Now I carry an in-line spark plug tester

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seems like you had plenty of time while waiting for a tow - i would have definitely tried both plugs, and even swapped them both out to see if that was the issue.

oh, you need these -

and carry spare plugs all the time. hoorah vintage bikes!

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I did. I didn’t want to mess around as the left side of the bike was really close to lane 1 of traffic. I had maybe 5ft of shoulder, most of it filled with bike. I think I openly admit that it was my bad.

HOWEVER – 6 miles after I swapped plugs the ignition died again and now there is no spark on either side and I think the coils or condenser are toast. I have spares all waiting to go on the bike, and plug wires and points.

have you tried the enduralast ignition and alternator upgrade?

it aint cheap, but it fixes ALL that… :frowning:
put one on my sidecar outfit, solved all those issues…

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I avoid this problem by always bringing one of these with me when I go for a ride.

Honda CTX 700


No, but Enduralast seems a highly recommended Advrider path. The R75/6 is being kept points and condenser. I’m gonna sell the bike once I get this ironed out. I learned a lot from it, but if I am gonna fight an airhead for the rest of my life, I know which one I want.

Bike I’m replacing it with has a Boyer on it with dyna coils. I’ll keep an advance unit and points under the seat anyways.

That bike is very pretty but far too modern for my tastes. My modern back up is a 2013 Triumph Scrambler.

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Personally, I’ve always liked the Lisle 19380 Spark Tester, which doesn’t require any connecting or disconnecting - just snug the cutaway nose of the pencil-like tester against the wire.


Your caution and wisdom were warranted, even if it meant taking a tow.
I do not know if a single cop has ever been killed by a ‘cop killer’ bullet and there have only been a few killed in the US by assault rifles.
The big killer of cops as well as firefighters and EMTs is traffic, specifically highway traffic on the shoulder during traffic stops or accidents especially when traffic management has been rolled up. It kills way more then firearm deaths, other violence, and all other causes combined.
Traffic is dangerous, nobody looks for a pedestrian on the highway, very few are ready to react to a stopped or slowing car, the road hypnotizes the operators of a weapon statistically far more deadly than a firearm and harder to control safely.
I still have PTSD flashes form the times I have almost been mangled even at scenes with good traffic control.

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Random thought. Could we use an Arduino or other embedded platform with fast-enough ADC to monitor the EMI on the power bus, or the current waveforms going to the ignition coil (which should be dependent on the load on its output - no spark=no load unless there’s a voltage breakdown somewhere else)? Monitoring of this and of engine vibrations related to its main shaft rotation angle could have a lot of diagnostic power, for the price of low additional power consumption and low cost of parts. Could be bluetooth-linked to a cellphone and show the parameters (compared to known-good parameters) on a circular radar-like display. Especially the power bus EMI could tell a lot about the spark plug performance on such display.

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I’m just gonna list the R75/6 as “likely haunted” and sell it.


Yes. Now make it so we can buy it. :smile: There are already conversion kits to get rid of the points/condenser system on the old beemers (and other makes/models, certainly), but I’ve not seen anything that has reporting capabilities like you suggest. In fact, build a voltage regulator and coil into the system and you’ve got a money maker, given that people riding these bikes tend toward the older/whiter spectrum.
Oh, and if you can make it a one-wire setup (ohh, fiber optic beemer!) so we can lose the headlight bowl wiring (i.e. the “rat’s nest”), then you will be worshipped as a minor deity.
If you can make it so we don’t have to fuck with the carburetor bowls (i.e. Spilly Gas McSpillerson), I believe we can upgrade that to major deity.

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Fuel injection on an airhead? Bings have been one of the bright points of this bike for me.

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I really, really hate getting gasoline all over myself and every time I had to mess with the Bings I’d come away awash in the stuff–it’s something I seem to have a real talent for doing.
In fairness, my '75 /6 never had a problem with the carbs, but my buddy’s '71 /5 always seemed to have a poorly adjusted float which required fussing with it to get things back in running order.

Different Bings. I think the /6 models use an ever so slightly improved models. I am looking forward to a move to DelOrto’s on the next bike, this 75/6 has me beat. I approached the project the wrong way from the start, 4 years ago, and learned a lot – but I’m done.

Yes, every time I remove the bowls I end up drenched. The fueling system was my first big problem area on the bike. Gas would pour out of that bike at in opportune times. Rebuilt carbs, petcocks and new fuel line, then the problems moved to the suspension. Now the ignition.

Sure looks pretty tho. I should have taken it down to the frame and replaced the wiring harness and every single wear part I could thing of on the way back up. I piecemeal’d it cause I think I forgot how old the bike is. I didn’t treat it like a classic.

I know better for next time. I’m starting far closer to the mark.

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Never used the DelO’s and was always curious about them until I’d look at the price for a set, which would always send me back to screwing with the Bings.

I did the full down-to-bare-metal restore of my /6 and I still had electrical issues, but only because I blew my cash on stuff like powdercoating the frame…which I then scratched up by doing stupid stuff (forgetting to tape the tubes, letting go of cables without thinking, etc.).

Any restoration done on a classic vehicle (whether bike, car, aircraft, whatever) requires some planning and forethought, all of which is usually left in the dust by the thought, “well, I’ll just fix this one thing real quick and then get to the other stuff along the way.” I only learned that particular lesson by trying to piecemeal it, as you say, but I guess we’ve got to make that mistake in order to learn. If it was easy and didn’t bloody one’s knuckles, well, it wouldn’t be any fun in the first place.

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Had a '92 R100R with the Bings, great bike. Due to collegiate Volkswagen days and the shared engineering heritage of the boxer motors I assumed one should carry the same stuff for the BMW as for the old Beetles, namely: spare plugs, spare points/condenser, legit toolset, plug/valve gap shims, continuity tester (probe with a light on it, wire and alligator clip), small hose clamps, spare fuel line, hook-up wire, super glue, stainless baling wire, quart of oil, gallon of gas, e-tape, grease, rags, emergency water/smokes/beer, anti-seize lube, tire repair kit, bike pump, short 2x4 (for mud, kick stand, etc), and either Pelican case(s) modded to fit or the standard bags to put it all in.
And plenty of patience.
Never had a breakdown I couldn’t recover from. Of course traffic-dodging whilst repairing would be super hairy.

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“and didn’t want to risk crouching mere inches from 65-90 mph traffic” (from the article)

I agree with your post and think jlw made the right decision.

Many years ago I was on the M4 (UK motorway) on a Triumph Bonneville (a real one, not the vaguely Yamaha-derived ones of today) when I had a major loss of power. I was about 20 miles from home. Rather than stop I decided to carry on, at about 50 in the N/S lane.
When I got home I found it was a very simple problem - a blocked jet starving one cylinder of fuel. I could have fixed it easily by the roadside…and perhaps been killed. An extraordinary number of drivers, if they see a broken down vehicle on the hard shoulder, can be seen to swerve towards it, presumably to get a better look. I felt like an idiot at the time (fortunately no damage was done but, with those Bonnevilles that’s not saying much) but with hindsight so long as the thing would get you home, that’s the best option. I later learned that Dr. Royce Creasey, who some of you may remember, had once nursed a Velo home with, though he didn’t know it till he got home, a broken piston skirt. Had he stopped to investigate, he would have been unable to get going again.

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Usually when you lose ignition, swap plugs to revive ignition, only to lose it again soon, it’s the points. I find my r100/7 points only last about 6-8 months and a few thousand miles, though I store my bike outside so I’m not sure which is which, as they likely get some moisture through the front cover sitting outside through the seasons.

Your coils can also get minor cracks that can absorb moisture when the bike sits outside, and shorts them out when the bike warms up.

With only one set of points, I think they are more likely to cause you trouble than an old honda or something that would have two sets.

And if you want to get rid of your “haunted” BMW hit me up! It shouldn’t take “years” to get an airhead ready for a 500 mile trip :wink: I live in SF, which I suspect you may as well, PM me!

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defiinitely something you do on a long -term bike you want to keep for -ever, etc.

i like your later reply of sell it listed as haunted! :slight_smile: