Monday, December 22, 2014

Why I take things apart even if they look good.

I wasn't in a hurry to change the oil on the R100/7 but I didn't like the way the clutch system was and I noticed some red colored, rubbery stuff around the oil filter cap that I didn't really like so I removed the cap, the red stuff, O-ring and filter.  Right away I noticed that the metal washer that is normally between the cap and O-ring was missing,  also noticed the filter had not been changed in a long time and everything was sludged up so after I drained the oil pan I did a rinse-down of the oil pan too.  After reassembly and topping off with fresh oil I ran the bike for about 5 minutes and checked the level.  Everything looked good so I went on and did the drivetrain flush and resupply.  Here is a photo of what I took out and reinstalled.

Very cold today, with rain and icing conditions, so I did not have a chance to get on the road.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Back to work on the bikes.

Everything is unloaded from the trip.  Today I removed the Super Trap mufflers from the R100/7 and installed stock mufflers.  I'm glad the bike will now have a "typical" BMW sound and not that other unknown sound with the Super Traps, which I now call Super Trash.

It's very cold out today so the only repairs have been the muffler changes.

I'm hoping to get in some riding tomorrow even if the weather is cold.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Standing on that fine line between Adventure and Nightmare.

I just returned from a trip.  Let me share the time line with you and you tell me what you think I had.


 I made contact with Ken Rasberry about his BMWs he was selling and the reason for the sale.  I was mainly interested in his R60/5 and not his R80RT but after talking with him I passed on the R80 lead to two of my friends.  One of them wanted the bike so I made plans to pick them both up plus any spares Ken want to go with the bikes.

Changed the oil in the truck, stopped by U Haul for a trailer and the bank for a check.  From there I headed to Ken's place in North Carolina about 435 miles away.

Crossed in to NC and stopped for gas and a bottle of water.  About 20 miles from that stop the truck started to run poorly.  I could only get to about 55 MPH and suspected some bad fuel so I made a beeline to an auto parts store and bought  Sea Foam to try to correct the problem.  The truck started to run better after about 20 minutes so I continued on the trip.  Near Ken's the engine ran rough and I figured a plugged injector.  I refueled, got a room at Comfort Inn and settled in about 9 pm.


In the morning (5am) cleaned up and went to Wal Mart for some tie down straps.  Went to Auto Zone and picked up some new plugs and wires hoping that it would help too since they have not been changed in a while.  Drove to Ken's about 7am, visited a while, talked BMW's, tried to do some engine repair but Bikes were more important.  Loaded everything and Ken suggested stopping by a friends shop for repairs.  I started the truck and slowly pulled away.  I mean real SLOWLY.  I could only get about 30 MPH top speed.

At Ron's shop he thought I was on the right track and suggested another can of Sea Foam and leave the plugs alone.  Bought some on the way out and drove around locally for 30 min.  Started to get back up to about 50 MPH so I headed north. 

About 15 minutes later back to 35 MPH, and mind you in a 70 MPH zone.  I passed a Ford Dealer, turned around and asked for a injector flush and new fuel filter.  5 hours later, yes I was there for 5 hours and rescued briefly by Ken, we went and got lunch, the truck came out of the shop worse then when it went in.  I had enough.

I called the local U Haul and the lady said she was closing early and passed me to another location, Beth was very helpful and worked hard to get me what I needed even though she did not have the trailer to haul the truck.  We had multiple calls between us and built up a good relationship.  She made arrangements for me 10 miles south in Calabash, NC.  I called that location and the lady said I need to get there before 4:30 because she wanted to leave early.  Off I went, about 20 MPH with flashers on in a 70 MPH zone.

About 2 miles from Calabash U Haul calls and said that that person had a family emergency and had to leave so they redirected me to Little River South Carolina another 12 miles south.  Now my speed is 15-20 MPH.

My GPS could not locate the address and I crossed over the International Water Way Bridge at about 10 MPH.  Called the new place and got directions but I had to re-cross the bridge.  I found a safe place to turn around and my speed dropped to 10-15 MPH.

As I started up the bridge the speed would not even record on the speedometer so I was below 10 MPH near the crest of the bridge I figure I was doing maybe 1-2 MPH.  I said a silent prayer to Saint Henry that the Ford would make it to the top and I did.  On the other side with a down hill run got to 30 MPH and turned into the dealer.  I'm so happy that my wise VA doctor prescribed a mild antidepressant for me while I'm going through cancer treatment because if that Ford Ranger had enough power I would have driven it off that bridge into the water way.

Harold was real nice and helpful.  Set me up with a truck and carrier.  We off loaded the R80 to the truck, left the R60 on the my Ranger but now the Ford would not make it up the ramp......Luck was on my side because two of the employees just came back and had a come-a-long.  But it was too short so short shanking a chain and re-hooking 4 times we got the Ranger on the trailer.  I had $25 cash with me and gave it to the guys.  They saved me at that point, said my goodbyes and headed north, now in light rain.

About 150 miles out the rain was so heavy and hard that the wipers could not remove it.  The right wiper began to come apart and 1/3 of it was now slapping on the windshield in tempo with the music on the radio.  I could not see unless I applied washer solution to help  lube the wipers but that soon gave out and I was looking for an exit.

At the exit I took the first motel and got a room.  Wasn't the best but dry and warm.  About 2:30 am Tasquilla and Jamal, my neighbors,  started arguing about who paid for the "sh*t".  Not really sure what the "sh*t" was but really didn't want to know.  The argument was loud and strong, I looked over at the table and saw a motel information book and was wondering who the Parton Saint of the Quality Inn was didn't want to move from the bed because I at least had the TV and dresser to help stop any bullets if they began to fly.  Everything clamed down by 4 so I got up showered, packed and got out.

Went to the front desk and turned in my pass key to the girl with the dragon tattoo (I'm sure she had one somewhere, her arms were covered with everything else), grabbed a coffee cup, filled it with corn flakes and orange juice (the only thing there at that time) and headed for home.

About 180 miles from home Delice calls needing a air pump to fill her birthing pool,  She and Carlos are staying at my farmhouse and she is now ready to have her baby.  Told Carlos to use the small air compressor in the shop but they though I meant to take the pool to the shop which means it would not fit back into the house....once we got that straight the "strangest thing happened".

I like singing to my self when on the road in a car, truck or motorcycle.  I started singing  Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans",

Riding on the City Of New Orleans
Illinois Central, Monday morning rail
Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three Conductors; twenty-five sacks of mail
All along the southbound odyssey - the train pulls out of Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms, and fields
Passing trains that have no name, and freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobile

And all of a sudden a hot flash went through my whole body, from the top of my head to my toes,  I felt so comfortable and peaceful, nothing seemed to matter.

I made it home and a few minutes later Delice had her baby (It's a Girl !) I unloaded the motorcycle stuff, came home and wrote down my story.

NOW,  Was this an Adventure or a Nightmare?

Here are some photos.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Another one for the road.

Finished up the R100/7 this morning.  The bike runs and drives well.  Even though it is the same model as my 77' this 78' has some physical differences and handles much better.  There is better steering control and it seems a little smoother over bumps. All I want to do now is change the mufflers over to stock.  The mufflers that are on it are an after-market and I just don't like the way they sound.  So, my personal BMW inventory is 1 R50/2 conversion to R75, 1 R60/5, 1 R80/7 and  2 R100/7 's.  I want to thin it down to the R50, the R80 and the R100 that I just finished repairing.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A long day with many adventures.

One of my ridding buddies went along for the trip to Bob's BMW in Jessup, MD.  Bob had his Holiday Party and Martin and I were the first to arrive. BMW's , food and drinks were already out and Martin and I watched as others rode in for the event.  Yes, it was cold this morning but many attended via BMW's.  I tried the Pumpkin Bisque, some coffee and a few sweets.  At the event met and talked with Jorge Serpa ( ). He traveled to Alaska on his BMW and was preparing for a 16,000 mile trip around South America.  Very interesting guy, originally from Portugal but living in Chevy Chase, MD when not living on his BMW.

After the event went back to my shop and finished assembling the R100/7.  Martin stopped by to help and we got it done quickly, but the battery was dead and could not start.  It's on the charger right now and hope to start in the morning.  I did remove the gauge cluster to find out what was wrong with the odometer.  Turned out that the geared shaft slid out of position and the counter stopped but the speedo kept working.  I made a back-yard repair by reinstalling the shaft and setting the gear in place and on the other end attached a washer and nut with the help of some sealant.  Not pretty but should go at least 100K. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Transmission is installed.

Well I got it in and bolted up.  Need to just do some attachments including driveshaft but also needed to polish the bearing surface for the clutch piston.  It has some light damage to it from a bearing that went bad so tonight while I watch some tv news I'll take some 400 wet and dry and make the bearing surface shine like new again (I hope).

Tomorrow is Bob's BMW Holiday Party (formally Christmas Party but now politically correct).  Food and drink starts at 9:30 am until gone.  I'll head out on the R50 about 9 or so hoping some of the other guys want to join in the ride to Jessup, MD.  Before I leave I plan to finish up the trans install and get the bike ready for a test run on Sunday morning.

Now what !

Well I was getting ready to install the transmission so I could center the clutch disk and then I noticed the clutch rod had a mushroomed ridge on it.  I knew it was a little worn and planned to, I thought, easily remove it once the trans was in but it was not coming out that easy.  I had to cut the damaged area with a hacksaw to remove the rod. It was in very bad shape so it took until today to get a new one and I figured its best just to replace all the parts in the clutch release system.  So now I have everything from the rod to the rubber boot and everything in-between.  Here is a photo of the old and new rods.  That little button you see was the damaged area I had to cut off to remove the rod.

You'll also notice that the spacer for the bearing to ride on is also fused to the rod, all due to friction and over adjustment of the clutch release arm.

Here is a view with the rod still in the transmission.  You can see how it was mushroomed over making a collar that would not allow for removal of the rod.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's arrived!

The new and correct clutch arrived a few minutes ago.  Hats off to Capital Cycle in Sterling VA for the quick correction of the clutch disk.  Very good service and I will be ordering from them again.  Anyway, it's raining and very cold so tomorrow I will reassemble the bike and hope to take it for a quick test ride.

Now that looks like the correct clutch disk!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Oh well. Oh Hell !

I got the Spring Plate and Clutch in for the R100 this guessed it, wrong clutch plate was sent.  I told him 1978 R100 and what here sent me I'm not really sure.  It has the BMW spline but the diameter is wrong.  The picture below shows the new plate resting atop the old.  The new one is about 6.375" in diameter and the old one is 7.100 in diameter.  Close but not close enough for me.  I called the vendor but they are not open today so I'll have to call back on Monday.  I did leave a message so they will hear my plea when they get back to the office.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

One day and back to COLD (and rain).

I was planning a trip to register for the Polar Bear run but the rain has stopped me.  Not just the rain but sleet and freezing road conditions so what better to do than pull the trans and clutch on the R100.  With the space heater running and about 90 minutes later I was looking at a burnt clutch disk. I measured the disc and it is at 5.8mm which is very close to a new clutch so I believe the problem is the spring plate.  It looks too worn and it's possible the last time the clutch was changed the spring plate was not check and reused causing the spring fingers to wear down too far for complete pressure.  I think this is why the clutch disc became burnt over time and finally failed.

Here are some photos of todays work.

Monday, December 1, 2014

This can't be winter!

70 degrees today, perfect motorcycling weather so I had to take advantage of it for awhile.  When I got back to the shop I wanted to see if the R100 would start so with a new battery and fresh fuel it fired right up.  Sounded good too!  I ran it for a few minutes and let it cool down.  Ran a compression check,  big surprise 137 and 140 psi.  Wow, I didn't expect that at all.  The clutch is really messed up,  I don't think it is the clutch but more the pressure plate as being the problem but teardown will answer that question.  With weather like this I might start taking the engine out this week.
I did have time to remove the side bags and the framework that mounted them.

So right now the R100 is keeping the R50 and R60 company on one side of the shop.

Sunday, November 30, 2014


What a wonderful day for riding!  About 62 degrees and full of sunshine.  Stopped off at the shop and did a quick inventory of the R100 I got from Al.  Made a list of things I plan to do and the order I want to do them in.  Put one of my batteries on charge and plan to install in the bike just to turn it over.  I made a call to a friend of mine to see if he had another set of stock BMW mufflers I can trade him out of with some /2 parts.  Dry fit a solo seat to see what it would look like going solo.  After that the sunshine was calling so I jumped on the R50/2 and hit the road for about 4 hours of riding, swung by the grocery store on the way home and had a guy waiting for me at the bike asking for permission to take a few photos of the bike.  He thought the "as found" colors with patina rust was way too cool!  He said it would be impossible to make a bike look like that and liked natures way of showing the age of the rig.  After his 5 or 6 photos I got back to the house, then the shop for a little more looking over Al's R100.  It's going to be a great winter project and awesome bike when finished.

Al, is that a tear I see coming out from under your glasses?



Saturday, November 29, 2014

So...what good are plans anyway?

I was going to Bob's BMW Pie Day until I got an email with a craigslist ad for a 1978 R100.  I made a call to the owner, Al, and early this morning headed to Pittsburgh to pick it up.  I saw one photo of the bike but after talking to Al it sounded like the prefect winter project.  I left at sun-up and got there about 11 am.  Met Al and his son Steve and began to load.  Bike came with a few handy spares too.  Al and Steve said it needed a clutch replacement but I'll do my usual thing, pull the engine, pull the cylinders, remove the trans, inspect the lower end, to a top overhaul, hopefully get by with just a new clutch (I think I have one that will fit), reassemble start and test.  If I can get by with just that it would be nice.  The bike is in nice over-all condition with usual bumps, scrapes and upholstery problems but I'm more of a mechanically fit guy and once all the mechanics are done, I'm done and I ride the way it looks.  Checkout the cool leather bags!  They are going on the R50 if they fit.

Here are some photos of the bike and a photo of the reworked Ural leg shield that I trimmed to fit the R50/2.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Gobble, Gobble

Thanksgiving Day is over and the weather is brisk.  Snowed a little yesterday but that only makes me want to ride more.  I finally got the tool box key made.  The locksmith had the lock for about a week and made a key impression then cut the German made steel keys to match.  Works well and only $25 for the work.  Tomorrow I will ride to Bob's BMW to see if any pie is left over from his Pie Day that was today, plus I want to see what he has on sale for the specials he is running.  If any one is looking for some nice gauntlets there in a guy on ebay from Smithburg, MD selling them for $12.95 free shipping and they are real nice.  I bought two pair myself,  very nice and warm.

Tomorrow my BMW riding buddy and I are going to be out on the road to Bob's.  I was able to install those Russian made leg shields but I had to crop the tops of them to get a clean fit.  The original shape was touching the bottom of the fairing so I just moved the profile down a bit to clear.  If I hadn't said anything no one would notice.  They work well too and help keep that cold air from freezing my kneecaps.

Today I also bought a used Sony HDR AS15 camera to mount on the sidecar for doing some on the road video.  I got it for $100 on Craigslist and it's like new.  The mount will go onto the sidecar just in front of the windscreen and as close to the bike as possible so the taping will show part of the front of the bikes front fender and wheel.  I'm hoping that will give a nice on the road effect.  I'm going to try to mount it this evening for some taping tomorrow.

Maintenance wise the bike is in great condition.  Since I enjoy this bike so much I decided to sell the R100 for sure.  I hope to see it go to someone that will drive and enjoy the bike as much as me on my R50/2.

I'll post some photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I haven't been riding very much the past few days with the weather changing the way it has.  I still need to replace the dust boot on the driveshaft and hope to get it done this week.  If and I mean IF the weather warms up a bit I'll be back on the road riding, may even take a two day trip somewhere, but not a 1200 miler for sure, maybe one or two hundred with an overnight.

I did how ever install the interior of a ural sidecar into my sidecar and it looks and feels great.  I still want to add another right hand rear view mirror just to make lane changes a little easier.  The question is do I double mount a mirror on the handle bars or add the mirror to the sidecar?  I'm playing with the double mirror idea right now but not sure if I will like it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

80 degrees in October....ride all day! What else!

Wow!  What a beautiful day yesterday was.  80 degrees and all sunshine, what better day to ride the bike only for all trips that day.  To the store, auto parts, m/c dealer, go look at some flooring for the downstairs apartment, stop-by and visit a buddy of mine, stop-by the barbershop and so on. 

I got on the bike about 7:30 and parked it later that day at dusk.  Put on about 200 miles too! And all just around town.  I went and ordered a decal to put on the windscreen with the year make and model of the bike so I don't have to answer so many questions or have people wait around for me to return to the bike to ask about it.

Today the weather turned COLD and windy so I'll just have to p[ass on riding today.  But there is always Tomorrow!

Decal arrived and I installed it.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Too Cool!

That is what someone said to me today at the Motor Cycle Swap Meet at the Howard County Fairgrounds.  I went to the meet looking for some parts and did find a pair of Second Story motorcycle bags in heavy leather for $30.  I don't think 2nd is in business anymore and I know that the bags they had were of high quality so I'm glad I found a pair in real nice shape and condition too.

There were a lot of people at the meet.  Maybe 50 + motorcycles rode in while I was there and pretty much newer bikes, I think mine was the oldest ride in but there were about 20 or so bikes for sale indoors.  A few old ones (Harleys).

The wind was blowing very hard today, gusts to 40 mph so the ride back home was difficult.  I did some local riding and a grocery run, that sidecar is sure handy.

That's it for this weekends report.

I have a few repairs to do during the week all minor but need to be done before they become major!

I have a busy week ahead with doctor appointments.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

So, what would the Russians do?

If you read my blog you will remember I got soaked on my trip.  120 miles in the rain is no fun (well maybe it was).  So yesterday I picked up a 1973 Ural with sidecar.  I mainly wanted the sidecar and rigging but in the pile of spares there was a pair of Ural leg shields and I started thinking that just maybe they would fit the R50 rig.........and yes they do.  I will have to repaint them since they are Shocking Green.  I positioned the left side and I think they will clear the fairing very nicely and it sure beats getting soaked (and cold).  Maybe, just maybe, those Ruskies have a good idea or two (including pickled herring).

What do you think?  (Not about the pickled herring)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Time for post trip repairs and thoughts.

I went over the bike and started servicing it from the ride.  Changed the oil in the engine, trans and rear.  Need to replace the dust boot on the driveshaft to trans area (picking it up today at Bob's).  I want to relube the tach and speedo cables, one of them made a squeal on the way home and not sure which one.  Everything else seems fine.

  I learned a thing or two riding this far on that old bike;

 #1 Keep the sidecar windscreen down if no one is in the sidecar.  I had a lot of wind resistance and it made the engine work harder than needed to maintain good speed.

 #2 Take more riding breaks.

 #3 Change that new handgrip on the throttle, my hand still hurts and two fingers are still not working correctly.  The grip is too thin and did not configure to my hand well.

 #4 Check for fuel and oil leaks at every stop.

 #5 Spend a little more time talking to people that have interest in the bike and trip.  Many of these folks will never experience the time and joy I have riding; some can only dream, some can not afford it, some will never have the time and some are just scared.

 #6 Keep doing what I'm doing and enjoy the time I have, the way I want.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

BACK from a great trip to " Wheels Through Time "

WOW, if you ever get a chance go to that museum.  So many great things to say about it and the staff.  I had one of my best museum trips ever. 

Along the way had a little problem or two.  First drove about 120 miles in heavy rain, had a fuel leak where the crossover hose rubbed against the engine and made a hole at the connection and almost at every fuel stop had people out asking about the bike, even had folks videoing me as I drove down the highway and many thumbs up in fact one gal rolled down her window and said " What a cool  ride!", in fact said more than one time by many.

At one stop 3 guys from the BMW plant in NC spent about 30 minutes with me looking over the bike asking questions and telling stories about their rides.  One guy pulled up in VA and said he is going straight home to work on his 1968 Bonneville after seeing my bike,  It inspired him to get his done that has been sitting for 4 years in the garage.

Here are some photos.  Enjoy!  I should add my right hand is cramped from holding the throttle.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

RAIN. Go away!

Made it to Winston Salem, NC about 370 miles of riding 100 in the rain.  Got soaked is the easy way of say it.  Bike drove great, a few new sounds but I think it's just coming alive again after sitting for 21 years without any attention.  Stopped for the night at Micro Tel Motel and had a great meal at the Outback Steak House.  It's morning and still raining out so I'll wait a while for it to slow down, I hope.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ready, Set, Go !

I'm getting ready to drive away on the trip to Wheels through Time museum.  Made some last minute mods to the bike.  I mounted a solar automotive battery charger to the rack on the sidecar and a red flasher light too.  On the windscreen I mounted a white flasher light.  These are battery operated and the battery should last 100 hours in each.  I know it's not much but every little bit helps when it comes to safety.

The roads are still wet from yesterdays rain and many of the leaves have fallen, about mid-day the roads should dry but I will be pulling away in about an hour to keep my (loose) schedule.