How To Tell If Old Paint Is Oil-Based Or Water-Based The Restoration of A1972 BMW 2002tii

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The Restoration of A1972 BMW 2002tii

I grew up in the small town of Fort Chambly, Quebec, just south of Montreal. From an early age, my grandfather often shared his interest in cars with me, and he built the first gasoline engine car, the Fossmobile, in Canada, which is probably one of the reasons for my fascination with cars.

I fondly remember neighbors allowing me to test drive their MGBs, Triumphs and Minis, but driving a 1972 BMW 2002tii confirmed my thoughts. It feels smoother and faster than other cars I’ve driven. It has more horsepower and feels like it can hug the road effortlessly. I promised myself then that one day I would own one of these wonderful vehicles.

While researching these cars in early 2009, I stumbled across a gem in Calgary, Alberta and found it to be in surprisingly good shape. All original with no previous modifications or attempted restorations. Using only the pictures and my gut confidence in the person selling it, I quickly dug it up. This guy is only the second owner and only has 45,000 miles on the odometer. The vehicle originated in the United States and the original owner was traced to Colorado.

The 2002tii is usually more valuable and therefore more coveted. It’s getting harder and harder to find one in good shape with no owner modifications. This is especially true given the mechanical uniqueness of tii (tour infusion) and the cost of some of these unique parts. The original 2002tii was equipped with a Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system, a first for BMW. The 2.0-liter engine produces 125-140 horsepower and 127-145 pound-feet of torque.

I had it picked up by a vintage car hauler and shipped to Burlington, Ontario. The car was partially painted once, but that was a poor job, with signs of excess body filler, cracked paint and some minor rust visible. At least, that’s what I can see. Other surprises await me.

When the car arrived from Calgary, it was delivered to a local BMW dealer. I checked it out with the help of a mechanic. We just wanted to see if it would work. We found that it rarely needed to meet security and authentication requirements. The engine compression is almost factory and very even. The tank was cleaned and all fluids flushed. We changed the oil, oil filter and spark plugs. Finally, they complete a rigorous brake inspection. Once everything looked good, I hit the road for a few weeks to learn as much about it as I could.

For the most part, it works well, but some parts are tired, suffering from age and in need of an update. It’s slow, has some vibration and doesn’t handle bumps very well. My plan is to use all Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) parts.

I started the restoration with all the mechanical stuff. The entire fuel delivery system needed cleaning and three fuel filters were replaced (fuel pump, fuel injection and in-line filter). The water pump part is stuck, so that’s next. I was worried about the mechanical fuel injection system, but it seems to be fine.

All rubber items are my next inspection and replacement item. Seals, belts, engine mounts and frame bushings need to be inspected. Due to the age of the car, I decided to replace all the rubber frame and mounting bushings. Then new hoses and belts were installed. The front and rear shocks are in terrible shape. The two in the back are directly rusted. All new shocks were installed, with new towers. Not surprisingly, the entire exhaust system is rusted. While the exhaust manifold is fine, all piping and mufflers had to be replaced.

The rubber rotoflex guibo bushing/bearing between the gearbox and the front of the drive shaft was the worst of all the parts that needed replacing. It’s an all-rubber mount with metal sleeves that allow eight mounting bolts to pass through. Its purpose is to dampen vibrations and movements between the transmission and drive shaft. When I took it apart, it fell apart completely in my hands. The rear universal joint on the drive shaft stuck in one direction, which meant replacing the entire drive shaft since it was a complete sealed unit.

The clutch slave cylinder was leaking, so it was also sent to the recycling bin. Smaller parts, such as brake cylinders and engine gaskets, are all replaced. A few items were replaced because they absolutely needed it, and a few items were a good measure, like the brake pads, as it was easier to do it when it was removed, rather than later.

The shift linkage needs some attention. When the car arrived the first thing I noticed was the gear lever was very loose and wobbly in every gear. The 2002tii had long shift times, but this one makes constant shifting an unpleasant chore. I found all the bushings, sleeves and connecting rods mostly worn out or completely gone. After the change, it shifted through all four gears smoothly and just as tightly as it did on the factory floor.

The interior of the car is in very good condition. Even the 2002tii dashboard clock is present and working. It just needed some cleaning and one weld job to the seat bracket.

I completely removed all chrome from the vehicle: lights, grille, bumper, etc. All of this is in excellent condition and will now be stored safely for the winter, as this is the perfect time to complete a body restoration.

There are obvious areas of rust, such as the outer sill panels and the two rear and right front fenders, but the inner sills also look suspicious. Reality sets in as the old front fenders are removed. A worry I find everyone who tries a project like this: more rust than expected. Almost the entire right upright between the fender and the door hinges is rusted. It had to be completely rebuilt by grinding and welding into new parts.

The vehicle’s old paint has been completely peeled off. The rear outer fenders were tin filled and new front fenders were installed. Some very minor body repairs a dent or two and it’s ready to be degreased and sanded – lots of sanding!

The doors, decklid and hood were removed and painted separately. The rest were meticulously papered, taped, and ready to go into the paint booth. Then came the paint booth with six coats of original paint and three coats of clear coat. After that, the car looked like it was back in the showroom (no doors, chrome, lights, bumpers, etc.).

Then it was painstaking work to reinstall all the chrome with great care: lights, grille and bumper that had to be reattached. Almost all the mechanicals are fixed and it drives like I remember it, back in the 70’s. I’m finally ready to show this vintage 1972 BMW 2002tii to anyone who will look. This car has become everything I’ve ever dreamed of. So my passion was met. I have my vintage BMW 202tii the way I want it.

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