Stella's 2006 Adventures: Part 3
AUGUST. I uncovered a charging system problem. Suffice to say the battery wasn’t getting all the juice it was supposed to be getting considering everything was new. The first thing I found was that the clip that holds the alternator harness to the alternator itself to secure it wasn’t totally on tight and came loose. This connector, which is a 3 pronged connector at the back of the alternator itself, just fell off driving one day in the daylight. I didn’t notice things were at fault for a day or two until a night drive. The dash lights were dim and the headlights were getting dimmer. Luckily, the powerful Optima battery saved me from being stranded and I made it home just in time to sort it out in daylight the next day.
After fixing electrical problem number 1, problem number two got a promotion!
Several days later, the car wasn’t turning over fast enough I thought when starting. When I checked the charging voltage at the rear battery posts in the trunk, I noticed a lower than normal current trickle. That didn’t make sense but I wondered if Bosch’s rebuilt Tii alternator was failing for some reason. Upon further investigation, I found the voltage regulator to be not securely attached to the fender. It was also really, really hot, which it should not have been. It was not grounded to the car’s fender properly. I have come to the realization that some things on these cars, no matter how BMW built them, just weren’t a long term solution 35 years later. There are normally two large Phillips head sheet metal screws that hold the voltage regulator to the fender. They were coming loose because the holes were probably worn a bit and no longer held firmly. After studying the holes in the fender and the regulator itself, I engineered new long term solution.
First, the holes were enlarged slightly in the fender itself with a drill bit. Next, some paint was removed around each hole to ensure good metal to metal contact would occur with some new bolts. Then I used two M6x 20 bolts with the heads on the inside of the fender well, and used M6 nuts with what I call “spider” washers, but they are washers with serrated edges to cut into the metal when they’re tight. Once you snug that up, you have threads sticking out past the nut about length of the width of another M6 nut and a wave washer to use to mount the regulator firmly to the fender. This bolt length was enough to secure the regulator without interfering with the clearance needed to plug the harness back into the regulator. The picture should be self explanatory. After that I’ve not had one problem whatsoever with the charging system.
SEPTEMBER. I reached the 6,000 mile break in point on the engine. As I was converting over to Mobil 1 15w-50 Synthetic oil, I started to hear more chain noise than I liked. Turns out I had not primed the chain tensioner enough so I had to re-bleed it some more. This also gave me a chance to clear up an oil drip around the upper/lower timing cover which occurs a lot in these engines.
OCTOBER. At about 7,000 miles on the odometer In early October, the first major problem occurred. The car’s starter was making all kind of not so good noises. I had a new old stock Bosch remanufactured starter for the 2002 that I had with a parts car, still in the box, never used. It was probably 5-10 years old, but never used. It is what I now call the “old school” original starter that BMW used. It’s big and heavy. The thing started screaming all kind of noises and wasn’t engaging with the flywheel. Luckily I was in the driveway when it finally gave up the ghost. What I found wrong was pretty amazing.
It seems that the starter pinion which flexes rearward and engages with the flywheel to turn the engine over was completely loose. You could spin it freely, and when I turned the starter upside down, the whole mess fell down as though it was not attached. It still had the BOSCH REMANUFATURED sticker on it!
Well as it turns out this became a modern upgrade. Bosch has taken the starter itself and made it better. If you buy a Bosch rebuilt SR71X starter, it only comes with a whole new mechanism which has some of the same characteristics which makes the BMW S14/M3 starter so desirable. It’s the newer, hi torque motor.
To get to your starter, on a Tii, follow these steps.
1. Remove power to the battery.
2. Remove the three major parts of the Tii air box and the two air filters.
3. Remove the long rod from the throttle linkage from the firewall bell crank end only.
4. Remove the four bolts at the front of the starter and the two holding the bracket that attaches to the front of the starter and the throttle body.
5. Remove the wires from the starter solenoid, noting where they go back onto solenoid later.
6. Remove the top bolt and bottom bolts from the starter itself where it bolts to the bell housing of the transmission.
7. Remove the starter. You may have to rotate it a bit to get it to fit between the brake booster and the driver side front strut tower area.
Once it was back in, it sounded way different. The new starter is much higher pitched – not unlike a Toyota or a Honda now, which is to me the only drawback. The car does start quicker than before because the engine turns over from cold much faster. It used to be about 16 or so revs, now it’s about 8-10 before she fires up.
OCTOBER. This month came and went fast. Our annual drive in NW Arkansas happened the week of Halloween as it always does. The week before, I received a call from Rich Dana, who is filming a documentary on 2002s.
Rich was looking to come back to Arkansas because some of the footage taken in the April Mid America event in Eureka Springs was not good because of the rain. He decided to come to visit me a few days before so we could video tape some more footage on Stella, where I put the car back together in my shop, and some other footage of driving it. I also spent several hours talking to him on camera about many topics.
On Friday, we caravanned down to Rogers Arkansas with my good friend Meg who has one of the nicest, if not THE nicest 1967 1600s left on the planet. Let me stop here and elaborate on this car a bit.
Meg found her car “Sabine” (named after the ring taxi gal in Germany) here in Kansas City stashed away. For a bit over 20 years after the original owner passed away, it had set dormant but started every so often. The car was like a perfectly maintained original car. The family kept it as a reminder of Dad’s car and how fanatic he was about taking care of it.
Inside a storage unit along with the car came, all the original wheels, trim rings, all the original Roundel’s back to the beginning, and many other period correct bits that he purchased new. The tires were still new Phoenix Stahlflex 185/60/13’s and had only about 2,000 miles on them. The cars engine compartment and passenger compartment were spotless, no rust – nothing ever. All the trim was bright, no dents in any way and the grill and hood trim were spectacularly like new.
The trunk, immaculate and the original spare, untouched. The trunk still shuts like a new refrigerator, even though the seal is getting dried out. The door panels, all the chrome and everything is as it was. Even the 6 volt radio even works some of the time.
When she bought it I drove it home to my shop, where the car now lives on with Stella in the winters. The front brake calipers were pretty seized. The first firm tap on the brakes sent the car screaming to the left with locked up wheels and a lot of brake pad burning smell. I used the ebrake to get the car home. Once we checked a few things out, we went and drove it a bit more. Once you got to 70mph the thing wanted to run like the wind – 4.10 long neck rear end and all.
We have since installed NOS brake calipers and new rotors, packed the wheel bearings and replaced all the flexible brake lines. Man what a difference.
All in all I’m impressed with driving the very first generation of these cars. This one is one of the very first imported to the USA in 1967. We got this back from Mobile Tradition: The BMW 1600 VIN 1531199 was manufactured on July 5th, 1967 and delivered on July 14th, 1967 to the BMW importer Hoffman Motors Corp. in New York City. The original color was Manila, paint code 004.
Well suffice to say it’s been a real crowd pleaser wherever it goes.
NOVEMBER: I’ve installed the short shift kit as I mentioned, and really enjoyed the warmer weather of winter we have had this year.
My carpet is still not yet done. Why? Well not to make you think I might be part of some carpet controversy the message boards have been buzzing about, it’s a carpet manufacturing issue. The color of carpet I picked out last February was a German loop which was a bit different than most. The master roll it turned out also had a defect running down the middle of it and on two separate batches, it shows up. In December we were able to finally source a new batch and soon I will have what I have waited for. After six years, you learn to be patient to get things the way you want it. More on that when it arrives, and I’ll show how it all went together, and the interior will finally be done.
For 2007, I plan to start covering more tech tips, and begin documenting my next two projects, which by the way are my 2nd most asked question in e-mail – “whatcha gonna do next?”
We have 2 other 2002s left. One a 1975 4 speed polaris colored, which has been off the road since late 2003 due to an unfortunate encounter with a rent-a-cop car but we won’t go into that one. The other is a recent acquisition, a 1976 automatic with working Behr AC and new interior.
We plan to document our six cylinder conversion to the 75 with 2.7 liter M20 and some new 2002 Haus 6 cylinder conversion kit setups for that. The 76 has need for either carb work or F.I conversion, so I think a fuel injection setup from E30 is in order on that. It may also be converted to 5 speed but that would be the second step later on.
Since I have had now the wonderful lessons learned from Stella, all this other stuff seems pretty simple, but I guess we’ll see about that.
Stay tuned, my 2002 friends J there is always more to do.