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Old 03-14-2013, 04:34 PM   #31
Stan_R80/7
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I replaced my oil filter o-ring last summer on my '78. It was the original orange o-ring. I hadn't been keeping up with the latest internet mythology. My bad.

The orange o-ring was on the bike when I bought it in 1990. I never changed it or the spacer. It seemed like a typical paper cartridge oil filter used on many older cars. They are not complicated.

The new o-ring is white, but the spacer is still the original. I don't have an oil cooler and the cover makes installation somewhat intuitive. My old Clymers manual never called out replacing that o-ring and this was before the $2k o-ring article was printed.

I heartily agree that it is important to pay attention when disassembling any part of the engine and replace the parts in the order they were removed. Swapping the spacer with the o-ring location would likely cause all the oil to leak out of the engine. FWIW, the original (?) orange o-ring was still in good shape. YMMV and the details are important.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:13 AM   #32
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Do you remember if the canister lip on your '78 was square or rolled. As far as I could tell mine is square and was missing the shim. The white o-ring still appeared to have a good seal, but had worn into/taken shape of the canister lip. I added the shim and went with the included orange o-ring. I'll make sure to order extra white O-rings if they don't come with the filters.

Never had a problem with Mahle filters on the bimmer or Volvo's, fuel filters either. This was my first air head oil change and have no experience using them on the boxer.
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:53 AM   #33
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The canister lip (which I believe is part of the engine casing) is square. One theory is that the spacer (shim) purpose is to protect the o-ring from that edge. Although, I have not pondered much on the topic and never considered removing the spacer to find out.

The o-ring seals against the engine case groove and the oil filter cover. The spacer provides more compression on the o-ring and may (or may not) keep the o-ring from being cut by the rim of the canister/casing. Visual inspection will show if the o-ring is being cut. It's a static o-ring seal.

Separate o-rings are available and can be bought individually. If you see compression deformation on the o-ring without the spacer and oil does not leak, then no spacer is needed. I think the spacer was added due to the gasket thickness between the outer case and oil filter cover. I expect the cover outer gasket is to keep grime and crud away from the o-ring seal.

Design guides for static compression show 3.03-3.09 mm depth for the 4mm oil cover o-ring groove. Maybe some day I will measure mine.
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:46 AM   #34
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Thanks Stan. Yes, the metal shim is for the square lip to protect the o-ring.. I added the shim, but did not use gasket for the cover. Could not see any rolling at all on the lip. I'm sure I got it right as there is a ton to read on the 2-3-$4,000 o-ring.

Not a lot of posting on our bikes and I'm curious how far apart ours are, if you're comfortable listing part of your VIN. Or any other owners. The last 5 in mine are 22917. Fortunately matching engine as well. Apparently you've owned your bike for quite a while. I hope you're still happy with it. I'm happy owning my '78.

Dave
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Old 03-15-2013, 08:53 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan_R80/7 View Post
The canister lip (which I believe is part of the engine casing) is square.
Nope, it's a separate piece. Anton has an excellent write up on this subject. Definitely worth reading and understanding:

http://largiader.com/tech/filters/canister.html
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:54 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler View Post
Nope, it's a separate piece. Anton has an excellent write up on this subject. Definitely worth reading and understanding:

http://largiader.com/tech/filters/canister.html
Quoting from Anton's website: "This is just an example, narrowly targeting a specific dimension! Do your own math to suit your own situation. In practice, the O-ring works in a fairly wide range of dimensions, so it's really unnecessary to apply this level of precision. You need to compress the O-ring, but it's not rocket science. "

If you are rebuilding the engine case from bits scattered across the world including putting in a new oil canister, then yes - this is something to be concerned with. However, if all you are doing is changing the oil filter - then simply replace the filter and put the parts back where they were removed. My advise: Check for oil leaks after changing the filter with the engine started; which is obviously where the $2k o-ring guy made his legendary (mythical?) mistake.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:18 AM   #37
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I agree the canister depth doesn't need measuring every time the filter is changed. Once you grasp the concept that the cover gasket has no role in keeping the oil in other than acting as a spacer you can observe that if it goes on dry and is still dry when it comes off next time, that will tell you the 2000$ O ring is sealing and doing it's job.
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:42 AM   #38
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I didn't pull out the caliper or a scale and measure. It was obvious there was enough of the seal sitting proud of the flange that it would compress fully. I previously made sure the filter was already wet with oil before install (just like I do on the canister filter on the 635) so it doesn't start out dry. Was surprised the oil light went out instantly as it usually does on fire up. Checked filter cap for leaks and took off. Stopping every once in while to inspect. All the horror stories I've read, I got it right.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:26 PM   #39
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To drag this back out into the light, I found this article on Snowbums site referring to the $2000.00 o-ring issue (http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/Oil.htm):

"OAK's $2000 O-ring articles were prompted originally by an inquiry from someone who did major damage from using a too thick cover gasket (an aftermarket item), when no gasket at all would have been just fine, and preferable. What is often not understood properly is that the metal shim is there to protect the large, usually white, HIGH PRESSURE O-ring from being damaged by the sharp edge of the canister, and ALSO to increase pressure on this large O-ring. That large O-ring is the CRITICAL one, the so-called $2000 O-ring, and its part number is 11-42-1-337-098. NEVER reuse one of those, and always inspect the new one, never nicking it in the slightest whilst you install it. Some filters (kits) are sold with those large O-rings. If your filter does not come with the O-ring, GET ONE. BE SURE to have the proper O-rings, etc., when you are ready to replace an oil filter. You might even need a fresh metal shim, if yours gets deformed. I always stock a few spare white -098 O-rings. INSPECT the filter kit, etc., at the dealership, when you purchase them...be sure the needed parts are there."

What does not make sense to me is that by placing the spacer (shim) on the canister the o-ring does not seal the canister to the cover and can allow oil from the canister back to the sump. This is shown on Anton's site diagram:http://largiader.com/tech/filters/canister.html where the o-ring seals the cover to the engine case. If all the above is true, it would make more sense to bevel the canister edge so it is not sharp, eliminate the spacer (shim), and remove the cover gasket. I need to examine how the canister fits in the engine casing the next time I change the filter. It always seemed that the canister was an interference fit with the case so oil could not get back into the sump. All this makes it seem the BMW engineers were incompetent - which also does not make sense.

Stan_R80/7 screwed with this post 03-15-2013 at 06:31 PM
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:47 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan_R80/7 View Post
To drag this back out into the light, I found this article on Snowbums site referring to the $2000.00 o-ring issue (http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/Oil.htm):

"OAK's $2000 O-ring articles were prompted originally by an inquiry from someone who did major damage from using a too thick cover gasket (an aftermarket item), when no gasket at all would have been just fine, and preferable. What is often not understood properly is that the metal shim is there to protect the large, usually white, HIGH PRESSURE O-ring from being damaged by the sharp edge of the canister, and ALSO to increase pressure on this large O-ring. That large O-ring is the CRITICAL one, the so-called $2000 O-ring, and its part number is 11-42-1-337-098. NEVER reuse one of those, and always inspect the new one, never nicking it in the slightest whilst you install it. Some filters (kits) are sold with those large O-rings. If your filter does not come with the O-ring, GET ONE. BE SURE to have the proper O-rings, etc., when you are ready to replace an oil filter. You might even need a fresh metal shim, if yours gets deformed. I always stock a few spare white -098 O-rings. INSPECT the filter kit, etc., at the dealership, when you purchase them...be sure the needed parts are there."

What does not make sense to me is that by placing the spacer (shim) on the canister the o-ring does not seal the canister to the cover and can allow oil from the canister back to the sump. This is shown on Anton's site diagram:http://largiader.com/tech/filters/canister.html where the o-ring seals the cover to the engine case. If all the above is true, it would make more sense to bevel the canister edge so it is not sharp, eliminate the spacer (shim), and remove the cover gasket. I need to examine how the canister fits in the engine casing the next time I change the filter. It always seemed that the canister was an interference fit with the case so oil could not get back into the sump. All this makes it seem the BMW engineers were incompetent - which also does not make sense.
It seems that a lot of your worries are based on your assumption that the shim doesn't seal between the canister and the O-ring. That would be horrible IF that was the case but it isn't. There is nothing to fix. The O-ring and shim seal just fine. Beveling the canister to fix a problem that doesn't exist? That would leave the canister's edge even thinner and more likely to displace the O-ring if not cut/tear it.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:50 PM   #41
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Based on Anton's diagram, oil pressure in the canister must further compress the o-ring towards the cover and case which will create a leak path back to the sump. Unless his diagram is incorrect. Where is the oil pressure relief valve on an airhead?

Edit: I expect the oil canister is a near interference fit and oil pressure expands the canister walls into the case as pressure increases. That would explain how 99.999% of airheads have good oil pressure without any problems. However, that still does not explain the $2000 o-ring incident.

Stan_R80/7 screwed with this post 03-15-2013 at 07:09 PM
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Old 03-15-2013, 07:24 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Stan_R80/7 View Post
Based on Anton's diagram, oil pressure in the canister must further compress the o-ring towards the cover and case which will create a leak path back to the sump. Unless his diagram is incorrect. Where is the oil pressure relief valve on an airhead?

Edit: I expect the oil canister is a near interference fit and oil pressure expands the canister walls into the case as pressure increases. That would explain how 99.999% of airheads have good oil pressure without any problems. However, that still does not explain the $2000 o-ring incident.
I suspect you are reading too much into that diagram since that does not happen. If it did, airheads would be famous for lunching rod big ends. They aren't.

The canister is not an interference fit with the case. The white O-ring and shim make the seal there. The $2000 O-ring incident is from the O-ring being compressed too much, not enough, or being torn. It is not about an inherent design flaw. The engine doesn't have one there when it is as it should be.
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Old 03-16-2013, 06:24 AM   #43
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Ok, I looked all this information up in the manuals. Both the Clymers (2002) and Haynes (1999) manuals show the oil filter assembly which matches Anton's diagram. The canister has a shim on top followed by an o-ring and the cover w/gasket. A thick cover gasket could cause lack of o-ring compression and the oil canister not sealing to cause an internal oil leak - although I would think the oil pressure light would flicker or come on if that happened.

The $2000 o-ring story is for my ( /7) type of engine. The guy who ruined his engine did not have or did not follow the instructions in the manual. My '77 Clymers manual simply states to examine the o-ring and shim and replace them if they appear damaged - which is why I kept the original until six months ago. The $2000 o-ring legend is much ado about nothing, IMO; that is conditional upon getting a manual and read it before working on the engine.
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Old 03-16-2013, 12:21 PM   #44
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I would add that you need to measure at every oil change. When I first got my bike, I simply changed the oil and filter and reassembled. Then the next time I found Snowbum and Anton's info. I started to measure the canister. It was very close to the loose end for the o-ring. I shimmed it and rechecked at the next change. It was migrating in. In my case it seems best to check it every time I change the filter.
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:13 AM   #45
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Black o-ring instead of white???

I got the following in my filter kit - ok to replace the white o-ring with the black?

http://flic.kr/p/nBCejq

Also, does the shim go under or over the "white" o-ring..?

Many thanks Victor
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