• 1981 B7 turbo

Corona Chaos (or The Pandemic Projects)

Just before California went to shelter-in-place, I started a suspension refresh project. Since the SIP orders came out I’ve torn – almost literally – in the B7 on three other projects. None of these are completed yet and each will get their own start-to-finish post, describing the individual project. Completion of each, however, is (at least) weeks away. So, bored and wanting to update this web site, I offer a snapshot of the current state of chaos for the B7.

The four pandemic projects are (1) the suspension, as mentioned above; (2) reupholstering the seats; (3) fixing the “sticky” fan switch (and looking at the non-functioning air conditioner while I’m in there); and (4) upgrading the stereo and making it more period appropriate and less of an aftermarket add-on. The car has been on jackstands for more than a month simply because of the suspension refresh. Add in the interior work and it looks kinda like it's being stripped of it’s parts, begging an answer to David Byrne’s question: “How Did I Get Here”?

Well, it all started with the suspension project, which I undertook because, well, the car floats. It handles well, generally; it feels firm in corners once planted, but it can float on rebound and small pavement imperfections. I suspected it was because of the progressive rate springs Alpina used. But, the shocks on the car, as far as I knew, were original. So, I decided to have the specially-valved Alpina-Bilsteins shocks and struts rebuilt by a local racing suspension shop. That meant the car was going to be on jackstands for at least a month (it takes two to three weeks for the shocks to be rebuilt).

I decided to try to fix the impossible-to-turn fan switch for the heater and air conditioner while the car was stranded on jackstands. That required tearing the center console apart.

Since the car was stranded for a while, and the center console was in pieces, it seemed like a good time to have the seats reupholstered in correct Alpina cloth.

The car stereo was exposed once I took the seats and rear parcel shelf cover out. And, if I was going to upgrade the stereo, now seemed like the time.

That’s how one little project and a SIP order morph into four separate and seemingly never-ending projects.

A Facebook friend of mine and fellow BMW nut, John Harvey, posted this early after we all began to quarantine:

I don’t think I’ll finish all the various projects, but I hope to knock out all four of these….

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