March 2004 Activity Log

Today I decided to remove the crash pad from 0716R. One of the PO's had glued a piece of carpet over a cracked area and there were several new cracks so it had to come out. Much reading of the archives said that the easiest method to remove the pad was to also remove the windshield since the vent screws were too close to the windshield to get a screwdriver on them.

I had no desire to remove the windshield so I created a tool that made the job relatively easy. I drilled a hole in the end of a cheap metal putty knife and welded a #1 screwdriver bit into the hole. I then cut the bit off on the back of the putty knife and welded over the entire area.

Using the tool it took about an hour to remove all of the screws and pull the crash pad out of the car (without going under the dash!). Amazing how much larger the inside of the car looks now that the crash pad is gone! Took a photo of the demister vent from outside the car just in case somebody is curious. Will determine later if I replace the pad with a reproduction or create something new.

Nice day today so I pushed the Europa out of the garage, removed the luggage tray, and treated the engine compartment to a good soaking with "Gunk" degreaser. Let the "Gunk" sit for 15 or 20 minutes then hosed it off with water. Started right up after the treatment and I took it for a drive around the neighborhood to let the engine warm up and dry the water. Now I can paint the fiberglass in the engine compartment before continuing with the cooling system reroute and installing the new catch cans.

Received the electronic heater control valve today. Connected it to my bench supply and was pleased to see that the motor only draws 40 MA while it's moving and nothing when it's stopped. The valve has an inlet and outlet on the left that connects to the water pump, and an inlet and outlet on the right that connects to the heater. The amount of water that passes through the valve is based on the setting of an included rheostat. The included cable is too short to reach the engine compartment from the dash, as it was designed for front-engine applications, so I'll either have to extend the control cable or mount the valve at the heater.

Ordered an electronic heater control valve from Bruce at Mac's Radiator Service in Bellflower, Ca. (562-920-1871) today. The valve has four ports and a rheostat to control the amount of water that flows through the heater. Water always circulates through the valve and part of it is diverted through the heater depending on the setting of the rheostat. The new valve will eliminate the heater push-pull cable and should make the temperature easier to control. I'll post some photos once I receive the valve. Soon I'll design an electronically controlled choke so I can get rid of the other annoying cable!

Decided to investigate the clunking in the front end today. Jacked the car up and found I could wiggle the left front wheel left/right but not up/down. Removed the wheel and found that both bolts that attach the steering arm to the vertical link were loose allowing the wheel to wobble. Removed the brake caliper and disc assembly and tightened both bolts then reassembled the front end. Inspected the brake pads while I had everything apart and found that they have a lot of wear left. Now there is no more clunking in the front end.

Went to Jay Dee Supply in Glen Burnie, Md. (410-760-1100 or 1-877-9-JAY-DEE), a circle track racing supply house, to buy some aluminum. Bought a 4 ' by 10 ' sheet, painted blue one side and white the other. Also bought 10 - .483" ID loop clamps. Will use some of the aluminum to fabricate a mounting plate for the catch cans.

Wife's Volvo is in the shop to turn off the "Service" light and disable the historically flaky "Low Oil Level" light. Have to drive the Europa without a fuel overflow or coolant recovery tank. Plugged a short piece of hose and connected it to the fuel tank overflow. Connected another short piece of hose to the fuel tank breather and routed it through a hole in the rear fender well. On the way to work a small amount of coolant came out of the swirl pot overflow, but not enough to cause a problem.

Discovered that the problem with the throttle sticking is not the cable. It's my size 10 EEE's getting caught between the brake pedal and the tunnel. Will modify the brake pedal to get an additional 1/2" or so of space for my big feet.

Removed the old coolant recovery tank from the area behind the fender well. It was held in place by a bolt that was one turn from coming undone and a cable tie that was attached to a riveted plate. The empty space left from its' removal is 11" wide and 15" high, plenty of room for both new catch cans.

Took a photo of the exhaust system so I can start looking for a suitable replacement for the Supertrapp muffler. May design something that lies across the rear of the car and exits on the right since it appears that I can flip the rear screen to locate the exhaust exit on the other side of the license plate.

Ordered a red and a blue catch can and silicone hose from Jeg's High Performance. Will use the blue one for coolant overflow and recovery and the red one for fuel overflow from the tank vent.


Removed the fuel catch can to make room for the re-routed coolant hose that will connect the swirl pot to the radiator. I still need to find a suitable hose that will hug the inside of the fender well so that I can maximize space for the new air cleaner on the Weber. The engine bay looks a lot larger without the catch can. I'll probably install a cylindrical catch can at the rear of the car.

I'm thinking that I may eliminate the heater control valve or switch it to a different valve so that I don't need to run the cable from inside the car. BMW has an electrically operated valve that is thermostatically controlled. Turns on when the car needs heat and off when it doesn't. The ends of the heater hoses are pretty deteriorated and will need replaced anyway.
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