Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/)
-   BMW Tech (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/bmw-tech/)
-   -   Best way to learn engine mechanics (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/bmw-tech/best-way-learn-engine-mechanics-8130)

Pirelli 5 Feb 2005 05:54

Best way to learn engine mechanics
I'm about to buy either a GS or Adv. and then depart on a journey Alaska to Argentina. But i have know idea about bike engines. I want to be prepared b4 departure in case of some breakdowns. Whats the best way to educate myself.

I'm sure people will reply that i should start by taking my engine apart and learning that way, but i'm not sure i want to do that to my brand new bike.

Preparing for the journey was like living a paradox.
-Ted Simon

Timo 5 Feb 2005 08:00

A basic understanding of how engine's work is always a good idea - books, short course at local tech college, etc. No, I wouldn't start ripping into your bike just yet, but taking appart a dead lawnmower engine or such can really put things in perspective...

if I were you, I would focus on maintenance - what you need to do to keep the bike running well - Lubrication, filters, and such. Understanding what you are doing and why will help you to prevent making mistakes that might cause problems. Prepare the bike to avoid damage from spills and general travel wear.

Older bikes required more 'tuning' and hands on adustment - fuel injection and electronic engine management have taken most of that and made it less prone to break, but harder to fix without specialized equipment and the right parts on hand. You are not going to be balancing carbs and changing pistons on a monthly basis like Ted Simon on his first RTW trip! However, if you keep the maintenance up and a close eye for potential problems, you may never have to get out the wrenches in anger.....

Pirelli 5 Feb 2005 23:07

Timo- I appreciate your response and will start chipping away on the maintenance side. If you happen to know of any good books out there, please let me know. In the mean time I'll check out Amazon and local shops.

Perhaps BMW has a book I can order.

Lars 7 Feb 2005 02:20


I have the same problem.

My R 100 GS is a pretty old machine, so got in contact with a MC, found someone who knows this type of machine and started working on it am am still working on it (for the third time right now - I am just in a process of taking the carburators apart and together again myself the first time).

I will probably be lost if an unknown problem arises during my trip, but at least I got a feeling for all the different devices on my bike and became to know the major possible problems.



[This message has been edited by Lars (edited 06 February 2005).]

Steve Pickford 7 Feb 2005 13:01

Buy an old wrecked single cylinder four stroke bike engine from a bike breakers, i.e. Honda CG125 or similar.

Buy a good book that explains the basics & then proceed to take the wrecked engine apart, learning how the parts work together as you go.

The BMW 11xxGS range is not that different to most four strokes. Fuel injection is now very common but still pretty much unrepairable by the road side. Note that with BMW twins, the big ends are on separate crank journals i.e. both pistons are at the top of the their stroke simultaneously but firing alternately.

NHamilton 7 Feb 2005 17:32

The best thing you can do is get hold of a workshop manual for your bike. They are usually very clear, assume a very low level of prior knowledge and have both words and pictures. For any given task If you read the m,anual and follow it scrupulously you can hardly go wrong.

simmo 7 Feb 2005 19:53

I would expect you could easily do servicing but major repairs would usually require special BMW tools. Find a Mechanic/ BMW club in your area and convince someone to show you the ropes. Once you have done it yourself it looses the " I will break it if I touch it quality " and becomes more of a " if I dont do that now it will break".

My mate Ralphino and I have now compiled a portable airhead (R80/100)BMW gearbox rebuild tool kit, comprising output shaft flange puller, brace, seal puller, bearings and seals oh and return spring....(the heat gun is a problem as it wont double as the wifes hair drier)... as this seems to be the weak spot on our bikes, it worked a treat for him last month in Bolivia.....until the frame broke Doh! But its taken a few rebuilds to perfect it..sic..

IMHO Take a spare alternator belt, and look for play in the final drive. Be able to repair punctures and take a manual so a mechanic can work out what to do with you......then when you are totally lost and feeling completely gutted ask questions here and be flooded with helpful advice...thats what happened to me.




Pirelli 7 Feb 2005 22:32

Thanks to everyone for your replies. I was out yesterday so didn't see that people had been busy giving helpful advice... until now.

I went to BMW yesterday and they told me that their manual for the later versions (02' forward)only came on DVD at a price of $125 or more. I guess I can print it out, but I was wondering if anyone knew anything different.

John Ferris 8 Feb 2005 00:45

Try the Clymer manual.
You can do a search on Amazon.com (clymer)
from this site (to the laft of the page)
They have the Clymer and Haynes books.
I would suggest both.

Steve Pickford 8 Feb 2005 12:42

Go for the Haynes manual as the Clymer does not cover the latest 1150's. Haynes recently released an updated manual that covers oilheads from 1993 to 2004.

I bought one from Haynes UK for £21.99 inc. postage. Haynes have also had coloured wiring diagrams like Clymer for a while now, important on a bike heavily reliant on electrics.

Bobo 8 Feb 2005 20:06

eBay can be a good source of manuals. I just sold two manuals for less than 20.00 each.
Performing repairs won't be very easy unless you know how to use tools. A wrench looks like an inert piece of metal to the uninitiated.
One way I get to know a new machine is to pick up one tool at a time and go over the bike looking for anything I can tighten (gently) using that tool. Then I pick up the next tool, and so on. This can be a good way to make that jumble of metal and plastic bits more familiar and less intimidating.
If you can't always fix stuff, at least you can keep it from falling off.

Pirelli 8 Feb 2005 23:57

Thank you all. As usual you've been a terrific source of information. I feel so luck to have found this site!! I've ordered the book on Amazon and will scan ebay for future needs.

Now if anyone has ideas on how to get 0.9% financing on a new BMW R1150 GSA, I'll send you my first born. It doesn't seem they offer that deal anymore http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb/frown.gif

John Ferris 9 Feb 2005 05:22

When you do get your bike go to-
There maybe some of them in your area and they would be able to tell you any problems they have had and how to fix them.

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 19:02.