From the President's Corner PDF Print E-mail
Written by BMWVMCA NEWS   
Wednesday, 06 August 2008

From the President’s Corner

About fifteen years ago, and after a long absence from this particular one of my interests, I went into a hobby shop looking for a model railroad boxcar kit. (Yeah, I’ve liked trains since as far back as I can remember) When I was a kid, HO scale kits were made mostly of wood, paper and a few bits of metal. It took about twelve hours to finish one. That meant twelve hours of skill building, twelve hours of challenging entertainment and enjoyment.

On this visit, I inquired about model kits. The man in the store directed me toward what he called a special shelf where there were groups of boxed kits, which he said he was sure I would like. He told me I could have each one of those kits assembled and ready to put on my layout in fifteen minutes flat!

“Huh? What happened to this hobby? Didn't anyone sell those old wood and paper jobs,” I asked?

“No,” said he, “they're all 'screw driver assembly kits’,” which he explained were those that needed only one tool to finish. “We made it real easy for you guys,” said he. I was no longer in a buying mood.

I have since slipped into the abyss of mental derangement, collecting BMW basket cases. I think of each one as one of those model railroad kits I used to find when I was a kid, only these basket cases have enough parts missing to make building really interesting.

Ten years ago I stumbled into a basket case R68 that someone had abused, then passed on to someone else who used the pile for spare parts. The engine and transmission cases were whailed on with a heavy ball pein hammer. The frame was twisted and also beaten with the same hammer. The transmission was easy, because the insides were undamaged and I found a spare case at a swap meet for it.

The engine case required study, a donor engine case and another broken case to practice on. The practice case turned out to be from and R69S that had been holed between the left cam follower ports by a broken connecting rod.

That engine went to a fellow collector and rider in the UK who had previously had a bad accident on his R69S. It is actually back in service today.

If you hear me talk about skills and confidence building, please remember these examples.

A fellow called me the other day and inquired about the club ‘tool loan program’. He said he had never taken an Earles twin engine apart before, and he was interested in getting his slingers cleaned or replaced.

This gentleman went on to say he contacted a fellow vintage collector about his intent. The reply came back cautioning him that he should, ‘under no circumstances attempt to rebuild the engine himself. Trust nobody who has not already rebuilt at least ten of these engines.’

Interesting reply! If somebody has ten rebuilds under his belt, how then did he accomplish the first nine?

Unless a fellow is ‘ALL THUMBS’, (and he or she would hopefully know what), there is no reason why someone with basic mechanical skills, the proper tools, plus a parts and shop manual could not rebuild one of these engines. One must begin somewhere.

Bob Zronek called me during late summer two years ago. He had recently bought an R69S, and wanted to check the slingers. He said he had heard so much about how important these items were in keeping from destroying an engine. He wanted to know if I would help him with his engine, because he had never opened one up before.

The next time I saw Bob was at a spring meet. He was riding his R69S. He rode up to me with a great deal of excitement and said he had rebuilt his engine by himself. His engine ran quietly and smoothly. Bob had done the job on his own. He has a right to be proud of his accomplishment.

Confidence and skills building leads to greater independence.


Last Updated ( Monday, 08 June 2009 )
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