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Newbie asking for advice on door locks and A/C


maze2nowhere

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Hi all,

 

First time poster here. I bought a '74 in Sahara about a month ago on a bit of a whim. The honeymoon phase has been a sweaty good time. I'm using it as a daily driver (lol) so I recently had a local BMW specialist shop give it a look over. Coming in I knew the A/C didn't work and the passenger door is missing the lock cylinder. (Since I've had it, the driver's side lock cylinder has also come out.) When you turn the fan on, a horrible noise starts up. Sounds like an angry possum beating on trashcans with a bat. The shop doesn't want to take apart the dash out of fear of breaking something. My question is, would it be worth it? I live in southern Arizona, so some sort of A/C would be a relief. I do understand the boneheadedness of buying an older car and trying to stay cool at the same time. Should I save up for an entire new system, or stick with the 255?

 

For the door locks they found it easier to source all new handles with locks, which would leave me with 3 different keys between doors and ignition. They're also reluctant to take apart the door panels to service the door locks, in case the clips or panels break. Looking through posts here there doesn't seem to be a way around taking the doors apart to replace the handles. Is it possible to replace the cylinders themselves? I understand that would still require separate keys, but it seems like an easier and cheaper fix, if possible.

 

I hope I don't sound like a clueless newb. I've been obsessed with 2002s since I was a teenager and jumped at the chance to own one. I am not mechanically inclined, thought not totally clueless. I've been reading up on posts here to be ready to take on more fixes/tweaks/mods myself. I appreciate any advice and helpful critiques you're willing to share - I'm happy to officially be a part of the group!

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First of all, welcome to the 02 fraternity/sorority; you've come to the right place for advice and friendly exchanges--and the only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask, and then screw something up.

 

Door locks:  you should be able to score a couple of lock cylinders from someone on the FAQ--check parts for sale and see who'e parting out a rust bucket.  You can key 'em to match your ignition switch fairly easily.  I did a column on that, so PM me and I'll send you a copy.  Removing the door's upholstery panels isn't that difficult if you know the sequence--and a few tricks.  They're here on the FAQ.  And those retaining clips for the upholstery are very much available, along with an amazing amount of seemingly arcane parts for your '02.

 

Heater noise:  it's probably the fan hitting the "air mixer door" when it's running.  Try moving the heat (temperature) control (bottom lever, right side) back and forth while the fan is running and see if it stops.  You don't have to pull the dash to remove the heater, even with A/C.  Behr, Frigiking or Clardy?  If the first two, I also did a column on weaseling the heater out from around the A/C.  Not the easiest task, but I learned by doing; so can you.  If you're gonna make the A/C work again--and be resigned to the fact it isn't anywhere near as efficient as modern cars--I'd do the A/C and heater at the same time, especially if the A/C has lost all its charge.  If that's the case you can convert to R134 refrigerant, and install a newer and larger condenser.  Loads of info about that task on the FAQ, plus Rob Siegel's book on A/C.  

 

So...that should get you started; I'm sure others will chime in to welcome you and provide advice.  Lucky you...cars sans rust...it's only a dream here in the Midwest...

 

Cheers,

mike

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'69 Nevada sunroof-Wolfgang-bought new
'73 Sahara sunroof-Ludwig-since '78
'91 Brillantrot 318is sunroof-Georg Friederich 
Fiat Topolini (Benito & Luigi), Renault 4CVs (Anatole, Lucky Pierre, Brigette) & Kermit, the Bugeye Sprite

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Thank you for the friendly welcome, Mike! I really appreciate your info and advice. I posted a lookout for lock cylinders in one thread with a lot of parts action, and I'll make one in the Parts Wanted thread as well. Ha, I happened to read the door panel guide here beforehand and thought maybe the mechanics are being a bit too safe. But, I also get them not wanting to be the one who breaks something taking it off. 

 

I tried the fan and it makes the noise across the temp spectrum. I can't tell totally if the noise is isolated to inside the cabin, but it's quite the racket. Mine happens to be a Clardy, unfortunately, but I do appreciate the offer. I'm going to read through the A/C article here, and will check out Siegel's book. What better winter project for a beginner than replacing the heater and A/C in an almost 50 year old car? 😉

 

Yeah I really lucked out with this one. It's been in AZ and Southern CA it's whole life, so rust has not been a big issue for this car. The previous 2 owners have spent a lot of money keeping this thing running and looking good, and I'm excited to keep that going. Thanks again!

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Maze, few things.

 

1) The AC can be removed quite easily without dissembling the entire dash. bench testing it should help you to find the noise.

2) If you don't care about originality, you could install a modern AC dash unit. The smallest one i can find is the $250 Southern Air mini cool. It fits fine but the AC connections are on the drivers side so you will need to make some new AC lines to reach.

3) Likely the rest of the AC system is original and mostly junk. Modern components for the compressor and condenser are way superior

 

 

For the door locks, who cares if you break some of the clips. They are 50 year old plastic and new clips are 20 for $10.... You will have to remove the door panels to service or replace the door locks. 

 

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1976 BMW 2002 Chamonix. My first love.

1972 BMW 2002tii Polaris. My new side piece.

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1 hour ago, Stevenc22 said:

Maze, few things.

 

1) The AC can be removed quite easily without dissembling the entire dash. bench testing it should help you to find the noise.

2) If you don't care about originality, you could install a modern AC dash unit. The smallest one i can find is the $250 Southern Air mini cool. It fits fine but the AC connections are on the drivers side so you will need to make some new AC lines to reach.

3) Likely the rest of the AC system is original and mostly junk. Modern components for the compressor and condenser are way superior

 

 

For the door locks, who cares if you break some of the clips. They are 50 year old plastic and new clips are 20 for $10.... You will have to remove the door panels to service or replace the door locks. 

 

That’s reassuring to hear about the AC. It does need 2 boots, which I’m having the shop do and will take up most of my current repair funds. I’m working up the courage to take on the AC myself. That Mini Cool system looks neat. How does that fit into the current console? 
 

Haha, I get the feeling they (and myself a little) are being too precious about getting into the guts. It’s the only way to diagnose problems and fix things, so why not. I have an idea to refinish the door cards, so I won’t be upset if the cards get a bit bent in the process. 
 

Thanks for your advice! 

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Welcome.  Had a 76 Sahara with AC and a sunroof that was my daily back in the day.  Had the time of my life in that car though it barely kept you cool in hot, humid DC summers.  Happy you finally realized your obsession with your 74. 

 

Fast forward, I have Behr AC in my 74tii.  When I bought the car last March the PO said she never ran the AC in the 13 years she owned the car.  I finally got around to getting the system recharged and immediately ran into problems -- my mechanic said there was a short in the system that was draining the battery.  The local radiator/AC shop was extremely hesitant to get into the system beyond the initial recharge.  They didn't want to touch the dash (they said they'd need to remove it) and I didn't want them touching anything if they were unsure of what they were doing.  I eventually found a place that will work on the AC, the car goes in next month.  I am in your same spot, do I go the route of saving the existing AC or putting in a modern system.   Good luck whichever way you decide to go.  Cheers

1974 2002tii Schwarz 

1973 Bavaria Sahara

1976 2002 Sahara once upon a time

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Hi Maze. Welcome to the madness.

 

You can get my a/c book either from Amazon or signed directly from me. But even before that, you can look at the nine-part series of posts I did here on the FAQ about retrofitting a/c into my tii.

 

The big take-away message about a/c rejuvenation in a 2002 or any old car is that, unless it was very recently working and stopped, you need to expect to have to do nearly everything to it.  Your '74 probably has a Behr system. The evaporator assembly and the surrounding console are reusable (though the smart thing to do is pull it apart and flush it), but it's false economy to think that any of the other components—the condenser and fan in front of the radiator, the compressor and bracket, the hoses, and the receiver/drier—are.

 

--Rob

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The new book The Best Of The Hack Mechanic available at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0998950742, inscribed copies of all books available at www.robsiegel.com

1972 tii (Louie), 1973 2002 (Hampton), 1975 ti tribute (Bertha), 1972 Bavaria, 1973 3.0CSi, 1979 Euro 635CSi, 1999 Z3, 1999 M Coupe, 2003 530i sport, 1974 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special (I know, I know...)

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It was a bit unclear to me if the fan racket you described was the heater blower or the AC blower.  (in my car, the AC is a separate unit).  If it's the heater, there is a good chance the heater box (where the exchange and flappers do their thing) is pretty ratted out.  It's plastic, has a million thermal and moisture cycles on it and prone to cracking and general disintegration. And occasional mouse homesteading.  And may be the source of the screeching.    I believe it's a NLA part, so may want to do some proactive sourcing look for that.  There are some good articles on heater rebuild, and with some patience and ingenuity, you can sometimes glue it back together and not have to find a replacement.  

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7 hours ago, thehackmechanic said:

Hi Maze. Welcome to the madness.

 

You can get my a/c book either from Amazon or signed directly from me. But even before that, you can look at the nine-part series of posts I did here on the FAQ about retrofitting a/c into my tii.

 

The big take-away message about a/c rejuvenation in a 2002 or any old car is that, unless it was very recently working and stopped, you need to expect to have to do nearly everything to it.  Your '74 probably has a Behr system. The evaporator assembly and the surrounding console are reusable (though the smart thing to do is pull it apart and flush it), but it's false economy to think that any of the other components—the condenser and fan in front of the radiator, the compressor and bracket, the hoses, and the receiver/drier—are.

 

--Rob

Hey Rob,

 

Thanks for your help! Your guide has been incredibly helpful on this issue. I’m definitely going in thinking everything may have to be replaced. Fortunately it’s what we consider Fall here now so daily driving is much more tolerable with no AC, however slight it may be. I have the feeling I’d be happiest with putting in a retrofit system with all new parts, though that could be way out of budget and capacity. 

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There are two 2002 "retrofit kits" I'm aware of. The first is from ICE AC. It uses an evaporator assembly and console that's basically an updated design of the Clardy system. Their website is terrible, and the seller, Bob Poggi, isn't great about providing detailed information, but I believe that folks who have installed it have been happy with it.

 

The second is from a company in Texas called Dtechparts. This uses a modern climate control box instead of an evaporator assembly. The pros are that you get a/c and heat out of the same box with the ability to get blended air instead of the a/c freezing your knee. The cons are that the old heater box has to be removed, the large rectangular hole in the firewall has to be blocked up, you no longer have working fresh air vents for your feet and defrost, and I believe that the climate control box cuts into the glovebox. Oh, and the fact that the seller has decidedly mixed reviews here on the FAQ./

 

I haven't priced either of these full systems, but I'm almost certain that you're paying a premium for what you could piece together yourself. The condenser, fan, receiver/drier, hose, and fittings are all things you can buy on eBay/Amazon. Bob Poggi at ICE AC reportedly WILL sell you just the evaporator and console. I believe that the climate control box that Dtechparts uses is the Vintage Air mini system. You can find information about all this here on the FAQ. Note that I have no hands-on experience with either of these systems, and am in no way trying to talk you either into or out of them.

 

--Rob

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The new book The Best Of The Hack Mechanic available at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0998950742, inscribed copies of all books available at www.robsiegel.com

1972 tii (Louie), 1973 2002 (Hampton), 1975 ti tribute (Bertha), 1972 Bavaria, 1973 3.0CSi, 1979 Euro 635CSi, 1999 Z3, 1999 M Coupe, 2003 530i sport, 1974 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special (I know, I know...)

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