Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Busy as a Beemer"

Been busy, busy, busy.
Received the "new" BMW Shocks for the sidecar so installed them today. Had to remove the mufflers to get to the bolts. These shocks only offer 3 positions for the springs, but have levers to adjust them. I always run on the highest position anyway.  The old "Marzocchi" shocks require a spanner tool to adjust the spring tension. After installation I remounted the saddle bags with the help of my Wife. I usually do it by myself but an extra set of hands really helped hold the bags in place while I fit the bolts.
Sitting on the bike, these shocks seem much stiffer. Haven't ridden the bike since installation.

The old Marzocchi shocks on the bike were tired and one started leaking some oil at some point. I just noticed the oil loss. These shocks are rebuildable but I have never rebuilt a shock and don't intend to start now. They will go onto EBay for someone else to rebuild. I got a lot of years use out of these. I see new ones from Italy are costing over $400.00 in most cases.

Pulled the wheels / hubs off the little trailer yesterday to repack the wheel bearings. The "castle nuts" holes through the axle are singular. The PO had tightened the castle nuts pretty tight to get to the next slot for the cotter pin. I prefer the bearings to be a bit more relaxed so after repacking the bearings I set them where I was comfortable with the bearing tension. Didn't want them too tight as that will cause more heat / wear quickly.
I've also been busy moving excess BMW parts via EBay. Sold a /7 fuel tank, some Dealer Repair Manuals, a Final Drive, a whole bunch of small misc. items.....things I just don't really have room for. I'll continue to go through the extra parts and sell some more. EBay selling isn't too big a hassle, but packaging and shipping is the  pain. The local Post Office is small and typically there will be 10 - 20 people waiting in line. I couldn't even get a "free" Flat Rate Box without waiting in line for 30 - 40 minutes. They used to have them out, but now you have to ask for one, which means waiting in line to even get a box. I call BS on that.
Shipping / packing costs are expensive. I "guesstimated" $39.00 to ship the large fuel tank. Had to buy a $6.00 roll of bubble wrap, a $10.00 Roll of foam rubber, two large boxes @ $2.00 each, plus packing tape (nearly used an entire roll)....then the shipping fee was $60.00 via UPS. Yikes, I missed that one by a mile. Took a nearly $40.00 "hit" over what I had estimated. Shipping a fuel tank takes a LOT of padding. I wrap the tank in bubble wrap, then wrapped it in soft cloth, then into a large garbage bag, then wrap the entire works in a new foam rubber mattress pad. The whole pile then goes into a large box, then another large box of the same size is fed over the other one. Then about a "mile" of tape goes round & round the box. I probably "over pack" such items but to ensure a safe delivery, care needs to be taken to avoid damage from the shipping / handling gorillas.
I went to the next town East of us the other day to mail stuff and get some boxes. It is a 39 mile round trip but is a good reason to get in a little it is over the Telegraph Pass so is a pretty drive.
I still have a large amount of parts to go through....more final drives, an R60 engine, 5 different transmissions. (Two in pieces and three complete). Just am not sure of their conditions as they came from derelict bikes. I've been "hoarding" a couple of transmissions for a number of years, a 4 speed and a 5 speed. I came into another "newer" (probably mid 70's) 5 speed the other day which I'll probably hang onto. Damn near have enough parts to assemble another bike. I have 3 frames (with titles)  sitting at a guys place 90 miles north of here. Need to go get them at some point.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Trailer First Impression

Couldn't get a passenger in the "chair" today.
Went ahead and loaded the typical plethora of camping gear we typically haul with us into the trailer.
A LOT of gear. Looking at the quantity of stuff, it is hard to imagine that all that crap usually goes onto the sidecar.
I ran about 10 miles around the area. The only way I could really tell I was pulling a trailer was by looking in the mirror and seeing it. If it drives as well with a passenger I'll be happy.
Of course highway speeds, corners, grades, etc. will be the real test. We're planning a camping trip in a couple of weeks. Maybe we can make an earlier run somewhere?

Also took delivery of a new Metzler K-Block Tire today from Chaparrel. They had the best prices around, just over a $100.00, + free shipping.
I've only run one other K-Block on the Tug,(currently have one on the sidecar) and it was a 50% used one and quite a few years old. I ate the remaining tread off it in about 1000 miles. Hopefully, with the trailer, this tire will live a little longer.(?)
I've been running the same tire on the chair, and it still looks at least 45% - 50%. The Avon 19" Sidecar tire on the front is also wearing long. I've gone through a couple tug tires with the other remaining tires hanging in there.

My "new" OEM BMW Shocks I purchased have been shipped so I should have them installed sometime next week. I've left the saddle bags off until I get the rear shocks installed.

Put a few miles on the R75/5 today, mainly around my area. Went to visit a "BMW" aquaintance but he wasn't home.
The /5 is fun to tool around on....but honestly I'd take the Goldwing any day for a ride of any distance. The /5 is a lot more of a "connected" machine, concerning the relationship between machine / rider. The Goldwing is a bit more distant in that aspect, if you understand what I mean.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Spent the majority of the day performing my least favorite task....wiring.
I've found that it takes a certain state of mind to perform wiring on motorcycles.I didn't photo anything while wiring....had quite a mess of things going on....I do not like "crimp" connectors, so opted to solder everything. Now,there are a few "crimp" connectors on the bike (due to laziness) but the majority of connections are soldered.

 Since I initially installed the wiring harness on this bike I know it quite well.....then I added the "Acewell" speedo / computer assembly, the "Stiebel" Air horn, an accessory / USB plug in the sidecar, plus the sidecar wiring, So.....I have quite a monstrosity of wiring going on......adding more?....argggg.

I started identifying the trailer wiring by hooking into the motorcycles system, but right away crossed up something and blew a fuse......spent 1/2 hour attempting to find my Euro fuse supply, which I finally did..... Decided to hook a separate battery up to "proof" the trailers wiring system. Removed the battery from my "new" /5 to perform that task.
I removed the motorcycle saddle bags to gain easier access to the wiring leads I needed to access. Plus The saddle bags need to come off to install the "new" shock absorbers I have coming my way. I see that the right "Marzocchi" shock was leaking oil, just as I figured since the damping effect disappeared a while back.
They are rebuildable, so it will go on EBay to someone willing to rebuild it.

The wiring itself wasn't difficult at all....running the wiring in a sanitary way was I've tapped so many wires into the tail light junctions, room was sparse. I ended up soldering all connections, then "heat shrinking" them for insulation. One attachment point (tail light) in the tail light housing had 5 different wires coming in, so I "gang soldered" them with a single lead coming out to attach to the tail light connection point.
I truly hope that no one else ever needs to figure out my wiring on this bike....I know what everything is and does...but .....God help someone else...LOL.
The "4 pin" connector I used requires crossing the signal lights into the brake light system....this simply will not work without running a separate wire for the brake lights. Rather than going through that, I opted to use the signal light connections to power the brake lights. This means I'll have no signal lights on the trailer, but the signals are readily visible on the bike as the trailer is attached. I'm thinking I'd rather have multiple brake lights rather than the option of no trailer brake lights. As it sits now, I have 6 brake lights, counting the lights on the saddle bags. The side markers and a rear center marker on the trailer are "LED" lights so I left them functional since their currant draw is minimal. There are 4 conventional rear marker lights on the trailers rear bumper....I opted to disconnect them to lower draw on the system.

I made a quick run to the local Market for supplies with the trailer an unloaded condition, I could not really tell it was back there.
Tomorrow, I'll load a pile of camping gear into the trailer, force the "Navigator" into her position and we'll begin our "road tests".

Thursday, January 16, 2014

"Hitch'in a ride"

Been contemplating the trailer hitch fabrication for the sidecar rig for the past few weeks. I had lots of different scenarios going through my head. Initially thought I would build a hitch that comes off the back of the bike. But that would take a lot of welding fabrication and $$$$ that I wasn't prepared to spend. Plus I may not like the trailer towing scenario and didn't want to have a huge investment in the deal.
After inquiring about other trailer attachments to other sidecars I decided to mount to the sidecar frame, rather than the bike. A very simple solution came together.

I ended up running a 5' section of heavy 1.5" tubing from the front frame through the rear frame, extending out enough for turning clearance. The receiver hitch plugged right into it after filing down the internal weld seam.

The front attachment was done by drilling through the tubing, placing metal spacers inside the tubing, (to prevent compression of the tubing) and using a u-bolt to attach it.
The rear was done similarly, except no drilling of the tubing (which would create a weak spot). I used a 3/8" thick steel plate and simply attached to the frame with u-bolts.
The strength of the tubing should be sufficient. I cannot deflect the tubing  when standing on it with my 160 lbs. I think the weak spot is likely the u-bolts as they are an "off the shelf" variety from the hardware store. I'll need to find some stronger "grade 8" u-bolts.
I utilized all 5' of the tubing piece I bought. I might be able to shorten the tubing at the receiver end, which will decrease the leverage on the attachment point. Right now I'll leave it at the length it is for the "road tests".
The current length also allows plenty of clearance for tight turns, shortening it much may allow the  attached cooler to hit the sidecar in a tight parking lot turn.

I ran the rig around the block a couple times and couldn't feel any real difference in handling with the empty trailer attached.The trailer tongue has a spare tire mounted to it under the cooler. I'll probably remove the tire and leave it off to lower the tongue weight.
I'll tackle the light wiring tomorrow. The trailer has a lot of additional lights wired to it. I'll disconnect all but the required lights.
 Then I'll load the trailer with camping gear, have my "navigator"  hop in and we'll run some miles around the area to see how it handles.
I have reservations mounting the hitch away from the tug wheel as it will effect braking and cornering to some extent. The road tests will tell. Hopefully the over taxed airhead can handle this addition. The whole point of this is to take some of the load off the bikes' frame.

 Decided it was time to retire the old period "Marzocchi" shocks I've had on the bike for the past couple years. Their "damping" action is getting pretty tired with the heavy sidecar use. I could rebuild them but am not into shock rebuilding. The shocks below are low mile EBay specimens that are in good condition. I looked for some original 1974 "shrouded" stock shocks but functional ones are hard to come by. The shocks below are for a R100/7 and should work fine on the sidecar rig. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

One Mans Junk is another Mans....Junk

The R100 mono met its' fate today.
It will be relegated to the knife and sacrificed to help other old BMW's live again.
I found a low compression reading on one cylinder yesterday so that seriously affected the final value of the bike. The buyer brought over a collection of some old BMW parts. I see things I can use and some I can't but all have some value.
 The large fuel tanks are in pretty good shape. 5 final drives in various condition. Three real good, two real bad.

A pair of transmission cases and internals for one. Four swing arms, two rear sub frames, some dealer workshop manuals and other items.

An extra R60 motor and transmission too.

I wanted a different (and straight) rear swing arm for the sidecar bike so now I have a few different ones to choose from. Might keep one fuel tank for a spare for the sidecar. Funny...I looked over the final drives and recognized that one of them used to belong to me. What goes around comes around.

Ended up at a friends place to help install a rear MC tire. I immediately noticed that a rear bearing was loose in the wheel hub. After some research we found that it was a common issue with this particular bike. Rather than entire wheel replacement, there were some easy fixes explained, using epoxies so we proceeded to perform the repair. After completion I think it will work...we'll see. Anyway we got the tire mounted, the hub repair done and a couple of minor maintenance tasks done.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Road Tests

I've had the /5 out on a few "road tests". The bike seems to run just fine although the electric starter won't function, likely because of the worn out Odyssey battery I've installed.
I'm still working on trying to get accustomed to the low "Euro" handlebars. The "jury is still out" on those....

 After a couple short rides I changed the engine oil / filter. I decided to remove the oil pan and check the oil pickup attachment bolts. Over time the expansion / contraction of the alloy cases can cause these bolts to become loose. If that occurs oil pressure loss will occur which is a BAD thing. 
 The pan came off and no ugly deposits were found. The oil pickup sump bolts were somewhat about a 1/2 turn on each one....glad I took the time to check them.
 The sump bolts are under the metal "filter" screen.
 I ordered a new "Odyssey" battery and it showed up today. Installed it in the /5 and the electric starter now works fine.
Also picked up some black touch up paint and spent an hour or so on touching up small spots of paint damage on the frame. Nothing large but a lot of small scratches.

Decided to take a little 100+ mile ride the other day. Ran East over to the Mohawk Valley. Stopped at a junky Flea Market in Wellton AZ and found some nice Vintage German made wrenches a guy was selling. He had dozens of them...mostly "Dowidat" Tools, which were made for Mercedes Benz....very good wrenches. He had a couple of double ring spanners I had to have.
Wasn't quite ready to run the /5 any long distances yet due to the sketchy battery that was installed, so fired up the Honda....which I must admit is a comfortable bike to ride distances.

 Stopped along an old service road which ran over a wash. Very old concrete bridge. Might have been the old original highway?
The old Goldwing just purrs along at 75mph and still gets 40 mpg.

I've decided that the R100 needs to find a new home. Had it sold a while back but I backed out of the deal since I thought I might need the carbs for the /5. Ends up that I will not need them.
I listed the bike on Craigslist. A guy from up the road 80 miles contacted me. He and I had done some business 4 years ago...he bought a load of BMW parts I had.
He is getting out of the older BMW's in favor of the Mono Shock Models. He's offered a lot of his old parts as partial trade towards the R100. He's bringing over some fuel tanks, final drives, a couple of braced swing arms, a R60 engine / transmission, and maybe some fenders.
I can always use the spare parts and will maybe sell off some of the stuff I don't need.
I have a few items on EBay right I just don't need sitting around and some duplicate tools I already have.
I spent a little time on the R100 today...wanted to check the valve clearances, (which were pretty close) and wanted to perform a cylinder compression check. Ends up the right cylinder compression is low. Getting a leak into the right exhaust, so likely have a worn valve / seat or maybe crap on the valve seat from sitting. If the engine sat with the exhaust valve open, rust can accumulate on the seat causing leakage. So anyway, I will disclose that to the potential buyer....glad I checked it anyway.
I am especially interested in the BMW OEM Braced rear swing arms. I think the swing arm on my sidecar tug is a bit "Tweaked" as the wheel doesn't seem to sit perfectly vertical when stationary. It is not too far off but seems "off" a degree or two to me. Sometimes I'll look at it and think it is straight...other times it appears "off ". Maybe it's just me? lol
Not sure if a 1979 Braced Swing Arm will fit a 1974 Chassis...guess I'll find out.

Friday, January 3, 2014

"Fire in the Hole"

Spent all day working on the /5 today.
Tackled the rear signal light wiring .
 The old light bar was bent up and a new OEM one was in the spares box. The new one was longer.

(click on photos to enlarge)

 Wiring was a piece of cake with the "pinch" connections. Had to consult the wiring diagram to identify the tail light vs brake light wires. I knew what all the other ones were from previous experience.
 The light bar is a couple inches longer. The panniers contact the back of the signal housings when the panniers are mounted. No harm but I should shorten the bars a couple inches on each end.
Decided to install the pannier rack since I'm in an "assembly" mode.
Replaced some of the fuel lines with new fabric cover German fuel line and installed some in line fuel filters. An import car parts shop in town had it by the meter. Bought a couple meters worth. That should last me a while.

 I found that the previous owner supplied me keys for the pannier latches and the fork lock too.
I "dry fitted" the rear top case just to see how it sat. Don't know if I'll ever use it but I have it just in case.

I charged up a crap Odyssey battery I had and installed. My Wife fired up a video camera for the initial start up but the bike didn't fire. The battery isn't good enough to power the electric starter so the kick starter was used.
As soon as my wife gave up on the filming, the engine came to life. It idled as if it was just ran yesterday. Pretty good considering it hasn't run for nearly 10 years.

 I checked all the fluid levels and ran it around a couple of blocks. Came back home and looked things over. Realized I had no mirrors....There were half a dozen in the spares box so I fitted the best pair on the bike. Found a minor fuel leak from the right petcock at the fuel tank. Loosened / re tightened a couple times and it sealed up. Then ran the bike for a few miles out to the edge of the desert bombing range.
It has been a few years since I rode a /5 BMW. The "clunky" shifting transmission and gear whine brought back memories of my previous /5's.   The "non OEM" color definitely is growing on me.
 I am happy with the bike and the assembly was painless and held no surprises.
I'll change out the fluids / filter tomorrow and probably check the valve clearances. The bike runs great but the idle is a little erratic. Higher than normal at times and fluctuates some. I found a "Bing" kit for installing vacuum ports for the carbs. This requires drilling into the carb bodies to fit the ports. Makes me a bit nervous to drill into the carbs but I'll likely install them at some point so I can utilize my vacuum operated carb synchronizing equipment.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Wagons Ho"..... BMW R75/5 Coming back to life

Whew....busy day today. Got rolling pretty early and off to town (16 miles) to pick up fuel filters, fuel lines, some replacement bolts, and a part for my Wife's car. (Broken visor mount)

I'd made arrangements to look at a small MC trailer. As I got close to home I spotted the trailer at a "for sale by owner" lot down the street from my house. The trailer was listed dirt cheap ($300.00) so I was very interested. I knew it would not sit on the lot for more than a day at the ridiculously low asking price. I had the seller pull it to my house so I could line it up to the sidecar rig to see how feasible it  be to attach. Needless to say, I am now the owner of a MC trailer:

("click" on photos to enlarge)
 The frame is real simple and most of the trailer consists of the fiber glass box. Has a spare tire / cooler too.
The "roof rack" is mounted backwards. The upright frame should be towards the rear?...guess not....the direction of the opening top lid requires the rack to be as mounted.....

 Tires, including the spare, are new and wheel bearings replaced a few miles back. Tongue is a "swivel" set up so could be used on the Goldwing if I wanted.
Interior is upholstered and clean. Not sure how long the "Harley Davidson" mud flaps will stay....
All in all a nice little trailer. Can't beat the price, that's for sure. Not sure how well the sidecar will handle the weight. I'll rig a simple hitch to give it some road time around here to see how it handles.

 Busy on the bike today too. I removed the headlight ring and "tapped out" a dent in the ring with a tiny ball peen hammer. The dent is basically gone but the chrome is still scarred. Oh well.
I hooked up the front and rear brakes which had been disconnected. The rear brake rod was bent crazily so I carefully straightened it out, then lightly lubricated all the swivel points before reassembling the rear linkages. We now have brakes.
I mounted the new rear tire / tube. The new front tire wasn't properly seated so I deflated it, cleaned the rim and re-lubed before re-inflating it. This time it seated immediately. The rim appears to spin "true", so hopefully it will drive OK.

 The petcocks were cleaned up and installed with the fuel tank. The tank cap would not latch properly so a little "tweeking" was performed on the tank cap lip, which corrected the problem.
The fenders were installed, along with new rubber washers which protect the paint from being damaged from contact with the mounts.The previous owner even powder coated the under fender plate washers which mount the fenders, they were dirty and just wiped clean with hardly any effort. So far I'm not finding any surprises going over the bike. It has some flaws....a couple of "chipped" fins on the underside of the valve covers, some paint scratches, a small "ding" in the fuel tank, the "ding" in the headlight rim, etc....but these are all minor aesthetic issues which I can live with since this will be a bike to be ridden, not looked at....
 I removed the 1" + spacers which were mounted under the solo seat, giving it extra height. It felt awkward to me and lowering it made a difference for the seating position.
 I took a liking to the little "period" parcel rack which was amongst the spare parts so went ahead and mounted it after some scrubbing / cleaning.
 I did not yet mount the luggage frame / rack for the panniers. They bolt up easily so might leave them off until I need them. The mufflers were stained and a bit dirty so scrubbed them down and cleaned them up. They are in excellent condition and are the correct "Zuena" cigar mufflers for the bike.
 The rear signal light mounting bar also has a crazy bend in it. Luckily the previous owner had purchased a BMW replacement unit, which is black, rather than chrome. I prefer the black anyway, so that task will be next. I'll have to research my wiring diagrams in preparation for wiring them back in.

So...getting real close to having a driving motorcycle here. Another day of work should see it running. Once I have it running, I'll replace all fluids, reset the valve clearances, reset the points and check the timing. Unfortunately these early Bing carbs don't have vacuum ports for the carb synchronization tools I have. I'll likely have a bit of trial and error getting them set up.
I forgot how "short' the short wheel base /5's were. It looks tiny in relation to my Gold wing.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.