02 December 2014

"A tale of two wrenches," or better yet, "Lost in Translation"

When it comes to buying BMW parts from BMW, I've never before had an issue with poor translation, the kind of thing where you provide a part number and the guy behind the counter tells you something completely unexpected. That was until I wanted to order a special open ended wrench for the R60 that also had a pin wrench on one end for the swingarm pins. I hear that the new swingarm pivot pins for /2s have a hex key, like on the airheads, that also lets you grease the swingarm bearings through them, but alas my R60 ones require the early pin wrench, which I needed to purchase.

I never go to BMW without a part number, the local dealer system is terrible to navigate (though when I order from MaxBMW it's incredibly efficient), so when I gave the guy p/n 71 11 9 090 139, I wasn't expecting him to say, "so you need a key for the bike?" I was even more surprised when I asked for p/n 71 11 9 090 140 to be presented with the question, "and you also want a gasket?" I stopped for a minute, stunned, and then went into my phone to check Max BMW's microfiche believing that I wrote the wrong part numbers down from my Behelfskatalog (since they don't supply a parts explosion for the tools). Nope, I got the numbers right. I'll take the "key," even though it's not a key, and it turns out the "gasket" is NLA, I'll have to order it from MaxBMW later.

Here's the parts book entry:

Schlüßel is German for key, but it also means spanner, so p/n 139 is "Ring Nut Spanner" correctly translated in the parts book. and Schlüßel zum Vergaser is correctly translated as "Wrench for the Carburetor." At some point, BMW, in their computer system, changed the former to simply "key," and the latter to "gasket." At least the former kinda makes sense, and I that's why I was so confident in ordering the part despite the guy behind the counter promising me that I'd be getting a key when the part comes in instead of a wrench.

Here's what I got:(bottom wrench)

Voila, I was right. The wrench on the top is for my /6, BMW calls it a "hook wrench," which is an apt description (I didn't check it against my parts catalog), the bottom is the "key" or "ring nut spanner." I got the part I needed, just for those silly two pins on the left side. You'll notice a slight discoloration between the two tools, and the bottom one doesn't say W. Germany on it. I don't know if this is because BMW isn't having the parts made in Germany anymore (NOTE: I bought the top one only 5 or 6 years ago), they're not using original dies anymore, or the original never said where it was made, I really don't know. I'm hoping it's not made in China, but as long as it works (and lasts) I'll be happy. It's still made out of Chrome/Vanadium like the originals, or at least it says it is.

Concerning the rest of the tools for the 1957 R60, I was kinda taken aback by the prices on eBay, which pretty much match BMW's complete, new tool kit at around $220, even when they're incomplete sets. Therefore, I'm going to buy the special tools, like the one pictured above, and substitute the rest.

This is what $10 looks like. Flea markets really pay off sometimes...

All German made, most are Chrome/Vanadium alloys like the original BMW ones, and they'll all work fine. The bottom one is actually from a Mercedes toolkit and has a nice three-pointed start on the back. So far I've got 3/4 of a complete tool kit, including stuff I already have that's not pictured all for about $25 if you include the tool bag (note: I used points from my credit card to buy the pin wrench, so I'm counting that as free). BMW oldtimers may turn up their noses at such a thing, but since I'm putting telescopic forks on a 1957 R60, I've most likely already completely turned them off. Oh well, I guess I'll have the bigger smile when I'm out on the road not worrying about putting a paint chip in my $15000 restoration.

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