December 24th, 2010 by admin

A fun weekend project that happened a while ago

Looks pretty rough!

So it turns out I have a friend who knows how to paint

No turning back now

And if that wasn’t enough…

I still have to get the flares painted and a few of the jambs that we missed but on the whole I’m quite happy with the result 🙂

Maybe in a few days I’ll have some nicer pictures of it, it’s not anywhere near clean in these.

EDIS Thoughts

November 8th, 2010 by admin

Well I hadn’t touched the car since I went away for school at the end of September but last weekend I headed up north to my parents’ house to bring the car down (just in time for the rain I guess?). Tightened up some stuff I’d meant to get around to, namely the shifter platform. Good thing I crawled under the car because the center support bearing was missing a bolt and the other was about to fall out. Needless to say between that and the shifter platform I became good friends with blue Loctite.

Then it came time to make the 400+mi drive down I-5 which, in a 40 year old car, is about the scariest thing you can do on Halloween. Even with EFI and a 5-speed I managed a staggering 15mpg, struggling to get even 200mi out of one tank, but other than that and the fact that it was making no power the car ran flawlessly.

I guess I didn’t mention it in this thread but I concluded that the EDIS was essentially not working at all, because even if I set the spark map to 70°BTDC the car would run exactly the same as 20°BTDC… Combine this with it feeling more sluggish than with the distributor (and no fueling changes) and I chalked it up to a hardware problem where the EDIS was in limp mode at a fixed 10°BTDC. A few unexciting hardware additions to the ECU and some changes to the msq file (including Tim Skwiot’s ignition map) and all I can say is wow – it’s amazing what quality spark timing will do to a car. It almost feels too modern to be in a 2002.

Things left to do are to reassemble the fan output mod on the MS board, because I think Baby Hitler put a transistor in backwards when he built it :V Also I need to figure out how to get the tach working, looking at 2002FAQ it seems there are about 5 different ways to get the tach working with EDIS with no rhyme or reason for why each one works on a specific setup.


September 4th, 2010 by admin

I’m just drilling holes. Last two weeks, fuck it

So those Epsilons were too flush for my liking, I had to do something about that


Where did that come from!


I think my car is getting sick

It’s got this rash which is starting to flare up

The left rear wheel arch was made of rust and bondo. For once I don’t mind

Oh wonderful the quarter panel separated from the chassis 

The fronts took about 5 seconds with an air nibbler to cut. The rears, not so much, thanks to a double panel, the inner of which (shown here as cut into some strips) needs to be hit with a hammer in order to meet the outer layer.

The two layers are then welded back together. I think the car’s actually stiffer now 

Same thing, but the passenger side. This arch didn’t really have any rust or bondo to speak of.

And the finished product (not washed, with masking tape all over the car. Still I think you’ll get the picture)

I’ve still got some plans for this thing but I might need to wait until ~October to realize them. 🙂

Wheels on!

August 29th, 2010 by admin

I finally got tires and had them mounted…

Definitely a few clearance issues, the front camber plates are at maximum (~-2°) camber and the tops just barely clear. I drove it a little tiny bit and it doesn’t seen like there’s TOO much of an issue, although I did spin the coilovers up a little bit as well.

The rears, though, were a problem area I wasn’t really expecting. They rubbed as soon as I got in the car (and I’m not really a hambeast ok) so it looks like I’ll be needing to roll the rear fender lips. Not really sure how to do that, I understand there’s a way to do it with a baseball bat but about a billion different procedures that I’ve seen various people use.

But yes. The car finally runs, starts almost immediately (that’s with no idle control besides a cracked open throttle body) and drives quite nicely. It doesn’t feel quite as powerful as it did with the distributor but that’s very likely just because the ignition map needs to be tuned better. Also those springs in the mechanical advance were probably worn out so it had a crazy fast advance curve 😛

Still need to make a plug for the distributor but that shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes of my clueless self on a lathe!


August 21st, 2010 by admin

Idle Idler Arm Bushings

August 12th, 2010 by admin

Minor update/vent session:

I decided to adjust the steering box and, with the drag link off, replace the idler arm bushings. Adjusting the box with a Torq-meter was fairly uneventful, except for the fact that I found it was pretty trashed. Pressing forth I managed to ruin the drag link boots getting it off the pitman arm and idler arm.

Removing the idler arm required removing the control arm and at that point it’s worth it to remove the radius rod as well. After the idler arm was dropped, I spent a day and a half removing the fucking bushings out of the subframe. Once those were out with a combination of air chisel, welder, and lots of swearing, I went to go put in the bushings that I’ve been sitting on for a couple of years. Well much to my surprise they were way too big by about 1-2mm. Inquiring on the 2002FAQ forum led me to the conclusion that I had late subframe bushings rather than the early ones I needed. Only then did I find the mention of BMW changing subframes throughout production buried somewhere in the fucking front suspension section rather than the steering section. Well that was nice.

These are late subframe bushings for fluted idler arm tubes.

These are the early subframe bushings, p/n 32 21 2 475 055.

Sell the bushings I had at a loss, and buy some brand new early bushings. Get them about a week later. They look wrong but I’ll try anyway… No luck. I email the parts supplier and let him know my situation.

The bushings that I was sent, which are the wrong part inside a bag with the right part number.

So he checks his stock and his supplier’s stock and says they all look the same. The problem arises from a weird step inside the tube, illustrated here:

to the left is a cross section illustration of the tube on the subframe, in the middle is an illustration of the bushing I was sent, and the right is the correct bushing. Below is an isometric-ish view of the tube itself

So basically I’m at the point where the correct bushing apparently doesn’t exist, and I’m being told to just cut the bushings that I DO have down so that I can use them.

In short, fuck you BMW and mobile tradition. What was supposed to take me an afternoon has now taken me the better part of 3 fucking weeks.

Wheel Revitalization on a Budget

July 15th, 2010 by admin

Wheels are done:

My mom loves coming home to find car parts in the oven. Still not as bad as my dad putting a whole SBF block in there!

I had to sandblast all the centers to strip them of paint. Unfortunately it took forever because for some reason our blasting cabinet is garbage, I think the vapor catcher isn’t doing its job and there’s too much moisture in the supply :\

So to remedy this I brought the parts to my brother’s shop, where they have a soda blaster. I really want a soda blaster now, it works unbelievably quickly

Testing paint color. This is Rustoleum satin black, and it’s what I decided on. I was going to try flat black as well but I didn’t even bother testing it

Two centers painted and done

Brought all the nasty hardware (10lbs worth!) to the soda blaster. This box held up for approximately 4 seconds in the cabinet

The soda blaster did an incredible job with the hardware, I thought the plating on them was flaking off (saw rusty brown patches) but I guess it was just dirt.


Now, I only found three of the center caps when I picked these up from the junkyard, and only one was halfway usable, sooo…

The best of the bunch

Adobe Illustrator, Cooper Black and some pen tool later and I have a decent vector source to make new decals with. I’ll still have to find new plastic caps, though I’m not looking for an exact match for what I’ve got now. Just something similar

Stop me please

Unfortunately my brother, while dismounting the ancient tires off the wheels neglected to put hardware in one of the rims while the center was out. The rim split without hesitation so now I was faced with DEALING WITH IT. I found a good guide of reassembling multi-piece wheels on CCW’s website which helped immensely.

All the old silicone scraped off, and the mating surfaces cleaned up with a sandblast+wire brush

Prepare to get this all over your hands!

Center prepared with all bolts sticking through.

Very messy application of RTV.

Put the halves of the rim back together (carefully, don’t slide it around!) and hand tighten four of the wheel bolts, all 90° from each other. Smooth out the silicone bead, and push it into the crack. Then torque all the wheel bolts down (for the 3/8″ NF hardware these wheels use, I chose 31ft-lbs) and smooth out the bead again, once again forcing it back into the crack. Then let it sit for 24 hrs.


There’s still a little bit more work to be done on them, mostly dealing with some of the curb rash and some bends on the inside lip of the wheel. For that I plan to put the wheels on the rear axle, let the car idle in first on stands, and run over the lip with an air sander :V

Just Sum Wheels

June 20th, 2010 by admin

With Nik’s help the 2002 is running again, turns out my earlier problem was due to a faulty coil. A bunch of other headaches transpired which leads me to have the car running (and quite well I might add) with MSnSE and points in the distributor 😀

In the mean time I’m trying to prepare the wheels to be finished. I had no idea that the lips ever had this finish, but some Flitz and a hand full of tired fingers later and they shine pretty nicely – some nicks here and there but I’m not going for total perfection here! I’m probably just going to get the centers painted but I’m considering having them powdercoated… Each center is taking about 2.5 hours EACH to be sandblasted down to the aluminum, I might try asking a friendly shop to use their cabinet if it has more agressive shot because it takes way too long.

This center is nearly done, just need to remove the rest of the black paint.

Coilovers are done!

March 25th, 2010 by admin

Sorry it took a couple days to update, I wanted to remove the EDIS mods from my megasquirt since I was getting tons of issues at low RPM and had a couple hangups but all’s well now 🙂

Shortened 2002 coilover construction

March 22nd, 2010 by admin

I’m a liar and didn’t update last night, so to make up for it here’s a post

Hmm what could be hiding in here

Rad !! I bought a Ground Control coilover sleeve kit, 8″, 250# springs. These should go well with…


Clearly they are the wrong size! VW insert on the left, 2002 on the right

Well we can do something about that.

Plasma cutters are tons of fun, it’s a good thing I can’t afford to buy one

I felt kinda bad about cutting these off since some of them do rust out and lose the perch but… fuck it



Chop sawwwwwww

Action shot!

These things need to all go together somehow.

BUT the sleeve that Ground Control won’t fit. This I’m sure is because the kit is also made to be used on non-shortened strut housings. The strut housing tube is a little bit wider at the top than the rest, and this piece just clears the wide part.

So I improvised

Supplied piece

Created piece! The D-shaped perch is still the GC part

The tube and top clamped in some square channel, ready to be welded. I made sure to bevel the ends of each piece to get good weld penetration

Weld on the outside of one tube

Weld smoothed down to allow perch to be slid on

Some of the bead made its way into the tube, so I had to file it down with a rat tail file.

Sleeve perch mocked up on strut housing

Prime time!

Painted gloss black, which is about where I stand now. Waiting for them to dry, but tomorrow should be all mechanical – just put everything together and test them out! 😀

In other news:

These are some E9 (3.0CS) Bilsteins that I got for free since they were being thrown away, although they still feel like they have good damping force. I was told that they could be used on a 2002 using the CS mounts. I was mainly interested in using them a) to see if they have more travel than the Bilstein HDs in the rear of the car and b) because they’re inverted – see, the heavier shock body is at the top while the shaft and eye are at the bottom. Anyway they won’t bolt-in because the eye on the bottom is for a much bigger stud than what’s on the 2002 (probably M12 on the heavy E9s vs M10 on a 2002). I’ll keep them around and maybe see about making a bushing.

Really blurry picture but the black cable above the swaybar is one of the new handbrake cables that I installed. I can’t say if it works better yet because the car’s been up on jackstands since there’s no front suspension on it

I found an old Momo wheel my dad had kicking around and wanted to put my junkyard Momo hub to good use. I also like wood wheels but I wish this one had a darker stain to it. Also pictured is a Stack tach that costs an awful lot of money and has no business being in my car… sure is accurate though! There seems to be some problem with the Megasquirt tach signal where it will jump around up to ~1200rpm, even though the engine is, according to the tach, running at about 400rpm. This causes a low vacuum situation, and at “70kPa and 1200rpm” it’s dumping fuel and idling at about 8:1 AFR

More tomorrow!