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Thread: Airhead Virgin Gets Himself a Barn Find!

  1. #1
    Certified Beemerphile TheRoss's Avatar
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    Airhead Virgin Gets Himself a Barn Find!

    So after riding and maintaining an F-bike, a couple K-bikes, and a few R-bikes, I still felt that my BMW ownership experience and my wrenching abilities were lacking. I had never owned and learned to work on an airhead. I had never owned a bike with carbs, for that matter. So the search has been on.

    What I landed on was a 1974 R90S. It was last registered in 1988, and has been sitting on this trailer, under a canvas tarp, in the back of a metal fabrication shop, since that time.

    8542581309_fb207a1c6d.jpg

    The first day I washed the bike, unloaded it, and pulled all the 1970s crap off it.

    8545105174_86022be824.jpg

    The bad:
    The tank is shot and the owner did not have the S fairing.

    The good:
    Engine turns over easily. VIN, Frame and Engine numbers all match. Exhaust nuts unscrewed easily. Seat is good and fenders and side covers are in decent shape, though they need new paint.

    So here we go with the project bike. I am armed with a manual, a restoration guide book, some tools from Jeff Trapp, and some real good local guys who over the years have been very willing to teach me to work on my bikes. Our closest dealership is 350 miles away .... without the local guys I would probably be riding Hondas. The goal is to clean it up to original condition, with original paint and fairing, etc... I will thank you all now for the help I am sure to get as I get going and have tons of questions.
    Christopher Ross, Lubbock, Texas

    2012 R1200GSA
    1974 R90S

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    Great find!

    Great find of a true Classic.Good luck with it.Just goes to show there still out there.

  3. #3
    Registered User
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    You just made my day as I've got the same bike and dabble around with it every winter. Looks really nice. Remember, you've got a 3 to 1 rear gear, a sport gearbox, and a some other neat stuff. first serial number starts off 4070001 if I remember. '76 was better, but a '74 was the first. Yer gonna have some real fun.
    Last edited by 8ninety8; 03-12-2013 at 12:03 AM.

  4. #4
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Congrats. I have the 74 90/6. I wanted an S, but they go for a lot more unless you get lucky. Start a new thread like "R90S rebuild project" or something so we can follow along. You'll get all the advice you need right here.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  5. #5
    Registered User dmftoy1's Avatar
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    Airhead Virgin Gets Himself a Barn Find!

    Very jealous!!

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    FWIW, I have repaired steel gas cans using Stay-Brite low temperature solder: http://www.esslinger.com/staybriteso...FcZFMgodUBsAdg

    Everyone must decide their level of comfort soldering on a gas tank, but I found a high wattage solder iron worked. Of course, by the time the tank is cleaned to the point of soldering there may not be enough metal.
    Stan

    AH# 13238

  7. #7
    Living The Dream jewels's Avatar
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    Tank Repair

    Good luck...looks like a fun project.

    For the gas tank repair check out www.fueltankservices.com
    1991 R100/RT - 1984 R100/RS
    2006 KZ-14/ Hannigan HP
    1980 R100/EML-1964 R69S
    2013 F800GT

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    The tank repair link is interesting but after reading the website head to toe it has no costs & the lining material remains a "trade secret". They say they vulcanize at low temperature and then something else goes in too. Tell us more if you know what they actually are doing,etc., thanks!
    "If I had my life to live over, I'd dare to make more mistakes next time...I'd relax,I'd limber up... I would take fewer things seriously...take more chances... take more trips...climb more mountains...swim more rivers...eat more ice cream." Jorge Luis Borges at age 85.

  9. #9
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Nice find!
    Recently joined the Airhead revival club as well with a slumbering low mileage /6...all good. Bike looks cleaner with all the fiberglass removed for sure.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  10. #10
    Living The Dream jewels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    The tank repair link is interesting but after reading the website head to toe it has no costs & the lining material remains a "trade secret". They say they vulcanize at low temperature and then something else goes in too. Tell us more if you know what they actually are doing,etc., thanks!
    They currently charge $485...they can do the inside color as original to BMW...have no idea as to what is used in the "SECRET" lining...I have used them before and the results are great. Call and talk to George it is a reliable business.
    1991 R100/RT - 1984 R100/RS
    2006 KZ-14/ Hannigan HP
    1980 R100/EML-1964 R69S
    2013 F800GT

  11. #11
    Rally Rat
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    Good luck with your barn find. I'm working on a 74 r90/6 as well, just got it to fire today.

  12. #12
    Certified Beemerphile TheRoss's Avatar
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    And after a day of fooling around.....

    8550573764_46c37cc217.jpg

    I am thinking......

    Pull the engine
    Powder coat the frame
    Take care of the front end
    Then rebuild the bike moving front to back
    Christopher Ross, Lubbock, Texas

    2012 R1200GSA
    1974 R90S

  13. #13
    James.A
    Guest
    They threw in the trailer too?

    I'm not a big fan of the Windjammer, but top loader panniers are cool.

    What do you envision as your use for the bike after you get it buffed up and sorted out?

  14. #14
    Saltwater
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    Washington State
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    Radiator repair shop

    I'm refurbishing a 1978 R80/7 mini storage queen, and the tank was Swiss cheese on both sides. Once the cleaning begins, the holes get bigger and more plentiful. A local radiator repair shop brazed it back together for $165, plus sales tax. No readily apparent surface blemishes now. They removed all paint, OEM liner, and media blasted it. I repainted it and did the liner coating myself. Before and after photos below. I was surprised at the low cost. Call around to see if a local radiator repair shop can help you. You need to find the place that repairs radiators for tugboats, heavy equipment, etc., not the small jobber shop that only installs replacement units in passenger vehicles. Nice find you have there.

    before.jpg

    After.jpg

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