Hepco Becker R1200GS Tank Guard Installation / Refit

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Brahma, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Final Report
    Hepco Becker R1200GS Tank Guard Installation / Refit
    2007 R1200GS

    The earlier posts found the well known fact that the Hepco Becker R1200GS Tank Guards will not allow removal of either side cover. It was stated by others on the forum that the side covers could be removed by loosening the bottom mounts of the tank guards and "pulling" on the bars, then removing the side covers. This was not even CLOSE in my case. It was also stated by some that removing the side covers is not a major concern- that is how I felt before my fuel pump controller died and left me stranded and towed. I ASSURE YOU that it is now VERY important to be able to pull the side covers.

    Those of you who have these tank guards MUST know what a MAJOR PITA they are to install and remove, their extreme proximity to the oil lines underneath the beak (I absolutely HAD to grind my mount tabs way down), and necessary but frustrating non-symmetrical design, etc., so no further detail will be discussed here of their overall poor design as opposed to the very functional Hepco Becker engine guards.

    I removed the tank guard bars and began stretching them with the assistance of a 6 ton bottle jack and peices of cement block. Initial measurements between the bottom mounting tabs of the bars in my case was 17.25 inches. Over the course of the evening and into the morning, the bars were slowly stretched numerous times up to to 24 inches apart, where in final form, they flexed back to only 19.25 inches. This stretching was putting exceptional stress on the top-most cross member, where it could easily be seen to be "bowing"! I suspect that the light mount tab welds were under considerable stress as well, which is why I went no further than 24 inches. At one point I left them stretched to 23 inches and went to bed for several hours. In the end I could not get them to stretch more than 19.25 inches from the intital 17.25 inches.

    When remounting the bars I took the opportunity to cut over half the threads off of each side of each U bolt, and grind both mounting tabs down, well away from the oil cooler lines. Initially, the U bolts are so long, they are difficult to install to the frame, and the mounting tabs to the frame underneath the beak had only 1/4 inch clearance, if that, to the oil lines! One bad bump and oil would be going everywhere! Once the top mounts under the beak had been ground down and tightly reinstalled, I noticed there was a considerable difference in side clearance for the side covers.

    Tightening the bottom mounts of the tank guards to the Hepco Becker engine guards finished the installation, and there was an inch more room on either side of each side cover! That actually is a huge difference, but still short of perfect. However, where it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to remove either side cover with the tank guards installed, there is room to remove the covers now, but some very light "marring" of their surface occurs. I feel this is acceptable for emergency, road-side issues, and the "marring" may be too harsh a term as it is very difficult to see due to the black, matte finish that plastice has. A little "buffing' would probably take the abberations out.

    So from where it was absolutely impossible for me to remove my side covers without incredible issue that would be a show-stopper on the side of the road, these bars are now truly "functional" without having to cut them and weld in spacers, which was considered. I would say that this is definately still not going to work for a GSA, or GS-to-GSA tank conversion, but the GS covers are NOW able to be removed, as one would have hoped these tank guards to be designed from the beginning. After all, how #$#@ hard would that have to have been for Hepco Becker in the first place????

    Regards-

    D.

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    #1
  2. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Clearance Pic1

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  3. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Clearance pic 2

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  4. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Clearance pic 3- This picture is deceiving, the space for the right side is much more even with the left side than this shows- see other pics... The left side is wider, but not by as much as this picture shows. I believe the difference was due to the overall necessary lack of symmetry between the two sides.

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  5. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Clearance pic 4

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  6. RichK

    RichK Long timer

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    I was reading your other post with interest as I ran into the exact same scenario with the controller. It's not clear to me from your post what helped you with your clearance, or why trimming the ubolts helped.

    Thanks for the post. Your end effort looks like it should from the HB factory.

    Rich
    #6
  7. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Thanks Rich. With the medieval tools and approach I had available the following are notable:

    On the clearance attained..

    I don't have welding equipment or experience, nor did I want to mess with that with anyone else after I did consult a local fabricating company on the subject. I've been very intrigued to have them cut and extended ala the "GS to GSA Tank Conversion" found on this forum, as I might want to change the tank someday. However, I don't have the cash for that right now, and extending the bars without the tank change would look pretty weird!

    To do it myself, the choices were pretty narrow- either bend the "loops" in the guards out against their welds, or try and get luck by spreading the bars. I opted for spreading the bars as it does provide more clearance that way as well and the inital 17.25 inches leaves a lot of room for those bars still to go to mount on the engine bars. The bottle jack cost a mere $22.00 at Sears Hardware, so it was a cheap attempt at a solution, that happens to work. Again, not perfectly, but it is pretty darn close. This was a screaming bitch of a lot of work to do- one time during the spread out to 24 inches the thing let go like a cross bow and caught my finger against the cement block- I thought it broke for sure, but it didn't!

    On the U Bolts...

    I found that reversing the U bolts to the OUTSIDE of the mounting tabs, over the frame and then connecting through rounded cross members THEN with the nuts on the inside of the beak, it is a lot simpler to mount- the nuts are facing you inside the beak that way. However, the U Bolts are too long to easily fit up under and between the outer edge of the beak over the frame. It can be done, but again, it is very difficult. Also, once it is done, there is a lot of thread to sit there and crank down the self-locking nuts. Cutting about half the threads off the U bolts solves both problems.

    B.
    #7
  8. RichK

    RichK Long timer

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    Pic of u bolt install?

    Rich
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  9. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Inside the rightside underthe beak- U bolts cut and face towards the inside of the bike where they are easier to get to.

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  10. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Looking from the outside, from the right side of the bike at the U Bolt and mounting tab where it connects to the frame under the beak.

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  11. on2wheels52

    on2wheels52 Long timer

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    Thought I would share my results with the HP bars. I bought a used set from an inmate for my '05. He had mentioned shortening the U-bolts would make them easier to tighten and I did take a bit off before putting them on. I didn't like the 4 bolts that connect the upper bars to the lowers. The head was so shallow I was sure any more than minimal torque would round out the hex-head.
    Then I caught wind of some efforts on ADV to improve the clearance from the side covers (thanks Brahma). I located some new bolts and gave it a go.
    This time I shortened the U-bolts to where just a thread was exposed. I also ground the brackets for the additional oil line clearance. Then it was time to spread the thing. It's akward and the thing pretty stout. I didn't measure my spreads but it takes a lot to gain a little. Here is my method.

    [​IMG]

    Even before spreading there was something of a gap between the upper and lower bar mounting pads. I made two 1/8" plates to take up the space. Here with the new bolts and one old one.

    [​IMG]

    Like Brahma I had a little more clearance on the left (would rather have it on the right) but now have at an inch or more everywhere. To remove the side covers I use a paper towel for a shoehorn between the cover and the bar and it slides right by.
    Jim
    #11
  12. Django

    Django Been here awhile

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    I like the look, but for the money and the trouble, I can't see how they are worth it.

    Maybe they will revise the design.
    #12
  13. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    They DEFINATELY have to revise the design. If I knew then what I know now, I would NEVER have bought them.
    #13
  14. GS N RVN

    GS N RVN Been here awhile

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    Why do you need the bars anyway? Seems like a lot of work and cost for very little benefit.
    #14
  15. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Uh...

    They protect the tank in case of dropping the bike... Once they get put on, thet do that very well. It is just tat it would have been nice that Hepco gave SOME consideration to making them FULLY functional, by giving clearance for the side panels.
    #15
  16. LTCOliverNorth

    LTCOliverNorth Peeping Tom

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    I have the HB engine guards, and the couple of times the bike has tipped over, it's always stopped at the jugs. I've never had the bars or upper body of the bike make contact with the ground.

    If you're riding off-road where the riding surface is uneven or may be at drastically different elevations, then I can see the possible benefit, but on paved or dirt roads, don't see them being worth the $ or hassle.
    #16
  17. Brahma

    Brahma Been here awhile

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    Yes, the HB engine gurads are great- they bolt right up, give plenty of clearance, and were designed with clearance to get the valve covers off- if ONLY the tank guard team talked to the engine gurd team....

    Anyway, this thread fixed all that...
    #17
  18. GS N RVN

    GS N RVN Been here awhile

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    I got off my bike doing 30 mph on an unpaved road and the HP engine bars saved everything...not a bit of mud on the tank area. The panniers saved the rear. The tank bars do look cool. Good luck to you.
    #18
  19. twicedad

    twicedad vtgs

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    I just got a new set of HP engine guards and attempted to install them. I could not get the drivers right guard to clear the cylinder head (with BMW value cover guards installed. After adjusting, fiddling, etc. for 2 hrs I took them back off and put them aside. The front engine cross member seems to fit perfectly on the drivers right but not the drivers left, seems to be to short and not allow enough of the engine guard to slip inside....I triple checked that I had the correct spacers installed...WTF.
    #19
  20. Solstice0000

    Solstice0000 Been here awhile

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    I am told H&B have revised the design of the upper tank crash guard for the 2008 & up models. Anyone know if this is true?
    #20