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Disassembly

Fall 2001

For this discussion, I'll only touch on the disassembly highlights of my car. Most of what you need to know to take apart an '02 is already covered in the BMW 2002 Shop Manual, Haynes 1600/2002 Manual, and the Macartney 2002 Restoration Guide. If you get stuck on a particular spot, the message boards can be a great help too.

First, a few general thoughts. Disassembly is the easiest part of any restoration project. It can also be the phase where many projects fail. You need to keep track of where you put all the parts and where they go on the car when it's time to put it back together. Keep a notebook, a camera, and a lot of zip-lock bags handy. You'll also need a storage strategy. A disassembled car takes up at least twice the space of an assembled car.

Engine Removal

There are three basic approaches to taking the engine out of an '02. You can lift the engine and transmission out together. You can lift the engine separate from the transmission. Or, you jack the front-end up really high and drop the front subframe with the engine and transmission attached.

I chose to lift the engine and transmission together. It is necessary to remove the hood. Use a scribe to mark the bolt locations on the hinges so that the hood can be more easily aligned when it's time to put it back on. I removed the throttle body and intake runners to gain more clearance. Don't forget to remove the distributor too. Use an engine leveler with the hoist, because you'll need to tilt the engine and transmission quite a bit. Get the front of the car as high off the ground as you can, while allowing enough clearance for the hoist to be able to lift the engine clear of the engine bay. Have at least one assistant on hand to help guide everything out. If you take it slowly and remember to disconnect everything, the engine should come out pretty easily.

Front Subframe and Differential Carrier

If you are performing any work on the rear bushings, differential, trailing arm bushings, etc., consider removing the entire differential carrier. Once you disconnect the drive shaft, brake line, e-brake cables, and shocks, the carrier can be easily dropped. Place a trolley jack underneath the differential, undo the four carrier bolts, and then lower the carrier. Make sure that you have at least three people. One can man the jack. The other two can be on each side of the car to pry the carrier bushings off the studs and to keep everything balanced. Once again, if you take it slowly and remember to disconnect everything, it's not too big a deal. With the carrier removed from the car, disassembly, repair and restoration are much easier.

The front subframe is a similar animal. Once again, if you have any significant front-end work to do, consider dropping the subframe rather than carrying out repairs with it still attached to the car. It is so much easier working out in the open rather than spending all of your spare time lying on a creeper. I already had the engine out when I dropped mine. However, if you're leaving your engine in you'll need a way to support it. It's probably easier to leave the struts attached to the car, but you can drop them with the subframe if you want.

Those Gnarly Rear Hubs

It comes up at least once a month on the message boards. How do you remove the rear hubs? Well, they're not easy. The big castle nuts that hold the hubs on the stub axles are spun on there with 216.9 foot/pounds of torque. Time and rust have probably made them tighter. My buddy Barry loaned me his really nice Ingersoll-Rand impact wrench and fortunately those nuts didn't give me any trouble. The hubs were much more of a challenge. I ended up renting a puller that bolted on the wheel studs. Even then, the hubs didn't give up easily.

Bushing Removal

Some prefer to burn their suspension bushings out. Personally, I don't care for a bunch of smelly rubber smoke, so I pressed mine out. I constructed two bushing presses based on the instructions in Dan Erwin's excellent suspension rebuild articles for the 2002/320i. These are required reading. See Bimmer No. 14, June, 2000, and Bimmer No. 15, August, 2000. They're made out of short pieces of exhaust tubing with fender washers welded on one end, some long all-thread bolts, and some washers. Cut the lip off the end of the bushing before pressing it out.

Large Bushing Press

Large bushing press. Use a 2-inch OD x 2-inch piece of exhaust pipe and a 4-inch all thread bolt. Weld a fender washer on one end of the pipe and stack washers as needed.

Small Bushing Press

Small bushing press. Use 1 1/2-inch OD x 2 3/4-inch piece of exhaust pipe and a 6-inch all thread bolt. Weld a fender washer on one end of the pipe and stack washers as needed.

Wiring Harness Removal

Let me first say that I have not mastered 2002 wiring harness removal. I've read about guys removing wiring harnesses without cutting any plugs off, but I haven't figured out how to do it without resorting to wire cutters.

My strategy was to pull all of the wiring into the passenger compartment. I ended up cutting off several plugs; the orange colored diagnostic plug, the plug for the Thermotime switch, the voltage regulator (I think) plug, and the Aternator plug. I carefully labeled every cut, and am confident that I will be able to put it all back together when I restore the wiring harness. All of the fusebox wiring will fit through the firewall if you pull a couple wires through at a time.

I have since learned (from a recent message board thread on the BMW 2002 FAQ) that the engine wiring should be removed through the engine bay, and the rest of the wiring should be pulled into the passenger compartment. It is also possible to remove the female receptalces from a plug by making a tool out of a flat piece of metal. I have yet to try this myself. Look for a future page on this site documenting wiring harness restoration.

Sound Deadening Removal

Once you pull up the carpet of an '02 you'll discover that nearly the entire floor is covered with this tar-like sound deadening goop. It is difficult stuff to get out, unless you know the secret. Alas, I didn't know the secret and ending up chiseling it out on a cool fall day. It was a lot of work and I ended up putting a few small holes in my floor.

Even if you think your '02 is relatively rust-free, removing the tar from the floor is not an option in my opinion. You've got to get that stuff out, because there is almost always rust somewhere on the floorpans.

So what's the secret? Dry ice. Score the sound deadening in a checkerboard pattern, and spread dry ice around. It will then become brittle and break into large pieces when struck with a chisel. Whatever you do, don't try to heat it up. It will just become a sticky, smoky, gooey mess. Heat, however, does work nicely on all the glued in sound deadening pads.

Sound Deadening

The sound deadening was chisled out. Dry ice would've made this easier.

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