Ethanol Woes Banished

I’d like to report success in solving a challenging problem involving ethanol. At 188,000 miles, I placed my 1976 2002 in storage for a few years while we were amid a period of moving, renting, buying, old-house restoration, and so on. I unfortunately discovered that autos most definitely do not like to sit for extended periods, and that gremlins of all sorts can and will take up residence. In my case, a front brake caliper seized, a blockage developed in the left rear hard brake line, and the differential seals dried out and started to leak. The original-equipment starter grew reluctant, and an odd vibration (not guibo-related) manifested itself in the driveshaft, also original. In short, I’d reached the point at which many people lose heart and decide to sell. But I’ve owned this car since 1977, and nothing like it will ever be produced again. So I attended to all the various issues one after another, with each being a bit tricky in its own way (see my writeup of the differential swap in an earlier post below). Yet there was one final nut that proved difficult to crack: my car had never sipped ethanol-blended fuel prior to the storage period, and it was deeply unhappy with the new brew.
Ethanol (another term for pure grain alcohol) lowers the boiling point of fuel notably, and that led to real trouble for me. Fuel makes its way in relatively cool conditions from the tank to the firewall, but once it enters the engine compartment, it has all sorts of time to grow quite warm during the slow journey to the carb. After a good run in any season, and after shutdown of the motor, residual heat gathering atop my car’s intake manifold would focus itself on the carburetor bowl, causing the already-hot fuel to boil audibly and percolate right into the throat of the carb (a Weber 40/40 DFAV, which lacks an anti-percolation feature). This resulted in worrisome levels of fumes, and caused a super-rich flooding condition that made it hard to restart the car when hot. I saw no evidence that this problem was due to actual engine overheating: the gauge was right in the familiar sweet spot (with brand new sender), and when measured with an infrared thermometer after warmup, the radiator, block, and manifold temperatures seemed entirely fine. The troublesome issues arose only after the engine was turned off. Opening the hood wide to dissipate heat after stopping improved things to be sure, but that’s no way to live. I tried all the standard remedies: installed a spacer block under the carb, insulated the fuel lines and pump, insulated the carb bowl, replaced the needle and seat, lowered the fuel level in the bowl by adjusting the float. One BMW expert suggested a fuel pressure regulator between fuel pump and carb, dialed down to 2.5 PSI. Alas, none of this brought any improvement whatever. All the local gurus were stumped, and I was starting to run out of ideas. One far-out tactic did come to my attention: on an internet forum, someone reported that he’d cured this very problem by installing a timed fan that blew air over the carb for 15 minutes after shutdown. That seemed like an unduly complicated workaround, one I was not eager to adopt.
Then came a final inspiration. As part of the emission-control package installed in US models for the 1976 production year, my car was originally set up with a return line that sent fuel back to the tank: just enough went to the carb, with the rest heading back to the tank via a diverter fitting. This return loop had been disconnected many years ago, when the belt-driven air pump (remember those?) and other associated gear was removed. And subsequent to that, I’d installed a Metric Mechanic 2200 Sport motor and the Weber carb (along with a Pertronix unit and a mechanical-advance distributor), taking me even further from the stock configuration.
My new thought was as follows: if I could keep cool fuel circulating, it wouldn’t have a chance to heat up while sitting in the line moving gradually across the hot engine. I located the old hard return line that runs under the driver’s side of the car. The old soft line from the tank to the hard line was completely deteriorated, but was not difficult to replace. The forward end of the hard line ends up just under the steering box, and it was easy to make a new connection there. I then inserted a 5/16″ (8mm) tee downstream from the pump and just before the intake fitting on the carb. Some fuel goes to the carb, the rest back to the tank. This of course means that fuel now circulates continuously and has no chance to pick up heat while sitting in the engine bay. The only “hot” segment of fuel line is the very short portion between tee and carb, and that brief run simply doesn’t afford the fuel sufficient time to warm appreciably. Yes, the carb bowl may be as warm as ever after shutdown, but when the now-cooler fuel reaches it, it no longer boils.
Thankfully, this fix has brought a complete end to the unfortunate symptoms. Nice! Now the car will actually be usable again. Though I wondered if it might be an issue, there appears to be no need to restrict the volume of fuel heading back toward the tank in order to ensure adequate flow to the carb: the stock mechanical pump (which is relatively new) appears to be providing more than enough pressure to take care of all needs. Another aspect of this new setup is that after shutdown, there is no longer a closed section of post-pump fuel line in which heat and pressure can build, potentially forcing unwanted fuel into the carb: the return line to the tank now serves a venting function that would forestall that difficulty.
After all this work was completed, I was still able to detect a faint odor of gasoline in the engine bay a day or more after running the car. The source proved to be the charcoal canister, to which I had paid no attention in many years. Clearly the odor-absorbing properties of the charcoal had long since been used up, and it was time for replacement. The part number is Purolator 00 701, and I found the best price on the part from this source.
What I received was a brand new/old stock canister from the 70s, and the seller was unaware of the actual application until I informed him; other 70s vehicles likely used these as well. As most of you know, hookup of the canister is straightforward: the inlet accepts the line from the plastic fuel vapor tank in the trunk, and the outlet goes to the air cleaner. 
Though some claim that such worries are overblown, I’ve heard tales to the effect that ethanol can quickly attack and degrade rubber lines. On the other hand, friends who have rubber lines and use clear fuel filters tell me they are seeing no unusual buildup in the filters after thousands of miles of running standard E10. Just to be safe, however, I have replaced all soft fuel lines in my car with ethanol-resistant line, namely Gates SAE30R9. Others vouch for Tygon, though it is said to be slightly more difficult to work with (and is a bright yellow color that might not appeal to all tastes). On this same topic, Scott Sislane highly recommends StarTron fuel additive, which he and other experts feel is the best available treatment to combat the effects of ethanol.

Don’t ever start a restoration….but it is too late for me….

So once again we return to the restoration project now three years and counting. Serious, serious progress has been made but that elusive finish line seems as far distant as ever. Happily we are now way past the body work and painting stage (that took two years) and now real progress has been made towards reassembly. The wiring harness is fully repaired and back in the car. The fuel system is mostly in the car. The brake system is completely installed and being pressure tested and bleed to check for any leaks before the motor and transmission go back in. Here are a couple of pictures taken today.P1000130P1000131P1000132P1000133


Engine Rebuild

Engine rebuild.

So what started out as a simple valve job quickly escalated into an engine rebuild.

Since initial purchase of car I knew that a valve job was on order for the near future. Usual symptoms, smoke on overrun but not enough to cause any real concern.

Figured while we were in there I should add a hotter cam IE 292, etc.. and maybe splurge on Weber DCOE’s.

Fast forward to late September. My searching has yielded both a rebuilt E21 Head with Norris 300° cam ready to bolt on and a pair of lightly used Weber 40’s!

Just to confirm that block could handle upgrades I called Matt at SCR to schedule a leakdown test on the cylinders.

Insert photo results here.(#’s ran from 20%-80%)



Ouch!!! My heart stopped beating for at least a minute. I did everything to not puke on the shop floor and was a complete loss of words while Matt was consoling me with the cancer speech, not today or tomorrow but sometime in the future..


Matt was confident that engine would continue to run just as it had been for 40+ years if I didn’t redline it and go crazy. It would really come down to my decision for when I was ready to take it off the road. It would have probably been more cost effective to find a suitable replacement but with #’s matching and not wanting to risk same issue or worse with another block I decided to go down rebuild path.

I loaded the trunk with every tool and fluid imaginable, crossed my fingers and drove 230 miles through torrential downpours to my folks house in NH for the BavAuto Show and Shine. My wife was following me in her 2013 X3 and could hardly keep up with my pace. Guess I was determined to coast into town in neutral if engine gave out!

After some scheduling conflicts were worked out Scott Sislane and Matt Pickering showed up early one Sunday morning to help with engine pull.



IMG_2909 New E21 Head



IMG_2913 IMG_2914



IMG_2225 IMG_2237 IMG_2241 IMG_2248 IMG_2246 IMG_2250 IMG_2251 IMG_2245 IMG_2253

IMG_2254 IMG_2255 IMG_2256 IMG_2262 IMG_2263 IMG_2266

IMG_9172 IMG_2918IMG_2264 IMG_2268 IMG_2269 IMG_2270 IMG_2272


IMG_9185 IMG_9184 IMG_9134 IMG_9180

Off to the machine shop!



Parts List:

BavAuto Order/Parts #’s

11 12 0 621 144 Head Bolt – Sold Individually


11 31 1 744 KIT Timing Chain Tensioner Kit


11 31 0 731 105 Timing Chain – Dual Row


11 41 1 716 989 Oil Pump Chain


11 41 1 250 427 Oil Pump Shim – .1mm


11 21 0 666 110 Main Bearings – Standard Size


11 24 1284550/4 Connecting Rod Bearings – standard


11 24 0 618 110 Connecting Rod Nut and Bolt


33 32 1 140 568 *BOLT Main Caps


11 11 1 735 525 *BOLT Main Caps


11 51 1 256 600 Water Pump and Gasket – Aftermarket


11 11 1 734 114 Bottom End Gasket Set


11 12 9 065722K Head Gasket Set – E12 And E21 Cylinder Head


Pistons from Top End Performance:

BMW M10 with E21 Casting JE 2618

Alloy forged pistons with wrist pins and JE Rings 9.8:1 CR



Updated photo’s from machine shop will follow shortly along with step by step engine assembly.

Differential Replacement

Over the past weekend, I replaced the differential in my 1976 2002. I spread the project over two days, and it was relatively straightforward. 


After 189,000 miles, my original differential was leaking badly from every seal, and the only real fix for that is a complete rebuild. Rather than trying to find someone who could tackle the existing unit, I decided to move on to a 320i differential, a fairly common 2002 upgrade. I was fortunate to find a professionally rebuilt 320i limited slip differential on eBay, for about $500; the rebuild had been performed by Aardvark Racing (Bonita, California). As I understand it, units like these came standard with the 320i “Sport” package, and carried a limited slip lockup percentage of 25%, a good number for street use. For the 49-state cars of the 1976 model year, BMW changed the 2002 rear end ratio to 3.90, from the 3.64 that had been standard in previous years. The 320i diff has the same ratio, and I am content to stay with that. Yes, the engine revs a bit high at turnpike speeds, but I am not doing all that much highway travel these days, and I find that the 3.90 ratio is actually a fine setup for country-road touring—especially with the enhanced low-end torque produced by the Metric Mechanic 2200 Sport engine that I installed a few years back. And I can always do a five-speed conversion if and when my transmission eventually gives out. 


As many of you know, there are several minor modifications required in this differential swap. The cases are virtually identical overall. In the 320i diff, however, the outboard faces of the output flanges are about 12mm (give or take a millimeter) closer together than those of the stock 2002 diff. Spacers of appropriate thickness are therefore necessary on each side: these are usually machined of aluminum, and in my case were provided by the rebuilder.
Given the spacers, longer allen-head bolts are required as well. As to those bolts: 320i half-shafts are attached to threaded holes in the diff output flanges with six 10mm bolts, whereas 8mm bolts are used in the corresponding location in 2002s. Aftermarket flanges are offered as a solution to this problem (and are typically thicker also, to make up for the width difference), but the ones I’ve seen are priced in the $400 range. In the unit I received, the existing flanges were simply drilled and tapped for six new 8mm holes, between the original 10mm holes.
Have the flanges been weakened by the additional holes? I’m going to choose not to worry about it, as I’m not headed for the track. The final mod necessary in this swap is to replace the 320i rear cover with a finned 2002 cover, and the rebuilder had provided that also. Thin paper gaskets for diff covers do not have a great track record, so I made a gasket with the Permatex Gear Case product, and expect no problems. I let the Permatex cure for a full 24 hours before putting in new Redline fluid. 


Removal of the differential is uncomplicated. For access, it is best to take down at least the muffler. I dropped the exhaust center section as well, since it needed replacement. The four driveshaft bolts are easy to extract, as the bolt heads have a flat side that keeps them from spinning, and one needs a wrench on the nut only. Before removing the allen-head bolts from the half-shafts, it is important to clean out the recesses of the bolts with a pick, so that the allen tool can seat fully; stripping out one of those bolt heads would be no fun whatever. Once the half-shafts are free, they can be tied up out of the way. Visual inspection will confirm that the diff will not come out unless the rear hanger is unbolted from the subframe. Once that is accomplished, and the four large mounting bolts are removed, the unit can be tipped back and slid out. It is best to have a helper for this step. I jammed a 2×4 prop under the diff while removing the last fasteners, so that my buddy didn’t have to support the weight of the beast until we were actually ready to tip it out. Here’s how things looked with everything removed. 



Once the old diff is on the bench, the rear hanger can be transferred to the new one. The bushings in my hanger fortunately looked quite good; these bushings are not sold as separate parts, so if they’re shot, it’s necessary to obtain a new hanger. It is useful to have a helper once again when horsing the replacement diff into place. Do note that in the shop manual (and likewise the Haynes manual), there is a definite order for tightening the various fasteners upon reassembly, with the driveshaft bolts coming first. There is a dark warning about possible “drumming or vibration” if this procedure isn’t followed. And it makes complete sense when you think about it for a moment: the driveshaft flange and diff input flange need to be pulled tightly together first, before anything else is snugged. This allows the diff to take up proper alignment within the float of the mounting bolt holes. It would be wise to use all new locking nuts on the various fasteners that call for them. This photo shows the rebuilt unit in place, with half-shafts ready to reattach. Buttoning things up from this point was simple and quick. 



I was very pleased on the test drive. No noise, no vibration. And no more leaks. As noted above, I took this opportunity to replace the center section of the exhaust. For whatever reason, as soon as the old section warmed up it started pinging and snapping like an aging fin-tube radiator. The new Ansa section is blessedly silent. I coated it before installation with flat black high-temp spray paint. 


Here is the original diff after removal. 


I would be happy to give this old differential, at no charge, to any group member who would like it. I believe the gearing is sound, but the unit would require new bearings and seals. From what I’ve read, that is a job best left to the experts, and the parts are readily available. This is a 3.90 standard open diff, and it could perhaps be of use to someone. Matt Pickering, are you interested? To avoid the complications of crating and shipping, it might be best if the new owner could pick up the piece at my house in Manchester, Mass. 


Anyone on the hunt for a 320 differential to transplant into a 2002 should be aware that rebuilt units of this sort are sold by Metric Mechanic. But they are seriously expensive, and since MM is not interested in accepting open-diff cores, you face a hefty core charge as well. By the time that shipping and conversion flanges are thrown in, you are easily looking at well over $2000. Metric Mechanic is also able to change gear ratios, but that adds still more hundreds of dollars. I think I got lucky with my eBay find. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve had a fine experience dealing with Metric Mechanic in the past, and the 2200 Sport engine is a superb street motor. But you might do much better on a diff by shopping around. 


I obtained my new exhaust and all the other small parts for this project from my usual parts source: Greenfield Imported Auto Parts (Greenfield, Mass.). I have been buying 2002 and 325 parts from them for many years. They know the cars inside and out, carry most things in stock, and can get almost anything they don’t have. Because they operate a repair business also, they can provide tech advice when you need it. I deal with Steve Messer, who is excellent, but that goes for the entire staff. They can be reached at 413-774-2819. My parts always arrive the next day by standard UPS. 


Those of you with sharp eyes may note from the photos that I have in recent years replaced both the rear subframe and the rear trailing arms, all of which fell victim to corrosion. (I no longer drive this car in the rain or snow). The subframe is not all that difficult a replacement. The trailing arms are a bit more involved, as it makes sense to do the rear wheel bearings at the same time. The procedure for that is well detailed in the manuals: the correct combination of shims must be installed in conjunction with the large tubular spacer, such that the bearings themselves are not improperly stressed when the castellated axle nut is torqued down. Some math is involved, and a digital caliper with depth measurement and metric readout is a must. As long as I was doing the trailing arms, I went ahead and replaced the tired brake backing plates also: new adjusters work far better than 35-year-old ones. I’d be happy to talk to anyone who is thinking about taking on these jobs. 


I am blessed to have a grease pit (installed around 1920) in one of the bays of my shop in our carriage house.
This was a godsend for the differential replacement, as the transplant would have been a bear to carry out with jackstands and creeper. If you are thinking of replacing your diff, try your best to get access to a grease pit or lift.
Good luck to all who attempt this repair.







Those of you with sharp eyes may note from the photos that I have in recent years replaced both the rear subframe and the rear trailing arms, all of which fell victim to corrosion. (I no longer drive this car in the rain). The subframe is not all that difficult a replacement. The trailing arms are a bit more involved, as it makes sense to do the rear wheel bearings at the same time. The procedure for that is well detailed in the manuals: the correct combination of shims must be installed in conjunction with the large tubular spacer, such that the bearings themselves are not improperly stressed when the castellated axle nut is torqued down. Some math is involved, and a digital caliper with depth measurement and metric readout is a must. As long as I was doing the trailing arms, I went ahead and replaced the tired brake backing plates also: new adjusters work far better than 35-year-old ones. I’d be happy to talk to anyone who is thinking about taking on these jobs. 

I am blessed to have a grease pit (installed around 1920) in one of the bays of my shop in our carriage house. This was a godsend for the differential replacement, as the transplant would have been a bear to carry out with jackstands and creeper. If you are thinking of replacing your diff, try your best to get access to a grease pit or lift. 

CV joint renewal

First time wrenching and first time blogging so go easy on me :)

After Matt over at SCR pointed out that my cv boots were starting to show stress cracks I decided that this sounded like the perfect project for me to start with on my new 02. Little did I realize how involved this process was going to be.

First step was to remove the halfshafts. To do so use a 6mm allen bit on either a impact drill or ratchet(I found it easier to use a ratchet). The bolts connecting the halfshafts to the diff output flange had a nut on the backside whereas the bolts on the wheel side of the cv joint don’t.


Once halfshaft is removed take a screwdriver and release the old clamps on the boots. The original clamps simply need to have the end pried up and then give a good tug on the clamp. Once the clamps are out of the way I recommend putting on a pair of blue nitrile gloves( Have a box of these handy along with lots of shop towels) before you cut the boot off the cv joint. Exacto knife works great on this.

Above is what the joint looks like after removing boot. Wipe away excess grease and flip over to end cap. It is similar to a small paint can lid except you will find the lip easily bends so work your way around with a large flat head screwdriver and eventually it will pop off. You can always hammer the lip back to original contour when finished(Apparently the BMW cv boot kit includes new lids however I hear they cost $50 each vs $13).

Photo via


I reminded you to wear gloves! This moly grease is horrible stuff especially when it is 40 yr’s old.

Photo via

In above photo you see a c clip that needs to be removed in order to extract halfshaft from inner hub/race of cv joint. I thought that I could get a screwdriver under this but wasn’t happening. Off to home depot and $20 bucks poorer.. What else is new!

Once retaining clip is removed its time to extract halfshaft. I was lucky and mine pulled apart. I have seen posts on the faq where putting head of cv joint in a vice so halfshaft is loosely hanging and using a punch may be required. I would assume a 3 prong gear puller would work just as well.

Success! CV joints removed from halfshaft.

Using brake cleaner I thoroughly cleaned it from both sides till the inner race and bearings were completely clean. Don’t forget to spray the lid, washer, retaining clip and shaft. I spoke with Marshall Lytle on the faq and he now soaks everything in kerosene and attacks the parts with an old toothbrush, Afterwards spray everything with brake cleaner for final cleaning and let dry.

The cupped washer is the last thing to come off the shaft and first to go back on during reassembly. It should point up towards the joint.

Some on the faq will completely remove the race and bearings. I hear it’s similar to a rubiks cube but since mine cleaned out and looked good I proceeded without removal.


Repack with grease on both sides of cv joint. Matt from SCR recommended that I cut just a corner off the bag of grease that is included with cv boots. Then you can squeeze it like you were frosting a cake.

With new boot in place on the shaft and washer facing up its time to press joint back on. You should see the notch where the retainer clip goes around and then you can quit pressing. Insert retainer c clip add some grease and put lid back on.

Now comes time for getting the large end of the new boot over the joint. I found that by woking on half on I was able to get my finger under boot and work it around to get whole boot over lip of joint. Not easy but I’m open for better suggestions. Once boot is on secure with clamp.

Repeat process for other end of cv joint and put back on car. I found it necessary to loosen larger boot clamp on both sides so I could get the bolts started during installation back to diff output flange. Don’t forget to retighten clamps when finished.

Now go drink a beer or 6 of them!





Body Work Continues

Finally got a chance to drop in on the body shop on my way to work this morning.  My car is a “fill in” job meaning that the shop works on it when there is no other collision work in the shop.  That means the progress is a bit slow, but right now they are “slow” again so some serious work has been completed.  The roof on my car was very wavy.  That has been hammered and dollied out and after several skim coats and primer coats the roof is in excellent shape.  A new section of metal/panel has been added  between the tail lights and the rear quarter panels on both sides have seen some very nice body work.

The Battle of the Bushings, part 1

Seemed simple enough – pull out the control arms, put in some new bushings, put them back in.  Doing new suspension bits on Betty – I had the new Billsteins to put in, which required pulling struts and such, and as long as I’m in there…. you know how it goes.  I had read somewhere that new bushings is one of the best things you can do for an ’02 – make it ride like new, they said.  So I ordered up the refresh kit – all new bushings, tie rods, center link, ball joints – the whole kit and the kaboodle, as it were.  Taking it out was pretty easy… got the control arms out, and the fun started.

They were apparently “the old style” – the ball joints were riveted on, the steering arms stuck to the ball joints, and indeed the bushings were a mess … old, hard and cracking – good thing I was doing this job, right?  Definitely.

First things first – how to get the steering arms off? Fortunately for me, I have know some great guys down at Sports Car Restoration – they do amazing work, really, and they always have time for me and my stupid questions.  Turns out that getting the steering arms off is pretty easy – put the whole thing in a vice, and smack it with a hammer.  If you’re lucky (or good) and you hit the ball joint dead on, it’ll drop right out.  Nate got them both with two smacks.  Easy enough, and I was on my way.  Check out those ball joints…riveted in there.  I guess you’re supposed to drill those out…. Nate saw the fear in my eyes, and he came through for me in a big way – found a set of refurbished control arms – clean, fresh, ready for new ball joints and bushings – and willing to trade them for my old bushings and a twelve pack –  I win.  Like I said, they’re really great guys.  All I had to do now as get the bushings in.  Should be easy, right?

I read up on the task – lots of articles in the archives about it.  From what I could tell, the best way to do it was by using threaded rod, some PVC pipe and a bunch of washers – you lube up the bushing and just pull it through by tightening down a nut.   So I gave it a try.   I used dish soap as to lube it up and started to tighten down on my contraption.  The bushing started to slide on in – no big deal.  I thought I was home free now, ha! It got about halfway in and started to stick… more soap.  Tightened down some more, but the bushing wasn’t going anywhere –  oh shoot – the threaded rod was spinning.  How I wish I had a bench vise now.   But I don’t, so I grabbed some vise grips, and clamped down on the threaded rod…. as I tightened down the nut again, the vise grips started to spin.  I clamped those down to the shelves that I was working on.  That took care of it, for the most part.  Tightened down some more, and the bushing started to go through.  I noticed it getting harder to get a grip on the nut – inspection showed that it was rounding off – despite the fact that I was using a box end wrench at this point.  I wrestled with it some more, and then loosened up everything to see where I was.  It was all the way through, but definitely not far enough in – the bushing hadn’t come through the other side enough yet.   My arms were scraped up from the spinning control arm, and trying to hold the vise grips which kept slipping.

Back to the drawing board, I guess…….

So much easier the second time…

So where were we?  Seems like such a long time ago, but I guess it’s only been about two weeks.  Since then it seems like I’ve done a lot, and I’m not even sure where to start.  Somewhere along the ride, I decided that I should get new suspension pieces – not even sure how that happened…  let’s see…. Oh yes, I had new rear brake stuff – new drums, new shoes, new  cylinders… so I got in there and started disassembly, which was a bit of a bear – too much rust for brakes.  The drums came off okay, and it became immediately apparent where my brake fluid leak was – this job came at the right time – maybe too late.  I got to taking out the hard line from the old cylinder – lots of rust there.  I cranked on it pretty hard, and snapped off the bleeder valve.  Good thing I was replacing the cylinder anyway.  But then i realized that I had also damaged the hard line in the process.  I priced out new hard lines, and invested in some flare nut wrenches – best money I ever spent for this job.  The 11mm became my friend and new favorite tool.  Turns out that new hard lines weren’t to pricey, and … “while I”m in there…”  Then I got lucky and found someone that had the entire set for sale – cheap.  Original BMW parts with tags – ordered from Blunt – exactly what I was going to most likely do.  So I bought those… Of course, the set has every piece except the two that I really really needed.. but it was such a good deal, it doesn’t matter.  Even had two new E-Brake cables  Ordered up the two needed pieces and began to take out the E-brake bits.  I hadn’t even considered replacing this, but I had the new part, and the existing cable was pretty beat, and rusted tight into it’s tubing, and hey… I was already “in there”.  I cranked on the old cable pretty hard with pliers, vice grips, needle noses etc.  Nothing doing -this thing was not moving.  If only I had a Bowie knife.  Instead, I did the routine soak cycle of PB, Liquid Wrench and some can of stuff I’d gotten in the mail for free.  Probably a toxic combo, but hey.. this thing has to come out, right?  I took out the handle inside the car, and started shooting stuff down there, too – hit it from both sides, if you will.  Still no luck.  Almost lost hope, and people told me to try “the torch”.  Lord, it doesn’t seem like a good idea to get underneath the car with a torch… I don’t care how careful you are, fire extinguishers, whatever… this just seems like a bad idea.  Others suggested I “open it up, and weld it back shut”.  But I don’t weld, so I soaked it another day, and in the morning, first thing, I went after it one more time with some brand new Vice Grips.  Tiny wiggles back & forth, as a wise old man told me one time, tiny wiggles back & forth.  And lo and behold it moved.  “IT MOVED”, to quote Costanza.  And we all knows that when it moves, it’s a good thing.  A little more coaxing  and the e-brake cable was finally out!!   Glorious day!!  I love a good battle with a crazy nut or a pesky bolt – that feeling when it breaks is like gold! After they were pulled out, the new cables were pretty easy to slide in. Did the same thing to the other side – one more day of love juice on there, and eventually the second side came out pretty easy.  So much easier the second time.