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

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

  1. rbm

    rbm Adventurer

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    Beautiful restoration job. Very methodical with your approach as well, which is good to see.

    I read this thread and can't help thinking of another thread on another forum, related to BMW K-bikes, that you might have interest in perusing:

    85 K100 restoration

    Even though it's a different BMW motorcycle model than the one you're restoring, the issues Oldgoat encounters and solves will be useful to your rebuild. The product recommendations he has are particularly good.

    Best of luck. Jim Adams would be extremely proud of what you're doing.
  2. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    Sounds like a ride plan! And seeing as how I owe you a few beers for such a fine ride report, it looks like it'll be a pleasant visit. Then we can sit and sip brews while we stare at your bike for a few hours.

    Wow...just freakin wow!
  3. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    rbm: Thanks so much for sharing the link, I'll have to check that out!

    KLRUSERIOUS: Just let me know when you're headed this way! :thumb

    I wasn't overly productive this weekend, but I did get what needed to be done done. I'm going to be out traveling all week again, and I wanted to confirm what I need in regards to the clutch and timing chain parts and get them ordered before I left. So, out to the garage I went early Saturday morning to take a look-see.

    Removed the transmission. Hard to see here, but the shafts and splines all look good:

    [​IMG]

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    I wanted to dig deeper, but I wasn't able to get the bolts off. I don't have an impact wrench, so I'll have to buy or borrow one. In addition, I didn't have the three 2", 8mm bolts needed to properly release the diaphragm spring tension, so I couldn't go much farther. I decided everything I saw was clean enough that I would take a leap of faith and only order a new friction plate and diaphragm spring. I'd really be surprised if it needs a new pressure ring or pressure plate.

    OK, onto the front cover. I had an issue with stripping out all three (!) of the bolts holding the generator on and thought I wasn't going to get much farther, but I was able to get them out.

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    Finally off:

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    Then off came the rotor:

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    And finally a view inside:

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    Tensioner looks good:

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    And honestly, so did the chain on first inspection:

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    But looking a little closer you can see where the chain was making contact with the casing:

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    Better to be safe than sorry, so I went ahead and ordered a new chain, tensioner, and tensioning spring. It's only money, right?!?

    So I'm sending another $1,200 order into BMW Hucky today (who has been fantastic, by the way). Hopefully the parts should be here by mid next week so I can get a lot done next weekend.

    I also ordered a new set of Bridgestone Battlax BT45 tires which should be here next week.
  4. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    'atta boy! No sense cutting corners now.

    CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!!! :lol3
  5. enzorover

    enzorover Adventurer

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    That chain is clearly worn out but it looks like there was a LOT of chain slap from all the slack...slack that the tensioner should have been able to take up... Definitely take a close look at it when you install the new chain.


    Looks fantastic! Keep up the great work!!
  6. mestevie

    mestevie n00bster

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    This is art. That frame looks superb.
  7. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks to all for the kind words!

    Well, nothing new yet. I did receive the tires in the mail late last week. Maybe I'll go out and take some photos of those, though not overly exciting.

    Unfortunately, BWM Hucky has not received the cashier's check that I mailed last Monday yet. I'm starting to get worried, but the bank said they've had some problems with the local mail lately and to give it another week before going to request a stop payment and requesting a new one be issued. There should be no way that I'm out the $1,200 that I sent, but it's the lost time that bothers me. This was going to be a good week to get a few things done.

    I also want to dig into the clutch and the timing chain while it is all fresh in my mind. I don't want enough time to pass that I forget how each part went on, and what went where, etc. Yes, I have a manual, but it's a lot easier just remembering how it all went. Oh well, it's out of my control!

    On a positive note, all of the chrome bits are scheduled to be done this Friday, and I may get my shiny wheels and hubs back complete with shiny new stainless spokes this week as well.

    Here's to hoping!
  8. WhisperTheWind

    WhisperTheWind Adventurer

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    Backdrifter,

    Truly amazing work. I have to say that after reading your entire post (so far) that I am moved to begin my own restoration of my 73 SWB R60/5 Toaster. It has been mostly a garage queen for the past many years as my marriage, parenting, and job ended my solo pursuit of the twisties. With one kid done with college and the other on the way, I now have the time to begin work on the old gal. I have another ride (82 R100RT hack rig) that I and the GF use, so I am not entirely out of the game while I work on the /5.

    Just wanted to drop a line and say thanks for sharing and I will continue to follow your journey and perhaps post my own.

    D.
  9. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks for sharing!

    I would definitely give doing a build thread some thought. The only downside I can think of is the time it takes to keep it up. I find it therapeutic though, and don't mind one bit. The plusses are that you'll always have a record of what you did, you'll have lots of photos to go back and reference when you have questions, and you'll have the support and camaraderie of many fellow forum members!

    It sounds funny to hear that you've found my build inspirational. If I can do something like this, anyone can! Quite honestly, I wasn't sure if I had gotten myself in over my head (actually, I'm still not sure) once I started tearing the bike apart. But, you take it piece by piece and find that you're capable of a lot more than you thought. It still doesn't seem to me like I've done a lot, until I start listing everything that I've done to the bike (and look at all my receipts!).

    I hope you do decide to do a build diary - I'd love to follow along and root for you!

    Now the important question: How do you like your '73 R60/5? As someone who's never ridden an R60/5, or any airhead for that matter, the suspense is killing me. I seriously have weekly dreams about the first ride. I can't wait....
  10. WhisperTheWind

    WhisperTheWind Adventurer

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    Backdrifter,

    Way back when, I rode several borrowed bikes. From 50cc Harleys and Hondas, to 750 Norton Commandos, and one Norton Atlas. The first real bike I bought was an early 750 Honda (72) before they tuned them down. That bike was a real monster. It was happiest at about 85-90 which was too fast for me. Plus, it was difficult for a shade tree mechanic to tune and maintain. So I sold it and started looking for a smaller, slower, and simpler ride. It took a while because when I had the money, I had no prospects. When I found a potential bike, I had no money. And living in NE Minnesota where the riding season is short (unless you like snow and ice) the available stock was thin.

    I finally found my R60 from a just married farm lad whose missus declared motorcycles as inappropriate for their lifestyle. His loss, my gain.

    I first took off the bolt on windshield and started riding. Over the years, I covered a lot of miles with minimal maintenance on the bike other than oil changes and valve setting. The R60 is one of the smoothest of the R bikes when properly tuned. It is also very nimble for such a rugged machine. It never broke down on me and it put up with several instances of poor judgement on my part that required replacement of handlebars, headlight buckets and saddle bag mounts. No other bike that I know of could have survived a 60 mph get off while on the trans-Canadian highway north of Lake Superior, and still run, much less drive me 40 miles into Sault Saint Marie where a talented Czeck mechanic patch it up well enough for me to finish my ride.

    I rode with friends who all had newer, sportier, bikes in the twisties and was able to stick with them in the corners, but lost them on the straights. I will offer one caveat, mind your speed coming into the corners and anywhere where stopping suddenly might be called for. The weak spot on the R60 are the drum brakes. If you ride prudently and keep your eyes open, they will work fine, but if you want to ride hard and dump speed quickly, then consider a disk upgrade on the front.

    The R60 is happiest ridden solo. Even fully loaded for trips lasting months, the R60 will pull you up and into the mountains without complaint. It will cruise all day in triple digit temps across the plains effortlessly. It is a little under powered for two-up touring however.

    So, that's about it from me. The hack rig is my ride now when I want to go with the GF. But I miss the solo aspect of riding. I was never much for group rides or city commuting. I loved the back roads with no clear game plan. Just a vague idea of where I was heading.

    Oh, another thought. If you are going to keep the toaster tank, and plan on touring, you'll be stopping often for gas. I mounted a larger tank soon after acquiring the bike, but will be putting the toaster back on for the rebuild. If long tours are part of your plan, you may want to have a bigger tank to swap with the toaster for those trips.

    Tata.
  11. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks for the detailed response! I'm really excited about the R60. It just oozes class and style (in my opinion). I used to ride much faster and more powerful bikes too - supermotos, a couple of KTM 950's, and even a Honda RC-51 that was just too fast for me to ride sensibly. I think the R60 will be right in line with the kind of riding I'm ready for these days.

    Like you, other things got in the way of my riding. I have a 3 year old daughter, and despite saying that I would never be "that guy" that stopped riding because he was afraid of the dangers after having a child, that's exactly what happened. I haven't ridden a bike religiously in 3 years. There was a time when I put 15,000 miles on a bike in a year - I have no idea what to expect now. I may just ride it on nice days and add a few thousand miles each year. I'm hoping to do a few trips on it, but probably not right away. I would like to get a bigger tank just in case. Part of me is thinking about having a larger all aluminum tank made by Evan Wilcox. Costly, but why stop the hemorrhaging of money now? :D

    The poor bike must've been scared to death of me at first. All manners of "visions" of what to do with the bike went through my mind. For a while I was going to turn it into a cafe racer. Then, maybe a scrambler. Then I decided (without ever having ridden an airhead, mind you) that it wouldn't be powerful enough, so I started looking into swapping the jugs for R75 or even R90 equivalents.

    Part of me thinks Papa wouldn't let me proceed until I had my head on straight. I'm finally in the right mind set: It's going to be a very nice R60/5, mostly original, with some classy non-stock appointments here and there. And however quick or slow it is, it will be perfect as-is.

    As an update, BMW Hucky still hasn't received my payment check. This debacle is going to add a few weeks the project. :cry
  12. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Well, I sent the Cashier's check exactly two weeks ago to BMW Hucky and he still hasn't received it. I've never had an issue with the USPS like this in the past! I finally conceded and went up to the bank to stop payment on the current check and get a new one issued. I'll be mailing this one via Priority Mail (with a tracking number!) later today.

    Another two week set-back!
  13. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    DAMMIT! I get so darn excited when I see an update to this thread :)

    Hard luck......could be worse I guess.
  14. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    I read your response and couldn't stand to have my biggest supporter disappointed, so I thought about what else I could do to have something to update you with. As it turns out, since there is still LOTS to do, I had lots to choose from! First I decided to call St. Louis Plating - the place that I dropped off all the parts that needed to be chromed. My parts were ready, so I took a drive over to St. Louis. STL Plating was great to work with. Very friendly and helpful. They were upfront with me about the time it would take to get to my parts (three weeks), the price was more than fair, and they the parts were done as promised.

    The tank plates look great, but the pitting they had was deep enough that they weren't able to grind the defects down far enough to totally eliminate them. If you look close, there are still very small dimples in the plates from where the pitting was. At first I was disappointed, but now that I've looked at them some more I've decided they're just fine. I tried to take some photos to show the dimples below. I figure if you can't see them with a close up shot from an ultra-sharp 50mm prime lense, they're no big deal!

    Left:
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    Right:
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    Once I had these, I drove them to my painter. He's going to airbrush the black "wings" by the tank badges. He's also going to install the plates back onto the tank for me. He had concern about it being more difficult since the new paint and new chrome added some thickness. He thought it would be best if he did it - that way if there was damage to the paint during installation, he could fix it on site. No arguments from me! I do not want to do anything that may scratch the new finish! In fact, I brought him my new locking gas cap to install as well. I should have the tank back ready to rock in about a week.

    Back to the chromed bits. Here's the headlight ring:

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    And the center stand grab handle:

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    And both together:

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    And the lower front fender brace:

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    And the upper front fender brace:

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    Wait, that's not chromed! Why didn't they chrome it?

    [​IMG]

    D'oh! OK, off to have it welded up and then back to STL Plating. I took it to a local auto shop that I've used to hone dirt bike cylinders in the past. As I was packing up, I remember how clean the cylinder was when they gave it back to me and decided that maybe I'd let them clean up some of the cast aluminum engine parts. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll be cleaning, scrubbing and polishing cast aluminum for hours, but why not let someone better equipped do some of the work? So I took these parts to them:

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    These should be back all shiny and clean by this weekend. I also removed these, and will start working on painting them soon:

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    In addition, I am hoping that my rims and hubs will be laced this week. Keeping my fingers crossed. A few hours after getting them back and I could actually have a rolling chassis again! Next steps that I can be working on in the mean-time are changing the brake shoes (easy) and *GULP* starting to re-wire the headlight bucket. :eek1

    So there you go - I have plenty to keep me busy until the next batch of parts arrives! :D
  15. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    Wow, those oxidized old parts really perked up!! Those chrome highlights are going to look so sick with the high gloss black! But seriously Backdrifter, you can't rush perfection and good things come to those who wait so take your time...but not too long please :D
  16. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks! I'm with you, but finding a balance between taking my time to do things right and moving quickly to be out riding is getting tough!

    Forgot to post a few photos of the new Bridgestone tires. They're all ready for the wheels to come back!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  17. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    Don't stress bud, you're doing great....and you're probably more ahead of the game than you think.

    Take the time to ride while you can, winter is a great time to wrap up old projects!

    Those tires look almost edible ...lol
  18. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    The auto shop called and said the parts were all ready. One day turnaround - not bad! They welded and fixed the fender brace, which I then ran back up to the chromer:

    [​IMG]

    And they bead blasted all of the parts I dropped off. They look much better compared to the "before" pictures above!

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    In hind sight I should have just bought a bead blaster and cabinet at the start of this project. Oh well, the charges for bead blasting have been very reasonable and having it done has saved me considerable amounts of time. And it looks great! The next step for these parts is to get out the silver Rub N' Buff and do some finger painting. They'll look brand spanking new when done.

    Still waiting on a call to hear that my hubs and rims have been laced. Fingers crossed.....
  19. newride

    newride Been here awhile

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    looks good man! very cool. Like the Blind Melon Sig line too. Very true lines.
  20. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    :clap
    Babyface610 likes this.