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redavide
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I rode my R69 about 100 miles today. It ran perfectly except for three short periods, each one lasting about 5 minutes, when the engine started acting like it was running out of fuel, like it feels just before you have to go on reserve (but the tank was full). It sputtered, lost power and felt like it was starved for fuel. Then, after about 5 minutes, it started running perfectly again. I'm not sure whether the problem's related to fuel or ignition. Any opinions about what I should look at? Thanks.

schrader7032
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R69 not running right

Check the thread titled "Newbie", about 2/3 way down on second page. There was discussion about something similar, about the bike bogging down. Maybe you can get some ideas there.

Do you have in-line fuel filters? Some don't like them because they might be restrictive to flow, but I tend to think not. The one thing they do is allow you to see if there is fuel flowing to the carbs. If the filter, located just before the inlet to the carb, but up far enough for you to see, doesn't look likes it's full of fuel, there might be a problem.

For my money, I'd investiage fuel first, then ignition.

Kurt in S.A.

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Bruce Frey
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R69 not running right

Whenever you have a warmed up bike (or car) that stalls and won't restart, immediately check to see if you have good spark.

That is a classic symptom of a failing coil.

Bruce

Bruce Frey
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R69 not running right

I forgot to add that those symptoms also describe a plugged inlet screen on the petcock.

Bruce

schrader7032
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R69 not running right

"Bruce Frey" wrote:

Whenever you have a warmed up bike (or car) that stalls and won't restart, immediately check to see if you have good spark.

That is a classic symptom of a failing coil.

Bruce

I guess I maybe read too much into the initial post. "It sputtered, lost power and felt like it was starved for fuel. Then, after about 5 minutes, it started running perfectly again." I took that to mean that it ran poorly for 5 minutes and then somehow got better.

I'd agree that a difficult time restarting can be a coil. Unless it's marginal, I would think it would take more than 5 minutes to cool enough to work again. Most people have reported having to wait a significantly longer period of time before the bike can be restarted.

Kurt in S.A.

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redavide
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R69 not running right

Schrader, You understood my original message correctly. It didn't stall and it always starts easily. It lost power, sputtered and generally felt like it wasn't getting fuel, but kept running nonetheless, for a period of about five minutes, then suddenly snapped out of it and started to run fine. This happened 3 separate times on a 100 mile trip.

This morning I started it and it fired right up on the first kick. I didn't ride it, but the engine was running rough at idle and started sputtering when I gave it some throttle. I assume that if I take it for a ride, it will probably start running fine at some point like it did the previous 3 times.

Thanks for your advice.

schrader7032
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R69 not running right

Well, we might temporarily rule out the magneto coil. But it's hard to say what the problem might be. Did you try the ticklers this morning??

If it were me, I'd start a process to confirm that all of the basic settings were correct. It's likely not the valve clearances. But confirm the timing, probably with a timing light. It would be interesting to see if the timing was changing between good and rough idle. Nothing to disassembly but just hook up the timing light before you start it. You should probably check to ensure that the safety gap is set correctly on the coil. Make sure you the plug caps are on tightly. Are you using the metal shroud caps? I understand they can leak voltage to the heads, creating a problem. I bought a set of the brown bakelite caps from Vech.

Next you might have to be sure that the floats are indeed floating and that they don't stick open/closed. Next time this happens, try tickling. Also try rapping on the float chamber (where the gas goes in) and see if this might cause the float to become unstuck.

Try to do things methodically so you can move from one to the other. Also, consider which things are the easiest to do and do them first.

Hopefully others will provide their thoughts so you can list all of the possibilities and start checking them off.

Kurt in S.A.

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Darryl.Richman
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R69 not running right

I would check the fuel bowls for "crud", especially flakes of tank liner.

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Allan.Atherton
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R69 not running right

"redavide" wrote:

... It didn't stall and it always starts easily. It lost power, sputtered... but kept running nonetheless, for a period of about five minutes, then suddenly snapped out of it and started to run fine. This happened 3 separate times on a 100 mile trip. This morning I started it and it fired right up on the first kick. I didn't ride it, but the engine was running rough at idle and started sputtering when I gave it some throttle....

Reminds me of when a condenser went bad. If so, the problem will progress -- become more frequent and occur at lower rpms, until the bike will not idle well and then won't start.

I cleaned and replaced everything on my bike, trying to stop the missing, which had progressed to where the bike would barely start or idle. Carb kit, plugs, wires, even the coil. But not the condenser, because everybody said they never go bad. I did not even own a spare condenser. Finally I took the condenser out of another of my bikes, and it cured the problem.

They say that at those instants that the condenser does not work, the spark will jump at the points instead of the plugs, and can be seen there. I had not heard of that at the time.

Darryl.Richman
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R69 not running right

In my experience, a condensor going bad will begin as a high speed miss. It will progress as Allan says, until it's very hard to start and barely runs.

You can easily tell if your condensor is having problems by running the bike in you darkened garage with the front cover off. Everytime the bike misses or runs rough, you'll see sparks at the points. The condensor's whole purpose in life is to prevent arcing at the points. (Allowing arcing across the points reduces the abruptness of the collapse of the field in the coil and weakens the spark.)

But in my experience, the problem doesn't come and go; once it starts, it just gets worse. Bad running for 5 minutes 3 times in a long ride doesn't sound like a condensor, to me. (I could be wrong -- it wouldn't be the first time! -- and some wag has said that 90% of carburetion problems are electrical.)

OTOH, if the red liner in the tank were flaking off, bits of it will go through the screen over the intake tubes at the petcock and then it will tend to block the flow through the jets, until some event creates enough vacuum to pull it through, usually closing the throttle, which creates a high intake manifold vacuum.

One other thought -- could this be one cylinder not running well? In which case, I would suspect the plugs, plug caps and/or plug wires. If yours are not new, it's not so expensive to replace them.

And, finally, we had a guy here in the SF bay area who was having a rough running problem, hard starting, too. He went through, set valves, timing, adjusted the carbs, and nothing helped. Finally he discovered that one of the little set screws holding a plug wire to the coil had gone missing and the plug wire was just making light contact with the coil terminal.

Good luck!

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redavide
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R69 not running right

First of all, thanks for all of the useful replies -- I really appreciate it.

This morning, I checked the floats and they seemed OK -- there was some dirt on the bottom of the bowls so I cleaned them out and put a couple of in-line fuel filters in because the inside of the tank isn't in the best condition.

I'll be out of town until Monday, so next week I'm going to take it for a ride and if it still has the problem, I'll take the front cover off, check connections, etc. and see if the points are arcing. The plugs are new, the spark plug wires are new and they have the brown bakelite caps. I'll post my results as they happen . . .

Thanks again.

niall4473
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R69 not running right

Sorry if I'm stating the obvious here, but how did you know there was fuel in the tank? You looked inside, right?
And then the bike ran ok for 5 minutes again, right?

If the bike has stood for a while this happens and the reason is SO obvious no-one checks this, they start ripping the bike to bits and get really frustrated because the problem just won't go away.

What happens is the rubber (or cork) seal in the fuel cap dries out and shrinks a bit, then you fill the tank up with petrol, (right to the top), and it swells up again. Only now it is bigger and softer than it was before and when you yark the cap tight it spreads out and masks the little annular breather holes around the periphery of the cap, just enough to create a partial vacuum, which restricts the fuel flow enough to make the engine run rough. When a sufficient negative pressure is reached either the motor stops and you look in the tank to see where all that petrol went and break the vacuum, or the seal breaks a little and some air gets in and the bike picks up until the vacuum is created again, (you can test this, undo your fuel line at the carb end and run it into a jerry can, it takes longer to build a vacuum the less fuel is in the tank, but you won't get a gallon (UK or US) out before the flow starts to peter out, sometimes you hear a little farty noise as air gets in and the flow will pick up again, or loosen the cap and listen for a hiss as the seal breaks and the flow will increase). But when you examine the cap often it looks fine because with no pressure on it the rubber (or cork) goes back to shape.
Solution: either very carefully trim the seal right round its outer circumference (not easy, often they disintegrate when taken of the cap), or drill a 3/64 hole in the top of the cap and periodically rod it through with a wire.
Once again sorry if I'm telling my Grandmother how to suck eggs but I've had this problem and its infuriating. If you haven't already, have a look, it might save a lot of needless expense and effort.
Good Luck!

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R50Bill
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R69 not running right

This sounds so much like my problem ("Newbie") and now I can't even get it started. :roll:

Hmmmm, my cap is so loose it just spins around loosely, the bike sat outside unstarted (not by me!) for over 2 years. The reference to creating a vacuum makes sense, since in modern cars you get a CEL if the fuel cap is loose. Do I need a whole new cap? Sad

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R69 not running right

To R50Bill,

Quote:

This sounds so much like my problem ("Newbie") and now I can't even get it started.

Hmmmm, my cap is so loose it just spins around loosely, the bike sat outside unstarted (not by me!) for over 2 years. The reference to creating a vacuum makes sense, since in modern cars you get a CEL if the fuel cap is loose. Do I need a whole new cap?

I don't know mate, I see you have a locking cap, if its the sort which turns when its locked up I suppose so, possibly, just try doing what I put in the post to redavide and you'll soon see if its vacuum locking. Locking caps can be prone to this, but whats a CEL?

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redavide
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R69 not running right

Niall,

Thanks for your input. A friend of mine suggested the same thing and it makes good sense because the cap is very tight and it could easily have sealed the tank, and as you point out, it makes sense in light of the symptons (vacuum build up, release, vacuum build up release, etc) which would explain the 5 minute intervals of apparent fuel starvation. When I take it out for a test run next week, if the problem recurs I can visually check the transparent fuel filters to see if fuel is or isn't arriving from the tank. If it isn't flowing and then starts to flow when I unscrew the cap, I guess I'll know that you're right.

Thanks again.

R50Bill
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R69 not running right

Yeah, my cap is loose as a goose m8, you can tilt it up and down and it doesn't even lock anymore, the key turns, but the 2 'fingers' on the inside don't move. I don't think there's much pressure being created in the tank. Is there a repair kit or at least a universal cap that will fit temporarily?

CEL? "Check Engine Light". If you have a German car, you'll know what I mean. Tongue

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R50Bill
If your cap as is loose as that then the root of your trouble lies
elsewhere, as for a replacement, if you have a shop in your area that specialises in old VWs they should have one that fits (Beetles had the same cap in the 50s , although some had the WV rune on them),
Also many older European (not British) vans have an 80mm cap that will fit, I don't know how common they might be over there.
If its loose enough to spill fuel when you rock the bike, definitely change it ASAP.
As for a repair kit, again try aircooled VW dealers, I've seen a repair kit for the Blau caps.

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R50Bill
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R69 not running right

I'll get a new one from BlueMoon I guess, saw one on e-bay today, but no cork left, too bad.

Check this out:

On Dec 6, 2007, at 2:02 PM, Bill Squire wrote:

Hi John,

I took it out after you left, but it still runs very poorly, and I haven't been able to get it started since then. It acts like it has no gas. BMW forums say it may be a clogged petcock filter, residue at the bottom of the carbs under the floats, a bad coil and even a poorly sealing gas cap (not enuf pressure). Any ideas?

I've just purchased a bunch of new replacement stuff, it would be great if it ran. Wink

Bill

From: John Long [mailto:4long@mindspring.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 2:07 PM

Bill,
It's probably two fouled spark plugs after all the flooding carb
problems."

John

On Dec 6, 2007, at 2:24 PM, Bill Squire wrote:

Are they new plugs John? If new, do I just clean 'em up with some steel wool? If not, what is the part number, I'll get some, and do they need gapping?

Bill

From: John Long [mailto:4long@mindspring.com]
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 3:44 PM

The plug is a NGK BP6HS and the gap is .020" Once they get fouled they are NG.

John

:roll:

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R69 not running right

"niall4473" wrote:

If its loose enough to spill fuel when you rock the bike, definitely change it ASAP. As for a repair kit, again try aircooled VW dealers, I've seen a repair kit for the Blau caps.

Thx! I grabbed this in the meantime, seemed like a good deal: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK...

This seller has lot of stuff, ne1 have any feedback on him/them?

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R69 not running right

S. Meyer is a very well known supplier of vintage parts. They're in Germany, as well as other suppliers from that side of the pond. Mark Huggett is another supplier (Switzerland) who is a distributer of BMW Mobile Tradition, basically an arm of BMW. There are suppliers here in the US; one is Vech at Bench Mark Works who also has close ties with BMW Mobile Tradition. Check here for other parts and service suppliers:

http://www.vintagebmw.org/version6/index.php?q=node/75

Kurt in S.A.

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EuroIron
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R69 not running right

well he is telling you right about fouled plugs and today's fuel

often getting a troubled bike up and going good will require a few sets of new plugs before getting everything dialed in

sometimes blasting them will recuperate them though

I've not found it to be consistent and new plugs are cheap, sorta still anyhow

not a bad idea to even set the gap down a bit to see if that helps

if it does, you do have a weakness in your ignition and even though, the old timers here may not believe the tales about being able to determine coil vs condenser by looking at metal transfer on the points contacts

it's very true and the first logical place to look once it has been determined there is an ignition issue, cheap and easy just to keep an eye on anyhow

R50Bill
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R69 not running right

"EuroIron" wrote:

well he is telling you right about fouled plugs and today's fuel

From my Newbie thread:

"schrader7032" wrote:

I'm wondering if you should revisit you're starting routine. Each bike requires just a little different process depending on the state of tune and carb setup. How much to tickle, how to use the throttle, etc. I've finally settled in on a good routine on my R69S. A couple of things that I do that, I hope, helps it start. After I tickle each carb, I kick through 3-4 times, key off and throttle closed. Then I turn the ignition on and with little to no throttle, kick it...it usually starts first or second kick.

Kurt in S.A.

It woiked! :shock:

redavide
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R69 not running right

So far I've checked floats, advance weights, condenser, petcock, plugs, cleaned out float chamber and everything seems OK. As already suggested I suspect the problem is related to a vacuum formed in the gas tank which prevents fuel from going down to the carbs smoothly.

I've noticed that if I run the engine with the petcock closed to empty the carbs of fuel, when I re-open the petcock I can hear fuel flowing down to the carbs in a slow gurgle and then if I quickly open the gas cap the fuel starts flowing very noticeably faster and easier.

My question now is: how does air get into the top of the tank to prevent the vacuum from forming? My cap has a rubber gasket around the inside and screws on very tightly -- there's no way any air's getting in the tank unless you unscrew the cap. Does anyone know of another type of cap that somehow allows air in? Is there some other reasonable method of creating an air flow?

schrader7032
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R69 not running right

I have a cap I bought from Vech and looks like the original. It has no openings on the top. It seals down fairly tight...it's got a cock gasket IIRC. My guess is that the air gets in by going between the cork gasket and the outside edge of the metal cap. Then it goes through some openings that are behind/above the gasket, hidden from view. It has to vent because I've never had a problem with a vacuum forming in the tank.

Kurt in S.A.

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EuroIron
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there is absolutely no reason to have any such suspicion as it is quite easily diagnosed

run it without a cap

if that cures it

you found your problem quite simply

then simply drill a hole in your cap and live with it or get a new one

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The cap breathes through the two holes that the locking ears are pressed out of, and the multitude of holes around the periphery where the two pieces are swaged together underneath. This works perfectly as long as the seal doesn't mask them over, see my previous reply.

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Re: R69 not running right

"redavide" wrote:

I rode my R69 about 100 miles today. It ran perfectly except for three short periods...

my take: when it sputters, stop engine and immediately close fuel tap. Open float bowls and check fuel level - this tells if you have a flow restriction or stuck float with subsequent over supply.

However my bet is that your ignition points are dodgy. Nowadays the quality of aftermarket parts is questionable. The points can 'stick', meaning they do not rotate frreely on the axes or the spring is obstructed. I have also had problems with the nylon cam wearing very quicly, especially with new points - some seem to settle down once worn in. ALso the spark bypasses on the coil can be too closely adjusted, handbook says 11mm - but that is the shortest distance between anything and the terminals. On reco coils the terminals may be out of place and the spark jumps to another palce than the brass pointy thingies.

All of the above can depend on temperature and be intermittend, with a tendency to getting worse.

I have fixed my sputtering problems by observing the above and taking the mechanical igntion parts off the engine, freeing everything nicely and lubricating all moving surfaces with thin oil. Make sure the felt is in place and touches and is well lubed - I use 2.5W shock oil and refresh it every service.

Let us know what you find..

Jim

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I took the bike out for about 30 minutes the other day and it just generally ran really rough -- missing, sputtering and giving a kind of pushing/pulling feeling.

The fuel flow from the petcock is strong (more than 100cl/15 seconds as per Duane A's recommendation). I inspected the floats and they appear to be in good working order. I took off the front engine cover and ran it in the dark -- no visible sparking at the points or anywhere else (except a bit at the generator brushes at higher RPMs).

Question: If the condensor is bad, will there definitely be sparking at the points or not necessarily?

Spark plug leads are brand new and the screws holding them to the coil are tight. When I inspected the plugs (which are brand new), the gaps were correct, but they had a lot of fluffy black carbon on them. I cleaned them off and the engine ran a bit better afterwards but still very rough.

Question: Is the carbon on the plugs a result of the rough running or possibly a symptom of the problem? Also from one of the replies above, someone wrote that "the plug is a NGK BP6HS and the gap is .020" Once they get fouled they are NG." Is this true? Should I buy new plugs? Also, what is the correct gap? .020 is smaller than what the owner's manual suggests.

I also noticed that where the spark plug leads attach to the coil, the bare wire comes out below the small brass cylinder that the wire mounts to. The space between the pointy brass part below and the end of the spark plug lead is considerably less than 10mm.

Question: The suggested measurement of 10-11mm is from what point to what point exactly?

Any thoughts are appreciated.

schrader7032
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It is my understanding that the condensor is designed to smooth out the voltage spikes at the points. If a condensor wasn't working, I think you would see some sparks and the points wouldn't last as long...the surfaces would become pitted very fast. If there's any doubt, replace the condensor.

The saftey gap of 10mm is to anything... If the wire from the spark plug lead sticks through the post significantly, then the 10mm should be measured to that. The spark will jump to the closest point and the exposed end of the wire could be that point.

Kurt in S.A.

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R69 not running right

I had a similar problem with my '66 R60. When riding, it would suddenly start to sputter and miss a bit like it was runnig out of gas. The problem was in the key switch at the headlight, it would work its way up just the tiniest little bit (you can't see it) and the bike would "shut itsefl off" just for a second. I'd push down on the key and all would be well. I've read of this problem and the solution is to rebend the contacts in the headlight. Mine was so minor, that now I know what to do and just touch the key once in a while. I've already had the switchplate out of the headlight once during restoation, and didn't really want to risk breaking off tha tabs just for this. Don't ask me how I figured this out, but it works. Keep it simple before tearing everything apart. Don't forget, you are dealing with basically a tractor engine.

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Quote:

When riding, it would suddenly start to sputter and miss a bit like it was runnig out of gas. The problem was in the key switch at the headlight, it would work its way up just the tiniest little bit (you can't see it) and the bike would "shut itsefl off" just for a second. I'd push down on the key and all would be well.

You lot must be very brave if you ride these bikes out on the road without a rubber band over the key, I wouldn't, even if the switch and key were new, and stayed down, in fact the practice used to be so universal here that until I was about 14 I thought that was how it was intended to be!
Also, if you don't have the rubber band (cut from a 4.00 inner tube), what keeps water out of the switch? Here in the UK, and most other places where the authorities put salt on the roads in winter, your switch would rot away in one winter if you didn't keep it out.
Here are two good examples, on this pristine, original, low-mileage R60.

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R69 not running right

"niall4473" wrote:

You lot must be very brave if you ride these bikes out on the road without a rubber band over the key, I wouldn't, even if the switch and key were new, and stayed down, in fact the practice used to be so universal here that until I was about 14 I thought that was how it was intended to be!

It's not like I've put 100k on my R60/2, but I've never had a problem with the key not working correctly. I did have to bend the contacts slightly on my /3, but now I've put 6k miles on it and haven't had a problem.

Quote:

Also, if you don't have the rubber band (cut from a 4.00 inner tube), what keeps water out of the switch? Here in the UK, and most other places where the authorities put salt on the roads in winter, your switch would rot away in one winter if you didn't keep it out.

That is a great "original, pristine" R60! Wink What keeps the salt out of those vented front brakes?

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Quote:

What keeps the salt out of those vented front brakes?

An old glove, only taken out in summer!

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"niall4473"][quote wrote:

Here are two good examples, on this pristine, original, low-mileage R60.

very original and very pristine indeed

I'd also think such low mileage as to name it a trailer queen

nice!

aside from the stiffness afforded by the Zundapp's huge tubes, do you think those fork function better, hydraulically and otherwise, than the Zundapp forks?

the 4LS on my Fbed bike has two sets of "grill covers", one will allow airflow and the other is a dummy set that looks louvered

niall4473
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Lancashire, UK
Joined: 04/09/2007
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R69 not running right

Quote:

aside from the stiffness afforded by the Zundapp's huge tubes, do you think those fork function better, hydraulically and otherwise, than the Zundapp forks?

I really don't know, having no personal experience of Zundapps which are almost unknown here, I take it you mean the KS601?
I do know that the BMW Earles forks are not as strong as they look, and failed the 'bus test miserably, hence the R67/2 front end on this bike. It handled very well, and contrary to your experience, I thought the front brake was OK.

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redavide
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R69 not running right

I spoke to a mechanic here in Italy who's very well-respected and has a lot of experience with vintage BMWs -- after I explained the problem, the first thing he said was to check out the key just as you guys suggested. Tomorrow, I'm making a rubber band out of an old inner tube and it's coming with me on the next ride . . .

EuroIron
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VBMWMO #7266
Joined: 04/23/2007
Posts: 414
R69 not running right

yeah the 601

it's tubes are over 40mm in diameter and they clamp in some really beautiful castings!

but it is hydraulically damped via an external shock that mounts from the top tree to the fender leaving the juice inside for lubrication purposes only

have I previously expressed displeasure with the BMW DLS front wheel?

best I can tell the half and full width hub brakes are fine although the half width doesn't have as much mass to dissipate heat

but much better than most bikes of the day had by a long shot

I think the tubes on the plunger fork fitted to that showroom fresh swing arm bike you have, are 35mm

not much used tubes that large until the Japanese invasion, save for a handful of WOP exotics

what do you guys make buses out of over there anyhow?

normally I'd apologize for such blatant thread jacking but it is reasonably dull around these parts

OP...good luck getting your bike running right

Allan.Atherton
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Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 507
R69 not running right

"bombard4101" wrote:

... my '66 R60.... would suddenly start to sputter and miss a bit... The problem was in the key switch at the headlight, it would work its way up just the tiniest little bit (you can't see it) and the bike would "shut itsefl off" just for a second. I'd push down on the key and all would be well....

I never had this problem over several bikes and decades. It must be wear from withdrawing the key. I never withdraw my keys, merely pop them up to stop and push back down to go. And they are lightly greased so they work smoothly. But then my bikes are kept in a garage, and not parked in public during rides.

redavide
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Posts: 81
R69 not running right

I'm fairly sure I found the problem, but I'll know for sure after I take a long enough test ride. The small rod that goes through the center of the float on the right carburetor was not the right one for my carb -- it had a small notch around the perimeter just above that little washer on the top of the float. The lever that pushes the needle up to stop the fuel (when the float is up) was getting stuck on that notch and keeping the fuel inlet closed.

To make matters worse, the needle was not seating right in the hole and was getting stuck quite tightly. I had to blow very hard through the top of the fuel inlet to dislodge it.

I've installed the correct rods in the floats -- they're smooth with no exposed notches. I also put in a new needle -- it's a little different -- seems to have a rubber tip but is the same size and all the new parts are moving smoothly and seem to be working perfectly. We'll see if that does it . . .

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