Road Trip California to Montreal - tips for newbie

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Hey, just thought I'd post my plans for my upcoming road trip across the USA.

Here is the tentative map: http://tinyurl.com/cvp5pp

We plan on leaving on May 18th. Any suggestions on routes?

My car is a '74 Tii, and I drove it down from Montreal this past September without any problems! I'm a newbie when it comes to mechanic stuff so even if something went wrong we would probably be screwed (got my AAA though). I've been looking at some of the posts for spare parts to take, but I have no idea what to do with most of the stuff listed anyways :)

I've been fixing up some stuff with JP at A1 Imports in San Rafael and he's been awesome. I had to get a new alternator, new wiper blades, seat belt, battery. I'm going to replace my throttle linkage and probably the tires since they are getting pretty worn out. I might also replace the gearbox (its a 4 speed) with a newer (used but rebuilt) 4 speed...

Any suggestions on what I might want to bring just in case I have to tow to a mechanic along the way? fan belt? alt. belt? spark plugs? coolant?

So far I've got some of the basics:

- jumper cables + battery pack

- oil

- fuses

- blanket, flashlight, first-aid

Thanks for the tips!


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The fan belt and the alt. belt are one-in-the-same. Yes, take a spare one with you. Also, points, rotor, distributor cap. Even if you don't know how to install them, a mechanic along the way should. Basic tools could also come in handy. I assume you'll have cell phone, and a laptop could get you connected to this board for advise. Good luck, you and your car should do just fine.

Bob Napier

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more suggestions for your TRSK (Trip Reserve Spares Kit). Most are things that are hard to find on the road, and can leave you stranded (or at least inconvenienced) if they break.

* upper and lower radiator hoses unless yours are nearly new.

* spare thermostat (can be used) & radiator cap

* one of each kind of light bulb the car uses, especially the oddball ones like the instrument cluster and heater control bulbs

* If a tii uses the same little clips on the accelerator linkage as the carbureted cars, one of those.

* If your spare tire isn't on an alloy rim, a set of steel wheel lug nuts

* a decent scissors jack (the factory jack is just plain scary)

* a selection of fuses: 8 & 16 amp

* duct tape, loctite, gasket goo, WD40, 3 in 1 oil.

* small assortment of common size metric fasteners--6x1mm, 8x1.25mm, perhaps 10x1.5mm

* a quart or two of your favorite motor oil

* couple of spark plug connector terminals

I'm sure others will think of more things...

Happy (troublefree) motoring...too bad you're not coming thru Dayton OH--it would give us an excuse for an '02 getogether.



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Assorted Zip Ties (many uses) Wire. Wheel Chocks and a square foot or so of thick plywood for jacking up on soft surfaces.

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Good luck, Dave. I hope to do a cross-country trip myself one day. I have lots of relatives in the Omaha area -- none have BMW's though. Give FAQ folks a heads up that you are passing through & you can have fun w/them. William (shipm8) & Jessie stopped in on many '02'ers when they went from Calif. to the Wash. DC area. They stopped in on us Dayton area folks -- another reason to gtg & celebrate. A blog w/lots of pix is a must for the FAQ.

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I assume you will have the requisite full set of metric sockets and wrenches plus srewdrivers and pliers. My pet peeve is electrical gremlins so bring an assortment of connecters, wire, volt meter and a VISA card with a large limit.

Your trip is about as direct as possible but if you have the time, swing north from Denver/Omaha through South dakota, Minn, Wis, and cross into Canada at Sault St Marie. That will take you through the shield country on the north shore of the Great Lakes - east past Sudbury and through Algonquin to the Ottawa valley and south to Montreal. I'm sure the Chicago/Detroit/Windsor/Toronto/Montreal route has it's own industrial charm but do you really want to drive your cherished o2 amongst 25 million stressed out commuters?


I think I just added about 1,000 miles and a ferry ride to your trip but it would be sooooooo gorgeous.

Just an opinion. Best of luck.

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extra bolts for suspension mounts as well. Like rear shock to suspension mounts.

I lost a bolt once on a old Maxima that held the coil over shock to the lower control arm. I had to stick a piece of wood that I found into the suspension for 300 miles

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Even if you don't drink, it makes for good peace offerings with the locals.

Rather than post my rally spares list, make your own list of parts (plugs, belts, hoses, etc...) Then take your list to Kragens/Napa/etc... Any parts they don't have in their system, I'd carry. The further you stray from civilization/interstate, the more self-reliant you need to be.

Anything may fail at anytime. Ask Armond what happened when he was trolling for towtruck drivers (but that's a different story).

You prepare for some stuff, and assume the risk for others.

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