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.