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Thread: Weird oil leak - 12 R1200RT

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  1. #1
    Registered User ajaxthegreater's Avatar
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    Weird oil leak - 12 R1200RT

    Checked the sight glass today and noticed there was lots of oily dirt stuck all over and around it. On closer inspection it looks like the oil is leaking from around the sight glass. I am used to seeing leaking seals around moving parts, but this one is just a plug in the block. I know it wasn?t leaking before so it just started around 8500 miles on my ?12 R1200RT. Time for a warranty repair.

    IMG_7246.jpg
    Last edited by deilenberger; 06-27-2013 at 04:34 AM. Reason: added year/model to title

  2. #2
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    That's a seep, not a leak. The sight glass has been an issue from day one with BMW. You don't say where you're from or where you're riding but if it's in and out of the mountains, there's a potential for the sight glass to 'try' to blow itself out' on the newer RT. This used to be such an issue, that I still carry a spare sight glass with me.

    Here's a link to some info on it.
    http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthread...&Number=461186

    If you do a search for "r1100rs sight glass blow out" you see a lot of them. Though the search is for the earlier models and relates to the sight glass blowing out - yours can't - it does still reflect the problem you're having. Generally on startup, especially in higher altitudes [warm days, cool nights], the sight glass can cool to the point it contracts just enough that on cold startup, it moves a little [with the Hexheads] or blows out [on the older Type 259 engines].

    During design of the Hexhead, BMW fixed the blow out problem by adding a circlip to hold the sight glass in. Now, if you experience the problem, it shows up as a seep like on your bike - which is FAR better than the sight glass blowing out and stranding you if you don't have a replacement and the tools to put it in on the road.

    My knowledge with this issue on the Hexhead is, once replaced, the problem is over forever.

    Here's another short bit about it:
    http://micapeak.com/bmw/gs/gs_tel2.html#sightglass
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  3. #3
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Warranty,YES:)

    You still inside warranty, this is a yes fix. I've seen too many already at my dealer on new Hex's that have had this fixed free. It should be DRY all the time, no seap like in your pic. Randy

  4. #4
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    Yup shouldn't seep. Get it fixed. The circlip on hexheads positively prevents a catatrophic blowout as used to be fairly common on oilheads- folks used to carry plumbing bits to do a roadside fix on those or even a spare sight glass, too. But on a hex, the worse you'll get is an annoying seep.

  5. #5
    Registered User ajaxthegreater's Avatar
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    Ohh!

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveAikens View Post
    That's a seep, not a leak. The sight glass has been an issue from day one with BMW. You don't say where you're from or where you're riding but if it's in and out of the mountains, there's a potential for the sight glass to 'try' to blow itself out' on the newer RT. This used to be such an issue, that I still carry a spare sight glass with me.

    Here's a link to some info on it.
    http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthread...&Number=461186

    If you do a search for "r1100rs sight glass blow out" you see a lot of them. Though the search is for the earlier models and relates to the sight glass blowing out - yours can't - it does still reflect the problem you're having. Generally on startup, especially in higher altitudes [warm days, cool nights], the sight glass can cool to the point it contracts just enough that on cold startup, it moves a little [with the Hexheads] or blows out [on the older Type 259 engines].

    During design of the Hexhead, BMW fixed the blow out problem by adding a circlip to hold the sight glass in. Now, if you experience the problem, it shows up as a seep like on your bike - which is FAR better than the sight glass blowing out and stranding you if you don't have a replacement and the tools to put it in on the road.

    My knowledge with this issue on the Hexhead is, once replaced, the problem is over forever.

    Here's another short bit about it:
    http://micapeak.com/bmw/gs/gs_tel2.html#sightglass
    Ohhhh!!!! A seep not a leak, I feel a lot better now . Thanks for the laugh. Mine does have the expanding ring so I guess it won't blow out all the way.

    I wonder why they didn't just use an internal retaining ring and an O ring to keep this in and sealed. The expanding wire ring that is in there looks pretty cheesy.

    Apologies for the lack of the profile info, I am just getting this all set up...
    Bill in Highlands Ranch, CO
    2012 R1200RT and some other older junk

  6. #6
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajaxthegreater View Post
    Ohhhh!!!! A seep not a leak, I feel a lot better now . Thanks for the laugh.
    There's a REASON you need to understand the difference in a leak and a seep, wise guy. If it's a seep, you're not going to put oil all over the bike, road and tires and you're not "losing" oil, which you would with a leak.

    If you don't want accurate answers, I suggest you don't waste our time to help you. I know I won't again.
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  7. #7
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Play well:)

    I know I have been the kind of redneck wrench in my life to take this glass out and try to fix it, LOL. No really. BMW should step up indeed. I suppose in my above ways, I would take the ring out and silicone the thing, at least a temp fix and it may even stop the ugliness around that window. You may have BMW Dealer nearby, your first resource and the job is so quick, they should have NO issues with this work in and out, no app't...OR, buy the part, put it in yourself. I did not pay attention to your year bike/warranty? I had a earlier R1100GS and could not imagine the window popping out, as many have had happen! NOW that would be ugly...Good luck, Randy

  8. #8
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    The sight glass is in a slightly ribbed rubber surround. It is installed clean and dry in a cleaned and dried recess in the engine case. I drive them into place with an appropriately sized socket as a driver that rests only on the rubber but is slightly smaller than the ID of the recess.

    When new, the rubber is nice and flexible. As the engine case heats up and and cools down the recess in the block expands and contracts and the flexible rubber does too, remaining tight. But after many heat cycles and the passage of time the rubber loses its flexibility. It then starts to seep. Now you have oil between the rubber and the metal engine case. Oil, doing what oil does, lubricates things and on the original design the engine could spit the thing right out of the hole. With the circlip on the later models this won't happen but it will still seep.

    I replace them at the first sign of any oil around the sight glass.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

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