first airhead! R75/5

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by shmangzy, May 26, 2013.

  1. shmangzy

    shmangzy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Oddometer:
    60
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    Boston
    Hey just bought my first airhead, 1972 SWB toaster. Rides great (i think as I don't have another to compare to but is a ton of fun and feels right) No leaking or major mechanical issues seem to be apparent. Since I picked it up I have....
    replaced the tires and fluids and added a few cosmetic touches (mirrors and side covers) so were looking great! certainly not showroom but has that nicely aged look of a machine well loved and used.

    So now I have two things left to do...

    1. The front forks...but will deal with that at the end of the season they're not terrible but could use some love.

    2. Deal with the speedo/tach (the big one)

    Now when I bought the bike the tach didn't work and part of the needle was broken off, but the speedo worked although was about 10 mph fast and at times would start wavering back and forth for a bit until it steadied again. Ive been trying to figure out the best course of action. I've been thinking of either sending away the headlight unit to be repaired and fixed up at some shop (maybe palo alto, or overseas, etc) or purchasing an already re-manufactured (repaired) speedo/tach online and replacing that myself.

    I guess what I'm wondering is...

    1. How much does it generally cost to send away your until and have it repaired/ how long that usually takes.

    2. How difficult is it to install the speedo/tach on a /5 and could someone point me to a nice thread or other website that has good directions on this subject.

    Basically I want to do this the fastest way possible as the weather is too nice to have the bike sitting in my garage for too long.


    Well I appreciate any information and advice.

    Thanks!

    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. shmangzy

    shmangzy Adventurer

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    WOAH not sure how that picture got so big. anyways thats before I did anything to it.

    Also, I forgot to mention that last night when I was riding I may have gone a little too fast and the speedo needle wobbled way too much and got stuck on the wrong side of the little needle stopper so it is now stuck there.
    #2
  3. Cordless

    Cordless Two Wheel Addict

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    If you send it off, check in with fellow ADVrider Wirespokes. He does great work and is a fine fellow.

    There's a thread about him further down this page.

    While your speedo/tach unit is away, rig up a simple bicycle speedo for $15 to give you your speed. These airheads don't really need a tachometer--in fact, the famous R80g/s didn't come with one.
    #3
  4. shmangzy

    shmangzy Adventurer

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    thanks for the tip. Ill send him a pm
    #4
  5. Big Bamboo

    Big Bamboo Aircooled & Sunbaked

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    Just a heads up, if you ride without a functioning gen light, no charging will occur.
    #5
  6. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Oddometer:
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    I wuz gonna tell you to disconnect the speedo tach immediately to avoid further damage. Anyway, do that now. Pulling the unit is easy. look in there and you will see how things go. mark wires. Replace the fuses if it has them.

    Change the fork oil right away. Easy to do and again can save more costly and involved repairs. Fork oil is cheap. Drill is in your manual.

    make sure rear wheel splines are lubed, hopefully when you changed the tire. Otherwise that too is an immediate need. I would say the tranny splines as well. Others have differing opinions.

    My general philosophy is to avoid repairs down the road by doing the PM now. If the bike is new to you and you don't have an accurate maintenance history, do all of it. All oils, all greasing. Take you all day if you're slow.

    Inspect the speedo cable boot at the transmission to make sure it isn't leaking (as in hardened up). Ditto the Drive shaft to tranny boot. (10 minutes)

    If you are new to airheads the tach is important. You can live without it, but run at a higher RPM that quite feels right. If you fit a cheapo volt gauge that will tell you the important thing: When you are at high enough RPM to have charging. It's higher than feels right to the initiate. Cost you $16 and just lash it on somewhere. I found having one installed was wise---but I also toured mine cross country a lot. Ditto an oil pressure gauge.


    Other than that things that need attention, like carbs and timing will announce themselves with poor running. Wouldn't hurt to set the valves because you don't know what they sound like when they're right--and if you have a tight exhaust it can burn, very expensive. Classic symptom is hard starting.

    Little Seafoam in the gas to clean the carbs. Learn about tuning them (buy the bing manual). The thing may be a lot smoother than it is with them properly set. Again, a feel you don't have yet.

    Put some 303 on the switch gear, Cable boots at the bar, seat, intake tubes and fork boots.
    #6
  7. spo123

    spo123 Man About Town

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    Remove BOTH the speedo cable and tach cable NOW!
    #7
  8. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    You can make a little sleeve out of some tin can material and put that around the cable ends with duct tape to keep the spinning cables from contacting anything.
    #8
  9. shmangzy

    shmangzy Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'll be out in the garage to removing the speedo and tach cables this afternoon. And its my unserstanding I can still ride the bike like that but the meters just wont be working? is that correct?
    #9
  10. kwb210

    kwb210 Been here awhile

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    Regarding the speedo assembly - go to this page: http://5united.org/
    and then to to this section: http://5united.org/articles/ and head over to the speedo/tach rebuilding sub section. Gives you an idea of what the process involves. I have a couple of 5's and delight in riding them! One of them is in the process of a light reserrection, mostly just neglected maintenance from the prior owner. I figure if I take the time to simply do it right the bike will be set for many miles of riding. And all of the advice so far is spot on.
    Regards,
    Kurt
    #10
  11. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    I may have the opportunity to pick up a 1972 R75/5 for a fair price. :D Has not run for an unknown period, but likely a year or so. PO is not around to answer questions.
    I'm figuring on all the PMs plus carb cleanout. Any eccentricities I should look for before purchasing? Bike appears to be in very good condition.


    1911fan
    #11
  12. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Possibly two R75/5's.

    Appearance should tell the story. Shmangzy can see where to start. Headlight speedo & tach.

    How many miles on the one you are looking at 1911fan? Will you be able to test ride or this comes home in a truck first? The second may be preferred because the oils should probably be changed before riding. Still if it's only been parked for a year the oil is not all that bad. If any gas in the tank through it away and drain the float bowls of the carbs. Rinse tank and replace fuel lines. If bike has near or over 100K then pay special attention to the transmission and clutch. You may want to do a compression test. If the family has any records in the way of receipts these could help immensely to know what has been done recently to the bike.

    The Airheads are slow by modern standards. Do not expect to change this with any sort of reasonable amount of money. Hot Rod Airheads cost six times more money than they are worth and then they will still loose to last years hot seller. Look to put what ever it is in good running stock configuration and then see if you like the style. It either appeals to you or not.

    The /5's have that front drum brake and then only a year or two later BMW had the Ate disc set up for the Airheads. Don't let it fool you. The /5 drum twin leading shoe will out perform most Ate disk set ups. Neither will compare to really good modern brakes.

    Where do the Airheads come out ahead? I often tell my friends I'll race you. Let's start right now and from the East Coast, where I am, the first one in San Francisco wins. So far I've had no takers but they get the idea.
    #12
  13. 1911fan

    1911fan Master of the Obvious

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    It'll be a pig in a poke, I'll go pick it up and take it from there. The famous 'ran well when it was parked' applies here, and the PO may or may not have kept any records, or maintained it. Mileage is a mystery.

    Yeah. My dad had an R6 (?) back in the day, nice ride but not quick. It was fast though, given time.

    I think it will be a nice ride.... I was not looking for it, and it may or may not fall into my lap. Not real sure I can afford the process of making it run; current condition is cosmetically nice according to pics. Maybe it just needs a battery.

    Mrs 1911fan misses her Guzzi, and this will be more of a street ride for her. I am looking forward to riding it, too.


    All good info. Speaking of which, are there any online resources I should know about?


    1911fan
    #13
  14. Plaka

    Plaka Brevis illi vita est

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    Heck, I can stand in Denver and tell 'em first one to take a bite of the dark chocolate pate at the counter at the ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe wins. No takers.

    Maybe it's the 8 gal. fuel capacity? I can, theoretically, just squeak it without putting my feet down.
    #14
  15. disston

    disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    There are many sources. Start with Duane Ausherman's info. He does mostly /2's but updates to the /5's & /6's which is the next thing. What I like about Duane's site is that I seem to get an understanding of principles instead of just replacing parts.

    http://w6rec.com/

    For general reading on any topic check out Snowbum. He is considered the expert on many subjects.

    http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/

    His stuff can seem daunting and hard to grasp. He's a smart guy and like some smart guys his mind races around. You'll get used to it some but when you burn out skip over to something else. Return to the Tech pages after a breather.

    I think everybodies favorite is also on the Adventure Forum. He's Anton Largiader.

    http://www.largiader.com/

    Hang around you'll meet plenty of knowledgeable people on this list. A lot of personalities too. :lol3

    All three of these people mentioned are ones we have bestowed the title of Guru on. There are also some others with this title and they can be found on the Airlist mostly. If you need help finding that write me a PM and I'll tell you where it is and also try to talk you into joining the Airheads Biker Club. Not needed BTW but you get the magazine with membership and most think that that rag is worth the price of admission because it contains the writings of Oak Oklesen.
    #15
  16. Beezer Josh

    Beezer Josh Moto-Amish

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    Hey man, congrats on the new /5! I just bought my first in January and have slowly been taking care of nagging problems-such as the tachometer not working! I took my gauge apart this weekend, bought some new needles from Terry (Wirespokes), cleaned it, lubed it, and put it back together. I was also fortunate enough to find a donor gauge at the British and European Classic Motorcycle Day to replace the indicator lenses and supply tach parts. I now have a working tachometer! The speedometer worked previously, but I had to guess at my speed without a needle. The odometer wheels now have paint on them. It was easy to fix-I only used a screwdriver, a punch, and a small hammer with the punch to take everything apart and put it back together. The whole project cost about $70-way cheaper than the cheapest quote I got to send it off for repair.

    As there is no dampener in the gauge, shouldn't a little needle wobble be normal? Bad sounds and wild fluctuations are definitely bad...
    #16
  17. shmangzy

    shmangzy Adventurer

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    Oddometer:
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    Boston
    glad to hear your fixin up yours too, definitely having a lot of fun with the projects. Yeah I wouldnt mind a slight wobble or a bit of an inaccurate speed but my speedo is way past that. I pulled the speedo and tach cables the other day so I can ride without causing my damage (just have to guess the speed, at least I have a good excuse when I get pulled over) but I think I'm going to take a peak at it this weekend but most likely send it away to get rebuilt by someone who knows a little more than me.

    I also had the bike sitting for about 5 days because of all the rain over here in Vermont and when I went to take it out yesterday the engine would turn over and turn over and turn over....sounding right but never actually fire up. almost fired up but not quite. I havent had any starting problems prior to this but I pulled the battery and found two of the cells very low of fluid so I filled them up with distilled water and put it on the charger for the night and hopefully tomorrow it will fire up
    #17
  18. Beezer Josh

    Beezer Josh Moto-Amish

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    If you look just underneath the needle and its black hub, can you see parts of the copper spring poking out of either the tach or the speedo? It's where the red arrow is...the needle's hub doesn't show that well in the photo.

    [​IMG]
    #18