© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
This article is PRIMARILY for AIRHEADS!
Before we get
into the meat of this article,
Here are a few things you need to know about certain tools:
(you can skip this section if you have no sense of humor at this point of time)
A machine with various uses, including collecting water from outside air & attempting to mix it with paint. Some say that it is a machine that takes energy produced in a coal-burning power plant hundreds of miles away & transforms that into compressed air, that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench, that grips rusty bolts last tightened 50 years ago by someone, someplace.....and rounds them off nicely. Air compressors are often used with an Air Wrench (see next item). Compressors are used nowadays with a hand-nozzle to blow small parts into corner areas where they can not be found. This is always accompanied at the same time with a loud expression of Oh Jesus,...no matter if a Christian....or not.
Tool used with the above item, often used to seriously cross-thread fasteners, to wake up your neighbors, and to test bolt material strength in a non-laboratory setting.
A usually female hex head screw that is designed to frustrate you because it is never marked as to size, nor if Metric or American. Rounding one off does not make for a good day. A very special version with a raised post/tit in the center is especially designed to frustrate your attempts at doing anything but stare at the screw. The heads are female, and may have a tit in the center, for reasons I am unable to describe on a family-type website.
A device that produces an electrical short that allows 'welding rods' to be stuck to the surface until they glow red. The operator wears a hood he cannot see out of. An additional feature is that stuck welding rods cause the welding machine to hum tunes.
A device used to destroy circular shaped metal bands that have teeth on one side.
BATTERY ELECTROLYTE TESTER:
A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from a car battery to the inside of your toolbox after determining that your battery is dead as a doornail, just as you thought. It does double duty for bleaching & destroying blue jeans in small spots. Some are made with glass containers that are designed to easily break. Many were specifically made with paper printed charts glued to the internal float, designed to last only a few years, at which point the float sticks, and you need to purchase a new tester.
Bristol wrench and Bristol screw:
Bristol is a wrench to fit a Bristol screw head, for which a brief glance seems to appear to be of the Allen type. Those with poor eyesight may even think it is a Torx, or some other new-fangled screw head. The real Bristol screw is designed to PURPOSELY frustrate you and no auto-parts store clerk or hardware store clerk under the age of 90 has ever heard of the name Bristol Wrench, nor has seen this screw, except some may confuse the name with some woman (perhaps a Wench) or someplace in England. ALL clerks under age 90 will look at you weirdly if you ask for a Bristol screw or Bristol wrench. Asking for a Bristol Allen Wrench is slightly less confounding, but only to those between 80 and 90. BMW has wisely declined to put Bristol parts on its motorcycles, in favor of a German method of annoying you.
Some variety of strap tool designed to hold pricey Therm-a-Rest sleeping pads on the rear of your motorcycle, where they can be lost, never to be found again except by wild animals. Occasionally used to suddenly stop a motorcycle quick and spectacularly. Come in a variety of colors and even stripes, which makes them especially noticeable when wrapped-up in spinning wheels. On rare occasions a bungee cord has been used to smack someone, indiscriminately, as it disconnects.
One of the most commonly lost tools. You never know what type and size to purchase after you lose one, and don't understand the numbering system anyway (and neither does the clerk at the store).
CORDLESS (anything cordless):
Developed to enhance the profit and loss statements of the battery industry.
A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that fender, fuel tank, etc., that is drying, that you meticulously prepared and painted.
EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4:
Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.
ELECTRIC HAND DRILL:
Normally used for spinning steel pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but it also works great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the rear wheel.
Exhaust finned nut wrench:
Used with lots of hand-force to destroy exhaust port threads.
E-Z OUT, or other BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTORS:
A common tool of many types that snaps off on angles that can't be center-punched for drilling and removing, and is ten times harder than any known drill bit. It's primary purpose is break itself off in bolts already broken. Rumors are that these tools are designed and sold by companies manufacturing cheaply made torque wrenches.
A containment vessel for leaking batteries.
Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise or mustard. Used mainly for getting dog-doo off your boot. All scrapers should be inspected before making sandwiches.
HACKSAW and AVIATION METAL SNIPS:
One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence it's course, the more dismal your work becomes.
Originally employed as a weapon of war and later in the Greek Olympics, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit with the hammer. Some say that the real purpose is to discolor your thumb on the hand NOT wielding the hammer.
A seller of Chinese-made tools and accessories that may, or may not, fit whatever you hope they will, and that you hope will last for even as many as three uses. Enticing you are daily, if not hourly, advertisements on TV and especially tabloid-sized, folded-over, snail-mail sent 'brochures'. These all have differing prices at SAME AND differing times for differing places, which you are not supposed to know about. Good for tools you seldom need or do not mind losing. Even serious Wrencher's own something from Harbor Freight that has, mysteriously, held-up over time and use. A speciality of Harbor Freight is a line of hard-to-read torque wrenches.....and multimeters that are strangely accurate and useful. Harbor Freight has constant giveaways of such multimeters and also of scissors, both of which are surprisingly good items.
A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK:
Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disc brake setup, trapping the jack handle firmly under the front fender. Sometimes used to break fins off oil pans and to crush feet from whatever it is you are lowering.
An ingenious and substantial round metal device with a hidden internal two-way cam; used for loosening tight/frozen fasteners, especially on old Japanese motorcycles, or any with phillips or similar looking heads, by using the natural muscle spasm of the operator holding the tool, when his hand, at the webbing between thumb and forefinger, is struck by the hammer. Known to be accompanied by loud screams, often occurring during the brief period of time just after using this tool to remove frozen Bing Carburetor dome screws, during which the operator has broken the ear off the carburetor, due to failure to put a substantial block of metal under the ear. Note that not only is the carburetor ear offended, but so are the ears of bystanders from statements you immediately make, these bystanders are often female humans.
Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats and motorcycle jackets, and has been known to cause visits to places that stitch up wounds.
OXY-ACETYLENE TORCH (and propane torches):
Used extensively for setting various flammable objects in your garage on fire. Handy for igniting the grease inside a brake drum you're trying to get the bearing race out of. Some use it to heat brake calipers loaded with brake cleaner liquid, which creates PHOSGENE, which will put you in the hospital in a very sick status.
A re-named tool since battery powered ones were invented, the original name was telephone. That was when you could 'tell' it was a phone. Or something. Modern versions are used extensively for calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack. Secondary, but a more important use is for testing the Cell Phone System on a rainy night in nowhere's-ville, with a bike that won't start because your battery is older than the hills...and; your special passenger, never having been on a long ride before, and for who you are trying to impress, is wondering if motorcycling is REALLY fun....and, you are wondering about the tent and sleeping bag you did not bring along (which would have made the situation tolerable, and even allow a Fun Time, possibly). (Note: The cell phone tower is too far away, so the phone won't work anyway). A new type of battery operated phone appeared a few years ago, called a Smart Phone. The purpose of a Smart Phone is to increase profits tremendously of telephone companies who can't make money on land-lines; the method used to extract your money from your wallet is called a Data Plan. Most Smart Phone users have worn tips on index fingers, have lost their phone on occasion, and have spent, over the years, about half of their retirement money, for their Data Plan and Roaming features.
PLIERS and VISE-GRIPS:
Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
Unique screw that is often tightened or loosened with the a Phillips screwdriver (that normally will slip before proper torque can be applied). If you have a genuine non-slipping Posi-driv screwdriver, you may consider yourself either a nerd or 'informed'. If you know what a Reed & Prince screwdriver is, you ARE a REAL nerd. If you know what a Frearson is, you are so old that you already have ordered a headstone and have a pre-paid funeral contract.
A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
Screwdriver, standard flat blade type:
A very versatile tool. Used for opening paint cans and splashing paint everywhere. Its normal use is for American single slot screws that some idiot used on your metric motorcycle, but is also used with a heated red-tip to remove the plastic oil level sight-glass on BMW K-bikes and Oilheads, etc. Secondary purpose is to check the color of your blood when left in a rear jeans pocket.
Screwdriver, Phillips type:
Normally used to stab the lids of old-style oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; can also be used to round off Phillips screw heads. The original Phillips design was purposely such that the associated screw could not be over-tightened, the screwdriver did this by slipping, and some cheaper less hardened steel models (like YOURS) are designed to round themselves off quickly in order to save screw heads or to promote sales of new Phillips screwdrivers. Often used wrongly on Posi-driv screws. Available high quality steel models are available at prices designed to make you stop breathing, at least momentarily, by Snap-On, a company that sells products from converted lunch wagons (usually called Roach Coaches when in the food business). Snap-On is in the business of accepting long term contractual mortgage payments for its products.
Screwdriver, BMW red-plastic-handled type often found in Airhead tool trays in frayed gray pouches:
Occasionally found in the original two pieces, often found with the reversible metal portion missing. Slips when trying to tighten or remove any type of screw. Does not properly fit Posi-Driv carburetor screws. Is exceptionally good in destroying threads in plastic parts for which you are overtightening the screw.
A manufacturer/distributor of high-quality chrome-plated or polished tools of vast numbers of types, that are mostly nice to display on the wall to impress visitors to your garage with your status in life; whilst your real working set are actually Sears Craftsman (or; if you are a wannabe, Harbor Freight). Even the poorest wannabe mechanics always have a FEW Snap-On types used for show-off, at any and all occasions where wannabe Wrenches grovel at your feet, awaiting pearls of wisdom. Those that are in the top 10% of income in their Country (or are not married, have no children and live in a hovel) may have a vast collection of Snap-On tools, displayed on Pearl-White vertical boards covering their 'workroom' walls. These are designed to "WOW" onlookers, unless they belong to the same Country Club. Ordinary mechanics who own more than a few Snap-On tools are hard-working honest folks actually trying to rise up in their profession and appreciate the best tools money (lots of it) can buy. Mechanics who own hundreds of Snap-On tools are either retired, or nearly; probably forced to (from bankruptcy proceedings). Snap-ON is actually in a strange business... with a shiny overpriced product that dazzles wannabees and serious Wrenches alike, and can be sold only due to Snap-On's pay-weekly policy; said policy was developed at Harvard Business School by Yale students who failed at being proper humans. Snap-on sales people show up in their converted Roach Coaches just before or during lunch-time, which is a carefully formulated plot, worked out by many psychologists and psychiatrists. The Wonderment Of The Age is how one snap-on man can be at every business in the County, at exactly noon, on the same day. rumors that they are clones is seemingly the only answer. Snap-On also sells rollaway tool chests, the price of which is equal to a modest fraction of the National Debt.
Snap-on tools are of unquestioned quality, but the same can not be said about all of those using or owning them.
A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease and grunge buildup on rotating machinery.
A place to store tools that you never need. Very large tool boxes are for placing in beds of pickups, so as to be more easily lost when you leave the tailgate open. It is helpful to NOT have a rubber bottom pickup bed, and to leave oily greasy residue in the bed.
Often equipped with strange characters engraved or printed on it, used to test the strength of various fasteners and threaded joints. Sales 'engineers' spend a lot of time designing these torque wrenches, so that you can more easily interpret wrongly those engraved or printed figures, and thereby help the other side of their company's business, which is making and selling broken stud removers and other threaded fastener removal items.
Mysteriously designed tools to install or remove like-named mysterious fasteners. These are slowly being phased out as new mystery fasteners have been developed. There are several types of mystery fasteners that at first glance look like Torx parts, such as your Airhead's rod bolts, but turn out to be a different type after you ruin the bolt which is a BMW-only part, and never in stock at a BMW dealership. A special Torx screw has been designed with a raised tit in the middle, purposely to keep your grubby hands out of various electronics products in your home. The people who designed that particular security screw are the same ones that ceaselessly design one-way screws of various new types, often tested on men's and woman's public restroom stall doors. These screw designers all belong to the International Torx S & M Club.
Sometimes called a drop light, it usually drops heavy enough to break its lamp. It may be a source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin", which is not otherwise found under motorcycles at night. Health benefits aside, its main purpose is to consume light bulbs of whatever type you have installed in it. More often dark than light, its name is some-what misleading. Many folks can be found shaking these tools as the light goes on and off.
These come in various designs with the main purpose being to bend a perfectly good piece of tubing into various shapes that are good for absolutely nothing.
Indispensable item for removing microscopic whiskers of metal that jumped into your fingers.
TWO-TON HYDRAULIC ENGINE HOIST:
A handy tool for testing the strength of ground straps and brake lines you forgot to disconnect.
A piece of paper with printing on it, listing complicated and expensive methods (typically costing more than the tool originally sold for) for coping with the tool's insane guarantee. No one keeps the Warranty paper since it is indecipherable about what it really means. A Warranty card MAY not necessary with Sears Roebuck (now owned as part of that bastion of quality, K-Mart) tools, providing you can read the smallest print and can interpret the Sears "Warranty Change of the Day" and understand the difference between the 6235 makers of Craftsmen products, which might be spelled Craftsman or anything else. There are notable exceptions to Warranties, notable because they are hardly ever noted. Some manufacturer's have talented Warranty Writers on staff, and some of those have been promoted to the top level of their positions due to their ability to write warranties that either mean nothing, or that have special features that allow the product (already designed to fail at a very certain point of time) to be used as a trade-in, for another similar product, with pricing factored into the original Warranty. This is cleverly done by the best Writers, so that customers will purchase the same product, at an increasing price, forever. The very best Writers learned at the feet of a vehicle Battery manufacturer salesman, whose brother was the production design engineer, and whose cousin was the product developer.
Once used for older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 inch socket or wrench you've been searching for, for the last 15 minutes; occasionally they are used to impress people with your background working on unreliable British machinery.
Cleans rust off old bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses from your fingers in about the time it takes you to say "Ouch....". Thrown wires have been known to remove eyesight permanently.
1/2" x 16"-INCH SCREWDRIVER:
A large motor mount and other prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposing the handle.
let's get serious........
I suggest you read the rest of this article, yes, it is long.
You may be thinking of 'jumping in' and purchasing a lot of pricey tools from such as Snap-on. Even if you are planning to be a professional, I do NOT recommend jumping in like that.
If you do not already have a fair collection of good usable tools, then you COULD go to CostCo or similar and purchasing one of the large tool sets for about $100-$150 if you want to make a fast entry into tool ownership. You will STILL have to purchase some tools.
If you want to spend a bit more time, and this will pay-off, I suggest you purchase only what you need to augment what BMW originally provided in the bike's tool tray items. NOTE that some of the tool tray BMW tools are not needed, or not what you should have. Purchase those you are SURE you need, and then add to your collection slowly, as your needs and wants change over the years.
You WILL need a torque wrench. A Sears Craftsman will do fine; a Snap-On is better, but much more expensive. Consider your first torque wrench as a LIFETIME tool, and buy accordingly, if you can. It should read in foot-pounds (perhaps 75 max) and also read in Nm. It can be 3/8 or 1/2 inch drive. Consider selecting the drive size based on any sockets you already own, if extensive. NOTE that it is perfectly OK to purchase used tools, if in good condition, at yard sales. I do NOT suggest that as a good thing for the torque wrench...and I advise buying your torque wrench ONLY as brand-new, because you have no good way of determining how much abuse or accuracy they have.
Many tools at yard sales are worn-out, but sometimes you find tools that are poor-looking because they are somewhat rusty...and a bit of work with a wire brush will make them very usable. These may be available very cheaply.
Put off getting an inch-ounce or inch-pound wrench until it is really going to be needed. Initially, be sure you have basic screwdrivers, basic wrenches, a digital multimeter (even the cheapest or free ones from Harbor Freight are quite adequate), a timing light, feeler gauges and Allen wrenches in metric sizes. You do NOT need expensive tools, except that I would not skimp on the torque wrench, get a decent one. Harbor Freight is NOT the place to purchase a torque wrench. If you intend to open a shop or work for a dealership, you will need more tools. If working for a dealership, you will find the dealership stocks BMW special tools.
****There is more information about what torque wrench to get, at #7, well below, in section PART 2.****
MANY of the BMW-sold tools are NOT expensive....especially
the open end and box end type of wrench....and may be cheaper than
even Sears!....and BMW tools are made of GOOD HARD metal! However, the basic
big set from CostCo will be better in some respects. I do think that you
should have the NEEDED BMW basic tools to carry on the bike, and a large set of
basic tools at home. You can skimp by reducing home tools and using the
BMW bike tools in many instances.
To do a good job use the right tool. Your BMW Airhead came from the factory with a GOOD, made of high quality metals tool kit....with A FEW exceptions. This was especially so for the earlier models. There are SOME exceptions:
(1) The reddish-plastic-handled-screwdriver with the
reversible phillips/conventional tip, was almost cheap junk...but
usable...unless overly torque'd.
Keep it if you want to. LOTS better
screwdrivers available. Note that most of the carburetor top screws
are NOT really true phillips.
See 71-11-1-103-086 well below for deeper discussion.
(2) The BMW provided pliers should be discarded in favor of one more useful and easier to use (the stock one is also typically way too stiffly assembled).
There was a Master Tool Kit, possibly you may have heard it called a PRO tool kit, part 71-11-1-237-840, that had extra items, and some slightly different
versions of the standard tools. This kit would hardly, in its roll
bag, fit your bike's tool tray. DON'T bother purchasing this kit unless you either can't help yourself, or it is amazingly cheap. SOME of the tools in the Master Kit had different COMBINATIONS of SIZES. Some of those
tools later became the standard for the bike's
kits as shipped,
and also in a number of instances, some of the original
standard tools ordering numbers were superseded by the
("super tool kit") part numbers.
Basically, either of those tool kits, regular or Master, are quite adequate for most
or at least many needs. The Master Tool Kit contains too many
little-to-be-used items, and is
really not worth purchasing new. Sometimes there was no visible, or hardly, any difference in the tool...THAT typically comes up
rarely, and usually it is in the instance of the 27/36 mm dogbone tool.
One of the things not so well-known, is that the
Master Tool Kit Professionals' tool set had sockets, a test lamp, etc.
BMW included (in the original owners tools) a BMW printed rag. Also included was a small open end (both ends) wrench. There were TWO versions of this particular wrench. One version was 7 x 9 mm; the other was 7 x 8 mm. I STILL, after all these years, do not have full information on why. BMW did have BOTH of those wrenches in a few tool kits; but usually just one or the other. BMW did the same sort of thing with one other wrench: 10/11mm and 8/10 mm. BMW never included any 9 mm socket in the PRO version. There were some throttle cables with locking nuts with 9, not 10mm size.
To properly maintain your Airhead, you won't need but a modest collection of other tools. You need NOT go overboard on them.
This article lists various tools, and the BMW part numbers where I happen to know them. This article ALSO lists some specialty tools. SOME of these tools really SHOULD be in your bike's tool kit. NOTE that I have made little attempt to check the part numbers with any possible later number changes. Your BMW dealer will do that automatically. The owners set varied over the years. Perhaps you already know that a FEW of the tools were changed a bit, or eliminated. For instance, the /5 had a 'rod' used in adjusting the steering head, which was later dropped because the later steering heads used an improved adjustment method.
The points and valves tool was dropped, after an interim period where it was first modified (with a tool being part of it that adjusted the ATE master cylinder piston stroke). This points and valves and MC tool-in-one is kinda-neat, actually, and takes up very little room in the bike's tool tray. THERE ARE TWO PHOTOS AND FURTHER DESCRIPTION LATER ON IN THIS TOOLS ARTICLE. see: 71-11-9-090-154, below, and paragraph following it too. That tool is still available, even aftermarket.
Part I: Some tools you
can consider, and some that are a waste of money or just NOT needed.
Discussion at various places here in Part 1 on things you need to know.
This is not necessarily a complete list. This is NOT a complete and total list of the tools that came with your bike kit. Pick and choose. Some tools will NOT be applicable to YOUR bike. It is a very good idea, AT HOME!... to inspect your own Airhead and determine just what tools you need at home, and what tools you need on the bike, and in some instances you need two that cover one size (I have some notes later herein about that sort of thing). Note that if you mix American and Metric fittings, which is not a good idea for your bike for several reasons, you may have to carry more tools.
BMW has made hardware changes that WILL, or could, affect what tools you carry. BMW has not announced this. In instances you are purchasing nuts & bolts from BMW, be sure that your new nuts & bolts have the SAME WRENCH SIZE HEADS as your originals. BMW has made changes to SOME head sizes, USUALLY using the same part number. As an example, 18 mm heads, instead of the original 19 mm; 16 mm heads, instead of the original 17. If you find this situation at the dealership, ASK if they have any original 19 or 17 mm; they may be in the same box, as they may have same part number! There is no good reason you should have to carry an 18 mm & 16 mm wrench besides the 19 and 17, if you know about this....and, now you do!
It is BEST to look at catalogs, or see at your dealers screen or the actual tools; or, whatever you have available to you that shows drawings or pictures of any tools, before you go purchasing any. Again, check the sizes of the tools YOU need, and how many of each.
71-11-1-232-356 This wee wrench is
three in one, with a 7 mm and 8 mm at end and middle,
respectively, and an open 9 mm at one end. Not very useful, in actual practice,
except on earliest airheads, somewhat.
71-11-1-237-858 Hook wrench
71-11-9-090-129 Tubular two ended wrench used at the
valve cover acorn nut, & a few other places.
There are much better tools. This tool fits sloppily, but usably at the acorn nut. You
MAY like to have it in the bike tool tray. I think this one was 15 mm and a sloppy
19 mm, if I remember correctly.
Five Allen wrenches follow. You certainly do not need BMW's own, but they are pretty tough.
07-11-9-906-032 8 mm allen wrench; in the Master Tool Kit this was part number 71-11-1-237-849
07-11-9-906-026 6 mm allen wrench; in the Master Tool Kit this was part number 71-11-1-237-850
07-11-9-906-020 5 mm allen wrench; in the Master Tool Kit this was part number 71-11-1-237-851
07-11-9-906-014 4 mm allen....was erroneously sometimes -914 (?), replaced by 71-11-1-237-852
07-11-9-906-008 3 mm allen wrench; in
the Master Tool Kit this was part number 07-11-1-237-853
71-11-1-230-684 special two-ended
(often called a
Dogbone wrench). Fits early 36 mm
fork top caps, early fork top center acorn nut, 27 mm headlight ear 'nuts', & 27 mm
swing arm lock nuts. Replaced by 71-11-1-237-857, basically the SAME
tool. Very tough metal in the flat portion, can be used with a substantial hammer
if using the 36 mm end. The 27 mm end is for emergency use only at the swing arm
nuts, although OK at the headlight ears. The 27 mm end may not fit FULLY
into MOST swing arm lock nut cavities, which MAY have, upon close
inspection, TWO different internal diameters or ridges. Grind the outside
of the 27 mm end of this tool to fit. Be sure the tool fits through the swing arm
cavity hole FULLY, and FULLY and SQUARELY onto the thin nut. Any internal
taper just inside the end of this tubular wrench should be ground away, as the
swing arm nut is thin and you want a solid grip on it. A wee bit of
sanding belt/disc action here is OK...just do it SQUARELY. A second modification to
the dog bone wrench might be considered. Cut a square into it for a 3/8" or 1/2" torque
wrench drive. I NORMALLY DO NOT use the 27 mm end for the swing-arm nuts, as
these nuts need to be torqued to a level more than some of these dogbone tools will
allow before distorting the tool. There is a third modification I do recommend. Grind
the 36 mm end of the wrench for perhaps a total of 90 or 120 degrees circularly across
the top, so that the end of this 36 mm end is somewhat THINNER; this allows this
tool to fit over the top acorn nut withOUT having to remove NOR LOOSEN the
handlebars. See the crudely drawn circled area on the photo below.
At home or in the shop I use a modified 27 mm or 1-1/16" socket for those
swing arm pivot locking nuts...see later in this article for photos and comments on the
***Note: some folks use sockets on the fork tube top nuts. Be cautious, as sockets
are made such that the inside of the working end has a relief taper. I suggest
you sand or use a lathe or grind off the socket end, so it is FLAT, AND
SQUARE, and there is NO inside taper at the end. Failure to do this can let
the socket slip altogether too easily on the nuts, and round their corners.
BMW also made this style of dogbone wrench with
a 41 mm flat end (same 27 mm
hex at other end). Used on some models. 71-11-2-303-517.
Be sure you have the correct wrench for your bike. The 41 mm size is for the Earles
fork BMW's, and for late model Airheads.
This photo is of an UNmodified dogbone wrench.....but a crudely drawn circle shows the general area for thinning the wrench, which I suggest be done on only ONE SIDE of the wrench. Bikes vary some, and you don't need very much thinning. Check on YOUR bike, how much thinning works for you.
This wrench happens to be a 41/27 mm type, but the 36/27 looks the same except the flat end is 36 mm and is stamped 36, not 41.
See part II, below, item #26, for the SOCKET you should have, to fit the 27 mm swing arm nuts, to keep in your home garage tool kit....as it is vastly better than the above dog-bone tool...FOR THAT PARTICULAR PURPOSE.
71-11-9-090-139 Old exhaust pipe hook wrench used for early models through /6. Don't purchase unless
you have the need. You do NOT need THAT wrench!
The best wrench to remove a finned exhaust pipe nut is an AFTERMARKET
type. For emergencies you can purchase a common Strap Wrench at autoparts or
tools stores, but these CAN cause damage to the fins although that that can be
minimized with a bit of old tin can. Some carry some form of exhaust pipe
finned nut wrench in the tool tray on the bike. I NEVER DID.
DO NOT FAIL TO OWN ONE OF THE AFTERMARKET WRENCHES.
I show three good types below. YOU WILL use it at least once a year,
as YEARLY unfastening and retightening of the exhaust finned nuts for
cleaning and applying fresh antiseize compound is a MUST!
The below photo is of a small tool-tray-sized version of a finned wrench, available from
aftermarket suppliers that is used with a square drive socket wrench, so you
have to carry that tool too. I did see an Airhead owner weld a square nub onto
another tool he carried, making it a dual-purpose tool.
To contact cycleworks, use the URL on the photo.
You MAY want to see the contact information in this article, way below, at #20.
Here is an interesting version made by Guy Hendersen,
Here is what I own and use; check with your BMW dealership, and other sources as to where to get one like this. They are substantially-made of cast or forged aluminum. These contact MORE fins, spreading the load better than any of the above others. Works nicely with a BIG hammer, when I need to. I do NOT carry this, or any other, on my bike.
71-11-1-237-855 SHORT tire iron, was replaced by
-871 which is the longer one. I prefer my tool kit to
have TWO short, ONE long. I have been told that BMW discontinued the short
irons. In that instance, I'd purchase and carry THREE long ones. There are
aftermarket tire irons available that are quite good.
Tire repair kit:
Type depends on
whether or not you have tubes in your tires. While you WILL want to
carry a tire repair kit, I recommend against CO2 bottles (ANY size). I HATE those
CO2 cylinders; seldom enough of them with you; and a very small 12 volt compressor,
see below, is VASTLY better. Important is something to de-bead the tire. I have made
tools for this from C-clamps with welded pieces on the anvils, and there are commercial
types available of strong light plastic that are cleverly designed, others are metal and/or
massive. There are some complete kits...well, almost, of tire irons, patches/plugs, glue,
whatever.....available. These may include a cylinder (via spark plug hole) operated air
compressor, and they work fine. You can purchase, very cheaply, under $20, a very
small 12 volt electric compressor; remove the innards including the fan, make a plug for it
to fit your auxiliary jack....or alligator clips to go directly to the battery. BOTH of these
types of compressors...spark plug hole...or electric... are FAR better to have than the
near-worthless BMW hand pump that fit on the rear frame. The electric compressors
are also available for nearly $80, mounted in a modest sized can/box. I think them a
waste of money. You can purchase the small low-cost compressors at such as
WalMart, and then remove and toss the case. WalMart also likely has really small
cased versions that need no modifications except the correct BMW accessory plug (if
you want that). Coleman also sells a small compressor that does not need the case
removed. For some other ideas on tire repairs....see: http://www.stopngo.com
StopnGo plugs don't work exceptionally well with steel corded tires, but if you ream
the hole really well on those tires, you can use them, but be prepared to replace the
plugs if on a long trip.
Be sure that if you use the cylinder spark plug
hole style of compressor, the compressor
hose is long enough. Do NOT forget a bead-breaker.....unless you are confident of using
your foot (never good for me, I weigh 150)....or one side of the center-stand or the
side-stand, etc. Be SURE you have practiced! There are quite a few types of
bead-breakers on the market. I prefer my homemade one, made from a very large
C-clamp, with some added curved pieces welded to the anvils....same shape as the
wheel rim edge...so it fits the tire right next to the rim.
71-11-1-230-752 The stock
standard on bike tool bag
itself. This is the one to get if you want one.
The larger bag for the master tool kit was 71-11-1-237-870.
71-11-1-103-092 Pliers w/side cutter. Also there is the 71-11-1-237-861 a side cutter only tool.
For both, there are better ones from most hardware stores, even Harbor Freight!
I really prefer a good heavier-duty side cutter pliers and a good old-fashioned pump
pliers. Consider having a side cutter and slip-joint type called a Channel-Lock.
NOTE: BMW's version of the Channel-Lock is 71-11-1-237-862, which replaced
71-11-9-090-154 Feeler gauge & ATE master cylinder adjustment gauge set. This is a small riveted-together
multi-tool item, of good quality. You don't have to have this tool but these are nice and SMALL.
Particularly convenient if you have have ignition POINTS where you have little room to work in.
For adjusting the valves, a common set of feeler gauges, in 'go, no-go', is nicer. However,
you CAN use this BMW tool for the valves. MANY FOLKS PREFER THIS BMW TOOL!
Minimalists carry just this BMW small standard feeler blades tool. You could also just
disassemble any common feeler-gauge set & carry just the minimum. Sizes you would
want are ~ .017" (if you have points), .004" or .005" and one of .008"or .009" for
setting valves. A gauge for spark plugs is part of the -154 tool. I personally prefer
the round circle type of spark plug tool, which has graduated hard wires, they include a
bending tool. Those ARE better, wires do a much more accurate job on worn spark plugs
as the grounding electrode gets concaved as the spark plug gap wears.
NOTE, however, that I highly recommend you do NOT EVER change the gap of
USED spark plugs. Even if used just once. Once a spark plug is run, the ground
electrode metal undergoes a change, and if you try to bend it, you may weaken it;
there have been instances of electrodes breaking off & doing internal engine damage.
The later version of this BMW tool has a gauge for the ATE master cylinder that
is under the fuel tank. ATE Master Cylinders require an adjustment, which was done
with a special U-shaped flat metal tool, that BMW provided in the owner's tools. This tool
sets the master cylinder (located UNDER the fuel tank for THESE ATE models) piston
FOR THE FREE PLAY AT THE BARS LEVER. HOWEVER, the real purpose of the tool
is to be sure the piston in the master cylinder sticks outwards JUST the correct amount,
so the bleed-back hole in the MC is not 'covered'. The handlebars lever free play, which
is not critical, is to be 0.16" to 0.24", as measured where the lever end contacts the casting.
When the lever is not under hand pressure, the BARS lever end CONTACTS the bars casting;
just to make this measured point clear in your mind. To set this bar lever free-play, by
some published methods, you must remove the fuel tank, and insert the special tool
(pry off the rubber cover) into the master cylinder after loosening the cable adjuster locknut
located at the MC. There is a groove in the MC piston for this gauge. Adjust so the tool is
JUST free to move, then tighten the locknut. There is nothing OVERLY critical about this tool,
but it should be flat, smooth, and the thickness fairly close to the original. I measured an
original one, in case you want to duplicate it: The thickness of the metal is fairly important,
the original one was 0.046"THICK. The tool length is not important, the original was about 2".
The width of the tool was 0.592". The slot in the tool's long end was to a depth of 0.642"
with a full radius at the bottom; the slot width was 0.363". It is certainly possible to do the
adjustment without the tool. You can also make the tool of different dimensions,
just keep the THICKNESS. NOTE that you can adjust the master cylinder so the bars lever
has more free play, for smaller or less muscular hands.
makes a round cylindrical tool for help in setting the pre-1979 points.
Nice goody, not absolutely necessary, but loved by many. The photo, below, is of a similar points
tool, this one came from
It includes the points gap feeler gauge.
The dimensions of the tools has varied a bit between who made them.
They need to fit smoothly and not excessively tight...nor too loose.
Typically the tool is 0.472" OD and 0.344" ID. I've seen the ID be
up to perhaps 0.352". Got a lathe? Make one.
Below is a photo of the original and still made tool by Paul Tavenier, shown on Cycleworks.net website, but made by Paul.
classic BMW tire pump that fit on the frame. You will find this strictly a
item, as it is a hassle to use...can take an hour to pump up a tire & you risk bending
the valve stem. Preferable is the spark plug adapter type of pump, or, especially,
the $12 WalMart or other 12 volt Chinese-made compressors as noted well above.
51-25-1-238-375 Cable lock. Fits in the frame tube under the tank. Plenty of choices on the market.
71-11-1-103-086 Screwdriver. Phillips and
standard. The cross-point tip is NOT a Pozidriv nor a Reed
and Prince tip. The Reed and Prince, AKA Frearson, has a 75° angle, and thus 1
screwdriver generally can be used with all types of matching screw sizes. It does NOT
cam-out (slip) like the Phillips does. BMW's red-plastic-handled screwdriver that is
in the BMW on-bike tool kit, the one with the reversible insert, probably Heyco
Germany brand, IS FLIMSY, BREAKS, USUALLY NOT THE CORRECT TOOL
for the carburetor tops!!!....this tool is, instead, a common Phillips!! There are
better, stronger, better fitting choices than the BMW screwdriver, but it is difficult to find
a screwdriver that is small, and has both Phillips/Pozi and standard slot ends, and fits
your tool bag for the on-bike kit. Some folks purchase one of the SnapOn types, with
assorted hardened magnetic tips that fit inside the handle. If you have the room &
budget, the Snap-On is a QUALITY tool, the hardened tips versions LAST.
Be sure you have the proper size tips...many come only with a relatively narrow single
blade size tip. The proper Phillips size is #2. BMW carb top "Phillips" screws may
not really be Phillips screws, they MAY just look that way. They could be Phillips,
OR could be 'Pozi (Posi)' type. The aircraft tip called Reed & Prince (also known
as Frearson) works nicely on the Posi screws....as, of course, does the real
Posi tool. The Pozi tip is EXCELLENT for REMOVING the Phillips type, if the
Phillips is very tight. I recommend you have just the Pozi type. If the screws are
frozen, you can try a variety of ideas, see my carb articles. These include valve
grinding compound for a better grip, a metal block underneath and an Impakt
Driver, etc. Snap-On does sell the Pozi tool. The only critical 'Phillips'
looking type screw on our Airheads is the screws used on the top of the Bing CV
carburetors. Some have installed Allen head screws at the carb tops. They are
OK, but don't over-tighten, as many of these have a very small Allen and can
round-out more easily. I mildly dislike Allen's there. Some carbs had common
single slot screws. BMW and Bing may have shipped EITHER Pozi or Phillips
screws......be sure that your 'screwdriver' REALLY fits them, and you may want
to obtain a Pozi #2 or Reed and Prince screwdriver #2 or tip. Remove the
screws one at a time, coat the threads...and taper...with antiseize....and replace
the screws. ....you will appreciate that hint, later on.
The Pozi screws
generally have some radiating lines to indicate they
are not Phillips type.
Little known fact: Phillips screws and screwdrivers were DESIGNED to not allow
over-torquing. They are designed so the screwdriver will SLIP
(called Camming- out) after a certain amount of torque is applied. This is pretty
crude! It is done by the angles on the tip and tines sides...hard to see.
Here are photos of the Pozi-Driv screw, and the screwdriver tip. Note the differences from of the Phillips and the Reed and Prince. Note that in the right photo of the Phillips and the Reed and Prince, that the ANGLE of the sides is different. Note the sharp TIP on the Reed and Prince (also called a Frearson).
71-11-1-237-854 PIN (also called a
drift). You need one of these for the holes in your
and miscl. uses. Some folks have sharpened one end to a point, other end to a sharp
chisel-scraper, having three tools in one. I don't, as I like to use the drift as a drift.
You can use a fat screwdriver blade instead, for turning your tubular wrenches.
71-11-1-237-856 two-ended socket (tubular) wrench, also see 71-11-9-090-105
71-11-1-237-859 point contacts file.
Don't bother owning this. Filing points is an emergency
fix, and I do
NOT recommend it except for that emergency use.
71-11-1-237-860 tire gauge, pencil type. Don't bother with the BMW tool. Are better choices.
71-11-1-237-863 test lamp, called a Control Lamp by BMW. Don't bother getting the
BMW tool. You
can get a simple test lamp with alligator clip on the long lead and a sharp point on the
end, from any autoparts store or Harbor Freight for ~$2 to $3. Don't get the type that contains a battery, you
will find little use for that. CARRY this tool on the bike and LEARN HOW TO USE IT!
You don't need a multimeter to carry on the bike. If you want one, get a Radio
Shack 22-812 or similar, that folds up and is small. You can also use one from
Harbor Freight. Many multimeters do not have high ampere ranges, or none at all,
but the meters usually will do everything you mostly ever need.
71-11-1-230-000 This thin round rod was
used on the OLD /5 style steering head clamp arrangement, to
hold the collar. You don't need this and COULD substitute an allen wrench already in the
kit. The /5 parts can be replaced by the /6 type parts, and the steering head is
then easier to adjust, that modification IS recommended by me.
71-11-1-237-872 15 mm x 17 mm fork ring wrench
71-11-1-237-864 through -869: These are
a ratchet handle drive, sockets and extension, and there is NO
reason to purchase them nor to carry them in your bike tool kit. You probably have
similar or better tools from other manufacturer's anyway. The sockets were, in mm
sizes: 13, 12, 10, 6. That makes them of little use anyway.
71-11-1-237-841 7 mm x 8 mm open end wrench
71-11-1-237-842 10 mm x 11 mm open end wrench
71-11-1-237-843 12 mm x 13 mm open
07-11-9-999-119 12 mm x 14 mm open end wrench
NOTE that you need TWO
wrenches, at the same time, to set the valve clearances:
71-11-1-237-844 14 mm x 17 mm wrench. GET TWO, carry both.
71-11-1-237-845 17 mm x 19 mm wrench. GET TWO, carry both.
71-11-1-237-846 24 mm wrench
71-11-1-237-847 10 x 12 box end wrench, which replaces 71-11-1-230-579
71-11-1-237-848 19 x 22 box end wrench. You MIGHT want two.
Alternator rotor removal tool: ALWAYS carry this alternator rotor removal tool unless you have such as a EnDuraLast alternator. Either get the official BMW tool, 88-88-6-123-600, or get a good substitute from the aftermarket....or make one. DO NOT!!....use any homemade tool unless it is made of TOUGH, HARDENED METAL. The photo below shows three types of these tools. The factory tool is similar to the left two types shown. Those are grade 8.8 hardened, and so marked on the heads. The right-most tool is simply a hardened bolt in grade 8.8, and a hardened roller bearing, used as a spacer pin. Various bolts with or without a hardened pin can be used. It is CRITICAL that these parts all be hardened steel. The grade should be 8.8 or stronger. 8.8 bolts are very commonly available, and sometimes 10.9 or even harder. If you do NOT use a hardened tool it may BEND inside of the rotor, and now you are in DEEP trouble.
Part II: Tools you MIGHT want, that are also not necessarily in your on-bike toolkit.
1. 8 mm SMALL wrench, combination type
(that means a 8 mm box end on one end...preferably a 12
point, but harder to find?), and a 8 mm open end on the other end. You MAY want to BEND this
wrench with an oxyacetylene torch. Use for the diode board nuts and inside the case nuts (if present)
I carry this one. BUT, see item 2, below....
2. SpinTite (or equivalent brand) TUBULAR wrench, 8 mm
hex size 'female socket' on end of the barrel,
usually with a wood or plastic handle but METAL handle is better. You might be able to substitute SOME
types of 1/4" drive 8 mm sockets, or modify such. I modify the working end of my tubular wrench,
so there is NO internal taper that would prevent its use on a very thin nut. I also grind the
outside diameter down a fair amount because I use this tool in tight quarters. Check your
diode board nuts to be sure your tool does or does not require modifications. This tool is useful
not only for the diode board outer (forward) nuts, but in removing other nuts. This type of tool is quite
useful for the alternator brush holder, for instance. A T-handle type is fine but does not fit in the tool
tray as nicely.
3. 36 mm socket, SQUARED-OFF at
the working end as shown below. This eliminates the internal taper
at that end. Do this on a lathe, unless you are good at grinding or sanding, as the end MUST BE FLAT
AND SQUARE. See notes on the photo. The comment about pressuring is because the fork springs
are often under pressure during installation of the top cap, and hard to push down. You do not have to
have the wood piece.
4. 88-88-6-002-560 or equivalent BMW tool
to allow a torque wrench to properly fit the driveshaft bolts at
the transmission output flange. Home tool. The BMW-sold tool consists of a 3/8" square drive female
part with a slit in the side. Pressed and brazed into that slit is a 12 point 10 mm off-set box end
wrench. That wrench was simply a double ended wrench of some sort, cut to be shorter, one end
discarded. When using this tool, normally use it straight-out with the torque wrench, NOT at any angle to the
torque wrench. The center-to-center distance of the working ends of this tool, compared
mathematically to the distance between the working center of the torque wrench square drive and the
center of pressure of the torque wrench handle, will determine the setting BELOW the official torque
amount (29 footpounds) that you must set the wrench to. In ALL cases, the torque wrench will be set
to LESS than 29 ftlbs! ...if the wrench is used straight out. HOWEVER, if the tool is at 90° to the
tubular torque wrench, there is NO correction needed.
The truth of the matter is that 'A Good Grunt' is all that is
needed on any hand wrench on these bolts.
You can use the dual box wrench (10/12mm), with your glove, and easily get the 29 ftlbs.
I have the threads clean and dry and one drop of Loctite BLUE on the threads.
NOTE: Old Airheads used a split washer under the bolt head. If you have them, remove the
bolts and washers and get new BMW shorter bolts and do NOT use any washer.
Details on this website: CLICK
Here's a HINT!....if you don't want to purchase a -560 tool, or a Snap-On adapter, etc., here is how to get by for ZERO cost: Dig into your tool drawer for a combination 10 mm wrench. That means it has a 10 mm 12 point box end and the other end is an open wrench. If you are VERY lucky, you have a more rare wrench, that is 10 mm box at one end and 11 mm box at the other end. That is a preferred wrench for this hint: The 10 mm end fits the driveshaft bolts. If the other end is a 10 mm open end, simply use that with the 3/8" drive of the torque wrench, and do not let it slip out while in use. You need to use the length of the addition (BUT note: straight out for calculations, 90° for NO calculations).
If you have the rare 10mm/11mm dual box end, the 11 mm BOX end fits the 3/8" square drive of the torque wrench.
I prefer the tool below, or its home-made equivalent. You CAN use the dual box-end wrench in the on-bike tool tray, with a rag to protect your hand and a GOOD GRUNT.
5. 6 mm and 8 mm male Allen Wrenches with 3/8"
square drives. The 6mm one is used for adjusting the
swing arm with your torque wrench. The 8 mm one is used at the lower triple clamp bolts. Home
Piston ring compressors: One of the
ways of installing pistons is to insert them into the cylinders
only the hole for the piston pin is showing, then install the pin and its locks. Another method is to leave
the piston on the rod when a cylinder is R/R. You need strong fingernails to compress the rings, and
must do so carefully in any event...you do not want to break the fragile rings or damage a piston.
Many prefer a ring compressor tool. If you are likely to almost never need a ring compressor more
than once, and are a cheapskate (perfectly OK in my book), then you can make one from a strip you
cut from a metal coffee can; or, use a very large band clamp, etc. If you want a real ring
compressing tool, I highly suggest you get one that allows it to be used even when the cylinder is partly
onto the studs. That means a compressor with detachable bands. A nice tool is made by KD Tools,
their model 850, a set of bands and handle with excellent adjustability. About $50-$60 when
discounted...do an internet search.
7. Torque wrenches. For your first one, get a GOOD QUALITY tubular 'clicker'. Don't skimp on
quality...you need this wrench to be reliable, accurate and to last a lifetime. Bottom reading of zero
or maybe 5 to 8 foot-pounds is OK, top reading of 75 (75 best) to 100 foot-pounds is OK. DO NOT
get this wrench with a top reading over 100 foot-pounds. I recommend EITHER a half inch drive, and
obtain a 1/2 to 3/8 inch square drive adapter; or, a 3/8 drive torque wrench, with a 3/8 to 1/2 adapter.
You will also want a 6 inch or so extension (male-female) in the same drive as the torque wrench. This
allows you to space the torque wrench outward if you need to....even if you already have deep-well
sockets. If you already have an old BEAM type torque wrench, that is fine but if not a good
DIAL-beam type, you should NOT use it for critical things like head nuts; ... SO...if you have a
Professional beam type with a round DIAL, that is great.
You can use just about any type of torque wrench for such as the swing arm locking nuts as the settings are not critical.
Some tubular clicker wrenches are hard to read; best to get one with TWO WINDOWS readouts...one
in ftlbs, one in Nm. SOME have awful faint clicks at low settings. Do NOT trust tubular clicker
wrenches at the lower end of the adjustment range....that means under about 8% of the
I DISlike the ones with chromed &
lightly engraved or stamped tubes that are hard to read;.... you do
NOT want to make a mistake in reading one! STORE your torque wrench at a LOW setting, but not
below on-scale. Three articles are on this website on torque wrenches and torque
settings: #71A, 71B, 71C.
Some folks use a torque wrench at places I use hand-feel, and you may need a
more sensitive wrench,
such as a inch-pound wrench for a few uses. I tighten pan bolts and ignition ATU nuts by hand, as two
examples. If someone was to do the final tightening with a torque wrench, they should not try to using
a 8-75 footpound torque wrench, but, instead, use one that was clearly in its range for 72 INCHpounds,
for example for pan bolts. Thus, while you really must have a 75 or 100 ftlb maximum torque wrench,
whether or not you own a small lower range wrench is up to you. I have found that for an inch-pound
wrench that is very rarely used, that the cheap ones from such as Harbor Freight are adequate and
vastly less expensive than top-of-the-line wrenches such as from Snap-On. However, I have had
reports of BAD ones from Harbor Freight....but you can check the calibration yourself, rather easily.
8. Tool to hold crankshaft from moving
forward. If you remove your flywheel for any
reason, be sure to
set the engine to OT (top dead center, Oberer Totpunkt) first, and be sure that OT is STILL in the
timing window when replacing the flywheel. It is a MUST to mechanically block the crankshaft
from moving forward before removing a flywheel. This can be done in several ways, I recommend you
do NOT use a towel or stuffed-rag in the timing chest! One of the neatest methods (I invented this
one) is to just make a tool out of a piece of 6 mm Allen wrench material, and weld a 1" (or so) steel
disc or 'fender washer', maybe 1/16" thick, onto one side, making the length such that its Allen end fits
into the alternator bolt, and the disc end presses against the outer timing chest cover. Usually 3/4 inch
overall...>BUT>> The length should be such that some light pressure can applied by the cover, the
cover being screwed back onto the engine LIGHTLY, and the cover can't quite fully be brought back to
the engine surface due to this tool's length. This is for your home tools...but....since so small, you
could carry it in the tool tray on the bike, but you are UNlikely to ever need it while touring unless
to help someone else with a major problem. Weld it squarely to the straight piece of 6 mm Allen
wrench. The last time I made one of these, I made it to fit my 1983 and 1984 R100RT bikes, and the
OVERALL length actually was 3/4". There is a cautionary article on this website, dealing just with that
crankshaft problem, with additional details in case you accidentally (?) goof-up.
go to: article #81, here is a direct clickable link: flywheelremovalwarning.htm
This is the tool I invented and made for myself and a few others.
Don't want to make that tool? Here is another type: Just use a 8 mm bolt, screw it into the rotor, and leave enough of the bolt sticking out of the rotor, so that the front cover will bear on it.
9. A small digital volt-ohm-diode test
meter. Radio Shack maybe still sells one that folds up,
has its own leads, & might even fit the tool tray. I especially liked their model 22-812.
Also, see top of the electrical hints page: CLICK! Harbor Freight has meters that are accurate and cheap.
You can get some tiny alligator clips that push onto meter leads, and they may fit in the case.
If you do NOT have a meter in your tool tray on the bike, DO get a pointy tip test lamp (photo
about half-way down from the top in this TOOLS article) but any old lamp with leads will do in a
pinch. I prefer the real store-bought type. The test lamp will do almost all you really might need
to do for electrical work on the road. You don't need a multimeter.
For lots more information, please see the multimeters article: multimeters.htm
10. You won't find a lot of need for this
one, but when you need it, it is a tool to have at home, you
cuss without it. This is a tool called an impact driver. The brand I have is named IMPAKDRIVER,
made by the H.K. Porter company. This neat gadget is hit with a metal hammer, while you hold
the selectable rotational direction CW or CCW pressure on the tool. The hammer blow
pushes/holds strongly the tool tip (lots of tips available) into the screw or whatever, and the internal
hidden CAM of the tool causes rotation. This tool was a MUST with old Japanese bikes, using it with
CCW force for LOOSENING. With a few assorted bits you will find it valuable when needed. Use
this one VERY CAUTIOUSLY on such as carburetor top screws (don't break the carburetor!
support the area!). Good for nuts, SOMETIMES, and not just screws. I get this tool out BEFORE
I round out a screw head.
11. T-handled Allen wrenches, with fairly
long Allen shanks. Get a small assortment of these, you
need any larger than 6 mm. Do NOT get the cheap plastic handled ones, get the METAL handled
types. Most plastic handled ones are not good and will eventually slip. BUY QUALITY. You will have
these for a lifetime and WILL find these valuable. It is up to you if the tips are the ball type Allen or
regular Allen. The ball type seem more versatile but I am not pleased with some for strength and
toughness. I DO use the ball type for the screws at the oil filter cover, when they are not hexhead.
T-handled tools are usually for your home shop. SOME folks carry one of these, and a shortened L
allen wrench, on long tours, needed when changing the oil filter. You can drill the RT fairing for one
of those screws if it is hard to get to. T-handled tools are also made in socket ends, turning them
into tubular wrenches. Be sure the inside depth is good enough.
12. Jumper wires. Keep
these two items in your bike tool tray. You need
two types. The first type is
used to bypass the voltage regulator. It can be 4 or 5 inches of insulated stranded wire, 18 ga is OK,
nothing critical here. At each end put a MALE standard 1/4" spade connector. The second jumper
wire is a test lead jumper. Make this with a standard medium size alligator clip at each end (rubber
boot insulator covered). Maybe 3 feet to 6 feet long.
13. deleted on purpose at this time
14. You can substitute certain sizes of
tools, SOMETIMES. Here are ones to try. Especially since many tools
are not perfect in their size. I've even seen folks purposely modify extra wrenches they had....and grind the number
off the wrench, and etch the new size onto the wrench.
8 mm, which is .315", try 5/16" which is .3125"
11 mm, which is .433", try 7/16" which is .4375"
13 mm, which is .512", try 1/2" which is 0.500"
16 mm, which is .630", try 5/8" which is .625"
17 mm, which is .669", try 11/16" which is .6875"
19mm, which is .748", try 3/4 inch which is .750"
27 mm, which is 1.06", try 1-1/16" which is 1.0625"
30 mm, which is 1.81", try 1-3/16" which is 1.875"
15. A credit card and a
phone card and maybe a cell phone. NOTE!.....any old
cell-phone, whether you
have a cell-phone paid service OR NOT, can be used to dial 911 for emergencies. Emergencies are
not that you need gasoline or have a flat tire. Used cell phones for such uses are often available
16. Spark plug shorting
tools. Information AND PHOTO on those, utilized when
will be found in the synchcarbs.htm article (that is a hyperlink).
17. You may have reason to remove & replace a pin contact
in one of BMW's connectors. BMW has a
tool for this: 88-88-6-611-132. -131 and -133 are also pin removal tools. These tools are $$.
If you are careful, you can use something like a very thin Jeweler's screwdriver or modified thin
finishing nail to, from the wire end, release the wee tab that sticks out & locks the pins into position to
a corresponding notch in the inner body of the connector. The -132 tool, the only one I have specs
for, has a 3.75 mm plunger diameter and a 3.9 mm ID barrel...that is 3.9 mm x 4.4 mm OD. I do not
own this tool. I use a thin jewelers screwdriver or a shaved nail.
18. Making a CHEAP and
useful hydraulic bottle jack modification: see article
#63 (yes, that is a
19. Go to one or more local heating contractors, until you find a cooperative one ("sure, you can have an
old squirrel cage motor, for free"). Heating/cooling contractors are always removing old home
heaters and installing new heaters. MOST of these old heaters contain a perfectly good motor, that
has its shaft coming out both ends, and the shafts have mounted to them squirrel-cage type rotary
blade fans. There is a surrounding metal shrouding that you also want...it is all one assembly, and
mostly that assembly is inside the old heater sheet metal case, which you will have to remove. Most
of these motors are substantial capacitor-start types, with plug tap selection for speeds. Adapt a
power cord. Make up some sort of simple wood piece to keep your new ENGINE COOLING FAN
from rolling about on your garage floor and maybe to aim the fan air output slightly upward. You
now have have an adjustable output high volume fan. Put some chicken wire over the intake ends of
the fan, held by sheet metal screws, to prevent things in your shop, like rags, or your dog/cat, from
flying into the fans. The lowest speed setting is usually the correct one. This fan is VERY useful
during synchronizing carburetors (after a 10 mile warmup), and for cooling your bike off rapidly for
20. Cylinder stud threads repairs and ring compressors, and a lot more.....etc...:
Ed Korn previously did business as Cycle Works, in Oregon (the town name is Oregon in the State of
Wisconsin). He did machine work, designed & made LOTS of tools (& some parts) for everything from
the Isetta cars through the /2 era & for all Airheads. Some were VERY cleverly designed, & he had
instructions, videos, ... all sorts of stuff.
Doing a run-through of the website is informative to many
folks. Ed sold the business to Dan Neiner, who runs it as Cycle Works LLC, located at 5805 Haskins
Street, Shawnee, KS, 66216 (913) 871-6740. Dan@cycleworks.net ((NOT .com!!)). The url is:
http://cycleworks.net/ ((NOT .com!!)) Dan Neiner will sell.....or loan-out.... his version of the
cylinder stud hole thread repair TOOL & Helicoil items for $45. I suggest you review what is on that
website. I am not sure if photos are on the present website, of all of the tools.
See other areas of my website about Ed. Also see #22 below.
Jeff Trapp email@example.com http://www.northwoodsairheads.com:80/ has a number of interesting
tools for Airheads. Take a look at that website. There is further information in my REFERENCES article
on Jeff....he also does repairs, inspections, instruction on repairs. Jeff has his own tools, some look very
close to the ones that Ed Korn developed.
Note: Jeff will sell repair tooling, but he also has available a complete "loaner" kit...everything, jigs,
BMW longer helicoil, drill, tap, etc.....for repairing bad cylinder stud hole threads.
NOTE: ALL these particular thread repair tools (Ed Korn's AND Jeff's) were probably originally inspired by the
one's made by John Chay. The background of the cylinder stud thread repair tools goes back
to around the year 2000. Oak (Orlando Okleshen, THE airhead GURU in the USA) and Oak's
precision-machinist friend, made a very precise tooling/jig for this job. This tooling became
the basis for the ones made by EdKorn, and Jeff Trapp.
Yours truly, Snowbum, had his own version, in the seventies, made from a bad cylinder &
hardened drill guides. I have made tooling to repair bad threads at the cases, where the 4
cylinder studs fasten. You can make your own if you have the machinery. Use a lathe to cut
off and machine an old bad cylinder so as to save the BASE; then get some long commercial
and hardened drill guides, drill and ream the base holes as required. Install at exactly exactly
90 degrees. You can have these drill guides as two each and only two base holes machined,
and the guides can be a smooth finger-press fit. Stud centers are 93 mm x 72 mm, and if
you want to have the spigots, note that there are early sizes of 97 mm, and later sizes of 99
mm. Unless you have the machinery to make things in a precise manner, you are best advised
to see the above sources, to purchase or rent.
High Precision Devices (HPD) of Boulder, Colorado, has its own
version of the thread repair
tool. Very nice it is too, and uses proprietary inserts. www.hpd-online.com/
Click at top of page Other Products, for the drop-down list for this tool (303) 447-2558
Another source, limited, but has a few tools you may be interested in....and he has a kit to fix
seat hinge problems (also see #31 below), is: http://www.culayer.com/Joes_tools.htm
WARNING! There have been instances of badly damaged motors from failure to remove all chips from
drilling and tapping operations.... from the engine block, .....and from the oil pan! Remove pan and clean out;
Clean the threaded holes from inside not just outside.
21. Tool for the conrod bolts: This is a 10 mm triple-fluted tool, which looks something like a Torx.
One description of this tool, the one NAPA uses, is "10 mm, 12 point, fluted wrench".
You will use this tool with a 13 mm or 1/2" socket. The NAPA part number for the tool is #2305.
22. PULLERS: On later wheels to 1984, outer races
are removed mechanically & hubs are NOT heated for this,
although modest heat is not injurious. An exception is the 1978 REAR DRUM BRAKE SNOWFLAKE
WHEEL. Earlier wheels MUST be heated. Contact cycleworks, see #20, above, for a clever tool for removing the
wheel bearing outer races (also works for swing arm bearing outer races); or, have a mechanic with
the correct puller; even a dealership; do it for you. For those with larger wallets, get the Kukko
puller, which works well in such blind holes, where the inner edge of the outer race is not easily
grippable...usually due to it having the same diameter as the surrounding supporting metal. The
Kukko needed is #21/5, used with the #22/2 'bridge'. With a 21/6 puller, same bridge, you can do
the steering head bearings.
NOTE REGARDING PULLERS: You may have occasion to remove a seal; or a bearing, etc.
The Kukko tools, above, are nice, but if your wallet is small, you might be interested in cheaper
items. For SEALS, such as for the crankshaft seal, transmission input shaft seal, and many
others, you may be able to use a small punched hole in the metal seal, and screw-in a drywall
or sheet metal type screw, and pry on it. Often some HEAT helps. You might want to purchase
a cheap seal puller, like the Lisle 58430, check the Internet for that cheap tool.
Harbor Freight also has an inexpensive equivalent for the above BLIND HOLE puller.
I do not know if they sell kits with attachments that are large enough.. adapters?.....
to fit such as the outer races in the wheels. Harbor Freight does have an inexpensive
seal puller, like the Lisle. Here is a photo of their SEAL puller:
23. Various types of rubber
tipped tools are available for greasing the swing arm, via
greasing into the
Allen wrench hex recess of the adjustor pin. See chainsaw dealers for a chain saw greasing
tool. Napa sells a rubber tipped air blow gun nozzle #90-583. Napa also has a replacement tip
715-1201 which is for the 715-1217. They carry a couple other types of tip tools, one of which can
use the 715-1217. These are actually greasing tool items.
There is a factory tool to help line up the clutch disc.
You don't have to have one, as your eyeball
is good enough. CycleWorks probably has one available. You can also get them from a few other
sources. www.wirewerkes.com has several versions.
If you want to make this type of tool, here is MY version:
The tool, overall, is
roughly 133 mm long. Starting
at the taper tip: The non-tapered portion of the
tip is 8.2 mm diameter and 5 mm long. The taper is a simple rounding, or, just do a 90° tip, not
sharp though. So, with taper, the tip is a tad longer than 5mm...maybe 8 or 10 or whatever Back
of the tip is the second section: 29 mm long by 20.7 mm in diameter. The 'handle' portion is 95 mm
long and 22 mm in diameter.
Hyperlink to a drawing/sketch of this tool, for your machinist (or?) : ClutchTool.pdf
Here is a photo of
some of the factory clutch/flywheel removal tools, AND, of that clutch disc alignment
tool. Clutch release tools are not needed for the 1981+ type
25. Homemade universal shock absorber tool.
Simple adapters to fit the coils are not shown here.
NOTE!...you do NOT have to have this tool.
YOU CAN make a quite adequate one from TWO round "Floor Flanges"
which you can get from any plumbing or hardware store.
With two pieces of all-thread; some nuts and washers, that
is all you need. For some shocks, you bore/drill out the center
hole in the floor flanges some.
You do NOT need the mounting eye holder and the plate, marked
in red in the below photo, which is in MY slightly more fancy tool. You will
save a lot of effort by just buying the floor flanges. I happened
to have metal, and machinery to make what is below, you do
NOT NEED TO!
If you want the cat's meow tool, get an Ohlins shock absorber tool.
BTW...in the below photo of a quickie one I made, the top plate is flat, not counter-bored below.
I did not have a lathe nor mill available to me at the time. By making the underside of the plate have a
milled area that is of approximately the diameter of the spring diameter, yet that lathe made or milled area
is on the underside ONLY, then the top plate will not 'walk' from the spring moving sideways,
which is a Pain In The Ass using my tool without it. Make the top plate of rather thick material,
aluminum is OK, half-inch or more is a good thickness, and add the underside counterbore area....you
will be GLAD you did. If making another top plate today, I'd use my lathe, probably make it 3/4" thick aluminum,
and with a pretty goodly deep counterbore area.
26. 27 mm or 1-1/16" socket 1/2" square drive. Modified. Home tool. This is for the swing arm nuts
and you MUST modify the socket OD, and square the end (eliminates the internal taper).
12 point is FAR better...as the outer walls are much stronger after modifications. Use a lathe, or
grind, sand, etc., the open 12 point end, so that there is NO internal taper at the very end, in other
words, square that end off. BE SURE that it is SQUARE to the main body.....you don't want it fitting
poorly onto the thin nut of the swing arm. Do this step first. THEN: Use a lathe, or grinding wheel,
etc., and make the O.D. 1.35" for a distance of ~11/16" from the 12 point end. This is not critical,
but the diameter must be small enough to allow the socket to fit into your airhead swing arm frame
cavity...past the TWO diameters in there (on most).
This is a FAR better tool than trying to use the 27 mm tubular end of the dogbone wrench!!!
A 1-1/16th inch socket will also fit properly, if modified in the same way as in the photo below.
NOTE: You do not have to use a 1/2" square drive, you CAN use a 3/8" square drive, if that is what your sockets and wrench is already.
28. I am sometimes asked about how to deal with the /7
type fork lowers, with the 13 mm nut with the
Allen wrench hex in the middle. If you try to loosen the nut, and then the allen rotates...blah blah.
I have two solutions. One is to modify a deep socket for a slot along the side.
The other is to purchase an offset socket wrench. McMaster-Carr has one, item 7247A52.
29. Type of broken screw/bolt extractor that I use. Don't know the name of this type, but it does not
break like a real EZ-OUT brand long removing tool does. SNAP-ON has SIMILAR extractors.
Ask me about proper usage of these types of tools, and when to use a Dremel, or when to use
an Electric Discharge Machining (EDM). I have used EZ-OUTS, and many others, successfully.
You can too, if you are LUCKY and CAREFUL.
30. 11-42-1-335-394 special 23 mm bolt
for filling the thermostat/cooler during oil changes where
you ARE changing the oil filter. Using this tool will prevent the rare damage to a cooler radiator
from high impulse pressures at engine startup, usually when the oil is very cold.
****Do NOT use if longer than 23 mm!!! MUST have a full radius nose!
In the below photo, the short (23 mm) and PROPER bolt, marked 23 mm, actually
under the head to the tip, 0.918". The longer, WRONG bolt, measured 1.184" from under the head
to the tip. THE LONGER ONES WERE ALSO MADE BY BMW AND ARE NOT TO BE USED!
Both bolts are shown with the noses rounded (radius'd). This is
necessary, and even a slight bit
more is nicer. THE NOSE MUST NOT BE SHARP, not even close to that! I like the nose a bit
31. Another source for tools: http://www.culayer.com/Joes_tools.htm
Limited number of items, but includes a seat hinge fix; some specialty wrenches and sockets, etc.
....I do SUGGEST you look; and his prices are quite reasonable.
When adjusting the valves on pre-1985 models, it can be
helpful, when adjusting rocker end play, to
have a couple of very simple washer tools made up. A photo of these, and how to use them, is in
the setvalves.htm article.
33. Tools for emergency shifting of the 5 speed transmission when the pawl spring breaks:
This is a tool I MIGHT recommend for riders that are world adventure travelers.
34. A tool rarely needed, is a mandrel for installing pushrod tubes. Seibenrock makes a pushrod tube mandrel...I have NOT inspected one of these.
35. Degree wheels and piston stops: You may never have a need for these. If you do, you will find description
and photos, here: F,OT,S,Z.htm
NOTE: Very special tools are used for certain jobs. Generally speaking, if there is an article on my website needing a very specific tool, the tool is in that article. Sometimes you can borrow a tool that you need perhaps once or twice in a lifetime. Rental of the tools/jigs to fix cylinder stud stripped holes are listed well above in this article. There are very special tools required to do certain jobs, such as shimming transmissions and rear drives, and maybe a dozen total specialty jobs in all that require special tools.
updated all to 03/01/2006, minor clarifications...and add #22 entirely.
04/22/2006: add #23.
04/23/2006: add emphasis note on screwdrivers for the Bing tops
04/24/2006: modify that note
08/15/2006: Edit #20
09/24/2006: minor clarifications
04/17/2007: add #24
05/08/2007: Add photo to #24 and add #25 (3 photos)
05/11/2007: Add hyperlink in #8, clarify some minor details here and there.
08/14/2007: Joe's Tools hyperlink/url obtained, item 20
01/19/2008: Update 20, 22
10/08/2008: edit article for clarity, add #26, etc. NO errors in the article, just clarifications needed.
12/30/2008: Add information about Jeff Trapp
04/19/2009: Add 27
05/01/2009: Add pdf drawing to item 24
05/21/2009: Clarify number and use for the 41 x 27 mm dogbone
03/09/2010: add information on Jeff Trapp's loaning of cylinder stud threads fix kit.
03/12/2010: add information on Dan Neiner's offer to loan the cylinder stud tool
03/13/2010: Update item 20 in depth; move one item to new #29
04/25/2010: Add photos of Posi-Drive screwdriver tip and screw
07/03/2010: 41 mm dogbone wrench part #. Add 36 mm socket photo. Clarify details on socket and
02/27/2011: fix HPD url
03/17/2011: add note to #28, and some minor updates elsewhere's.
09/03/2011: add photo of the impact driver, which was not hyperlinked originally either
03/28/2012: add info to #24
04/26/2012: Remove photo of dogbone tool, spoke tool, Schrader valve tool, rear drive ring tool.
Re-arrange numerous items, add individual photos on some of these items; add more
commentary on what to get and NOT what to get.
04/28/2012: Finish cleaning up article
07/10/2012: Add 32
07/15/2012: Add 33
08/08/2012: Add photos of exhaust finned nut tools and some commentary and links; re-arrange some
items, and generally do a lot of cleanup.
08/24/2012: re-arrange top part of article, and add a few things
10/02/2012: Add photos and text regarding the BMW feeler gauge tool; add QR code, add language
button, update Google code
11/15/2012: Clean up article. Minor improvements; numerous clarity improvements; change article
width so better works with smaller screens. Repair unclosed html tags, etc.
01/16/2013: Expand 25
03/08/2013: Add Esoteric section
11/16 & 22, 2013: All for item 22: Add more on pullers; including seal puller photo, clean up wording.
11/29/2013: add notes on making the shock spring compressor better.
04/01/2014: Improve clarity in a few areas.
05/04/2014: Add #34, which was noted in my head assembly article but erroneously not put in the tools article.
07/08/2014: Add warning note on removing chips, etc., to item #20.
© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
Return to Technical
Articles LIST Page
Return to HomePage