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

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

  1. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks everyone!

    An update on the cashier's check - I sent another one and it arrived late last week, and BMW Hucky shipped the parts on Monday. Expect some photos of Chrismtas, round 2, on Thursday! :thumb

    AND, the original cashiers check FINALLY bounced back to my home address with the words "incorrect address, return to sender". The interesting thing, though, is that the address I had written was correct! I still have to call USPS to complain about that one!
  2. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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  3. mcstark

    mcstark Living brappy...

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    Just caught your thread...B-E-A-U-tiful job!!!

    I'm in for the duration on this one. Maybe when you're done - another year or so (nudge nudge) - I'll have an airhead of my own.
  4. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks mcstark! You'll definitely have to post some photos of your airhead when you get it - who knows, maybe I'll actually have ridden an airhead by the time you buy one! :D

    My record-keeping was starting to wane a bit, so I figured I'd better update this thread. The parts that I was trying to buy when my payment got lost finally arrived a week and a half ago. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to do much since, but I'm in a good position to get things rolling again.

    So though it's not as far as I would like to be, here's what I have got done:

    Here's the box of parts from BMW Hucky. Hard to see, but there's quite a lot in there. Hans does a great job of packing. The biggest dollar item in there is the brand-spanking-new stainless steel headers. Pricey, but I'm glad I didn't skimp.

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    The front fender brace came back from the chrome plater, so I slapped it on:

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    I put the fork tube rubbers on:

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    At the recommendation of a good friend, Enzorover, I decided to add more grease to the bearings that I had installed thus far. So, I went and bought this little guy to make sure it was right this time:

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    Then I removed and re-greased the steering head bearings and removed the swingarm and re-greased the bearings in there as well:

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    And with the new shipment I finally had the gasket I needed to mount up the final drive:

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    I greased the final drive splines up and put it all together. I'm probably going to have to redo it though. I thought the grease I went with would be a good choice (Lucas Red 'N Tacky), but I've read info since that suggests otherwise. I'll have to clean them up and get some good moly grease.

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    I pulled the new axles out to compare new to old. Here are the rears, with the new stainless one on the bottom:

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    And here are the front axles:

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    And remember these?

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    I decided it was time to clean them up. I've had good luck with this high-heat ceramic paint in the past:

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    Luckily I'm the main cook in the house, otherwise these next steps probably wouldn't have been too popular with the misses. I grabbed a good cookie tray and covered it with alumimum foil:

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    Then I painted them, about 10 separate coats in all:

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    Then I fired up the oven and brought it to 350 degrees for a half hour bake:

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    My report is a bit chronolgically out of order - while the house proceeded to smell like a paint shop for the next half hour, I went back to the garage and greased some bearings. Half an hour later, my meal was ready!

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    The end result:

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    My intent was to take some light sand paper and sand over the emblems so the paint was removed from the high points - giving back the original appearance. But, the all-black look has grown on me and now I'm not sure which way to go. On one hand, I like the all black. The whole bike in general will be a bit darker and sleeker than a stock one. It will have black rims, no chrome battery covers, the new shocks have black springs instead of the chrome stockers, etc, etc. The all black emblems may play into that look very well. On the other hand, I liked how the emblems looked before. Any input is greatly appreciated. Worse case I may just try sanding them and see how it turns out. The entire painting process took me 40 mintues, and that was with the 30 minute bake!

    And finally, I saved the best for last. The painter finished up with my tank (painting the black stripes and installing the chrome panels) and it looks freaking fantastic! See for yourself:

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    And that's where she sits for now! Still waiting on my laced wheels to be ready. The stainless spokes have taken longer to come in than anticipated. I'm really looking forward to having a roller again. At this point I'll probably sit on the frame and ride it down the driveway just to feel the damn bike move! :rofl

    Thanks for watching!
  5. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    [​IMG]

    I'm speechless.. I think I can see your neighbor across the street in the reflection of that crisp paint and chrome!

    Friggin wow!
  6. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

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    You have a pretty good pinstriper. NICE! :evil Keep it up.

    One pointer though. I noticed above that you had your valve covers bead blasted. You should never use glass bead media on any parts that see oil. Glass beads break down into microscopic shards of glass that can actually embed themselves in aluminum. Scrubbing with all the water in the world won't remove them. When the part gets installed in an engine and heated up when the engine runs, the aluminum expands and releases these shards into your oil where they can WRECK bearings. Anything that sees oil should only be blasted with soda or better yet, walnut shell media or corn cob. I'd rinse the hell out of those valve covers in the hottest water you can use and hopefully that'll be good enough.
  7. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Yeah, I'm really happy with the paint results. My painter is named Larry F. and lives in the St. Louis area. I'd be more than happy to send anyone his information along with a high recommendation. Not only is the work top notch, but he was a real pleasure to deal with and his prices were very, very fair.

    As for the bead blasting, I love learning lessons like this, but hate learning them after the fact! :cry

    I took a bunch of parts (cylinders, heads, etc) to a local vintage BMW shop for some repair and they bead blasted everything, so I thought it would be OK for everything else. The shop owner is extremely knowledgeable, so I'm sure he properly masked all the oil-wet areas, unlike me. I appreciate the heads-up and will do everything I can to clean up the valve covers before installing them.
  8. Solo Lobo

    Solo Lobo airhead or nothing

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    Also, as the shaft does run in oil there is no need to grease the splines...

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  9. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    That certainly makes sense, but why then did I find so much info on what grease to use on the final drive splines for old airheads? Am I missing something? :ear

    Just a few minor updates. I installed the grab handle. Nothing major, and I certainly wouldn't have updated the thread just for this. Looks nice, none-the-less!

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    And then I brought these home:

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    What's this, you say? :evil

    I wanted to do something special and pay tribute to Papa somewhere on the bike. Something along the lines of what bill42 did with the plaque that he put on his father's bike (go to YouTube and enter "A BMW Story" for reference - GREAT video!).

    I thought about doing a plaque as well, but decided I wanted whatever I did to be part of the bike itself. At first I thought about airbrushing a tribute on the tank just above the seat, but I forgot to look into it when I had the bike painted. So, I started thinking of an engraving. I looked all around and wanted a good place for it - somewhere with a nice engraveable surface that was also in plain sight. The best place I thought of was where the current "BMW R60/5" badges are on top engine cover, but I wasn't willing to remove the badges. So, I settled on the center of the valve covers. I think it turned out really well, though it's not quite as deep as I would've liked. I probably should have gone to some kind of industrial engraver, but Things Remembered said they could do it so I gave them a shot.

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    A few more shots outside in better lighting:

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    I would like to somehow fill the engraving with black, or a darker color, to make them really stick out. Since it's not as deep as I was hoping for, I'm not sure how to do that. My original plan was to just spray paint the top of the valve covers over the engraving, and then wipe the remaining paint away off of the high spots. I'm not sure if that will work or not, but maybe I'll give it a shot to see.

    I'd really appreciate any other ideas on how best to add some dark color to the engraved areas.

    :ear:ear:ear
  10. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    What an honor! Dude, every dad needs a son in law like you.
  11. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

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    the valve covers look amazing. i'd leave them just as they are. a subtle dedication. very well done.
  12. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks gents, I really appreciate the comments! I agree that the valve covers look good as-is, but I want something a bit less subtle. I want people to see it and say, "what does that say"? I want it to be noticed. I'll give this some more thought.

    Deciding I had put off "real" work long enough, I went out to the garage to brave the 107 degree heat and work on the engine. I decided to tackle the timing chain, tensioner arm and tensioner spring today.

    Being lazy and not wanting to go through the work of removing either of the gears, I probably went about this the wrong way and decided to cut off the old chain. First I masked everything so metal particles couldn't get deeper into the engine.

    Old chain cut:

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    New chain:

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    Old tensioner and spring on the left, new ones on the right:

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    New chain installed:

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    And then the tensioner and spring:

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    When this was done I had gained a big sense of accomplishment and lost 75% of the fluids in my body through sweat, so I decided to pick a task that I could do inside. Time for some more finger painting with Rub N' Buff!

    Front cover before:

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    Front cover after:

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    Top cover during:

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    And after:

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    It's too damn hot to even think straight, so I'm taking a break. I may head back out to the garage with an ice cold beer later tonight and do some more work. More than likely I'll just set the alarm for 6AM tomorrow and work before the heat gets unbearable. I've got the weekend to myself, wife and baby girl are out of town, so my plan is to finish the piston rings (cake), clutch (easy, I think), and main seal (never done it). That's the lion's share of the big stuff I have left (other than re-wiring the headlight bucket, which is what I'm dreading the most at this point).

    More soon....
  13. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Another hot day, but I wasn't going to let it stop me from making some progress.

    I opened the clutch up, but didn't reassemble everything. I've decided I'm going to let my BMW shop install the rear main seal so I don't have to buy or borrow the special tool. With everything already opened up, it should take them just a few quick minutes and I'll get it done when I go to pick up the laced wheels. So, I turned my attention on the brakes, which needed new shoes.

    The front was first. Old:

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    New EBC shoes:

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    Greased everything up with moly grease:

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    And back together:

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    Then the back:

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    New and old shoes:

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    Greased everything up again, and back together:

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    Then I decided to take a look at the piston rings. I had read something recently that suggested if you had even carbon build up all the way to the edge of the piston, the rings were probably fine. If the edges were clean, it meant that oil was bypassing the rings. I had even carbon build up across piston, so I almost skipped swapping out the rings. I'm glad I didn't.

    Rather than try to measure the end gap in the piston, I removed the top ring from the right piston and put it in the cylinder to see how it looked. Holy crap, have you ever seen so much end gap? I didn't have a feeler gauge large enough to even come close to fitting in this gap. I have no idea why it is like this, but it was enough to convince me to replace all the rings.

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    After that, I decided I'd better measure the gaps for the new rings. They all checked out fine, typically between 11 and 12 thousandths.

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    I really like the packaging that BMW sends the rings in. This makes it hard for even a no-talent wannabe mechanic like me to mess this up!

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    Pulling rings off and replacing them:

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    Other side:

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    I was happy with my decision to replace the rings - as I removed them, 3 of the 6 broke in half when I tried to spread them apart. They were quite brittle from years of service.

    That's all for now. Once the rear main seal is in, the flywheel and new clutch parts will go back in. Then it's time to reassemble the engine and the major mechanical parts of this rebuild are done.

    Getting closer all the time!
  14. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    Man, this thread is going to go down in ADV history as THE resource for rebuilding an R60/5.

    Dude, you have motivated me so much that I went out and bought a sandblaster yesterday for my build projects.

    I would post a pic but I wouldn't dream of hijacking this thread of airhead awesomeness!

    WAY TO GO!!! :clap
  15. oldroadie

    oldroadie Two wheel addict

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    Seems to me you could use a dupli-color Black touch up pen to fill the engraving and remove anything that slips outside of the lines with some 600 grit attached to a flexible hard backer. Something like an emery board nail file that wouldn't let the grit slip down into the engraving. The last of those touch up pens I bought had both a brush and a fine tip, like a felt tip pen, in the same barrel.
  16. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks! I think you're being a BIT generous there, but I appreciate the kind words none-the-less! Absolutely do feel free to post photos here - you've more than earned that right! :thumb

    Funny you should mention the sand blaster. If I was going to do it all over again, that's one of the things I would change - the first thing I would do would be to go out and buy a blaster and a cabinet. Oh well, I guess I've gotten by without it! :D Seriously though, you won't regret that purchase. You need to start a build thread! At the very least, post a photo or two here of what you've got!

    Thanks for the suggestion, that seems like a good idea. It seems like it will be easier to wipe or rub away the unwanted excess than the spray paint I was thinking about using.

    Much appreciated!!!
  17. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    MISTER DRIFTER! Thank you for allowing me to share some thoughts here. So, I spent the whole morning screening the medium that I got with the used sandblaster I purchased last weekend. Truth of the matter is that after seeing your parts come out so clean, I sourced a local shop to do the parts prep for me but the cost was on average $20-$40 a part and considering I'll be blasting everything from calipers, clutch and brake levers to rims and handlebars on two bikes, I decided to look into getting a blasting cabinet second hand if the price was reasonable. Local automotive tool supply shops had a decent standup cabinet for $350 (just over $400 after taxes) and a tabletop unit for $250 still a little steep in my opinion, so I snagged a look on some online classified postings and came across this beauty for $200 cash and despite having to drive an two hours round trip I still felt it was a good deal considering I have a 99 Honda winter beater that has a trailer hitch so the gas only cost me $25 making it a pretty good deal.

    Princess Auto - New Blasting cabinet examples
    http://www.princessauto.com/pal/product/8046492/Sandblast-Cabinets/Floor-Model-Sandblasting-Cabinet
    http://www.princessauto.com/pal/product/8014659/Sandblast-Cabinets/Bench-Model-Sandblasting-Cabinet

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    So, here is one of the handlebar pieces that bolt on to the triple tree to represent the before condition. The bike is an 84 RZ350 and you can see that the part is in average shape for its age.

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    A quick blast (3 min in the cabinet) really did a good job at stripping the tough powdercoat to a clean and simple matte finish.

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    Then an equally quick hit on the bench grinder wire brush for a high shine

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    Here is a before and after of the handlebar ends

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    And this is the final shot of before and after paint and clear coat. I have decided to go with the polished steel look instead of the black powdercoat look. I just hope the VHT rattlecan clearcoat is strong enough to last the test of time without going yellow or chipping off

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    All in all, I am very happy with the end result and for the price, I really don't think you can beat the ease of restoring a pile of old parts for a measly $250 bucks. Again, I credit you Backdrifter for taking my build to the next level with the motivation you provided with your most excellent build thread and I totally agree with you that a sandblasting cabinet is practically a must for these kind of restorations.

    But as excited as I am to finish my RZ bikes I am itching to see how Jim's bike is going to turn out in all its fully restored glory.
  18. rbm

    rbm Adventurer

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    I can talk to the K-bike but not an Airhead ... but changing the main rear seal is a no brainer operation once you've stripped the bike down to its components, like you have done. I am an aspiring home mechanic such as yourself and found that changing the main rear seal in my 88 K100to be a straight forward job using no more complex tools than a hammer and wooden block. I took my time to drive the seal in straight and make sure that it lay 0.5mm proud of the casting. As I said, maybe the Airhead is a different matter when it comes to the main seal installation, but my guess is that it would be a job well within your capabilities, having seen the excellent work you have accomplished to date.
  19. backdrifter

    backdrifter Wannabe rider

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    Thanks for the vote of confidence, rbm! I have to say, I let all the talk that I read about this "special tool" and the procedure of installing the main seal freak me out a bit. Truth be told, I don't care a whole hell of a lot if I do it or if someone else does it, I just want it done right. As much as I have enjoyed this build, my goal is to NEVER have to open this bike up like this again in my lifetime! :D

    KLRUSERIOUS?: WOW! I think you got a steal! That is an awesome blasting cabinet. Again, if I had to do it all again, that would be the FIRST thing I would purchase! I think you got a heck of a deal, and I don't know how you could ever regret that purchase. Honestly, I can't recall if I've ever regretted purchasing a tool.

    Those clip ons look phenomenal now! Do I see the beginnings of a wonderful build thread???? :clap
  20. KLRUSERIOUS?

    KLRUSERIOUS? Farkle-whore

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    Hell, it's just a rz350 smoker japcrap and I am planning on turning the parts bike into a track bike. Nothing like your timeless classic there.