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Old 03-28-2008, 10:33 PM   #44
Nixels
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Joined: Sep 2006
Location: West Oakland, CA
Oddometer: 7,607
Installing Hepco-Becker Crash Guards on an E900

I got the crash bars on yesterday - it was pretty straightforward after reading the instructions - Hedge36 had figured it out Wednesday night. I ground an angle in the L-bracket, and widened the mounting hole for that side - and it all went together pretty well. When you do this to your 'Fant, you may have some other little glitch instead of the metal of the L-bracket hitting the frame. Just be prepared to fiddle and fuss to get it right.

They look great - and I'm really happy with the outcome.

Here's a description of the process:

Get directions out of the bag.
Learn German.
Read carefully.



Note the detail and accuracy of the illustration.
At this point, the best thing you can do is throw them away and take your best shot at figuring it out yourself.

Michael has good instructions that he emails to customers when they purchase, so that will do you - if you don't get them, email him and he'll send them to you.

I'm a little s l o w, so it took me longer to understand than it should have. I had to redo some things, but I eventually got there. These instructions are an attempt to help out other challenged mahouts.

The right side should be pretty straightforward - but you should check the hole in the L-bracket that mounts to the engine bolt. If it's not large enough, you may have to route it out - I didn't but who knows what you'll get.

In order to put these in place, you have to take out the top rear engine bolt - this is a hosy little thing that's about 10mm in diameter and goes through the frame rails and engine mount. It's hosy because the bolt has two threaded heads on it, and they may spin or not, depending on who took them out last. Use a breaker bar if you have one, or if you're lucky, just a couple of allen sockets does the trick. I spun off the left side nut and then used an allen wrench to drive the bolt out of the right side.

Now that you've removed the engine bolt, get a soft drift (I had a 1" piece of oak and a hammer) and drive out the aluminum spacers on either side of the engine/frame assembly. These are tight fitting buggers, but you don't want to whack them with something hard that may mess with frame/engine alignment. Once you've got them out - don't mix them up, they'll help you measure the replacement spacers as the kit gives you three. Two the same length and one that is narrower.

Take off the two bolts that hold the rear brake switch assembly onto the front frame rail. You'll need to keep the nuts, as the kit doesn't give you new ones.


Sorry for the out of focus image

Now you can hang the right crash bar. Put the two new bolts through the frame/brake switch assembly and just spin on the nuts - don't tighten yet. You'll need a lot of wiggle room when you put the back spacer and L-bracket next to the engine.

NOTE: If your crash bar L-bracket doesn't slide right up against the frame tube, you may need to put it in a vice and carefully bend it to the proper angle. This is part of the reason to keep the front bolts loose.

Ok, warm-up exercises are over, now you're ready for the big time. Take the left crash bar and put the L-bracket inside the frame tube - it should look like this:



Now go to the front and align the crash bar mounting tab on the INSIDE of the frame tube. If you put it on the outside - like I did, you may get it in place, or it may seem impossible. Either way - if the crash bar mounting tab is between the frame tube and the gas tank, it's in the wrong position. This is the wrong way to do it:



You may have noticed on the L-bracket image that the thickness of the metal at the top of the bracket is hitting the frame and stops it from seating all the way. With it sitting outside the frame, you can see how the meat of the L-bracket has to be pared down to fit.



I took my crash bar over to a buddy's and used his drill press - that metal's thick and hard. Then I ground about a 30 angle into the L-bracket to make it possible to snug it up against the frame. Sorry, no pix - I didn't take the camera with me. What was I thinking?

A little spray paint, and we're back in business. On it goes - fairly straightforward now. There's a fiddle getting the front crash bar mounting bracket and u-bolt to marry up, but a little forceful persuasion, and they were mated as one.


Again, my apologies for the out of focus image - the 'Fant moved.

Now let's talk about the position of that front mounting tab, shall we? As I mentioned, it will go on between frame and gas tank, but it won't do you any good to put it there.

Unless you like being frustrated - and doing things twice.

The distance between the two crash bars is measured so that the connecting bar will reach. If the left front attachment is outside the frame, the connecting bar is exactly the frame tube's thickness.

After removing the U-bolt, I pulled the crash bar down to the bottom of the frame and slid it over and back up into position. When I put the U-bolt around the oustide of the frame and fixed the mounting tab on the inside of the frame tube, everything lined up beautifully.



Having brought yourself this far, you may feel like you're on the downhill side and you can take it easy. It is true, you've accomplished quite a bit, and the number of actions left are few, however you're dealing with an Italian machine and a German product - and it is your job to match these up successfully. Kinda like trying to be the marriage counsellor for Liz Taylor and Richard Burton - or any of her boytoys.

The next step in the process is to grind the new mounting spacers to fit with the new crash bars in place. Bear in mind that the spacers go next to the engine and the crash bars snug up against the inside of the frame tubes.

Once everything's in place, set the spacer right above the cavity it is designed to fill. Note how much material has to come off the side of the spacer to slide into space. Remember - taking off aluminum is no problem - putting it back on, well, that's a bit more difficult. You're going to have to remove about 1/16" to 1/8" of material, but do it in stages:

Grind, check fit.
Grind, check fit.
Grind, check.... you get the idea.

Having ground the right side, I put it in place and use my soft drift to get it in and lined up. You'll be amazed at how much of a challenge this can be - the crash bar mount will travel downward as you guide the spacer into place. This is a great opportunity for you to learn your fiddling and finessing technique - beating the spacer from the bottom up after you've gone too far; beating them both to align and realizing your working against yourself - it's all so much fun, I don't want to spoil it for you.

Bring a little patience to the party - it'll go better than Coke.



Head on over to the sinister side and repeat the process of driving home your spacer against your mounting bracket.

I know, it's not frustrating at all, just a sheer joy of marrying materials with your excellent craft skills.

And it's so much fun that you easily line up the hole in the frame with the mounting bracket, spacer, engine, spacer, mounting bracket and frame. Once you think they're lined up, you would do well to get a 10mm rod about 24" long, and start to gently drive it through, thus aligning everything. If you don't have that, be very, very gentle - like you are with your soulmate when you make sweet love to them. (Gender neutral, for those that like the menfolk). Why be gentle, you ask? Threaded rod to fit this bike is somewhat hard to come by and if things aren't lined up, your threads will bear the brunt of your blows and be somewhat less than cooperative when threading on the nuts.

Locktite your bunghole nut on one side, let it set up for an hour or more (do this when you pull the rod out). Assuming you have thread left, and that you got the rod to go all the way through, you've pretty well finished up.

Either you're screaming because it took so long, or you're relieved that it only took as long as it did. The final task is to mount the cross member at the front to tie the two crash bars together. You now have a stout, German cage around your delicate unobtanium Acerbis (French!) fairing and tank. You're beginning to look alot like an ADV'er.

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