Summary on how to Identify a 2002tii

  1. 1972-1973 US 2002tii VIN's begin with 276
  2. 1974 US 2002tii VIN's begin with 278
  3. Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection
  4. alternator mounted down low, under battery
  5. oil return line in block for injection pump, feed line in oil filter head
  6. larger brake booster
  7. 23mm master cylinder
  8. larger 10.08 in. diameter front brakes, larger calipers/pads
  9. larger front hubs and spindles
  10. boxed rear semi-trailing arms
  11. interior clock
  12. 2002tii emblem on rear body panel

Details. Credits to 2002 guru, Ben Thongsai.

  • Overview
The 2002tii is considered by many to be the most desirable '02 produced by BMW and imported to the United States. Compared to a standard 2002, a tii offers greater performance and overall value. Thus, a 2002tii is usually worth more, and therefore, more highly touted. Since the last U.S. tii's were made in 1974, finding one in good shape, without owner modifications has grown increasingly difficult. This is especially true considering the tii's mechanical uniqueness and cost of some of those unique parts. Furthermore, since the 2002 is a "tinkerer's car", many owners have upgraded their regular 2002's with tii hardware, to increase their performance. Likewise, tii owners sometimes strip their cars of original tii items such as the Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system, in favor of cheaper (but not necessarily better!) carburetors. These two factors can cause some confusion for a prospective tii buyer.


  • VIN Number Check
This is found on the metal plate under the hood, on top of the inner fender, behind the upper shock mount on the right side. It is in plain view, and should be easy to spot. On this plate, it will identify the car as a 2002 TII for 1972-73 cars. 1974 cars share the same identification plate as the standard 2002, so the plate will read 2002/2002tii USA. The VIN number is the long number which is stamped into that plate. For 1972-1973 U.S. tii's, the VIN number will begin with 276, running from 2760001 (the first '72) to 2764522 (the last '73). 1974 tii's begin with 278, running from 2780001 to 2782929. This number should match the number stamped into the flange on the right front wheel housing itself, next to the fender, behind the hood lock bar, as well as the number stamped into the metal plate on top of the steering column. If the car still has its original engine block, the engine number on the block, above the starter mounting flange, will match the VIN.


  • Engine Compartment Check
If you're specifically looking for a tii model, and prefer one in original condition, it behooves you to try and purchase a car with this system intact and functioning. The Kugelfischer injection system is what makes the tii special and gives it it's combination of midrange torque and top end power (of course, the higher compression helps here too). The lower front aluminum engine timing cover and alternator mounting location are different from a normal 2002, as well. tii's also have an extra fitting on the intake side of the engine block for an injection pump oil return line as well as an extra fitting on the oil filter head for the injection pump oil feed line. Finally, an original E12 2002tii cylinder head (late '72-'74 cars) will have no fuel pump mounting holes on it for a standard 2002 mechanical fuel pump. 121/121TI head equipped '72 tii's will have the mounting holes, but with the center pushrod hole plugged. The fuel pump mounting holes are used to mount the intake plenum on '72 cars.

Ben's comments on tii engines:

"The fabled, supposedly most desirable of all US tii's are the 121/121TI head equipped 1972 tii's. If you're looking for originality, these cars should still have the plastic intake pipes. Often times, these pipes will crack and leak, leading owners to replace the entire intake manifold with one off of a later E12 head equipped car, which has aluminum intake pipes. The aluminum pipes are actually better in terms of both reliability and performance, but keep in mind that they're not original on all but a handful of '72 tii's."

"Does the '72 tii deserve it's fabled status? Typically, not really. I don't think the average 1972 is any faster than the average 1973. However, the '72 we have is noticeably quicker than the '73's we have, sooo.... However, this may be a function of lower mileage on the '72 (only 70K or so) and lighter weight. Nevertheless, the '72 tii is the one that gets '02 buffs "ooohing and ahhing", and it took me forever to find the right '72, whereas the '73s and '74s seem to just come to us..."


  • Upgraded Brakes
The first clue to this may also be found in the engine compartment. Under the hood, the tii has a larger diameter (23mm vs. 20mm) master cylinder, and a larger (actually longer) brake booster. The dimensions of this larger booster are: 6 inches length and 7 inches diameter.

Under the car, the tii has larger front brake discs, which measure 10.08 inches in diameter vs. 9.45 for the standard 2002. These are accompanied by larger calipers and pads, as well as larger hubs and spindles. The rear drums are the same size as a normal '02, but the wheel cylinders are larger (17mm vs. 15mm). In the rear, the trailing arms of tii are boxed, for increased stiffness (instead of the standard C-section).


  • Dashboard Clock
Inside the car, a clock should be present. It is located on the left most end of the parcel tray.


  • Trunk Emblem
On the rear of the car, above the right taillight, is the 2002tii emblem or badge. For those that are really sharp, and this only works on original '72-'73 tii's, the wheels are 1/2in wider, and all of this width is added onto the outside of the wheel, resulting in wheel covers that appear to be set in further.



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