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Project BMW SR2002


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Hey all,


Been lurking through the forum for the past few weeks and figured I would post a build thread.  I'm currently a student until next year so there won't be a ton of progress on the thread but I can update it as I go.  I picked up a 1976 BMW 2002 a couple weeks ago.  I'm the third owner of the car, it was last owned by my neighbor who kept it in his garage for 20+ years.  Prior to me coming along, it had not been started or moved since 1998.  I remember admiring this car when his garage was open since I was a little kid, and as the pile of garbage and boxes kept building up on top of the car, I decided to see if he would part with it. Turns out he was planning to sell it eventually anyway and I ended up getting it for dirt cheap.  Impressively enough after pouring a bit of gas in the carb, it fired up and I was able to drive it home.  Even took it out and drove it around town and it ran pretty decent.


As you can see in attached pictures, the body isn't in immaculate shape.  The front fenders are completely rotten where the cowl drain tube goes, there is a rust hole behind the rear wheel on the quarter panel and some mild surface rust on the bottom of the doors.  Rockers and floors are completely solid.  Interior is in excellent shape, just a bit dusty from years of sitting.  Unfortunately, living in Canada, the roads receive an incredible amount of salt every year so finding a rust free vehicle this old is next to impossible.


Plans for the car:

Stock/relatively mild build Nissan SR20DET motor.  Will run a top mounted S15 turbo to avoid steering linkage issues as documented in other similar builds.

Fuel cell and battery relocated to trunk

Ground control coilovers

Wilwood brake setup

IE box flares - wide front fenders will replace the rotten ones, will cut and weld rear rust spots and install rear box flares on solid sheet metal.  

Undecided on what rear differential to use that will hold the power (will need to research further).  

Wheels will decided later on as well, but I'll probably have a set of wide diamond racing steelies to start with and put my money into performance modifications before ''bling''.



I know many BMW fans are going to be displeased with the route I'm choosing to take with the car as it will be getting a non-BMW motor but it will be the perfect combination for me.  I would love advice from people who have done this swap before, or if anyone has other suggestions.  Thanks for looking!  




2002 engine.jpeg

2002 front.jpeg

2002 interior.jpeg

2002 profile.jpeg

2002 rear.jpeg

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Always thought the SR would be nice in a 02...  turbo's on the wrong side and will likely interfere with brake booster/ steering box assemblies.  


Someone in fb 02 land put a S13 subframe on the 02 chassis to streamline the process.

Edited by oldguy
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Just now, oldguy said:

Always thought the SR would be nice in a 02...  turbo's on the wrong side and will likely interfere with brake booster/ steering box assemblies.  

Yeah I feel like it will be a good combination. Cheap, fairly reliable at 250whp and small enough to fit well without major modifications. 


As for the steering, I have read that top mounting the turbo will clear the steering rack. The clutch and brake master will be remotely mounted, I’ll deal with the booster when the time comes if it’s  an issue. 

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Good luck with your build.  This year I installed the Wilwood BBK and full GC Coilovers and IE Sways.  Transformed the car.  Happy to answer any questions on those upgrades, just let me know.


My plan for stage two is to have a stroker M10 built but the cost is really making me second guess it.  Estimatd HP is approx 180 which is more than enough for what I will use the car for.  I really want to keep the car with a BMW motor and would love the M10 at its heart but $$$ wow.  Your swap plans will be a fraction of that with +70 HP/TQ.


I like how this will minimize customization in concept which is why I am not overly excited about an m20 swap.


Anyway, enough about me.  Good luck with your build and happy to talk to you about the suspension and brakes.

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I'll add the obligatory "2002's were made to be hot-rodded".  


Good luck on the project.  It's great that you dream big and outline your goal in as much detail as you can now.  It'll help immensely to have a road map/dream when you are in the depths of dismantling/rust-repair.  


Please understand that doing a swap like this, coupled with a body sorting is a LOT more work than you'd think (fixing those rockers is going to put hair on your chest, and whiskey in your coffee).  However, the feeling of accomplishment when it is finished can't be beat.


1)  A good example of an SR20'02 would be the one done by SneedSpeed several years ago.  Don't hesitate to give them a call, as they probably have a lot of reference photos.


2)  A bad example of an SR20'02 would be the flat-black one on youtube.  It has a ton of compromises and bad-ideas.  When the fellow was calling up, I kept banging my head against the wall.

Edited by AceAndrew
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Splinter, I will definitely send you a message when I get into the suspension to see how yours works!


AceAndrew - thanks for your reply also. I agree on the flat black one being a bit hack. Definitely not the route I plan to go with mine. There is also another build on grassroots motor sports that seems to be done pretty well but it doesn’t look like it ever got finished. As for the body work and stuff, I do have some experience with it already. My last project I finished a couple months ago was an old rusty ‘75 Ford F600 that I restored and built into a hunting truck on 42” tires with a custom flat deck. I Did all the body work and paint myself in my driveway (had to paint outside due to the size of the Truck). I understand that the prep work is 95% of the final product and I will convert my garage into a paint booth when the time comes.


Pic attached of the truck before and after if anyone is interested. 




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