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Chemicals. Oils (EXCEPT engine, driveshaft, gearbox & rear drive). 
Assembly Lubes, Additives, Greases (including spline greases).
Loctite, Sealants, Anti-seize, Electrical Contact Treatment, Waxes.
Wheel paint. Tank Coatings. Windshield and visor maintenance. 
For BMW motorcycles, but with many applications to other makes.

Also see article #70
Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

1A.  A must item:  Purchase a squeezable tube or small tub of some sort of hand protection. This stuff definitely will protect your hands.  Put a bit on your hands, work it into & under your fingernails & all parts of your hands, sometimes arm surfaces, BEFORE you start work.  This is NOT some common skin lotion!   Get it at an auto-parts store. Comes in large squeeze-tubes & small & large tubs.  Lots of brands.

1B.  Another must item:  waterless hand cleaner, which is available at every auto-parts store.  Small tubs/containers.  If you do a LOT of work on dirty/greasy engines, etc., you probably will want to invest a bit more, perhaps an additional 10 or 20 dollars, & get a dispenser & cartridge.  Waterless hand cleaner cleans the messiest greasiest hands ever, & it is especially effective if you first use the hand protection stuff noted above in 1A.   When you are done wrenching, you clean up with waterless hand cleaner, rub in it well, then wipe it off using an old rag,....followed with soap & water, ....and you will find that your hands...and fingernails!... do not look like those of a typical old-time mechanic's!
Proper use & you will have clean hands for dinner-time!.... even black moly grease will clean off nicely. 

1C.  Some folks wear surgical or other plastic gloves. Even after 60+ years of wrenching, I have never gotten used to the feel, but I DO use them now & then.  I DO coat my hands with the protective stuff, use gloves sometimes for certain jobs, especially to keep engine oil, gasoline, etc., off my hands (to avoid absorbing bad things in them). Used engine oils contain BAD things, although not nearly as bad as in the old days of leaded fuels.  MANY types of plastic gloves available, from boxes of hundreds of "throw them away every 1/4 hour", to longer lasting NITRILE rubber types of various thicknesses.   Try Harbor Freight Company for the various types.  I use both the super-cheap one-use types, & the several hours Nitrile types.  Many get used to wearing gloves while working on cars & bikes (most professionals DO wear gloves), & it certainly is better for your hands & health; avoiding skin absorption of nasty stuff.  I have both nice nitrile gloves of the thick heavy duty type (50 or 100 per small box) & also very thin types of gloves of cheap plastic, don't fit very well, but are very useful, which come 500 to a tissues-size box. 
2.  Start collecting old rags! Those who like things neat & neatly stacked, can purchase bundles of clean thin-towel-like rags relatively cheap from big box may even want to cut them into smaller pieces for special jobs, I DO!.   

Hint:  For the inevitable spills, I use old rags, ripped jeans, ripped shirts, etc. Sooner or later you will have a large spill of some sort of liquid.  While I do save & use old rags, and I even do have a large box of blue service station thin towels, I also have powdered concrete & driveway cleaner (available in 5 gallon buckets), old used solvents and fuel from emptying carburetor bowls, ETC.   I collect usable, even somewhat dirty, liquid solvents of various types in a 5 gallon container, & I also have cat litter.   

Caution: One of the better items for oil spills is "said" to be Portland Cement.  I do NOT agree.   It is a fine light powder (are you are in a windy area?)...and it is also VERY messy, and the grit can get into everything...several reasons I don't use it. However, some swear by it for concrete garage floor spills....I have tried it for such, and U DO NOT like the stuff!  You CAN purchase cement floor cleanup chemical powders, use kitty litter (which is usually clay), toss in some of your old solvent, or water, depends on the spill.
 Solvents for cleanup can be kerosene, paint thinner, Stoddard solvent, etc. Stoddard solvent has many names, INCLUDING MINERAL SPIRITS...or... Paint Thinner.  Try to avoid using something overly volatile, such as gasoline, as static electricity, friction, electrical contact arcing, anything in the vicinity that can ignite gasoline, etc.... can cause flames, even an explosion!

 Waxes, polishes, etc:
Everyone has their favorites, often heavily influenced by advertising.  There are some very pricey super-premium products available, usually NOT worth the extra cost.  Below is a list of some products that are not pricey, that do a QUITE decent job, having been thoroughly tested by one or more consumer publications AND ME!   I do NOT keep this list up-to-date, & some may no longer be available.
If your paint is terribly oxidized, you may have to start with common "white polishing compound"...or even, horrors, "rubbing compound". You MUST finish with finer cutting products, then wax.

a. For paint in excellent condition: NuFinish NFP80 paste.
b. Very long lasting: ArmorAll Car Wax liquid.
c. Weathered paint: 3M #39006 One Step Cleaner Wax, liquid.
d. Spray type: Turtle Wax Express Shine.
e. Generally good all around: Prestone Bullet Wax.
f. Turtle Wax Carnauba Soft T225.
g. Very high gloss for already excellent paint: Meguiar's cleaner Wax and Liquid A-1216.
h. Pure Carnauba, VERY long lasting, for those who like this exceptionally good type, but requires more labor in polishing (with turkish towels being best) after drying....DO NOT apply on hot surfaces in the sun!  Eagle One Carnauba Pure Paste Wax...#2040612.  I prefer this type of wax, particularly if I ever plan on touching-up the paint, as it contains no silicones.

The effect of sunlight on/through labels & the windscreen material itself, makes this subject complicated. The adhesives on labels you may have applied to your windscreen varies considerably. These adhesives, over time, can bleed into, or modify the surface of the windscreen.  Because of that, I advise that if you are going to apply labels to windscreens & windshields, that you do so only in an area that you are not going to want to remove such labels, later, if wanting a clear unchanged surface.  CAREFULLY APPLIED HEAT is my suggested initial recommended method for removal.  A heat gun, or hair dryer, can work fine.   Pull off the label SLOWLY as you move-about the heat source. I start at one small place, usually a corner, heat that place some (do NOT go overboard on the heat), & use a knife, often a sharp Xacto type, on quite an angle so as to not scratch the windscreen, just barely allow lifting a corner. You may want to use tweezers on that corner, rather than your fingers, to avoid heating the fingers!   Apply heat & move the heat as you SLOWLY peel off the label. 

If label residue is left behind, & it almost always is if the label has been there a good while,...start by trying to remove that residue with the mildest stuff.  Kerosene, paint thinner, or WD40...or, mildest:...vegetable oil. SOME adhesives respond well to REAL tire lubricant which is vegetable and water based. I strongly suggest you start with the mildest product, such as veggie oil or REAL water based tire lube.  If no luck, move onwards to other "solvents", but here I mean the milder ones such as paint thinner, WD40, etc.  Before trying any of the strongest solvents, you can try household isopropyl alcohol, vodka, etc.  Do NOT overdue it.   It is OFTEN the LENGTH of time the chemical is in contact that does the worst damage. Thus, multiple applications, quickly done, waiting several minutes between applications (especially if trying a different solvent) often works.   If the chemical does leave some damage, you can usually polish it off, using a succession of two or three faster-cutting cleaners, then polishes/waxes.   Be very careful using strong solvents!  The really strong ones like acetone & MEK can quickly damage windshields, so don't use them unless forced-to.  NOTE that "cast acrylic" windshields CAN be, for VERY short term as you work with the stuff, be rather UNaffected by acetone, & thus you can POSSIBLY try acetone, Goof-Off, or MEK, but be VERY cautious!   

These are often made of Polycarbonate of some sort, usually called Lexan, but have other names. The other type of is Acrylic, often called Lucite, a form of which may also be called cast acrylic, but also has other names. Each has advantages & disadvantages.  Lucite (and cast acrylic) is a TINY AMOUNT clearer; REALLY NOT at all important for you; no matter what the companies that sell those windscreens say.  lt is much more difficult to drill holes into; it is easy to crack, it is not nearly as impact protective as polycarbonate.  I think the acrylic stuff is used on motorcycle windscreens just because it is cheaper.  It MAY be more sensitive to chemicals.   Polycarbonate is regarded as MUCH tougher.   I am absolutely certain that the makers of acrylic windshields will disagree with me.   You have MY opinion though.

A special surface treatment, or coating, depending on the type of material & company, is often applied. This is particularly so for polycarbonates.  When this coating starts deteriorating it looks like you can peel off sections of coating, but you generally can not, & normal polishes do not eliminate the edge effects. You need super-fine rubbing materials. Even that does NOT work well with these coatings.  Once the coating or treatment of the surface begins to really deteriorate, you either must live with it, or try to reduce the effects, or refinish the windscreen, a really awful time-wasting-consuming most simply REPLACE the $$$ windscreen.   Be exceedingly careful in your normal cleaning of these coated windshields. Use really good cleaning products.  TRY TO NEVER use strong solvents; similarly try not to use cleaning products containing     hydrocarbons, they can injure the coating.   As with all windshields/windscreens, the BEST cleaner is a damp clean rag placed over the surface for awhile, then cleaning with a bit of car-washing soap mixed into a reasonable volume of plain water.  Only if presented with such as pine tree sap, tar, etc., where soap and water does not work, should you use something stronger.  For pine tree sap and tar, you can try common TURPENTINE....and if that does not work well, try mineral spirits (or paint thinner).  On some deposits, WD40 works OK!!

Because Acrylic windshields have ZERO advantage (IMO) for bikers, I definitely recommend AGAINST them.

Various cleaners, polishes & scratch removers (available in many grades of grit) can be used to reduce the coating treatment problems of the windshields.  THE COATING PROBLEMS COME ABOUT ALMOST ENTIRELY FROM USING WRONG PRODUCTS TO CLEAN/POLISH YOUR WINDSCREEN, ....AND.....DAMAGE IS ACCUMULATIVE OVER TIME.   DO NOT USE: Windex & products containing alcohols and/or ammonia.  For insect remains & deposits, leave a wet rag (water) on it for awhile; it can be a slightly soapy water.

When you clean your windshield or helmet visor, it is best to use a soft cloth, or your ring-less palm, & common soap & water.  Common soap is no longer so common.  The concentrated liquid soap used (dilute in water) used for washing cars (withOUT additives), see your auto-parts store, is almost always THE PROPER MILD SOAP.  Non-detergent....the type that you WANT for the
windshield or visor. I will have more to say later in this article, about what to carry on the motorcycle for cleaning visors and windscreens/windshields. 

NEVER EVER clean or polish a windshield or visor using swirling (circular) motions. ALWAYS clean by ONLY deciding on a direction for the outside, vertical or horizontal, & stay with that, forever, in your motorcycling life.  Do the opposite direction on the other side. This will avoid visual problems when you are riding into a setting sun, or have to hunker down in a driving rainstorm, ETC.  It also makes it easier to see if the polish streaks you did not remove are on the inside or outside, so you can fix that.

Some face-shields & sunshields have different surface treatments on the inside versus the outside.  Schuberth's are like that.   
READ the manual!

HINT!   DO NOT, EVER, unless you have no water available, use plastic polishes on dirty plastic, always wash the plastic first.  ALWAYS use a clean non-abrasive rag or your hand & palm (if it has no rings).  Use a MILD soap, NOT household detergent.  More to say a bit below. MILD soap is useful, so purchase a half-gallon or gallon of it at your auto-parts store.  It is sold as a car washing soap product.  A little bit, thinned, is perfect for plastics, besides being THE soap in your bucket when washing your bike or car!  

HINT!  If having problems with insect remains, use household common white distilled vinegar, on a wet rag or sponge, let stay in contact with the insect remains for awhile, then clean off.

There are safe products for normal cleaning (AFTER cleaning with mild soap & water) such as Meguiar's products (available in many grades, some suitable for fine scratch removal); BUT, my favorite for helmet visors is Duragloss #681, and this is the one I take along ON THE BIKE; usable without first washing, unless bug deposits, etc., are quite bad.  See d., below

Meguire's #10 and #17  are not the very best, do a good job, but are somewhat slow;  not as good as my recommendations.  Meguire's DOES make faster cutting products, but they are not easily available when on the road.   I DO have a selection of them, and I do use them, as needed.
For quite serious scratches I have used an expensive aircraft window restoration product kit, although I advise against you purchasing such a $$$ kit.   VERY time consuming, but they DO work, especially on really badly damaged plastic items.

Below are what I consider top tier items, be sure to read "d."

a. For light scratches, oxidation removal, etc:
           3M Plastic Cleaner #39017.
           Max Polishing Systems all metals #1.
           Very good: Novus #2 fine scratch remover.
           Some Meguire's products that are heavier-duty than #10 and #17.
b. For heavy scratches:
           Novus #3...follow this with Novus #2, then a polish
           Again, some faster cutting Meguire's products.
c. Polish:
           Plexus Plastic Cleaner Protectant and Polish.
           Kleenmaster Brillianize cleaner and protectant.
           Can-Do multi-purpose cleaner/protectant/polish.
           Novus Plastic Polish #1.
d.  If you want just one product for cleaning & polishing your visor or windshield, the following polish & light scratch remover works quite well, & is my favorite for general purposes & not expensive. 
I especially like it for for removing very fine scratches, & some slightly deeper ones too, in all types of windshields; including Lexan, Lucite, Acrylic, cast acrylic, polycarbonate, etc.; face shields, instrument lenses....just about anything plastic.  It seems to have just the right amount & specifications of various ingredients.  While it does contain petroleum distillates, I have seen no problems.  Use soap & water to clean the plastic first (if you can).  The product is Part No. 681 DuraGloss Plastic Polish.  That is an 8 ounce plastic container with flip nozzle top.  Car Care Products Company, which is actually Brothers Research Corp, in Burlington, NC.   Use this DuraGloss product nearly as-stated on the container.  I use a small turkish towel rag, rub until nearly dry, then polish with a clean dry cloth. I don't clean the application rag often (unless dirty), as I can moisten it (using fresh stuff...or some water...) & use the left-over-on-rag stuff again & again.  I sometimes follow it by an application of Johnson's Pledge or other semi-protectant....helps make bugs removal later on, easier.  I like this product so much that I carry it with me on rides.

I have personally tested all the above products, extensively.   My testing included, besides many years of use of various products, actually doing side-by-side testing on Acrylic & Polycarbonate windscreens that were rather deteriorated. I used a couple dozen products in these tests.  I also tested most of these products on aircraft windshields & on car headlight covers....and on several types of helmet shields (over LONG periods of time).

4C.  Drilling plastics:
If you drill correctly, you won't have the much worse situation of a crack in the material leading away from the hole. So, let us assume you have edge problems OR actual spreading cracks, and discuss these situations; and, next time, be more careful about the angle and sharpening of the drill bit, speed of the drill, etc.

Drilling plastics can be, and usually IS, tricky. You may want to read up on it on the Internet.  Even the perfect hole you drill WILL HAVE visible or invisible microscopic edge irregularities.  These are places of potential problems and MUST BE dealt with.     If you have practiced, you can use a torch flame on them, to smooth them.  That is particularly tricky. If the teensy edge irregularities are not fixed, your hole will be MUCH more likely to eventually seriously crack.....from bending, stress, strain, etc.  Since the flame method is something that must be practiced (preferably on an old piece), it is safer, if you do not have the flame experience, to just polish the holes with some sort of grinding compound, of fine grit, doing it first, to LEARN, BY HAND, on a cone-shaped or pointy shaped object, such as a thin wooden dowel, etc.  I've even used tapered tip tools from the shop with sanding compounds.  

If you do develop a visible crack, usually this happens at the drilled holes where the windscreen is mounted, can use the conventional stop-crack method, of carefully drilling a tiny hole CENTERED at the end of the crack.  MUST end up   completely smooth and round (use the pointy dowel and sanding compound).  I prefer to treat the crack, using a cement (acetone works perfectly on Lucite/acrylic, but for CAST acrylic you need a special cement into the crack.  If the crack goes to the edge of the item, you may be able to place a modest amount of twisting torque on the two parts, and thereby open up the area to better insert the liquid 'glue/solvent'.  Treat the place the crack starts & ends very carefully.  In some instances pin point flame heat, carefully done, may melt the plastic back together, but this is done very carefully indeed.  The use of pin point heat is USUALLY used mostly to smooth a faintly rough surface; ....although I usually use abrasive papers, such as after cutting a windscreen down.....but sometimes I have used a broad flame heat on the windshield where I have cut it down.  Those withOUT the experience of using flame for this are advised by me to INSTEAD, just use some sandpaper wrapped around a piece of wood (usually a 2" or 3" wide piece is what I use for windshield cuts). 

I suggest that for most plastic work you obtain an old throwaway piece (maybe the top part you are discarding?), and PRACTICE drilling, sanding, etc.
Suppose the worse happens, a crack, to the edge of the whole piece?  This usually happens using the wrong saw, or using the saw wrongly, or the wrong drill bit (using bits that are sharp, and ground on flatter angles in ever larger sizes is GOOD). If  you do not want to purchase another whole windshield, etc., you may, or not, use a tiny smooth hole at the inner area where the crack started.   That needs to be small, centered, and very smoothly finished where the drill was used. BUT, what about the edge where the crack meets?   While unsightly, the best fix is to cut up a tiny bit of the old throw-away windscreen, or, a bit of compatible plastic. Make two rather small pieces, perhaps 3/16" wide, maybe a 3/4" or tad longer (?). Glue with proper thin watery solvent the pieces to the windscreen, one on front side, one opposite on the backside.  I set the pieces a wee bit proud of the edge, so can be sanded to conform to the edge, later.  The solvent will flow into the crack if not done to excess, and travel down the crack.  I twist, slightly, the windshield, apply the solvent thinly, no drips, and let the windshield go back into shape.  Use a simple clamp!  When totally dry...I let it dry a day or three!... you can use a sanding block, etc., to shape the blocks to the shape of the windshield edge.  If worried about the strength, add a drop or so of the solvent glue, at the junctions, and again wait for a day or three before riding.  I check, by twisting a bit, the windshield repair.

5. For the oil in your spout oiler; ETC.... for use at cable pivots, levers (but not bars clutch lever pivot, it has a replaceable do-not-oil nylon bushing), center stand pivots, ETC.  Do NOT oil control cable innards; only the very earliest /5 bikes with original cables had no linings.  YES to lubricating the END fitments, & often.

You probably should use either a molybdenum-containing oil, often just called 'moly' & pronounced 'mah-lee'; or, a plain 20 or 30 weight NON-detergent motor oil...sometimes hard to find, but try your auto-parts store. Use motor oil if you have to.   I prefer to have both a moly & a plain oil on hand, in separate oilers. The reason for the non-detergent formulation (I am being nerdy here) is to keep the dirt & wear products forced out, & not suspended. That is not at all widely known.   It is NOT critical, however.  Use such oil (NO moly) for zero to moderate speed bushings, like those your starter motor uses, other bushings, etc.  Some may prefer not to use moly at the levers, where they make nasty black stains on gloves if used excessively.     I DO USE moly at the levers, wiping away the excess.  Moly grease is THE BEST for the CONTROL CABLES BARREL bars levers, at carburetor cable barrels, at clutch cable barrels. 

Common '3-in-One oil' is far too light for almost anything on your Airhead.  I do not even like 3-In-One on wee shafts & bearings in the instruments, as it gums eventually.   WD40 has NO place on your airhead for true lubrication purposes....although it is good for removing some types of labels & hardened bug remains.  I suggest you do not use WD40 for lubrication of parts.  For plastics, where a lubricant is SOMETIMES required, often silicon oil or grease is OK.  Note that WD40 is a very POOR penetrating oil.  I have information on penetrating oils later in this article....Penetrating oils are often used to try to free up frozen parts, rusted parts, ETC.

6A.  GREASES, for ignition parts, wheel bearings, splines.

Because of specific testing and what is now available, I am no longer showing much about mixing of greases, such as mixing moly grease into other types of greases.  It is no longer necessary, and can have problems if you mix greases with incompatible bases; some did not follow my previous specific advice.

I think you should obtain A FEW specific greases as appropriate to your model/year bike.

If you have an early Airhead with points ignition (non-canister), use the appropriate Bosch greases for the ATU unit.  FT1V4 (5-700-002-005) just for the cam and cam felt (no felt on 1979-1980 canister ignitions) and FT1V26 (5-700-005-005) just for the automatic advance guide shaft. If you decide to purchase these, the medium-sized tubes will last you the rest of your life. Ford also made a distributor cam grease (for felts too) number C4A2-19xxxx, but I am not happy with that one.  I have not tested many greases for this application.  It is likely that any soft non-fibrous wheel bearing grease will also work, as they should NOT melt & thus NOT be thrown off easily.   It is important that the ignition cam be
very faintly greased; if it runs dry it may squeak, cause fast wear on the ignition points rubbing block, closing-up the points & eventually the wear will be enough that you cannot get proper adjustment.  The inside of the ATU, the guide shaft area, also needs greasing.  Bosch specified different greases for these places.   Bosch revised at least one of these greases, & it has a new part number, which I do not remember at the moment.  I've had no problems with using the Red BMW or Red Chevron grease.

For steering head tapered bearings, wheel bearings, & swing arm bearings, you can use a single grease.  I recommend Chevron NLG1 (or NLG2, which is slightly thicker & better for wheel & other roller or ball bearings) Ultra Duty EP red grease.  That grease is also excellent for general purpose lubrication & for use at U-joints & places that have zerk fittings for lubrication. The red Chevron grease is particularly good for water resistance; and, if you live in snow country, is excellent for those easy-to-wear-out universal joints on your 4 wheel drive truck.  It is excellent for the BMW clutch throwout bearing during re-assembly (yes, I know that transmission oil will EVENTUALLY get to the area & lubricate as intended), & pretty good for some places on your bike that need grease, such as all the tapered bearings used at the steering head and wheel bearings and swing arm bearings. It comes in standard grease gun tubes. You'll probably have to go to a "Chevron Distributor", not a gas station, to purchase it.  You may have to purchase a box of share with your Airhead friends...or, car/truck friends.   While the Chevron red grease IS usable for wheel bearings, I prefer, slightly anyway, a different grease for them, but you could use the NLG2 for the wheels quite successfully. None of these is for splines lubrication...>>on an Airhead, or K-bike, there are one to three splines that require special moly lubricants. For wheel bearings, here is another grease that works quite well:  Quaker State Multipurpose Grease & Wheel Bearing Lubricant. This grease is a NLG1 type of grease, similar in some respects to that Chevron grease I mentioned...but different characteristics for these purposes. It is NOT A MUST....but is what I personally use most of the time for wheel bearings, otherwise I use the Chevron.  What I am saying is that you can use the Chevron red grease for most everything but spline, on your Airhead.

You really only need TWO greases for the entire motorcycle: the above Chevron, & a good moly grease.

If you have any left-over Staburags NBU30PTM or Optimol paste PL (two greases BMW use to recommend for splines), they are probably OK for general use for whatever you need it for, and can be used for the splines. Moly greases are not to be used in bearings on your motorcycle. Do NOT use it in roller bearings, nor ball bearings.

I do not believe there is any even near-perfect grease for BMW splines applications.   

Wrth SIG 3000 may be "SORT-OF-OK" at the input shaft, but it does not contain moly.  Mixing ~ 70% of that grease with ~30% of a good high content moly grease was, some time ago, OK for BMW splines; BUT, Guard Dog GD 525 was a lot better; and I have used GD 570 also....& there are indications that Honda M60...and probably M77... is about the same in some instances....but not all.  I will get into a bit more depth on other greases and my recommendations in this long section 6.  

The Honda 60 grease is/was sold by Honda car & motorcycle dealers as SKU08734-001, & you may find that the parts person will have to look it up, as he/she may not know about it...& there is a new number now anyway.  That old part number is for the smaller 3 ounce tube. It is cheaper to purchase M77 Molykote.  There was also a larger Honda size available, often the Honda car dealership parts departments knew of the larger size.  Honda 60 grease is NLA, & I cannot make 100% recommendations, as its Honda replacement is not known for sure by me to be absolutely the same grease (or, better...or, worse).   Many folks used Honda 60 grease.  I have, SO FAR, NO problem with it, & its replacement (from reports, M77 works OK).  It may be true that the new Honda M77 grease is actually Dow Corning Molykote M77.  That appears likely.  If so, you can get a 14 ounce tube from That's what I would recommend if you like the Honda grease.  That will last you your lifetime, for only $15.   The Honda M77 lubricant from Honda dealerships is #08798-900.

You may be interested in the Loctite 234227.  This is 8 ounces (yes, EIGHT) of a HIGH percentage moly grease, and it is fairly cheap!  

Guard Dog GD525 & GD570:   I think you will like these; but Guard Dog is out of business as of the middle of 2016, the owner wanted to sell and retire, but no good buyers.   BOTH of those greases are fine with the Airheads & Classic K bikes for the clutch splines (that is, the transmission input splines, as you do not really grease the friction disc splines ....unless super careful for only the faintest slightest trace.  Guard Dog Moly grease GD525, a synthetic is for splines & for general use where a moly component is OK (it is NOT OK in ball nor needle bearings,  same warning for ANY moly grease). GD525 is a 30% moly in a special synthetic base carrier.  GD525 should NOT BE USED if you do NOT THOROUGHLY clean off whatever old grease you have been using, or the GD525 MIGHT NOT stick well enough.  GD525 is a soft light grease, easy to apply.   First: clean the surfaces with a good evaporating solvent using a brush.  You have to slightly work the grease into the surfaces with a stiff small brush, such as a shorter (cut) bristled 'acid brush'.    I think that GD525 may be the best grease I have ever tried for the input splines.  It is also good as a general-purpose moly grease.   Presently I have "slight" reservations about using the higher percentage moly & different base formula of GD570.   NOTE:  I'm personally testing GD570 from mid-2015, & may, in the future, change these statements.     Guard Dog GD570 is sold for the additional purpose of being an antiseize compound.  Guard Dog products are fairly expensive....but a little goes a LONG way.   As of mid-2016, stock was on hand at:

East Coast:
West Coast:

several other GD products were still available at:

I can recommend the Honda grease (M60 or M77), or the Molykote M77 grease, or the Guard Dog greases OR THE LOCTITE 234227, which is a high temperature high % moly product.  BMW actually used a high quality moly grease in the early Airheads.  It is still my belief that this particular grease MAY be ONE of the best, over-all.  It was then called Molykote U, the present name is Molykote U-N.   It is not cheap.  It is over 60% moly disulfide, in a Polyalkylene glycol base that is designed to slowly evaporate at elevated temperatures so that a mostly dry-paste is left.  For the more nerdy, the thickener for the grease is a "lithium soap". 

When you clean the clutch & transmission input splines, prior to re-greasing, TAKE CARE that you do not drip solvents into/through the clutch disc area.  I use a cut-down toothbrush, & begin, on the friction disc center splined hub, to put the toothbrush into the hub (& through the center of all the splines, so am not pushing old grease forwards), & then push slightly into the splines & pull the toothbrush rearwards, cleaning the splines.  Clean the brush & repeat until you have removed all of what old grease is in the disc splines that you can.  AFTER that work, I use a smallish piece of cloth with a few drops of a solvent (& wrapped around the toothbrush, OR, use forceps to hold the cloth piece), & I finish cleaning off whatever grease might be left in the clutch disc splines.  What I am after is to minimize old grease in the disc splines, so the transmission input splines, during re-assembly, do not force old grease forward into the clutch hub.   This method also prepares the splines for new types of grease, so there are no compatibility issues.   The transmission input splines are thoroughly cleaned.  I again use a toothbrush, and I use kerosene or Stoddard solvent or paint thinner, as these do not damage the transmission input seal.  I brush from transmission face to splines tip.  This method avoids brushing anything INTO the seal.  I may finish-up by spraying a good fast evaporating cleaner onto the transmission input splines.  The cleaner and drier those splines, the better the new grease will adhere. This goes for whether or not you are using the same grease as before.

If you are only moving the transmission backwards slightly, you cannot do as good of a job  of cleaning but it should be adequate.  You will be unable to clean the disc splines.  This is generally OK, just not as nice for residual grease, and inability to fully inspect the area.  Theoretically, you can push grease into the splines and onto the friction disc, by NOT removing the transmission for the thorough DISC splines cleaning.

It is important that you use a somewhat stiffened acid brush & brush/rub the moly grease into the metal of the input shaft splines.  Some light pressure, to work it into the metal.  DO NOT OVERGREASE.  Only a small amount, a MODERATELY THIN layer of grease is advisable. 

I put a VERY TINY amount of grease into the cleaned clutch splines in the clutch disc if I have the transmission out of the bike.  In the past I did not tell folks I did this, even advised them NOT to do it, BECAUSE some folks just cannot seem to keep themselves from slathering on grease.  ONLY the tiniest bit of grease is safe to put onto the clutch hub splines, as you do NOT want it moving forward (as the input shaft of transmission is installed), moving grease into the clutch.  I use a very small stiff brush that is usually a modified toothbrush, with very short bristles & modified size.  I rub a very
tiny bit of grease into the hub splines.  ONLY the faintest layer is left.   If you do this, be CAREFUL!    If you do not grease the disc splines at all, I am FINE with that.  I sometimes do not use a grease on the DISC splines, but a DRY moly product, that comes as an evaporating liquid, the one I am using is MolyKote M-88.  It is very likely no longer available. 

Older recommendations for spline lubricants:
These are listed here because you may want to try them, or, other recommended lubricants may not be easily available, or you simply already have some.

Mercury Marine outboard grease works fairly well (Napa 18-9200). You can substitute Texaco Starplex 2 'with moly' which should be purchasable both with moly and without.  You can try Caterpillar spline lube,  "Desert Gold Grease 129-1939, NLG1-2, with 5% moly." Autozone sold a molygraph grease that has had good results reported (But I haven't personally tested it).  BelRay has an Assembly Lube....which is also marketed by their industrial division as Molylube Antiseize 15; There is ONE report that this stuff did well at the splines.  Has an aluminum complex base, 15% moly solids, supposedly GOOD at preventing corrosion & fretting; lots of water resistance.    No personal experience.

Moly grease may be still available cheaply in "military olive drab colored pound cans", at military surplus dealers or on Ebay.  I am still using some cans of this stuff I purchased a long time ago, manufactured 1966!  Here are the main items printed on the can & the name & number is:   G353, GMD, Grease, Molybdenum Disulfide, MIL-G-21164B.   MIL-G-21164B has later versions, at least to D now.  
Some folks have good results using anti-seize compound on the transmission input splines. Guard Dog 570, a moly grease, is sold for that additional purpose. I am presently testing it on the input splines.  Since common Permatex and other antiseize compounds that we use on Airhead's finned exhaust nuts may be on your shelf, and such anti-seize also has anti-corrosion properties, this may, in fact, work OK...but I personally have NOT YET tested the Permatex for this purpose.   My suspicions are that the NICKEL antiseize's would be good! 

HINT:   The upper right stud on the transmission may be replaced with a BOLT. This lessens the amount of labor when doing a spline OR OTHER job when the transmission is to be removed.  It is a good idea to coat the threads of the bolt, LIGHTLY, with an antiseize compound before installation.  Without the stud there, and a bolt being used, be extra careful about guiding the transmission in straight.

6C.  Silicone and other greases, and silicone oil sprays:
Common, usually rather clear, silicone grease, light to medium thickness.  Your auto-parts store usually calls this 'dielectric grease'.  Useful because of its wide temperature range, very long life, compatibility with plastics, rubber (NOT compatible with SILICONE rubber, or SILICONE RUBBER O-RINGS!), and generally everything else.  This is THE stuff to use...very sparingly...on the stock O-rings you are installing in your carburetor, choke parts, petcock innards.  You can use it on electrical connection plugs unless you use Caig products, see 9.  LOTS of uses.  Even at the starter motor Bendix drive (some 'dry' moly's are fine there too on those weird splines).  Good for preserving non-silicone rubber parts, where the greasiness is OK. 

oil, in spray cans, is available for preservative uses & for spraying into/onto CLEAN & SHINY electrical connections. Some use it on the various rubber O-rings in the carburetor during assembling the O-rings to the brass parts, and then a poof just before assembly into the carburetor. 

When installing rubber covers (boots) over the spark plug wires, lightly coat the inside of the rubber cover with silicone dielectric grease.  Do not use on the electric contacts.  This caution ALSO applies to the rubber boot at the coils.  If the coil electrical fitting end of the wire is tight-fitting into the coil internal metal contact, it is, however, unlikely to cause a problem.  Application will make removing the boots easier and prevent tearing them, & prevent the electrical connections from corrosion from the elements, etc.  You can coat the spark plug white ceramic outer area just a bit too.

I am intrigued by KRYTOX grease, but have not done enough tests yet.  I will test it UNmixed with anything else.  Someone else is testing a version of Krytox.  I will report when I get the results from any testing...this will take awhile.

A grease that also intrigues me, but I have not tested it on splines, is Ford's Silicone+Teflon based grease, Ford part number is D2AZ-19590-A.  That is now replaced by Motorcraft XG-8-A; a small but adequate tube, not expensive.   I think it may have interesting qualities for transmission input (clutch disc) splines AND driveshaft parts.  There is also a military part number for the XG-8, it is:  MIL1167/31508-4207.  

7. Assembly lube, for such as engine bearings:   Royal Purple product, Max-Tuff assembly lube.  Good stuff. A product I used a lot in the past for pre-lubrication/assembly of camshaft lobes, etc, was from the racing division of Chrysler Corp. which is known as Direct Connection.  The product number was K3512626, which probably was made by Lubrizol, & the only other information I have is that it was recommended for coating camshafts & tappets, & was also called "Elco".  The Chrysler product or the Royal Purple product, and likely some others, which have extreme pressure protection ingredients (ZDDP? ZDTP?) should prevent problems from initial startup in crankshaft & rod bearings and camshaft areas, etc. DO NOT use when assembling rings/pistons and do NOT use on cylinder walls.  

8. Heat sink compound: Likely the very best is the WHITE type made by Dow Corning, type 340.  It is better than other clear compounds for heat transfer.   You can use Radio Shack heat sink compound. You can also use common "dielectric grease" from your nearby auto-parts store.   The Dow 340 transmits heat very well.  Silicone heat sink compound/grease is always to be used, smoothly, thinly, evenly, under the electronic black box ignition module (clean off old stuff first), under the gas tank. Clean & re-grease every two years to avoid problems. If the grease dries out, the black box module will overheat, causing ignition problems.  An exception is the later RIVETED ones.  The RIVETED modules supposedly do not ever require re-coating. 
If you are lucky, application of compound will revive proper module operation.  SOME silicone dielectric heat sink compounds are clear, as noted the WHITE Dow Corning stuff is better, containing a zinc compound, SORT-OF similar to what we oldsters used to put on our noses at the beach, and the white stuff conducts heat very well. If you don't want to purchase some, try begging a teaspoonful from the local electronics repair shop.  Silicone grease DOES work, the stuff may be called Silicone Dielectric Grease at the autoparts store, & the reason it works ADEQUATELY, is that it is used in a VERY thin layer, whose purpose is to fill in microscopic irregularities in the surface of the mating parts.

9.  If you want one of the best products for electrical connections, use CAIG products. 
The BMW factory used a connections protective liquid before shipping the bikes.  The substance used was CRC 5-56; works OK on connection protection after assembly.

The BEST easily-found product that I know of to SPRAY or otherwise apply in/on most electrical connection, are certain Caig products.   For those of you with K bikes, you should, in your bi-yearly go-through of your electrical connections, use the proper Caig products at the computer brain connections, ...and, every other electrical connection you can get at (remove fuel tank for access).  Caig invented the base De-Oxit a very long time ago.  It contains a chemical that BONDS MOLECULARLY with metals. For Airhead owners, the Caig products work REALLY WELL on electrical connections, that you have first cleaned to shiny.  Every couple or three years, do this job.  Includes ALL plug-in relays.

Common OIL/SOLVENT base type contact cleaners (INcludes OIL types, even if made for Radio Radio Shack by Caig) are NOT nearly as good, nor as long lasting, as the chemical treatment Deoxit product from Caig.  HOWEVER, they will work adequately, IF you can abrasively (lightly, use a pencil eraser for sensitive connections) clean the connections first.

If you properly use the Caig products, a one-time application may be all that is ever needed.  Caig sells its products through distributors of electronics items, but you can find them at Caig Laboratories, 12200 Thatcher Court, Poway, California.
  855-486 8388.   NOTE that there are a number of different Caig products, & some are simply a solvent mixture, with or without an oil.     Radio Shack sells Caig DeOxit.

I recommend:
Consider, if you can get access, cleaning contacts with a VERY MILD abrasive, such as shaping a pencil eraser that is the type ON A COMMON PENCIL.    I am spelling that out, because large erasers with high abrasive qualities are also sold, & are NOT TO BE USED on thinly clad gold-flashed computer brain and other connectors/pins.  Be careful with any abrasives if the contact is gold-flashed.  Apply Caig DeoxIT as the cleaner.  When done, lightly wipe off any excess & then apply Caig Deoxit GOLD.  I do not recommend purely oil with a solvent for contact cleaners for motorcycles, that INcludes the Caig versions. 

What about silicone dielectric grease, versus the Caig liquids/sprays??   Use the Caig products I noted above, on computer pins & connections that are or are not generally exposed to bad weather or smog.  For large electrical connections, I prefer grease DURING assembly to its mating plug.  The grease is messier. Grease, if used in moderate amounts, PREVENTS ingress of moisture/smog.   THE best that is easy to obtain is the Caig, let it stay on the surface awhile, then, withOUT removing it, add the grease, assemble....or, add the grease after assembly. 

You CAN use common Petroleum Grease (Vaseline) on large electrical connections;  it performs ESPECIALLY WELL at the battery terminals. BMW used to ship its bikes so-protected, at the battery.

There are pros & cons about silicone greases for electrical connections.  If you want to be anal about the subject, & want an even more premium protectant,  Nye 761G or 760 will do very well.  Check the Internet for sources.  I am NOT sure how much you would have to purchase.  It is possible that you can obtain the same product in small tubes from Ford or GM.

ealants are required NOR SHOULD BE USED on BMW Airhead motorcycles, except at a FEW very specific places. 

HYLOMAR:   There are several types of Hylomar.   Hylomar was developed for Rolls Royce turbine engines, comes in squeeze tubes, & was originally used primarily on our Airheads to seal the cylinders to the engine block & the input threaded ring at the rear drive nose.   It is different from common silicon rubber sealants, many types of those.  Hylomar seems to work, although NOT as well at the cylinder bases as other sealants....but Hylomar is exceptionally SAFE if a tiny bit gets into the oiling system.    The tube will list a solvent for cleanup...I use acetone. When applying Hylomar I often thin it a little bit with acetone, as only a very thin layer is needed...a thick layer is NOT desirable!!!   You can use a brush, & if needed acetone ensure thinness of application, but do not leave brush bristles at the cylinder base.  Keep Hylomar out of the oil passageways at the top studs, put it around the OUTside of those top stud areas, not towards the piston side. 
Hylomar can be applied, allowed to dry, & then you can wait as long as you want before assembly.

Places that Hylomar, etc., were used include the mentioned threaded ring threads inside the nose of the rear drive & fork top & bottom caps threads.  Those places are STILL good places for Hylomar

Hylomar was THE sealant a long time ago for the cylinder bases, but my viewpoint has changed after seeing what it looks like after maybe 15 years or so & I can not recommend it now for that purpose; although if you have some left, you can use it, just apply carefully. I now recommend that you use modern silicon or other modern sealants, but very sparingly.   Thicker is NOT better.  I use Hylomar, and will continue to use it, for the threaded ring in the nose of the rear drives & sometimes at fork caps.  There are other places you can use it, for sealing drain & fill plugs. You can see Hylomar information at:

Hylomar is a polyester-urethane product, NOT a silicone sealant.   Hylomar sealants don't set up hard & can be applied considerably in advance of when you need to assemble the parts.

Some have problems finding Hylomar.   You can try at NAPA. The package has both the NAPA & Permatex logos and is called Hylomar HPF. The item number is 765-2682.  It is expensive.  HPF is the same as the latest Hylomar brand version called "Advanced" has NO solvents, is very THIN (which is OK for cylinder bases).  There is also a RACE formula, that adheres better.   The more common Hylomar is now called Universal Blue.  It originally was called PL32M or SQ32M when I first used it on /5 bikes.  The M stands for MEDIUM thickness.  There was also a L for LIGHT and H for Heavy.  M worked OK then on Airheads.  I don't use it anymore for cylinder bases.  The type of Hylomar I am still using, since I have a lot of it left, is the above old SQ32M, also under the Permatex brand as 25349.   It is basically the SAME as Permatex HPF.  

Much more, a bit further down, on cylinder base sealants, the modern type too.

WHAT is RTV?    RTV is shorthand for Room Temperature Vulcanizing (& usually means a SILICONE product).   Most people simply regard them as very thick liquids that harden from exposure to air (even through the edge exposure of parts assembled together), and they 'turn into silicone rubber'.  While that is not actually absolutely correct, it is good enough.

a.  There are hundreds of variations of RTV.  They come in various colors too.  Black is very common, so is white.  Versions for building & construction sealants come in shades of white, brown, clear, etc.

b.  Some types of RTV compounds used for gasket-making and other types are not truly silicones. 
c.  RTV's come in a variety of viscosities before they cure, and a variety of hardness's after they cure.

d.  For use on vehicles, in general, you purchase RTV in small to large tubes.  Like toothpaste tubes, they are folded-up as you use them.  Industrially & for building construction/etc., they come in quite large round caulking-type tubes that are  applied using a holder that has a hand-grip & plunger going into the tube. An applicator tip is often supplied or the tip of the tube itself is used by cutting, often on an angle, so you can 'lay a nice bead'.   You probably have used such for making smoothly curved sealing for sealing windows, bathtubs, etc.

e.  RTV curing generally starts as soon as you apply it from the tube; but there are SOME types that cure very slowly, being humidity activated, & there are some peculiar types that cure from application of a strong source of ultra-violet light. 

f.   RTV comes in two sort-of basic types (that you will use on vehicles, etc.).   One type SMELLS like vinegar (it actually has acetic acid in it) & thus it is corrosive to some materials until fully cured.  I suggest never using those in small enclosed areas...the acid could cause rusting, ETC. as it cures.  The other, now more common type, has no appreciable smell at all, and does not usually cause corrosion, rust, etc.

g.  RTV is extremely useful for making gaskets.  Many engines, transmissions, etc., in modern vehicles have no paper or other types of gaskets, just a small bead or layer of some sort of RTV.

h.  It is extremely important, when using RTV products, that every last bit of any old material be removed, & that the surface be completely clean when new RTV is applied.   You can remove the old material by chemical means and/or scraping, wire brush, etc, as appropriate.   Use of gasoline, kerosene, etc., may do a fairly good job of dissolving residue, but will leave a petroleum-based residue that keeps new sealant from sealing really well.    I usually use acetone or MEK.  Scraping should be done with plastic or other material that is less likely to leave nicks, scratches, gouges.  If you have to pry things to get them apart, be SURE that there is no damage done. 

i.   If fasteners are OVER-tightened, gaskets...and even metal... may mushroom-up, & prevent proper sealing. Bunching-up problems are relatively common for those doing poor quality work at the PAN GASKET.

j.   RTV & most any chemical sealant ("'goo"), is good for only about 0.015" gaps, maybe 0.020" at most.  Sometimes it is used, wrongly, IMO, in thicker sections.  That is why you want the mating surfaces to be in such good, flat, clean condition.

k.  LESS is better than do not want excess sealant getting into places it should not be.

l.   When assembling the mating parts, be cautious about tightening more than a minor amount until the sealant is in place for awhile.   In particular, avoid torquing to final values before 24 hours have gone by.  In instances of a very thin layer, where air may not get to the sealant very well, allow a week. Remember:  many RTV's are activated by the air (moisture).

m.  When torquing where there IS a gasket, such as the Airhead engine oil pan, be VERY cautious.  NO sealant is normally used, & if the pan is over-torqued, not only will you bunch-up the gasket & cause leaks, but you might go so far as to pull the bolt threads from the engine case. Professionals test the case threads BEFORE DISSASSEMBLY, by torquing to a slight bit over normal torque (but under maximum specification).  That way, if a bad thread is found, you can, and should, fix it BEFORE you re-assemble the oil pan to the engine!

Sometimes a sealant or other joint compound is used WITH a gasket, often such a gasket is made of some sort of 'paper'.  DO NOT use but the thinnest layer of compound in this instance, and the surfaces MUST be very flat, smooth, nick-less.  If a thick amount of compound is used, not only may the gasket shift during torquing, but excess may move inwards.  In a few instances IMproper use of a joint compound, where none is to be used, or the wrong sealant, can cause 'walking'.   BMW has made Airheads using a gasket at the driveshaft to rear drive interface (NO GOOP!!!); and later models of Airheads used a Loctite anaerobic there, NO gasket. BMW also made a few rear drives with NO large left side gasket.  Be sure to consult the Airheads LIST, if you do not know what to use.  In general, the later MONOSHOCK bikes did NOT use a paper gasket at the junction of the rear drive and driveshaft, but a Loctite sealant that prevented oil leaks AND prevented walking.  You are not sealing threads, but the face areas, and they must be COMPLETELY nick-free & flat.

Cylinder base sealants, and additional sealant and gasket notes:

Clean the surfaces really well, really degrease them. Apply the sealant of choice VERY SPARINGLY AND AS EVENLY AS POSSIBLE...AGAIN, SPARINGLY!!,  If using Hylomar or Three-bond 1215, let sit at least half an hour before assembly (this is important for THOSE). DO NOT block oil flow at top studs.

Use any of these products VERY sparingly for the cylinder base area, as they, or any sealant, will almost totally squeeze out.  You do NOT want the product in the engine oil passageways that are at the top studs, although Hylomar is a safer product if it does get into the oil passageways, than many other...or most other....sealants.     
Do NOT spread with a brush unless you will be careful to be SURE no bristles are left....which can cause a leak by not allowing the cylinder to fully come home to the engine. 

HINT:  DO NOT let the piston rod fall.  It will nick the engine case, and the cylinder will not mate properly, and there will be oil leaks.

I am no longer recommending Hylomar for cylinder bases.... although it has other uses.  The reason I am no longer recommending Hylomar is due to the failures, most often caused by the applier/user; and, what it looks like after many years.  Hylomar does have advantages; it is safer than most other sealants in case a small amount gets into the oil passageways, and, it is relatively easy to separate parts, later. While I have had good results with Hylomar...& with almost all the sealants I have tried, I am meticulous in cleaning & applying the sealants onto flat nick-free & dead-clean surface, in proper amount, and proper areas.

The following are tested and acceptable:
Permatex 27B Hi Temp RTV.
Permatex Ultra-Grey (or, Ultra-Gray). It does work OK if you apply very thinly in the normal manner; allow all surfaces to set up for a while, THEN assemble.  Use ONLY Permatex brand!!!   Permatex makes it in Ultra-black & Ultra-red too.  They all have slightly different characteristics.  Semi-permanent version ONLY, which seems to last.
Pro-Seal Red 700 degree RTV  80726.

The following are possibly better sealants for the long term use:
Dreibond, or Three-Bond from your BMW dealer:  excellent.  Three-Bond 1215 works well.  Allow time to set-up.  There is also Drei-Bond 1209, but some have problems with it eventually starting to fail a bit, with oil weeping the result.  It may be the applicator (YOU!).   Three-bond has a 1207B that works nicely...see just below:

Sealant available at Suzuki dealerships, Suzuki-Bond type 1207B, their part number 9104-31140.  I think it's a good one, AND, I can recommend it.    Suzuki marine dealers sell it, not just car dealers.  Tom Cutter likes the Suzuki sealant too, but also says that "if you have to, you can use Yamabond-6B". Snowbum sez:  Be aware that the Yamabond 6B (do NOT USE OTHER VERSIONS OF YAMABOND) was designed for high temperature uses, in, yes, exhaust starts its 'cure' rather fast.  If you use it, use the usual small thin amount (for the cylinder-to-case junction).   Assemble within a FEW minutes!!  I think you should do the same with the Suzuki sealant:  assemble within a FEW minutes!!  Assembly after half an hour or so has seemed to work, ....but I am more cautious, due to the labor involved with a re-do.

After you torque the cylinder to the engine, some sealant, even if applied quite thinly & certainly not excessively, will probablysqueeze out.  If you allow that to dry for a day or more, it is then easier to clean up with a small brass brush, etc.  Usually, then, the excessive sealant just peels off.  SOME
sealants require 'set up' for half an hour BEFORE assembling.  THUS, the order of events is apply sealant, wait as appropriate,.... then oil the O-rings & assemble IMMEDIATELY, torque.  IF you use Hylomar, apply it, wait for a few minutes minimum...but you can wait as long as you want to.    Consult instructions on your container.

General sealants and gasket notes:
The places sealants are
NOT USED INclude the engine oil pan; inner timing chest-to-engine; head gaskets; valve cover gaskets, rear drive gaskets (usually); & driveshaft housing joint gaskets (usually, not always).   

In a FEW instances, where a previous owner has messed up the surfaces of mating pieces, Permatex NON-hardening Form-a-Gasket can be used, but this is to be done with caution as gasket sealants can cause problems you may not think of, & repairing surfaces is usually better.  I have repaired serious nicks & gouges with ordinary epoxy products, then sanding & filing them dead flat. I may simply dress the nicks and gouges and there is no need for epoxy or other products.  Some areas should not have gaskets and some not have sealants, to avoid the surfaces moving with respect to each other (called WALKING).   Adding a gasket, where one is not specified, can upset clearances. 

No sealant is used at the junction of rear drive & driveshaft on the earlier models of Airheads.  BMW SPECIFIES using a Loctite product on Monoshock Airheads at that particular area, where NEITHER a gasket NOR regular sealant is used.  USE the Loctite product here that BMW recommends, or a close equivalent.  I use Loctite 640 because it is a close product, & I stock it for special uses elsewhere's. There are solid reasons BMW did not use a gasket nor ordinary sealant at this junction on late models.

BMW gaskets are/were impregnated with a substance that activates after the surfaces get hot.  If you coat surfaces or gaskets with YOUR stuff, you will defeat BMW's intentions.  This is/was so with the pan gasket & valve cover gaskets (on the head side of that gasket).  I have seen plenty of these withOUT seeing any activating substance.   Supposedly the coated ones on the valve cover gaskets are for the HEAD side.  Engine side for the pan gasket.  Might not be there.  Be sure the surfaces are clean & dry.  The valve cover gaskets can be used almost forever, if you do not tear/rip it.  That is best accomplished by having the gasket on the HEAD side, somehow, 'glued' to the head.  So, what to do?  MY ADVICE:  If you remove a valve cover carefully, without ripping the gasket, then when replacing the cover smear non-synthetic engine oil onto the gasket side that FACES THE HEAD.  
Eventually it will semi-bond to the head from repeated heating/cooling.  Then when you remove the cover you are less likely to tear the gasket, & it can be used over & over!! NO oil on outer surface!  If you wish a faster bonding on the gasket side that FACES THE HEAD, then use something like a very faint coating (fingertip spread) of Permatex Form-a-Gasket (but ONLY the non-permanent type). Wipe off any excess after pressing gasket firmly into place.  DO NOT allow oil nor sealant to be on the outer surface.

urfaces to have sealants applied should be completely clean and dry. I use a strong relatively fast-evaporating solvent.   Allow no nicks at the metal surfaces that would give poor sealing.  Nicks are particularly troublesome at the cylinder base area & the engine case at the cylinder area, where an accidentally dropped rod might put a tiny nick, that will keep the cylinder from being perfectly flat and going fully home.

HINT:  when trying to clean off old gasket from aluminum parts, spray WD40 on the old gasket remnants, or a gasket remover solvent (auto-parts stores), use a plastic scraper, not metal, unless you are VERY careful.   Plastic razor blades are available from many sources, including your local auto-parts store.  Remember, it is easy to nick an aluminum surface with a metal razor blade or metal scraper....& those nicks can be places for oil leaks.

REPEAT NOTE: .....For a short period of time, BMW did assemble rear drive CARDAN COVERS (that's the LEFT cover) using a sealant, & NO paper gasket. If you change to a gasket, you will upset the gear shimming.

11A.  JBWeld, JBKWIK, etc: These are popular epoxy materials that are available almost everywhere.   They DO work well. The -KWIK is good to near 300 degrees. Some folks won't go on a tour without a JBWELD-KWIK kit. With a small piece of 50 or 80 grit sandpaper you take along with this kit, you can do an emergency fairing repair, seal a cracked valve cover & probably even a cracked oil pan. Epoxy products do not last forever, so throw them out after a few years.  Duct tape; or, better, radiator hose repair tape, is excellent for a very quick emergency fairing repair.  See 11B.

11B.  Other epoxies, such as steel filled 2 part epoxies:
No specific place for these on your BMW, but they are very strong; can sometimes repair a broken part that is unrepairable otherwise, rather than maybe Heliarcing...etc. No need to purchase, just know about it. SOME folks have put the fast cure version of these in their bike kits, instead of the JB items in 11A. I have seen a transmission case & a broken valve cover 'welded' with this stuff.   As with all epoxies, surface preparation & absolute cleanliness, never the faintest oil film, is the way to go.   There are types of epoxies that are promoted as being able to repair THREADS.  Some have had good results with these, after thorough degreasing, for such as stripped out aluminum drain plug area threads.  I've had poor results.  

12.  Weatherstrip adhesives: These are used on our bikes to 'glue' the ID strips along the engine sides, some use them to install fairing boots on RS/RT, etc. Common usage has been to call this stuff Gorilla Snot, as it was originally yellowish, but black is now available.   Several brands, but always purchase the 'SUPER' weatherstrip adhesive. I've had great results with 3M & Permatex brands, the black works well for RT fairing rubber boots (after degreasing the boots, use on the black painted interior). 3M, long ago, stood for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing; a top notch company. ALWAYS follow the directions....this means doing it in two stages of application. This is nasty stuff, so keep it off your paint. It is VERY strong & does not release at moderately high temperatures.   Many folks use cyanoacrylate glues (Crazy Glue) at the fairing rubbers, but I have had it fail with age.  3M or Permatex SUPER Weatherstrip Adhesive is truly STRONG.  Its use is probably over-kill, and many get along just fine with CrazyGlue dabbed here & there on a carefully cleaned area of fairing & cleaned boot area.  I have not had the best long term results with Crazy Glue, but it sure is easier to use.  The ideal stuff might be a very strong adhesive in a hypo tube, but never looked into it.

3M has a Plastic & Emblem Adhesive, do NOT use is not nearly strong enough!

RT style fairing rubber boots for the passage of the fork tubes:
I have not had the best results with most of the thin glues & sealants, they tend to harden & crack eventually & then the boot comes loose. LOTS of pressure on that boot, especially in lock to lock turns. If you use a cyanoacrylic (Crazy Glue or similar name), the rubber & the fairing area must be SUPER-CLEANED first. Frankly, it is hard to do right, & I no longer even try using that stuff.  Others feel it is fine.   I use the same SUPER Weatherstrip Adhesive mentioned above. I clean the fairing area with a knife, inside & outside the opening, for maybe 1/4". I sand it a wee bit. I then clean it with acetone. I have spent over an hour at times doing those things. I then clean the boot groove & outside of the groove, with acetone or MEK...really thoroughly to remove every last trace of mould release agent. I then install the boot (there is a Right & a Left, so don't install the wrong one, nor install it upside down...these things have been done!). I install the boot with the adhesive generously applied to the groove, letting it overflow a bit.  I use my finger, dipped in acetone or MEK to wipe it smooth, before it dries, which is awfully fast. I am sure the solvents are not good for me.  It is fun & games to put additional adhesive at the junction (after the boot is installed) INside the fairing.  I usually make a bit of a mess, spend too much time cleaning, & then I paint it black with a tiny brush. The black stuff would be nicer inside the fairing.

I clean up the fairing
immediately with solvent & rag. Do not overdo this, the solvent might damage paint. Probably isn't good for me, but I refuse to wear plastic gloves for this job. If carefully cleaned up RIGHT AWAY, it looks fine, if not, paint over it.

13.  Antiseize compounds/pastes:
The common anti-seize products, such as NEVER-SEEZ, particularly in its "Pure Nickel Special" version, have very good lubricating characteristics.  This product works its way into metal surfaces, particularly aluminum, I think.  There is some indication that it could be good for splines lubrication on our bikes.   I had already been using this product for MANY years on exhaust port threads & spark plug threads before I found out that BMW had recommended it!  GOOD STUFF!

BMW actually specified the Never-Seeze brand, spelling it inaccurately as Never-Seize, in a service information bulletin:

        is an article about these oftentimes troublesome items!

While I prefer a pure nickel formulation; the Permatex and others, that ARE silvery in color, are perfectly OK. MANY seem NOT to know that PERMATEX ANTISEIZE DOES HAVE COPPER IN IT. You might have to look it up, might not be shown on the container, &, of course, some versions might not have copper. The Permatex stuff I use now & then, does have copper.  The copper color is completely hidden by OTHER GOOD INGREDIENTS.   I am well-aware that this statement of mine conflicts with a certain person who produces U-tube videos, who uses swearing/epithets a lot.   HE DOES NOT KNOW about the copper in things that are not copper-colored...because I believe, he has never looked into it.  Use a nickel-based antiseize compound, OR, a copper-based type, or one that at least contains copper.  I will have a lot more to say about this, below. 

Antiseize compounds are always, & MUST BE, used at the exhaust port threads & finned nuts threads. However, many of us wrenches, not all, use it at the spark plug threads & at other exhaust fitments & at some engine studs (to prevent galvanic corrosion).  It used to be that most studs, nuts, etc., were plated with CADMIUM, which had good properties for such as a steel bolt being used in aluminum castings.  Cadmium is a big NO NO in Europe now, & the U.S.A. seems to be following the Euro standards.  Without the cadmium, one relies generally on its replacement, a phosphate treatment of the steel parts. That is NOT adequate in many instances, & often the steel bolts, etc., will then RUST, particularly if the bolt is inserted and then ever removed and re-installed.  It is worse where the steel comes in contact with aluminum engine cases, etc.   In many instances, coating the steel threads very lightly with an anti-seize compound will protect against this galvanic corrosion.  There are many types of anti-seize compounds.  For the Airheads, for use at the exhaust port finned nut threads, it is important, for the antiseize to be effective for a long period of time, is that the BASE CARRIER is compatible with the type of heat and corrosive exhaust fumes we get at the exhaust finned nuts.   When you remove fittings use a mild wire brush (brass brushes are my favorite for THAT) on the threads & the one or two metal rings, plus an old thin feeler gauge in the metal ring gaps, to remove carbonized material, then slather on the goop.  Assemble without over-torquing. Do it yearly.  It is the carrier that tends to burn-away, or carbon up. a good brand & type of anti-seize is a very good idea.

Exhaust port threads is a place where nasty stuff accumulates. Some of this stuff is sulfur 'stuff' (or other compounds), and they, acidic, react with moisture.  This happens during cool-down and initial starting, due to condensation, AND the products of combustion. The compounds, with moisture, create acids. Acids have fun with the carbon, ETC., from the combustion process. There are often very faint exhaust gas leakages into the taper ring(s), the ring gaps, even when seemingly closed under pressure, and the gases, bring carbon, etc., into any gaps in the threads...and as those gaps fill, the stuff acts like cement. Threads themselves MUST, as fitted to their mates, have at least a slight clearance or they won't assemble in the first place.
BMW specifies a torque for the finned nuts, which I think is considerably too high;  of course, too little, & deposits problems increase; WAY too little and the pipe moves. I never use a torque as high as BMW recommends.   I've also never had a finned nut problem on ANY of MY Airheads, unless the motorcycle was purchased in poor exhaust port threads condition.

The exhaust port threads & finned nuts threads get some wear every time you unscrew the finned nut.   There is carbon typically accumulated in the antiseize compound, in the threads, in teeny other areas.  Over time that carbon becomes rather hard, and every time you remove the nuts, the threads wear a slight amount & the thread fitment gets a tiny bit looser. This is particularly true in one area...yep, the first threads. Pay particular attention to cleaning the threads.  The looser the threads get, the more carbon can build up in them....another GOOD reason to clean the threads & goop them with anti-seize compounds YEARLY...and to NOT overtighten them...which can make things worse as wear increases, and the tightening has more friction in the threads for any particular torque amount (corresponding to less torque AT the needed areas!).

I like to use anti-seize compound when assembling ANY items of the muffler system, even the pipe joints & the smaller exhaust system nuts & bolts.   I believe it a MUST for spark plug threads.  This is MY feeling, not held by all, & not held by SOME FEW spark plug manufacturer's.....& not with others.  See for full details; INCLUDING torque advice; and specific information you should know.

I use anti-seize compound nearly all of the time on any steel bolt that is screwing into aluminum.   You must NOT use antiseize compound on the steel bolts going into the driving hubs on rear wheels, which hold the wheel to the hub/drive. That means do NOT use antiseize compound on the special bolts on Monolever and Paralever rear wheels!!  NO EXCEPTIONS!!

There are special types of antiseize used with plumbing items...and I have used that graphite-containing very thick black stuff for bolts/threads going into water containing or trapped areas of motorcycles.

Antiseize compounds have some anti-corrosion properties. Some have used these compounds at the splines for lubrication, rather than regular greases. 
I wish these folks would report back to me. 

Genuine 'Never-Seez' is what I use.  I use the Pure Nickel 2600 version.  Nickel containing anti-seizes are good, such as  I am FINE with you using the commonly available Permatex anti-seize, or any that say they contain copper.
The most common Permatex brand does contain copper & nickel, it is the carrier medium in it that disallows super high temperatures...again, use of it is OK! I have NO problem with you using high temperature copper-containing anti-seize compounds or others that contain graphite, zinc, aluminum.   Another brand that is OK is Copper EZE.   The main thing is yearly cleaning and re-gooping!!!

15.  Cyanoacrylic adhesives/glues: Often called by one of the original trade names 'CrazyGlue', & originally developed by the Eastman (Kodak!) company, these are strange 'glues' that are best for sticking your fingers together. Others may disagree, but this stuff is NOT always reliable, tends to get brittle & therefore crack, & has few places for use on your BMW.   You may find uses for it, such as holding one of the damnable easy to loose ball bearings to its spring in the switch gear when you are working in that area, inside the instrument pod at the odometer gear-to-shaft (they tend to slip), RT fairing rubber boots as previously noted (I don't like it there), etc.   I use it at slipping gears in speedometers, & never use Loctite products there if plastic is involved...unless it is compatible type.

16.  LOCTITE....and similar anaerobic chemicals:

Just what IS this common stuff known as Loctite?

The most popular brand name for thread lockers or adhesive/sealants is LOCTITE. I suggest you purchase a small size of two common ones, or just purchase AS NEEDED  You might as well purchase Loctite brand, it is very commonly available at auto-parts stores. It is kind of expensive, but worth the money, and goes a very long way for its tiny container (you are UNlikely, unless in a shop situation, going to need anything but the smallest size container). 

For those that are thinking "air drying glue", the most common Loctite product you will be using, an anaerobic, is a really strange type of chemical compound. They come in many grades & types, probably 99% (NOT an exaggeration) of which are NOT stocked at your auto-parts store, and for which you will likely have no need.  Some special types that you MIGHT need, someday, are for such as keeping bearing outer race shells from rotating or even taking up clearance from one that did rotate...and avoiding expensive machining, and, for SOME models of Airheads, or other BMW bikes, you might need a specialty version some time.    MANY Loctite products are NOT anaerobic!! Most commonly the anaerobic products are used to lock screws & nuts, either gently or very strongly. The strange thing about these "sealants", thread-lockers, or whatever the words are that you like to say fits the particular application, is that they are NOT GLUES, but are activated by the ABSENCE of oxygen, & are therefore called anaerobics.   The containers are made of a special plastic, that allows oxygen to get to the contents.  Sometimes the contents will harden in the spout, mostly, however, I think those were the older spouts that were NOT that same type of plastic as are the bottle bodies, which is why it hardened in the spout (most now use one piece plastic).....if yours hardens, simply use a needle in the spout.  Do NOT store the plastic bottles in sealed zip-type baggies!! on the shelf, cap lightly closed.

 I recommend you do NOT use commonly available Loctite anaerobic's for the speedometer internals or other parts where a metal shaft goes into plasticCyanoacrylic adhesives/glues are what I use there...also known as Crazy Glue.  Common Loctite can be bad with plastics, and may cause cracking of the plastic.  If you use a Loctite product, be sure it is compatible with your plastic.  I'm not a big fan of Loctite products on plastic parts, and have recommended against that usage, in such as speedometer/odometer gears-shafts situations. However, some have had success and no problems.

When reinstalling fittings with fresh Loctite, it is BEST to remove the old hardened Loctite.  That can be done with brushes or wire wheels & maybe stubborn instances try common gel-type paint remover.  In a few instances, you may have to use a tap or die to clean off old Loctite.  I usually put the item in acetone/MEK, overnight, sometimes that softens the Loctite for easier removal. If you cannot remove the old Loctite, simply add new, and it will work adequately in most situations.

Uncommon knowledge, NERDY, BUT USEFUL!!: 
These anaerobic compounds do NOT "set up" the same way on various materials.  Without getting into ion exchange & other technical details, I ask that you simply accept this information as true.  Firstly, there is no solvent in these anaerobic Loctite's that is going to evaporate and thus the substance left does the sealing.  While there IS a carrier, that could be considered a solvent, it is not the evaporating type you might think it is.    When
anaerobic Loctite's "set-up", the substance actually changes to a sort-of plastic, of various tenacities, various responses to such as heat, chemicals, ETC., depending on the type.     It might surprise you to find out that the "setup time" (hardening time) is MANY times longer on aluminum-aluminum, than for steel into aluminum (or steel into steel).  The reason is complex, but has to do with IONS. An ion is an atom or a molecule that has an electric charge, due to loss or gain of one or more electrons. What is not mentioned on the containers, or the simple cardboard packaging, is that due to ions, which are going to be different with the different materials (aluminum, steel, etc.), the setup time, or think of it as curing time, will be quite different, depending on the materials.   If the materials are the SAME, the setup is very different, than if they are different. MOST places you will use Loctite anaerobics is where the materials are steel bolts going into aluminum, or steel into steel.  The specifications for Loctite products TYPICALLY ASSUME it is STEEL parts....which setup faster, and result, typically, stronger.

More nerdiness:
 The Loctite specifications assume steel as it is received from a it may or may not be exactly & totally & certainly NOT almost antiseptically may not see a super thin oily film that actually exists.  Most of the common Loctite's you will be using are tolerant of some light oiliness, some are specially made to be tolerant, like 263.   What all these words mean, is that you should be cautious in using these products, and if used on very-well-cleaned surfaces, they work much better.  Loctite & the other anaerobic compound makers, further usually assume you are assembling the parts at 72F (22C).  These anaerobic compounds generally set up far more slowly if parts are cold.  That is common for ALL chemical reactions.  The type of material, including any plating, affects the cure time.  Loctite & other similar manufacturer's may not prominently tell you on the package that they ASSUME, in SOME instances, that YOU have specially cleaned the parts & coated them with a Loctite activating primer.   For PRACTICAL purposes, for bolts of steel going into steel or bolts of steel (plated or not) going into aluminum, & with the threads clean and dry before applying Loctite, you SHOULD ASSUME that full & adequate strength will be obtained between 24 hours & three days.  It is true that under more ideal circumstances, a NEAR full cure is had in a few hours. For most common purposes, & steel bolts into aluminum, near full strength is obtained...usually... within 24 hours.   For use of the strongest products, like 270, 2701, and 263, the cure time to fairly good strength is likely to be 1 to 4 hours.

More importantly:   These products get weaker as the temperature rises; particularly after it rises past a certain temperature, & the curve for strength reduction then rises rather fast.  MOST have little strength left at 300F.  Type 263 will lose 90% of its strength at 392F.   Be careful NOT to use a high strength Loctite, such as the ones typically colored RED; and ESPECIALLY grade 263,  if you may want to unscrew the bolt without a considerable application of HEAT.  The heat you must apply might damage the parts.  Type 263 is a low viscosity type, that can work OK with SLIGHTLY oily parts.   It is generally regarded as for use with NOT TO BE DISASSEMBLED items.  BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WHICH PRODUCT YOU USE FOR SUCH AS THE PARALEVER BEARING PINS AND LOCKNUTS, ETC.  You do want to be able to disassemble them for future servicing.  Be especially careful with these strong anaerobics, if you are the type of person who tends to use dull tools, round the edges of nuts, have misfitting sockets and wrenches....and use poor techniques!

A discussion of various methods of 'locking' screws, bolts, etc., is located in the article.    You may find it rather interesting.

Historical Information:  

In January of 1983, BMW came out with Service Information Bulletin 00 029 83 (2068) covering adhesives & sealants for use on BMW motorcycles.  This bulletin is considerably out of date, but still useful. It describes various types of products; listed where these products are applicable on our motorcycles.  Here is the information, with some personal notes added:

Loctite 242, medium-firm thread retainer, color blue    This is a controlled lubricity product, very useful. Still in wide use.

Loctite 272, high-strength keeper/retainer, was green, now RED, fast-setting, has  a fairly high temperature rating.   It will NOT release without heat...sometimes a LOT of heat.  Still in wide use.

Loctite 495 Super Bonder, transparent.     This is sort-of like Crazy Glue.

Loctite 515 Surface sealing, was green, now PURPLE in color, is a gasket-eliminator product, which has a characteristic of remaining flexible.

Loctite RC/601 and RC860:   Obsolete joint seal products, originally green in color.  BMW never identified, AFAIK, where to use Loctite RC/601.    BMW said to use Loctite RC/860 at ONE place.  Note the reasoning!    BMW said to use this joint seal compound at the "Flange joint between rear-wheel swinging arm and universal joint housing on R80G/S (absolutely essential
as an additional safeguard against twisting in this joint, and to seal the joint face)".      I am not convinced, for most riders, & there are other sealants that work well at this joint interface.
  Re-read BMW's reasonings, to what I said about 'walking surfaces', much earlier.  You might not have a walking surfaces problem with a twin rear shock Airhead...but might with a Monoshock or Paralever!  Hence BMW's caution.

SOME places various Loctite products are presently used on our motorcycles:

Loctite 242,
BLUE:   This is THE ONE you should always have on hand. Shouldered nut retaining the coupling hub at the pinion in rear wheel drive, to secure the nut.  BMW also said to use it at the lower part of the air cleaner at engine and gearbox, and under the bolt contact face to prevent air (and gearbox oil) leakage.  I say NOT TO use it there, only at that shouldered nut, & I recommend you use Permatex non-permanent version of Form-a-Gasket at the 13 mm vertical bolt in roughly the center of the airbox.   Other OK places to use 242 are the 2 stud bolts in the aluminum for the timing chain cover; the M8 screw plug at the front and 2 M 12 x 1 screw plugs at side & rear of engine block to seal oilways (or use RED versions, see next paragraph); the INNER IN ENGINE pipe threads in the center of the oil canister if the pipe comes loose (I use RED); the 3 x 8 fillister head screw at the breather to secure the diaphragm spring (those models with such) & baffle plate to breather valve body; the 4 M  8 x 18 hex bolts for the oil pump cover; and, the 2 hex bolts for the oil pickup dome on the engine block.  I also use it at the carburetor butterfly screws and the U-joint bolts at the transmission output flange.  I use it in rebuilding transmissions, at the top screw that holds the baffle.  BTW...I tend to tag that screw "do not loosen"....if you loosen it and remove it, you will have to open the transmission to fix what is now rattling around inside, an oil directing baffle.

Loctite 263, 270 (green) or 2701 or 271 or 272, RED:  
The 270 & 2701 were European products.  They set up slightly faster, & 2701 is very slightly stronger than 271.  263 sets up a bit slower, so you can assemble things over ~ an hour...but I suggest you assemble within MINUTES!  Type 263 is a low viscosity type, that can work OK with SLIGHTLY oily parts.   It is generally regarded as for use with NOT TO BE DISASSEMBLED items.  But, of course, used at the Paralever nuts/pins, you WILL, someday, HAVE TO remove them. You can probably use common 271 in place of the 270 or 2701.  NO guarantees by me (lawyer talk).  Loctite discontinued 2701 from RETAIL sales, & might even ship 271 in place of it.  Be careful using these very high strength Loctite's as they OFTEN need a LOT of heat to enable loosening the fitting.  This is particularly so of type 263, probably you would chose it for ultimate safety for the Paralever pins & their nuts.  It will not release without PINPOINT HEAT...a lot of it.  Sort of the same for the old 270, 271, & 2701.   For 270, for easy disassembly it requires 250C (452F) although it weakens considerably below that.   Low viscosity.  For 270 and 263; on a practical basis, you can usually remove the parts at 300 to 400F.   That is still a lot of heat.  I do use the very strong Loctites at a FEW places, such as the special stud bolts (to be permanently installed) in the aluminum of the rear wheel drive for attaching to the swing arm.  I don't usually use it, too strong, but you might, at the spring strut mounting lug to the damper piston rod (rear shock stud to upper retainer); and, while BMW says to, I never do, at the pivot pin for the gear shift pedal at the footrest.  BMW specifies its use at  Paralever pins threads and locknut.  I do NOT use this on my own Paralever pins and locknut.  I find this version WAY too strong, and difficult to get to release during parts removal.  I use BLUE Loctite. I am hardly the only professional doing this.   YOU use what YOU consider safe for those Paralever parts.  If you use blue, you are responsible, not me, and do at least put a bright colored paint mark on the parts to be sure they are not loosening; inspect the marks regularly.  I've never seen any Paralever pins and nuts parts loosen.

Loctite 495: 
BMW said to use it on knee pads on tanks and twistgrips.   A later bulletin (32-003-85, 2159) says to use Loctite 496.  Many folks use hairspray to install twistgrip rubber.  For permanence on engine labels, etc., I use the product I discussed much earlier in this article, 3M or Permatex SUPER Weatherstrip Adhesive.  If you want to use Loctite 495, I am OK with it.

Loctite 290, GREEN:  
This is for small diameters, can SOMETIMES be applied AFTER assembly as it is very thin, and thus may creep into things, which it is designed on purpose to do.  It has a medium low strength & the parts are held OK, but removable. NOT for heavy duty parts under strain. I use this or the common medium strength BLUE at the 4 enrichener (choke) screws on the side of the Bing CV carburetors & any other place for small screws for extra holding strength.   I have used the #290 at the carburetor FUEL PIPE interface; Blue or Red is stronger....but the 290 is fine if you do not yank, pull, or push sideways that pipe, which on rare occasions would otherwise leak. 290 is thin enough to creep into relatively tight areas, which is why it is used.  I use the Blue at the fuel intake metal pipe junction, and simply have the carburetor body warm to hot.

Loctite 640. This is a special type used to hold such as previously spun outer races of bearings that have not deteriorated the bores too much. Expensive, usually available in larger containers only. I have this item in a larger container if you need #640.  Free. You pay shipping both ways.  It is used on Airheads primarily at the /5 & /6 left side rear wheel bearing outer shell (race), where the shell has spun in the wheel, but the diametrical clearance is still reasonably small.   I can supply details on its use.

Loctite also has available a #620.  For bearing retaining.  You can look up its characteristics.

Loctite products should be carefully used. Do not use where they can creep into the rotating parts of bearings, etc. Allow at least 24 hours to cure, no matter what the manufacturer says.  These products do NOT work as well if the parts are greasy, oily, or dirty.  

I install most Helicoils with Loctite RED, wait for a full cure, then wash the excess out with strong solvents (& often a brass brush), before using a bolt in the threads.

Loctite also makes Locquic's, probably they have a new name for that stuff now, which are several types of liquids, available in both concentrates & premixed, that will make Loctite 'set up' quicker, or set up on difficult materials that have poor ion exchange, such as plastics & some plated metals.  Used properly, you can be done with a job in minutes, instead of waiting a day or more.  Keep in mind that MISS-USE of these can cause the parts to seize before fully assembled.  

Small tubes of Loctite can be stored a long time. If the spout clogs, use a common sewing pin to open the hole.
 Do NOT store Loctite in baggies!  It MUST be stored where reasonably fresh air can reach the outside of the plastic bottle. That means no baggies, no tubes inside bottles.  For super-critical applications, a fresh tube of Loctite is recommended....but I have NOT had problems with VERY old Loctite products.

Clamping forces/effects:
Occasionally a question will arise about possibly making changes to a factory torque setting if Loctite is used on a bolt or screw, perhaps one that was originally specified to be installed clean and dry.   Loctite is formulated to have only a small effect on effective torque (increases effective torque slightly) so you can generally disregard torque changes, as Loctite does not act like a true lubricant...but it DOES have an effect.

The clamping force is really the force at the UNDERSIDE of most bolting situations, and the THREADS are there to ensure you reach and keep that value.  Please re-read that once more!   Yes, it is true that the HEAD to material SURFACE interface IS where the CLAMPING FORCE exists.  This is a simplification.   IF the head & material do not match & mate properly, then the holding force may well include a considerable amount of the thread force.   USUALLY at least 4 fully engaged threads are the MINIMUM needed to ensure that the parts are fastened close to rated forces and strengths, including ability for the threads to not pull out.  MORE threads should be used as a minimum allowed in softer materials, such as aluminum.

Torque on a bolt is affected by a factor called "K"; the diameter of the bolt, usually called "D"; & the clamping force F.   NOTICE that the force goes UP as the K factor goes DOWN.    For a CLEAN, DRY, NOT PLATED threaded steel bolt, nice quality threads, going into a clean, dry, NOT PLATED threaded steel hole with nice quality threads, the factor K is about 0.20.  If the parts are faintly oily, K is about 0.15.   You can simply use those as expressed as a percentage, if curious enough.   NOTE that I said that force goes up with K going down.  Thus, faintly oily parts have higher working torque,
even if the applied tightening torque was the same.  THINK about that statement!!  Think about BMW's last specification (BMW has had numerous ones) on the 11 mm flywheel (clutch carrier to crankshaft) bolts, 90 foot pounds and OILED!  That is a LOT of force!!

Loctite type 242 (blue) has a K factor of about 0.14 to about 0.15, having ABOUT the same effect as if the parts were SLIGHTLY oily, and Loctite was NOT then used.  242 is specially made to have a controlled lubricity effect.     BTW, type #272, the strong and rather permanent Loctite, has a K factor of about 0.21.  I do not know what the K factor is for others, as I never bothered to look them up.

This all means that, theoretically, if the manufacturer had originally specified a torque with clean & dry threads & NO Loctite, that you could/should REDUCE the torque wrench reading by, perhaps, 15-25%, when using Loctite.    This does NOT apply if the manufacturer SPECIFIED using such a sealant.  I almost never reduce torque for parts to which I applied Loctite, and, if I do, I use the lower edge of specified torque range.

In practice, bolts and materials are of sufficient strength, so no changes in torque values are normally used with Loctite.  It is NOT clear to me WHY BMW did not specify Loctite BLUE at the U-joint bolts, but I definitely use it there, at 26 to 29 foot-pounds of measured applied torque.  Did BMW count on the discredited & NOT to be used split lock-washers that had been used on early models??   Later on, BMW had a bulletin, to change the bolt lengths & eliminate the very troublesome lock-washers.

****A discussion of various methods of 'locking' screws, bolts, etc., is located here: You may find it rather interesting.

17.  Penetrating oils:
Penetrating oils are generally used to free-up frozen screws, bolts, & nuts.  Serious testing has been run on various penetrating oils.   One of the best commercial products is Kano's "Kroil".   WD40 is very poor at this job.  PB Blaster is not all that good either.  "Liquid Wrench" brand is nearly as good as the Kano Kroil.   There is an aircraft liquid,
MOUSEMILK.... Don't bother.

I use a mixture that has worked very well for me & MANY others:  use just about any brand or type of automotive automatic transmission fluid, mixed with a good solvent.  This tests BETTER than commercial products!!  The solvent I used at one time was carbon tetrachloride, but nowadays I use MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone), OR, acetone, from any hardware store).     MEK is sometimes hard to find & Ethyl Acetate will work, & is often sold as an MEK 'substitute'.   Ethyl Acetate is safer to use than MEK.  Ethyl Acetate is a good solvent & evaporates SLOWER than Acetone, and is excellent for working with fiberglass resins, some plastics as crack line glues, etc.  If you were making up a penetrating oil mixture, I'd suggest 50% each of common red-colored automatic transmission fluid and the rest a mixture of ethyl acetate and acetone.  Some have used kerosene, as it evaporates even slower.  In many instances, the frozen parts need to be warmed, the penetrant applied, and as the items cool down the area is wrapped with something like kitchen-type plastic film, to keep the item wet.

18.   Solvents, strong cleaners, etc.:

Acetone and MEK are: Great fast evaporating solvents, BUT keep away from paint!!!   Keep away from plastics unless using for gluing cracks!!!  Used for degreasing & some plastics gluing or glue solvents.  Don't inhale fumes.  Useful for cleaning some types of parts, including removing old hardened Loctite (in stubborn instances, use paint remover gel).   REAL MEK is sometimes hard to find & Ethyl Acetate will work, & is often sold as an MEK 'substitute'.   Ethyl Acetate is safer to use than MEK.  Ethyl Acetate is a good solvent & evaporates SLOWER than Acetone.

Kerosene, Stoddart solvent (Mineral spirits), paint thinner, etc:
Good for parts cleaning, relatively low fire hazard. 
NOT normally considered for a quick evaporating solvent for cleaning surfaces that need sealants applied to clean surfaces. 

Berryman B-12 Chemtool, in their particular version called "Carburetor and Choke Cleaner":
The BEST spray stuff I've found for cleaning carburetor and carburetor parts.  Still surprised the various air quality controlling agencies have not outlawed this great stuff...although see the end of this paragraph, for California.  Keep it away from plastics & paint and your eyes!   Next best thing to a formal carburetor cleaning machine. Also nice to use on those outside carb stains now & then. Many other brands of cleaners that I have tested are nowhere near as strong as this one.   Be sure the can says, amongst its other ingredients, that it has acetone and MEK (methyl-ethyl-ketone) in it. 

***California air quality regulations have caused Berryman sold in California to be reformulated.   The California reformulation is not nearly as strong as the old Berryman. If your B-12 Chemtool has numbers 0113C; 0117C; 0120C; or 0152 on the can someplace, it is OK for general use, but not for serious cleaning of such as carburetor passages.    The 0113; 0117; and 0120, are much better.

19.   Brake fluids:
Use ONLY DOT3 or the SLIGHTLY BETTER DOT4. Keep it OFF the paintwork; keep a VERY WET RAG on your paintwork when working with it..... if, HORRORS!.. it gets on the paintwork, wash it off with water,  INSTANTLY...that means RIGHT NOW!  ALWAYS have a WET RAG instantly available when using brake fluid!  When I bleed brakes, I keep a very wet rag below the master cylinder....over the fuel tank too....ETC!

NEVER use DOT 5 silicone fluid in your BMW braking system...NEVER!  DOT5 silicone fluid does not absorb moisture, allows moisture to condense into droplets in your braking system & thereby probably rotting it out faster; and, it can, in freezing weather, FREEZE the brakes!.   Silicon fluids are not compatible with the rubber parts in your bike's braking system (some seals may be compatible, depending on when manufactured).   There are premium DOT4 fluids & confusingly, a 5.1 that is NOT silicone based; ...these generally have even higher boiling points (Castrol for instance)....that are OK, but the RACE types MUST be changed AT LEAST yearly.  I recommend DOT4.   It is entirely possible that some BMW systems ARE compatible with DOT5 silicone fluid, but BMW says NOT to use them.  Some have used them for long periods of time, successfully.   The big problem is that SOME brake rubber parts are NOT compatible, AND, it is near impossible to clean the old DOT3 or DOT4 out, without a total rebuild, or, go the other way. SO,  I HIGHLY recommend AGAINST DOT5 silicone fluid....which have almost no advantages for airheads.....(it is thinner, so maybe easier to bleed on an opened system) (but tends to get tiny bubbles, defeating that idea)....won't absorb water...but water gets inside from various means, forms globules, and corrodes the parts!   At very elevated temperatures, totally possible in our airheads brake parts, it gets compressible!..a BAD thing.

There is a fluid called DOT 5.1; confusingly it is NOT a silicone. DO NOT USE IT.  If you insist on using it, or a 'race brake fluid'; change it every 6 months, fully flushing/bleeding....and ONLY from a fresh can.

DOT3 and DOT4 Brake fluid need yearly changing, as they attracts moisture, right through the non-leaking lines, caliper seals, screw holes at the covers, etc. This happens molecule by molecule, over a long time.  Brake fluid contains certain inhibitors, and once they are used-up by excessive water molecules, expensive damage begins. Bleed the brakes until clear fluid comes out; and, then bleed some more. Best to use a fresh 8 ounce can each time.  If you do this from new, you are UNlikely to EVER have to replace the master cylinder or calipers.   If you DO open a system, NEVER EVER use anything but brake fluid in cleaning....although soap/detergent and water is OK, then dry and use brake fluid again, if needed during assembly of such as piston, rubber, O-rings.

The truth is that if an 8 or 12 ounce can is opened, used, recapped immediately, it will still be OK, for the next year's bleeding.  NOT if it changes color.   Since you may use half a can, sometimes, in a bleeding job, you CAN save the can and use the contents, if you put the cap on after refilling the master cylinder each time.  It is NOT true that the air, even in a humid climate, will ruin the fluid, if you do not leave the cap off for half an hour or so.

20.  Fuel Tank sealants & Fuel Tank Repairs.  How to clean fuel tanks, and treat them. See well below for how to treat your tank & aluminum with etching stuff. 
This is Moyer Fuel Tank Renu.  Every sort of fuel tank repair for any vehicle; even the worst possible condition tanks can be repaired, & lined so they never rust again. 1-800-328-9550      2011 Western Ave., Greensburg,  Pennsylvania  15601

Will repair K bike and other aluminum fuel tanks.  located in Mountainview, CA

John Borella  860-774-5535  ABC#7221

Holt BMW in Ohio does tank work....740-593-6690

The above list may not be up-to-date, so see

Fuel tank sealants: 

KREEM:  NOT recommended.

POR15 rustproofing coating:
see internet for sources.  Requires a lot of preparation work, but it is worth it to do it THOROUGHLY.      Read this:

Damon Products Red-Kote    Radiator shop's "Red Kote" jobs are usually much cheaper.   You can do the Red-Kote job yourself.   
Click on the left side list for tank sealant.  I have NOT, purposely, shown the full URL to get to the specific tank sealant page, because their website may still have faulty internal links. 
A premium product, with somewhat less serious prep needed.

STEEL FUEL TANKS....and aluminum parts:
Aluminum door and window frame cleaners/etchers (hardware store item):   Clean the outside of your aluminum wheels, engine, carbs, etc...any aluminum or magnesium...with solvents, and detergents, washing well...and more water...then, while still wet, apply this stuff, but do NOT let it dry.  If it starts to dry too early, use more.  Hose off.   Keep it off your skin.  Some use it for cleaning aluminum cases and covers.  FAIR at this.  

When touching up painted steel surfaces, and you have rust areas, do fine grit sanding and feathering into the 'ok' paint area, and then treat the area to either a metal etching liquid from the local hardware store (it contains PHOSPHORIC ACID, and will so state on the container), OR; for surfaces where the liquid would flow off, use a similar but gel product called Naval Jelly.  Naval Jelly usually works reasonably quickly, but you won't use it to try to pour it into your fuel tank, use the other stuff..... the screen door and metal etch stuff will work fairly quickly, but I usually use it diluted 1:1 with water, and let it sit overnight.   I do this for the bottoms of fuel tanks, after the tanks are well-hosed-out with warmish water and a bit of detergent, then flushed well.  These phosphoric acid products CONVERT the RUST, even HIDDEN rust it comes into contact with, to an iron phosphate type stuff that is grayish-blackish and is PROTECTIVE.  Do NOT sand it off, only WASH the acid product off.  Let dry, repaint your rusted frame area you just fixed (flat black...matte black...).  Fuel tanks;  see just below:

Cleaning a fuel tank that has nasty very old deposits of jelled or dried gasoline, etc., in a bottom layer:  I recommend using a variety of solvents, letting each one sit numerous hours. Start with REAL methanol; then use isopropyl alcohol; then REAL MEK; then acetone. THEN use detergent/water.  BE SURE to protect the outside paint!  
Sometimes I am asked how to go about cleaning and "pickling" the insides of a fuel tank to provide protection against rusting, or prevent further rusting; yet not go to a full-bore internal coating job, which involves a huge amount of labor plus expensive products:

Wash with a water hose and sharp spray, full strength, after removing petcocks.    If anal, start with a strong solvents, see above, then wash with water and detergent.   Plug the petcock holes with 1/2" tapered corks from the hardware store. 
Pickling the tank is needed at the bottom, to prevent the bottom from rusting out.   16 ounces of the etching product (MUST contain phosphoric acid) is enough.  You can use it full strength, or diluted, and I will assume you have diluted it 1:1 with water, and now have a total of 32 liquid ounces.  Put half into each side of the tank.  Jiggle the tank.  Let sit a full day or 24 hours or so, in a safe place, in case the corks leak.  You can jiggle slightly during this process, if you want to.  At the end of the full day or so, remove the corks and save the acid mixture, which can be used for any other de-rust job.   Wash the tank very thoroughly.   Drain tank as best you can.  Turn tank upside down when it seems clean and empty, tilt to one side, then the other, then drain again, right side up.  Put tank UPSIDE DOWN, with some sort of small support piece, over your home floor heater outlet that does not get too hot to put your hand on it.  The heater output must go through the tank refueling opening, circulate in the tank, and then out the two petcock place holes.  Even if the heater is on for only a few minutes a day, this works fine.   A day or two, and the inside of the tank is fully dry. If you have to, just put the tank, without its cap or cap open, in the sun every day for a couple of days.  If you can't do that, just leave the cap off or open and let air flow naturally up the outlets.  If you do this every 5 years; maintain your tank full or nearly full of gasoline when parking overnight (especially high humidity places); you will likely not ever have the bottom rot out.   I do this pickling of my fuel tanks once every 5 years or so. You do NOT have to remove the old layer.

To clean the aluminum engine, transmission, etc., cases, you can use a chemical cleaner like Nice 'N Easy (Ace Hardware), product 901, made by Alumin-Nu.  KEEP THE PARTS WET, and don't let the parts get hot in the sun.  You do not want this stuff to dry before you flush it away.  Repeated applications may be needed.

Sandblasting, or other media blasting:  
I don't like the finish that soda blasting leaves...and soda must be 100.00% removed, or it starts its own chemical reactions, especially on aluminum surfaces.  Walnut shells are OK.  Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is OK.  SAND and glass bead blasting is NOT OK (it leaves particles imbedded in the aluminum, which can come out and raise hell with the engine and other innards!)...with ONE exception!....the form of blasting called WET BLASTING, or slurry blasting, is OK to excellent, leaves a lovely finish. There is another, quite safe usually, form of cleaning:  Vapor Blasting.


21.  FUEL ADDITIVES:   Only two I can presently recommend, & these are for storage purposes:
Startron Enzym type, such as from or PowerSportsSuperStore, etc.    Stabil, but get the proper type for your application.


Miscl section:

Fairing repairs:   The BMW fairings are SMC material. Do not use polyester's for repairs.  Use two-part Epoxies.

Black Plastic items:  
Faded luggage and other faded parts can be somewhat renewed to look much better with a variety of protectant treatments, such as Back-to-Black, and many others, including Armor-All & Boeshield 303.  In general, the treatment does not last very long.  Repainting is a PIA!   Mild abrasive rubbing and then coating with one of the mentioned protectants, is a PIA!    I do NOT have a really good fix/answer....although one product does work very well:  Bondo's Restore Black, which is applied like a paint.

Rubber protectants:
BMW used to recommend common glycerin, using it, and then a bit of talcum powder, on your fairing pieces rubber molding separators and some other rubber items.  Good, but other products, like silicones such as Black Magic, are also available.  Don't even think about products like these for your tires...WAY slippery!  

BMW use to sell a product called Gummi-Pflege, for squeaky RUBBER & as a protectant,  82-14-9-407- 015.  Was a tube with a foam top for applying.   It's purpose was for such as car door rubber flap seals, etc.    It is water-based, using a rub-on applicator. It is likely still available, although maybe not from BMW.  Do an Internet search, or try  A good substitute is Zymol Seal, which is made from modified Glycerin. I say:  Don't bother!   I tend to use silicone oil sprays.  If you are using aftermarket "rubber" items/things, and they are made of silicon rubber, then do NOT use silicon sprays on them.

REAL tire lube & REAL tire talc:
MUCH better than most substitutes. REAL tire talc has NO oils. Purchase tire lube, dilute per instructions, put about 6 ounces or so in a flip top 8 ounce plastic bottle.  If you use tubes on your motorcycle, carry both diluted lube & real oil-less tire talc with you, just carry the tire lube for tubeless owners.  Yes, it IS true that 'personal lubricants', water based, work OK, in place of tire lubricant (which is made from a vegetable product, flax).

Useful, with some sort of glue, as an emergency sealant for a ripped/torn carburetor diaphragm.  I don't know what type of glue to use, since I have other uses for condoms & never have used them for carb repairs, since I never let my carbs go over 60,000 between changing diaphragms, & have not had to fix diaphragms for others when traveling.  I will bet that Super Weatherstrip Cement/Adhesive will work.

This is goop in a tube, available from battery stores or autoparts stores that STOPS corrosion from happening at the positive (+)  battery terminal. It used to be available in a cardboard display package with a small tube of the stuff and a red and a green impregnated felt washer (for large car battery terminals).   Even nice on sealed batteries...and should be applied to just cleaned and shiny tight connections at the + terminal, and forced up into the + electric cable for 1/4 to 1/2 inch if your insulation allows.  It contains an anti-corrosive.  VASELINE will do sort of OK.   SOME folks use silicone grease, another 'sort of OK'.  Apply the goop AFTER the wires & nuts, bolts and washers are clean, shiny, assembled, & tightened.  You DID have those parts clean and shiny BEFORE assembly???

Duct Tape:  
Instead of carrying a small bit of a roll of this in your bike's tool tray, consider a small roll of the better Radiator Repair Tape.  There are glass fiber reinforced Duct tapes and Radiator Repair tapes.

Engine Coolant: 
Many of you have K bikes, and other bikes with water cooling.   Please read the following article that covers coolants, IN DEPTH:


WARNING!    Never, EVER, expose Brake Cleaner or any chlorinated hydrocarbon to extreme high heat or flames. High heat may create the intensely serious poisonous substance called PHOSGENE.   Bad things have happened when someone sprays such solvents on a very hot part, or uses a torch flame on the wet (by chlorinated hydrocarbons) parts, ETC.   This also means that you must NOT clean brake parts with brake cleaner and then, while still wet, use a torch to burn up deposits.

Cleaning old gunk out of brake system master cylinders & calipers can be done by using brake fluid.  Mix with water and detergent.  You may have to let it sit a week.  Clean with hot water & detergent, drip dry, then clean again with fresh brake fluid during assembly a lubricant too.

Alloy wheels are painted.  An EXCELLENT match for that paint is Wrth's Silver Wheel Paint.

Bad starter sprag clutch, as used on such as Classic K-bikes:
For information, and the additives, and oil to use, see this article:


12/14/2006:  incorporate all previous revisions; update information on oils and greases in line with the latest information; edit entire article and release.
01/10/2007:  add more information here and there.  Add fork oils viscosity.
01/25/2007:  rework item #12 with latest information
01/16/2008:  combine from some of 52B, and renumber from 73A to 73
03/14/2008:  update information on 270, 271, 2701, and a few clarifications elsewhere's
06/25/2008:  Revise #4; minor editing elsewhere's
09/14/2008:  Revise entire article, mostly to add additional information. 
09/26/2008:  Add info on Honda moly grease part number from CAR dealerships.
06/29/2009:  minor updates, combining some things that were redundantly repeated, clarifying some details here and there.
01/25/2010:  Add hyperlink for anti-seize
08/06/2010:  Add #19 and re-number
12/16/2010:  Phosgene warning
10/01/2011:  Links to hardware article regarding locking methods
10/13/2011:  Slight updates for clarity
11/16/2011:  Clear up the Honda, Moly, Guard-Dog, and similar areas.
09/23/2012:  Minor editing.  Add QR code; modify Google code; add language button function (language code removed 2013).
02/25/2013:  Emphasis added here and there.  Minor clarifications.  No substantial changes anyplace.
04/14/2013:  Revise to eliminate several duplicative areas.  Clarify a few details.  Update a few things.
12/09/2013:  Revise slightly for Loctite 263 addition, and cautions, etc.
01/30/2014:  Update the silicone-ptfe grease part numbers info.
02/18/2014:  Revise #6 extensively
03/01/2014:  split #10 into 10A and 10B, and revise wording.  Eliminate #19.
05/10/2014:  Update info on Berryman's.
07/30/2014:  Add CRC 5-56 information
08/06/2014:  Add more moly information
08/16/2014:  Expand general statement on sealants and RTV desc. and usages.
09/23/2014:  Fix for better use on smaller devices.  Re-arrange entire sections on sealants into one. More work needs to be done to make things neater.....did so 10/2/2014
10/05/2014:  Add information & link for kstartersprag.htm
10/11/2014:  Re-write 10B to clarify Radio Shack and Deoxit by Caig.
11/07/2014:  Expand the antiseize section re: finned nuts.
05/06/2015:  Expand plastic treatment, cleaning, etc., area. Clean up article some
07/23/2015:  Totally revise #6 on greases, removing 7 and 8 also.  Revise with new item 7.
11/11/2015:  Clarifications and some updates.
03/18/2016:  Update meta-codes, font sizes for readability, reduce excessive use of colors & underlines, clean up article layout, reduce redundancies, tech updates.
08/05/2016:  Update information on the moly greases....and, again, on 08/07/2016

  copyright 2014, R. Fleischer

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Last check/edit: Sunday, August 07, 2016