Posts Tagged With: BMW

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.

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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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We Rode To Myrtle Beach…..Sort Of

Today was the first Saturday this season for “Pancakes On The Porch” at Rider’s Hill in Dahlonega, GA.  These are not just pancakes, these are HUGE pancakes.  These pancakes are the size of a dinner plate!  Don’t ask me how they cook them without burning them and flip them without breaking them.  Whatever you do, don’t order two.

My Blue Knights Chapter rode up to Rider’s Hill from various locations to enjoy some of those pancakes with our friends as well as some members of Blue Knights Georgia IX who showed up too.  We had planned on a ride somewhere in the area after our hearty pancake breakfast.  As it turned out many of our members had “honey do lists” waiting for them back home or just wanted to head home.  Maybe they wanted to head home for a nap but I would’ve preferred napping in the rocking chairs on the porch to the symphony of motorcycle engines.  One member on his Gold Wing joined Donna and me for a short ride.  As Steve put it, “It’s too beautiful a day to not go for a ride.”

We headed north from Rider’s Hill and took Georgia HWY 60 past the “rock pile” and Two Wheels of Suches.  We made the right onto the stretch of Georgia HWY 180 which is named Wolf Pen Gap RD on the stretch between GA HWY 60 and US HWY 129 (the map image below DOES NOT do this road justice).  Once at HWY 129 we made the right and then headed up and over Blood Mountain and back for Rider’s Hill.  After a short break we headed for home.  Down in Dawsonville, they were having “Spring Fling Days” and we wanted to avoid any traffic from that (we got caught in road closures for a foot race on the way up), so after we left Dahlonega we took Georgia HWY 52.  While on HWY 52 we saw a sign for a street named Myrtle Beach so in a way, sort of, we rode to Myrtle Beach today.  We branched off on Georgia HWY 183 before making the turn on Georgia HWY 53 towards Jasper and then on for home.

There were a lot of BMW Motorcycle out on the road today as the BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia was holding its annual Georgia Mountain Rally up in Hiawassee, Georgia.

The odometer on the Magic Carpet passed through 81,000 miles today and now sits in the garage plugged into the battery tender with an odometer that reads 81,163 miles.

Part of the parking lot at Rider's Hill this morning for "Pancakes on the Porch".

Part of the parking lot at Rider’s Hill this morning for “Pancakes on the Porch”.

 

Wolf Pen Gap RD between Georgia HWY 60 and US HWY 129.

Wolf Pen Gap RD between Georgia HWY 60 and US HWY 129.

 

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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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Cowboys On Real Horses And Iron Horses

This morning we had a Blue Knights breakfast meeting in Alpharetta.  The ride over for breakfast was a bit chilly starting at about 44°F but it was forecast to be sunny and warm today.  After the meeting there was a ride planned to go over to the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville where the Southeaster Gathering of Cowboys was going on.  One of our Blue Knights members would be at the gathering and invited us over.  After the meeting a group of 6 motorcycles made the trek over from Alpharetta to Cartersville, going through Canton.  There was an assortment that included a few Harley Davidsons, our BMW, a Victory and a Gold Wing.  We got there and there were cowboys all over the place!  We took a stroll through the museum but the chuck wagons were beginning to close down by the time we toured the museum.  As we mounted our steeds and went our separate directions for home the sunshine was warm and some even packed their jackets away.  I was happy enough with the vents opened on mine.  On our trip home (again avoiding highways) the temperature was just at 70ºF.  It looks like winter might be loosening its grip on us.

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First Farkle Of The New Year?

Well maybe it’s not so much a farkle but more of a sticker. The local BMW Motorcycle dealer has begun selling some stickers after a few years absence. I could resist getting one. After all, the Magic Carpet is not a trailer queen!  I actually meant to put this in the New Years Day ride post but forgot.

If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand.

If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

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What Do Choosy Santas Ride?

Why a red BMW S1000RR of course!

It’s either been way too cold to ride or raining (nearly 4.5 inches of rain yesterday) or both to get much riding in.  But I thought we’d all enjoy this Christmas motorcycle video.

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Let’s Help Santa Deliver Some Toys!

Today was the BMW Motorcycle Club of Georgia’s annual Toy Ride to the Towns County Georgia Sheriff’s Office.  The club holds its Georgia Mountain Rally every spring in Hiawassee, GA which is located in Towns County.  The county and the area are extremely hospitable to the visiting motorcyclists and this one of the club’s ways of thanking the community.  The Sheriff’s Office is the dropping off location and distribution center  for toys that will be distributed throughout the county from several sources or from deputies who have found children or families in need of some help during Christmas.  Toys can be picked up at the sheriff’s office or even delivered.  In some cases toys are even left secretly by deputies.  The club asks motorcyclists to drop off unwrapped toys at the two Atlanta area BMW Motorcycle dealers.  Then on the day before the ride Blue Moon Cycle’s toys are brought to BMW Motorcycles of Atlanta, where the ride to deliver the toys leaves the next morning.  Any motorcycle is welcome to ride and help spread some holiday cheer.  This year we filled the sprinter van up!  There were even 5 bicycles loaded into the van.

This year, my friend Sean joined me on the ride on his Victory Cross Country Tour.  As I was riding to meet Sean for the ride to the dealer it was 40 degrees (F) and there were a few snow flurries floating around.  Perfect weather to help out Santa Claus!  We got to the dealer where the riders were treated to hot drinks and breakfast before we all helped load the van.  There were about 30 -35 motorcycles riding up this year.  As we headed up north the temperature was dropping and the sky was still overcast.  The heated grips and heated seat were put to use.  Every year we have a scheduled stop in Blue Ridge, GA.  In Blue Ridge we were greeted with snowflakes falling from the sky and a temperature of 34 degrees (F).  Again, perfect for Christmas!  I looked at my phone and was greeted with a weather advisory for freezing mist and freezing fog for the Blue Ridge area.  After our pit stop we were back on our way to Hiawassee to deliver the toys.  As we rode on, we could see snow at the higher elevations.  The sheriff and his staff were there to greet us with coffee, hot chocolate and Christmas cookies while we unloaded our toys to be added to what had already been collected.  I don’t know how anyone was able to get any work done at the Sheriff’s Office as the offices were all filled with donated toys.  Their goal is that no child in the county should not go without a Christmas toy.

After dropping off the toys our group started splitting up to head for lunch and home.  Sean and I took a ride up and over Blood Mountain on US HWY 129, looking at some snow-covered mountain tops.  On most of our ride to lunch the temperature had dropped to 31 degrees (F) and we could even see some of the freezing fog at the higher elevations above us and at Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia.  We stopped in for a leisurely lunch at Turner’s Corner Café before continuing on for home.  Sean had made an observation today too.  As most motorcycles were BMWs (there was Sean’s Victory, a Triumph Tiger and Suzuki V-Strom also) he noticed that most riders were wearing armored, fabric riding gear and full faced helmets, including him, instead of jeans and leather jackets.  He also noted there wasn’t a “beanie” helmet in the bunch.

It was fun to help out Santa Claus.  I also tried out a feature on my phone that’s called “BlackBerry Storymaker” that can make a “story” from pictures or video and that attempt is right below here.

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