Monday, December 10, 2012

A Sporty Shine to the Calipers

The car had developed, over some time, a tendancy to pull to the right intermittenly when braking. Clearly the time had come to refurbish or replace the calipers. A quick look to Germany established that the price of new calipers was ghastly - nearly $600 for a pair. (At least the figure included shipping.) So I acquired a couple of repair sets at $20 each and then Patrick at Midnight Motorsport here in Seattle went to work. The rehab didn't take long and I have him to thank for the photos of the disassembled pieces (Last pic of the caliper back on the car is mine).
They look great from under the car. What's not so wonderful is how a camera flash highlights the driveway roughage on the struts and control arms.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halting the Radio

Ever since I acquired the car I'd been turning the engine off and leaving the key in the "garage" position because I couldn't freely turn it completely to "Halt." Problems included lack of steering lock function and worse, the radio that a PO cut away the glove compartment to install and had to be manually shut down. I completely discharged the battery at least twice before remembering to always turn off the radio. And I never liked turning the thing on by reaching into the glove box, either.
Then I met Patrick of Midnight Motorsport. He commented to me in a casual manner that the key could be turned all the way to "Halt"; the cylinder was a bit stiff, that's all. So I played around with a tube of graphite and the key. Now it turns all the way off with the smoothness of a butter-filled doughnut, and the steering lock engages properly. I'd never even known that the locking mechanism on the wheel existed! Best of all, the damn radio shuts itelf off now, too. (And turns back on when I start the car.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wiper Exchange

An enterprising PO had switched the wiper blades, so that the baffle wiper was relocated to the passenger side, contrary to the original BMW installation.
I finally got around to switching the blades and now they are correctly placed.

New Radiator Cap

My old radiator cap began to leak and I had to remove it continually and wipe down all its related surfaces. The fix only lasted until the nest time I unscrewed the cap. So I ordered a new German-made cap from ebay - bought and delivered to my door for a total of $13. The new cap is really solid, doesn't wiggle when pressed, and now the car has one less issue to waste time thinking about.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Field Trip

Looking almost squashed, the car rode the ferry to Vashon Island the other day.
Mt. Rainier was shining brightly in the morning sun and we had a perfect day for island driving.

Friday, October 12, 2012

In the Interest of Better Steering

I recently replaced the strut rod bushings. The old ones were cooked.
The steering is much improved with the new rubber and from the look of things, safer.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Maybe It Does Pay to Get Older

On the occasion of celebrating the passage of another year, Shawn gave me a really cool license plate frame/holder from BMW. Sure beats a WA plate dangling by itself from the rear.

Now, That's a Canister!

The old oil filter housing and canister had an irritating look, I decided a while back.
I found a Purolator version on German ebay for very little money some time ago. Best of all, it sported the BMW logo, something I'd never seen. So, with the assistance of Patrick at Midnight Motorsport here in Seattle, the car now has some added 60s style bling. No leaks, either.
The housing is different from others I have seen of the same vintage. There is no o-ring inside it; instead it features a permanently-installed rubber bushing.
One less bit to replace when changing the oil, another cool feature.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Summer Drive

I tagged along today with a bunch of the local '02s on a trip that took us through the winding back roads of Mercer Island and then to Snoqualmie Falls, where I had to leave the pack and return to Seattle to attend to other committments. The sun shone outside of Seattle, which added to the fun.
And the falls were impressive, if a bit Disneylandish in the touristic environment.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

An Interesting Discovery

I just found this number stamped into the body on the nose, aft of the driver's side headlight. I wonder what it means.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Now Sending

A long time ago I ordered a new fuel sending unit for the car. In spite of my most valiant attempts I could not get the fuel gauge to stop bouncing. I tried everything I could think of, renewing the grounds in the engine compartment and on the car body in the trunk. The gauge still moved around but at least now I could see a causation. When perfectly still it read steady; when I drove downhill it bounced more full and similarly, when I drove uphill, it would bounce toward empty. The theory I had was that the sender must be compromised. But acquiring a new unit proved difficult. It had to come from Germany and the first one I received had the correct part number on the box (62168782014), but inside was a late 2002 unit. These have no provision for the low fuel light, which was replaced in the '02 by a brake failure indicator. So back to Germany with that first attempt. I received a store credit and despaired. But finally the Germans sent another box and surprise! The correct one. Installation only took fifteen minutes or so, along with a new gasket.
The old unit was relegated to the attic where it now rests with a bunch of other junked parts of uncertain worthiness.
Later I filled the car with petrol. On the way to the station the gauge held steady as a rock. I also discovered that the gauge only now reads completely full - the needle formerly stopped short of the top.

Monday, July 16, 2012

More Rubber Stops

The small, adjustable rubber stops that screw into either side of the front fender help the hood remain firmly in place when closed. I'd gotten tired of looking at the old ones, crunched and oversprayed. So I bought a couple of these on ebay.

Even though the part number shows that they fit my car, they do not, as the original ones, which must be NLA, had a single raised edge on top, while these have a round surface. If you install them and close the hood, the edge of the hood rests on them and therefore does not properly seal. So I cut the tops in half with an Exacto knife, and the new rubber stops function perfectly, their height precisely the same. Below is a pic of one of the new stops installed, with the old mangled version beside it.

Not quite stock but close enough for my sometimes undiscriminating taste.

UPDATE Februaray 2015

Thanks to a kind soul from Yorkshire, who lives near my old haunt of Scapegoat Hill, I now have original, stock buffers. Funny how the past never really goes away.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A 1970 NK 2000 from the '80s

From the Age of Disco comes this great shot of a 2000, taken in the PNW. A former owner was kind enough to send this to me. Beautiful car whose original color was Florida, I am told.
The most annoying thing that ever happened to the PO was breaking the key in the ignition. Worse things can happen...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bonnet Bumps

The rubber bump-stops at the rear of the hood frame were covered in numerous coats of craked and ugly overspray. I decided to remove the pieces from the car and clean them up with some low-impact, rubber-friendly paint stripper, after forgetting to take a pic of the the situation. The good news is, they cleaned up
nicely if not perfectly.

 I wonder if the bump stops were originally painted at the factory - there remained a coat of gray (Tampico?) on the underside of the beige respray.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Painted Black

For obscure reasons the paint on the gas pedal arm had worn off. Perhaps a Bigfoot used to own the car.
I crawled under the dash with a really small brush and an equally small amount of paint - the thought of spilling the stuff on my floor mats was enough to make me cringe - and redid the paint.
Not quite good as new, but better than before. I don't actually know if the pedals were painted black at the factory or by a PO, but it's useful to have them all look the same.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ground Strap to the Hood

Since I'd been thinking about ground straps, it was time for the strap from the body to the hood to go.
Problem was, the hinge bolts on the hood were rusted in place, including the one that held the strap. It took quite a bit of careful tapping and generous amounts of WD40 to loosen the fastener. The next question was, what would happen if I removed the bolt completely? The PO who installed the old ground strap had used an open-ended strap, in order to place it on the bolt head without first removing the bolt. But I took a chance, or not, and the cage nut in back of the bolt stayed in place. I installed the new strap and painted around the hinge where I'd sanded the black paint away to insure proper contact.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New Gas Line

While researching possible causes of my fuel delivery issue, I read that the old BMW cloth-covered lines are porous and can start to suck air when they age. All the lines in my car are relatively new, with the exception of the hose from the fuel tank to the hard line under the rear firewall. The old hose looked pretty bad once removed from the trunk of the car (after I disconnected the battery - better safe than sorry).
I replaced it with a $4 piece of hose from NAPA.
I swear the car starts faster and feels like the fuel pump is working more efficiently but perhaps I'm imagining the extent of the benefit. The true test will come when the fuel level drops below half a tank. We'll see if we "run out of gas" again.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Out of Gas but Grounded

For the very first time today I ran out of gas, going uphill on an arterial road. Luckily I was able to back down the deserted street and maneuver into a large parking lot beside a bank. At first I was unclear as to why the car was no longer getting fuel delivered to the engine but the solution was soon obvious. The interesting back-story is that I recently installed a ground strap from the battery to the car chassis in an effort to quiet down a bouncing gas gauge. Well, the gauge stopped flickering and the new development was so exciting I forgot to monitor the actual fuel level! And so I found myself waiting for AAA truck and a gallon of petrol. A guy stopped by to chat about the car; he owned a 1972 Datsun 510, he said, and we compared notes while I looked sheepish. The AAA tow truck arrived and the driver put $5 worth of gas in the tank. A shot of fuel direct to the carb enabled the engine to fire long enough for the mechanical fuel pump to do its job and off I went, chagrined.
Shiny new ground strap proves to be a distraction from careful driving habits POSTSCRIPT: I discovered that I still had half a tank of gas when the tank supposedly went dry. Time to drain the tank and clean the sludge from the screen at the bottom of the fuel sender.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Visitor

My friend Jessup dropped by today in his new 1976 2002. A fine sunny afternoon enhanced the viewing.
He recently bought the car, which has minimal rust, a Weber 32/36 in excellent running order, and like-new Recaro seats in front. Not to mention a 5-speed swap. The '02 also has a sunroof, which may or may not come in handy much, here in Seattle.

Friday, May 4, 2012

NK from an 02

At the store yesterday I ran into my friend Riley, who has restored this '76 2002 over the last year or so. I thought, too bad I don't have a camera to take a few pics of his car, but turns out that he was armed with his own device at the time.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Ever since I bought the car there has been a whistle at the top of the driver's door. Kind of embarrassing when I take people for a ride in the NK, only to have the thing sound like a demented tea kettle. Last year I determined that the noise was likely due to the deterioration of the small door seal that is mounted on the body of the car inside the door frame.
I was pleased to learn also that a new replacement costed much much less than all the other door seals that are still available. I ordered one during the winter from Germany but never got around to installing it since the weather was too cold in Seattle for glue to set properly. Today we finally had a summer day, April notwithstanding. It only took a couple of minutes to pry out the remains of the old seal from the door.
I laid the new seal on the ground beside the old one and proceeded to scour the now-empty door frame with denatured alcohol to clean the surface.
I mixed a small quantity of automotive epoxy, played with a piece of the old seal, and discovered that it would be easiest to apply the glue to the door frame rather than the seal itself. So I mixed more and went to work. After several frantic minutes of wishing I had four hands to hold the seal in place the glue dried and I was done.
I will wait until tomorrow to go for a drive and see if the whistling in the door has departed. The only problem left for the evening is to figure out why Blogspot no longer allows me to create spacing between paragraphs, a new issue since they changed their web pages and "improved" the blogging site. POSTSCRIPT: I drove the car and the whistling noise has nearly disappeared but not entirely. My new theory is that the radio antenna may be causing the sound and that the seal's marvelous dampening effect on exterior noise from the door may have lessened the annoyance. But it is still there, now much less loud. (Yet I am still unable to create a new paragraph with Blogspot.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Oil Filter Journey Continues

I recently was unable to resist the purchase of a complete oil filter housing to replace the one that had been leaking. I paid very little for the unit and it still boasts a cool BMW logo on the surface. I wonder if I will regret eventually not switching to the 2002 version.

1) New but old

However when I opened it up I saw that the housing does not use the standard inside o-ring but rather seems to incorporate a replacable rubber gasket. Hmm. I am still a few months away from another oil change so the suspense will build until I attempt installation.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another Cheap Upgrade - The Tailpipe Hanger

The old hanger clamp on the tail pipe had been bothering me; a previous owner had rigged a cheap metal strap that looked like a cast-off from a rust festival.

1) The old strap. It's not real visible in this pic but too late, the offending item has been trashed

I searched the web for a new clamp. The BMW version was NLA, of course. I found that Walker Exhaust Systems made a similar part. I had no way of verifying that it would fit but sometimes these things just work out. Anyhow it only cost three dollars.

Fifteen minutes or so of tinkering was enough to fit the new piece.

2) New and shiny

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Extra Parts" Installed

Last year when I put the new stock exhaust system on the car I was left with two extra bits. Honestly, I didn't even know what they were. I finally did the research this week and discovered the two identical pieces were exhaust hangers, one for each side of the muffler.

Come to find out that a previous owner had hung the muffler with lengths of fan belt or similar, a fact I didn't realize until I looked for myself.

Now the correct parts are installed on the car and ought to last the duration of my ownership.

Passenger side hanger doing its job. The rubber's discoloration is dried surface gunk, the result of it sitting around a warehouse for 20 years.

As they say, there's no such thing as extra parts.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Wood Renewal

The wood on my dash was beginning to fade again. Teak oil only keeps its luster for a certain time, depending on temperature and sun.

Five minutes with a paper towel and a couple dabs of oil renewed the look. Now the car smells a bit like a wooden boat.

1) The dash looks fresh again

2) Close-up of glove box

It's time again to wonder if the baffle on the wiper arm is on the correct side of the car.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Changing the Oil Filter Flange - An Idea Whose Time Has Come?

The mystery of my current old-style oil filter flange continues. Despite replacing every gasket within shouting distance the unit began to leak. Why this is so remains a mystery; perhaps the old housing was damaged, perhaps the old paper gasket in the track on top was not sufficiently removed.

The guys at my garage were able, in the end, to stop the leaks and re-install the now-obsolete flange.

1) Old style of flange with colorful red housing for the insert

So I might buy a 2002-type flange for a few dollars and think about installing it the next time I change the oil.

I have been told there won't be enough clearance between the battery and the cartridge filter. We'll see. Since I just had the oil changed last week I probably won't know for a few months. The car is mostly stuck in the garage during Seattle's never-ending spring rains and I am not driving much.

I do prefer the older version of the filter flange; it's original to the car and I'd rather keep the car as it was manufactured.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How Many Gaskets Does it Take to Change an Oil Filter?

Four, apparently. At least with the old-style oil filter housing that was discontinued in 1968, a year after my car was manufactured. To be fair, the item on the lower left is an O-ring, not a gasket.