Electrical Wire Upgrade

To help the voltage regulator and the entire charging system, an easy and inexpensive upgrade is to replace old, small, worn and sometimes corroded stock BMW wires with a set of upgraded heavier wires you make yourself. Here’s how:

The Best Wire to Use

For the best wire, go to a marine supply store and look at their selection of bulk wire. They will have wire as thin as 22 gage and as thick as 6 gage, with costs ranging from $.11 to $.49 per foot. The marine wire is rated for 600 volts, is oil-water-gasoline resistant, and is made with very fine multiple strand wire. The finer the wire used in the multi-strand wire, the more flexible the wire will be to handle and install, which is important when working within the tight confines of a motorcycle.

If you can’t find a marine supply store, auto parts and hardware stores also carry quality multi-strand wire at reasonable prices. I have used this material in the past and it works well but is not as flexible as the marine grade wire.

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Bike Storage Preparation

It’s that time of year again, so I thought I would post the storage procedures that are contained in the 1978 BMW Owner’s Manual for those of you that don’t have access to such. The following is a reproduction of the storage procedures specified by BMW on page 35 of the 1978 BMW Owner’s Manual:

If you intend to lay up your motorcycle during the cold season of the year or for a long period, the following precautions will help to guard against corrosion and superficial damage:
Drain the oil when the engine is warmed up, clean the oil mesh strainer and oil sump.
Add corrosion inhibiting oil up to the lower mark on dipstick (app. 1 Liter = 1.05 US quarts). Run the engine for about 1 minute off-load. Remove the oil filter and close the empty filter chamber. When storing for more than 6 months, drain oil from gear-box, swing arm and final drive and add corrosion inhibiting oil. Contents: gearbox 0.4 liter (0.4 US quart), swing arm 0.05 liter (0.05 US quart). Place the machine on its center stand, engage 2nd gear and turn the engine at a fast idle for a few seconds.

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Centerstand Repairs

Owners of early BMW twins are divided into two sorts; those whose centre stand bolts have failed and those whose bolts are going to fail soon. The root of the problem is that on the pre-square air filter models the stand pivots on bushes retained by a pair of bolts which screw directly into the frame. The continued heaving on and off the stand eventually loosens the bolts and the threads in the frame will start to fret. Retapping the frame to the standard thread (M10x1.25) and replacing the bolts delays the evil day, but when I found a bolt lying under the bike only days after doing this, I knew it was time to look for a better solution.

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Wheel Bearings

These procedures may seem complicated at first, but in reality it takes only minutes, once you have done it previously.  MUCH of the information will not, perhaps, apply to YOUR motorcycle, but it all does need to be read, and understood.

BMW Airhead motorcycles are relatively tolerant to abuse and poor maintenance. Our human bodies are not tolerant to being dumped on the road at speed from a motorcycle. Of all the items that are safety related, the mechanically most important are the condition of the wheels, tires (tubes if any), brakes, wheel bearings.  For non-mechanical, well, of sorts, one could add the importance of the rider’s clothing, and, in particular, the rider’s condition and competence/skill.  

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Discussion of ‘Tank Slappers’–Part 1

Discussion of Tank Slappers–Part 1 (Snowbum) Since the original publishing of the discussion about tank slappers”, I finished writing an extensive article on that and allied subjects.  This was after accumulating a very large number of tests on a large number of BMW Airheads, mine, and customer’s bikes.  The article is on my website. Here […]

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Type V Fork Rebuild Tips

When I did research on rebuilding the forks on my 88 R100 RT, I found very little information regarding the “Type V” forks on the monoshock RT and RS’s.  And, what little I found turned out to have a significant amount of incorrect information.  I’m writing this to be used in companion with other information.  Clymer indicates the wrong damper rod assembly for the Type V forks.  In addition, the exploded views of the forks by both BMW and in the Clymer book are missing an O ring on the damper rod assembly.  The BMW fiche indicates only one O ring located on the damper rod; however, there is an O ring on the valve, which is not shown.  This O ring on the valve is the same O ring that is on the damper rod, so just double the order.  Since I had a hard time trying to figure out what parts to order, I have included a parts list at the end of this article. 

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Throwout Bearing Maintenance

Sure… The reason I suggest doing this, is due to the nature of the layout of the rollers in the bearing. Before the ’74’s (/5 and earlier), BMW used a ball bearing throw-out assembly. They went back to this after 1984. If you referrence a price list, you will see that the ’74 to’84 roller set up is a LOT cheaper. The rollors are laid out radially in a circle.This insure that as the rollers attempt to roll, one end will go faster than the other and will scrape on the two “thrust pieces” on each side.

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Flywheel Removal Warning

seal..etc., it is CRITICAL that the crankshaft be BLOCKED from moving forward.  If you do NOT block the crankshaft, you run the risk of the crankshaft moving forward a small amount. This can result in a HIDDEN thrust washer moving downwards and off its two locating pegs. If that happens, the washer will not align back on those two pegs as you tighten the 5 flywheel (or clutch carrier) bolts, and you run the risk of MAJOR DAMAGE to the thrust washer….and even MAJOR damage to the engine casting.   The crankshaft will begin to freeze up as you tighten those 5 bolts. There is another similar thrust washer located rearward of the engine casting, and it can also come off its pegs.  I install it oiled, which acts like mild glue when installing the flywheel (clutch carrier) You REALLY do NOT want any of these problems happening. If you forgot or did not know about blocking the crankshaft, and you want to know IF the crankshaft has moved, there is a link near the end of this article, which will give you the information. The dimensions need to be as shown, in order to know that the crankshaft has not moved. The only way to see and get the hidden thrust washer back in place, if it has moved off the pegs,

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Open post

R100GS Keihan Y-Pipe

Last summer, as Gene and I bombed across the San Joaquin Valley on Santa Fe Road toward Tranquility, the bumpy and patched pavement turned to dirt. Gene slowed as the dust billowed out from under my wheels, soon disappearing behind the growing cloud. Maybe ten miles later the pavement reasserted itself, though weakly, and there appeared in the middle of the road a large grader spreading new asphalt. We slowed and stopped, only to realize that the paving extended all the way across the road, with no way for us to proceed except through foot high piles of the stuff. That wasn’t difficult, as after all we were on GSs, but as soon as the wheels hit the mound we could hear the crunching and grinding as it stuck to our tires and was thrown into the air and onto the undercarriage of our machines. Pulling onto the shoulder confirmed our worst fears that the stuff was coating everything: wheels, swing arm, luggage, and perhaps worst of all, the exhaust collector box, where it was smoking and stinking in a small pile. We used sticks to clear the worst of it away, but scrape and pry as hard as we might, the gunk on the collector box wasn’t to be moved. Apparently that would have to await another day and better access and perhaps some strong solvent.

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Fuel system. Tank cleaning & protection. Premium vs. Regular. Fuel additives. Fitting other tanks/seats. Rusted/frozen seat hinge screws. Throttle & choke cables. Fuel hoses. Tank sealants/liners.

Tank cleaning & protection methods. Premium vs. regular. Fuel additives.
Fitting other tanks…seats & fitment with various tanks. Pesky
rusted/frozen screws on seat hinges. Throttle & choke cables.
FUEL HOSES. Tank sealants & liners.

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