Maintenance & Repair

Posts about general maintenance and repairs.

Some Dealers Are Better Than Others

If you’re a reader here you know that last month while in Florida we purchased our 2014 BMW R1200RT.  We purchased it at BMW Motorcycles of Daytona.  When we purchased it, the BMW Navigator V GPS was a free incentive for the purchase of the 2014 RT and we also purchased the BMW 49 liter top case (trunk) for the motorcycle and paid the extra to have the top case keyed to the motorcycle.  The dealership did not have the top case in stock and had to order it.  While still at the dealership someone from the parts department came up and told me that it would ship to them on October 21.  They also retained one of the motorcycle’s keys so key the lock to be the same as the motorcycle.

Now here’s some of the differences in dealers.  They also didn’t have the GPS but said their shop in Orlando did and they would have it sent over or picked up either the next day or the following day while we were still in town.  Well the GPS never showed up at the Daytona dealer.  After a few calls to our salesman I found out five days later that the GPS had already “been spoken for” and they’d have to order it and send it to me.  The salesman or the dealership didn’t call me to tell me, I had called them nearly a week later.  A second call about the GPS and now the top case was made.  The GPS had shown up that day and was sent “next day” but the top case was expected “any day now”.  The GPS arrived on 10/31/14, (we bought the motorcycle on 10/16/14) the next day.  Out of curiosity, I checked the UPS tracking number and found it didn’t ship “next day” on the 30th but had actually shipped UPS ground on the 29th.  I know it’s a popular item.  Just say it might take about 10 days to get if you don’t have it.  Oh and about that top case?  “Maybe on Monday.” is the answer I got.

I waited a few more days to call back on the top case.  On 11/05/04 my salesman and I spoke and I asked if it had actually been ordered.  He said he’d check on that and “get back” with me.  Five days later on 11/10/14 I called him again as he had not gotten back with me.  He longer worked there.  The woman on the phone asked if she could help.  She remembered the sale and said either she or someone else would call me back about it.  She did explain that it could be that same day (it was late in the afternoon) but would probably be the next day but shouldn’t be any later than the 12th.  First thing in the morning the next day she called and said the top case was there but they needed the key.  She found them in the former salesman’s desk after I told her he had told me they were there.  Then on 11/14/14 the top case arrived!  The key was in the lock.  The key would lock and unlock the top case.  But the key would not come out of the lock!  No matter what I did the key would not come out.  Was I supposed to ride around with a spare ingnition key in the lock?  What if someone could get it out?  I called the dealership.  The woman who had found the case put me on hold to check what to do.  Here’s the message she relayed to me, “They said to get a local dealer to fix it because it would be quicker than sending it back to them.  He says it’s probably a bad lock.”  That was their solution.  I had paid them for the lock and paid them to key the same as the ignition key.  It seems I was a valued customer to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona right up until the minute I rode off their lot.

Using a few forums and the internet I was able to get the lock cylinder out.  You just have to know how and have the right tools along with access to the top case.  What I found was amazing.  There are supposed to be 6 tumblers in the lock.  My lock had 3 tumblers installed and the other spots were vacant.  I needed the proper remaining tumblers to complete the job.  BMW does sell a lock set with the cylinder and an assortment of tumblers.

On Tuesday the 18th of November I went to my local dealer, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta with the intent to buy a whole new lock kit if I had to.  I now knew how to set the lock and re-install the cylinder.  “We’ll take care of this for you.” is what I was told.  “These are the only tumblers you have?”  I was told “Yeah, you can do it with three but you’re really not supposed to.”  He got the tumbler kit out and then told me, “Here’s why you couldn’t get the key out, this tumbler is the wrong number.  It did let you insert, lock and unlock but then wouldn’t release the key.”  So in about 15 minutes or less, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta took care of the lock.  Oh and the cost?  There wasn’t any.  And yes I even told them I had made the purchase at another dealer.  They’re a dealer who really understands what customer service is.

Can you tell the difference in the dealers?

Did BMW of Daytona offer to call Atlanta to see if they could take care of it for free or bill them if there was a cost?  No they sure didn’t.  Have they called to see it the lock issue was somehow resolved?  No they sure didn’t.  As it stands again would I never go into or patronize BMW of Daytona again?  No I sure wouldn’t.

But I’d spend the extra money to buy a part or supply from BMW of Atlanta (instead of online) because of the personal service they supply.  They realize you’re a customer long after the sale and want to keep you as a customer.  The owners, who are a husband and wife team are actively involved in their business.  I took the R1200RT to them for its break-in service.  But I’m regretting more and more not purchasing the motorcycle from them.

No matter what motorcycle you purchase, research the dealer as much, if not more than the motorcycle.

As someone on BMWLT.com posted; the problem was fixed by a real dealer.

 

Categories: Accessories, General, Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Break In Maintenance Time

The new R1200RT headed down to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta this morning for its 600 mile break-in service.  It’s mainly an oil changed and final drive oil change along with a list of other things they check and then reset the service reminder light (which came on promptly at 600 miles).  The fact that the motorcycle had about 840 miles at the time made no difference.  I scheduled and appointment so that I could get it done while I waited.  I had been told that the book said it was a 3 hour job but that I’d likely be out after 2½ hours.  It took them just under an hour and half.  No problems were found along with the service.  The price was exactly what I was quoted over the phone.  Now it’s time to really start riding it!

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Near Disaster At Biketoberfest

Greetings from Daytona Beach at Biketoberfest!

But there was near disaster when we got here Wednesday.  We got off the highway and immediately heard a sound coming from the motorcycle as it moved.  It was sort of a “wuuu wuuu” as we rolled along.  We got to my Dad’s house and parked the Magic Carpet in the garage for the night.  The next morning I looked at the motorcycle and checked it more thoroughly.  I  found the sound was coming from the rear and  the right side, the same side as the final drive.  This could be real trouble.  I called my local dealer back home, BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta for technical help.  The technician said it sounded like a final drive or drive shaft problem.  He also said to not drive it home because if that were the issue the rear end could fail or even lock up.  He even recommended taking the Magic Carpet to BMW Motorcycles of Daytona and that they had a good service department.

On Thursday morning we were at the dealer.  The service manager, Huel, said it could be the final drive.  When he found out we were from out of town he dropped what he was doing to look at it.  He determined it was the final drive and likely the outer bearing.  He wanted to know when we were heading home.  When I told him we had hoped to leave on Sunday he said he may have it fixed that same day!  The motorcycle was in the shop, on the lift and being worked on before the service paperwork was even done.  They even found an outstanding recall for the fuel line quick disconnects.  We were killing time at the dealer when in less than 30 minutes Huel came to me with some parts.  The outer roller bearing had failed but he said everything else looked good.  And as a result, the repair estimate had also dropped considerably.  The only problem was that they did not have the bearing in stock but he had ordered it for delivery the next day, on Friday.  He said “I’ll have you back on the road tomorrow morning or early afternoon.”

We got great customer service from Huel and BMW of Daytona.  But, I’m typing this on a tablet and will finish it up later with a trip report when we get home as scheduled.

Categories: Maintenance & Repair, Trips | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Time To Recharge Or Get A New Battery

Earlier today the Magic Carpet gave us not one, but two “slow” starts.  You know what I mean, when the battery is weak an turns the starter slow.  But later in the morning it started just fine.  One slow start might be an anomaly but two in the same morning is definitely a warning.  The battery was a Panasonic AGM style and was four and a half years old.  The motorcycle is plugged into a Battery Tender whenever parked in the garage and it’s said this procedure greatly enhances battery longevity.  But tomorrow I’m leaving for a few days in Florida with my Dad and then a week after getting back we’re heading to Maggie Valley, NC.  Donna told me that she’d feel better if I went ahead and got a new battery.  I thought about it and she was right.  I didn’t want to stop for gas or to rest and end up having to call roadside assistance from the BMWMOA and then figuring if the dealer in Marietta, GA, Jacksonville, FL or Daytona Beach, FL was closest should the battery decide to ruin my plans.  I decided to get the Odyssey PC680 battery that comes highly recommended.  I got the battery at BatteriePlus where they had it in stock.  It was kind of ironic that last Saturday the battery in the car went belly up too.

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The Brake Repair From Hell

Back on the twenty-fifth of May the Magic Carpet developed a leaking rear brake line that was later tracked down to being the hose from the rear master cylinder to the metal brake line going to the ABS unit.  On the twelfth of June we went to the dealer fully expecting to have to order the offending part.  Well we got lucky and they actually had the part.  I got the repair under way on the thirteenth of June.  Yes on Friday the thirteenth!  I removed the body work that hadn’t already been removed to locate the leak, removed the old brake line and then managed to get the new line in.  The hard part was getting the new line in!  There was absolutely NO pressure on the rear brake pedal.  But by opening the system, I knew I had introduced air into it and it needed to be bled.  I was beat and done for the day.  On the fifteenth I tried bleeding the system no avail (I later found I wasn’t patient enough).  I was flustered and asked for help on bmwlt.com for what to do.  An experienced “wrencher” on the K1200LT suggesting back flushing the line using the #3 bleeder with a syringe and a piece of tubing to fill it.  I already had those from my last brake repair!  It still wouldn’t bleed.  I took a few days off from the project because it was frustrating me.  Then another “wrencher” suggested that at this point since all I wanted to do was get the air out, was to connect the tubing to each of the 3 rear bleeders from the ABS unit back into the brake reservoir so that the air would come out and I would just recycle the brake fluid.  I would worry about a more thorough bleed and flush after this.  I now had pressure on the brake pedal!  It took a lot of time to get that air out too.  That was on Saturday the 21st.  We had decided that if I didn’t get this done by Monday we were sending the bike to the dealer to let them figure it out.

Now it’s time to explain a BMW servo assisted (power brakes like a car) integral ABS (adding “braking system” to ABS would be redundant, like VIN number) unit in layman’s terms as easily as possible.  The integral part means that pressing the rear brake pedal will not only give you rear brake but will add front braking with pushing harder.  When pulling the front brake lever you will also get rear braking as you pull harder.

  • There are a total of 4 circuits.
  • The front wheel circuit goes from the ABS unit to the two front calipers.
  • The front brake lever is for the front control circuit from the lever to the ABS unit.
  • The foot pedal is the rear control circuit going from pedal to the ABS unit.
  • The rear wheel circuit goes from the ABS unit to the rear caliper.
  • There are 6 bleed valves on the ABS unit (3 for the front and three for the back), one bleed valve on each of the front calipers and two bleed valves on the rear caliper.
  • The reservoir for the rear brakes feeds both the ABS unit and the rear caliper
  • The reservoir for the front brakes feeds only the front calipers while the master cylinder on the handle bar supplies only the ABS unit.
  • All lines meet at the ABS unit in the middle.

Confused yet?  A diagram really helps though.  For the home mechanic to do this it really is a two person job.

Yesterday, on Sunday, we bled and then flushed not only the rear system but the front system as well.  I figured since I was in there I’d do them all.  It’s also much easier to do the control circuits on the ABS module with the battery removed from the motorcycle.  To do the wheel circuits you need the battery installed because the ignition has to be on (but bike not running) because you need the servos the flush from the bleeders on the calipers.  As expected it took some time to do the rear control circuit.  Donna was my “beautiful assistant” manipulating the brake pedal and brake lever for me.  The front control circuit went quick and the fluid didn’t even look that dark but now the whole system has new DOT4 brake fluid.  While the Magic Carpet was still naked, I took her for a short test ride and got no brake warning lights or leaks.  I put the brakes through a workout, even intentionally activating the ABS a few times.  I got her home and then put all her clothes (body work) back on.  I did lose 3 torx screws for the body work in all this though, but that’s no big deal.

Now it’s time to start riding again!

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They Had It In Stock!

We headed down to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta today to order the brake line I need to replace.  I’ve found that quite often brake lines may not be in stock and need to be ordered, taking about a week to get.  Can you really expect a dealer to stock the individual brake lines for the models of motorcycles they’ve made even in the past 10 years?  I was fully expecting to have to order the part.  There was a little computer trouble at the parts counter when the guy helping me unexpectedly says “Hey!  It says we have one in stock!”  He goes in the back and a few minutes later comes out with the brake line and the miscellaneous washers to go along with it.

While we were there Donna disappeared and then called me over to show me what she “fell in love with”.  What she found was a 2014 K1600GTL Exclusive edition.  Maybe I should’ve gone alone?

 

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Old And Leaking

Our BMW K1200LT is a 2oo2 model.  She was built to last.  Two years ago we had a leaking front brake line that I replaced and then bled the brake system.  A while back I wrote that it looked like there was another brake line leaking, this time the rear brake near the brake pedal.  Today I started looking for the culprit and it is indeed the rear brake line near the master cylinder.  Once I had removed the body panel so I could see better, I was able to push on the pedal and then get some brake fluid to collect at the ferrule where the hose goes into the master cylinder.  That’s some leak.  The brake reservoir was also sitting right on the minimum line too.  No wonder I got a flashing brake warning light.  So now I know what part I need to go to the BMW dealer and order and then replace.  Then it’s time to flush the brakes again.  At least I noticed it at home and not out on the road somewhere.  I’d rather not have to check out the BMWMOA roadside assistance towing.

Categories: Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Why Is There Brake Fluid On The Floor?

If you ride long enough, sooner or later something breaks down or needs repair, no matter how much preventative maintenance you do.  Yesterday was one of those days.  We had been out riding and I parked the Magic Carpet in the garage when I noticed 2 small clear drops on the floor under the right side and under the driver’s foot peg.  Funny, we hadn’t ridden through any water.  I came back in and put the motorcycle up on the center stand as I normally do.  A while later I noticed 2 more drops under the foot peg while the motorcycle was on the center stand.  Now I was really curious and felt the drops (no I didn’t taste them) and they were indeed clear and very slippery.  Brake fluid was my immediate and apparently correct thought.  The rear master cylinder (not reservoir) is mounted to the rear of the chrome plate that the driver’s right foot peg and the rear brake pedal are fastened to.  You also remove this plate and move it out of the way when filling the transmission oil.  I sat on the floor and undid the 3 allen bolts and 2 torx screws that held the plate in place and looked behind it.  Sure enough it looked like there was fluid leaking from the brake line attached on top of the master cylinder.  I couldn’t see much further without removing more bodywork and decided that was a chore for another day coming up soon.  Now that I had a general idea of what was leaking I checked the parts fiche at Pandora’s European Motorsports in Chattanooga, TN for an idea of the cost of the line and any other parts needed.  Let’s just say it could’ve been worse.  In fact it’s not shocking at all.  I’ve replaced a front brake line before so this is nothing new for me.  As it was the last time, I’m hoping the hardest part will be flushing the servo assisted integral ABS brake system.  Hopefully one day this week I’ll remove the body work and get in there to get a much better look to see exactly what needs to be fixed or replaced.  I’m hoping that like the last time it will be a relatively easy fix.

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3 Oils, 3 Changes

There are three separate oil changes that periodically need to be performed on a BMW K1200LT.  There’s motor oil, transmission oil and final drive oil.  The motor oil service recommendation is every 6,000 miles with 20W50 while the transmission and final drive recommendations are every 12,000 miles with 90 weight GL5 gear oil.  So guess what?  I figured out some time ago that every other oil change all three oils get changed and today was one of those days.  The motor oil and the final drive oil are a snap to do.  But I hate doing the transmission oil.  It’s just that it’s a pain to do with parts to remove and hard to get to.  You usually end up getting the old oil on the floor because you can put the pan under it and have to fashion some sort of funnel.  Mind you, BMW probably sells a nice, expensive part just to do this.  Today I was prepared and put a very large piece of cardboard under the motorcycle and then put it up on the center stand.  I fashioned a funnel out of one my empty oil bottles lengthwise and about ½” tall so that it was flexible enough to bend and thin enough to be able to reach the recessed drain bolt.  This time it worked like a charm and I even get very little oil on the cardboard!

The motor oil would’ve been due during our upcoming trip and looking back on the mileage, the final drive and transmission probably right after the trip.  But I may as well get all of my laying on the garage floor done in one day and keep with the every other change philosophy.  I found no metal flakes on the magnetic drain plug for the final drive and only the dark sludge that’s expected.  The magnet on the transmission drain plug also had no metal flakes or shavings (even though the manual says a few are acceptable), again another thing good sign.  The gear oils were both still a dark golden color this time, yet another good sign.

Another service date out of the way!

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Tire Time

Two things always bring up debate between motorcyclists and they are tires and oil.

It was time for a new rear tire on the Magic Carpet.  My tire of choice for it is the Bridgestone BT020 Battleax (with the proper load rating of 79V for the K1200LT).  So once again it was time to call Ken’s Motorcycle Tires in Woodstock, Georgia.  I don’t even shop around anymore.  Ken usually comes pretty close to meeting any online prices and with the mounting discount on tires purchased from him along with the great personal service, you can’t beat it.  Here’s a prime example:

  • I called Tuesday and ordered the tire (he normally doesn’t have tires in his small shop for a BMW K1200LT) and was quoted a price of $151.14 for the tire.  Because the rear wheel is so easy to remove on the K1200LT I was going to bring just the wheel in and was quoted a price of $10.00 to mount the tire.  Yes, $10.00.  Mounting when bringing in the motorcycle is approximately $40.00.  The tax and fees pushed it to a whopping $14.81.
  • On Wednesday they called that the tire was in and to set my appointment to have it mounted.
  • On Thursday morning I went and had the tire installed.  It took all of less than 15 minutes!
  • Just out of curiosity when I got home, I checked 2 online retailers who normally have good tire prices and they did, $164.00 at one and $153.00 at the other.  This was for the same tire.   Ken charges significantly more to mount tires that are not purchased from him.

We put 14,674 miles on the Bridgestone that was just replaced.  I knew there were some miles left on it but with an upcoming trip I figured it better to replace the tire now when I could instead of when I had to.  Ken said there was maybe “1,000 to 1,500 miles left on it” but agreed riding local is one thing and on a long trip is another.  Our trip looks to be about 1,100 miles at minimum and that’s just to the destinations with no extra riding.  I think it was a wise choice to change it now.  I mean what if I put another 4oo miles on it before the trip.  Maybe we’ll see about breaking in the new tire this weekend.

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