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Old 09-26-2006, 05:22 PM   #1
elmoreman OP
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Airhead "Tips and Tricks"

Here's my idea (if i find the thread on page 20 in a few days I'll know that others disagree with its simple pragmatic design )

This thread is for all those little tips and tricks we have for our beloved Airheads. If someone were to be new to the fold, he or she could read this one thread and get all kinds of valuable information. I think that anything from how to properly choke the bike, to best places for cheap parts, to what tires will fit a g/s--anything airhead related. An encyclopedia of tips and tricks in one thread.

Sometimes you don't know to ask the question until you've heard the answer...perhaps we can remedy that.

So I'll kick it off with a silly one, but one that has saved me nonetheless.
Take out your toolkit, and with a Sharpie marker, write the number of tools in each slot. Now everytime I'm done working on the bike, I dont have to search around to see if I'm forgetting a tool on the floor, underneath my kids bike, or placed in the fishing boat. If there are 5 tools in the 5 tool slot, I'm good to wrap it up and squish it under the seat.

All right... who's next? JT perhaps??
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:32 PM   #2
Lornce
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Airheads equipped with ate disc brakes all have the master cylinder mounted beneath the fuel tank (R75,90/6's R90S's R60,75,80&100/7's made before '81)

(with the exception of '79 R65's which use ate calipers ripped off from a brembo design and use a proper bar-mounted master cylinder).... but I digress....

When bleeding the brakes on ate equipped bikes.... ALWAYS remove the fuel tank and loosen the master cylinder from the band clamp that secures it to the frame.... and tip if forward.... you'll very likely see a few bubbles rise to the surface of the m/c's reservoir..... This is air that would otherwise never leave the system because of the angle the m/c's mounted to the frame.

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Old 09-26-2006, 06:51 PM   #3
STUFF2C
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Just bought a NEW lawn and tractor battery from autozone for $22. takes a little work to get the first one in. I had to take the 4 bolts out of the rear fender to get it in. (and yes you put them back)

My last one lasted 5+ years.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:01 PM   #4
clang
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I do all my maintenance with the tool kit I carry on the bike. I have a fairly complete shop, but now I'm sure I have the tools to handle any task that arises on a trip, short of needing to order major new parts to install. Any time I ran across some tool I didn't have, I added it. Everything still fits in a small tool box -about 4" X 5" X 12"
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Old 09-27-2006, 06:34 AM   #5
MikeyT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STUFF2C
Just bought a NEW lawn and tractor battery from autozone for $22. takes a little work to get the first one in. I had to take the 4 bolts out of the rear fender to get it in. (and yes you put them back)

My last one lasted 5+ years.
Is there a real advantage to one of those? I've been very favorably impressed with sealed/AGM batteries on my other bikes. Lazy old pharte that I am, I really don't like to check/add water several times a season, so I'll spend a couple of bux not to have to.
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:14 AM   #6
Wirespokes
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I think the best bet in batteries is Digikey.com. Get the Panasonic sealed battery that's about the same size, but will slide down between the frame rails without dismantling either the aircleaner or loosening the subframe. They're only about $44 and if you get three, shipping is free. I've seen too many acid stains on mufflers so am willing to spend more to prevent that.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:27 AM   #7
jtwind
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Here's a few tips aimed at first time airhead guys.

There are three fasteners holding your valve covers on, not just the big center nut. Can't tell you how many folks start whacking their valve covers without removeing the 10 mm nuts on the back side.

Remove and antisieze your exhaust nuts once a year. If they don't come off, DON'T FORCE, hacksaw a line or drill accross the threads and use a cold chisel to split them off. Forcing them will wreck the threads on the heads, a $125-150 repair.

Remove the battery ground wire before you remove the front cover. Failure to do so and touching the diode board can easily short out and be a $$ repair. JT
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:29 AM   #8
jdiaz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvrla
I think the best bet in batteries is Digikey.com. Get the Panasonic sealed battery that's about the same size, but will slide down between the frame rails without dismantling either the aircleaner or loosening the subframe. They're only about $44 and if you get three, shipping is free. I've seen too many acid stains on mufflers so am willing to spend more to prevent that.
If you send the order form in with a check, they will ship for free. I have a 20amp Panasonic on backorder with Digikey right now.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:35 AM   #9
rnr
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where to start?

gosh, tips and tricks?
• progressive springs up front
• change out the brake fluid every year
• spare bulbs in the tail piece (never needed them, but hey)
• all tools on the bike
• mag lite in the tool tray
• old rags in the fairing pocket to clean the bike on the road
• double reserve trick with the twin petcocks
• 65/100 watt bulb up front (cheap upgrade; high beam melts road signs)
• used boat-cover-style snap studs to mount my front tank bag straps inside the fairing.
• rear strap is bolted to the gas tank, underneath, easily hidden in the frame tube when not in use.
• drain and clean tank every season
• full-size Leatherman in the tool tray
• quick-connect trailer-style lead on both sides of the bike for a floating charger and electric vest hookups
• all torque specs for regular maintenance bolts jotted down in back of manual. easy to find, see, with simple diagrams
• tire pressures for various bikes in magic marker on the pole by the air compressor. tire gauge always right there; one in bike jacket, too.
• spare earplugs in tool tray (amazing how many people have borrowed them — no, not the same pair!)
• a "road bag" on the shoulder side of my saddlebags with rain gear, first aid kit, electric vest, tire pump, emergency space blanket, neck gaiter, long underwear, zip-neck polypro. Anytime, anywhere, good to go.
• as of this weekend, spare spark plugs. buddy's harley plug went bad; major headache for such a small part.
• S100 and a cut up sponge stored with wash gear (for the rims)
• sealed battery from Westco (yes, others are cheaper. Guess what: Don't care. This one fits, works and lasts.)
• all riding gear in one closet. No more hunting!
• sears ratchet box-end combo wrench. That thing is awesome for turning out the bolts on the oil filter cover, which are hard to get to under the fairing lowers.
• glove your hand and turn out those filter bolts while the engine is still nice and warm.
• Luftmeister temp dipstick. I hear they aren't too accurate, but it gives me a real good read on how hard the bike is working, especially two up in July.
• i'm sure I'll think of more
ymmv
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:47 AM   #10
jdiaz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnr
• drain and clean tank every season
This is a great one. No one ever does this and a lot of tanks could have been saved over the years.
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Old 09-27-2006, 09:53 AM   #11
jtwind
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Elmoreman, this was a neat idea, thanks for coming up with it.
Probably my best tip would be to join the Airheads. These guys are the mainstays to keeping these things on the road. The dues are only $20 a year, many join just for the Airmail monthly newsletter, Oaks tech info is worth that. The email tech list and the archives are probably the best source of airhead info out there. There is also the tech days that can give you hands on help with your airheads upkeep and troubleshooting. Good organization and good folks. JT
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:24 AM   #12
datchew
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtwind
Here's a few tips aimed at first time airhead guys.

There are three fasteners holding your valve covers on, not just the big center nut. Can't tell you how many folks start whacking their valve covers without removeing the 10 mm nuts on the back side.

Remove and antisieze your exhaust nuts once a year. If they don't come off, DON'T FORCE, hacksaw a line or drill accross the threads and use a cold chisel to split them off. Forcing them will wreck the threads on the heads, a $125-150 repair.

Remove the battery ground wire before you remove the front cover. Failure to do so and touching the diode board can easily short out and be a $$ repair. JT
And don't tighten the center nut on the valve cover anything except a hair past finger tight. It'll strip. I have a stripped out one. I felt guilty at first, but I believe it was done by the P.O.

Great no0b Need-2-Know's JTWIND. Great thread Elmoreman.
At the end, maybe we could pick the good ones, distill them down into short, sweet bullets, and post a sticky.
Either way, I'm going to be making a list for personal use.
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Old 09-27-2006, 10:48 AM   #13
SOLO LOBO
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I'd change that one to
  • stock springs with RaceTech "gold valve"
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnr
gosh, • progressive springs up front
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your bike is suitably dirty. Well done.

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Old 09-27-2006, 01:31 PM   #14
Wirespokes
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I've had the Westco batteries that went dead in a year. At twice the cost they weren't a good deal, especially when the Panasonics last me forever.

JT - those were good simple tips for the new guys! Excellent!

Change the brake fluid once a year to help prevent the high cost of brake parts replacement.
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Old 09-27-2006, 07:47 PM   #15
zilla
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STUFF2C
Just bought a NEW lawn and tractor battery from autozone for $22. takes a little work to get the first one in. I had to take the 4 bolts out of the rear fender to get it in. (and yes you put them back)

My last one lasted 5+ years.
Wouldn't have a part number handy, would you?
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