Monday, May 9, 2016

Vintage 2016 Preparations

I've been away from the blog and maintenance on the 1600 for some time now. My son is now two years old (two!) and takes up a lot of time, as well he should. I didn't even make it to Vintage last year, because we were visiting family. This year, however, I'm getting my fix. Here's photographic evidence of my distraction.
I've been periodically eyeing the 1600, identifying small issues for which I am attempting slow progress. The fist on the list is the battery. When I first got this car, I installed a Miata-sized dry-cell battery on it's side under the back seat. It seemed like a perfect solution, but the batteries kept dying. I'm on my 3rd or 4th one. I've tried different brands, changed alternators, and I've rewired the entire car, and still, the battery drops to around 7 volts after a few days. I suspect the under-seat solution may be subjecting the battery to undue heat, causing early failure. So, in the spirit of over-correction, I removed the Miata battery and replaced it with a 34/78 Optima Red Top dry cell, which now lives in the trunk. I ran a new E30 battery cable along the passenger side and removed the driver side cable that used to run to the old battery. For those playing at home, an E30 battery cable will just barely make it from the trunk to the passenger side firewall. I made a little angle iron brace and bent up some aluminum strap.
It's bolted together with metric hardware and my new favorite tool, an Astro 1442 riv-nut tool. It's fantastic for adding a solid mounting point when you either can't get to a nut on the other side or don't want to use a self-tapping screw.
I made the top strap removable with two M6 bolts. It was a bit of extra work, but it will pay off in ease of removal if and when I need to take the battery out.
Cables attached and tidied up.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Corrado Steelies

After years of service on two different sets of wheels, I finally decided against squeezing another season out of my all season Toyo tires. They did their job, but weren't the grippiest. They were really a jack of all seasons, and a master of none.  So, after searching for quite a while and flirting with some NK steel wheels, I finally found an acceptable deal on a set of VW G60 Corrado steel wheels. They're 15x6, which gives me an inch in diameter over the current E30 steelies.

The only downside to this purchase is that I bought them from an individual who already purchased and mounted tires to them. The tires are good summer Vredesteins, but they're 10-20mm narrower than I would prefer, at 175/50R15. They aren't bad, and they certainly stick to the road, but the next set will be wider. 


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Bass Makes Your Car Go Faster

A few years ago, I traded some parts for a fiberglass subwoofer enclosure made by www.BMW2002FAQ.com forum member, Eurotrash (Jason Gibson). It has been sitting in a box for years because I had somewhat mosre pressing issues with the 1600, like keeping it moving. However, I recently bought a subwoofer on impulse, so I dove in.

Buy your sub enclosure from Jason here: http://boltonbliss.bigcartel.com/

Here it is. It's sturdily built and fits under the passenger side of the rear seat. The first thing that caught my eye was that the enclosure is made for a 6.5" sub. Since I impulsively bought an 8" sub, there was going to be some modification.

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After removing the installed wiring and fluffy stuff, I traced out the size needed and got to cutting. For those playing at home, make sure you have eye protection and a mask of some type when cutting fiberglass.

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Did I mention that my car has seatbelt reels hidden under the back seat? Yeah, well, I'm going to have to make room for those.

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Now to lay up some fiberglass.

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At this point, many people would sand the enclosure smooth. I, however, remembered that it's going under the back seat and that I have other things to do. A coat of paint will do.

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I bought a roll of self-adhering foam to keep the rattles down and placed strips of it on all sides. Done!

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Keyless Entry

I've never been fond of the vintage car locking system, which seems to be a product of lack of technology and cost savings. While I appreciate the virtual impossibility of locking your keys inside a 2002, I have grown tired of saying a little prayer each time I twist the key to lock or unlock the doors. Also, I never liked the reliance on the drive to lock the passenger door, which required either key locking it from the outside or waiting for them to get out and close the door, just so you can push the lock knob down.

So, armed with the excuse that I was "saving the vintage lock cylinders from wear and tear," I cobbled together a power lock system from E30 parts.


It's as basic as I can make it. I discarded the E30's somewhat complex central locking electronics and boiled the system down to a few simple components: door solenoids, a couple of 5-prong relays, and a switch. Piggy-backed on that is a $15 eBay remote keyless entry module, which triggers the lock and unlock function. Powering the system is a $10 auto parts store fused power block, which also allows for future powered additions in the rear of the car. This one is getting constant power from the battery. I have an identical fused power distribution panel under the dash, which is is fed by a relay to come on with the ignition. 

Here is the wiring diagram. Basically, you need to power the solenoids one way to lock and reverse the polarity on them to unlock. 5-prong relays with the 87a terminal are the key:

The remote keyless entry unit is wired to ground the 85 circuits. 

Once that was all together, I ran the wire pairs, including the trigger pair for the interior lock/unlock switch, to the cabin. In-wall, insulated speaker wire is nice to use for this, since each pair is enclosed in its own insulation. I grabbed two E30 door lock solenoids from the salvage yard for about $9/each (*If you get them, remember to keep the mounting screws) and bolted them into the doors. If you clip off enough of the harness from the E30 door, you will save the amount of wiring necessary for the doors in your 2002. 


I just used a few grommets and positioned the wire bundles to slip through. Just make sure that you secure the wiring every 6-10". 


No, I did not chop those giant, ugly speaker hole in my doors.

I bought a stick of 1/8" steel rod from the local hardware store and bent it to fit. You might screw this up the first time around, so be careful.



You'll need to drill an 1/8" hole in the door lock mechanism. Go ahead and oil it up while you're in there.



You will also need to drill the solenoid to 1/8".


Once it's all installed, you can enjoy simple, non-invasive, and mostly removable electric locks with keyless entry. Your days of walking all the way around to lock you passenger door are over.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's Been a While

It has been more than a year since I last posted, but, to be fair, I've been busy. Last fall, the wife and I renovated our basement (with some help here and there) in preparation for our first-born son's arrival in December. What a year!

Back to the car:

Last July, the 1602 just stopped running. One day, it was running fine. The next day, it wouldn't fire. The starter would turn, but I wasn't getting any fuel pressure. I tested for power to no avail. I tested continuity from the relay to the pump: all good. I tested the fuel pump relay: working. I also felt the main engine relay click with the key turn. Then, the car sat in silence for nine months while I encountered the aforementioned time sinks. Finally, I decided in April that I had to start diagnosing the problem again if I wanted to make it to Vintage. I swapped out ECUs and got the same problem. I then decided that it must be a fault in the harness, so I sourced a pinout diagram for the ECU. Just before tackling the Sisyphean task of checking continuity on every wire in the engine harness,  Dudley and Marshall urged me to recheck the basics. So, I removed the main and fuel pump relays from the harness to test. The fuel pump relay functioned perfectly, as did the 87 circuit on the main relay. The 87b circuit gave me a strange, flickering output, however. So, we ran of to the local BMW dealership and bought a new main relay. I threw it in and the car started right up. Nine months, $12 to fix. 

In early May of this year, I was rear-ended by a rental truck with an inattentive driver. In a defining moment for irony, he hit my third brake light. The light housing pushed into the rear panel and left a nice dent. Since it wasn't too bad, I waited until after Vintage to have it fixed.


The bumper was also pushed in a little on the driver's side.

In primer:


I also had them fill the holes for the 1602 and Roundel emblems. When the tail panel was replaced in the 1980s or 1990s, it appears that the 2002 panel was more easily available, so they just stuck the emblems where the 2002 had them. Given the chance to correct that, I had them fill the holes.  I plan to source the appropriate emblems and drill where necessary. 

Done!







Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vintage 2013

I made the drive to Vintage 2013 in Winston-Salem, NC. It was good to see everyone again and meet some new people as well. I caravaned down with a group of locals.

Leaving DC:

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Coffee and a quick timing adjustment for Dudley at Marshall's place:

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Parking lot at the hotel:

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Day 1 Autocross Event (I wasn't brave enough to risk breaking my car 300 miles from home):

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Day 2 Show at Westbend Vineyard:

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A Glas 1600GT:

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A genuine 2002turbo:

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I won the trophy for "Best Patina"

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The drive home:

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Had a little hiccup on the way home. I noticed a drip from under the car when we stopped for lunch. This little hose under the intake split, so we had to repair it. Thankfully, we didn't need to remove the intake to do it.

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Twenty minutes later, we were back on the road.

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Great weekend!

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Third Brake Light and a center Console Before the Roadtrip

In a nearly unacceptable deviation from past performance, I had the 1600 roadworthy with a week or so to spare before heading off to Vintage at the Vineyards. I considered breaking something, forcing myself into a right-up-to-the-last-minute repair scenario, but I decided to break from the norm and tackle a few small convenience tasks. The first of these two was a third brake light.

As many have noted, the 1600/2002 brake lights are not exactly bright. Some overcome this with a modern-style third brake light in the rear window, which I find to be a little too modern-looking. Others use a vintage, European, bumper-mounted red fog light as a source of extra braking luminescence. I prefer the latter option, but vintage fog lights are usually around $100.

Enter: K-Mart. Behold, the $4 trailer light.

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I painted the white, plastic backing of this thing flat black and wrapped a stainless steel tie around it for a little accent. Of course, the next step was to mount it, so I pounded a mount out of 1-1/2" flat stock. I shaped it to bolt between the bumper and the body, so I wouldn't have to drill a hole in my European-style bumper.

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After painting it, I installed the mount. only to realize that I should have made it a bit taller.

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I also made this little bracket to attach the light to the bumper bracket.

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With a small extension  piece to correct the hieght, I mounted and wired up the light. Since it grounds to the mount, I only needed to run one wire through the license plate light wiring grommet to the brake light circuit.

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Next up was the console. I wanted to update my accessory and radio functions, so I threw this console together.

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The old speaker grill conceals a newer-style stereo.

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Also, I modified the driver's side engine mount to limit lateral engine movement.

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Gratuitous engine shot:

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