Airhead "Tips and Tricks"

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by elmoreman, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. elmoreman

    elmoreman takin' a break, boss

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,769
    Location:
    Elmore, VT
    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:lol3 )

    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??
    #1
  2. Lornce

    Lornce Lost In Place

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2003
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    18,343
    Location:
    Way Out There.
    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.

    :evil
    #2
    kingbee likes this.
  3. STUFF2C

    STUFF2C We Ain't Left Yet!!

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
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    3,079
    Location:
    O-lando
    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):D

    :deal My last one lasted 5+ years.:deal
    #3
  4. clang

    clang Not lost, Exploring!

    Joined:
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    Denver/Aspen
    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"
    #4
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  5. MikeyT

    MikeyT Krusty Olde Pharte™

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
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    Location:
    The Thumb of Michigan
    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.
    #5
  6. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2002
    Oddometer:
    8,319
    Location:
    Jackson's Bottom Oregon
    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.
    #6
  7. jtwind

    jtwind Wisconsin Airhead

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,484
    Location:
    Madison WI
    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
    #7
  8. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    32,327
    Location:
    Flyover State
    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.
    #8
  9. rnr

    rnr Simple. Fast. Paid for.

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,009
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    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
    :deal
    #9
  10. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    32,327
    Location:
    Flyover State
    This is a great one. No one ever does this and a lot of tanks could have been saved over the years.
    #10
  11. jtwind

    jtwind Wisconsin Airhead

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,484
    Location:
    Madison WI
    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
    #11
  12. datchew

    datchew Don't buy from Brad

    Joined:
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    Remember the Alamo!
    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.
    #12
  13. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,236
    Location:
    Shoreline, WA
    I'd change that one to

    • stock springs with RaceTech "gold valve"
    #13
  14. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Jackson's Bottom Oregon
    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.
    #14
  15. zilla

    zilla Long timer

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    Jan 22, 2006
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    1,635
    Location:
    People's Republic Of Illinois
    Wouldn't have a part number handy, would you?:D
    #15
  16. xrmattaz

    xrmattaz sputum is my bread/butter

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2002
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    3,205
    Location:
    lovely prescott, arizona
    What season? Can't I just ride the damn thing year round?
    #16
  17. Mugwest

    Mugwest .

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,622
    Location:
    3rd Ring of Buzztopia
    I can kick in one that i have not seen ref'd before:

    clutch adjust at the back of the airhead trans has always been sketchy and frustrating and required multiple trials n' errors before i could get an adjustment that i really liked. The reason is the close quarters between the thin 13mm locknut and the even-thinner 10mm adjust screw-- trying to use normal thickness wrenches here was aways dodgy, usually requiring several attempts to get it right with no clutch slip or drag.

    Being an old-skool cyclist as well as moto-rider i'd had an idea in the back of my mind for a while: a thin shop-grade Park bicycle hub 13mm cone wrench. Well recently i finally followed through:

    http://www.parktool.com/products/detail.asp?cat=18&item=SCW%2D13


    $10 got me the shop-quality 13mm wrench, and i was even able to buy it locally (Bikes Plus), a double-yay!

    This was the ticket-- this thing is thin enough to hold the locknut while any standard 10mm turns the adjust screw. Then a slight turn on the Park wrench and it's set. Perfect.

    No more trial-and-error. The Park's even small enough to slip in place in the tool roll or stow in the tray or whereever.

    It's the best $10 i've spent recently!
    #17
    hotwheels22 likes this.
  18. Bazza

    Bazza Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    53
    Location:
    North Texas
    Solder circular connectors to your spare brushes. Then you don't need to carry a small soldering gun to replace failed brushes. Just attach the leads to the two nuts on the top end of the commentator. Don't forget to disconnect the battery when removing the front cover!

    Bazza
    1978 R100S
    Plano Texas
    #18
  19. dragoon

    dragoon I'm the REAL Dingo Joe

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    Feb 24, 2003
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    Location:
    Frazeysburg, OH
    9 times out of 10 it's a cracked coil
    #19
  20. elmoreman

    elmoreman takin' a break, boss

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Elmore, VT
    Right on, guys!!

    I've already printed out a few things for my file...:clap
    #20