Wednesday, August 03, 2016

22,037 miles

Sierra Cycle, Quincy, CA*

Replace front and rear tires

1 ea. #110-11278 Metzeler Tourance front tire 110/80V19  $142.14
1 ea. #110-11279 Metzeler Tourance rear tire 150/70VR17  $165.95
2 ea. Valve stems  $8.00

Parts subtotal: $316.09

Labor: $50.00

Tire disposal: $5.00

Tire tax: $3.90

Sales tax: $23.71

Total: $398.70


*Awesome customer service by Tanner

Monday, July 11, 2016

20,435 miles

A&S Motorcycle Parts, Roseville, CA

6,000 mile "Inspection 1" service (oil service plus replacement of alternator belt)

1 ea. Oil filter  #11427673541  $16.47
1 ea. Ribbed V-belt/Fan belt  #11318528385  $32.56
4 qt.  Shell 15w30 drum oil, synthetic  #83212365962  $48.20
1 ea.  Crush washer/zip ties/misc.  $1.00
5 ea.  Chemicals and cleaners  $5.00

Parts subtotal:  $103.23


Labor (@ $120/hr.)

Inspection 1 service  0.56 hours  $67.20
Renew engine oil and filter  0.56 hours  $67.20
Change alternator belt  0.28 hours  $33.60
*Remove engine bars  0.25 hours  $30.00
*Install engine bars  0.25 hours  $30.00
*Remove skid plate  0.25 hours  $30.00
**Throttle synch and reset adaption values  0.42 hours  $50.40

Labor subtotal:  $308.40

Hazmat Fee  $4.00

Subtotal:  $415.63

Tax:  $7.76

Total:  $423.39*

 * I protested these additional "surprise" charges, as I've not encountered them at other BMW dealerships for the removal of a standard BMW skid plate and crash bar. The service manager agreed to refund $50. The final cost was $373.39.

** Engine popping on deceleration and going downhill. No improvement after service.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

13,560 miles

Engle Motors, Kansas City, MO

12,000-miles service with annual service*

4 ea. Spark plug  #12127726112    $77.44
1 ea. Air filter  #13717706414    $29.20
1 ea. Gasket ring, 18mm  #07119963300    $1.00
1 ea. Gasket ring CU  #07119963132     $1.00
1 ea. O-ring  #33117695219    $2.00
1 ea. Seal ring, 14mm  #07119963200    $1.00
1 ea. Rubber buffer  #11117682158    $9.90
4 qt. Advantec 15W-50 motor oil  #83212365963     $58.00
1 ea. Synthetic gear oil, SAF-XO  #07512293972    $22.09
200ml Synthetic gear oil, SAF-XO  #07512296486    $9.00
1 ea. Brake fluid, DOT4 12-oz.  #81220142156    $4.63

Parts Subtotal:  $215.26

Labor subtotal: $289.85

Sales Tax: $17.97

Total: $537.57


*Oil filter provided by me


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

10,299 miles

Sierra BMW, Sparks, NV

Replace front and rear tires

1 ea. #11011278 Metzeler Tourance tire 110/80V19 $143.00
1 ea. #11011279 Metzeler Tourance tire 150/70VR17 $168.00
2 ea. #36317653064 Rubber valve stem $5.73 $11.46
1 ea. #36317720638 20g balance weight $3.38
1 ea. #36317720639 25g balance weight $3.62
2 ea. Nevada tire tax $1.00 $2.00

Subtotal: $331.46

Labor: $106.70

Shop supplies: $2.00

Tire disposal: $6.00

7.725% Sales tax: $25.46

Total: $471.62

Additional parts purchase:

1 ea. #11427673541 Oil filter $16.86
1 ea. #07119963252 Crush ring $1.00
1 st. #CL2900RX Rear brake pads $37.95

Subtotal: $55.81

Sales tax: $4.31

Total: $60.12

Sunday, February 01, 2015

7,642 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Headlamp failure

From O'Reilly Auto Parts:

2 ea. Sylvania H7 headlamp (1 spare)  $14.99 ea. = $29.98

Tax: $2.62

Total: $32.60

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

6,116 miles

Santa Rosa BMW, Windsor, CA

6,000-mile/24-month Service

4 qt.  Motorrad HP engine oil 15W50   #07510039652   $10.97   $43.88
1 ea. Oil filter crush gasket  $0.97
1 ea. Oil filter   #11427673541   $15.53
0.5   Brake fluid #81220142156   $5.53   $2.77
0.5   Synthetic gear oil SAF-XO   #07512293972   $22.53   $11.27

3.4 hrs. Labor @ $100/hour   $340.00

Shop supplies  $3.00
Waste Disposal  $5.00

Parts:   $74.42
Labor:   $340.00
Other:   $8.00
Sales tax: $6.80

Total: $429.22

No active recalls noted for this motorcycle.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

4,425 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Flat battery

Left key in motorcycle in the "on" position overnight, completely discharging the battery. Removed battery and applied a trickle charge until it had sufficient energy to operate on-board computer, at which point I hooked the bike up, via the accessory socket, to the BMW battery charger (#71 60 7 688 865).


It required roughly 24 hours to reach full charge.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

4,263 miles

Santa Rosa BMW, Windsor, CA

Rear main seal and counterbalance seals leaking (Warranty)

1 ea. Shaft seal #11118528386
1 ea. Shaft seal #11117721848
5 ea. Collar screw #21217684771

Labor

Replace crankshaft sealing ring
Replace shaft seal for balance
Set time
Bleed brakes
Measure clutch

Mechanic's note:

While replacing rear main seal, found counterbalance shaft seal has small leak also. 

Warranty Claim #49772

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Post Script

Earlier this month, I picked up a 2011 R1200GS on the East Coast. It had 1,400 miles on it. Barely touched. I rode it 2,700 miles, from Florida to California. The bike required a half-quart of oil during the transit.

Arriving in California, I note the telltale signs of a rear main seal leak: oil seeping from the mating surfaces between engine and transmission, and pooling on the skid plate. The bike has 4,150 total miles on it.

Come on BMW.

If I were trying to blow out seals, how would you recommend I do it? This is at least my third episode blowing out this particular seal in an R1200GS. I must have the magic touch! (My 2005 R1200GS rear main seal failed in the first 6,000 miles, ruining the clutch.)


[January 14, 2014 update:]

At 4,263 miles the following work was done by Santa Rosa BMW, Windsor, CA:

Rear main seal and counterbalance seals leaking (Warranty)

1 ea. Shaft seal #11118528386
1 ea. Shaft seal #11117721848
5 ea. Collar screw #21217684771

Labor

Replace crankshaft sealing ring
Replace shaft seal for balance shaft
Set time
Bleed brakes
Measure clutch

Mechanic's note:

While replacing rear main seal, found counterbalance shaft seal has small leak also. 

Warranty Claim #49772

Friday, December 13, 2013

2011 BMW R1200GS

Tallahassee, Florida

Take ownership of 2011 BMW R1200GS

With only 1,409 miles on the bike, my brother and I trailered it from Waterbury, VT to Tallahassee.

Over the next six days, I rode 2,700 miles to Santa Rosa, CA.

En route, added 1/2 quart of 20W50 oil (to bring from bottom to top of oil sight glass.)

Upon arrival in California, with 4,100 miles on the odometer, I noticed oil leakage along engine-transmission housing interfaces. Oil has also collected in skid plate. I suspect a rear main seal leak.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Annual Service performed

Frank's Motorcycle Sales and Service, Essex Junction, VT

Annual Service performed

(No further details)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

130,550 miles



End of the line for this owner. The motorcycle was sold today. I did not wish to invest any more in the bike.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

130,509 miles



Fuel pump controller (installed in February) destroyed by gasoline

Santa Rosa, CA

Attempted to replace fuel pump upper housing

As previously noted, the upper fuel pump housing developed a hairline crack radiating from one of the screw sockets where the controller mounts. Fatigue of plastic, improper torquing, or both appear to be the cause. (Controller has been replaced numerous times.) As a result, gasoline leaked from the top of the housing, filling the adjacent controller compartment.



Several months ago, I received a used upper fuel pump housing from Frank's Motorcycles (at no charge) and finally got around to installing it. Dismantling my fuel pump, I found that despite my efforts to keep the fuel level low, gasoline had saturated the new controller and all but destroyed it (photo above.) It would soon fail.



Breather tube (capped) on replacement housing




This section of breather tube later had to be cut off

Changed out the housings, noting the two units were not absolutely identical. The replacement has a vent tube in the top that my current housing doesn't have. As seen in the photos above, I capped the vent at both ends. (Then, as I reassembled the fuel pump, I found that this tube interferes with the operation of the fuel pump level arm. I had to cut off this section of the tube.)

But after reinstalling the pump, and starting up the bike, fuel sprayed out from the hex-nut-shaped plastic just below the fuel line quick-connect (see photo below.) I immediately recognized this as a defect cited many times on Adventure Rider. The housing was defective, and was no doubt sent to me inadvertently.



Replacement housing was defective and should not have been sent

I decided to replace my original (cracked) housing), pull out a spare controller (manufactured 2004) and put everything back together. The end result: the entire fuel pump (and controller) will need to be replaced.*

Estimated cost to repair:

1 ea. Fuel pump  $481.97
1 ea. Fuel pump control unit, with gasket  $147.97

Parts total, including tax:  $680.34

*I later learned that I could probably have changed out the fitting that was leaking fuel, using that part from my old pump housing.

(This post on the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America website pretty much sums up the problems with this fuel system.)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

130,000 miles



This photo from Adventure Rider shows the same type of crack found on mine.

[March 17, 2015 update: BMW will be replacing flanges on 300,000 bikes.]


Santa Rosa, CA

Rear wheel flange cracked

On inspection today, I noticed the rear wheel flange is cracked at all five points where the rear wheel bolts to the flange.

Visited Santa Rosa BMW to show them the problem. They had never seen it before. They suspected improper torquing of wheel bolts They say there are no recalls or service bulletins covering this issue.

I always used a torque wrench, tightening to factory spec, and have personally mounted  the wheel for over 95% of the changes. The rear brake disc was replaced before 40,000 miles. The flange where the brake disc mounts shows no evidence of cracks.

I first read about this issue a few years ago, and at the time inspected the flange and noticed no cracks.

On-line discussions of this problem, including catastrophic failure of the flange, have been around for years:

ukgser.com

Adventure Rider

The flange has been re-engineered several times, including changes to the composition (aluminum to steel), suggesting design inadequacies in the original flange. Like most such situations, BMW appears to have no formal policy for handling the issue, and it's left to dealer discretion whether to charge for repairs or not.

Parts quote from Santa Rosa BMW, Windsor, CA:

1 ea. 33117722831 Rear wheel flange $249.53
1 ea. 33118521832 Spacer ring $74.97
1 ea. 07119905076 Lock ring $8.53

Subtotal: $333.03
Tax: $27.48

Labor estimated at $200.00

Estimated total repair cost: $560.51

Sunday, February 10, 2013

129,309 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Fuel pump controller failed

Electronics unit failed due to water in its housing compartment. I had procrastinated in dealing with the root cause of the problem: a cracked fuel pump housing. I figured that if I just kept the fuel supply low, I could avoid fuel leaking. But leaking fuel had caused the controller o-ring to be deformed. Water eventually worked into the compartment. Lester at Frank's Motorcycle Sales said he had a used part that should solve the problem.

(Note: I retained the old unit as a spare, as they seem to dry out over time, and become operable once again.)


Parts shipped from Frank's Motorcycle Sales, Essex Center, VT:

1 ea. Fuel pump upper housing (no charge - used part from another motorcycle)
1 ea. #16 14 7 720 776 Fuel pump electronics (replaces #16 14 6 694 378) $150.52
1 ea. Controller (blue) rubber seal (included with controller)

Applied a small amount of silicone connector grease to rubber seal to improve seal barrier.

Shipping and handling: $22.00

Total: $172.52

Saturday, December 15, 2012

128,950 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Filed on-line complaint with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration regarding the fuel pump housing leak.
Your Complaint Information has been successfully submitted.

Your Confirmation Number (ODI Number) is: 10488899.

Your Complaint will be available within 72 hours at http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/complaints/.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

128,650 miles

Dobbins, CA 

Fuel pump controller failed

The fuel pump controller actually failed after being exposed to gasoline from a hairline crack in the fuel pump's plastic housing. The crack might be attributed to improper torquing of the controller mounting screws. (The controllers have been removed and replaced numerous times. The plastic may have simply fatigued.)

It appeared the controller failed at the moment the 1-gallon (low fuel) warning came on. Could simply be coincidence. I was carrying a spare (used) controller unit and was able to immediately replace the failed unit.


NOTE: The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is now investigating fuel pump leaks in the 2005-2008 R-Series BMWs. Some 24,000 vehicles may be involved.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

127,988 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Fuel pump leak

A hairline crack has developed in the plastic housing at the top of the fuel pump, allowing gasoline to leak. Gas filled the compartment where the fuel pump controller is seated.

The fuel pump controller's silicone insulation was destroyed by the gasoline, exposing the circuit board.

Estimated cost to repair:

1 ea. Fuel pump  $481.97
1 ea. Fuel pump control unit, with gasket  $147.97

Parts total, including tax:  $680.34

Labor unknown at this point.

I have not yet decided on a course of action.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

127,370 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Headlamp failure

1 ea. Eiko #H755 H7 55W halogen lamp   $13.99

(From O'Reilly Auto Parts. Eiko "Certified Green" lamps are made in Korea)

Tax: $1.19

Total: $15.18

Friday, March 02, 2012

126,600 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Change out rear wheel - self service

Remove spoked wheel with worn-out Michelin Anakee and install cast aluminum wheel with new Michelin Anakee 2 (tire purchased and mounted on spare rim last September 21.)

Total miles on the old Michelin Anakee tire (last installed May 12, 2010): 13,326 (10,830 miles after patching a nail puncture in the tire.)


Remove old front and rear tires from rims

Northbay Motorsport, Santa Rosa

Labor: $30.00

Monday, October 31, 2011

125,690 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Engine oil change (self-service)


1 ea. #11427673541 Oil filter $14.53 (from Santa Rosa BMW 8/12/11)
1 ea. Crush ring (from stock)
5.1 qt. Castrol GTX 20W50 oil $24.99* (from O'Reilly Auto Parts 10/30/11)

Tax: $3.28

Total: $42.80

*Today's cost for a 5.1-quart container of oil is $11.00 more than buying five 1-quart containers a year ago!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

125,500 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Change out front wheel (self-service)

Removed front spoked rim with Michelin Anakee and mounted the cast alloy rim with a new Michelin Anakee already mounted on it (tire purchased and mounted November 7, 2009. See below.)

Install rubberized washers (from Santa Rosa BMW) to reduce front brake disk squeal

1 st. #34117682434 Stop disks (rubberized washers) $9.53
1 st. #34117697387 Stop disks (rubberized washers) $9.53

Tax: $1.52

Total: $20.58

The Michelin Anakee (originally purchased in Billings, MT) on the spoked rim that I removed has 16,135 miles on it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

125,210 miles

Northbay Motorsport, Santa Rosa, CA

Replace rear tire (spare)


New tire mounted on cast alloy rim. The old Metzeler Tourance that had been on this rim will be discarded (10,800 miles), having three to four punctures from staples.

Still running the patched Anakee on the spoked rim, but will mount this wheel in the coming months.

1 ea. Michelin Anakee 2 150/70R17 $143.40
1 ea. CA Tire Tax $2.00
1 ea. Valve stem #36317653064 (from stock)

Tax: $12.19
Labor: $24.00

Total: $181.59

(MSRP $231.95. Northbay matched American Motorcycle Tire on-line pricing.)


Santa Rosa BMW

Replace Battery (self-service)

Battery, purchased nearly five years ago, no longer holds charge overnight.

1 ea. #61217724073 AGM Battery $163.63

(New battery manufactured in China. Battery was not fully charged. Used BMW charger to charge battery overnight.)

Tax: $13.09

Total: $176.72

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

125,200 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

The Horn

I was again reminded of a pet peeve I've had since first buying the GS: the location of the horn button.

While riding down the freeway today, a driver to my right pulled into my lane without looking, or indicating their intent. Totally oblivious. Of course, it's common and I am accustomed to taking evasive action, but I also often go for the horn to announce my presence.

Over nearly seven years, and many attempts, I've failed to connect with the horn button in all but a few of these close encounters. My gloved thumb just misses the button. (And this though I have at times intentionally practiced using the horn!) Maybe it works perfectly for some hands, some thumb sizes (mine seems pretty average.)

I have all along been convinced it's not optimally positioned, though I don't know a better location. Still, it's something BMW should address. I don't recall the issue on my Honda or Triumph (but that was before the handlebar controls became so cluttered.)

Friday, July 01, 2011

124,800 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Status of the Blog

Over the past four years, I've drastically reduced use of the BMW (my only vehicle.) I'm now driving 5 or 6,000 miles a year, versus the over-30,000 miles I drove most years since 1970, walking more, contributing fewer of my dollars to BMW and the oil companies (and fewer pollutants to the environment. Maybe I've finally taken to heart those who condemned me for being a "pseudo environmental activist", spewing gas fumes across the hemisphere.)

So, I expect there will be little more to write here. But I'll leave the blog up for now.

***

A few minor issues continue, which I've tolerated since I'm presently just driving in town a two or three times a week. Otherwise, in its present capacity, the bike performs reliably.
  • Rear brake servo seems increasingly reluctant to kick in on start-up. It is remedied by shutting down and re-starting.
  • Oil seepage around clutch potentiometer housing or transmission output shaft seal (or both), and transmission housing mating surfaces continues, but seems tolerable as long as I keep an eye on lubricant levels and clean the area as needed.
  • Front suspension  is compromised - could be the strut (no signs of leakage) or loss of fork fluid over the years. If I were intending to do any off-road riding loaded with gear, this would certainly have to be addressed.

White smoke on start-up, that had been a common feature in recent years has not been present lately, and its absence may be related to having valves more correctly adjusted.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

120,085 miles



Santa Rosa, CA

120,000-Mile Service (self-service)

Change engine oil and filter, adjust valve clearances, replace spark plugs and air filter.

Unless otherwise noted, parts from Santa Rosa BMW.

1 ea. Oil filter #11427673541 $14.53
1 ea. Crush ring (from stock)
1 ea. Air filter #13717672552 $23.53
4 ea. Spark plugs #12127671301 (from stock)

For stock:

2 ea. Valve stem #36317653064 $11.94

Tax: $4.50

5 qt. Castrol GTX 20W50 motor oil (from O'Reilly Auto Parts) $14.00

Tax: $1.26

Note: secondary spark plugs for both right and left cylinders were fouled. The left secondary was heavily-fouled with carbon and debris. Spark plugs were perhaps not properly torqued last service as some were too easily loosened and showed signs of oil and/or gas seepage on threads. Primary plugs were clean, but worn.


Transmission output shaft seal leaking


Will replace when I can afford it.

Other work to be performed by dealer: bleed brake hydraulic system, synchronize throttle bodies, check suspension and computer codes.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

117,872 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Front suspension dampening failing


Suspension sounds like it is bottoming out under moderate shocks (such as a small pothole at very low speed.) Can't tell if it's the front spring strut or front forks (or both.) The front spring strut was replaced at 80,785 miles, so I would be surprised if it has already failed.

(Apparently, the only way to check fork fluid levels is to remove the forks.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

BMW R1200 GS Problems, Safety Recalls and Defects


Campsite on Montana rangelands near Lake Elwell


For those searching for an "official" summary of issues related to the R1200GS, the Automotix database collects information from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and from BMW and publishes it in one convenient location.

Of course, this doesn't capture issues that, although reported by many owners, do not meet the criteria for a NHTSA or BMW recall.

(I've personally experienced three of the failures cited in the recall notices: fuel pump electronics seal failure, making bike non-operational, loose clutch components leading to clutch failure, and the failed speedometer pick-up seal leading to oil on rear brake components.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

115,770 miles


Mystical lands. Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina


Santa Rosa, CA

Punctured rear tire


Picked up a staple in the rear Metzeler Tourance tire. [9/21/11 Update: removed tire from rim and found three more pieces of staple in the tire. Not repairable.]

Over the past few months, I patched the Michelin Anakee 150/70VR17 that had picked up a nail last November. Today, I remounted this tire (on the spoked rim), and will eventually patch the Metzeler as an emergency back-up tire.

Mounting and balancing: $40.00
1 ea. Napa Plug Patch Repair Kit, Balkamp #710-645 $11.50

Total: $51.50


Miles on the Anakee: 2,496
Miles on the old Tourance: 10,896

Note: the decision to patch this tire was taken only because my current use of the motorcycle is limited to daily trips around town, with a maximum speed under 70 mph, carrying no gear, passengers, etc. If/when riding circumstances change, the tire will be replaced.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

112,864 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Change engine oil (self-service)

1 ea. Oil filter #11 42 7 673 541 $16.53 (from Santa Rosa BMW)
1 ea. Washer #07 11 9 963 252 $0.97 ( " " )
5 qt. Castrol GTX 20W50 motor oil $19.95 (from Kragen)

Tax: $1.62
Total: $39.07


Change final drive oil (self-service)

1 qt. BMW 75W90 GL5 Super Synthetic gear oil $24.97 (from Santa Rosa BMW)
1 ea. #07129964676 Self-locking nut $0.97

Tax: $2.40
Total: $28.34

Used approx. 225ml of the gear oil. This was the first time I've personally changed the rear drive oil. I was assured this was done at the 97,596-mile service, but I was doubtful (there was no final drive oil charge on the invoice.) Though I didn't measure the oil that drained from the drive, it was a surprisingly low volume (and fairly dark, though not opaque.) The drive shaft splines and the rear drive input splines were dry - little if any grease had been used when the shaft was replaced. I was surprised at the quantity of sand, oil and grit inside the "gator" that protects these components. (The final drive input shaft seal seemed okay.) Cleaned up the area and applied "Moly 60" grease to the splines, around the drive shaft u-joint and to the gator sealing surfaces.

(Jim Bade offers an outstanding write-up for this procedure on the "r1200gs.info" website. Jim, and others, recommend using 75W140 synthetic oil. Santa Rosa BMW uses 75W90. I don't know the source of this confusion.)



Change out rear wheels (self-service)


Picked up a nail in my new rear Anakee, so I had to mount the spare cast wheel with the Metzeler Tourance while I attempt to patch the nail hole. (There ought to be a law against nails!) For liability reasons, local motorcycle shops will not patch a motorcycle tire, and I know it's not advisable (tell that to all the adventurers traveling the world!), but I am going to try to fix the tire and maintain it as a spare. (That baby cost me $225!)

Maybe it's only in America that after a nail puncture, no matter how minor, we automatically dispose of a tire . I know in many other countries I visited, this would be considered absolutely insane. If you ride on a patched or plugged tire (and I've done it many times), you moderate your riding behavior, and are continually aware of the potential for a failure.


The following work done at Northbay Motorsport:

Replace front tire (mount on cast wheel for a spare)


1 ea. Michelin Anakee 110/80R19 $136.00 (marked down from $186.95)

Labor: $14.00
Tax: $12.58
Total: $162.58

Replaced the Metzeler Tourance that had 17,065 miles on it.


Remove punctured rear tire from spoked rim

Labor: $9.00

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

112,500 miles


High desert campsite near Drewsey, Oregon


Santa Rosa, CA

Possible transmission output shaft seal leak

Noticed lately gear oil seeping from where the forward drive shaft boot is clamped to the back of the transmission housing.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

As the fifth anniversary nears

Since beginning this on-line record in 2004, I took note of the internet searches that brought readers to this blog. From these observations, it is clear that others have experienced virtually all the little (and not so little) problems I describe below. It may be uncommon for a single unit to be so plagued, however the issues themselves are not unique.

This blog has been cited, debated and even ridiculed in numerous motorcycle discussion forums. (Here is my response to such a debate on the excellent UKGSer.com website.) I have read reports from many who have had similar experiences, and have seen the "BMW apologists" dismiss this account as full of "whining, complaining and misinformation," while providing testimony of their own trouble-free rides. (To my knowledge, there is no misinformation here. Where errors have been pointed out, I have corrected the record. In many instances, I am merely relaying what I have been told by BMW technicians and service managers.)

Obviously, each bike and each rider is different. Riding conditions, loads and usage vary widely. This is merely the account of one rider and one machine.

It is important to be mentally prepared for adversity, even if it never arrives. Whether this blog reflects your personal experience or not, it can be useful to know the challenges others have faced.

Consider what you would do if your fuel pump electronics suddenly failed, or the clutch self-destructs. It's not a silly exercise.

I experienced both events while riding in traffic at highway speeds. You don't have a lot of time to react. I was fortunate enough in each circumstance to safely avoid other motorists as I moved to the shoulder.

My fuel pump electronics module failed long before NHTSA elevated the defect to the level of a recall and notified 2005 GS owners. And there are things that neither BMW nor our Federal agencies deem worthy of an official recall campaign, though they might still impact the rider's safety.

The fuel pump electronics have failed twice and the clutch three times, so when I ride, I'm aware it is a very real possibility and don't allow myself to be complacent. Others have reported drive shaft and rear drive failures, two additional areas to be attentive to on these machines. When you don't have a protective cage, you tend to take these threats a little more personally.

None of this, however, discourages me from riding, and enjoying the open road.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

110,368 miles



Frank's Motorcycle Sales, Essex Junction, VT

Replace rear tire


1 ea. Michelin Anakee 150/70VR17 $224.95
1 ea. Valve #36317653064 $5.02
2 ea. 45g wheel weight $9.60

Mounting and balancing: no charge

Discount: <$27.31>
Tax: $12.74

Total: $225.00


This tire was a "take-off" from a new bike. (Buyer wanted different tires.)

This is the first time I've run a complete set of Anakees.

Total mileage on the Metzeler Tourance that was replaced: 13,771 miles.

Monday, June 01, 2009

109,365 miles

Waterbury, Vermont

Mount spoked wheels with "new" front tire


Removed the cast wheels (after 17,065 miles, the front Tourance is worn out. The rear, with 8,000 miles on it, still has some life left .)

But I wanted to put the spoked wheels back on because the front wheel still has a new Michelin Anakee 110/80R19 on it. (Purchased at Hi-Tech Motorsports, Billings, Montana, then mounted on June 1, 2007 at North Bay Motorsports.) North Bay improperly mounted the Anakee back then, and it never did hold air. So I just had Frank's Motorcycle Sales of Essex Junction, VT remount it.

The rear spoked wheel is still mounted with a Metzeler Tourance, that was also taken off the bike June 1, 2007. That tire has 12,768 miles, but looks like I should get several months' service out of it.

Mounting tire at Frank's:

1 ea. Tire valve #36317653064 $5.02
2 ea. 25 gram wheel weight #36311454311 $5.24

Labor (dismount, clean rim, remount and balance): $56.25

Tax: $0.72

Total: $67.23

Changing of wheels was done by me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

108,350 miles


Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Waterbury, VT

DWA warning message on cockpit

This warning appeared briefly, yesterday and today. I asked the mechanics at "Frank's Motorcycle Sales" to check on the significance of this message. They said it was an alarm system fault. Since I have NEVER used the alarm on this motorcycle, I decided to ignore the warning.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

106,692 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Valve adjustment (self-service)


Re-adjusted valve clearances to correct tolerances: 0.15mm (intake) and 0.30mm (exhaust)



Replace parking lamp


1 ea. Sylvania #194LL 14V, 4.6W bulb (2/pack) $4.85 (from Kragen Auto Parts)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

106,580 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Valve adjustment (self-service)

For the first time, I used the feeler gauges purchased in 2005 from BMW of San Francisco for the R1200GS. (All previous valve adjustments were done by dealerships.)

I noticed the gauges provided were 0.10 mm (intake) and 0.20 mm (exhaust). Followed the excellent procedure write-up on the R1200GS.info website. However, that site shows the clearances as 0.15 and 0.30 respectively.

I then consulted the BMW R1200GS service manual CD and it too shows 0.15 and 0.30. I set the valve clearances with the gauges I have, but will have to figure out why I was sold 0.10 and 0.20 gauges.

Found one of the left valve cover screw sockets stripped out. Since this is the first time I've personally removed the cover, I must assume a technician had over-torqued the screw.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

105,930 miles


Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitzroy in the distance - Patagonia, Argentina


Santa Rosa, CA (BMW parts purchased at Marin BMW/Marin Moto)

Replace rear axle outer seal (self-service)


1 ea. Shaft seal #33117679862 $18.45

Tax: $1.52
Total: $19.97

Seal last replaced at 74,800 miles.

(Seal is extracted by drilling small holes into the seal at points diametrically opposed to one another, inserting screws into these holes, then using pliers to pull on both screws simultaneously, drawing the seal out. Not having a proper seal-driving tool, I placed the new seal in position and laid the old seal over it and used that as a driver to gently move the new seal into position. It seemed to work fine!)


Replace rear brake pads (self-service)

1 st. EBC brake pads #FA363HH $38.95 (purchased at Northbay Motorsport)

Tax: $3.12
Total: $42.07

Last replaced at 91,904 miles. 14,000 miles from this last set of (BMW) pads.


Service (self-service)

1 ea. Air filter #13717672552 $24.45
4 ea. Spark plugs #12127671301 $69.80
1 ea. Oil filter #11427673541 $17.75
2 ea. Valve cover inner gasket #11127673087 $14.90
2 ea. Hex head valve cover gasket #11127673086 $56.90

Tax: $15.16
Total: $198.96

4 qt. Castrol GTX 20W50 oil $15.96 (from Kragen Auto Parts)

Tax: $1.28
Total: $17.14


Total parts and supplies: $278.14


Comment: The prices on BMW parts represent a greater than 50% increase from those paid just 15 months ago. This is insane!

The labor charge at Marin BMW is now $102 per hour. This leaves little option but to perform as much of the service on my own as possible. BMW needs a reality check - their price inflation cannot continue unchecked, especially considering the current economy.

Friday, December 05, 2008

105,765 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Rear axle outer seal is failing


This seal failed at around 37,000 and 74,000 miles. I guess it's time for it to fail again.

After noting the oil leakage at 105,200 miles (November 18th), I cleaned the bike and watched for further sign of leakage, but none was noted until today, and this is clearly around the rear axle seal. I checked the rear drive oil level, and found it high (opening the plug, the oil squirted out, as if under pressure.) It may have been over-filled at the last service. Could that result in the seal leakage/failure? I also noted the oil is very dark - almost like old engine oil. This cannot be good! (This oil was supposedly changed at 97,596 miles.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

105,200 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Gear oil leaking from driveshaft housing


Substantial leakage noted after 1,500-mile ride to Las Vegas and back. (Rear wheel rim and tire splattered with oil, small puddle on rim after sitting overnight.) Suspect transmission output shaft seal has failed. Topped up transmission with 4 oz. of gear oil. (Source could possibly be final drive seal, but lowered transmission oil level seems to indicate otherwise.)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

102,900 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Change front brake pads (self-service)

Replaced the "EBC" pads with the used BMW ("Brembo") pads replaced at 101,294 miles. After adding the anti-squeal rubberized washers, I began experiencing front brakes "grabbing" or "shuddering" (as if the rotors were warped.)

The "HH"-rated "EBC" pads (recommended by a fellow rider on AdventureRider.com) have a higher friction rating than the "Brembo" pads (rated "FF".)

Replacing the EBCs with the BMW pads has eliminated the grabbing. And the squealing has also been eliminated.

So, it seems a $20 washer kit (which should be a $1 washer kit!) has eliminated the brake squealing, where in the past, new discs and new brake pads have been mistakenly advised as the solution.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

102,744 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Install front brake "anti-squeal" kit (self-service)


10 ea. #34 11 7 697 387 Rubberized thrust washers (D=8.5mm) $9.53
10 ea. #34 11 7 682 434 Rubberized thrust washers (D=13.7mm) $9.53

Tax: $1.48
Total: $20.54

This kit and installation should have been covered under BMW Service Information Bulletin #34 007 05 (037) dated June 2005

Despite my repeated complaints of brake squeal, no service technicians have ever mentioned this solution to me. And the local dealer would not cover parts and installation under warranty. A minor expense, but very disappointing.

A test ride after installation produced no brake squealing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Question from a reader

A blog reader wrote to me today:
I'm considering purchasing a 2008 R1200GS but after reviewing your blog I'm having second thoughts. Do you think BMW has made a serious attempt at addressing the issue of reliability with their product? Are you aware of fixes in the later models which addressed mechanical problems incurred during your trip?
I have often received similar inquiries, so I thought I'd post my response:
If I had the cash, I don't think I'd hesitate to buy a 2008 R1200GS.

But it depends upon what you will be doing with your motorcycle.

I've done roughly 5% of the mileage (>5,000 miles) off-pavement. That's hard on a big, heavy bike, and you pay for it (driveline, brakes, struts, wheels, tires, and repairs from falls.) If you're going to ride North American or European highways, it's a blast. If you're going to ride the Pan American to South America, it's great. But if you intend to do much of your riding where there are no roads, it's going to take a toll on your wallet, I think. Consider something smaller and lighter.

BMW has addressed a number of the problems encountered on early models. (But if you've seen "Long Way Down", 2 of 3 new GSs in the film blew out their rear struts in the first leg of their trans-Africa trip. And they weren't even heavily-loaded - they had support vehicles carrying gear. So they still have "issues" to work on!)

The bike can take abuse, but every machine has its limits.

All that said, I love riding it, and can't imagine riding anything else. (And it's my only vehicle, so I'm "stuck" with it!)
Note: in the comments below, reader "Sunny" corrects the record:
It should be said though that they changed the standard rear suspension to Öhlins. It were the ölins that broke, when they changed them back to the standard ones, everything went fine.
Thanks, Sunny.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

101,375 miles

Northbay Motorsport, Santa Rosa, CA

Replace rear tire


1 ea. Rear tire, Metzeler Tourance 150/70VR17 $152.00 ($140.89 at americanmototire.com)

Mounting and balancing: $18.00
Tax: $12.32

Total: $184.32

Old tire had 13,000 miles - probably about 1,000 miles longer than when I should have changed it out.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

101,294 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Replace front brake pads (self-service)

2 sets (4 pads) Front brake pads, EBC #FA335HH $99.90

Tax: $7.99
Total: $107.89

In attempt to eliminate brake squealing that has been growing steadily worse over the past 50k miles or so, I'm trying EBC pads instead of the stock Brembo pads. I have read of others who have found the EBC pads less prone to squealing. It's worth a try. (The Brembo pads I'm replacing still have plenty of life left on them.)

On several occasions, mechanics have identified the cause as "warped rotors". Now, I think they were mistaken. I think only the set of front rotors replaced at 18,192 miles was actually warped (characterized by a "pulsing" or "grabbing" sensation.)

If this doesn't reduce or eliminate the problem, I'll probably look at replacing rotors and/or calipers. (Wheel trueness does not seem to be the problem, since the squealing is about the same whether I'm running the cast wheel or the spoked wheel.) Applying lithium grease or "brake quiet" to the backing plates eliminates the squealing for only a very short time - maybe 15 minutes of around-town riding.

***

Tonight, I came across a discussion on Adventure Rider that mentions a June 2005 BMW Service Information Bulletin - #34 007 05 (037) which, "in the event of a customer complaining of front wheel squeal" calls for changing out the brake disc mounting hardware and installing an "anti-squeal kit", which includes rubberized thrust washers. (See: advrider.com)

Jeez! All this time complaining about brake squeal and no shop has ever suggested this fix!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

101,055 miles

Santa Rosa BMW

Replace clutch plate and transmission input shaft seal


Leaking seal caused gear oil contamination of new clutch plate. All work was done under warranty. (This is the fourth clutch plate for this bike. Two were contaminated by oil seal leaks.)

1 ea. Clutch Plate #21-21-7-697-737 $0.00
1 ea. Seal #23-12-7-705-086 $0.00

Total cost: $6.00 (for a loaner R1200R!)

Thanks to Dennis Gonzales, owner of Santa Rosa BMW for the extraordinary customer care!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

100,950 miles

Windsor, CA

Transmission input shaft seal leak


Problem identified by mechanics at Santa Rosa BMW today. Will pull transmission and repair next week.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Review of the First 100k Miles


Tail of the Dragon

Over and above normal maintenance and service items, and apart from any damage caused by accidents, I've had to replace the components listed below. (I include brake components, since this machine seems to eat them up. As I write this, my front brake discs and rear brake pads are again in need of replacement.)

The list is surprising, considering I'm a fairly conservative rider, have rarely taken the bike over 90 mph, avoid hard braking and, unlike Charley Boorman on all his GS adventures, I've never done wheelies with this bike. I intend to hold on to it a long time (if I can afford it!)

New, the bike cost $18,610, including panniers and top box. The "extraordinary" costs below, if paid out-of-pocket (a number of them were covered by warranty), would run another $15,000 - 80% of the cost of the new bike. (Parts, labor and tax rates vary widely, however based upon my first-hand experience, this is a fairly reasonable estimate.)

I think it's time for another "conversation" with BMW of North America. What I would like to ask them: "is this considered normal 'wear and tear'?" If so, you might want to budget a bit higher when considering the purchase of a new BMW R1200GS (and check if the new "extended warranties" cover the following items.)

Battery
Brake disc, front (6)
Brake disc, rear (3)(1 probably replaced unnecessarily)
Brake pads, front (3 sets, 12 pads)
Brake pads, rear (6 sets, 12 pads)
Charcoal canister
Clutch assembly (2)
Clutch cable
Drive shaft
Drive shaft boots
Fuel pump regulator (fuel pump electronics)(2)
Fuel gauge (replaced fuel pump assembly)
Seal, clutch input shaft
Seal, rear axle, inner
Seal, rear axle, outer (2)
Seal, speedometer pick-up
Seal, transmission, rear
Speedometer (replaced instrument cluster)
Splash guard rear (2)(Did not replace after 2nd one broke)
Spring strut, front
Spring strut, rear
Starter
Top box (inadequate fastening system)
Transmission

I see on-line that many GS owners have complained of corrosion, especially of the front engine (or alternator) cover. Some had the cover replaced under warranty. I noted this very early on, but simply considered it cosmetic and have never bothered.

I'm (now) told that problems are common with any new design. The Germans refer to the new model gremlins as kinderkrankenheiten.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

100,000 miles



Las Vegas, Nevada

Transmission leaking oil

For several days, I had been smelling gear oil burning, but could not locate the source. I now find the transmission housing is leaking a significant amount of oil where it mates to the engine housing. The leakage is underneath the bike, dripping onto the skid plate, and onto the front of the catalytic converter - which is causing the burning smell.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

99,185 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Brake lamp failure - burned out


1 ea. Brake lamp #3216922114 (from stock) $0.00

Friday, June 06, 2008

98,053 miles

Santa Rosa BMW, Windsor CA

Replace transmission


Returned to Santa Rosa BMW to have the transmission oil leak repaired. In the process of inspecting it, the owner said that they would pull it out and replace it. He found another used transmission in his stock. He said it had no issues.

All work was performed at no charge, and a loaner (2008 F800S) provided. And again, there was no charge for the transmission.

The transmission has been installed and is operating perfectly. (What a remarkable difference! No "clunking" shifts, no mis-shifts, and no oil leaks!)

Now, the machine is operating beautifully. Time to travel!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

98,000 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Transmission faulty, leaking oil


Persistent, but inconsistent failure to up-shift from 1st to 2nd gear. Transmission often sticks in the neutral position. Sometimes succeeds in shifting after several attempts, sometimes requires downshifting to 1st before again trying to shift to 2nd.

This was the transmission installed a little over two weeks ago, a "used" transmission that had been changed out under warranty. The reported defect was an oil leak, which they said proved to be false.

Since I paid nothing for the transmission, only the cost of installation, I have decided to "work with it" and try and adjust my own "programming" to compensate for and adjust to this "challenge".

The options are to install a new transmission ($3,299.44), search for a used transmission and take a chance on that, dismantle this transmission and try to diagnose the issue (unlikely to be a cost-saving undertaking, according to the BMW shop owner) or to work with it "as is". I told the owner that I can't see throwing away a transmission that only had 1,000 miles on it. (Not consistent with my environmental side!) I want to see how many miles I can get out of this thing.

The primary oil leak, apparently from the potentiometer housing, should be repaired in the coming days.

Friday, May 16, 2008

97,596 miles

Santa Rosa BMW, Windsor, CA

Replace transmission, clutch assembly and clutch Bowden cable

1 ea. Transmission Assembly (used) N/C (new transmission: $3,259.44)
1 ea. Clutch Plate #21-21-7-697-737 $160.50
1 ea. Coupling #21-21-7-704-866 $151.85
1 ea. Clutch Bowden Cable #21-52-7-675-102 $120.50
1 ea. Potentiometer #23-00-7-698-580 $145.50*
1 ea. O-Ring #33-11-7-695-218 $3.50
1 ea. Gasket Ring #33-33-7-699-630 $31.99
1 ea. Rubber Boot #33-17-7-685-052 $48.50
1 ea. Rubber Boot #33-17-7-685-599 $42.50**
1 ea. Mineral Oil #07-51-0-398-494 $4.98

Labor: $522.00

Mechanic's notes: Replaced clutch assembly, found input shaft and clutch plate splines sheared. Installed a used transmission at no charge. Will sometimes show a false neutral due to not replacing potentiometer. Replaced the clutch cable.

My note: In first day of use, some difficulty with transmission: while in motion, shifting from 1st to 2nd, transmission wants to lock in on neutral. May take two or three attempts to reach 2nd. "Hopefully" it just needs some breaking in. (Transmission has about 1,000 miles on it.)


Replace driveshaft

1 ea. Driveshaft #26-11-7-665-803 $548.00

Mechanic's note: Drive shaft is worn, needs to be replaced.

Labor: $00.00


Replace starter (Bendix gear not retracting)

1 ea. Starter 12-41-2-306-140 $350.50

Mechanic's note: Replaced the worn out starter with a new starter.

Labor: $00.00


Replace speedometer pick-up seal

1 ea. Shaft (Speedo Pick Up) Seal #33-11-7-679-864 $22.50

Mechanic's note: Speedo pick up seal is worn, and needs to be replaced. Final drive seal does not have to be replaced.

Labor: $261.00


Inspect front brakes (brakes squealing at stops)

Labor: $43.50

Mechanic's note: Installed brake compound on the pads. Test rode the bike, there is no longer a brake squeal.

My note: after ten miles, brake squeal returned.


Oil service (6,000-mile)

1 ea. Oil filter #11-42-7-673-541 $15.95
4 qt. 20W/50 engine oil $34.00
1.4 qt. Gear oil 80W90 GL-5 $13.86
4 ea. Crush gaskets $3.96

Mechanic's note: Changed engine oil and filter, transmission and final drive fluid.

Labor: $43.50
Tax: $131.65

Total: $2,700.24


* Potentiometer was billed, but not replaced. I declined refund, as transmission was installed at no charge.

** Rear driveshaft boot was billed, but not replaced. Refunded later.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

97,596 miles


Santa Rosa, CA

Clutch or drive shaft failure?

Loud screeching sound and complete loss of power to the rear wheel while riding on the freeway. Pushed bike home - four miles.

(Also I now see that drive shaft replacement instructions are completely absent from my BMW R1200GS Service Manual disc. Gotta love it.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

97,000 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

(Inner) rear axle seal leaking?

Monday, March 03, 2008

96,021 miles



Santa Rosa, CA

Headlamp low-beam failure

1 ea. Head lamp, H7L 12V55W #63-21-7-160-781 (from stock) $0.00

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

92,300 miles

North Bay Motorsports, Santa Rosa, CA

Replace front tire

Metzeler Tourance 110/80VR19 $120.95

(Match on-line pricing, almost.)

Tax: $9.68
Tire disposal: $2.00
Mounting and balancing: $10.00

Total: $142.63

Note: Replaced the "Dunlop D607 Trailmax" that originally came on the bike. That tire had roughly 21,000 miles on it! Incredibly long-wearing, but I still much prefer the handling of the Tourance.

Friday, September 21, 2007

91,904 miles

BMW of San Francisco

Major (24,000-mile) service

1 ea. Oil filter #11-42-7-673-541 $12.08
1 ea. O-Ring #07-11-9-904-950 $2.40
2 ea. Gasket #11-12-7-673-087 $12.10
2 ea. Gasket #11-12-7-673-086 $29.40
4 ea. Spark plugs #12-12-7-671-301 $44.48
1 ea. Air filter #13-71-7-672-552 $15.92
2 ea. (no description) #13-54-1-460-594 $3.52
1 ea. Alternator belt #12-31-7-681-841 (from my stock) $0.00
4 ea. 20W/50 oil $20.00
1 ea. Brake fluid $3.95

Labor: $243.75
Supplies: $20.00

Requested they check front fork fluid and fork operation. No comments at conclusion of service.


Replace rear brake disc and brake pads

1 ea. Brake disc #34-21-7-664-102 $159.20
1 ea. Mounting #34-21-7-671-876 $12.48
1 st. Brake pads #34-21-7-660-281 (from my stock) $0.00

Labor: $56.25

Note: mechanic states rear axle seal is not leaking. Rear drive fluid level is correct. So, where did the gear oil that was on my rear brake disc and wheel come from? They have no idea.


Replace right side mirror mount

1 ea. Clamp support #32-72-7-664-677 $31.23
1 ea. Bracket, right #32-72-7-684-576 $8.24
1 ea. Fitting #51-16-7-673-982 (No charge)

Labor: $49.75
Tax: $29.84

Total: $730.61

Thursday, August 23, 2007

90,970 miles


Sierra Buttes, California

Dropped bike on Forest Service road

Broken right mirror
Broken right handguard brace

Monday, August 20, 2007

90,500 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Rear brake disc severely worn

(Surface shows warping or what might be called "cupping")

Friday, June 01, 2007

88,378 miles

Northbay Motorsport, Santa Rosa, CA

Mount new rear tire on alloy rim (off bike)

1 ea. Rear tire, Metzeler Tourance 150/70VR17 $129.36

Tax: $10.35
Labor: $10.00

(They again matched on-line price from American Motorcycle Tire.)

Removed the spoked rim with the old Metzeler. That tire has 12,768 miles, but still has life on it. I'll keep it mounted on the spoked rim as a spare.


Remount front cast alloy wheel with original Dunlop Trailmax tire

This tire has over 17,000 miles on it, but still shows decent tread


Mount new front tire on spoked rim (for spare)

1 ea. Front tire, Michelin Anakee 110/80R19 $153.99

(Purchased at Hi-Tech Motorsports, Billings, MT. No tax - gotta love Montana!)

Labor: $24.00
Disposal: $2.00

Total: $329.70

Thursday, May 10, 2007

83,576 miles

Essex Center, VT

Front brake discs warped

Will need replacement upon return to California, if not sooner. (They were beginning to show signs of warpage at 75,000 miles, before I left.)


Oil service

1 ea. Oil filter #11427673541 $15.10
1 ea. Seal #07119963252 $0.60
4 qt. 20W50 engine oil $22.16

Labor: $41.25
Chemical charge: $3.00
Tax: $2.27

Total: $84.38

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

80,785 miles


Touch of Class Motorcycles, Phillipsburg, New Jersey

Replace front and rear struts

Installed used BMW struts (taken from owner's personal bike after 200 miles' usage)

1 ea. Front Strut (used) $200.00
1 ea. Rear Strut (used) $500.00

Labor: $115.00
Tax: $4.03

Total: $819.03

Monday, April 23, 2007

80,400 miles

Massachusetts

Rear strut failure

Seal blew, releasing all fluid

80,233 miles

Frank's Motorcycle Sales, Essex Center, VT

Parts purchase

1 st. Rear brake pads (for spares) #34212335465: $65.25

Tax: $3.92

Total: $69.17

Sunday, April 22, 2007

80,200 miles

Waterbury, VT

Replace fuel pump electronics (self-service)

Replaced original unit that had previously failed once (due to moisture.)

1 ea. Fuel pump electronics #16147694378 $83.79

10% shipping charge: $8.37
Sales tax: $7.37

Total: $100.27


(Purchased at Ride West BMW, Seattle, WA. Note charge for shipping. This is quite annoying. BMW dealers stock relatively few parts these days. They assume the customer can wait for delivery, and pay for the shipping cost! This part in particular should be a stock item, since it has been a common problem for the R1200GS.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

75,970 miles


Napa, CA

Fuel pump electronics failure

40 miles into my cross-country trip. Bike died. Not getting fuel. After pushing two miles, had bike towed home to Santa Rosa. Re-installed an old unit that had failed in Mexico two years ago (due to moisture.) Bike started right up.

Read more about it at timtraveler.com.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

75,610 miles

Northbay Motorsport, Santa Rosa, CA

Replace rear tire (off bike)

1 ea. Rear tire, Metzeler Tourance 150/70VR17 $129.36

Tax: $10.35
Labor: $10.00
Tire disposal: $2.00

Total: $151.71

(They matched on-line price from American Motorcycle Tire.)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

74,800 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Replace rear axle outer seal (self-service)

1 ea. Shaft seal #33117679863 $15.99

Tax: $1.24

Total: $17.23

Note: the new seal is a much different design, with rubber "baffles". (I later recalled that the seal used in Chile was not an OEM seal.)

Topped up rear drive oil: about 2 oz. 75W140 Super Synthetic

Topped up transmission: about 4 oz. of same

Thursday, February 22, 2007

74,600 miles

Santa Rosa, CA

Low beam failure (self-service)

1 ea. Bulb #63-21-7-160-797 (from my stock) $0.00

Sunday, January 21, 2007

73,688 miles



Santa Rosa, CA

Rear drive seal is failing again

This seal failed in Chile, at around 37,000 miles, and was replaced in Santiago.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

72,762 miles



BMW of San Francisco

Major (12,000-mile) service

1 ea. Oil filter #11-42-7-673-541 $13.46
1 ea. O-Ring #07-11-9-904-950 $2.70
2 ea. Gasket #11-12-7-673-087 $11.66
2 ea. Gasket #11-12-7-673-086 $30.60
1 ea. Air filter #13-71-7-672-552 $17.55
4 ea. Spark Plugs #12-12-7-671-301 $46.64
4 qt. 20W/50 engine oil #07-51-0-412-040 $19.64
1 ea. Brake fluid $3.95

Labor: $250.00

(Did not replace alternator belt, since that was replaced at 56k)


Replace battery

1 ea. Battery #61-21-7-661-896 $96.30

Labor: $10.00


Renew final drive fluid

1 ea. O-Ring #07-11-9-905-198 $1.35
1 ea. O-Ring #33-11-7-695-219 $1.13

Labor: $70.00


Accessory purchase

Since the BMW tire repair kit fails to work on Metzeler Tourance tires, I decided to try a heavier-duty repair kit.

1 ea. Tubeless tire plug kit #150213 $29.66

Tax: $23.02

Total: $623.71



Louder than normal gearbox noise?

According to technician, this could be worn clutch plates rattling - considered normal with this kind of wear. (Clutch would later fail.)


Work deferred

When cold, starter pinion remains engaged momentarily after starter button is released. Replacing clutch and flywheel (which will probably be required soon) may remedy this.

Apparently drive shaft is showing some rust (from water in housing at some point), and u-joints are no longer tight. Technician recommends replacing drive shaft.

Front strut is leaking fluid, and is losing its dampening

Saturday, December 02, 2006

72,560 miles

Santa Rosa, California

Battery failing to hold charge

Had to jump-start the bike after stopping in town. Nights have been in the 30s lately. Though I have a trickle charger, I haven't used it (that is, until now.)

I'll try using it as a battery tender and see how much more life I can get out of this battery (now two years old.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

72,410 miles

Santa Rosa, California

Flat rear tire - change wheels (self-service)

Rear tire punctured by a nail. Using the BMW repair kit, was unable to plug the Metzeler Tourance tire. (I've gone through two or three BMW repair kits now, including at least 8 plugs, and have been unable to repair a Tourance with this kit! The plugs always tear when trying to insert them, and two of the insertion tools broke!)

Fortunately, I have a set of spoked wheels mounted with tires that still have decent tread.

So, I replaced the cast alloy wheels with the spoked wheels, and transfered the front brake discs over. Curiously, the front brakes, which had been screeching during slow braking, now operate quietly.

November 27th marked two years since I took delivery of the bike.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

70,938 miles

Santa Rosa, California

Replace rear brake pads (self-service)

1 st. Rear brake pads #34212335465 (from my stock) $0.00

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

68,884 miles


Tail of the Dragon


Alamosa, Colorado

Front spring strut seal failure

Will need to replace strut at next service

Thursday, October 19, 2006

66,970 miles

Cambridge, Ohio

Brake lamp failure

This is caused by corrosion and dirt build-up on lamp and contacts. Without rear splash guard (which I have not replaced since having two of them break off), brake lamp housing collects excessive moisture, dust and mud. I thought this contamination was entering around the lens, but now realize the back of the housing is not sealed, but is open to the elements. Seems like a lousy design.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

65,500 miles



Canadian Border near Derby Line, VT

Battery discharged

Running with an electric vest and heated grips proved too much for the battery. About a 10-minute wait in line at the border. Idled with these accessories on, resulting in nearly complete discharge of the battery. (Shut down to talk to the customs officer. Trying to re-start, it barely turned over.)(Occurred again in Quebec City.)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

65,171 miles

Frank's Motorcycle Sales, Essex Center, VT

Oil service

1 ea. Oil filter #11427673541 $14.95
1 ea. Seal #07119963252 $0.50
4 qt. 20W50 engine oil #07511467605 $19.80

Labor: $27.50
Chemical charge: $3.00
Tax: $2.12

Total: $67.87

Saturday, September 23, 2006

64,450 miles


(This is what I rode the Tail of the Dragon on!)

Bob's BMW, Jessup, MD

Replace rear tire (off bike)

1 ea. Rear tire, Metzeler Tourance 150/70VR17 $164.95
1 ea. Valve stem, rubber #3631653064 $3.79

Supplies: $2.03
Labor: $40.50


Parts purchase:

1 st. Rear brake pads (for back-up) #34212335465 $61.39
1 ea. Vacuum nipple cap #13547694924 $1.39

Tax: $11.58

Total: $285.63

Replace original Dunlop Trailmax tire that came with the bike. Ran it for 4,000 miles before replacing cast wheels with spoked wheels (for the "Americas Trip"). Remounted cast wheels for this trip and ran this tire another 5,150 miles, for a total of 9,150 miles on the Dunlop.


New skin!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

62,500 miles


Tail of the Dragon


Natchez, Mississippi

Replace front brake pads (self-service)

1 st. Front brake pads (2 pair) #34117671780 (from my stock) $0.00

43,303 miles on old set.

Old brake pads had begun to squeal during light braking. Inspected old pads - not completely worn. New pads did not eliminate the noise. Apparently this is due to vibration between brake pad backing plate and housing. (I'm told lithium grease will help reduce this, however I did not have any available at the time.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

59,235 miles


Santa Rosa, CA

Change out wheels and tires (self-service)

Front brake discs are warped, so I remounted the original cast front wheel with original discs and original Dunlop Trailmax tire and the original rear wheel/tire (also Dunlop Trailmax) assembly. (These had been used for the first 4,000 miles. For the "Americas Trip", I replaced them with spoked wheels, Metzeler Tourance tires, and a complete front disc assembly.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

58,000 miles (approximately)

Santa Rosa, CA

Starter Bendix gear occasionally fails to disengage

Signs that the starter may soon need replacement. On cold start-ups, the starter continues to engage after the engine has started firing.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

56,735 miles

BMW of San Francisco

Replace instrument cluster (warranty)

This should solve the intermittent speedometer failure. Apparently, BMW has recently distributed a bulletin pertaining to this issue.

1 ea. Instrument cluster #62-11-7-700-751 $0.00

The new cluster features a slightly different LCD configuration.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

56,138 miles

BMW of San Francisco

Major (12,000-mile) service

1 ea. Oil filter #11-42-7-673-541 $13.46
1 ea. O-Ring #07-11-9-904-950 $2.70
2 ea. Gasket #11-12-7-673-087 $8.10
2 ea. Gasket #11-12-7-673-086 $30.60
1 ea. Air filter #13-71-7-672-552 $17.55
2 ea. O-ring #13-31-7-659-110 $5.40
1 ea. Alternator belt #12-31-7-681-841 $16.20
4 ea. 20W/50 oil $14.00
1 ea. Brake fluid $3.95
0.8 ea. Synthetic gear oil $4.40

Parts: $94.01
Labor: $375.00
Supplies: $22.35


Replace speedometer (warranty)

This is to remedy the previously-reported occasional failure of the speedometer

1 ea. Instrument cluster #62-11-7-700-751 (Special order)

Technician's note: renew instrument cluster as per bulletin.


Check clutch life

The day before service, while exiting a freeway, tried to engage the clutch and the gears created quite a racket. The clutch did not seem operational. Persisted for several blocks until I stopped the bike. When I resumed, everything seemed normal. Driving to BMW of SF this morning, everything seemed normal.

Technician's note: "clutch feels fine." Mechanics not sure what could have caused it. One said a pebble might have gotten kicked into transmission (is there an opening?)


Low beam failure (not the bulb - I tried several spares)

Discovered pilot bulb burned out, but no apparent problem with low beam!

1 ea. Bulb #63-21-7-160-797 $1.30


White smoke on start-up (occasionally)(check valves)

Technician says this is "considered "normal".


Louder than normal gearbox noise?

Considered "normal" movement of shafts, according to technician.

(LATER NOTE: I think this was likely the loosened clutch plate and input shaft splines, which later self-destructed.)


Misfiring on deceleration (and downhill slopes)

Technician says the Major Service should take care of this.


Replace two broken turn signal lenses

2 ea. Lens #63-13-7-667-767 $17.50 (why are these SO expensive?)
2 ea. Screws #63-13-7-654-275 $1.90


Check rear drive for unusual play - possible contributor to excessive rear brake pad wear? (Other riders have pointed to excess play in the rear drive as the cause of excess brake pad wear.)

Technician's comment: "rear drive is tight."


Perform sensor line recall

1 ea. Case holder #34-51-7-695-906 $0.00
1 ea. Screw, 4x10 #07-11-9-900-439 $0.00


Perform brake banjo recall

1 ea. Hollow bolt #34-32-7-702-422 $0.00
2 ea. Seal ring #07-11-9-963-072 $0.00


Replace seat holding straps

(These flimsy rubber straps that hold the seat height adjusting bars in place showed signs of aging and cracking, even when the bike was brand new!)

4 ea. Holding strap #52-53-7-653-537 $11.88

Tax: $12.66


Total: $546.60


Credit for returned parts never used on my trip

1 ea. Clutch lever #32-72-7-691-637 <$33.53>
1 ea. Mirror #51-16-7-667-717 <$29.48>
1 ea. Brake lever #32-72-7-691-636 <$33.53>

Tax: <$8.21>

Total credit: <$104.75>

Friday, June 02, 2006

54,800 miles

Possible valve problem

This morning (and also a few days ago), there was a cloud of bluish-white smoke coming out of the exhaust when first starting the engine in the morning. Suspect a worn valve guide or stuck valve.

I'll take the bike in for full service next week.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A "Conversation" with BMW Motorrad USA


Ushuaia, Argentina


Following my "Americas Trip", I thought it would be useful to contact BMW Motorrad USA to discuss issues I experienced with the new bike. Below is the full extent of the "conversation". (As the webmaster assured, no one contacted me to discuss these issues.)

-----Original Message-----

From: timtraveler@msn.com
Sent: 5/15/2006 12:00:00 AM
To: webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com
Subject: [bmw-admin] [visitor-feedback] Message from site visitor

Timothy Campion sent the following message from the site:

I just completed an eleven-month 46,000-mile ride around the Americas, from Prudhoe
Bay to Tierra del Fuego.

I was riding a 2005 R1200GS.

I would like to discuss my experiences, both good and bad, as it relates to this machine.

Who would be the appropriate contact?

Sincerely,

Timothy Campion
Kenwood, CA

timtraveler@msn.com



-----Original Message-----
From: Webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com [mailto:Webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com]
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 2:07 PM
To: timtraveler@msn.com
Subject: RE: [bmw-admin] [visitor-feedback] Message from site visitor
[1-393814275]

Dear Mr. Campion,

Thank you for contacting BMW Motorrad USA. We appreciate your interest in providing a testimonial of your adventures.

If you would like to submit your story, please visit http://www.bmwmotorcycles.com/bikes/submit_testimonial.jsp. We look forward to hearing your story. Please note that these submissions are reviewed by BMW Motorrad USA management.

If you have any further questions, please respond to this e-mail or contact the Customer Relations and Services Department at 1-800-831-1117 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            1-800-831-1117      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M., Eastern Standard Time.

Regards,

BMW Motorrad USA



-----Original Message-----

From: timtraveler@msn.com
Sent: 5/15/2006 12:00:00 AM
To:
Subject: [bmw-admin] [visitor-feedback] Message from site visitor [1-393814275]

It is part testimonial, part critique and feedback loop for engineers and designers.

Numerous issues plagued me early on:

Clutch failure
Output shaft seal failure
Clutch seal failure
Rear drive seal failure
Premature brake pad and disc failures (front and rear)
Rear mudguard failure (twice before removing altogether)
Fuel pump control unit failure
Speedometer failure
Electronics anomalies
Front fender design flaw (resulting in numerous falls!)
And more...

That said, the bike is still an awesome and outstanding machine!

But it is not such a simple story, or testimonial. I would appreciate having access to someone who would actually "listen" and respond. I am certain future riders would benefit.

Sincerely,

Timothy Campion



-----Original Message-----
From: Webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com [mailto:Webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com]
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2006 2:58 PM
To: timtraveler@msn.com
Subject: RE: [bmw-admin] [visitor-feedback] Message from site visitor
[1-393814275]

Dear Mr. Campion,

You may submit your details via this email string. I'll be happy to forward it on for review. While I cannot guarantee that someone will call you to discuss these matters personally, I can guarantee that your feedback will be heard.

Regards,
BMW Motorrad USA



-----Original Message-----

From: timtraveler@msn.com
Sent: 5/22/2006 12:00:00 AM
To:
Subject: [bmw-admin] [visitor-feedback] Message from site visitor [1-393814275]

Thank you for the opportunity to submit this feedback.

Please see the following link where I have detailed all the service and
repairs for my R1200GS during a 46,000-mile Prudhoe Bay to Tierra del Fuego
ride.

http://bmwr1200gsservicehistory.blogspot.com/


The following items are noteworthy for a new motorcycle:

6,000 miles: output shaft seal and clutch failure (replace both)

10,613 miles: rear mudguard sheared off from vibration (replaced, and that
one too failed at 31,000 miles.)

18,310 miles: clutch slave cylinder seal failed

19,192 miles: front brake discs warped (these discs had been installed new at 4,000 miles, when I changed the bike over to spoked wheels for the journey.)

22,735 miles: fuel gauge failure (fuel pump assembly replaced)

26,550 miles: fuel pump regulator failed (in Mexico. Pushed bike back to U.S.!)

31,000 miles; Rear mud guard sheared off again (weakness in mounting configuration)

35,600 miles: speedometer failure

37,700 mile: rear drive seal fails

38,420 miles: rear drive and brake rotor failed (rotor cupped)

38,420 miles: front discs warped again (for several thousand miles)

Quite a list, and several $1,000s more than I would hope to spend on a new bike!

The good news is that the R1200GS is a real work horse. I traveled fully-loaded for 11 months, through all kinds of weather and terrain.

And, for the past 15,000 miles it has required no repairs, other than tires and brake pads.

By the way: this bike really eats up rear brake pads (every 6 to 8,000 miles.) Other riders claim this is due to a loose rear drive that causes a slight shimmy in the rear end, resulting in the pads riding the disc more than they should.

I know the fuel pump regulator has been addressed in a recall. That was a nasty one: I was stranded in Mexico when it failed, forced to have the bike hauled to near the border, then PUSHED the bike eight miles (in summer heat) across the border into Brownsville, TX.

And even then, BMW Roadside Assistance could offer no assistance in the Brownsville area. The nearest service was in San Antonio, a towing cost of over $1,000!)(Needless to say, I repaired it myself in Brownsville, with parts shipped in at my expense.)

Another MAJOR problem for the R1200GS is (was?) the lack of front tires in Central and South America. I finally found them in Santiago, Chile, after beginning my search in Panama! (I had one flown from the U.S. to Peru for about $350 in shipping costs!) Dealers simply don't (or at least, didn't) stock them!

I would be very interested in feedback on these issues.

Sincerely,

Timothy Campion
Kenwood, California

The full story of my journey can be found at:

http://timtraveler.com



-----Original Message-----
From: Webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com [mailto:Webmaster@bmwmotorcycles.com]
Sent: Monday, May 22, 2006 6:30 AM
To: timtraveler@msn.com
Subject: RE: [bmw-admin] [visitor-feedback] Message from site visitor [1-393814275]

Dear Mr. Campion,

Thank you for the detailed feedback. I will forward this information to the engineering department here at BMW Motorrad USA.

Regards,
BMW Motorrad USA

Thursday, May 18, 2006

54,250 miles

Top box falls off


Within months of purchasing my bike, I began the practice of strapping the top box in place for added security. Despite the added security of a nylon strap, I lost the top box after hitting a small bump. The box, containing my laptop computer, bounced down the road.

At the California Adventure Rally last year, I spoke with another GS rider who said he had lost three top boxes! (That is why I began strapping the box in addition to latching it in place.)

Top box is now unusable. (New one is approximately $530!)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

53,000 miles

Speedometer failure (intermittent)

Speedometer continues to fail intermittently. It usually will recover after a re-start, or even after a period of continuous riding.

Friday, March 31, 2006

51,255 miles


Southwest sandstorm


BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas, Nevada

Oil change

Oil filter #11427673541 (from my stock) $0.00
20W50 Oil (3 @ $4.94, 1 from my stock) $14.82


Replace air filter

1 ea. Air filter element #13717672552 $21.84


Replace rear brake pads

1 st. Rear brake pads #34212335465 (from my stock) $0.00

Labor (for brakes, filters): $80.00


Replace front and rear tires

1 ea. Front tire, Metzeler Tourance 110/80VR19 $140.51
1 ea. Rear tire, Metzeler Tourance 150/70VR17 $147.57
2 ea. Wheel weights $18.14
2 ea. D-15 valve #36311454963 (1 from my stock) $4.00

Labor: $80.00

Front tire life: 16,170 miles
Rear tire life: 7,280 miles

(The Brazilian "Pirelli" proved to be a much better value than I first thought!)


Recall: replace fuel pump electronics seal

1 ea. Seal #16147694717 $0.00


Recall: reprogram for "flat battery"


Shop supplies: $4.80
Hazardous materials: $4.00
Sales tax: $27.61

Total: $543.92

Monday, February 27, 2006

46,275 miles



Santiago, Chile

Replace rear tire

After the 6,500 miles run to Ushuaia and back, the rear tire (Tourance) was shot. Ruta 40 in Argentina gave it a pounding! West of Buenos Aires, Argentina, I picked up a small nail but left it in the tire, as I had no way to patch it. (All my repair kits were used up!) I topped off the air as I crept back to Santiago, Chile. I later discovered the tire had numerous tiny air leaks!


Bimota, Santiago

Re-installed Pirelli MT60 (from La Paz)

Labor: $38.00


Repair neutral sensor

Adjusted sensor (linked to clutch lever) to allow ignition while in gear

Labor: $10.00

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

45,270 miles

Cordasco Motohaus (BMW), Buenos Aires

Parts purchased

1 ea. Oil filter #11427673541 $25.70
4 ea. Spark plugs #12127677560 $86.67!
1 L Castrol 20W50 engine oil $4.00

Total: $116.37

(Also picked up a set of rear brake pads left for me by another rider who had borrowed a set from me. He paid $98.70 for the replacements!)

Sunday, February 19, 2006

43,575 miles



Argentina's Ruta 3

Can only start bike in neutral

Various plastic dust caps falling off

(Illustrated in pre-trip photo above)

Speedometer continues to function intermittently

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


What I call the R1200GS's "Achille's Heel": inadequate clearance between front tire and fender will allow mud buildup within minutes, with a resulting locking of front wheel and loss of control. Stopping to clear the mud usually required 15 minutes of work. After cleaning, it was good for about another three or four minutes of riding. (This photo was along Argentina's Ruta 40. Virtually identical conditions were encountered in Panama's Darien Province.)

(I later concluded that reducing the tire pressure to about 20 pounds might have helped lessen the difficulty, but also reduces tire integrity and life.)

Read more at timtraveler.com.