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Old 05-18-2009, 09:22 PM   #16
Wirespokes
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I've had to replace a few of these things as well. Expensive little buggers, and something of a pain. Someone mentioned ditching the switch and screwing in a plug instead. I kinda like that idea - sure would simplify things, and one less thing to go bad.

Hell, why do we need a stinkin switch to tell us if we're in neutral anyway???
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:31 PM   #17
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Alas, no lift. Instead, I have a small piece of leftover carpet that I put down on the garage floor to lie on when I have to get under the bike.

There are so many oil drips on my garage floor, incidentally, that it looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.

Anyway, from what I've read elsewhere, the procedure, with the bike on the centerstand, is to remove the giant bolt that goes through the frame and through that aluminum spacer that blocks access to the switch. The bolt is tapped out or drawn out using the threads on one end of the nut and a succession of random washers, spacers, etc, the idea being to add spacers by increments and use the nut and threads to pull the thing out.

On my bike, at least, that bolt goes through a band that holds up the exhaust, through the forward part of the foot peg bracket, through the frame, through an extension on the bottom of the tranny casing, then through the spacer, on both sides. My fear is that I'll take the bolt out and the whole bike will fall into a random heap of parts, but those who have done it say, "Fear not." Some block up the engine but other say this isn't necessary. I'll block it up.

Prying out the spacer, apparently, is a grim ordeal involving muscle and leverage, but not too much. The switch is easily replaced, but apparently there are two, the old and the new, that are not electrically interchangeable, so you have to be sure to get the right one.

I like the idea of grinding down that spacer a tad to get it back in a little more easily, but maybe there's a good engineering reason why it's so tight. I'd hate to grind off a fraction of a millimeter and induce some kind of spacer-related death wobble. Again, from what I've read elsewhere, it can be tapped back into place as is with a plastic or wooden mallet. Then the giant bolt goes back through. It is to be tightened it in increments, going from side to side.

What the torque numbers are for the switch and the giant bolt, I'll have to find out. Does anyone know?

Also, does anyone know if the neutral switch iuntil fall s exposed during the partial dis assembly required for an in-the-frame spline lube? If that's the case, I'll just add a little gear oil and park on newspaper until fall when I plan to lube the splines.

I suspect the neutral switch is of somewhat similar design as the leaky oil light switch I replaced last year. I couldn't tell whether the leak was through the wires or around the edge of the hard plastic sealant. In any case, the switches are old and exposed, so it figures they'd eventually give out. I'd be reluctant to modify them with any additional sealant for fear of doing something disastrous. A neutral switch modification-related death wobble, say.

Speaking of which, my bike will turn over 100,000 kilometers this tank of gas. The last 9,000 or so are mine. It runs like new. My hope is to keep it that way. The bleeding from the transmission must be staunched.
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:01 PM   #18
bgoodsoil
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oh. Obviously my reading comprehension could use some work.

I thought about plugging the neutral switch myself. The starter switch uses it for a ground but it'd be easy to run the wire straight to the frame.

The worst thing about both of those switches is they use a pitch that's nigh impossible to find outside of a German car/bike shop. I think it was an M12 1.25 or something like that. If it's leaking and you're on the road I doubt you'll find a quick plug at the local hardware store.

abc # twelve thousand one hundred and fifty seven
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bgoodsoil screwed with this post 05-18-2009 at 10:18 PM
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Old 05-18-2009, 11:51 PM   #19
Hawk Medicine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairie Beemer
What the torque numbers are for the switch and the giant bolt, I'll have to find out. Does anyone know?
Torque numbers for the Neutral switch? Screw that.... When you install your new switch, wrap the threads with some plumbers tape and screw the switch in tight. What it's supposed to do is not fall out and not leak. I was dumb enough to pay a so-called "certified BMW mechanic" here in Santa Rosa, to install a new neutral switch for me and the next morning there was half a transmission's worth of gear lube on my garage floor.

Rather than take the bike back so that Mr Jackleg could screw something else up, I took a few minutes to do the job myself and it hasnt leaked a drop in the last six months. Whatever you do, don't have any work done on your Airhead, here in Santa Rosa!

Oh.... And arn't the engine mount bolts supposed to be 25 ft lbs? My mind cant remember but my arm does! Oh well, it's ok!
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:04 AM   #20
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I don't think the newer and later switches are electrically incompatsble... I recall Anton saying that originally it was open one way, and closed opposite, and in later years, it was reversed, is this what you mean?
As far as torque goes, the switch and the engine mount bolts go up to snug and then a little bit. No numbers required,
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:08 AM   #21
bpeckm
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Be aware that the neutral switch is part of the safety switching on the bike: it allows you to start the bike in neutral only, or with the clutch pulled in. Without a functioning neutral safety switch, you will only be able to engage the starter with the clutch pulled in. In a pinch, you can jump the two terminals of the switch together, which would bypass the actual neutral and will make your neutral indicator light turn "on", regardless of which gear you are in.... could make it "interesting".....Anton has an article worth reading



Yes, there were indeed two switches, per Max fiche:

23141352153 switch, reversing light and idle gear (M12X1,5) - Up to 09/1975

and: 61311243097 switch - 09/1975 and above (used in '81 with the "new" transmission, and the same pn for an early '90's R80)

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Old 05-19-2009, 09:15 AM   #22
Wirespokes
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The engine mount bolts are tightened to something like 60 or 70 ft lbs. If looser than that, handling suffers.

These switches tend to leak where they're crimped. I don't know how epoxy could prevent that happening.

Don't file down that cross tube - but you could bevel a leading edge to make it easier to replace.

I found the easiest way to remove the thing was with a slide hammer with a hook - a few taps on one side, a few on the other - back and forth and it comes out.

The couple that I've replaced both needed two washers to work properly - so before replacing the cross tube and buttoning her all up, check that it's working right. I believe my neutral light was on constantly till I figured that one out, and had to remove the cross tube again to fix it. Grrrrrrr

There are two different switches, one is normally open, the other normally closed. Make sure you get the correct one!
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Old 05-20-2009, 04:16 PM   #23
Dustdevill
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I recently installed two of these neutral switches brand new from BMW. The 1st was on my own bike and it started leaking heavily in a few weeks. When cleaning the switch with a rag to see if it was leaking from the alu gasket or between the housing and plastic section where the two terminals protrude from, I noticed the when pressing against the terminals that the whole assembly was turning inside the aluminum housing. The next one fitted was a few months down and I noticed that the plastic part could not rotate freely in the aluminum housing. Later when fitting it I could not fit the standard 19mm spanner and with close inspection saw that the aluminum housing was pressed so much that it deformed the hex area of the spanner. Seems like too many people complained and got the manufacturer to clamp down on their manufacturing of these silly switches.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:41 PM   #24
jimbee OP
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switch arrived today - let's see how much of a mess I'm going to make of this...
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:49 PM   #25
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Pictures...

Alright - please no comments on my lack of artistic JB weld abilities.

New Switch:


Taped off where I didn't want to get JB weld


Mixed some JB QuickDry up and set to work - messy...


I waited two minutes and then removed the tape...




So that's what I did. After a few thousand miles I'll provide an update.

Cheers! JB
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Old 05-20-2009, 10:59 PM   #26
bgoodsoil
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seems like a good idea, heck it can't hurt.

The same heat cycles that cause the leak between the metal and the plastic may eventually do the same to the JB weld but if nothing else it seems like you'd get more life out of it. No way to know I guess.

Next time I put in a neutral switch or an oil switch I'll try it, thanks for the pics!
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Old 05-20-2009, 11:57 PM   #27
Albino Reino
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I did the same thing and after a few trips, death valley and the black rock desert. no leaks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimbee
Alright - please no comments on my lack of artistic JB weld abilities.

New Switch:


Taped off where I didn't want to get JB weld


Mixed some JB QuickDry up and set to work - messy...


I waited two minutes and then removed the tape...




So that's what I did. After a few thousand miles I'll provide an update.

Cheers! JB
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:27 AM   #28
Wirespokes
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Unless the new one is defective, it should last twenty years. So I don't see how you're really going to know if this helps or not. It does look like the electrical connections have some extra support with the JB Weld, and that's a good thing - I've seen a few broken off.
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Old 05-21-2009, 09:48 AM   #29
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Ostensibly its to stop the leaks that occur between the housing and the internals, eh? As well as cement them together so they dont rub or whatever... but hey, if it works, OK. I hate the leak.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:53 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wirespokes
Unless the new one is defective, it should last twenty years. So I don't see how you're really going to know if this helps or not. It does look like the electrical connections have some extra support with the JB Weld, and that's a good thing - I've seen a few broken off.
I must always get the defective ones.... I've replaced 2 in the past 5 years
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