K12GT Getting Hosed - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 7th, 2007, 9:30 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 35
K12GT Getting Hosed

I am hoping some of you can share your experiences with keeping you K bikes clean.

In the 30 years I have been riding, I have always been fickel about keeping my bikes clean and well maintained (yep... I'm a tooth brush and Q-tip kind of guy). Back in the old days (1970's) I use to strip my bikes down to the frame to clean them and re-assemble them checking every part. That practice stopped when I bought my 1982 Honda CX500TC which just had way too much involvement with electronics and such. However, I would strip off all the plastic, disconnect the battery, hose it down, blow it with compressed air and put it all back together without a hitch every year.

I now own a mint 2003 K1200GT and am tempted to keep up with that practice but I have concerns about the technology. I guess it would be best to talk with a certified BMW service person, but has anybody here gotten bold and really gave their K12 a good hosing? I have given it exterior washings, but never been bold enough to remove the plastic and wash the dust out. Maybe I should just use compressed air. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 8th, 2007, 4:46 am
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Location: , , UK
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I recently pulled apart my '97KRS, so I can tell you what deteriates most and where:

Salt on roads is the worst killer if you ride when they put it down. The parts most affected are under the transmission around the side and center stand mountings (important for integrity!), the rear of the transmission casing (have you got a rear hugger?), around the ABS and battery casing, the front end and topside area of the swinging arm and its bushes.

If you have the well known timing cover oil leak, you'll do better on the corrosion stakes further up front.

Look carefully at the silver painted parts in the above areas. If you see signs of paint bubbling or white deposits, that's corrosion probably from road salt. Most black painted parts on the bike e.g stand, are pretty thinly painted so rust easily. Unfortunately these are usually parts you don't look at too closely. BMW seem to have used a very hard (silver) acrylic paint laid on very thick. It's virtually impossible to strip and appears to have no conventional primer underneath. Once stone chips/salt/water get through, the ali base casting will corrode fairly quickly.

Since I had all these parts out of the frame and did a certain amount of re-painting, I decided to cover everything in Waxoil before the parts went back. I don't know how long it will stay on. It's sticky stuff and not to pretty, but then it's mostly out of sight. I shall blow over these areas again with Waxoil in a kerosene air spray gun.

I do use a pressure washer carefully and I think frequent hosing during winter will keep the salt away, particularly in those areas I mentioned. I'm careful around the HT coil, plugs and ignition on the left side so hose rearwards from underneath. I'm now going to start taking off the under belly cover more often.

Yours is a newer bike, you may not be seeing any of this yet. My reply is more about what you might get and how you might slow it down.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 2007, 6:53 am
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Location: Concord, NC, USA
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I've hosed down my naked '03 GT before with no ill effects. Just take care not to get too careless around any of the electrical connections. I did not spray those with a stream of water and made sure to dry them thoroughly with a towel and compressed air afterwards.

'03 K1200GT

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 2007, 10:40 am
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Location: Payson, AZ, USA
Posts: 796
On other bikes I learned that the cooling fins on the oil cooler and radiator can be folded over if you hit them close with the sprayer.A real bitch to bend them back.But I have used High pressure sprayers for 40 years with no ill effects, other than the fin thing.I avoid the electronics and steering head bearings, swingarm bearings,etc.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Sep 9th, 2007, 8:19 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2007
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In case anyone else was wondering... it doesn't mind a major league washing.

I stripped it down to just a naked bike, disconnected the negative side of the battery, gave it a pre-soaking and went to town with the power washer. I took the advice and remained careful around the radiator cores and took it easy around bearings and electronics. Actually, the electronics and all related connectors are pretty water tight. I took some of them apart prior to cleaning and noticed that they were all O-ring sealed similar to what you would find on an outboard motor (nice touch BMW).

Afterwards, I blew around the delicate areas so they wouldn't stay wet for long and then began the drying process. I had a nice hot weekend so the air dried the machine quite fast. After cleaning all the body parts front and back, the bike was re-assembled and it started right up (after reconnecting the battery of course).

I had to admit, I did know if I should jump on and ride or just stare at it for a while. These are fine looking machines and how nice it is to see it without a spec of brake dust or an ounce of bug juice anywhere. I wish it could eternally stay thet way!
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