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New member in Williamsburg, VA

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James Winkelhake
(@18500)
Posts: 3
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Hi everyone!

 I’m new to Airheads and to the forum. About  two months ago I bought a 1980 R100T and am super excited to get her running and  on the road. 

I’m just trying to get through the first oil change but looking forward to many mor  projects. She was well cared for by the previous owner and I have much more planned!  

Just wanted to introduce myself. So far I’ve poured through the forum. What a wealth of info!

 
Posted : 11/11/2023 13:18
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2545
Member
 

Welcome !

Some tips to get you started...

• It would be better to simply drain and refill the engine oil until you fully understand about the "white (square section) O-ring" on the oil filter. No matter what your off-brand filter came with, using only the official white O-ring from BMW is best.

Here's the technical story: https://bmwmotorcycletech.info/Oil.htm

• We've seen a rash of broken oil by-pass springs recently. Seems like the springs have a 30 year life. When the spring breaks, all the oil by-passes the oil filter, so it's important to check. You can only check/ repair this spring when the oil filter is removed. To check, poke it with a long thin rod and see if you have about 3mm (1/8 inch) spring action on the ball itself. 

The ball lives here...

Collapsed spring on the Left; new spring on the Right
?1

• Most members are running 20W50 API rating SF/SG (such as Valvoline VR-1) in the engine.

• Your shifting will dramatically improve if you will run (the same)  synthetic gear oil in the gearbox, drive shaft AND final drive. No need to get fancy with super-expensive gear oils, regular Valvoline will do just fine. That should be changed once a year due to water build-up (not being "worn-out" oil as you do with the engine oil).

 

More tips here... https://www.airheads.org/community/wrenching/new-owner-primer-tips-to-get-your-airhead-back-on-the-road/

This post was modified 6 months ago 2 times by Richard W

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/12/2023 06:17
James Winkelhake
(@18500)
Posts: 3
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Thanks for the information!  I didn't know to check the ball spring and have the oil filter already changed.  I'll have to pull the cover and the filter soon to check that out.  I did read all about the o-ring and quickly found out I shouldn't use the paper gasket.  The bike came with one but when I tried to use, I couldn't get the cover to seal properly.  After re-reading the information on measuring the gap I realized I shouldn't use the paper gasket.  Just a shim and the o-ring.  I missed the bit about checking that ball spring.  I'll probably just order a new one and swap that out next chance I get.  

Now I'm on to checking all the electrical and replacing the rest of the fluids.  I hoped to ride it down to the fuel station to fuel up the tank but I'm losing all power once the engine gets to operating temperatures.  This week I hope to go through the electrical, check the valves, and change the rest of the fluids.  I'll probably just buy new wires (already have the new plugs).  Looking forward to learning more about these airheads!

 
Posted : 11/12/2023 12:32
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2545
Member
 

Posted by: @18500

This week I hope to go through the electrical, check the valves, and change the rest of the fluids.  I'll probably just buy new wires (already have the new plugs).  Looking forward to learning more about these airheads!

• Do you mean plug wires ? Those MUST be metal-core wires, and not the resistive core wires cars use.

• Those plug wires are always replaced with the plug caps. They should have an internal resistance of 5K Ohm and a 90° bend works better than straight. NGK offers some that work very well. They are ~$3 each. 

If you don't feel like messing with it, Motorrad Eliktrik sells a pre-made set that is very nice. http://motoelekt.com/

 

I wouldn't fill up the tank with the end of riding season fast approaching.

 

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/14/2023 15:44
James Winkelhake
(@18500)
Posts: 3
Active Member
Topic starter
 

Posted by: @wobbly

Posted by: @18500

This week I hope to go through the electrical, check the valves, and change the rest of the fluids.  I'll probably just buy new wires (already have the new plugs).  Looking forward to learning more about these airheads!

• Do you mean plug wires ? Those MUST be metal-core wires, and not the resistive core wires cars use.

• Those plug wires are always replaced with the plug caps. They should have an internal resistance of 5K Ohm and a 90° bend works better than straight. NGK offers some that work very well. They are ~$3 each. 

If you don't feel like messing with it, Motorrad Eliktrik sells a pre-made set that is very nice. http://motoelekt.com/

 

I wouldn't fill up the tank with the end of riding season fast approaching.

 

 

I did mean plug wires and caps.  I'll check out Motorrad Eliktrik.  I happened to find them the other day and it looks like they have nice stuff.  

This is a dumb question but is it better to leave the tank empty when not riding?  I live in Virginia, so I don't really have a full winter season.  We get nice winter days worth riding and seldom see snow so salt isn't an issue really.  

*EDIT* Nevermind!  I just read your reminder to winterize thread.  Great info!!!

This post was modified 6 months ago by James Winkelhake
 
Posted : 11/15/2023 19:26
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2545
Member
 

• For small engines (mowers, chain saws, blowers, etc.) I treat the "fill can" with StarTron. If the stabilizer is infused throughout the entire fuel system, then you'll be OK with once a month use. Small engines filled from a common fuel can run a much greater risk of phase separation, and thus carb damage due to ethanol. But motorcycles are rarely filled from a common can.

• The problems arise for the motorcycles when going into Winter, knowing that there will be fewer nice days. If you treat just the bike's fuel tank at that point, then the stabilizer never makes it into the carbs. It's the tiny passageways in the carb together with the presence of ethanol fuels that are the problem area. So if it works out that you get in zero rides over the winter, you could be looking at carb issues come spring. Since no one knows in November what their exact ride schedule will be in January, IMHO the prudent thing to do is take moderate precautions.

• A secondary issue concerns the pull of gravity, which is very hard to turn OFF. When you leave a bike's tank with fuel for months (full or otherwise), the fuel can flow down, past the petcocks, into the engine... where it dilutes the engine oil. At some future date, you come to the garage, crank the bike and take a 50 mile ride. When you get back there will be irreversible engine damage. 

Sometimes you may see the oil level has gone up on the dipstick. Sometimes a huge slug of oil/gas mixture is thrown out of the sump and onto the ground. Or in the case of an Airhead... onto your left foot. But you can't always count on these signals. So the safest thing to do in all cases is to snap off the float bowls during even short duration (2+ months for winter) storage.

 

► With the float bowls removed, no jets can be clogged and no fuel can enter the engine oil. That's a simple, moderate, foolproof solution that works in ALL locations on ALL Airheads, regardless of length of storage. 

This post was modified 6 months ago 3 times by Richard W

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/17/2023 05:48
Steven Rankin
(@14724)
Posts: 197
Estimable Member
 

I do not have access to Oak's write ups however reading Robert Fleischer's (Snowbum) write ups, I find that for winter storage he does prefer to drain the tank for long periods however, he adds if  that is not possible use of fuel stabilizer is fine with at least a three quarter full tank.  Mr. Fleischer, then gives mix instructions.

The only comment I found about leaking petcocks was a reference to cork gaskets shrinking due to dryness possibly causing the petcock to leak.   Not an issue with this bike in question.

So far as I can find, the only cause of leakage (and Usually as written the gas goes out the float bowl overflow onto the floor) is due to float issues. This issue ONLY happens if the petcock is left on.

In just about twenty years of forum activity as well as my first hand knowledge, Petcock seepage or leakage is rare but I will admit happens on high mileage older bikes or in a recent case in the UK on a bike being restored.  IN that case, the owner filled the tank and had issues with aged dry gaskets and bad floats.  He did not get a trickle of gas but the full flood.  in that case, the carb did send gas to the engine and the engine was flooded.   Many things here contributed to this problem.  Said owner has fixed the problem and realizes with hind site he should have checked things out first before adding gas.

My knowledge of non BMW airhead bikes is minuscule.  I have never worked on anything but BMW airheads never on the /2 bikes.

I have heard rumors some OM bikes are prone to engine flooding if the gas is left on.  I have heard rumors some of the gas shut off systems on OM bikes can be unreliable.  I really don't care and I would never tell a Honda owner how to make repairs or how to repair his bike as I don't know enough about Honda bikes.

If someone has access to Oak's write ups and show me he says drain the tank because petcocks on properly maintained BMW airheads, not /2 bikes is the cause of a flooded engine rather than a puddle on the floor and it is a regular rather than very rare occurrence, I might just change my mind about draining the tank for winter storage.  

Until then, I will stick to my experience with strictly airheads and take offense when called casual.   Forty years and thousands of hours working on motorcycles is a great accomplishment.  However, if you spent only a fraction of time with airheads, maybe not so.

I may not have forty years and thousands of hours of work on airheads but I am not a casual mechanic when it comes to airheads. I would match my experience at the least with most of the fellows who host Airhead tech days.   St.

 

Beware! I do not suffer fools gladly! St.

 
Posted : 11/21/2023 09:36
Eric Zwicky
(@13780)
Posts: 19
Eminent Member
 

Howdy James!   I’m in Richmond so let me know if you ever need help with something.    I’ve got a ‘76 R90/6 and I’m restoring an ‘80 R100RS.    
We’re also lucky to have Dave Carmean near us.  He’s a few miles east of the airport, not quite in New Kent County.  
my email address is ezwicky2@gmail.com or ezairhead@gmail.com. 
I was thinking about organizing a tech day next Spring , I’ll keep you posted.  

Eric Zwicky

RVA

 

 

 
Posted : 11/23/2023 12:03
Eric Zwicky
(@13780)
Posts: 19
Eminent Member
 

@wobbly riding season is year-round in Central VA

 
Posted : 11/23/2023 15:21
Richard W
(@wobbly)
Posts: 2545
Member
 

Posted by: @13780

@wobbly riding season is year-round in Central VA

Thank you. That's nice to know. It's the same where I live in Georgia.

However, I'm writing for all members in all locations. Trying to raise awareness of a completely preventable issue that sidelines many Airheads annually. And trying to describe a moderate, easy to implement solution that works for all members. 

"No man knows the future." And so please describe what happens to your year-round Virginia riding season when "old uncle Joe" in Arizona dies on Dec 26 and you have to go out there for 2 months to be executor of his estate? Or, you slip on ice, stairs, ladder (pick one) and (God forbid) break your hip, femur, clavicle, wrist (pick one)? Goodbye year-round riding season. Hello carb issues.

 

The last shop I worked in only worked on motorcycles older than 30 years. The reason I quit was because for 2 whole years about 85% of my total work load was simply rebuilding carbs and draining gasoline from sumps. Totally 100% preventable issues.

Again I'm only trying to raise awareness of a very real fuel-related issue. 

 

 

This post was modified 6 months ago 2 times by Richard W

Owning an old Airhead is easy.
Keeping an old Airhead running great is the true test.

 
Posted : 11/23/2023 17:52
Nick Stokes
(@10244)
Posts: 3
New Member
 

I'm a bit late to this posting but I'm just down the road in Yorktown.

Feel free to drop me a note - stokes.np@verizon.net

I own two Airheads and two K75Ss with a well-outfitted shop, Handy lift, No-Mar tire changer and tools to handle all maintenance and many repairs.

 

Nick

 
Posted : 05/20/2024 17:02
Mike Buhler
(@16813)
Posts: 207
Reputable Member
 

Nice repost of this thread. 

 
Posted : 05/21/2024 05:29

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