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:

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.)

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
Top box (inadequate fastening system)

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.