BMW maintenance


Oilhead Rocker Endplay Adjustment For The R259 Engine


BMW maintenance


Oilhead Valve Adjustment for Dummies


KLR maintenance

Pennytech side cases w/pics

Build your own side cases

hondo's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 968
I need to get the fixed hinges bent, and need to get to the rivets holding the top of the hinge to the can.

So I need to gut the lids to get to the hinges.

I drilled a 1/2 hole in each corner of stainless steel lid liner.

Then I connected the holes with my jigsaw-

The saw cut deep enough that I could pry out most of the lid’s foam in one piece with a scraper/putty knife-

Then I went around the edges and removed what was left-

I pushed down the remaining liner enough to get it free of the crimp that holds it in place. I did this on each long side of the lid & cut them with aviation snips-

Then I hammered the liner edge with the knife to break it free-

Then I scraped them out pretty well-

Now I can get to the hinges. First I drilled out the heads inside the lid-

Popped off the steel backing plate-

And removed the rivets from the hinge. I’m saving these to help choose the correct size screws.

Now the lids are free from the base.

While I was at it, I got out the old bodywork tools and removed some dents from the lids. I” be keeping them seperated until assembly-

Here’s the hinge free of the lid- now I can bend the hinge arms to go around the seal.

I also removed the handles today. They were all bent so I removed them using the vice grips. I attached one vice grip to the verticle, and the other to the horizontal-

Then I leveraged one against the other until it popped out-

My hammer did a nice job of straitening them out-

Before being installed, they will be painted and a rubber hose slipped over the handle. Still gotta figure out how I’ll do that.

hondo is online now Blame John� IP Edit/Nuke Message Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 06:26 AM   #3
hondo's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 968
I worked on the mounts a bit today.

Drove to a local metal supplier and started looking through their* aluminum stock scrap/cutoffs for what I needed.

My rack is a Happy Trails Northwest Rack which is constructed of 5/8 tubing, so I first picked out some 5/8 square stock.

Then I found a peice of 1/2 X 1 3/8 stock.

They had a $20.00 minimum, so I grabbed some other stock that I thought I might use in the future-

Then I measured the places where the 3 mounts (per case) will go-

Bottom -* * * 7 1/2 inches long
Upper rear -* 3 inches long
Upper FWD -* 2 1/2 inches long.

Then I cut the stock to length-

Here’s a side view of the 2 pieces of the mount-

And here’s a cross section of the mounts, frame and Mermite case-

I’ll be drilling and tapping the 2 pieces of the mount stock and then bolting them together. Ideally a one piece mount milled out of aluminum (like the ones Happy Trails sells) would be best, but I’m sure that these will be plenty strong enough.

hondo is online now Blame John� IP Edit/Nuke Message Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 06:27 AM   #4
hondo's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 968
Here’s a layout I drew up-

Both the inside of the cans will have a sheetmetal reinforcement- the cans are stamped & uneven and this will strengthen cases and make a nice place to mount to.

The mounts are setup like a Touratec system I saw. The lower mount will be permanently attached to the case using 2 bolts. The case will be lowered onto the frame, and then the top mounts installed using one bolt or a thumbwheel (I may make my own thumbwheels).

hondo is online now Blame John� IP Edit/Nuke Message Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 06:27 AM   #5
hondo's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 968
Worked on the mounts a bit today, prepping the 2 pieces mating surfaces so that they are are flat.

Since I don’t have access to a mill, I fell back on the old computer overclocker’s trick of lapping. Overclockers have been lapping their cpus and heatsinks for years, in order to get the mating surfaces of the cpu & heatsink as flat as possible for better heat transfer.

I stopped into Ace and bought 3 sheets of 180 grit emery paper and a $3.00 sheet of glass. I taped one end of the paper to the glass & to my desk. You lap the item on with the paper on the glass because glass is so flat.

Here’s the setup-

Here’s a small pice getting it’s mating surface lapped-

And before and after shots-

Then I used a King Size Sharpie to apply the “blueing”-

Last edited by hondo : 03-06-2007 at 06:49 AM.

hondo is online now Blame John� IP Edit/Nuke Message Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 06:28 AM   #6
hondo's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 968
Did some paint stripping the last few days.

I checked around for a place that did plastic media blasting but couldn’t find one. I did find a company that would chemical dip then bead blast them, but the total cost was $130.00.

So I decided to do it the hard way, the cheaper way, and when finished, have tools left over.

First thing I did was remove all of the hinges by drilling out the rivets. I had to do this because the seal is getting in the way of the hinges and bending them wasn’t working. I also remoived the brackets that the handles go into, as I plan on using different end handles. More on that later.

So I first tried some of the orange citrus stripper. Worked pretty good, but looked like it was going to take a few applications. Then I tried some traditional stripper, and that didn’t work well at all. So I blasted them off at a car wash and moved onto the next stage.

Dropping into Harbor Freight Tools today, I picked up a mini 90 deg air ginder ($25) and some prep wheels ($14)-

Then I dropped a sheet of plastic in the garage and got busy stripping the paint. I used water with the grinder to prevent any dust, as these cans are marked 1974 and the paint might have lead in it. This process works well as it strips the paint and preps the metal for primer.

Here’s one with before and after sections-

I got both lids done and one can. Tomorrow I’ll finsh off the exterior prep of the other can and then work on the interiors, removing the foam residue with an abrasive wheel in my die grinder.

hondo is online now Blame John� IP Edit/Nuke Message Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 06:28 AM   #7
hondo's Avatar
Joined: Aug 2006
Location: Denver, Colorado
Posts: 968
I finished the exterior & interior stripping / paint prep-


Interior- (not completely bare, as it will be painted & unexposed)

Then I needed to fab some sheetmetal for the interior mount facing. What can I use? How about an old PC case (I have a bunch of them)-

The steel on these old PC cases is very strong so it will make good bracing for the cans/mounts. here it is laying in the can-

I also patched a few small holes in the base of the cans with some JB Weld-

Tommorow I will be cutting up another case for the steel plates for the exterior of the cans and working on the mounts.

Mine are bed-linered. Here’s a look at what can be done with the lid if you leave the original seal. I keep a rain pancho stuffed up there.

I too am interested in locking ideas. I was going to work some kind of cable lock up or a hasp.

Did a bit of work getting the mermites & the KLR ready for Moab.

I needed to make a rear turn signal relocation bracket because the cans would hit the lights in the stock location.

Looked around and made a bracket out of 1 inch 90 deg angle iron I had from a previous project. I folded over the ends in a vise and drilled mounting holes in the end-

Here is the bracket with the lights mounted. One side is off as it got “tweaked a while back. Overall lenght is 7 inches.

Then I painted it with the same paint the mermites will be, Rustoleum Hammered finish silver and mounted the lights. They are inside of the rack so if I drop the KLR without the cans installed they should still be ok. I mounted the bracket to the rear of the luggage rack using standard hardware and 2 large bilts as spacers.

The rack tself had 2 mounting tabs welded the bottom (each side) and I’m not going to be using them, so off they came with my cutoff tool & grinder. Touched up the bare metal with the silver.

I also got the hinge & other hardware ready.

The hinges were hitting the rubber gasket, so I made aluminum spacers that will go underneath each half of the hinge. The carrige strap hardware (4 each, top rt) I will be bolting to the tops of the lids. They will make for strong tiedowns.

After cleaning all of the hardware up, all the parts got a few coats of silver paint-

Here is a pic of the stainless steel handles that I bought at Home Depot. There will one on each end of the cases-

I also started making the thumbwheels. Using some 1 1/2″ X 3/4″ stock I had, I cut out some 1 1/2 inch square pieces. All of the edges were filed smooth and the corners were filed at 45 degree angles & smoothed as well. I then drilled and tapped the centers for the attachment bolt. I haven’t decided yet, but I may buy a mill (bit) and create a small recess in the tops of each wheel so that I can use carrige bolts (round topped & smooth).

With my trip to Moab quickly approaching, I woke early & headed out to the garage.

!st order of the day- wash the mermites & the reinforcing plates. I scrubbed them down in the bathtub using a scotchbrite sponge & good dishwashing soap.

Then I set them out to dry-

While I was waiting for them to dry, I moved on to the lids. After I gutted them, I found that they were pretty flimsy. So I decided to use some 1/4 inch birch plywood to reinforce them. It will also allow me to attatch items to the lids. Here the wood is just laying in the lids-

I then drilled a few holes in the lid and filled the space between the wood & the lid with expanding foam. The wood is sitting on the screws that are holding the carridge straps to the top of the lid- this created a 1 inch gap that the foam filled. I set a couple of old computers on top of the lids to keep that 1 inch gap-

After it dried I pulled the old computers off- here’s what was left over-

I scraped off the excess and then cut rectangular access holes where the srews/nuts that attach the hinges are located. In hindsight, I should have done this first. Doh!

Now the paint for the cans. I first primered the bare aluminum with a zinc chromate primer-

After letting that dry, I painted the exterior of the cans with 2 coats of Rustoleum Hammered Finish silver paint.

I also painted the mounts and assembled the thumbweels. I used 7/16 rod, JB welded the threaded rod into the thumbwheels threads-

After the paint dried on the outside of the cans, I needed to install the reinforcing plates. I used a waterproof construction adhesive at all of the points that the plates met the can-

Then I installed the inner & outer plates using red loctite on all of the fastners. When that was done, I painted the interior of the cans and the exterior plates.

While that was drying, I washed & primed the lids-

Then I painted 2 coats of the silver to the lids.

The paint on the cans dried and I finally got to mount the cans on the Happy Trails rack.

A rear shot-

The interior-

Here is a view of the mounts-

Then I moved on to installing the hinges. This took a while considering the way the hinges work. Here’s a side view of the hinges (closed). You can see how the aluminum blocks that made help the hinges clear the seal-

On the left hand side of the bike I ran into a small problem. As the rack is closer to the side panels on the left than the right (due to the muffler), I found that the forward hinge handle (of the left can) was going to hit the side panel. Nothing that the cutoff tool can’t handle. So I shortened it by half. The shorter hinge is on the right-

And here is the right can complete-

I used Shoe Goo to glue the seals in place. This stuff might not work, but considering how will it sticks, I thought I’d give it a try.

Tommorow I will post some pics of the cans installed from a few different angles.

Because the bike is leaning, it looks like the boxes are uneven, but they aren’t.

One last item I added- bungees in the lids for my rain gear.

I got this idea from JaySoy- thanks!

KLR maintenance

KLR LED Tail Light Mod

KLR650 LED tail light system install and review

Enclosed is a step by step procedure for replacing the stock 1157 tail light with a modern, low power consumption, bright LED replacement. I will also supplement the tail light with an aftermarket LED Light Bar. The advantages of the modification are as follows:
1. Long live bulbs. The bulbs will outlast the bike. Even the KLR!
2. No more bulb replacement
3. Low power consumption system
4. Brighter system
4. Vibration/shock resistant bulbs
5. More visibility = less likelihood of rear end collision
The inspriation for this modification is based on a thread by fellow KLRworld members including kramsetac, 75,000 miles, Quarterhorse 2, and �special adult� Bikerscout.
The LED�s can be found at The reflector tape can be found at any autoparts store in the near the paint supplies. LED Items to install:
1. 1157 tail/stop light LED replacement Radiant cluster 1.85 inch red Direct base Get SKU # 5302-19 for $34.99
2. 6 inch lightbar – red/black SKU 02010 $35.95

brushup on KLR650 electrical/wire issues

Items to be installed

LED 1157 tail light, Plug in existing socket

6 inch tail/stop light supplement. Not a tail light replacement. Will need to mount and wire this item

install instructions

reflector tape. Metallica…Rock on Man…”FreeBird”!!! hehehe

remove tail light plastic housing

exposed bulb and �dull� reflector

stock bulb and LED replacement

backside view

install LED in socket. Just push while turning. May need to rotate 180 degrees when installing. Will only engage correctly one way

all installed, No issues fits fine

need to remove the housing reflector to make it mirror like finish. Remove these 2x nuts 10mm wrench

unhook wires 3x total. Just pull while turning. Don�t worry it won�t brake. I added tape so I know to reconnect the correct wires together

2x nuts off, 3x wires labeled and disconnected

reflector can now be removed

now apply that mirror sticky side tape

unroll the 6 foot long tape, cut 1 foot or so.

the housing is symmetric so you can work from the paper side

trim to fit

peel back the paper exposing the adheasive

inlay on the plastic reflector….No worries about heat from LED�s. There is none!

mirror like reflection…see the camera?

now the sides

mark trim lines

inlay to check

tape opposite side

like so!

back side now. Since it is curved it will have to be installed piecemeal

cover screw studs

drape the material as best you can

almost done

check bulb does not contact material

check power consumption

Stock bulb tail light only .446 amps or 6.24 watts of power

Stock bulb Brake light only 1.903 amps or 27 watts of power

New LED tail light only .070 amps or 1.0 watts of power

New LED Brake light only .354 amps or 5 watts of power
The LED consume ~ 17% of the stock wattage. Woohoo!

light bar tail on at .020 amps or .24 watts

light bar Brake light at .25 amps or 3.0 watts

need to make 3x of these electrical splice/spliters to run power to LED light bar

will attach here

like so. Each one is color coded. Look at Stebel horn install for walk thru of making a wire bundle

reattach the tail light housing
add LED bulb

thread wires thru opening

attach color coded wire bundles

awaiting to attach to LED bar

make and attach LED bracket, use this Aluminum angle

trace outline

mark cutting trim lines

after bandsaw cut

will attach bracket here, measure hole pitch

transfer measurements

trim bracket with band saw

quick check to see if fits ok

drill mounting holes in bracket tabs

drilled and deburr holes

check fit

mount light bar here

use rubber gasket as template

mark holes

attach bar to bracket with metric M4-.7 allen head bolts

check drill size

drill and deburr

ready to mount

thread wire thru center access hole

use loctite on threads

looks good!

ready to mount on bike

pickup these 2x holes

drill small hole to thread wires under fender

mounting complete

wires threaded thru here

standoff view lights off

wires to connect to splicer

wire splice tools ready!

cut excess length

strip insulation

add 1x small shrink wrap (white) + 1x large shrink wrap (black) + one waterproof 20 AWG wire crimp connector

crimp connector

shrink wrap connectors

repeat all 3x connectors

zip tie the wires to frame…now for the results……

OEM stock tail bulb tail light only (no brake)

LED tail light (no brake)

OEM stock brake light

LED brake

LED tail

LED brake
I think the system exceeded my expectations
1. Low power consumption LED use ~ 20% of incandescent power (6.24 watts vs. 1.24 watts LED) for tail light and (27 watts vs. 8 watts) for brake light.
2. Recommend adding the reflective material
3. Vibration resistant system.
4 Much brighter than stock. Nice safety issue! Especially if viewed from directly behind.
5. Independent Fail-safe light system.
Happy with mod

I have also designed a custom 5.5 watt LED superbright fog lights. See below:

1/4 view lights off

forward view lights on

with camera filter

KLR maintenance

KLR Doohickey Mod

KLR Doohickiy Mod


KLR maintenance

KLR DIY LED Aux Lights

Homemade LED Auxiliary Lights for the KLR650 DIY

Enclosed are the step by step instructions I used to make custom LED auxiliary/running lights. The intent of the lights are to supplement the KLR650 headlight. The advantages of this lighting system are:
1. Bight lights = increased visibility. A safety issue
2. 2x additional forward facing bright lights gives other drivers a depth perseption in judging your distance relative to their location.
3. LED�s are very vibration resistant, never burn out, and are low power consumption. The ones I selected are the brightest I could find within a 1 inch diameter cluster. This system consumes 5.4 watts total!
Note: No LED auxiliary lights are commercially available, so I was forced to make my own. There are 4x phases of this install.
1. LED bulb evaluation.
2. Light attach bracket to KLR650 (fellow KLRworld Mark was the inspiration for my design).
3. LED bulb attach to light housing.
4. Wiring to bike.
The Bracket material was 6061-T6 at .10 inches thick. It can be found here for $11.87, all you need is a 12 inch x 12 inch size:…owunits=inches
The LED�s can be found on E-bay here for $13.50 each: emZ200061654414
The auxillary lights can also be found on E-bay here for $14.99 30090466726
The cost of the modification costs about $54 total!

start all projects by reviewing topic

light bracket overall size 12 inch x 7 inch

remove front fender

measure attach bracket pad �land� size

gross trim iteration 1.

after the band saw

check placement

trim again

mark again

trim again

locate attach holes, this bracket will be part of the fender stack-up

drill here

check hole size

drill and deburr

time to place back on bike

check clearance. Does not hit the nerf bars! That�s good.

light will be mounted about here

this is the light to mount. This one came with a 55 watt H3 type bulb. I replaced the as delivered bulbs with these 35 watt bulbs

need this 12 volt DC source for testing. It actually puts out 14 volts.

amp and volt meter

shrink wrap kit

wire connector kit

35 watt H3 bulb output

measured output = 3.016 amps or 42 watts

This is the LED I�ll be swapping out for that H3 incandescent bulb.

measured output =.192 amps or 2.7 watts per bulb

bulb diameter = 1.034 inch

will fit the bulb deep and securely in this light housing

side by side . Small LED flashlight, normal 2 D cell flashlight, 12 volt LED light, and 35 watt H3 bulb.

LED has cluster lights shining to the side

measure small diameter = .577 inches

power-up the LED�s. very bright and cool to the touch

light from rear

need to attach(glue) this plastic washer to the LED�s

washer size outer diameter = 1.258 inch. Can get at Home Depot

measure and trace

best to hand file to the marking

press fit on the LED�s

need to attach some of this reflector tape to those washers

trace and cut

attach to LED

glue on

disassemble these new lights

like so

mark trim line

will fit LED deep in here

ready for cutting/trimming

since the metal is so thin, best to route to trim line. Drill will thrash the housing. Spotface won�t work either.

slowly open-up the hole

blow out particles collected

nice centered hole to accept the LED bulb

center LED bulb in hole

tape in place. Note: I destroyed a light housing in an earlier attempt at this project by gluing the bulb in place at this step. The fumes given off while the glue is curing got into the reflector area and stuck to the reflector and glass. This made the reflector �dull�. Tape works fine. Although not clearly shown it is fully taped up and sealed.

like in this view

the LED bulb extends far into the light housing and is secure

another view

remove the baseplate for trimming

want it flush up to the bracket

measure and mark. Need to take a little off the edge



tad bit off the end

re-assemble. Note: I reversed the light bracket to the rear

will fit like this

final bracket trimming required

mark trim lines

band saw trim

disc sanding trim

light attach holes

drill, deburr, and countersink

quick check on fender

attach on bike

adjustable sturdy and robust design

check clearance. No issues

A-OK here too!

make wire connectors. White = 12v ground. Black and Red = 12v +

crimp and shrink wrap

Using this on all electrical connects to keep water out of the connections

light wiring all done

view of system with no power

wire connection in faring. No binding issues when turning handle bar

the bike side connection is covered here �KLR650 Marker lights install and review�:,1956.0.html
I�m basically tapping into the city light leads in the front faring.

fire up the lights!

with headlight on

close up of LED light

off centerline view

lights off

1/4 view lights off

forward view lights on

1/4 view lights on. Note small marker light on faring

another view

with camera filter

off front view
Review of Mod.
1. Very bright system. I�ll leave them on always.
2. Low power consumption 5.4 watts total.
3. Low cost modification $54 total
4. Light system will outlast the bike
In summary I�m very pleased with the project outcome, It exceeded my expectations.

KLR maintenance

KLR Alternator Mod

Enclosed are step by step detailed instructions for installation, lessons Learned, and review of the new whiz-bang 400 watt Electrosport stator and regulator . Since I’m  way there, I’ll be swapping out my Doo Hicky and cleaning my oil screen also. See the ~90 pictural walk-thru toutorial of the Doo Hicky swap here:
and the oil screen cleaning Step-by-step here:
My bike is a 2007 KLR650 with 1,600 miles

Start with a little research…You�ll have to excuse the crudity of my KLR-650 library. I really need to organize the topics better…hehehe

First Drain the oil, I use the center stand for this task

Low profile magnetic drain plug, new crush washer with every oil change.

Now jack-up the bike, Jack is a Sears Craftman brand with a few added brackets

remove side covers, notice re-located helmet lock with cable. Easy access and attach full face helmet.

remove seat. All my KLR fasteners have been upgraded to stainless �cap� style fasteners (Allen Key) See:

Remove tank bolts

Gas off, remove gas line

rag to catch gas drippings

side covers pry from tank

All the Items removed

set up bike for task….Lots of light

Shop space/tables open…tools available

the doo kit from Eagle Mike…Will need that outer gasket for the stator

Area to open up!

Shifter lever off. Small mart to re-align teeth when re-installing

Take bolt all the way out…rachet wrench works best…wiggle lever off…

set aside with bolt in place as to not lose

one peg bolt off…loosen other…swivel aside as to clear outer case

Like this

sprocket cover next….3x fasteners

set aside

neutral wire….grab with fingers…wiggle straight problem

wire off ….connector exposed

remove kick stand switch cover for better access to wire bundles to thread

loosen outer cover…..NOT inner cover…triple check which bolt is attached to outer cover

loosen all about this much…your fasteners may not be cap heads

notice inner cover fastener still fully engaged

loosen wire bundle bracket

remove bracket…long bolt comes with it

crack the case…try to maintain integrity of gasket…If tears….you will need a new one. Mine tore.

remove all fasteners here shown is 2x helper tabs to assist in prying with fingers

keep all parts on table with labels

pull outer case straight back…some oil will drip…have rags handy

tie off stator…don�t let wires hold it�s weight! Have wires/string/bungee available prior to removal

Attach here

here is is

lay on small table to work

with lots of light

need to remove this bracket screw

and these 3x attach cap bolts

stupid screw phillips head thrashed

get out drill…place rags around work area….tip cover to side

drill slow..don�t let chips fly

use depth gage to predict when manufactured head will be drilled off

there we go! Head off….no damage to bracket

un-thread screw threads with fingers…easy

area where removed

the parts removed…need to find replacement

Metric coarse thread M6-1.0 see: for KLR650 specific fastener data

find torque while at it…use this KLR fastener chart

go to your fastener bin and find a match…use stainless cap head style

The correct matching length 12 mm

remove rubber wire seals…pull/pry off case

like this

new 400 watt stator to install

follow wire path to radiator overflow location on bike. Thread new wires following OEM wires

like this

route thru here

zip tie as you go

disconnect OEM re-connect new

Take old out….Don�t sell on E-bay yet!

need some of this stuff

apply to the wire gaskets…Note the new stator has only 1x wire gasket while the OEM had 2x wire gaskets

place bracket back in place

torque to 61 in-lbs

tighten this new bolt

Check 3x stator torque values….Use 61 in-lbs for a 6mm bolt…

3x bolts torque

prep outer gasket…light coat both sides

ready to reinstall case

finger thread bolts…note: a .25 inch gap exists between case and frame. Cannot close with hand pressure….carefully tighten fasteners…cris-cross pattern 1x turn at a time. It will slowly close up the gap.

toruque to 25 inch-lbs cris cross pattern…repeat with 68 in-lbs.

All buttoned up
re-attach wire bundle clip and push wires back into slot with small tool

Re-attach wire bracket with long bolt 68 in-lbs

cut zip ties
Now for the regulator. Reach under rear fender to hold nuts. Un-thread bolts 2x. Un-clip wire socket and install new regulator…they included a long unnecessary wire to it�s socket

regulator extra wire location

just eeked it in….contacts the rubber bumpers

loktite the attach fasteners…the blue paste type

add oil, re-attach shifter, foot peg, neutral wire

all done
Review and observations:
1. Bike started….
2. No leaks….
3. The headlights dim a lot at idle….light up when throttle is engaged. I don�t believe this was the case with OEM stator.
4. Have left side outer cover gasket handy. I needed one.
5. Have a M6-1.0 10 mm stainless cap screw available.
6. I would not say this is a �plug and play� install
7. Best to include a headlight “cutoff” switch. See step-by-step KLR650 headlight switch easy install here:
Still some concerns about the mod….Seems like a lot of work and cost for the risk associated with this new Item. I hope Electrosport stands behind there products!


Iron Butt Wisdom

Long Distance Riding Wisdom From The Masters.

1. Know your limits and plan your trip around them.

If the longest ride you have ever taken is 300 miles in a day, don’t plan a trip with a string of endless five- hundred mile days. Iron Butt Association surveys also warn of an important trend in long distance trip planning (see Chart A). Discounting weather or other problems; after an initial mileage peak on days one and two, daily average mileage will steadily drop during trip days three to seven. On day seven of a trip, the typical long distance rider will comfortably ride about 65% of the average daily mileage that they would book on a two day trip. If the pros have this type of mileage attrition rate, would you plan on any less?

Also include large easy-to-cut loops into your trip plan. If you do get behind schedule, this is the easiest way to skip part of your trip without ruining the rest of it.

Whether you are capable of riding 300 miles per day, or 1,000, the ability to make miles tends to decrease as the length of the trip increases. The most severe loss is in days 3 through 7, where Iron Butt types then level out to about 65% of their peak capacity.

2. Forget about high speeds.

Forget what you’ve been told; high speeds and long-distance riding have little in common. A steady rider can book more miles, enjoy more mountain vistas and ride more twisty miles than a canyon carver bent on making the best times across a mountain pass. Besides the obvious effects on fuel mileage, which means more time wasted looking for gas, and the fatigue caused by fighting the effects of pushing a motorcycle through the wind, riding much beyond the flow of traffic will land you a hefty speeding ticket. While you are on the side of the road having a spirited discussion with a Police officer about your 10/10ths riding style, the turtle-like rider on the Honda 250 will wave as he sets himself up for the next set of corners.

3. Leave your drugs and coffee supply at home.

It’s this simple, drugs and other stimulants do not work! If you need No-Doze or other drugs to stay alert (the Iron Butt Association includes coffee and colas on this hot list), it’s time to stop for the day and get some serious rest.

4. Prepare your motorcycle before the trip.

With vacation time in short supply, why would you waste time during a trip to have your tires replaced? It is often cheaper to replace tires and chains at home rather than squeezing the few remaining miles from them to only find that they are not available. Additionally, quality motorcycle oils can go the distance. It is not unheard of Iron Butt types grinding away 10,000 or more miles between oil changes. Running hours between oil changes and work load means more than miles. A motorcycle ridden around town will need more frequent changes than one used on a long trip.

5. Avoid adding accessories or doing maintenance immediately before a trip.

If it can be avoided, don’t use a trip as a test bed for a new exciting accessory and don’t forget, even the best mechanic can make a mistake. Try and avoid picking up your motorcycle and heading out directly on a 10,000 mile trip. A trip is also not the best time to try out that new rainsuit, helmet or packing technique!

6. Use an electric vest.

Even on the warmest summer nights, after a few days of 100+ temperatures, a 75 degree evening ride can send a chill through your body. Add in a cool, wet day and the benefits of an electric vest mean that no serious rider would leave home without it. For more information on Electrically heated clothing, visit Widder Enterprises home page.

7. Pack wisely; keep personal supplies handy.

While many riders use a tank bag, what they pack in them is not always well thought out. Sun screen, skin lotions, eye cleaner, eye lubricant, a flash light, a tire gauge, maps and other essentials should all be kept in a handy location. If these items are not on-hand when you need them, you won’t use them. That can lead to costly mistakes like missing a road because you didn’t want to find your map or roasting your face and then facing painful sun burn for days into a trip (ever try wearing a helmet over a sun-burnt head? – do it once and you will never forget to pack the sun screen where it is handy). On the other hand, things like registration and insurance papers should be kept in a secure water tight area of the motorcycle. Assuming you probably will only need these items while talking to the Law, having them stowed away gives you time to talk to the officer and convince him you are human and not some crazed-biker – that could work to your advantage.

8. Be ready before you leave, don’t waste time shopping on the road.

The same rules that applies to your motorcycle should apply to your riding gear and essentials. Maintain a check list of items to carry and then check it before you leave. Buying toothpaste at 7-11 is no big deal, but having to shop around for a sweater or swimsuit or specialty medicines that you left at home can eat up valuable riding or rest time.

9. Learn how to avoid boredom.

Long rides usually mean riding across areas you might not consider prime riding spots. To some riders U.S. 50 across Nevada is a beautiful ride. To a canyon carver it can be a long, hot boring, dull highway to hell. For times like this, carrying a tape player with your favorite music can prove invaluable. Some of the other tricks of the trade are to stock up your tank bag with a supply of tart candies that you can munch on while riding. A sour lemon drop will shock your senses and keep you going another twenty miles!

10. Join a towing service!

Break downs happen and there is nothing like being stuck with no one to turn to for help. MTS, AMA, Cross-Country motor club, some insurance companies and some auto clubs have plans that will tow you out of trouble. This is not a matter of just money (the cost of the plan versus the risk of the cost of a later tow), these clubs have contracted with tow companies around the U.S. Skip the insurance and you can spend hours burning up the phone looking for a tow company. Pay a little now or pay a lot later in the form of money and wasted trip time.

11. Learn to Stop to go Faster.

On the surface this tip may not make sense, but the successful long distance rider uses this strategy to their advantage. Since each rider is different, no one can predict a comfortable speed average for every rider. What is important is to know what speed your internal riding clock runs by and when your speed falls below that average, take time out and get some serious rest. Wasting time on coffee stops or milling about gas stations is time that could be better spent in a comfortable room sleeping or even better, taking a walk to stretch tired and sore muscles and get some oxygen pumping back into your brain.

12. Know when to stop!

As soon as you are tempted to close an eye, even “for just a second”, find the nearest safe place to pull over and take nap!

Other symptoms to watch for:

Inability to maintain a desired speed. If you find yourself slowing down and constantly having to speed back up, you are ready to fall asleep!

Forgetting to turn high beams down for oncoming traffic.

Indecision. Can’t decide to stop for gas or continue? Can’t decide what turn to take? These are all a result of fatigue.

13. Maintain a good mental attitude.

If you really hate rain, you just may be better off taking a time-out and hold-up in a motel for a day. The same goes for excessive heat (if possible, try riding at night) or a host of other conditions that can put you in such a bad mental state that riding is no longer fun (if you are concentrating on being miserable, you are not concentrating on the road). Yes, answering to your boss why you are a day or two late can cause some stress, but at least you might make it safely home!

14. Eat healthy foods.

Fast foods and a big road trip are a bad combination, but realizing that this is the real world, try these time-proven combinations: In the mornings stick to oatmeal, cereals or one egg with toast (no butter please!). Lunch should be skipped in favor of a light, healthy snack. Dinner should include a salad with a light pasta dish (quickly and readily available at the long distance riders all-time place to hate; Dennys and most Wendys).

If all else fails, our motto is, “If you can’t eat right at least try and eat light!”

15. Eat at the right times of the day.

On weekdays, eating breakfast after 9 a.m. is usually the best time to beat the working stiffs not lucky enough to be out on a ride. The opposite is true on weekends, when people tend to sleep in and crowd restaurants later in the morning. Dinner is best eaten early (remember, we skipped lunch) to beat the dinner crowd. Additionally, eating after dark with a long ride ahead is a bad idea – it will put you to sleep. Whenever we speak of eating out, the subject of time management always comes up. Specifically, how can the long distance rider afford to waste time sitting around while a restaurant cooks their meal? Here is a time proven method that works: After you enter the restaurant and get a seat (if the restaurant is crowded, try the counter for faster service) explain to your waitress that you are in a hurry. In extreme cases, we recommend giving her a generous tip up front and quickly give her your order, ask her to leave the check with the meal and explain that you will be back shortly. This is now your free time to take care of important business.

Although riders differ in technique, most will go to the bathroom and wash up (even if you are not “dirty”, washing your face with warm water is a refreshing experience) and reapply sun screen or skin lotion. If you have phone calls to make, quickly make them now. In most cases, your meal will be sitting for you ready to eat. With this technique, meal stops can be cut to a reasonable twenty to thirty minute window – that may sound fast for a full meal, but when handled properly with good time management, you will have a relaxing hot, meal while your fellow riders are choking down a cold sandwich standing around a gas station.

16. Separate gas stops from food stops.

After getting gasoline (a mini rest-stop in itself), it takes just as long to suit-up to ride across the street to eat as it does to ride twenty miles down the road and then eat. The result is two mini rest-stops for the price of one.

17. Get gas before you need it.

You only have to run out of gas one time, or take a five mile detour in search of gas to blow the time you saved by not stopping. When gas is handy, stop and get it!

18. Put on your rain suit before it rains!

If you have less than a half tank of gas, why not stop, fill-up and put on your suit all in one, quick, safe stop? Whether you take the fill-up advice or not, we strongly recommend you avoid putting your rain suit on along side the road. The dangers are too numerous to outline, but think about this when planning to dodge the rain under an overpass; do you really want to be standing just three feet (or about an arms length) from traffic zooming by at 60 mph and up? And if it is raining, do you want to be standing that close to drivers half-blinded by the rain themselves? And keep in mind that some of those drivers will be looking for a covered place of their own to wait out a hard rain – just like the place you are putting on your rainsuit. While hard statistics on this subject are hard to come by, roadside shoulder accidents do happen. For example, we witnessed this tragic accident in May of 1995; on a clear nights while stopping a vehicle for a traffic violation an Illinois state Trooper had his blue police lights in full gear (anyone that has ever gotten stopped can attest to the intensity of these lights). Although both vehicles were on the shoulder of the Interstate, a tired driver managed came off the road and rammed into the rear of the Illinois state highway patrol car causing it to explode and kill the trooper inside.

19. Carry a flat repair kit and know how to use it!

The majority of tubeless tires punctures can be repaired in just a few minutes! There is no excuse for not carrying a repair kit, but even more importantly, you should know how to use it. Practice at home on an old tire so you are not trying to figure the process out on the side of the road! While tube-type tires are more of a hassle, once your learn how to patch a tube, it can be done a lot faster than trying to arrange a tow.

20. Carry a Cellular phone.

They may not work in Death Valley, but you may be surprised at the number of locations they do work. Thanks to our aggressive farm communities desire to ride the tractor and be able to call mom at the house, the cellular industry has cell cites in many places that would surprise you. A cell phone combined with towing insurance, can make what was once a trip ruining event a tolerable experience.

21. Upgrade your tool kit.

The tool kit in most motorcycles are at best junk. Use the tool kit as a guide and purchase quality replacement tools from Snap-On or Sears’ Craftsman. Also add a compact digital voltmeter (Radio Shack sells a pocket model for less than $20) and a ratchet and socket set. For possibly the most comprehensive tool listing ever devised, see “Ron Major’s Tool Kit” from his May 1997 post to the LD Riders list.

22. Carry at least one-half gallon of water.

You don’t have to be riding in the desert to listen to this advice. For example, pushing a broken motorcycle a short distance up a hill to get it to a safe parking place on a cool night can generate a thirst that cannot be described. Your water supply should be kept in two sources. One should be used for casual drinking (i.e., whenever you are thirsty, you drink from that bottle) and the remainder should be packed away for true emergencies such as breakdowns. The theory here is straightforward. Once riders start carrying water, they will use it. Unfortunately, if you drink your emergency supply away, then you will not have it for an emergency. Do yourself a favor and pack the emergency supply in an area that is inconvenient to get to and save it for when you really need it. On a health note, although bottled water has a fairly long shelf life, to insure that tap water is safe to drink, it should be changed every few days.

Although it may seem extreme, we also recommend that during the long rides, you give up local tap water and use purified bottled water. Changes in the local make-up of the water supply can lead to upset stomach, diarrhea and in some extreme cases require hospitalization. Besides those concerns, in 1995 the federal government issued a warning that Cryptosporidium, a disease-carrying parasite, can slip through most municipal water treatment systems. While a healthy individual can fight off this bug, we recommend avoiding it, and other potential water-born parasites while on the road by using purified water. For more information on bottled water brands that use production processes that are free from parasites contact the International Bottled Water Association at (800) 928-3711 or NSF International (a product testing organization) at (800) 673-8010.

23. Carry aspirin for aches and pains.

Note: While aspirin enjoys an almost cult-like following in the riding community (riders claim it alleviates a variety of pains and helps prevent muscle spasms), it is important to remember to consult your physician for side-effects related to its use. For example, aspirin can lower your body’s core temperature. So those riders choosing to use it for aches along the way should be aware they may be cooling themselves down as well. Additionally, aspirin acts as an anti-coagulant (something to worry about should you crash and suffer wounds that cause severe bleeding). Some brands of aspirin contain caffeine (it is sometimes added to help the aspirin take effect more quickly). A quick review of active ingredients on the packaging will let you know if caffeine is part of the formula.

24. Pack a variety of vitamins.

We have to defer this exact advice to a doctor, but in general a minimum recommendation is to take a one- a-day vitamin. Seek the advice of your doctor as to what vitamins are best for the type of conditions you are riding through (hot summer-time conditions has different requirements than winter riding). For long distance riding, look for vitamins that will prevent muscle cramps.

25. If you own a computer, consider purchasing a mapping program.

While most mapping programs are far from perfect, in some cases they will route you in ways that defy logic. For example, they may send you on a U.S. highway, which in many places are not a highway at all, but surface streets, through a busy city instead of bypassing the city in favor of the Interstate, they can quickly and with a high degree of accuracy calculate point-to-point mileage’s. Anyone that has ever tried accurately reading mileages from an Atlas and combining them only to find out the map was wrong or that they missed 25 miles here or there, will love any of the popular mapping programs (we use Automap Professional, which is no longer available).

DeLorme Map-N-Go and Street Atlas are currently among the preferred standalone mapping software packages within the Long Distance community, as well as a few others. The DeLorme package has a satellite link with various GPS navigation tools, and also a interface with the internet to obtain real-time weather and road construction advisories along your proposed route. Another trick DeLorme feature is “Exit Services”, which outlines all available services (fuel/food/lodging/etc) at each Interstate exit.

26. When riding back roads, be extra cautious when crossing county lines!

In many states, road maintenance is the responsibility of the county. That means every fifty miles or so you may be dealing with different pavement mixes and different engineers ideas of what is a good design. After crossing a county or state line, take notice of subtle signs of how the local road department operates. Has the pavement gone from asphalt to concrete? Are the turns well marked? Do they use decreasing radius turns? Are road repairs done with rubber sealer (the kind that flexes slightly when hot, which can cause some riders to panic if they are not used to a motorcycle moving around underneath them when leaned over), gravel or other hazardous methods? Is vegetation trimmed back from the side of the road? Do fences exist to keep animals on the sidelines? Find out how the locals do it before you get the surprise of your life!

27. Never ride faster than you can stop!

Imagine riding down the Interstate in a heavy fog at 50 mph when all of a sudden you come across a stopped car in the fast lane. Can you stop before you hit the car? You may think this is a ridiculous question, but it has happened. Don’t be the next rider killed by out-riding your eyes. This same tip applies to good weather as well. Is making 10 mph more around a corner you can’t see through worth spending six months in a hospital? Think about it like that and you may live to ride another day.

28. Do you want to live? Stay away from trucks!

Truck drivers hate having anyone follow them. When you are behind a truck, you become a liability. Instead of paying attention to the road, a trucker will start worrying about the people on their tailgate. From a bikers standpoint, it is not uncommon for a truck tire to explode. Iron Butt veteran and professional truck driver Mary Sue Johnson warns, “A blowout can blast off the truck’s heavy mudflap with the force of a bowling ball going 60 m.p.h.” Suzy goes on to warn that should the truck run over tailpipe or muffler in the road, you probably won’t see it until too late leading to disaster.” Additionally, if a trucker has to get on the brakes hard because of a of something in the road or someone has cut them off, (it happens to me once a day or more) AND you aren’t alert back there, you will hit the trailer – it happens all the time!” Least you think this is all great theory but will never happen to you, this real-life incident of the forces involved with truck tires comes from the June 3, 1997 Chicago Sun-Times titled “Teen dies when wheel fly off truck…” Two wheels broke loose from an 18-wheel semi-trailer truck on the Eisenhower Expressway…killing an 18-year-old youth. One wheel rolled up and over a concrete barrier and struck the sport utility vehicle in which the teen was sitting in the front passenger seat.

29. Eliminate all distractions/irritants.

Eliminate all distractions and potential irritants before the ride, no matter how minor they may seem. The cost in stamina and energy used in fighting off the effects of irritants while tired can be enormous. Even minor aggravations are magnified during a long-distance ride, robbing you of energy in the form of stress. Key to your ability to fight off irritants is a well prepared bike that is set up properly with resulting excellent ergos for the rider. Long term rider comfort while underway is the true secret of how seasoned veterans can safely garner big mileage.

26. Use a Tracking device – Tip authored by Jason Jonas.

The advantages of using a tracking device are:

  • Share your experience with family and friends
  • Aid in documenting your ride
  • Value-added services such as roadside assistance and emergency 911 services.

Keeping your family informed of your whereabouts while on the road is an invaluable source of piece of mind for both you and those who care about you. Using a tracking device to “record” your ride is a good way to document the route traveled. Some companies provide value-added services like roadside assistance and emergency 911 services that may help locate you in the unfortunate event of an accident.26. Use a Tracking device – Tip authored by Jason Jonas.

The advantages of using a tracking device are:

  • Share your experience with family and friends
  • Aid in documenting your ride
  • Value-added services such as roadside assistance and emergency 911 services.

Keeping your family informed of your whereabouts while on the road is an invaluable source of piece of mind for both you and those who care about you. Using a tracking device to “record” your ride is a good way to document the route traveled. Some companies provide value-added services like roadside assistance and emergency 911 services that may help locate you in the unfortunate event of an accident.

BMW maintenance

DIY Motorcycle tools

    1. Can I be your buddy?

    2. vtwin

      vtwinAir cooled runnin’ mon

      Jan 11, 2005

      Clutch spring tool.





    3. thump_co


      Feb 23, 2011

      Not so much “made”, as improvised, but got ‘er done.


    4. jad3675

      jad3675Been here awhile

      Jan 3, 2008
      Cincinnati, Ohio

      One HF bar clamp plus a 3-way edge clamp and you have a one person fork spring compressor.



    5. EmBeeZedEx

      EmBeeZedExBeen here awhile

      Jul 28, 2014
      Seatown, PNWet


      O2 sensor socket and a C-clamp. The shiny parts on the socket are where I polished it a bit on the sander and buffer. If I hadn’t then those shiny parts would instead likely be aluminum scraped out of the lifter bore.

    6. Desert Skies

      Desert SkiesOne brick shy…

      Mar 2, 2004

      I’m a cheap bastige so I make a lot of tools and fixtures. Here are a couple.

      R1200 filter wrench.



      Wheel balancer…



      Wheel flange puller and high tech heat shield.


      U-joint alignment press.



  1. thump_co


    Feb 23, 2011

    Nice! This thread is awesome.

  2. kyrbz


    Feb 12, 2015
    US – Midwest

    Needed to make an odd sized M20.5 x 1.25 puller for a 1951 Aermacchi I was working on.





  3. GS Addict

    GS AddictPepperfoolSupporter

    Sep 24, 2006
    Sunshine Coast B.C.

    Oilhead valve spring compression tool

    Paralever bearing cup removal/install tool

    Spark plug tool (extension is permanently affixed)

    Wheel balancing tool

    3,4,5 bolt BMW rear wheel balance adapter

BMW maintenance

Paralever tool

Paralever Thrust Bearing Adjustment.

Just finished doing this job today and saw this thread. Apologies if it’s been covered but a search didn’t throw it up!

A couple of weeks back, when cleaning the bike (04 GSA) I did the usual check of the rear wheel play and found that there was a definate movement both top and bottom and side to side.

Research showed that this was likely to be caused by the Paralever thrust bearings needing some adjustment.

This one…..

The adjuster is the 12mm hex nut in the centre, the 30mm outer is a lock-nut.

The adjuster is torqued to 7Nm the lock-nut to 160Nm. Both are liberally coated in a thread-lock compound on assembly and needs to be heated to 100 deg C to soften the compound before attempting to loosen them.

Cut the tie on the forward end of the gaiter and peel it to the rear to avoid damaging it and then heat the lock-nut with a hot-air gun until the thread-lock softens.

Use a suitable breaker bar to undo the lock-nut.

Clean the lock-nut and the adjuster to get rid of the old thread-lock compound. I used acetone.

Holding the adjuster at an angle and pouring some acetone into the top of the lock-nut…

then turning the lock-nut down

is a quick way of cleaning both threads.

Clean the Paralever thread too. Acetone and a wooden cocktail stick works well.

There is a BMW Special Tool that enables you to hold the adjuster while torquing-up the lock-nut.

Basically it’s a 30mm socket with a section cut out and a 12mm hex-key.

I bought a 30mm impact socket for �8 (about $12 I think) and got a machine shop to grind out a slot.

To re-assemble you will need something like the above to hold the adjuster at it’s low 7Nm torque value while you put 160Nm into the lock-nut.

Put a jack under the Paralever arm to prevent it moving while you swing on the wrench.

It also helps to line up the thrust bearing.

Coat the adjuster with thread-lock and start it off by hand. Then swap to a small torque wrench and use that to tighten it to the 7Nm value (not very much!).

At this point I used an indelible pen to mark a vertical line on the adjuster so that I could instantly see if the adjuster moved much while tightening the lock-nut.

Put the 12mm hex-key into the adjuster and then tighten the lock-nut with a ring-spanner (wrench) as much as you can while holding the hex-key steady – preventing the adjuster from turning with the lock-nut.

Then insert the hex-key into the ‘special tool’ and again use the hex-key to hold the adjuster while tightening the lock-nut to 160Nm.

Replace the rear wheel and check for play. I checked that the pen line remained vertical before a little acetone removed the mark.

Hey-presto! No play in the rear wheel. (As I was doing this and a two-year service, I also removed the rear drive cover and checked the crown-wheel bearings just to be on the safe side. All it cost me was the price of an ‘O’ ring and an oil seal but gave me peace of mind).

If you want to see the BMW Special Tool and some rough dimensions for making your own, here goes.