R80/7 + a newb = a long road to cafe

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by benthic, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. benthic

    benthic glutton 4 punishment

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    hello Inmates!

    I've been really learning a lot and enjoying the several airhead build threads here and they have both intimidated me and inspired. Inspired me enough to start my own thread.

    a quick background of me:
    I took the MSF course here in San Diego back in May 2011, quickly bought a 2007 Honda Shadow Spirit, and promptly crashed it in some local twisties. I spent the next month healing and fixing my bike - the fixing was entirely new to me and mostly cosmetic. The experience was obviously a great lesson in many ways, but it also awakened a hitherto unknown passion for beautiful motorcycles and the desire to make one myself. On December 21, 2011, I couldn't resist anymore and I bought a 1978 BMW R80/7.

    [​IMG]

    So the good news is that the bike runs, and I was able to ride it home, and as far as I can tell, for being 33 years old it is in good shape. I suspect it hasn't been taken care of super well though, and the time has definitely taken some toll.

    The things I know are wrong with it:
    the gas cap is very finicky - i almost couldn't figure out how it works, but if i'm gentle and talk sweetly, it works
    the seat lock doesn't seem to actually lock, but the catch does hold the seat down.
    the bags don't have keys, and one of the locks was forced at some point - so they work, but not perfectly
    the horn doesn't work, which is funny since the turn signals squeak when you use them!
    there is some clunking with the front end, which i've been told might be a neck bearing - i'm working on that.
    and when i bought the bike the centerstand almost immediately vibrated loose and fell off - luckily in my garage
    the odometer was frozen at 30,000
    there is an oil leak somewhere on the bottom of the bike

    The things I suspect are wrong with it:
    Since I have no basis for comparison it is hard to say, but i think overall it needs a tune up. I'm certainly no expert but it doesn't sound like i think it would if it has some TLC. And I think the same goes for the brakes and suspension. wheel bearings, etc.

    So far I have fixed the odometer (thank you internet!) and fixed the center stand - I figured it would be much easier to work on with the center stand instead of that spring loaded side stand (tricky little guy - i almost dropped the bike when the side stand snapped back up!). I also took the bags and bag supports off so the bike would be easier to work on.

    My PLAN, is to really fix the bike up mechanically before i think about anything cosmetic. But as i said, i'm a newb with no experience with engines. I can take stuff apart and put it back together, but so far, i don't really understand how they work. At the moment the exhaust is off (to fix the center stand) and I've got some parts coming (gaskets, crush washers), and hopefully this week i'll change the oil and filter, and air filter. I also started taking things off the handlebars to make it easier to clean them up and also get to the triple tree to check out this front end issue...

    I'll take any and all crtisism and suggestions! Please, let me know if you have something to share. The bike came with the Clymer manual, and I've been scouring the internet - it is amazing how much information is out there and how many people love these bikes! I've also been reading Ian Falloon's Boxer Twin Bible, which is interesting.

    To close this wordy intro-post, some pics:

    [​IMG]
    the Honda and the BMW:) and my teeny tiny garage.

    [​IMG]
    i found cycleworks.com and got myself one of these wrenches.

    [​IMG]
    it is hard to tell, but the mufflers shined up awesome! the header pipes not so much.

    [​IMG]
    i'm going to try to find a kit for these and clean them up!

    Thanks for reading and I look forward to talking to some of you:)
    Spencer
    #1
  2. sealsam

    sealsam Sam...I am.

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    Welcome to ADV. A great family, with tons of info & help.

    I'm a new airhead owner myself, and just started the learning process also. Mine is a '78 r100s.

    Many turn to Snowbum... bmwmotorcycletech.info/

    Good luck with the bike. Maybe we'll cross paths in S.D. county someday. I really enjoy riding the Lake Henshaw, Mt. Palomar, Anza Borrego area's.
    #2
  3. kbasa

    kbasa Roubaix! Super Moderator

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    Nice! We are your kindly motorcycle uncles and we will help you.

    For the carbs, just hit them with some carb cleaner and a toothbrush to clean them up. Do they work OK?

    The oil is likely coming out of the pushrod tubes, those cigar tube looking things at the base of the cylinders. Spray the whole thing with Simple Green and degrease it. Then, watch to see where it's coming from. If it's the pushrod tubes, you're going to learn about how motors work. :lol3

    Regardless, you should learn to do a standard tune up on your bike. Look for your local airheads club and find out when they're having a tech day. Take your bike and go watch. It's awesome.

    Here's one account from a chapter in FL: http://gearheadgrrrl.com/
    #3
  4. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Welcome to the nut house for sure!!! Spencer, be sure to clean up the exhaust threads with a brush and be liberal with a coat of anti-seize on the threads before reinstalling the head pipes. It sucks when you bugger up those threads. Rebuilding the carbs isn't that bad. Do one at a time, and I wouldn't worry about doing the butterfly screws unless you can borrow the tool to mushroom the heads.

    Read this then wander around his site a bit. Good learning there. make sure to use a google search for stuff on advrider. This search engine here sucks.

    May want to get some electrical cleaner and dielectric grease and go through all the connections. Might help the horn problem. Lots of info here, lots of good folks willing to help. Oh...change those fuel filters, drop your float bowls and clean them out with carb cleaner and some compressed air for starters.
    #4
  5. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Welcome to The Asylum. Your R80 is normal for a bike it's age, it'll respond well to some TLC.

    Blindfishz? Benthic? Marine biologist??
    #5
  6. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Long timer

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    Also, wash the underside of the bike and tighten those bolts under the oil pan ( they are upside down)

    That stopped 90% of my oil leaks.
    #6
  7. fishkens

    fishkens Long timer

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    But use a torque wrench - those oil pan bolts can easily be overtightened and stripped.
    #7
  8. apt13

    apt13 Been here awhile

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    just about the exact same bike (and story) as me. my R80/7 was basically my first real bike and first learning experience with working on one. it's been a great amount of fun, a little frustration, with excellent help from the folks here who were VERY patient with me, haha. don't be afraid to ask stupid questions.

    my bike was in similar condition when i got it, with no history. i pretty much just changed all the fluids and learned how to tune it up as soon as i got it. the only major trouble i've had was some wiring and starter issues which were eventually sorted out. i also changed all the brake/throttle cables as they were pretty chewed up. the bike runs great now!

    i've also got a weird "clunk" noise in the front end and haven't been able to figure it out. i was actually going to rebuild the forks this weekend to see what happens. i'd like to know if you ever figure yours out. i'll keep an eye on your thread for sure!
    #8
  9. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    A "clunk" type noise is usually the steering head bearings, but you really want to look at them on an old bike if just to remove and replace the old congealed grease.If I was home I could post pics of what I found in my 87GS.....scary!:eek1

    A "clack" type noise can be worn "guide rings" inside the forks, kind of happened at the same time on my 85 K100 and my roommate's R100S so we spent a week-end way back then dissasembling cleaning and refitting our forks with copious amounts of "Lube". Easy job really when the lower bolt holding the internals cooperates. I usually loosen that one up before removing the tension on the springs,seems to hold the internals better so they don't turn as you unscrew the bolt.

    Getting old....Beer & Lube doesn't mix so well anymore.:wink:
    #9
  10. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    Great first post! Ya done good!

    About the best advice is to connect up to the airheads group and attend a tech day - more of a social get-together, but if you've got questions, that's the place to find answers. Those guys will be able to tell you in short order what's up, what to worry about and what's normal.

    The squeaking turn signals is most likely caused by the turn signal beeper barely working. For a few years they thought it was a good idea to have an audible beep when the signals are on - not sure why. Perhaps they thought the rider would hear the beeping to remind him to turn them off. Doesn't work - I know guys who rode for miles with their signals still on. And beeping. :lol3

    The clunk in the front end is most likely that the bumpers disintigrated - a rubber donut that softens the collision of slider and fork tube. Does it make the clunk on compression or rebound?

    Steering head bearings are probably ok. You don't need to remove any front end stuff to check them. It's easy, and one of those things that will take two minutes for someone to show you how to check them. Essentially, they need to be loose enough to move freely, yet with no slop. Just a slight bit of preload is needed. The grease can get old and stiff and make the bearings feel notchy, and you'd swear the bearings are bad. But all that's needed is a clean up and fresh grease. The handle bars should slowly fall over to full lock on their own when the wheel is started in that direction. But the problem is there's wiring and cables to muddy the issue. One side usually falls easier than the other.
    #10
  11. benthic

    benthic glutton 4 punishment

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    Geez! So many responses! Thanks all for the kind welcome!


    I will try to do better next time;)


    I’ve looked at his stuff, but find his site difficult to use - I’ll keep trying:)


    The bike runs, so i guess(?) they work ok;) Part of my learning process is taking things apart so even if they are working, I want to disassemble and rebuild so I understand them better - this ultimately will go for the entire engine I hope...I have tons of SG, but the bike has some serious layers of filth. My new approach is to clean as I take parts off rather than try to clean everything and all the nooks and crannies ahead of time - not great, as I wanted to start with a clean bike, but I've found it is about impossible to get to all the filth.

    I already have the anti-seize ready for when I reassemble the exhaust:) - Great site about the oil filter - I bought what I think I need from Bob’s BMW for the filter change, and have the Clymer manual. Good call on the fuel filters, etc. I’ll put it on my list;)


    Avid underwater photographer - my external flashes blind the fish as I foto them;)


    Yeah, I’m hoping that is what it is - I have a new oil pan gasket and crush washers coming...


    I don’t currently have a torque wrench that goes that low - I think the manual calls for 6 or 9ft/lbs? I’ll look into a smaller wrench. As I said, I’m new to engines (and torque wrenches!) - a friend had told me that for anything under 10 ft/lbs, it wasn’t terribly important to use a torque wrench, I take it you disagree?


    Awesome:) ditto if you find the clunk problem first.


    Yup, that is the plan:) I need to read through my manual again to make sure I have everything i need. Also, with my tiny garage I don’t have a lot of space - BUT! My wife and I are hopefully very close to buying a new home with a nice garage, so some of the disassembly projects might wait...


    Huh, I didn’t realize the turn signal beepers were seperate from the horn - I knew about this feature, but thought they were just wired to the horn. I plan on stopping the beeps as soon as I figure out how;) I think there is a lot of old and stiff grease on this bike!;) I hope to eventually disassemble everything and rebuild with fresh grease and parts where needed:)

    I really appreciate the warm welcome! I’ve been meaning to join the airheads group so maybe I’ll get that done tonight:) I’ll try to come up with a list of “dumb” questions for my next post;)

    Thanks everyone!
    Spencer
    #11
  12. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    Pah! tiny garage!! Most of us in England have to make do with garages designed to house either a horse or at best an Austin 7, The vast majority have no garages at all. Yours is positively palatial by comparison.

    If you have no idea what an Austin 7 - this was the standard sized British car up until WWII

    [​IMG]

    Cool bike though. I have one of those with over 200,000 miles on it.
    #12
  13. apt13

    apt13 Been here awhile

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    there was a guy on the BMWMOA forums who did a total rebuild of the flat top carbs (same as you and me) and had good pics throughout the whole process. might be worth looking at if you get around to redoing the carbs. or bookmark for later. luckily mine have been seemingly working good (as far as i know), so i haven't had to dig into them yet. i'll try and find the link in a sec.

    update: here it is:

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=52288&highlight=flat+top
    #13
  14. benthic

    benthic glutton 4 punishment

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    hmmm...looks a bit more complicated than I thought. Well, if it was easy, everyone would do it right?;)

    Since the bike runs, I think I pick the low fruit on the engine side (oil, transmission, and shaft) and focus on the front end. (sound reasonable?) So I have some front end questions:)

    While I'm working on the front does anyone have any suggestions on things to take care of while I'm there? I read this article about upgrading the suspension with an emulator(?) and am wondering if I should think about doing it?

    How would I know if the fork springs need to be replaced? I've been told to change the fork oil and am planning on it.

    I'm not really trying to make a racer or anything, but I do want to RIDE it:) and am willing to make smart upgrades. Anything else?

    Thanks!
    Spencer
    #14
  15. Wirespokes

    Wirespokes Beemerholics Anonymous

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    #15
  16. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    I'm not a member and I just accessed that thread. Non-members can read, but not reply.

    FWIW.
    #16
  17. alister102

    alister102 Been here awhile

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    Spencer,

    I would be a little nervous about using a torque wrench unless i knew it was dead accurate, and even then they're so easy to strip. I use the tiny 10mm box wrench from the on bike tool kit, snug them up then give them just a bit more. be careful removing the old gasket, remove all remnants well but be aware not to gouge the mating surface!
    #17
  18. Uncle Pollo

    Uncle Pollo Long timer

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    Fingertight.

    Check once in a while.
    #18
  19. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Get a short, 4" ratchet wrench with a 3/8" drive, used tobe called a palm ratchet. That type of wrench is your best friend when working with aluminum.

    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    :puke2
    #20