Airhead Special Tools

Contents

I put this page together to illustrate the various special tools I use on my rebuild/restore projects. I organize the tools using the parts number system main categories. That said, I’m an amature hobbyist, not a professional BMW airhead mechanic, so this list may be missing some important tools for various kinds of work.

Many of the BMW airhead tools I have were made and sold by Cycle Works. That said, over the years they have reduced the number of tools they provide, so some of the tools I show below are no longer available from Cycle Works.

00-General

This category is for special tools you can use for a variety of purposes. Of course you should have a set of metric sockets and wrenches, flat blade and Philips screwdrivers.

Air Compressor

I use a 10 gallon air compressor with a maximum pressure of 120 psi.

120 PSI Air Compressor With 10 Gallon Tank

120 PSI Air Compressor With 10 Gallon Tank

Parts Washer

My parts washer uses non-petroleum, water-based solvent so it’s a bit more environmentally friendly.

Water Solvent Parts Washer

Water-Based Solvent Parts Washer

Shop Press

I have a Harbor Freight 20 ton shop press. I use this when disassembling the shafts in the transmission.

Hydraulic Press

Hydraulic Press

Bearing Separator

I got this kit from Harbor Freight. I use it to remove bearings and gears from shafts, typically on the transmission.

Harbor Freight Bearing Puller Parts

Harbor Freight Bearing Puller Parts

Measuring

Measurements are important in doing mechanical work.

Bore Gauge

These can be used to measure the diameter of the cylinders or any other interior diameter of a hole. I show how to do this here:

Bore Gauge Kit

Bore Gauge Kit

Bore Gauge Measuring Tip

Bore Gauge Measuring Tip

Measuring Cylinder Bore Diameter

Measuring Cylinder Bore Diameter

Depth Gauge

I use this when shimming a transmission and when measuring the depth of the oil filter canister so I can shim it properly to get the O-ring to seal correctly.

Depth Gauge (0.001 " Resolution)

Depth Gauge (0.001 ” Resolution)

Measuring Depth of Outer Race of Transmission Bearing

Measuring Depth of Outer Race of Transmission Bearing

Dial Gauge

This is part of the bore gauge. It also is used on a gooseneck clamp to measure runout of brake rotors and other rotating parts.

Harbor Freight Dial Indicator-0.001 Inch

Harbor Freight Dial Indicator-0.001 Inch

Harbor Freight Clamping Dial Indicator Tool

Harbor Freight Clamping Dial Indicator Tool

Feeler Gauge

These are used for measuring gaps, such as ring gaps.

Feeler Gauge & Glass Plate For Measuring Flatness

Feeler Gauge & Glass Plate For Measuring Flatness

Micrometers

I use these to measure thickness of shims, pistons and other parts. I have a set of three that go from 0-1 inch, 1-2 inch and 2-3 inch and another that goes from 3-4 inch.

Various Size Micrometers That Measure From 0 to 3 Inches

Various Size Micrometers That Measure From 0 to 3 Inches

3"-4" Micrometer; I Have Several For 1"-2" and 2"-3" Inch Measurements

3-4 Inch Micrometer

Vernier Calipers

These can be used to measure thickness of round shafts and the depth of lands from a surface such as the depth of the oil filter canister. I have a 6 inch and 8 inch caliper.

8 inch Vernier Caliper

8 inch Vernier Caliper

Measuring Swing Arm Offset With Vernier Caliper

Measuring Swing Arm Offset With Vernier Caliper

Seal Pullers

These are used to pull seals. I have a general purpose seal puller and a special one to pull seals on a shaft without removing the shaft. This is handy for removing the front crankshaft seal.

General Purpose Seal Puller

General Purpose Seal Puller

Lisle 58430 Shaft Seal Puller

Lisle 58430 Shaft Seal Puller

Shaft Seal Puller Installed To Remove Front Crankshaft Seal

Shaft Seal Puller Installed To Remove Front Crankshaft Seal

Special Wrenches

Impact Wrench-Air

I have a 800 Ft-Lb air impact wrench which can be adjusted to three different maximum torques. It comes in hand for removing fork tube nuts.

Air Impact Driver (800 Ft-Ibs)

Air Impact Driver (800 Ft-Ibs)

Impact Wrench-Battery

I have a 20 volt electric battery impact wrench. It comes in handy to remove the alternator rotor bolt and the Allen bolts that fasten the fork slider to the fork damper.

Small Electric Impact Driver

Small Electric Impact Driver

Impact Wrench-Hammer

This is handy to use for loosening stubborn screws such as the Phillips head screws used to secure the early oil pump cover.

Hammer Impact Driver

Hammer Impact Driver

Removing Oil Pump Cover with Impact Driver

Removing Oil Pump Cover with Impact Driver

Torque Wrenches

I have three torque wrenches that cover different ranges of torque. The lowest is an INCH-Lb wrench, the middle goes from 10 to 75 Ft-Lbs and the bigger one goes up to 200 Ft-Lb.

Torque Wrenches

Torque Wrenches

Metric Allen Wrench Sockets

Allen Sockets

Allen Sockets

I like to use Allen wrench sockets in my socket wrench as BMW used a lot of Allen bolt fasteners.

Snap Ring Pliers

These remove snap rings.

Snap Ring Pliers

Snap Ring Pliers

MAP & Propane Gas Torch

I use these torches to heat parts such as the transmission case when I am removing the shafts. I also use them to heat the engine block when removing, installing a crankshaft.

MAP Gas Torch

MAP Gas Torch

11-Engine

I use these tools are to remove, install and test engine components.

Compression Tester

I use this to check compression in the cylinders.

Compression Tester

Compression Tester

Leak Down Tester

I use this to test rings, valves and valve guides for leaks.

Leak Down Tester

Leak Down Tester

Oil Pressure Tester

I use this to test the oil pressure when the engine is running.

Oil Pressure Tester

Oil Pressure Tester

Oil Pressure Tester Adapter and Hose Attached

Oil Pressure Tester Adapter and Hose Attached

Oil Pressure Test Gauge Connected to Oil Pressure Switch Sender Port

Oil Pressure Test Gauge Connected to Oil Pressure Switch Sender Port

Connecting Rod Bolt Wrench

This removes the bolts that secure the connecting rod to the crankshaft. The NAPA part number is 2305.

Napa 12 Point Tool for Rod Bolts

Napa 12 Point Tool for Rod Bolts

12 Point Bit Fits in 13 mm Socket

12 Point Bit Fits in 13 mm Socket

Here is a link showing how I use this tool.

Flywheel Immobilizer & Puller

You can use a screwdriver to immobilize the flywheel by putting it between the teeth on the ring gear and butting it up against the edge of the engine bell housing.

Immobilize Flywheel with Large Blade Screw Driver In Between Ring Gear Teeth

Immobilize Flywheel with Large Blade Screw Driver In Between Ring Gear Teeth

There is also a tool from Cycle Works that you can use to immobilize the flywheel and to pull it.

Cycle Works Flywheel Immobilizer And Puller

Cycle Works Flywheel Immobilizer And Puller

Cycle Works Flywheel Puller Used To Immobilize Crankshaft When Loosening Flywheel Bolts

Cycle Works Flywheel Puller Used To Immobilize Crankshaft When Loosening Flywheel Bolts

Cycle Works Flywheel Puller Mounted on Flywheel

Cycle Works Flywheel Puller Mounted To Remove Flywheel

Cycle Works Flywheel Puller Using Center Bolt To Pull Flywheel

Cycle Works Flywheel Puller Using Center Bolt To Pull Flywheel

Here is a link showing how I use this tool.

Push Rod Tube Installation Tool

This tool helps drive the push rod tools into and out of the cylinder. I got this from Euro MotoElectrics. There are two sizes of push rod tubes, 18 mm and 16 mm so use the tool that fits your push rod tubes.

Siebenrock Push Rod Tube Mandrel (18 mm)

Siebenrock Push Rod Tube Mandrel (18 mm)

Driving Push Rod Tube Into Cylinder

Driving Push Rod Tube Into Cylinder

Here is a link showing how I use this tool.

Timing Chain Cover Removal Tool

I use this tool from Cycle Works to remove the front timing cover.

Cycle Works Instructions and Puller Tool Parts for Removing Inner Timing Cover

You can read about how I use it here.

Camshaft And Crankshaft Front Main Seal Tool

I like to use a special seal puller, Lisle 58430 shaft seal puller. It’s available at some auto parts stores, but I got mine from Amazon.

Lisle Shaft Seal Puller

Lisle Shaft Seal Puller

Shaft Seal Puller Installed

Shaft Seal Puller Installed

You can read about how I replace the front crankshaft seal here:

You can read about how I replace the camshaft seal here:

Crankshaft Rear Main Seal Tool

I use this tool from Cycle Works to remove and install the rear main seal.

Cycle Works Rear Main Seal Puller Parts

Cycle Works Rear Main Seal Puller Parts

You can read about how I do this work here.

Crankshaft Guide Ring Removal Tool

The later model airhead engines replaced the earlier heavy flywheel with a lighter weight one. These have a guide ring that rubs against the rear main seal. The guide ring can get a deep groove in it and need to be replaced. This Cycle Works tool can be used to remove a guide ring.

Cycle Works Guide Ring Removal Tool

Cycle Works Guide Ring Removal Tool

Guide Ring Removal Tool Installed

Guide Ring Removal Tool Installed

Here is a link showing how I use this tool.

Crankshaft Timing Gear & Nose Bearing Removal Tool

I use the Cycle Works tool to remove the crankshaft timing gear and the nose bearing.

Cycle Works Crankshaft Nose Bearing & Timing Sprocket Puller Tool

Cycle Works Crankshaft Nose Bearing & Timing Sprocket Puller Tool

Cycle Works Tool Parts To Install Crankshaft Timing Chain Sprocket and Nose Bearing

Cycle Works Tool Parts To Install Crankshaft Timing Chain Sprocket and Nose Bearing

You can read about how I do this work here.

Crankshaft Main Bearing Carrier Removal Tool

Removing the crankshaft and/or replacing the front and rear crankshaft main bearings is precision work. This is not a task I would recommend a first timer to attempt without the assistance of an expert airhead mechanic.

Here is the Cycle Works tools for removing the crankshaft main bearing carrier.

Cycle Works Stage III Tools

Cycle Works Stage III Tools

Here is how I removed the crankshaft. I had an expert airhead mechanic replace the rear main bearing.

12-Engine Electrics

These tools are used with the engine electrics including the alternator charging system and ignition timing system.

Timing Light

I use this to set the engine timing. It clamps onto a spark plug wire.

Ignition Timing Light

Ignition Timing Light

Alternator Rotor Removal Bolt

I use a special bolt to remove the alternator rotor from the crankshaft. I got this one from Euro MotoElectrics.

Hardened Alternator Rotor Removal Bolt

Hardened Alternator Rotor Removal Bolt

You can see how I use it here.

13-Fuel Preparation

No special tools required.

16-Fuel Supply

No special tools required.

18-Exhaust System

Exhaust Header Nut Wrench

I use this special wrench to remove and install the exhaust header nut. I got this one from BMW. However, Euro MotoElectrics also supplies a version of this tool.

BMW Exhaust Nut Wrench

BMW Exhaust Nut Wrench

EME EXNut-Wrench758-2T

EME EXNut-Wrench758-2T

Using Exhaust Nut Wrench

Using Exhaust Nut Wrench

Here is how I use it to remove and install the exhaust header nuts.

21-Clutch

Clutch Plate Centering Tool

I got this tool from Euro Motoelectrics. There are two of these tools, one for 1970-1980 and the other for 1981 on.

EME Supplied Clutch Disk Centering Tool-Pre 1981 Clutches

EME Supplied Clutch Disk Centering Tool-Pre 1981 Clutches

EME Supplied Clutch Disk Centering Tool-1981 And Later Clutches

EME Supplied Clutch Disk Centering Tool-1981 And Later Clutches

Here is how I do this work.

23-Transmission

Special tools are needed to disassembly/assemble the transmission. Rebuilding a transmission is precision work. You should have completed a lot of other detailed work on an airhead motor before attempting to rebuild a transmission.

You can read about how I use these tools here.

Output Flange Removal Tool

I got this from Cycle Works.

Cycle Works Output Flange Puller Tool Parts

Cycle Works Output Flange Puller Tool Parts

Gear Shaft Shimming Plate

I got this from Cycle Works.

Cycle Works Transmission Bearing Measuring Plate

Cycle Works Transmission Bearing Measuring Plate

Cycle Works Transmission Bearing Measuring Plate

Cycle Works Transmission Bearing Measuring Plate

Transmission  Disassembly & Assembly Tools

A friend of mine made these for me. Here are the drawings with specifications I provided him so he could make the tools. I had access to a set of BMW transmission tools I borrowed from an airhead mechanic so I could take the measurements.

Airhead Transmission Tools Drawings

Airhead Transmission Tools Drawings

Airhead Transmission Tools Drawings

Airhead Transmission Tools Drawings

Airhead Transmission Tools Drawings

Airhead Transmission Tools Drawings

And here are pictures of the actual tools he made for me.

Transmission Tools with Holder Machined For Me From BMW's Tools By Fellow Airhead Bill Lambert

Transmission Tools with Holder Machined For Me From BMW’s Tools

Transmission Tools

Transmission Tools

Drifts For Installing Input Shaft Seal

Drifts For Installing Input Shaft Seal

Input Shaft Seal Drift Parts

Input Shaft Seal Drift Parts

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Roller Bearing Inner Race

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Roller Bearing Inner Race

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Roller Bearing Inner Race

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Roller Bearing Inner Race

Drift For Removing Ball Bearings From Shafts

Drift For Removing Ball Bearings From Shafts

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Ball Bearing

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Ball Bearing

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Ball Bearing

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Ball Bearing

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Ball Bearing

Drift For Removing Input Shaft Ball Bearing

Drift For Compressing Input Shaft Torsion Shock Spring

Drift For Compressing Input Shaft Torsion Shock Spring

Drift For Compressing Input Shaft Torsion Shock Spring

Drift For Compressing Input Shaft Torsion Shock Spring

Drift For Compressing Input Shaft Torsion Shock Spring

Drift For Compressing Input Shaft Torsion Shock Spring

31-Front Suspension

Fork Tube Cap Nut Tool

I use a 36 mm socket that I ground down so the face of the socket is flat and does no have the tapered end. The nut is very thin and you need full contact on the face of the nut so you don’t round it off.

Grinding Off 36mm Socket Bevel On Side Of Grinding Wheel

Grinding Off 36 mm Socket Bevel On Side Of Grinding Wheel

36 mm Socket with Bevel Ground Off

36 mm Socket with Bevel Ground Off

Steering Stem Preload Nut Tool

This tool is included in the motorcycle tool kit.

BMW Hook Spanner & Pin Wrench

BMW Hook Spanner & Pin Wrench

Steering Head Bearings Puller/Installer

I got these tools from Cycle Works.

Outer Race Puller Plate Parts

Outer Race Puller Plate Parts

Outer Bearing Race Installation Tool Parts

Outer Bearing Race Installation Tool Parts

Cycle Works Steering Stem Lower Bearing Puller Tools

Cycle Works Steering Stem Lower Bearing Puller Tools

Here is how I do this work.

Damper Rod Spring Compressor

There are “piston rings” on the earlier fork damper rods. I use this special tool to compress them when I install the damper rod inside the fork tube. This is a BMW tool.

Damper Rod "Piston Ring" Compressor

Damper Rod “Piston Ring” Compressor

Installing Damper Rod "Piston Ring" Compressor

Installing Damper Rod “Piston Ring” Compressor

Here is how I do this work.

32-Steering

No special tools required.

33-Rear Axle & Suspension

Swing Arm Pivot Bolt Lock Nut Socket

The swing arm is suspended by a pivot bolt. The bolt is torqued and a lock nut tightened. There is little room for the socket, so I use a cut-down 27 mm socket. You can get this from Cycle Works.

Cut-down 27 mm Socket Fits Inside Pivot Bolt Hole In Frame

Cut-down 27 mm Socket Fits Inside Pivot Bolt Hole In Frame

Torque Swing Arm Pivot Bolt Lock Nuts Using Cut-Down 27 mm Socket

Torque Swing Arm Pivot Bolt Lock Nuts Using Cut-Down 27 mm Socket

Swing Arm Bearing Puller

I got this tool from Cycle Works. You can also use it to pull the wheel bearings.

Cycle Works Swing Arm/Wheel Bearing Puller Kit

Cycle Works Swing Arm/Wheel Bearing Puller Kit

You can see how I do this here.

Drive Shaft Removal/Installation Tools

The pre-1979 drive shafts did not use a spring to cushion the drive shaft from rotational  shock loads. So there are two drive shaft removal tools: one for no-spring and one for spring drive shafts. I got both tools from Cycle Works.

Cycle Works Drive Shaft Bell Housing Removal Tool; 1970-1980

Cycle Works Drive Shaft Bell Housing Removal Tool; 1970-1980

Cycle Works Drive Shaft Removal Tool Components-1981+

Cycle Works Drive Shaft Removal Tool Components-1981+

Here is how I do this work on both types of drive shaft.

Rear Drive Disassembly Tools

There are a number of special tools needed to disassemble/assemble the rear drive. This is precision work. Consequently, this work is likely best performed by a BMW mechanic. Here is a description of the tools and procedure a professional BMW airhead mechanic used to disassemble, rebuild and assemble a rear drive.

34-Brakes

Vacuum Brake Bleeder

This is a handy tool to get most of the air out of a disk brake system from Air Zapper.

Air Zapper

Air Zapper

36-Wheels

Wheel Bearing Puller

I got this from Cycle Works. It is the same tool used to pull the swing arm bearings.

Cycle Works Swing Arm/Wheel Bearing Puller Kit

Cycle Works Swing Arm/Wheel Bearing Puller Kit

You can see how I do this here.

Wheel Bearing Preload Tool

I use a spring scale with string and a couple different length tubes to set the wheel bearing pre-load.

Gram Measuring Spring Scale and 8 Feet of String

Gram Measuring Spring Scale and 8 Feet of String

1 Inch Pipe for Snowflake Wheels (Left-80 mm); (Right-113 mm) For Spoke Wheels

1 Inch Pipe for Snowflake Wheels (Left-80 mm); (Right-113 mm) For Spoke Wheels

You can see how I do this here.

Spoke Wrench & Spoke Torque Wrench

I use this when I lace a wheel. The first picture is a non-torque spoke wrench I got from Boxer 2 Valve and the second is the spoke torque wrench I got from Warp 9 Racing.

Spoke Wrench From Boxer 2 Valve

Spoke Wrench From Boxer 2 Valve

Warp 9 Racing Spoke Torque Wrench Kit

Warp 9 Racing Spoke Torque Wrench Kit

Here is how I use these to lace and true the wheels.

Wheel Balancing Stand

I use a Marc Parnes wheel balancer kit and place it on a pair of jack stands to balance my wheels.

Marc Parnes Wheel Balancing Tool

Marc Parnes Wheel Balancing Tool

46-Frame, Fairing, Cases

No special tools required.

51-Vehicle Trim

No special tools required.

52-Seat

No special tools required.

61-Electrical System

Soldering Irons

I have a small pencil soldering iron for small parts and a large soldering gun for bigger connections.

Flux, Solder Gun and Solder

Flux, Solder Gun and Solder

Wire Stripper & Connector Crimper

You can get these at any auto parts store. They have stripper holes sized for different wire diameters and crimper blocks for different wire sizes.

Crimp, Strip Pliers

Volt/Ohm Meter

You can get these on-line or at Radio Shack. This is a Fluke meter a friend gave me, but I have a couple others from Radio Shack.

Fluke Volt-Ohm Multi-Meter

Fluke Volt-Ohm Multi-Meter

Radio Shack Volt-Ohm Meter

Radio Shack Volt-Ohm Meter

62-Instruments Dash

No special tools required.

63-Lighting

No special tools required.

10 thoughts on “Airhead Special Tools

  1. Please clarify this dwg (shown on Flikr) as the views do not agree orthographically.
    Input shaft-Compression spring snap ring removal tool

    • Ron,

      Tube OD is 40mm, ID is 30mm. The lip is cut into the OD so it is 5 mm wide, hence, the lip diameter is 35mm. If you look at the pictures of the part, you will see how it is made.

      Best.
      Brook.

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