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Old 07-01-2009, 06:35 AM   #16
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Europe-Croatia-Zagreb
Oddometer: 892
A trip that lot of us here are dreaming of. I see that you're going over Yemen also, is that correct?

Stay safe and ride on
__________________ motorcycle and bicycle friendly bed & breakfast in, Zagreb, Croatia
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:39 AM   #17
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Joined: Dec 2006
Location: Haverhill, MA
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I'm hooked!

When I die, I want it to be on my 100th birthday, in my beach house on Maui, and I want my husband to be so upset, he has to drop out of college.

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Old 07-01-2009, 09:03 AM   #18
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:52 PM   #19
tsiklonaut OP
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Joined: Nov 2004
Location: semi-homeless
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R1100GS preparations


In the beginning, the bike was in white with a 11 gallon plastic tank.

That was tested to the (rider's) limit.

And the rider's physique was tested to the limit as he helped his friends to push over 450 lbs bikes in a deep sand.

Then 8 gallon ADV tank went on the bike and was painted silver for a faster look and color:

And additional testing was conducted.

The setup worked out pretty well - good range per fuel tank, while being relatively lightweight and nimble.

We were happy with the setup:

Next step: techie stuff.

Bike's technical preparations:

As before any BIG TRIP on an over 10 year old bike, I did the just-in-case mechanics re-check. Started with undressing my little baby:

Removed the rear subframe for reinforcing and took all the shaft drive assembly off for inspection.

Rear subframe off (a relatively big job):

Reinforcement spots on both sides:

Replaced swingarm and bevel box pivot bearings as "while I was there" job.

This went to 100 Celcius sauna with me and the bearings went to deep-freeze. Then they mated fine :)

ADVrider Gecko donated me TouraTech twin headlamp frame (thanks Marc! and don't be mad at me coz we didn't get a chance meet in Belgium! 2 ) I put Honda CBR400 headlight reflectors inside. Needed lot of grinding and stuff, but in the end got them to fit.

Honda CBR400 reflectors:

Corners grinded off and fitted into TT frame:

Now it is possible to use 2x55W H4 bulbs:

Fuel filter:

Now routed outside the fuel tank - easier raplacement on the road if dirty fuel gets into the tank.

Leo Vince exhaust with Lambda sensor hole:

Stock exhaust is 12.0 kg, Leo Vince is 3.7 kg - over 8 kg of weight savings. Thus the bike can carry 8 kg more stuff:

Kicked in a random extension pipe that I cut myself, so that it carries the heat away from the pannier:

With the extension pipe it now works much more silently too - really handy for riding long distances.

Radiator protector. Made it myself out of chavs car tuning grid:

CPC quick disconnects for the fuel tank:

Shortened the beak (just for a nicer look in my eyes):

Elastic turn signals, no more broken signals when going down (which inevitably happens a lot on slow offroad speeds ;):

MiGSel rear footpeg lowering kit - Kariina's now much happier with her position. I had to cut the stock pegs pannier support arm to fit tho:

Vernatech panniers:

Installed new steel break lines:

Garmin eTrex Legend HCx with RAM mount and loaded with WorldMap 4.

This'll be just for the reference and to keep track on our going. We're oldschool navigators by heart, 2 inch display doesn't replace 20" detailed map that you can unfold on the floor and a compass. Neither is the Garmin new Worldmap version 4 anywhere close the ideal, very poor detail, mind.

Then I decided that maybe it's better to replace the clutch before we leave:


The old clutch:

Appeared to be relatively OK:

Specced 5.3 mm, which is about half-worn (new is 6 mm, minimum allowed is 4.5 mm). So with this estimate the clutch would be good for another 140-160,000km. But better to replace it with hard times waiting ahead ;)

So I noted the position of the old clutch kit and carefully checked the white marking on the flywheel:

White line markings on pressure plate and cover plate:

In order to balance the clutch I had to mount all the three (flywheel, cover- and pressure plate) the furthest away from each other. That'd be 120 degrees, but in some case you can't get perfect 120 deg white line distribution, so I just put them in the best way apart I could.

After finger-tightening the bolts on the new clutch I temporarily put on the new gearbox to use it as a centering tool for friction plate:

I gave it couple of rounds of cranks (you can use alternator bottom pulley bolt for giving engine crank) so it centered itself and then tightened (but not hard) from startermotor window:

I took the gearbox off, put TDC blocker bolt back on and final-tightened them to 18 Nm:

It is important to take off the flywheel blocking bolt after finally putting the gearbox back.

I put everything back together and I was done.

Then, while I was there I also decided to replace the radial crankshaft seals - they're cheap afterall.

All R boxer bikes after 12/1997 have twin radial seals with vent in between the seal. Pre 12/1997 bikes have a single seal.

My bike is 03/1998 so it has twin radial seals, inner and outer seal in the crankshaft output end. I decided to replace 'em before my big trip along with the clutch and couple of other seals.

So here how it goes after you've taken your bike apart (rear up, airbox, gearbox+swingarm, clutch+flywheel removed):

After opening up my old seal I discovered a slight, almost invisible leak per 81,000km:

So the decision to replace the radial seals looked like obligatory, or my new clutch would be toasted soon with oil contamination.

Cleaned all the surfaces carefully, so that I could do clean work on the sealing areas:

I had to measure the depth of outer seal. Mine was easy - it was exacly on the surface depth.

Drilled two holes 180 degrees apart into the outer radial seal:

It is important not to damage any of the surfaces by doing so.

I screwed suitable bolts into the holes and pulled the seal out (this can be very hard job, like mine was - I needed to use excessive force. As you can see, kicking one end with screwdriver and hoping the other end would pop up didn't work for me):

Outer radial seal out:

When you get it out you'll see crankshaft vent hole:

And crankcase side vent hole above (the inner radial seal is still in place):

Those holes keep balanced pressure between the two radial seals to effectively avoid any potential leaks coming from high-pressure oil inside crankcase.

While efficient this setup will create its unique set of mounting problems: you must first get the new inner-radial-seal over the vent hole w/o damaging the radial seal itself, and you must put the outer-radial-seal to a certain depth so that it leaves the vent open and doesn't reach any of the hole's corners (or it'll be destroyed soon and leaks will occur if you do so).

Now you know the theory about removing the inner radial seal (prior you don't have to measure it's depth, since its mounted all the way in). Here you must drill holes inside, no other way getting it out.

I had to drill 5 (!) holes to get it out, since the holes kept collapsing on pulling the screws, but it got it out easily in the end since I destroyed the seal's metal ring's integrity (that pushes it agains the wall) with so many holes:

This done you could see the metal end of crankshaft:

After that I started preparing both radial seals by pre-forming them with (fresh oily) fingers.

New seal is flat'n'clean:

I did the pre-forming with my finger and oil, going slowly w/o any excessive force first:

And after it started to take shape I added additional force with my fingers:

After it's pre-formed:

While well pre-formed it is still very hard to get it on the crankshaft w/o helping "tools":

So I made a plastic helper sheet from a plastic bottle:

Cut all the sharp corners etc, and oiled it well, so it couldn't damage the radial seal's fragile surfaces.

I oiled both the radial surfaces and put VERY little oil on the outer surfaces too to slightly aid going in.

I got it going making rounds with this oiled plastic sheet and smartly pushed the seal on the crankcase first, and then covered it with the sheet to get it safely over the vent hole into the seal's hole:

You'd need a special BMW tool to mount it, but not neccesarily. I made myself a pusher tool out of a cable-roll holder that had the required radius:

And with wood-block to additionally dampen hammer hits and even out the forces over the entire area, kicked the inner seal all the way in:

Inner radial seal now in place:

Now preformed the outer seal and got it going on the crankshaft in the same way as the outer seal with a thin (but well supporting) plastic sheet. Added little oil on the outside surface too (not too much or it would just pop out with crankcase pressure).

I just used small wooden blocks to kick the outer seal into the surface depth (half of the block supported itself on the seal, half on the crankcase when kicked in, and I did rounds around the seals to make sure it's evenly pushed in). Job done.

New radial seals fitted:

Now I needed to put BRAND NEW flywheel bolts (bin the old ones, since they're "deforming" material type of bolts after they're mounted they're useless/dangerous in second-hand use).

Tighthened them in criss-cross pattern with 40 Nm of torque first. Now I needed to angle-tighten them to final 32-degrees.

I made the angle-tool myself. First I made a line in a computer application, rotated it 32-degrees, then put a white sheet on the computer screen and copied the lines from there. And got perfect 32-degree angle. Then I cut a hole in the centre of the crossing point of the two lines drawing the angle sector. Fixed a wire on the wrench to point the angle. Here's my homemade angle-tool:

Zeroed out the reading by taping the paper in the correct position and in criss-cross pattern 32-degree final tightened each bolt (I marked each bolt after it's done not to confuse anything):

Job done. :)

And I also replaced the gearbox input seal to be sure the newly mounted clutch has a long life expectations:

Gearbox off (dirty, I mostly ride gravel roads):

Input shaft and seal:

And after clean:

Replaced only the input seal for a start, since it's more critical in terms of contaminating my new clutch with oil. If the other end goes, it'll just flush into the shaft tunnel and I'll know about it, and I'll only have to remove the swingarm (instead of the whole gearbox) to replace the output seal.

I had to drill two small holes into the seal and place screws to pull it out. It has to be a VERY small drill and screws, since you don't have much space between the shaft and outer walls, around 2 centimeters or so, and you can easily damage any of the surfaces doing it too rough:

Seal out:

For push tool I used a pipe for toilet use Only had to reduce the radius a bit in order to make it fit into the hole, and the bigger radius limiter was exacly 6.5 mm I needed. So I just had to kick the new seal in with this pipe. 2

Add some grease for the inner lips of the seal before you put it on and and yer done.

New seal in:

Before assembling back together, don't forget to lube input splines with MP3 ($$$, but you only buy it once in a lifetime):

I guess with all those pics now I've scared crap out of you office workers???

But that's it! Bike runs like a dream, I'll skip the documentation, campgear etc part to save your time (that technical side would get too looooooooooooooong) - we're now off for the travelling part.

Can't wait to get on the road!

tsiklonaut screwed with this post 01-22-2010 at 07:53 PM
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Old 07-01-2009, 05:58 PM   #20
Red or Green?
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Location: Southern Newest Mexico
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Subscribed! Ohhhh, this is gonna be good.

Fide Non Timet
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:52 PM   #21
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Bend Oregon
Oddometer: 1,277
Thanks for the detailed write up and photos of your bike preparation
Keep it Wild, Keep it Free

'07 990A
'12 Super Tenere
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Old 07-01-2009, 06:52 PM   #22
Joined: Sep 2007
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:10 AM   #23
MK Bike
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Location: NYC
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Excellent prep work.

Originally Posted by tsiklonaut
Bike's technical preparations:

I guess with all those pics now I've scared crap out of you office workers???
Just a little bit....but now I have a good reference for some of my repairs. Great job and thanks for the lesson!

Originally Posted by tsiklonaut
I'll skip the documentation, campgear etc part to save your time (that technical side would get too looooooooooooooong) - we're now off for the travelling part.
The gear preparation for a round the world trip is an important part of the experience....spare no detail.

Thanks again for sharing and we look forward to your updates.

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Old 07-02-2009, 08:28 AM   #24
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Joined: Jul 2007
Location: Central California
Oddometer: 637
Originally Posted by MK Bike

The gear preparation for a round the world trip is an important part of the experience....spare no detail.

Thanks again for sharing and we look forward to your updates.

Amen! Great photos of the bike prep but I was bummed when you said you were going to skip the gear selection and set-up. I love reading about people's choices for long trips. Please do include it if it's not too much trouble. I promise you that we as readers won't be bored.

And I can't wait to see the ride pics too.
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Old 07-02-2009, 08:55 AM   #25
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2008
Location: Birmingham,UK
Oddometer: 657
Great start to what looks an epic trip
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:09 AM   #26
Joined: Sep 2008
Oddometer: 38
thats a great bike to be riding on and it looks like you have some mechanical skills, should serve you well on the trip. how are you guys financing a 2.5 year trip if you dont mind me asking? are you camping most of the way? why the odd route into Alaska and then right back south? i really hope that i can do something like this before im 30. your are a lucky man to have a wife willing to "go the distance"
1998 RM250
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:25 AM   #27
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Joined: Aug 2007
Location: Barcelona
Oddometer: 16
Wow. Amazing those tons of very good working hours on your bike.
You have a lot of spare time to do that
The thread looks very good.
Keep going
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Old 07-03-2009, 03:07 PM   #28
Gale B.T.
Beastly Adventurer
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Pagosa Springs, CO.
Oddometer: 1,609

I see you may not be traveling through Colorado. I owe anyone from Estonia/Baltic states a big favor. I did a bike trip in 1991 , 1978 BMW 100RT, thorough the Baltic states to what was then Lenningrad , Russia. The people I met and spent time with were absolutely awesome. So if you are in Colorado , please keep this and PM me or if you need a phone number let me know.

Off in a week ,July 7, 09, to back pack the Mt .Robson park area so hope we do not miss you.

Awesome trip, I am signing on for the trip through your eyes/pics/ stories.

ride safe, gale
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Old 07-03-2009, 03:29 PM   #29
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Location: Niksic - Montenegro
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really good begining
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Old 07-03-2009, 03:36 PM   #30
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Location: Vancouver Island B.C
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Can't wait...keep the cards and letters coming.

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