What to look for when buying a crusty /2?

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by JLeather, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. JLeather

    JLeather Bike Butcherer

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    Getting ready to make an offer to acquire a pair of /2's soon. Been keeping an eye on these two for a while. They're at a friend's barn, the same place I bought my VW-powered /2 last year. Wondering what I'm getting myself into here and what else I should check before coming up with a decent offer. Here are the pics, for anyone who missed them before (again, that's not me in the high socks, it's the current owner. I'm taking the pics):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The first pic, the more complete bike, is an R60/2 (I think it was a '67). The second one is an incomplete R69S (I recall that one being a '64). Both have titles that match the frames and neck plates, but neither has a numbers-matching engine.

    I have quite a few questions, beginning with 'am I insane'? I'll start with the R60/2. He has a shop manual for it with hand-written service notes going back to new. The bike has 128,000 miles on it, although I didn't see in my cursory examination of the notes where he replaced the engine. He noted replacing heads, pistons, and many other parts but not the engine. I don't know if it turns over, so for now lets assume it's stuck but was running when parked (famous last words).

    The incomplete R69S is actually the one I'm more interested in. I like to modify bikes anyway, and I think it'd be a really great platform for an airhead cafe bike :evil It has the correct 26mm Bings, although I think I'd rather run something more modern for fuel. Other than that it's got what you see.

    Not looking for prices on them as they stand, I have a decent idea of that. I guess the question is, what is involved in raising the dead of a /2 that I might not be expecting? Immediate teardown to bare crank required I imagine? Also, since neither engine matches the frame how can I determine they're still the correct kind (i.e. prove the engine in the R60 is an R60 and the R69S engine is actually an R69S)?

    I'm definitely an above-average mechanic and I do my own full engine and trans rebuilds on my other bikes and cars, but I know /2's are a tricky beast. Anything particularly expensive I should check out before I buy these? Any common problems that may have side-lined these bikes originally that I can look out for?

    I have too many projects already, but no Beemers, so for some reason I am drawn to these sad looking bikes.
    #1
  2. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin!

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    Wow. :eek1 Where to start? My first thought was to say, omg wtf are you thinking... but it sounds like you have the mech background that it would be .... feasible? yes. practical? hmm, probably not.

    Checking the "realness" of the engines is easy enough, they each have their own specs. The valve covers match your descriptions, so that is a start...

    Be advised that parts are not easy to find, nor are they cheap. There are repop parts pretty much available, but you are not likely to get into the authenticity game with those as a beginning.

    If you do dive in, know that you will spend a helluva lot of time, and $$, and the bikes will not be worth a whole lot (as non-matching numbers) when it's all said and done....

    Personally, I would be quite tempted to do a "conversion" by putting in a later-generation airhead engine and tranny, perhaps with a /5 or /6 motor, and maybe parting out/rebuilding the existing motors for edumacation and dubious profit...

    There are several places with muchissimo information: start by reading, here on Old School, the threads by danedg and datchew. Both are now well into the type of project that you might have on your hands.

    Read the yahoo lists on Slash 2, and also Conversions, subscribe to them, and know that a lot of /2 people are quite "involved" with how "correct" everything is, or is not..... just sayin....:evil

    Good luck, and by all means, post pics!!!!!

    :D
    #2
  3. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Transient

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    First thing to look for? A friendly bank loan officer.
    #3
  4. JLeather

    JLeather Bike Butcherer

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    Maybe a little more background is in order (or atleast you vintage bike guys can appreciate some of this). For comparison, here is the bike I helped my buddy Matt redo the engine on.

    The boat anchor he started (this pic is at his house, I can assure you I don't use folding tables to rebuild engines):
    [​IMG]

    The boat it came out of (courtesy of eBay):
    [​IMG]

    And the finished product (this was taken in my shop):
    [​IMG]


    That engine was a beast. 11:1 overbore pistons, forged rods, lightened crank, back-cut transmission, ported head, etc, etc. I'm well past the point of no return on a turbocharged CB750 that's going to be pretty nasty and will hopefully hold together.

    Anyway, back on topic, I really want to customize an old Beemer. I've done enough Hondas and it's time for something else. It's either gonna be a /2 airhead or an old panhead for my next bike, and I prefer to be different, so I'm leaning airhead. Rebuilding the motor from bare crank is fine, I just got a bigger bridgeport with power-quill and I think I can handle my own cylinders on this one (maybe).

    So, if one isn't particularly concerned with 'originality', especially on a bike that is already pretty incomplete, how bad is an engine rebuild? I'm assuming I'll need a few special tools, and at the very least a set of crank bearings and a notch-up on the pistons. I figure I'll redo the heads myself unless they're completely trash inside.

    I figure an old /2 can't be any worse than a panhead or other old harley in terms of parts, necessary repair, and general PITA factor :D
    #4
  5. datchew

    datchew Don't buy from Brad

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    sounds like you would be able to fab your own tools with all that equipment.
    you can shell out a couple hundred for the basic tools if you don't wanna mess with it.

    check out those threads Bpeckm referenced. Mine contains a step by step full teardown and i'm working through the engine bottom end now. At least you'll see every part of the whole bike and get a taste for what you're up against.

    You'll also see me doing what you're going to do. Dig in and learn the guts of these /2's. And fumble through it. :D

    just throwing some rough estimates out there.

    complete bike gaskets, rubbers, etc. = around $350
    all frame and wheel bearings, steering damper and such = 200
    motor bearings, crank refurb = 900
    head work = 600
    gearbox work = 300
    final drive work= 200

    then you have to hope that nobody tore up the timing gears or other vital engine internals.
    those maint records are your friend in this case.
    #5
  6. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    The place looks like a time capsule.
    Happy digging.
    #6
  7. lemieuxmc

    lemieuxmc Banned

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    East La Jolla... it's just Clairemont!!
    You should contact Tim Stafford restorations in San Diego. He knows what's up.
    #7
  8. Detroit Steve

    Detroit Steve Homely Adventurer

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    Further...
    www.bmwvmca.org has an orphan list of serial #s for mismatched engines and frames. you might make someone happy.


    Buy the Barrington motors book, the $100 you will spend on a /2 project.
    #8
  9. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin!

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    fixed...
    #9
  10. crazydrummerdude

    crazydrummerdude Wacky Bongo Boy

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    When I was in the market for a /2 I was looking for: 1) crust, 2) a sidecar.

    I got a pair of bikes. I didn't get the best deal in the world, but I got what I wanted for a pretty decent deal. I'm never going to sell the sidecar rig, so it all washes out in the end.

    If I was in your shoes, with titles to the machines, I probably would pull the trigger (as long as he doesn't want full retail for completely restored examples). It's just money...
    #10
  11. azcycle

    azcycle Chihuahua Wrangler

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    I sold Tim our /2 stuff that we inherited with my father-in-law passed away back in late 2009, which included a nice r69s engine. After researching (including joining the /2 Yahoo group) and seeing how much work our pile of /2 parts needed to become a motorcycle, I sold it all. Tim seemed to be a super-nice guy, and VERY knowledgeable. You may even end up buying some of our old parts. :D

    Good luck... looks like a fun project.
    #11
  12. elite-less

    elite-less As above, so below

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    Wow! Great find! The biggest deal breaker in my book is non-matching numbers. If you don’t care about resale value and plan to just ride the bananas out of them, go for it. But.... most vintage BMW consumers are fanatics about a bikes originality.
    #12
  13. mykill

    mykill odd

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    Great candidates for later model engine swap, especially the '67.
    I think there is a /2 orphan page around on the net where people have posted frames and engines. A long shot, but stranger things have happened.
    #13
  14. kz1

    kz1 Been here awhile

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    #14
  15. gplane

    gplane Putty Conjugator

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    The R60 looks like it would make a good stock rider and seems mostly complete.
    A cafe /2 would be fun. Is there a tank, rear fender ?
    Screw the matching #. We do this to please ourselves.
    Seek good info and do the build right. Have fun.
    #15
  16. JLeather

    JLeather Bike Butcherer

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    You can't see it in the pics, but the incomplete R69S does have a complete rear fender with intact taillight and the "R69S" badge.

    By the way, I went over there again and managed to locate the original engine shortblock (crank/rods inside etc) for the R60/2. No idea why it was removed, but it is available with the bike so I'm sure that affects the value. The incomplete one definitely does not have the original engine lurking around anywhere.

    Still pondering/discussing these with the owner.
    #16
  17. Uncle Ernie

    Uncle Ernie Long timer

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    "feasible? yes. practical? hmm, probably not."



    Never thought I would see the day, and it's more ugly than I might have imagined; someone here, with the initials bpeckm has used the "P" word.
    I'm so upset I think I feel a swelling in my throat...

    Since I thought I liked this alleged person at one time, I should let him or her know that the use of that word triggers a silent alarm. You probably still have time to leave the house. Just don't use a credit card.

    Man- if you can do the work and the bits are cheap enough -used to be an offer of a dollar a cc- I say go for it. In fact, let me live vicariously and DO IT.
    I must say though; good frames for sidecars. Abysmal for caferacer.


    (am I trembling...?)
    #17