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Front Forks: alignment, fork sag, stiction. Fork braces, gaiters, springs.
Upgraded top triple clamps. Modifications. Avoiding fork tube bending & twisting.
Cleaning & lubricating or replacing steering head bearings.
Hints regarding fork internals. Adjusting the swing arm.
item #54, sub-section 10A
© 2018, R. Fleischer
PRELIMINARY & INTRODUCTORY INFORMATION:
Because the rear tire wear condition has such a MAJOR effect on handling, I recommend the steering be cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted, only at tire change time, after a new rear tire is installed, and perhaps 100 miles or so is on it.
Be extremely cautious about using BMW parts books sketches; same for Haynes and Clymers manuals. Various parts may be shown on any particular sketch or drawing that are only used on some models or some years, and, in some instances, are no longer used at all. The order of assembly, or placement, may not be as on the sketches.
You may want to read/review the following article by Brook Reams, it is lengthy, but has many photos in it that I do not supply in my article; and Brook has a somewhat different approach here and there. Review his article, you may want to do that more than once ....and maybe once more after reading my article.
There are substantial differences between the various BMW fork designs. The /5 Airheads forks are very different from those of the 1980's, for example. The GS forks are different. There are enough variances and differences to suggest you inquire on the Airheads LIST about overhauling your own forks.
The first of the Airheads, the /5, had poor stiction qualities in the front forks. This was fixed by BMW in 1972. You need to replace the one piece bushing with the three-piece bushing setup.
Rather than do something like Clymers books have done, which is to just show sketches for every forks model, I decided to select one popular type, & expand upon its internals & its operation. I show hints & details for the /5 & other forks, scattered throughout this article. In this first section is a sketch & description of how the 1981-1984 forks operate, some information about the modifications the factory did during production to reduce noises and improve operation, etc. There were three modifications by the factory. The sketch below is of the 1981 fork, but with the last version of the factory modifications, which I will call Mk3.