Top 20

Top 20 things not to do to your BMW motorcycle

by Duane Ausherman

This is a collection of ideas and tips offered up on Boxerworks.  I am only posting them and claim no credit, but I must admit that I agree.  I have edited them for clarity and completeness.  In some cases, I have added a link to more information about this issue.  This list is not in any order of importance.  It is just a list.  Note this list is often in the top 10 pages visited, so somebody was reading it in 2017.

1.  Do not over-tighten the axle nut.  Do not use the axle nut to pull the axle through.

2.  Do not turn your forks while the key is inserted into the fork lock.  Do not leave your key in the steering lock while maneuvering your bike in the garage!  You may break off the key, and it is better not to have to do this procedure. 

3.  Do not tighten the center valve cover nut.  Just beyond finger-tight is enough.  You will regret tightening it to what seems proper.

4.  Do not step on the “tang” to put your bike up on the center stand.  It may break off.  It is only for lowering it to the ground.

5.  /5 and later.  Do not overtighten the nut on the end of the camshaft where the ignition advance unit goes.  The end snaps off easily, and then you will need to buy a tool from “Paul Tavenier”

6.  Do not forget to clean, grease, and check for tightness of your center stand’s pivot bolts annually.

7.  Do not forget to remove your tank and flush it annually.  Change your fuel hoses periodically.  These two steps (Every two years or 30,000 km) may help prevent the leaking carb syndrome.

8.  Take your clutch arm pivot pin out on the transmission cover and replace it with a bolt and Nylock nut before your pin falls halfway out and breaks off your cast aluminum bosses on the back of the /6 transmission cover.  Scroll down to the bottom for /6 info.

9.  Do not forget to take the negative battery cable off when removing the front cover.  Check for grease.  Scroll down to near the bottom to see greasing the terminals.

10.  Do not fill the engine sump with oil before you re-install the drain plug.  Don’t ask how I learned that one.

11.  Don’t let the points wire get pinched when you replace the front cover, or the ignition won’t work.

12.  Always keep the air pressure in tires close to the proper psi.

13.  Don’t start your bike with the Allen wrench still in the alternator bolt from the valve adjustment.

14.  Don’t check your compression with the throttle locked open with the cruise control, and then get busy cleaning your bike, doing other things for a while, and then start the engine.  Very dumb.

15.  Do not pull out without first raising your kickstand.

16.  Do not overtighten bolts.  See #3 above.

17.  Do not ride away without checking that you’ve tightened the axle pinch bolts or caliper mounting bolts.

18.  Do not forget to check all fasteners after doing any work.  Take it for a test ride.

19.  Do Not ever say, “I’ll just do this little 5-minute job before I go for a ride”…  The 5-minute job is guaranteed to take 5 hours.

20.  Do not put your motorcycle into long-term storage with the engine resting in the position where it last stopped.  Rotate the crankshaft so that the pistons are at top dead center (TDC).

One should always rotate the engine to TDC (top dead center), as that will prevent rust in the cylinder wall below the rings.  This happens when the storage area heats up and cools down.  The air, laden with moisture, gets into the combustion chamber.  It is drawn into the carbon deposits on the piston top and on the surface of the combustion chamber.  These deposits then flake off and fall to the bottom of the cylinder.  They are full of water and will rust the cylinder.  If the pistons are at TDC, then the rusted area is above the rings.

If the piston is in the position where it last stopped when the engine was shut off, it is mid-way through its travel in the cylinder.  The rust will be in the area where the rings must pass.  Compression will be compromised, and it will burn oil.

Some suggestions, in addition to the top 20

The dental floss master cylinder overhaul tip.  It’s for getting the rubber seal over the end of the m/c piston.  Make two loops of floss [a floss/seal/floss daisy chain] and use the floss to stretch the seal out/over the piston, then cut the floss and remove.  It makes a difficult job very simple and quick.

Over-tightening sump bolts will strip them easily.

Don’t mix up the long and short driveshaft bolts.

Block the /5 and later crank so it can’t move forward during the rear seal replacement procedure.

Don’t leave the ignition on without starting.

Don’t think you have to make your bike look showroom new.  Let it age.

Play nicely with others, even if it means waving to the Harley riders.

Don’t use a 1 ft.  long wrench with an added two ft. breaker bar to tighten the four driveshaft bolts to the transmission output shaft.

Do not mix up the rear caliper mounting bolts.

Updated 30 March 2023