00 BMW 1983 R100RS To RT Pre-Build Inspection & Project Plan


I picked this bike up in January, 2015 with 83,380 miles on the odometer. It was stored outside for a time, and needs some TLC. I always wanted an RS, and this is the first one I bought.

And, then a bit later I saw a first year 1977 R100RS for sale at way too much money, but I bought it and completely restored it. You can see all about that project here:

The VIN shows the bike was built on February 9, 1983. I found the original owners manual which included information about the original dealer inspection, the date of sale, the first 600 mile check.

Original Owner Manual

Original Owner Manual

Original Dealer Prep Date, March 1, 1983 (European Date Form)

Original Dealer Prep Date, March 1, 1983 (European Date Form)

The original owner was a Mr. Phil Salvatore in Granda Hills, California, who bought the bike on April 20 1983.

Original Purchase Date and Location

Original Purchase Date, Location and First Owner

In one week he had logged 689 miles and was ready for his 600 mile first service.

600 Mile Inspection Date

600 Mile Inspection Date

After carefully inspecting the the dealer stamps for the 5,000 and 10,000 mile inspections, I could make out the dates written underneath them, and added the dates to the margin. The original owner put 5,000 miles on the bike from April 26 through July 2 and the next 5,000 miles in one month.  I suspect he went on a long ride on his summer vacation.

5000 & 10,000 Mile Inspections 1 Month Apart

5000 & 10,000 Mile Inspections 1 Month Apart

There are no other dealer inspections filled in after this. Perhaps the bike was sold, or the owner started to do his own maintenance.

The word “Cancel” was written across the limited warranty page. I’m not sure why.

Interesting "Canceled" Written Across Warranty Page

Interesting “Canceled” Written Across Warranty Page\

Photo Inventory

I took a large number of detailed pictures of the R100RS when I got it in 2015, so I have a record of the original condition and to help when I can’t remember what part goes where.  For instance, when painting, it’s nice to have pictures of the original pin stripe location on the parts, to confirm where oil leaks were, and to identify missing pieces of the bike. The slide show below contains the photo inventory I took of the bike.

As Purchased Condition

The following is a summary of the condition.  The red items will need attention.

Body Work

  • Fairing paint has a large number of stone chips and missing paint.
  • Fairing mounting hardware is not cracked or broken
  • Fairing has no visible cracks
  • Fairing right side rear view mirror bracket has paint missing
  • Windscreen is not cracked or badly scratched but is very dirty
  • Windscreen mounting bolts have white areas (stress concentrations)
  • Seat pan has slight rust and seat has a tear
  • Tail section “R100RS” emblem is missing the white paint on the lettering
  • Package rack is not broken
  • Pannier frame on the left side has a broken weld
  • Panniers have several cracks in the ABS plastic
  • Battery box and lower frame gusset is rusty due to battery acid leaks
  • Rear brake line bracket is rusted from battery acid leaks
  • Battery box plastic battery nut, right side, is stripped and threaded upside down
  • Headlight glass is not cracked or pitted
  • Rubber boots around the fork legs are shot
  • Forks have rubber gaiters that restrict the steering lock to lock
  • Gas tank has no dents
  • Gas tank paint is worn down to the bare metal at the rear due to rubbing on the seat.
  • Gas tank paint is damaged around the filler cap and has some small rust spots
  • Gas tank shows intact red rust protective coating
  • Gas tank filler neck is rusty
  • Gas cap and lock works
  • Gas cap outer black seal is cracked
  • Gas tank petcocks not leaking
  • Gas tank petcocks black cover lettering white paint worn off
  • Original front wheel chain and lock are in spine tube
  • Dashboard is missing right and left labels
  • Dashboard is not cracked
  • Instrument cluster is not cracked
  • Clock is not working
  • Volt meter is working
  • White lettering under center idiot light stack is worn off
  • Rear vendor badges and signs under seat are intact and original
  • Under seat storage compartment in tail is not broken
  • Tire pump under seat
  • Brown side stand installed
  • Rear engine mount threads stripped on left side (Brown Side stand)
  • Side stand original mount is very loose and wallowed out
  • Side stand and center stand springs intact
  • Center stand mounting bolts and bushings are not loose
  • Rust on rear frame and rear foot peg bolts
  • Foot peg rubber is not cracked or worn
  • Swing arm bearing plastic caps are not missing
  • Frame has rust, missing paint and stone chips

Steering and Front End

  • Choke lever paint is worn off in places
  • Rubber dash on handlebars is not ripped
  • Steering damper knob is not broken
  • Front brake reservoir is low
  • Front brake reservoir is not cracked and is not leaking
  • Lettering on left and right switch assemblies is missing in places
  • Front brake lines are not corroded
  • Front calipers show no leaks
  • Front rubber brake lines show no cracks
  • Rear brake lever works
  • No fork oil leaks visible


  • Under dash wiring connectors outer sheath has pulled back exposing wiring
  • Wiring harness to headlight has no cracks in outer sheath
  • Wiring connectors near battery outer sheath has pulled back exposing wiring
  • All running lights work and turn signals flash
  • Headlight works on low and high beam


  • Push rod tubes leaking
  • Oil pan gasket leaking a bit at rear
  • Oil pan is very clean
  • No oil leaks at valve covers
  • Oil leak at bottom of front cover
  • Valve cover paint has chips
  • Bottom of valve covers do not show scrapes
  • Pulse air system piping seems intact with no cracks in rubber hoses
  • Air box metal hold down straps rusty
  • Carburetor dome center round inserts rusty
  • Carburetor dome screws are rusted
  • Carburetor engine side very dirty and covered in crud
  • Carburetor and choke cables bent with exposed outer sheath
  • White paint on carburetor badges mostly missing
  • Black float bowl on right carburetor. [New metal bowl in spare parts]
  • Oil cooler bypass is not leaking
  • Exhaust headers and cross over are very rusty
  • Mufflers have some small dents
  • Mufflers chrome has numerous stains
  • Rear tail light and turn signals not cracked
  • Rear fender not cracked
  • San Jose fork brace installed

Transmission, Drive Shaft, Rear Drive

  • Rusty transmission fill plug
  • Some oil stains on back of transmission near drive shaft boot
  • Oil at bottom and rear of transmission
  • Tachometer cable boot is cracked
  • Rear drive was painted black and paint is peeling
  • Rear drive drain plug is leaking
  • Shift lever linkage is loose on the foot peg pivot pin

Rear Brakes,  Wheels

  • Rear brake line bracket under battery is rusted
  • Rear brake reservoir is low
  • Rear master cylinder shows no leaks
  • Rear brake fluid reservoir hose looks very old
  • Rear cast wheel paint is chipped
  • Front cast wheel paint is chipped
  • Some oil on rear wheel next to wheel bearing
  • Some oil on rear brake bracket on rear axle

2019 Restart, RS/T High Level Build Plan

After I got the bike I did several necessary projects, as noted below. The original idea in 2015 was to restore the bike as an RS. But now, in 2019, the plan has changed to a resto-mod of the bike from the RS to RT configuration. Then I’ll have both a 1977 R100RS and 1983 R100RT. Since there is no “RS” or “RT” on the engine badge, doing this on a 1983 seems like it’s a better bike to do this to.

After I got the bike, and before the 1977 RS showed up in 2016, I completed the following work.

  • Carburetor rebuild,
  • Oil filter pressure relief valve repair
  • New fork seals,
  • Odometer repair and clock repair,
  • Instrument cluster circuit board repair,
  • New diode board with solid mounts,
  • New alternator brushes,
  • Pulse-air system removal,
  • Extensive pannier repairs and fixed broken pannier bracket weld.

Below is a list of the proposed work by major sub-system for the 2019 project restart.

Major Service

I did a major service in 2015 and rode ride the bike for awhile to get some impressions about how well the engine is running and the suspension is performing. Interestingly enough, a lot of the rubber is in good condition indicating that a previous owner cared for the bike. Based on the original inspection, and the 2019 goal of converting the RS in to and RT, I anticipate doing the following work.

Carburetor, Petcock Rebuild & Refinish

In 2015, I did a complete carburetor rebuild and refinished them including repaint the white lettering on the carburetor badges. I rebuilt the Karcoma petcocks and refinished them. I’ll disassemble the carburetors and inspect the O-rings since the bike ended up sitting for over two years.


Shortly after I got the bike, the oil pressure light started coming on. I found a broken oil  filter pressure relief valve and repaired that. I checked the oil pickup and replaced the gasket and oil pan gasket.

I’ll do a top end rebuild. I will pull the pistons and upgrade the pistons, rings and wrist pins with 9.5:1 pistons replacing the modest 8.2:1 pistons the bike comes with. I will have the connecting rods machined to true the centers as they tend to stretch with this many miles. I’ll replace the push rod tube seals, head gasket and all the top end O-rings.

I’ll inspect the valves and seats in the heads for wear. If there are signs of valve recession, which would be expected for this year and the mileage if the problem was not addressed previously, I’ll have the heads rebuilt with new exhaust valve seats, valves, guides and springs.

I’ll replace the front and rear engine seals, oil pump o-ring and cam shaft seal. I may also replace the timing chain as with this many miles the crankshaft sprocket is likely worn and the chain stretched.

Clutch, Transmission, Swing Arm, Rear Drive

I’ll remove these and inspect the clutch for wear and the transmission seals for leakage. If needed, I’ll have the clutch rebuilt, or replace it.

On the rear drive, I’ll remove the black paint and refinish the rear drive. I will repaint or powder coat the swing arm.

Frame, Luggage, Luggage Frame

I fixed the broken weld on the luggage frame, and repaired all the cracks in the luggage in 2015. But that luggage and luggage frame ended up on my R75/6 when I gave that bike to my son. I replaced the rear engine mount with stripped threads in 2015 soon after I got the bike. I’ll look for an appropriate frame for the bike that matches the hepco becker bags I use on my 1977 RS. Then, one set of luggage will work on both bikes.


I’ll inspect the disk brake pads and inspect the front and rear master cylinders, and repair, or replace as needed. I’ll check the rotors for warping and thickness and it they aren’t up to par, I’ll replace them. I’ll inspect the steel brake lines for rust and replace if required. I’ll replace all the rubber brake line components. I will repaint the front and rear calipers.


I’ll pull the fork tubes and inspect the internals. I may upgrade the fork to a cartridge emulator design (Race Tech Gold Valve). The rear shocks will likely be replaced as well.


I’ll clean the wheels and get them painted or powder coated as the original paint is not up to par. Wheel bearings will be inspected, pre-load adjusted and repacked with grease.


I am getting used RT handlebars and will have to replace the top throttle and clutch cables to the Bowden assembly since the RT bars are longer than the RS. I plan to update the fork top plate with the Toaster Tan version to improve the handling.

Electrical System

The tape at the bottom of the voltage regulator is hanging, so it’s possible this has been worked on. The wiring harness will be removed so the frame can be painted or powder coated. I’ll repair the outer plastic sheath where it is torn and separated from a connector body. I will get the RT sub-harness that powers the RT turn signals, ignition, volt meter and clock.

Engine Electrical System

I plan to open up the electronic ignition “bean can” to lube the advance pivots and clean it. I’ll replace the Hall Effect sensors as preventative maintenance. These eventually fail due to heat.

Due to an intermittent charging light flicker, I replaced the alternator brushes in 2015 and I replaced the diode board and the rubber diode board mounts as rubber mounts are the wrong solution to a problem BMW had and these were broken.  I may replace the alternator with a higher output version.

Body Work

With the decision to convert this to an RT body, I will get used upper body panels, windscreen and associated mounting hardware, dash board, dash wiring harness and the air vents. I don’t plan to use the plastic side storage bins as they often damage the paint on the tank since the clearance is so small. I will likely do something different for fairing storage. I’m thinking of doing some leather work, and/or alter the tank bra to act as a removable set of tank panniers. I’m also considering adding wood inlay to the dash with veneer marquetry.


The body work will need repainting. I’m considering some options that I think will be distinctive. I’m going to try to repaint the white lettering under the indicator lights on the instrument cluster if I can come up with a usable method to do that.

2019 Project Restart Walk-around Video

I had cleaned the bike up quite a bit during the 2015 work, so it looks nicer in 2019 then when I took delivery in 2015. Now that I have a different project end-state in mind; a resto-mod into an RT configuration, I did a walk-around video of the bike in 2019 before I start the RS/T rest-mod project.


2019-01-30 Edit planned procedures, reorganize content.
2019-02-28 Update to reflect new direction for the build, RS conversion to RT, RS/T.
2019-02-28 Added pre-build walk-around video.
2019-11-17 Edits and typos.

15 thoughts on “00 BMW 1983 R100RS To RT Pre-Build Inspection & Project Plan

  1. Hi Brook,
    Nice blue Easter egg you have brought us here, looks like a promising project.
    Looking forward to read your work logs.

    Thank you for the update


  2. This is gonna be SOOooooooo informative to watch the process. I’m sure I will learn a ton about what to do/ look for in my 1982 R 80 RT! Press onward

    • Hi Joe,

      Thank you. I’ll certainly be learning a few things myself. I’ve already found a number of differences between 1973 and 1983 BMW design and engineering.


  3. Hi brook,
    I’m hoping you can help me with a problem on my 1983 r100. When i bought it the back brake pedal didn’t seem to do much. After an inspection i could see the pads were in a bad condition but nothing else obvious. I changed the pads but couldn’t seem to bleed the brakes. Ive had the whole back brake assembly off the bike (appart from the disc). I noticed a bit of weeping where the caliper joins together so split the caliper & replaced the small o ring. I put the brake assembly back together (off the bike) and it seemed to bleed up fine. When putting it all back on the bike i had got the hose between the master cylinder & caliper on the wrong way so i slackened it slightly and spun it into the correct position. I made sure everything was tightened up and tried to bleed it again & it was having none of it ???
    Unfortunately i ran out of time to do anymore but will be back at it tomorrow. I hope you can help. I’m an electrician with limited mechanical expertise ?
    Many thanks, Luke

    • Hi Luke,

      I’ve not done this work yet on my ’83 R100RS. I’ve heard it can be frustrating to get the air out of that system. One trick I’ve heard is to use a syringe to push fluid in through the bleeder valve to fill the caliper. Others have continued pushing fluid from the bleeder valve until fluid returns to the fluid reservoir. Tapping on the fittings while pumping also is suggested to help small air bubbles break free. Removing the caliper and tilting it so the lines are up hill should help as gravity is now your friend and bubbles will rise upward along the pipe back to the fluid reservoir.

      I hope this is helpful.


      • Thanks for your quick response brook. We ended up taking the caliper off as the bleed nipple is at the bottom so spun it round to try and push the air to the top. I haven’t tried injecting fluid thru the bleed nipple but that is another avenue to go down. I’l let you know how i get on. Great blogs by the way. Like i say I’m of limited mechanical knowledge but your blogs are easy to follow & very imformative. Keep up the good work ????

  4. Hi Brook, Great blog, the pictures and notes are very helpful and amazingly thorough. I just became a first time BMW owner, an 83 or 84 R100RS that has sat since 85! It looks complete but needs a top to bottom rehab. Can you help clarify the year, the last ten vin digits-02E6226XXX. I read this may be an 84. Engine # is 83 399XXX. The brake lines show 05/83. It’ll be a major project, just want to know what I got. Thanks, Stuart

    • Hi Stuart,

      Thank you for the kind words and welcome to BMW airhead bikes 🙂

      Take a look at Phil Hawksley’s site to learn what VIN were made for each model year.
      –> http://www.bmbikes.co.uk/enginechassis.htm

      Note, BMW typically started a model year on September 1 of the preceeding year. For example, the 1st 1984 bikes were available in September 1983. For this reason, some early 1984 model year bikes show 1983 on their title.

      I hope this helps.


  5. Aloha! I just finished reading your article in the December issue of BMWON. I am about to start restoration of a 1972 Yamaha 350 two-stroke twin. I was happy to see that your strategy closes matches my own ideas.

    I have been browsing your website and I am wondering whether there is a link to the Excel spreadsheet that was featured in the magazine article. At first glance, it seems that it would be great time-saver.

    In the meantime, I will be following your restoration projects. I’m sure there are a wealth of ideas that I can apply to my own projects.

    Mahalo! And keep up the good work.


    • Hi Robert,

      Thank you for your note. Your project bike is one I would like to own. Best of success on it.

      The spreadsheet(s) are simple. The parts one is nothing more than a listing of parts by category. I copy the part number and description from an on-line fiche, such as found at MAX BMW’s web site. I use their prices for budgeting. When I order parts, I fill in the actual price and/or tax and shipping I paid and change the color of the text to reflect it is ordered. When I get the parts, I change the color to indicate I received them. So, not difficult to make up such a spreadsheet for your project. I imagine Yamaha’s part numbers are hierarchical to indicate major sub-assembly the part belongs to, so organizing parts ordered by sub-assembly will help keep track of things.

      The work plan spreadsheet is just a way to collect the work I need to do. I review the shop manuals and then put in some of the main activities required to flesh out the work. It is a tool to help me visualize what sequence I need to do the work before I begin and to ensure I have thought about tools, special or otherwise, and have all the parts I need. So, you can put as little or as much detail into it as you wish. The main thing is to use it as an aid to thinking about all the work you need to do and in what order.

      It sounds like you are in Hawaii. If so, enjoy 🙂


  6. Hello Brook, I also own a very original 1977 40mm BMW-RS here in Denver that is wearing it’s original satin silver/blue paint. While it looks fine from 10’ away, it has numerous rock chips on the fairing and is in need of a quality repaint. Can you recommend a paint shop in the Denver area that would be familiar with the proper BMW color/shade/sheen/brand of paint for an accurate paint match? Thanks!

    • Hi Frank,

      The fellow who repainted mine, Mike Galindo, “Painkiller Customs”, moved to Phoenix. He did a nice job, but is no longer local.

      I know another fellow who did paint work for a bike shop I used to work at part time. His name is Craig (Biff) Weber, 303-808-2762.

      Note that any painter can get the correct colors from Holt’s Design (formerly Holt’s BMW) as they are a distributor for Glasurit paint, which is the brand BMW uses. Randy Holt is the premier BMW bike painter, but he’s in Athens Ohio, so that’s a long hike.

      The color code for the paint is:
      Silver Blue (530)
      Blue Pinstripe (105)

      I hope that helps.


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