airheads and water crossings.

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Gimmeslack, Aug 18, 2008.

  1. Gimmeslack

    Gimmeslack furthur

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,528
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley
    With my D/S thumper, I can pretty much go as deep as the airbox or exhaust pipe. That started me wondering about airheads which seem to have lots of "holes" considerably lower. Can I dunk my G/S or will I regret it? How deep is deep?
    :ear
    #1
  2. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,927
    Location:
    El Segundo, CA
    I've had my R75/6 up past my ankles.

    My dad claims to have had his R75/5 up to the tank(!), but his memory might be a bit fuzzy. :lol3
    #2
  3. bgoodsoil

    bgoodsoil Dare to be Stupid

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,674
    Location:
    Washington, DC, USA
    I've been wondering the same thing. The electrics are high up and the breather for the final drive can have a snorkel fitted but I have slots in the my front cover, I'm assuming to allow some air out of the alternator for cooling? There's the speedo cable, and the hole on the left side where you can see the fly wheel. Can those be plugged safely? The place I usually go offroading at has two creeks I have to cross or my riding area is very limited. I remember having water almost to my knees on my KLR when crossing them, I'd hate to have to avoid things like that on the G/S.
    #3
  4. AliBaba

    AliBaba Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    Norway
    If plug cables are healthy the engine will run as long as the airintake is above water.

    The electronics behind the front cover seems to work fine, but the gen-light often starts to flicker when the alternator gets to wet (no worries).

    I think the clutch is the worst problem, the clutch housing gets full of water and if you use the clutch (esp going uphill) it might start to slip.

    It might be smart to find another way to vent the gearbox and final drive,
    but it’s not strictly necessary if you check/change the oil pretty soon.
    When you drive in salt water you should clean your bike asap, corrosion starts fast (cables, bearings, leverage, electronics ++)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. bikerlt

    bikerlt Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
    I destroyed the output shaft on my '83 R65 with injudicious use of a pressure washer. I figured I knew well enough what to avoid, bearings, electrical, instruments, etc. I didn't know enough about boxers tho. I got too much spray up under the engine and into to clutch and splines and stripped the lube out of the spline. About 5k later I was left stranded on the road. It was an expensive repair and now I know much better. New bikes must have fixed this weak spot, but I'd be wary of dunking this part of the bike on any model like mine.
    #5
  6. Gimmeslack

    Gimmeslack furthur

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,528
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley
    What fairing is that? And I might as well ask what bike (G/S or GS)?
    #6
  7. Gimmeslack

    Gimmeslack furthur

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,528
    Location:
    Shenandoah Valley
    My G/S which lead to this question is essentially the same as your 83 as far as "achile's heels" goes.

    Did you get that much water in the speedo boot/hole? Or where? I.e. what do you mean "under the engine"?
    #7
  8. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,274
    Location:
    nashville, tn
    i'm having a really hard time figuring out how you got a pressure washer to ruin your output shaft. care to elaborate?


    #8
  9. P B G

    P B G Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    10,001
    Location:
    Greater Chicago
    Pressure washers are for driveways, bilges, decks, and stucco.

    They really do push water where it shouldn't be, the clutch is an odd one, I don't think I could get significant water to strip the lube out of there.
    #9
  10. camgregus

    camgregus riding gently now

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,023
    Location:
    on the banks of the mighty mississippi, AR side
    care to elaborate?[/QUOTE]
    no boot?:ear
    #10
  11. Frank Warner

    Frank Warner Traveller

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,593
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    A problem area is the carby breathing/drain hole .. it is on the bottom of the float bowel.. if that is block by water long enough (say 50 - 100 metres) than it drags water into the float bowel and the bike trys to run on water rather than petrol. HPN/Tortech (sp?) offer a solution .. pricy but if you want to run submerged ...

    Water into the final drive and gear box won't stop the bike running .. you can later drain off the water .. let it settle and than drain untill oil starts to come out.

    As noted above - water on the clutch can be a problem .. as it is for 4WDs (manuals). Don't use the clutch while submerged and you won't have a problem. Use it once and it should not do too much harm, the more you use it the more problem (slipping) you will have.

    Water into the alternator/ignition bean can area is not a problem. Nor should it be a problem with eht electics - they should be sealed ...
    #11
  12. postaldave

    postaldave gone postal

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2007
    Oddometer:
    796
    Location:
    lexington ky
    on my toaster i had it shut down due to water under the charging cover in the front. i pulled it off, water rushed out and then it started and was on my way.

    imo: airheads don't like water.
    #12
  13. AliBaba

    AliBaba Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    Norway
    It’s originally a GS Basic (last airhead build in Europe) which was converted to a Kalahari (upper pic). It’s now converted to a HPN Rallyesport (lower pic).

    The fairing fits both a standard GS and G/S with a HPN-tank.
    #13
  14. AliBaba

    AliBaba Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    Norway
    It’s 13.50€ from HPN, but I guess you can make it yourself

    I haven’t tried it but I guess a ceramic clutch like this will work better.
    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,274
    Location:
    nashville, tn
    yeah, i dont use one on my bike, but i was trying to figure out how he could get the lube off the clutch splines with one. i'm guessing that's a WAG for an explaination on why his splines failed.


    #15
  16. lkchris

    lkchris Albuquerque

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,097
    Not really realistic to compare an old points ignition bike to the newer ones with electronic ignition. This includes all G/S and GS, of course.
    #16
  17. bikerlt

    bikerlt Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
    Do I have a real oddity here? I just went out to the garage again to make sure I wasn't imagining this. My bike is an '83 R65. At the bottom of the transmission housing where it meets the engine case is a gap of approx 2x16cm. It is open to the clutch. I assumed that is must be some design for ventilation? I don't know. It is placed where it would not be possible to take water unless the bike was submerged. When I got my bike it was expecially dirty and black dusty here and I sprayed it well with a pressure washer. Some time later my output splines disintegrated on me and I (thought anyway) realized that the dust must have been from the clutch and I'd sprayed up into it without realizing the clutch was exposed.

    I just walked out to the garage again and put the end of a fat zip-tie up into it. Sure enough, I can slip the tie all the way in and it angles up toward the clutch. Maybe I have a very odd design here. Anybody else with an early 80's R65 can check this out? I guess I could post a pic if needed.
    #17
  18. AliBaba

    AliBaba Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    378
    Location:
    Norway
    It’s like that on all airheads, that’s how the water enters the clutch-housing when you cross rivers. It’s also how it gets out.

    I think the damage you describe might be possible.
    #18
  19. bikerlt

    bikerlt Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
    I think the 'thou shalt not' approach to pressure washing is a bit much. My example should encourage anyone to know their machine better, not to swear of pressure washing. Heck, any motorcycle is quite intentionally designed to tolerate some water. Highway speeds in rain? And I'm not talking 4.0gpm @4000psi -- if you're washing your motorcycle with a tool that can actually strip paint off of the tank, then you're probably beyond reasoning with anyway. DIY (coin) car washes are nowhere near that (and I hope that's what we're all talking about here).

    It comes down to balancing needs. If my bike is just laden with crap from a sloppy dirt road I don't think twice about checking into a DIY car wash along the way to get rid of caked abrasive grit. I'm confident enough to know what to avoid. Instruments, carbs, bearings, etc. What did the clutch splines in was an anomaly (an expensive one), but it was a result of my lack of knowledge. I should have known the engine better before I applied water in a way that the designers couldn't anticipate. And the pressure was certainly enough to reach the splines when directed at the engine from behind. If AliBaba is correct, that all airheads are like my own in this regard, go take a look up under your transmission next chance you get.
    #19
  20. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,274
    Location:
    nashville, tn
    i know the design of the engine and i own a pressure washer, though it's never been used on the bike.
    i guess in order to get water in there you'd have to lay on the ground and shoot water up in that direction, or you have a pressure washer with a shorter wand than mine.

    i have a mental image of me standing on my head trying to accomplish it, that's all.


    #20