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Small but important steps

April 12, 2022

When I left you, dear reader, on New Years Eve 2021 the sunroof was being put together and I ticked off a list of things that still needed to be done to get the car back on the road. The list was significant – finish the engine electrical, populate the interior, including all the dash components, heater, console, and more – but comparatively short, given how long the list was when the pandemic started.

Since then the sunroof and hood have been installed and the car is ready to be trucked down from Sacramento to my garage in the San Francisco Bay Area, some 100 or so miles. Just for a little perspective, the picture below is from October 2017 when Stu came down with his truck and trailer to take the motorless shell up to Sacramento for the paint job.

Getting the sunroof back in was not easy. The entire mechanics were disassembled and most of the little parts did not stay with the shell when the body shop closed. Sourcing those small but necessary parts takes time and ingenuity. Some parts were available from BMW, some were on eBay new or used, some we got from a junk yard with an old 6-series (thankfully BMW used the same parts in several different platforms). That took many trips up to Sacramento to install the parts I got and figure out the ones I needed to get. Slow and frustrating progress.

The many sunroof parts

Above I told you the sunroof was in. And that is true. But it was a misleading but factual statement (my lawyer training coming through!). We finally got all the parts and were able to put the sunroof in the car. But we couldn’t get it operating. Or at least fully operating. The tilt works but not the back and forth. I’m sure with time and energy it will work but I was up for two days and had other things to accomplish before leaving. Plus, I really don’t like sunroofs anyway, so having it in but not working is not anything even near a hardship for me. Finally, the sunroof and the hood were the two final steps in getting the car water tight so it could be trucked back home.

Closing in (pun intended)

Getting there


I was working on the hood also the day we got the sunroof in. As with the sunroof, the hood was disassembled for paint and many of the little parts were missing. I was able to find most new or on eBay but they were primered, not painted. So I got some rattle cans from and painted them in between the sunroof installation. By the next morning all the parts were ready to be put in the hood. By happenstance an e21 was in the shop for me to use as a template; I’d look at the white car there and go back to my hood and install parts over and over. Soon three of us carried the hood over to the shell to reunite them. Bolting it on was straight-forward but took some time. The tensioners are not on right I suspect, as the hood won’t stay up on it’s own. But the car is water tight and ready to come home.

Reunited and it feels so good

Back on the lift, tucked out of the way and waiting for the drive home

Now we just need to find a time when I’m in town and Stu can truck it down. Once it is back in my garage I’ll populate the interior and wire up the few remaining electrical items and figure out what else is left unfinished. Oh, and see about getting the sunroof operational and the hood staying in open position.


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