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Old 07-04-2015, 06:21 PM   #1
Flash412 OP
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A "Conversion" ~ 33 Years in the Making

In approximately 1982 at the BMW RAMS Shiloh Rally (Best Rally by a Dam Site) I saw a nice R69S with a FOR SALE sign on it. Up close, the note on the windshield of the Wixom bar-mount fairing listed specifics for the bike AND it had a second price "With Sidecar." I tracked down the owner to ask about the sidecar and if he'd sell is separately. I had owned a sidecar before and had seller's remorse ever since trading it away. The seller, Ron, told me that we could talk about the sidecar by itself AFTER he sold the bike, assuming the buyer didn't want it.

Eventually I bought the sidecar from him. When he asked what I was going to pull it with, I told him I was going to make a "conversion." (A conversion is a /2 frame which was designed for sidecar loads and has factory mounts for the chair, but uses a later model engine and other things.) He then offered me a frame with a swing-arm and drive-shaft and Earles forks. The price was right so I bought that, too.

Within a few months, I located a short-wheelbase R75/5 that I bought locally and rode home. I took it apart and started selling off the pieces I knew I would not need.

When I happened upon them, I also bought pieces I knew I would need, or that I wanted.

By 1991 I had a critical mass of stuff required to make the initial build. It was so ugly I just KNEW I would keep it that way only long enough to shake it down and then I'd tear it all apart for a final finish with new fasteners and fresh paint. Life got in the way. It stayed this state of trim until 2015. Maybe you saw it at the BMW MOA National Rally in Gillette, WY a few years ago.



In March this year (2015) I sold a bike and realized I had the time, space and money to FINALLY finish my Conversion outfit. By Independence Day it was DONE. This is the process...

First I split off the chair.


Here is the bike, by itself for the first time this century.


Originally I used the /5 fenders. I had to cut the rear one and install a hinge in order to get the tire out.


But a couple of years ago I found a deal on a pair of /2 fenders, so I bought them. Because the /5 fenders were fiberglass, the seats had a mounting system that attached to the frame. Because the /2 fenders are steel, the seats can mount right to the rear fender. Redesigning and fabricating the seat mounts was required.






Those are QSL Thousand Mile seats. The front one is mounted on a spring. The rear is mounted on rubber isolators.


The /5 gas tank required a couple of adapter-mounts that I bolted up back in 1991.




I used the /5 headlight shell and the /5 handlebar clamps. This caused a problem as the back of the shell would foul the clamps which prevented adjusting the headlight properly. This needed to be addressed as part of the project.


The /2 fender needed something to adapt the /5 taillight assembly.








The /5 license plate bracket would work without much difficulty.


Perhaps I should have shot a "before" photo of the tank. But there is sort of one up above. It is from a '75 R90/6. That means it is relieved underneath so that a master cylinder can fit under it. The bike has a front disk brake that is cable operated at the handlebar.


Here are the /2 fenders in their "before" state.


To be continued...

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Old 07-04-2015, 06:36 PM   #2
pit0rz
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bummer, pics aren't working for me. I'd like to see them.
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Old 07-04-2015, 06:44 PM   #3
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No pics here either. IE or Firefox...
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:01 PM   #4
bmwrench
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I built a conversion for a friend and customer while I worked at Berkshire Motor Works in Schenectady. He died before he paid his bill, so the owner of the shop got the bike. Berkshire is long gone, and I often wonder what became of the bike. It started life as an R69S. The motor was based on an R75/5 completely rebuilt with one of my 860cc kits. Tom Epperson built a cool exhaust system for it.
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwrench View Post
I built a conversion for a friend and customer while I worked at Berkshire Motor Works in Schenectady. He died before he paid his bill, so the owner of the shop got the bike. Berkshire is long gone, and I often wonder what became of the bike. It started life as an R69S. The motor was based on an R75/5 completely rebuilt with one of my 860cc kits. Tom Epperson built a cool exhaust system for it.
Never knew you spent time in Schenectady!
My first Kbike came replete with hteir service records.


OP- another request for pics!!
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Old Yesterday, 06:01 AM   #6
bpeckm
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I couldn't see pics last night, but now I can see the first bunch, up until "I used the slash 5 headlight shell....", those pictures below that are broken links.

Fascinated to see, as I have a "new" old conversion hack that I am now in the mode of "fix the glitches" while I drive it around, hacking-style. Plan is to separate and dress-up, renovate, rebuild the bike this winter. Hack may, or may not, go back on next spring...


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Old Yesterday, 06:14 AM   #7
CafeDude
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Loving the Lesters, and a front disk brake was a very smart upgrade.

Subscribed!
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Old Yesterday, 10:13 AM   #8
Flash412 OP
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All the damned photos already on Dropbox and Flickr, neither of which seems to work properly, are currently uploading to Picasaweb. My fingers are crossed that THIS will work.

Testing... Can anyone see this image?

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Old Yesterday, 10:22 AM   #9
bpeckm
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Yup!


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Old Yesterday, 10:26 AM   #10
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Back in '91, I heated up the /5 header pipes and bent them to get a good angle so I could use the /5 mufflers for which I made some brackets to mount to the /2 frame.





I heated up a spot on the top of the right muffler and whacked a big ole dent in it so that the brake pedal would clear.


Originally, I used a /2 rear end. In order to use the rear Lester wheel, I used the /5 axle and put one of those /2 17mm to 19mm axle spacers inside the rear end. I had to cut the fat part of the /5 axle down to 17mm to get it to go through the /2 rear end far enough to get the axle retaining nut and washer on.

Then in about 2007 I decided that I wanted to use a /5 rear end instead of /2. So I welded up a jig that held the front of the swingarm at the pivots and the rear end through the axle hole. Then I cut the bells off of the /2 swingarm and a /5 swingarm and had a real welder mate the two pieces while everything was held in position in the jig. It worked well. But now the axle had too much skinny part and not enough fat part, so a spacer was required. That's what the nut is doing on the left side in this photo.



One of the tricks to using a /5 rear end is mounting the shock. I made a bracket.


You can see in this photo that this is a 32/9 rear end, not the 32/11 from an R75. The 32/11 was a pain in the ass because it was too high (low, numerically) and required double-clutching to clear an intersection without stalling. I had an opportunity to trade straight across for an R50/5 rear end, so I did. That worked a LOT better.




Here's the bracket. It's just a bent piece of steel with a couple of holes drilled in the right places. I also had to heat up and "move" some of the non-structural frame loop a little bit to get it out of the way.


Making progress on the disassembly.




Years ago I welded a tab onto the frame to mount the voltage regulator.


The cable-actuated under-tank master cylinder came from an R90/6, as did the tank. The coils had to go somewhere. Since they were rubbing the tank, I wrapped them in rubber, secured with a tyWrap. They are actually bolted together and there is one bolt that goes through the two coil brackets into a piece of aluminum that I bent into a sort of U-shape that is secured with the same bolt that holds part of the steering damper system.


More progress...




When I originally installed the R75/5 motor, getting the oil filter out required some modifications. One was the upper bolt. The other was that the top edge of the oil filter cover had to be "relieved." The motor is actually hanging low in this photo because the mounting bolts are already out.


Disconncted, bolts out, covers off, slid back and ready for removal.


The "nervous system."


My "little boy" helped me juggle the motors. (He's six foot five inches tall.)


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Old Yesterday, 11:23 AM   #11
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The 750cc motor was pretty wimpy hauling all the big iron around. So in 2003 I picked up an R100 motor that had suffered an oil starvation problem. I put new main bearings and rod bearings and an oil pump in it, and new rings just to freshen it up. Oh, and I also re-did the heads. In 2007 I put the R100 motor in the rig, got everything all hooked up and backed it off the lift only to discover that it sticks out in the front more than an R75 motor and the fucking forks would not turn. So I took it back out and stuck the R75 mill back in. But at least I knew the R100 would run.

Look at the finned part at the top of the R100 motor on the left and compare it's width to the same area on the R75 motor no the right. THERE'S the problem.


After some months of searching on the interwebs and asking questions, I FINALLY found somebody who said, "Yes, an R100 motor WILL work in a conversion with Earles forks, I know because I have one. You just have to grind off the rear ears from the forks." I asked him to prove it and he sent me a photo. WOOT!

This is the "test fit" for the R100 motor. Earles forks have two positions for the swingarm bolt. The rear position is for solo bikes and forward (which gives more trail) for sidecars. You can plainly see that the rear ears are a problem.



I had cut through and thinned the upper support cross member eons ago, to clear the front cover of the R75 motor.










Oh... here is a detail about that U-bracket mounting the coils to the steering damper bolt. (Sorry about getting out of sequence.)


Shitty focus, but yes, that's a disk brake. In about 1990 a friend of mine was building a conversion and he decided to put a disk on it. He made TWO brackets to weld on to mount the caliper, and was kind enough to give me one. I had it professionally welded on to the bottom of the swingarm.


There is not a whole lot of room in there, but it works.


The steering damper is a melange of /2 and /5 parts with some random hardware thrown in to get everything spaced into position properly, but it works. All that wonky stuff you see to the right in the photo is bracketry I made in order to use a /5 rear turn signal stalk on the front and not foul the fender, which moves up and down with the swingarm.
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Old Yesterday, 11:49 AM   #12
Flash412 OP
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Before taking stuff to get sand blasted, I installed protection for the bearing races.


Here's the wonky horn bracket I made to mount the /5 horn to the /2 frame.


SOME of the stuff to get sand blasted.


It's a motorcycle in KIT form!


Time to tear into the sidecar.


Since I had had a over a decade to get the adjustment sorted out, it tracked pretty well and I wanted to not that. I realized later what I SHOULD have done was wrap tape around the toe-in adjustment arm before I removed it and then measured from the tape to the end of the arm. (When I reassembled it, it was CLOSE, but three adjustments were required until it was RIGHT. Hindsight is 20/20.)




I measured a lot of stuff and wrote lots of notes as to which bolts of what diameters and lengths went where. This crappy photo shows what I mean about measuring to the end of the toe-in adjustment arm.


Frame with the boat removed.


Boat and it's disassembled pieces.


Swingarm and shock details.








Ural sidecar, complete, in kit form.


Parts to go to the sand blaster.


Back at home after blasting.


I would REALLY like to get an LED headlight. This photo compares an H4 bub to the stock (relatively rare and expensive) original bub. No dice. Maybe I'll pop for the H4 conversion kit, but I'd rather not because that is now OLD technology.


Here is where it gets interesting. In about 2004 I was visiting a friend in Hong Kong and I asked him if he could help me get an HK motorcycle license plate. We went to a breaker yard but they didn't have any. However, they DID have lots of taxis they were breaking up. So I got an illuminated taxi sign and the capacity sign. WOOT. Also, because the lights that the sidecar came with were... fucked, I decided to use a tail light from a '68 VW Beetle. (I used to have one.) I figured that it uses three light bubs and if I put a yellow bulb in where the backup light is supposed to be, it would make a great turn signal.









Maybe do something like this...


I figured out how to adapt the VW tail light and my pal Jeff Deeney welded it up for me.


It came out pretty well.


The front light I had was a piece of shit and that had to be changed.


At the paint shop.


He painted most of the black parts first, so I could get started on reassembly.


The colored parts would come later.




Next up... reassembly commences.



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60 countries/6 continents, 40/6 on motorcycles, so far, and counting...
50 US states, 49 via moto. ɹǝpun uʍop uǝǝq ı
Links to Forty years of my Adventure RIDE REPORTS
Helmet laws interfere with natural selection.

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Old Yesterday, 12:30 PM   #13
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A long time ago I figured out that if you don't want to scratch up your freshly painted frame, the best way to prevent that is with old innertubes, cut to fit strategically where necessary.

Getting the R100 motor in was a task that required removing the oil pan and oil pick-up as well as the dipstick and the oil filter cover. Taking EVERYTHING off the front didn't hurt, either. Eventually it went.


Once the motor was in, the trans, rear shocks and swingarm all popped right together.




Now a few words about drive shafts in conversions. Lots of folks use an adapter plate that is about a quarter or three-eights of an inch thick with eight holes in it to mate a /2 driveshaft to a later model transmission. When I made my conversion originally, I pressed the bearings out of the U-joint and then used the part of a /5 drive shaft that mates to the transmission with the rest of a /2 drive shaft. I pressed the bearings back in and then spot welded washers over them to keep them in place. Then I learned that an R65 driveshaft if what it takes. I got one and it is exactly the right length.

Meanwhile, back at the paint shop...






The painter ran out of the yellow which was expensive and suggested I might want to paint the inside of the boat some other, less expensive color. So I did.


Once the clear coat is on, the yellow really POPS.


Test fit for colors. Oh, YEAH!


Gorilla Snot (3M Weatherstrip Adhesive) for the kneepads and contact cement to stick the old badges back on.


Glue is set.


Sidecar frame starting to go together. New shock was on order from the Ukraine.


See the headlight ears? I made those, about 3/4" longer than the stock /2 ones. Jeff Deeney welded them for me, too. Now the headlight will adjust properly.


Picking up the boat from the paint shop.


Dropping off parts at the pinstriper.


Oddly enough, his current project was similar to mine.


Boat back on the frame.


Seat installed. The interior was painted gray to compliment but contrast from the seat color. Something needed to be done about that nekkit Masonite behind the seat.




Starting to come together. Yeah... the spare wheel needs some serious attention.


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Click here for Gathering Speed - Tales of Motorcycles and Life
60 countries/6 continents, 40/6 on motorcycles, so far, and counting...
50 US states, 49 via moto. ɹǝpun uʍop uǝǝq ı
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Helmet laws interfere with natural selection.
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Old Yesterday, 12:46 PM   #14
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Meanwhile, back at the bike...






After an unexpected delay, the pinstriper finally delivered. OH YEAH!






The result of LOTS of time spent replacing nasty fasteners and CLEANING things.




This is the right side of the bike. Once the chair is strapped on, this side of the bike may not be seen for another decade or three.














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Click here for Gathering Speed - Tales of Motorcycles and Life
60 countries/6 continents, 40/6 on motorcycles, so far, and counting...
50 US states, 49 via moto. ɹǝpun uʍop uǝǝq ı
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Helmet laws interfere with natural selection.
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Old Yesterday, 12:49 PM   #15
Flash412 OP
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Two details were left to completion. The "Rates" needed to be painted on and the spare wheel was long overdue for attention.


I laced and trued it myself. It takes a long time but is not difficult and only requires patience, LOTS of patience, and a spoke wrench.


Disassembled for cleaning, lubricating and new seals.


Freezing "the stack."


Heating the hub.


Both sides.


Checking to see if it is "done."


And the stack drops right in.






Nope.






DONE!
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Click here for Gathering Speed - Tales of Motorcycles and Life
60 countries/6 continents, 40/6 on motorcycles, so far, and counting...
50 US states, 49 via moto. ɹǝpun uʍop uǝǝq ı
Links to Forty years of my Adventure RIDE REPORTS
Helmet laws interfere with natural selection.

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