Thursday, November 20, 2014


A PO had gotten creative in the distant past with the isolators that dampen vibration from the air cleaner mounts.

The one above wasn't too too bad, but close examination revealed a VW/Audi stamp on the rubber. Horrors!

The other two were made of 1) a small piece of hose and 2) five or six regular metal washers.

For some reason I dawdled for years in getting these right but now they finally are correct for the car and the engine bay continues its journey back to a semblance of stock.

One of the fresh ones, a bit crusty but still new.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Parcel Shelf Speaker Delete

At last!  The nasty speaker holes are gone from the parcel shelf and it is back to its proper color, shape, and size.

I don't want to even think about what it looked like when I bought the car, but if anyone is interested here is what it was:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Armrests Regrouped

Broken lower armrests are a common feature in these cars. I am not really clear on why this would be but I see evidence of the problem frequently in pictures online.  Here is what the result looks like:

Surprisingly these plastic lower rests are still available in Europe, although not in the braun color of my interior. It's an easy matter to spray paint them to the correct tint with Rustoleum rattle-can paint, however.  I found the exact color match by buying a bunch of cans in a local big-box store and taking them out to the parking lot to match the color on the can to the interior upholstery. Last step was to immediately return for refund the examples I didn't need.

I have replaced the armrests on both sides. Wresting the arm rests apart demands patience; they are secured with odd metal flanges on the top sections that slide into slotted holes built into the bottom pieces.

One more fix to cross off the list and forget about.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New/OId Oil Pan

Another improvement, this time a surprise. I was having my oil pan gasket changed by Patrick at Midnight Motorsport, and he graciously installed an oil pan freshly pained and in far better condition than the old one.  That particular item had either been hit, or otherwise dented by someone attempting to lift the car using the pan as a base.



A vast but infrequently seen improvement.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Mirror Images

When I bought the car it came equipped with a nice mirror.  Nice that is, unless you looked too closely.

Briefly, it was not a BMW mirror. The thing was so wide I wondered if it came from a Dodge Caravan or similar.  You couldn't even get the sun visors over it without a struggle.

What a PO had done was to ravage the aluminum arm in order to install a bigger pivot joint.

He or she had sheared the pivot and fastened - with now rusty bolts - another bracket that held a larger pivot ball, which in turn held the mini-van mirror that had been in the car. The whole assembly was a mess and I tore it apart as soon as I acquired the object of my dreams, an old NK chrome and metal mirror.

While my new mirror was being worked on I temporarily installed a 2002 mirror so I could drive the car without too much hassle. That is what is pictured below.

My new mirror did not look like this when I bought it.

It had to be disassembled and then the glass had to be resilvered. My friends at Classic Interior Restorations in Seattle gave me a lot a guidance and advice - although Greg, who works there part-time and is an expert in all things mirrorish, was the one who actually figured out how to pry off the little clamps that held the chrome frame to the body. Steve, who owns Classic Interior, watched the process and gave some good tips, like using 400 steel wool to remove the oxidation from the arm. This process took a couple of hours but worked nicely.

The final step involved painting the back of the mirror. This I did today and the result was satisfying.

Last thing was to get it into the car.  No worries there, either.

Now, I realize that the 1967 NK 2000 probably did not come from the factory with this older version NK mirror but still, I think it gives the car a certain je ne sais quoi...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A New Sense of Pride

I can't but help be proud of my new reubuilt transmission. Invisible to most people, at least to those who don't crawl under cars, the unit is a work of performance art that stands on its own merits. All thanks to Metric Mechanic. Here are a few photos I took today.  Shooting under a car on jack stands was a new experience to me and so the quality of images is, well, spotty:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trannsmission Rebuild: Part III - Installation

I got a big box from Metric Mechanic with the transmssion enclosed last week, delievered conveniently to my door, and while I was out of town over the weekend Patrick at Midnight Motorsport worked hard to do the installation. After a brief fear regarding the choice we faced of different throw-out bearings (see previous post) we chatted about the issue and decided that the current BMW-recommened version HAD to work. Blind faith, I suppose.

After we removed my original Getrag 232, we had put a donor tranny in the car so I could still run it. It was a direct plug and play. The unit came from a '74 2002 but its exact provenance was unknown. The gears shifted smoothly but the transmission whined like a banshee at high speeds.

Of course, I shouldn't complain too much. My own 232 was suffering from terminal Synchro Syndrome, meaning that every time I changed gears I had to match the RPMs perfectly. Not a great way to have to drive such a fine old car, listening to crunches that sounded like the roll of sea rocks under a stormy shorebreak.

Anyhow, while I flew south for some warm weather and to see college friends, Patrick got to work. Just looking at Metric Mechanic's meticulous refurbishing of my old Getrag must have been a hoot for him all weekend long; I envy often envy his profession.

I have to admit, my car didn't look entirely bad with no tranny attached. I had heard when I bought her that she's been stored for 25 years unused. Maybe this factoid was true and maybe not, but I'm not complaiing.

And so the unit eventually  made it to the underside of the car.

All is now right with the world. My only worry is that I have a sudden compulsion to disobey every posted speed limit I see on the roads.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Transmission Rebuild Part II: A Study in NK Throw-Out Bearings

While re-installing my original tranny after its rebuild, we decided to swap the throw-out bearing. To our surprise, the correct bearing (according to REALOEM) is quite a bit different than the original one that dates from 1967, and in fact somewhat less tall.  It works fine as it seemed self-asjust in relation to the slave cylinder when the tranny was put back in the car.  Here is a pic of the three bearings - my original one on the left, the new one in the center that I am now using, and the later '02 style bearing at the right, which is used in the Series II NKs, I believe.

Fascinating how things change, for reasons that are probably now lost to history.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Transmission Rebuild: Part I

I thought about this project for a long time before finally taking the plunge.  My original transmission was in excellent shape, all in all, but because it's an early Getrag 232 with Porsche syncors, age and use had slowly but surely devoured said synchros. While they hadn't gotten any worse during the years I have owed the car, inevitably they were a real downer and prevented me or any other driver from fully appreciating the M10 motor.

So I sent the transmission off the Jim Rowe and the crew at Metric Mechanic for a rebuild. Their work didn't come cheap, but then you get what you pay for in cars as well as in life.

Yestersday the unit arrived back at my house courtesy of UPS.  I opened the box and discovered a work of art that belongs, surely, in the Seattle Art Museum as a stand-alone object to venerate with reverence.

 The transmission looks too pretty to unwrap.

When I sent the gearbox I included the selector rod, because the holes in the fork were worn and I wondered if Metric Mechanic could do anything about this issue, which caused play in the shifter.  They refreshed the rod and now I can't wait to get it back in the car and see how she shifts.

 I really had no idea when I shipped the selector rod that they would be able to perform such delicate surgery.

Now I have only to wait until the proper time for reinstalling the transmission.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Matching Numbers

Freshly Sealed

Two different seals went on the car this week- the trunk seal, which was long overdue to be changed, and the passenger side door wing seal, which had pretty much disintegrated with the passage of decades.

The door seal was easy enough to install, after figuring out how to defy gravity and allow that nasty but effective black 3M sealant to dry.

I have heard that this seal is NLA but W&N still has them in stock.

The trunk seal proved to be more problematic with its own gravity issues. I even thought of taking the trunk off the car to do the installation, but in the final analysis it was easier to take the problem to Patrick at Midnight Motorsport and have him do the work. It turned out nicely.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Rear-End Records Deleted

I'm the first person to admit it - occaisionally I get absent-minded. This used to be especially distressing when I would forget to close the trunk before lowering the garage door.

What happened is that the bottom of the metal door track, which slides backward when the door is going down, used to hit the rear trunk trim. Thus I had a record, over the years, of how many times I had done this.

Depending on the position of the car at the time, the ding that that resulted when I lowered the door used to hit near the center-left of the trunk trim.  Here I count around six episodes, although there is evidence of more out of the picture frame.

Anyhow, the cost of a new piece of trim isn't really very high. I also replaced the small trim connector pieces, which were aged and nasty.  Result - a pristine, record-free transom.


I only attempted this fix after going for at least a year ding-free, proving that an old person CAN learn new tricks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The B-Pillar Interior Trim

Ever since I took possesion of the car, the left side B-Pillar trim had a crack right through it, very obvious and plain to see. My theory is that - well, I haven't the slightest idea why this happened. I never photograhed the defect because it detracted from the nice conditon of the rest of the car. But here it is, after I removed the trim from the car. Oddly, both sides popped right out.  Seldom on an NK does any part just snap off easily; usually each item is attached to several others, requiring complicated disassembly. But not this time.

Except for a msyterious piece of masking tape on each side of the car, underneath the trim the metal was clean and rust-free.

I had bought from Germany two used trim pieces, with a view to replacing both. Because they were black, they had to be painted to match. Luckily I found a version of Rustoleum spray paint that was an identical match, nearly.

I painted the trim on the floor of the garage on a wet, rainy day. The pieces took forever to dry.

What was really astonishing was how close the color match proved to be. I moved the newly painted pieces to the hood of the car and placed one of the old pieces beside them for comparision.

The original part from the car is on the left in the above photo. The newly-painted pieces look glossier because they are still damp.

Lastly, I noticed that the bolts that hold the seat belt in place had once been painted also, whether or not in the factory I had no way of knowing. But I decided to repaint them, too.

I had to wait about eight hours for the paint to dry sufficiently to put the new trim back in the car. The project was a great success, approved by all concerned.

Toward the bottom on this side was where the old trim piece had cracked in half. Now gone, vansished without a trace!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slowly Sorting Interior Colours

I saw a tip on the FAQ forum from a woman who makes high-quality upholstery and carpets, about a company that faithfully reproduces BMW interior vinyl colours. So I ordered a small bottle of black paint with a view toward restoring the A-pillar trim to black, which I am quite sure was the factory hue for all NK interiors.  The paint went on smoothly with good coverage and now the car has yet another element of its original interior.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mistaken Project / Great New Look

Yesterday I repainted my rear parcel shelf to black, thinking that was the factory colour. Well... as they say, "Oops." It's been pointed out to me that the shelf colours were coordinated with the rest of each car's interior hue. So I am now searching for some braun vinyl paint to correct my egregious, if forgivable error.

Live, learn, and move on.

At least I didn't make a mistake when I ordered the NOS beauty rings, which I quickly added to my steelies, and then proudly posed the car for a blog cover photo highlighting the new look.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Rattle Be Gone!

My drivers side window had been rattling ever since I bought the car.  I got some advice from an expert, who suggested changing the outer chrome window trim on the door. The rubber that protects the inside of the door from rain had pretty much worn out and no longer rested against the window. According to this theory the window itself, no longer held firmly in place, might be subject to rattling.

Well, something was making the thing rattle. The only times it was quiet was when the window was either fully closed or fully open.

The first problem was to remove the piece. Turned out a plastic snow scraper, wedged underneath the chrome trim, could be whacked with a hammer to lift it off.

And so I removed the trim. Metal clips inside on the door seam held the trim firmly.

But, when examining the new item I bought from BMW, I discovered that it had a felt insert that prevented the chrome from sliding back into the seam.

Using the same snow scraper, this time placed on top of the trim piece, I whacked hard and it slowly dropped into place.

No more rattling window when I close the door or when I'm driving with it half-open, and no more jokes about rattle-trap old cars when cynical passengers acoompany me for a ride.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Grill replaced

Last year I had an unfortuante meeting with an SUV parked in front of me on a dark street.  My car rolled gently into the back of the other vehicle after I engaged the clutch while fumbling to get the key in the ignition, resulting in a dented grill.

I made several attempts to buy another grill online but kept getting oubid on Ebay. I finally found one at a reasonable price through the ever-helpful FAQ forum.

Best of all, it's the 10-slat version, which would have been the type originally installed on my car.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

New Motor Mount

A lot of people end up changing the entire front subframe to that of a 2002 when they discover that their old drivers side motor mount looks like this.

As my old mount sagged, it caused the engine to shift and sag with it. BMW doesn't make the old, poorly designed specimen anymore; I don't blame them.

 Fortunately Ireland Engineering did a run of urethane motor mounts. They still had a few of them in stock and so I was able to grab one. 

With the new mount there's a bit more engine noise and vibration when the car runs but the peace of mind is worth it.