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


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 (original purchase September 27, 2011), 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:


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