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Thread: High mileage 2003 R1150RT, possible problems?

  1. #1
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    High mileage 2003 R1150RT, possible problems?

    I just bought a 2003 R1150RT with about 83K miles on it. What would be the most likely areas needing attention? I do not have much maintenance history information. Cosmetically it is very nice, but it did sit mostly unused for at least the last two years. The dealer did the 12K and Annual maintenance on it.

    The first run out revealed it had a weak coil on the right side so I replaced coil and both plug wires. I am going to do a clutch spline inspection and lube over the winter as well as inspect the drive shaft. No apparent problems there, but I want to be sure. I puled the starter and took a look and splines look pretty good. Nice shiny silver and no rust, but I couldn't see any grease and I really could not judge spline wear.

    Is there anything else I should look closely at?

    Thanks
    Rod

  2. #2
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    Hi Rod, from another Rod.

    Search on here will be your friend. You need a good electric heat gun to break the locktite BMW uses.

    Alcohol in the fuel degrades the rubber fuel lines. The ones in the tank and from outside the tank to the pressure regulator. The plastic in the quick disconnects also can fail. I would replace them with the correct line. You can order kits from Beemer Boneyard or you can source yourself. The lines in the tank have a different rating than the ones outside so be careful and get the right stuff.

    The OE black rubber brake lines fail with age. Yours are at that age. You can order stainless steel braided Teflon inside vinyl outside from Spiegler (who I used no affiliation) Galfer and others. Get the Ministan funnel from Beemerbone yard, makes the bleeding much easier. It was scary to start, I waited a bit, but once started it was really easy and I had zero problems. I actually had enough less lever travel I ended up readjusting them. The best bleeding instruction are here.

    http://advwisdom.hogranch.com/Wisdom/service_abs3.pdf

    Looks scary but actually very straightforward, just time consuming the first time. After that, plan to spend less than an hour with the actual bleed. Getting to the parts is another story on the RT but that is also simple, just time consuming.

    Do not use anything heavier than 75W90 in the final drive. All I know is I used some 75W140 and the big ball bearing failed. I do not know how the oil could do that, but you do not need the higher weight. My new bearing (knock on wood) had been fine since, so I am sticking with the lighter oil. It is common for the pinion shaft seal to weep a teaspoon of oil every 10K miles, I just take the boot loose every tire change and wipe it out so have no issue. That seal is a bitch to change, so the seep is easy to live with.

    On the subject of the final drive, the pivot bearings are not well sealed from moisture, so if they get wet they can corrode and fail. This is another scary but actually rather simple thing to replace.

    Transmission, I like the way mine shifts with 75W/90 others like 75W140 or even redline shockproof. I think that is shifting technique and preference. Unlike the rear, bearing failures are not rumored to occur with other weights so use what you like

    OE shocks are not the best, many do not care, and others just have to replace them. Up to you there. I love my Ohlins, but if I were doing it now I would check other brands too.

    None of it is difficult and compared to some more tightly packed bikes I have had had it is easier to get to things on these bikes, except for the clutch. Once you see how they do things, it is pretty easy to work on.

    Rod

  3. #3
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragtoplvr View Post

    Do not use anything heavier than 75W90 in the final drive. All I know is I used some 75W140 and the big ball bearing failed. I do not know how the oil could do that, but you do not need the higher weight.

    Rod
    It is the 90 number that is key here. BMW specifies 90wt, with 80w90 as an acceptable substitute. The 75w90 synthetic is also OK.

    Specs for the transmission are the same, except 75w140 is acceptable in the transmission and not in the final drive.

    The reason the heavier oil is not OK in the final drive is that under certain conditions it can wedge out ahead of the balls and not film-in sufficiently between the balls and races. This allows metal to metal contact which damages the bearings.
    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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    Thanks Gents.

    I have about 12 years riding a K1100LT and I did a full clutch spline lube twice, the second time replacing the clutch and rear seals. It appears that this bike may be a bit easier to work on than the K. I just need to study on it a while and learn the differences.

    Yeah, my shocks are about gone, but that has to wait a bit. I am a pretty conservative rider so I think they will do until I can find a low mileage used set. The dealer put the 75w140 in the transmission and final drive so I will have to change that. I have been running Mobil 1, 75w90 gear oil and will probably stick with that.

    Brake lines are on the list but not right away. The dealer did a full system flush and replace so I will let it ride a while. With the linked brakes it stops better than anything else I've ridden anyway.

    I will be checking the fuel quick disconnects, Not sure what I have.

    Are the real main seals on the engine a problem area? The "O" ring on the K was petrified when I got it out, in 4 pieces. This does not seem to have one?

    Thanks
    Rod

  5. #5
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    This bike does not use an oring. The seals can last a long time unless they get contaminated with brake fluid.

    Rod

  6. #6
    aapasquale
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    It is the 90 number that is key here. BMW specifies 90wt, with 80w90 as an acceptable substitute. The 75w90 synthetic is also OK.

    Specs for the transmission are the same, except 75w140 is acceptable in the transmission and not in the final drive.

    The reason the heavier oil is not OK in the final drive is that under certain conditions it can wedge out ahead of the balls and not film-in sufficiently between the balls and races. This allows metal to metal contact which damages the bearings.

    Paul,
    You mention that under certain conditions, there could be a problem. What are those conditions?
    Tony

  7. #7
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aapasquale View Post
    Paul,
    You mention that under certain conditions, there could be a problem. What are those conditions?
    Tony
    The oil is needed to provide a cushion between the balls and the metal races. We think of a ball bearing as being fairly tight, but there are clearances between the balls and races. They actually rattle if shaken when completely clean and dry. Any condition that precludes the sufficient film of oil between the balls and races which permits them to go metal to metal leads to bearing fatigue and damage.

    There are several things that will do this. I mentioned one of them - oil too thick that wedges ahead of the rolling balls.

    Another is oil too thin,
    and shimmed too tight reduces bearing clearances diagonally,
    and shimmed to loosly allows pounding,
    and too much weight reduces clearances radially.

    Any of these, but most likely a combination of two or more of these simultaneously causes impact between the balls and races which leads to fracture of the thin hardened race surface, which creates a pit, which then damages the rolling balls, etc.

    As for why and when too thick oil can wedge out ahead of the rolling balls, that too is a function of several factors. These include the bearing clearances which are affected by both shimming and load. They also include the bearing velocity (speed) and the effects of temperature on viscosity. So in combination, sometimes these factors can combine to cause damage to a bearing. That is why there are specifications, and why BMW specifies 80W140 as OK in a transmission but not OK in final drives.
    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

  8. #8
    aapasquale
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    thanks Paul.

  9. #9
    Registered User ratze's Avatar
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    yea, thanks paul.
    The pursuit of reality at all cost.

  10. #10
    Registered User stanmo's Avatar
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    I have a 2002 GS with 108,000 miles on it. I have never used anything but Mobil 1 75W/140 and change it yearly. I have had no issues with the trans or FD.

  11. #11
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stanmo View Post
    I have a 2002 GS with 108,000 miles on it. I have never used anything but Mobil 1 75W/140 and change it yearly. I have had no issues with the trans or FD.
    Hi Stanmo and welcome here. I'm curious to know if you have checked inside the rubber boot between the final drive and drive shaft tunnel lately. Any oil in there?

    Another thing to check is for play in the final drive. You can do this by grabbing the wheel at 9 and 3 o'clock and try to push/pull left to right. Then test it in the 12 and 6 o'clock position the same way. Some find it easier to detect play with the wheel off on the 1100 as you can just grab the brake disc. I am not sure if you can on the 1150.

    Also, turning the wheel in neutral and listening closely for any rumble or vibration is a good test. You sometimes need to spread the brake shoes apart before you can hear anything but the shoes rubbing on the disc slightly.

    Running 75/140 weight gear oil in the final drive is a not good for reasons explained above. The BMW spec is 90 for very good reasons as many an unfortunate owner has already discovered.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

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