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About Ian

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  • Website URL http://dl.dropbox.com/u/2328398/iWeb_M2/Ians_M2/IanM2002.html

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  • Gender Not Telling
  • Location Rochester, NY
  • Interests Rusty vintage cars, metalshaping, fabrication, roll cage design and construction

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  1. Toby does suggest an easy way to get a temp sender in there. I didn’t find any BSPP senders.
  2. We have a winner! 1/4" BSPP (British Standard Pipe Parallel). Even before installing I was optimistic because the BSPP plug (on the right in pic) came with a crush washer, so Toby was precient as always. And installed. After 5 years, I finally have the diff plugged and ready to go. Now to get the rest of the car in a similar state.
  3. It's an original Alpina. Unfortunately, getting ahold of them from the States has proven to be a little difficult. But I can source a 1/4" BSPP plug locally, so am hoping that is the answer.
  4. Good point. I can get a straight version of the plug in BSPP (British Standard Pipe Parallel). It's hard to verify if the hole is tapered as it is on the car. Worst case scenario I remove the diff cover for forensics. I'm really hoping the BSPP fitting is the answer.
  5. Blunt and Paul Wegweiser suggested that it might be British Pipe Thread. So I went to my local hydraulic hose supply store and we figured out that it might be a 1/4" British Standard Pipe Tapered (BSPT). That size does indeed thread into the fitting in my diff cover. However, the threaded portion is 0.6" long, and I can only thread about 0.35" until it stops. So I’ve got half the plug exposed. For BSPT threads, is it reasonable to crank half the plug in, or am I still off on the threads? Anyone have experience with the BSPP (British Pipe Thread, parallel instead of tapered)? Could this be BSPP? The option of re-threading is possible, but you can see what Alpina did was sleeve the cast aluminum housing, so I don’t have a ton of material to thread. Ian
  6. Unfortunately, I tried an M14 x 1.5 and it was slightly too large, and the M12 was too small.
  7. It's an original Alpina, so I'm assuming it was made in Germany. Thus my tests with metric bolts first. The AN option is interesting, I'll have to see if I have a fitting somewhere. The problem is that it is now on the car, so I can't just drag the cover to a store and plug in everything I can find.
  8. I've got an e21 Alpina diff cover that's got a port with a mystery thread pitch. This is not for the fill or drain plug. It's on the side, perhaps for a temp sender? I cannot figure out the thread pitch to plug it. An m14 bolt is a bit too large, and an m12 is too small. I can get a 1/2"-13 bolt in and catch a couple of threads, but then it jams as if the hole gets smaller. So I though perhaps its pipe, like what a lot of temp senders use. But a 1/4" NPT plug is too large, and a 1/8" is too small. Can someone enlighten me to the mystery thread pitches from the late '80's, before I resort to TIG welding or bubble gum to plug this opening?
  9. Ian

    M2 redux

    And so I did. I spent a vey long weekend getting all the tubes fitted up and welded in. I'm pretty stiff from all the out of position welding, but all the tube is welded from the main hoop to the rear shock towers. The triangle to the subframe mounts is welded to the triangle to the rear shock towers by the little adapter gusset I showed earlier. Man, the floor is a real patchwork of repairs and revisions done over a span of 10 years. Good thing most of it will be covered when this project is over. I'm leaving the diagonal and the harness bar out of the main hoop until I get the rear firewall welded in. Next up is to connect the shock towers to the rear diff mount.
  10. Ian

    M2 redux

    Armed with new-found vision, I set out to weld up the back half of my roll cage. After building cage-kits for 5 people, it was really motivating to finally be be cutting and notching tube for a cage that I was going get to use! So I got my cage tacked in place, and started welding. And stopped. The welds looked like bird-shit. they were strong, but from an aesthetics point of view they sucked. And I realized that while it was straight-forward to produce nice welds while seated at a workbench with the pieces in optimal position, that was never going to happen when welding in the car, where I was kneeling, sitting, lying down, upside down, and reaching around tubes. So I bought some kneepads and decided to practice welding on the floor of my garage first. But the idea of just welding up scrap didn't appeal to me. Perhaps if I welded up the scrap into something useful I could have a useful product at the end, even if it did bear the scars of my apprenticeship. So I decided to make a little rolling cart to carry all my fabrication tools, which were always getting left under the car, in the car, or under a pile of junk somewhere near the car. I had a little tool rack I got from SWAG Offroad, called appropriately the "Clutter Catcher." I have a pile of scrap DOM tube from previous cage builds accumulating under my welding table, so I built a rolling cart from the scrap tube and some 13ga steel plate left over from making baseplates for my roll cage tubes. I built it up on the floor, lying down and kneeling to do the welds, and slowly the welds started to suck less and my confidence increased. The next step was to try something with a bit more precision. I needed wheel stands to elevate my cars for alignments, so this seemed like another two-fer; practice plus a useable product at the end. I had some 1/4" plate that could serve as the platform for the wheels and some scrap DOM tube that could be legs for the stands. All I needed was to incorporate adjustable feet and I could level the platforms for alignments. So I looked though a bunch of suspension web sites, and found female-threaded tube adapters used to make rod ends. These used 3/4"-16 threading which seemed sufficient for this task, so I ordered 16 tube ends and 16 bolts, and made some stands. I think they came out pretty nice, so now its back to welding the cage for my car!
  11. Ian

    M2 redux

    A quick side-trip into welding and older eyes. I'm color-blind and getting older, a combination I discovered is not conducive to accurate welding. I had always had trouble seeing the weld puddle compared to my friends, but figured with extra light I'd get by. Over time I've gone from hanging work lights in the area, to flashlights that fit on the end of the MIG gun. All help me see the weld area before the arc starts. But recently eye discovered the new generation of LED headlamps, and they have been game-changers. A year ago I bought a Fenix HL60R, which uses the 18650 rechargeable battery format. Holy crap does this thing put out a lot of light! Wearing this headlamp is not the height of fashion, but when working on a car in the garage it is terrific. I don't even think about holding flashlights or arranging work lights anymore, I just put on the headlamp and get to work, especially when doing work under the car. So I got to thinking, would this headlamp help my welding light problem? So I bought a second headlamp and velcroed it to my welding helmet. Perfect! Lots of light that is always available. The batteries last a long time and are USB rechargeable, so I don't worry about turning the light off between welds, I just leave it on all night and recharge when I go in for the night. I've got a second battery, so on the weekends I can swap batteries and throw the depleted battery on a charger while I keep working. The other issue I was unaware of was how the color of the welding helmet lens can affect my vision. I'm red-green colorblind, and the green tint from most welding helmets is the absolute worst color for my vision. Over the past year a blue-tinted welding lens has become available, and several manufacturers are using it now. I wanted to see if there was a difference, so between Amazon Prime and my local welding store I tested new auto-darkening helmets from Jackson, Lincoln, Miller, and Optrel. And for my aging color-blind eyes the Optrel e684 was the clear winner (pun sort of intended). It was really interesting how in the welding shop the owner couldn't notice a difference between the Optrel and any other helmet we tested, but it was a night-and-day difference for me. So it can really pay to test different brands if you have less than perfect eyes.
  12. Ian

    Aluminium Radiator

    I agree with Toby, for almost all of our cars the 320i radiator is a great, easy-to-fit, reasonably priced option. You can still get the all-metal ones if you hunt them down. They work great even in stop-and-go traffic in Miami summers.
  13. Ian

    M2 redux

    Okay, with seat mounts tacked in place, it was time to test the seats for clearance. Good news, with the inboard location I could move the seat through a full range on its sliders and clear the cage and the transmission tunnel. Last step was to make sure the pedals and steering wheel worked with the new seat position. The pedal assembly forced the steering shaft to be a bit higher, which meant that it had to be flatter to fit comfortably. I found a spherical bearing that could accommodate the steering shaft in the firewall, and mocked it up. I had to raise the bearing about 4" above the stock position, and that flatter angle would no long meet the steering box, but its nothing a universal joint in the engine bay could not solve. Back inside the cabin, I found a set of clamps that I could mount on the dashbar of the cage, and I'll make a mount for the steering wheel to attach to these clamps.
  14. Ian

    M2 redux

    Me too!