Restoring a 1973 BMW R75/5 Motorcycle

February 22, 2007

Honorable mentions

Filed under: 1973, BMW motorcycle, motorcycle restoration, R75/5 — Penforhire @ 8:23 pm

Brad’s father-in-law is gravely ill and his tool collection is enough to make seasoned mechanics blush. They are giving away spare tools to friends in need and I am the lucky recipient of a number of useful objects. Some of my favorites are —


Whenever I hold one of these I feel like Tim Allen in Home Improvement. “More power! Grunt, grunt, grunt.” These sorts of tools seem like the apex of mechnical technology to me. I mean, I work with exotic semiconductor manufacturing equipment worth more than my house but somehow these mechanical-advantage widgets impress me more. The sound of an air-impact wrench says “professional mechanic” to me. Maybe it is because my dad was a decent wrench but he only used hand tools. Whenever he was stumped by a car he’d begrudgingly take it to Evil Otto’s House of Wrenches and the biggest difference, to a youngster like me, was the sound of these air wrenches in those garages.

Now here’s a high-tech version of a stone age tool —


I am so glad Brad gave me these tire irons. I wrestled off the back tire using the tire irons in the BMW tool kit that are, oh, about 1/3rd the length of these. That was no fun. I’m looking forward to a little more leverage on the front tire. Yeah, yeah, don’t ruin the rim. We’ll see about that.

Another fellow who deserves a serious honorable mention is Ed Korn at Cycle Works. He’s a busy guy so I had some difficulty making initial contact but the deed is done and some very special tools are winging their way to me now. What makes Ed stand out so completely to me, not having held a single tool of his, is how he is shipping these AHEAD of receiving my payment! How many folks do you deal with in any business who will do that for a stranger? I’m not listed in Dun & Bradstreet (and my rating would be shady anyway) so that sort of service, just to save ME some time, is thoroughly unexpected. We need to take care of businessmen like this. Maybe it also says something about the character of airhead owners who wrench on their own machines. If so, I am in elite company indeed.

I got to discussing with Ed the particular bearing race that rests at the bottom of the steering yoke, underneath the bearing shown here —


Ed has some odd prototype tool that can properly pull this race but it is only available on a loaner basis. He actually recommends the “Dremel cut-off tool plus chisel” technique on this specific race. If you have an arbor press (I don’t) another technique involves pressing the stem through the base after heating the base and chilling the stem. But you also have to get the reinsertion correct. Feh. I see a Dremel and a very short lifespan in this race’s future.

There is a soft metal dust cap under this bearing. Along the lines of walking in the footsteps of others before me, I am happy to report I am not the first to destroy this dust cap. They tell me it is cheap…

Oh, one last note, I got a shipment from Bob’s BMW. They don’t individually label small parts either but these items were easier for me to ID. They are not the cheapest source but they are friendly and they stock NOS, used, and replica parts. I got a Kehin stainless header set from them, Progressive springs and shocks (would have tried Ikons but they are currently scarce, also lost a couple of e-bay listings for the right Konis), H4 headlight conversion, and other goodies from them. In terms of major parts I think I only have left a need for mufflers (I’d like replica stainless steel) and want for an electronic ignition (leaning toward Boyer’s Microdigital from Rocky Point Cycle). That does not include head & cylinder work (shop is still TBD) and anything needed for the engine bottom end (unlikely) or tranny (TBD, I’m cursed because I did buy Ed’s tranny video).


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