Service Manuals; Literature;
Service Sources; Descriptions; etc
This article is specifically for listing sources for service and other literature for BMW motorcycles....that includes Airheads and K bikes, etc. SOME OTHER MAKES are also here!! You will find sources for all sorts of service and parts manuals themselves, hardly just for BMW!
This article is meant to be used with both my URL & my References pages! You will also find sources listed within articles and within the list of technical articles.
Below are the two most important articles on this website for SOURCES:
Various manuals, service manuals, owner's manuals, etc. ....This is a source that you can enter your make and model number into. Bikes, cars, ETC. http://www.scribd.com
SERVICE MANUALS; Schematics, ETC (For all sorts of BMW vehicles):
Here are additional URL's for the Factory Service Manuals...including the Oilhead bikes, F bikes, even the C-1.
I have just about every electrical schematic diagram for every BMW motorcycle, even the C-1 'scooter', and for electrical accessories, for those made between late 1969 (when the /5 came out) and 1992+. Some of these are e-mailable, but are large files in general. Please don't ask unless you have a REAL need!! Please check my technical articles list article to see if your motorcycle or a close relative is listed for a schematic, etc. Repeating: In the electrical section of the Technical Articles List page on this website (link is bottom of the article you are reading), is information on what diagrams are already on this site that might apply to YOUR bike!!
W6REC.COM is Duane Ausherman's website; and he has some early schematics there.
1. Your BMW dealership can provide a lot of factory literature. This includes Factory Service Manuals and Factory wiring schematic diagrams, which are usually not part of the Service Manual, except in instances, sometimes, of accessories. SO...Don't forget that your BMW dealer can obtain manuals, including wiring diagrams, for any BMW bike! BMW factory wiring booklets (large fold-out format) are truly EXCELLENT!
2. Don't forget the Chitech Electrics Manual too!!...excellent source for electrical information, although the schematics are printed poorly.
3. Haynes and Clymers publish popular repair manuals, but there are numerous errors in them, but the manuals are quite useful, if you are careful. The schematics leave much to be desired.
4. Various mailing LISTs, upon inquiry, can often produce URL's for free downloads of various literature.
5. A really friendly BMW dealership MIGHT be willing to give you out of date microfiche and maybe CD discs for parts AND service.
6. There are Internet sources for PARTS diagrams and parts numbers, prices, etc. NONE of these are exactly the same as far as how their websites operate....AND, they all MAY give different amounts of information on a diagram or part number...you may want to refer to all of them at times.
I use this site a lot.
The REALOEM site works by serial or model, month, year...and can go back to 1948 if you use the "archive" function. This site is useful, but is so-so if you only have the part number to look up for price or whatever. I find the site useful at times.
7. Parts numbers: BMW parts numbers when entered into an on-line fiche search, such as in the above BMW dealership websites, should NOT have hyphens! Delete the hyphens, but do not leave spaces.
8. Parts coding on sites: BMW has used their standard codings on SOME of their literature, at times, for SOME parts. These codings may also be on the ETK parts disc. They are used in the old printed SNABB Katalogs.
A or a means interchangeable with the next line number.
E means the part is no longer available.
W means to use with a nearby number....could be a previous or following number that also has a W.
V means front
H means rear
N means that a note is available by pressing or clicking on the N
SI means that a Service Information page is available on this part; Press S or click on S
There are more codings. If you want to see the short article on all of them: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/partsymbols.htm
9. Here is a source for a lot of literature. Normally I would not list them, nor any specific BMW dealerships, as any dealership can order for you such as factory service manuals and electrical manuals and even the fuel injection and engine management manuals. However, Capital Cycle is...or was... also selling such as Haynes, Clymer, and MICROFICHE (which BMW used to send to its dealers). This may well be a worthwhile NEARLY one-stop source for a lot of literature (please provide me, Snowbum, with feedback on them):
10. German website, tons of information: http://www.flyingbrick.de/
11. Service manuals for a lot of makes, not just BMW: http://carlsalter.com/motorcycle-manuals.asp
Here is his site for just BMW: http://carlsalter.com/bmw-service-manuals.asp
The BMW factory SERVICE manuals ASSUME that you have been to factory training. They are not nearly as useful as you may think. However, the later years of these manuals are detailed enough that you USUALLY, but NOT always, can get enough information without having been to the factory schools. They are pricey, they have supplements to get, etc. They may or may not contain wiring schematics. Some do have them, some have only accessory items. You may have to purchase the factory wiring diagrams separately. BMW has all of these things available for sale. LOTS of $$$ for a full set for your bike. UNnecessary. I do suggest that you purchase the wiring schematics for a Classic K bike.
The Clymer's manuals are generally bigger and much more detailed than the Haynes manuals. Both have errors, but can be very useful.
Some folks have all the manuals. Some have just a Clymer's or Haynes. Some have just the Owners Booklet (especially good for early models). Some have nothing. Some very few of us have literature that you probably never heard about; and, we can't even breathe a word about what we have nor how we got them...but we, well, ME..... WILL provide nearly 100% of every bit of information.
A manual that is very handy is the original owner's booklet/manual! Back in the OLD days, those manuals were rather detailed. As lawyers (probably) got into the game, the owner's manuals became less filled with useful service details, and had more cautionary notes. I'm surprised I haven't seen a note that one should not drink the gasoline. MANY of the jobs such as setting valves, adjusting carburetors, setting timing, are in the old owner's manual, and quite a bit more. The earlier the date of those manuals, generally the more detailed the information. Not always. Be ESPECIALLY CAREFUL TO DISREGARD pulling spark plug wires/caps off the spark plugs when engines are running (or, ignition is ON) on ANY BMW built from 12/1969 onwards!!!
Haynes is a mixed bag, as is Clymer's. You can usually see these at a TechDay, and you can look at them and then decide. What manual you get, if any, somewhat depends on what jobs you intend to take on. If you are going to dig deep, into rear ends, transmissions, and engine lower ends, that will influence what you purchase. You will STILL need the Airheads or K bike LIST, or other Internet mailing LIST, no matter what you get...even if you have EVERY piece of literature available. The LISTs are THE source for the best advice.
I have mixed feelings about all the manuals. I think that probably one should at least have the owner's booklet/manual, and access to the appropriate mailing LIST and other Internet sources, such as being a Member of the Airheads Beemer Club; the airheads Club's website, www.airheads.org ...((or other club website such as Kbmw)); and maybe,,,,blush....my own website, that you are reading this on;.....at a minimum. There are a few other websites with detailed information...most are listed on this website as references, in various places; many are listed on the http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/url.htm
If one obtains the Clymer's/Haynes/whatever, keep a nice sharp pencil around to annotate them here and there, as you use them. There is not one place, that I know of, that has all the various manual errors corrected (this is particularly so for Clymers and Haynes).
NOTE: Generally, the later the version of the Clymers (or Haynes) the more accurate, and often much more detailed. I have reviewed the last versions of Clymers manuals for the Airheads and Classic K bikes, and still find a LOT of errors.
To give you some idea of errors in the manuals (BMW has errors in some of its own literature too!): At least one version of Clymer's manual will tell you, for your Airhead with the clamshell air cleaner, to start your bike with your 'choke' lever horizontal, and ride with it full-on (full down), exactly the reverse of proper operation. I saw that wrong bit when someone asked me about hard starting and awful running on an 79 Airhead. Also, plenty of errors in the CRITICAL area of the Airheads oil filter canister.
BMW made some mathematics errors in some old literature, in converting Nm to footpounds. Haynes and Clymer's manuals ...at least some that I have looked at.....KEPT BMW's errors! BMW's Nm figures are accurate, if sometimes a bit too high in MY estimation. I put information in my articles where pertinent.
DO NOT USE BMW FIGURES FOR FOOT-POUNDS; use MY figures on my torque settings article, or, if you must, convert BMW's Nm to Ftlbs yourself. You will probably find my own two articles to be of much more value:
Sometimes the Clymers and Haynes manuals simply come up with their own gross errors. Gross enough to show engine removal for things that hardly require it. LOTS of wrong things for forks, top ends, transmissions, etc.
I have two Haynes manuals, one very old, one much later, that I use primarily to look at what folks are quoting out of them, when there seems to be some sort of conflict, etc. I have them pretty well marked up and falling apart from such use. I have Clymers manuals too (Courtesy of the publisher, who wanted me to critique them....).
My PRINTED BMW Parts Book (the silver one, with sketches), called the SNABB Katalog, is VERY heavily marked up, and has been in use by me for decades, and probably has its weight noticeably increased from all my notes :-)
It has its own confusing illustrations, such as on the oil filter canister area....which Haynes nicely copied and messed up even further. Rather often, interpreting BMW's own literature takes some prior knowledge (this is where an internet mailing LIST or forum is particularly helpful). All-in-all, you cannot hope to know everything about a machine. BUT....we all have to, or had to, start someplace.
One set of 'books' is quite good, never found any major errors.
I've even posted minor critiques on one of them. These are the 'booklets' that were...and still are....published by the Chicago Region BMW Owners Association: "CHITECH"
One of their manuals occupies a particular place of honor ... the "BMW Electric School Manual". It covers the various BMW models of singles and airhead twins, from 1955 to the end of production (well, my copy says copyright 1993, and SAYS it covers only to 1990). That manual, which is quite extensive, and covers basic electricity and how things work, to details, even some modifications, all schematics (not all accessories). It was based on nearly a dozen articles published in BMW NEWS (now called BMW MOA-ON) in the late seventies, and those were, in turn, based on the BMW Electrics School. It was updated over the years. Their other manuals are also worthwhile. Guess whose hands are mostly responsible for these manuals ....yep, our own OAK...did a whole bunch of them, one way or the other. A page by page critique of that electrics manual is on this website at: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/chitechelmnl.htm Use that article to update YOUR copy of the manual.
Here is the URL for the Chicago Region BMW Club's website. Here you can find the CHITECH repair manuals. I HIGHLY recommend the booklets, particularly the electrics manual. http://www.crbmw.com/
That Electrics manual, now priced at $30, is simply THE best single electrics manual for Airheads, and Oak was primarily responsible for that manual. Some of the bike schematics are messy and hard to read, or impossible to get finer details from...but I have the schematics you need, many of which are clickable from:
So, what to get? Depends on what work you are going to do. Get an owner's manual. After THAT, maybe you are enough of an enthusiast to want a Clymer's, Haynes, one or more of the Chicago CHITECH BMW books.....(and lastly, maybe the Factory Service Manuals/Supplements but maybe not). You might want to let your better half know that birthdays and Christmas, or whatever, are good times for these things....and have a nice list of them around. If you are a cheapskate, perhaps find a good used Haynes or Clymers or both. The bald truth is that you can get nearly everything you probably will need off the website you are reading right now. I suggest you at least have an Owners Booklet, as originally shipped with your bike.
initial release 03/01/2005
01/07/2008: combine all previous updates and update Chitech & realoem's URL's
01/29/2009: Add link for Carl Salter
01/23/2010: MAJOR rework of entire page. Combine all the separate manuals information from the Technical Index Page onto this page.
02/19/2010: minor updates
04/18/2010: major updates on links
04/19/2010: eliminate several dead links
12/16/2010: Remove many dead Russian links, and other cleanup.
01/15/2011: Remove references to Buchanan and Thunderchild, as I have the information now on my trbleshootalt.htm page, in detail.
02/27/2011: Update some URL's
06/28/2011: Remove carlsalter a dead link; fix one other URL, remove one.
08/26/2012: Minor updates, remove a bad link, etc.
05/19/2013: Minor updates.
06/08/2013: Major update
03/06/2016: Update meta-codes. Layout.
© copyright 2013, R. Fleischer
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Last edit of THIS page: Tuesday, April 26, 2016