UK Salt Season - sorry, I mean "winter" - - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 4:21 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin / Belfast, Dublin / Down, Ireland / Northern Ireland
Posts: 93
UK Salt Season - sorry, I mean "winter"

Dear all

As someone who as ridden all year round in all weathers for the last 15 years I'm getting a bit nervous for the first time about running the GT through a UK winter.

I'm less concerned about the icy roads and crappy weather - I've manged both of these in the past with no traction control and anti-lock brakes so figure this is the bike to be on in bad weather.

What worries me is the salt and corrosion issue and the fact that the GT is the nicest (and most expensive) bike I've ever owned and I want to keep it looking nice come spring time.

My first bike was a 600 Bandit and I ran it through 2 winters washing it down every night with cold water, spraying WD40 on all the metal parts and washing it once a week - it emerged 3 years old and with no rust at all but it was a major hassle.

3 bikes later and ended up with a GS which I didn't wash from one week to the next during the winter and it really showed it at the end.

My problem with the GT is that there's so much plastic on it that it shouldn't be a major problem and looking at the design of the bike and older bikes I've seen figure that the unsprung parts - wheels, brakes, suspenion, etc. and the final drive will come off worst if neglected - I think the disc carriers and the the fairing fastners will probably be worst hit.

I know there are numerous schools of thought from "wash it religiously and keep it spotless" to "cover it in grease and let it stink, only washing it at the end of the season". My dealer has also suggested getting some kind of coating applied to all the hidden bits the next time the plastic is off the bike at service time (can't remember what he called it).

I'm currently thinking of hosing it down every night and using WD40 a couple of times a week. I'm also thinking of putting a small blob of vaseline on all the fastners and any parts away from the brakes and washing it properly once a week.

Anyone else got any experience with this or any further thoughts? In my experience the build quality of a bike ain't worth jack if you neglect it over a UK winter - they all grow fur and turn orange. How do the GT's bear up?

For all our cousins who don't have to endure salty roads in winter and nasty corrosion - lucky you and please ignore this post!!

Cheers in advance.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 5:28 am
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: , , UK
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I tore down my '97 KRS 2 or 3 years ago after 36K miles and saw some bad things caused by salt corrosion.

BMW silver paint is extremely hard, thick and very difficult to remove, so don't think you can just get those parts re-sprayed - it is paint for life. However, if you get a 'ding' on the paint (stone chip), the salt gets in and you will start to get a white blister which is aluminium oxide from the salt reaction. If left, the blister gets bigger and the ali gets eaten away. Many vehicle manufactures use average to poor grade ali castings and rely on the paint coat to cover up porosity, once the paint surface gets damaged the problems start.

There are some particularly sensitive areas you need to look at and take care of:

1. Around the stand mountings and under the gearbox. The stand bolts go through part hollow part tube castings on the gearbox underside. Obviously serious corrosion there has bad potential and could mean a new gearbox.

2. The stands can sieze up if they aren't kept greased. I've not found you can do this on the bike, so every couple of years I've taken the stands off and dismantled the pivots to grease the bushes.

3. Up around the started and alternator. That's a difficult area to see, but it seems to be where corrosion can start.

4. Underneath around the clutch bell housing.

5. Wheels if the paint surface is broken from stone chips.

6. Most of the exposed BMW steel hex bolts will eventually get their thin ali coat eaten away and go rusty making the bike look a mess. I replaced mine with stainless steel. I like stainless steel for UK salty roads.

I did have to strip paint off a gearbox and swingarm to get re-painted, but it was no easy job.

When I got the whole bike back together with new silver paint I went out and bought a tin of Waxoyl, put it thinned in my paraffin blow gun and went around underneath and in orifices. Waxoyl does add a dull finish to paint like a new car that hasn't been prep'd, but mostly isn't seen. Every couple of years I lay on another coat of Waxoyl.

WD 40 is too thin in my opinion and doen't stick for long. It can actually wash away heavier greases in pivots etc.

In Winter my bike is parked up next to the hose and after even short runs I will hose underneath particularly around the stand, swingarm and the wheels. I've also seen some salt attack around the front spring mounts and steering parts too.

If you haven't got one already, fit a rear 'hugger' it stops road muck getting on the rear shock.

I HATE salt on roads But I love stainless steel

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Last edited by voxmagna; Oct 7th, 2009 at 5:37 am.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 7:42 am Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Dublin / Belfast, Dublin / Down, Ireland / Northern Ireland
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Nice one and thanks for the advice - can't help thinking that car drivers wouldn't put up with this - can you imagine a 3 year anti-perforation warranty being offered on a bike?!!!!!!
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 9:22 am
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Over here in the hinterlands we've gone to spraying Mag Chloride on the roads. So now instead of flying rock salt pitting and chipping away at everything we have a sticky goo like substance that clings to every nook and cranny. Once it gets to that point I just bag it in and put 4 wheels under my ass. You ever thought about just giving in and buying an old beater car for these situations?

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 11:10 am
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Location: Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, UK
Posts: 166
I've used my 06 GT on average 4 days a week through the last three UK winters.

Early november I give it a good clean, remove the fairing, cover all exposed metal parts (except brake disks) with ACF50. I bought a bottle of it about 5 years ago. The applicator it came with is useless. I use a sponge and an old tooth brush for those hard to reach places.

Bodywork and appropriate surfaces get a good coat of polish.

Then it gets a hose down about once a week, more if it's very salty. I maybe use some car type soapy stuff once every 2 or 3 weeks.

So far it's doing ok. I have a couple of places near the wheel spindle on the front forks where the paint/lacquer/coating is just starting to lift a little. Really it's hardly noticable. Also just a little around the edge of the final drive. Otherwise the bikes fine. Bear in mind I'm not a fair weather, keep it cleaned and polished every week rider. It's not pristine showroom condition but it certainly doesn't look like a bike which has done more than its fair share of winter riding. And it cleans up well when I can be botherd to clean it rather than ride it

I also dab on some ACF50 anytime in the year I see any discolouration/rust hints/ corrosion hints etc. On my bike the screws which secure the front disks seem quite prone to this. Considering that the bike is lucky to get washed once a month outside the winter this it's rare that I even notice.

I've washed it sometimes when the salt residue is caked on. Always cleans up fine.

ENJOY your winter riding. It'll probably make an insignificant difference to the selling price, so just enjoy it.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 2:20 pm Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2009
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Thought about the car option but the bike purchase means I can't afford it.

And yes, ACF50 - that's the stuff the dealer was on about - many thanks.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 2:50 pm
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I go with Robert W. on this one, once salt season hits, it is four wheels.

We have the problem here of once the snow hits, the roads are white, either with snow, ice, salt or all the above.
No amount of washing seems to be able to get the crap off. And it really is not fun to ride a bike like the GT in the snow. My old XL250 Honda was the ride for those kind of days and there where several time where it just fell down. Plus who really likes to ride when the high for the day is 10F,and it is dark going to work and coming home so you can't see the ice. Although there have been a few days of 10-15 inches of fresh wet snow during the day that it was fun to ride. (in the fields at home)

The insurance companies in Michigan give you a reduced rate for dropping the collision coverage for Dec, Jan, Feb. you still have the fire, theft, and other coverage.

'07 K1200GT Crystal Gray Metalic
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 7th, 2009, 4:45 pm
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Originally Posted by Dazzle
Thought about the car option but the bike purchase means I can't afford it.

And yes, ACF50 - that's the stuff the dealer was on about - many thanks.
There is a problem I read about and there is a TSB in the UK-not here in the States, so assume it applies to you also. The bushing in the lower dog bone of the rear suspension. Apparently there were a few?? failures and collapsed suspension. The UK salt and crap they put on the roads caused the bearing to seize up. Check it out with dealer-don't know what they did to fix it. BTW-love you Island-toured the Emerald Isle few years back and loved it-especially the folks-the best. Also went to IOM last year via Dublin...

Marin Phil
2013 K13S-Anniv ED
'06 K12GT Blue of course!_Sold-too many problems
'05 Ducati 999-My Italian Mistress_sold and missed
2004 K12 GT-Orient Blue-the new me.-Sold
about 30 before that but too old to remember them all..
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old Oct 8th, 2009, 12:54 am Thread Starter
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Thanks dude - I love YOU too (although I think this may have been a typo!!).
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