The mighty Kugelfischer—a mechanical fuel injection pump that was factory-installed on a variety of performance-oriented vehicles of the late 1960s and early 1970s. This included the BMW 2002tii, various Porsches, and even the BMW M1, which carried Kugelfischer production into the early 1980s. It has been over 40 years since a Kugelfischer last rolled off the assembly line, and these days, few craftsmen understand them and fewer still can repair them. Even when armed with the necessary knowledge and skill, a lack of available replacement parts needed to rebuild a Kugelfischer unit has sent more than one to the scrap pile.
While I don’t own a BMW 2002tii or anything equipped with Kugelfischer injection, vintage BMWs fascinate me and I fully appreciate the time and effort that goes into reengineering original parts that are no longer available, keeping these classics in their intended habitat—on the road. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw an announcement from BMW 2002 FAQ regarding a new Kugelfischer Warm Up Regulator (WUR) becoming available soon.BMW 2002 FAQ is a well-known website created by Steve Kupper with a mission statement of “connecting all 2002 owners in one spot and providing a space for them to communicate, share ideas, sell parts, and be a member of a greater community.” Started in February of 2002—the second month of 2002, imagine that!—it has expanded to various social media channels over the years and helped sell and promote those hard-to-find 2002 parts the community needs. If you’re a 2002 enthusiast and don’t know “the FAQ”, you better add them to your FAQ‘ing list of 2002 resources!
The recent FAQ’s announcement read:
“After 2+ years of engineering work, we have developed a new wax actuator that closely mimics the mechanical and thermal attributes of the original part inside the Kugelfischer injection pump warm-up regulator. These 2002tii warm-up units are around 50 years old, and many are starting to fail. To the best of our knowledge, until now, no spare part has been available. Even specialists have resorted to just cleaning and reusing the 50-year-old parts.”With that news, BimmerLife reached out to Kupper for more details. Kupper says, “[BMW 2002 FAQ is] working with Dave Lacey on the Warm Up Regulator. He is actually the person who created the product. As the central spot for the 2002 owners, the FAQ is working on the distribution and promotion of the [WUR].”
As you’d expect, Lacey is no stranger to the 2002, purchasing his first in the early 1990s. While originally from the UK, has lived and traveled around the world, including some time in California (when he was a BMW CCA member). Currently, he resides in Malaysia, importing the two 2002s he owned while living in the UK in addition to finding and restoring a “survivor” 2002 turbo.He describes the Kugelfischer as “the ‘Rolex/Omega’ of fuel injection systems, compared to the ‘Casio’ that is early electronic fuel injection. The Kugelfischer is a clever design, precision engineered for accuracy and reliability. BMW used it in the 1960s touring car races, introduced it to production cars in 1971, and continued using it in motorsports until the 1980s because of this precision and reliability.”
Lacey says, “this is my first foray into supplying a part, but on the BMW 2002 FAQ we have many discussions on how to restore and repair. For instance, I have contributed to a proven method to restore the function of the mechanical fuel injectors and correct the ‘wear-n-tear’ of 50 years of operation.”Being a long-time member of the FAQ, Lacey reached out to Kupper to use the website as a sales channel. He says, “I saw that the store already supported worldwide ordering and shipping, which was far better than me trying to handle the logistics from Asia. Steve has been very supportive in defining how to sell via the FAQ, and hopefully a portion of the sales will help support the website and forums that have been so helpful to me over the years.”
According to Lacey, the inspiration behind the redevelopment of this discontinued part “was a discussion on the BMW 2002 FAQ [forum] about availability of spares for this [WUR] unit.” He continues, “It’s essentially the ‘automatic choke’ of the system and ensures the car runs smoothly and powerfully during the warm-up period. I live in Asia, where spares and knowledge on these 50-year-old cars is hard to find. As a result, I have tried to understand how these mechanical fuel injection systems work so that I can keep my cars running.”
After experiencing two failed WURs on his own vehicles and being told they can’t be fixed, Lacey says he “dug in” to better understand the operation of the WUR. He said he found “it’s similar to the wax actuator that’s in a car cooling system thermostat (and even domestic heating systems), but it’s a unique mechanical shape and needs to have a wax mixture that gives a uniform response over -20C thru +80C to work as Kugelfischer intended.”
Lacey reverse engineered the WUR and developed operational specifications that could be used for a new production run. With the encouragement of the global BMW 2002 FAQ community, he started exploring possible vendors and “found a company with good engineering capability.” He says, “I tested the part first on my own car and with a small group of ‘beta testers’, while getting feedback on both the performance of the unit and also the fitting instructions and simple tools we provide in the kit. Now that phase is coming to an end and it’s time to release the part to the market.If you’re interested in finding out more, head over to the BMW 2002 FAQ website to see detailed specifications, diagrams, and installation instructions for this integral piece of the 2002tii fuel injection system. My hat goes off to Dave Lacey, Steve Kupper, and the entire BMW 2002 FAQ community for their continued efforts of keeping these classics on the road for both drivers and spectators to enjoy. —Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of the BMW 2002 FAQ and as credited.]