Chemicals, Oils (EXCEPT engine, driveshaft, gearbox & 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.
Also see http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/paintcodes.htm article #70
For BMW motorcycles, but with many applications to other makes.
© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
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 will protect your hands. Put a bit on your hands, work it into & under your
fingernails & all parts of your hands, sometimes arm surfaces, BEFORE you start
work. This is NOT some common skin lotion! Get it at an auto-parts store. Comes
in large squeeze-tubes & small & large tubs. Lots of brands.
Another must item: waterless hand cleaner, which is available at every auto-parts
store. Small tubs/containers. If you do a LOT of work on dirty/greasy engines, etc.,
you probably will want to invest an additional 10 or 20 dollars, & get a dispenser &
cartridge. Waterless hand cleaner cleans the messiest greasiest hands ever,
& it is especially effective if you first use the hand protection stuff noted above.
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 black moly
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 & then. I DO coat my
hands with the protective stuff, use gloves sometimes for certain jobs, especially to
keep engine oil, gasoline, etc., off my hands (to avoid absorbing bad things in them.
Used engine oils contain BAD things, although not nearly as bad as in the old days of
leaded fuels. MANY types of plastic gloves available, from boxes of hundreds of "throw
them away every 1/4 hour", to longer lasting NITRILE rubber types of various
thicknesses. Try Harbor Freight Company for the various types. I use both the super-
cheap one-use types, & the several hours Nitrile types. Many get used to wearing
gloves while working on cars & bikes (most professionals DO wear gloves), & it certainly
is better for your hands & health; avoiding skin absorption of nasty stuff. I have both nice
nitrile gloves of the thick heavy duty type (50 or 100 per small box) & also very thin types
of gloves of cheap plastic, don't fit very well, but are very useful, which come 500 to a
2. Start collecting old rags! (those with a modest amount of $ & 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, & 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 do save
& use old rags, I also have powdered concrete & driveway cleaner (available in
5 gallon buckets), old used solvents and fuel from emptying carburetor bowls, ETC...
I collect in a 5 gallon container, & I also have cat litter. One of the better items
for oil spills is "said" to be Portland Cement. I do not agree. It is a fine powder
(are you are in a windy area?)...and it is also VERY messy, and the grit can get
into everything...so several reasons I don't use it. However, some swear by it
for concrete garage floor spills....I have such, and DO NOT like the stuff!
You CAN purchase cement floor cleanup chemical powders, use kitty litter (which
is clay usually), toss in some of your old solvent, or water, depends on the spill....
Solvents for cleanup can be kerosene, paint thinner, Stoddard solvent, etc. Stoddard
solvent has many names, INCLUDING MINERAL SPIRITS...or... Paint Thinner. Try
to avoid using just gasoline....friction can cause flames, even an explosion!
3. Waxes, polishes, etc:
Everyone has their favorites, often heavily influenced by advertising.
There are some very pricey super-premium products available, usually NOT worth the
extra cost. Below is a list of some products that are not pricey, that do a QUITE
decent job, having been thoroughly tested by one or more consumer publications AND
ME! I do NOT keep this list up-to-date, & some may no longer be available.
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....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 #4 below!!
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.
Windscreens & helmet shields/visors; maintenance, removing labels
from plastic materials, drilling plastics, etc:
The effect of sunlight on/through labels & the windscreen material itself, makes this subject
complicated. The adhesives on labels you may have applied to your windscreen varies
considerably. These adhesives, over time, can bleed into, or modify the surface of the
windscreen. 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 place some (do NOT go
overboard on the heat), & use a knife, often a sharp Xacto type, on quite an angle so as to
not scratch the windscreen,...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, & thus you can POSSIBLY try acetone,
Goof-Off, or MEK, but be VERY cautious!
These are often made of Polycarbonate of some sort, usually called Lexan, but have
other names. The other type of is Acrylic, often called Lucite, a form of which is called
cast acrylic, but also has other names. Each has advantages & 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 & company,
is often applied. This is particularly so for polycarbonates. When this coating starts
deteriorating it looks like you can peel off sections of coating, but you generally can not,
& normal polishes do not eliminate the edge effects. You need super-fine rubbing
materials. Even that does NOT work well with these coatings. Once the coating or
treatment of the surface begins to really deteriorate, you either must live with it, or try to
reduce the effects, or refinish the windscreen, a really awful time-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; similarly try not to 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/POLISH YOUR WINDSCREEN, ....AND.....DAMAGE IS
ACCUMULATIVE OVER TIME. DO NOT USE: Windex & products containing
alcohols and/or ammonia. For insect remains & deposits, leave a wet rag
(water) on it for awhile.
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 IS 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/windshields.
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 a car washing soap product. A little bit, thinned, is perfect
for plastics, besides being THE soap in your bucket when washing your bike
or car! Additional hint: If having problems with insect remains, use
household common white distilled vinegar, on a wet rag or sponge, let stay in
contact with the insect remains for awhile, then clean off.
There are safe products for normal cleaning (AFTER cleaning with mild soap
& water) such as Meguiar's products (available in many grades, some suitable
for fine scratch removal); BUT, my favorite for helmet visors is 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, as needed.
For quite serious scratches I have used an expensive aircraft window restoration
product kit, although I advise against you purchasing such a $$$ kit. VERY time
consuming, but they DO work, especially on really badly damaged plastic items.
Below are what I consider top tier items, be sure to read "d."
a. For light scratches, oxidation removal, etc:
3M Plastic Cleaner #39017.
Max Polishing Systems all metals #1.
Very good: Novus #2 fine scratch remover.
Some Meguire's products that are heavier-duty than #10 and #17.
b. For heavy scratches:
Novus #3...follow this with Novus #2, then a polish
Again, some faster cutting Meguire's products.
Plexus Plastic Cleaner Protectant and Polish.
Kleenmaster Brillianize cleaner and protectant.
Can-Do multi-purpose cleaner/protectant/polish.
Novus Plastic Polish #1.
d. If you want just one product for cleaning & polishing your visor or windshield,
the following polish & light scratch remover works quite well, & is my favorite
for general purposes & not expensive. I especially like it for for removing
very fine scratches, & some slightly deeper ones too, in all types of
windshields (including Lexan, Lucite, Acrylic, cast acrylic, polycarbonate,
etc.; face shields, instrument lenses....just about anything plastic.
It seems to have just the right amount & specifications of various ingredients. While
it does contain petroleum distillates, I have seen no problems. Use soap & water to
clean the plastic first (if you can).
The product is Part No. 681 DuraGloss Plastic Polish. That is an 8 ounce plastic
container with flip nozzle top. Car Care Products Company, which is actually
Brothers Research Corp, in Burlington, NC. 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 (unless dirty), 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 & on car headlight
covers....and on several types of helmet shields (over LONG periods of time).
This can be tricky...you may want to read up on it on the Internet. The hole you
drill WILL HAVE visible or invisible, even microscopic, edge cracks. If you have
practiced, you can use a torch flame on them, to smooth them. That is tricky.
If the teensy edge cracking is not fixed, your hole will be MUCH more likely
to seriously crack.....from bending, stress, strain, etc. Since the flame method is
something that must be practiced (preferably on an old piece), it is safer, if you
do not have the flame experience, just polish the holes with some sort of
grinding compound, of fine grit, doing it first, to LEARN, BY HAND, on a
cone-shaped or pointy shaped object, such as a thin wooden dowel, etc. I've
even used tapered tip tools from the shop with sanding compounds. If you do
develop a visible crack, usually this happens at the drilled holes where the
windscreen is mounted,...you can use the conventional stop-crack method:
carefully drilling a tiny hole CENTERED at the end of the crack. MUST end up
completely smooth and round (use the pointy dowel and sanding compound).
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. If the crack goes to the edge of the item, you may be able to
place a modest amount of twisting torque on the two parts, and thereby open
up the area to better insert the liquid 'glue/solvent'. Treat the place the crack
starts & ends very carefully. In some instances pin point flame heat, carefully
done, may melt the plastic back together, but this is done very carefully indeed.
The use of pin point heat is USUALLY used mostly to smooth a faintly rough
surface; ....although I usually use abrasive papers, such as after cutting a
windscreen down. I sometimes use a broader flame heat on the windshield
where I have cut it down. Those withOUT the experience of using flame for
this are advised by me to INSTEAD, just use some sandpaper wrapped around
a piece of wood (usually a 2" or 3" wide piece is what I use for windshield cuts).
Practice on the old throwaway piece!!
What to do about a crack, to the edge, after using the solvent/glue on the crack? You
may, or not, use a tiny smooth hole at the inner area where the crack started....that, in
itself, is a bit tricky, and needs to be small, centered, and very smooth where the drill
was used. BUT, what about the edge where the crack meets? While unsightly, the best
fix is to cut up a tiny bit of the old throw-away windscreen, or, a bit of compatible plastic.
make two rather small pieces, perhaps 3/16" wide, maybe a 3/4" or tad longer (?). Glue-
solvent the pieces to the windscreen, one on front side, one opposite on the backside.
Use a simple clamp. When totally dry and well-glued (I let it dry a day or three!), you can
use a sanding block, etc., to shape the blocks to the shape of the windshield edge. If
worried about the strength, add a drop or so of the solvent glue, at the junctions, and
again wait for a day or three before riding. I check, by twisting a bit, the windshield repair.
5. For the oil in your spout oiler; ETC.
.... for use at cable pivots, levers (but not bars clutch lever pivot, it has a replaceable do-not
-oil nylon bushing), center stand pivots, ETC. Do NOT oil control cable innards; only the
very earliest /5 bikes with original cables had no linings. YES to lubricating the END
fitments, & often.
You probably should use either a molybdenum-containing oil, often just called 'moly' & pronounced
'mah-lee'; or, a plain 20 or 30 weight NON-detergent motor oil...sometimes hard to find, but try
your auto-parts store. Use motor oil if you have to. I prefer to have both a moly & a plain oil on
hand, in separate oilers. The reason for the non-detergent formulation (I am being nerdy here) is
to keep the dirt & wear products forced out, & not suspended. That is not at all widely known. It
is NOT critical, however. Use such oil (NO moly) for zero to moderate speed bushings,
like those your starter motor uses, other bushings, etc. Some may prefer not to use moly at the
levers, where they make nasty black stains on gloves if used excessively. I DO USE moly
at the levers, wiping away the excess. Moly grease is THE BEST for the CONTROL CABLES
BARREL PIVOTS....at bars levers, at carburetor cable barrels, at clutch cable barrels.
Common '3-in-One oil' is far too light for almost anything on your Airhead. I do not even like
3-In-One on wee shafts & bearings in the instruments, as it gums eventually. WD40 has
NO place on your airhead for true lubrication purposes....although it is good for
removing some types of labels & hardened bug remains. I suggest you do not use
WD40 for lubrication of parts. For plastics, where a lubricant is SOMETIMES required,
often silicon oil or grease is OK. Note that WD40 is a very POOR penetrating oil. I
have information on penetrating oils later in this article....Penetrating oils are often
used to try to free up frozen parts, rusted parts, ETC.
6. GREASE....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, and what is now available, I am NO LONGER
recommending, nor showing very much about mixing of greases, such as mixing
moly grease into other types of greases. It is no longer as necessary as it might have
been a long time ago, due to the newer greases now available.
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 medium-sized tubes will last you the rest of your life. Ford
also made a distributor cam grease (for felts too) number C4A2-19xxxx, but I am not happy
with that one. I have not tested many greases for this application. It is likely that any soft
non-fibrous wheel bearing grease will also work, as they should not melt & thus NOT be
thrown off easily. It is important that the ignition cam be very faintly greased; if it runs dry
it may squeak, & cause fast wear on the ignition points rubbing block, closing-up the points
& eventually the wear will be enough that you cannot get proper adjustment. The inside of
the ATU, the guide shaft area, also needs greasing. Bosch specified different greases for
these places. Bosch revised at least one of these greases, & it has a new part number,
which I do not remember at the moment. I've had no problems with using the Red BMW or
Red Chevron grease.
For steering head tapered bearings, wheel bearings, & swing arm bearings, you can use a
single grease. I recommend Chevron NLG1 (or NLG2, which is slightly thicker & better
for wheel & other roller or ball bearings) Ultra Duty EP red grease. That grease is also
excellent for general purpose lubrication & for use at U-joints & places that have zerk
fittings for lubrication. The red Chevron grease is particularly good for water resistance;
and, if you live in snow country, is excellent for those easy-to-wear-out universal joints on
your 4 wheel drive truck. It is excellent for the BMW clutch throwout bearing during
re-assembly (yes, I know that transmission oil will EVENTUALLY get to the area & lubricate
as intended), & pretty good for some places on your bike that need grease, such as all
the tapered bearings used at the steering head and wheel bearings and swing arm bearings.
It comes in standard grease gun tubes. You'll probably have to go to a "Chevron Distributor",
not a gas station, to purchase it. You may have to purchase a box of 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 splines lubrication...>>on an
Airhead, or K-bike, there are one to three splines that require special moly lubricants.
For wheel bearings, here is another grease that works quite well: Quaker State Multipurpose
Grease & Wheel Bearing Lubricant. This grease is a NLG1 type of grease, similar in some
respects to that Chevron grease I mentioned...but different characteristics for these
purposes. It is NOT A MUST....but is what I personally use most of the time, the rest of the
time I use the Chevron.
You really only need TWO greases for the entire motorcycle: the above Chevron, &
a good moly grease.
If you have any left-over Staburags NBU30PTM or Optimol paste PL (two greases BMW
use to recommend for splines 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 SOME OTHER
GREASES FOR THE SPLINES. More a bit later here. Moly type greases are not to be used
in bearings on your motorcycle. Do NOT use it in roller bearings, nor ball bearings.
I do not believe there is any even near-perfect grease for BMW splines applications.
SIG 3000 may be "SORT-OF-OK" at the input shaft, but it does not contain moly. Mixing
~ 70% of that grease with ~30% of a good high content moly grease was, some time ago,
OK for BMW splines; BUT, at present, Guard Dog GD 525 (alone) 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 knew of the larger size. Honda 60 grease is NLA, & I cannot make
100% recommendations, as its Honda replacement is not known for sure by me to
be absolutely the same grease (or, better...or, worse). Many folks used Honda 60
grease. I have, SO FAR, NO problem with it, & its replacement (from reports, works fine).
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 for only the faintest slightest trace...a dry lubricant is
better IF...IF...you insist on lubricating the disc splines...besides the input splines).
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 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'm personally testing GD570 from mid-2015, & may, in the
future, change these statements. Guard Dog GD570 is sold for the additional
purpose of being an antiseize compound.
Guard Dog products are fairly expensive....but a little goes a LONG way.
When you clean the clutch & transmission input splines, prior to re-greasing,
TAKE CARE that you do not drip solvents into/through the clutch disc area. I
use a cut-down toothbrush, & begin, on the friction disc center splined hub,
to put the toothbrush into the hub (& through the center of all the splines, so
am not pushing old grease forwards), & then push slightly into the splines &
pull the toothbrush rearwards, cleaning the splines. Clean the brush & repeat
until you have removed all of what old grease is in the disc splines that you can.
AFTER that work, I use a smallish piece of cloth with a few drops of a solvent
(& wrapped around the toothbrush, OR, use forceps to hold the cloth piece), &
I finish cleaning off whatever grease might be left in the clutch disc splines.
What I am after is to minimize old grease in the disc splines, so the transmission
input splines, during re-assembly, do not force old grease forward into the clutch
hub. This method also prepares the splines for new types of grease, so there
are no compatibility issues. The transmission input splines are thoroughly
cleaned. I again use a toothbrush, and I use kerosene or Stoddard solvent or
paint thinner, as these do not damage the transmission input seal. I brush
from transmission face to splines tip. This method avoids brushing anything
INTO the seal. I may finish-up by spraying a good fast evaporating cleaner onto
the transmission input splines. The cleaner and drier those splines, the better
the new grease will adhere. If you are using the SAME grease as before, you
need not be so meticulous about cleaning.
If you are only moving the transmission backwards slightly, you cannot do as
good of a job of cleaning but it should be adequate. You will be unable to
clean the disc splines. This is generally OK, just not as nice for residual grease.
Theoretically, you can push grease into the splines and onto the friction disc,
by NOT removing the transmission for the thorough DISC splines cleaning.
It is important that you use a somewhat stiffened acid brush & brush/rub the
moly grease into the metal of the input shaft splines. Some light pressure, to
work it into the metal. DO NOT OVERGREASE. Only a small amount, a
MODERATELY THIN layer of grease is advisable.
I put a VERY TINY amount of grease into the cleaned clutch splines in the
clutch disc if I have the transmission out of the bike. In the past I did not tell
folks I did this, even advised them NOT to do it, BECAUSE some folks just
cannot seem to keep themselves from slathering on grease. ONLY the tiniest
bit of grease is safe to put onto the clutch hub splines, as you do NOT want
it moving forward (as the input shaft of transmission is installed), moving
grease into the clutch. I use a very small stiff brush that is usually a modified
toothbrush, with very short bristles & modified size. I rub a very tiny bit of
grease into the hub splines. ONLY the faintest layer is left. If you do this, be
CAREFUL! If you do not, I am FINE with that. NOTE that I sometimes do not
use a grease, but a DRY moly product, that comes as an evaporating liquid,
the one I am using is MolyKote M-88. It is very likely no longer available. But,
other dry forms of moly are available.
Older recommendations for spline lubricants:
These are listed here because you may want to try them, or, other
recommended lubricants may not be easily available.
Mercury Marine outboard grease works fairly well (Napa 18-9200). You can substitute
Texaco Starplex 2 'with moly' which should be purchasable both with moly and without.
You can try Caterpillar spline lube, "Desert Gold Grease 129-1939, NLG1-2, with 5%
moly." Autozone sold a molygraph grease that has had good results reported (But I
haven't personally tested it). BelRay has an Assembly Lube....which is also marketed
by their industrial division as Molylube Antiseize 15; There is ONE report that this stuff
did well at the splines. Has an aluminum complex base, 15% moly solids, supposedly
GOOD at preventing corrosion & fretting; lots of water resistance.
No personal experience.
****Do NOT use the commonly available moly greases in wheel bearings or in the
steering head or swing arm bearings. Do NOT use any moly 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 COMMON moly greases do NOT work well in ball bearings,
tapered roller bearings, needle bearings, and any plastics. Moly tends to change to
stiff flaky bits in those situations, causing serious problems. While there ARE
moly-containing lubricants for even ball and needle bearings, you are UNlikely
to have them available, and there is NO NEED on your motorcycle for these.
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).
Moly is GENERALLY GREAT for SLIDING metal surfaces. One of the reasons that
moly is used on sliding surfaces is that it bonds molecularly with the top layer
Moly grease may be still available cheaply in "military olive drab colored pound cans", at
military surplus dealers or on Ebay. I am still using some cans of this stuff I purchased a
long time ago, manufactured 1966! Here are the main items printed on the can & the
name & number is: G353, GMD, Grease, Molybdenum Disulfide, MIL-G-21164B.
MIL-G-21164B has later versions, at least to D now.
****Some folks have good results using anti-seize compound on the transmission input
splines. Guard Dog 570, a moly grease, is sold for that additional purpose. I am presently
testing it on the input splines. Since common Permatex and other antiseize compounds
that we use on Airhead's finned exhaust nuts may be on your shelf, and that such
anti-seize also has anti-corrosion properties, this may, in fact, work OK...but I personally
have NOT YET tested the Permatex for this purpose. My suspicions are that the NICKEL
antiseize's would be good!
There is a special type of assembly lubricant used sometimes for camshafts and cam
followers. See: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/cams.htm
BMW actually used a high quality moly grease in the early Airheads. It is still
my belief that this particular grease MAY be ONE of the 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". 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 OR OTHER job when the
transmission is to be removed. It is a good idea to coat the threads of the bolt,
LIGHTLY, with an antiseize compound before installation. Without the stud
there, and a bolt being used, be extra careful about guiding the transmission in
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 generally everything else. This is THE stuff to
use...very sparingly...on the stock O-rings you are installing in your carburetor, choke parts,
petcock innards, & electrical connection plugs unless you use Caig products, see 10.
LOTS of uses. 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 #9. Some use it on the various rubber O-rings in the
carburetor. I do NOT like 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 is unlikely to
cause a problem. Actually, I recommend, for high humidity climates, that the connections
be cleaned to SHINY, & TIGHT fitting, & a poof of silicone oil spray be then used on the
connections. The application will make removing the boots easier (and prevent tearing
them) & prevent the electrical connections from corrosion from the elements, etc. You
can coat the spark plug white ceramic outer area just a bit too.
I am intrigued by KRYTOX grease, but have not done enough tests yet. I will test it
UNmixed with anything else. Someone else is testing a version of Krytox. I will report
when I get the results from any testing...this will take awhile.
A grease that also intrigues me, but I have not tested it on splines, is Ford's
Silicone+Teflon based grease, Ford part number is D2AZ-19590-A. That is now
replaced by Motorcraft XG-8-A; a small but adequate tube, not expensive. I think it
may have interesting qualities for transmission input (clutch disc) splines AND
driveshaft parts. There is also a military part number for the XG-8, it is:
7. Assembly lube, for such as engine bearings: Royal Purple, www.royalpurple.com
product: Max-Tuff assembly lube. Good stuff.
A product I used a lot in the past for pre-lubrication/assembly of camshaft lobes, etc,
was from the racing division of Chrysler Corp. which is known as Direct Connection.
The product number was K3512626, which probably was made by Lubrizol, & the
only other information I have is that it was recommended for coating camshafts &
tappets, & was also called "Elco". The Chrysler product or the Royal Purple product,
and likely some others, which have extreme pressure protection ingredients (ZDDP?
ZDTOP?) should prevent problems from initial startup in crankshaft & rod bearings
and camshaft areas, etc. DO NOT use when assembling rings/pistons and do NOT
use on cylinder walls.
8. Heat sink compound: Likely the very best is the WHITE type made by Dow Corning,
type 340. It is better than other clear compounds for heat transfer. You can also use
Radio Shack heat sink compound. You can also use common "dielectric grease" from
your nearby auto-parts store. The Dow 340 transmits heat very well. Silicone heat
sink compound/grease is always to be used, smoothly, thinly, evenly, under the
electronic black box ignition module (clean off old stuff first), under the gas tank. Clean
& re-grease every two years to avoid problems. If the grease dries out, the black box
module will overheat, causing ignition problems. An exception is the later RIVETED
ones. The RIVETED modules supposedly do not ever require re-coating.
If you are lucky, application of compound will revive proper module operation. SOME
silicone dielectric heat sink compounds are clear, as noted the WHITE Dow Corning
stuff is better, containing a zinc compound, SORT-OF similar to what we oldsters used
to put on our noses at the beach, and the white stuff conducts heat very well. If you
don't want to purchase some, try begging a teaspoonful from the local electronics
repair shop. Silicone grease DOES work, the stuff may be called Silicone Dielectric
Grease at the autoparts store, & the reason it works ADEQUATELY, is that it is used
in a VERY thin layer, whose purpose is to fill in microscopic irregularities in the surface
of the mating parts.
9. If you want one of the best products for electrical connections, use CAIG products.
The BMW factory used a connections protective liquid before shipping the bikes. The
substance used was CRC 5-56; works OK on connection protection after assembly.
The BEST easily-found product that I know of to SPRAY or otherwise apply
in/on most electrical connection, are certain Caig products. For those of you
with K bikes, you should, in your bi-yearly go-through of your electrical
connections, use the proper Caig products at the computer brain connections,
...and, every other electrical connection you can get at (remove fuel tank for
access). Caig invented the base De-Oxit a very long time ago. It contains a
chemical that BONDS MOLECULARLY with metals. For Airhead owners, the
Caig products work REALLY WELL on electrical connections, that you have
first cleaned to shiny. Every couple or three years, do this job. Includes
ALL plug-in relays.
Common OIL/SOLVENT base type contact cleaners (INcludes OIL types, even
if made for Radio Radio Shack by Caig) are NOT nearly as good, nor as long
lasting, as the chemical treatment Deoxit product from Caig. HOWEVER, they
will work adequately, IF you can abrasively (lightly, use a pencil eraser for
sensitive connections) clean the connections first.
If you properly use the Caig products, a one-time application may be all that
is ever needed. Caig sells its products through distributors of electronics
items, but you can find them at Caig Laboratories, 12200 Thatcher Court,
Poway, California. 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. Radio Shack sells Caig DeOxit.
Consider, if you can get access, cleaning contacts with a VERY MILD
abrasive, such as shaping a pencil eraser that is the type ON A PENCIL.
I am spelling that out, because large erasers with high abrasive qualities
are also sold, & are NOT TO BE USED on thinly clad gold-flashed computer
brain connectors/pins. Be careful with any abrasives if the contact is
gold-flashed. Apply Caig DeoxIT as the cleaner. When done, lightly wipe
off any excess & then apply Caig Deoxit GOLD. I do not recommend purely
oil with a solvent for contact cleaners for motorcycles, that INcludes the
What about silicone dielectric grease, versus the Caig liquids/sprays?? Use the
Caig products I noted above, on computer pins & connections that are or are not
generally exposed to bad weather or smog. For large electrical connections, I
prefer grease DURING assembly to its mating plug. The grease is messier.
Grease, if used in moderate amounts, PREVENTS ingress of moisture. 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 assembly.
You CAN use common Petroleum Grease (Vaseline) on large electrical connections;
it performs well, ESPECIALLY at the battery terminals. BMW used to ship its bikes
so-protected, at the battery.
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,
Nye 761G or 760 will do very well. Check the Interne for sources. I am NOT
sure how much you would have to purchase. It is possible that you can obtain
the same product in small tubes from Ford or GM.
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, & was originally used primarily on our Airheads
to seal the cylinders to the engine block & the input threaded ring at the rear drive nose.
It is different from common silicon rubber sealants, many types of those. Hylomar seems to
work, although NOT as well at the cylinder bases as other sealants....but Hylomar is
exceptionally SAFE if a tiny bit gets into the oiling system. The tube will list a solvent for
cleanup...I use acetone. When applying Hylomar I often thin it a little bit with acetone, as only
a very thin layer is needed...a thick layer is NOT desirable!!! You can use a brush, & if
needed acetone 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 mentioned threaded ring threads
inside the nose of the rear drive & fork top & bottom caps threads. Those places
are STILL good places for Hylomar.
Hylomar was THE sealant a long time ago for the cylinder bases, but my viewpoint
has changed & 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. Be careful, use it sparingly. Thicker is
I use Hylomar, and will continue to use it, for the threaded ring in the nose of the rear drives
& sometimes at fork caps. There are other places you can use it, for sealing drain & fill plugs.
You can see Hylomar information at: 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
Clean the surfaces really well, really degrease them. Apply the sealant of choice VERY
SPARINGLY AND AS EVENLY AS POSSIBLE...AGAIN, SPARINGLY!!, If using Hylomar
or Three-bond 1215, let sit at least half an hour before assembly (this is important for
THOSE). DO NOT block oil flow at top studs.
Use any of these products VERY sparingly for the cylinder base area, as they, or any
sealant, will almost totally squeeze out. You do NOT want the product in the engine oil
passageways that are at the top studs, although Hylomar is a safer product if it does
get into the oil passageways, than many other...or most other....sealants. Do NOT
spread with a brush unless you will be careful to be SURE no bristles are left....which
can cause a leak by not allowing the cylinder to fully come home to the engine.
HINT: DO NOT let the piston rod fall. It will nick the engine case, and the cylinder will
not mate properly, and probably will cause oil leaks.
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
c. RTV's come in a variety of viscosities before they cure, and a variety of hardness's
after they cure.
d. For use on vehicles, in general, you purchase RTV in small to large tubes. Like
toothpaste tubes, they are folded-up as you use them. Industrially & for building
construction/etc., they come in quite large round caulking-type tubes that are
applied using a holder that has a hand-grip & plunger going into the tube. An
applicator tip is often supplied or the tip of the tube itself is used by cutting, often
on an angle, so you can 'lay a nice bead'. You probably have used such for making
smoothly curved sealing for sealing windows, bathtubs, etc.
e. RTV curing generally starts as soon as you apply it from the tube; but there are
SOME types that cure very slowly, being humidity activated, & 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
corrosive to some materials until fully cured. I suggest never using those in small
enclosed areas...it could cause rusting, ETC. The other, now more common type,
has no appreciable smell at all, and does not cause corrosion, rust, etc.
g. RTV is extremely useful for making gaskets. Many engines, transmissions, etc.,
in modern vehicles have no paper or other types of gaskets, just a small bead or
layer of some sort of RTV.
h. It is extremely important, when using RTV products, that every last bit of any old
material be removed, & that the surface be completely clean when new RTV is
applied. You can remove the old material by chemical means and/or scraping,
wire brush, etc, as appropriate. Use of gasoline, kerosene, etc., may do a fairly
good job of dissolving residue, but will leave a petroleum-based residue that keeps
new sealant from sealing really well. I usually use acetone or MEK. Scraping
should be done with plastic or other material that is less likely to leave nicks,
scratches, gouges. If you have to pry things to get them apart, be SURE that
there is no damage done.
i. If fasteners are OVER-tightened, metal may mushroom-up, & prevent proper sealing.
j. RTV & most any chemical sealant ("'goo""), is good for only about 0.015" gaps,
maybe 0.020" at most. Sometimes it is used, wrongly, IMO, in thicker sections.
That is why you want the mating surfaces to be in such good, flat, clean condition.
k. LESS is better than 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 normally used, & if the pan is over-torqued, not only
will you bunch-up the gasket & cause leaks, but you might go so far as to pull the
bolt threads from the engine case. Professionals test the case threads BEFORE
DISSASSEMBLY, by torquing to a slight bit over normal torque. That way, if a
bad thread is found, you can, and should, fix it BEFORE you re-assemble the oil
pan!! Torque values are listed in http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/torquevalues.htm
BUT, see: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/pangasket.htm
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, where
none is to be used, or the wrong sealant, can cause 'walking'. BMW has made Airheads
using a gasket at the driveshaft to rear drive interface (NO GOOP!!!); and later models
of Airheads used a Loctite anaerobic there, NO gasket. BMW also made a few rear
drives with NO large left side gasket. Be sure to consult the Airheads LIST, if you do
not know what to use. In general, the later MONOSHOCK bikes did NOT use a paper
gasket, but a Loctite sealant. You are not sealing threads, but the face areas, and
they must be COMPLETELY nick-free & flat.
Cylinder base sealants:
I am no longer recommending Hylomar for cylinder bases.... although it has
other uses. The reason I am no longer recommending Hylomar is due to the
failures, often caused by the applier/user. While I have had good results with
Hylomar...& almost all the sealants I have tried, I am meticulous in cleaning &
applying the sealants onto flat nick-free and dead-clean surfaces.
The following are tested and acceptable.
Permatex 27B Hi Temp RTV.
Permatex Ultra-Grey (or, Ultra-Gray). It does work OK if you apply very thinly
in the normal manner; allow all surfaces to set up for a while, THEN assemble.
Use ONLY Permatex brand!!! Permatex makes it in Ultra-black & Ultra-red too.
Pro-Seal Red 700 degree RTV 80726.
Dreibond, or Three-Bond from your BMW dealer: excellent. Three-Bond 1215
works well. Allow time to set-up. There is also Drei-Bond 1209, but some
have problems with it eventually starting to fail a bit, with oil weeping the
result. It may be the applicator (YOU!). Three-bond has a 1207B that works
Mechanics and professionals have their own preferences:
a. Sealant available at Suzuki dealerships, Suzuki-Bond type 1207B, their
part number 9104-31140. I think it's a good one, AND, I can recommend it.
Suzuki marine dealers sell it, not just car dealers.
NOTE that Three-bond brand also sells 1207B.
b. Tom Cutter likes the above Suzuki sealant too, but also says that "if you
have to, you can use Yamabond-6B".
Snowbum sez: you can use a., or b., 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.
After you torque the cylinder to the engine, some sealant, even if applied
quite thinly & certainly not excessively, will squeeze out. If you allow that 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 peels off. SOME sealants
require 'set up' for half an hour BEFORE assembling. THUS, the order of
events is apply sealant, wait as appropriate,.... then oil the O-rings &
assemble IMMEDIATELY, torque. IF you use Hylomar, apply it, wait for a few
minutes minimum...but you can wait as long as you want to. Consult
instructions on your container.
General sealants notes:
The places sealants are NOT USED INclude the engine oil pan; inner timing
chest-to-engine; head gaskets; valve cover gaskets, rear drive gaskets
(usually); & driveshaft housing joint gaskets (usually, not always).
In a FEW instances, where a previous owner has messed up the surfaces of
mating pieces, Permatex NON-hardening Form-a-Gasket can be used, but
this is to be done with caution as gasket sealants can cause problems you
may not think of, & repairing surfaces is vastly better most of the time. I have
repaired serious nicks & gouges with ordinary epoxy products, then sanding
& filing them dead flat.
Some areas should not have gaskets and some not have sealants, to avoid
the surfaces moving with respect to each other (called WALKING). Adding
a gasket, where one is not specified, can upset clearances.
No sealant is used at the junction of rear drive & driveshaft on early Airheads.
BMW SPECIFIES using a Loctite product on Monoshock Airheads at that
particular area, where NEITHER a gasket nor regular sealant is used. USE
the Loctite product here that BMW recommends, or a close equivalent. I use
Loctite 640 because it is a close product, & I stock it for special uses
elsewhere's. There are solid reasons BMW did not use a gasket nor ordinary
sealant at this junction on late models.
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. Might not be there. Be sure
the surfaces are clean & dry. The valve cover gaskets can be used almost
forever, if you do not tear/rip it. That is best accomplished by having the
gasket on the HEAD side, somehow, 'glued' to the head. So, what to do?
MY ADVICE: If you remove a valve cover carefully, without ripping the gasket,
then when replacing the cover LIGHTLY smear non-synthetic 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, & it can be used over & over!! NO oil on
outer surface! If you wish a faster sealant on the gasket side that FACES
THE HEAD, then use something like a very faint coating (fingertip spread)
of Permatex Form-a-Gasket (but ONLY the non-permanent type). Wipe off
any excess after pressing gasket firmly into place. DO NOT allow oil nor
sealant to be on the outer surface.
It is critical that mating surfaces be completely clean and dry to begin with.
I use a strong relatively fast-evaporating solvent. Allow no nicks at the
metal surfaces that would give poor sealing. Nicks are particularly
troublesome at the cylinder base area & the engine case, where an
accidentally dropped rod might put a tiny nick, that will keep the cylinder
from being perfectly flat and going fully home.
HINT: when trying to clean off old gasket from aluminum parts, spray WD40
on the old gasket remnants, or a gasket remover solvent (auto-parts stores),
use a plastic scraper, not metal, unless you are VERY careful. Plastic razor
blades are available from many sources, including your local auto-parts store.
Remember, it is easy to nick an aluminum surface with a metal razor blade or
metal scraper....& those nicks can often be places for oil leaks.
REPEAT NOTE: .....For a short period of time, BMW did assemble rear drive
CARDAN COVERS (that's the LEFT cover) using a sealant, & NO paper gasket.
If you change to a gasket, you will upset the gear shimming.
JBWeld, JBKWIK, etc: These are popular epoxy materials that are available
almost everywhere. They DO work well. The -KWIK is good to near 300 degrees.
Some folks won't go on a tour without a JBWELD-KWIK kit. With a small piece of 50
or 80 grit sandpaper you take along with this kit, you can do an emergency fairing repair,
seal a cracked valve cover & probably even a cracked oil pan. Epoxy products do not
last forever, so throw them out after a few years. Duct tape; or, better, radiator hose
repair tape, is excellent for a very quick emergency fairing repair.
Steel filled 2 part epoxies: no specific place for these on your BMW, but they
are very strong; can sometimes repair a broken part that is unrepairable otherwise, rather
than maybe Heliarcing...etc. No need to purchase, just know about it. SOME folks have
put the fast cure version of these in their bike kits, instead of the JB 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 poor 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 & Permatex brands, the black works well for RT
fairing rubber boots (after degreasing the boots, use on the black painted interior). 3M,
long ago, stood for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing; a TOP NOTCH COMPANY.
ALWAYS follow the directions....this means doing it in two stages of application. This is
nasty stuff, so keep it off your paint. It is VERY strong & does not release at moderately
high temperatures. Many folks use cyanoacrylate glues (Crazy Glue) at the fairing
rubbers, but I have had it fail with age....see below...
3M has a Plastic & Emblem Adhesive, do NOT use it...it is not nearly strong enough!
RT style fairing rubber boots for the passage of the fork tubes:
I have not had the best results with most of the thin glues & sealants, they tend to harden
& crack eventually & then the boot comes loose. LOTS of pressure on that boot, especially
in lock to lock turns. If you use a cyanoacrylic (Crazy Glue or similar name), the rubber &
the fairing area must be SUPER-CLEANED first. Frankly, it is hard to do right, & I no longer
even try using that stuff. Others feel it is fine. I use the same SUPER Weatherstrip
Adhesive mentioned above. I clean the fairing area with a knife, inside & outside the
opening, for maybe 1/4". I sand it a wee bit. I then clean it with acetone. I have spent
over an hour at times doing those things. I then clean the boot groove & outside of the
groove, with acetone or MEK...really thoroughly to remove every last trace of mold
release agent. I then install the boot (there is a Right & a Left, so don't install the wrong
one, nor install it upside down...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 & games to put additional adhesive at the junction
(after the boot is installed) INside the fairing. I usually make a bit of a mess, spend too
much time cleaning, & then I paint it black with a tiny brush. The black stuff would be nicer
inside the fairing.
I clean up the fairing immediately with solvent & rag. Do not overdo this, the solvent might
damage paint. Probably isn't good for me, but I refuse to wear plastic gloves for this job.
If carefully cleaned up RIGHT AWAY, it looks fine, if not, paint over it.
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:
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/exhaustnuts.htm is an article about the sometimes
While I prefer a pure nickel formulation; the Permatex and others, that ARE silvery in color,
are perfectly OK. MANY seem NOT to know that 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, & MUST BE, used at the exhaust port threads &
finned nuts threads.
However, many of us wrenches, not all, use it at the spark plug threads & at other exhaust
fitments & at some engine studs (to prevent galvanic corrosion). It used to be that most
studs, nuts, etc., were plated with CADMIUM, which had good properties for such as a
steel bolt being used in aluminum castings. Cadmium is a big NO NO in Europe now, &
the U.S.A. seems to be following the Euro standards. Without the cadmium, one relies,
generally, on its replacement, which is a phosphate treatment of the steel parts. That is
NOT adequate in many instances, & often the steel bolts, etc., will then RUST, particularly
if the bolt is inserted and then ever removed and re-installed. It is worse where the steel
comes in contact with aluminum engine cases, etc. In many instances, coating the steel
threads very lightly with an anti-seize compound will protect against this galvanic corrosion.
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 & type of anti-seize is a very good idea.
Exhaust port threads is a place where nasty stuff accumulates. Some of this stuff is sulfur
'stuff' (or other compounds), and they, acidic, react with moisture. This happens during
cool-down and initial starting, due to condensation, AND the products of combustion. The
compounds, with moisture, create acids. Acids have fun with the carbon, ETC., from the
combustion process. NOTE that the atmosphere also enters the threaded area from
OUTSIDE THE NUT, from the exhaust header side of it. Atmospheric air has moisture,
and 'other stuff'. PRIMARILY the problem is combustion byproducts, including carbon,
due to the moderate pressures in the exhaust port, forcing such into the threads, etc.
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; too little, & deposits 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 ANY of MY Airheads,
except one that I purchased in poor service condition.
The exhaust port threads & finned nuts threads get some wear every time you unscrew
the finned nut. There is carbon typically accumulated in the '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 the threads get, the more carbon can build up in them....another GOOD
reason to clean the threads & goop them with anti-seize compounds YEARLY...and to
NOT overtighten them...which can make things worse as wear increases.
Various types of anti-seize compounds are available. They are a MUST
for the large
finned exhaust nuts (You DO unscrew yours & clean & recoat them & the rings there,
yearly ??...it takes only minutes!). I like to use this goop when assembling ANY items
of the muffler system, even the pipe joints & the smaller exhaust system nuts & bolts.
I believe it a MUST for spark plug threads. This is MY feeling, not held by all, & not held
by SOME few spark plug manufacturer's. It IS held by some engine makers, & not with
others. See http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/sparkplugs.htm for full details.
I use anti-seize compound nearly all of the time on any steel bolt that is screwing into
aluminum; with certain STRONG AND IMPORTANT EXCEPTIONS: steel bolts into
the driving hubs on rear wheels, holding the wheel to the hub. NEVER use it on steel
bolts through those wheels into the output of the rear drive. That means do NOT
use antiseize compound on the special bolts on Monolever and Paralever
rear wheels!! NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!
There are special types of antiseize used with plumbing items...and I use that
graphite (usually) containing very thick stuff for bolts/threads going into the
water containing areas of motorcycles.
In general, lower the torque on things by ~25% when lubricated by anti-seize compounds.
This is especially so (in MY opinion) for spark plugs, & 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.. 1/2 inch reach....
& they should have ~12 footpounds of torque, which is 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 say 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 Nickel 2600°' version. Nickel
containing anti-seizes are the better types:
You can use the commonly available Permatex anti-seize, or any that say they contain
copper. The most common Permatex brand does contain copper & nickel, it is the
carrier medium in it that disallows super high temperatures...again, use of it is OK!
I have NO problem with you using high temperature copper-containing
Cyanoacrylic adhesives/glues: Often called by one of the original trade names
'CrazyGlue', & originally developed by the Eastman (Kodak!) company, these are strange
'glues' that are best for sticking your fingers together. Others may disagree, but this stuff is
NOT always reliable, tends to get brittle & therefore crack, & has few places for use on your
BMW. You may find uses for it, such as holding one of the damnable easy to loose ball
bearings to its spring in the switch gear when you are working in that area, inside the
instrument pod at the odometer gear-to-shaft (they tend to slip), RT fairing rubber boots as
previously noted (I don't like it there), etc. I use it at slipping gears in speedometers, &
never use Loctite products there if plastic is involved...unless it is compatible type.
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 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 & 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 the older spouts that were NOT that same type of plastic as are the bottle bodies,
which is why it hardened in the spout (most now use one piece plastic).....if yours hardens,
simply use a needle in the spout. Do NOT store the plastic bottles in 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, and if used on
very-well-cleaned surfaces, they work much better.
Loctite & the other anaerobic compound makers, further usually assume you are
assembling the parts at 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 not prominently tell you
on the package that they ASSUME, in SOME instances, that YOU have specially
cleaned the parts & coated them with a Loctite activating primer. For PRACTICAL
purposes, for bolts of steel going into steel or bolts of steel (plated or not)
going into aluminum, & with the threads clean and dry before applying Loctite,
you SHOULD ASSUME that full & adequate strength will be obtained between
24 hours & three days. It is true that under more ideal circumstances, a NEAR
full cure is had in a few hours. For most common purposes, & steel bolts into
aluminum, near full strength is obtained...usually... within 24 hours. For use
of the strongest products, like 270, 2701, and 263, the cure time to fairly good strength
is likely to be 1 to 4 hours.
NOTE: these products get weaker as the temperature rises; particularly after it rises
past a certain temperature, & the curve for strength reduction then rises rather fast.
MOST have little strength left at 300°F. Type 263 will lose 90% of its strength at 392°F.
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. Type
263 is a low viscosity type, that can work OK with SLIGHTLY oily parts. It is generally
regarded as for use with NOT TO BE DISASSEMBLED items.
BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WHICH PRODUCT YOU USE FOR SUCH AS THE
PARALEVER BEARING PINS AND LOCKNUTS, ETC. You do want to be able to
disassemble them for future servicing.
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 & the parts are held OK, but
removable. NOT for heavy duty parts under 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. 290
is thin enough to creep into relatively tight areas, which is why it is used.
#222, purple, is for use before assembly. In choosing between #290 and #222, #222
might be better. You probably will not use it. 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 or PERMANENT Permatex Form-a-Gasket for those plugs). Center
pipe of the oil filter (some use red); fillister head screw at breather; oil pump cover
screws; oil pickup bolts; POSSIBLY on the center 13 mm bolt going downward into
the 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 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; and, in next paragraph.
****Loctite #271 (for North American markets). There is a 270 & a slightly
improved version of 270, called 2701 (green & low viscosity), that is used
by BMW on such as Paralever pins. The 270 & 2701 were European products.
They set up slightly faster, & 2701 is very slightly stronger than 271.
263 sets up a bit slower, so you can assemble things over ~ an hour...but I
suggest you assemble within MINUTES!. You can probably use common
271 in place of the 270 or 2701. NO guarantees by me (lawyer talk). Loctite
discontinued 2701 from RETAIL sales, & might even ship 271 in place of it.
Be careful using these very high strength Loctite's as they OFTEN need a
LOT of heat to enable loosening the fitting. This is particularly so of type 263,
probably you would chose it for ultimate safety for the Paralever pins & their
nuts. It will not release without PINPOINT HEAT...a lot of it. Sort of the same
for the old 270, 271, & 2701. For 270, for easy disassembly it requires 250°C
(452°F) although it weakens considerably below that. Can be green. Low
viscosity. For 270 and 263; on a practical basis, you can usually remove the
parts at 300 to 400°F.
Snowbum uses Loctite BLUE on his personal bike's Paralever...yes, the bike
with the sidecar attached! Snowbum HATES Loctite red or other very high
strength Loctite at this location....it is way too difficult to remove the nut &
pin & Snowbum understands that BMW recommended 2701, & that the
replacement for 270 & 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 & maybe
acetone....in stubborn instances try common gel-type paint remover. In a
few instances, you may have to use a tap or die to clean off old Loctite. I
usually put the item in acetone/MEK, overnight, sometimes that softens
****#640. This is a special type used to hold such as previously spun outer races
of bearings that have not deteriorated the bores too much. Expensive, usually
available in larger containers only. I have this item if you need it. Free. You pay
shipping both ways. It is used on airheads primarily at the /5/6 left side rear wheel
bearing outer shell (race), where the shell has spun in the wheel, but the clearance
is still reasonably small. I can supply details on its use.
Loctite also has available a #620. For bearing retaining. You can look up its
Loctite products should be carefully used. Do not use where they can creep into
the rotating parts of bearings, etc. Allow at least 24 hours to cure, no matter what
the manufacturer says. These products do NOT work as well if the parts are
greasy, oily, or dirty.
I install most Helicoils with Loctite RED, wait for a full cure, then wash
the excess out with strong solvents (& often a brass brush), before using
a bolt in the threads.
Loctite also makes Locquic's, which are several types of liquids, available in both
concentrates & premixed, that will make Loctite 'set up' quicker, or set up on difficult
materials, such as plastics & some plated metals. Used properly, you can be done
with a job in minutes, instead of waiting a day or more. Keep in mind that MISUSE
of these can cause the parts to seize before fully assembled. I'm not a big fan of
Loctite products on plastic parts, and have, earlier in this piece, recommended
against that usage, in such as speedometer/odometer gears-shafts situations.
However, some have had success.
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 the outside of the plastic bottle. That means
no baggies, no tubes inside bottles. For super-critical applications, a fresh
tube of Loctite is recommended....but I have NOT had problems with VERY
old Loctite products.
Occasionally a question will arise about possibly making changes to a factory torque
setting if Loctite is used on a bolt or screw, perhaps one that was originally specified
to be installed clean and dry. Loctite is formulated to have only a small effect on
effective torque (increases effective torque slightly) so you can generally disregard
torque changes, as Loctite does not act like a true lubricant.
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 and keep that value. Please re-read that once more! Yes, it is true that the
HEAD to material SURFACE interface IS where the CLAMPING FORCE exists.
This is a simplification. IF the head & material do not match & mate properly, then
the holding force may well include a considerable amount of the thread force.
USUALLY at least 4 fully engaged threads are the MINIMUM needed to ensure
that the parts are fastened close to rated forces and strengths, including ability for
the threads to not pull out.
Torque on a bolt is affected by a factor called "K"; the diameter of the bolt, usually
called "D", & the clamping force F. NOTICE that the force goes UP as the K
factor goes DOWN. 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, as I never bothered to look them up.
This all means that, theoretically, if the manufacturer had originally specified a
torque with clean & dry threads & NO Loctite, that you could/should REDUCE the
torque wrench reading by, perhaps, 15-25%, when using Loctite. This does
NOT apply if the manufacturer SPECIFIED using such a sealant. I almost never
reduce torque for parts to which I applied Loctite, and, if I do, I use the
lower edge of specified torque range.
In practice, bolts 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. Did BMW count on the discredited & NOT to be used
split lock-washers that had been used on early models?? Later on, BMW had a
bulletin, to change the bolt lengths & eliminate the very troublesome lock-washers.
****A discussion of various methods of 'locking' screws, bolts, etc., is located in
the HARDWARE article. You may 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 & MANY others: use just
about any brand or type of automotive automatic transmission fluid, mixed
with a good solvent. This tests BETTER than commercial products!! The
solvent I used at one time was carbon tetrachloride, but nowadays I use MEK
(methyl-ethyl-ketone), OR, acetone, from any hardware store). MEK is sometimes
hard to find & Ethyl Acetate will work, & is often sold as an MEK 'substitute'.
Ethyl Acetate is safer to use than MEK. Ethyl Acetate is a good solvent &
evaporates SLOWER than Acetone, and is excellent for working with
fiberglass resins, some plastics as crack line glues, etc. If you were making
up a penetrating oil mixture, I'd suggest 50% each of common red-colored
automatic transmission fluid and 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. Some have used kerosene, as it evaporates much
slower. In many instances, the frozen parts need to be warmed, the penetrant
applied, and then the area wrapped with something like kitchen-type plastic
film, to keep the item wet.
Acetone and MEK are: Great fast evaporating solvents, BUT keep away from
paint!!! Keep away from plastics unless using for gluing cracks!!! Used for degreasing
& some plastics gluing or glue solvents. Don't inhale fumes. Useful for cleaning
some types of parts, including removing old hardened Loctite (in stubborn
instances, use paint remover gel).
Kerosene, Stoddart solvent (Mineral spirits), paint thinner, etc:
Good for parts cleaning, relatively low fire hazard. NOT normally considered for a
quick evaporating solvent for cleaning surfaces that need sealants applied
to clean surfaces.
Berryman B-12 Chemtool,
in their particular version called "Carburetor and Choke Cleaner":
The BEST spray stuff I've found for cleaning carburetor and carburetor parts. Still
surprised the various air quality controlling agencies have not outlawed this great stuff.
Keep it away from plastics & paint and your eyes! 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 Berryman sold in California to be
reformulated. The California reformulation is not nearly as strong as the old Berryman.
If your B-12 Chemtool has numbers 0113C; 0117C; 0120C; or 0152 on the can
someplace, it is OK for general use, but not for serious cleaning of such as carburetor
passages. The 0113; 0117; and 0120, are much better.
Use ONLY DOT3 or the SLIGHTLY BETTER DOT4. Keep it OFF the paintwork; keep
a VERY WET RAG on your paintwork when working with it..... if, HORRORS!.. it gets
on the paintwork, wash it off with water, INSTANTLY...that means RIGHT NOW!
ALWAYS have a WET RAG instantly available when using brake fluid! When
I bleed brakes, I keep a very wet rag below the master cylinder....over the fuel
NEVER use DOT 5 silicone fluid in your BMW braking system...NEVER! DOT5
silicone fluid does not absorb moisture, allows moisture to condense into droplets
in your braking system & thereby probably rotting it out faster; and, it can, in freezing
weather, FREEZE the brakes!. Silicon fluids are not compatible with the rubber parts
in your bike's braking system (some seals may be compatible, depending on when
manufactured). There are premium DOT4 fluids & confusingly, a 5.1 that is NOT
silicone based;...these generally have even higher boiling points (Castrol for
instance)....that are OK, but the RACE types MUST be changed AT LEAST yearly.
I recommend DOT4. It is entirely possible that some BMW systems ARE compatible
with DOT5 silicone fluid, but BMW says NOT to use them. Some have used them
for long periods of time, successfully. The big problem is that SOME brake rubber
parts are NOT compatible, AND, it is near impossible to clean the old DOT3 or
DOT4 out, without a total rebuild, or, go the other way. SO, I HIGHLY recommend
AGAINST DOT5 silicone fluid....which have almost no advantages for airheads.....
(it is thinner, so maybe easier to bleed on an opened system) (but tends to get tiny
bubbles, defeating that idea)....won't absorb water...but water gets inside from various
means, forms globules, and corrodes the parts! At very elevated temperatures,
totally possible in our airheads brake parts, it gets compressible!..a BAD thing.
There is a fluid called DOT 5.1; confusingly it is NOT a silicone. DO NOT USE IT.
If you insist on using it, or a 'race brake fluid'; change it every 6 months, fully
flushing/bleeding....and ONLY from a fresh can.
DOT3 and DOT4 Brake fluid need yearly
changing, as they attracts moisture,
right through the non-leaking lines, caliper seals, screw holes at the covers, etc.
This happens molecule by molecule, over a long time. Brake fluid contains certain
inhibitors, and once they are used-up by excessive water molecules, expensive
Bleed the brakes until clear fluid comes out. Best to use a fresh 8 ounce can each
time. If you do this from new, you are UNlikely to EVER have to replace the master
cylinder or calipers. If you DO open a system, NEVER EVER use anything but
brake fluid in cleaning....although soap/detergent and water is OK, then dry and
use brake fluid again, if needed during assembly of such as piston, rubber, O-rings.
The truth is that if an 8 or 12 ounce can is opened, used, recapped immediately,
it will still be OK, for the next year's bleeding. NOT if it changes color.
Fuel Tank sealants &
Fuel Tank Repairs, fuel additives
for storage. How to clean fuel tanks, and treat them.
See well below for how to treat your tank & 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, & 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 ABC#7221 firstname.lastname@example.org
Holt BMW in Ohio does tank work....740-593-6690
The above list may not be up-to-date, so see
Fuel tank sealants:
KREEM: NOT recommended.
POR15 rustproofing coating: see internet for sources. Requires a lot of
preparation work, but it is worth it to do it THOROUGHLY.
Read this: 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 may still have faulty internal links.
A premium product, with somewhat less serious prep needed.
STEEL FUEL TANKS....and aluminum parts:
Aluminum door and window frame cleaners (hardware store item): Clean the
outside of your aluminum wheels, engine, carbs, etc...any aluminum or magnesium...with
solvents, and detergents, washing well...and more water...then, while still wet, apply this
stuff, but do NOT let it dry. If it starts to dry too early, use more. Hose off. Keep it
off your skin. Some use it for cleaning aluminum cases and covers. FAIR at this.
***When touching up painted steel surfaces, and you have rust areas, do fine grit
sanding and feathering into the 'ok' paint area, and then treat the area to either a metal
etching liquid from the local hardware store (it contains PHOSPHORIC ACID, and will
so state on the container), OR; for surfaces where the liquid would flow off, use a similar
but gel product called Naval Jelly. Naval Jelly usually works reasonably quickly. 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,
start with a strong solvent, then wash with water. Plug the petcock holes with 1/2"
tapered corks from the hardware store. Pickling the tank is needed at the
bottom, to prevent the bottom from rusting out. 16 ounces of the etching
product (MUST contain phosphoric acid) is enough. Pour half into each side of the
tank. Jiggle the tank. Let sit a full day or 24 hours or so, in a safe place, in case the
Remove corks. Remove acid (can be saved for any other de-rust job), 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, circulate in the tank, and then out the two petcock place holes.
A day or two, and it is fully dry. If you do this every 5 years; maintain your tank full
or nearly full, of gasoline when parking overnight (especially high humidity places);
you will likely not ever have the bottom rot out.
***To clean the aluminum engine, transmission, etc., cases, you can use a
chemical cleaner like Nice 'N Easy (Ace Hardware), product 901, made by
Alumin-Nu. KEEP THE PARTS WET, and don't let the parts get hot in the
sun...you do not want this stuff to dry before you flush it away. Repeated
applications may be needed.
****Sandblasting, or other media blasting: I don't like the finish that soda
blasting leaves...and soda must be 100.00% removed, or it starts its own
chemical reactions. Walnut shells are OK. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is OK.
SAND and glass bead blasting is NOT OK (it leaves particles imbedded in
the aluminum, which can come out and raise hell with the engine and
other innards!)...with ONE exception!....the form of blasting called WET
BLASTING, or slurry blasting, is OK to excellent, leaves a lovely finish.
There is another, quite safe usually, form of cleaning: Vapor Blasting.
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; which, for your motorcycle,
is the regular, NON-MARINE type.
Black Plastic items:
better with a variety of protectant treatments, such as Back-to-Black, and many
others, including Armor-All & Boeshield 303. In general, the treatment does not
last very long. Repainting is a PIA! Mild abrasive rubbing and then coating with
one of the mentioned protectants, is a PIA! I do NOT have a really good fix....
although one product does work very well: Bondo's Restore Black.
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 a product called Gummi-Pflege, for squeaky RUBBER
& as a protectant. 82-14-9-407- 015. Was a tube with a foam top for applying.
It's purpose was for such as car door rubber flap seals, etc. It is water-based,
using a rub-on applicator. It is still available, do an Internet search, or try
A good substitute is Zymol Seal, which is made from modified Glycerin. I say:
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, dilute per instructions, put about 6 ounces or so in a flip top 8 ounce
plastic bottle. If you use tubes on your motorcycle, carry both diluted lube &
real oil-less tire talc with you, just carry the tire lube for tubeless owners.
Yes, it IS true that 'personal lubricants', water based, work OK, in place of
tire lubricant (which is made from a vegetable product, flax).
Black Plastic items:
Useful, with some sort of glue, as an emergency sealant for a ripped/torn
carburetor diaphragm. I don't know what type of glue to use, since I have
other uses for condoms & never have used them for carb repairs, since I
never let my carbs go over 60,000 between changing diaphragms, & have
not had to fix diaphragms for others when traveling.
This is goop in a tube that STOPS corrosion at the positive (+) battery
terminal. Even nice on sealed batteries...and should be applied to just
cleaned and shiny tight connections at the + terminal, and forced up
into the + electric cable for half an inch or so. VASELINE will do OK.
SOME folks use silicone grease. Apply the goop AFTER the wires &
nuts, bolts and washers are assembled & tightened. You DID have
those parts clean and shiny BEFORE assembly???
WARNING! Never, EVER, expose Brake Cleaner or any 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, or uses a torch flame on the
wet (by chlorinated hydrocarbons) parts, ETC. This also means that you
must NOT clean brake parts with brake cleaner and while still wet use a
torch to burn up deposits.
Alloy wheels are painted. An EXCELLENT match for that paint is Würth's
****A discussion of various methods of 'locking' screws, bolts, etc., is
located in the
In January of 1983, BMW came out with Service Information Bulletin
12/14/2006: incorporate all previous revisions; update information on oils and greases in line with the
latest information; edit entire article and release
01/10/2007: add more information here and there. Add fork oils viscosity.
01/25/2007: rework item #12 with latest information
01/16/2008: combine from some of 52B, and renumber from 73A to 73
03/14/2008: update information on 270, 271, 2701, and a few clarifications elsewhere's
06/25/2008: Revise #4; minor editing elsewhere's
09/14/2008: Revise entire article, mostly to add additional information.
09/26/2008: Add info on Honda moly grease part number from CAR dealerships.
06/29/2009: minor updates, combining some things that were redundantly repeated, clarifying some
details here and there.
01/25/2010: Add hyperlink for anti-seize
08/06/2010: Add #19 and re-number
12/16/2010: Phosgene warning
10/01/2011: Links to hardware article regarding locking methods
10/13/2011: Slight updates for clarity
11/16/2011: Clear up the Honda, Moly, Guard-Dog, and similar areas.
09/23/2012: Minor editing. Add QR code; modify Google code; add language button function (language
code removed 2013)
02/25/2013: Emphasis added here and there. Minor clarifications. No substantial changes anyplace.
04/14/2013: Revise to eliminate several duplicative areas. Clarify a few details. Update a few things.
12/09/2013: Revise slightly for Loctite 263 addition, and cautions, etc.
01/30/2014: Update the silicone-ptfe grease part numbers info.
02/18/2014: Revise #6 extensively
03/01/2014: split #10 into 10A and 10B, and revise wording. Eliminate #19.
05/10/2014: Update info on Berryman's.
07/30/2014: Add CRC 5-56 information
08/06/2014: Add more moly information
08/16/2014: Expand general statement on sealants and RTV desc. and usages.
09/23/2014: Fix for better use on smaller devices. Re-arrange entire sections on sealants into one.
More work needs to be done to make things neater.....did so 10/2/2014
10/05/2014: Add information & link for kstartersprag.htm
10/11/2014: Re-write 10B to clarify Radio Shack and Deoxit by Caig.
11/07/2014: Expand the antiseize section re: finned nuts
05/06/2015: Expand plastic treatment, cleaning, etc., area. Clean up article some
07/23/2015: Totally revise #6 on greases, removing 7 and 8 also. Revise with new item 7.
11/11/2015: Clarifications and some updates.
02/03/2016: Update meta-codes, narrow article, increase font size for readability, clean
up article layout & minor tech updates.
© copyright 2014, R. Fleischer
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