Airhead Tech Pages


R bike (/5) fork removal (Plus front turn signal wiring)


Bill Confer:

Last night I decided to install the front signal brackets on my '71 /5. A previous owner had taken a hacksaw to the originals in order to install a fairing. The swap didn't look to be difficult, but I recruited a Sportster riding buddy to help out anyway (he owed me lots of wrenching help :) ). Here it goes: 1. Remove the tank! (I didn't, and the touchup paint had to come out afterward :( ). 2. Remove the four bolts holding the handlebars on, and lay the bars out of the way. 3. Remove the fork caps. The caps have two holes in them and require a BMW Special tool. I made my own BMW tool replica (two ground off nails in a piece of wood). 4. Unscrew the steering damper knob all the way and pull it out. 5. Loosen all three large nuts on the top of the triple clamp. I think these are 36mm, and are probably torqued down pretty tight. It took a pipe on the end of my ratchet to break them loose. 6. Block up the bike with the front wheel off the ground, then remove the top fork nuts. You can then use a piece of wire to fish out the fork springs and spacers. 7. Loosen the top fork boot clamps and leave them loose. 8. Loosen the lower triple clamp pinch bolts. 9. Twist and pull down on the fork tubes until they slide out of the triple clamps. When they are the whole way out, put a sock over the top of each one and lean them back against the bike. Block the front wheel in place to keep it from rolling away from the bike (remember you haven't removed the front brake cable) 10. Remove the middle nut of the top triple clamp. The nut for the steering head bearings is below the top triple clamp, and will stay in place. This is a good time to adjust the steering head bearings if needed. 11. The top triple clamp can now be pulled off, and the headlight assembly will fall out (if it hasn't already). There is a rubber gasket on the top and bottom of each headlight bracket tube. 12. Run new wires through the small hole on the inside of each headlight bracket tube and out through the slot cut in the lower triple clamps (once you see the parts, you'll know what I mean). The stock signals ground through the signal stem. This isn't a reliable ground, so I ran two wires into each signal. One for the lead and one to ground. 13. You're now ready for reassembly. Get a buddy to hold the headlight assembly in place while you put on the upper triple clamp and nut. (only finger tight for now) 14. Slide the fork tubes back up into the triple clamps, and put the springs and spacers back into the forks the way they came out. 15. Screw in the fork tube nuts and torque them down. 16. Torque down the top triple clamp nut. 17. Reinstall the fork caps with the special tool you made. 18. Re install the handlebars. 19. Bounce the front of the bike up and down a few times, then tighten the lower triple clamp pinch bolts. Before you tighten these down, make sure the bars/wheel are aligned. Mine weren't, and I had to have my buddy hold the front wheel while I turned the bars to get them straight. 20. Put the fork boots back in place and reinstall the gas tank. 21. Reinstall the steering damper. Mine didn't work after I screwed it back in. I'll be fixing that tonight. 21. Install the signal housings and bulb/reflector assembly. 22. Test ride. This took me about an hour and a half. I could do it much faster now that I know what nneds removed and what doesn't. Mistakes I made (which are corrected in the directions). I didn't remove the tank first. I'll be touching up the paint tonight. :( I slid the headlight brackets out without removing the upper triple clamp. I couldn't get them back in with the triple clamp in place. When I tried to remove the triple clamp nut, it spun the triple clamp and steering head nut with it. (no fork tubes to hold it in place) I then had to readjust the steering head bearings. Make sure all the cables and wires are where you want them during reassembly, you don't want to have to take things apart again. Figure out how the steering damper works, mine didn't go back together right, I'll be fixing that tonight also. Hope these directions help someone out. Bill Confer 92 R100GS 71 R75/5 Indianapolis conferw@lilly.com

 


Wayne Bratt:

Bill enlightened us with: > Last night I decided to install the front signal brackets on my 71 > /5. A previous owner had taken a hacksaw to the originals in order > to install a fairing. The swap didn't look to be difficult, but > I recruited a Sportster riding buddy to help out anyway (he owed me > lots of wrenching help :) ). > > Here it goes: ..........etc. Great article Bill! One question - I have a '73 R75/5 sitting on the bench at home with the front end partially disassembled. I removed the turn signal brackets without removing the fork tubes, I just removed the handlebars and top triple clamp, the headlight bracket tubes and turn signal mounts slide up and off. Why did you remove the fork tubes? Is a '71 different somehow? Seems like you did a lot of extra work. My next project on my front-end is fork boots, so I need to pull my fork tubes anyway, your article will be very handy - Thanks! Wayne Bratt '73 R75/5

 


Bill Confer:

Wanye catches me: >Great article Bill! One question - I have a '73 R75/5 sitting on the >bench at home with the front end partially disassembled. I removed >the turn signal brackets without removing the fork tubes, I just removed >the handlebars and top triple clamp, the headlight bracket tubes and >turn signal mounts slide up and off. Why did you remove the fork tubes? >Is a '71 different somehow? Seems like you did a lot of extra work. You caught me, Wayne! I realized my mistake, and was going to post a followup. My intention was to just slide the fork tubes down and pull out the headlight housing brackets. When I couldn't get them back in (because of the raised ridge on the lower clamp), I had to pull the upper triple clamp off. If I do it again, I'll do exactly what you did: Pull the upper triple clamp off and lift the headlight bracket tubes up off the fork tubes. If the wires won't reach, you'd just have to unbolt the headlight bucket form the headlight brackets. I did it the long way because I just bought the bike and want to learn everything I can about it. Yeah, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :) Live and learn. Bill Confer 92 R100GS 71 R75/5 Indianapolis conferw@lilly.com

 


Jim Buchanan:

Bill Confer: > > > > Last night I decided to install the front signal brackets on my 71 > /5. A previous owner had taken a hacksaw to the originals in order > to install a fairing. The swap didn't look to be difficult, but > I recruited a Sportster riding buddy to help out anyway (he owed me > lots of wrenching help :) ). Good article! Mind if I put it on my web page? > 3. Remove the fork caps. The caps have two holes in them and require > a BMW Special tool. I made my own BMW tool replica (two ground > off nails in a piece of wood). I use a bicycle sprocket cone wrench. > 6. Block up the bike with the front wheel off the ground, then remove > the top fork nuts. You can then use a piece of wire to fish out > the fork springs and spacers. I usually tie the centerstand to the exhaust crossover at this point. Just in case the bike gets knocked forward while working on it...


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Last Update: 11 September 2010