Time to retire, rear drives and one more long-sleeping Airhead

By Matthew Parkhouse #13272

AS I HAVE MEN- tioned here in the last few months, I’ve been “ready to sell” the 1978 R 100 S. Now that I have it squared away, test ridden and “ready

to go, I have only taken it a few hun- dred miles. It just doesn’t feel right to keep it in a corner of the yard under a cover. Gordon, a gentleman in Mis- souri, has REALLY been after me to sell it to him. I finally said yes, and he fired off a check to me. Unfortu- nately, he crashed his current bike, an ’83 R 100. We talked over the weekend, and he told me that at eighty-three, the years had caught up with him, and solo bikes were no longer within his abilities. I’ll send the check back to him when it gets here. We are making plans to get together sometime soon. I’ve been thinking a lot these last

days about how we acquire passions and are given a certain amount of time to enjoy them, but eventually, we must (or really should) give them up. There really is, “A time to begin and a time to call a halt to things.” I also recently have been correspond- ing with fellow Friend of the Marque, “Oak” Okleshen. He’s been one of my teachers ever since I got started in this world of the long-ranging flat twins. Oak was one of the leaders in the assembly of the “CHITECH Manuals.” These are a well-orga- nized, “how to” guides to all things electric on the airhead (and earlier) BMWs. They cover the years from 1955 to 1990. I put mine into a loose- leaf binder, and it shows clear evi- dence of being repeatedly grabbed

50 BMW OWNERS NEWS September 2016

with greasy fingers to help out with some- thing electrically puzzling. The manuals are still available, by the way, from the Chi- cago BMW club, where they originated. The manual started in 1976 and has been through several revisions since then. It’s $30, and can be found at rokcart. The reason I was writing to Oak was to

find out if he would be at this year’s National Rally. He told me he wouldn’t, as his “old body is falling apart.” He’s sold his bikes, is retiring from BMW repair work and is now selling his set of custom-made tools. Over the years, as a machinist, he invented or improved on several of the needed shop tools. His advice to me was, “Have fun while it lasts. Sell the house, shut off the phone, give the kids away and hit the road while you can.” Thanks, Oak! I feel I have done a pretty good job of just that. In my “BMW years,” I’ve lived on the

bike for seven months (post-Army), done two four-month European tours, ridden south of the border a dozen times and taken LOTS of long trips in between. You HAVE to cover some ground to put 423,000 miles on a Slash Five! Now it is becoming my turn to start looking “beyond the motorcycle.” I still have a few years (if all goes well). Life is full of surprises, after all—cows on the road, lightning and care- less surgeons. My theory of success is to avoid being a specialist. I enjoy being part of a number of activities. I just “retired” from a 44-year career of being a commu- nity volunteer. I worked as a nurse for over thirty years. I built a house. I taught a nurs- ing course for several years. I’ve converted a van to electric drive and built another EV from scratch. I enjoy reading on a number of things. I half joke that when I have to stop riding, I’ll start raising rabbits and chickens (Susanna will finally get her cats). There will be more riding, however. We’re

planning a run next month up to Boise to spend time with Susanna’s folks. And, I have NO plans to end this column anytime soon! One of our local folks has an incredibly

well-preserved Slash Five. I’ve been run- ning out to his home to help get it com- pletely ready for riding. We had just about everything done but were troubled by a small but persistent gas leak on one side. On the third trip out, after a new float was installed and all the “usual” tasks attended to, I noticed the brass fitting where the fuel line attaches seemed a bit out of place. On closer examination, I could see part of a black O-ring showing. With a bit of gentle wiggling with some pliers, I was able to pull it out of the carb body. There was the gas leak. I cleaned it up, and the o-ring looked good, so I tapped the spigot back into place in the carb body. That was the end of the leak. This is the one and only time I’ve wit- nessed THAT particular problem. I gave the Bing Agency in Kansas a quick call. They stated it is rare, but they have seen this problem on occasion. That O-ring is not stocked as a separate item, so if I ever needed to replace it, I could grab one from one of my scrap carburetors (that’s how I shot that particular photo, by the way). In the last couple of weeks, my long-suf-

fering Slash Five, Strider, has been having electrical problems. I’d go through the usual start-up routine and NO POWER! No instrument lights or any sign of power. By wiggling the wires at my self-installed circuit breakers, I could get it to light up again. After about three of these incidents, I decided to take a look at the pair of circuit breakers I found at our local flea market and installed about 35 years ago. BMW did not install fuses on their bikes until some- time in 1972, after they built MY Slash 5. I found this set of aircraft 10 Amp breakers and wired them into the bike’s circuits, one


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