Haynes' World is a regular feature that takes a look at what the staff at Haynes are doing with their cars, bikes and other vehicles.
Motorcycle: BMW R100RS
Owner: Martynn Randall
It’s been a busy couple of months with the BMW. I was keen to make sure that everything was in good order while I had it apart. So, as the pushrod tubes under each cylinder were rusty and leaking, I pulled the barrels off and fitted new stainless steel tubes.
Having disturbed the piston rings in the process, I thought it would be prudent to replace the rings while I was there. I then went through the rest of the engine, replacing all the gaskets and seals, the timing chain and tensioner, along with a complete new clutch assembly. I couldn’t detect any wear or problems with the camshaft, crankshaft or conrods, so I left them alone.
The cylinder heads and valves were in great condition, so I just gently lapped the valve seats and put them back together.
While I was playing with the engine, I sent the gearbox away to a well-known ‘airhead’ specialist for overhaul. I could have taken it apart myself, but special (expensive) tools are needed and I wanted someone with lots of experience with that gearbox to apply upgrades that have been developed over the years. It turned out that several parts were badly worn and new bearings were needed.
With one exception, all the required parts are still available from BMW, and luckily, the missing item was picked from the specialist's stock of good secondhand parts. So I now have a reconditioned gearbox, with a modified selector mechanism from the later model. Smoother operation, apparently. Time will tell.
Putting the engine back into the frame by myself, was always going to be a challenge, but I thoroughly recommend a hydraulic workbench located directly under a steel beam in the garage. I was able to support the engine with ratchet straps from the beam, and with a combination of strap position and bench height, managed to get the engine back in place without disturbing the fresh powder coating on the frame.
As I’d already removed the steering head swinging arm bearings prior to having the frame powder coated, I fitted new bearings and seals. Setting the swinging arm bearing preload is time-consuming. Not only does the arm have to be exactly central in the frame, but the arm pivot pins have to be tightened to a specified torque to exert a little pressure on the tapered roller bearings. Too much and the bearings will wear quickly, too little and the bike might not be stable in a straight line.
The original fork stanchions were still straight, but the chrome was worn and flaking in places. Rather than just buy replacement ones, I opted to send them away for replating. The specialist company I used began by stripping the original chrome from the tubes, building them back up with ‘hard’ chrome, then grinding them back down to the original dimensions. They claim the finish is much more durable than the original and the grinding process guarantees the tubes are straight, and with new seals and dust caps, the forks look great back on the bike.
Adding new/clean parts to the bike is now pure joy, with a huge temptation to buy all the new parts and fit them as soon as possible. Next will be the rear shocks, brakes and electrics. I just have to find somewhere to hide all the new bits from the wife.
Car: BMW 2 Series
Owner: Rob Keenan
I've just installed my dash cam in the Beemer after having taken it out of the Focus ST before I sold it.
It's unlikely you've ever heard of the make (Street Guardian) before but I chose it because it's small, so sits fairly discreetly near the top of the windscreen, and has a capacitor instead of a battery. The latter is important if you value the lifespan of your electrical equipment because dash cams have to deal with sub-zero temperatures in the winter and roasting heat in the summer. Batteries don't tend to like extremes and I don't like having to fork out on new dash cams every couple of years, so the Street Guardian got my money.
In the Focus, I'd hardwired the dash cam into the fusebox. That had been a fairly simple task and I'd done it because the Ford's 12V sockets remained powered when the engine was off. That meant the battery could be depleted if the car was left parked for a few days.
I would have done the same with the 2 Series, but its fuseboxes are in the boot and under the bonnet (one of the Focus's was under the dashboard on the passenger's side). That meant I didn't have enough cable for the job. Luckily, the BMW's 12V sockets power down after a minute, so installation was really easy, with the wires needing to be fed from the socket, through the glovebox and tucked behind trim, and a new sticky pad bought to attach the camera to the windscreen.
The only slight snag is the housing that sits in the middle of the top of the windscreen – it's quite large because it contains some of the BMW's sensors – which meant I had to install the camera lower down on the windscreen to give it a better field of view.
Rob’s dash cam buying tips
- Choose a dash cam with a capacitor instead of a battery.
- Make sure it records footage at 1080p quality and at 60fps; 4K quality is even better but it'll fill up the card's memory quickly.
- Speaking of which, most cameras record to micro SD cards. If your camera doesn't come with one in the box, get one with a 32GB or 64GB capacity and a Class 10 recording speed – make sure your camera is happy with those specs before you buy.
- Your camera will record over old footage once the memory card fills up. Make sure it's set to do that, rather than stop recording when it's full!
- Check out independent YouTube reviews to see how your camera performs during the day and night, and what recorded audio sounds like.
- Do you want your speed to be displayed with the recordings? You'll need the camera to have GPS built in.
- Not all dash cams come with screens – they're not great for reviewing footage but make navigating settings much easier.
- Some cameras have a parking mode, where they'll activate if they detect a bump. Power is required (preferably via an auxiliary battery) for this function to work.