30 October 2014

restless with the R60

It'll be about a month before my timing gears arrive from Germany, along with the new bearings and spacers to complete the R60 bottom end. I'm getting so anxious to build this engine that I put together the camshaft with the bearings I was able to source locally.

How impressive...

Expect a lot more updates in a month or two

29 October 2014

Lucky Cat Garage Sprintbeemer

I know this is pretty old news (I think I read about it in BMW Motorcycle Magazine at the beginning of the year), but still pretty damn cool.

Lucky Cat Garage from France built this excellent BMW conversion drag racer, when I first saw it in the magazine it looked like this:

Now, it looks like this:

There's so much coolness about this, the dustbin fairing, the Dellorto 40mm "pumper" carbs, the moped tank, the machined out hubs, electronic ignition, extended sump, the custom rear struts, the list goes on and on and it's probably just best to read the linked blog above. So many little hidden details and character. I like the old school trick of using the lower fork clamp as the upper brace, the conversion swingarm and corresponding spacer to connect the d/s to the trans. This would be a terrible bike to ride on the street, but that's not the point is it? If I had money and time to just own a drag racer, I'd build a conversion like this.

I took a lot of work to make this work, although that might not be apparent to people unfamiliar with BMWs. So kudos Lucky Cat Garage, seeing this makes me want to turn my R60 frame into a conversion bike, if only I weren't so deep into it already...

16 October 2014

Oil Analysis - BMW Performance 20W50 vs. Porsche Classic Motor Oil 20w50 (PART 2) - Conclusion

Well, results are in. I'm very surprised.

Besides just getting a test on the Porsche oil, I wanted to compare the new BMW formulation (blended by Castrol/BP), with the old BMW blend by Spectro and the Castrol 4T conventional oil (to see if all the BMW oil is now is just re-badged Castrol 4T - a theory I was pretty certain was going to prove true). Here are the old results Kurt got for BMW and Castrol a few years ago for the BMWMOA (approximates based of his charts).

BMW Conventional 20w50 (Spectro Blend)
Zinc: 1375ppm
Phosphorus: 1100ppm
Viscosity at 100C: 18
TBN: 7.5

Castrol 4T Conventional 20w50
Zinc: 950 ppm
Phosphorus: 750ppm
Viscosity at 100C: 20
TBN: 8

Here's the new results. NOTE: Although TBN was requested for the testing, I can only find the TAN on my test results, so for now that will be omitted...

New BMW Conventional 20w50 (Castrol Blend)
Zinc: 1207ppm
Phosphorus: 1014ppm
Viscosity at 100C: 18 .7
TBN: n/a

Porsche Classic Motoroil 20w50
Zinc: 883ppm
Phosphorus: 927ppm
Viscosity at 100C: 19.1
TBN: n/a

Based on these results, it appears that BMW does indeed have a different formula than Castrol 4T, which I was pretty surprised about. It also appears that the Porsche is lacking in the ZDDP area - so maybe the Germans really do believe Americans are the only ones concerned with ZDDP. The one thing Porsche had going for it was the Calcium level - 2026ppm compared with 636ppm in the BMW oil. BMW oil was also full of Magnesium and Porsche had almost none. That being said, I will not be using the Porsche in my airhead.

Attached are the full analysis results for the new BMW oil:


And the Porsche oil:

11 October 2014

Attack of the Spaghetti monster, i.e. new headlight switch, projects, and Autumn Skies

After 40 years of service, the headlight switch on the R90/6 bit the dust. As far as I could tell, the contacts were just completely worn out. I retained the switch in hopes of trying to rebuild it someday as the new switch BMW makes is a little different (also, if anyone knows the diameter of the ball bearing used in the headlight switch to hold positions let me know, after dropping it during it five times, I finally lost it). For one, it has 8 wires instead of 9. The red wire is now omitted which means that you can no longer flash the high-beam when the keys are out of the bike. This was a feature I never used, unless hitting it by accident, but was kinda neat, Max BMW described it as being there to give a signal to a submarine like in an old war movie and I'd like to think that's what it was actually intended for. Something else a little different is the absence of a brown ground wire, instead the green/black wire goes to the ground - I don't know why they did this, but I'm glad I heard about that before installing the new switch as there was an open green/black terminal on the board.

When you go to mess with the /6 electrics this is what you're presented with

Needlenose pliers are essential when working in this area. The wires coming into the headlight at 1 o'clock are the ones related to the headlight switch.

Old switch - note the red wire which is absent from the new switch and the brown ground wire which on the new switch is green/black

New switch. Glad to see it's still being made in Germany by Hella. I was fully expecting to see Made in China or India stamped on it like other new parts bought from BMW.

The new switch is actually designed for low bars (and was $30 cheaper), which is nice. The PO had euro bars on the bike when I bought it, but retained the long, high-bar electrics. Then when I went to even lower clip-ons, I also kept the high-bar electrics which forced me to loop the wiring from the switches back and around the SJ triple clamp. It looked a little weird, but it worked, now I have the smaller headlight switch with great looking wiring and the high-bar ignition/kill switch on the right with the long wiring, even weirder. Hopefully that's it for electrics for awhile on this bike, they are the bane of my existence and so far the only problems I've had with this bike.

Kacie Marie knows how to approach working with electrical gremlins

As far as the 1957 R60 goes, I attempted to order new bearings and spacers for the bottom end so I can start getting ready for the engine build. Turns out just about everything I had to order is NLA, not just for North America, but also Germany. I also noticed that BMW now provides a parts search, similar to the microfiche Max BMW offers, but unfortunately only goes back to 1967. I'm hoping this doesn't mean they are going to discontinue making parts for the older bikes. As it stands now I'm faced with hoping Max BMW or Blue Moon Cycles can find me the parts I need, or actually just buying a completely different engine to swap into my case. Either way, I'm not really that psyched. In the meantime, I think I'll start some work on the frame. For one, I have to re-weld the center stand lugs as one has a stress crack and the other is broken off. Once that's out of the way I can take the frame for powdercoat, then get the adapters and new bearings to use a telescopic front end and begin to assemble as somewhat rolling chassis.

Now that fall has reached the northeast there will be plenty of time to work on all these things. The R90 will go back to commuting duties and I'll have more time to dig into the projects. Including fixing my wife's 1954 Chrysler.

Music for the season

03 October 2014

VAG-COM services in Central NJ

I just picked up a VAG-COM (for VW/Audi cars) and can now provide VAG-COM services in the Central NJ area. Message me for info.