As frustrating as it is when our beloved classic cars fail us, it is equally joyous when the resulting repair is finally completed. At times the issue may seem small at first, before it snowballs into a momentous project, and other times we fear the worst only to experience true relief when it dawns on us, that the repair will be both simple, quick and cheap.
However, regardless of how simple or complex the fix is, I can assure you that it’s all made a whole lot more difficult when your classic car resides in a different country than you do. Back in mid-August, I wrote this article: No Lube – No Fun about my hillclimb tool annoyingly spewing all its engine oil late in the evening before I was meant to compete at the Munkebjerg Hillclimb in Denmark. Needless to say, much to my disappointment I didn’t get to charge up that hill. Instead I attended the hillclimb as a spectator, after which I needed to consider my options when it came to getting my tatty old BMW up and running again. With the car living in Denmark, and me living in the UK, I clearly wouldn’t be doing much spannering myself this time. I’ll be the first to admit to my limitations, and I’m certainly no engineer or mechanic. But I am reasonably technically minded, and enjoy tackling as many jobs on my classics as I possibly can on my own. But the logistics were against me, so instead I had the BMW trailered across Denmark and up to my old mate Johnny, who competes in the Danish Historics pre-’71 class with his own BMW 2002. Johnny has helped me out before, and it was time I begged him to do so again, as I was heading back to the UK only a handful of days later.
Johnny quickly located the issue to a perished seal at the oil filter housing, which is also where the oil hoses for the oil cooler both exits and re-enters. No big deal then, right? Well, that was the question Johnny and I were asking ourselves. I knew the engine didn’t run for long without oil, as the faint smell of warm engine oil combined with a tiny flicker of the oil pressure light immediately had me reaching for the ignition. However, those few seconds where it did run without lubrication where spent at 5000 rpm and up. So how much internal damage had I caused? As a precaution, we agreed that Johnny would at least drop the sump and have a close look at the main bearings. Thankfully they all looked virtually as new! It would seem I had dodged the bullet.
While the sump was off anyway, Johnny asked me whether I wanted a new oil pump fitted. For the M10 engine, these are like rocking horse poo nowadays, so I’m really not sure how or why he had a couple of these lying about, but I didn’t need long to consider my answer. So along with that new pump, the sump went back on with a new seal, and needless to say the oil filter housing was treated to a new seal too. Oil pressure proved to be a healthy 15 PSI at idle and 75 PSI above 3000 rpm once the engine was warm, and Johnny assured me that the engine sounded healthy as ever.
At this point we remembered that back in the spring of 2016, when Johnny had upgraded my engine from a 292 degree Schrick cam to an authentic BMW Motorsport 300 degree cam, and also binned the twin 40mm Mikuni sidedraught carbs for a pair of meatier Italian 45mm DCOE Webers, he had simply adjusted everything by ear. To Johnny’s credit, while it was clearly running a tad on the rich side, it also pulled strong and hard with no real flat spots throughout the rev range. Still, we agreed that a rolling road session definitely wouldn’t do any harm. After a couple of hours fettling on the rolling road, Johnny and his mate Rene reached a good compromise, which gave decent torque from quite low revs, yet still achieved a healthy 156hp at the top end. Not a mind-boggling figure I realize, but in a very analogue classic car weighing in just a smidgen above 900kg’s, it’s plenty to put a smile on my face, and it still has drivability intact, which will make it an easier car to propel up the hill on my next attempt.
So not only am I relieved that there was no internal damage to the engine, I’m now also thoroughly looking forward to getting reacquainted with my freshly adjusted and well lubricated 2002…
But what’s my next move? Do I keep my Green Devil in Denmark to compete once a year in the epic Munkebjerg Hillclimb? Or do I drive the 2002 to the UK, in order to try out the British hillclimb scene, and thereby most likely also manage to compete in more events each year?