Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nice Numbers

I was reminded today that I should photograph my car's nice matching numbers.

1) On the engine

2) VIN plate in the engine compartment

3) On the fender

As long as I had the hood opened I decided to snap a shot of the 121 TI mark on the head.

I am not really sure why the head is designated TI.  Perhaps BMW wanted the customer who bought the car new to think he or she got an extra good deal.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Unlocking the Secret of the Trunk Lock

I finally got to putting in a new trunk lock today.  Two different people had told me the job would require a special tool, because the circular ring-nut that holds the cylinder in place had rusted and glued itself firmly to the barrel.

1) The old lock with its devilish ring
The trunk lid itself, where the locking mechanism is located, is awkward.  After I removed 4 bolts and the mechanism, access became easier.

2) Recessed into the sheet metal and barely visible in dim light, the trunk lock is difficult to get at

A trusty pair of needle-nose vice grips proved up to the task of removing the nut. Thanks one more time to the folks on for the hint.

After that, it was a simple matter to line up the notches in the trunk lid with the new cylinder and put in the new lock. Now I can safely store all the groceries that I usually carry on the back seat.

3) Locked

4) Unlocked

Monday, July 25, 2011

Concours d'Elegance, Seattle

Yesterday we took the 2000 to its first car show, about 30 miles from where we live to the sprawling suburb of Renton.  The event was sponsored by the local BMW Car CLub chapter and a lot of cars showed up.

1) The registration booth

Not a cloud marred the bright blue sky and the day proved to be the best of the year for Puget Sound. The vehicles seemed to gleam in thanks. I know I did.

2) Walking in back of the vintage cars. Ours is in between the Chamonix coupe and the Ceylon '02

3) Our car with the only other 2000 at the show - a white CS: Photo by Diana

There were a few really rare models.

4) A 507 from the 1950s

5) The interior of a Bristol, an English car derived from pre-war BMW design.  Note the avionic look to the dash; you can even adjust fuel/air mixture

6) Checking out the Bristol with its owner, Tom: Photo by Diana

Both Diana and I admired the 1600 convertible, even if such a car isn't really practical in Seattle.

7) A nice cockpit

Not far from the car show a local festival was in full swing, and we even got the chance to have lunch with some friends.

8) Diana feeds the goats

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Today I received a parcel from Germany with a couple of hubcaps. Just in time; I take the car tomorrow to the Concours d'Elegance near Seattle.  Diana and I would have looked foolish with only three hubcaps on the 2000.  

Not to mention the poor car, which has been feeling semi-naked lately. 

The new hubcap on the car, which is staying in the garage till the show lest it get covered with pollen and leaves and other northwest-forest tree-shedding offal

Friday, July 22, 2011

Best Wishes from Quality Control

Here is the original confirmation of final inspection from my car, signed by someone at BMW

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Give it Gas (not sand)

When my step-daughter Em owned the Rain Forest Monster, one time she drove it to a local beach.  Upon returning to the car she immediately noticed that something was amiss. Sure enough, someone had opened the door to the gas cap and poured sand in the gas tank. Em had the presence of mind not to start the car but rather had it towed to her garage, where the necessary repairs were made. I think these may have included a new gas tank.

1) An early picture of the 2000 with Rain Forest Monster bringing up the rear

So I hunted for a locking cap for the 2000, eventually finding one on  A bit pricey, but worth the peace of mind.

2) The New cap

3) The original one.  It has a nice patina but, oh well...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Parking Light Conversion and American Electricians

Some time ago I converted my parking lights from the American style to that of the Europeans, in conjunction with doing the headlights conversion.  The reason I had to do something was fairly obvious.

1) The original American-style flush parking lights - cool but broken

Now, the way these lights worked was that each bulb had two filaments, one for the parking light and a separate one for the turn signal.  The lens on the old version was nearly impossible to find, I was told, so I had to go the Euro route.  In any case I was converting to the Euro headlights and this seemed logical.

I removed the old light fixture and saw that that there were two posts, one for the positive wire and one for the negative.

2) Old fixture - the two posts are clearly visible

So far so good. But when the new Euro light fixtures arrived, I was baffled.  Not realizing that these lights acted only as turn signals because the parking lights were located inside the headlight units, I tried a number of ways to hook them up. As you can see, these fixtures had only one post for one wire.

3) The new unit with its one post

I showed the assembly to a master electrician and also to another friend who was well acquainted with electricity. They both suggested drilling a hole in the braket and soldering the ground wire into it.

While experimenting, I hooked up the wires from the car a few different ways. When I got the turn signals to work, the fuse blew when I switched on the parking light. If I hooked the wires to work the parking light, the fuse blew when I tried to illluminate the turn signal.

Finally a kind soul informed me of my error (and that of the American master electrician).  You were supposed to hook up only the positive to the post and then the screws for attaching the unit to the vehicle acted to ground the system to the car's body.

The system only works for turn signals, as I have noted, and the parking lights are built into the headlight assembly.

Eventually the work was completed for the headlights and the turn signal lights and all turned out well.

4) Parking lights prevail!

I don't really get the concept behind the Euro method of illuminating the various lights. Still, it's fun and I can certainly live with the results.  I kind of feel sorry for the my electrician friends who overthought the process.