Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Airhead Mtg.

Denali from the Hagelbarger Turnout
Yesterday evening while headed for the monthly Airhead meeting in Fox, I noticed that Mt. McKinley, aka Denali, was visible through the haze. This was about 7pm and was taken with my phone (crummy digital zoom). I really need to try and remember to bring my other camera. The mountain is over 200 miles away and some hills block the view from my home and office. At the meeting, I talked to Richard Miller who recently opened a classic & vintage motorcycle restoration/repair shop in town (MMW 907.451.7600). He had recently sent out a set of heads for overhaul and got them back in a couple of weeks. The machine shop isn't BMW specific but is a automotive machine shop in National City, CA, called MotorWorks and they do have a lot of experience working with motorcycle heads. He said that it looked like they did a great job. Oh well...

He suggested that I replace the pushrod tube seals while I had the heads off since they usually get pretty hard and brittle with age and heat. Since the pushrods are below the cylinder, they tend to leak oil after a while. This requires pulling the cylinders and he mentioned a method to do this without removing the pistons from the cylinders. With the piston at TDC, slowly pull the cylinder until you can see the piston skirt sticking out of the bottom of the cylinder. Remove the circlip holding the wrist pin into the piston and separate the piston from the rod. Sounds pretty simple and it turns out that one of the other members was planning on doing this procedure this Saturday afternoon on his R100GS. I think I know what I'll be doing on Saturday afternoon. Ted at the Beemershop also recommended replacing them and was going to include new cylinder base and pushrod seals whenever the heads get shipped back.

Still no real rush to get the bike back together as there is still quite a bit of ice on the roads and night time temperatures still drop to about -15°F when the skies are clear. March has always been one of my favorite months since it is usually clear and sunny the entire month. Great for x-country skiing.


  1. No rush to put it back together, but have you heard any news on when they will come back?

    It looks like you have a good job ahead of you replacing the seals. But the bike will be like new! :)

    Wonderful image of Denali. Better then any image I have taken of it. ;)


  2. What a wonderful capture of the Denali from 200 mls away. You have quite the mountain view ;-)

    By the way I really like you current header picture.

  3. It may be a small picture but it is beautiful. Especially to me since I've never been to Alaska.

    Thanks for sharing Richard.

  4. Lori:
    No news since last week. I'll probably wait until next week to call the shop again. I was really disappointed in how the picture came out. Nothing like it really looked...

    I think that this is still my favorite header picture as well. It keeps going away on its own. Something weird with Blogger.

    Still waiting for the Gladius pictures and post. Thank you for the comment on the picture. One of these days I'll try and get a better shot...

  5. Wonderful shot. Amazing it's so far. It must have been awesome in real life.

    Here's hoping for good news on the heads being ready!

  6. Dear Richard M.:

    I would have to be put into a coma if I had to think about separating the pistons from the shafts. I don't do well with huge scale maintenace like that.

    Warmer days are coming.

    Fonderst regard,
    Jack • reep • Toad
    Twisted Roads