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Topic-icon Where to Begin Restoration?

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7 months 1 day ago #4469 by mjmorrisva
Where to Begin Restoration? was created by mjmorrisva
Friends,

I am interested in your thoughts for where to begin full restoration of a 1982 R100RT with 34,000 original miles. I am also interested in your ideas on the overall process and how you would approach a restoration. Lessons learned are always welcome. No pride here, if I'm off my rocker.....please be direct and tell me to extract cranium from anus.

Some background. The bike was owned by the same person since he bought it new in 82 (New Hampshire). I am the second owner; the bike was a Christmas gift from my wife (no, she doesnt have any sisters....yes this is the third bike she's bought me). Unfortunately, the previous owner passed some time back. The bike was sitting at Max BMW in NH for many months. The Max BMW team and I are unable to get any service records from the previous owner's family. The bike is very clean and looks to be all original. Currently the bike starts but stalls at idle. The choke isnt responsive at all. There is a small drip from the oil pan and the clutch cable is frayed. Otherwise the bike looks to be in remarkably good shape for its age. I plan to restore the bike to top condition; however not a concourse restoration. I'm considering tasteful upgrades that make the bike go faster, stop shorter, handle better, and operate more reliably.

I have the space, tools (acquiring them based on Snowbum and other recommendations), and a motorcycle lift is on the way (a must have with my back). I have the time and (perhaps most importantly) patience for a full restoration. I have intermediate mechanical skills. Where I lack in mechanical skills I make up for in problem solving, persistence, and patience. I'm reading voraciously from several trusted sources before attempting any work.

Some of the questions I would like the community's thoughts include:

1. Should I tear down the bike completely....then repair, replace, upgrade, etc. as I put the bike back together? While daunting, it seems like the easiest path to full restoration?

2. Does it make sense to start at the front of the bike and work my way back (or vice versa)? Or some other approach to full restoration?

3. Since I dont have any knowledge of the service history does it make sense to tear down the engine, clutch, shaft, etc. and inspect/repair/etc to tolerance? Otherwise I wont have a clear indication of the bike's true current condition (I would call it a baseline understanding of the major components)?

4. Does it make sense to farm out certain jobs to professional mechanics?

These are just some of the questions I'm noodling through. I welcome your responses.

Thoughts all?
Matthew

1982 R100RT

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7 months 2 hours ago - 7 months 2 hours ago #4477 by Wobbly
Replied by Wobbly on topic Where to Begin Restoration?
I've worked professionally on vintage bikes and owned a few as well. A few of those were Airheads. I've witnessed some amazing customer successes, and some supreme "money pit" failures.

► The number one thing I will tell you is to get it running and then ride it. One 60 mile trip down the road may prove to you that you were indeed crazy, you hate RT's, and you want to get it on CraigsList ASAP. Better to know it sooner rather than after you do a lot of expensive work you'll never benefit from.

This because it's really easy to have $9K-$14K sunk in a machine that you can only sell for $4,000. It's OK to have $10K tied up in a bike you love, because it's easy to get $6K worth of enjoyment. But to put that kind of money into a bike that you can't endure is crazy.

► Obviously, you're going to have your hands full changing tires, changing oil, fitting a new battery, cleaning the fuel system, and renewing the hydraulic brake system. Those items will need attention no matter what, so you'll already be "in" about $600 of non-recoverable money if you do all the work yourself.

► Then, as you ride it and IF you decide to keep it, you can work the items that need repair as they arise. The bike and the regular maintenance schedule will tell you what it needs and when. That will also work to spread out your "investment" over a longer period.

► DO NOT ever take apart something simply to investigate. Get good control over that part of you that's OCD. Just because you CAN take apart the XXX doesn't mean you should. And when you do need to take something apart, try to keep in mind that it's a 1982 motorcycle that makes about 60HP, it's not an Indy car. Even if you spend $6000 having the engine balanced, "blue printed", and flow ported.... it will still be a 1982 motorcycle that makes about 60HP !!

► Lastly, don't be too quick to judge. Bringing back my 1979 RT after 3 years of storage took an honest 24 months. Each time I rode it, it seemed to run better and better. It was almost AS IF the engine had to be broken in all over again. Give it time.

Hope this helps.


PS. You'll want to start by emptying the entire fuel system. 1) The cold start jets in the bottom of both float bowls are clogged, and 2) the #45 slow speed jets in both carb bodies need replacing. Then buy a bottle of StarTron fuel treatment and put an ounce of that in with every fill up until the bottle is gone.

Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150
Last edit: 7 months 2 hours ago by Wobbly.

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7 months 2 hours ago - 7 months 2 hours ago #4478 by 1872
Replied by 1872 on topic Where to Begin Restoration?
Matthew

I'm certainly not the right person to talk to about a restoration. I'm always happy to have a bike running. A service manual is a good starting place. I would certainly replace frayed cable before riding it further than I wanted to push it. The carbs likely need cleaning. A basic tune up starting with valve adjustment will give a baseline for valve recession. At this point the engine should idle.

Always on a new to me machine complete fluid and filter changes. The oil pan gasket is not bad to replace and while in there look to see if there is sludge. Check if the pan is clean, with no metal pieces in the pan and follow advice on opening the oil filter to look for problems. If no problems found here, the engine is likely OK.

Assuming, since the bike came from Max, you will not be able to ride soon, A clutch spline lube would be a worthwhile way to spend a few hours looking for problems. Unless you plan on repainting the frame, I see no need to tear everything down.

Tires are a maybe. Check date code. The best evaluation is riding the bike.

The basics outlined here are things you should not only be able to perform yourself, but things anybody planning to ride an airhead or any other older machine should learn to perform. Ask questions here, join the airlist and remember Snowbum is your friend.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Airheads.

Bob
Last edit: 7 months 2 hours ago by 1872.

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7 months 54 minutes ago #4481 by mjmorrisva
Replied by mjmorrisva on topic Where to Begin Restoration?
Gentlemen, thank you, sage advice and words of wisdom from both of you. I plan to get the bike in riding condition and see what I have before I do any major work. That being said, I'm familiar with airheads of this era and simply love everything (well, ok, most things) about them....including the quirks. My only regret is my back wont allow me to mount an RS for very long at all. Hence the RT.

I managed to get a slot at the upcoming PA Airheads "Winter SuperTech" weekend Feb 1-3. I look forward to learning and asking lots of questions.

Any more thoughts on the process are most welcome.

Cheers,
M

1982 R100RT

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7 months 51 minutes ago #4482 by mjmorrisva
Replied by mjmorrisva on topic Where to Begin Restoration?
PS....love the Isle of Man Manx avitar. My wife and I attended the 2014 TT race and are planning a return visit.

Cheers
M

1982 R100RT

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6 months 4 weeks ago #4486 by Wobbly
Replied by Wobbly on topic Where to Begin Restoration?
The number 1 MOST overlooked restoration tool is your digital camera. You'd be surprised how many people take apart "easy" stuff. Then when they get ready for assembly several days later, they're not sure where the spring went and which way that gear faced !!

Anytime a car pulled up to the shop and a guy got out with a box, I'd start laughing to myself. Another easy $200 solely based on someone else's lack of preparation. !!

Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
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