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Discussion Starter #1
OK, it's happened to me. I've read the horror stories in here about the $1200 + repairs and now it's my turn to face the problem full on. It started at the end of the riding season last year and is just a little crud showing up on the bottom side of the final drive just in front of the rubber boot (very impressive design work with it's plastic clamps btw... :wtf:) and sometimes a couple of drops of oil is noticeable. I showed the senior mechanic at the local dealer (where I bought it used), and he said it should be opened up and repaired. He hopes cost will be $400 at the most but of course depends on what they find.

A question I would like to pose is has anyone just left it alone and continued to drive it? If so, what has the experience been?

I stored it in my basement over the winter and just thought about the situation. Like many of you I am torn between bitter dissapointment that after longing (lusting) for this bike for so many years - driving inexpensive but reliable Jap bikes, then taking the plunge on the object of my desire only to be bitten in the proberbial ass by it. I absolutely love riding the bike but hate the nagging thoughts of "is this just the start of a possible list of expensive repairs". I have an appt. with the repair shop for April 30th but find myself searching the classifieds at various online sites for non BMW bikes. I have a 5 - 6ooo miles trip planned for this summer (upstate NY to Denver, tour Colorado and Wyoming then drive back home) and I have to be at least reasonably certain it can make the trip.

Please don't remind me that anything can break down - I know this - it's just that certain model bimmers (mine) seem to have a worse track record than most other brands.

Do I leave it alone and hope for the best (I have driven it several hundred miles since first noticed and doesn't seem any worse)? -OR- Do I put it under the knife and hope for the best and maybe just leave my credit card at the dealer for easier future transfusions into their vacation account? -OR- Do I sell it now and hope for the best with some other brand?

Last question: How the hell can a company with arguably the best and most creative engineers in the world allow their products to suffer from such widespread problems of seemingly inexpensive parts (like seals)???? Perhaps just a matter of poor quality control undermining brilliant engineering? Whatever it is, I'm not happy - do they care????

Thanks for listening to yet another K12RS rant - I just wish I'd found this site before plunking down my hard earned money................

Moosedog is shaking his head.......
 

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I had the same problem. I just did some tests, worked out a plan to do other jobs and fitted it in. I'd already made up some stainless bands for the boot, although I hear the LT one's are stainless and they fit. I think the bike would have gone ten K with the same amount of leak.

The tests: You don't know yet if oil is coming from the rear drive pinion seal (now that is a PITA to attempt yourself) - or if it's coming down the swing arm from up front (tranny seal). If the front boot on the swing arm has come uncoupled, it might even be oily water!

I did find a way to pressure test my RD and confirm oil wasn't coming from it, by elimination I had the swing arm off and replaced the tranni shaft seal.

Before concluding doom and gloom, I'd pull the boot back and thoroughly clean/degrease everything right up to and inside the swingarm as far as you can get in.

Keep a check on the RD and tranni oil levels and lift the boot after some riding to see which direction oil is coming from. While you're at it, check the RD bearing for any play at the wheel shaft. Often you can be lucky (or unlucky whever way you see it) and more than one problem tips the scales to justify work and how soon it should be done.

I wish I could have got some of that oil dye so I could have reached a diagnosis easier.



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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Vox. I pulled the boot back and cleaned as much as a could get to. Also cleaned all the gunk off the underside of the final drive. Took it out for a 60 mile spin this afternoon and not a speck of dust, oil or grunge anywhere. I'll be riding much more this week (we are blessed with great weather this week) and will report back.

My fingers are crossed.
 

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That leak can also be caused by overfilling the tranny or final drive.
 

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leak

I have a2004 K1200GT that I love but at 14000 miles had the front tran seals leaking. the dealer fix it but charge me for the clucth.550.00. I will not buy any more bmw bikes. I alway had jap bikes and no leaks or anything else go wrong. So the low cost jap bike are better than high price bmw.
 

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Mmm..... I had an old Kawa shafty for 60K miles and never any rear drive problems. Always thought shaft was one of those parts you never had to think about.

But then the KAWA rear was dual shock and axle with good luggage load weight - not the rear monoshock with all that wheel side thrust on one bearing. I suppose the benefit of faster safer riding round twisties of a sport bike has to be seen against the higher stresses put on the rear drive.



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Discussion Starter #7
I pulled the boot back and completely off the tranny side tonight (broke that damned plastic tie clamp of course) and looking up the shaft it is completely clean. Yet I am still getting a small amount of oily crud (smells like dino oil) that appears to be seeping out at the boot on the bottom of the final drive on the tranny side. I thought for sure it would be a failed seal from the tranny side but how could it be if everything inside is squeaky clean???

So it must be coming from the final drive side - right? One would think, but I checked the final drive oil level and it is full (level is at the bottom of the threads where I'm told it is supposed to be). Where is the oil coming from??? It seems like a small amount which combines with road dirt and dust and creates a grunge like substance.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions, shrugs??? :dunno:

Moosedog is confused..........
 

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leak

I solved this problem by rechecking oil levels, I had overfilled. But you have already been told that.
 

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This is kind of the situation I was in, not knowing whether it was a tranni seal or RD seal leak.

If you have no play on the RD bearing (wheel shaft), then you are probably like I was, curious, slightly annoying but chances are it's not going to let you down just yet. One of those things that sometimes has to get a lot worse to tie down.

I had no choice but to investigate as I was stripping bits off the bike and needed to plan ahead of time.

I looked into oil dyes. I think somebody in the States does them. We have a supplier who sells a flourescent dye (you can spot with a disco UV black light). Unfortunately, I had the light but they sold the dye in large quantities to workshops. I wondered afterwards about just putting a teaspoon of Flourescene in the oil but I don't think it's soluble in oil. If you can get some oil dye, or change the RD drive for a colored oil different to the tranni, then that would be my approach first.

Then I realised that the RD is effectively a sealed unit if you plug the vent on the top. I used a water gauge and pumped up the RD with a cycle pump to about 10 inches of water pressure (small). Then slowly rotated the drive and watched for any pressure drop - there wasn't. Then I left the drive for 10 minutes and rechecked the pressure level - no drop so leak is from tranni - cute method yes?

Since I decided to strip the RD to replace the bearings and seals anyway and the tranni was coming off for clutch and other things, I just did the lot and there are no leaks now. I did do my pressure test on the RD on the bench though before I put it back.

One thing you could check is the dust filter vent. The RD produces some back pressure as the gears run. If this gets blocked then back pressure could increase the chances of a seal leak. There's a crappy piece of foam in there. Mine was missing (pushed in too far) so that wasn't my problem, although I vagely remember thinking the vent hole in the plastic peg was small, so I drilled it out a bit.

Don't worry too much at the mo. if it's a small leak, just be curious. The things to worry more about are a leak at the bottom of the clutch casing (clutch/main engine seal) and the RD final bearing.



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Dye Source

Carquest sells small 1 oz bottles of the dye and a black light for less than $10.00. The dye is compatible with transmission, engine or rear end oil. Put ia 1/2 oz, go ride a tank of fuel and then check with the black light. I've used a couple of times and it takes the guess work out.
 

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...or clean it off, ride it over to the Kaw/Yam dealership and trade it in on a shiny new FJR or Concourse. Kidding of course. You'd never do that....would ya?

:wtf:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Chocaholic said:
...or clean it off, ride it over to the Kaw/Yam dealership and trade it in on a shiny new FJR or Concourse. Kidding of course. You'd never do that....would ya?

:wtf:
No, I wouldn't do that - although I can't help but wonder if the dealer did it to me. Probably not because I had the bike about 3 1/2 months and had put about 5K miles on it before I noticed it. The bike only had 10K miles when I bought it but it's an '02. I took the bike in to the dealer when I first noticed it and while I was there I looked at an '02 R11S on the showroom floor for sale and it had the same exact thing on it. Kinda made me wonder.............

Unfortunately, it's the only dealer in the area and I have an appt. with the "doctor" next Wed. My fingers are crossed. I doubt it was an overfill problem because I did not touch anything from when I bought it and it took over 5K miles before I saw anything. One thing I have been thinking about was something Voxmagna said about more stress put on the swingarm and the drive unit from the monoshock setup. I don't ride 2 up alot but the day I noticed it my wife and I were on an all day ride. When we stopped for lunch there were a few drops of oil on the swingarm and the smudge on the drive in front of the boot. That's the only time there were drops of oil showing. Anything since was just the grunge stuff which is dark black and thick - a mixture of oil and dirt I presume.

I can't get the niggly thoughts out of my head that since it happend once what's to keep from happening again? I had a long talk with my dealer about these leak issues and he said there have been problems with seals in several different BMW models (R bikes included) but no recall has ever been issued. He is not sure if the same parts are used in the repair as were originally used but can't recall any 2nd time around leaks. He talked about old R bikes going 200K and 300K miles with no major problems and while I know that's true, I'm not sure the newer generation bikes are as reliable. Let's face it, it's normal operating procedure today that if vendor A can make a seal for $1.00 and vendor B can make it for $.50 then who will most likely get that bid? Maybe a couple of corners were cut to make that cheaper seal but if it saves BMW huge money and they will just ingnore their customers when that seal fails (unless it's under warranty), it's only a win win situation for them. There seem to be way too many of these failures to deem it a fluke or bike to bike issue, it is most certainly a design or specific part issue. Maybe they'll lose a couple of customers by not taking care of them but they'll just put more money into the development and marketing of new models and restyling existing ones to attract new customers.

I may be way overthinking this whole issue but God gave me a brain and I'll use it to the best of my ability. Much researching of this issue and my own experience has left my faith in BMW quite badly shaken and nervous as a blind mouse in a room full of cats. I'll see how the repair goes and then make the decision of whether to keep it or not. Problem is there are so many bikes out there but so very few that fit my needs which include all day comfort, smooth power band, low revs at highway speeds, good wind protection, reasonably agile and sporty (cruisers need not apply), shaft drive, good for 2 up trips and reasonably reliable and easy to maintain. Sounds just like the K-bike doesn't it? I thought so too, but now? Off hand I can come up with the FJR, ST1300 and new Concours. Not a huge group. I have been combing the internet and local dealers lately and not much in the way of replacements in sight where I wouldn't have to spend lots more money out of pocket or take a total bath on mine.

I have the trip of my life coming up this summer going cross country out and back and touring Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota (Black Hills). 5 to 6K miles total and I just don't know if I trust this bike to make it. With the very limited dealerships, a breakdown in the wrong place could be a huge problem and extremely expensive. Of course, I would love to have this bike for the trip as it is the reason I bought it to begin with. I'll probably take my chances with it on the trip and then re-evaluate when I get home. Every reason to believe all will be fine..........................but????????????

Moosedog has a headache.......
 

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Leak

Moosedog,
For what it's worth, here's my experience. I too have an 02 KRS and have just a little seepage. I left it and will continue to do so. I had a brand new 2000 KLT and complained of the same problem. The dealer said to leave it alone, clean it and keep an eye on it. It was had to swallow but I did so. Sure enough it was a non-issue after about a year.There was no considerable loss of fluid and it had 60,000 miles when I sent her on her way. I'd only worry if you have puddles under the unit. I suggest being patient, clean it and ride the Moosedog out of it. My experience only.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
cobbler said:
Moosedog,
For what it's worth, here's my experience. I too have an 02 KRS and have just a little seepage. I left it and will continue to do so. I had a brand new 2000 KLT and complained of the same problem. The dealer said to leave it alone, clean it and keep an eye on it. It was had to swallow but I did so. Sure enough it was a non-issue after about a year.There was no considerable loss of fluid and it had 60,000 miles when I sent her on her way. I'd only worry if you have puddles under the unit. I suggest being patient, clean it and ride the Moosedog out of it. My experience only.

Thank you for this post. You are the only one to write and say you just left it alone and it didn't get any worse, though I bet there are many owners out there who are doing the same thing. It sounds like you had the same situation as me with just a little seepage. I broke the larger of the plastic ties holding the rubber boot on and I used a slightly wider one to replace it. I got it a little tighter than the previous one was and now there is absolutely no seepage. Did you buy the KRS used or new and how many miles on it? Do you ride 2 up very often? Any other issues with it to date? Thanks again.

Moosedog
 

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For what it's worth, the RD rear seal whilst tricky and expensive to fix is high up in the casing so you aren't going to lose a whole lot of oil quickly. A leak at the big seal on the output shaft is more serious, but that usually follows quickly if the bearing is failing.

The tranni output shaft and seal is a bit lower down in the casing which has a fall to the rear, but again I don't think you could lose so much oil in a hurry that you'd get serious damage.

I had an old car once with a diff leak at the prop shaft coupling flange seal. Got really wound up about it when I didn't know much about these things. I left it alone and drove that car thousands of miles with hardly any leak. What happened was the oil level in the case dropped to the bottom of the seal, but there was still plenty of oil left to lubricate the diff.

When you are riding 2 up there will be more stress on the RD but that will be more on the wheel shaft side. The drive shaft angles do change though as the bike sits lower on the road. They use a spline grease and some of the 'gunge' you saw may be that getting thrown off. But it doesn't smell of Hypoy oil. Incidentally, I made the mistake thinking the boot was to seal in oil. It doesn't, only there to keep out road rubbish and water. I made some stainless steel bands, but I'm told the LT stainless bands fit OK.

On your long trip, I'd just make sure I packed a bottle of oil and tools to remove the fillers.



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I'm another that had some greasy grunge on the outside of the rear drive boot. Wiped it off and kept an eye on it, and it hasn't reappeared. No big deal; the rear drives on the RS / GT aren't as failure prone as the LTs or current generation GTs. Just ride the dang thing.

The grunge you want to watch for is around the front of the transmission/rear of the engine. That's a failed engine seal/transmission seal/clutch slave seal. I've had it happen three times now on my 03 GT. The third time happened within several thousand miles of the second repair, so I'm calling that a failed repair job. My most excellent dealer will repair it under warranty.
 

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Moosedog said:
Did you buy the KRS used or new and how many miles on it? Do you ride 2 up very often? Any other issues with it to date? Thanks again.

Moosedog
The KRS was purchased used with 9200 miles on it. Two years later I now have 44,000 on it and no seepage to date. BTW- I run Mobile1 Synthetic in the rear also. I'm the type that doesn't grip about every little thing that comes up. I run these things by my dealer and go by their recommendations. I have a really cool and honest dealer that does not try to scare me into repairs, they're straight up and I love the guys there. They know I don't have a the coin to see them every time something comes up. I return the favor by purchasing all my accessories and parts from them. That're happy and I'm happy.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I run these things by my dealer and go by their recommendations. I have a really cool and honest dealer that does not try to scare me into repairs, they're straight up and I love the guys there. They know I don't have a the coin to see them every time something comes up. I return the favor by purchasing all my accessories and parts from them. That're happy and I'm happy.[/QUOTE]

This is the first time my bike has needed service as I bought it used last June and have put about 8K miles on it (total now 18K). I have no reason to not trust my dealer and their mechanics at this point and the head mechanic felt it was bad enough to open up and see what was happening. They have it in the shop as I type this and it is the seal on the output shaft that was leaking. I will pick it up tomorrow and will find out more about it.

I have had a loaner bike for the last couple of days - an F800S which I have been having a ball on. About 150 lbs lighter than my K12RS, nice power band, pretty quick, pretty stable for a much shorter wheelbase. I am surprised at how comfortable it is with the lower bars. With the short windshield you get a constant force of air on your chest which helps support your weight at anything over 30 mph. Seat height is higher than the K12 but hugging the tank I can get both feet flat on the ground. The one negative was turning onto a different road in 2nd gear at low speed and the bike stalled. The back tire locked up in the middle of my turn and the back end just whipped around to the left (it was a right hand turn). I instinctively pulled in the clutch and avoided what could have been a high side, hit the starter switch and just kept going. An exciting few seconds..............

Nice bike but I'll be glad to get the K12 back...........


Moosedog
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Brought the bike home last Friday. New seal, rear brake pads and fluids topped off (some other misc. lubing as well). $300 total. I was pleased. Everything else looks good. Ended up having the F800S for 3 days and had lots of fun with it. Really loved the light weight and quickness, brakes were excellent, ride was quite good for a fairly short wheelbase. Negatives were no fuel gauge, no gear indicator, stalled once at low speed turning onto another road (a common problem they think is fixable with a software upgrade) and price - $11500 and up??? Sorry, it's not that good. Be interesting to see how it holds it's price on the used market in a couple of years. I could see one in my far off future - maybe the ST or GS model - but I doubt I would ever buy a new one.

Thanks to everyone who supplied info and support during this trying time. I'm glad I stuck it out and got the repair done and hopefully it will hold up now for a long time to come. Really looking forward to heading west in a couple of months on this bike - it's why I bought it in the first place.............

Moosedog
 

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rear drive oil leak pics

Gud'y to all

A newbie owner of a 2004 k1200GT.

Bought the bike 3 months ago in Sydney with 15000KMs on it.

Rode the bike for 270KMs 2 weeks ago and have found this oil leak (see pics).

Called the dealer and was advised not to ride it.

Will be transporting the bike in a few days.

Is this the same leak you have moosedog?

Cheers,
AJ
 

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