528i – Polishing the Headlights

About 6 weeks ago we bought a 1999 BMW 528i wagon. I really love this car. But since it’s 15 years old it has some issues. Nothing major and I’m working my way through them.

One of the issues is that the headlights have plastic lenses (as do most cars starting about 20 years back) and they are fogged and pitted. They are not too yellow, but they were pretty foggy.

before

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RS Resurrection – Finale, For Now

Yesterday I got mad enough to really figure out why the rear brakes were not working.

I ended up taking off the master cylinder to adjust the linkage (it’s really a pain to adjust – you either have to fully remove the master cylinder and brake pedal, or remove the rear wheel and the swingarm!)

I also took the caliper apart again to make sure the o-ring was seated correctly (it was) and not pinched (it wasn’t.)

Then, as I was trying to bleed the brakes again, it struck me: The way the caliper is mounted means that the pistons are higher than the inlet and the bleeder valve. There is no way the air is going to come out of there!

So I unmounted the caliper, again, turned it around, and slipped it back onto the disk so that the bleeder valve was the highest point. Then I bled the brakes and what do you know? I got a bunch of air out and it firmed right up! Damn it, that took way too much mucking about to figure out.

So that was the final hurdle to finishing up.

Today I did a rough balance of the carbs and then rode the bike around for a while to get it fully warmed up. Then back into the garage to adjust the idle, idle mixture and balance.

It’s running pretty sweet now! I stopped in a parking lot and shot a short video of it idling.

I’ll have to get one of it starting for Jon – it still starts nice and quick. :)

If it’s not raining in the morning I’ll be riding it to work!

The reason the title of this post says “For Now” is because there are still some issues to address:

  • It still needs a major bath. I’ll be doing that tomorrow afternoon if it doesn’t rain again.
  • The new oil pan gasket is leaking. I don’t think it’s any worse than the old one, but it’s certainly not better. I’ll probably order a new one later and replace it again. I guess this time I’ll have to stone the surfaces to make sure they are not nicked or anything. Bah.
  • The right side exhaust valve is at the limit of the rocker arm adjustment. I’m afraid this means either the valve seat is bad, the valve is bad or the seat is recessing into the head. In any case, it means pulling the heads and having them worked on. And a bunch of $$ I don’t have to spend right now. So I’ll just watch it and see if it gets a lot worse.
  • The base gaskets and push rod tube rubbers are weeping. This is normal, but still, ugly and messy. But if (when) I pull the heads these will get replaced, so there is that.
  • The clock is not working. I guess it’s $80-$90 to get it fixed, or I can buy a (different) replacement gauge for $75, but then I’d want to replace the voltmeter with a matching gauge for another $40. So I’ll probably just remount the broken clock for now.
  • The fairing and gas tank really need repainting. But again, big $$. So that won’t be happening for a while.
  • It still feels a little loosey-goosey, but I discovered part of the problem was that I forgot to tighten the pinch bolts on the forks. I’ll have to check the swingarm and steering head bearings, but it may just be that I’ve forgotten the nature of this beast.

Still, all in all, it’s a fun ride, the exhaust sounds great and it will do 80 MPH without too much drama, though it seems to prefer 65-70. (I happen to know it was capable of more than 100 MPH in the past, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again any time soon.)

RS Resurrection – Muffler Repack

It struck me the other day that I have had this Luftmeister two into one exhaust on the bike for more than 15 years and have never repacked the muffler.

I decided I’d better open it up and take a look.

The first step was to drill out the pop rivet and pull the baffle out. I grabbed a punch and drove the expander pin through the rivet and into the muffler, then I chucked up a 3/16″ drill bit and drilled the head off.

A whack or two with a larger punch and the rivet body fell into the muffler.

I ended up taking a large screw driver blade and prying the end cap off, probably not the best plan, but the finish is kind of ratty already and I didn’t damage it much more.

muff1

I pulled out the baffle and was surprised to see there was still some packing in there. Not much, but some anyway.

muff2

Now that I had some idea what I needed for packing, I had to go find some on the internet. Surprisingly, Amazon had some. I ordered two packages and ended up using almost all of it.

muff2b

I had to run to the hardware store for some 18 gauge wire to tie up the fiberglass. Someone (my daughter) borrowed my spool and didn’t return it.

That fiberglass is nasty stuff to work with. It’s really friable and gets really small fibers everywhere. But I managed to get the baffle wrapped pretty well.

muff3

 

Next I had to get the baffle back into the pipe. It was a tighter fit with the new packing on it, but I persuaded it with a wood block and a mallet.

A new stainless steel pop rivet (also ordered on Amazon) and it’s all good to bolt back on.

muff4

I should probably wash the muffler while it’s off the bike and I’m waiting for some more parts…

Should be all good to ride soon though!

 

I Think Someone’s Getting Jealous…

I got on the K1100RS to ride home from work this afternoon and headed down the road to get on the freeway.

As I accelerated down the entrance ramp all of a sudden the tach dropped to zero and the engine started running really rough – like it dropped a cylinder or something.

So I pulled over on the shoulder (good thing there was a shoulder) and shut off the bike. Maybe a restart will clear it up.

Nope, still runs like shit with no tach reading. Weird.

I put on the flashers and babied it along the shoulder to the next exit. Right when I got to the stop light at the end of the ramp the tach sprang to life and the bike started running fine!

Whisky-Tango-Foxtrot?

So I got back on the freeway and the bike ran fine all the way home!

The intermittent failure mode and the tach behaviour rules out mechanical failure, so there must be some electrical issue. Great. Those are always fun to troubleshoot.

Preliminary googling doesn’t turn up much other than “clean all the electrical connectors” and “might be a bad computer” (Ye Gods I hope not!)

I guess the K bike is getting jealous of all the attention that I’m paying to the R bike these days.

And I just bought a BMW car why?

RS Resurrection – Went For A Ride!

The seat hinges arrived today so I could attach the seat to the motorcycle. So in celebration I went for a short ride!

ride

I actually went for two rides.

I started the bike and did a rudimentary carb balancing and idle set, just so it would run well enough to give it a warm up ride. Then I rode it around the neighborhood for a bit. It was running pretty rough just off idle, but surprisingly well in the midrange. And I only killed it once. :)

After that, I hooked up the balance gauges and adjusted it a bit better. I got it pretty balanced, but the new throttle cables need to stretch out a bit.

It’s running really lean because of the Luftmeister two into one exhaust and K&N filter, so it spits and pops at idle and under partial throttle. I’ll have to get some richer jets for it.

Then I took it out on the freeway for a few miles out and back.

It pulls strong from the midrange on up, but it’s probably still lean there too. I didn’t want to go too far with it so lean and with no rear brake (who needs rear brakes anyway?)

I also got a nice reminder of why they call these “Gummikuhs” (rubber cows). It feels pretty flexy even compared to my K1100RS (not the stiffest of frames either.) I’ll have to make sure the swingarm bearing pivots are tight enough and that the steering head bearings are adjusted properly.

So, still plenty to do to finish it up, but it’s running and rolling now!

RS Resurrection – Work, Work, Work

More details on recent work.

Since the last update I’ve done the following:

  • Replaced the neutral switch (which you can do without pulling the transmission!)
  • Installed the rubber grommets where the brake lines pass through the fairing.
  • Installed the front wheel.
  • Installed and bled the front brakes and lines.
  • Attempted to bleed the rear brakes, and failed. Twice. I think that there is a leak where the hose from the reservoir attaches to the master cylinder. I need to remove the master cylinder (again) and investigate.
  • Repaired the broken coil mount (details and photos below.)
  • Sandblasted, painted and installed the battery cage (photos below.)
  • Installed the battery.
  • Cleaned, re-oiled and installed the K&N air filter.
  • Replace the oil filter and filled the engine with oil.
  • Installed the fairing lowers and chin piece.
  • Installed the exhaust pipes and muffler.
  • Installed the gas tank and fuel lines.
  • Started it up!

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RS Resurrection – It’s Alive!

Just a short post – I’ll do a more detailed one later.

I got the RS to the point where I could start her tonight, so I put some gas in the tank and pressed the button. She fired right up and ran!

The carbs need tuning and balancing, but she was running!

Here is a short crappy video of her running (crappily.)

I’m pretty happy. Just a few more things to fix and she’ll be ready to ride!

RS Resurrection – We Have A Cockpit!

Spent some more time on the RS this afternoon.

I installed the brake and throttle assembly, the grips, the gauge cluster and the brake line from the master cylinder to the manifold.

The cockpit started out looking like this:

cockpit1

And ended up looking like this:

cockpit2

I also fixed the center stand and re-installed it. I may ask Gus to put a little weld on it later, but it’s better now than it was.

I finished up by taking the bike off the stand so I could pull off the front wheel. I have a new front tire to get mounted up and want to get that done before I finish putting the brakes back on.

I also did the preliminary adjustment of the choke and throttle cables. I had a dream last night that I started the bike and rode it around, but even though it started right up, I had forgotten to adjust the throttle cables, so it didn’t run well at all.

So this is the current state:

wheel

After I get the front wheel back on, the bike will go back on the lift. I still need to do the neutral switch and the oil filter. Then I can put the exhaust back on and get the seat put back together. I still need to sandblast and paint the battery cage – have to find time to get that done – and then it should be about time to start it up!

Soon!

 

RS Resurrection – Good News, Bad News

Good news and bad news today.

Good news:

I picked up the stainless braided brake lines, battery and brake pads after work. I managed to get all the brake lines off and cleaned up and the rear stainless line installed.

Bad news:

The front brake lines can’t go on yet since the rubber grommets for the fairing pass throughs and fender brackets are all dried out and need to be replaced, which means I need to order them. Which I guess is okay, since that leads into the other bad news – the neutral switch is leaking enough that I need to replace it. It’s making a large puddle under the bike.

The parts website says I should be able to replace the switch without pulling the transmission (which means pulling the whole back end off again) but I’m not sure I believe it. I guess when the switch gets here I’ll try it.

There is some stuff I can do while I wait for what I hope is the last parts order, so I’ll probably work on that tomorrow.

RS Resurrection – Getting Closer

I did some more work on the RS over the last few days. It’s starting to look like real progress is happening.

bike

Over the last couple of days I have:

  • Run the throttle and choke cables
  • Installed the carburetors
  • Installed the rear wheel
  • Installed the rear fender
  • Installed the saddle bag racks
  • Installed a new oil pan gasket
  • Filled the transmission, drive shaft and final drive with oil
  • Started cleaning the K&N air filter (it’s filthy)

I took some photos of the oil pan.

Before cleaning:

pan1

After cleaning:

pan2

Not perfect, but much nicer.

Unfortunately I discovered that the neutral switch, which screws into the bottom of the transmission, is leaking transmission oil. Damn it. I have to pull the whole rear end off again to replace that. I think I’m going to ignore it for a little while.

I have on order a battery, braided brake lines and brake pads.

I still need to get an oil filter, spark plugs and probably some oil.

It’s getting closer to done!