1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

NEW!! 1973 2002 Project Journal

April 11, 2015
Well, today I brought the '02 home from winter exile!  It has been sitting outside for a few months at a "safe house" across town, and  I have been driving my 1991 325ix for the winter.  Great car, btw.... just a beast in the snow!

But, now that the danger of a serious snowstorm has pretty much passed, it is time to get into summer mode!  The 1982 323i Baur (which can be seen top down in the background, along with my white 1977 320i) at the right, is once again my Daily Driver, and this 1973 '02 can finally get some long overdue attention!  ;)

Incidentally, since this '02 has been sitting for several months without being started, I fully expected a flat battery.  I am please to say that I was waaaaay off!  I cranked it for about 30 seconds, and it started to fire, just as I turned the key off rather than overtax the starter.  I re-cranked it, and it fired right up!  I let it run for a few moments, and it quickly settled down to a smooth idle at about 800rpms.  Sheesh!  You can't ask for anything better than that from a 42 year old car!

So I started a little prep work this afternoon.  If you recall, the original color of the car was Malaga.  But somewhere along the line, a previous owner hit it with a coat of white paint.... and not a very good job, btw.  My friend, Steve K., had quite cleverly dubbed it "Malaga, with a white frosting"!  As I did a bit of sanding on the trunk this afternoon, I discovered another color underneath!  You can see it in this pic:  red primer over the white 'frosting'; then a layer of grey primer which seems to be covering a layer of skim coating Bondo and then a layer of GREEN!  But where did that green come from?  My first thought is that at some time in the past this 2002 got 'slimed', a la Ghostbusters!, but I have no real proof of that!  No Malaga in evidence on the trunk, btw, so perhaps the trunk has been replaced!


I have since changed the look from the "Malaga with frosting" as you can see, to a two-tone, which --- although it is only primer--- I have grown to like a lot!

Here it is in my driveway this afternoon as I began to do some sanding on the trunk.  As you can see from the pic above, there are several coats of paint here.  But there is a lot of splitting and cracking in it, which seems to indicate some underlying problem, probably surface rust, at least.  I want to repaint it, so I decided to take it all the way down to bare metal.  I am not looking for this to be a 'Concours' '02, but I am planning to have a very special two-tone paint job, and so I want to have a decent base for it.  I consider this a "Tabula Rasa", and I look forward to making this a fun 'driver' project!

As you can see, I have removed most of the paint from the trunk, and sure enough, beneath all the cracking, there was a lot of surface rust.

I quit for the day at this point, so stay tuned for more updates!  This is a really fun "Tabula Rasa" project!  I can't wait to get back to it!


11/29/2014 We haven't updated here in a while.... so here is today's contribution.  Moral of the story?  Drive these cars, do not let them sit idle!
It has been a while since I had the chance to fiddle with my 1973 2002 project, for one reason or another.  As I am sure you all know, these cars need to be driven.  They don't take well to sitting unused for extended periods of time.  Here is a case in point. 

A couple of weeks ago, I went out to the garage to let the 1973 2002 run for a bit.  I do try to do this periodically.   I also realized that I hadn't moved it around  at all recently, probably since I moved it into the garage last summer.   It was a beautiful day, with temp  in the high 50's.  I wanted to move it out into the driveway, sand off a bit of the surface rust on the rear, and hit it with a coat of primer before the cold weather sets in.  

 It usually has to crank for a few moments before it fires up, and this day was no different.  After about 30 seconds of cranking, vroom, and we are in business.  I let it warm up for a bit, and sure enough it settled down to a nice idle shortly.  I put it in reverse to back out of the garage, but I can feel it resist the move.  Hmmm.  I check to make sure the emergency brake is released, which it is.  Double hmmm.  Something is frozen, probably from just sitting too long.  Day um.  

Well, this shall not stand.  :)  Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!  This car is moving out into the driveway, one way or the other.  So, I put it in reverse again, give it a little gas, and .... I can hear whatever it was that was frozen.... release with a snapping noise.  A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, right?  ;)

The car is now in motion, backing successfully out of the garage in to the driveway.  I decide to give it a few runs up and down the driveway, (I have  long driveway) to see if whatever was frozen is still an issue.  

The good news is that whoever it was.... it isn't frozen anymore.  The bad news is.... I can hear a dragging noise when the car is in motion, which appears to be coming from the right rear wheel.  I am tempted----sorely tempted--- to take it out for a spin in the neighborhood, but the prospect of finding out the source of that noise on a 'shakedown cruise'  a mile from home gives me pause.  Discretion is the better part of valor, they say:   so I decided that I would rather find the problem with the car in my driveway than out and about somewhere where I may need a tow!    :)

In fact, that day I decided to ignore the problem altogether, and stick to the original plan.... to do a little sanding and hit it with some primer, which is exactly what I did.  

So today was the day to deal with the brake noise.  I mentioned that the noise appeared to be originating in the right rear area.   So today I jacked up the car in the garage (in 32 degree weather, btw), and tried turning the right rear wheel. (I used a big floor jack and wheel stands, btw.  Always use redundant safety systems.)   The wheel would turn freely for a moment, then it would seem to bind up.  Why was it binding up?  That was the noise that I was hearing when I drove it a few weeks ago.

I pulled the wheel off, using my cheap Harbor Freight electric impact wrench.  :)  Shameless plug, I know but, guess what?  I am at the age where I recognize that it beats the hell out of doing it by hand!  ;)

The pic above shows you what I found after pulling off the rotor.   Note that the brake shoe on the right has no pad!  Whoa!
 I looked down into the drum to find:

You can see the retaining spring at the left center of the pic along with the pad from the front shoe!  My theory is.... this pad was frozen to the drum.  When I revved the engine and threw it in reverse, I broke the frozen pad  free..... not only from the drum, but also from the shoe itself!  When I tried to rotate the wheel, the loose pad was floating free and then getting jammed in the drum, causing the binding and the noise!  Day um!   :)

Long story short, I ordered a new set of shoes for the rear brakes this afternoon.  I will install them in the next few weeks, as time allows, and we will be back in business.

Moral of the story:  DRIVE these babies:  don't let them sit and atrophy!  :)

BTW, I haven't really mentioned it, but I am getting ready to do my 2002 as a two tone.  I am not in any rush, since it is already two tone, albeit in red and white primer.  Those are not the final colors, btw, and that is all I am going to say about that!  Other than that, I am REALLY psyched about the colors I have chosen!  ;)

Stay tuned!

I picked up a decent driver's side quarter panel for the 2002 project tonight from a young fella named Keith  in New London.  I stopped by after attending the Ocean Beach Monday night car show, which was the best of the season so far.  Great turnout, perfect weather.  The cars come out in droves on nights like tonight. 

More on that soon.  

In the meantime.... here is the fender I picked up tonight.

As you can see, there is a 2002 in the background.  That is Keith's project '02.  Looks like it is coming along nicely.  He stated that he recently painted it.  Light brown cloth interior.  Drive train is not in the car, so it may be awhile before he gets it on the road.  Best wishes, Keith, and we look forward to seeing that car on that road!

I took the liberty of snapping one pic of the car, and here it is.  Looks great in white!  I mentioned the local Nor'east '02ers group, and Keith said that he does know Steve K. through his work.   

Kudos to Keith for the great work he is doing to bring back another '02 (1974, I think).  Keith, I hope you will join us at Nor'East 02ers.... great group of guys/gals, and lots of expertise available to help you if you need to get something sorted out.  

Temporary Plates!

Despite the best efforts of the DMV to stymie my registration application, I succeeded in obtaining a temporary plate.   Once I get a VIN check, I will get a regular registration.   

CT DMV refused to give me the temp plate Thursday afternoon.  They forced me to become cunning and devious, and find a work-around.  And, as you can see in the pic above.... I got it!

That whole story is in the works, but suffice it say that... old age and treachery triumph over bureaucracy and red tape in the end!


Stay tuned for that story!  Soon come, mon!

Cramped quarters.

Three of the fleet (of eight):  1973 2002, 1991 325ix 5 speed, 1989 325iC (convertible).

Three of the fleet:  (right to left) 1973 2002, 1991 325ix 5 speed, 1989 325iC (convertible).

Three of the fleet:  (right to left) 1973 2002, 1991 325ix 5 speed, 1989 325iC (convertible).

A work in progress.  Yeah, I ran out of grey primer, so I made do with what was on hand.

While getting my VIN check  (required for cars purchased out of state in order to obtain normal CT registration), look what stopped in for gas from North Carolina!  Yes, that is an M5.  I chatted with the owner, who is the former owner of two 1971 2002s.  

The old and the new!


This is the driver"s seat that came in the 1973 2002.  The previous owner said that the original front seats had been replaced with this Recaro (below) and a comfort (non-Recaro) seat for the passenger side.  I thought he said one was from an E30 and the other was from an E21.  

As you can see, the fabric on this Recaro is in pretty rough shape, although the cushions/bolsters are really pretty intact.  I originally thought that this one was an E30 seat, but after pulling it out, I can see that it is actually a pretty close match for the E21 Recaro that I have in my 1982 323i Baur.  That was a pleasant surprise, btw!  You may also notice that it is actually a passenger seat, not a driver's seat, based on the location of the seat back adjuster and the tilt lever.  Oh, well.  

At any rate, I pulled it out today, and, where I was originally going to dispose of it.... I may now decide to hang onto it.  I may recover it and reinstall it either in the '02, or perhaps one of my other cars.  

Here is the seat I installed in the '02 tonight, in place of the ragged Recaro.  It is a standard seat from my parts car, a 1978 E21 320i.  

I originally bought that E21 on ebay just for the interior, which I planned to swap into my 1979 323i Euro project car.  It has been several years, though, and that project has been superseded by several others, (including the present one) and so it is currently on a back burner.  And, since I am  currently looking at downsizing the fleet..... there is a strong likelihood that that 323i project may instead become a parts car for the Baur.... or I may just part it out.  Nothing definite yet, but the time is drawing very near.  Some of my cars simply have to go, and this 323i is a prime candidate.  Stay tuned!

Anyway, this seat went right into the '02.  I simply had to switch the slider rails from the Recaro to this seat, and bolt it in.  Very straightforward swap.  

Once I got it in, I noticed that .... in the rather dim and fading light, so I could be wrong here, that this replacement seat seemed to be a very close match for the passenger seat!   I want to get a better look at it in the daylight before I say for sure, but it does appear to be a very similar blue color, and a matching pattern.  That might save me from swapping out another seat but....we shall see.  ;)

Incidentally, the 1973 '02 did not come with a back seat ---none! .... which made it easier to transport the six extra tires that came with the deal!  However, I would like a back seat in the car!  I am told the E21 rear seats are a pretty direct fit, so I have also pulled the back seat cushions out of that 1978 320i, and I will be installing them in the '02.  

All of the above, btw, is not intended as a permanent solution but, rather, an interim solution to help me get the '02 on the road.  The seats are blue, the door cards are black (at least the ones that are installed!), and the exterior is ..... well, in transition!  I just want to get it operational for now, and I will have plenty of time to sort out the .... ummmm...  aesthetics.  

Rat Rods Rock, right?   ;)

I have not registered it yet, although, if all goes according to plan, I will be making the dreaded visit to CT DMV tomorrow afternoon.   That will give me the opportunity to actually take it out on the road for a shakedown cruise before the Nor'East 02'ers CT drive next week.  If all goes well, I hope to debut the '02 on that drive, but I want to make sure it can actually complete the course successfully.  I don't need to be the guy that comes home from the Maiden Voyage on the back of  flatbed!  :)

Bear in mind I have only driven this car up and done my driveway a few times, and I have never even put it in second gear!    I THINK it may be ok, but that may just be naive optimism on my part.  If I am able to get it registered tomorrow, then I will have about a week to work through any issues that show up.  

If I am unable to gt the '02 ready in time for the drive, it is really no big deal---- although I would love to do it!  I can always take the E21 Baur, which is always a fun ride, and my daily driver.

Stay tuned!

I spent a little time this weekend trying to get a handle on the paint/rust situation with the 1973 2002.  I decided that I wanted to at least make an effort to stabilize the situation for now.  It is quite painful to look at the car as it is, knowing that Rust Never Sleeps!  So I did some stripping and sanding of the paint.... really just the beginning of the first step in the process.

Lots of little rust areas to be stripped down to bare metal.

Down to bare metal in many places.

You can see the original Malaga here.

Getting ready to hit it with more primer.

I had a stash of primer in the garage from another project.... some grey, some red, and some white.  Well, here is where I ran out of grey, much to my surprise and chagrin.  I thought I had more, but.... since I moved a few years ago, it hasn't turned up.  So, screw it.  You go with what you have!  ;)  

Rat rod in the making!  :)  

Stay tuned!


Happy Easter to All!  
I got to spend a little time outside today prepping the driver's quarter panel.  Temp in the mid-50's. intermittent sun.   Nice overall.  This is an experimental piece.... I have pounded out most of the dents.  It still has some rust through as you can see behind the wheel well.  I sanded off  a lot of the chipping white paint this afternoon, along with the surface rust.  It was threatening rain, so I gave it a quick coat of primer also, before stowing it back in the garage.  Fresh primer helps to show all the problem areas.  I consider this a practice piece, btw.  The whole car is going to need this sort of attention.... and more!  So I am just starting slowly.
I did the work on those sawhorses you can see on the right.  That is my E21 Baur behind me, and my 1977 carbed 320i to the left.  The 2002 is just out of sight in the garage at the right, and my 1979 323i project car is under cover next to the garage.  ;)


I had an interesting thing happen to me yesterday, of a rather serendipitous nature---- which I am saving for a later post, btw, so for now, suffice it to say that....  it involves the original Batmobile which recently sold on Barrett-Jackson Auctions  ;) ------- but it got me thinking about the body work that will be needed on my project.  

You can see some of it here:

Notice the dent in the panel surrounding the rear side marker light, and in the front driver's side quarter panel.    The front quarter panel also has some rust-through in the lower area.  

OK, forget for now that sorry-looking paint and the surface rust all over the rest of the car.   We will get to all that.  Beneath that white 'frosting', as Steve K. has so cleverly termed it, lies an original Malaga 2002.  FWIW, the rockers and strut towers are solid.  I haven't taken a good look at the floor pans yet, but I am not too worried, frankly. 

Anyway, back to those dents.  Monday night I pulled out my set of largely unused body tools.  I removed that side marker light, and within a few minutes, I had pounded most of that dent back into proper shape.  Not perfect, but close enough to know that with a little more work, it would look pretty good.

The front quarter panel is more of a challenge.  I decided to pull it off to work on it.  

1) The first thing I noticed was that this panel was only held on by about 1/2 of the original bolts.  Hmmm.  This panel has been removed before for some reason, and only haphazardly re-installed.  2) It has a couple of rust through holes near the bottom of the panel.  Coupled with the dent, it raises the question of whether I should just replace the whole panel with a new one, rather than try to save this one.  But I can hold off on that decision for a bit because.... 3) at the very least, it makes a great panel for me to use to practice on:  to see how well I can beat that panel back into shape;  and if that works, then I may break out my new small welder.... cut out that rust area and.... teach myself to weld!  YES!  :)  Not to mention a panel to practice.... wait for it..... PAINTING!

Anyway, that is where we stand as of tonight.  Lots of work ahead, lots to learn, and loads of fun to come!!  Bring on da noise! 

Stay tuned!  :)

Finally got around to looking at the 'no brakes' situation this week.  I had filled up the brake fluid reservoir, and sure enough, I had brakes --- momentarily!  Steady pressure on the pedal would drive it to the floor, though, so I knew I was losing it somewhere.  I couldn't see any obvious leaks at first, but then I got under the car with a good light, and I could see that the right rear wheel had a peculiar spot.  I pulled the wheel and the drum, and sure enough the wheel cylinder was bad.

Old leaky wheel cylinder passenger side rear

You can see the old cylinder above, after I replaced it.  I ordered a new one from FCP, and installed sunday without a problem.  Well..... almost no problem.  

I had taken it apart about two weeks ago--- first time I have done an old style drum brake in years!  I had released the brake shoe spring and the shoes to get a look around and clean in there.  When I went to reassemble everything two weeks later, I had it in my mind that I needed another spring to assemble it correctly.  So I looked all  over for this 'mystery' spring to no avail.  I am usually pretty careful to keep all the disassembled parts together.  Don't tell me I inadvertently scooped it up and threw it out with the trash when I was cleaning up!  Day um.  It was quitting time anyway, so I decided to look around again another day, and also break down and take a look at the Haynes manual for a visual of what it should look like re-assembled.

New wheel cylinder installed.

After reviewing the pics in the manual, I realized why it is not a good idea to wait two weeks between disassembly and re-assembly:   You forget stuff!   All the fuss about a missing spring was for naught:  I didn't misplace or lose anything!  I just forgot that there was only the one spring needed! 


So it all went back together nicely, no missing parts, and no extra parts.... which is the way I like it!  And... best of all.... I know that I now have solid brakes!  Not that I care, really, but, I gotta admit that once in awhile.... they do come in handy!



Last week I went out to fiddle with the '02 and for some reason it just wouldn't start.  I didn't have a lot of time to mess with it, but I did try starting fluid several times and it just would NOT fire!   I was a little puzzled because it has been starting for the past few weeks without a problem.  

So Saturday I went out to look at it for a bit in the afternoon.  Before even trying to start it, I decided to check the plugs.  Sure enough they were all heavily blackened with unburnt fuel.  So I pulled all the plugs and cleaned them up.

Sure enough, that was all that was needed.  The 2002 started up after a few seconds, and ran fine.  I let it run for about 20 minutes, starting and stopping it a few times to make sure it was ok.

I went back out to the garage Sunday afternoon, and it started up again with no problem.   I decided that it was time to see if it could move under its own power!   :)

Here is what I found:

This is the first time it has moved under its own power since I bought it last November!

And back into the shelter of the garage.  It still needs to stay inside since some of the window seals are missing.  And, as I mentioned in an earlier post.... the brakes are very weak.  I have filled the brake reservoir, but I have not yet determined why the fluid was so low.  I do not see any blatant leaks at any of the wheel cylinders or around the master cylinder, so I am suspicious of the functioning of the master cylinder and power brake servo.

But anyway, in the meantime.... Woo hoo!  Not only is it alive...... but it can move!  Not the prettiest car you have ever seen, for sure, but.....  it sure looks pretty good to me!

Now that we know that it runs and drives..... the rest is just.... mopping up.


O Happy Day!

Stay tuned!

Well we have just weathered the Blizzard of 2013 which totally knocked us out for a couple of days last week, but we are slowly getting back up to normal.  I finally had a chance to go back out to the garage for a little while Saturday afternoon to fiddle with the '02.

I had a great time, btw.  Temp was about 33 degrees and a light snow was falling, which is just fine as far as I am concerned.  After sitting undisturbed for about a week or so, the '02 started up with no problem, although it is running a little rough.  I am very pleased with that, nevertheless.  I have not been able to find any leakage---- yet---- from the brake system, and the brakes do seem to working fine.  I am not sure why they needed so much fluid when I checked them last.  I need to keep an eye on that.

Anyway, I ran the engine for a little while.... it doesn't want to stay idling at around 950 rpms like it did last week.  Nothing to worry about, but I am curious.

The windshield wipers have been stuck frozen in the middle of the windshield for weeks.  Personally, I am on  a big learning curve here, so I didn't want to mess with it too much just yet.  However, I did chase the wires through the firewall, and I did find a plug connector.  I took a little sandpaper to the connector plug, which wasn't very effective.  I pulled out a couple of wire brushes and tried to clean up both male and female sides of the connector.  Lots of corrosion evident.  I plugged it in again, and got in the car.  As soon as I turned the key, the wipers, which had been stuck halfway up on the windshield, moved back into their resting position.  I hit the lever again, and sure sure enough the wipers are working!  YES!  A little corrosion cleanup did the trick!

The interior and the trunk are in the same condition they were in when I brought the car home last November.....  which is to say they are loaded with tires, rims, and miscellaneous parts that were included in the deal. I haven't even looked at the stuff, frankly, so I had no idea what was in there until now.  So here is what I found:  a set of 6 E21 turbine rims, four with decent tires mounted on them;  a spare tire mounted on a steel rim that matches the rims presently on the car;  two sunroof windscreens;  a plastic milk carton full of miscellaneous tune up parts, e.g., several sets of NIB distributor caps, rotors, and points, along with a set of spark plugs (some old some new).  Another box full of used rubber window seals, and more Several used spark plug wires.
Terrible pic, but there is a tire under there on an E21 Turbine rim.

Contents of the cardboard box in the trunk, with most of the used seals removed.

Miscellaneous window seals, jumper cables and a large funnel.

Front passenger seat with two loose turbine rims and another turbine with a tire.

Lousy pic of the rear seat area which now contains another turbine wheel, the spare steelie and a door card from the rear seat.  The rear seat is completely missing.  I have an E21 parts car, and I am told that the rear seat is a pretty direct fit.  I also plan to use the the two front seats from the E21 in this '02.  The current seats, a threadbare E30 recaro in the driver's postition and an E30 comfort seat for the front passenger are ok, but they really are not a good fit.  
I want to give a nod at this point to one of my favorite E21 stickers,which is aimed directly at 2002 owners:  "E21s;  Friends, not food."  Apparently paraphrased from that Nemo animated movie.   I own 4 E21s.  My two favorite cars are my E21 Baur and my 1977 320i.  I also own this 1973 2002 and 3 E30s.  OK, so the '73 '02 and the 91 325 5 speed ix are right up there with the E21s!  I love them all!

So I make no apologies whatsoever for using my 1978 320i as a parts car for what ever I deem I need.  In this case, I need the interior of that E21 for this 2002.  I originally bought this 1978 parts car for its interior to be used in my 1979 E21 323i Euro.  At this point a lot of these former plans are in a state of flux.... and I consider myself amazingly fortunate to have so many great options available.  

The bottom line is that I have so many options, so many potential projects, that I clearly need several more lifetimes to complete them.  Who do I talk to about that?    ;)

Here is a pic of the plastic milk carton containing a heat shield for the exhaust manifold, and several sets of tune-up gear:  points, plugs, condenser, rotor and distributor caps.I assume, but can't yet confirm, that they are for this engine.  It is kinda funny because, with the engine running a little rough, I was just about to order a complete tune up kit!  I will need a new set of wires and plugs, but it looks like everything else is here.  Nice!

BTW, VIN 2587821. Malaga.

2/3/2013  Project Journal Super Sunday:  It's alive! 

No, we aren't talking about some silly Super Bowl football game.  We are talking about something MUCH more important than that!


You may recall that my current project---- or ONE of my current projects---- is this 1973 BMW 2002 that my son Brian and I rescued from Providence, RI last November.  


The previous owner couldn't get it started when we arrived to purchase it, which actually worked in my favor, in that it reduced the selling price.

It has been tucked away safely in my garage since then, while we try to diagnose what the problem is.  Suffice it to say that it needs a lot.  It won't start, it has no brakes, no back seat, front seats are out of an E30, which, as you may know, means they are not a great fit.  Lots of window seals seem to be missing.  Factory color was Malaga, but, as you can see, someone decided that they liked white.  Exterior paint is a mess: someone painted it white.  Let's be honest, it is a mess..... rockers and rear shock towers appear solid, however.   It came with about 6 extra wheels, including a set of turbines.  

So the question all along has been:  is this a parts car, or can it be salvaged?

I am pleased to say that we went a long way toward answering that question today.

Today is Super Sunday, not because of that football game they are playing in the New Orleans Superdome tonight, but rather, because...... the 1973 2002 has rejoined the ranks of the living! 

Yes!  I got it running today, and it sounds just fantastic!  But I will let you be the judge of that!  

I tried to post this video (above) directly to the blog, but it didn't seem to work.  Not sure why, but.... here are a couple of short videos that I shot today.

My theory all along has been that the basic problem preventing this '02 from running is bad gas.  That's right, bad gas.  I based that mainly on the fact that the previous owner told me that he had it running last summer, and he fully expected it to start the day Brian and I came to get it.  He tried and tried to start it in vain using a lot of starter fluid in the process.  The previous owner was a pretty straight shooter, and I did believe that HE believed that he could get it to start.  He couldn't, and I haven't been able to start it either.  Until today.

My theory all along has been that the problem was bad gas.  That's right, bad gas.  Gas that has been sitting too long loses its potency.  Really?  Yes, really.  But I had to do a little work to prove this theory.

If you have been following the earlier journal posts, you know that the car came with no battery.  PO stated that someone stole it.  I borrowed a battery from my 1979 project 323i, but, frankly, that is an old worn battery.  I went out and bought a brand new battery, eliminating that part of the problem.

Even with the new battery, I was having trouble getting a good spin from the starter.  I had spark, and i appeared to have fuel....but the starter was not enthusiastic enough.

So I pulled it out and had it rebuilt.  I installed it this weekend, and sure enough, it was now giving the engine a great spin!  but it still wouldn't start.  That brings me back to my original theory, as simple as it sounds:  bad gas.

I rechecked everything:  I had spark, based on pulling a couple of spark plugs and checking to see their spark.  Spark Ok.  I can see fuel in the bottom of the carburetor, and I have checked to see that the fuel pump is working properly.  It is.  I am making an assumption, based on the fact that I think the PO is an honest fella, that the timing is within spec.... because he said that he had it running last summer.

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the truth."  ---------Sherlock Holmes.

What remains?  One thing is bad fuel.  Previous owner hasn't driven the car in a long time, although he states he had it running last summer.

By this time, I have worn out the starter.  I noticed that it had been laboring for a while, but it finally gave out altogether.  I pulled it, and had it rebuilt at a local auto electric shop that I have used before.  I re-installed it this weekend, and sure enough it spins that M10 engine beautifully now.

Ok, I have just about eliminated everything.... except for the gas.  I went underneath and happily found that this 1973 2002 has a fuel tank drain plug..  The gas gauge reads 'full', so I am thinking I may need a some big containers for the bad fuel.   I have two 5 gallon brand new gas cans.... I can use them to store the drained gas.... and also for fuel storage for my gas back up generator which I hope to have installed sometime this winter.

I drained about a gallon of gas yesterday, but had to stop due to some family dinner obligations.  I was now at the 'do or die' point for my bad gas theory.  I rechecked the lugs... they all looked ok, if a little flooded.    I cleaned them up, and decided to 'go for it'.  I drained all the gas out of the tank (much less than 10 gallons,) which tells me DO NOT TRUST THE GAS GAUGE (it had been reading full!) !  I added about two gallons of freshly purchased 93 octane gasoline, and proceeded to try to start the engine.  No dice, of course.  I had picked up a can of starting fluid Sunday morning, since my old can was depleted.  Amazing stuff.  I am a little leery of it, since I have witnessed regular fairly strong explosions back firing out of the carburetor after using it.  I sprayed starting fluid into the open carburetor, jammed the butterfly open with a screw driver, and cranked it over.  No dice.  I pulled all the spark plugs again, cleaned them up a bit, and re-installed them.  I rechecked them to see if I was still getting spark,  Affirmative on the spark.

The next time I tried cranking it, after spraying starting fluid into the carb.... the engine felt a bit stronger... like it almost wanted to start! Woo hoo!  Progress!   I tried again and again....  and I was beginning to see a little bit of sustained cranking... not starting, but not immediately quitting either.  I was encouraged.  I have probably now used half a can of the brand new starting fluid, but I am slowly starting to see a slight improvement.  Or am I imagining it?   ;)

No, I can get it to see to fire now for about 15 secs before quitting.  A few more tries,-----  and a few more impressive flaming backfires through the carburetor----  and I can almost get it to run, but not quite.  not about to quit now!

I keep going..... more starter fluid, more cranking and..... I can now get it to stay running past the point where the starting fluid has burned up!  Whoa!  That means the fresh gas is getting into the carb!  Again and again, I spray more fluid into the carburetor throat!  Sure enough..... I can get it to run for a few seconds!  Woo hoo!  Another shot of starter fluid and it can now stay running very roughly for about 30 seconds before quitting.  We are getting close!  The next try..... Bingo!  I can keep it going for about two minutes!  We are there!  Another try and ..... I have it running! YES!  I  let it run for about 30 minutes!  Running roughly at first, but over time it smooths right out.  Beautiful sound!  As it reaches operating temp.... theoretical, since I have no working temp gauge..... it idles down to a steady 950rpms.  I can get out of the car and allow it to run completely on its own.

Mission accomplished!  So after eliminating the extraneous issues of the bad battery and the bad starter, it does appear that my original theory was correct:   the bad battery and the bad starter were simply masking the real problem!  A very fundamental problem indeed:  gasoline deteriorates over time, and it will prevent your car from running.






During halftime of the Super Bowl, I took a few minutes to check on the 2002.... I wanted to see how easy it was to start after sitting for a few hours.  It was actually about 8:30pm when this video was shot.   I have to chuckle though.... I just came into the house from the garage after testing out the 2002.  It started up again perfectly after sitting for several hours.   The second half of the Super Bowl has just started and..... half of the lights at the New Orleans Superdome are out!


This is for real, folks.  As you can see in that video, the '02 started up with no hesitation.  No starting fluid, no special help, nothing.  Wow.  The underlying problem was the most basic of issues:  bad gas!


 I love it!  Largely because of this bad gas issue, I was able to buy this 1973 2002 Roundie at an absolutley bargain price!

Oh, btw, in case you are interested:  Super Bowl XLVII Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31.

There are a lot of great youtube videos out there that will show you how to go about diagnosing starter problems.  I used this one today to do some bench testing of the 1973 2002 starter that I removed yesterday.

You may recall that this 2002 won't start.  It had been sitting for years before I bought it in November 2012.   The previous owner told me that he had had it running in the previous summer, but it wouldn't start for him the day I bought it.

I suspect the real problem may be as simple as a tank of bad gas, but in the meantime I have to deal with all the other problems associated with a car that has been unused and out in the elements for a long, long time:  battery was stolen, apparently;  the starter was straining to crank the motor and yesterday it just appeared to give out completely.  It had been turning over the engine very slowly, despite having a brand new battery and  a battery charger hooked up to it.

So I pulled the starter and decided to run some bench tests on it.  I used the youtube video below--- although there are many others available--- partly because it was quite simple to follow, and ran some basic tests.

I ran the three tests shown in the video above and the result was..... well, two out of three aint't bad!  But it ain't good, either!  My starter passed test 1 and test 3 without a problem.  However, it failed the test #2, the motor test.   It appears that the motor is bad.   Since I am not in any particular hurry on this, the thought has crossed my mind to pull this starter apart and see what it needs.

Alternatively, I have a local automotive electric shop that I have previously used with good results for an alternator on my 1982 323i Baur.  I could take this starter to them sometime this week.

As it happens.... I also have a 1978 320i parts car.  M10 2.0L engine, same as the engine on this 1973 2002.    I will do a bit or research.... to see if the starters are interchangeable.

Realoem gives two different part numbers for those two starters.


I wonder if they are interchangeable.

Stay tuned!

Also found the brake fluid reservoir completely empty.  That explains why I had NO brakes at all when I pulled it into the garage back in November.  Refilled the reservoir, and pumped the brakes a few times.  Still not getting much pedal.  No big deal.  I checked underneath, half-expecting to see a puddle somewhere.  No obvious leaks underneath at all.  The old fluid got out somehow, so there has GOT to be a leak somewhere. We will get back to that eventually.  Add it to the list.  :)

1/20/2013  Beautiful day to day, temps in the 40's.  I was finally able to spend a little time looking at the non-running 1973 '02 project that I bought in November.

It won't start.  I checked the spark plugs, and here some pics of what I found:
Heavily carboned plugs.  They all looked like this.  

I cleaned them all up, and tried to start it again.  No dice.  So I pulled a plug, laid it carefully off to the side near my socket wrench, still connected to the distributor.  I want to see if I have spark.  I tried it several times, and sure enough, I can see the plug sparking.  I have spark.  

Next question:  do I have fuel?

I pulled the coil wire out of the coil, to avoid any.... er .... surprises.  I then disconnected the fuel line from the fuel pump to the carburetor, and put that line in an empty coffee can... I want to test if the fuel is coming from the fuel pump to the carburetor.  I crank the engine a few times, and sure enough, fuel is accumulated in the coffee can.  I also check into the carburetor, and I can see fuel in the bottom of the carburetor.  I have fuel.

Do I have spark?  YES.

Do I have fuel?  YES.

Why isn't it running?   I am making an assumption here, btw, that the timing is ok, based on the previous owner's report that he had it running last summer.   Previous owner struck me as an honest fella, and I have no reason to doubt him.  I liked him.  So I am going to assume that the timing is still OK.  If all else fails, we may have to revisit this assumption.

By this time I am using my garage-type battery charger to try to start the car.  I am also using the battery from my 1979 323i Euro... which is in questionable condition.  The starter appears to be laboring, despite a lot of juice coming from that charger.  I inherited that battery charger from my dad's gas station long ago. Although it dates from the 1960's, or earlier, it has NEVER failed me.  And I have used it many times to start my old 1975 Mercedes diesel in the absolute dead of winter with temps below zero Fahrenheit.  I am suspicious of that starter.  

I decided that I need to replace that battery.  No sense messing around with a weak battery, and this will also eliminate that as a contributory cause of the problem.  So I made a run to Autozone this morning and picked up a new battery.  I then made sure to clean up ALL the connections to that battery:  the positive and negative cables;  I traced the ground from the battery to the fender ground spot and to the block, cleaning up both of them..  

The first thing I notice after replacing that battery is that the starter is still veeeeerrrrrry  slow.   Now that is just not helping me.  I disconnected the starter, and cleaned up all the connections with a wire brush and sand paper.  Nice and shiny contacts!  Accurate diagnosis is complicated when you have multiple symptoms.  You have to systematically eliminate each possible problem area to arrrive at the correct diagnosis.  

My theory, btw, at this point, remains that same:  I believe that I have a tankful of bad gas that has been sitting for .... god only knows how long in that tank.  

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the truth."   ------------Sherlock Holmes.  

But a bad battery and a weak starter must first be eliminated as contributors to the starting problem.  So, as you know, I replaced the battery this morning.  But the starter is still laboring badly.  Hmmm.  I have a new battery in there now, and the starter continues to turn slowly.  Not a good sign.  That thing should be spinning like crazy.  

So I put the battery charger on it again.  New battery, battery charger going full tilt.  Starter is still laboring, the engine is turning over slowly, occasionally giving a cough like it wants to start but..... no firing.  This is definitely not good.  My theory about bad gas COULD be the reason it isnt firing but.... why is it turning sooooooo slowly?

Suddenly, the starter gives out.  Turn the key, get a click, then ..... nothing.  Repeating this sequence gives the same result.  

Ok.  Not good news really, but ... perhaps a little clarity.  I turn the key on and put on the lights.  Headlights are working fine.  OK. Turn the key to try to start..... lights dim slightly showing that there is a power drain, but nothing but a click.  Ignition is sending power to the starter but.... the starter is doing nothing.  Starter is bad.

As you can see, I have pulled the starter out of the 2002.  Here is the procedure I followed:  disconnect the battery, pull three wires off of the starter, then the two mounting bolts at the rear of the starter, and two bolts to the block on the bracket at the front and you are done.  I unbolted the two bolts from the bracket to the block, then just pulled it forward to clear the flywheel housing .  Once clear of the flywheel housing, I just eased it back and pulled it out near the brake unit.  Not bad at all.  You can see the removed starter in the pic above, sitting on the air cleaner.  

My options at this point are the following:
1)  get a rebuild kit and rebuild the starter myself;
2)  take the starter to the local automotive electric shop and have them rebuild it;
3) buy a new starter.

I like the local auto electric shop, based on past experience, so I will probably opt for that, although I might do it myself.  How hard can it be"

Famous last words.  ;)

Stay tuned.  

Anyway, here is a pic of the leaves and other debris behind where the starter was.  I don't think there were any varmints living in here during the previous ownership but.... I can'r completely rule it out.  ;)  The car was parked out side in a driveway in an urban setting.  Most of the debris appears to be just years of accumulated leaves.  I haven't found any hard evidence of a ... er.... housing development ..... yet.  

I save old toothbrushes for cleaning duties like this.   It does a decent job in some of those hard-to-get-at-places.

Stay tuned.... more to come!


12/29/2012  It has been a busy month, so I haven't had any time to get back to the '02.  I got the Haynes Manual and the Macartney Restoration book for Christmas, so I did a little reading today to try to figure out why the 02 is starting.  Last time I tired it, I could get it to fire only when I sprayed starting fluid directly in the carburetor.  It would quit as soon as that fuel was burned up.  So, since it appears to be getting spark at those moments, the problem seems fuel-related.  Either it is not getting fuel for some reason, or the fuel it IS getting is bad.

Since I can see some fuel in the clear fuel filter, it looks as though fuel is being drawn from the tank.... but is it getting to the cylinders?  So I looked up the fuel pump operation in the Haynes manual.  The first thing I notice is that my fuel pump does not look like either of the two pumps shown in the manual.  Hmmm.  I pulled the wire from the coil and disconnected the fuel line to the carburetor with the intention of cranking the engine to see if the fuel pump was pumping fuel.  In disconnecting the fuel line, a small amount of fuel drained out.  That tells me that the fuel pump IS sending fuel to the carburetor.

But the battery is so dead, that I needed to put the charger on it to get it to crank.  I decided I didn't want to take any chances pumping fuel into an open container inches from where the charger was connected to the battery---- one little errant spark could ruin my whole afternoon!  So I reconnected the fuel line and the coil, charged the battery some, and then cranked it over a few times.  VERY slow cranking.... that battery is really pretty worthless I'm afraid.  No firing.  I sprayed some carb cleaner into the carb.... but it was still turning very slowly and would not fire.  However, I did peer down into the carb and I can definitely see fuel sitting at the bottom.   Another indication that the fuel pump is working.

So why isn't it firing?
1) Although it was getting spark the last time I tried this a month ago, perhaps it is not getting spark now.  I doubt it, but it is possible.
2) Since it appears to be getting fuel, and because we think it is getting spark, perhaps the gas fuel has just gone bad from sitting so long.

The previous owner did tell me at the time of the sale that he had had it running a few months ago.  And he seemed genuinely surprised, and disappointed, that he couldn't get it going for me that day.... which also affected the sales price, incidentally.  In my favor, btw.  ;)  He didn't know how long the gas had been in the tank.... which tells me that it had been in there for a very long time!

A) I need to get that battery fully charged, or simply replace it, so that I can get that engine spinning properly.
B) I need to confirm that I am, in fact, getting spark... which I think I am.... but I need to conclusively show.
C) If A and B are addressed, and if I am still getting fuel into the carburetor and it continues to NOT fire, then the next logical theory would be that the gas in the fuel tank has simply gone bad.  Replace it with fresh fuel.

I have no idea how much fuel is in the tank presently, nor if the fuel gauge works.  The tank will have to be drained (and flushed) and fresh fuel added.

Then we will see where we stand.

Stay tuned!

11/25/2012 Part II:

A beautiful day today in SE Conn, if a little cool.   Temp was about 41, but a bright sunny day.  A good day to do a little prep work for the upcoming projects.  Here is a summary of the situation:  I have a 1989 325ix (AWD) in the garage, with the tranny partly disassembled.   I have a replacement tranny scheduled to go in.... but that has been on a long delay.  This bimmer is up on high blocks (steel ramps and homemade wood blocks), probably high enough to do the tranny replacement.  But I haven't gotten around to doing it.   C'est la vie.  The good news is..... I've got a guy.  I will have him do the tranny swap.... just need to get it to his shop.  That should happen in the next week or so.  
In the meantime, I need to button up that tranny, get it down off the blocks (no mean feat, btw), and pull it out of the garage to make indoor space for the 2002.  This is complicated by the fact that the 325ix cannot be driven.... the tranny is bad, and has been completely drained of fluid, the pan and filter have been removed, (it is an auto tranny, btw).... and the exhaust has been completely removed.  

The thing that is driving today's efforts:  bad weather is forecast for Tuesday.  The new-to-me 1973 2002 has no seals at all around the driver's door and driver's side passenger windows.  Any precipitation will enter the car unobstructed... which it has probably already been doing for God knows how long at the previous owner's place!  No more!  This car needs to be inside,and..... it WILL be inside today, come hell or high water!!  ;)

The problem, of course, is that neither the 1989 325ix, nor the 1973 2002 are running cars!  So all the jockeying around of cars is going to have to be done..... ingeniously!  My backup plan is..... I know that my son, Brian, who lives in town, has a few friends visiting this weekend.  And I know these guys:   they are all muscle guys who would love to help out the Old Man by pushing a few cars around.  If I get stuck, I know they would love nothing better that to pitch in.  But I think I can do it myself.    ;)

Well, me and Mr. Natural, that is.  "Get the right tool for the job!"

First things first:  I make myself a cup of coffee to have at hand as I contemplate the work to be done.  Very important.  ;)   Did I mention that I am a coffee fiend?  I redesigned my kitchen a couple of years ago, and the focal point is my coffee bar, with its own sink, etc.  I have several espresso machines (real espresso machines, not those little toys), and I make all varieties of espressos, cappuccinos, lattes, etc.  But I digress.

So, the first thing I need to do is to button  up that tranny, and then figure out a way to safely lower the ix from its high perch.  I have it way up in the air on car ramps (front)) and homemade wood blocks (rear).  It is very solid and very safe (I am a safety nut, as you may know), but it is so high that it requires some thought to bring it down safely.  Jack stands, for example, cant reach it.  It is that high!

So, after a bit of maneuvering, and bit of sweating it out..... the 325ix is down on the ground safely.  Whew.    This is a pic of the block that one of the rear wheels sat on.  I don't mess around.  ;)

Ok, so the 325ix is now on the ground.... let the jockeying begin!  ;0

Here is the set up: the 2002 that is seen under cover needs to go inside the garage, which is currently occupied by a non running 1989 325ix.  A GREAT car, btw.   But, since the 2002 is not running, I am going to have to pull it out of the way, so that I can then pull the non-running 325ix out of the garage, and out of the way of the non-running 2002, so that I can then push the non-running 2002 into the garage!  And then push the non-running 325ix back up to the door of the garage, to await a tow truck to take it for its tranny transplant.  Simple, right?  ;)
Here is how I did it.  I attached a tow cable from my 1977 320i to the non-running 2002.  Both cars had built-in tow hooks, so I just ran the tow cable between them.  The 320i easily pulled the 2002 back up the driveway about 50-75 feet so that it was out of the way.  

Here is a pic of the 325ix still up on the ramps/blocks, but the 2002 is now out of the way.  

I screwed the tow hook into its assigned place.

Here you can see that I have attached my poly engine strap from the tow hook on my 1991 325ix to the tow hook on the 1989 325ix.  That 1991 325 5 speed AWD ix is a BEAST!  Amazing how easily it pulled the other 325!

As you can see, the 91ix easily pulled the 89 ix out of the garage and off to the side of the driveway, allowing space for the 2002 to head to safety inside the garage.  

I have started to push the 2002 down the driveway toward the garage, going slowly to ensure clearance between the rear end of the 1989 325ix on the left and the white fence on the right.  Surprisingly close quarters.

I have pushed the two ix'es up against each other to maximize the clearance for the 2002.

The 2002 easily clears the rear of the 1989 325ix.  Lucky for me, the driveway here is a just a slight downward incline.  Pushing the 2002 by myself was a piece of cake.

Success!  The 2002 is safely ensconced in its new digs, safe from the vagaries of wind and weather!  Now I can take my time to do whatever needs to be done, with no worries!  Well..... no worries about the weather, anyway!  ;)

The 325ix is now pushed back in front of the garage, where it can be easily accessed by AAA for its trip to the tranny shop.  A perfect resolution of the dilemma!  

Overall, a very successful day today!  I was able to get the 2002 inside out of the weather for the duration, and also able to get the 1989 325ix buttoned up and in position for its journey to the tranny shop for its transplant.   Perfect!

Once that 325ix has the tranny transplant completed, it becomes expendable.  I need to downsize my fleet, although I love them all!  

My plan is to either give this 325ix to one of my sons, or, if they decline it, to sell it outright.   Cosmetically, it is certainly not perfect but.... it is just an incredible car in the snow!  Ask me how I know!  Unstoppable!  The Ultimate Snowmobile.  

Stay tuned!

11/24/2012  My late dad's birthday.  Today I started looking over the 1973 2002 that I purchased last week ... it is going to be a long road.

 No seals on the driver's side windows/doors! I have to clear out a couple of projects and get this indoors ASAP! Looks like the seals may be in the box in the trunk... but doubtful that they are serviceable.
Here you can see a box of extra parts, including some old seals, that cam with the deal.

I put an old battery in from another project car this afternoon, and hooked up the battery charger for a bit.  Very dead battery.... may not be salvageable.  Car would not even turn over.  It was turning over and trying to fire last week when I went to pick it up.   I used a better battery at that time, so that could easily be the difference.  It is very late in the day today, so there is not really time to give it a fair assessment.  I will give it a full charge tomorrow and see what happens.  Worse comes to worst, I will install a better battery.
You can see the empty battery tray. Previous owner stated his battery was stolen from the car.  
I brought a battery with me in the hopes that we could get it started and drive it onto the trailer.  No such luck.   ;)

You can see four extra wheels in this pic.  There are two more not shown,  a total of 10 wheels:  5 steelies and 5 E21 turbines.  Two of the E21 turbines have nearly new Yokohoma wheels on them.  

My plan is to periodically record my progress on this project on this page in my blog.  This is the first installment.

Anyway, here it sits in the driveway, shortly to be moved inside that garage.  There is presently a 1989 325ix inside the garage, up on blocks, awaiting a transmission replacement.  A great car in its own right, btw:  The Ultimate Snowmobile.  But that is another story for another day.  :)  Suffice it to say that I hope to expedite the tranny transplant in the next week or so, and get this 2002 inside and out of the weather for the winter, which is fast approaching.

I may as well mention that you can see a few of my other BMWs in this pic, although not all of them:  left to right, 1991 325ix 5 speed,; 1989 325iC convertible;  1979 Euro 323i  project (under cover);  1977 320i (carbed);  1973 2002.  Inside the garage is a 1989 325ix.  Missing from pic:  1982 323i Baur (daily driver, currently driven by my son, Brian);  1978 320i (parts car), located in a local safe house.    ;)

Since I have a few cars on hand, I have a number of options available for the 2002.  I will be the first to acknowledge that I am a very lucky man.  

The 1978 E21 parts car interior is blue, and I plan to use these seats to replace the seats in the '02.  They are a direct fit, from what I am told, or close to it.  It also has a 5 speed transmission which can be easily swapped to the 2002.  

The 1978 320 also has a complete 2.0L fuel injected cylinder head, with wiring harness, similar to the head for the 2002tii.   The bottom of the motor is bad, I am told, but the head is good.  With a little work, that conversion may be a possibility.   A conversion tii, basically.  Not a factory tii. 

In addition, the engine in the 1977 320, with another 5 speed transmission, is a direct bolt in for the 2002.  If I have any trouble with the present engine in the 2002, I can do that swap quite readily instead of the above.  And then take my time with the rebuild of the original 2002 engine.  

My plan all along has been to convert the 1977 320i slicktop into a 323i, using the drivetrain, as well as the front and rear suspension (the 323i had 4 wheel discs) from the rusty 1979 323i.  That would leave me with a spare 2.0L engine and 5 speed tranny, a perfect interim swap for the 2002.

Wow.  Kismet!   So many choices.  It does almost seem as though the BMW gods have conspired to make all of this seem to come together at this moment.  

Hey!  Stay tuned!  Enjoy the ride with me!  


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