My top choices for shop tools are:
1. Bead blaster

I'll weigh in again on this one ...

DON'T do it! I've had the sad fortune to inform many heartbroken BMW owners of the cost to repair their bikes in the wake of a well-intentioned bead-or sandblaster attack. I've been tempted many times by the siren's song of effortlessly restoring surfaces to a beautiful satin finish. It don't happen that way. Every effort has resulted in pretty junk.

I don't know how it happens, but the blasting medium, be it walnut shells, glass beads or sand, will find it's way into every assembly on the bike, no matter how well you tape, cover ad seal the openings. It still gets in. And it never gets out.

The trouble is that there's no way to TOTALLY remove all the grains of fine grit from the surface, not even repeated washings. But those same gritty little buggers will come loose and circulate in hot oil, scouring and trashing every bearing surface in the engine, gearbox or whatever.

I hope Hugo will forgive me for using him as an example, but I'm in the process of attempting to assemble a gearbox that he bought from an overseas used-parts vendor. Some well-meaning fellow over there decided to spruce up the looks of the gearbox and gave it a little spritz in the blaster cabinet. It looks great.

Hugo ran it for less than 500 miles, before sending it to me with the cryptic complaint "It sounds and feels like there's sand in it." There was.

After fully draining it, I recovered nearly a teaspoon of free sand laying in the lubrication channels and bearing bores. Every sliding and bearing surface in the gearbox was destroyed, worn away by the sand. The estimated cost of replacement parts alone exceeded $900.

Hugo and the vendor reached an agreement where the vendor shipped the repair parts to me, and I'm attempting to resurrect the box. I've washed the parts in my clean solvent tank three times, scrubbing every surface with a toothbrush. I've washed them three times in hot, soapy water, and rinsed them with high pressure hot water. Finally, in desperation, I put everything in a friend's shop dishwasher, twice through. Dried every part. Blew them off, just for good measure. I reassembled the parts last week, only to discover that I had missed ordering one item. While awaiting that part, I realized that the assembled shafts STILL felt "gritty" when I turn them. It's back apart for yet another cleaning. I hope to have it finished today.

That's a lot of lost money and time for a nice appearance.

Tom Cutter

(Originally posted to the Airheads list)