Changing the range of a torque wrench.  Angular use. Adjustment correction when using torque-wrench extensions.

This article explains how to use an ‘extension’ for the purpose of convenience (perhaps a hex or 12 point socket or an allen wrench or other tool won’t fit at the end of a torque wrench where you need it); or, perhaps you want to increase the range of a torque wrench.

This article explains how to use an extension for such as the Airheads U-joint flange bolts, where you simply cannot get a torque wrench without an extension to fit properly, due to the limited room between the bolt and the U-joint body.

Another usage might be that if you only have a 75 ftlb maximum indication torque wrench and need to tighten the wheel bolts on your Paralever bike to 105 ftlbs,  ….you can do it with an extension, and this article explains it.

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Dual Plug BMW Cylinder Head

Dual Plugging the R100GS

What is dual plugging? It’s the practice of installing an additional spark plug into the cylinder head, with the goal of promoting quicker combustion and preventing detonation of the combustion charge (what most people call pinging). All sorts of wild claims for additional benefits are made as well, from wheelie popping horsepower gains and double digit mileage improvements to increased robustness (after dual plugging, you’ve got a second ignition system to fall back on in case anything goes wrong with the first one, or so the story goes). In my own case, I was looking for a reliability gain, and some additional power would be nice, but only if it didn’t sacrifice the ability of the motor to happily digest low octane third world gas.

A great deal has been written about dual plugging, with the Airheads Beemer Club’s Oak Okleshen representing perhaps the most experienced perspective. Oak was kind enough to forward a copy of his seminal paper on the subject, which provides not only an excellent introduction to dual plugging, but also dispels the myths as well. Robert Fleischer (aka Snowbum) has an extensive series of web available tech articles, some of which cover dual plugging, and that occasionally capture the pearls of wisdom cast about by Tom Cutter, another Guru that frequents the Airheads Mailing List. Ultimately, the best resource was a tech seminar given by Tom and Snowbum at the 2004 BMWMOA National Rally in Spokane (Oak was also on the agenda, but a health problem prevented his participation). During the Q&A that followed their talks I was able to get the latest story on dual plugging, and by the end had a strategy for moving ahead.

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LED Tail Light Upgrade

Swapping out the tail light on the R100GS for an LED version eliminated having to replace bulbs a couple times a year and got me a brighter light to boot, so I was game for making the same upgrade on this R100RT. Unfortunately, GizmoLabs is no more, so I turned to Motorrad Elektrik and their Beacon II LED replacement.

Like the GizmoLab product, this one relies on individual LEDs on an encapsulated circuit board, sized to closely fit the contours of the ’79 – ’95 BMW street bikes. Red LEDs dot the back of the board, while a row of white LEDs provide license plate illumination on the other side.

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Explaining the Slashes

Can someone please explain the difference between a /2, /5, /6, /7 (is there a /8?), and what exactly is an “oil-head” and a “k” bike? And what are these Earle forks that everyone speaks so reverently about?

OK, this is off the top of my head, so it may contain some errors.

2 = second version of some of the Earles fork bikes. The designation is often used incorrectly for all Earles fork twins. Not all were designated /2. Updated normal 500cc bikes beginning ca. 1960 were designated /2. The Earles fork is a swinging arm design, superior for sidecar rigs and off road applications, very plush riding, but a little heavy steering as a solo setup. They do not nosedive under braking, in fact they tend to rise in the front as the bike comes to a stop under heavy braking. These machines have very stout frames with sidecar bosses built in. The fork has adjustable geometry to accomodate the sidehack. The bikes were produced from 1955 – 1969. They came in normal and high performance versions of the horizontally opposed twin displacing either 500 or 600 cc. R50 and R60 designated normal performance. R50S, R69 and R69S are high performance models, the R69S making 42 HP and exceeding 110 mph. Despite the nomenclature, R69 models still displaced 600 cc, go figure…. 1969 models were shipped with either the Earles or a telescopic fork the same fork as the /5 series built from 1970-73. They were designated “US”. So an R69 US was a high perfomance 600 cc with a telescopic fork. There is also a 250 cc bike, this was a vertical single cylinder engine, uncommon in the US due to its lack of performance.

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Airhead Pushrod Tube Seal Replacement

Hey! Tired of that brown slather that drips off the bottom of your motor? The stuff that seems to be coming from the base of the cylinders? If your bike’s more than a few years old, and especially if it’s been sitting for a while, chances are your pushrod tube seals are leaking. But don’t freak out, ’cause it’s not a big job to replace them, and even the parts are reasonably priced. All you need is a spare afternoon and these instructions.

Let’s start by making a trip to the BMW dealer for some parts. You’ll need four replacement pushrod tube seals (of course), two cylinder base “O” rings, a pair of valve cover gaskets, and a pair of head gaskets. Some folks say you can reuse the head gaskets, but it’s cheap insurance to replace ’em while your in there.

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Leaky Bing Carburetors

It is very important to turn off the petcock(s) when you park your bike. This is so even if you have a late model Airhead that has the fuel-shutoff solenoid valve located on the inside of the cover over the starter motor (many have been removed, but the same caution applies). It is exceptionally important if you park your bike in a garage where there is a source of gasoline fumes ignition …such as a water heater, ETC. We do NOT need to hear about BOOOOOM! We don’t want fires, either!

Bing carburetors are commonly known to leak in several ways. The most common is fuel dumping on your boot from a grossly overflowing carburetor, typically from a side vent. Sometimes there is just a slow weeping or a slow leak from the very small hole in the bottom of the float bowl.

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Deer Whistles

Hearing Sensitivity in White-tailed Deer

Ken Risenhoover, Jon Hunter, Roy Jacobson, and Glenn Stout

Although white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) vocalizations have been recorded and described, virtually nothing is known about “audition” or the range of hearing by deer and other ungulates. To address this need, I conducted some controlled experiments in collaboration with Dr. Jon Hunter at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University. Audiograms were determined for 5 bottle-raised adult white-tailed deer (3 males, 2 females). While anesthesticized, deer brainstem evoked potentials were recorded from the frontal sinus, vertex, and dorsal border of the zygomatic arch. 

  

Stimuli consisted of 45-ms pure-tone pips (2 ms rise and fall time) from a McNaural SM-400 amplifier connected to a Nicolet Biomedical Instruments “Pathfinder II” and were delivered using Amplivox audiocup earphones held against the deers ears. Evoked potentials were recorded at intensity levels of up to 95 dB for frequencies of 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 12 and 16 Khz. Estimates of thresholds of hearing sensitivity for each frequency were based on averages for 1000 recorded responses.

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Sidecars

This article was originally intended to be a series of articles on sidecars and sidecaring.  I decided not to do multiple articles.  I update this article now and then, date of which is at the end area.

When reading this article, you will see that I have included a considerable amount of my own travails in building my first street-going sidecar rig. I was exceptionally anal about building it to be very strong and reliable with very good handling.  YOU can take advantage of all my work, GREATLY simplifying YOUR work, by reading carefully, and referring to the Author’s website articles on sidecaring, which have many photos and technical details & descriptions not in what you are now reading.  You can save a LOT of time and cost.  There are also articles on how to drive a sidecar rig, and many hints and things to know.  http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/index.html

Snowbum
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

In my earliest Airhead days, I wrenched-on & raced sidecars: BMW /2 and some on the /5 bikes. I won’t go much further here into my track or dirt racing (2 and 3 wheels, BMW, Norton, Vincent). For sidecar racing, during and after my initial position as Wrench, I was often the ‘monkey’ on the platform.   Eventually I became the driver. Back then, I NEVER did any sidecar driving on the street. Over the many years since, I became more interested in street type sidecar rigs, but did nothing, besides attending many sidecar rallies; in particular, the one held in Griffith Park, Los Angeles area.  I was always there on 2-wheels….at least until the turn of the century.
 
In 2000 I drove a few miles in the countryside on Hal Thompson’s factory Ural rig and found it lots of fun, although I felt awkward (my lack of recent experience no doubt), and it felt very tall, no doubt due to the fact that a racing sidecar rig is VERY low to the ground. I began thinking more seriously about building a rig to compliment whatever solo bikes I had.  There were other reasons too… I’d been suffering for years with back deterioration; and thought then, that the handwriting was on the wall for my dirt riding, let alone solo road riding.  I also wanted something ‘different.’ After 850K or so on motorcycles I was occasionally bored. I had some adventure touring in mind and thought that now might well be the time to have a sidecar outfit for myself.  Serious attention to back exercises has since kept the deterioration of my back to a minimum, although still troublesome. I can’t see myself giving up two wheel riding, not hardly, not until maybe in my eighties. But the idea of a sidecar rig WAS…and REMAINED… very appealing.  

In 2001 I built a sidecar rig for the street, an R100RT-Ural rig. It was very stoutly built.   I had it for quite some time. Some years later I purchased a rig and modified it extensively to my particular tasts, and I still have that one, a K1100LT-EML rig, with EZS tug equipment. I used both rigs on the street, occasionally hard-pack dirt roads, and sometimes drove them on ice and snow, and I have put a lot of long distance touring miles on the K bike rig, with my wife sometimes in the chair.  Over the years I have worked on a lot of street-going sidecar rigs that belonged to other folks.  I have seen some good rigs, and some awful rigs.  Sidecars need to be built Hell-For-Stout; and with real thought put into the over-all design.  They also absolutely must be aligned correctly, which is easier said than done.

Sidecar rigs are also known as ‘Outfits,’ ‘Combinations,’ Gespanne, and ‘Hack-Rigs’. The sidecar itself has had many names, including Hack and Chair.  Rigs are a lot of fun, & often attract a lot of attention from folks who would never think nice thoughts about motorcycles and motorcyclists. They can also be a PITA to learn to drive. They do NOT handle like cars, nor trikes, nor motorcycles. They change their handling characteristics in accelerating, and in braking, and handle totally differently on right turns than left turns. They are affected seriously by the changing crown of the road. They are more difficult, in some ways, to ‘drive’ really well, than riding a motorcycle; and can be more physically demanding….or, at least tiring. But, they are a lot of fun!   They are also one of the better answers for those who want to be ‘in the wind’ but have physical limitations.   Sidecars are NOT, however, just for ‘old guys’.  Sidecars allow you to ‘motorcycle’ even in the Winter.  They can carry a LOT, and even a single wheel drive sidecar rig can be usable on ice and snow.

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BMW Hand Pump

Here’s one left over from your grand dad’s day: BMW’s hand pump. This little gem is about 10″ long and fits easily within the top frame tube of a airhead motorcycle. That means it’s always with you in case you should have a problem with the air in your tires. It doesn’t need batteries, doesn’t hook to a spark plug hole, and doesn’t run on CO2. That means it will always work. A pretty comforting thought when your destination includes the ends of the earth.

About the only improvement I’ve been able to make is a little handle that attaches to the pump head that makes it easier to get it out of the frame. It’s made from a few loops of stainless steel safety wire and bent so that the loop sticks out of the frame far enough to be easily reached with your fingers.

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