December 2015 Newsletter

BMW Club Newsletter

In This Issue

  • No meeting – Eat in January
  • Fiddling around with my bike and other dangerous stuff

by our roving reporter, Randall Eggert

President: Randall Eggert
Vice-President: Rex Brown
Secretary/Treasurer: Norma Jo Quapaw


Next Meeting
I’m going to be out of town, last minute notice, so I haven’t scheduled a meeting.  The reservation at the Library on Garnett was canceled.  Read further for more details.

Last Meeting
I think about 9 of us showed up at 11th & Yale, Tally’s Cafe.  We had a room for about 30, so we took up about 1 long table and part of another.  They treated us very well, and if they’ll have us back, seems like a good place to meet.  Paula and I went to Ike’s on 11th on a different night across from Hillcrest and found the Corvette club meets there in a room off the normal dining area.  When a parking lot fills with Chevys.   I like Ike’s, and maybe once a month would fill my craving.  That other club, hits restaurants over in Arkansas and Missouri and south Tulsa during their rides.  Dave wishes to invite airhead experts to come over and identify all of his 8 bikes.


Food fest on the club
With things getting busy starting Thanksgiving and going on until the New Year, and a bit beyond – there are bowl games, AND they way the club used to do Christmas celebrations, I deemed (when you’re president, you can deem!) a new year dinner, say the middle of January at a point of our choosing, and inviting recent membership.  We will send out a MailChimp questionnaire of “Do you want to come?” and “How many in your party?” to get an RSVP and count for our hosts.  I already have an idea of where to go, they’ve treated me and others well and will present a reasonable price tag to the club’s coffers.

Rex found a trouble light that plugs into the cigarette port – now it is called a 12V accessory outlet, unless your car is a Corvair.  With LED lights, it won’t drain your battery.  Or was that halogen?  Looks like one of those cartoon creatures seen above.  It can be positioned to shine up, down, sideways to whatever you’re working on in the dark.


The saying goes, “There are two riding seasons in Oklahoma, Spring and Fall”. In truth, winter in Oklahoma is generally pretty mild, but avoiding those severe days in which John Moore goes hunting for K & N sites in the middle of February, a rider can get in quite a few good riding days. If you have a strong constitution or an electric vest or both, it can be extended further.

Unlike some riders I know who relish the heat, I dread it. I can ride in it if I’m already out, but to start in it, no way!  I’m the same way with rain.  Actually, I ought to be ashamed. Dave Carter, our resident long term member and oldest rider at the 2015 Billings MOA National made his last day ride to Broken Arrow in the heat of the day on Tuesday the 28th when temperatures were right near 100 and a strong South wind was a-blowing. He’d stop, soak his shirt and ride until his clothes provided no relief, and soak his shirt again.  Depending on where you lived in the states, this can be a 15 minute ride to an hour, or even worthless.  (Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana)

Paul Glaves had his K-75 rigged up with a windshield washer tank and pump in the bike’s trunk that when triggered, he could either drink from, or spray himself while riding down the road to keep cool. I don’t know if he’s replicated this hardware on a subsequent bike after that bike met its demise several years ago.  His solution was both elegant and cheap.

While roaming around the internet a couple of months ago, I found a thing called a Coolshirt.Coolshirt The lightbulb went off in my head. Actually, the shirt has been around a few years and there is a number of creative uses for it in various industries. A medical grade of the Coolshirt is made for surgeons and other staff to keep them cool during extensive surgeries. From there, a portable unit for EMTs working in the middle of the hot sun. Race crews use different versions for drivers and even the pit crew can plug into a cooling unit that supports up to 8 or more people.

A Coolshirt is a t-shirt that has surgical tubing stitched up and down the front, back, and sides, collected together to a pair of quick connect valves on the left side of the shirt. An external cooling unit, driven by a small pump and cooled by ice, a small refrigerator unit, a Peltier Thermo-Electric unit, or a can of non-Freon coolant depending upon available resources.

Wearing a Riderwarehouse ‘Stich, it gets warm inside when it gets hot.  Probably more to the truth is it gets hot inside when it is warm.  Although breezes at speed help. It also has these zippered pocket accesses on both sides that I can plumb the tubing required for the Coolshirt’s piping.

OK! What do I need? I’ve got a 2 gallon cooler in the shed that I can throw a bag of ice into, so I now need a 12 v submersible pump, some plastic tubing, and a couple more of those fluid connectors to attach to the Coolshirt. Amazon was able to get me a Coolshirt. I bought the least expensive one to minimize my expenses should I abandon the project. I also found a small 12V water pump from them also. Pump1Costs were over $35 so shipping was free on $129 & $15. Tubing with valves are available through Coolshirt, but I thought I could do better than $79, so I kept looking. A plastics company in Ohio had several varieties of quick connect shut-off valves the Coolshirt uses, so by ordering from them, and eye-balling what I thought was right, gave them my credit card number. Unlike Amazon, shipping was almost equal to the products I bought. Tubing was available at a local hardware store.

Hot diggety! 64651pskuThe connectors are the right size. I drill holes for the tubing and power for the pump in the lid of the 2 gallon cooler. The wire goes through a grommet and an underwriters knot is tied to keep the cord on the inside of the cooler. I had originally thought of mounting the small cooler in front of the right saddlebag and somehow fasten it to the bike. The passenger’s foot peg would support it, but didn’t find a quick and easy way to secure it without vibration from rubbing through my side panels from 3,000 miles to and from Billings. Voni’s coverage of the Iron Butt for this year included a number of pictures someone else took, one of ’em, showing a cooler exactly where I wanted mine to be. Fortunately my co-rider has reserved a room in Billings and asked, “Would I like to share?” Let’s see; AC, private bath, bed, locked door, space on the pillion seat for my cooler rather than my tent gear…. No brainer! You bet!

I plugged everything together and set out for a test ride. I did almost 300 miles on Saturday the 18th in the mid 90s, and used a bag of ice about every 100 miles. I also found out it was TOO cool. My first thought while riding is to change out the power controller for a simple on/off switch that usually come with electric jackets. I was using my Heat-Troller hooked to one of the bike’s power outlets. The pump would only work when the ‘troller was near the max setting, so the concept of throttling the flow didn’t work.  A simple switch would work better. Turn it on, cool down, turn it off until you warm up again. As I said, it was too cool. When initially turned on, my belly would get the intense ice water ‘hit’. Almost felt like water was leaking. Then the tubes in the shirt would get saturated and my trunk would cool off. My arms, hands and face would still be warm/hot, but the cooling made the ride more enjoyable and less distracted by the heat.

Upon arriving home, my torso was cold to the touch. I wore a t-shirt over the Coolshirt to reduce external heat from warming the tubes in the shirt, but could have used more insulation. I can imagine the accident investigators when they find my body on the side of the road in the middle of the heat, “He’s wearing a snowmobile suit (Aerostich), and a sweatshirt underneath!  He just must have passed out from the heat!”  The 2nd t-shirt had condensation in vertical stripes showing where the underlying tubes are stitched onto the Coolshirt. Again, the water going into the Coolshirt was too cold. Ideally, no condensation should occur. Recalling basic chemistry, converting water vapor (humidity) to water takes about 10x the energy of melting ice into water. I’m pumping water not far above freezing. I’m thinking it should be between 70 and 80 degrees. Much nicer than 95, and less than vapor point of the air. The ice in the cooler should last much longer also.

So, before taking off on my trip, I adjust the tubes in the cooler so the opening of the return and intake are next to each other rather than 6″ apart. Still, too much cool water is being drawn in. Now I’m pondering a short piece of copper tubing and almost a closed loop to raise the temperature of the Coolshirt much higher, but still comfy, and allow the ice to last perhaps to a gas tank fill-up. I will be writing more on my findings.

Afterthoughts:  Figure out a way to adjust the temperature.  Perhaps the flow difference between the water in the system will not get as cool if I run the pump at max, hence, keep the Heat-Troller.  Second, insulate the outside tubing.  They were sweating on both the supply and return, thus losing my cool to the air.  Nasty air!  Another thought is the quick connect that Coolshirt supplied.  By design, they pull apart when stress is applied.  Mine?  I haven’t tested it.

Met a fellow carrying a small Igloo cooler.  According to him, they are better insulated than other models.  A slightly larger version will also take on the entire 8 pound bag of ice.  I have to throw away the last ½ pound that won’t fit.  I would also like to mount the piping in the side of the cooler, or find a better lid.  Mine is a screw-on.  Thus the tubing and electrical twist a bit when the cooler is full of ice.

Another method of riding cooler is to eliminate most of the fat that stores and insulates heat.  That would be a real effort and take a year or more to implement.

While in Billings at the MOA National Rally, one of the vendors was selling a complete Coolshirt package with a Peltier cooling device. Their item was worlds ahead of what I’m trying to create.
1) It was complete. Plug and play. Uses 10 amps from one of the bike’s outlets our could be attached directly to the battery. Airhead riders – don’t apply. They weren’t known for having surplus amps for accessories.
2) The controller for the device showed the temperature that was being circulated through the Coolshirt.  It could be attached to the rider or somewhere on the handlebars for easy access.
3) A Peltier device can be reversed. I.E., in winter the jacket can be warmed! Heating and cooling all in one unit.
4) The cooling unit is small. About the size of a Mac Mini in the original size. I don’t have an equivalent for P.C. users.
5) You don’t have to stop to load up on ice.  Harold was thinking that it was filled with Ethylene Glycol – an antifreeze that prevents buildup of minerals in the shirt.
6) The demo of this product was in an air conditioned building.  Thus, on the open road, it couldn’t produce the same amount of cool as in that building.  John made a good point of being out in the hot, the unit providing a drop of 15 degrees from ambient would be more comfortable than no drop at all.
7) My advantage – so far, it is cheaper.  Many miles down the road after I’ve bought my 400th bag of ice, the equation may tip the other way.

Maintenance Fun – Swapping out the plugs
So, with the wife gone (her RAV4 snugs up to the bike) I have room to stretch out and work on the bike.

My plan is to swap out all 4 plugs.  On the ride home from Falling Leaf against the headwind, I notices some missing when passing at advanced throttle settings.  Also if you noticed the chart of my bike’s mileage I put in the newsletter some time ago, it has been on a steady downhill.  While I like to think I’ve been riding my steed harder and faster, my trip to North Dakota was basically on 2 lane roads where I just didn’t push it.  A plug swap-out will tell.

I pull out a ⅝” or 16mm long socket and pull out the left side plug.  It is one of those Iridium plugs that have a skinny center electrode with the standard lug ground.  The ground over the electrode is actually concave shaped so no matter where the spark hits, it will be the 0.10 mm or whatever the standard is.  Despite the fancy name, the electrode looks a bit et up.  The insulation has a nice pretty light tan that indicates a good fuel-air ratio.  The plug on the other side is against the workbench, so I save the effort to do it later when I get the bike in the middle of the garage, and get the bottom two, as this is a twin-spark model.

The plugs I get locally at the local O’Reilly store overnight.  At less than $8/plug, and the OE specified plug in the manual.  I decide to close that cylinder back up by replacing the hole with the new plug.  I screw it in until it tightens up.  Uh, I can’t get the 16mm wrench out.  Worse than that, it will not un-screw!  I’m getting about 1/16th turn either direction, not easily before it tightens up.  I’m tired of looking locally for a thin-walled long socket, I hit the web.

My bike is out of commission sitting in the garage with a plug wire hanging down, and a plug not screwed in all the way, surrounded by a socket.  Well, I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.

The new socket shows up.  Nice.  Small enough with its wrench counterpart to carry on the bike.  Should I need to change out my plugs in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in the store’s parking lot, I can now do it!  Still have the old socket still in there.  I get out the electric space heater and put it under the bike where the heat drifts up to the left jug.  After a couple of hours, I get a couple of ice cubes and mash them against the base of the socket, after I’ve sprayed WD-40 between the socket and the bike.  Mash a couple of cubes and fit the extension.  I still had to convince the oversized socket out of the bike’s grasp, but it worked.  Phew.  The plug gets snugged down with the new socket without any interference, then to the specified Nm of torque.

Should we swap up to the water cooled boxer?  BMW has gone back to just a plug per jug.

Now, the bottom plug.

OK, remove the crash bar from that side.

Now remove the panel from that side.

First, I have to remove the front left sub-panel.
When doing that, I have to unplug the front left BMW Power outlet.

Now I have to remove the tank bag support.  It fits over the side panel.DSC00474

Now the side panel will come off.  It actually is two panels, but they stayed screwed together and come off as a unit.

The lower plug assembly is now exposed.

My GS was so much easier to get to the cylinder head.  But it was old enough not to have two plugs per jug.

There is a shield that protects the Coil-over-plug assembly since it sits in the airstream on the bottom.  Two screws fasten it on.  At this time, I’m envious of those who have purchased a bike lift.  Oh well, I need the exercise.

The coil-over is a 90 degree affair that just pops off the plug.  About 10#s of force later, it pops off.  I use the new wrench to get it out.  That plug looks just like the first plug pulled out two weeks earlier, a very light tan with no build-up.  Excellent combustion.

New one goes in, torque to 23 nM, push on coil and replace protective cover.

Now I’m ½ the way through.  Sure took a long time between ¼th and ½.

While I have these panels off, I prepare a bucket of warm suds and with a soft brush, clean some of the grime and bugs out from the engine that the covers hide.  Also wash the back side of the covers.  Not necessary, but will surprise the dealer the next time they take it apart.  Unless it re-grimes itself up again by that point.

Fortunately, adjusting the valves requires none of that nasty panel removing.

Repeat the above for the other side of the bike.

While re-assembling, I drop a screw down by the triple clamp.  Fortunately these LED flashlights are really small and enables me to look around the frame,  Takes about 4-5 minutes to find the screw.  It didn’t fall far, but in a tight spot.  I start looking around the house for a magnet to attach to something to fish it out.  Using the refrigerator decorations, I apply them to the remaining screws to see how well they work, when I come to the realization that the screws are stainless steel.  OK…. get the fishing claw and hope I’m steady enough not to knock the screw down further.

All four plugs look good.  I need to check my receipts and see how long they’ve been in there.  The bike starts and runs with no issues.  Good, I didn’t break it.

So, who wants to come to my house for a ‘tech day’?

Dave Carter is wishing to identify all the airhead parts he has at his home in Cleveland.  Eight bikes of frames, wheels, stanctions, fairings, etc.  We will post again with a date and time.