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Old 09-02-2008, 03:39 PM   #1
bgoodsoil OP
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Wicked Another G/S on the road

Hey! I've been taking up valuable screen space by starting a new thread every time I run in to some problem with my G/S project. I'm likely to have more questions so I'm making this thread to keep it all in one place.

For a little history....

I started riding about 5 years ago. At the time I was in the Coast Guard and stationed on an island off the coast of Alaska. We averaged over 100" of a rain a year so for my first 2 years of riding it was ALWAYS wet. My first bike was this '84 KDX200. It barely ran when I got it but after minor tuning it scared the hell outta me.



Then I saw Easy Rider......yeah, I'm one of the guys that got into riding because of that movie. I didn't have a ton of money, but I ended up getting this '99 Vulcan 750 shipped up from Oregon for $3k. not bad!



I decided that when I got out of the CG I would ride my bike back home from Alaska to Georgia. The island I was on had 13 miles of paved road and the highest speed limit on the island was 45. The first time I ever had a motorcycle at 60mph for more than 10 seconds was when I got off the ferry in British Columbia on my ride home. Not a bad start to touring.

I slept in the woods for most of the trip home(power lines or next to radio towers) and decided I'd be better off with a more offroady bike if I wanted to avoid hotels or campgrounds. I'm cheap. I picked up a KLR. I had it for about a year, and 23,000 miles, before a little old lady pulled out in front of me. Here's my KLR.



I flew over the lady's hood, cracked my tibia on my handlebar enroute and dislocated my right shoulder upon my return to Mother Earth. I owe my armored jacket for the fact that I hit the pavement at 40mph and didn't break a bone. Now, I also wear full knee/shin pads every time I ride. Since I don't drive(my bug is still not running, 1 project at a time!) that's every day.

I got out of the hospital, got a hefty settlement from the insurance and bought a Harley Sportster.



Big mistake. I rode it on a trip to Mexico and it didn't do too well. It weighs almost 600 pounds. I was bottoming out the suspension on the highways and I was scared to ride it in the woods to find a campsite. Also, it drew waaaay too much attention for my liking in rural Mexico. It's a gorgeous bike, I've sat on the back porch just to stare at it, but it doesn't suit the type of riding I want to do.

That brings me up to about a month and a half ago when I found this
'85 r80G/S.



Last week it looked like this.....



edit: now it looks like this.



Thanks for the pic, Blaine

So far I've.....
DR650 fork (SS brake cable, Gold Valves, Eibach springs, SuperBrace, Fork Skins)
Rifle Roadster fairing, PD chin fairing, side covers
Pelican dashboard (TrailTech Vapor, 12v outlet)
Enduralast alternator, Valeo starter, points ignition
Hella FF-50 driving lights, new headlight bucket, new turn signals, LED running light, ATC type fuses
highway pegs, lowered footpegs, extended rear brake lever
HPN tank
Russell Saddle, good bye 70's-era shag-carpet-orange seat, hello 21st century!
gearbox rebuild, higher 5th, circlip
Ohlin's rear shock
Brown sidestand
Leather tank/fork bags alt cover bin, Kathy's Tube Stash, Pelican trunk
Jesse boxes w/ compartment & homemade racks
diamond plate bash guard
Wider footpegs with lowering brackets

now all I want to do is......
WP4860 front end with an Emig Racing 38mm offset triples a spare 17" motard rim and a steering damper
Omega Pistons
shaved r65 block
Shindy Master Cylinder/Brake lever
Motion Pro Clutch & cable
CC Products valve covers from SanJose BMW
HPN style frame bracing
adjust Russell seat/ recover in leather
mast step highway pegs
lower 1st gear
Mount r1100s tank along with new seat and sub frame and tank bag

I'd appreciate any suggestions!

thanks,
brad
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:25 PM   #2
elmoreman
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Right on, bro!

I had that same trip in mind, but mide got amended by time and a desire to ride more off-road.

You've got a great list going there...lots of things to improve on the basic g/s design. I'd add proper skidplates on the oil pan and centerstand. I'd also leave off the HPN tank. That thing is huge, and after reading about people doing RTW, very few people even NEEDED that size tank. Go for a regular airhead GS tank. It gives you a range of around 200+ depending on terrain.

DR forks...cool idea

Oh yeah...the BEST thing I did for safety on my bike was adding a

LOUD ASS HORN.


Stebel air horn really gets people's attention. They think I'm an 18 wheeler. I can guarantee it has saved me from bad situations more than a few times...
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:44 PM   #3
Gimmeslack
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Suggestions?

I suggest you give me your bike. NICE!!
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Old 09-02-2008, 04:58 PM   #4
Justinmarque
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Lemme know...

I did a very similar trip back in '03. I had an XR650L and my buddy rode a KLR. Made it from Nashville, TN to the Panama Canal. Ended up shipping our bikes back from San Jose, Costa Rica (that due to my buddy having a nice spill in the highlands)

Tierra del Fuego was the original goal but the trip ended up costing us a bit more than we initially anticipated.

PM me if you ever need suggestions, tips, things to avoid, etc.

Good luck. Nice bike
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:16 PM   #5
datchew
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sounds like the perfect and complete transition. Hardley Ableson -> airhead G/S.


Nice bike indeed. Should be rock solid by the time you're done giving it a good once over.
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:31 PM   #6
bpeckm
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Good on ya, and thassa good bike.... well done!
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:45 PM   #7
Putts
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Mine's exactly the same year and model. Cool.

Looking forward to your long journey before you even get to your long journey.
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Old 09-02-2008, 05:45 PM   #8
bgoodsoil OP
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I somehow managed to post this twice. And I was trying to REDUCE the number of threads I made. Anyways, here's a pic of the fairing....and me showing off.......

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Old 09-02-2008, 05:48 PM   #9
Stagehand
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sounds like youve done your homework. Nice bike, man... I'm someday going to own one...Love the progression of rides,, as well.

You wont hate yourself if you kick down for heated grips, and a set of bashguards.

Just be safe - I've heard a probably apocryphal statistic that said most people crash a few years and a few thousand miles into their riding career. Takes a hair longer for judgment to catch up with skill, but it proves youre really riding, anyway.

Glad you got it out of the way,and got back on one.
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:29 PM   #10
BMWzenrider
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Brad,
While you have things apart would be an excellent time to get inside of the transmission and find out if you have one of the infamous circlip transmissions.

You do NOT want to have your output shaft bearing to eat itself while in the middle of Central America.

-----

The BMW airhead transmission is very reliable, except that for a couple of years they decided to remove the circlip from behind the large bearing on the output shaft. Nobody knows why...



What we DO know, is that the transmissions without the circlip have a nasty habit of eating that bearing because of the helical 5th gear pushing against it.



It is a relatively inexpensive fix, and afterwards you will never have a problem for at least the next 80-100k with regular oil changes.

It is probably time to have all the seals replaced anyway, and some of them are MUCH easier to do with the tranny taken apart...

-----

For more information you can check out these two excellent websites:

http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/transmission.htm

http://largiader.com/articles/circlip/

I would recommend any Airhead rider bookmark the home pages for each of these websites if you don't already know about them...

-----

Tom Cutter @ The Rubber Chicken Racing Garage does the circlip repair/installation on an exchange basis (shaft only) for only $66 including return shipping as of last month (when I had my new 1989 R100GS's tranny circlip done).

That is if you take the transmission apart yourself and just send the output shaft to him.
You can also send him the entire transmission and he will do the seals, inspect the bearings, do the circlip, and clean the whole thing up before putting it back together with correct shimming, etc...

Tom does quality work, and I have had a full transmission rebuild done by him, as well as the recent circlip install and other work.

http://rubberchickenracinggarage.com/


-----

Oh yeah, and get a LOUD ASS HORN!!!

(Steibel Nautilus is my current personal fave.)
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Old 09-02-2008, 10:56 PM   #11
bgoodsoil OP
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Quote:
While you have things apart would be an excellent time to get inside of the transmission and find out if you have one of the infamous circlip transmissions.
The circlip is definitely on my longterm list, along with a higher fifth and bearing replacement. Thanks for the pics and the links, now I actually understand what that 'circlip' problem is!

I've talked to Nathan at Boxerworks about it. Since the bike only has 18,000 miles on it he said I could probably wait, but that he could do it. I'd have taken it by already but he doesn't have any higher fifths in right now(dang HPN!) and I'd rather be riding. It's really only an afternoon job to pull the tranny.

Here's what happens when you hit a bee at 50mph

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Old 09-02-2008, 11:13 PM   #12
AKjeff
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How did the bee look?

Cool thread, I've been in love with the airhead G/S and GS since I first saw one. I'm currently looking for one myself. Just looking, I tell my wife

I'll follow along and learn as you learn things on your G/S. For instance, I just learned what the tranny circlip fix meant too.
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:53 PM   #13
BMWzenrider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil
The circlip is definitely on my longterm list, along with a higher fifth and bearing replacement. Thanks for the pics and the links, now I actually understand what that 'circlip' problem is!

I've talked to Nathan at Boxerworks about it. Since the bike only has 18,000 miles on it he said I could probably wait, but that he could do it pretty easy. I'd have taken it by already but he doesn't have any higher fifths in right now(dang HPN!) and I'd rather be riding. It's really only an afternoon job to pull the tranny.
Waiting can cost you more in the long run...

And there is no way to tell when (and it is WHEN, not if) that bearing will start to eat itself. If it happens when you are more than 20-30 miles from home, the fragments can cause other damage if you don't get a tow once it starts vibrating.

Back before the people at BMW knew what was going on, I had a 1993 R100RT that I bought new which ate that bearing every 15k till some teen spun out in a turn and took me out with his ass end.
To their credit, that was back in the the Unlimited Mileage Warranty years, all three bearing replacements were done under warranty (bike had just over 47k when it was swept out from under me.)
But they just kept replacing the bearings without doing the circlip repair/install...

We picked up a nice low mileage 1986 R65 monolever for the girlfriend to ride last year. Only 9,xxx miles, and within 2k of buying it I started feeling that old familiar rumble...

So when I picked up this '89 R100GS with "only" 17,600 miles, the first thing I did was pop the transmission cover to check for the circlip.
(later found out from the original owner when I tracked him down that the tranny had already had the big bearing replaced under warranty, but as with my '93, they didn't know to replace the circlip yet when it had been done...)

Some have reported that they have gotten as many as 40-50K before trouble, but in my experience (three of them now), it can easily happen with lots fewer than 20k...
And if you don't recognize the symptoms early enough, you are going to be replacing gears, or complete shafts...
NOT cheap.

Seems that it happens earlier on bikes where the rider uses engine braking more frequently, but that may just be anecdotal...

-----

IMNSHO, do it now.

You will KNOW that the tranny is safe, and you may just save yourself a nice fistfull of cash...

YMMV... but I wouldn't put money on it...
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Old 09-02-2008, 11:57 PM   #14
BMWzenrider
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Oh, Boxerworks is a highly recommended shop as well.

If you have Nathan in your back yard, no reason to go shipping your stuff off... ;)

But do it now!

Gee... am I sounding preachy 'bout this issue???
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:13 AM   #15
BMWzenrider
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MY "rescue" GS

I just got my 1989 R100GS back on the road after receiving it in "kit" form earlier this year.

It came in several milk crates and with the wiring harness dangling and cut open after a "restoration" the second owner started 10 years earlier and never got farther than taking it apart.

Here is how I got it:




And here is what it looks like when I got it back on the road last week:




The sad part is, now that I have her running again, my circumstances are not looking good for being able to keep it.
I need to sell something to make room and get some money (and reduce my insurance costs), and nobody seems interested in my sidecar rig.

So this may be the next one I offer up to generate some income and make room.
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