Bill Foster and the vintage arm of the Delaware Valley BMWCCA club have raised the level of activity this year, and I managed to head down to a surprisingly good event at a local upholstery shop (see The Undiscovered Bounty). The 02 has been flawless as you know if you have been reading this blog, so this day turned out to be surprising. On the way down to the event, the exhaust sounded a little louder than normal at idle. It was ok at speed, so I just made a mental note. On the way back, there was rain, and it reminded me of how long it has been since the defroster was running. It threw up debris for a few minutes before settling down. The exhaust was a little louder still and lasted up to about 2000 RPM. This will need to be investigated....
I am a bit behind on posting for the tii, but it has not been sitting idle. To the contrary, it once again made the trip down to Winston Salem, NC for the annual Vintage at the Vineyards event. There is no longer a vineyard involved, as it has moved to downtown Old Salem. The car was brilliant as ever. A full account of the trip made the main blog, so you can read about it at this link.
The tii can dispatch country roads with aplomb, but it is not the sharpest handling car. It will handle hundreds of miles of autobahn/interstate with aplomb as evidenced by it's trips to the Vineyards event and Florida, but with 4 gears, it is not the most relaxed GT car. It will run 500 rpm below the rev limit all day, but it is not a race car. It will carry passengers and luggage with aplomb, but it is no SUV. It attracts attention wherever it goes, but it is no supercar. What it will do is accomplish all of these things on the same trip very well. That is not very well given it's age, it is very well period.
Case in point, the annual pilgrimage to Limerock for the Vintage Festival. The car has made this trip several times, and now the event coincides with the 02 Festival East sponsored by the good folks at Sports Car Restoration http://sports-car-restoration.com . The weekend itself is covered in the main blog, but the trip to and from is what I have come to regard as the natural habitat of the car. A few hundred miles of interstate, about a hundred miles of some of the best feisty parkway in the country (NY's Saw Mill and Taconic), and then about a hundred more of country roads. Add passengers and a weekend worth of Camping gear and luggage, and you get the picture. At the event, the car was popular in the paddock area, and there were two race versions out on track during the weekend. I could have made a commercial for the German sports sedan circa 1972. Job done.
That said, there are two negatives. The first is that as good as the BBS wheels look, they are a royal pain to clean, and they get covered in brake dust pretty quickly. I have even tried different pads, but not much improvement. One fellow 02 owner told me to use less brakes ;-) The other negative is really a positive that turned out to be kind of dangerous this time. People on the highway often chase me down when I go flying by in the left lane, and take a picture with their phone. Fine if the picture taker is a passenger, but I had a driver attempt to drive alongside and use his phone camera while we were both doing 80+ mph. This is not smart. He had a slight swerve and I was on the rumble strip for a second avoiding him. This, we don't need. Overall though, another brilliant trip in a car I can't praise enough.
After an impressive bout of procrastination, I was forced to swap the wheels on the tii by the impending trip down to North Carolina for the Vintage at the Vineyards event. I hauled the BBS wheels up one at a time from the basement, changed them, and then hauled the bottle caps back down one at a time. Pain in the butt, but I got it done. Then work interfered with plans and the trip to NC was shot down. In retaliation, I decided to use the car as daily driver over the long holiday weekend. I drove it to work, on errands, and then on Sunday went to get a few things at the local home center. It dawned on me that this trip in particular exemplified how a 40 year old vehicle (well 39 technically) can still be competent today. It seats four, will haul butt in the left lane (the home center is a few exits away), has a spacious trunk ((2 50lb bags of potting soil, some solar lights, etc), and will dance through the curves on the scenic way home.
One of the back roads home has a tight turn followed by a nice clear stretch. As I rounded the curve and accelerated, a BMW Z4 was coming the other way. We passed about mid way, both doing about 80MPH. I thought I could see the gaping mouth of the other driver as the instantly recognizable snout of the tii flashed past him at speed ! Surprisingly fast, surprisingly useful And, even today, surprisingly good.
The thing about having a blog, is that it will cause your laziness to be chronicled ;-) The battery woes of late last fall should have been solved right then, but winter set in, and I didn't get around to addressing the issue until it started to look nice enough to drive again. The old dead battery was sitting on the floor all winter, waiting to be exchanged for a new live one. While it was out, I vowed to do some cleanup of the battery tray area and find the battery bracket that I know I have somewhere. Well, I did cleanup the tray and paint it, but I have not located the bracket so it was zip ties to the rescue for now. I did also end up replacing the positive battery terminal, so we are now in good shape for the season. Now I just need to find the bracket, change the oil, change the wheels......
It was kind of typical. I forgot to put the tii on the trickle charger and that would mean a very weak battery. It was enough to power the dome light and the VDO clock, but I had been here before so I got out the battery charger to give it a starting boost, and then let it charge on the 45 minute jaunt to New Hope for breakfast. I got the trusty old charger out and we were on our way in a few minutes.
It was a beautiful fall morning and the ride was scenic but cool. The cafe au lait and the brioche at my favorite bakery were brilliant as usual. Come time to leave, the key turns and the weak crank soon turns to clicks. No worries, for I am equipped with the battery booster/starter/jump thing that I had purchased in the spring. It should be fully charged and ready to be tested in a real life situation. I pushed the little test button and it showed that it was too weak to be used !! I tried it anyway and it was of no help. Fortunately, the departing couple next to agreed to a jump start and it fired up immediately.
Back at home, I put the meter on the alternator, and it tested fine. The battery charged fully on the charger, but I think it is time for a replacement. This has been a year of battery woes in the garage, so perhaps it is fitting that another one bites the dust. I returned the battery booster to the store and it failed their test too. They exchanged it for another, so we will try again. This is the first time that the tii has ever been less than flawless, but it wasn't the car's fault....
It may seem like the tii has not been out much, but it flew up to Pocono as you can read in the Back In A Minute post, and went down to New hope just a week ago. The trek to Carlisle for the Import and Kit Replicar Show was something of an annual pilgrimage for a long time. However, I missed the last one or two for various reasons. This year, Ed's car was in good enough shape to make the show, but not to drive the 2 hours needed to get there so he trailered it. I followed in the tii and we had an uneventful trip out. At the event, the showfield had a 7 or 8 2002s along with several other variations of BMW. More impressive was Ed Ulsom's collection of jaw-dropping cars. It included a Bauer Cabriolet, a turbo, and a beautiful black Touring model. Great cars, and rare ones on this side of the Atlantic. For more on the show see the post on the main blog.
The tii continues to be of interest wherever it goes. In particular, people believe the interior is a custom creation rather than factory. It ran flawlessly as usual. Coming back was mostly 80 MPH+ and the car just cruised along. I will need to flush the cooling system though as it ocurred to me that it has been a couple of years now. I also turned on the AC for a bit, and it is cool, but not cold. It has also been a couple of years on that front. I also have the passenger side mirror to replace. Time to tackle a few issues.
PS: I am actively in search of the owner of the Golf-colored 2002tii next to the Nittany Bimmers tent (pictured here). It has an interesting air filter fitment that I would like to discuss.