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Thread: DIY Maintenance

  1. #16
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kantuckid View Post
    The only DIY connection I see is warranty vs. no wrty & don't have time or know how or money vs. have time/money & know how or perhaps not lazy vs. , lazy -how do you figure the model enters in? I have oilhead,airhead,thumper & a smoker so maybe the more bikes and time and less money and more know how equals me pulling the wrenches
    Ok, let's start off with the warranty thing. In the USA DIY does NOT void the warranty, PERIOD. I see time and know how as totally valid, but money? For all but the most complex items, DIY is far cheaper than dealer. Lazy may not be lazy at all. It might be preference. For some, the older you get, it seems, the less you really like to monkey around changing oil, etc. Capability and desire are two separate things but probably won't affect the overall trends.

    When I got my FJR, a few years and bikes ago, I was looking at BMW's. All I heard from other riders was BMW's cost an arm an a leg to maintain and you can't do yourself. Both not true, but a LOT of non-BMW riders believe it. I have since learned just how easy it is to maintain my R1200GS. Now for the flame because the following is not politically correct. Over my years of riding (48 of them), I have seen that certain bikes attract certain personality profiles. IMO, the guys who prefer a GS to a K1600 are "generally" different. Some people ride both, there might be a K1600 going down fire roads, and there are lots of GS's out touring. I would bet that GS riders do more DIY maintenance than K1600 riders, but I'd like to see numbers to support that. I have been wrong once or twice, I think
    Old But Not Dead
    Semper Fi

  2. #17
    Registered User rickyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CHEWBACCA View Post
    .....For some, the older you get, it seems, the less you really like to monkey around changing oil, etc. ...
    The older I get the more fussy I get, and hence the more DIY that I do.
    Rick

    '06 BMW R1200RT
    '74 Moto-Guzzi 850-T

  3. #18
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Valves: My 2005 R12RT valves have settled in (now at about 65k miles). I check them, but haven't wrenched on them in the last 20k miles, they don't change. I think this stability is from age and the seating of the head gasket and not shim related vs. standard adjuster. I can't imagine the standard locknut adjuster turning in use if done properly.

    I do all my own work: Tires, tuneups, electronics, repairs, final drive rebuild, transmissions, etc.

    I own a 2005 R12RT, 1974 R90/6, 2010 Yamaha Virago, 1997 Suzuki DR350, and a 2007 CBR600RR for the track.

    Whenever I hear of someone who is mechanically capable, but "fears" shimmed valves, electronic troubleshooting, carb rebuilds, tranny work, etc., I know it is just someone who has bought into the fear. Get a book, get a mentor, and learn. None of it is difficult. The internet has put tons of information at our fingertips that 20 years ago would have taken a long time to find, if ever.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  4. #19
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    The technician at the dealership has

    BMW training and lots of service literature
    lots of tools, including BMW special tools
    experience
    parts on hand, including a BMW parts expert

    Politically correct ... it bothers me lots that some folks approach DIY as if none of the above is important or required. Since the DIYer isn't making a living doing this, s/he can do the work for a much lower wage, but when trying to do it without the listed resources it quickly approaches a fool's game and the possibility of doing expensive damage. Silliest of all are those that feel they can jump into something they've never done before without even owning a service manual. I'm certainly not inclined to try to bail someone like that out when they come to the Internet for help as IMHO they're demonstrating a disdain for professionals and for those DIY folks that have taken the time and spent the $$ to obtain resources.

    I still haven't forgotten the guy who wrote in here "do I have to take the whole front end off this motorcycle to change a turn signal bulb?" I answered him with the respect he earned but couldn't be bothered to show. No.

    Yes, everybody has to start somewhere at some time, but a little preparation goes a long way. I almost always recommend joining your local BMW club and/or having a friend that's an engineer.

    And, there's the paradox that all of us when we buy a used bike would love to have documented service records and if they are DIY we discount them. Some DIY savings may be lost when it comes time to sell the bike.

    Finally, it's nothing but an inappropriate (and boring) ego trip to attempt to in any way categorize who does and who doesn't DIY. Owning a motorcycle, owning a BMW, owning a particular model BMW, doing DIY, being young, being old, being afraid, being brave ... none of this makes you a superior or inferior individual. Unfortunate premise for this thread.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  5. #20
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I do own service manuals for all my bikes, I agree it's vital to doing good work. No disrespect to the paid technicians - some of whom are proffessionals, others are not - but I trust my skills as a mechanic and know when I do the work, it's done to my standards. I've seen some really bad work come out of proffessional shops and have had to fix it too often. I am a licenesed mechanic, I went to school and studied and wrote exams for that title. Although it was not in the field of motorcycles but automobiles, most of the skills and knowledge are relatable if not directly applicable.

    I too have high quality tools, lots of them, and I'm not afraid to add to them when it's required or warranted. I've even fabricated my own tools at times, having the skills and equipment to do so.

    Yes some jobs may take me longer to complete than an experienced factory trained tech might do it in, but that's just a matter of familiarity, not skill. Often it's just because I did a lot of extra details that the paid tech just can't justify spending the time to do. Many times by doing the work myself, I can actually complete it sooner than I would have been able to schedule it in to the shop and then wait for them to do it and I can do it at a time convienient to me and my schedule and or needs.

    The majority of the work I end up doing is routine maintenace and up-keep. I seldom have had to do major work on my bikes since I am meticulous with the work I do and very thorough at keeping up to or exceeding the reccomended intervals. I tend to be proactive with the jobs rather than reactive. That kind of service would cost a small fortune from a paid shop.

    Discount my bikes value because I worked on it myself? I would consider that an insult to me and refuse to deal with such a buisiness or individual. The condition of my bikes speaks for itself and can be seen. The quality of my work is apparent and can be verified through my own records.

    All of that said, I am likely to be more of the exception than the rule, but I get the desire to do one's own service work. Whether it's just for convienience, or for cost, or for pride of ownership, I respect that. Yes there are some who should not be trying this at home, but I'm happy to pass my knowledge on to those who seek help through places like this site. I've leared a lot of great info from others too. I'm all for the spirit of DIY.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  6. #21
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
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    I do all the maintenance on all of our bikes.

    Current BMW's:

    04 R1200C
    97 R850R
    07 F650GS's (his and hers)
    71 R75/5
    78 R80 hack
    78 R45

    I cannot afford to take anything to a dealer. Especially when the closest dealer is over 100 miles away.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    The technician at the dealership has

    BMW training and lots of service literature
    lots of tools, including BMW special tools
    experience
    parts on hand, including a BMW parts expert

    Politically correct ... it bothers me lots that some folks approach DIY as if none of the above is important or required. Since the DIYer isn't making a living doing this, s/he can do the work for a much lower wage, but when trying to do it without the listed resources it quickly approaches a fool's game and the possibility of doing expensive damage. ......

    ...It bothers me that $85+ per hour trained technicians working on my motorcycle can be careless and aren't nearly as attentive to detail as I am. Some of the negligence I've experienced; oil dripping on the driveway after driving home because the oil drain plug was not tightened, actually barely hanging on. Bike running erratically, found vacuum hose not put back on TB. Finding right side gas tank bolt almost backed out. Three trips to remedy brake pad wear fault found to be caused by broken wire. I have friends with worse experiences.

    The above was done by BMW technicians who no doubt have more mechanical skill, experience, and training than I do. They are payed a flat rate which encourages them to "beat the rate" in order to make more money. They also get distracted. Many shops actually prevent the customer from communicating with the mechanic working on their bike, only allowing you to speak through a third party, the service manager. There are all kinds of reasons but bad work does occur and it's not that uncommon.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  8. #23
    jeepinbanditrider
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    I just have a hard time trusting dealers to do anything. Is much to easy espeically for work that is concealed within the engine or fairings to simply say "yeah we did that, it'll be 500 dollars please", even though the work never actually got done especially for something that is just a check and not a replacement of a part.

    I've also seen way too much shody work come out of dealers that seem like they have zero quality control. How hard is it to have a second tech or a supervisor come over and look over your work and torques real quick. It's amazing what a second set of eyes can pick up on a casual look over. But that's just my aviation side coming out in me. Any work that is done on our aircraft is signed off not only by the person that did the work but the person that came behind them and inspected said work. Something goes wrong guess who's getting to spend sometime in jail if people get hurt? The CDI, or CDQAR. (QC for the civilian types)

  9. #24
    Registered User dadayama's Avatar
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    back before last year when our BMW dealer went out of business...

    I would contact the service manager tell him the bike number and the mileage.. he would tell me what needed to be done, and i would perform what i could before taking it in... and it saved me a ton o money....we had a good relationship...

    Sorry to see them fail...

    not sure what i'm adding to the conversation.... so i'll shut up...
    Ich Fahre Nicht Zu Schnell, Ich Fliege Nur Niedrig
    Oklahoma Adventure Trail

  10. #25
    Norm Norms 427's Avatar
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    I've been doing routine maintenance on cars and m/cycles for 45 years. At first I did it because I was a poor college kid who couldn't afford to take my VW bug to a dealer.

    But, now I can afford to pay someone to do the work, but why? Call it "bonding" with my vehicles, or whatever, but I actually enjoy it.

    So, after 45 years of wrenching, I wonder when or if I will ever be considered a professional? I'd like to receive a commendation of some sort, a plaque, ribbon, or something to show that I've finally achieved some level of professionalism.

    ((BTW, I have a few stories I could tell about mechanics doing warranty work on a vehicle, and, trust me, those stores ain't pretty.))

    Now if I were otherwise incapacitated and had to pay a mechanic to do my maintenance work, well, I've heard on good authority that this one does good work:



    Last edited by Norms 427; 03-02-2013 at 03:10 PM.
    Now: '12 R1200RT Midnight Blue Metallic / '11 Ural Patrol 2WD ridden to Alaska / '09 KLR 650 / '05 HD Heritage Softail / '08 Harley Sportster 1200C / '85 Yamaha VMax bought new. I wasn't ready to say goodbye: www.shaunlunt.typepad.com

  11. #26
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    The technician at the dealership has

    BMW training and lots of service literature
    lots of tools, including BMW special tools
    experience
    parts on hand, including a BMW parts expert

    And just what makes you think that that technician's training is so absolutely specific to a BMW. And what makes you think they are truly "experts." Tools, I've got tools, some are as good or better than the ones at the dealer. Wana get a show of hands of guys who have had these "experts" screw up something on their bike? There are dealerships that can be trusted and ones that absolutely can't.

    Politically correct ... it bothers me lots that some folks approach DIY as if none of the above is important or required. Since the DIYer isn't making a living doing this, s/he can do the work for a much lower wage, but when trying to do it without the listed resources it quickly approaches a fool's game and the possibility of doing expensive damage. Silliest of all are those that feel they can jump into something they've never done before without even owning a service manual. I'm certainly not inclined to try to bail someone like that out when they come to the Internet for help as IMHO they're demonstrating a disdain for professionals and for those DIY folks that have taken the time and spent the $$ to obtain resources. I highly recommend that you read the above paragraph again and use a bit of thought about what you said. Lot's of DIY'ers are automotive, aircraft and other types of technicians with loads of experience. Doing a valve check on a GS is child's play IF you read the book or look at JVB's DVD's. Yes, if you just dive into a job without any experience, tools or references you are a fool. Those idiots don't last very long.

    I still haven't forgotten the guy who wrote in here "do I have to take the whole front end off this motorcycle to change a turn signal bulb?" I answered him with the respect he earned but couldn't be bothered to show. No.

    Yes, everybody has to start somewhere at some time, but a little preparation goes a long way. I almost always recommend joining your local BMW club and/or having a friend that's an engineer. engineer? I'll take a good mechanic.

    And, there's the paradox that all of us when we buy a used bike would love to have documented service records and if they are DIY we discount them. Some DIY savings may be lost when it comes time to sell the bike.

    Finally, it's nothing but an inappropriate (and boring) ego trip to attempt to in any way categorize who does and who doesn't DIY. Owning a motorcycle, owning a BMW, owning a particular model BMW, doing DIY, being young, being old, being afraid, being brave ... none of this makes you a superior or inferior individual. Unfortunate premise for this thread.
    If you ever spend some time talking to shop owners and other long time bike riders you will see that lots of bike riders have reputations based on brand or specific model. Just bring up HD in a conversation and you'll see my point. BMW's have a reputation, so do FJR's, Moto Guzi's, man do Wing Nuts have a reputation, etc. If you find this topic inappropriate or a boring ego trip, please feel free to ignore it.
    Have a great day!
    Old But Not Dead
    Semper Fi

  12. #27
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    Dadayama has a point. A vital service dept. may keep the dealership open. And the newer EC fuel injected models requiring computerized service by factory trained technicians keep the service dept, hummin. And, there are still some airhead owners who need a service dept. for simple oil changes ans tune ups.

  13. #28
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I don't see why this thread becomes right vs. wrong. There are those, and I am certainly one, who are more than capable (and have the tools) to tackle any job on any of my bikes. But there are those who should never own a screwdriver. We all have skills. Use the skills you have, and pay for the skills you lack. There's no judgement going on.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  14. #29
    3 Red Bricks
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    I don't see why this thread becomes right vs. wrong. There are those, and I am certainly one, who are more than capable (and have the tools) to tackle any job on any of my bikes. But there are those who should never own a screwdriver. We all have skills. Use the skills you have, and pay for the skills you lack. There's no judgement going on.
    Well said.


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  15. #30
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    Isn't amazing how conversations on forums are so different than face to face
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

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