Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Mechanical Modifications

I had few more mods done after purchasing the car. They included the installation of a re-manufactured steering box.  The unit is constructed with a worm gear, an old but amazing bit of technology.  My first sailboat had worm gear steering and I've always been impressed with the direct feel that this type of steering gives to a navigator, whether on land or at sea:

An example of an early BMW steering box (photo from ebay)

I also got lucky and found a a set of NK Bilstein struts and shocks.  I had researched the items because driving the car on our rough Seattle back roads reminded me of bouncing on a trampoline.  Service reps. at Bilstein Central and also at various suppliers assured me that the Bilsteins made for 2002 would work fine; the kind people who post on BMW2002faq.com pointed out that this was impossible as the two models have very different body styles.  Eventually I was told that you could use the 2002 items with serious and expensive modifications required prior to installation.  I also found a set of NLA BMW struts and shocks, but they would have set me back nearly $1000.

Then Lady Luck graced me with her presence yet one more time.  Somebody from Whidbey Island, just north of Seattle, posted an ad for a used set of Bilsteins from an actual 2000 that he was parting out.  He sold them to me for $150, delivered them to my front door, and they did the trick.

The Bilstein part numbers are:

Struts # 4030803h000
Shocks # 02900400500

The company no longer lists them or even remembers that they once manufactured the things. 

Now I can drive on the interstate at 110 kms. per hour and if the road is straight and smooth I don't even have to keep my hands on the wheel the car is so tight.  Perfect opportunity to text and twitter my friends about what I'm having for supper and updates on the next Puget Sound rainfall.  Indeed well-chosen modifications make the world go 'round.

Of course if you really text and twitter while driving you might be in for a big surprise; the Earth is likely to stop spinning on its axis with a sudden thump.

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