Yup, believe it or not, the last time Blue was on the road was back on Dec 14th when we did our Christmas lights ride and then on Dec 15th visited a wonderful group of seniors at Atherton Place. The Wide Glide got a little exercise on Christmas Day when I rode it to Debbie’s parent’s home; we always take separate vehicles so that Debbie can spend the afternoon with her folks. However, through it all, the BMW has continued to pull Yeoman’s duty for the daily commute to work through Dec 23rd and back at it since Jan 5th. About the only time it gets washed is when it rains, but it continues to provide me with my daily two-wheel therapy sessions and doesn’t complain… much.
With just over 23,000 miles on the ODO it was time for the alternator belt to be changed so last week I picked up a new belt and the nifty little $39 tool from BMW of Atlanta that makes setting the proper belt tension a no-brainer. While $39 seems like an obscene amount of money for such a little tool, I would note it does have the letters BMW on it and, well, it’s a lot less than the hour of labor it would cost to have someone do the work for me. And, I’ll get to use it again in another 6,000 miles when the new belt needs to be adjusted! But I digress….
With the lion’s share of my last home improvement project completed on Saturday and rain coming in around noon, I decided today would be a good day to take a break from the home projects and shift my attention to the BMW and that alternator belt.
Replacing the belt didn’t take all that much time: remove the upper cowls, remove the alternator cover, loosen three bolts, swap belts/adjust/torque and put the cover back on: what could be easier? Well, removing the cowls for one. There’s got to be a quick release fastener out there that could replace the 14 H4 screws that hold the cowls in pace. But, other than that, it was pretty uneventful with the assistance of the little tool.
A lift would be nice, but unless I embed it in the garage floor, there’s just not room.
Yup, the BMW boxer’s bikes use an alternator that looks just like the one in your car!
While I had the bike apart I decided to see if I couldn’t remove the cloudy haze that had developed inside my headlight over its 11 year lifetime, noting we’ve only been together for 5 of those 11 years. The front cowl and head lamp assembly come off with just four more H4 screws and the removal of the 4 prong wiring harness, so that part of the process was easy enough.
My initial attempt involved snaking a small piece of a microfiber cloth moistened with glass cleaner and attached to a wire hanger into the sealed lamp through the high-beam’s halogen bulb hole. It worked pretty well, but I decided to so some research to see if the lens could be removed from the housing so I could give the lens and the projector bowl a proper cleaning. It certainly seemed like the lens would come off, but it wasn’t covered in the manual. After doing my homework (looking at the exploded parts diagrams and other owner comments) I concluded it was simply a silicone seal that held the housing and lens together. It took about 20 minutes to cut the two apart, another 20 minutes to clean the old silicone out of the housing channel and then a mere 5 minutes to clean the lens and housing. With the lens and projector bowl clean, I put down a new bed of silicone in the housing, reinstalled the lens and let the assembly dry a bit before re-assembling the bike.
The result was outstanding; the headlight looks like new.
When I got home that night I pulled the lens and found the bulb had broken apart and one of the wires going into the ceramic bi-pin connector had come loose at the connector. After making an unsuccessful attempt at soldering it back together I ordered a replacement part off ebay along with some replacement bulbs and will get that fixed as soon as the parts come in early this week. Gotta have my Motolights…
Anyway, looks like the rain is going to clear-out tonight so I should have probably given the BMW a well-earned wash. Oh well, such is the life of a commuter bike… even one that looks as good as our Boxer Cup Replika.