Saturday, 16 June 2018

How to wire a BMW Navigator II straight to your battery

If you're anything like me, you will appreciate the simplicity and fiscal sensibility of an older item - in this case it's a sat nav that gives a straight forward 2D map view of where you want to go, none of this 3D-can't-see-what's-coming-up silliness you get with any modern 'nav. BMW Navigator IIs (and their Garmin Streetpilot 2610 counterparts) can also be found on certain auction sites for around £50 if you look hard enough, which is bargainous by anyone's standard. Plus they're mega retro. There's just one problem - if you're one of the ~95% of people who don't have a BMW ready wired to take one of these units (such as a K1200RS) then you'll find it quite difficult to actually wire the bloody thing in. Here is how I did it, a culmination of a surprising amount of reading up on the subject..

Firstly, if you're really unlucky or misguided, you may have bought a unit without the power cable. Mine came with the cable chopped up to fit a Bosch power socket similar to a cigarette lighter socket but not quite, these are common fitment on BMW motorcycles for some reason. This was a problem because the wires in the power lead are aluminium (!) and the strands would work harden and break off under the screws over the course of a day. As you can imagine, stripping back the wires and reattaching them to the connector every morning became quite tiring. If you need a cable then I found mine on ebay under the title "GARMIN StreetPilot 2610,2620,2720,2820 GPS DATA BMW Amplifier Harness Kit Cable" but I think it also has the BMW part number "71 60 7 686 670". It also bears the code "320-00171-53" if that helps anyone..
So, that's step one out of the way. But there's a problem isn't there? You still can't connect it to the battery because this cable ends in a frankly bizarre connector that is special to BMW. It's a shame to chop this off and solder straight on to the wires because this connector is waterproof and it allows you to easily disconnect your GPS unit. So, there are a couple of ways to go with this - you can either buy the proper BMW connector block to fit the other side (BMW part number "611657 83300413586" available on ebay Germany for £26.67 at time of writing) or you can search for connector number 968402 and see what comes up - BMW also use this connector in their cars, as do JLR and maybe more. The only thing to watch for is where the "rib" on the top is located, there are clearly several versions of the 968402 and you need the one to fit your Garmin cable..
Mine came from a "3 series", whatever that is. They seem to be a popular connector for parking sensors, whatever those are. It was £10, still quite a lot for a chomped off bit of loom but better than the new prices!

With that you'll need to know which is +12v and which is negative, the Garmin cable is traditionally coloured with the red wire is live and the black wire as ground but a kind soul over on the advrider forum has made a lovely diagram:
Of course you're working with the right side of the diagram, I hope that was obvious..! They state that J2 Pin 1 is ground and J2 Pin 3 is +12v, which I can say is correct.

With a bit of wire stripping, twisting, soldering and heatshrinking done it was time to wire the Nav into a battery and hope that the people on advrider weren't lying to me..
Happily the wires out of the "3 series" block are also copper so hopefully it won't work harden and break off! This also somehow makes the BMW cradle work with the GPS unit, there is no extra work required. Happy Navigating!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Mitas/Sava MC25 Bogart review

I'll cut to the chase - these are awful. Awful. If you ever might find yourself riding in the wet, even the damp, do not get these as you might die. I've never known anything like it. Read on for more, should you wish..

At a mileage that seemed far too low, the original fitment Dunlop TT900 on the rear of the Z250SL was worn out. Ebay was scoured for a replacement, the cheaper and more interesting the better - you may have noticed I like to try out the less premium products on offer! Up came a pair of Mitas MC25 Bogarts, barely used, for a mere £55 delivered - bought! Mitas don't have much of a name in the world of road tyres but they have been around forever in the off road market, and are well regarded. A few years ago they bought a rival firm called "Sava" who did have a good reputation in the world of road tyres for small bikes, their MC7 was particularly popular for a while. Now was my chance to try this particular Slovenian delight! But first I have to remove the rear wheel from a bike that doesn't have a centre stand, what a joke..
Is it really that hard to fit a centre stand, Kawasaki? And the rest of you lot making bikes. Look at this, you think this is acceptable? Anyway.. After a while faffing with the rear caliper on its carrier that has to locate on the rear axle and a stub on the inside of the swingarm at the same time (difficult..) I had a tyre that looked like this.
I've never seen a tyre so.. Pointy? I started off at Kawasaki's recommendation of 32 PSI for the rear, which was fine for the OE Dunlop but this looked a little overinflated, like riding on a knife edge. Never mind, only one way to find out..

Another week, another load of commuting. The tyre seemed a bit hard but not bad, not overly affected by bumps or road imperfections and in the first few dry days it had more grip than I needed - I was pleased. Then the first wet morning came, I set of as normal and all was well until I reached a junction that is made of a strange road surface, big stones perhaps to be hard wearing - unfortunately these polish flat over time. I set off in first gear, the rear slid out so I pulled the clutch and kicked it into second while the bike sorted itself out. Put the (meagre!) power down again and the rear span straight up, no problem. The rest of the commute was rather subdued!

Thankfully the commute home was dry, so again no drama. I figured the pressure must be too high, giving me only a tiny contact patch - I let it down to 28 PSI. This seemed to have no ill effects on handling and gave a more comfortable ride. There was no more rain that week but at the weekend I had a day out in the Peak district on a hot day, when I actually had to stop and let yet more air out of the tyre as it had become so hard again in the heat - now at 26 PSI! This feels slightly squirmy until the tyre is warm but it is what I've stayed with. This is also by far the lowest pressure I've ever run a tyre at, the construction of these must be really stiff.

Now running half flat the contact patch was larger and I was really beginning to enjoy the grip on offer, at least in the dry. I barely had any chicken strips left, the bike wasn't wallowing or weaving in corners and the shoulders of the tyre were roughing up enough to make me look a bit like Rossi's retarded second cousin. Unfortunately another rain dawned, and quickly dashed my hopes of a larger contact patch meaning more grip in the wet - further testing has revealed I can spin up the rear in third gear! I have also nearly stuffed the bike into a kerb when going too fast around a long sweeping bend, as whenever I tried to lean the bike very seriously threatened to lowside due to the total lack of grip on offer. These tyres make the Goldentyre GT201 seem excellent.

I have not yet fitted the front Mitas, and frankly I'm not sure if I dare. I wish I could imagine it will be better, but this is so bad that it seems an impossibility. I have since seen M+P selling pairs of scooter tyres from Dunlop for £50, I wish I'd bought those instead.. Never mind, eh?

"Rhino" brand brake pads review

With not a lot over 8000 miles on the clock (if the previous owner was telling the truth!) the Z250SL had eaten the organic EBCs that were in the front brake caliper. EBCs are not original fitment so I don't know what's going on here but they were plenty meaty at 3200 so they've not lasted long at all. They were also cracked!
I found this out since I had to clean out the calipers after a few days of winter riding.. It only took me until June to get around to it. I'm busy, y'know? Anyway, this meant I was in need of some new pads. Being tight I went straight to ebay looking for FA197 sorted by price and postage (lowest). This brings up some openly Chinese pads at £6.70 or the next step up is supposedly German quality pads from Rhino at £8. I have tried Chinese pads before and actually liked them very much, but I went big with the Rhinos because they're completely new to em and I haven't seen a single proper review of them. Very quickly they popped through my door..
They look very fancy in gold with a nice thick back plate, not like the thin thing that the Chinese pads get. They fitted into the caliper beautifully and took around 50-60 miles to bed in against the disc. Initial impressions are that they actually work okay, plenty powerful if I squeeze the lever hard (I did have the rear slewing about one time!) but they do lack a certain feel, there's a good initial bite and then not a lot more until a lot of squeezing takes place when they seem to really come alive. They do feel more slippery than grippy though, a lot like Kyoto and Vicma pads do - as if the disc is getting away from them rather than the pads biting the disc to slow it down, if that makes any sense at all.

I have not yet ridden with these pads in the rain but this review will be updated when I do, along with pad life if I keep this bike long enough.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Leicester Egg Run 2018

Way back in January I was given this flyer for an easter egg run that happens not only in the fair shire of Leicester but also happens to be just a couple of villages over from where I live. My interest was piqued.
Sure enough, March rolled around and surprisingly the forecast was looking good so after popping down to an enormous B&M that exists in Coalville to arm myself with a Peppa Pig easter egg I rolled into the car park in Anstey, unsure of what I would find. Unsure partly because I've never done an Easter egg run before (though I can guess what is involved!) but also partly unsure because I'm not at all religious - will I even be welcome?

With the weather as glorious as it was and safe in the knowledge that all group rides are dog slow I puttered to the top of the hill on the glorious CBX250RS and parked up amongst a surprisingly large number of bikes considering I've been riding for the past 9 years and never heard of this going on.
As I remove my helmet, gloves and earplugs a bloke quickly walks over to check what on Earth can make such a wonderful noise, and then nips off again without saying anything. Weird but I shouldn't expect anything less, at least they seem to like what I've brought!

I hand the 'Pig egg over to a bloke who puts it in the back of a hearse (???) with the rest of the donations and the Christians begin their preaching and thanking. Mercifully it is short and sweet and soon everyone is readying themselves for the run:
There was some interesting machinery here, as there always is for group rides, though sadly the bicycle moped thing was nowhere to be seen after this point.

Upon leaving the car park we were waved off by people holding small wooden crosses, again a bit much but I mustn't hold it against them - for some reason I wouldn't mind nearly as much if I was on some Diwali ride and they gave people Tilaka marks.
And so we set off towards Cropston, I think touching Rothley and then following a route quite similar to the Brass Monkey run to end up at, surprise surprise, The Vic in Coalville. Sure enough the pace was sedate and the CBX was more than capable enough despite not breathing properly. I don't mind though, it's part of the fun once you know the score and accept it.

So, overall this is a nice little jaunt with good planning and perfectly lovely people and I think it could be a great event if they sort their marketing out so people actually know it is on - perhaps this post will help them! There is a niche to be filled here, I don't know of any other Easter egg runs in the Leicester area or even in the East Midlands and the ones over in Birmingham or Wirral seem very popular. Come on guys, get the word out!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Metzeler Sportec Klassik Review

Finding decent tyres for my BMW K100RS is difficult nowadays. Way back in the eighties you could find radial tyres in suitable sizes, now there are only trail type items in 140/80-17 and if you want the "correct" 130/90-17 there are only bias ply tyres on offer. Modern bias ply tyres are coming on in leaps and bounds though, supposedly the Pirelli Sport Demon is a marvellous thing though they wear out fast. I thought I'd try my luck with Metzeler's newest addition to their bias ply range, the Sportec Klassik, something so new and modern must surely be better than the Avon Roadrider it was replacing.. Right?

My first impression of the tyre was that the tread was not cut very deep, perhaps 8mm. The Roadrider started with something ludicrous like 15mm, though it all wore away in about 5500 miles and then split in the middle, showing the cords to the outside world. But enough about that, here is the near-bald looking brand new Klassik:
A nice shape, for sure. The previous tyres I've had on the K100 are a Conti Go! which I quite liked but it was a bit wobbly, and the aforementioned Roadrider which I didn't like a lot and it was very wobbly, the bike wallowing all over the shop when pressing on after the tyre had a bit of wear on it. Initial impressions of the Klassik were very different, the compound is hard yet seemed to bite in very nicely when asked to work, and the construction of the carcass is harder still - this thing is STIFF. It reminded me a lot of the Lasertec I once had on the front, every bump in the road is transmitted to the rider but the upside to this is the bike is held on line round corners. Whether this is worth the lack of comfort is personal preference, personally I'll take it.

After a mere 435 miles the tyre collected a screw. This was strange as I hadn't had a puncture for many tens of thousands of miles over about 6 years, but it was to become a running theme. Surely it's not the tyre's fault, though?
After getting it plugged I carried on my merry way, including a ~2000 mile trip to Germany. The tyre proved perfectly capable in the dry, if still very stiff, and somewhat adequate in the wet though I'm sure the Conti Go! was better. The Klassik is a bit squirmy and feels somewhat loose, though it never actually slid. But then the feeling of insecurity meant I gave it little chance to!

Once home from that most marvellous of trips the tyre decided it would collect another screw. At least it meant I kept a decent record of pictures on how it was wearing.. This is at 2700 miles:
To be fair it took quite a beating in Germany, being caned up hills in second gear and then caned along autobahn, but I was disappointed with the speed with which it was wearing. The tyre also felt very squirmy, having worn to the camber on the wrong side of the road - this as much a function of its stiff carcass and hard compound as the way it was worn. Other tyres have not been nearly as bad as this. It was also starting to follow road imperfections and white lines in a most alarming fashion, feeling as though it was surely worn out. But no.. A week later it again decided to pick up a screw, the tyre man rubbing his hands with a most disturbing level of glee. This is at 2841 miles:
The tyre had also picked up a sizeable chunk of glass and was full of stones. I'm not sure what is going on here, I can only guess that it runs hot in use and is soft enough to gobble up whatever is sharp enough to make its way into the rubber. The only tyre I've had that was as hungry as this is a special extra-soft Heidenau K65 meant for racing, which I can forgive. But this? With these grip levels? Not so good.

I pressed on with the tyre until I hit the wear markers at a surprisingly far 5814 miles:
By this time it was feeling very loose in wet weather and on rough surfaces, though it still hadn't actually caused any major concern as I felt the need to ride very slowly with it like that. By this time the wobbles are also starting to creep in again, the tyre having lost some of its rigidity but I think that is fair, it is supposed to be replaced.

So, would I recommend this tyre? Yes and no. Yes if you run a heavy bike and like to press on in dry weather, it grips well enough and is stiff enough to keep the bike under control better than other modern tyres. But if you ride year round then no, this tyre was never great in the wet and got worse with use. Given the price point I would take it over the Avon Roadrider and the Metzeler Lasertec but I think I would want to stump up the extra 10% for a Michelin Pilot Activ instead, if my experience of one on the front is any indication then that is a far superior tyre. Perhaps there is a reason the Klassik is at the bottom of the price range!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Z250SL monoshock linkage de-seize

I have been complaining about how harsh the Z's suspension is for a while now, but after looking at it more closely when fitting the rear wheel with a new tyre it became apparent that the rear suspension did not move at all. As in, not even a bit! I didn't want to believe it at first but when Dad climbed on the back and it still didn't move I had to admit there was something up. I guess this helps explain why my eyeballs were being shook about so much at speed..

First thing to do was to undo all the bolts at every step in the linkage:
Upon releasing the final bolt at the top of the dog bone the bike settled down. How did it get seized stood right up like that? I don't know.

Taking the bolts out showed that they were totally devoid of any grease or lubrication, which was annoying but expected after finding the axle completely dry as well as the pivot for the gear lever. However the bolts merely clamp bits of linkage to the sleeves, it is the sleeves that do the rotating. Guess what? Seized solid. After removing the bolts the linkage came out, and a vice and sockets (and then the neighbour's bigger vice!) were employed to press the sleeves out crunk by painful crunk. Eventually the sleeves were freed from their prison of seizure:
Again, zero grease, but perhaps Kawasaki don't think grease is needed because instead of tried and tested needle rollers they have fitted strange dark coloured bush things that, presumably, are supposed to be slippery but in my experience they really are not!

After judicious filing the sleeves were kind of smooth again, and the whole lot filled with grease - hopefully the bushes won't break up in it or swell or anything silly like that. Put back together the bike now actually has some rear end sag and wobbles a whole lot less when going around corners, result! But can we remember that this is a 66 plate bike, with about 7400 miles under its wheels, still with another 14 months before its first MOT is due? Quite what state this bike will be in by then I find difficult to imagine.. Only fit for the scrap heap, surely!

K100 crown wheel bearing replacement

At a mere 77359 miles I was happily whizzing along on the K100, thinking it was about time the big single wheel bearing in the final drive was done for, when the bike fair leapt to the side over a long road imperfection. Oh goodness, I exclaimed. Sure enough, once safely at home, I put a hand either side of the rear tyre and it clonked about slightly in a way that was very different from its usual solid self. Here we go!

First step was to consult the Clymer manual. I want to replace part #13..
Oh golly gosh this looks difficult. However, Clymer only show how to perform a full refurbishment of the final drive, not just a quick bearing replacement. There was hope yet! Some searching revealed these sources of information, which my actions are heavily based on:

A link to a "How To" video recorded by CharlieVT on the BMW LT forum
A guide by the great MikeP on the K100 forum
A forum thread with a bit more information from CharlieVT

Feeling relatively well armed with all this information, and particularly encouraged by how easy MikeP makes it look (which is a goddamn lie) I set about my own final drive..

Hello old friend!
Drain the FD oil and check the plug for metal - weirdly mine still looked clean enough.
Remove the wheel and caliper..
Remove the two countersunk screws that hold the disc in. These were tight because someone had rolled them around in the mud or something before putting them in. Yours might be tight due to threadlock, which would be even worse..
And off it pops!
I became intimately familiar with this over the course of my week off from work. Bloody thing. Now, time for the more advanced stuff - I hope you have the right tools available?
If you don't have a kit like this then go get one because working on a K100 is near impossible without proper allen bits. And don't use keys, they chew up the bolt heads. Onwards we go.. Undo all the little bolts around the outside.
One of the most disturbing things about this whole job is that these bolts were loose. I don't know if this is normal, possibly caused by the bearing collapsing and taking the tension off the bolts, or if this has contributed to the demise of the unit. No one on the K100 forum picked up on it - if you are following this and have a go yourself, let me know if your bolts were loose too! Now, grab a rubber mallet (or maybe a leather mallet would be better) and start knocking the "inner" side away from the "outer" - use the brake caliper mounting lugs for this.
Mine took quite a bit of hammering to get it to crack like this. If you have a heat gun (and you should, because you'll need it a lot for this) you could try heating the "outer" side of the FD case, the bits that is bolted to the swingarm - the "inner" side fits inside, so don't heat that as it will just make it a tighter fit. Be sure to have some rag underneath as not only might you need a soft landing when the "inner" side comes out (it's quite heavy!) but it'll also dribble gear oil everywhere. Soon this will happen, I promise!
Welcome to home mechanic hell. My aluminium FD cases had marks where it looks as if the two halves have been rubbing and swapping metal, again I don't know if this is normal. The crown wheel bearing is underneath the crown wheel (or ring gear as some call it, including Clymer), which is the big dark thing underneath the taper roller. So, turn that bit round, lay down a clean(er) rag, grab your rubber mallet and knock the hub in the centre. It should come out quite easily.
Which leaves you with the casing, including the output seal and the shims (bloody shims, we'll get to that later)..
..And a crown wheel!
The taper bearing is on the underside, nestled in the rag and hopefully not immediately filled with dirt. That fairly standard deep groove ball bearing is what we're here to replace. Mine felt a bit rough to spin but I couldn't wiggle the races around, I guess it depends how far you go on a worn bearing.

Easy enough so far, innit? A top tip that I'll give you now is to take the rest of the FD unit off the end of the swingarm and have a good, hard look at the input seal (is it leaking? Mine does), the splines on your FD (are there any flats left? Mine is decidedly iffy) and the splines in the shaft (Are there any? How wide are the flats? Mine was okay). I followed some bad advice from the K100 forum and ploughed ahead, intent on just replacing the bearing while disturbing as little as possible but I later discovered that my FD unit is heavily worn in other ways. There are still plenty of them about so, for now, it is likely totally economically viable to replace the whole unit with another less-used one. Think about it. Anyway..

I was so heartened by the fact that this all went so well and quickly that I decided a trip to Moto-Bins was in order, so that I didn't have to wait for the bits to arrive in the post. I'd just lever the bearing off like MikeP says and it'll be done in a day, no probs.
I wondered how Moto-Bins were undercutting Motorworks and James Sherlock, of course the bearing isn't SKF. And of course it's only 17 ball, not 19 ball. Oh well too late now. I also bought a new output seal (exactly the same as original, I'm pleased to report) and a new O ring to go between the case halves as mine looked a bit chewed up.

So, put a couple of wheel bolts in the hub, stick it in the vice and lever it off, just like MikeP says.
Tyre levers and the heat gun for good measure..
This really didn't work. There's so much stuff in the way that I can't get two levers perfectly across from each other, but the bearing also refused to even suggest that it might budge. I also didn't dare to really go for it because the crown wheel, being so hard, might be brittle and if it snaps then the FD is scrap. So I tried hammering some wedges/screwdrivers underneath it instead.
This didn't work either. In fact, the crown wheel is so hard that it started to bite into the surface of the screwdrivers rather than them sliding over it. Bugger!

It became apparent that I would need to attack this differently. CharlieVT uses a three legged puller but nothing comes with claws thin enough to get in the gap between the bearing and the crown wheel, and a cheap £15 jobbie will likely just break if the claws were ground down that thin. It was suggested on the K100 forum that I need a "bearing separator" but to get one in a big enough size to fit the 15cm diameter bearing is an enormous cost. I conceded defeat and looked to the Internet for help. I soon discovered there is a BMW cafe racer place in Leicester called Sinroja, who offer a final drive refurb service. Sure they're clearly well into their boxers and not bricks but these units are all much of a muchness, so I called them up and was there in an hour on the trusty(ish) CBX for them to "have a look".
Eventually the guys turned up and set to it. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of this but the guy used an enormous bearing separator like this and a fly press a lot like this. After a couple of hits with the press it was clear the bearing was not going anywhere (not just me, then!) so he took a blowtorch to it. After a few minutes of this he gave it a few more presses and thankfully the bearing started to slide off, at first a little and then a lot. Even he seemed surprised at how stubborn it was, I have no idea quite how strong MikeP must have been but I think we can deduce that some crown wheels are made ever so slightly larger than others!

I had taken my new NTN bearing with me in a vague hope that it might all be done at the same time, which turned out to be a good idea as the poor guy then offered to fit it for me. Loads of freeze spray over the crown wheel as it was still hot and the new bearing on the little electric stove, eventually it plopped on just like people say they will. He then even slathered it in grease for me. Then I was given a coffee, talked bikes a little bit and found out he didn't want any cash in return, just a good review on google - glad to help out, he says. These are good guys, they clearly do a lot of work with BMW (including stuff under NDA!) and their workshop is actually very impressive. I hope you may find someone as amenable to get your bearing off if you cannot lever it off yourself.

One thing that did strike me is that this guy was quite sure I would need to re-shim the final drive now that it had a new bearing fitted. I tried to tell myself that this is just because he is used to boxers and that the fine K community must surely be right that shimming is not required, but everything he said made sense. I was about to find out that he was correct.


Safe in the knowledge that re-shimming is only required for some boxers that were improperly shimmed from the factory I rushed home and set about slapping the unit back together. Installation is the reverse of removal, after all.

First was to knock the old oil seal out of the casing. Two things about this, one is that I probably wouldn't bother again because the seal still seemed perfectly fine and the other is that I would not install the new seal until right at the end, but I was eager. So, with some blocks of wood to hold the casing in the air, use a drift and a hammer to knock the seal out:
And simply push the new seal in with your thumbs. If you greased it all up then it will go in, no worries. Then use your heat gun on the casing to expand it, and plop it over the crown wheel. I later took to doing this the other way up, plopping the crown wheel into the casing - it seems to work better that way.
With that done, it all goes back together. A cinch!
Easy innit? Except I still had play at the rear wheel, not quite as much as before but it was definitely there. I was sure it used to be absolutely solid, hmmm. Turn the wheel a few times and it kind of went away but that's likely just the cushioning effect of all the oil and grease that is in there. Right, maybe it is shims. Here we go..


Exactly as shown by CharlieVT in his video (and not mentioned at all by MikeP!) I used the "Dman" method to measure how much shim I needed. I was lucky in that my FD was now under-shimmed, so I knew something was up because the wheel still wobbled about. If it had been over-shimmed I wouldn't have known and early failure may have occurred because of the excessive force on the internals. Although, I'm not quite sure if that is the case as you only tighten the casing bolts to 20Nm so maybe the force you can put through the internals is limited. Depends if the case halves really touch together or not, I don't know if they do. Anyway, this happened.
To do this I put the unit back together quite dry, no grease between the shims and the case or the bearing and just a touch of gear oil around the bearing to help it slide. You don't want anything in there to act as a cushion because that will give you a false reading. I left the shims in because I knew they were under but if you are coming at this blind I would suggest leaving them out for this, you may have too much already. I used a couple of the wheel bolts with their collars turned upside down to give a nice level surface for the tyre levers to lever upwards and a small hammer to knock the crown wheel and bearing back downwards. I feel bad about this but you don't need to give it any welly, just a few taps. I found that the bearing is actually not a tight fit in the case and slides up and down quite easily once it is in there and totally straight with the machined innards of the case, just resting on the levers could bring it upwards so there is no need to keep the case hot and expanded - at least, not with mine!

Once I discovered that the shock mounting bolt/stud thing (mine is corroded into a bolt with the nut) could be used to steady the unit and stop if flopping all over the place when I was working the levers then I found it was quite easy to get repeatable readings. I was getting 0.12 and 0.13mm difference on the dial gauge most of the time, sometimes more and sometimes less but I put that down to the whole lot moving about on the ground. BMW specify 0.05 to 0.1mm extra shim for preload on the taper bearing which means I need an extra 0.17 to 0.23mm of shim in there - a 0.20mm shim was duly purchased from James Sherlock who seem to be the only people who sell all different thicknesses of shim. This was a painful £15 but I guess that is cheaper than buying new bearings at £45 a pop.

I mentioned earlier that it may be best to check out your whole FD unit before deciding which course of action to take. Since the unit has to be taken off the bike to check for the required shim thickness I had a look at my FD splines for the first time in around 5000 miles, and they looked bad.
I think this has been caused by the leaky input seal letting gear oil get in and wash the moly away, and also too many miles done on soft shocks that let the rear of the bike move up and down a lot - this slides the shaft over these splines, massively increasing the wear rate. I don't think this was really worth fixing, there are some nice looking FDs about for under £120 or so and I have already spent £80 by this point - you will have spent more if you have to pay someone to get the bearing off for you.

After a couple of days the new shim arrived, and only a bit bent.
Oh good, lucky me, I get to take that final drive to bits and then put it back together again.

Time to put the unit back on the swingarm, otherwise it is impossible to undo any bolts and the whole lot moves about on the floor. Moly time!
Take the bolts out..
Heat gun the casing until the crown wheel falls out. You know the drill by now, come on. All this heating is why you probably should wait until final assembly to put the output seal into place, and it may help with your "Dman" shim measuring too. Thankfully my seal didn't seem to mind being heated to what probably was 100+ centigrade at times.

In the interest of science I took the old shims out to measure them. I found one was a bit bent, compounding my theory that this had all been done before quite badly.
I also found it amusing that my new shim, top left, clearly wasn't the original BMW part I had assumed I would be getting for my £15. I should've expected that.
Here we go again, back at it with the heat gun..
And in it plops, maybe with a little push downwards for good luck/peace of mind. And with the shims underneath, don't forget that bit!
I'm sure you can figure out the rest. Put it all together, grease the pinion-side case well around the outside so that the crown wheel half will fit into it without too much of a fight, rubber mallet it into place, rubber mallet it round until the bolt holes line up, do the bolts up to 20Nm, put the disc on with the screw done up to 15Nm (my choice, seems enough), put the wheel on and check it for play. Mine was now solid, hopefully yours will be too. Fill with oil, churn it around some more, still solid? Of course it is because you've re-shimmed it like a pro. Take it for a spin, come back after a few miles, still solid? Mine was. I'm happy with this.
A quick check of the temperature of the FD unit showed it to be warm but not hot, and no whining was observed despite having changed how the crown wheel and pinion gears mesh because I have shoved the crown wheel an extra 0.2mm into the pinion gears. If anything this has reduced the lash in the final drive, which is a nice thing. I couldn't tell you if that is technically a good thing or not.

I changed the oil again soon after to try and flush out any nonsense that will have inevitably found its way inside, I suggest you do the same. And that's that. One last thing to mention is that, upon reassembly with the extra shim, the FD was stiffer to turn than before the shim but I cannot put any hard figures on that so it doesn't really help anyone. But it is a true phenomenon, if you can easily shove the hub round with one finger on a bolt then it's probably a bit too loose but needing two fingers would be too tight. Maybe that will make sense to someone somewhere.