"One Hundred and One Tech Tips For The 2002" - BMW CCA's Roundel September 1993 By Scott Chamberlain Anyone who has owned a 2002 for more than a few weeks has been introduced to the car's inscrutable nature. Once upon a time, the Club [bMW CCA] and the Roundel were full of 2002 advice. Many new 2002 owners today have never had access to this "wisdom" gained through the years. As our chapter librarian, I have read the back issues, and that priceless reference "Tech Tips." Much of this advice is the result of expensive lessons many learned late at night while contemplating a resolutely imrnobile 2002. Consider then the following one hundred and one tips; I personally guarantee that at least one will be useful to an '02 owner in the next twelve months. 1. Replacing all fuses is cheap insurance against electrical failure. 2. Bosch rebuilds are the only one to consider. 3. BMW dealers often have the best prices under their factory rebuilt program. 4. Reversing wires on front turn signals can result in working signals but no dash indicators. 5. Erratic gauges can often be traced to a bad ground, either on the instrument cluster itself, or engine to frame. 6. Too tight belts destroy water pumps; tighten only enough to run the alternator. 7. If you run 32/36 Weber conversion, using the stock air cleaner with an adaptor can result in increased drivability. 8. Replacing the front lower door molding plastic clip with the metal retainer used on the other end of the molding helps prevent the door trim from falling off when opening the door. 9. Never install driving lights without using a relay; wiring damage and fires often result. 10. Increased offset wheels are hard on bearings. Service them more often. 11. For better handling cheap 320i rims can be used, 325 alloys are a good bet for a cheap +1 conversion. 12. A 320i radiator is as good or better than the 2002 part it is lighter, and the whole conversion costs $50.00 less than the2002 radiator alone. 13. If your 2002 runs hot, and the radiator is more than 2 years old, replace it. 14. Never ignore a bad drive shaft coupling (Guibo). To do so can destroy the transmission case. 15. 320i rear drum brakes will bolt onto a 2002 for much improved braking. 16. Braided metal brake lines are more durable and perform better, and cost little more than stock parts. 17. Do not resurface a bad brake disc, replace it. 18. Use of non-original rear brake linings may result in a parking brake which cannot be adjusted. 19. Check exhaust manifold studs regularly; the front stud seals an oil passage and its loss can cause fires and sudden engine failure. 20. When buying a 2002, check for excess engine movement; more than mild vibration may indicate a broken frame mount it can be fixed but it is quite a job. 21. Check the rear subframe regularly; they have been known to rust through even on otherwise rust-free cars This can lead to a big, dirty iob and parts are qetting hard to find 22. To get drag-race-style acceleration from a 2002, use the gears from a 1976, but be prepared for lots of noise at cruising speeds. 23. BMW O.E. exhaust systems are the longest lasting and most quiet you will find. 24. Do not discard the plastic cover when making door repairs; its job is to keep water out of the car. 25. To restore smooth acceleration action, clean grit from under the pedals, lube the ball mounts and replace the nylon bushing on the accelerator rod. 26. Check shifter mount bolts regularly; loose bolts can cause noise and difficult shifting. 27. Rebuilding a shifter with new springs and busnings results in much better shifting. 28. Re-using gaskets is false economy. 29. Using headers without a rear mount usually results in premature flange failure. 30. Rebuilding a brake caliper without sleeving is a waste of time; buying new units is a better bet. 31. Try changing brands of oil if your 2002 is using oil. 32. Tailpipe smoke on deceleration usually means valve seal problems. 33. The 320i can be a cheap source of Recaro seats for your 2002. 34. Drain your speedometer cable; it collects water. 35. The factory made the best shop manual; it is bi-lingual and has lots of pictures. 36. To prevent rust, clear grit from under front fenders, especially on top of signal lights and at the trailing edge brace. 37. 2002s run fine on unleaded fuel. 38. 2002 aluminum bumpers are expensive, but may be refinished fairly inexpensively. 39. Use BMW filters. 40. Change brake fluid at least annually. More often if you do driver schools. 41. Use BMW anti-freeze, use distilled water for batteries and cooling systems. 42. BMW no longer makes a 2002 battery that fits, Sears does, and it is cheaper. 43. Use tool handle dip on metal moulding clips to prevent rust. 44. Use compressed air to blow moisture from behind trim. 45. Change rubber fuel lines at the first sign of aging. 46. Use the Bosch blue coil. ((( BLACK COIL IS "HOTer" ))))) 47. Consider changing to an electronic ingnition. 48. The adapter kit for a late Chrysler New Yorker will allow the mounting of a din style radio in a 2002 console. 49. Use the metal or nylon shift boot retainer; the styrene plastic style breaks. 50. There is a lot of room for stereo gear under the back seat. 51. If a lock must be replaced, a locksmith can re-key it to match the others. 52. Shift levers are available in black or chrome and will interchange. 53. If radio reception is poor, try replacing the antenna. They deteriorate with age. 54. When an electric switch fails, try cleaning the contacts before replacing. 55. Remove bumpers and clean behind them annually. 56. Repco Metal Master brake pads work well. 57. Aluminum bumpers can sometimes be revived with steel wool and a buffer with a wool pad. 58. Grills are easier to clean when off the car. 59. Flush European turn signals are available for a sleeker look. 60. A smaller steering wheel gives a quicker steering feel. 61. On long trips, carry a "road kit" including: 1. oil sender, 2. fuel line, 3. assorted clamps, 4. fuel filter, 5. thermostat, 6. fuses and bulbs, 7. oil and water, 8. water pump, 9. fuel pump, 10. alternator, 11. starter, 12. belts and hoses, 13. duct tape, 14. wire, 15. gasket in a tube, 16. coat hanger, 17. distributor tune up parts. (It may be overkill, but then I've never been stuck, either.) 62. A fuel filter can be spliced into a broken fuel line to limp home. 63. Even without a road kit, at least carry a fuel filter. 64. Don't slam doors; it is hard on door checks and windows. 65. Broken rivets cause most window mechanism failures; Mercedes sells a repair rivet. 66. Not replacing broken door checks can cause jammed or broken windows. 67. A 530i starter will give you a lot more starting torque. 68. 530i master cylinders give better stopping. 69. Check floor pans carefully; BMW undercoating hides a lot of rust. 70. Tail light gaskets are a frequent cause of trunk leaks. 71. Check the air pressure in your spare. 72. Bellows style shift boots last longer than the fake leather type. 73. Clean out the pedal box, check for rust and debris and enjoy smoother pedal action. 74. If the transmission must be removed, put in a new clutch disc as cheap insurance. 75. A good tight four speed can use ATF for easier shifting. 76. Use genuine BMW Guibo couplings. 77. Shop prices; even dealer prices vary widely. 78. Buy 2002 parts you may need now; many parts go NLA (no longer available) monthly. 79. Use automotive grade hardware; you'll be thankful 80. 2002s have little tire clearance: 185/70 x 13, 205/60x13 and 195/50x15 are about as far as you can go, but there is much variance between individual cars and brands of tires. 81. Rotary compressors give much improved air conditioner performance. 82. New Roundel badges are a cheap way to spruce up the appearance of your 2002. 83. Black spark plug wire can replace discolored "chrome" window trim. 84. The fuel injection system for a 318i can be adapted to a 2002, giving better reliability and economy than carburetors, and less trouble and expense than the tii system. 85. Do not substitute anything else for fuel line. 86. Use Dot 4 brake fluid. 87. Before doing expensive suspension work, consider a full stock rebuild; it is amazing how well a perfect stock 2002 will handle. 88. Adjust your steering box to eliminate "play"; the factory manual shows you how. 89. An upholstery shop can replace the rotted cardboard on otherwise good door panels. 90. Quartz stop light bulbs can prevent rear end collisions. 91. Dim taillights can be caused by corroded reflectors. 92. If used hard, 10,000 miles is not too often to adjust valves. 93. You don't want dual carburetors on your street car, trust me. 94. If your 2002 wears a bra, put soft cloth scraps under the hooks to prevent scratching. 95. For best stereo performance, use large wire; many systems are compromised with small, cheap wire. 96. Short springs seriously compromise the streetability of a 2002. 97. A 320i differential can be adapted to a 2002 to get access to the much more prevalent limited slip differentials. 98. Not driving a 2002 is the worst thing you can do to it. 99. Remove battery for winter storage. 100. Use WD 40 to displace moisture in hood, door and trunk edge seams. 101. Always wave to other 2002 owners. and from: October 1994 BMW CCA Roundel "More tips for 2002" (well, at least 60 more ) By Michael Self ¥ Ed. note: In our [Roundel] September 1993 issue, 2-Series fanatic Scott Chamberlain offered 101 tips for 2002's. Here with another batch from equally fanatical Mike Self Mike Self is well-known to St. Louis Gateway Tech attendees as Professor Rust lecturing often on the prevention and cure forthat dreaded disease. 102. The little plastic cap on the end of the door latch (on the door) is what makes the door close easily, without slamming. If yours is missing, replace it. A short length of plastic or rubber tubing will substitute temporarily. 103. If you've got a sunroof car, reroute the rear sunroof drain hoses (behind the rear quarter panel upholstery). The factory routes them into the rocker panels (!), it's easy to route them into the rear fender wells. 104. Early 2002s with six position fuse boxes have unfused headlights. Using the wiring diagram in the owner's manual, interpose a fused relay in both the low beam and high beam circuits. It could save melted wires and/or a fire. It'll also make your lights brighter. 105. Until 1974, even the 12-fuse cars didn't have a fuse for the high beams. See #104 above. 106. If brake fluid is disappearing from the reservoir and you can't find a leak, check the pedal bucket. A leaking clutch master cylinder will fill it up with fluid, with no exterior leaks. And it holds nearly a pint of fluid! 107. Chrome bumper cars: check the insides of the bumpers periodically for rust, especially around the rear bumper guards. Packed dirt and exhaust fumes will cause the bumper and guards to rust through. 108. Use household carpet padding under your carpets and under and behind the back seat to lessen road noise. Filling the space under the back saat cushion with old chunks of foam rubber packing helps too. 109. Reflectors that have gone bad in taillights & parking lights can be revived with aluminum foil. 110. Use anti-seize paste on any threaded fitting exposed to weather or heat. 111. '72 and later cars with a stalk-mounted windshield wiper switch can be retrofitted with interval wiper controls from a 320i. 112. Pre- 1972 cars have a flimsy right-hand engine mount that eventually stress cracks and breaks. Inspect yours now and replace it with the later style having a welded cross brace. 113. Any time you have the interior upholstery panels off the doors, clean out the insides, inspect for rust and spray with rustproofing. Do the same for the quarter panels. 114. If you have a '76, inspect the front floors carefully for rust. For some reason, the '76s are far more prone to rust than other years. 115. Testors® makes a blue model airplane paint that's perfect for repainting weathered metal BMW Roundels. Thin the paint to eliminate brush marks. 116. A good upholstery shop can use the material from the (usually) unworn rear seat of a parts car to repair the worn/torn center section of the driver's seat in your car. 117. Same goes for carpeting use the unworn back seat carpet from your parts car to repair the worn front. 118. Most 2002 factory colors can be formulated in urethane paint which lasts a lot longer than the factory enamel. 119. Krylon "dull aluminum" spray paint is a great match for the silver paint used on both steel and factory alloy 2002 wheels. On the alloy wheels, spray clear urethane over the silver paint. 120. When draining your cooling system, don't forget to remove the block drain bolt (under the exhaust manifold) and set the heater temperature control to "hot." 121. Next time you have your cooling system drained, take the block drain bolt down to a hardware or auto supply store. There's a commonly available brass petcock that matches the block drain's threads. Install with teflon plumber's tape. 122. Lubricate your speedometer cable periodically they're a nuisance to replace. Disconnect at both ends, and squirt lubricant into the speedometer end 'till it runs out the transmission end. 123. A leaking master cylinder can cause the driver's side frame rail to rust out under the driver's seat. 124. The next time your gas tank is nearly empty, unbolt it and remove from the car to check the tank-to-body seal fordeterioration and rust. Replace the original seal with closed cell weatherstripping foam (available at a hardware store). 125. There are several different seemingly identical bulbs that will fit 2002 taillights. Make sure you use the one with the highest wattage for best visibility. 126. Clean out the heater plenum chamber (below the base of the windshield, where the wiper motor lives) drain hoses periodically. Prevents rust and keeps water from entering the car via the heater. 127. A balky heater temperature control lever is often caused by a sticking valve. It can be removed (leave the lever attached to the cable), dismantled, cleaned and lubricated. 128. A scissors type jack is far more efficient and safer than the one-legged horror supplied by BMW. 129. Don't ever jack or lift a 2002 by the rocker panel jacking points. They're probably rusty and weak by now. Use the subframes. 130. Lubricate the windshield wiper linkage periodically. 131. Always carry a fire extinguisher in a location where you can reach it quickly. 132. You can retrofit inertia reel seat belts to pre-1973 2002s. The "Autoflug" brand lasts a lot longer than the "Repa" brand. 133. Make your stock driver's seat more comfortable by (1) raising the front end of the seat track with 1/4 to 3/8" thick washers and (2) installing extra padding in the seat back to give your lower back more support. 134. If the turn signal flasher bulb on your dashboard flashes only intermittently but both front and rear turn signal bulbs are OK and flash properly, clean or replace the fuse before suspecting the flasher unit itself. 135. Any reluctant or non-operating electrical item should have its fuse checked first. Those German cartridge fuses actually wear out and should be replaced every few years. 136. Use spray rustproofing in the perimeter seams of the hood and trunk lid. These two panels invariably rust around the edges, from the inside out. 137. If you need extra wheels and a five inch width is OK, Chevette (!) and German Opel wheels fit just fine. 138. Periodically lubricate the slides and pivot points of the heater control cables under the dashboard. You don't want to have to replace a broken cable! 139. If you normally park your car outside on a slope, make sure the drain holes in your doors are clear. Water will puddle at the front or back of the door when the car isn't level. 140. If your rocker arm shafts have worn so that you can no longer adjust the valves to the proper clearance, any good machine shop can make oversized (.020-.040 is fine), case hardened adjusters for a lot less money than the cost of removing the head and replacing the shafts. Take them an old one to use as a pattern. 141. A constantly varying idle (both speed and smoothness) points to a vacuum leak. Check to insure the vacuum advance/retard diaphragm in the distributor doesn't have a leak. 142. A floppy shift lever can be rebuilt for about $20 worth of parts and a few hours time. 143. A driveline vibration occurring in a specific speed range can be caused by a worn or broken rear transmission mount and/or a broken or cracked guibo. Check them before suspecting a bad driveshaft, center bearing or rear U-joint. 144. Periodically peel back the carpets covering the front wheel wells (under the dash, ahead of the doors) down at the bottom and check for rust starting there. Evidence of rust indicates a leak into the cowl area, which if left unattended can have fatal structural implications. 145. A piece of ribbed, rubber-backed carpet (try a building materials store) cut to fit the trunk will help prevent things from sliding around under vigorous cornering (and that's all you do in an '02, isn't it?). 146. It's also a good idea to pad the sides and back of the trunk (pre '73 models) to keep migrating objects from denting the quarters and rear panel. 147. With a little patience, you can remove the lenses from a round taillight housing if you need to replate the chrome rim. Look for a small set screw on the inside of the chrome rib that divides the lens segment. The set screw and sealer hold the lenses in place. 148. Periodically inspect the rubber boots on your rear- axle CV joints, particularly if you drive on gravel roads a lot. Boots are a lot cheaper than CV joints. Temporarily patch a torn or leaking boot with layers of kitchen plastic wrap secured with tape. 149. A group 26R battery fits a 2002 just fine and usually has a higher CCA rating than an equivalent group 42. 150. Erratic electrical accessory problems can be caused by a deteriorated or broken battery-to-body ground strap. 151. Once a year, take the battery out, clean the area with baking soda to neutralize the acid, touch up rust spots and replace the battery. The Eastwood Company makes an acid-resistant spray paint specifically for battery areas. Pre-1974 battery boxes unbolt from the body; later ones are welded in. 152. A door that's difficult to close properly that isn't missing the little plastic latchbolt cap may have a loose latchplate (the part mounted on the doorframe). 153. A door lock that's sluggish in cold weather can be lubricated by removing one or both screws that hold the rubber guide wedge on the door. Poke the extension wand of a WD-40 can through the screw holes and squirt. Saves taking the upholstery panel off just to lubricate the lock. 154. A dead windshield washer pump can often be resur- rected by a careful dismantling, cleaning and lubricating of the motor. And failing that, the washer pump from an older VW Rabbit, Jetta or Audi is a perfect replacement. 155. Periodically check the tightness of your taillight lenses where they rneet the bodywork. Loose lens assemblies are prime culprits for trunk leaks that will rust out the spare tire well and/or the gas tank mounting. 156. A thumping or soft banging sound coming from the rear of the car may be loose or worn upper rear shock mounts. 157. The early and late style fuel pumps are interchangeable on all non-tii 2002s; however they use different thickness insulator blocks and different length pushrods. 158. If you're fortunate enough to have 2002 factory alloy wheels, coat the mating surfaces of the stainless steel center caps with anti-seize compound before installing them. Otherwise they'll seize to the aluminum wheels and be damaged when you try to remove them. 159. If you have alloy 2002 road wheels and a steel spare, be sure and carry a set of steel wheel lug nuts. They don't interchange. 160. Pre-'74 2002s have very weak rear bumper mounting points. They can be considerably reinforced by cutting two 4 x 6 in plates out of 1/4 " steel and drilling to match bumper bolt holes. Install between the bumper mounts and the body. Be sure and seal the plates to the body with caulking to prevent rust or leaks.