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Thread: 1955 R50 Question

  1. #1
    Registered User cwroady's Avatar
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    1955 R50 Question

    New owner of a 1955 R50. I am sure I will have plenty of requests for help ... starting now :-). The oil pan has a good sized dent in the back. I thought I would attempt to heat it up and remove the dent. Doable? Part 2 of my question is which pans are interchangeable and are they available? I see deep pans in google searches, but would prefer a stock size. Appreciate input and thank you in advance.
    Chris - 2015 BMW RT / 1973 BMW R75/5 / 1955 BMW R50 - Yard Art - 1968 Hodaka / 1968 Sachs
    President SCBMWRC https://scbmwrc.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/scbmwrc/
    MOA / Airhead Beemer Club

  2. #2
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Looking forward to your questions. As for reshaping the oil pan, I don't see why you couldn't do that. You might create a hairline crack but that shouldn't be a problem...there are JB Weld products that you could use on the inside of the pan to cover any cracks...it's not under any real pressure and it should be able to withstand the temperature. The biggest issue would be that the mating surface of the pan is flat so it doesn't leak where it mates to the engine. Pounding out the dent could warp the pan a bit. So if the pan seals well now, it might be worth leaving for the time being.

    As for interchangeability, RealOEM has this page showing the part number and the other models it was used on:

    https://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/par...&q=11130007029

    So any twin cylinder bike in the '50s and '60s has the same pan. I tend to get my parts from Vech at Bench Mark Works in Mississippi:

    http://www.benchmarkworks.com/

    Give them a call to see what they have. I bought a deep oil pan for my R25/2 from him. You might want to consider adding some rare earth magnets in the pan to help capture some of the metal debris that's floating around...that helps keep it out of the slingers. Ahhh...slingers, another whole topic!!

    Have you had a chance to determine when your bike was built? I've captured information on VINs over the years and have posted that in this thread. There's also an email that you can use to send back BMW Classics to get the build date for your bike. That can be compared to what's in the lists here.

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...nd-Build-Dates
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  3. #3
    Registered User cwroady's Avatar
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    Excellent, thank you for the real OEM link, that will help a lot. I have only done a little 20 mile ride so far and had leaks from the pan and?? I cleaned everything up and will hopefully gets better idea where it is leaking soon. This is my first bike older than my /5. I have reasonable confidence I can replace parts on the 5, but need to gain some knowledge about parts availability for a 1955. I wasnít going to try and straighten the pan if finding a replacement would be a pipe dream. I didnít get any manuals, so ordered the Barrington book which is supposed to arrive tomorrow. That will give me a little more confidence to dig in more also.

    I have written a request for the build date info and will PM you that along with the VIN once received. I attempted to insert a few photos of the bike and the oil pan, but kept getting upload errors. Sincere thanks for the help.



    Chris
    Chris - 2015 BMW RT / 1973 BMW R75/5 / 1955 BMW R50 - Yard Art - 1968 Hodaka / 1968 Sachs
    President SCBMWRC https://scbmwrc.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/scbmwrc/
    MOA / Airhead Beemer Club

  4. #4
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Chris -

    The upload errors are probably due to the large size of the picture. Try reducing the size to something on the order of 1Mb or 1024x768 pixels. Windows has a paint program which lets you resample images in this way.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  5. #5
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    oil pan integrity

    The biggest thing I've noticed is that people tend to over tighten the pan bolts so that the sealing surface is warped around the bolt holes. The only gaskets that I have found are made of cork and compress easily. My cure has been to use a piece of 1/2 inch or so plate that is about an inch long. I put it in a vise and use a hammer to flatten out the lip on the pan where the bolt holes are found. It doesn't take a lot of torque to tighten these bolts, so I use a sealant (let's not get onto that thread) and blue Loc-Tite on the bolts to get the pan situated so that it doesn't leak.
    Boxerbruce

  6. #6

    My '55, Lets see yours

    I wouldn't even try to straighten out the oil pan unless it was a minor dent. You can find one easy enough on fleabay or maybe even Vech has a used one collecting dust. I found the best thing for a leak free seal on the oil pan is to first make sure you flatten out the mating surface (where the gasket goes) and then give the new cork (only use the cork) gasket a good coating of bearing grease, both sides and edges. The bolts should be cleaned thoroughly and apply a little bit of grey Permatex gasket sealer to the threads.

    I've tried the gasket sealer on the oil pan gasket with no success and a headache to clean up.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Registered User cwroady's Avatar
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    Thanks for that input. I actually found several loose bolts and after snugging them up it seems to have stopped leaking (from the pan anyway). I do want to pull the pan and take a look, so will follow your advice when I reinstall it. Missing the vented bolt that holds the speedo cable into the trans so that is on order and will eliminate another dribble. Also the seal need replacement in the clutch actuating arm at the trans .. my biggest offender left. Tray remains dry surprisingly, so maybe the rear seal is ok ...

    I would appreciate some suggestions on bars? Yours look like they would resolve an obvious issue with mine. I have the sport tank and the bars have actually damaged the paint on the top of the tank from the controls hitting it. I assume they are the Euro bars, but seem VERY small and low profile, so maybe not. Either way, they gotta go. The gentleman I purchased from also gave me a set of bar end indicators which I would like to install, so notched bars would be nice (the current ones are notched.) From what I have gathered so far, bar end indicators are not period correct for a '55, but I can live with that. There are already a few items that have been replaced with '57 and/or /2 parts along the way that keep it from being 100% period correct. The front wheel has the shallower indents, the PO said the controls were /2 also and the air filter is rounded vs squared off at the top. I expect I will identify other thangs as I go, but I think that is about it at this point.

    So far I am reading the Barrington book, developing a short term and long term to do list and have just started a "new to me bike" tune up, valve adj, fluids change, points, condenser, timing, carb sync on the list. Seems like the rocker covers have not been off in a long time ... so the adventure begins!
    Chris - 2015 BMW RT / 1973 BMW R75/5 / 1955 BMW R50 - Yard Art - 1968 Hodaka / 1968 Sachs
    President SCBMWRC https://scbmwrc.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/scbmwrc/
    MOA / Airhead Beemer Club

  8. #8
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Vech/Richard at benchmarkworks.com would be good to talk to about proper bars for your situation. I have the small tank on my R69S but have the US bars...with the extra bar across. Vech has pictures of various bars on his website:

    http://www.benchmarkworks.com/online...artno/bars.jpg
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  9. #9

    The handle bars are "plunger frame R 68" repops from vech

    A friend of mine got the same bars for his '59 R 69 and cut 3/4" off each end and they look great. I have a set of the short (Europa bars) on my '65 R 69S and had the same control contact issue with the gas (Sport) tank, I did find a sweet spot that had no contact when turned side to side but it's a little tight for my comfort. Unless your in love with the "Sport" tank or plan on taking long trips with limited fuel stops I would find a good small tank for the bike, its a better and more correct option for it.

    My 15 year stewardship of my R 50 has enlightened me to a few items unique to the early "swing arm" frame twins. If your looking for 100% correct you need to have good information, reliable source for parts, patience and a fat wallet. A nice running, decent example and fun to ride '55 R 50 can be a lot more enjoyable than a museum piece that you just look at and hope the header pipes don't blue out when you start it for an AMCA judging.

    Early '55 R 50's as far as I know had a few distinct differences from later "swing arm" frame pre /2 BMW's
    Different head light ears
    Optional small coffee can tail light or Eber acorn light
    Side car transmission standard
    Rounded top front shock covers
    Indented head light bucket
    Black face speedometer
    Solo seat coil spring
    Oil filer cap
    Straight chrome plated shift lever
    Air filter housing similar to plunger frame bikes
    Horn unit was similar to plunger frame bikes
    Short rear brake arm
    And to top it off there were a bunch of bolts and nuts on the early ones that defied logic but are correct for the early "swing arm" bikes

    Bar end turn signals? Unless you need them (local DOT) or just like the look I would learn hand signals.

    Its more the journey than the destination with the old bikes

  10. #10

    Almost forgot

    No metal brace on the front fender
    Extra thick (sand cast) fins on valve covers
    Non vented final drive with a specific ratio
    Light weight crappy weak center stand brackets

    I know there are more things unique to the early '55 "swing arm" twins but its late I'm tiered so I'm going to bed.

  11. #11
    Registered User cwroady's Avatar
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    Called and spoke with Vech yesterday. What a cool guy with willingness to answer questions, offer advice and spend as much time as needed on every subject. Needless to say I placed an order (for some US bars and all cables along with other items like an oil pan, magnet, etc) and will do so again as I further evaluate the bike. Have done the simple things like changing fluids, adjusting the valves, replacing cracked rubber bits, etc. bike runs great, starts easily and I have got a couple of short rides on it. Today was my first freeway run as I was running a little late for my Clubs meeting. The Metzler tires gave me an uncomfortable squirmy ride on the ribbed concrete around 60, swung over into the smooth asphalt emergency lane and the feel returned to normal, so I assume it is the tires. I run the Pilot Actives on my /5 and like them a lot ... they may not look as correct, but since I plan to ride this bike, I will probably switch to them at some point.
    Chris - 2015 BMW RT / 1973 BMW R75/5 / 1955 BMW R50 - Yard Art - 1968 Hodaka / 1968 Sachs
    President SCBMWRC https://scbmwrc.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/scbmwrc/
    MOA / Airhead Beemer Club

  12. #12
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    How old are the tires? Can you find the DOT date code on them? I'm not sure the Pilot Activs will come in the right sizes for the /2 era bikes. I had been running IRC GS11 tires but seem to run into a bad one or two. I've since switched to the Metzler Block C tires...I run a 3.50x18 in front and a 4.00x18 in the rear. I suspect your bike will be 3.50x18 front and rear. Not sure if you realized it but it is possible to swap front and rear tires on these bikes.

    Talk to Vech. He carries the Heidenau range of tires. They are vintage looking and probably something he would recommend.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  13. #13
    Registered User cwroady's Avatar
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    They are Metzler 350 x 18’s 565 Block C5 tires with a 2018 DOT date and minimal wear that still have rubber **** on the sides ... I assumed they were a plus, but like I said earlier, they felt unsafe on the ribbed concrete at 60 MPH ... disappointing, but oh well. My first though at the wobble feel was it might be related to a front end service of bearings and suspension refresh (which I’m sure is needed and will get to) or worse, but when it smoothed out on the smoothly paved emergency lane it makes me think it is the tires ... make sense?

    Edit to add I will talk to Vech.
    Chris - 2015 BMW RT / 1973 BMW R75/5 / 1955 BMW R50 - Yard Art - 1968 Hodaka / 1968 Sachs
    President SCBMWRC https://scbmwrc.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/scbmwrc/
    MOA / Airhead Beemer Club

  14. #14
    Liaison 20774's Avatar
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    Well, ribbed concrete is going to create some handling problems depending on the tire choice. No ribbed concrete around here so my Block C tires feel just fine. Might consider some Avon tires...maybe Road Riders?...they don't have the tread lines around the circumference. Not sure if they're available in the right sizes. I don't see the 3.50x18 offered at Revzilla. I'm personally not a fan of metric tires when there are good inch-sized options out there.
    Kurt -- Forum Liaison ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  15. #15

    Its not a Wet Head RS

    Your riding an almost 65 year old motorcycle and even with new tires an shocks it is going to get a little shaky at speed. That's the beauty of the beast, you just have to understand and respect the quirks and limitations. One worn out shock or a head stock a little loose can make even a seasoned rider a little nervous, you just have to get a feel for the bike and make sure its safe and ride it within your and its limits.

    Kurt I think JP cycles had the Metzler C block tire for a reasonable price and fast delivery

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