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Discussion of 'Tank Slappers' Part 1

From the Airheads Mailing List, July 2002

Compiled by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. #6223

Note: individual messages are separated with "==="

From: Bill Harris
To: BMW Airhead Boxer mailing list
Subject: Surviving a Tank-slapper
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002

As you know, if the front-end bearings are not adjusted properly, the front wheel can get into a mode of uncontrolled-- and uncontrollable-- oscillations, commonly known as a "tank slapper" in a severe case.

I've only had this happen once, and I held on for dear life and braked as best I could. Still have pucker marks on the seat from that incident...

However, I'm not sure what is the proper or correct way to deal with steering oscillations at highway speeds, and I surely don't know of a way to practice this. What approach would you advise taking in this situation?

--Bill Harris
'73 R60/5 Monza Blue Toaster: "Edril"
Jasper, Alabama


From: R. Fleischer
Subject: Surviving a Tank-slapper
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002

While this is NOT 100% positive for finding things, this is what I do: 1. I tighten the steering head, during my cleaning and regreasing maintenance, to JUST the faintest touch of weaving at around 20-30 mph. I have the wheel bearings set the way I have posted. 2. I go for a ride with decent tires, not scallop worn, etc. At various speeds, in 5 or 10 mph increases, I take my hands off the bars...with NO steering damper engaged...and give a little hit to the end of the bar...first one side, then the other. Should be nothing at any speed other than perhaps a very small...really small...wiggle, that self-corrects. If ANY tendency to start a real oscillation, ESPECIALLY

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