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1974 BMW CSE

JetDexter

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Another fun session with the Tesla-powered Coupe today! Got the air dam on (which came with a free crack on the front which opened up as soon as it was screwed on). We temporarily fixed it and will have to do a proper repair when the car goes to paint.

She’s looking better and better every day!

We took her on our furthest run yet and got into some twisty turns at speed. The steering and the front weight felt good, But I’m looking for much more testing there. I’ll take her to a track to discover the limits. She’s a daily driver but I do want to know exactly where I stand with her after all the modifications. That’s what I did with my first 911 so that I could find out exactly when I should expect to be going backwards:)

It’s pretty intoxicating behind the wheel, that’s for sure.

 

JetDexter

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Great build!! very nice detailed writeup what type “compact and low steering rack”
Did you use?
Thanks a bunch. I used a Volkswagen MK3 Golf VR6 rack. I wanted to stick with BMW, but theirs are nearly all front-steer and I wanted to keep the rack behind the wheels. There's a post deep in this thread about it- but here's an easy link to it in my blog:

https://bmwcse.com/buildblog/2019/4/25/steering-committee

Thanks again!

Paul
 

JetDexter

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Amid the world ending, I’ve been able to make some nice progress on the coupe. Even though we are only prepping it for a couple months of testing and refine the Tesla, steering and brake modifications (then take her back apart to paint) we couldn’t help ourselves but to put the complete trim on the exterior. Most of the trim was in rough shape (surprise) but we got it all on. Really glad we did too because we kept discovering body issues along the way that we worked out.

It sure is nice to see her looking good- and it’s fun that there isn’t a drop of bondo on this car right now. Just clean straight metal.

Been driving her a bit more too and she sure is a pleasure.

 

Bmachine

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The more I see this mint green (especially the desaturated version in that last indoor shot), the more I think you should keep it that color. Add some metal flakes and some clear coat and you'll be the coolest kid in the playground. If it's got a brand new heart, might as well have a brand new skin tone to go with it.
 

JetDexter

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what tools did you do to achieve these curves? I'm not much of a metal worker but am preparing for this stage soon.
Yeah that was my buddy Tyler’s brilliance. It was a combination of a Rotary machine, stretcher/shrinker, and hammer and dolly work. I’ll look for some photos of that work. The tools are inexpensive but using them is another matter, so I stayed out of it personally :)
 

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Had a terrific pleasure cruise in the sun yesterday. Now that’s she’s fully licensed and insured I am venturing into traffic situations (and yes. California still has plenty of traffic even during the crisis. Lucky for me I was self-isolating inside the coupe).

All of the outside trim is now in place along with brakes and turn signals. I put in a 3rd brake light in so I could tell my wife that the car has modern safety features. I do appreciate my modern seats and seatbelts. They aren’t harnesses but I do feel very confident in them.

The biggest addition is the new bumper. Like everything else that came on this car my original bumper was beyond bringing back. When they federalized the car in 1993 they had a four-year-old weld the steel section and center mount support in place. Gobs of weld were everywhere. But even aside from that the bumper would’ve cost a year of college tuition to have straightened and re-chromed.

Lucky for me there’s a guy who bought an early bumper then straightened and re-chromed it to put it on his 2002. When he then found that it won’t fit his 2002 he sold it to me :)

It looks mighty good on her. It looks even better against the photos with the old bumper:)

Cheers,

Paul

 

JetDexter

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Last week I got some work done on the digital display that we will be fitting into the old Tach position. I want to leave the vintage look of the wood instrument cluster, and I intend to use the speedo, temp (for hottest temp of battery or drive unit) fuel gauge (for battery life) and clock. But the RPMs is the only thing that has no value to us. So I am fitting a display into that position.

Jeff has been doing amazing work getting the Raspberry Pi to talk to the Tesla unit and show us this information (as you've seen in previous posts while we drive the car). But that rectangular display was just temporary.

I learned the art of 3D printing and created some mounts for the unit and have her installed. I still have to install a video driver board behind the display- those are being printed as we speak.

Printing.jpg

Mounts.jpg



Cheers,

Paul
 

JetDexter

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It’s been a while since my last update as I have been fighting cooling issues of my Tesla drive unit. I didn’t think this forum would be able to offer me any advice on that :)

But I have a bigger update that might interest a few of you. Because of some family obligations and a reduction of disposable income because of the pandemic, I am making a decision to stop spending large amounts of cash on this car temporarily and that opens up two options for me.

The first is to simply set the car aside for 6 to 12 months. This is normal for any restoration and certainly a good choice.

But the car is so enjoyable to drive and with the outside looking so presentable in its matte green that I have an option of doing a cheap finish of the interior so that it becomes presentable to my wife and I can bring the car home:)

To do this option, it would require going forward on work that I would not want to do until I stripped the car back down. It would require spraying or gluing the sound deadening on, gluing carpet down and even a temporary headliner. It would involve refinishing my very poor condition wood with a quickie refinish job. It would require spraying my decent condition blue vinyl black for now. (Which means I ruin blue parts that I could pass on to someone else in the future)

The point is, it requires doing some things that are less than ideal long-term in order to get the car presentable to enjoy for 6 to 12 months in the meantime.

This car was always a resto-mod type project so I’m not concerned with some of these finishes being non-original. I’m mostly concerned with sidetracking to do some things out of order from an ideal restoration at this scale.

I’d be interested in any thoughts from you all. this group is fantastic and it’s diversity between purists and enthusiasts, so the feedback would be interesting.

Thanks guys!

Paul
 

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I already anticipate that this will sound harsh, and I apologize in advance. And I can appreciate a driving season as well as the next enthusiast. But for me, it seems counterproductive to spend time on some "temporary" surfaces only to have to spend even more time undoing them in several months. Wouldn't it be easier to lower the expectations of finish and acoustics and still enjoy the car as is? Call it a rat rod if that makes it more appealing. No need for headliner, refinished wood, and sound deadening (in my opinion). That's my 2 cents. :cool:
 

dang

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My take, time goes so fast that if it really does end up being just 6-12 months I'd park it and wait. If you think it may end up being three to four years, do a quickie.
 

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My take, time goes so fast that if it really does end up being just 6-12 months I'd park it and wait. If you think it may end up being three to four years, do a quickie.
Ditto. Plus it will give you some thinking and tinkering time. Electric cars won't be a thing of the past in 6 months.
 

JetDexter

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Thanks for all the input. Here in the thread 100% suggest just setting the car aside, or at best, driving it as-is. In PMs they tell me to button it up a bit and enjoy the car for the next year. I've thought a lot about it and have decided on the latter. Perhaps we all saw that coming. Because of the Tesla conversion it is important that I continue to test and refine those systems. Some of what I purchased can be swapped out if I test sooner than later. So I need to be able to put a lot of miles on the car to do that. Driving it as it is is rough. Every grid of sand in the road sounds like a rock and every pebble sounds like a boulder. I've got to get it buttoned up to do this testing, and I've got to do this testing in order to swap around components without buying them twice or thrice over.

I am trying to limit the work to just making the car feel tidy on the inside without spending much money. Outside, the car is already pretty much good to go.

Here's a bit of progress we've made in various areas:

Cooling system. This is a Case in Point actually. We have been working to cool the Tesla drive unit unsuccessfully. We used the same radiator, water pump and 3/4" lines that another Tesla conversion had, but my motor kept shutting down when it got to 104°. It turns out to be an issue that I may have caused a year and a half ago when I first powered up the unit out of sequence. There isn't a lot of documentation about this (and even less back then). My vendor sent me another unit which has solved the issue and graciously gave me more credit than I deserve, though it did still cost me some $. This is a longer story than this, but enough for this thread. I am now successfully taking nice long drives, and the temp settles at 109° (this is but one temp we are reading, but it's the PC board temperature). I am using a Kawasaki 1000cc radiator with a Bosch pump and a small reservoir. There will be a duplicate setup to cool the batteries in the future.

Tyler cut in the reservoir behind the passenger side headlights. The radiator fills it up and the pump draws from it. It's amazing how that pump will NOT keep prime unless gravity is forcing water down its throat. We struggled with this a lot until I found placements for everything that did just that.

Reservoir.JPG


And here's our little radiator. Electric fans are behind it. The battery box is just behind that, but there is gap to force air below.
Radiator.JPG


On the inside I had threatened to install the E93 rear headrests. You might remember I am using E93 (convertible) seats because this is a daily driver and I really wanted the integrated seatbelts and security. Anyway, I purchased the front seats as a set with rears, so I wanted to install rear headrests for when I take the kids to school. Brett did some handiwork and they are now installed.

Here's a B/W photo because the headrests are black and the seats blue (for now).

Headrests.JPG


Finally- and you will love or hate this one even more. We have gone Keyless entry:) While I love the look of the old key, I have a modern steering column/key, and with all the technology I figured why not go keyless? Besides, I missed the whole 50's and 60's when that was what you did to your hot rod. So now was my chance...

Keyless.JPG



That's it for now. By the end of the week we may have more progress to show as we get the interior further along.

Cheers,

Paul
 

Bmachine

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This is awesome Paul. There are as many good arguments for either option here, and they are all equally valid. But, as you know, I personally think that, on an expensive yet non essential project like this,it is critical to get some personal gratification along the way. Even if it lowers the (incredibly high) bar a tiny bit, if you keep waiting for everything to be perfect, it will end up feeling like a black hole from which you seemingly never get any tangible payback. It will continuously feel like a financial albatross that is giving you nothing in return in the foreseeable future.

We all have to come up (or down) for air every now and then. In my view (and I have been accused by many to be a perfectionist) it’s no fun reaching for the stars if you die trying to get up there because you can’t breathe along the way.
 
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JetDexter

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Last week was a terrific week of progress on our "Phase One" completion (AKA- buttoning up the car enough to bring it home and enjoy it for 6-12 months before stripping her back down for final paint and finish).

Sound Deadening- We sprayed topcoat to the inner doors and floors then applied DynaMat to the entire surfaces. I'd say it's around 40lbs worth, but completely worth the weight and effort. The feel of the car is so tight now, which is dramatic when driving. Our custom seat mounts look much more finished painted and poking through the material. We will wrap up this work next week.

Door Dynamat.jpg

Rear Dynamat.JPG

Front Dynamat.JPG


Digital Dash Display- A few weeks ago I posted the progress of physically mounting the color digital dash display. With a lot of perseverance with video scaling, and nice work from Jeff on Raspberry Pi programming, I was able to finally get the mounted display to show our live information from the Tesla unit. There is some fine-tuning to be done, but it's just about there. The photo makes it look like it is brighter than the other gauges, but in real life, it blends in far better than I had even hoped. Very excited for how this came out. Currently I am working on converting the Speedo, Temp and Fuel gauges to Stepper motor control so that we can have the classic gauges telling the modern information.

Digital Display.jpg


Dash Work - I wouldn't be able to bring the car within 10 miles of home with the dash looking like this:
Old Dash.jpg


I came across a guy on eBay who was amazingly local who had purchased a set of Leather wraps for an E9 dash- but then had sold his car before installing them (buying the parts is always the easy part:) Remember that I am using E93 leather seats, so I took a bunch of photos of my seats and met the guy to see if the leather would match.

It must have been my lucky day, because it was perfect. When I brought them back to the car I can't tell them apart. The funny thing is my upholstery guy can't find as close of match in all his sample books:) And the stitching is the same as well. I picked it up for a couple hundred bucks.
Leather.jpg


Of course my Upholsterer wasn't quite that cheap, but he is my neighbor where my shop is and he was very kind to me. They had to first do a lot of repair to the dash. The instrument section was split open to twice it's thickness where it meets the wood. One of the mounting screws was broken off, and cracks everywhere. They did an amazing job at the repairs, then a wonderful job at the wrapping.

Dash Repair.JPG


Dash Screw.JPG


Finished Dash.jpg


To celebrate the efforts we took the car out for our longest drive yet. Much further away than we could push her home if she broke down, that's for sure:) We drove to Norms and got lunch- the first day that restaurants were open in California! Then we took her for a 25 minute drive along the So Cal freeways. The car felt terrific at 80MPH and on the high-speed ramps. Can't wait to do more of that. It's probably the quickest E9 that's ever been on the road, but who's keeping score:). It's certainly the stealthiest, since it is perfectly silent when getting up to speed in a few seconds. It is completely well-behaved too.

I know that a lot of enthusiasts feel what without the engine noise or running through gears that there is no real joy in driving. But, as we all know, old cars are very fun to drive "for a while". At the end of a weekend rally, you are ready to get back into your modern car. I think what we have here is something that provides a lot of enjoyment, turns heads with it's form, and is still easy for this old guy to drive day after day. (I'll keep convincing myself:)

Norms.jpg

Freeway.jpg


All in all, it's been a very exciting week, and I might be just a few weeks away from bringing the car home and driving it to work most days!
 
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