Oils (EXCEPT engine, gearbox and rear drive), Assembly
Lubes, Additives, Greases (including spline greases), Loctite,
Sealants, Anti-seize, Electrical Contact Treatment,
Wheel paint ,Waxes, Tank Coatings, Sealants, ...
Windshield and visor maintenance.
See also the paintcodes article (article #70)
For BMW motorcycles
© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
This article will give the
Airhead motorcycle owner (and some information for Oilhead and K-bike owners and even other brands)
some insights, some of it in technical detail, about products that I think should be on hand or considered
(and some not!), that will cover most needs. I
also provide information from BMW bulletins.
A Discussion area, at the bottom of this article, contains information on the BMW bulletins, etc.
1. Purchase a squeezable tube or small tub of some sort of hand protection. This stuff definitely 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 autoparts store. Comes in large
squeeze-tubes & small & large tubs. Lots of brands.
Another must item: waterless hand cleaner, which is available at every auto-parts store.
If you do a LOT of work on dirty/greasy engines, etc., you probably will want to invest an additional 10 or 20 dollars,
and get a dispenser & cartridge. Waterless hand cleaner cleans the messiest greasiest hands ever, and it is
especially effective if you first use the hand protection stuff noted above. 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 a typical old-time mechanic's!
Proper use & you will have clean hands for dinner-time!.... even moly black grease will
clean off nicely.
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 and 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.
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 with a modest amount of $ and who like things neatly stacked, can
purchase bundles of clean thin-towel-like rags relatively cheap from big box stores...you may even want to
cut them into smaller pieces for special jobs, I DO!). For the inevitable spills, I cut up old clothing, but
I'm a cheapskate, and otherwise would just toss out old ripped jeans, ripped shirts, etc.
Hint: Sooner or later you will have a large spill of some sort of liquid. While I save & use old rags,
I also have powdered concrete & driveway cleaner (available in 5 gallon buckets),
old used solvents I collect in a 5 gallon container, & cat litter.
One of the better items for oil spills is "said" to be Portland Cement. I do not agree.
Keep in mind that it is a fine powder (if you are in a windy area)... because it is so messy, I don't
use it. However, some swear by it for concrete garage floor spills.
You CAN purchase cement floor cleanup chemical powders.
Solvents for cleanup can be
kerosene, paint thinner, Stoddard solvent, etc. Stoddard solvent has many names,
INCLUDING MINERAL SPIRITS...or... Paint Thinner.
3. Waxes, polishes, etc: Everyone has their favorites, often heavily influenced by advertising.
There are also 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.
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 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....and do NOT apply 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.
i. This is in RED, emphasized on purpose. For a plastic cleaner/scratch remover, see item
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.
4. Plastics, such as windscreens & helmet shields/visors; maintenance, removing labels,
Differences in the adhesives, plus 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/may bleed into, or modify the surface of the windscreen. CAREFULLY APPLIED
HEAT is MY 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 point 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,...to just barely allow lifting a corner. You may want to use tweezers or a long nose pliers 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 it 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, 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, and thus you can 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 is called cast acrylic, but also has other names. Each has
advantages and disadvantages. Lucite (and cast acrylic) is a TINY AMOUNT clearer, which is, REALLY!...
NOT at all important for you. lt is much more difficult to drill holes into; it is easy to crack, it is not nearly as
impact protective as polycarbonate. Frankly, 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 and 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, and 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-consuming job....so 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. Don't ever use cleaning products containing hydrocarbons, they can injure the coating.
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 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.
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, ALMOST ALWAYS NOT A DETERGENT, & IS 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,
HINT!!! NEVER EVER clean or polish a windshield or visor using swirling (circular) motions. ALWAYS
clean by ONLY the following method: Decide on a direction for the outside, such as 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.
HINT!!! Some face-shields & sunshields have different surface treatments on the inside
versus the outside. Schuberth's are like that. READ the manual!
DO NOT, EVER,
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 gallon of it at your auto-parts store. It is sold as 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!
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 real scratch removal); BUT, my favorite for helmet
visors is Duraglass #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, I DO have a selection of them, and I do
use them often.
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.
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 and polishing your visor or windshield, the following
polish & mild/moderate scratch remover works quite well, & is my favorite for general purposes &
is 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
www.duragloss.com. 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, as I can moisten it & use the left-over 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 and on car headlight covers.
This can be tricky...read up on it on the Internet. The hole you drill has invisible microscopic
edge cracks. Use a torch flame on them, to smooth them. Otherwise, cracking is more likely
from stress & strain. You can also just polish the holes with some sort of grinding compound,
of fine grit, doing it 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,
you can use the conventional stop-crack method: carefully drilling a hole at the end of the crack.
This is tricky. 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. Treat the place the crack starts
& ends very carefully. In some instances pin point flame heat may melt the plastic back together,
but this is done very carefully indeed. The use of pin point heat is used mostly to smooth a faintly
rough surface....although I usually use abrasive papers, such as after cutting a windscreen down.
5. For the oil in your spout oiler, 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, &
You probably should use either a molybdenum-containing oil, often just called 'moly' and 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 very nerdy here) is to keep
the dirt & wear products forced out, & not suspended. That is not at all widely known. Use
non-detergent 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 PIVOTS.
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 and 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.
6. GREASE....I HIGHLY suggest you read this ENTIRE section 6., as this section has been totally revised!
It is a very lengthy section, unfortunately.
Because of specific testing I have done, I am NO LONGER recommending, nor showing, very much
about mixing of greases, such as mixing moly grease into other types of greases.
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, 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 small 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 and be
thrown off easily. It is important that the ignition cam be very faintly greased; if it runs dry it may squeak,
and cause fast wear on the ignition points rubbing block, closing-up the points & eventually the wear will be
enough that you cannot get proper timing adjustment. The inside of the ATU, the guide shaft, also needs
greasing. Bosch specified different greases for these places. Bosch revised at least one of these greases,
and it has a new part number, which I do not remember at the moment.
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
and 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. 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 tubes...so 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
spline lubrication...on an Airhead, or K-bike, there are one to three splines that require special lubricants.
If you have any left-over Staburags NBU30PTM or Optimol paste PL (two greases BMW use to recommend
for splines at various times), it is probably OK for general use for whatever you need it for, can be used for
the splines, but IT IS NOT AS GOOD AS OTHER GREASES FOR THE SPLINES. More a bit later here.
Note, that in general, moly type greases are not to be used in bearings. 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.
3000 may be "SORT-OF-OK" at the input shaft, but it does not contain moly. Mixing roughly 70% of that grease
with roughly 30% of a good moly grease was, some time ago, OK for BMW splines; BUT, at present,
Guard Dog GD 525 is a lot better....& there are indications that Honda 60 is about the same in some
instances....but not all. 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. There was also a larger size available,
often the car dealership parts departments know of the larger size. Honda 60 grease is NLA, and I cannot make
100% recommendations, as its Honda replacement is not known for sure by me to be absolutely the same
grease. Many folks used Honda 60 grease. I have NO problem with it, & its replacement (from reports, works fine).
BUT: Guard Dog 525 or 570.... I think you will like either, better. 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 put ANY
grease on the friction disc splines unless super careful).
I recommend Guard Dog Moly grease GD525 for splines & for general use where a moly component
is OK (it is NOT OK in ball nor needle bearings, same caution 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 every last remnant of 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 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 AM personally testing GD570 from mid-2015, & may, in the future, change this
Guard Dog products are fairly expensive....but a little goes a LONG way.
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 (& 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 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.
NOTE that if you are only moving the transmission backwards slightly, you cannot do as good of a job
of cleaning and re-greasing, but it is adequate. You will be unable to clean the disc splines. This is
It is important that you use a somewhat stiffened acid brush & brush/rub the moly 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. 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, I am FINE with that.
Past recommendations for spline lubricants:
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 and has lots of water resistance. No personal experience.
****Do NOT use moly greases in wheel bearings or in the steering head or swing arm bearings.
Do NOT use any oil nor greases in the nylon bushing for the bars clutch lever, nor the throwout
bearing during installation or otherwise. A good rule of thumb is that moly greases do NOT
work well in ball bearings, tapered roller bearings, and needle bearings. Moly tends to change
to stiff flaky bits in those situations. As a general rule, do not use moly-containing greases, oils, etc.,
at any place there is anything but VERY SLOW rotation (do not use in steering & swing arm bearings either).
Moly is GENERALLY GREAT for SLIDING metal surfaces.
Moly grease may be available cheaply in "military olive drab colored pound cans", at your military surplus
dealer or on Ebay. I am still using some cans of this stuff I purchased a long time ago, manufactured in
1966! For those anal enough to want to know, 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. Since
anti-seize also has anti-corrosion properties, this may, in fact, work OK...but I personally have NOT
tested it for this purpose. My suspicions are that the NICKEL antiseize's would be good.
Guard Dog GD570 is sold for the additional purpose of being an antiseize compound.
One of the reasons that moly is used on sliding surfaces is that it bonds molecularly with the
top layer of steel.
There is a special type of assembly lubricant used sometimes for camshafts and can followers. See:
BMW actually used a very high quality moly grease in the early Airheads. It is still my belief that
this particular grease MAY be ONE of the very 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 polyaklylene
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". I have
no present source for it, but a Google Search may turn it up someplace. I have no idea if it is
better than the Honda moly grease or either of the two Guard Dog moly lubricants.
HINT: the upper right stud on the transmission may be replaced with a BOLT. This lessens
the amount of labor when doing a spline job with transmission removal. It is a good
idea to coat the threads of the bolt, LIGHTLY, with an antiseize compound before installation.
Silicone and other greases, and silicone 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 generaly 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, & electrical connection plugs unless you
use Caig products, see 10. LOTS of uses besides those. Even at the starter motor Bendix drive
(some 'dry' moly's are fine there too on those SPLINES). GREAT for preserving non-silicone rubber
parts, where the greasiness is OK. Silicon oil, in spray cans, is available for preservative uses & for
spraying into/onto CLEAN & SHINY electrical connections, see #10. Some use it on the various rubber
O-rings in such the carburetor. It is VASTLY better than WD40. I am very much against
the use of WD40 on electrical contacts.
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 the stuff 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 may not cause a problem, but do it correctly anyway. The application will
make removing the boots easier (and prevent tearing them) & prevent electrical contact 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 tests yet.
I plan to test it UNmixed with anything
else. Someone else is testing a version of Krytox. I will report when I get the results.
A grease that 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.
For wheel bearings, here is another grease that works quite well: Quaker State Multipurpose Grease and
Wheel Bearing Lubricant. This grease is a NLG1 type of grease, similar in some respects to that red colored
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, the rest of the time I use the Chevron.
7. Assembly lube, for such as engine bearings: Royal Purple, www.royalpurple.com product: Max-Tuff
assembly lube. A product I used, a lot, 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, and the only other information I have is that it was recommended
for coating camshafts and tappets, and was also called "Elco". Either of these products should prevent
problems from initial startup in crankshaft & rod bearings and camshaft areas, etc.
8. nothing here on purpose.
9. Heat sink compound: Likely the very best is the WHITE silicone-based type made by Dow Corning, type 340.
It is better than other clear compounds for heat transfer. You can also use Radio Shack heat sink
compound. You can also use common "dielectric grease" from your nearby autoparts 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 and re-grease every two years to avoid problems. If the grease dries out, the black box will
overheat, causing ignition problems. ONE exception is the later RIVETED ones. The RIVETED
modules supposedly do not ever require re-coating.
If you are lucky, application of
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, 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. SEE #10 below, as if you have the clear stuff, it has other uses.
Clear silicone grease DOES work, the stuff may be called Silicone Dielectric Grease at the autoparts
store, and 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.
10. If you want one of the best products for electrical connections, use CAIG products. I don't use it on quite
large power-carrying contacts however, but it could be so used. In some instances I use the Never-Seez
Pure-Nickel-Special for such large contacts.
The BMW factory used a contacts/connections protective liquid before shipping the bikes. The
substance used was CRC 5-56.
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, use the Caig products at the
computer brain connections...and, every other electrical connection. Caig invented the base
De-Oxit a very long time ago. It contains a chemical that BONDS MOLECULARLY with metals.
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 I recommend, 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. http://www.caig.com/
855-486 8388. NOTE that there are a number of different Caig products, & some are simply a
solvent mixture, with or without an oil.
Consider, if you can do it, cleaning contacts with a VERY MILD abrasive, such as a shaped pencil
eraser of the type used on the ends of pencils. I am spelling that out, because large erasers with high
abrasive qualities are also sold, and are NOT TO BE USED on thinly clad gold-flashed computer brain
connectors/pins. SO: Be VERY careful with abrasives if the contact is gold-flashed. Apply Caig
DeoxIT as the cleaner. When done, apply Caig Deoxit GOLD. I do not recommend purely oil with a
solvent, for contact cleaners for motorcycles, that INcludes the Caig versions, sold by them or Radio
Shack. From either source, the Deoxit 5 is approved by me.
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 the grease DURING assembly to its mating plug. The grease is messier.
Grease, if used in moderate amounts, PREVENTS ingress of moisture. THE best is to use is the Caig, let
it stay on the surface awhile, then, withOUT removing it, add the grease, assemble....or, add the grease after
You CAN use common Petroleum Grease (Vaseline) on electrical connections; it performs well, including at
the battery terminals. BMW used to ship its bikes so-protected.
Note: 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, the Nye 761G or 760 will do very well. Check the
Internet. 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.
FEW sealants 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, and was originally used primarily on our Airheads to seal the cylinders to the engine block and the input threaded ring at the rear drive nose. It is different from common silicon rubber sealants, many types of those, and 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, and if needed acetone thinner...to 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 threaded ring inside the nose of the rear drive and fork top and 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 and 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....see later in this long article, in the section titled: Cylinder base sealants.
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, fork top caps, etc.
You can see Hylomar information at: http://www.hylomar-usa.com
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"...it 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.
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
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.
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 can be folded-up as you use them. Industrially & for building/construction/etc., uses, they come
in quite large tubes that are applied using a holder that has a pistol-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
weatherproofing your home, 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, and 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 a type of acetic acid in it) & thus it is slightly corrosive to some materials
until fully cured. The other, now more common type, has no appreciable smell at all.
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, metal may mushroom-up, and prevent proper sealing.
j. RTV & most any chemical sealant ("'goo""), is good for only about 0.015" gaps, maybe 0.020" at most.
That is why you want the mating surfaces to be in such good, flat, clean condition.
k. LESS is better than more...you 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.
m. When torquing where there IS a gasket, such as the Airhead engine oil pan, be VERY cautious.
NO sealant is 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 bit over normal torque. That way, if a bad thread
is found, you can, and should, fix it BEFORE you re-assemble the oil pan!!
NOTE!!! 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 can cause 'walking'.
Cylinder base sealants:
I am no longer recommending Hylomar...for cylinder bases.... although it has other uses. While I have had good results with almost all the sealants I have tried, I am meticulous in cleaning and applying the sealants.
The following are tested and "acceptable", but I am unsure of availability, this is older information:
Permatex 27B Hi Temp RTV.
Permatex Ultra-Grey (or, Ultra-Gray). It does work OK if you apply very thinly in the normal manner,
and allow all surfaces to set up a while, THEN assemble. Use ONLY Permatex brand!!! Permatex
makes it in Ultra-black and Ultra-red too.
Pro-Seal Red 700 degree RTV 80726.
or Three-Bond from your BMW dealer are excellent. Three-Bond 1215 works well.
Allow time to set-up. see item 1, just below. There is also the 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!).
Mechanics and professionals have their own preferences. Here is my input, and some from Tom Cutter:
1. 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, not just
car dealers, sell it. NOTE that Three-bond brand also sells 1207B.
2. Tom Cutter likes the above Suzuki sealant too, but also says that "if you have to, you can use
Snowbum sez: you can use 1., or 2., above, but be aware that the Yamabond 6B (do NOT USE
OTHER VERSIONS OF YAMABOND) was designed for high temperature uses, in, yes,
exhaust systems....it 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.
(1) After you torque the cylinder to the engine, some sealant, even if applied quite thinly and
certainly not excessively, will squeeze out. If you allow it to dry for a day or more, it is then
MUCH easier to clean up with a small brass brush, etc.....usually the excessive sealant just
(2) SOME sealants require 'set up' for half an hour BEFORE assembling. THUS, the order of
events is apply sealant, wait,.... then oil the O-rings and 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 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; and driveshaft housing joint gaskets.
In a FEW instances, where a previous owner has messed up the surfaces of the 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, and repairing the surfaces is vastly better most of the time. I have
repaired serious nicks and gouges with ordinary epoxy products, then sanding/filing them dead flat.
Some areas should not have gaskets or/nor sealants, to avoid the surfaces moving with respect to each other (called WALKING). This includes the junction of rear drive and driveshaft on Airheads. NOTE, however, that BMW SPECIFIES using a Loctite product on Monoshock Airheads at this particular area, where NEITHER a gasket or regular sealant could have been used. USE the Loctite product here that BMW recommends, or a close equivalent. I use Loctite 640 because it is a close product, and I stock it for special uses elsewhere's. There are solid reasons BMW did not use a gasket nor ordinary sealant at this junction.
SOME 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. riiiiight! Be sure the surfaces are clean & dry.
MY ADVICE: If you remove a valve cover carefully, without ripping the gasket, then when replacing the cover LIGHTLY smear engine oil on 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, and it
can be used over and over!! NO oil on outer surface! I have seen valve cover gaskets on high mileage bikes that looked original.
It is critical that mating surfaces 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. This is particularly troublesome at the pan/case area.....and...the cylinder base area & the engine case, where a 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 (autoparts stores), and use a plastic scraper, not metal, unless you are VERY careful. Plastic razor blades are available from many sources, including your local autoparts store. Remember, it is easy to nick an aluminum surface with a metal razor blade or metal scraper....and those nicks can often be places for oil leaks.
NOTE!!.....For a short period of time, BMW did assemble rear drive CARDAN COVERS (that's the LEFT cover) using a sealant, and NOT a paper gasket. If you change to a gasket, you may upset the gear shimming.
JBWeld, JBKWIK, etc: These are popular epoxy materials that are available almost everywhere, and 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 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. NOTE that duct tape; or, better, radiator hose repair tape, is also excellent for a very quick emergency fairing repair.
Steel filled 2 part epoxy sealants: no specific place for these on your BMW, but they are very strong, and 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 stuff. 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 lousy results.
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 is to call this stuff by the name of Gorilla Snot, as they were originally yellowish, but black is now available. Several brands, but always purchase the 'SUPER' weatherstrip adhesive. I've had great results with 3M and Permatex, 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 and does not release at moderate temperatures. Many folks use cyanoacrylate glues (Crazy Glue) at the fairing rubbers, but I have had it fail with age....see below...
3M also makes a Plastic and Emblem Adhesive, do NOT use it...it is not nearly strong enough!
Re: RT fairing rubber boots for the passage of the fork tubes:
I have not had the best results with most of the thin glues and 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 outrageously 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 mold release agent. I then install the boot (there is a right and left, so don't install the wrong one, nor install it upside down...that has 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 and 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, and 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 can 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.
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.
Side-Note: 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. There is some indication that it could be VERY
good for splines lubrication on our bikes. I had already been using this product
for 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:
First, an edited version of something I posted to the Airheads LIST, dealing with the exhaust pipe nuts.
BTW: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/exhaustnuts.htm is an article about the sometimes troublesome items!
While I prefer a pure nickel formulation; the Permatex and others, that ARE silvery in color, are perfectlyt OK. MANY seem NOT to know that THEY DO HAVE COPPER IN THEM. You might have to look it up, might not be shown on the container, &, of course, some 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. READ this entire following section on Antiseize compounds!!!
Antiseize compounds are always, and MUST BE, used at the exhaust port threads and 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, which is a phosphate treatment of the steel parts. That is NOT adequate in many instances, & often the steel bolts, etc., will then RUST. 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 antiseize compound will protect against this galvanic corrosion.
The main thing about any anti-seize goop, & there are many types, is that what is important, except for specialty types that are only for a very specific or a few metals, is that the CARRIER in them is compatible with the type of heat we get at the exhaust finned nuts. When you remove fittings, you should then use a mild wire brush (brass brushes my favorite for THAT) on the threads & the one or two metal rings, to especially get rid of carbon & other hard things, then slather on the goop, & assemble without over-torquing. Do it yearly. It is that carrier that tends to burn-away, or carbon up. That is a critical thing, so a good brand and type of anti-seize is a very good idea.
Note that the reason the finned nuts have been such a PIA, is not totally the lack of goop, nor is it unheard of for someone with good goop on the threads to find the nuts pretty well frozen after an actually reasonable period of time. There are things going on, besides the goop carrier and the goop's other ingredients, and besides dissimilar metal reactions. One is that the exhaust port threads is a place where nasty stuff accumulates. Some of this stuff is sulfur 'stuff' (or other compounds), and they react with moisture, yes I know the moisture is supposed to be instantly driven off my exhaust heat...it is not.....before slight damage is done. The compounds, with moisture, create acids. Acids have fun with the carbon, ETC., from the combustion process. NOTE that the atmosphere enters the threaded area from OUTSIDE THE NUT, from the exhaust header side of it. Atmospheric air has moisture, and 'other stuff'.
Another thing that is similarly happening is that 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 gap or they won't assemble in the first place. BMW specifies a torque for the finned nuts, which I think too high. On the other hand, too little, and the 'stuff' problems increase.....and 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 MY Airheads.
As the exhaust port threads and finned nuts threads get some wear ...every time you unscrew the nut, there is carbon typically accumulated in the 'silver stuff', or any 'stuff'..., it is somewhat hard, wears the parts, & the thread fitment gets a tiny bit looser. This is particularly true in one area...yep, the first threads. Pay particular attention to cleaning them.
The looser they get, the more carbon can build up in them....snother GOOD reason to clean the threads and goop them with anti-seize compounds YEARLY.
Various types of anti-seize compounds are available. They are a MUST
for the large finned exhaust nuts (You DO unscrew yours and clean and recoat them & the rings there, yearly ??). I like to use this goop when assembling ANY of the muffler system, even
the pipe joints and the smaller exhaust system nuts and bolts. I believe it a MUST for spark plug threads. This is MY feeling, not held by all, and not held by SOME spark plug manufacturer's; ..>BUT IS held by some engine makers, and not with others.
See my http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sparkplugs.htm article for the finer details. I use anti-seize compound nearly all of the time on any steel bolt that is screwing into aluminum; with certain STRONG EXCEPTIONS; steel bolts into aluminum hubs on wheels, holding the wheel to the hub. NEVER use it on steel bolts through those wheels into the steel hubs or output of rear drive. That means do NOT use antiseize compound on the special bolts on Monolever and Paralever rear wheels!! NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!
In general, lower the torque on things by 20% to 30% when lubricated by anti-seize compounds. This is especially so (in MY opinion) for spark plugs, and the 3/4 inch reach 14 mm spark plugs should not be torqued beyond about 15 foot pounds if anti-seize is used. If you have a dual-plug conversion, the lower plugs are usually 14 mm and 1/2 inch reach, and they should have perhaps no more than about 12 footpounds of torque, which is JUST enough to flatten a fresh washer.
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.
Once an anti-seize is used for spark plugs, it works into the
head metal, so continue using
it...don't go back to the higher original torque values. IN MY OPINION
DON'T WORRY about stories ...that SOME spark plug manufacturer's
tell you...to NOT to use the stuff, because of a worry about potential
for changed heat range. HOGWASH....this does NOT happen on OUR type of spark plugs.
Genuine 'Never-Seez' is what I use. Try to find the 'Pure Nickle 2600°' version. Nickel (the proper spelling) containing anti-seizes are the better types. http://www.neverseezproducts.com/purenickel.htm
You can use the commonly available Permatex anti-seize too, or any that say they contain copper in some way. The most common Permatex brand does contain copper and nickel, it is the carrier medium in it that disallows super high temperatures...again, it is OK!
I have NO problem with you using high temperature copper-containing anti-seize compounds.
PLEASE READ: My article on spark plugs and caps: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sparkplugs.htm has information, but here it is, condensed:
When installing rubber covers (boots) over the spark plug wires, lightly coat the inside of the rubber boot with silicone dielectric grease. Do not use the stuff on the electric contacts. This caution applies to the rubber cover (boots) at the spark plug cap, and to the rubber boot at the coils. If the coil electrical fitting end of the wire is quite tight-fitting into the coil internal metal contact, it may not cause a problem, but do it correctly anyway. The application will make removing the boots easier, and prevent electrical contact corrosion from the elements, etc. You can coat the spark plug white outer area a bit too.
Cyanoacrylic adhesives/glues: Often called by one of the
original trade names 'CrazyGlue', and 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, and 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, and never use Loctite products there if there is plastic involved.
LOCTITE....and similar anaerobic chemicals:
Do NOT use commonly available Loctite's for the speedometer internals or other parts where a metal shaft goes into plastic. Common Loctite is BAD on/for plastics, and it may cause cracking of the plastic. If you use a Loctite product, be sure it is compatible with plastics.
The most popular brand name for these thread lockers or adhesive/sealants is LOCTITE. I suggest you purchase a small size...and 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. This is a really strange type of chemical compound. They come in many grades and types, probably 99% of which are NOT stocked at your auto-parts store, and for which you will likely have no need. Some special types 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. MANY Loctite products are NOT anaerobic!! Most commonly the anaerobic products are used to lock screws & nuts. The strange thing about these "sealants", thread-lockers, or whatever the words are that 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 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 baggies!!
****Uncommon knowledge: 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. 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). Additionally, the values for strength & a few other characteristics, are generally assumed in the literature (even if not stated!) to be for STEEL...& steel as it is received from a manufacturer...so it may or may not be exactly & totally & certainly NOT almost antiseptically degreased...you 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.
Loctite & the other anaerobic compound makers, further usually assume you are assembling the parts at 72°F
(22°C). These anaerobic compounds generally set up far
more slowly if parts are cold. The type of material, including any plating, affects the cure time. Loctite & other similar
manufacturer's may also 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. 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.
NOTE: these products get weaker as the temperature rises. MOST have little strength left at 300°F (149°C). Type 263 is formulated to start loosing substantial strength at 360°C, yes, Centigrade. 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. With 263, the heat you must apply might damage the parts.
There are SOME Loctite products that are designed to work at reasonably high temperatures and release at not too much higher. #620 bearing retainer, for instance.
At the end of this article is a DISCUSSION AREA. I suggest you read it, as it covers more about Loctite.
Threadlocker #290 (29000), 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 and the parts are held OK, but removable. NOT for heavy duty parts under real strain. I use this or the common 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.
#222, purple, that is for use before assembly, and if you had to choose between #290 and #222, #222 might be better. You probably will not use this, it is shown here for information. If you have some, it is fine for low torque applications such as on small instrument screws, etc.
#242. Medium to slightly higher strong, apply before assembly, parts usually still removable. Also called Blue, due to its color! Very commonly used. This is THE ONE you should always have on hand.
****Here are some places that #242 is used (not all are listed here):
Stud bolts for timing chain cover. M8 screw plug at front and 2 M12 x 1 screw plugs at side and rear of engine block that seal the internal oil passageway (some use RED for those plugs). Center pipe of the oil filter; fillister head screw at breather; oil pump cover screws; oil pickup bolts; POSSIBLY on the center 13 mm bolt going downward into transmission from airbox (on threads AND under bolt head...to prevent leaks) (I usually use non-hardening Permatex Form-a-Gasket myself at that bolt, as I worry about leakage of oil, not loosening); nut that holds the coupling hub in rear drive. I 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"....:-)
#271 and #272. These are VERY strong, with the edge to #272 because it has a higher temperature rating & cures fast. These really hold & you WILL need a LOT OF HEAT to be able to remove parts. **Do NOT use these unless you are SURE you will need to & are willing to HEAT the parts to disassemble them. If you plan to have only 2 Loctite's, RED should be the second one, after 242 blue. I use red Loctite at the oil galley sealing plugs (sometimes Permatex Form-a-gasket in the PERMANENT version). See prior comments about #263.
****Loctite #271 (for North American
markets). There is a 270 and a slightly improved version of 270,
called 2701 (green and low viscosity), that is used by BMW on such as Paralever pins. The 270 and 2701 were European products. They set up slightly faster, and 2701 is BARELY stronger than 271. 263 sets up a bit slower, so you can assemble things over an hour or so. 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, and 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 and their nuts. It will not release without PINPOINT HEAT...a lot of it. Sort of the same for the old 270 and 271 and 2701. For 270, for easy disassembly it requires 250°C. yes, CENTIGRADE, although it weakens considerably below that. Can be green. Low viscosity. #263 needs more heat, and I refuse to purchase, nor use, #263.
NOTE: Snowbum uses Loctite BLUE on his personal bike's Paralever...yes, the bike with the sidecar attached! Snowbum HATES Loctite red at this location....it is way too difficult to remove the nut and pin &
Snowbum understands that BMW recommended 2701, and that the replacement for 270 and 2701 is
263. Snowbum thinks he knows why, it is lawyers, who worry over what could happen if the Paralever
nut & pin loosens & the pin backs out. Snowbum isn't much worried, but he does use the lesser
strength BLUE. He DOES put paint 'witness' marks on the housing, nut, & pin, to be able to easily see
if they have moved. They never have. Snowbum is NOT the only person using 242 blue there, some BMW
shops also do. I have personally never heard of a traceable problem.
When reinstalling fittings with fresh Loctite, it is BEST to remove the old hardened Loctite. That can be done with brushes or wire wheels and maybe acetone....in stubborn instances also use common gel-type paint remover. In a few instances, you may have to use a tap or die to clean off old 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. Very expensive, usually
available in larger containers only.
I have this item if you need
it. Free. You pay shipping both ways. It is used on
airheads primarily at the /5 left side rear wheel bearing outer shell (race),
where the shell has spun in the wheel, but the clearance is still
reasonably small. I can supply details on its use.
NOTE: Loctite also has available a #620. For bearing retaining. You can look up its characteristics.
Loctite products should be carefully used. Do not use them 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. There are special types that are designed for slightly oily parts. Don't bother.
I install most Helicoils with Loctite RED, wait for a full cure, then wash the excess out with strong solvents (and often a brass brush), before using a bolt in the threads.
***Loctite also makes Locquic's,
which are several
types of liquids, available in both concentrates and premixed, that will make Loctite 'set up'
quicker, or set up on difficult materials, such as plastics and 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
MISUSE of these can cause the parts to seize before fully
assembled. I'm not a big fan of Loctite products in plastic parts, and have, earlier in this piece, recommended against that usage, in such as speedometer/odometer gears-shafts situations.
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 the air can reach it, 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.
Occasionally a question will arise about proposed 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 ONLY slightly) so you can generally disregard torque changes, as Loctite does not act like a true lubricant.
However, for the especially nerdy, here is some technical information:
The clamping force, usually symbolized as letter "F", is really the force at the UNDERSIDE of most bolting situations, and the THREADS are there to ensure you reach that value, and keep it. Please re-read that once more! Yes, it is true that the HEAD to material SURFACE interface IS the CLAMPING FORCE. This is a simplification. IF, however, the head and material do not match and mate properly, then the holding force may well include a considerable amount of the thread force. Generally speaking, at least 4 fully engaged threads are the MINIMUM needed to ensure relatively close to rated forces and strengths, including ability for the threads to not pull out. Torque on a bolt is the product of multiplying a factor called "K" by the diameter of the bolt, usually called "D", by that force F. You don't really need the formula here, so it is not shown....but...K is a decimal, and T is in inch-pounds if D is in inches.
NOTICE that the force goes UP as the K factor goes DOWN. The relationship illustrates why a given torque value is more likely to break a smaller diameter bolt, common sense tells you that anyway!
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, I never bothered to look up any.
This all means that, theoretically, if the manufacturer had originally specified a torque with clean and dry threads and NO Loctite, that you 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 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 29 foot-pounds of measured applied torque. It may be that BMW counted on the discredited and 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 and eliminate the very troublesome lock-washers.
discussion of various methods of 'locking' screws, bolts, etc.,
is located in the HARDWARE article.
You probably will find it rather interesting.
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 & 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, from any hardware store), or acetone (hardware store). MEK is sometimes hard to find, and Ethyl Acetate will work, and is often sold as a MEK 'substitute'. Ethyl Acetate is safer to use than MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone). Ethyl Acetate is a good solvent, and 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 acetone....but if you substitute any of the above solvents for the acetone, it will work pretty good. Possibly the Ethyl Acetate is even better.
Acetone and MEK: Great fast evaporating solvents, BUT keep away from paint!!! Keep away from plastics unless using for gluing cracks!!! Used for degreasing and 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). When acetone is mixed with automatic transmission fluid, it makes a WONDERFUL penetrating oil. MEK is sometimes hard to find, and Ethyl Acetate will work, and is often sold as a MEK 'substitute'. Ethyl Acetate is safer to use than MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone). Ethyl Acetate is often sold as MEK substitute. It is a good solvent, evaporates SLOWER than Acetone, & is excellent for working with fiberglass resins, some plastics as crack line glues, etc.
Kerosene and Stoddart solvent (Mineral spirits), paint thinner, etc: good cleanup and parts solvents, relatively low fire hazard. NOT to be considered for an evaporating solvent for cleaning surfaces that need sealants applied to clean surfaces, etc.
Berryman B-12 Chemtool, in their particular version called "Carburetor and Choke Cleaner": The BEST spray stuff I've found for cleaning carburetor and carb parts. Still surprised the various controlling agencies have not outlawed this great stuff. Keep it away from plastics and paint! Next best thing to a formal carb 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 the Berryman sold in California to be reformulated. The California reformulation is not hardly 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.
Brake fluids: Use ONLY DOT3 or the slightly better DOT4. Keep it OFF the paintwork, and 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.
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 and thereby probably rotting it out faster; and, it can, in freezing weather, FREEZE the brakes!. Silicon fluids are not really compatible with the rubber parts in your bike's braking system (some may be compatible, depending on when manufactured). There are premium DOT4 fluids; and, confusingly, a 5.1 that is NOT silicone based;...these generally have even higher boiling points (Castrol for instance)....that are just fine, but the RACE types MUST be changed AT LEAST yearly. I recommend inexpensive DOT3 for most folks, with DOT4 for those who are hard on the brakes. 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. 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)....and won't absorb water...but water gets inside from various means, and 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 ONLY 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. Bleed the brakes until clear fluid comes out. Best to use a fresh 8 ounce can each time. If you do this, 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.
The truth is that if an 8 or 12 ounce can is
opened, used, recapped immediately, it will still be OK. NOT if it changes
Fuel Tank sealants &
Fuel Tank Repairs:
See well below for how to treat your tank and also aluminum, with etching stuff.
www.gas-tank.com/bike.htm This is Moyer Fuel Tank Renu. Every sort of fuel tank
repair for any vehicle; even the worst possible condition tanks can be repaired, and
lined so they never rust again. 1-800-328-9550 2011 Western Ave., Greensburg,
Pennsylvania 15601 Moyer@westol.com
Will repair K bike and other aluminum fuel tanks. www.advancedwelding.info
located in Mountainview, CA
John Borella 860-774-5535
Holt BMW in Ohio does tank work....740-593-6690
The above list may not be up-to-date, so see http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/references.htm
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: http://www.mklsportster.com/Articles/mcn-por15.pdf
Damon Products Red-Kote
Radiator shop's "Red Kote" jobs are usually much
cheaper. www.damonq.com/red-kote.htm You can do the Red-Kote job yourself.
www.4secondsflat.com/ 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 has faulty links internally.
A premium product, with somewhat less serious prep needed.
FUEL ADDITIVES: Only two I can presently recommend, & these are for storage purposes:
Startron Enzym type, such as from Amazon.com or PowerSportsSuperStore, etc.
Stabil, but get the proper type for your application.
STEEL FUEL TANKS....and aluminum parts:
Aluminum door and window frame cleaners (hardware store item): Clean the outside of your aluminum wheels, engine, carbs, etc...any aluminum or magnesium...with solvents, and detergents, washing well...and 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. 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 at the edge of paint, to an iron phosphate type stuff that is grayish-blackish and is PROTECTIVE. Do NOT sand that off, only WASH the acid product off. Let dry, repaint your rusted frame area you just fixed (flat black...matte black...).
****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, see next paragraph:
***Sometimes I am asked how to go about
cleaning and pickling a fuel tank. Wash with a water hose and sharp spray,
full strength, after removing petcocks. If anal, wash again
with a strong solvent, then wash with water again. Plug the petcock
holes with 1/2" tapered corks from the hardware store. Pickling the tank
is only needed at the bottom. 16 ounces of the etching product (MUST
contain phosphoric acid) is enough. Pour half into each side of the tank.
Jiggle the tank. Let sit a full day or 24 hours or so. Remove acid,
wash tank very thoroughly. Drain tank as best you can. Turn
tank upside down when it seems empty, tilt to one side, then the other, then
drain again. Put tank UPSIDE DOWN, with some sort of small support piece,
over your floor heater outlet vent....one that does not get too hot to put your
hand on it. The heater output must go through the tank refueling opening,
and then up, circulating in the tank, and out the two petcock place holes.
A day or two, and it is dry. If you do this every 5 years, and
maintain your tank full or nearly full, when parking overnight (especially high
humidity places), you will likely not ever have the bottom rot out.
****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 reaction. 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 innards!)...with ONE exception!....the form of blasting called WET BLASTING, or slurry blasting, is OK to excellent, and leaves a lovely finish.
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, MANY others. 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....although one product does work very well: Bondo's Restore Black.
Glycerin: BMW used to recommend using this, 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 (still??) 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. A good substitute is Zymol Seal, which is made from modified Glycerin. I say: Don't bother!
I tend to use silicone oil sprays.
REAL tire lube & REAL tire talc: MUCH better than most substitutes. REAL tire talc has NO oils. Purchase tire lube and dilute per instructions and 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 and talc with you, just the lube for tubeless owners. Yes, it IS true that 'personal lubricants', water based, work OK.
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, and have not had to fix diaphragms for others when traveling.
Radio Shack electrical contact cleaner: Use sparingly, perhaps on a Q-tip, sometimes spray. OK for cleaning electrical contacts and keeping them operating longer. If the contacts are REALLY grungy you may well want to use a stronger cleaner first. Finally coating with the clear silicone grease is good. There are much better contact treatment products, rather pricey, Caig brand is the very best....and was described earlier in this article, in depth. When using any type of electrical contact cleaner, mechanical abrasive cleaning is done first if at all possible. I do NOT use mechanical sandpaper methods if the contacts are gold-flashed. I use an old-fashioned typewriter cleaner 'pencil' where I need a somewhat more abrasive rubber-based cleaner...and some types of common store erasers are more abrasive, and you can certainly re-shape them if you need-to. Regular lead pencil red eraser works good on plated pins, and is safe.
NCP2: This is goop in a tube that STOPS corrosion at the positive (+) battery terminal. I feel this is a necessity, and even nice on the sealed batteries...and should be applied to just cleaned and shiny tight connections at the + terminal, and forced up into the + electric cable for half an inch or so. VASELINE will do OK. SOME folks use silicone grease. Apply the goop AFTER the wires and nuts and bolts and washers are assembled and tightened. You DID have those parts clean and shiny BEFORE assembly???
WD40: Heavily promoted, but I dislike this product. It tends to gum up eventually. Some find it very useful for softening labels for removal, removing dead bug splats, etc.
Home rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, any strength, home type or stronger drug-store special type: fairly mild cleaning agent, but keep off your plastic stuff like taillight lenses, windshield, etc. Seldom ever used. Some folks DO use it on their windshields just prior to putting some sort of rally sticker in place. Probably OK, but a FEW types of plastics dislike it. Don't have it in contact with plastic very long.
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: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/k-coolant.htm
WARNING! This is a VERY important caution....never, EVER, expose Brake Cleaner or any other chlorinated hydrocarbon to extreme high heat. High heat may create the intensely serious poisonous substance called PHOSGENE. Bad things have happened when someone sprays such solvents on a red hot part, and then uses a torch flame on the parts. This also means that you must NOT clean brake parts with brake cleaner and while still wet use a torch to burn up deposits.
Cleaning old gunk out of brake system master cylinders and calipers: Use Brake fluid. Mix with water and detergent. You may have to let it sit a week. Clean with hot water and detergent, drip dry, then clean with fresh brake fluid.
NOTE!....The alloy wheels are painted. An EXCELLENT match for that paint is Würth's Silver Wheel Paint.
This is an area for somewhat disjointed ramblings.
****A discussion of various methods of 'locking' screws, bolts, etc., is located in the HARDWARE article. You may find it rather interesting.
In January of 1983, BMW came out with Service Information
Bulletin 00 029 83 (2068) covering adhesives and
sealants for use on BMW motorcycles. This bulletin is
considerably out of date, but still useful. It describes various
types of products, and listed where these products are used on
our motorcycles. I will duplicate the information
below, with some personal notes added
1. Products described:
Loctite 242, medium-firm thread retainer, color blue This is a controlled lubricity product, very useful.
Loctite 272, high-strength keeper and retainer, green. This is now RED in color, and fast setting, and
has a fairly high temperature rating. It will NOT release without heat...sometimes a LOT of heat.
Loctite 495 Super Bonder, transparent. This is sort-of like Crazy Glue.
Loctite 515 Surface sealing, color green. This is now PURPLE in color, and is a gasket-eliminator
product, which has a characteristic of remaining flexible.
Loctite RC/601 and RC860: these are 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, and there
are other sealants that work well at this joint interface.
Places various Loctite products are
Loctite 242, blue: 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 there, only at that shouldered nut, and 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); 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, lastly, the 2 hex bolts for the oil pickup dome on the engine block.
Loctite 263 or 2701 or 272, red: Stud bolts in aluminum, in the rear wheel drive for attaching to the swing arm; spring strut mounting lug to the damper piston rod (rear shock stud to upper retainer); and, finally, the pivot pin for the gear shift pedal at the footrest (frankly, I do NOT use it there). Paralever pins threads and locknut. Frankly, I do NOT use these on my own Paralever pins and locknut. I find them WAY too strong. I use a small amount of BLUE Loctite. 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....and inspect the marks regularly.
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. Frankly, most folks simply 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
Classic K bike starter sprag clutch problems: For information, and the additives, and oil to use, see this article: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/kstartersprag.htm
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.
© copyright 2014, R. Fleischer
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