Friday, November 25, 2011

1990 K1 known as Maggie

Sometime around 1996 or 97 Duncan's shop picked up a 1990 BMW K1 that had been in a heavy down and around accident. The shop needed a few electrical items off the chassis and that was it. The bodywork was pretty much done and not really repairable. The frame was bent in three different places and the wheels were less than round. In fact the frame was so bent that even with wood blocks under the center stand the wheels still touched the ground. Quite the shorted wheel base at that point.

Alongside the rear plastic side panel was a ditto tag with the word 'MAGGIE' on it. Because the center stand was not very functional the bike was strapped in the van by its suspension points. As the van's suspension bounced up and down the K would bounce in unison; I got the biggest kick out of this. It seems to me that 'MAGGIE' was happy to be back on her wheels and on the road.
As more and more bits were stripped from the chassis the overall simplicity of the BMW engine/ transmission assembly caught my eye. BMW called this the CDS or Compact Drive System and presents itself just as that. I became more in tune with Maggie's beauty and design.
The K1 engine was one of the first 16valve engines and for this BMW changed from the LE Jetronic system to a Motronic control system. The old Jetronic system would have two control units; an ignition control unit that resides between the frame tubes near the steering head and then a fuel injection control unit over the battery. The Motronic unit is both systems contained in one box. This simplifies wiring to a full plug and play harness that can be used with almost any 16valve K engines. The Motronic unit also does away with the air flow meter used on LE Jetronic systems. This allowed for the use of independent K&N air fliters added to each of the snorkels for the throttle bodies. When one looks at the CDS all the possibilities become endless at to different uses.
After removing the ABS wiring from the harness it was time to put bits back on. A less bent frame was found and tweaked into a usable shape. The wheels had most of the dents removed as best could be done. The addition of F650 bars and a braided brake line made for a quick reassembly. I was eager to ride Maggie and on a cold spring day rolled her out into the parking lot for a short spin. No seat, no speedo and with those forward wide F650 bars it felt much like being Superman with my arms out streched.
Somewhere in the archive of Maggie's history is a picture of her in the shop sporting the original yellow tank and an aftermarket fairing. The seat was an early 1984 K100 sport seat; these seats are different than later models and have brackets to attach side handles for the passenger. They worked to be great attachment points for a cut down K tail light. Its very easy to find K tail lights with the corners broken off. This can be 'cleaned' up with a hack saw, just cut the sides off.

The yellow painted tank was the only color on the machine and after riding her around for a season I decided that it might look better with the yellow removed leaving her in a more 'bare' state. Out came the 5F5 stripper and a few hours later we had a nice alloy tank. The wheels were sent out for power coating. The aftermarket fairing held the speedo and a R65 headlight. The front fender was made from two front/'rear' sections of oil head fenders pop riveted to aluminum strips

In 1999 Duncan and I decided to go to the BMW MOA rally in Reinbeck NY. Duncan ran his new R1100s with Corbin bags and I with Maggie. We rode out Route 2 with another rider from the shop. At some points hitting speeds of several figures! A great time was had by all and the rally was one of the best I,ve been to. There was a good turn out for K1 owners that year 26 or so I believe. Maggie was the only naked K1. It was a great rally, many people had never seen such a naked K. Later that Saturday Maggie and I rode up to Northfield Vt to visit my Girlfriend.
Feeling like a hooligan I took Maggie into work on Tuesday after the MOA rally/Vt run. It was just a really great sensation to ride such a light and powerful machine. All during the time I spent at the rally she could run with Duncan's R1100s and other big dogs. Handling.... well that was so so. The k1 rear sets and the 'Superman' F650 bars make for acquired faith of performance.

The one thing that I've hadn't done was to feel out Maggie's top speed; K1's are able to lope along at 145 mph all day long without laboring. Top speed should be around 165mph. It seems like the thing to do as I'd just about be living on the bike for a week. So on my rip down Rt495 I'd give her the bit. She was pulling pretty good at the 120mph mark but at she broke 135mph she began to shake her head strongly as if to say 'I don't think so...' I knew hitting the brakes was not cool so I just screwed it on hard! As I regained control and as I began to reel it all in the adrenaline surged down my spine like ice water. Within twenty minutes from this point I was in a total zen state. Everything was perfect and the lulling drone from Maggie was relaxing. Total control and all awareness of my surroundings.

As I rolled into town a woman not paying attention to the traffic jumped out in front of me. Still on an adrenaline rush I was able to stop Maggie short of hitting her but only to be rear ended by the car behind me. I heard the car hit but never felt it. As Maggie was being pushed from underneath me I stepped onto the roadway and spun on one foot as she folded up under the car's front bumper.
Once again, Maggie had been totalled; her frame twisted, Wheels bent and now the engine block was broken as the frame pulled away from CDS mounting points on the top of the engine. I think I was banged up too but don't remember much. All I wanted to do was go for a ride...



At some point around that winter a totalled 1995 K1100LT came into the shop; its front end ripped clean off and the oil/waterpump were quite smashed in. But the block was intact and that was the most important thing to me. A few more bits came along that winter and with the motivation of a a few people that never got to hear Maggie run I put her back right. She was still sporting her K1 cams but now with a Luftmeister Exhaust and a chipped computer. qa little more angry in presence but happy to be back on the road. Duncan rode her out to the Canadian MOA rally and I used her a little in that time but not to the extent that I did before my accident.
A few weeks ago Duncan's assistant pulled Maggie from the back of the shop in a state of interest and also made an observation that the throttle was unable to open completely. I made adjustments to correct this and with a fresh battery and fuel she was fire up and running. Minor changes and bits have 'moved' on since her slumber, the fork seals are leaking and the once sticky tires are loosing their grip but Maggie will always be Maggie the K1 to many that know her.






Sunday, October 23, 2011

1956 BMW R50 barn find recommision

About late spring I arrived at the shop to find that Duncan had bought a 1956 R50 BMW barn find. The owner had moved to the West coast and the bike had been in storage for 38 years here in New England. It was heavily caked with black crust from the dust, mouse traffic and years of neglect. But the overall patina was perfect by my way of thinking. In fact you don't see them left close to how they were found.
After a bit of arm twisting Duncan reluctantly agreed to sell it into my care. Obviously a bath would be a good thing but a full on restoration of repainting, chroming and dent pulling would be out of the question. I'll try to leave it as close to the condition Duncan found it and just do repairs that will make a safe road worthy machine. Since the R50 has a magneto ignition a quick check for spark gave good encouragement for a rapid fire up. The engine still had oil and after checking the float bowls were clear I tipped some gas into the bowls. Several kicks later it fired up and gave a short but enjoyable ride around the shop parking lot. Good show for 38 years of sleeping!

After a good soaking to removed the years of filth and mouse droppings buildup, I removed the bars and seat for preservation. The bars had a cool reflective strip on the cross bar but were quite damaged and not safe for street use. The seat would last a few miles before turning into dust. Rather than put a new set of chrome handlebars which would stick out I chose to use a set that was black so at not to detract from the overall patina of the bike. An aftermarket sprung saddle will work until a more appropriate seat is found.
Of the few things that needed to be addressed were the several fluid fill and drain plugs; many were stripped and bodged with wooden plugs. Almost every one of them had seen some sort of abuse. The first one to be dealt with was the oil pan. The drain plug was filled with a tapered pluming fitting so the pan would need to be replaced. After draining the black gold from the crankcase it became clearly evident that the slinger rings will need to be addressed first.

Almost every time you find a pre-1969 BMW motorcycle count on doing a slinger ring cleaning. The slingers are the only filter after the oil pump strainer/pickup. There are two slingers, one on each end of the crankshaft and BMW meant for these to have a service interval in which the engine would be stripped down to the crankshaft. Its a time consuming job needing some special tools to get the job done. Cycleworks in Kansas sells a wonderful kit that has all the tools need for the job [http://www.cycleworks.net/]
Here's a view of the timing gears. The upper gear is for the cam this also hold the breather disc for the crankcase. The lower gear is for the oil pump, mind if your doing this job that the retaining nut is left hand thread. In the center is the steel timing gear and bearing. The gear is on with some authority so use a heat gun and get it good and hot before you remove it. Also underneath the small bearing there is a circlip and a few shims, these will need to be removed before you pull the gear. The small bearing just pries up and off.
A fun little find that kept in following with the fill/ drain bodge was the mismatched pistons. Even the wrist pins were of different weights too. It was running on an overbore and needs to go up the next level if these barrels are used. I'll use a set of less worn out pistons and barrels with new rings in the meantime until I can find a set of pistons and a place to rebore the barrels.
After the main bearing carrier is removed you can see the front slinger ring and that its filled with debris in the next picture.
The early cam followers seem to ride full on the cam, later cam lobes are thinner so that the follower only ride to one side of it. This helps rotate the follower and keep the wear to a minimum. The followers were dished and worn though the hard face. I'll use a later cam and reconditioned followers.
With the two cams side by side you can see the difference in the spacing of the lobes. The cam on the right is the early R50 cam whereas the cam on the left is a later R50/2 part.
With everything stripped down and cleaned up for the reassembly. Happy parts, happy times.
The crankshaft installed into the case. Don't forget to put the shims between the front slinger and the main bearing carrier.
Front bearing carrier and oil pump gears.
Front bearing carrier being pressed onto the crankshaft with the Cycleworks tool.
The heads were well worn out and needed exhaust thread repairs so I robbed a reconditioned set from my 1959 racing R50 engine project. In fact, that where alot of the parts came from; crankshaft, barrels, pistons, oil pan, cam, cam followers...etc. Better to get and keep a good solid machine on the road than to let bits sit on the shelf waiting and dreaming for someday.
The next stage was to tear into the transmission to fix both fill/drain plugs. Getting into the trans was not disappointing. The output flange had spun on the the shaft and both needed to be replaced. all the bearings needed replacement along with all seals which will allow the use of 80w90 gear oil. Removing the shift lever to replace its seal revealed that the lever has a small crack just like the kick start lever.

So with the engine and transmission ready to go back into the frame the old R50 is well on its way being a zen experience on the back roads of New England. Now all that needs to be done is the final, wheels, swing arm, head bearings.... etc.
There is a side comment and observation that I would like to make about this project. There is a fine line of preservation versus repair or restoring a old machine. In this situation I felt that the condition and patina should be left mostly alone. There are some things that had to be changed due safety concerns, unpractical use, or even just plain worn out. But overall, my feelings were to leave as much as is.
On the other hand it would be easy for someone to spend the time and energy repairing the engine and transmission to the point that they would logically move to the next step of painting the frame and bodywork; a logical step based on the money and time spent reconditioning the drive train. Some of the best intentions can go astray and one is left with a pristine machine devoid of imperfections yet they might be unwilling to ride for fear of damage having investing so much.
With all the repairs needed this machine would have been better parted out. Its condition not even worth a second thought for restoration but in my mind that is the best type of machine. I hope the next care takers enjoy it as well.

Monday, October 10, 2011

1993 Mazda Miata project back in the shop

Well the Miata drift project was back in the shop today for an install of a clutch master and a Hard dog Hardcore roll bar. The master took a bit of bleeding to get right- micro air bubbles. The roll bar was much easier to install. The owner helped out on the install which sped up the 'decision' processes. Most of the roll bar job is prep work; removing side panels and lower covers. We went with a simple cut into the package tray so as to drop the roll bar down into location.


After all was done and the roof dropped back on we took it out for a short run. Yep, it pulls good and hard. Next step will be to install the stand alone engine management system

Monday, September 12, 2011

Installing a Dynamo Regulator DVR2 on a 1969 Velocette Venom MKII

After getting the duff magneto back into shape, the running Venom proved that the charging system still had not improved while it had some time to rest. A quick inspection of the brushes showed that the problem might be elsewhere. Connecting the 'D' terminal via a jumper to a battery and grounding the body ran the generator like a basic motor. Ok, must be the regulator then. To the rescue, Ed Gilkison popped a Dynamo Regulators DVR2 into the mail last week. The DVR2 can be run either as a 6 volt system or a 12 Volt system by either using or omitting a white wire. If you connect the white to the unit's brown wire the DVR2 runs as a 6 volt system. Since its so easy to convert from 12 volts to 6 volts I'll be running it as a 6 volt system and leave the white wire with an access point for later conversion to 12 volt. No real reason to not go 12 volt but all the bulbs and battery are new and ready for 6 volts!
The 1969 Velocette Venom clubman MKII hides its Lucas RB108 regulator on the fender under the seat. Not an easy place to get on this particular machine but not too terrible either.
After removing the unit I opened it to give a visual inspection. It needed to be opened anyways as the new regulator unit would be installed in the old case keeping with the stock look. With a sharp screw driver you can lever off the case and get to the internals easy enough. Seems that Lucas used a compression type of connector for the wires. Having never worked with them they looked to to be reusable, though might not be the best system out there.
Here is the RB108 regulator all opened up. On the side you can see the compression connectors, rubber seal and hold down plate.
A detailed picture of the relay connections on the regulator.
A quick study of the wires on the DVR2 regulator and how it might hook to the terminal post that Lucas uses. I'll cut the wires back somewhat then solder to the terminal posts. Just a note for anyone doing the same idea, it might void your warranty. Call or e-mail Dynamo Regulators first. If needed, you can use the pictures from the blog of send them a link so see if they might frown on this way of installing.


Here is a picture of the finished unit all crimped, looks stock. You can see the white wire looped for easy access at a later time. Cutting this wire will enable the 12 volt feature. I'll need to shrink wrap the end of the wire so it will have to come off the bike but I won't have to un-crimp the case. The white wire will be covered with the connector clamping plate.
A shot of the modified unit installed on the bike, looks stock enough for me. I'll give it a through test tomorrow when I have more time. Real easy install so I've got good feelings about this unit.