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1973
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Quarter Panel Dissection

In this installment I'll start to tackle the other quarter panel. If you're new to this project, I'm working with a pair of used quarter panels. I was able to buy two for less than the price of one new panel. Pretty good deal, huh? Well, that was original plan... but you just never how many worms you'll find until you open that can.

quarter dissection 02

The gorillas at the '02 salvage yard cut way too low through the kink. Visually, the Hoffmeister Kink is one of the most important design elements on any BMW produced in the last 40 years, especially on a 2002. They should've made the cut about 4 to 5 inches higher. I wasn't happy about this situation, but decided to try to make it work anyway.

quarter dissection 03

This is the lower part of the quarter panel, where it wraps over the rocker panel. This one is definitely starting to rust, but it's not too bad yet.

quarter dissection 04

The fender lip. It looks kinda bad, but it is salvageable. You know, in all but exceptional cases, I'm coming to belive that the “rust-free 2002” is a myth. It's really more a question of how far has the rust progressed?

quarter dissection 05

The spot where the door latch is spot welded to the quarter panel.

quarter dissection 06

Here's where things start to go bad. 1974 and later '02s have a piece of steel bonded to the inside of the quarter. Water gets between these two layers and does its thing. I've found that the best way to remove this inner panel is to carefully cut it into sections and peel it away.

quarter dissection 07

Check out that rust!

quarter dissection 08

The full extent of the tin worm.

At the start of this project, I had my doubts about using this old quarter panel. But finally, the rust, combined with the hacked up Hoffmeister kink, made up my mind. Time for Plan B. So I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new quarter panel for right side. Saving some money is one thing, but we've got high standards around here.

quarter dissection 07

Some areas of pitting remained after sandblasing.

quarter dissection 08

Woo Hoo! A new side panel!

After about a month of waiting I got the green light to buy a new side panel, as it's called in the BMW parts system. My other car buddies are always amazed that I can just go to the local BMW dealership, order something like a quarter panel (ahem, side panel) for a 33-year-old car, and have it shipped all the way from Germany in about 10 days.

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