K1200RS - new main oil seal - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2010, 1:57 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
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K1200RS - new main oil seal

Well my wife is fuming (again). "... that bloody bike" - so any helpful advice is gratefully received.

I had (all components of) the clutch replaced mid 2008. On the advice of the BMW dealership, who did the work, they also replaced the transmission oil seals at the time. Now about two months ago, I noticed a thin streak of oil (black, engine oil) appearing at the joint between the clutch housing and the auxiliary housing. I didn't worry at the time.

About a month ago, I was enjoying a Sunday outing for essentials, the type where the queues are long and you must have made a wrong turn (I think she's now checking the odometer), I got noticed a little clutch slip when I leant on the juice for an overtake (required for safety reasons, of course).

BMW quoted a silly money price (about NZ $1000) to do the seal that cost NZ$60, about US$35. And intimated the clutch plate would need changing ... and other bits too. No way; I've just done that!

Your advice please:
  1. I'm fairly brave (yep, stupid) and would tackle the job myself - but it looks VERY involved. Can the arm and gearbox be removed in one; or does one really have to dimatle the final drive, the swing arm etc all the way back to the clutch housing?
  2. I switched to Mobil 1 fully synthetic oil midway through last year - the bike is so much quieter. Could this really be the culprit or
  3. is there a chance that the oil seal was leaking to a lesser extent before, causing the original clutch to burn out at just 45,000 Kms ( 28,000 miles).
  4. Would I be better off with an independent mechanic or the BMW main dealer. Here we have a massive choice, just one BMW approved service centre in Auckland!

Thanks in advance of your comments; the bike is a K1200RS, 1997 model first registered in January 1998. Total 65,000 kms (40,000 miles). If it helps, I now know that this one sat in the showroom for almost 4 years before stupid bought it.

I love riding the BMW, but the maintenance costs are so high.

Many thanks in advance of your helpful comments.

Kind regards,

Auckland, NZ
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2010, 2:24 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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There is heaps of information and pics to help you do it yourself on this site. My pal did his. I drove the Benz through a creek crossing one day. Lovely new motor fitted later. Some seals leaked because the motor had been crated for years. They dry up.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old Feb 6th, 2010, 2:54 pm
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Location: , , UK
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The dreaded leak can come from either one or both of two places - a cheap O ring type seal in the clutch assembly (which they should have changed) or the output shaft seal (which thay may stupidly have left because your main issue was with a burned clutch and not necessarily a problem caused by an oil leak.

Clutches don't just burn out unless something is bad about the way they are treated. You can do half your shifts (the ups) without using the clutch! and of course you don't sit at stops holding in the clutch particularly in long Summer traffic queues?

If you had really burned clutch, rather than it got contaminated with an oil leak, that means there was a lot of heat in the clutch and heat is bad both for the clutch O ring and the output shaft seal. So I'd first start wondering what I was doing to destroy clutches?

My bike is a 97. Your bike has worn itself in with plain old dyno oil and that's what they designed all the parts for. BMW motors aren't far advanced from tractor engines, so you must ask why you would want to spend more on a synthetic oil? There have been zillions of posts on the synthetic versus dyno arguments, but others have said they switched oils and afterwards got leaks. The oil seals will harden and lose their flexibility with age and there has been much debate about the effects of switching. The oil companies will all argue compatibility but you have to make up your own mind. My bike has never had even a sniff of synthetic.

OK now you have to move forward. If you are doing the job yourself first time you are less likely to cause damage if you do split the tranni and swing arm. Both together they are a big heavy lump and drive shafts have to be properly located. You are also better able to check for oil leaks on the pinion and tranni seals whilst making sure the swingarm bearings are nice and free.

You will need a lot of dry space, patience, a Clymer shop manual - oem CD too if possible, an engine hoist and a few special tools you can make - search the archives, plenty there.

If you want to use an independent tech. only use somebody who has done this job before and check they have the tools to do it. Your labor (free $$'s) first time around taking care and stopping for beers might run to 4-5 days for strip and rebuild then hanging about for parts. If they've done it before (recently) they could probably do it in 2 days or less at their labor rate.

Make sure the clutch slave cylinder is replaced along with all the seals. If the clutch is worn down again start wondering why that is. Did they actually replace everything or just the disc? If they just replaced the disc (cheap skates) they were only minutes away from replacing the cheap clutch 'O' ring and an hours labour replacing the engine seal.

Sometimes, you may never really know what was done before, the only way to be sure is do it yourself or trust a tech. that can show you parts when the bike is dismantled and new parts they will fit.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old Feb 7th, 2010, 5:01 pm Thread Starter
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Thank you, gentlemen.

Originally Posted by voxmagna
The dreaded leak can come ...

Really sound advice, many thanks.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old Feb 8th, 2010, 12:07 am
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Location: oklahoma city, oklahoma, usa
Posts: 223
No Problem With Synthetic Oil Here

I have had no issue of a leak on my 2000 k1200rs useing amsoil . I am dreading the clutch or slave cylinder problem on my old rs , but no prolems yet ,,, in anticipation of the problem I bought a clutch assembly off of ebay ( it had 1700 miles on it ! ) so I'm ready if a problem does come along in there. You might check ebay for parts , sometimes you can get what you need there for less $$$ like my clutch assembly was $180 US to my door ,it looks new but I still want to keep it. good luck on that if you can hook it up there some how to break it in half ,, joesflashdog
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old Feb 8th, 2010, 2:23 am
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Location: Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia
Posts: 381
Hey Simon, I live in Central Otago, and ride my bike to Wellington for any work I can't do myself, which is less and less as time goes by. There is an awesome BMW mechanic there who is regarded as the best in the business in New Zealand. PM me and I will forward his details if you don't want to do the job yourself, but want someone you can trust to do it right.

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