Jump to content

Upgrade roadmap suggestions welcome

Recommended Posts

10 hours ago, Fletcher said:

agree 100%.  I’ve been thinking about this since before the car arrived.  Amid pandemic though, I don’t know how to accomplish it 

not much difference now than before the pandemic. most clubs have it figured out.   some still do in car instruction with extra safety measures. some clubs just to lead/follow instruction.  most all are holding classes outside or via video conference before the event. 


here in the DC area we ran a full schedule of HPDE events from July onward with SCCA and BMWCCA.  we actually had higher attendance numbers with SCCA over previous years.  track days are a great way to get out of the house in an environment that is inherently "socially distant".    folks were looking for a way "out" and HPDE provide a great way to have fun safely.


grab your helment, jump in a car and GO!!!!! 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you should focus on the things that will make the car more fun to drive for you. Yes, get the title sorted. That keeps your car on the road without having to scan the rear view mirror all the time.

If you like to drive with music, add that. It can cover some of the unwanted noises.

Personally, I'd embark on a mechanical restoration starting with brakes and suspension. Brakes that work really well are actually quite satisfying, just get the stock brakes working like new and you may be surprised, they're pretty good. Next, steering and suspension. New bushings and steering joints make a quite noticeable difference in drivability. Get the best tires you want to afford, but make sure the suspension won't just wear them out prematurely. Upgrade the sway bars, and if you can, splurge for some good shocks. And, how are your tires (I already said that, I know). Tires can make the biggest noticeable difference in driving experience that you can do. 

Learn to tune the engine. If compression or leakdown tests are disappointing, hold off on the engine upgrades (carbs, cams, etc.) until you're money's ready to get the basic engine (pistons and valves that seal, all the oil stays inside, etc.) working well. You may not have to replace all the internals, maybe rings and a valve job will get you an engine that works well for 50,000 miles or so.

Sounds like your reasons for wanting to do this are good ones, retreating to the garage can be a good release. Have fun with it.


  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you asked... my suggestions for your situation: Don't focus on cosmetics or making it faster, these cars are inherently slow by modern standards and it takes a bit of cash and time to make them fast(ish). Just concentrate on making it run and run around better.


It's a street car, so blasting around town with gusto at 45mph is a helluva lot of fun in an 02. Do that for a year before deciding if you want take this car to the next level, or sell it and buy a better 02 to do so. 


For this car, here's what I'd focus on in order of priority:

1. Mechanically reliable and safe with a focus on brakes, cooling and electrical.

2. Being in the PNW, suspend the existing rust with POR15 or equivalent. Then leave it as is until you decide what you want to do with the car long term.

3. Buy the best tires you can. Consider bumping up to 15s or down to 13s. It appears harder to find a decent set of 14s for the bottle caps you've got now.

4. Upgrade the 3 S's: Suspension, Steering, Seats. These are the things you will always touch/feel when you drive and IMHO enhance the best part of an 02 - the handling. 


I'm sure others have different opinions, but for most new owners I think the best advice is get it safe and reliable and then drive the snot out of it for a while.


Cheese, James

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

For me I did: 

5 speed


IE sways,

ST springs

Bilstien HD shocks

All fresh suspension bits and rubber. 

Very nice set of fresh Ohtsu tires. 

Attacked the rust. 

123 Distro. 

Recaro seats


I would highly, highly recommend: 

......Driving school. 

Got my tail in front of me going around a turn today because I thought I was "Googles Pizano" when I wasn't.  I proceeded to perform a "Bat Turn" when I didn't plan on it. 


I would take the advice from prior posts as follows. 

Make the car reliable. Sounds to me like you have some good resources for that. 

Make the car safe. See line above. 

Learn how to drive it, then decide what would make the car more fun in your book. 


Worthless advice from: 

Vic " Checking PIR for classes" Leonardo. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Collaboration vs validation sought, found and much appreciated 🙏

Ideas I hadn't considered (or lacked info on) that this conversation has provided so far: 


  • Upgrade tires
    • current: Bridgestone/Firestone Fuzion HRi 195/60R14 w/ good tread (but sat in field for 1.5yrs..)
  • Repair stock brakes 
    • 2014 front brake job including: overhaul front brake calipers, replace disks & pads, clean & repack front wheel bearings.
  • Compression/Leak test engine
    • Amazon has bunch of these for $<100 but some of the reviews (breaking off in the sparkplug hole 😖) don't sound great.  Snap-On has one for $300something, but can't imagine I'll use it sufficiently to justify that.  Probably just take it to Midnight Motorsports and have Patrick look it over from head to toe including this item for sure. (another great suggestion.  thx)
  • Reach out to the PNW club.
  • Attend a track day somewhere & driving classes.
  • Suspension - upgrade sway bars
    • 2010 - Rear shocks & front struts replaced (w/ Blistens).
    • 2012 - Lower control arms replaced.
  • Steering - new bushings & steering joints
  • Cooling
    • 2020 new radiator 
    • 2012 thermostat replaced
  • Continue POR15ing the rusty bits (roger that!)
  • Upgrade Seats.  
    • I have a single drivers Recaro LS on the floor next the car.  It's only out cuz I it doesn't have any fabric on it barely.  It's all foam.  Took it out to take it for a quote at Burien Upholstery, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

Awesome stuff.  Much appreciated!

Beer & Tunes of the moment:
"Cinnamon Girl" -Neil Young & Crazy Horse 
Deschutes Black Butte Porter

Edited by Fletcher
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again everyone, is there a local or pnw group email or someone I can reach out to about parts? I’ve been doing CL and FB Marketplace, but it’d be nice to meet and deal with somebody local. Plus here’s a pic of repairing some hidden rust under the tank. 





Edited by Pete Boi
Spelling and pic description
Link to post
Share on other sites

Follow-up question about carbs:


When I look at the Weber kits online, they’re invariably shown with the small rectangular warm air intake/filters.  Aside from having to be less than a 1/4 the surface area of the stock circular air filter of the cold air intake setup they’d be drawing warm/less dense air.  How does that make sense?   Thx

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Fletcher said:

 How does that make sense?  


If you are referring to the rectangular air filters that are typically installed on DGV carbs, they are simply a convenient filtration solution that allows the carbs to be used without having to modify the original filter to fit it.  


The original filter is superior for reasons you've mentioned, but mating it to the carb and keeping it all low enough to clear the hood is a bit challenging.  Another benefit of the stock filter is the domed center that provides a smooth path for the air entering the intake.  A lot of times that dome is removed and a flat plate welded in its place.


Here is a thread on the topic of fitting a stock air cleaner onto a DGV carb.



P.S.  I hope you are following the POR15 instructions and using their prep products prior to painting.  It is important that the surface be free of any oil/contaminants and etched with their acid wash.

Edited by '76mintgrün'02
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites


1 hour ago, '76mintgrün'02 said:

P.S.  I hope you are following the POR15 instructions and using their prep products prior to painting.  It is important that the surface be free of any oil/contaminants and etched with their acid wash.


You got me there.   I took at its marketing claim of being able to bond directly with rust and stop it.   I didn't assume anything further was required and didn't read the packaging regarding prep. 😳 

However, I did use a wire brush on the rust and followed up with a 80grit sanding block..  The rust was all rust, no paint, free of loose bits and blown clean of dust with compressor.   Where I painted over paint, that was incidental.  The paint was intact no bubbles.   Hopefully that was good enough.  Going forward, I'll get the wash.  Thanks.   Elsewhere (separate from POR15) on the visible surfaces areas I've prepped by: Going down to bare metal first, rubbing clear of contaminates with isopropyl, drying fully and using self etching primer. 

Edited by Fletcher
typo. bare metal. not sure what bear metal is or if it poops in the woods.
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Fletcher said:


Going down to bare metal first, rubbing clear of contaminates with isopropyl, drying fully and using self etching primer. 

Enough already with the self etching primer.  Start using an epoxy primer.  You'll thank me later. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

My 02 cents:


10 years ago I embarked on a similar project. Bought the 02 in Seattle and relocated it to Portland as a project for my then high school aged son and I to fiddle with. The goal was to get a solid runner where everything worked well.  We went well past that goal, but the things that got us there, in order were:


1) Remedied the shake, rattle and roll by replacing the tires and every single urethane or old rubber part with new rubber in the front and rear suspension, including the steering shaft donut, guibo and differential hanger (I had the differential out anyway).

2) Replaced the front and rear shocks including new ball joints while the struts were out.

3) Fixed the heating/cooling system with a new thermostat, 3 core radiator and electric fan (the mechanical one was hitting the radiator under hard braking).  I cleaned up the heater valve and replaced all of the hoses at the same time.

4) Rebuilt the front and rear brakes with all new/rebuilt parts.  Zinced the calipers.  Replaced the parking brake cables.

5) Fixed the various grounding issues in the instrument cluster so that the gauges worked (better).

6) Replaced the battery.

7) Replaced the clutch master cylinder which was shot.


This stuff got me a car that ran reliably.  Every single bit of this was accomplished by my son and I.  We have average mechanical skills, plenty of tools and decent problem solving skills but none of this required (paid) professional help or special tools.  Everything is available on this web site.  Lot's of posts, articles and smart people.


After all of that, I do what many people do...spent more time and money on the beast.  The net is that every single thing is now done (new or rebuilt), except the body work, which I don't care (as much ) about. 


After the basic stuff above, I replaced all of the door and window seals.  Mine were 40 years old and shot.  If I did it again, I would use 100% BMW rubber.  I used URO for the doors and have never been happy about it.  Too stiff.  The new seals reduced (did not eliminate) air noise and the car didn't leak when it rained.


I eventually had the engine rebuilt.  It did one thing that wasn't ideal: blew smoke on high load deceleration. In my case this was heading down a steep hill in 2nd or 3rd, picking up decent speed and taking my foot off the accelerator. I didn't blow smoke on hard acceleration but decided that the motor needed a refresh and went with a much higher torque/horsepower alternative.  


Again, those two tests can be done without any special skills except a working right foot.


While the engine was out, I did put in a 5 speed and LSD, but they were cheap then.  Now it's nuts.  Also, the speedo had to be recalibrated because I moved from a 3.64 to 3.91 rear end. More money.  I'm not sure I'd do this again, but at the time it was relatively inexpensive so why not?


Short of the engine rebuild, you should be able to do all of this yourself. And it's fun.  Good luck with the project.



  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.