Restoring #163

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Ericandchi
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Restoring #163

Post by Ericandchi »

I decided to start another thread and share my part in the restoration of the 1976 AMA Superbike championship bike #163.

The story of the restoration of the #83 bike is well documented with many photos available on the internet. Last I knew, it resides in the BMW factory in Germany for all to see. What I have not seen much of is the story of the #163 bike, so I decided I would document what I know and was involved with.

Little did I know that #163 had been sitting in an airplane hanger for many years only 200 miles from my home in the Houston area where I have been living since 1994. My first contact with the BMW factory in Germany was in the spring of 2015. Here is sorta how the story goes as it was told to me. If others know more, they are welcome to correct me or fill in more details. I'm leaving names out as I haven't gotten their consent to include them here.

The owner of the bike at the time apparently bought it for not too much money many years ago, but it was completely in pieces. I think he at one point was going to restore it himself, but he never got around to start it. At some point in either late 2014 or early 2015 he reached out to BMW in Germany indicating his desire to sell the bike and asked if they were interested. This information was passed to persons in the factory museum. It turned out BMW was interested in buying the bike, but needed to authenticate the parts before they bought it. When the museum folks contacted my dad, he mentioned that I lived in Houston area and was very familiar with the bike so they reached out to me.

In early May I made arrangements to drive out to San Antonio Airport to pick up the museum representative who flew in from Germany. Together we drove east for about 30 minutes to Marion Texas to meet the then owner and to have a look. It didn't take me long to recognize many of the parts that were unique to these bikes. We had a pleasant visit, took many pictures and talked for a long while. After that I dropped the museum rep off and I drove home to Houston. It was now up to BMW to decide if they wanted to buy the bike or maybe better to say, the pile of parts.

Below are a few of the pics from that day. As you can see the bike had a long way to go to full restoration.

Body and Chassis Parts
Body and Chassis Parts


Engine Parts
Engine Parts
Frame and Crankase
Frame and Crankase

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Ericandchi
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Re: Restoring #163

Post by Ericandchi »

Well I didn't want to leave you hanging too long....

A few months had gone by along with, I assume, many phone calls and emails between BMW and the then owner of #163. The end result was that by the fall of 2016 the bike was purchased by (I think) BMW. My dad was also contracted to do the restoration. The BMW folks asked me to go pick up the bike as they did not want to issue funds until they knew it was in someones possession they knew. Unfortunately at the time was still working and traveling a lot so could not get out there as quickly as they wanted. As a temporary solution BMW of Austin picked up the parts and stored them for a few weeks. Soon as I got back to Houston drove out to Austin and brought it all to the shop in my house. From my house, I crated everything up and shipped it to my dad in Virginia. I never really understood why BMW in Austin didn't pack and ship it to my dad, but my impression was that the factory wanted it in my hands and then my dads as soon as they could.

Below are some pics of the bike on shelves in my shop and in the crate as I shipped it off. I was pretty amazed that I was able to get all that stuff into that crate. That's all for now... :D

In my shop
In my shop

Starting to crate it
Starting to crate it


All set to go
All set to go

johnlacko
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Re: Restoring #163

Post by johnlacko »

Eric, it's great that you have info on this one. I've talked to James, the PO, several times. You don't happen to have any clear detail shots of the part that bolts to the engine case to tie in the oil cooler, do you? I can just see it in one of your photos, but the frame tube is covering it. Thanks!
4DC85722-9D3D-4FAF-806E-946EFA6E0E34.jpeg

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Ericandchi
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Re: Restoring #163

Post by Ericandchi »

I actually took a pic of this, but only on the top side. The underside has recesses for o-rings as well as on the case side which it looks like you have done.

This was actually a leak point on the rebuild, the machined surface on the case was just not flat enough. We found this out when we put the engine on the paddock starter and spun it to get up oil pressure to make sure there were no leaks. Once this plate is installed and the engine is in the frame, the only way to really remove and reinstall is to lift the engine which we ended up doing. We ended up using triple bond which worked perfect. In general there were no leaks on this engine once it was running.

Looks like you figured where to drill in the case to get the oil pickups...Regards, Eric

Oil Cooler feed pickup
Oil Cooler feed pickup

johnlacko
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Re: Restoring #163

Post by johnlacko »

Thanks Eric! This is actually a photo I got from James that your father sent him of the restoration work on 163.

johnlacko
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Re: Restoring #163

Post by johnlacko »

Eric, I hope that you guys survived all the crazy weather a few weeks ago in Texas. When you have some time, perhaps you can shed some light on something. One of the mods that your father did to these racers seems to defy physics. He flipped the clutch throwout lever around, so that it was easier to get to, up where the kickstart level normally was. But in connecting it, he ran the outer clutch cable casing directly to the lever end, and now when you pull the clutch lever the throwout is actually pulled 'backwards'. Any details that you can share on this setup would be welcome - also how he modified (extended) the clutch throwout to work like this. He mentioned modifying the trans rear cover to add a bolt to reinforce it, but that may be a separate mod. Thanks!
11741031-4EDB-4DE9-9BE0-1DFF291947C6.jpeg

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Ericandchi
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Re: Restoring #163

Post by Ericandchi »

None of the bikes had changes to the clutch cable set up. The stock set up works ok, except it's sort of a long pull. There is a guy who now makes a 2 to 1 set up using a tiny chain. We have on of those on our R90s that I like. I can't really see much in that pic, I can only assume that if its different from stock is was done after the bikes were sold off.

As for the bolt on the transmission, it connects to the 3rd and 4th shift fork rod. The purpose is to eliminate and flex on that which helped shifting.

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