This guide identifies the major year to year differences of the U.S. model 2002. The 2002 was offered in the U.S. from 1968 through 1976. The guide is intended to be used as a reference for anyone who is considering purchasing a 2002. It is by no means complete, but does cover the major differences between each year of production.
This is the first year for the 2002. 1968 cars have the plain trim, with only the upper chrome molding, simple chrome bumpers, and a simple (spartan) interior. The cars have round taillights and the silver/black combination metal grille. These early 2002's have the older style brakes with two-piston front calipers and smaller rear drums (for the first 200 or so cars. The rear axle uses the long-necked differential with sliding type universal joints, though many have been upgraded to the newer style by now. Emissions equipment consisted of an air pump, although it may have been stripped off sometime during the life of the car. Stock, the engines used a simple, bulletproof one barrel Solex carb.
Same as '68, but the brakes were upgraded to 4-piston front calipers. A new style (short neck) rear axle was incorporated with regular style CV joints. Some miscellaneous interior trim was also upgraded.
Same as '70 for half a year, then a minor facelift occurs. This includes the addition of the mid-section side rubber molding and rubber strips in the bumpers. The instruments were updated in appearance, and the dash and console were also updated slightly. Engine and horsepower levels remain the same as previous years. See the engine specifications section for more details.
The 2002tii makes its appearance in the US. Tii stands for Touring International, injection. The touring international (TI) designation was used to denote the higher performance version of a model, and the extra "i" was added to denote the existence of fuel injection. This model has Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection, higher compression (9.0:1 vs. 8.5:1), larger intake valves (46 vs.44mm), bigger brakes (larger front rotors/calipers/pads, larger rear wheel cylinders, and larger master cylinder/brake booster), and stronger suspension components (strengthened control arms, spindles, hubs). Also, it came with 1/2 inch wider wheels (5X13 vs 4 1/2X13). The fuel injection and higher compression are good for a 25-30HP increase over the carburetted version.
Otherwise, it is the same as the regular '02 in appearance, save for the badge on the rear. The carburetted '02 stays the same as the late '71 for half a year, then the engine gets a major revision in emission controls. A new style cylinder head is used (referred to as the E12 head, whereas the earlier ones used a 121 or 121TI head), with a different combustion chamber shape, and bigger valves (46mm, same as tii). A two barrel Solex carb is used, as well as EGR, and the air pump is dropped. This improves performance slightly. The tii gets the new head in mid-'72, combined with aluminum intake runners (121 head tii's use plastic intake runners) but all else stays the same.
Same as '72, except the bumpers are extended outward slightly to meet U.S. bumper regulations. Slight changes in interior switch placement/trim.
A major facelift occurs. The taillights are changed to the rectangular variety, big aluminum impact bumpers are installed to meet US federal regulations, the front grillework becomes black plastic, and the interior is upgraded with newer style upholstery and an slightly updated dash/instrument cluster with fake wood grain surround. The turn signal stalk is moved to the left of the steering column, whereas previously it was on the right. The carbureted engine is pretty much the same as the '73, but the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) system becomes a little bit more complicated/sophisticated.
The clutch is replaced with a 215mm diameter unit on carbureted cars, the tii retains the previous 228mm unit. The tii gets the same facelift, the fuel delivery curve is modified, a vacuum retard mechanism is added to the distributor, and a deceleration control valve is added. Last year for the US tii.
Same external appearance as the '74 cars, but the engine gets saddled with full emission controls. Thermal reactor, air pump, EGR, lower compression are all on this car. Seats are slightly redesigned, similar to those used on the 320i.
Same appearance as '75, but emission controls lightened up for 49-state (non-California) cars. Thermal reactor is gone, as well as the EGR but air injection is still used. Rear axle ratio is lowered on 49-state cars to improve acceleration (3.9:1 vs 3.64:1) at the expense of top speed. 49-state cars get a new cylinder head (designated the E21 2.0), the same one used on the '77-'79 320i, with a special emissions-oriented camshaft. California cars identical to '75.
Automatic transmissions came only on the carbureted cars, from '69 to '76. These are reasonably reliable units, but are not very desirable due to the fact that they cut performance and the sporty feel. But these cars came with a wider transmission tunnel to accommodate the auto trans, and are therefore good candidates for 5-spd conversions. (all of the later model transmissions are wider than the '02's 4-speed)
Turbos were built in 1974 only, by the factory, at least, and were never officially imported into the US. Touring (hatchback '02s) were built from '71 to '75, and were never officially imported either. Ditto for the Baur-converted 1600/2002 Cabriolets. Through '71, there were full-convertibles, mainly being of the 1600 variety, then from '72-'75, they were targa-topped, with a removable metal roof section over the front seats, and a soft fold-down rear window. All of the targa models were 2002's.
When shopping for an '02, the condition of the body is the most important thing to consider (read: watch out for rust!). Most importantly, check for rust on the rear shock towers (the humps inside the trunk), the floor under the driver's and passenger's feet (esp. on '76 cars), the rocker panels, the spare tire well, and the frame supporting the gas tank. These are the most important/expensive areas to fix on the car. Rusty rear shock towers can and do collapse, creating a rather interesting situation. The rocker panels are an important structural part of the car and should be sound. Fenders also rust, but they are relatively cheap and easily replaceable. The doors, hood, and trunk are also easily replaceable, though new parts are now quite expensive. The frame rails connecting the front crossmembers to the floors should also be checked for rust.
The engine should be checked for excessive smoking due to oil burning, excessive valvetrain noise, and sludge build up when looking under the oil filler cap. The aluminum bits inside should be clean and shiny, or maybe light brown. Beware of black or gummy parts inside.
Large amounts of sweet-smelling steam coming from the tailpipe upon initial start-up usually indicates a cracked cylinder head, or sometimes a leaking head gasket. A common older BMW problem is blue oil smoke coming from the tailpipe while coasting down off throttle from high speeds. This is an indication of bad valve seals and worn valve guides. This problem is liveable, just as long as the oil level is checked regularly. Lots of crankcase blowby is an indication of loose rings, and is often accompanied by oil smoke from the exhaust while idling and accelerating. The lower end of these engines are tough, and it is usually the head that needs the most work during rebuild time. Rocker arms and shafts suffer from wear and usually need replacement if the head has over 100,000 miles on it. Valve guides almost always need replacement as well.
The Kugelfischer injection system on the tii is a very robust and very well engineered system. Often, the pump will be blamed for performance problems, but the distributor and injectors are usually the cause. Also, the "if it's running well, don't mess with it" rule should be strictly followed concerning the tii injection system.
The 1 barrel Solex carb on the pre-'72 2002s are very simple to work on, and are also very reliable. Any problems here are usually caused by dirty jets and worn throttle shafts. The 2 barrel Solex found on '72-on 2002s, however, are a different story. This carb seems to be prone to parts working loose, poor driveability, and general fuel delivery problems. They can be made to work properly, but usually require a lot of tinkering and maintenance to keep it that way. A popular conversion is to replace the 2 barrel with a Weber 32/36 DGV. This requires a bit of grinding on the manifold to match the ports, but the result is slightly increased performance and improved reliability. See the engine Carburetion Performance for more details on aftermarket carburetion options.
Manual transmissions are reasonably tough, as well as the clutch. The only usual problems are bad second gear synchros and possible a loose output flange or bearing noise. The last two are rather serious problems, the first a common problem that most people just live with. The loose output flange problem affects all pre-'76 cars, before BMW improved the design of the output shaft and flange. By now, most cars have had their transmissions rebuilt, with the new style shaft and flange. A little bearing noise is acceptable, but excessive noise is usually a sign of impending failure, usually of the rear layshaft bearing. New bearings are now roller bearings, instead of ball bearings, which can withstand greater loads.
Differentials are usually reliable. Problems here are seal leakage, whining, and broken spider gears. Seal leakage problems are almost universally common, and should be left alone. Minor whining is also common, and should be left alone. Broken spider gears are not all that common, but do happen. The result is that the differential becomes locked, and no longer allows a speed difference between the two wheels. Installing a used differential is the simplest remedy for this problem.
These are the most common major problems that occur on 2002's. There are also other, smaller problems, but most of them fall in the not major enough to keep from buying the car category. Many small interior annoyances stem from broken interior fittings (window winders), and sunroof leakage.
|Last updated 01/05/97||© Copyright 1997. bimmers.com, Inc.|