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Thread: Oilhead Newbie

  1. #1
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    Oilhead Newbie

    After riding and wrenching on an airhead (1983 R100RS) for the last couple years, on Thursday I bought a 2004 R1150RT with 22k miles on it. I've been watching the ads for a few months and this one just appeared and was too good to pass up. It's nice and clean and appears to be in great shape. I've put about 50 miles on it so far and am starting to get used to it...it's just a little different from an airhead . I've also been lurking here for a while and so I think I know what I need to be watching for but any advice from you old timer oilheads would be appreciated. I'm planning to take a couple 100-200 mile rides on it and then put it on the lift and take the fairing off & see how it looks re: fuel line disconnects, cam chain tensioner, etc. and probably pull the starter to check the spline play. It's supposed to have had a spline lube, along with complete fluid change, within the last several hundred miles but I'm a believer in 'trust but verify'. Then there are a few farkles to add...

    At any rate, I'm looking forward to some nice two-up touring with my wife.

    And I've plotted a route for an Iron Butt '1000 mi in 24 hr' ride...
    1983 R100RS (Sold)
    2004 R1150RT
    BMW MOA 181289
    ABC 13558

  2. #2
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    I just went the other way from 94 RS to a 88 R100RT. I'd be interested in what you think about the differences between the two. The RT made me appreciate the RS more so far though it's only been about a week

  3. #3
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    I have both, an 81 R100RT and an 03 R1150RT. Be very careful of the power brakes at slow, parking lot speed. Especially when turning and riding two up. I try and use one finger on the front brake during slow riding.
    Sudden stops can be scary.

    I want to add that there is another excellent web site forum to add to your list. bmwsporttouring.com
    Last edited by PAS; 03-16-2014 at 02:37 PM. Reason: Added info

  4. #4
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    In the timeframe of the Oilhead, Euro regulations mandated biodegradable wiring harnesses, and the first attempts weren't so successful. Keep eye on wiring condition. In addition, many here report fairly early failure of brake hoses on Oilheads. Those on my Airhead were good as new I think at 27 years, but Oilheads appear candidates for sooner replacement. My 1100S (puts Airhead RS to shame) was due for system flush and I didn't feel up to DIY, so it got Spieglers at the same time.

    Only thing I find scary about whizzy brakes is there aren't any until ignition is switched on. You're probably always in better control of an S as opposed to an RT I expect, making the light touch not so scary is my guess.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  5. #5
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Congratulations! A wonderful machine and a great choice! (Yes I'm biased. )

    Definitely go ahead and just R&R the fuel line disconnects; that will save grief down the road. Be prepared to R&R the fuel line inside the tank and the filter on the pump's intake too. Tedious but not difficult.
    I believe that by '04 the harness (specifically from the ignition trigger) was updated with better insulation.
    I also think that the '04 has better brake lines than earlier ones, but I could be wrong (was there any Official Factory change here, anybody?); if they ever "feel wrong" or there is ANY junk in the fluid when flushed, change 'em out.

    Sounds like it just sat for a while; add some Techron and/or Sea Foam to the tank to make sure the injectors are clear.

    The cam chain tensioner is optional but worthwhile (my '97 failed here), and reduces start-up clatter. The older tensioner is exactly why one should not goose the throttle at start-up.

    PRACTICE with the brakes! Practice with the engine running AND with the key off - know what happens before you actually need it. Brakes are partially linked, so you don't need to touch the rear unless you're on a hill or trail-braking in a curve, or just want to flash the brake light at the guy behind you. Tail & brake lights are pretty small and need additions; many after-market items available.

    It had a spline lube at 22,000 miles?? Did the seller have any paperwork for that? Unless he's extremely cautious or paranoid, not many folks go in there for a clutch & spline check at that low mileage...

  6. #6
    Registered User ncsonderman's Avatar
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    + 1 on the 22K spline lube!! Paranoid, but if it's documented WTF?

    I loved my 04' RT and still love the 97' RT. Yes, work with the brakes and when you service them ensure you work with the bits under the tank as well. Check your quick disconnects for your fuel lines (under the right side of the tank saddle). You should think about upgrading those to metal before you have problems at a bad time.

    Ride safe and go get some pancakes at Joe's Farm Fresh.
    "It's not the speed of the ride that scares me....it's how quick I stop!"

    97' R 1100 RT "Ruby II"
    13' R 1200 GSA Triple Black

  7. #7
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    The in-tank hoses on my '04rt failed without warning at 27K miles. One minute go, next minute no-go. Highway, lefthand passing lane.

    Clean and lube the starter if it hasn't been done and make sure the internal planetary gear cover is secure.

    Those things and the need to lube splines were my only surprises, but I still have a spare HES and clutch slave cylinder waiting to be installed.

    It will run a lot better richer but ride for a while and then decide.
    RB

  8. #8
    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    I'll just say that you're going to really understand and appreciate just how functional the oilhead is after riding it for awhile, then going back to the airhead.

    Congrats on the purchase. Now, I'll simply hang up and listen to the true experts on here.
    -----------------------------------------
    Brad D. - Member #105766
    '77 R100RS - Black Beauty (big pipe, baby!)
    '94 R1100RS - Sylvia

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the inputs, guys.

    I did about a 60 mile ride today and have to say, it does ride nice at speed, I had it up to about 85 for a short time...nice and smooth. I've never had my airhead that fast. It's definitely smoother and more stable at speed than the airhead. I haven't done any twisties on it yet so don't know how it will compare there. In city traffic it feels bigger and heavier than the airhead (it is!) but again, I think that will improve as I ride it more. I think that the differences will be more apparent when I ride the airhead again after riding the oilhead for a while.

    Re: spline lube...the seller had an invoice for a bunch of work done at the local dealer a couple thousand miles ago. Unfortunately, I seem to have left it with her and I don't remember all the details but the spline lube sticks in my mind. It was a fair amount of work (almost $1000 worth) that made me feel better about the maintenance of the bike. She said she would mail me the invoice but I haven't received it yet. The bike was her husband's, who passed away a few months ago and she's moving and has no use for it.

    I put in on the lift today and looked it over. I can see the fuel line connectors thru an opening in the fairing and they seem to be metal. One side of each is definitely metal, the other is black but looks like metal. Does that sound right? Are there only two connections?

    It also has a Throttlemeister, a taller Cee Bailey windshield (and the original), and those 'highway foot pegs' that attach to the head and fold out. I doubt I will use those so will probably replace them with the stock covers and sell them...they're kinda pricey.

    Question...is it necessary to sync the throttle bodies like syncing the carbs on an airhead?

    Anyway, so far I'm pleased with the bike. I'm planning to do a couple hundred mile ride tomorrow up into the high country...we'll see how it goes. Stay tuned...
    1983 R100RS (Sold)
    2004 R1150RT
    BMW MOA 181289
    ABC 13558

  10. #10
    It's a way of life! oldnslow's Avatar
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    I wouldn't sell those 'highway pegs' if I were you. They are very handy on long trips...heck even handy on short trips! And they look 'stock'. Just a few more bolts to turn when you do spark plug removal.
    Mike Davis
    "Old n Slow" It's a way of life!
    1985 K100RT

    1998 R1100RT

  11. #11
    Aspiring Profligate jeff488's Avatar
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    Synching the throttle bodies is required. They do what the carbs do on an airhead.

    The highway pegs are nice to have on long trips, just like the throttlemeister. I'd keep them.
    '04 Silver R1150RT "Big Oel". '05 Yellow KLR 650
    '00 Red Suzuki Bandit 600
    '65 Allstate/Puch 250 twingle
    "I just want somewhere to ride and food when I get there."

  12. #12
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    As far as the quick disconnects, I was told by Ted porter at the Beemershop that only the male end breaks. I only replaced the male ends. One could be metal and one could be plastic in that case.

  13. #13
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAS View Post
    As far as the quick disconnects, I was told by Ted porter at the Beemershop that only the male end breaks. I only replaced the male ends. One could be metal and one could be plastic in that case.
    I went with two metal QDs but there is an advantage to leaving the female in place. On the plastic part (female) the plunger is shrouded. On the metal female QD the disconnect plunger sticks up and sometimes is pressed accidentally.

  14. #14
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    Thanks guys...

    Looks like I'm set re: disconnects. I'll check on the tensioner when I take the fairing off for the TB sync.

    I found several 'how-to's' for the TB sync (Google is always helpful). I have a TwinMax and am familiar with the process from the airhead so looks like I'm good to go there, too. Just gotta get a round tuit.

    I'll give the highway pegs a try but they don't look all that comfortable to me. Never know till you try, tho.

    I took the bike on a 200 mile run today up to Payson & back. Wow! I like this bike. A lot. Not any real twisties but lots of high speed sweepers. It feels very secure & stable and seems to be very happy at 75-80 mph.

    The seat is not very comfortable, tho. My butt is still kinda sore. And lowered peg & bar risers might be in the future. I'm 6'5" and anything that will help unfold my knees sounds good. I have the seat in the highest position but still it's kinda cramped. Then again, at my height you get used to that, to a point.

    Anyway, so far, so good. I'm kinda looking forward to taking off the tupperware and checking it all over. My wife thinks I'm nuts to get a 'new' bike and then take it apart right away. Oh well...
    1983 R100RS (Sold)
    2004 R1150RT
    BMW MOA 181289
    ABC 13558

  15. #15
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    The seat on my bike was custom and only fit in the low position so, not knowing better, I got a Tall/Comfort seat from BMW. Not bad actually. I'm tall too and run the seat all the way up.

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