Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Wheels...

It's been quite a while since I did this but I can only now find the opportunity to write as in the meantime we moved to Germany. Isn't it funny, the old Beemer, born here in Germany, is sitting in Ankara, where I, born in Ankara, am living now in Germany, only about 400 kilometers away from its home town...  

Anyway, so with the transmission, I'm done with all the significant work on the bike. Still, the wheels haven't been touched yet. I must overhaul them and clean up the dirt - and what a mess indeed! Here we go, as usual, with plenty of WD-40, brake cleaner, sheets, sandpaper and much more...

I begin by removing the four bolts holding the aluminum hub cap and look at the mess! And look at the poor old roller bearing. No surprise, some of the bearing balls were scattered already when I first removed the wheel. And not a big deal, I've got brand new bearings waiting for the duty.

I am not able to name every single substance gathered here over years to become this slimy dirty layer here. How can I get rid of that! 

Removing the bearings out of the wheel hub was pretty straightforward using the hammer and drift. We've got two bearings, one of them is a ball bearing, and the other is a "needle" bearing. Both are dead, you can see the needles in the previous photo, they should have been sitting in their seat in the bearing. Between the two bearings, there are two metal spacers to keep the distance between them. In the photo you can hardly see them because of the greasy dirt.

Here you can see better. From left to right, needle bearing, spacers, one inside the other, ball bearing and the hub cover. And next to them, the brand new bearings still waiting.

This is the best I could do. Steel wool, brake cleaner, sandpaper, even some gasoline, over and over and over... No, I can't make it any better.

The real issue is the spokes. Normally, I should have removed them all, either sanded and cleaned them, or even better, used a new set to mount. Unfortunately, spoke adjustment is a very difficult precision work, requiring special equipment and experience. Neither can I do that on my own, nor is there any specialist here that I know of. Therefore I only sanded them in place, as good as my poor and now wounded and aching fingers fit.

For some reason the other wheel looks much worse. Same operation for it, too...

Then it's time for the new bearings. Easy work, heating up the hub, I simply drop the first bearing inside. Just a couple careful hits with the hammer over a socket with the same outer diameter (never hammer the loose end of a bearing, in this case the inner ring, otherwise you risk damaging it.) and it sits into its slot.

You can see a lot of grease in the hub, around and between the bearings and spacers. These two bearings carry the entire weight of the bike and the rider by themselves, and they are always moving. Grease is never more than enough...

Here comes the second bearing.

Look at the "before and after" photo I took after cleaning up the first wheel, not bad, eh? Not perfect but the difference is significant and looks good enough if you don't examine too closely. And even this much cleaning took me numerous hours over several days. On top of that, of course I replaced the tyres and tubes with a cheapo set.
Frankly, I don't have much left to tell after this, just a few notes about painting and that's it, really. The Beemer is in a much better shape now, I think I shared a few photos on Instagram (lazy man's social media) about the progress. Bringing all the parts back together took almost no time at all, and obviously I was so stunned with the progress that I hardly took any photos of it. But the real question is not answered yet: Can the 62 year old machine wake up from its long sleep and walk again?


  1. ...getting exited - would be a nice ride through the Schwarzwald