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Installing the front wheel


Audi403

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Hey guys,

 

Curious on your opinion on this one. I removed both wheels yesterday off my R1250RT to bring them in for a tire mount & balance. I watched a few videos and referenced my owners manual for the installation instructions for the wheels. The rear is straight forward and makes sense. The front wheel, I find the owners manual procedure a bit odd. I followed it but it really felt like smoke and mirrors to me. 

 

Here's a quick summary of the steps:

1) Insert spacer into wheel hub

2) Lift front wheel

3) Install axle

3) Remove front wheel stand and compress front forks firmly several times. Do not operate the front brake.

4) Lift front wheel 

5) Install and torque axle bolt

6) Torque left then right side pinch bolts

7) Remove front wheel stand 

8) Mount calipers

9) Mount ABS sensor

 

My confusion is around lifting and lowering the front end twice. Why do they recommend to do it like this? In all the videos I watched, guys either a) didn't bother compressing the front forks at all or b)installed the axle and torqued the axle bolt in the air, then lowered the wheel down and compressed the forks and torqued the pinch bolts. In no videos did anyone have to lift the front wheel off the ground twice.

 

Too be honest, you can't even really compress the front forks firmly. Because the calipers are off, you can't use the front brake to compress the forks. This leaves either trying to do it in gear which didn't feel so great or trying to hold the rear brake and compressing the forks which just felt off balance and dangerous. It really felt like a waste of time.

 

What do you guys do? Follow the manual to a T? Don't compress the forks at all? Or lower the bike and compress the forks and torque the pinch bolts while the wheel is on the ground?

 

All went well and the bike is back together. I really had an oh shit moment though. When I lowered the bike off the center stand so I could compress the forks, I naturally went to grab the front brakes. This is bad because the calipers are off the disc and they can be pressed out preventing them from sliding back on the rotor. Apparently pressing them back in against the pistons can cause damage? I've heard of this in multiple bike manuals but never experienced it. Luckily for me, when I removed the calipers I rocked them side to side slightly against the rotor to separate them. This is recommended in the manual and likely saved me from my mistake. I was able to get the calipers back on even though I may have slightly pulled the front brake lever lowering the bike. Anyone else have experience with this mistake? Can it really cause damage? Couldn't you just press them back in? 

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I also just finished what you did. I have a R1200RT-LC and I don’t compress the forks.

But what I do is insert a piece of wood, like 1/4” thick and maybe 1’ x 2”  between the pads after I remove each caliper. This is insurance in case I by mistake pull the brake lever. I do the same for the rear caliper.

I also tie the calipers up with a piece of rope, either to the handle bar or the fog light brackets. This prevents excessive strain on the brake lines. 

 

PS: if you post your questions about your R1250 RT in the ShiftCam or WetHead sections, you will get a quicker and maybe more replies to your questions.

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I may get corrected on this one, but I believe it has a lot to do with letting the suspension settle in, so to speak.   When suspended in the air, the suspension has no load on it, similar to it being on the ground.   Compressing the forks helps things settle into place, where it belongs, while on the ground, with the bike weight.

 

This procedure is very similar to intstalling suspension components on an automobile where as you tighten everything up, while on the lift,  then put the vehicle on the ground to torque everything.  In my opinion, it makes a difference between hanging and supporting (weight.)

 

As Bernie recommended, post (or ask admin to move it for you) in the Forums mentioned.

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I know the procedure but haven't followed it for years.  I just button everything up put a torque wrench on the bolts and call it good.  We'll over 150000 miles and have yet to have an issue.  Probably was important on the spindly forks on the bikes I rode in the 70s and 80s don't think it's a big a deal on modern bikes.  YMMV.

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6 hours ago, Bernie said:

But what I do is insert a piece of wood, like 1/4” thick and maybe 1’ x 2”  between the pads after I remove each caliper. This is insurance in case I by mistake pull the brake lever. I do the same for the rear caliper.

I also tie the calipers up with a piece of rope, either to the handle bar or the fog light brackets. This prevents excessive strain on the brake lines. 

 

Great idea with the piece of wood, I'm going to definitely use that trick next time. It just seems like to me that even if you squeezed the brake lever, the pistons would press back into the calipers. Maybe there's a point of no return? 

 

I did the same with the calipers. I used a couple of big ty-wraps and supported them to the driving light mounts. I also used painters tape on the wheel to protect the finish while installing the calipers. It's a tight fit with the Brembos!

 

6 hours ago, wbw6cos said:

I may get corrected on this one, but I believe it has a lot to do with letting the suspension settle in, so to speak.   When suspended in the air, the suspension has no load on it, similar to it being on the ground.   Compressing the forks helps things settle into place, where it belongs, while on the ground, with the bike weight.

 

This procedure is very similar to intstalling suspension components on an automobile where as you tighten everything up, while on the lift,  then put the vehicle on the ground to torque everything.  In my opinion, it makes a difference between hanging and supporting (weight.)

 

What you're saying makes sense to me, but it isn't how the manual says to do it. The process is to put the axle in with the wheel in the air, lower it and compress the suspension, then lift it again before torquing. That's why it just seems so weird to me.

 

2 hours ago, MikeB60 said:

I know the procedure but haven't followed it for years.  I just button everything up put a torque wrench on the bolts and call it good.  We'll over 150000 miles and have yet to have an issue.  Probably was important on the spindly forks on the bikes I rode in the 70s and 80s don't think it's a big a deal on modern bikes.  YMMV.

 

Yep, and that seems to be the opinion of quite a few owners. Thanks for your input.

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I've not followed any instructions to remove/replace the front wheel on any of my bikes.

 

Jack it up to the point of tension off the wheel but still on the ground, remove calipers let dangle (they're not heavy enough to cause issue with the lines), remove axle, jack up front even further and massage the front tire out.

 

If for some strange reason, I squeeze the brake while the caliper is out, I would just push the piston back in.....no different than replacing pads.

 

To put it back in, I lower the front end til it's 'bout axle even, massage the front wheel back in, put the axle back in, put the calipers back on, right arm torque everything down, drop the jack, crank the bike, squeeze the brakes, done.

 

So far, nothing in that area has fallen off.  The only thing that failed is the ABS sensor due to me pinching the line once.  Replaced it, all is good.

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realshelby

The BMW Telelever style RT suspension isn't as likely to bind up as standard telescopic front suspension. Another good thing about it! I have never compressed the forks before tightening the front axle or pinch bolts. No side effects at all on two RT's. Now the V Strom.....I always settle the front suspension on it before tightening.

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7 minutes ago, LBump said:

So, you are saying one doesn't need to follow instructions like this on a Telelever Design... makes sense to me.

 

I didn't do all that even on the HP4......also,.....look at those dangling calipers :14:

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10 hours ago, LBump said:

So, you are saying one doesn't need to follow instructions like this on a Telelever Design... makes sense to me.

 

Dave Moss is definitely a reputable name. The BMW recommended procedure still differs from his technique though. His way makes more sense to me than what BMW suggests.

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