock this car and make it your own, just remember that it is a marathon rather than a sprint.

Edited by AceAndrew
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On 9/26/2016 at 3:09 PM, AceAndrew said:

Quick note.  There are an innumerable amount of times I’ve seen people get so excited and dive headfirst into a project, only to run out of enthusiasm and/or funds half way through.  To have the odds of success in your favor, enjoy this time of enthusiasm, but remain rational.  This car might require a lot of decidedly non-sexy work to become a viable means of transportation.  The smart money is always on “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”   You CAN rock this car and make it your own, just remember that it is a marathon rather than a sprint.


2002's are a lot of fun, but are certifiably more fun when you can drive them. If it weren't for my 73 that i barely keep on the road, i'd have sold my 67 m20 swap-go fast-look cool-doohickey project a looooong time ago.

My best advice would be to get the car running and stopping reliably before going down the rabbit hole of mods. If it has been sitting for 9 years, it's going to need a lot, and tossing fancy struts and big breaks on a car that doesn't run well can be a bummer. Spend some time behind the wheel first, figure out what the car needs. You'll be happier with the car in the long term.


Also, the 123 distributor is the best thing i've ever bought for an 02. a stock suspension rebuild with IE sway bars is a close second.



Edited by dasfrogger
can't spell
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I agree, there are a LOT of cool things you can do to your 02. But get it inspected and get it to being reliable and safe. You may find a giant can of worms once you start digging and then you may find yourself broke and with a nice paperweight that you can't drive. 


Get it running. Drive and enjoy. Then pile on the goodies...a "Rolling Restoration"...much like our favorite Hack Mechanic does. 

Loose: Not tightly bound. Subject to motion.
Lose: What happens when you are spell check dependent.


1975 Malaga. It is rusty but runs. Just like me. 

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As the others have said, my advice is: drive it, drive it and then drive it again. Get it reliable and safe, driving it will then tell you what it needs. Engine swaps that a get a quality result are hard so at least get an idea what a properly sorted 2002 with an M10 feels like first.


BMW really did know what they were doing when they built this car. As an all round package it's hard to beat, just watch you don't unbalance it as an attempt to do a better job than BMW. 

rtheriaque wrote:

Carbs: They're necessary and barely controlled fuel leaks that sometimes match the air passing through them.

My build blog:http://www.bmw2002faq.com/blog/163-simeons-blog/

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Most of the mods you're talking about are going to bump you into mod class, or XP.  If you do like autocross, then you'll probably want to be competitive.  If you want to be competitive in those classes (depending on local competitors), then you'd probably have to end up with a gutted race car that you'll only want to trailer to events.  You'd still have a lot of trouble keeping up with a highly modded 02 against the modern cars, then you might get frustrated and try to revert your mods, or just get another car, or quit in general.

Theres also the fun of just not being competitive, which is what I've reverted to these days on the occasions I feel like running.  In E Prepared I could build the M10 however I want, and tweak most suspension stuff.  Occasionally I can be semi-competitive if the right cars show up, but my car is still a full interior street car and daily driver, so I'm not going to gut it and make it brutal to drive on the street.  So, I just show up and be an idiot and lose.  

For FSP you can tweak a lot of things, but have to keep all engine internals basically stock. Plus, you still pretty much gotta go full racecar to do well against real competitors.

Stock class (GS or HS?) isn't really an option, as by now basically any little thing will bump you out of it. These cars are too old to be full stock at this points.


Anyways, I think your best bet for researching toys right now would be getting Haynes or Clymer repair manual, or some of the restoration books, and start learning how to go through everything carefully, and reading the forum archives.  With just some simple adjustments and bleeding, the stock brakes will stop damn hard for many laps on a track. Personally, I'm much happier with my M10 than the M20s and M42s I've driven.


Bring a Welder

1974 2002, 1965 Datsun L320 truck, 1981 Yamaha XS400, 1983 Yamaha RX50, 1992 Miata Miata drivetrain waiting on a Locost frame, 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser

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When I say id like to race auto cross I don't plan on having a full blown race car i just want something thatll be fun and do better than a standard 02 around a course. Lets put it this way, my friends have an 87 325is and the other has an "89 dodge Omni we all want to see who is fastest and who can improve their time the most in the matter of a day. Thats the kinda autocross I'm after. 


I know I am going to have to do brake work in order to be able to drive the car and rebuild a carb and get the timing down among who knows how many other things to get the thing to move under its own power so i figure if I have to fix or rebuild something why not upgrade it as well. Does anyone have any experience with the Wilwood kits vs the Volvo and the rear disc conversion? Also does anyone make a good front and rear coilover kit for around a grand?





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55 minutes ago, FlyingPez said:

Does anyone have any experience with the Wilwood kits vs the Volvo and the rear disc conversion? Also does anyone make a good front and rear coilover kit for around a grand?



Yes and Yes (if you do the welding).  


Now to be blunt, is this your first time going into a car this far?  Feel free to shoot me a PM, may work better that way.

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everything you are asking has been done before....and yes....a quick search will find a ton of info on the topics.  in particular, try browsing some of the build threads in the project blog archive section.  



you will probably wile away many hours and get some interesting ideas.  yes, please bump threads you see are interesting!!!    and no, i am not being an a..........


if you have not seen your car before,  researching all your options is a fun way to spend your down time until you get home.   don't buy anything until you have seen the car in person and really evaluated what it needs.  if you can get it delivered, buy a copy of mccarthy's 2002 restoration guide (amazon).  read it a few times.  i suspect you will find, as someone already said, a bunch of "un sexy" fixes are needed before getting to the things you are asking about.  rust, bushings, electrical stuff, etc.   once you have that list identified, then start to work.   i agree, if ya gotta replace something, might as well replace it with better stuff.


btw - if drivers are equal, you will never beat the 325is.....


where is home?  when you get back, i am sure there are others in your area that can show you what they have done with their 02's and provide test rides.  if you are DC area, you are welcome to some right seat time in my "slightly modified" 02.   street time fun, but on a track is a bit more interesting.


come back safely!

Edited by mlytle


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Thanks for serving!


What's your build budget?  Do you have one? Do you have adequate room and tools to work on it?  Anyone can throw parts and money at a vehicle.  The smart way is to do lots of reading and figure out what you really want out of the car.  There isn't anything wrong with stock brakes if they are working properly. Better wheels, tires, shocks/struts, bushings and anti-sway bars will transform the car - even a stock one.

Jim Gerock

Ruby Red 73tii built 5/30/73 "Celeste"

Riviera 69 2002 built 5/30/69 "Oscar"

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The only other car I have worked on this in depth is a 1950 ford sedan. I know the car is going to need a lot of not so sexy stuff. I have access to a tig welder and a large verity of tools. I mainly work on motorcycles so body work is new to me.

I am from Maryland but I am stationed in California. I am currently in the middle east and the car is in Cali.


I have never really been in love with a car or had one that I was super proud of so that is what I am aiming for. I would like to make something that looks nice and handles well and be better than stock. I do not know exactly what my build budget is but I am willing to spend money if its going to be way easier or save me a lot of time. For example If I could build 4 coilovers for $650 or buy a pre made setup for $800 I wouldn't mind spending the extra $150 and not have to weld and build something that I will only have to do once.


I do have access to a CNC mill, an analog hand crank mill and a lathe.



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