My 71 R75/5 Restoration

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by nevada72, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,658
    Location:
    The Good Land
    I'm going to restore my 71 /5. It was a nice daily rider, but it leaked like a sieve. The local Airheads group was kind enough to get me going on fixing that problem. But one thing led to another and....well....here's the progression -

    I bought it looking like this
    img_0661_70d618ae812a60673b524f5f9342237b2a5fc628.jpg

    I didn't like the fairing so that went away
    IMG_2798.JPG

    I rode it like that for 2 years. Great bike but the shitty rattle can paint was bugging me and as mentioned, the leaks were pretty bad. So the next step was this
    IMG_3955.JPG

    I figured I would get the tank and fenders done and put it all back together. But in working on the bike I noticed that the frame looked pretty scratched up so one snowy day.....
    IMG_4170.JPG

    So now the bike is in boxes awaiting refinishing. My goal isn't a concours restoration. I just want it to look like really nice and stock. I'm not going to sweat Glasurite paint and the minutia that some folks do, not that there's anything wrong with that - just not my thing. I have a fairly clear path on getting it back together but because this is my first BMW restoration, I have some questions -

    Frame - My plan is to have it powder coated to look stock. But I have seen detractors. Any reason I shouldn't powder coat?

    Hubs and fork lowers - they have the usual oxidation. What is a good way to clean them up to look fresh? I don't think I want to powder coat them silver because I believe that will detract from the original look. A guy I know uses beeswax on raw aluminum parts and it looks pretty good, but I would imagine before long it will look rough again as I doubt the beeswax would last all that long.

    Headlight shell and speedo - I think I'll send the speedo (broken Tach needle - go figure) in to Palo Alto unless someone has a better suggestion. The control "circuit" board is oxidized. I had to cut the wire ends off because the terminal screws were totally oxidized and stripped. Is it advisable to carefully restore the board? My soldering skills are okay. Or are there replacement boards? And how the heck does one remove the board from the bucket?

    I'll update as the project progresses. My goal is to have it done by Fall. I know if I let it sit dormant it could turn into the project that took forever. If I maintain momentum it will get done.

    Thanks for any advice.
    #1
    bpeckm, slow&fast, Square1 and 4 others like this.
  2. infinityedge

    infinityedge Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    19,369
    Location:
    Tuolumne County
    Frame: only downside to powder coating is touching up chips

    Hubs and fork lowers: I'm a fan of pinesol cleaning and Rub-n-buff pewter makeup

    Headlight shell and speedo: user wirespokes is a better option than Palo Alto. I don't know of any replacement board available for /5s, so clean and repair seems to be your best option. If it is super screwed, a replacement from ebay might work, but that will likely also require cleaning and repair.
    #2
    deafanddiabetic and nevada72 like this.
  3. Texer

    Texer Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2015
    Oddometer:
    922
    Location:
    Seattle
    I’ve heard it’s good to Anneal the the tangs of the ignition switch before pulling - I lucked out and they didn’t break.
    The air tubes - I found originals that had turned (to my eye) a beautiful silver/gold plus the original clamps.
    #3
    nevada72 likes this.
  4. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,658
    Location:
    The Good Land

    Sounds good. Paging @Wirespokes
    #4
  5. deafanddiabetic

    deafanddiabetic Would rather be wrenching.

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,078
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Backing up all advice in this thread.

    Simple green and scrub on the fork lowers, and pewter Rub and Buff on them. Powedercoat the frame, in my opinion you won't chip it unless you're reckless or a rock is really out to get you. It'll last longer and look better than other options (in my opinion). Even better, to prep, paint, buff, etc costs money. I can get my frame blasted and powdercoated for $60 and that's worth every penny to me.

    If your speedo is busted, wirespokes has a great reputation on here, Palo Alto does good work, but they wanted more to fix my speedo than the cost of my entire project bike.

    You can buy new ignition boards from Max BMW or elsewhere, they aren't cheap ($150) so you should try cleaning and refurbing yours first.
    #5
    nevada72 likes this.
  6. Disston

    Disston ShadeTreeExpert Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    19,086
    Location:
    Silver Spring, Md
    Wirespokess is the way to go for Speedo but think he is still out of town. Not sure when he may reappear.
    #6
    lucky6600 and nevada72 like this.
  7. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    8,707
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    :lurk
    #7
  8. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,658
    Location:
    The Good Land
    Ok, while we're waiting for Wirespokes to return..........(:D)

    I'm toying with the color scheme. As purchased the bike was a horrible silver repaint. Looks to me like it was probably originally white because the paint that's peeling off under the tank reveals white paint. So I was thinking of painting it white.

    But honestly, I've been all over the board on what to do. I know what I'm NOT going to do and that's an expensive professional Glasurite paint job. The cost of that is damn near the value of the completed bike. I know I can get a very good quality paint job for significantly less. So the question is - Is it bad to go away from the BMW color chart? I was thinking either a battleship grey with white pinstripes or a color called, wait for it..........Nevada Tan with black pinstripes. That was the color of my 72 BMW 2002Tii and the reason my handle has been Nevada72 since me and Al Gore invented the interwebs. It's not the typical tan you see. It has a very distinct green undertone that moves it away from that Band-Aide looking tan. In the end it will have kind of a military look, much like the new Royal Enfield's in tan.

    Anyway, I know it's subjective to an extent. While I'm not doing the bike for resale value, I also don't want to ruin it's value for when it gets sold after I've ridden off into the sunset (hopefully many years from now). Also, let's be honest, part of the fun of vintage bikes is the appreciative comments from fellow enthusiasts. I don't want to do something that will draw derisive comments at the Starbucks.

    Thoughts?
    #8
    bpeckm likes this.
  9. Big Bamboo

    Big Bamboo Aircooled & Sunbaked

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    17,406
    Location:
    Big Island of Hawaii
    I've always thought it would be cool to paint a bike all white, including the frame, like the German police were riding back in the 1970s. That same idea in tan or grey would look good too. Do what you like! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    #9
    Lornce, lucky6600, SohoPhil and 2 others like this.
  10. sprouty115

    sprouty115 Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    8,707
    Location:
    Providence, RI
    I'm not a fan of those colors (if you're asking?), but then again you're not doing a full restoration and so long as you're not hacking it, paint it whatever you like. It's not like you can't repaint it later.
    #10
    nevada72 likes this.
  11. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,006
    Location:
    Road Island
    Tried to gurgle Nevada Tan with no success, but I do like your description, especially if it was a 2002 color!

    But color choice is such a personal thing.... I like the looks of your bike with the silver, also like the white ones, do what you gotta do!

    :pope
    #11
  12. Renner

    Renner combustophile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,511
    Location:
    sunny SoCal
    Nevada

    [​IMG]
    #12
    ccmickelson, Texer and nevada72 like this.
  13. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,658
    Location:
    The Good Land
    Yup....that could be my old car.
    #13
  14. Disston

    Disston ShadeTreeExpert Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    19,086
    Location:
    Silver Spring, Md
    Paint it any color you like. Amateur is OK but prep and quality still count.
    #14
    nevada72 likes this.
  15. nobbylon

    nobbylon Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,233
    If it was mine I’d get it done in the original colour for the year which I think was either black or my fav’ silver with blue pin stripes. I’d also seek out some correct bullet exhausts. To me this /5 was the nicest looking with it’s short wheelbase and side handle seat so worth getting back to original.
    Here’s a couple of pics I drool over.

    F2923A70-FA3A-44A9-B170-4B1448742791.jpeg 98552BF1-42E0-44CD-BD9E-57B66F62E472.jpeg 31E3E5BD-9B71-4068-BD85-8998910E2DEE.jpeg
    #15
    monkeydad, norton73, folmonty and 3 others like this.
  16. WRC51

    WRC51 Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,602
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, Calif.
    This looks like the start of a great thread. What you are doing is the same path I plan on ridding for my airhead journey, one of the inmates posted some photos of a vintage bike show a while back that had a beautiful Grey colored BMW in a few shots.( I think he stated it was a Factory color) It was what I would call a Battle Ship Grey, when I find it I will post them.
    #16
    nevada72 likes this.
  17. dazz

    dazz 1947 Famous James.

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Oddometer:
    547
    Location:
    Ohio
    My '71 R50/5 came in black. It came with black two into one exhaust. I guess the PO was thinking of cafe but luckily he got bored. I went back to stock if anyone is interested in the two into one. PM please.
    #17
    nevada72 likes this.
  18. PaulBarton

    PaulBarton Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2015
    Oddometer:
    4,154
    Location:
    Seattle
    I
    Bristol Gray was a factory color for R69S. I have seen a few Airheads painted similarly but don’t think it was standard for any airhead.
    #18
    WRC51 and nevada72 like this.
  19. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2003
    Oddometer:
    7,369
    Location:
    Charlottesville, VA
    I like that white on white.
    #19
    bpeckm, Tool.Nerd and nevada72 like this.
  20. nevada72

    nevada72 Milwaukeeish

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,658
    Location:
    The Good Land
    Hard to argue. Those all look great. I did order a replica of the seat by Sargent . Side by side it looks exactly like the seat that came off the bike, except being new of course. I will also be ordering replicas of the bullet exhaust.

    Truth is, after a few cocktails I get very creative. But in the harsh light of day I tend to get back to being my old conservative self. As much as I like to think I'll do something outside the box, I doubt I will.

    I know that for 1971 available colors were white, silver, and black. http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/pcodes.htm

    Maybe there were other colors not on Snowbum's list, but I can't say I've seen any in person.

    Thanks for all the help. I've used your online information as a resource many times.
    #20
    bpeckm likes this.