In memory of Jim Adams - an R60/5 build diary

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by backdrifter, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    So fine :clap
  2. Sniper X

    Sniper X De Oppresso Liber

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    Great job so far....looking forward to the rest oh.
  3. bill42

    bill42 Old-School BMWs

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    Hi Backdrifter,

    I just found this post for the first time today while looking over airhead threads as I recently bought my first airhead.
    Your restoration you are doing in memory of Jim Adams has really moved me. I did almost the exact same thing a few years ago to my father's BMW that he left me as a tribute and a way to bond with my recently deceased father. It was the best therapy I could ever have chosen, and your bike is strikingly similar down to the paint jobs! (Although mine was the generation right before your slash 5)
    That restoration I did changed my entire life, as it got me into motorcycles and now I am starting my next project turning an R100RT into a cafe racer.
    Anyway, you are doing a great job and I really appreciate how you are sharing your restoration here.
    Papa would indeed be proud, and his entire family will certainly be proud when you are finished.

    /bill

    (google "a BMW Story"... that's me)
  4. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks to all for the encouragement - it does make a positive difference! :)

    Hi /bill,

    Thanks for your very kind post! I know your video well - I've watched it MANY times, and it is just amazing! It brought tears to my eyes the first time I saw it. And the bike is just gorgeous, you did a spectacular job! I'll be ecstatic if mine turns out half as good as yours did! What a cool way to honor your father. I'm glad that your restoration was life changing, and I appreciate the encouragement. Every now and then I get caught up on the small details - the time and money I'm investing, the fact that it has taken so much longer than I anticipated. I need to stay focused on the big picture and keep moving.

    Papa is buried up in the Chicago area, and the first road trip I have planned for the bike is a ride up there to "show" him the bike. It will be a meaningful, and as you mentioned, therapeutic, ride!

    Thanks again for your comments!

    Ben
  5. bill42

    bill42 Old-School BMWs

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    I figured you probably had seen my youtube slideshow... Glad you found it inspiring. From your photos, your restoration is going to be just as clean as mine was. I didn't really do anything special except a typical cosmetic restoration and a new clutch and rebuilt heads and shocks. One day I will rebuild the engine and transmission but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

    You are lucky like I am to have inherited a motorcycle from someone close to you. It really turns the bike into so much more than a machine. I ride friend's crazy fast streetfighters, and I rode a new GS all over the Alps, but I can never wait to get back on my Dad's little old, low powered R50.

    Don't worry about the money. If it helps, I think I probably spent maybe 15 grand on mine, but the truth is I stopped counting at around 8 grand because it started worrying me just like it worries you. And yeah, I had to wait sometimes to save up some more money to buy the big pieces I needed, and I kind of emptied my savings account.
    But the thing about money is, it all comes back eventually, and I don't even know I spent what I did now, 2 years later.
    The bike you will have forever though. In my case, it was the best investment I ever made.

    Keep up the good work!
  6. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks again! Yes, I do believe your project exceeded mine in both scope and cost! I've had the heads rebuilt and the cylinders cleaned up. I'm going to replace piston rings, the timing chain and the rear main seal. Otherwise, mechanically she's looked pretty good so far (though I always seem to find something new that requires attention as I dig farther in). I'm hoping to stay under the $7,000 mark for the whole process, but like you, I've stopped counting. The way I figure it, I got the bike for free, and like you pointed out, a bike with sentimental value is worth far more (to me) than one without.

    I'm going to try to take all the bits that need to be rechromed into a local shop today. That should just about complete the cosmetic portion of the rebuild.

    Thanks again!

    PS: By the way, did you ever post that video here on Advrider? If not, you really should - this crowd would absolutely eat it up!
  7. bill42

    bill42 Old-School BMWs

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    I never did actually post my video link here but I believe others may have. By now it seems that everyone who rides a motorcycle has seen it, which never ceases to amaze me.
    I too cleaned up my cylinders with a dingleberry brush. (Gotta hate those dingleberries stuck in your engine!) and installed new rings and new seals- All the seals I could get to that is. I didn't rechrome anything, choosing to buy stainless steel repro parts instead hoping they will outlast chrome. A lot of my money went into an expensive paint job with lots of body work. You body and the tins are in better shape which will save $$. I also had a bidding war on a headlight bucket with rebuilt speed and wound up paying over $700 for it! Not sure if it was worth it but in terms of time and money it probably was.
    I still have a bunch of left over parts that I can probably sell for $800 on ebay if I ever get around to it. Your R60 is a great little bike. Still pretty small, and about the same weight as my older bike yet more powerful with better handling. What a blast you are going to have. Get ready for all sorts of strangers at stop lights asking you "What kind of bike is that?"
    And then... "I didn't know BMW made motorcycles!"
  8. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Yeah, I'm really looking forward to hearing this thing run. I think I'll probably cry the first time it idles. I've only heard it run once or twice, and I had to use starter fluid and rev it pretty high to get it going at all. That was at least a year ago when I decided a full motor out of frame resto was necessary.

    Overall I've been very lucky - almost all of the original parts have been salvageable and have actually looked really good. I had the left cylinder/head that had some unexplained pitting, probably from an unattended head leak, but other than that, it's been surprisingly clean. It didn't require any body work, just paint.

    I really like the idea of stainless replacements, but I decided to rechrome most parts just because my ultimate goal is to keep as much components the same ones as when Papa rode it as possible. So, I dropped the tank plates, headlight ring, both front fender braces, and the center stand grab handle off at the plater today. No big deal, just $175 less in my bank account. As you said, it's only money! :D
  9. bill42

    bill42 Old-School BMWs

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    Well that is a faithful restoration for sure then. Can you believe the toaster tanks were very unpopular? Your bike has a great look to it. Although you can always update it to suit your riding style a bit. For instance you dropped the fairing. You could take that idea further if you wanted and put some lower euro bars and lower mirrors to tighten up the look a bit. Heck I totally cjanged the look of my dad's bike and put not just euro bars but a solo seat too. I upgraded various electronic parts too to modern more reliable components as well. The main point is that it is still the same basic bike. I agree though that you should stick with whatever you can that came with the bike. I made some choices that I felt would prolong the time before the next restoration is needed. I actually plan on leaving the bike to my children, who happen to be girls. I'll make riders out of them yet!
  10. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Ha, we have a lot in common then. My only child (so far) is a 3 year old daughter. She loves the bike already though. Every time we walk past it in the garage she says, "daddy, are we going to ride on that together some day"? I always tell her "of course", though her mother would kill me if she heard me saying that!

    My resto will not be a true/faithful/absolutely stock kind. I'm not an originality nazi, I just want to keep as much of it as possible like it was when Papa rode it. I already have a set of Euro low bars. I didn't feel bad about that because the stock bars were not salvageable. I'm also varying from stock in other ways - like you said, I'm going with more low-profile mirrors. I also decided to powder coat the rims black. I wanted to keep the original rims, but they had some wear and tear that lead me to believe that they wouldn't polish up well (some cuts were too deep), so I decided to powder coat them instead. I'm going to leave the turn signals completely off (they're not required in IL), and put a more sleek taillight on. Overall, it will be Papa's bike with a bit of my style added to it!

    Yeah, it's interesting that the toasters were not well received, and now are looked at as classics. Truth be told, I think I like the non-toaster tanks more, but I can certainly appreciate the toaster tank, and it's what my bike came with, so it's what will stay on it.
  11. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

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    I'd leave that rusty nut right where it is, as-is. A reminder of the patina of the bike when it arrived.
  12. enzorover

    enzorover Adventurer

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    I couldn't agree more. You have to keep one semi-noticeable thing completely unrestored. I've done that in all my restorations. It one of those "attention to detail" things that adds a little something to the restoration. The casual observer will never notice but someone who's into bikes will appreciate it and know exactly what you've done. I don't guess you have the original hand grips do you?
  13. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks for the suggestion, gents. I'll have to give it some thought, by first reaction is not to go that route. I have an entire bucket of spare, replaced, and left over parts that I can go look at any time I want to remember the "patina" (I prefer to consider it neglect) that the bike had when it came to me.

    I think it would look like I forgot something - fixed everything then ran out of money before I could fix the nut.

    Also, keep in mind, that I don't actually know what kind of condition the bike was in when Papa rode it. He stopped riding it at least two years before I ever saw it, and then it sat in a family members backyard for another two years. It could have been in much better shape when he rode it.
  14. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    I had a few hours this morning, so I went out to the garage. No major progress, but things that needed to be done.

    I decided to put the center stand back on. I never reinstalled it after having the frame powder coated, and figured I'd better do it before I add more stuff to the bike and make the task more difficult.

    Here's what I'm sifting through every time I'm looking for parts:

    [​IMG]

    As thorough and clear as I thought I was when I marked every individual baggy, I'm now questioning some of the things I wrote. I suppose it would have made more sense if I had kept working on the project in a timely manner, but now I've forgotten much of the details. Go figure! Oh well, I'll get through!

    I can't say enough about the bolt kit from BMW Hucky. It's so nice to know what I'm looking for, search through a bucket of labeled and grouped fasteners, and grab the one I need. I've purchased bolt kits for other bikes in the past, but they were never this nicely organized. Here's the bolts I needed for the center stand:

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    And here's the kind of work that's going to take a lot of my time from here on out. Here's the kickstand stop before and after a cleaning. 5 minutes with a wire brush, so no big deal, but it will certainly add up with all of the parts that will require this kind of attention.

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    Then I went out to mount that piece so I could run the spring for the center stand to it. That's when I realized that I couldn't mount it yet because it mounts to the engine mounting bolt. So, I wrapped it in glad wrap to keep it clean and through it back in the baggy it came from. Then I installed the center stand and bungied it up so it would flop around.

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    Shiny new stainless bolts! Applying anti-seize on every fastener will get old, but I'm still glad I went with stainless.

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    Flipped back over and back on it's temporary wheels:

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    Then, just for fun, I decided to throw the tank and seat on to see how it looks. Not bad, not bad at all!

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    Then back to being a bit more productive. I went ahead and threw in the new progressive shock springs.

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    At this point it donned on me that I had never cut my headlight ears (to account for the thicker SJ BMW top brace that I'm using) before having them painted. Damn! I'm not going to use or mount the turn signals though, so I thought that might make up enough room for them to fit. Nope:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Damn. Oh well, I guess I'll talk to the painter and see what he thinks. Maybe if I tape them while they're being cut I can get by without causing too much damage.

    Oh, and that nut that we discussed above? Perhaps a compromise: I put some Rub N Buff on it just to see what it would look like. I like it - it's not shiny new chrome, but it looks nice at a quick glance. And, if you look closer, you can see the pitting and effects of time on it. I may still replace it down the road, but for now I'm happy with it.

    [​IMG]

    And that's it. I killed nearly two hours and got next to nothing done - is it any wonder that this project is taking me years to complete?!?!?

    I'm assembling my next (and hopefully last) large order for more needed parts. Hopefully more on that soon.
  15. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    [INSERT FOX WHISTLE HERE]

    Man that old girl looks mighty fine. Excellent work on the bike and true to your nature as a skilled craftsman the photography and post overall, is top notch and well received sir....carry on!
  16. Boxer Metal

    Boxer Metal Mad Scientist

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    Measure the inside step on the upper triple clamp and use that measurement to determine how much to cut off of the headlight ears.
  17. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks, will do!

    I've got a nasty couple of weeks of travel coming up for work, but I put in an email for my next parts order consisting of:

    Rubber fork boots, driveshaft bolts, driveshaft washers, swingarm gasket, goot peg rubbers, rear spoke set, front spoke set, timing chain, piston rings, fuel filters, swing arm oil seals, crossover pipe clamps, complete stainless steel header and crossover pipe set, upper and lower headlight bracket rubbers, fuel line, clutch plate, stainless front and rear axles, and front brake cable.

    Yeah, the wallet is going to be a bit lighter, but I'll have little to no more excuses holding me back once I get home from traveling!
  18. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    First of all, I need to take a moment to thank you for your support, KLRUSERIOUS! You've been the biggest contributor to this thread and I appreciate it. There have been times that I've been lying in bed thinking, "I'd really better start making some progress on the bike, or KLRUSERIOUS will be disappointed!" :D

    So, thanks!

    OK, onward...

    I got the rims and hubs back from the powder coater. I went with gloss black on the rims - a far cry from original or stock, but I think it's a decision I'm going to be happy with. I had the wheel hubs and final drive assembly blasted clean and then powder coated with a matte clear coat. It turned out nice, but it doesn't look as natural as I was hoping for. The photos make it look better than I think it looks in person. I was hoping for something that would look like clean, raw aluminum. I think it's a bit too dark grey to look natural, but it still looks good and once they're mounted, I think it will be harder to notice. The main purpose of coating the wheels was to keep them clean. I don't mind occasionally having to clean and scrub the aluminum bits that are easily within reach, like the cylinders and the rest of the engine, but I do NOT want to be disassembling the wheels every few years to clean out the ribs in the wheel hubs (and yes, I am anal enough that I would probably do that)....

    So, here are the photos. I apologize for the poor quality, all I had on me at the time was my phone.

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    You can see what I mean about the color being a bit too grey better on these parts:

    [​IMG]

    I took the wheels/hubs straight to a local BMW shop and asked them to order some stainless spokes and reassemble the wheels. That should take about two weeks total.

    While I was there, I also had them reinstall the driveshaft in the swingarm - so now I can start reassembling the final drive assembly, swingarm, shocks, etc.

    [​IMG]

    More soon - I'm on a roll now! :evil
  19. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    No backdrifter, you are the one that deserves all the thanks and credit on this one man. I mean, I have read a ton of these rebuild threads and I am rebuilding two RZ350s of my own right now, but I must say that I am rather impressed by not only your attention to fine detail sir, but also your ability to pull off restoring parts the way you do so well.......So sleep tight bud, I am more than impressed by your efforts and although I didn't know him, I am sure Jim Adams would be proud to call you a son in law honoring his memory like this.

    But don't let those words deter you from gettin' er done! Because I cannot WAIT to see the black beauty in one magnificent piece!

    UBER EXCELLENT WORK!!! :thumb

    Make sure you take pics of the look on the faces of Jim's relatives when they see the bike all done :freaky
  20. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks again for the kind words, they are truly appreciated! If you ever make it to the St. Louis area, I owe you a few beers! :freaky

    I took a few hours away from the office this morning to get some more stuff done. I really wanted to get the swing arm and shocks mounted. I have some more time tomorrow morning that I want to devote to opening up the engine and inspecting the clutch to determine what parts I need to order.

    So, I dug out the swing arm parts.

    [​IMG]

    Dirty, dirty, dirty! This will never do!

    [​IMG]

    Cleaned everything up and went to grab the new swing arm bearings. The old "stick 'em in the freezer to shrink them and make installation easier" trick.

    [​IMG]

    One thing I've learned in this project is that bearing races and I do not get along. The first one went in really smoothly though, so I thought maybe this was a new trend.

    In and seated:

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    Slathered up the bearing with Bel Ray:

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    Oil seal and sleeve installed and ready to go. One down, one to go. This is too easy!

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    Then I managed to get the other one stuck in the bore. Damn!

    [​IMG]

    It doesn't look like much, but getting it straightened out again added 10 minutes to my day's work! Eventually I got it tapped in though, and installed the rest of the parts like the other side.

    Centering/tightening the swing arm into place was interesting. I got it pretty good, but the pins didn't seem very tight. There was no play in the swing arm motion at all, and everything else seemed OK, so I went ahead and tightened the retainer nuts to spec. I'll go over all the set-up torques and values again before riding her anyway.

    Onto some fun stuff:

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    Shiny!

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    One side mounted:

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    And then both:

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    And then the final drive, though it's only mocked up right now because I need a new gasket.

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    Here you can see the darker grey color of the final drive. I'm not sure why it turned out a different color than the hubs. Oh well - it doesn't quite look natural, but it will be much easier to keep clean.

    [​IMG]

    Closed up shop and let the old girl sleep for another day. It won't be long until she's sleeping much less than she has been over the last 5 years!

    [​IMG]

    Hopefully more tomorrow....