Some time before the move I ordered up an Exhaust Plumbiing Alternative (EPA) Kit from Bob’s BMW and promptly tossed the kit in Strix’s tank bag and forgot about it. On the way back from the BMW MOA rally in Springfield, MO I felt like the bike ran poorly and the fuel economy was worse than I was used to with Otus. When I got home I tucked the bike into the shop and went about recuperating from the heat. A few days later I was unpacking the bike and rediscovered the EPA kit in the tank bag. It was time to get to work!
The “pollution control” stuff installed at the factory consisted of pipes that connect the cylinder heads to the airbox. Removing these pipes and installing the kit itself was easy enough but to get everything cleaned up I had to get into the airbox to remove and plug some vacuum hoses. Once I was inside the airbox I realized that the fuel delivery plumbing was also overly-complicated so I decided to simplify that as well. Under the starter cover there were two “solenoids” of some kind that the fuel passed through. These were connected to the fuel tank and carburetors through a maze of fuel hose. With the starter cover off I was able to remove the solenoids and sinmplify the top of the fuel delivery plumbing. The most challenging part of the reconfiguration though was adding a crossover fuel line like on Otus. To get the crossover fuel line added I had to remove the airbox entirely. This proved to be a challenge until I figure out how to get crankcase vent tube. With that, and the associated pieces out of the way I was able to remove the airbox, add the crossover fuel line, and button everything back up. I even used the appropriate Airhead braided fuel line when re-plumbing the entire setup! Now it looks like a proper Airhead. A turn of the key and a press of the starter button and Strix came alive, and sounded much better!
While I was able to execute this project to near completion with the parts I had on-hand (the EPA kit, Airhead fuel line, and fuel tees) the EPA kit provided screws to plug the vacuum ports on the carburetors. Unfortunately the vacuum ports on Strix’s carburetors were not threaded so I had to order up a vacuum plug kit from my friends at Amazon to complete the project.
As the saying goes, pictures or it didn’t happen. Unfortunately I’m a bit rusty and I didn’t get any before picture. I do, however, have a couple of after pictures that show what got removed and the neat and clean fuel line plumbing that makes Strix look like a proper Airhead!
At the conclusion of this year’s Airtoberfest Otus’ oil cooler failed. Fortunately the failure was very noisy and I was able to shut him down before all the oil sprayed out. Unfortunately I was 125 miles away from home and no way to repair or bypass the oil cooler on the spot. The get home solution was AAA. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere AAA Premier RV service has been a lifesaver more than once and they came to the rescue yet again! The only constraint was that I was not allowed to ride in the cab of the tow truck due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately a friend was willing to drive me home so all was well and I was home not much later than I would have been had the oil cooler cooperated.
I added the oil cooler at a point in time where I was all about accessorizing Otus. I stumbled upon the oil cooler, thought it would make sense to cool the oil even more and add a little capacity to the oil system. Now that it stranded me I decided to remove it and put Otus’ oil system back to stock. Unfortunately this meant I needed to order a part as the addition of the oil cooler required the replacement of the stock oil filter tube with a much longer tube. This longer oil filter tube prevents the stock oil filter cover from fitting so I once again turned to my friends at Bob’s BMW for the part I needed to get Otus back on the road.
I spent some time reviewing the microfische and decided the part I needed was labeled “pipe” and cost $8.68. Unfortunately I wasn’t 100% certain I had found the correct part due to the vague description so I called Bob’s. They double-checked for me, confirmed it was the correct part, and I added it to my shopping cart. I also bought another oil change kit as I like to have one on-hand for the next oil change. I removed the long pipe, installed the short pipe, buttoned everything up, and Otus started right up with no leaks! While having the oil cooler might have helped in some situations not having it repaired and reinstalled makes Otus less complex and, dare I say – simple by choice.
The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, but Otus’ carburetors needed balancing before taking a ride. Last year I bought a TWINMAX Carburetor Balancer, but ran out of riding season before using it. Now that Winter is giving way to Spring, and it was finally dry on a non-work day, the time for balancing the carburetors seemed right.
There are so many explanations of how to balance carbs with or without a balancing tool I really don’t have a lot to add to the discussion. That said, the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the tool you’re going to use, so read the instructions! I also recommend that the process be performed after the machine is warmed up and has been put through its paces. Oh, and you should also wear gloves because the exhaust gets hot!
So, warm up the motorcycle, read the manual, and wear your gloves! With the carburetors balanced Otus was a happy Airhead. He ran great and that made me happy too!