Bing Carburetor Floats and Float Needles

Bing carburetors FLOAT NEEDLES, whether the pure slide type carburetor, or the CV type carburetor, both as used on BMW Airhead motorcycles, come in several varieties. In general, TWO present-day available versions will fit all the Airheads carburetors. Very early carburetors had a solid metal needle. That needle was available in more than one ‘style’, but for all, there was NO rubber tip nor a Viton tip, tip was simply part of the float needle. The later type of needle, that most of Airhead owners have, is similar to the photograph below. The needle shown in this photograph has a spring loaded plunger with a hole in it, with the easy-to-lose wire clip, and RED tip material. GRAY-BLACK tipped material will also be seen. I suggest purchasing the stock type needles from your BMW parts supplier, and not Bing themselves.

The all-metal needle used on early models is a different size, and will not properly fit later carburetors, and, vice-versa. Be sure to get the correct needle. If you want to install a Viton-tipped needle in a carburetor that used the Bing all-metal needle, you can, per Bud Provin (TheNickwackettGarage.com), who says to use the very common float needle used on many old Amal carburetors, as used on old British bikes. The part can be found on a simple internet search, for float needle 622/197; or, as 013, 622/197.

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R100GS Bing Needle & Jet Replacement

Sooner or later you’re going to run into someone who will insist that the needles and needle jets in your Bing constant velocity carburetors are shot, at mileages somewhere north of 30,000. The story is that the needle rubs on the needle jet and they wear each other out. I’d been noticing a drop off in mileage (to around 34 mpg on the highway) and decided, at almost 50,000 miles, to take that advice. The work took me about an hour and didn’t take any special tools. I started by turning off the fuel and dropping the float bowls. I’d upgraded to alcohol proof floats a year or so ago, along with alcohol proof lines. That meant there weren’t any problems getting the bowl loose, and there wasn’t much sediment in the bowl itself.

As you can see, there’s a big difference in the way the new floats work. So much difference, in fact, that the kit includes a new float bowl, new float needle and keeper in addition to the floats themselves (pictured at left).

The bottom of the carb (top of page) is modified as well, with a new set of lever arms to engage the pins on the side of the floats.

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