Sparky Questions:

Scottie cleans his head

(engine, that is)

As I mentioned, I got a second engine with Sparky. I swapped right side heads between the two a little while ago and thought I'd clean and recondition the one I took off the bike. Here's what I've got but I don't really know how to assess it. Can you help me?

Right head before any cleaning.Right head after scrubbing for an hour.
This is how the right head looked when removed from the bikeand this is what it looks like now after an hour of cleaning.

As you can see, the carbon build-up was so heavy it was crumbling off. Now I can see little bright spots of aluminum shining through. I tried using a scouring pad (like a ScotchbriteTM) at first, but that merely made the carbon shiney and bright but didn't really remove it. I then resorted to a small tooth-brush sized wire brush. I've read plenty of warnings about how the steel wire can score the softer aluminum, but I went fairly easily on it and only by hand, not using a power tool. However, I seemed to have reached some kind of a limit; no more crud seems readily removeable by wire brush unless I scrape it a bit with a hard edge to get an open spot for the wire brush to get a purchase on but I'm a little concerned about scraping with anything hard.

Right head after wire brushing.An extreme cylinder head cleaner.
Later I succumbed to temptation and used a wire wheel in a drill. That works to get off the filth but I'm afraid I've damaged the head a little. Maybe that was the chuck falling off the drill press and hitting it. :-(I'll heed the advice to avoid oven cleaner and such but I'd appreciate some information on what else might work.

After looking at Oak's valve diagrams in the March AirMail "Ask Oak" column, I'd guess these don't look recessed. They still stand out a few mm. from the surface of the head. How does one measure valve recession? Can anyone tell from the above photos what the valve condition is? I guess I've got to get the springs off to assess the guides. Any suggestions?

And now the pistons...

Piston before cleaning......and piston after cleaning.
So here's the left side piston as found on removing the head for the
first time. (try not to wretch now.)
And here's that piston after going at it with a wire brush
for half an hour. (whew!)

What the heck kind of luggage do I have?

I'm hoping to find out because I'm missing one lid and I'd like to find a replacement but I don't know what to ask for. Help me out if you can. I've been told by a couple of fellow Airheads that it might be Bates luggage. I measured the lid; It's 18.5" x 9.5" x 2.5". Here're the hard facts:

The saddlebags are a cheapo version sold by Butler & Smith in 74 and 75, called "Domestic" Saddlebags, in those days. The Bates and Wixom bags sold then were fiberglass. Yours are thermoresin plastic. I have no idea where you'd find a cover for one, but I'd try the BMW salvage places in the USA, like Bob's, A&S, and RePsycle. Tom Cutter

Thanks for the info, Tom.

Here's the left side bag......and here's the right side bag:

The lid fits either side. I can stop every now and then and switch the lid from one side to the other but it's just not the same as having two. Especially in the rain.

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Last Updated on Thu, Dec 5, 2002.