Best practices for maintenance projects - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 2:11 pm Thread Starter
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Lightbulb Best practices for maintenance projects

As I slowly finish up a major maintenance project, I'm discovering all sorts of things that I would do differently if I had it to do all over again. Maybe this thread already exists somewhere, or maybe we can just refresh the list.

What are some general rules of thumb that would apply to most maintenance projects, especially the big ones? I'll give a few of mine (some of which I knew in advance and used for this project, others I wish I had):
  1. Plan your work. Read the forum, the factory manual and Clymer's manual beforehand. Create an outline of your planned activity. Study the applicable sections of the manual and add detail to your outline, especially the crucial-but-easy-to-skip steps, such as "mark the position of this before you remove it or you might put it back on upside down and your bike will explode 5 miles into your test ride."
  2. Get your shopping done up front as much as possible. Note all the single-use parts that you'll need to replace after removing, any seals or fasteners or other parts that you might as well replace while you're in there, and any custom tools you'll need to buy/borrow/make. Get everything ordered, received, and verified before you start. This should include normal shop supplies like Loctite (blue, red, and hi-temp), penetrating oil, various lubes & grease, hand cleaner, shop rags, brake parts cleaner, etc.
  3. Photograph. Ensure that every cable tie you snip, every part you remove, every wire you pull out of position, and every widget you adjust is documented with a well-lit, properly-focused digital photo before it is disturbed. Be sure to download & review your first few photos, and an occasional photo as you go along, to make sure you can see what you'll need to refer to later. Take pictures even when you think you don't need to; you'll be glad you did later. This might even be a way to involve the SO, a buddy or a young-un, if they're interested.
  4. Bag & tag. Get a box of Ziploc bags and a couple Sharpies. Bag all the parts and write descriptions on the bags. Keep all the bagged parts in a box/bin/bucket. Some folks re-start fasteners back into their original threaded holes - this works sometimes, but not always.
  5. Document. Keep a running list of each part that you remove from the bike and the order in which it was removed. At the end of your project, you'll be able to follow this list in reverse order, avoiding the need to re-remove a part because now you can't get to that @#!% bolt head.
  6. Protect your parts. Get two or three plastic stand-alone shelf units from one of the big box stores and set them up side-by-side several feet from your work area. Store all your tupperware and cosmetic parts on the shelves instead of all over the floor or stacked on top of your table saw & air compressor.
  7. Stay organized. Get a fold-up table or two, or a used door across sawhorses, and use it to stage your replacement parts, manuals, documentation, camera and your tools while you work. Get in the habit of collecting all the tools and returning them to this table every 15 minutes or so, otherwise they all tend to gravitate to the floor under the bike, tucked inside the bike, hidden in your back pocket, etc.
  8. Check those fluids. Arrange to have clean containers (used milk jugs, cheap plastic buckets, etc.) handy when you drain your fluids so you can evaluate the volume and quality of what was in your bike.
  9. Use a torque wrench. Or three. At least get one that is in the 100 ft-lb range, and, if you can spare the cash, one that measures inch-pounds and another one in the 250 ft-lb range (if you'll be doing any rear drive/swingarm work). Always torque your fasteners to the spec.
OK, I hope this gets the ball rolling. Let's hear from the guys who really know what they're doing

Dave

'03 K1200LT-C Dark Graphite
'96 Triumph Sprint 900 British Racing Green (traded)
'95 Yamaha Virago 750 Pearl/Black (sold)

Last edited by Schweintechnik; Oct 19th, 2007 at 3:57 pm. Reason: Anal-retentive typo correction
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post #2 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 3:48 pm
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Best practices

Good points Dave. Thanks for the tips. I know the photographs and tag/bag were very crucial for my project and I would have been up a creek without doing these.

James Hart
2002 LTE Titan Silver
1992 Yamaha Virago 750 (given to friend)
River Oaks, TX
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post #3 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 3:56 pm
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Be Clean

Keep your workspace, yourself, your parts and tools clean.

Makes stuff last longer, more comfortable to work in and with and less likely to 'bugger' something up with foreign material in place it shouldn't be.


And coffee - plenty of coffee.
and donuts, yea - donuts....

Tate

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post #4 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 3:57 pm
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I dunno! It sounds like work and would take the fun out of wrenching...
Of course I can very easily walk to Pep Boys to get most supplies, but your point is well taken as I remember going to Rat Shack several times in one day just to get all the cables and connectors I needed to hook up my farkles to the com system.

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post #5 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 8:08 pm
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Thanks for starting this

Not everyone has had the experience of working on things when they were growing up, or later in life -- or has a mechanical engineering degree or similar aptitude. My point? While these items may seem obvious to many, they aren't to all.

This kind of list -- when completed -- belongs in the Hall of Wisdom.

Thanks.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #6 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 8:34 pm
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I am fortunate to have been doing this type of work for so long that I basically don't think much about it. But I certainly applaud any methodic approach that will get more people doing it and learning in the process! It is all the learning curve, and just about anyone can do it if they tackle the easier jobs first, then work up.

I do know from decades of experience in industry that there are a few that will never be able to do the more difficult tasks without messing something up, but they in turn do things we that are mechanically proficient will not attempt! Makes the world keep going around.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

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EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
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post #7 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 8:46 pm
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Smile

some people I know have a pretty good photographic memory, they take things apart and put them back together just about perfectly just by looking at it for a few moments before hand, be nice if we could all do that.
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post #8 of 13 Old Oct 19th, 2007, 11:47 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
I am fortunate to have been doing this type of work for so long that I basically don't think much about it. But I certainly applaud any methodic approach that will get more people doing it and learning in the process! It is all the learning curve, and just about anyone can do it if they tackle the easier jobs first, then work up.

I do know from decades of experience in industry that there are a few that will never be able to do the more difficult tasks without messing something up, but they in turn do things we that are mechanically proficient will not attempt! Makes the world keep going around.
You have succintly said what I was getting at, David.

A "project day" for me last year was replacing an 1157 bulb when the right turn signal bulb burned out. When I was done you would have thought I had just built the Eiffel Tower or something.

I replaced the LT's battery 2 months ago. Amazing! (of course, there is that annoying drain that kills the battery after 2 days...)

A couple of days ago I removed the rear wheel... and plugged a tire. (although it still won't hold air and has to be replaced)

Somebody stop me! What's next -- do my own oil change?

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #9 of 13 Old Oct 20th, 2007, 7:13 am
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Do your own oil change..... Come on Howard now your scaring us. Next thing you know you'll be changing FD fluid, trans. fluid,and volunteering to do tech sessions. How will the area dealers ever survive?

Pat Rourke
White Lake,MI.
2002 K1200 LTC, Champange

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post #10 of 13 Old Oct 20th, 2007, 9:11 am
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Great post...

If I follow these guidelines I shouldn't have parts left over after trying to do my own wrenching..
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post #11 of 13 Old Oct 20th, 2007, 9:24 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hschisler
You have succintly said what I was getting at, David.

A "project day" for me last year was replacing an 1157 bulb when the right turn signal bulb burned out. When I was done you would have thought I had just built the Eiffel Tower or something.---------------------------
I know what you mean Howard! We all started out that way.

Be careful using 1157 bulbs on BMWs. No issues that I know of on the bikes, but on the BMW cars this will throw lighting errors on the check module display. On the cars, you MUST use the European bulb replacements. American numbers cause problems. These are readily available in the car parts stores though, as Sylvania supplies them in the green/black packaging. When I bought my used 740iL it was occassionally throwing brake light errors. Yep, someone had put in 1157s! Replaced them with the correct bulbs, no more problems.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #12 of 13 Old Oct 20th, 2007, 2:25 pm
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Thanks, David.

I had to assume using the 1157 was OK on the bike because that's what the dealer sold me.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #13 of 13 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 12:18 am
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... # 7324567 Save the "spare parts" for the next MC you work on.. it may be missing similar parts.

...............
J.M.J...
Dcn Channing

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