Here We Go Again - Yet Another BMW R1150GS Adventure/Ural Sidecar Renovation

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by mikepa, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

    Joined:
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    An increasing number of my riding friends are either adding a sidecar to their stables, or transiting to one. As most are GlobeRiders veterans, they're building new adventure rigs, or patiently searching for used ones.

    I've always loved the R1150GS Adventure, even at 18 years of age for the earliest models, they're a great tug for a rig. Simple, strong, no CANbus, no firmware, no software, fuel tank removes with a single bolt. Yes, they have design issues, they're not perfect, but they're honest!

    I've also always like the Ural tub, not only 'cause it's steel, but also because the "floating" suspension system between the tub and chassis (snubber axle in the front, the "Michelin Man" air bladders in the back) make for a comfortable ride for the monkey, and reduces shock and vibration for both the passenger and any gear in or strapped to the chair.

    DMC has built two R1150GSA/Ural for me, I sold one, still own the other. Early last year, I did a wheels-up refurbishment on another R1150GSA/Ural "barn find", and sold that for a friend of mine. The rig below was just delivered to me. Another friend asked me to find a rig for him, found this one in CO, had it shipped to me, was delivered two days ago. It's the third Black/Yellow Adventure rig I've had in my garage, I guess it's true, "good things come in three's"!

    As delivered by MotoShippers.com, great outfit if you even need a bike or rig transported. The driver, Jeremy, had his personal KTM in back, he's heading to Baja next!

    2002 R1150GS Adventure, 55K miles, Ural tub of uncertain vintage, good, correctly sprung Wilburs shocks all around, remote preload adjusters on the pusher and chair, and best of all, @Stroker 's awesome Advantage rotary-forged wheels on the tug, and I have already received the matching Advantage wheel for the sidecar!


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    In my garage, going to get a thorough inspection, then tear down:

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    As I have seen far too often (in fact, every time), unless done by a skilled owner or specialist technician, the electrical installs and wiring done by a dealer, or even a sidecar builder, are a shitshow (on this rig, the dealer bought a DMC kit, and did the build themselves, for the General Manager of the dealership). Hell, even the Russians ran their wiring in sleeves and had formed sheet metal raceways to protect the wiring under the sidecar fender:

    20200204_134043.jpg


    And, I may be overly critical, but their "rigging" and installation skills leave much to be desired (yes, those are the lower end of the what used be functional engine protection bars!):

    20200204_100353.jpg

    More to come!
    #1
  2. Flyin' Monkeys

    Flyin' Monkeys Wicked Witch Airlines Supporter

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    Kind Sir, aka...Mike Paull, at some point the collective minds here are going to need to do an intervention with you, over your obsessive compulsion to repetitively buy these same kind of sidecar rigs, over and over again.


    Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program of @mikepa buying yet another of the exact same sidecar rig, that he already has versions of scattered to and fro around the World, on various continents.

    :norton
    #2
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  3. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    A engine driven catamaran WTF :fpalm:fpalm:fpalm I guess your not Joshua Slocum :fpalm

    Here's one for Mikepa !
    Good work in the building of my vessel stood me always in good stead.


    Joshua Slocum
    #3
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  4. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Monkeys, if you keep spending $1.5 million here then $1.5 million there, pretty soon it's going to start adding up! :D
    #4
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  5. Kruzof

    Kruzof independently poor

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    Uh oh.
    There's the fly in the ointment.
    Real catamarans don't have enough floor area to offer options. :D
    #5
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  6. davebig

    davebig Another Angry Hun !

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    Back to the issues Mikepa seems to recognize the old 1150 made pretty decent tugs obsolete but easy to maintain, source parts for and change gearing if necessary. I wondered where that one went even somewhat coveted it myself.

    As for the other stuff I don't believe too many inmates have 9+ figures to spend on recreation, best to keep that stuff under your hat ! :-)
    #6
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  7. Stroker

    Stroker motorcycle traveler Supporter

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    OK guys, stop picking on Mike...you know what they say, “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” It’s been established that Mike is a PPlayer! He and the gang are keeping Krampus’s little helpers working their fingers to the bone at the Wheel Werks! I’m glad that rig from Connecticut is being upgraded and given a new lease on life.
    Count me in the the Oilheads, but with my previous rig being a Flathead Harley, I needed the Dump Truck transmission and cable operated clutch in the 1100 and they’re as simple as farm equipment. D15577FB-F9C2-4D1B-83AD-3BDD51C0B084.jpeg And just for the record, I’d have the globe littered with my transportation if I could.
    #7
  8. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    I've only owned four rigs, but I've driven dozens of rigs that other guys have been nice enough to let me try out. Though some of those rigs were quite nice, the ergonomics and rideability of my R1150GSA was unlike any other rig. What I'm saying is that I agree with the OP. If you want an adventure style rig the 1150GSA is a great choice. Lots of power, nice and low 1st gear and you can go even lower by swapping out the final drive, 300 mile range, plenty of ground clearance, tons of accessories available, strong alternator for heated gear and other farkles, good seating position that lends itself to easy weight shifting, and most of the repairs it might need can be done at home with ordinary tools.

    The one weak point in my mind is the dry clutch, though I believe a ceramic clutch can still be ordered from TT--
    https://shop.touratech.com/ceramic-clutch-bmw-r1150gs-165mm.html
    #8
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  9. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

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    Yes, the accepted definition of insanity! I trust any intervention would be chronicled "alcohol was involved"? In my defense, I only now own one of these Oilhead/Ural/Advantage-wheeled rigs. I engage in the stewardship of a much-loved model, I refit them at no charge (other than reimbursement for parts and supplies) for others. That, of and by itself, may be considered insanity of a different type.
    #9
  10. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

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    I stuck a ceramic clutch in one of mine, but that one was sold. Haven't had a problem with my remaining one, which is still on it's original "organic" clutch, but it only has 48K miles on it. Obviously, @DRONE is singing to the choir on this thread, I'll only take exception to the availability of accessories. Not much incentive for small-volume-high-mix aftermaket companies to keep making stuff for 15 year old vehicles. In the new Touratech catalog, for instance, there are only 5 pages of stuff for the Oilhead GS . . . . Wunderlich still carries quite t a few though!
    #10
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  11. Stroker

    Stroker motorcycle traveler Supporter

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    Connecticut
    I tried a Sachs ceramic clutch in my rig and didn’t like it. Under severe abuse it got so hot today that all the metal clutch components warped. Beemer Boneyard may still sell an organic oil resistant clutch, that I really like. The rig is much easier on the clutch, after the final drive swap.
    Way off topic, but what the heck. This is what I’m riding for a couple of months. I started a thread in Thumpers “New Veloci 250”, for informational purposes. No Touratech stuff for this model yet! FDAD359B-376C-49EC-BCC7-DC159CEDAC45.jpeg
    #11
  12. MGV8

    MGV8 Long timer Supporter

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    I used to get the stock clutch stinking climbing through the deactivations and water bars on our FSRs. 1200 rig so a tad off topic but with it's gears it takes lots of slippage to get out of a jam some times. I finally put one in a couple of years ago now, driveshaft blew up so I was in there any ways. Touratech/Sachs. Been super happy with it so far. Lots of abuse and no issues. I would recommend one, other than the price that is.
    #12
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  13. BigFatAl

    BigFatAl Long timer

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    IMG_8704.jpg
    #13
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  14. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    I put the TT ceramic clutch in my 1200GSA rig (after burning out the organic clutch during a trip to Moab) and I'm super happy with it, but it cost so much that I don't think I can afford to EVER sell that rig! :lol3

    (It's a $3000 mod unless you are willing to split the bike apart yourself.)
    #14
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  15. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

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    As I didn't know better at the time, I installed the TT/Sachs ceramic clutch on my own. Took three solid days. Fortunately, my sis and bro-in-law live on the property, as he had the clutch centering special tool. Original clutch got coated with oil due to a failed seal. Replaced the seal when I did the clutch, only to discover that the seal failed because the bore in the engine cases was oversize, allowing the output shaft seal to spin, which allowed oil to migrate along the output shaft and then coating the clutch. BMW replaced the engine with a short block under a "customer goodwill" exception.

    In this whole saga, one thing I discovered that has made me a ceramic clutch fan forever, it works just as well coated in oil, as when it's dry. In fact, the initial engagement was smoother until it had fully bedded in, as the oil coating "greased the skids" and eliminated the minor judder I sometimes felt when new.
    #15
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  16. rg sw wa.

    rg sw wa. Long timer Supporter

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    Mike, I think you need your own Hack Form on Adventure Rider. Something like “Hacks by Mike”.
    #16
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  17. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

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    What can I say? I'm retired, and passionate about hacks. If others posted more, wouldn't seem so "single sourced", right?
    #17
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  18. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

    Joined:
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    Started tear-down today. Did a full-on Level II service first. Odd, the left-hand cylinder valve clearances were spot on, the right cylinder's valves were, to put it mildly, "loose"! When I removed the tank and most of the cockpit, the full extent of the wiring horror done by the technician's of a "well respected and large BMW dealership in the Northeast" was fully exposed. More on this later after I calm down from the anger at seeing, again and again, the fucked-up wiring and electrical installs done by dealers and sidecar builders both. But, that rant will be another photo-documented post for another day . . . . Back to our regular programming.

    My bro-in-law, Rick, has owned a bunch of Beemers also, and performs magic when it comes to valve lash adjustment and throttle body syncing. I wish someone sold a ready-made sidecar lift so we wouldn't have perform cold yoga to do something as simple as an oil change:

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    Remove the seat, remove one bolt and nut, disconnect three fuel line QD's and one electrical connector, and the tank comes off. What a concept, take about 10 minutes. On my 2017 WaterHead, something like 17 plastic parts and 8 muffin tins of assorted shoulder screws, washer and other hardware, plus the fuel tank itself, and the entire airbox assembly have to be removed to get this far. Progess, or Congress? You be the judge!:

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    I'm missing a left leg. The GS is now missing both, in anticipation of of upgrading this tug with a set custom LBS leading link forks out of Holland:

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    First component of the leading link kit was installed, the solid strut, which replaces the stock front shock absorber. Discovered I need to source and purchase a new BMW OEM lower fork brace. Rig came with a DMC trail reducer custom lower fork brace or bridge. I know of at least three riders who had these installed, and the ball pulled out of it at speed. I had this same fork brace on two of my rigs, and after hearing of the accidents, I had them pulled, reinstalled the OEM parts, and purchased @Stroker 15" Advantage wheels to reduce steering effort. This rig came with an Advantage front and rear wheel, and LBS tuned the geometry of the leading link kit for the smaller diameter wheel, another reason the DMC trailer reduce must go:

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    Project put away for the night so my wife can park her FJ Cruiser in the shop:

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    #18
  19. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    Three? I know of one, that being myself. I keep hearing internet rumors about it happening to somebody else, but I've never seen any real proof that it happened to anybody else. Just a lot of internet talk. Do you actually know the two other guys it happened to? Because I'd love to see pics etc.
    #19
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  20. mikepa

    mikepa SideCzarist Supporter

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    You. #2 ,Marine Gunnery Sargent, forget his name, but a whole bunch of us were at a Snow Camp at Sunshine point, when he went into town via a fire road, and never made it back. He was found in the bush, off the road by an LEO. He is now a paraplegic. If you need more proof, I can get his name from others whose memory is better than mine. #3, Former NW resident, GSer, and wprld-class fiddle player Mark P., now living in AZ. I don't post about shit I "hear", only what I know.
    #20
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