I did remove the steering damper, loosened the A-frame connection, removed the gas tank and round fork bridge cover (to get access to upper strut nut). All of this was done while the rear shock was removed. Then I installed the new front strut and then the rear shock.
David Major's instructions cover this in detail with great pictures. Here is his procedure without the pictures (wouldnt reproduce here).
Wilbers Shock Install - Front & Rear.
Some of what’s below came from the www.bmwlt.net
site. Thanks to those who helped put that together. I would not have started this with out the information from Sherman Brown, Raffy and whoever else has ventured here.
The info on the site was written relative to Ohlins, and should be the same for almost any shock installation. I chose Wilbers due to a friend’s very good experience with them, and my feeling that Klaus (www.wilbersusa.com
) and his associates would build a shock for my well rounded self and my good looking wife. I didn’t want a off the shelf shock where they just put a heavy spring on it or crank the pre-load up. I also wanted the Pre-Load adjuster at the minimum setting when my wife and trip loads were not on board.
The shocks were purchased through Jerry Finley, Pirates' Lair Motorcycle Accessories
1279 Charlotte Hwy, Fairview, NC. 28730. www.piratesk12site.net
Let me start by saying the workmanship on the Wilbers is first class with super clean machining and design. A work of art compared to the stock ones.
Below is the merging of what I found on bmwlt.net and what I found while doing the install with no other help than bmwlt.net, BMW shop manual and one phone call to Klaus of Wilbers and Jerry Finely (Pirates Lair). By the way, they picked up the phone on Sunday afternoon!
A. Strip the bike including:
1. right & left side fairing panels
2. belly fairing
3. the gas tank,
4. The right "battery cover" panel (in front of the right side saddlebag). You’ll have to remove the chrome (on the LTC & E) plate that supports the pillion’s foot rest.
5. The front fender.
6. Pretty sure you can leave the headlight cowling on and the lower side fairings.
B. To be on the safe side tie off the center stand so it can't unexpectedly fold up. I use one of the small ratchet webbing tie downs that you can strap bikes to pickup trucks and trailers. When I had it tight, I then tie wrapped it with heavy tie wraps. A collapsed center stand with no suspension is NOT FUN.
C. As per Bob Rasters, remove the rear shock first, and then swap out the front shock before installing the rear. This allows the front of the bike to be raised without fighting the rear suspension.
D. Besides the "normal" tools you will need a 21mm combo (box/open), propane torch, 3/8” drive 7mm (I think) allen wrenches, miscellaneous other wrenches. A small floor jack works really well, however some other types of hydraulic bottle jack should work. It needs to be short enough to get under the motor. You’ll also need a block of 2x4 and a thin pry bar or piece of plywood.
E. Get some Locktite #290 (aka 2900) which is the wicking green stuff and also some standard #242 medium strength blue.
Now the condensed procedure........
1. Put bike on center stand and strip the tupperware. Secure center stand in place to avoid surprises.
2. Disconnect the negative battery cable at the battery (not for safety, but for clearance).
3. Remove the nuts securing the shock bolts on the rear shock. You will find that the lower shock bolt will JUST come out. It wants to hit the lower frame member. Very close to not coming out. You will probably have to unload the rear suspension by placing that thin sheet of plywood or the pry bar under the rear tire and then remove the rear shock bolts. I preferred to use the small floor jack with piece of 2x4 under the swing arm to lift the rear suspension in minute amounts to get it just where I wanted it – freeing up the bolts. Once the bolts are out, lower the rear end.
4. Move on to the front of the bike. Loosen and remove the steering damper at the rear where it attaches to the black “A” frame.
5. Remove the black plastic protection cover on the ball joint (front of the black arm just in front of and on top of where the front shock is bolted). Use a propane torch to gradually and slightly (BMW says <120°) the 21mm nut. I got it just warm. Get your 21mm box end and put it on the 21mm nut and use the appropriate allen socket (7mm?) wrench on a 3/8 drive into the allen head bolt in the center of the 21mm nut. Remove the nut.
6. This is real tight all the way until it's off thanks to the green loctite. The torch heat loosens it some. It’s a good idea it to put tape over the exposed threads of the ball joint for protection.
7. Loosen but do not remove the top shock nut using the proper box end wrench which, with the tank removed, it is now easy to reach.
8. Loosen the lower shock nut, but do not remove yet. Be careful not to damage the radiator.
9. Place the 2x4 under the oil pan, then using the jack slowly raise the front of the bike while jiggling the black arm loose from the ball joint. Keep raising until it is out of the arm then pull the front wheel and forks away from the bike (forward) freeing the arm. It is strange to see how far the front forks will move forward. The ball joint can now pivot out of the way a bit and the “A” frame can easily be moved down to allow clearance to remove the shock. This sounds tougher than it is.
10. Now totally unbolt the front shock and remove the bolts.
i. Remove the rubber spacer from on top the shock
ii. Remove the metal sleeve on the upper shock stud. The sleeve keeps the upper and lower donuts from over compressing when the nut is tightened.
iii. Lower the shock as far as it will go into the “A” frame
iv. Fish out the little rubber spacer between the top of the shock tower. This spacer (donut) is exactly like the one on the top of the shock where you removed the nut. It IS there though it may feel like it is part of the shock. It consists of a rubber donut type of washer/spacer (about 3/8” thick and 1.5” diam.) with a metal washer. By removing the donut/washer, you provide room for the shock to move up enough to clear the “A” frame. Removal is difficult with donut in place.
11. With the rubber donut out of there, push the old shock top stud back up into the hole and pivot the bottom of the shock out while pushing down on the black “A” frame arm. No grinding is necessary.
12. Install the shock in the same manner. Do not put the donut or the metal shim onto the new shock!! I even left the washer off. Put the upper part of the shock through the upper mount hole as far as it will go. This will allow the lower part of the shock to clear the “A” swing arm and get into the center of the arm. Now lower the shock as far as possible into the “A” arm. This will create JUST enough room at the top to then install the washer and rubber donut.
13. After the donut is on, push the shock stud through the upper hole. Replace the metal shim, top donut, metal washer and start the nut.
14. SUGGESTION: put a rag between the upper mount and the motronic and air filter area. It is amazing how quickly the washer or nut finds its way into that crevice of no return. I also ended up putting another rag on top of the lower “A” arm for the same reason – the washer and donut are tough for my size 13 hands to get on top of the shock in the upper shock tower area. Should have asked my wife’s assistance!!
15. Tighten the bolts for the front shock. I suggest blue loctite as it provides a bit of insurance. Torque the lower bolt and nut to factory specs, tighten the top tight.
16. Work the ball joint into the black “A” arm and slowly let the jack down which seats the ball joint into the arm. Be careful of the threads on the ball joint. Tighten real tight using your 21mm and that allen/socket wrench as a breaker bar. Put your green loctite on after assembly and tighten.
17. Move on to the rear shock and position the shock into the bike after fishing the hand adjuster and long tube through all the wiring and such. The Wilbers had the adjuster coming out at a slightly different spot than the OEM shock but I found that the tube and the adjuster worked very well in the stock location. Just play with location the Wilber mount and the stock pivot. It will work. Be sure that the Pre-Load adjuster cable does not rub on battery case or other items.
18. Install the rear bolt on the rear shock first, then with my floor jack I raised up on the back of the bike till the front (top) shock bolt would go into the shock and frame.
19. Tighten and blue loctite the nuts for the rear shock.
20. Reassembly of the tupperware is the reverse of removal.