Torque values; BMW Airhead Motorcycles
© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
Be sure to read part 71A, if you have not previously, before using this part 71B.
To convert torque wrench settings/values between systems of measurement:
Nm x 0.7378 = foot-pounds
foot-pounds x 1.356 = Nm
Mkp x 7.23 = foot-pounds
inch-ounces = 141.6 x Nm
Mkp x 9.81 = Nm
Foot-pounds x 192 = inch-ounces
ONE inch-pound is the same as 1.1525 CmKg, or 0.1129 Nm
ONE Ncm is 0.0885 inch-pound.
When threads are clean and dry, and then MOST types of Loctite are used, Loctite causes approximately a 15% increase in actual torque (Loctite acts as a very mild lubricant, this is typically the max effect). Because of the safety factor of parts strengths and typical usages, this effect of Loctite is usually ignored, as far as torque wrench settings are concerned, for fittings that are both dry and oiled.
ANTISEIZE COMPOUND: When using antiseize compound...you should, and in many cases (such as spark plug threads) MUST, allow for the change in effective torque (near 30% with antiseize compound).
Nuts, bolts: grading systems & standard torque values:
Fittings from Germany are specified by a different grading system from that used in the U.S. for American SAE items. Fittings from Germany are Metric, and these bolts are marked on the heads by a number that corresponds to the over-all strength rating. Tables listing certain specifications such as plating of steel bolts and those then screwed into, say, aluminum, are not a normal item as shown. Ratings (grades) used in this DIN system FOR BOLTS and SCREWS are, in increasing order of strength: 5.6; 6.8; 6.9; 8.8; 10.9; and 12.9. The 8.8 is a fairly strong metal, and is quite common on BMW's. Whilst 8.8 is commonly available in hardware stores, many such stores carry INFERIOR bolts, often unmarked...and in SOME instances you can NOT depend on the markings! BMW uses some bolts rated even stronger than 8.8 in SOME PLACES....shock absorber mounts, brakes, rods, crankshaft-to-flywheel...etc. I suggest using BMW-supplied parts! Don't even think about using non-BMW fasteners for the driveshaft U-joint, flywheel, rods....
There are standardized tables for recommended tightening torque for fasteners, these common tables have the size of the fastener (M6, M8, M12, etc.) and the optimum tightening torque for the grade. Once in awhile those tables need to be consulted. In the DIN (German standards) system, bolts are assumed to be phosphate treated, no after-treatment, not galvanized. There is, or may be, information on oiled versus not oiled. Separate tables for cadmium plating are available (approx. 30% less is the recommended torque for cadmium plating). Cadmium plated parts are hardly available anymore in/from Europe. Tables are different for NUTS; and nuts are rated as 8, 10, and 12 in strength....and the same sort of messiness occurs with plating, lubrication, etc. It can get complicated, with a nut and bolt of different ratings. As a general rule, there are some sort of standards for all the various types of headed screws, bolts, etc. If there is no specification by BMW for your specific fastener, you can generally use standardized values. I CAN usually supply needed information, it is way too extensive to be listed in this article...BUT..... in tightening fasteners on your BMW, use the information below or in your books (pay attention to wrongly converted values in various literature, that is, always use the metric values and convert to American numbers if you have no metric calibrated wrench indications), and if something is not listed, ask on the Airheads or other appropriate LIST.
I DO HAVE the BMW factory manual TABLES for "common hardware" torque values, strengths, etc. These are specific to types and sizes of such as bolts, but NOT specific for any place on your bike they are used at. I have thought about copying the charts and making them available by link in this article, but haven't found a real need so far.
Cadmium plating and BMW
changing, without notice, head sizes of bolts:
BMW is shipping parts that are NO LONGER cadmium plated due to European environmental rules. These non-plated parts tend to RUST! These parts are completely safe at the original specified torque as used with cadmium plated parts, assuming the original specs used are in Nm. Try to obtain old original parts...in most instances the part numbers are the same, and the dealership might have the cadmium plated ones in the box...ASK. SOME of these parts need anti-seize, be cautious.
In some circumstances BMW is shipping bolts with ONE wrench size smaller heads, under the SAME part number. A dealership MAY have BOTH sizes of bolt heads in the same box on their shelves. I offer this caution, because you might not have 18 and 16 mm wrenches in your Airhead tool kit!...the 18 being substituted for 19mm, the 16 for 17 mm. K bikes don't generally have this problem...most started with the even numbered sizes. Note that later model BMW motorcycles are using the smaller heads, generally. There is no need to carry special sizes of wrenches, if you know about such things, and thereby you use the original sizes.
BMW literature errors...often carried forward into Clymers and Haynes books:
BMW of North America published a Service Bulletin, Volume II, NO. 23, Dated 3/82. I will quote SOME from that bulletin:
"May we advise you that from now on, any published BMW conversions found in brackets immediately behind the millimeter figures in all service literature (riders manuals, shop manuals, etc.) should not be used. Recent experience has shown that use of these figures has caused some major, expense errors by either a dealer service department, a customer, or an independent machine shop. Please inform all customers upon purchase of a shop manual, and also those customers that you are aware of that have one in their possession." This was signed by Herb Neas, National Service Manager.
There are errors above if you are a strict interpreter
(millimeter should be metric Nm for instance). What all this
When BMW has a published torque figure, it is 'usually' OK as shown in Nm, but do NOT use BMW's foot-pounds figures. I strongly suggest that you calculate them yourself (Nm x 0.74 is foot-pounds). Clymers, Haynes, etc., have used BMW's figures for Nm and foot-pounds, and thus MAY have continued to carry forward the errors!....so be cautious. I personally know of errors in even the Factory Workshop
Manuals.....see article on this website: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/torquespecs&problems.htm
NOTE #1: I am adding this note because there have been rare instances in which someone has questioned just what BMW means by its torque figures. This question usually arises because using a torque wrench at the limited clearance area of the driveshaft bolts requires an adaptor, which can add to the working-length of the torque wrench, INcreasing the torque value from that set on the torque wrench......unless the adaptor is used at 90°.When this question comes up, it almost always is in regards to the tightening method for the 4 driveshaft bolts, that hold the U-joint flange to the transmission output flange. The torque figure is the value on the bolt itself, whether or not you use an adaptor from the torque wrench to the bolt, or, the resultant value. This is standard for industry, and applies unless specifically noted to be different. To re-state this: The torque to be applied to the bolt is the factory specified torque, and you MUST calculate the adjustment factor for the torque wrench, if the adaptor is not used at 90°.
In every instance, except at 90°, the torque wrench will need to be set at a value LESS than the value of the actual torque applied to the bolt head.
Be sure you understand this, and CHECK the torque applied in several ways. See article 71A on how to do this.
Cylinder heads: Evenly cross-torque, staging at ~10, ~18, and then CAREFULLY to a final value of 25. NEVER exceed 27 foot-pounds. I ALWAYS use a final value target of 25 foot-pounds for ALL models...even though I know PRE-Nikasil models are specified at 29-31 foot-pounds in old literature. I do NOT consider it safe to torque higher than a TRUE 27 foot-pounds on ANY model, and THAT is with a KNOWN GOOD, CALIBRATED torque wrench! The 4 rocker arm nut threads are to be oily, and if they squeak, remove nut, oil immediately, and immediately re-tighten. After the first torqueing after the heads have been off, for each later re-torqueing, back off the 2 head nuts only a very small amount, a tiny fraction of one turn, one nut at a time, and re-torque. Do same for all 4 rocker nuts, but back off about 1/4 to bit more of a turn, one at a time unless doing end play work (then do both of ONE rocker at one time). The idea is that you will not have more than one or two of the nuts loose, in comparison to the others, for very long. Time is involved, as I think the metal will move some over time, so don't leave things unbalanced and loose.
Spark plugs: the BMW specification is 16-18 foot-pounds for clean and dry threads for the 3/4 inch reach stock top plugs. SOME old manuals will show values as high as 21.7. DO NOT use such high values!! When using (or if previously used) anti-seize compound, reduce the 16-18 foot-pound figures; I then use about 14-15 foot-pounds. For those with dual-plug conversions, you might have short 1/2" reach or the 3/4" reach plugs at the bottom, depending on if a washer or welding was done and what size plug was installed. For 3/4" reach 14 mm bottom plugs which must be used with welding and threading... or 1/4" washer-spacer WELDED.... use the same values as for the top plugs. For bottom 1/2" reach 14 mm plugs, use 12-14 foot-pounds on clean and dry threads....be very cautious, & use about 10-12 foot-pounds if anti-seize is used; you may have to increase this SLIGHTLY to get a good contact/crush on the crush washer. If you have 12 mm 1/2" reach bottom plugs, use a bit less and with anti-seize compound.
Anti-seize compound works into metal, so be cautious if you install spark plugs without such compound if the compound was used previously. Doing it by feel on a fresh crush washer works OK, provided you are not ham-fisted.
M6 nut on the end of the automatic advance unit on models up through 1978: 4 foot-pounds, which is 48 inch-pounds. Be careful! DO NOT USE NOR DEPEND on the accuracy of a 75 or 100 foot pound clicker wrench at such a low setting (even if it can be set that low). DO NOT USE A FOOT-POUND WRENCH. Do it by hand feel, or do it with an INCH-POUND or equivalent low torque values wrench. Going over 48 INCH-pounds is really not necessary. It is perfectly OK to use less than 48 INCH-pounds. It is good to use a FRESH waverly washer. It is not terribly UNusual to find that someone has over-torqued this nut; yet the camshaft threaded stub end is not yet broken (and maybe not yet cracked). Thus, the threads could already be weakened. Be very cautious. I always torque this nut by hand, with a very small 4 (max 6) inch wrench. If you do not have a good feel for torque, especially torque that breaks things, use a torque wrench. Use 38-40 INCH-pounds to start with, and a fresh waverly washer. Remember: My personal limit as shown above is 4 foot pounds; and when that is multiplied by 12 that means 48 INCH-pounds. If you have an INCH-OUNCE wrench, guess how you calculate inch-ounces? yes, the conversion factor is near the top of this page. Your day is ruined if you snap off the tip! SO: be very careful!!!
Rocker arm adjustment lock nut: 13-16 foot-pounds (some say 12, and I agree)
Valve cover center acorn nut: 14 foot-pounds (I am cautious, and do it by feel). NOTE that you should LOOK at the inner end of this
associated stud. It is next to the spark plug. If ALL the threads of the head are not engaged by the stud, you must decide if to remove the stud and reset it deeper (and if the acorn nut will still have enough threads engaged); or, install BMW's LONGER stud, which BMW supplies just for this purpose (see: http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/hardware.htm)
Outer cover, front of engine: about 5.5 foot-pounds
Engine to frame: 55 foot-pounds is reasonable, all models, although there are differences on the books, with much lower in places,
down into the thirties. I prefer higher values like the 55 foot-lbs..
Crankshaft rod bolts: ALWAYS use new ones, 36 foot-pounds. Special tri-tool needed, see tools article.
R80GS, R80R, R100GS, R100R: 15 foot-pounds, then 40 degrees more.
Flywheel bolts: ALWAYS new ones are recommended, but NEVER reuse the early smaller /5 and early
/6 type bolts, which were 10 mm diameter. These are clean & dry torques, except as
/5 (smaller diameter, 10 mm bolts): 44 foot-pounds
1974: two specifications, 45 for R60 and R75, then 53 on R90 series, but I simply use
1975: & later, early specifications, 11 mm bolts: 80 foot-pounds is my personal
maximum. For this, I have the threads, male & female, clean & appearing dry, but
there could be a faint sheen from very slight oiliness.
For just the 1981 & later:
BMW's latest specification change per S.I. 11-049-91 (2495); this can also be
seen on the 12/92 fiche on page 3, illustration G23. The SI stated that while the
flywheel bolts were previously at ~75 foot-pounds (100 Nm), they were now to be
at 90 foot-pounds (125 Nm), cleaned threads, & the threads were to be OILED!
BMW specifically said that the bolt limits would NOT reach their limit of elasticity
at that torque, & could be REUSED! I will NOT tighten them that tight. Makes me
very nervous! However, some Pro's do, & I have heard of no problems reported.
It is YOUR CHOICE. NOTE also that this is in regards to the 11 mm bolts, &
applies to 1981+ models....certainly not the smaller /5 & early /6 10 mm bolts
which need replacement upon each use, which un-stretched 11 mm do not, &
those 10 mm bolts in the /5 and early /6 are absolutely not to be torqued to such
There have been a lot of different specifications on flywheel bolts over the years.
There were two lengths of 10 mm bolts used. I use, clean & dry, torques of
42-45 foot-pounds on the 1973 & earlier engines. For the 1974 I use 52-55 ftlbs.
For 1975 and later up to the 1981 models, I use about 75 to 80 ftlbs.
I use about 80 ftlbs, clean & dry threads, on 1981+. Yes, that is true, I don't oil
them myself...but, usually, there is, after cleaning, a faint trace of oil film, typically
hardly-seen. Am I OK with 75-80 ft lbs on well-oiled bolts: YES.
Oil cooler hose 17 mm banjo nuts: absolute maximum 14.5 foot-pounds. I suggest 13 foot-pounds,
rechecked overnight. HINT: do not let outer hose be in contact with the fairing if
you have a fairing...vibration might loosen the banjo. ALWAYS new
Oil pan mounting bolts: book values 6.5-8 (some books show to 8.5) foot-pounds.......I suggest less,
perhaps 5.5-6, carefully tighten in a staggered cross-pattern, starting at the
center ones. Do tightening very evenly. NO GOO! Put the lettered side UP.
There is supposedly a heat-activated glue on these. The old cork gaskets are
NLA. I do these bolts BY HAND, not torque wrench. YOU may want a
torque wrench. MOST torque wrenches of the type that have a range of maybe
5 to 75 foot-pounds, can NOT be used for this, as their accuracy is NOT good,
nor is the FEEL for the click. If you plan to use a torque wrench, use an
INCH-pound wrench. Multiplying my 5.5-6 foot-pounds by 12, you can see that I
see that I would be recommending 66 to 72 INCH-pounds. HINT! Before removing
the pan, TIGHTEN all the bolts to about 80 INCH-POUNDS. If they tighten
properly, good. If they show signs of bad threads, note which ones, so you can
fix the threads with a Helicoil, after the pan is removed.
Engine oil pan drain: 20-22 foot-pounds (book values have been variously from 20-25). I tend to use the
low side of specification for this pan drain bolt.
Oil filter inner cap bolt: 15-20 foot-pounds (some books may say 30, I think that is too high).
Oil filter outer cover plate: no matter if thermostat or GS or plain: not over 7.5 foot-pounds. I always
do these by FEEL, not a torque wrench. Tighten them in stages, evenly,
back and forth. NO NEED to have them too tight! USE LOCKING WASHERS.
Oil canister central pipe: Install with Loctite, quite tightly, using a custom-made mandrel or carefully
ground very broad thick tipped screwdriver. On the cooler models, have the
pipe end 3 mm proud of the engine outside wall surface, as you leave it.
Allow the Loctite a day or two to cure.
Oil pressure sending switch: no specification on early models, later models from about 1985 or so
specify 25 Nm, or 18 foot-pounds. Use 12 point deep socket, moderately tight by
feel. Do NOT over-tighten.
Oil pickup bolts: 6.5 foot-pounds, Loctite BLUE
Oil PUMP cover: 88 INCH-pounds; probably 72 is enough. LOCTITE BLUE. If you have the Phillips
screws replace the cover and screws. Read about that at FlywheelRemoval.htm
Camshaft flange bearing & front main bearing: 11-13 foot-pounds, but some models from about
1985 are 18 foot-pounds.
Chain cover: 5.2-5.9 foot-pounds (62-71 INCH-pounds). I may go a bit higher.
Section 12-Engine electrics:
Spark plugs: see Section 11, above.
Centrifugal advance: old style, single M6 nut on end of camshaft, see section 11.
Starter motor bolts: 35 foot-pounds is the published specification, but this is probably excessive.
Be very cautious that the starter is solidly & squarely in place as you
tighten. Read http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/boschvaleostarter.htm
(which covers several other brands too).
Alternator rotor allen bolt: book value is 16.6-19.5 foot-pounds, I suggest ~14 as a maximum.
The rotor-to-engine-crankshaft are taper-fits. The mating surfaces must
be absolutely clean & free from any contamination, including oil, even
fingerprints. Do NOT use gasoline in cleaning the tapers.
Section 13/16-Carburetors and associated air and fuel inlet parts:
Cylinder head stubs: 10 foot-pounds, Loctite RED. NOTE: I do this by feel, & the torque I use is
likely rather higher than 9, although I have never measured it. I heat the head,
and freeze the stub, add Loctite RED just before I assemble them, using a
strap wrench or other tool, and QUITE TIGHT!
Section 18-Exhaust system:
Exhaust pipe finned nuts: Prior to 1981 the specification was 101-130 foot-pounds, later it went to
145-159 foot-pounds. I have seen even higher published figures for
1981+. There is NO GOOD REASON to have these nuts so tight. I
don't know how tight I put them, but I suspect it is not over 90 ftlbs. I
never do them with a torque wrench, I always do it by feel, a decent
grunt, using a proper finned wrench, & NOT too tight, & I ALWAYS use
use a LOT of anti-seize compound. Failure to loosen these nuts & to clean the
threads & to use fresh anti-seize compound on the threads yearly will
eventually cause you a lot of anguish. Clean and coat the rings too.
Rings should have their splits towards the head, that is, the tapers should
face each other. I use a brass brush to clean the threads, rather than a
If, in loosening the finned nut, it suddenly binds-up, then do NOT
go further trying to loosen with more force. By using heat, & a
penetrating oil like acetone and ATF (automatic transmission fluid
50-50, shake before using), several times, maybe over a week's
time, you may be able to remove the nuts withOUT cutting them!
Try SLIGHT tightening and loosening, as appropriate, flooding the
threads as best possible. Sometimes heating the nut/port area
before applying the acetone/ATF fluid, will help, as it may draw-in
the fluid as it cools.
If the finned nut will not come off, after all the above is tried, do
NOT FORCE IT. You must now CUT the nut off. The nut is MUCH
cheaper than repairing or replacing the port threads!!! This having
to cut them off, or otherwise forcible loosening and thereby ruining
the port threads, will NOT happen if you maintain them, and do not
over-tighten them!!! There is an article on this website,
http://bmwmotorcycletech.info/exhaustnuts.htm on these finned nuts!
LOTS more information in that article. Use of lots of an anti-seize
compound is MANDATORY!!! Cutting the nuts off requires a
'clips'....pre-silencer (1985+): 15 foot-pounds
Section 21-23 Clutch and transmission:
Transmission drain: 14-18.5 foot pounds, I suggest the lower figure.
Transmission fill: 20-22 foot pounds, I suggest the lower figure.
Transmission to engine: about 15 foot-pounds, somewhat more is OK. Books will show values from
14-24 depending on the book (1981+ is 24 foot-pounds)....and some
confused Nm with foot-pounds.
Transmission shifter lever: 13 foot-pounds
Transmission cover screws: 6 foot-pounds
Transmission output flange-to-U-joint: 26 foot-pounds. This requires an adapter tool of some sort.
These bolts are sturdy & strong, & a good feeling of 'good &
tight' from a common 6" 12 point box end wrench is probably
OK. DO NOT use the split lockwashers that were supplied
on earlier models except in emergency if you don't have the
shorter replacement bolts. This website has the number for
the proper slightly shorter bolts, which are NOT used with
washers. Install clean, dry, & 1 drop of Loctite BLUE on the threads,
just a drop, before assembly. SEE section 26, below,
for expanded information.
Transmission output flange center large nut: 148-173 foot-pounds, probably OK to even 190.....in
any case, absolutely clean & dry (this is a taper fit).....and
do not clean with gasoline. I use 160.
Kickstarter models cotter nut/crank: 15 foot-pounds
4 speed transmission shift fork bolts: 17 foot-pounds
Clutch lever adjusting screw locknut: 15 foot-pounds. I don't go that high.
Clutch bolts (to flywheel, early models): 16 or 17 foot-pounds in books up to 1980. Originally the /5
had 14. From 1981 with the new style clutch, 15-16
Selector fork/cam bracket: 18 foot-pounds (from 1981, 14 foot-pounds)
Neutral switch on 5 speed transmissions: This is not specified. Use a DEEP socket to install
except where side facing terminals prevent that.
Section 26-Driveshaft and swing arm:
Driveshaft drain & fill: 10 MAXIMUM foot-pounds....then approach higher carefully, 12-16 Nm drain and fill is latest spec
4 Driveshaft U-joint bolts, non-Paralever models: 26 foot pounds, NO lockwashers. Use 1 drop of
Loctite BLUE on clean & dry threads. If you have lock-washers, get rid of them, & use the very
slightly shorter later bolts. Early models like the /5 were specified at 18 foot-pounds, that was
with the longer bolts with split lock-washers. NO bike should have those long bolts & any
lock-washers, the 18 foot-pounds is listed here as a reference ONLY. If one of those old lock-washers
breaks, or somehow a bolt loosens, the rest soon will & MAY destroy the back side of the
the transmission. If your BMW dealer insists that BMW has gone back to using lock-washers,
ignore that advice; use the shorter, later, bolts!!!! Do NOT use substitute bolts! Do NOT use
hardware store bolts! Use 26 +-2 foot-pounds, which is the same as 35 +- 3 Nm. An adapter
is required for your torque wrench, see my tools article and my torque wrench articles.
NOTE #1: I am adding this note because there have been rare instances in which someone has questioned just what BMW means by its torque figures. This question usually arises because using a torque wrench at the limited clearance area of the driveshaft bolts requires an adaptor, which can add to the working-length of the torque wrench, INcreasing the torque value from that set on the torque wrench......unless the adaptor is used at 90°.When this question comes up, it almost always is in regards to the tightening method for the 4 driveshaft bolts, that hold the U-joint flange to the transmission output flange. The torque figure is the value on the bolt itself, whether or not you use an adaptor from the torque wrench to the bolt. This is standard for industry, and applies unless specifically noted to be different.
Driveshaft coupling nut (bell gear): 180 foot-pounds is
the maximum and probably 150 is OK.
Swing arm allen-recess adjusters: These threaded pins with the allen center hole are to be preloaded to
15 foot-pounds, then backed off slightly, then finished in only
the tightening direction, leaving them at 7.5 (9 max) foot-pounds.
Do this so the spacing from swing arm to frame point is equal, within ~.015".
Swing arm adjuster 27 mm (or 1-1/16") lock nuts (STEEL nuts): 72-77 foot-pounds. Use a
properly squared off and proper diameter tool.
Preloading the pivot shafts: 15 foot-pounds, then, back off, then retighten to 7.5 foot-pounds;
locknuts to 75-80 foot-pounds
Left-hand bearing pivot stub: 110 foot-pounds
Right-hand bearing pivot shaft: 5.5 foot-pounds
Right-hand bearing pivot shaft lock nut: 77 foot-pounds
BMW specifies using locking compounds on the stubs and nuts. See my other articles for what I
think about that, and which to use.
Section 31/32-Steering, forks, bars, controls on bars:
There are differences between various models ...particularly the GS, -R, that are not shown here, or the list would be very lengthy.
Fork drain nuts: 16.6-18.6 foot pounds. Probably one should just use 17 foot pounds for all to 1980.
Top cap nut, center tube, also called Crown Nut and Centering Nut: approximately 80-95
foot-pounds; some books say 88-96 foot-pounds.
Top of fork tubes 'nut' and top spring retainer: ~80 foot-pounds.
R80R, R100R, GS, top sleeve/locknut: 48 foot-pounds
M8 x 1 nut at the bottom of some forks, that holds the damper: ~15-17 foot-pounds.
Lower fork yoke stanchion clamp (lower triple clamp): 25 foot-pounds. Some variances, see your book.
Bottom caps on the lowers: specifications have varied, some say 59-73 foot-pounds; others say
87-93 foot-pounds, I do it by feel.
Damper (rod retainer nut): early bikes 17 foot-pounds; 1981 and later 25 foot-pounds
Piston plugs: 18 foot-pounds
Damper slider tube, and force brace, 1985+: 11 foot-pounds
Axle clamp bolts (pinch bolts): about 10-12 foot-pounds
Axle nut: 25 (35 maximum) foot-pounds
Axle, late models, that use an allen bolt and not a nut: 25 foot-pounds
Clamp ring bolt: 8 foot-pounds
Fender brace upper: 16 foot-pounds
Fender brace, lower: 1.5-1.8 foot-pounds
Fork brace, GS: 13 foot-pounds
Fork filler plugs: Varies with models: 6.5-10 foot-pounds
Handlebar nuts: 15 foot-pounds
Steering bearing preload adjustment:
This should be done by road test, per my instructions
elsewhere's on this site. But, there IS a specification, and it is 30 (+-2)
INCH-pounds. This is the force to continue moving the entire fork, after
once started moving. If you INSIST on using a torque wrench for this,
ask me how to modify one of your existing tool tray tools.
Section 33-Rear Drive and rear shock absorbers:
Rear drive drain: 23 Nm max. I use a somewhat lower value.
Rear drive fill: 20 Nm max. I use a somewhat lower value.
Later models rear drive oil level inspection plug: This is only found on late models, & is a small hex
bolt located half-way up/down the REAR arc of the rear drive. BE CAREFULL!...
7-1/2 Nm MAXIMUM. Fresh washer! Do it by feel, be careful. If using a torque wrench,
use an accurate sensitive wrench.
Some never remove this plug, fearing they will strip the threads.
I almost never actually use a torque wrench on the inspection hole bolt/plug.
Rear drive to driveshaft housing: 35 foot-pounds is what I use on these 4 nuts. There
are differing specifications for them in the various literature. Up through 1984, but
excluding the G/S and ST, 47 Nm (35 foot-pounds). The G/S and ST in some books
are shown as 65 Nm (48 foot-pounds). Generally, the books show most 1985 (some from 1986)
models to use 55 Nm (40.5 foot-pounds). ASK ON THE AIRHEADS LIST ABOUT 'GOO', because
the early models used paper gaskets; much later models did NOT use gaskets, and the sealant
was a special Loctite.
Shock absorbers: 25 foot-pounds. I use that for all of them, except as below.
Shock units, Paralever: 26 foot-pounds
Shock units, Monolever before 1987: 34 foot-pounds; then 21 +-3 foot-pounds on later Monolever models
Input gear (pinion) large nut, Loctite blue: /5/6 75 foot-pounds. After /6, use 110-115 foot-pounds.
Bevel drive pinion retaining nut, R80GS, R80R, R100GS, R100R: 150 foot-pounds
cover housing: 15 foot-pounds
oil filler/level plug: 17 foot-pounds...I use a bit less.
oil drain plug: 17 foot-pounds...I use a bit less.
The threaded ring that surrounds that input gear: 75+ foot-pounds, Hylomar'd.
Left side cover plate on the rear drive: 14 foot-pounds
Torque arm, front to frame: 32 foot-pounds
Torque arm, rear to housing: 25 foot-pounds
Brake caliper plugs (these are the plugs on the bottom of the swinging ATE calipers 1974-1980):
43.3-46.6 foot-pounds. The 'book' says that the ATE swinging caliper caps are to be 45
foot-pounds for the /6 and only 30 for the /7. Why?
Brembo calipers (and ATE that are NON-swinging): Book says 22-23 foot-pounds (ST, G/S 26) for
Brembo for these bolts that mount the caliper to the fork legs. I suggest that you use 20
Brake caliper joining bolts, R80R, R100R: inner 22 foot-pounds, outer 7 foot-pounds
Brake lines (pipes): 6 to 7 foot-pounds (11 maximum from 1981, I think that too high). I suggest you
be careful and not over-torque these.
Disc brake mounting nuts/bolts: 17 foot-pounds. For R80GS, R80R, R100GS, R100R: 24
Section 36-Wheels and axles (and see section 31/32, above):
Front and rear axle nuts: in most books as 32.5-34.5 foot pounds. I use ~30 ftlbs
Axle pinch bolts: front 11-12 foot pounds, rear 11-13 foot pounds; late 1984+ use 17 foot pounds
both (but I do not use that much).
Mono-lever models (and Paralever, including R80ST, R80 G/S, R100GS, etc); rear wheel bolts:
Models have been made with both three and four bolts/nuts.
NEVER EVER oil NOR antiseize these threads...NEVER!....just clean and dry
threads. Use 63 foot-pounds for the R80ST, & a bit more, perhaps
75-77 for the G/S & 85+ models. BUT: Pay attention to what your particular bike's
torque specifications are, some are higher. USE BMW's Owner's Book values!!!
Section 46-to ? Frame, fenders, braces, saddlebag bracketry, fairings, special lighting equipment,
battery bracketry, instruments pods, centerstands, etc.:
Center-stand: 25-26 foot pounds (I suggest closer to 31 on 1985+ models). There are variances,
as the type of bolt/nut, etc., has varied. Check your owners booklet. Many late
models used 17 mm bolt/nuts and 29 Nm torque.
Side-stand center pin, from 1981: 13 foot-pounds
Rear subframe: 11-18 foot-pounds
It is NOT commonly known that screw-type band-clamps have torque values. The type of band-clamps
I am referring to here are NOT the type that BMW used to use at the U-joint rubber bellows (small
screw, very fine threads); whether screw or clamp pliers types. What I am referring to here are the
AFTERMARKET band clamps that have multiple cross-wise small slots almost all the way around, that
you may be tempted to purchase for various things, and substitute for the original types. The standard
torque setting for these aftermarket clamps depends on the width of the band. Frankly, there are no
places on BMW motorcycles for these types of clamps, but I know some of you will use them anyway.
5/16" width band: 14 to 16 INCHpounds
1/2" width band: 25 to 35 INCHpounds
9/16" width band: 30 to 40 INCHpounds
There are special clamp versions used for high pressure fuel injection hose clamps, for you
K bike owners, and you really should use these Oetiker types.
For the carburetor band clamps, moderately tight is correct.
What is posted in this article above IS believed correct, but no guarantees as to that!
Initial edit and release: 07/05/2004
12/16/2004: Clarify torqueing cylinder head nuts in section 11
02/26/2005: layout, url, copyright, hyperlink
07/16/2006: add note on calibrating the wrench
08/20/2006: editing for clarity
04/25/2009: clarify crankshaft bolt torques, to eliminate any chance of misunderstandings.
07/15/2009: clarify rear drive to driveshaft nut tightness; minor other typos or unimportant
10/24/2009: clean up the article
10/15/2012: Add QR code, add language button, update Google Ad-Sense code
04/23/2013: Change cover from 5.0 foot-pounds.
09/25/2013: Clean up cam tip nut torque wording.
03/10/2014: Clarify, condense
10/02/2014: Prep for smaller devices, and clean up some.
10/25/2014: Add note #1 near top of page, and later in section 26.
08/15/2015: Clarify and expand a small amount here and there....and more on 08/16/2015, with some corrections.
© Copyright, 2014, R. Fleischer
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