Tuesday, June 28, 2011


One thing was clear; the "protective cap" that covers the e-brake assembly was done and dead.  The issue had been nagging at me for some time when I discovered a solution.

The original cap was NLA and I probably wasn't going to find one.

1) The original cap, in need of burial

At least that's what the Germans told me at Walloth and Nesch.  I did some research online and saw at realOEM.com that the same cap that fits the 2002 - and readily available at a reasonable price - would fit my car.  My car's schematic even showed the part number for the '02 version - 34411101501- as the one to use. However, the actual drawing was of an old-style cover. Weird but normal.

I took a chance and ordered one.  To take off the old cap and install the new one took about thirty seconds, as soon as I determined that I should move the front seats as far forward as they go, for easier access from the rear.

2) New cover installed

A quick shot of Armorall to inhibit wear and deterioration completed the job.  I then tested the e-brake lever and saw that the cover works fine.  Now I have to clean the metal trim on the front seats and get rid of that dust I never noticed before. 

It's true, the old protective cap had a more decorative style but I'd rather have a new one that doesn't look like my dog used it for a chew toy.

3) The old cover, out of gas on the concrete. Too bad the POs didn't use Armorall, too

Monday, June 27, 2011

Jumping the Gun

I do plan to paint my car to return the color to its original Tampico.  When I verified this tidbit with BMW Mobile Tradition in Germany I also discovered that the 2000 rolled off the assembly line in January of 1967.

Anyhow, to celebrate the decision I located one last sticker.

 Of course the car's color at the moment is, at best, a distant relative of Tampico.  Maybe first cousin once removed.

Now all I have to do is locate some money for the job.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Then and Now

I recently found a photo of the car's interior that I took the first time I saw it.  The image quality is poor and frankly its value is purely historical.

But the picture serves a useful and gratifying purpose when I hold it next to a shot of the car's current interior.

The light is better in the second photo, too.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Daily Driver Dilemma

I've noticed over the years how many vintage BMW drivers are proud to be in that select group of "daily drivers."  The term implies that the car in question, thirty or forty years old, is in such good shape that the owner uses it on a daily basis for his or her basic transportation.

This is not necessarily a good idea, I have discovered.

When I bought my first 2002 I had the idea that the vehicle would fill two requirements in life. First, the '72 Verona would be the last internal combustion car I'd ever buy - I mean, why try to find a better automobile - and second, the '02 would be my one and only car, to be driven whenever and wherever needed.

1) My old 2002, ultimate machine

Of course I was disabused of that notion by the woman who smacked into me at red light last year.  "Sorry, I was looking for my purse," she pleaded when confronted with her mistake.

Somebody from the BMWfaq.com forum scolded me after hearing of the accident. The gist of his post was that, given the number of bad drivers out there in the world, it's crazy to try and use one of the old bimmers as a daily driver.  Better to be more selective and lessen the chance that a random wingnut will rob you of your pride and joy.  I have to admit, the guy had a point.

So after I bought the 2000 I quickly purchased a 1991 Volvo to use for mundane transport tasks.  Item number one - driving in the rain.  I want to preserve the body of my NK and the easiest way to do this is to keep it garaged and dry when the Pacific Ocean rains bathe western Washington in constant drizzle.

2) The Volvo, a real rain forest monster.  If you look closely you can see the hood ornament I bought, a Huskies football helmet

This car didn't cost much to buy and it gets terrible gas mileage - around fifteen miles per gallon - but since I don't drive very far during an average day the Swedish-built tank works just fine.  Two weeks after I bought it the starter conked out - at a NAPA Auto Parts store, of all places.  (With rich irony, I had gone there with my son to pick up a dollar light bulb for the 2000.)  However the Volvo has performed well in the six months since that unfortunate day.

My Neue Klasse 2000 runs like a top and gets thirty kilometers to the gallon in city traffic. The engine doesn't burn oil, she starts every time, and I can let go of the steering wheel at 110 kms. per hour on a straight, smooth road, the car is so tight.  In fact, the only problem the car really has is that the synchros are touchy in first and second gears, but I don't really mind for now.

In order to keep the 2000 in top form I am presented with a dilemma, though.  I can't drive it all the time.  Indeed, the less I drive it the longer the car will last.

Oh, well. There's worse paradoxes in the world than that one.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Case of the Stolen Hubcap

I barely had time to enjoy my hard-won new hubcaps when one went missing.  I noticed the disappearing act promptly after coming out of a store in Seattle.

The glaring evidence of theft; the rain today forces the car to remain inside, lest it melt

We're operating on the assumption that some nitwit has a new decoration in his cave.  Meanwhile I've put out feelers for the purchase of a replacement, but so far no luck.

Whoever sells me a spare will achieve a special state of grace.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Last of the Stickers

The final sticker arrived today from Walloth & Nesch in Germany.  This was, in a sense, the most important decal of all, since this one describes the function of each fuse.  Next time I blow one I won't have to fish out the owners manual to determine what device or motor or gremlin in the car shorted itself into electrical oblivion.
The sticker from Germany, safely applied to the fender.  This was the only way to make it fit and I wonder how the decal was originally placed... Note the fuse box to the left. The plastic cover is still clear after 44 years (and some soap). The oil-change advice is also handy to look at

The amount of 20/20 hindsight the sticker geneartes will be easily worth the price of shipping.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Stickers Galore

I received an envelope full of engine compartment stickers in the mail the other day. Having researched the issue I determined, as I've discussed previously on this blog, that sticker placement is an inexact science at best. And generally a crap shoot.

On the side of the engine I placed three of them, bearing in mind that I am still waiting for the fuse box sticker, which is coming from a different vendor.  Since it goes beside the fuse box I had to leave that space free.

1) Stickers for the battery, coolant, and on the right, "Use BMW parts" only

2) "Reifenluftdruck" or tire pressure sticker

A number of the stickers I got either didn't fit my car - like the one that suggested my tire size is 13" or the one that lists the functions of 12 fuses - so I put them on BMW2002faq.com and sold them in about half an hour.

3) Stickers I didn't need - the blue thin one, for example is for the Tilux or TI brake booster only

I used for placement advice I saw online from people trying to figure out how to apply 2002 stickers. Hopefully the 2000 placement was similar.

The process was fun and made me think of my childhood and what may have been the first sticker I ever slapped on a flat surface.  In this case it came from a box of cereal and I remember thinking, wow, this is so neat I should put it on my bed.

And so I did.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Four Rings to Rule Us All: Part II

My new hubcaps arrived yesterday and I tore open the box.  After a first look I was left underwhelmed.

1) Lined up like ducks in a row

One of them was quite nice, two had terrible oxidation, and the fourth looked rusty.  Well, what did I expect.  These items are very rare. 

I set about to polish the ones that had oxidized.  This took a long, long time, even after I went to a local autmotive store in search of a golden fleece, er, magic chrome polish. Neither product exists, except perhaps in a random dreamworld.

But lots of elbow grease with regular chrome polish did give me good results. Each hubcap required at least an hour's worth of scrubbing.

2) One of the hubcaps, half-way through cleaning.  You can see the right side now looks better.  Luckily I also ordered new center decals, which nicely freshened the BMW logo upon application

Remaining in my natural state of impatience, I decided to mount the hubcaps/rings after finishing the centers. To polish the outer rings themselves will require a lot more work; this I will accomplish in my spare time.

I have to admit, the car looks way cool with its new look.  All in all I don't mind having to do the polishing.

4) In the driveway between rain showers

Best of all, I can forget about sandblasting the wheel rims for a while, and also sell my old hubcaps, which are in mint condition.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sticker Surprise

I found a very old sticker from the engine compartment of the car when I first opened what appeared to be the original owner's manual holder. 

1) Original owner's manual holder -- genuine plastic, a real gem

The decal has a big Vorsicht! on it (Caution!) and warns about the operating temperature of the radiator water - 90 degrees C.

2) Detail of the sticker

Recently I decided to surf the web to see if I could figure out where in the engine compartment it belongs. I couldn't find any sign of the sticker online and perhaps too much time has passed for anyone to remember that such a decal existed.  But I did see on BMW2002faq.com a discussion about sticker locations in the 2002. The consensus here was that where they put it during assembly of the vehicle, on the old BMW assembly line, depended largely on the mood of the factory workers doing the placing!

Someone in the forum recommended that people check Walloth & Nesch, a parts supplier in Germany.  I did so and was very pleasantly surprised to find that that the company sells the fuse box sticker that details the function of each fuse.

4) Fuse box sticker, also with motor oil instructions

I ordered one right away and am waiting for it to show up in the mail, one of my favorite hobbies.

Meanwhile, I still had to place the coolant sticker.  I ended up guessing that it would look good near the radiator, not a far-fetched thought.

So I got out my trusty 3M spray adhesive and squirted some on the backside of the sticker, after cleaning a spot on top of the engine compartment.

5) The glue dries for a few minutes  

Now it  was time to take the plunge and put the decal on the car.

6) This seemed like a good spot
Of course afterward I noted form the 02 forum that on the 2002 the coolant sticker was usually placed on the other side of the engine.  Oh, well.

And now that I think about it, the decal could have come from another car altogether and that's why it was languishing inside the owners manual and not already affixed to the car.

But when I get the fuse box sticker, I'll know enough to place it by the fuse box.
Post Script:

A knowledgeable person has told me that this red decal is the Holy Grail of vintage BMW stickers. Very rare, and he said he had heard about it but never seen one.  I shot some high resolution photos and he is going to try to reproduce the sticker to use in his own car.