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Old 04-24-2010, 12:46 PM   #1
dotdash OP
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Airhead oil breather... issue

So I was doing some work on my /5 and had the tank off and the starter cover removed and decided that I might as well swap the oil breather valve to the newer reed-type one. As long as I'm in there... Well, I rig up some short pieces of thin chain and a puller and proceed to pull the old valve. But, in the process, one of the chains gets bent straight and falls through the old valve. To make things more interesting, the bike is on the sidestand until I get the centerstand mounts fixed, so the little S shaped bit of chain slides to the left and disappears.
So, how screwed am I?
I have already tried the following:
1) Wishing I hadn't done that.
2) Cursing
3) Spring parts grabber thingie
4) Magnet on a string
5) Leaning the bike to the right a bit.
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Old 04-24-2010, 02:31 PM   #2
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Are you SURE that only one piece fell through? Drain the oil and see if it comes out.....if not, drop the oilpan.
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Old 04-24-2010, 04:11 PM   #3
dotdash OP
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Thanks, that make me feel slightly better.
My first thought was to drop the oil pan, but then I started thinking it might still be somewhere in the oil breather cavity. I'll go ahead and drain the oil tonight when I can get back in the garage and see what comes out.
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Old 04-25-2010, 04:44 PM   #4
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Bummer.....I doubt if it will conveniently fall out the drain hole...life is not that easy....looks like a new oil pan gasket is in your future....while you are in there, double check the oil pick up housing bolts, clean the oil strainer and clean the pan......and don't break any oil pan bolts using some screwy Clymer Manual torque spec......
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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If you need another method to try in getting the breather out, here's how I removed mine (after breaking it off flush in a failed attempt with a dent puller). I rememberd that I had a spool of thin wire cable...about as thick as kite string (you can get cable like that by the foot at a hardware store). I made three loops through the breather, running about as high as the frame of the bike. I put a steel bar through all three loops and rested the bar on the frame (using it as the fulcrum). I stood next to the bike and lifted up on the bar and the breather came out with a pop on the first try!
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:34 PM   #6
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You could try poking a magnet (one of those mechanics magnets on an extending pole) through the drain hole and fish around with that if it doesn't flush with the oil.
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Old 04-26-2010, 07:22 AM   #7
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How about a really powerful shop vac?


Ya never know.
Robert
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:28 AM   #8
dotdash OP
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No joy on the oil drain, nothing in the pan...
I'll try flushing some oil down the breather hole and see if that helps it go down.
Then I suppose I could buy a magnet stick and try poking around from the underside. I may get desperate enough to try the shop-vac angle.
The old valve is off, it's just the lost piece of my ill-conceived puller I have to contend with now.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:33 AM   #9
Bill Harris
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I don't recall exactly what the breather "internal plumbing" does, but I don't think it's a straight shot down to the oil pan. Below the breather, there is the crankshaft (and it's counterweight), below that is the camshaft, with it's bosses for the tappets. At any rate, plenty of chances for the piece to get caught up. The big danger is the loose piece getting caught in the crank or cylinder or cam/tappet and doing a LOT of damage.

Drop the oil pan-- you might find the loose piece in the pan, and that that will give a good view of the engine internals from the bottom side. Look around from there. If you want to try flushing it, I'd suggest kerosene or mineral spirits.

If you still can't find it, plan to pull the right cylinder-- the piece will likely end up in that area.

Here is the right cylinder area under the breather valve:

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Old 04-26-2010, 01:03 PM   #10
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What? Am I the only inmate with a buncha crappy old parts sitting around the garage?

Anyway, I just went out and checked a /6 block, which is very similar to the/5 and that breather passage does not exit anywhere on the right side of the engine. What appears to be happening, is that that passage crosses the top-rear of the block to the left hand side, where it is open to the crank case at the top left rear.

Since the passage also appears to arch upwards as it crosses the crank opening (If it follows the casting shape and I believe it does.).) I doubt that whatever it is you dropped in there, is going to just fall out. Not yet anyway. Once the engine is fired up, all bets are off.

IIWY, I'd try a magnet on a flexible wire first but it that fails, I'd say that you're going to be pulling the engine, because that passage opens directly above the left rear cam lobe and lifter and thats where whatever it is is going to fall out.

Put a magnet on a wire and start fishing! (Thats where I'd begin. YMMV.)
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:25 PM   #11
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Redemption

I arrayed the tools of the trade: spring parts grabber, coat hanger, can of oil, honker's ale... I had the pan off, the tank off and was lying on the dirty garage floor. I was feeling like a cautionary example to others, like I was going to be the $3000 breather valve guy or something. I was feeling, poking, prodding, and getting nowhere. I poured some oil down the breather hole- nothing. Got back on the floor and peered into the oily depths. I noticed the oil was leaking out on the left side, slightly behind and above the dipstick. Reaching up there as far as I could, still couldn't feel anything. Then I got the parts grabber and started snaking it up where the oil was dripping from- push, twist, grab. Kept feeding it up and pulling it back. About the third time I brought it back, it was clutching the rogue link! Mission accomplished.
Thanks to all for the support.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:44 PM   #12
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I like happy endings.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:57 PM   #13
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:13 AM   #14
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Thumb

Whew. Good show.

It's a good idea to periodically drop the oil pan and clean accumulated sludge and look at the debris collected in the bottom. And check the oil pickup bolt tightness (better: remove, de-oil and Loctite).

BTW, you can fit the later /6 breather hose to the older /5 using /6 parts; Hucky has a kit with all the parts needed:

Quote:
11 15 1 255 146 k breather hose 11-146 NLA - substitute kit 1970 on $ 19.00
breather dome
breather hose 16mm
breather cover gasket
clamp breather hose 19mm
gasket ring - breather hose 16mm

http://bmwhucky.com/007511.html
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:49 AM   #15
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Great. I recall about 5 years ago I dropped a valve shim down the cam chain tunnel like an idiot (despite having the entrance covered with shop rags). After days of trying various items I safety wired a rare earth magnet to the outside edge of the chain and rotated the engine so the chain went round and round. After the 2nd time around the magnet came out with the valve shim attached. I was sooooo proud of myself.

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