TECH TIPS

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Applies equally to HJC, Shoei, KBC, Nolan, Cirus, Cyber, Icon, Fox Racing, Troy Lee Designs, Thor MX and all brand of motorcycle helmets.

A safety motorcycle helmet’s useful service life, usually three to five years, is dependent upon the intensity and frequency of its use. Helmet replacement is recommended if one or more of the following points applies to the helmet.

1. The helmet was subject to an impact. Your were involved in any form of an accident with the helmet. If so, the helmet’s integrity has been compromised and will no longer provide the same level of protection it was designed to give. It is recommended that if you want to maintain maximum safety, to replace your helmet immediately. Money is not at issue here, we’re talkign about your life, the life of your children and family.

2. The comfort padding or the retention system has become loose due to heavy use, or they display signs of deterioration. The retention system is there to hold and maintain your helmet to your head. When this is compromised, the protection no longer exists. Regardless of how food the shell is, if the retention system is not there, you may as well not even be wearing your motorcycle helmet.

3. The synthetic foam padding displays signs of heavy use and the helmet feels too loose. You can test the effectiveness of the padding by fastening the retention strap and gently shaking your head. If the helmet moves, the padding is too loose. The padding is what sits between the hard outer shell and your soft head. Unless there is 100% integrity in this foam, you will not be receiving maximum protection.

4. There are cracks or compression in the EPS liner and/or white spidering can be seen on surfaces of the EPS liner. You see this, time to get a new helmet.

Although helmet use has been shown to reduce the risk of head injuries significantly, there are limits to a helmet’s protective capability.  No helmet can protect the wearer against all foreseeable accidents.  Therefore injury may occur in accidents which exceed the protective capability of any helmet including even those helmets meeting the requirements of this Standard.

A helmet’s protective capability may be exhausted protecting the wearer in an accident.  Helmets are constructed so that the energy of a blow is managed by the helmet, causing its partial destruction.  The damage may not be readily apparent and the Foundation strongly recommends that a helmet involved in an accident be returned to the manufacturer for complete inspection.  If it is not possible to do so, the helmet should always be destroyed and replaced.

Finally, the protective capability may diminish over time.  Some helmets are made of materials which deteriorate with age and therefore have a limited life span.  At the present time, the Foundation recommends that motorcycle helmets be replaced after five (5) years, or less if the manufacturer so recommends.

Taking care of your own battery is one of those simple things that will prolong battery life, and save money.
Motorcycle batteries are supposed to last 3-5 years, if they are taken good care of it.

#1 If you do not have a maintenance-free or sealed battery proper battery maintenance means ensuring the electrical juice is at the right level, as indicated by the maximum and minimum “fill” lines for each cell. These levels are etched into the side of your battery. All that’s required is to top-off that electrolyte by adding distilled water.
It’s worth emphasizing that you won’t be adding battery acid to fill up your battery. You’ll be adding distilled water. (Not tap water).
You should check the battery electrolyte levels every month, or 3000 miles.

#2 The main reason motorbike batteries will not last their expected lifetime is because they are left in a motorcycle that has not been used for a long time. Batteries are automatically recharged when the motorcycle is in operation. So, not only do batteries lose their needed recharging when a bike is not being used, but when they are left unused in the cold, that just accelerates their demise.
As part of of battery maintenance point #2, not only should it be removed from your bike in the winter, it should be
stored in a location that is warmer than 32 degrees. This keeps your battery from freezing and/or cracking.
Place your battery on a wooden, plastic, or thick cardboard surface NOT on a concrete or metal surface.

#3 When a battery is not in use on a running motorcycle – which is how it gets charged – it is discharging. Regular charging ensures a long life for your battery, even when it’s stored.
Never user a “car battery charger” to charge your motorcycle battery. On the other hand, there are some chargers that can handle both, and it’s just a matter of setting the charger switch correctly. Otherwise, if you use the wrong charger, you’ll supply more current than your motorcycle battery can handle.
The best kind of charger is a “smart” motorcycle battery charger will continuously monitor your stored battery’s
condition, and activate the charging mode when it is needed so that it doesn’t get overcharged, even if it’s supplying
the correct current. Other motorbike battery chargers need to be connected and disconnected so as to not fry your battery.
We recommend to leave the battery charger on for 1 full day once or twice a month while stored.

Since the early ’70’s BMW has recommended single or multigrade oils with a mineral or synthetic base. They must comply with the following classifications:
CCMC: G4 or G5
API: SF, SG, SH

All BMW motorcycles are shipped from the factory with mineral based 10W40 engine oil. Do not change from mineral based oil to synthetic based oil until 6,000 miles. Use appropriate oil to top up. Do not mix oil types together.

Mineral based oil available at OCD Custom Cycles and Repair:
10w40
20w50

Synthetic based oil available at OCD Custom Cycles and Repair:
10w40
15w50
20w50
30w
40w

(This article is paraphrased and adjusted for our purposes from an article on Bench Mark Works Site Warning: If You Have An Older Vehicle, Choose Your Oil Carefully)

In order to comply with federal requirements that key emissions control components on new cars such as catalytic converters last at least 120,000 miles (previously, it was 100,000 miles) automakers have been pushing for reductions in an oil additive known as zinc dialkyl dithio phosphate (ZDDP), which contains phosphorous (as well as zinc and manganese).

The problem for older motorcycles with flat tappet camshafts – which means all motorcycles built before about the mid-1980s, when roller camshafts began to supplant the flat tappet design – is that oils with low ZDDP levels can cause rapid premature wear, even failure, of flat tappet camshafts. In a nutshell, the ZDDP cushions the high pressure point between the lifter crown and the camshaft lobe, acting as anti-friction, anti-wear barrier.

Running without the ZDDP is almost like running without oil — and with the same results.

Levels of ZDDP in commonly available mainstream motor oils – including big-name brands and high dollar synthetics -have been dropping or have been eliminated since the new emissions longevity requirements became effective with the 2004 model year. Unfortunately, many owners of motorcycles with flat tappet camshafts are unaware of the changing formulations -and the threat low-ZDDP oils may represent.

There are still a few oils on the market that have adequate levels of ZDDP. Valvoline VR-1 racing oil contains 1,800 parts per million ZDDP, according to Valvoline – 5 times the amount of other oils. It’s also an excellent choice for older, non-emissions controlled engines with flat tappet cams that need ZDDP. At OCD Custom Cycles and Repair, we have switched our recommended engine oil for 1983 and older BMW’s to 30 weight (winter)
and straight 40 weight (summer) Valvoline VR-1 racing oil.

BMW Motorcycles are pretty reliable, but they do need maintenance – it’s no good buying an old (or not so old!) BMW and expecting it to perform flawlessly, year in and year out, after receiving nothing more than the lowest level of maintenance. Many of the necessary tasks are not included in any manual, and some of the most annoying traits, such as dripping carburetors, seem to have been accepted as being all part of BMW folklore.electrolyte levels every month, or 3000 miles.

Always remember that working on your motorcycle can be fraught with danger the risks range from having it fall over on top of you, to setting it and your house on fire, not to mention the possible consequences of poor work, which could result in an accident at speed! Decide what is involved, and obtain any necessary spares before you begin work. Always keep the machine well secured, use the correct tools, keep the workplace clean and tidy, keep children away, check your work carefully, and if you have any doubts, ask someone who knows your life, and those of others, could be at risk. If in doubt, don’t do it!

can wreck your engine, if the steel shim and ‘0’ ring of post-’76 models are not fitted correctly! Always fit the shim into the crankcase, then place a new paper gasket onto the cover, followed by a new ‘0’ ring. Modern filters have built-in seals on their ends, in lieu of the small ‘0’ rings previously fitted.

Remember that many of the ‘0’ rings used on Boxers are of fluroelastomer material, and if overheated will produce hydroflouric acid this very unpleasant substance will pass through your skin, and progressively rot your flesh. Always handle any decomposed rings (eg: from a fire-damaged motorcycle) with caution, using rubber gloves and tweezers. Wash the area with plenty of water before handling. If you are contaminated, wash thoroughly, and seek medical treatment immediately! Remember f left too long before treatment, amputation may be the only option!

is often one which has recently received new float needles, and has had its floats adjusted by the original method this latest method works for all Boxers. With the carburetor on the machine, and the float fully lifted, turn on the fuel. Slowly lower the float, until fuel just begins to flow – the metal float bridge, and the molded line on the float, should be parallel with the float chamber joint face. At this point ensure that the operating tab is at 90′ to the needle. This may require re-alignment and if so, the above procedure will need to be repeated.

through the battery charge warning lamp, and if this circuit is broken by a faulty bulb, the alternator will not self-excite until about 5,000 rpm. Always check that the alternator warning light is on when you first switch on. It should be completely extinguished by 2000rpm

can often be traced to an inaccurate voltmeter – always have yours checked against a known good meter before starting to worry about the various expensive possibilities!

which do not go out can cause some worrying, but always remember that if you reduce the load to ignition only, the battery will run the engine for most of the day. Carry some lightweight jump leads, which will enable you to recharge from a friend’s machine, and most of your immediate problems will recede if you have a faulty charging system.

within a Boxer wiring harness are actually crimped, and it has been found that after about ten years, particularly on the R45/65, water has collected inside the outer sheath and corroded the crimps. The resultant copper-based slurry will conduct, but at higher currents the voltage drop can be enough to cause strange problems, such as total power loss, with the engine stopping, when main beam is selected. Should this occur at night it could be very interesting!

fail Regularly on pre-1984 Boxers are not fitted with fork gaiters. The fitting of these useful items is easy enough. You need 2 gaiters and 4 clips. If so protected, your fork seals will last almost indefinitely

This is not uncommon on older Boxers, the cap spinning round but not unscrewing! It can be removed without damage to paintwork by standing on the footrests, and passing a rope through the filler cap handle; tie it into a loop around your shoulders, and heave – the whole cap will pop out easily.

can become stiff through lack of use, so after winter lay-ups always turn the fan by hand before starting the engine. A seized fan can be the cause of a very expensive overhaul I!

via the BMW power socket is recommended by the manufacturer, subject to a limit of 4 amps. Remember that batteries give off Hydrogen while on charge – do not smoke, or use naked lights in their vicinity!

left in situ can make a good diagnostic tool, if it is connected via a small jack socket; insertion of a test lead will then reconnect the meter to the test lead, and you can check all manner of circuits with it, except the alternating current output of the alternator at the red, yellow, and blue wires. If you are going on a long run, carry a small multimeter.

can fail, but are easy to check – just unplug the unit, and connect the blue and black wires of the plug together while the engine is running. If the alternator voltage increases sharply, the voltage regulator was faulty. On the older electromechanical type, the internal contacts are sometimes the culprit, and can be cleaned, but the solid state units must be replaced

always ensure that the alternator brushes are making good contact with the sliprings, that their holder is clean, and 12 volts can be measured at the brush connected to the black wire. Should this not be so, the voltage regulator or connecting wiring should be examined. If 12 volts is present, lift the ‘brown’ brush with a piece of cardboard, and measure for 12 volts at its slipring – if this not is present, the rotor windings will be faulty. Remove the cardboard, and measure at the ‘brown’ brush – if this does not read zero volts, its earthing is faulty. If these tests are in order, use a multimeter to measure the AC output of the alternator at the red, yellow, and blue wires – if 12 to 14 volts AC is measured here, but the battery voltage does not rise at higher engine speeds, the rectifier (diode pack) is at fault, and must be replaced.

When Replacing a Diode Board, remember that the black wire should be connected to the starter motor solenoid. Many owners connect this to the most obvious place – the spare terminal at D+ on the back of the Diode Board! In such a case no harm will have been done, but the starter motor will not operate. Both terminals on D+ are connected to the same place, and either can be used to connect the blue wire. Remember also that the earth cable must be connected from the negative heat sink – off one of the upper securing bolts – to a clean area of aluminium, thinly coated with Vaseline.

Stow Your Pump on Monolever models inside the top frame tube but always slide it in with the valve end first (handle last) and secure a piece of string or wire around the valve end for easy removal. Make sure the pump works well, oil its spindle, and, on twin-shock models, seal the handle to the pump body to prevent the ingress of water and grit from
the rear wheel.

The flush removes any water from the tank. Water being heavier than fuel, sits at the bottom of the tank and corrodes the aluminum tank from the inside out. This causes a dangerous fuel leak and the tank is ruined. An annual flush can prevent this unnecessary failure from occurring.

Most K-Bikes we see come through our shop has a cracked and rotted breather hose. This causes an air leak in your crank case pressure and makes the bike run poorly. This part is inexpensive and not difficult to replace.

When wheel bearings fail due to wear or lack of grease, they can seize and spin the races in the wheel hub. This causes very serious problems and can be a dangerous safety issue if not addressed. Two Valve Twins without a Para-Lever are very susceptible because they require grease repacks before ultimately wearing out. More modern bikes like Four Valve Twins and K-Bikes have sealed bearings and require replacement every 40,000 miles. This is a commonly overlooked yet very critical service item

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