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BMW Motorcycles:

TOOLS, primarily for Airheads.
Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

Before we get into the meat of this article, here an alphabetical list of terminology.
You can entirely skip this first longish section if you have no sense of humor right now ....because (pick a reason).......

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 breaks them; or, at least, rounds them off nicely.   Air compressors are often used with an Air Wrench (see next item). Compressors are also used 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" matter if a Christian ....or not.

Tool used with an air compressor, 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 (aptly named, HEX and FEMALE) that is designed to frustrate you because it is never marked as to size, nor if Metric or American.  Rounding one off leads to increased vocabulary practice.   A special female head version with a raised post/tit in the center is especially designed to frustrate your attempts at doing anything but stare at it, for reasons I am unable to describe on a family-type website.  See BRISTOL wrench, below.

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 a musical tune.

A device used to destroy circular shaped metal bands that have teeth on one side.

A handy tool for transferring sulfuric acid from an old-fashioned flooded (slosh) 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.  Made with paper printed charts glued to the float, designed to last only a few years, at which point the chart unrolls, the float sticks to the glass walls, and you need to purchase a new tester.

Bristol wrenches fit Bristol screw heads, for which a exceptionally brief glance seems to appear to be of the Allen type. Those with slightly longer brief glances may even think it is a Torx, or some other new-fangled screw head. The real Bristol screw is PURPOSELY designed to frustrate.   No auto-parts store clerk or hardware store clerk under the age of 75 has ever heard of the name Bristol Wrench, nor has seen the screw, except some may confuse the name with some woman (perhaps a Wench) or someplace in England.  Clerks will look at you weirdly if you ask for a Bristol screw or Bristol wrench.  BMW has wisely declined to put Bristol parts on its motorcycles, in favor of more popular (in Germany) methods of annoying you.  The only more confounding item are Whitworth nuts, bolts and tools, which are fully understood by those who grew up when England was called Great Britain or Brittania, and used tall-masted sailing ships.

A stretchy thick round rubbery tool, often covered by spectacularly colored braid, 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 quickly & spectacularly.   Come in a variety of colors and combination colors, even stripes, which makes them especially noticeable when wrapped-up in spinning wheels.  They have been known to suddenly disconnect, and thereby able to smack someone indiscriminately, leaving a bloody mess.

One of the most commonly lost tools. You never know what type & size to purchase after you lose one, & don't understand the numbering system anyway, & neither does the clerk at the store who thinks you are looking for Chuck's car keys.

CORDLESS (anything cordless):
Developed to enhance the profit & 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 & flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that fender, fuel tank, etc., that you meticulously prepared & painted today, and which is still drying.

A very sharp pointed screw designed to be left on roadways to puncture tires, especially the sidewalls.  A secondary use, which is kept hidden from commoners who do their own Airhead repairs, is being able to be modified for use in a pop-rivet 'gun' for installing BMW's hollow rivets at the windshield mounting systems on RT models.  It is said that drywall installers have even used these screws for drywall installation, as opposed to wetwall installations.

A piece of a Fir tree, made into a long rectangular piece of wood, that is named to confuse wanna-be home-dwellers, and is really 1-1/2" x 3-1/2"  x 8' long.   Used for levering a motorcycle upward off a hydraulic jack.  Often purchased for other purposes, and always found to be ~ a foot too short for the purpose.

Normally used for spinning steel pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age, but is also great for drilling mounting holes in fenders just above the brake line that goes to the wheel; if no brake line, there is always the tire.

Used with lots of hand-force to destroy exhaust port threads on BMW Airhead Motorcycles.  Additional uses, none; except that some folks, who THINK they are clever (or witty?), have used them to, en-mass, spread particles and pieces of various edible nuts around the room.

A common tool of many types.  Designed to break on angles so that they can't be easily center-punched for drilling & removing.  They are always designed to be ten times harder than any known center punch and drill bit.  Some say its primary purpose is to break itself off in bolts already broken.  Rumors are that these tools are designed & sold by companies who also manufacture cheap poorly-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.

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked unpredictable motion. The more you attempt to influence it's course, the more dismal your work becomes.

Originally employed as a weapon of war & later in the Greek Olympics, the hammer now-a-days is used as a kind of divining rod to re-locate expensive parts 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, thereby creating new loud phrases. There are many ways of thinking about hammers, here are a few more:
If you can't fix it with a hammer, get a bigger hammer.
If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's an electrical problem.
If you can't fix it with a hammer, it ain't worth fixing.
If it ain't broke, fix it with the hammer until it is.
If it ain't broke, you're not trying.
If you believe everything you read, you shouldn't read.

A seller of Chinese-made tools & accessories with Americanized names, that may, or may not, fit whatever you hope they will, & that you hope will last for even as many as three uses.  Enticing you are daily, if not hourly, advertisements,  especially tabloid-sized & folded-over.  Others are snail-mail sent 'brochures', and back pages in your spouse's magazines.  These advertisements all have prices that can vary for the SAME specific item ...depending on WHERE you got the brochure or advertisement from.  You are not supposed to know that.   Serious "Harbor-Freighters" save those coupons for what they are, or may be, interested in, & often collect enough for the SAME item, to enable selecting the lowest price for any one item, since the prices are, as noted, often different depending on where you see the advertising.  Sometimes this pays off mightily ...such as for motorcycle lifts ...and FREE STUFF!  HF is good for tools you seldom need or do not mind losing. 

Serious Wrencher's often own something from Harbor Freight that has, mysteriously, held-up over time & use.   A specialty of Harbor Freight is a line of hard-to-read & sometimes INaccurate torque wrenches; so difficult to read that major $$$ mistakes are possible in their use.  Harbor Freight has you covered on that too, because they also sell items to fix problems caused by those torque wrenches.  Harbor Freight has digital multimeters that are strangely accurate and surprisingly useful, that they often give away, if you purchase ANYthing.   They may offer similar 'deals' on such as scissors, LED lights, etc. ...all of which can be surprisingly usable items ....and all of which are certainly worth their FREE cost to you (unless you must travel to get to the store, or, you purchase something, or many 'somethings').

A tool used to cut hoses 1/2 inch too short.

Used for lowering a motorcycle to the ground after you have installed your new front disc brakes, trapping the jack handle firmly.  Sometimes used to break fins off oil pans and to crush feet from whatever it is you are lowering.

An ingenious & substantial round metal device with a hidden internal cam and a square 3/8" drive; used for loosening tight or otherwise frozen fasteners, especially on old Japanese motorcycles, or any with phillips or similar appearing 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 in his other hand.  Known to be accompanied by loud screams; which are distinguishable from other emanations of emotion occurring during the brief period of time just after using this tool to remove frozen Bing Carburetor dome screws, during which "he" has broken an ear off the carburetor, due to failure to put a substantial block of metal under that ear.  Not only is the carburetor ear offended, but so are the ears of bystanders.  Bystanders are often female humans.  Motorcycle technicians who are older than the hills, and spent their youth working on the earliest Japanese motorcycles, have permanent and prominent marks on their hands from this tool, facilitated by the small sledge-hammer used in the shop where he learned how numerous and ingenuous swear words can be.

Used to open & slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on boxes containing seats & motorcycle jackets; has been known to cause visits to places that stitch up wounds.

Items with a name, TORCH, which certain 'foreigners' think means 'flashlight', which confuses them, which goes right along with their confusion about Americans anyway.  Primarily 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 have used it to heat brake calipers pre-loaded with brake cleaner liquid, which creates PHOSGENE, which will put you in the hospital in a very sick status, but you get time off from work.  Don't plan on resuming your cigarette habit afterwards.

A device originally invented by Alexander Graham Bell, who called it the Telephone; and who, strangely, invented it while working at a school for the deaf. Though he is credited with its invention, Alexander Graham Bell refused to have a telephone in his study, fearing it would distract him from his scientific work.  Unfortunately, this good attitude has not transferred to today's users of "smart" phones, who are wearing the whorl's off their index fingers in using them, constantly, 24 hours a day. 
Some very popular types of early telephones sort-of looked like candlesticks, so the style was named that.  Modern portable versions are used extensively for such as calling your neighbor to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack; or, could he come by and help get YOURS off YOU before you are totally crushed.  At least, you WOULD be calling him ....but you left your phone in your car, parked out in the street.  A more important use for modern phones 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 whom you are trying to impress (and is wondering if motorcycling is REALLY fun) ....and, you are wondering about the tent & sleeping bag you did not bring along (which would have made the situation tolerable, and even allow a Fun Time).  (Note:  The cell phone tower is too far away, so the phone wouldn't work anyway).

For the UNknowing:  A cell phone tower is a tall structure made to look like an off-color lousy-leafed-and-branched tree, that grabs the signal from YOUR cell phone and refuses to pass it consistently or sometimes never, to anyone.   It supposedly works with a new type of battery operated phone that 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 enough money on reliable old land-lines.   The method used to extract lots of your money from your wallet is called a Data Plan.  Most Smart Phone users have worn tips on one or two fingers, have lost their phone on occasion, and have spent, over the years, about half of their retirement money for their Data Plan and/or old-style Roaming "features".  Many have replaced the special glass screen after testing it against hard objects.  Smart Phone manufacturer's love customers, because these customers always want a Smart Phone that is the newest, the greatest, that does more 'stuff', thus every year or two Smart Phone owners simply MUST have a new one.

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.

POSI-DRIV screw; also known as POZI, and -DRIVE .............and by unmentionable names:
Unique screw that is often tightened or loosened with a Phillips screwdriver that normally will slip before proper torque can be applied and will always damage the screw.  If you have a genuine non-slipping Posi-driv screwdriver, you may consider yourself 'informed'.  If you have a SupaDriv screwdriver, and know the difference from a PoziDriv, you are an Advanced Nerd.  If you know what a Reed & Prince screwdriver is, you ARE a REAL nerd, or may have worked in the aircraft industry.  If you know what a Frearson screwdriver 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.

A sharp tool specially designed to create nicks in aluminum castings & associated parts where an oil-sealing gasket fits.

A very versatile tool.  Used for opening paint cans & splashing paint everywhere.  It is often used on American single slot screws that some idiot used on your metric motorcycle, but also has one really practical use ....with a heated red-tip to remove the plastic oil level sight-glass on BMW K-bikes and Oilheads, etc.    Secondary purposes, amongst MANY, is to check the color of your blood when left in a rear jeans pocket; or, to test the puncture resistance of motorcycle seat fabrics.

Specially designed to cam-out when you are removing a screw, and thus you round-out the screw, which never again can have proper torque applied, same as when you just tried.   Bing carburetors are equipped with screws, but most had either one slot screws at the top covers (very early carburetors); or, have something that only retired, or dead, Bing screw procurement guys know the truth about, but might be Posi-Driv screws, which are NOT Phillips.  Use of a Phillips screwdriver will damage PoziDriv screws.  No one understand tip sizes for ANY of these. Phillips screwdrivers are an abomination, foisted upon the world to confuse & increase the sales of screw removing tools, which mostly do not work well; thus increases the sales of most anything.  Available high quality steel models are available at prices designed to make you stop breathing, at least momentarily, by Snap-On.  The most common use of the Phillips screwdriver is to stab the lids of old-style oil cans and splash oil on your shirt. 

A short red-plastic-handle convertible shaft type, found in Airhead tool trays that is occasionally found in the original two pieces, but most often found with the reversible metal portion missing and the plastic handle cracked.  When complete, this tool slips or cracks and slips when trying to tighten or remove any type of screw.  No one knows exactly who might make screws it really fits; as even the grind angle of the standard blade end does not fit any known screw, and no one knows what the so-called Phillips end does fit.  Does not properly fit Posi-Driv carburetor screws, which is almost the only screw on your motorcycle, except the ones on your instrument pod, which it does not fit correctly anyway.  Is exceptionally good in destroying heads & threads in plastic parts.  Mercedes Benz uses the same Heyco screwdriver in its tool kits that came with its cars.  Some believe that this tool is incorporated into BMW and Mercedes Benz vehicle tool kits as a practical joke ....bordering on a private pun, that no one understands anyway.  Some say it was developed originally as brown plastic, to be sympathetic with the Brown Shirts movement of the 1930's; but wrongly came out red.  It is recommended that if you have such a tool, you place it in a noticeable place in your living room, perhaps on a mantle piece below your genuine Rembrandt.   This should be where you entertain valued guests.  If they ask about this "screwdriver", feel free to make up a wild story on spur-of-the-moment; told with a straight face with solemn look.

A distributor of high-quality chrome-plated or polished tools of vast numbers of types, having Snap-On emblems or engraving.  The engraving and high polish is highly prized for tools that cost enough to have you visit a loan officer at the bank (or, you may take 'advantage' of Snap-On's "forever" financing).  These tools are displayed on your shop's wall in a visually-impressing layout to impress visitors to your garage with your status in life.  Your real working tools are actually old, lifetime warranted Sears Craftsman (as opposed to limited lifetime, or Craftsmen with an 'e').   If you are a wannabe, your tools come from Harbor Freight Company.   Snap-on is a company with a unique sales structure ....that sells products from converted lunch wagons (EX-Roach Coaches).  Snap-On is in the business of selling/accepting long term contractual forever mortgage payments for its products.  Snap-On has more outstanding moneys-due, than inventory at their warehouses, endearing itself to Accountants.

All mechanics, even if very poor, have a few Snap-On types used for show-off, at any and all occasions where wannabe Wrenches and other Admirers grovel at their feet, awaiting pearls of wisdom.

Those that are in the top 30% of income in their Country .....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.   Perhaps strangely, poor wannabes that not married, have no children and live in a hovel, may have small collections, but will use common brown peg-board for displaying them to the Public (the reverse side of the peg-board, viewable only from the shop interior (forbidden 'by insurance regulations' from being seen by "customers"), has all the old tools, many of which were found on the road, as old pickup trucks with worn shock absorbers bounced along, spilling its contents of old nearly worn-out tools of various uses (and, unfathomable uses).

More to the truth (warped slightly):
Ordinary mechanics who own more than just 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. Folks who own hundreds of Snap-On tools are either retired, or nearly; probably forced to from bankruptcy proceedings; or, in a few more rare instances, have inherited Dad's repair business.  Snap-ON has an interesting business model ...a shiny overpriced product that dazzles wannabees and serious Wrenches alike, and can be sold mostly 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, a specialty of Yale.  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 his 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 even one of which is equal to a modest fraction of the National Debt.  Snap-on tools are of unquestioned quality.    A rumor, passed around everywhere's, all the time, is that some Wrench, a friend of a friends distant cousin's uncle.....someplace.... actually owns nothing but Snap-On tools, has EVERY ONE....and actually gets away with charging customers 3 times the going labor rate ....his tools are prominently displayed through a large window in the Waiting Room (which contains a large flat screen TV, plays only two channels, one containing soap operas; the other constant ticker-tape displays from Wall Street).

An old-fashioned word.  See
PHONE, above.

A stroboscopic instrument for illuminating grease & grunge buildup on rotating machinery.

A place to store tools that you never need, except for glass battery testers that are leaking small amounts of battery acid, because the tester is never rinsed nor hung up afterwards to dry.  Tool boxes are also for placing in slippery beds of pickups, so as to be more easily lost with the tailgate open (and, especially if the tailgate is missing).    Master Mechanic Tool Boxes are a very special variant, these are often called Roll-a-Ways, because once they are full of Snap-On tools, they have been known to roll-a-way, in the middle of the night, never to be seen by you again.  These types are made in many varieties, with the best brands having roller bearings, pricey slides, & large roller feet that might even swivel, usually in the wrong direction, so that you cannot move the roll-a-way in any sort of straight line once it contains all your tools ....that means you will covet and maybe purchase another.   Wiping and polishing your tools and placing them in a very precise & exact position in a specific drawer is part of the mystique; and is known to lower productivity on actual jobs, but to greatly impress wannabees.

Originally designed to offer a method of tightening fasteners to specified torque amounts so that airplanes stayed in the air.  Now, all except professional tools (and two models of moderate-priced semi-pro Sears Craftsman torque wrenches) are commonly used by non-professionals to loosen, tighten, establish levels of broken bolts and studs..... or remain hidden in some obscure drawer, someplace.   Except for pro and semi-pro tools, all seem equipped with strange exceptionally difficult to read and understand characters, which are engraved or stamped on the outside of the barrel of the tool.   While some have been used as light weight hammers, most of these tools are used to test the ultimate strength level of various fasteners and threaded joints.  'Sales Engineers' spend a lot of time designing torque wrenches, so that you can more easily WRONGLY interpret engraved or stamped-into-metal printed figures.  Initial attempts to confuse have been standardized on most inexpensive to moderately priced torque wrenches. These standardizations are notable by the tool having especially shiny reflective chrome-looking surfaces on the barrels (instead of windows with legible numerals printed on internal parts as on the Sears models, above noted).  The reflective chrome barrels with poorly stamped numerals and strange lines are near impossible to read without special lighting and Polaroid eyeglasses; even then, one must look several times, intently, to see the place these lines are meant to be. These various sales 'improvements' help the other side of the company business, which is making and selling broken stud removers and other threaded fastener removal items.   Harbor Freight products are particularly good at cause and effect sales.

Mysteriously designed fittings & companion tools, with a name that seems to be a bastardization of how you think about them.  The Torx tools are used to install or remove like-named fasteners.  No one fully understands the numbering system.  These are scheduled to be slowly phased-out by car companies, as newer mystery fasteners are developed.   There are several types of mystery fasteners that at first glance (closeup view) look like Torx parts, such as your Airhead's rod bolts, but turn out to be a different type (The closeup view first occurs 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 located in your home.   The people who designed the Torx security screw are the same ones that ceaselessly re-design one-way screws of various new types, and often test them on men's and woman's public restroom stall doors.  These screw designers all belong to the International Torx S & M Club.

These sources of occasional light are always designed by lamp manufacturer's, and sometimes called a drop light (because they are constantly sliding off whatever you want the light for, and dropping on the cement floor).  Most of the design and development time is spend on the handle, so it looks wonderful, but becomes extremely slippery with the slightest grease on your hands, so that when you drop it (in case sliding off your work did not function), the lamp breaks.  The most important purpose for Trouble Lights is to support the continuing manufacture of 100 watt incandescent lamps (ooopps...I mean 95 watt, it being illegal to make 100 watt lamps and sell them in the USA).   Advantages of actual operating trouble lights are said to be, and wrongly, that they MIGHT be a minor source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin", which sunshine is not otherwise found under motorcycles nor cars, nor pickup trucks, at night, in a garage. Health benefits aside, its main purpose really is to consume light bulbs of whatever type you have installed in it. More often darker than light, its name is some-what misleading, due to a typographical error when originally naming it, the comma between the two words was inadvertently left out.  Some say that the original name was Light, Trouble.   Many folks can be found shaking these tools as the light goes on and off.   Some folks, including the writer of this drivel, have used it to burn or otherwise damage small but visible places on $$$ motorcycle seats; and have switched to coily-CFL lamps that do not get as hot, but can release mercury into the air, when broken, as they WILL be, by being dropped, or engaging contact with the dropped wrench.

TUBING BENDERS, Flexible type:
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, in which you find you now cannot remove the Tubing Bender, and thus must purchase another. 

One of the few tools actually used often.  Tweezers are an indispensable item, used with various magnifying lenses,  for removing microscopic whiskers of metal that jumped into your fingers.  Often used with pins or sewing needles from spouses sewing kit, to enable a modicum of pain whilst removing the metal whiskers.

A handy tool for testing the strength of ground straps & brake lines you forgot to disconnect.

A piece of paper with printing on it, listing complicated methods (typically costing more than the tool originally sold for, including YOUR paying for return shipping) for coping with a tool's insane guarantee.  No one keeps the Warranty paper since it is indecipherable and not understandable about what it really means & everyone hopes that their tool will last forever; or, at least to complete the job you purchased the tool for; whichever comes first.   If you need to use the warranty that comes with your SNAP-ON tool, be sure to bring it to the SAME Snap-ON man who sold it to you.  If he is dead, retired, etc., try some other way to get the tool replaced.

A Warranty card MAY not necessary with SOME very old or sorta-old Sears Roebuck Tools.  If purchased from that bastion of quality, K-Mart, and which purchased Sears, and is now part of Sears Holdings, good luck.  Helpful if you can read the smallest print and can interpret or at least slightly understand the 'Sears' "Warranty Change of the Day". 

Craftsman tools are now made in China (these are NOT your Father or Grandfather's Craftsman/Sears tools guaranteed for a lifetime, and manufactured thusly, or, mostly).  Craftsman tools are now  rather considerably overpriced, compared to Harbor Freight for equivalent usability cost.  The Craftsman brand are often better finished, which adds nothing to their utility.  However, some Craftsman tools, especially when 'on-sale', should be strongly considered.  The Digi-Tork line of torque wrenches, of the type NOT having engraved or stamped chromy barrels, but windows for viewing the internal settings are an example.   Read the warranty on anything you purchase...if you can without opening the sealed box...

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 them have been promoted to top management levels 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 of these Writers learned at the feet of a vehicle battery manufacturer salesman, whose brother was the battery production design engineer, & whose cousin was the battery product developer.   They have recently come up with a lighter battery, named for an aunt of one manufacturer, Lithiel, a foreign name which is Lillian in American-speak, which resulted in the battery name of Lithium. These batteries are wonderful, because, at least for the manufacturer, they can be sold for 3 times any other battery type, and can be destroyed by discharging them near fully even once; or using them on 'wrong' chargers (manufactured by 'others', OR THEMSELVES); likely another company which they also own; well as owning their own chargers [to get you coming and going] (hopefully going...).

A thread design from the 1840+ era, by Joseph Whitworth, the purpose of which was to specify formal standards for thread design. Unfortunately the result was similar to the Country wherein Mr. Whitworth lived, which has never quite figured-out what to call itself. There was a Kingdom of England; a Kingdom of Scotland, they combined around 1600, but it was 100 years later by the time they made up their collective minds. Ah, the Kingdom of Great Britain (and, where did Britain come from?).  Britain? Great Britain? United Kingdom?  I am sure I am not the only person in the America's that is so confused.

Once used for almost anything, including old British cars and motorcycles,  Whitworth wrenches (don't bother to try to understand the threads, or, GASP!, purchase a Whitworth screw or bolt ....if there is no immediate need) are now used mainly for impersonating the 9/16 or 1/2 inch socket or wrench you've been searching for ...for the last 15 minutes.   Occasionally Whitworth tools, which confusingly have two sizes for EACH end of the wrench, including one with a W next to it, are used to impress people with your background of working on unreliable British machinery.   No one outside of residents in old age homes in the "UK" understands the numbers, or how they are used, on ANY Whitworth item.  Some say that the wrenches are used to tighten oil drain plugs, which makes them leak more.

Cleans rust off old bolts & then throws them somewhere under the workbench at the speed of light.  Also removes fingerprint whorls & 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.

A large motor mount & other prying tool that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposing the handle.

OK, let's get serious about tools........

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 that.

If you do not already have a fair collection of good usable tools, then you COULD go to CostCo or similar and purchase 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 occasionally.

After purchasing such a big set of tools; OR, DEPENDING ON WHAT YOU ALREADY OWN, I suggest you purchase only what you need at any one time 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 tools, from whatever source, that you are SURE you need for right now work, and then add to your collection slowly, as your needs and wants change over the years. 

You WILL need at least one torque wrench.   A Sears Craftsman tubular clicker will do fine; a Snap-On is better, but much more expensive.  There are other good brands.   Don't get a simple cheap beam wrench, unless you are also getting one of the tubular clickers.  If you DO get a cheap beam wrench in addition to the clicker, I suggest one of 100 ftlbs maximum indication, but not over 150 ftlbs. Consider your first tubular clicker torque wrench as a LIFETIME tool, and buy accordingly, even if a Sears Craftsman (many of us have those, and the DigiTork is fine).  It should read in foot-pounds (perhaps 75 max) and/or Nm.  To help avoid errors, the type with two little windows, one for Nm, the other for ftlbs, is best; and worst is a tubular clicker that has engravings or stampings on the shiny barrel that are confusing and hard to read and understand.   Your torque wrench can be 3/8 or 1/2 inch drive. Consider selecting the drive size based on sockets you already own, if extensive.   I use my 3/8" square drive tubular clicker two-window torque wrench, with maximum reading of 75 ftlbs, more than any other. You will need two or three extensions, perhaps one a couple of inches, one 6, one 12 inches.  While it is perfectly OK to purchase used tools if in good basic condition at yard sales, you should NOT do that for the torque wrench.  I advise buying your torque wrench ONLY brand-new, because you have no good way of determining how much abuse or accuracy it has, & a torque wrench is a CRITICAL tool.  I suggest you put off getting an inch-ounce or inch-pound wrench until it is really going to be needed. 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.

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 with a bit of bargaining.

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 (you do not need the dial adjustable type), feeler gauges,.... and Allen wrenches in metric sizes.   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.

MANY of the BMW-sold tools are often NOT expensive.   Your BMW Airhead came from the factory with a GOOD, made of high quality metals, tool kit....with ONLY A FEW, probably just two, exceptions.  This was especially so for the earlier models. 

Here are those exceptions:

(1) The red-plastic-handle-short-screwdriver with the reversible Phillips/conventional tip, was almost cheap junk.  Barely usable; wrong shaped tip, very breakable handle.   Many better screwdrivers are available.   Note that most of the carburetor top screws are NOT 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).

Description of BMW original tool kits as shipped with the motorcycles:

There was a Master Tool Kit, possibly you may have heard it called a PRO tool kit, or Super Tool Kit ....part 71-11-1-237-840, that had extra items, & 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 at each end.  Some of those tools later became the standard for the bike's kits as shipped. In a number of instances some of the original standard tools ordering numbers were superseded by the Master ("super tool kit") part numbers; AND, both tools, in some instances, were identical, an example would be the 27/36 mm dogbone tool.   Either of those tool kits, regular or Master, are quite adequate for many needs. The Master Tool Kit contains too many little (or, never) to-be-used items, and is not worth purchasing.   One of the things not so well-known, is that the Master Tool Kit Professionals' tool set had sockets, a test lamp, etc. You are UNlikely to really need NOR WANT those items.

BMW included (in the original owners tools) a BMW name & logo 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: 10/11 mm & 8/10 mm.  BMW never included any 9 mm socket in the PRO (Master) version.  There were some throttle cables made with locking nuts with 9, not 10 mm size, & some manufactured very slightly over 10 mm, strangely.  I think the difference came about from what company made the various control cables for BMW.

To properly maintain your Airhead, you won't need but a modest collection of other tools.   DO NOT go overboard on these.   Get tools when truly needed!

This article lists various tools, and BMW part numbers where I happen to know them.  This article ALSO lists specialty tools. SOME FEW of these tools SHOULD be in your bike's tool kit.   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 (small feeler gauges, ETC.) assembly 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, valves and master cylinder tool-in-one, is rather neat and takes up very little room in the bike's tool tray.   THERE ARE TWO PHOTOS AND FURTHER DESCRIPTION LATER 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, some you WILL want ....and some that are a waste of money. Some are NOT needed.  Discussion at various places here. 

Pick & choose as needed/desired.   Some tools will NOT be applicable to YOUR bike.    It is a very good idea to inspect your own Airhead & determine just what tools you need at home, & what tools you need on the bike, & in some FEW instances you need two of one size (I have some notes later about 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 as a special bulletin.  In instances where 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 both 18 mm & 16 mm wrenches besides the normally carried 19 mm and 17 mm, if you knew about this ....and, now you do!  Just be sure to check YOUR BIKE, to be sure you have all the sizes of wrenches (and different types, A/R) as needed.

It is BEST to look at catalogs, including on-line dealer fiche, 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 purchase any.  Check the sizes of the tools YOU need, and how many of each!

If using a BMW part number for such as on-line fiche, or searches in general, be advised that you do NOT use hyphens in the part listing, nor spaces.  Thus, as an example, the first part number, below, would be searched-for as:  71111232356.

71-11-1-232-356   This small wrench is three in one, with a 7 mm and 8 mm at one end & middle, and a open 9 mm at one end.  Not very useful in actual practice, except on earliest airheads somewhat.

71-11-1-237-858   Hook wrench.  You may or may not need nor want this one.

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 that acorn nut.  You MAY like to have it in the bike tool tray.  I think this wrench is 15 mm and a sloppy 19 mm.

Five Allen wrenches as follows.  You certainly do not need BMW's own, but they are tough.
07-11-9-906-032   8 mm allen wrench; 71-11-1-237-849
07-11-9-906-026   6 mm allen wrench; 71-11-1-237-850
07-11-9-906-020   5 mm allen wrench; 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; 07-11-1-237-853

71-11-1-230-684   Special two-ended wrench often called a Dogbone wrench from its appearance.  Fits 36 mm fork top caps, 36 mm top center acorn nut, 27 mm headlight ear 'nuts', 27 mm swing arm lock nuts. Originally 71-11-1-230-684.  Replaced by 71-11-1-237-857 which is the SAME tool.   Keep reading; available is another size.  I believe you should own one of these dogbone tools, and if a very late model Airhead, you might need both dogbone tools, explained below.   Modify your tool in accordance with my information, if applicable to your bike.

For both the 36 mm end version and the 41 mm end version, these are VERY tough metal in the flat portion, can be used with a substantial hammer if using the 36 or 41 mm ends.  The 27 mm 'tube' end is for emergency use at the swing arm nuts, although usually strong enough for use at the headlight ears fastener.

The 27 mm tubular end MIGHT NOT FIT FULLY AND PROPERLY into MANY IF NOT MOST swing arm lock nut cavities, which MAY have, upon CLOSE inspection, TWO different internal ridge diameters.  Grind or sand, FLATLY & SQUARELY, the outside of the 27 mm end of your tool so it fits fully onto the swing arm thin locknut.  Sand the END so any internal taper just inside the end of this tubular wrench is GONE.  I NORMALLY DO NOT use the 27 mm end for the swing-arm nuts, as these nuts need about ~72 foot-pounds, a level these dogbone tools will usually not allow before distorting the tubular 27 mm end.   At home or in the shop I use a modified 27 mm or 1-1/16" socket for the swing arm pivot locking nuts ...see later in this article for photos & comments on the needed modifications to the socket.  Some folks use 36 mm (or 41 mm) sockets on the fork tube and central acorn top nuts.  Be cautious, as sockets are made such that the inside of the working end have a relief taper.  I suggest you sand or grind off SOME of the socket end (preferably use a lathe) so it is FLAT & SQUARE, and there is NO inside taper at the end.  Failure to do this can let the socket slip altogether too easily, and thereby round the nut corners,...... and also cause bruised fingers and hands.

ONE OTHER modification to the dog bone wrench should be considered:
Grind the flat part of the 36 mm end of the wrench for perhaps 90 or 120 degrees circularly across the top, so that the end of this 36 mm end is slightly thinner; this allows the 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, with the line and arrow showing the direction of grinding thinner.

BMW also sells this same style of dogbone wrench but with a 41 mm flat end (but same 27 mm tubular hex at other end).  Used on some later Airhead models and for the Earles fork pre-Airhead models.   71-11-2-303-517.

This photo is of an UNmodified dogbone wrench.....but I've identified the area for thinning the wrench, which I suggest be done on only one side of the wrench, best the TOP as shown in the photo.  Bikes vary some, & you don't likely need very much thinning.  Check YOUR bike, to see 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.

Some very late model Airheads need BOTH of these dogbone wrenches.  These particular bikes needed 41 mm for the two forks tops; and 36 mm for the central locking nut at the steering stem.  Be sure you have what you need.   You do not have to carry any of these dogbone wrenches in the on-bike tool kit.

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 is vastly better than the dog-bone tool ....FOR THAT PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

71-11-9-090-139   Old exhaust pipe hook wrench used for early models through /6 that have holes(dimples) in the sides of the exhaust port nuts.  Don't purchase unless you have the need.  I recommend you use an aftermarket wrench if you have finned nuts.  Various exhaust finned nut tools are available.  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 or part/piece of your leather waist belt.  Some carry some form of exhaust pipe finned nut wrench in the tool tray on the bike.  I NEVER DO, unless taking it along for a TechDay.   DO NOT FAIL TO OWN ONE OF THE AFTERMARKET WRENCHES.  I show three good types below.  YOU WILL use one these tools at least once a year, as YEARLY unfastening, cleaning, & applying fresh antiseize compound is a MUST for the exhaust port finned nuts.

The first photo is of a small tool-tray-sized version of a finned wrench, available from aftermarket suppliers.  It is used with a square drive socket wrench, so you have to carry that tool too.   I did see an Airhead owner who had welded a square nub onto another tool he carried, making it a dual-purpose tool, so it could be used as a square drive wrench.   If  you actually wanted to measure the torque you are applying, this tool can do that with appropriate calculations ....but, so can most other exhaust port finned nut tools!   I do not measure the torque, I tighten by feel.   I use a fair amount LESS torque than BMW specifies ...I believe BMW's spec is considerably too high. To contact cycleworks, use   You MAY want to see the contact information in this article, way below, at #20.

Below is an interesting version made by Guy Hendersen. This is a good tool. 

Below is what I personally own & use in my shop.  Check with your BMW dealership & other sources, as to where to get one like this.  They are substantially-made of cast or forged aluminum.  I have seen a version of this tool that had FEWER contacting surfaces, and I don't like it all that much.  The one displayed, below, is mine, and contacts MORE fins than many other types, spreading the load better.  For the anal types, you can use a small thin file to make them fit more perfectly, although not usually absolutely necessary.   The one below works nicely with a big hammer or small sledgehammer or piece of 2 x 4 lumber or a nearby rock, when you have need for more break-away ....that is, more initial starting to turn force.  I do NOT carry this, nor any other, on my bike.  NOTE that it is certainly possible to put a 3/8" or 1/2" square hole in the handle, and then use a torque wrench; calculations are simple.  I never do, I always tighten by feel, at less torque than BMW says!

71-11-1-237-855    SHORT tire iron, was replaced by -871 which is the longer one.   I prefer my on-bike tool kit, if I have tube type tires, or simply carry tools to help others with, have TWO short & ONE long; but I am fine with all being the long version.  BMW discontinued the -855 short irons.  If  you do not have or can't find, in that instance I'd purchase and carry THREE BMW long ones, -871; or, whatever you like.
  THREE tire irons are much nicer than having only two.   There are aftermarket tire irons available that are quite good.   Most are much longer, and may not fit your motorcycle tool tray.

Tire repair kit:    Type depends on whether or not you have tubes in your tires.  It also depends on if you carry parts to repair other folks 'problems'.  While you WILL want to carry a tire repair kit, I recommend against  ANY size of CO2 cartridge/bottle.  I HATE those high pressure cylinders; seldom enough of them with you; and a very small 12 volt compressor, see below, is VASTLY better.  Even a cylinder operated as a compressor is better.  Be sure that if you use that cylinder spark plug hole style of compressor, the compressor hose is long enough.

Important to have is something to de-bead the tube-type tire; and, an air compressor.  I have made such tools from C-clamps with welded pieces on the anvils, & 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 or a 12 volt compressor & both work fine.   If not purchasing a complete kit, purchase what you want/need. You can purchase, very cheaply, under $20, a very small 12 volt electric compressor, these are all made in China.  Remove the innards including the fan, make a plug for it to fit your BMW Hella style auxiliary jack ....or alligator clips, as most compressores come with (or, cigarette lighter plugs) 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 fits onto pegs for it on the upper left 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 small low-cost compressors at such as WalMart, & then remove & 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 and SLIME also sell quite  small compressors that do not need the case removed.   For some other ideas on tire repairs ....see:    Stop'nGo plugs don't work as well on 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.

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 carry 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 it fits the tire right next to the rim.  I really do NOT ADVISE you making one like mine.   I suggest you get yours from BestRestProducts link just below....they have the tire tools you might want or need.

Recommended tire repair tools are also located here:

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; and is NLA.

71-11-1-103-092   Pliers w/side cutter.  
71-11-1-237-861   A side cutter only tool. 
$$$.   For both, there are MUCH better ones from most hardware stores, even Harbor Freight!, and MUCH cheaper than BMW's.  I prefer a good heavier-duty side cutter pliers & a good old-fashioned pump-slip-joint-pliers.  Consider having a side cutter PLUS a separate tool, a slip-joint type called a Channel-Lock.  BMW's version of the Channel-Lock is 71-11-1-237-862, which supposedly replaced the 71-11-1-179-522; but probably only the -179-522 is actually available, $$$$, and there are much better available, at much less cost.   

71-11-9-090-154   Feeler gauge & versions had a ATE master cylinder adjustment gauge set.  This is a small riveted-together multi-tool item, of good quality.  Photo below.  You don't have to have this tool but these are nice AND SMALL.  NO LONGER AVAILABLE FROM BMW; but are, elsewhere's.   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; I keep those in my garage-shop. You CAN use this BMW type multi-tool for the valves. MANY FOLKS PREFER THIS BMW TOOL!   Minimalists carry just the 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 (but that is for brand-new plugs ONLY, and is NOT the best tool for the job, which requires a wires-type ...that is shown below after the -154 tool.  I personally prefer this 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.   This is a moot point, because 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 metallurgical change; if you try to bend it, you may weaken it; there have been quite rare instances of electrodes breaking off & doing internal engine damage.

A later version of this -154 BMW tool had 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 piston FOR THE FREE PLAY AT THE BARS LEVER.   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, 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, & 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.

Below are two types of wire type spark plug tools.  THESE are the proper type to use for the spark plug.  The one on the left is larger, easier to use, has mm equivalents stamped on the reverse side, is NOT expensive.  The one on the right is an antique of mine.   Photos of spark plug adapter tools for synchronizing carburetors will be found here:

Greg Feeler makes a round cylindrical tool for help in setting the pre-1979 points.  Nice goody, not absolutely necessary, but loved by many. The first photo, below, is of a similar points tool, this one came from Northwoods Airheads.  It includes a points gap feeler gauge.  The dimensions of the cylindrical tool 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 to fit your cam nose.

Below is a photo of the original & still-made tool by Paul Tavenier, shown on website, but made by Paul.  REALLY NICE!  You could also contact Paul, see his E-mail address in the photo below.

71-11-1-234-860   The classic BMW tire pump that fit on the frame.  You will find this strictly a nostalgia 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.  Don't bother buying the BMW pump.

51-25-1-238-375   Cable lock.  Fits in the frame tube under the tank.  Plenty of choices on the market.  Your Airhead's steering head neck has a key lock.

71-11-1-103-086   Screwdriver.  Phillips and standard single slot, the single shank reverses for this.  BMW's red-plastic-handled screwdriver.  Found in the BMW on-bike tool kit, has a reversible insert, probably Heyco brand, IS FLIMSY, BREAKS, often NOT THE CORRECT TOOL for the carburetor tops, and the single blade end is NOT ground properly.   Mercedes uses this same worthless tool.  I consider it not my choice. The cross-point tip is NOT a quality Phillips ...nor is it a Pozidriv nor a Reed & Prince tip.  The Reed & Prince, AKA Frearson, has a 75 angle, & thus can be used with all types of matching screw sizes.

Screwdrivers....for Bing CV carbs (and...??):
(A whole, if reasonably short, section on SCREWDRIVERS...FOR TWO SPECIFIC BING SCREWS...well, maybe others ... & ...maybe some additional information....>>some "teach'n")

BMW supplies a small red-plastic-handle screwdriver 71-11-1-103-086 in the on-bike tool kit, mentioned above.    "Phillips" & "standard flat blade" ends, reversible.  The flat blade end is lousily ground, and fits poorly into screw slots.  The 'Phillips' end is NOT a good Phillips, nor is it a PosiDrive nor is it a Reed & Prince tip.  There are MUCH better choices.  Some folks purchase one of the SnapOn types, with assorted hardened magnetic tips that fit inside the handle.  If you have the room and budget, the Snap-On is a QUALITY tool, that almost never wears out the tips. 
Snap-On and others have these in a shorty version too.  Be sure you have the proper size tips.  The proper Phillips size is #2 for the carburetor top screws WHEN they are Phillips screws.   

BMW carb top " phillips" screws are not always really Phillips screws, they just look that way at a quick first glance. They could be Phillips, OR could be 'PoziDriv' type' ....I suppose they could even be other shapes.  One problem is that much of the Public thinks of any cross-slot screw as a "Phillips".

The ancient aircraft tip screwdriver called Reed & Prince (Frearson) works OK or relatively nicely on Phillips & PoziDriv screws, of course, does the real Pozi-Driv.   The PoziDriv tip is EXCELLENT for REMOVING the Phillips type, if the Phillips is way tight, and sometimes the PoziDriv will remove a rounded Phillips.   Generally install a real Phillips type with a Phillips screwdriver, but the other types of screwdrivers DO work better.   If the screws are frozen, you can try a variety of ideas.  The Phillips type of screw was DESIGNED to not slip as much as others of its time ...but, also WILL SLIP after a certain torque is reached.  This is why removing a stuck Phillips screw is so annoying ...especially after some wear on the screw or screwdriver.  Methods of adding friction for easier removal includes valve grinding compound for a better grip.   For egregious instances, I use a substantial steel block underneath on the carburetor ears to protect against breaking them ....and an Impakt Driver with the PROPER TIP.   Tips for interchangeable-tip type tools are available from a variety of sources, including Snap-On, whose tips are hardened nicely.  The PoziDriv tip IS available.    Some have installed Allen head screws at the carburetor tops.  They are OK, but don't over-tighten, as many of these have a very small allen & can round-out more easily.   NO MATTER WHAT SCREW YOU INSTALL, INCLUDING THE ORIGINAL, put a tiny dab of anti-seize compound on the threads and on the taper.  Some early carburetors had common slot screws.   BMW & Bing may be, and have, shipped EITHER PoziDrive or Phillips screws; and I have seen Japanese ISO sure that your 'screwdriver' fits them.    Remove the screws one at a time, coat the threads ...and under head taper...with antiseize....and replace the screws without too much torque; will appreciate these hints much later on. PosiDrive screws generally have some radiating lines to indicate they are not Phillips type.  Pozi type screwdriver will usually work well on Phillips screws.

Bottom line:  Try to use a screwdriver that, upon close inspection, really fits the screw, wiggle it a bit in the screw...and look at it when it is in the screw head.

Here are photos of the Posi-Drive screw & the matching screwdriver tip.  Note the differences from a Phillips....the nearly flat bottom in the screw and the corresponding flat top of the screwdriver; note also the angles and the extra (lesser) 'splines' in-between the major splines.  If the screw looks the same, and no tick marks, it may be a SupaDriv.


A bit more 'education':
The Frearson (Reed & Prince) screws used a screwdriver with a sharp tip, and a wider angle, thus the screwdrivers could be used on a wide range of screw head sizes.  These are a very old (now) design, not really used since the seventies. The typical use was marine hardware and aircraft. The Phillips had a more rounded and tapered shape. There is another name, often used with or similar to the PoziDriv (AND, note that this screw is actually NOT POZIDRIVE...there is NO E on the end), and that is SupaDriv.  They seem the same; their respective screwdrivers will work with each other, BUT not quite perfectly.  The SupaDrive allows a bit higher torque than the Pozidriv, and the screwdriver can have a modest ANGLE to the screw ....thus is nice for overhead use. The POZIDRIV has tick marks, see photo above. 

Japanese  JIS B 1012:   These are different, but look like Phillips screws, & CAN be used with a Phillips screwdriver.  These screws are identified by a single dot or a tiny x, on the head.

The Pozidriv screw and driver combination is unique & superior to the Phillips. The tip of the driver is blunt, which helps it to seat better into the recess in the screw, unlike the Phillips which comes to a somewhat sharper (but NOT SHARP) point.  This becomes a problem as the factory tooling that forges the recess in the head of the screws begins to show signs of wear. The recess becomes more & more shallow, which means the screwdriver will bottom-out too soon and will cause the screwdriver to cam-out.   The second unique feature is the large blades on the driver have parallel faces, where the Phillips blades are tapered. The straight sides of the driver allow additional torque to be exerted without fear of cam-out.  A Phillips driver will have problems driving a screw with a Pozi-recess, as a Pozi-driver-screwdriver would have little luck driving a Phillips head screw. It is possible to drive Pozi-drive screws with a Phillips driver, but you will need to grind down the tip slightly, and expect some slipping to occur.


For a much more complete treatment of these, AND various other screw heads:

71-11-1-237-854 PIN (also called a drift).   You need one of these for the holes in your BMW tubular wrenches, 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, 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, and you can find this elsewhere's. 

71-11-1-237-860  tire gauge, pencil type.  Don't bother with this BMW tool.   Are better choices.

71-11-1-237-863  Test lamp, called a Control Lamp by BMW.  Don't bother getting the BMW one, unless you simply must have it.   BUT, DO get a test lamp tool.   You can get a simple test lamp with alligator clip on the long lead & a sharp point on the end, from any autoparts store (or Harbor Freight for free or cheap).  Get the type that does NOT contain a battery.  Radio Shack; Harbor Freight, most hardware and auto parts stores also have them.    CARRY the non-battery-containing type of test lamp tool on the bike & LEARN HOW TO USE IT!  This is a very simple but VERY USEFUL tool.  It is OFTEN vastly faster & easier to use when tracing an electrical problem.  Shown below are two types, either is fine. 


You don't absolutely need a multi-meter (digital volt-ohm-ammeter-diode tester, etc.) to carry on the bike.  If you want one for the bike, get one that is small.   Get a DIGITAL type, not mechanical (analog), perhaps for free from Harbor Freight.  SEE my article  Below photo is a Harbor Freight freebie, still packaged.  There are two or three versions of these from Harbor Freight, and all are GOOD.  This particular one has the OFF-ON slider switch.  DO own at least one of these types of tools, and learn how to use it (see the article). 

71-11-1-230-000  A thin round rod was used on the OLD /5 style steering head clamp arrangement, to hold the collar during adjustment. 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, then the steering head is 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 good 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.

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 end wrench

07-11-9-999-119   12 mm x 14 mm open end wrench

You need TWO of these 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 for the stock BMW Bosch Alternators: 
ALWAYS carry this alternator rotor removal tool. 

Either get the official BMW tool,  88-88-6-123-600, or get a good substitute from the aftermarket.  DO NOT!!....use the homemade tool, on the right in the photo below, unless you are SURE, absolutely SURE, it will work properly & WILL NOT NOT BEND, NOR WILL IT COCK SIDEWAYS, INSIDE THE ROTOR.   The photo below shows three types of these tools.  The factory tool is similar to the left & center types. Those are grade 8.8 hardened, and so marked on the heads.  The right-most tool consists of two pieces, one is simply a hardened bolt in grade 8.8 & the other piece is a roller bearing part, used as a spacer pin.  Use of the tool on the right, shown as Not Approved is for absolute emergencies, as there can be a VERY serious problem if dimensions are wrong for the top portion, in either or all the diameter & length & end taper. If you INSIST on making this tool, it must be of grade 8.8 steel or 10.9 steel.  DO NOT use an old drill shank for the upper piece ...they can be brittle.

If you do NOT use a [proper hardened tool, or in some instances the home-made 2-piece type as shown in the photo:
It may BEND inside of the rotor, & then you are in DEEP trouble.  Besides the stock Bosch rotor, where I recommend you do not use two piece tools as shown ...ALSO DO NOT use any such two piece tools in aftermarket rotors, such as the  EnDuraLast Alternator or the Omega Alternator. YOU HAVE NOW BEEN WARNED!!!

Part II: Tools you MIGHT want:

1.  8 mm SMALL (not long) combination wrench.  An 8 mm box end on one end; preferably a 12 point, but harder to find?), with an 8 mm open end wrench on the other end.   You MAY want to BEND this wrench with an oxyacetylene torch.   Use for the diode board nuts located on the REAR side of the upper timing chest casting wall, that is, below, forward, of the starter motor area.      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 than the type of plastic handle that does not have the shank strongly mounted in the plastic.   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 8 mm tubular  wrench, so there is NO internal taper that would prevent use on a very thin nuts.  I also grind the outside diameter down a fair amount because I use these tool in tight quarters.  Do NOT overheat the end when grinding the very end or the diameter.   Check your diode board nuts to be sure your tool fits properly.

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.   The T-handle type (especially if all metal) is fine but does not fit in the tool tray as nicely.  In the photo below, is a notation on thinning the outside diameter, if need-be, usually to properly fit the forward diode board nuts.  Check the fit of your tubular wrench at that place.  If the END of your tubular wrench has a slight and short INside taper (most come that way), consider sanding or grinding it, keeping the end FLAT.   In the below photo, this is one of my 8 mm types, which I KNOW has a good construction INside.

3.  36 mm socket, SQUARED-OFF at the working end as shown below, eliminating 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 photo.  The comment about pressuring is because the fork springs are often under pressure during installation of a top cap, which has an non-threaded portion and a threaded portion, and can be hard to push down to engage the threads.  You do not have to have the wood piece.   Note that the Dogbone wrench does a good job of loosening and tightening the fork tops, so this socket tool is something for home use, IF you want one. Not a must.

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. USUALLY a home tool.   The BMW-sold tool is sort-of crude!  It consists of a 3/8" square drive female part with a slit in the side.  Pressed & brazed into that slit is a 12 point 10 mm off-set box end wrench.   That box end wrench was simply a double ended wrench of some sort, cut to be shorter, one end discarded.  When using this tool, typical is to 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 & the center of pressure of the torque wrench handle, will determine the torque wrench setting THAT WILL BE LOWER  than the book value, due to the added length.    In ALL instances except use at 90, the torque wrench will be set to LESS than the value that will be APPLIED.   If the tool is at 90 to the tubular torque wrench, there is NO correction needed.    I am fine with you using 1 drop of Loctite BLUE on clean threads, then 25 ftlbs.  The official maximum torque amount is 29 footpounds.   I wish to make CLEAR that the torque value, my suggested 25 to 29 ftlbs, is the torque APPLIED to the bolt.

Old Airheads (and even PRE-Airheads!) came from the factory with a split lock-washer under the bolt head.  If you have washers, including split washers, remove the bolts & washers & get the new shorter BMW bolts & do NOT use any washers.  Details on this website:

Here's are HINTS!....if you don't want to purchase a -560 tool, or a Snap-On adapter, or adaptor of some sort such as shown below, here is how to get by for possibly no 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 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 12 point box 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.  If you use this wrench as an adaptor with your torque-wrench, straight out, you must reduce the torque wrench setting, in accordance with the method shown in my torque wrench article (with notes on being sure).  If you use the wrench as an adaptor with your torque wrench but at 90 degrees to the torque wrench, you need NOT do calculations, just read the value off the torque wrench (29 ftlbs max. for U-joint bolts at the transmission output flange on Airheads).  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 either of the two tools 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, with or without a torque wrench.  Using a known good torque wrench setup IS BEST. Three photos here of the -560 type offset wrench are the actual factory tools.   The 4th photo, of the flat tool is a small & simple tool, available from cycleworks.NET, that will work well for you. You may have to use a fine file on the square hole (HARD metal too!) to have it fit YOUR torque wrench perfectly.  It is 1.5 inches center to center, and very hard metal, which I think is laser-cut, so any filing takes awhile.

You really don't need to carry these tools in you tool tray on the bike.

There have been instances in which someone has questioned just what BMW means by its torque figures.  This question arises now & then for other areas of the bike, not just the output driveshaft bolts.  Using a torque wrench at a limited clearance area of such as the driveshaft U-joint flange bolts requires an adaptor, see above 4 photos, which can, if used at any angle to the torque wrench besides exactly 90,  add to the working-length of the torque wrench, INcreasing the torque value from that set on the torque wrench.  My torque wrench article describes using extensions more precisely ...but, here,  I  will add brief commentary.  When this question comes up, it almost always is in regards to the tightening method for the 4 driveshaft bolts, that hold the U-joint flange to the transmission output flange, because you cannot put a torque wrench with a socket, or with an extension to the socket, directly onto the bolt, as the U-joint will interfere.

BMW's torque figures are the value on the bolt itself, whether or not you use an adaptor between the torque wrench & the bolt.  This is standard for industry, & applies unless specifically noted to be different by the manufacturer.  BMW never made this clear & BMW's own wording, particularly when in English, can be wrongly interpreted.  The factory specified torque is what IS to be applied to the BOLT, & you MUST calculate the adjustment factor for the torque wrench if the adaptor is not used at 90.  In every instance, where the adaptor extends the working distance of the torque wrench, the torque wrench will need to be set to a value LESS than the value of the actual torque you want applied to the bolt head.   I recommend you use the adaptor  straight-out.  Any angle besides straight out or 90 requires trigonometry calculations.  If used straight out, the calculations are simple mathematics.  To make this 100% clear,  if you use the adapter straight out from the torque wrench, you MUST do calculations, but NO trigonometry is needed.

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 tools.

6.  Piston ring compressors:   One of the ways of installing pistons is to insert them into the cylinders so 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 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 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 an internet search.  Whether or not to own such a tool is debatable, unless you do a lot of piston installations.

7.  Torque wrenches.  For your first one, get a GOOD QUALITY tubular 'clicker'. Don't skimp on quality need this wrench to be reliable, accurate and to last a lifetime.  Snap-On torque wrenches are lovely, but very pricey.  Craftsman DigiTork from Sears/K-mart is OK.  Bottom reading is going to be maybe 5 to 8 foot-pounds, top reading of 75 ftlbs.   If you go to 100 or more ftlbs for a maximum reading torque wrench, then it is very likely that the lower end will be less usable and less accurate.  I recommend EITHER a half inch drive, & 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.  Consider the socket set you already own. You will also want a 2 inch and a 6 inch and a 12 inch extension (all male-female) in the same drive size 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 BEAM type torque wrench, of the type that twists a pointer, that is fine but if not a good pricey DIAL-beam type, you should NOT use it for critical things like head nuts.   You can use just about any type of torque wrench for such things as the 27 mm swing arm locking nuts as the setting is not critical.  There ARE places on the motorcycle where a torque considerably over 100 ftlbs is needed, such as at the transmission output flange large nut, and rear drive, but you are unlikely to need it more than once or a few times in your lifetime. 

Some tubular clicker wrenches are hard to read; best to get one with TWO WINDOWS readouts in ftlbs, one in Nm.  The Sears Craftsman DigiTork is like that.   

SOME, particularly inexpensive Chinese-made torque wrenches, have awful faint clicks, by feel and sound, at low settings.

Do NOT trust any tubular clicker wrenches at the lower end of the adjustment  range ....that means under about 8% of the maximum setting.

I DISlike tubular torque wrenches that have chromed & lightly engraved or stamped tubes that are hard to read;.... you do NOT want to make a mistake in reading your wrench!

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.

Torque wrenches are a primary tool for the home mechanic and the professional.

8A.  Tool to hold crankshaft from moving forward:
If you want to remove your flywheel for any reason, be sure to do two things first.  Set the engine to OT (top dead center Oberer Totpunkt). The OT mark should be someplace in the timing window located near the oil dipstick.    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 NOT use a towel or stuffed-rag in the timing chest.   A neat method (MINE!) is to just make a tool out of a piece of 6 mm Allen wrench material, and SQUARELY 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 you can obtain some light pressure by the cover, the cover being screwed back onto the engine LIGHTLY, ...YET...the cover can't quite fully be brought back to the engine surface due to this tool's length.  THAT ensures there IS some pressure.   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.  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 the crankshaft problem, with additional details in case you accidentally (?) goof-up.   Go to: article #81, but here is a direct clickable link:

   This is the tool I invented and made for myself and a few other folks.

Don't want to make that tool?   Just use a 8 mm bolt, screw it into the rotor; leave enough of the bolt sticking out of the rotor, so that the front cover will bear on it.  Be sure the bolt is slightly pressured by the outer cover all the time the flywheel is being removed and is removed, and during re-assembly of the flywheel to the crankshaft.  NOTE that the only trouble with using the bolt method is if you rotate the flywheel ....the bolt might also rotate, and unscrew enough to allow the flywheel to then move forward...a big NO NO!   You can avoid this by rotating the flywheel, facing it from the rear, ONLY counter-clockwise, which will tend to loosen the 8 mm bolt from the rotor, but that means it tightens against the outer cover, putting additional pressure on the crankshaft, which is fine, if that is all that happens.  JUST BE CAREFUL.  NO WAY do you want that crankshaft moving forward.

8B.  Flywheel holding tool.   This tool allows you to unscrew, or tighten, the 5 flywheel bolts.

See item 24 for more clutch and flywheel tools.

9.    This is a tool that is very simple, solves a problem, but that you may never need, never use.  ZERO cost.
On the FAIRED models, BMW uses a tubular (hollow) rivet, to fasten a black plastic trim piece (that may contain a clock & voltmeter) to the fairing.   You need a tool to replace rivets or tighten loose rivets for various reasons, such as fairing repairs & installations, loose dash pieces that can cause difficult to find noises, installation of Parabellum windshields that use an additional black plastic cover piece that fastens to two centered BMW rivets, ETC.  The BMW hollow rivets need to be moderately tightly fastened, but do not over-tighten.  The problem is how to tighten them; without spending $$$ for a special pliers tool. 

The secret is very simple!   You obtain a drywall screw.  The proper size is just a wee bit too large in the drywall screws threads diameter.  Carefully grind (do not overheat the screw which is very tough unless overheated) the threaded area as in the photo, so that the threaded area will just smoothly enter the 'chuck' of a common pop-rivet installer hand lever tool, using the 3/16" hole diameter chuck. Be sure that you grind the screw threads over the full length, as the screw must fit the rivet so the screw HEAD will be able to push into the rivet!   To use, insert the screw from underneath via fingers or forceps, use the pop-rivet tool on the outside.  The reason to not use over a 1-1/2" screw is so it is easier to insert from underneath.   IF the outside of the rivet does not flatten properly (you want the ends cup-shaped), reverse the screw for the final moderate tightening.   Do all the rivets, there are eight of them.

HINT:   If installing a Parabellum windscreen, BEFORE installing the rivets, sure the black plastic cover piece from Parabellum does NOT interfere with the top of the gauges, if it does, sand or file or grind it a bit, otherwise it will make squeaking noises while riding, and wear the top bezels. 

10.  You won't find too much need for this tool, but when you need it you will cuss without it.  This tool is called an impact driver.  The brands I have (I have TWO!) are named IMPAKDRIVER made by the H.K. Porter company; and, Snap-ON model PIT120.  These neat gadgets are hit with a metal hammer, while you hold selectable rotational direction (CW or CCW) pressure on the tool.  The hammer blow rotates the assembly in the tool around a hidden internal cam, which pushes the tool tip (lots of tips available) into the screw or whatever, and that cam causes rotation at the same time!  This tool was a MUST with old Japanese bikes, using it with CCW force for LOOSENING nasty sort-of phillips screws, that had corroded and seized in the engine cases.  With a few assorted bits you will find it valuable when needed.  NOTE that the right photo shows an adapter that allows common hex tool tips to be used.    Use these tools VERY CAUTIOUSLY on such as carburetor top screws; don't break the carburetor the area underneath the carburetor ear you are working on!   These impact tools are good for nuts & bolts, not just screws.   I get this tool out BEFORE I round out a screw head.    These tools have a 3/8" square drive, thus can be used with your sockets, etc!  They are a simple way to avoid a much more expensive electric or air-operated impact hammer; and are much safer to use.


11.  T-handled Allen wrenches with fairly long Allen shanks.  Get a small assortment of these, you won't need any larger than 6 or at most, but UNlikely, 8 mm.  Do NOT get the cheap plastic handled ones unless the metal extends, and cross-wise at the handle end.   DO get the METAL handled types.  Most plastic handled ones are not good and will eventually slip inside the handle...or break!  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 can be 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 Allen, and not hexhead.   T-handled tools are for your home shop.  SOME folks carry one of these, and a shortened L allen wrench, when 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 with socket ends, turning them into tubular wrenches.  Be sure the inside depth is good enough, and square the socket ends.  Those are generally not for tightening nor loosening, just installing.

12.  Jumper wires (2).  Keep this on your motorcycle.  You need two types.  The first type is used to bypass the stock or aftermarket 3 spade terminals voltage regulator.  It can be 4 or 5 inches or so of insulated stranded copper conductor wire, 18 ga is OK, nothing critical about wire size.  At each end put a MALE standard 1/4" spade connector.  The second jumper wire is an insulated test lead jumper, 18 or 16 gauge is fine.  Make this with a standard medium size alligator clip at each end (rubber boot insulator covered).  Maybe 4 feet to 6 feet long.

13.  HINT:  when trying to clean off old gasket from aluminum parts, spray WD40 on the old gasket remnants, or a gasket remover solvent (autoparts stores), and use a plastic scraper, not metal unless you are very careful.   Plastic 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 ....and those nicks can often then be places for oil leaks.

14.  You can substitute certain sizes of tools, such as wrenches and sockets. SOMETIMES rather often, as many tools and items are not perfectly sized.    Allen wrenches and screws/bolts tend to be more precise, so substituting may not work for them, but you can try. 

Substitutions to try, particularly for wrenches.    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.   Remember that this also works with your sockets!
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"
14 mm, which is .551";  try 9/16" which is .5625"
16 mm, which is .630";  try 5/8" which is .625"
17 mm, which is .669";  try 11/16" which is .6875"
19 mm, 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 & a phone card; maybe a cell phone. 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; although these have been used for that purpose.   Old cell phones for such uses are often available free.  They don't work unless you keep them charged!!

16.  Spark plug shorting tools.  Information AND PHOTO on those, utilized when synchronizing carburetors, will be found here:  Some keep them in the tool tray on the bike.   Here is a source if you don't want to make them:

17.  You may have reason to remove & replace a pin contact in one of BMW's connectors (or, maybe you are replacing a poor connector or multi-pin connector).  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 very thin finishing nail.  Push the very thin tool in 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 any of these BMW tools.  I use a thin jewelers screwdriver, or, special tools from my electronics shop.  The very thin jewelers screwdriver works almost every time, however.

18.  Making a CHEAP and useful hydraulic bottle jack modification:

19.  Engine Cooling Fan:  Go to one or more local home 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 & installing new heaters.  MOST of these old heaters contain a perfectly good, if well-used 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 is all one assembly, and most often 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.  If needed, make up some sort of simple wood piece to keep your new ENGINE COOLING FAN from rolling about on your garage floor (especially at start-up) & maybe to aim the air output slightly upward.  You now have a powerful 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 type of fan is VERY useful during synchronizing carburetors and for cooling your bike off rapidly for other work.

20. Cylinder stud thread repair:
Ed Korn previously did business as Cycle Works, in the town name of 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 was 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. ((NOT .com!!)).  The website is:   ((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. There are a LOT OF TOOLS FOR AIRHEADS, and other BMW bikes. See other areas of my website about Ed.  Also see #22 below.

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.     (303) 447-2558      Costly.  Quality!

Jeff Trapp
There is further information in my REFERENCES article on Jeff.  He will sell tooling, but he also has available a complete "loaner" kit ....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 John Chay's design.  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, John, made a very precise tooling/jig for this job.  This tooling became the basis for the ones made by EdKorn and Jeff Trapp.

I had my own crude version in the early seventies, made from a bad cylinder & hardened commercially available drill guides. The stock cylinder base holes are not precisely-enough located, IMO, I had to very slightly, offset a couple of the holes to be perfect, ....& it is [almost] better to make a base from scratch.  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.  If you wish to use an old cylinder, use a lathe to cut off the major portion of a later model cylinder (1976 and later are more precise), & some of the spigot.  Then get some long commercial hardened drill guides ($$), drill & ream the base holes. Do your machining for these holes precisely, and at exactly 90 degrees, on such as a milling machine.  Stud centers are 93 mm x 72 mm, & I suggest you leave some of the spigot, note that there are early sizes of 97 mm, and all later ones are 99 mm. Unless you have the machinery to make things in a precise manner, and wish to spend the money on the hardened guides, you are best advised to see the above sources, to purchase or rent, if you need to repair 'pulled studs'.

WARNING!   There have been instances of damaged motors from failure to remove all chips from from the engine block and oil pan, from drilling and tapping operations on the engine block.  Don't forget to remove the oil pan & clean it out; clean the threaded holes from inside & not just outside.  I use compressed air to do it.  When trying to clean the cylinder top holes, also supply the air at a point down the oil gallery where the tiny chips will go out the top studs areas, NOT further into the engine; in fact, THAT should be done before the pan removal.  See the oiling sketch!

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.  The tool is also available from Cycleworks, see above or my references article:

22.  SEALS & BEARING 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.  ALL earlier wheels MUST be heated. Contact cycleworks, see #20 above, for a clever tool for removing 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 that some axles, such as your front axle, may be very useful!

NOTE REGARDING PULLERS:   You may have occasion to remove various bearings, etc.   The Kukko tools, above, are nice, but if your wallet is small, you might be interested in cheaper items.   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.

For SEALS, such as for the crankshaft seal, transmission input shaft seal, & many others, you may be able to use a small punched or drilled hole in the metal seal, & screw-in a drywall or sheet metal type screw, & pry on it.  Often some HEAT helps.   For some situations you might want to purchase a cheap seal puller, like the Lisle 58430, check the Internet for that cheap tool.   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 adaptor tools for grease guns are available for greasing the swing arm, via greasing into the Allen wrench hex recess of the swing arm adjustor pin.   Chainsaw dealers sell 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.

24.  There is a factory tool to help line up the clutch disc.  You don't absolutely have to have one, as your eyeball is possibly good enough, or, it will take you a try or three.  CycleWorks probably has an alignment tool available.   You can also get them from other sources. has several versions.    If you want to make this type of tool, here is MY version (see the RIGHT MOST item in the photo, below):  

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 that tool, for your machinist (or?): TOOL.pdf.   Print it, annotate it, have it made, or dyi.

Here is a photo of some of the factory clutch/flywheel release/removal tools, AND, of that clutch disc alignment tool.  Clutch release tools are not needed for the 1981+ type clutches.

See also 8A and 8B, above

25.  Homemade universal shock absorber tool.   Simple adapters to fit the coils are not shown here. 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 & 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, & machinery to make what is below, you do NOT NEED TO!  If you want an exceptionally nice tool, get the Ohlins shock absorber tool.  In the below photo of a quickly-made tool 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 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 goodly deep counterbore area.

26.  27 mm or 1-1/16" 12 point socket, 1/2" square drive (EITHER size will work fine).  Modified.  Home tool.  This is for the swing arm nuts and you MUST modify the socket OD (to enable fitting all the swing arm cavities), and square the end (eliminates the internal taper).  12 point is FAR better than 6 point 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, flatten/square that end off.  BE SURE that it is SQUARE to the main don't want it fitting poorly onto the thin nut of the swing arm. Do this step first.  MUCH neater, nicer, and will fit best, if you do it on a lathe.    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 there (on most).   This is a FAR better tool than trying to use the 27 mm tubular end of the dogbone wrench!  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 & wrench already are.  Cycleworks has this and MANY other tools for sale.


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, the allen bolt rotates.    I have three solutions; there are others.  One solution is to modify a deep socket for a slot along the side, into which you can insert the short end of a common Allen wrench.  Another solution is to purchase an offset socket wrench.  McMaster-Carr has one, item 7247A52.   My final suggestion (there can be PLENTY of tools for this job, many you can make), is an interesting tool,  see:

29.  ONE of the various types of broken screw/bolt extractor that I use.  Don't know the name of this type, but they are often called stud removal tools, and my set in the photo came from Bridgestone Tools, a very long time ago.  They do not break as easy as an EZ-OUT brand (long removing tool) does.  A possible disadvantage in some few situations, as the working end of these is short (but usually works more reliably, and does not break).  SNAP-ON has SIMILAR extractors.   Ask me about proper usage of these types of tools; when to use a Dremel, or when to use an Electric Discharge Machining (EDM).  I have used EZ-OUTS, & many others, successfully.  You can too, if you are LUCKY and CAREFUL.  OVER-torque causes headaches, such as spreading the item you want to remove from the pressure, and making it even more difficult to remove.

30.   11-42-1-335-394   Special BMW 23 mm bolt for filling the thermostat/cooler during oil changes when you ARE changing the oil filter, or have, for whatever reason, disconnected and drained the cooler.   Using this tool will prevent the rare damage to a cooler radiator from high impulse pressures at engine startup when the oil is very cold ....this is a really rare occurrence, and probably (??) occurs more when someone blips the throttle excessively (higher than 1500 rpm??) during quite cold startup with an empty radiator.

****Do NOT use if longer than 23 mm!!!  MUST have a full and smooth radius'd nose!

In the below photos, the short PROPER bolt, marked 23 mm in the photos, actually measured, from 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), and this is necessary.  THE NOSE MUST NOT BE SHARP edged nor pointy, not even close to that!  I like the nose (tip area) more rounded than as shown in the below photos; and I polish mine.  

31.  Another source for tools:   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.

32.  When adjusting the valves on pre-1985 models (from 1985, there is no adjustment possible for rocker end play by trying to adjust the position of the rocker blocks), 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 article.  I suggest you read the article, then decide whether or not to make these simple washers.

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 them.  A front axle may work for you.

35.   Degree wheels and piston stops.   You may never have a need for them.  You will find description and photos, here:,OT,S,Z.htm

36.  Clutch disc centering tool.  Not truly absolutely necessary.

37.  Adjustment tool for use in setting rocker end play, see

Very special tools are needed for certain jobs.  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 dogbone wrenches.
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 & some commentary & links; re-arrange some items; 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.
Sometime in 2013:  remove language button, as the javascript was causing problems with some browsers.
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.
05/21/2014:  Add#35.
07/08/2014:  Add warning note on removing chips, etc., to item #20.
08/11/2014:  Add Cen-Tech photo.
09/30/2014:  Clean up article.
10/25/2014:  Add note to #4, in Part II.
02/12/2015:  Modify photo of rotor tools to include NOT APPROVED.  Edit associated text.
02/17/2015:  #13 had been blank.
02/28/2015:  Clarify use of torque wrench adaptors.
06/19/2015:  Add note for tire repair article.
06/22/2015:  Add torque wrench adaptor info and photo.
08/10/2015:  Fix hyperlinks for cylinder stud repairs items.
08/16/2015:  MINOR clarifications and a final cleanup on 09/15/2015.
10/04/2015:  Add hyperlink for spark plug shorting tool source:
11/01/2015:  Add #9, which had been previously deleted/moved.
12/24/2015:  Meta codes; clean up entire article, clarify some details, improve for smaller screens.
01/06/2016:  Meta-codes updated. Fonts increased.  Left side justification mode intensified, horizontal lines characteristics changed....and, some clarifications and updating.
03/27/2016:  Add #37.
04/12/2016:  Completely updated.  Metacodes, colors, layout, fonts, clarifications, dogbone photo annotated, etc.
11/26/2016:  Add .gif of screw heads.
12/19/2016:  Revise entire article for clarity, ease of use.

Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer

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Last check/edit: Monday, December 19, 2016