BMW Airhead Clutch and Flywheel Removal on the Cheap

It’s been about 5 years since i have pulled a flywheel and a clutch from an airhead engine. I do remember the process being slightly ‘dangerous’ in that if you don’t remove the clutch properly, the force of it could cause harm to yourself or your motorcycle.  I don’t have the BMW ‘special’ tools at my disposal to do so safely… so i figured i would make my own. Total cost – $10 from my local Ace Hardware store (which happens to have the best spare bolt, nut, screw selection i’ve ever seen).
No need for the BMW Special tools.

Clutch Removal

You will need to purchase three M8 x 1.00 thread (fine thread) bolts about 2 inches long.
i also purchased a small piece of aluminum tubing that fits around the bolt:

M8 x 1.00 bolts and aluminum tubing. Bolts cost $1.50 each(damn pricey metric fine thread bolts)and tube was $2.20

 

The first step is to remove every other bolt on the clutch disk that secures it to the flywheel:

I cut the aluminum tubing into three sections about 3/4 inch.
Then screwed in the 2 inch long bolts with the tubing on it into those every other holes:

Bolts with spacers on them

The reason for the bolts with the spacers is to safely alleviate the pressure into a ‘second’ stage.  When you remove the three remaining ‘factory’ bolts, the disk’s pressure releases itself outward, safely, onto the spacers:

Clutch pressure now lessened and on the bolts with the spacers.

Now it is simply a matter of removing the remaining 3 bolts, evenly, until the clutch disk is released.

If your bike has these spacers, Keep them! Some clutch disks don't.

Clutch bits, friction plate, etc...


Flywheel Removal:
To remove the flywheel, you have to prevent the engine from turning while removing the flywheel bolts that secure it to the crank shaft.
Also, without securing the flywheel, you can also run a risk of knocking the inner thrust washer (around the camshaft) off the pegs within the inside of the engine block. SERIOUS damage could occur within your engine case if that happens.

BMW recommends a ‘special tool’ but it is merely a device that locks the flywheel in place.
I made my own from a piece of steel for $2.00.

12" piece of steel.

After some quick cutting and drilling, I have my very own version of the ‘special tool’.
Use the original flywheel bolts, and finger tighten them as much as you can and you are now free to use a nice breaker bar, a 17mm socket(i think) and crank out those flywheel bolts.
Some suggest using a center punch and making a small score on the crank shaft and another on the flywheel so you can put the flywheel back in the exact same position and your TopDeadCenter mark is still accurate.  Using a permanent marker might do the trick for a short term solution.

Piece of steel, cut and drilled out to prevent the flywheel from moving.

That’s it!  Now that the flywheel is removed, time to send it off to get lightened!
Another note while the flywheel is out… some people put white paint on the timing marks so you can see them better when timing. Just a tip….

Oh… and remember to THROW AWAY the 5  flywheel bolts. They are torque specific bolts and once they are torqued to spec, the can’t be used again. If so, they may wiggle back out and cause some SERIOUS damage.

For more info on clutches and flywheels, look here:
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/flywheelremovalwarning.htm
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/clutch.htm
Measure your clutch parts – http://w6rec.com/duane/bmw/clutch/index.htm

Northwoods airheads sells a $4 crankshaft blocking bolt to prevent the crankshaft from moving forward when removing the clutch / flywheel.
it is located here. http://www.northwoodsairheads.com/Tools.html

Great BMW sidecar photo

I’ve always told myself that when i have a MASSIVE garage, i will get a motorcycle with a sidecar, and a dog that will ride in it.  This guy is living my dream.

…My dog (when i get one) will also know how to catch a frisbee.

More can be read about Dave Edwards here: http://www.bikeexif.com/david-edwards-cycle-world