1966 BMW R69S Restoration: October 1998
1998 October 23 (Friday)
I looked in the gas tank saw that it was quite low. The choice seemed so simple at the time: fill it up and ride it or start taking the bike apart. I’d put the decision off long enough. This day seems as good a day to start the restoration as any other. After all, I’d been telling friends for quite a while that I was going to tear into the bike some day.
I started with the miscellaneous easy stuff, taking notes as to how things were put together as well as taking pictures before I start removing things. The idea is that the pictures will help when it comes time to put things back together. Sounded good in theory. In practice I found that I didn’t take enough pictures. When it came time to put things back together I was constantly looking for the image I didn’t take.
I previously drew detailed diagrams of the taillight, headlight, and terminal board from when I fixed an earlier electrical problem. I can reference that in my notes. I did not want to remove the headlight circuit board a second time. The bendable tabs that hold the circuit board into the headlight bucket too easily break.
The first thing I removed was the seat. I noted how it was mounted, even though I it was to be replaced with a solo saddle. I wasn’t sure at the time, thinking that f I don’t replace it I’ll at least have to get it re-covered. You could see through it when you held it up to the light in some places. At the lower right of the 2nd picture you can see the mounting tabs for the non-standard saddle that the previous owner added to the bike. The tabs will be removed.
The battery came out next. I’d previously put quick disconnect connecters on both plus and minus lines. The battery strap and pad were new. I stored both with the battery so they won’t get lost. Every so often the battery was connected to a 6 volt Battery Tender to keep it fresh.
The silencers/mufflers came off next. I cleaned and polished them, then wrapped them in some newsprint for protection. They were only a few months old and looked good until you got close. The inside of the right muffler is dinged up where it fell off the bike because some dumb*&%$ forgot to torque down the mounting hardware the first time they were installed. (Did I mention that I was a mechanical moron!)
The license plate was pretty ratty and would eventually be restored. I’ll save that horror story for later. I could see the “63” stamped into the metal underneath the year stickers when looking at the rear of the plate. As long as the license plate is off there’s no reason not to also remove the mounting bracket. This is the first piece to come off the bike that will be re-painted.
I bumped into a rear foot peg while moving around the bike. That’s a good reason to take them off of the bike. The rubber was in excellent condition, but I don’t know about the peg. They were originally painted black but I planned to have the front pegs and brake lever, for example, plated as the plating will look good next to the bikes future white paint. I wound up doing nothing with the pegs, leaving them off the bike until trading them for some plated pegs (also with good rubber) in 2006.
When I removed the battery I forgot to remove the spacer plate. This is the second piece I’ve removed that will be painted. I could tell that the last owner of this bike did not remove this piece as the mounting hardware was painted and the bottom side had a cocoon hidden in a space where metal almost touched metal.
The modern, after market mirrors are next removed. I’d thought to replace these with period bar end mirrors but decided instead to use one of the stalk mirrors that screw into the left side clutch handle housing. I also got a handlebar clamp on mirror for the right side.
The handlebar clamp mirror never worked well and was eventually replaced with a headlamp mount mirror… but just one on the right side of the bike.
The last thing removed on this first day of restoration was the rear tail light assembly and the lens for the license plate light. I referenced my earlier notes for proper wiring and then stored the mounting screw, lens, and tail light assembly together. The chrome ring was a bit chewed up and was eventually replaced.