EDITOR’S NOTE: The following articles were originally developed for the Tii Register Newsletter in the 1980s by several subject matter experts. I have edited some of the original copy to reflect things stated 20 years in the past, so you as the reader don’t have to guess what year it was written in 🙂
If you ask a Tii owner what he likes best about his car, he is likely to tell you, “the engine and the cars overall performance”. While the car has a number of features that differ from the 2002, the most outstanding difference is the engine. It’s interesting to realize that until BMWNA decided to import the E30 M3 in 1988, the Tii was the most powerful 4 cylinder BMW ever sold in the USA. Even by today’s standards of electronic wizardry, a properly tuned Tii is a delight to drive with excellent throttle response and enough power output to embarrass many cars you happen to meet.
The Tii’s fuel injection system is the most important factor in achieving this level of performance. This key system functions around a small, 4 cylinder mechanical pump that goes by the unusual name of Kugelfischer.
The following information will attempt to provide an overview of the Kugelfischer pump as it’s used on the Tii, dispel some of the misconceptions about it and suggest ways to live with it happily for many years. We hope you find this overview interesting and helpful.
A BIT OF HISTORY
The pump takes it name from a large German industrial group with the overpowering name of: FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schafer AG. The firm is best known as Fischer AG and the initials “FAG” is used as the trademark for their extensive line of precision ball and roller bearings.
The company is headquartered in Schweinfurt and if any of you are students of the 8th Air Force in the 2nd World War, you’ll remember some very famous air raids over Schweinfurt to destroy Germany’s ball bearing industry. I’ll give you one guess who we were bombing! The name Kugelfischer appears to be their telex abbreviated name – a contraction of the name “Fischer” and the German word for ball bearing.
The plant that has built the pumps for a number of years is located in Munich at Truderinger Strasse 191. I am not sure if “FAG” owned “Schafer Einspritztechnik GMBH” from its inception; but they did own and manage this firm as a subsidiary until 1975, when FAG sold the business to Robert Bosch GMBH.
The original company probably had its origins in the aircraft industry that grew up around Munich, beginning with the First World War. They probably had strong business connections with BMW through their massive aircraft engine production programs from the mid 30’s through the 2nd World War. Kugelfischer has built a wide variety of injection pumps for diesel and gas engines over the years and many of these pumps are still in use all over the world.
Bosch continues to supply Kugelfischer pumps and parts but has de-emphasized the use of mechanical injection systems for gasoline auto engine applications. The pumps continue to be used extensively for high performance racing applications such as the BMW M1, in Super Vee and in some of the Porsche Turbo models. The Munich pump plant is used as a fuel injection component fabrication facility by Bosch. It may be only a coincidence, but BMW stopped using the pump about the time that Bosch bought “Schafer Einspritztechnik”. Part of the reason for the change has to be the flexibility of the Bosch “K” and “L” low pressure systems and their better adaptability to tightening emission requirements.
Bosch has continued to maintain service facilities here in the United States and to supply parts. The service is not as energetically supplied as it is with the pure Bosch systems, but It is available. Several injection repair shops go direct to Germany for parts and can supply exchange pumps and special units such as the Turbo pump with fuel enrichment control based on boost pressure.
BMW produced 64,177 vehicles using the Kugelfischer a 6 year period from December 1969 to September 1975. The M10 4 cylinder engine was installed in several models ranging from the 2000 Turbo, the 2002 Til, to the 5201 (E12) which ended its production run using the K Jetronic system.
History has also shown us that the Kugelfischer pump is a well proven design that will function for 100-150,000 miles without problems, given clean, dry gasoline and adequate lubrication. It makes an excellent car unique – and as such, worthy of preservation.