MKL's 2004 BMW R1150RT Oilhead Maintenance Log

 

January 16, 2010 - 66,542 Miles: The RT went to Tom Cutter's Rubber Chicken Racing Garage for a JL Paralever Bushing installation being documented for an upcoming article in Motorcycle Consumer News. While there, some Bikevis Bullets were installed, also for an upcoming article.

November 28, 2009 - 66,026 Miles: Took the RT to Tom Cutter's Rubber Chicken Racing Garage for its 66k Service. The original right side EZY-Mount shelf bracket finally broke, so it was replaced with the new thicker bracket EZY-Mount sent to me in October 2008.

July 8, 2009 - 63,014 Miles: I decided to change my oil early, since this summer has already seen one track day and an MSF course as well.

November 22, 2008 - 60,097 Miles: I attended a Tech Day at Tom Cutter's Rubber Chicken Racing Garage, where the focus was on replacing the old Oilhead left-side cam chain tensioner with the upgraded unit from the Hexhead models. The new tensioner eliminates the "death rattle" sound on startup, and more importantly reduces the risk of of premature failure of the timing chain tensioner shoe and other related components.

November 14, 2008 - 60,034 Miles: Time for a fluid change and a quick tune.

October 29, 2008 - 59,568 Miles: Took the tupperware off to perform some minor maintenance. First, I cleaned and lubricated the starter, which was last serviced 30,000 miles ago and once again began producing the tell-tale grinding sounds after releasing the starter button. As before, the shaft assembly and plunger mechanism were absolutely caked with thick black crud, so I cleaned everything up and re-lubricated without disassembling the whole starter. Second, I replaced a broken left-side bracket from the Ezy-Mount shelf which holds my PIAA driving lights. The Ezy-Mount carries a lifetime warranty, so the good folks there sent me new brackets gratis. Finally, I installed a modified version of BMW's + Battery Post kit to the battery. The post had to be bent to fit the Enersys battery, and I drilled the bracket itself so that it now serves as the tie-down point for all of my accessories. In this way, accessing the connections is infinitely easier than trying to reach the battery's + terminal.

August 15, 2008 - 58,442 Miles: Following the right-side stick coil in June, the left one now gave out as well. Symptom was a lumpy idle, easily corrected by replacing the old left-side coil with a new one.

June 26, 2008 - 56,298 Miles: Since the bike hasn't seen service in 12,000 miles and was beginning to run roughly, I had Cross-Country BMW in Metuchen perform a 60,000 mile service, minus fluid changes which were done in May. There were no open recalls. This service included a new fuel filter. The right-side ignition coil was badly corroded, so it was replaced. Also, after 14,000 miles, the rear ME880 tire finally showed its wear bars and was replaced. I finally got around to installing the Moto-Techniques oil fill cap this RT's previous owner gave me as well.

June 7, 2008 - 55,651 Miles: As part of my article in Motorcycle Consumer News, the stock suspension was swapped out for Ohlins.

May 19, 2008 - 54,568 Miles: Time for a motor oil change.

April 15, 2008 - 53,439 Miles: The OEM brake pads were finally near the end of their lives, so I replaced them with new Carbone Lorraine brake pads from Beemerboneyard.com.

December 8, 2007 - 52,100 Miles: The front Metzeler ME880 Marathon tire developed a series of gaping cracks along its right sidewall. I contacted Metzeler, but never got any response back. Although the tread still had plenty of life left, I decided to play it safe and replace the whole tire. The date code revealed the tire is less than 1 year old, and now has close to 10,000 miles on it. I replaced it with my original tire of choice, a new Z6 Roadtec.

November 22, 2007 - 50,767 Miles: The small plastic nut which holds the rear fender in place on the left side of the bike wore out, so I replaced it with a new one.

November 9, 2007 - 50,563 Miles: Time for a fluid change.

October 4, 2007 - 49,055 Miles: Well, now we know the erratic running condition in the wet wasn't the Ignition Sensor! Further investigation revealed a bad o-ring seal in the oxygen sensor plug. Replacing that o-ring seems to have solved the problem.

September 19, 2007 - 47,690 Miles: An erratic running condition when wet was difficult to diagnose because of its sporadic nature. The coil packs were both corroded, so the terminals were cleaned and I bought a spare new one to carry around. I also had the Hall Effect replaced for safe measure. One of the fog lights burned out, so I replaced them both with new PIAA Xtreme White H3s.

July 25, 2007 - 46,842 Miles: I added a nifty liquid-filled Formotion stick-on thermometer with a LumiGlow face that can easily be seen at night. It fits perfectly in the space between the RT's speedo and tach!

June 28, 2007 - 45,559 Miles: During the last 48k Service, the techs noticed a very slight weep from the final drive, the first indication of a failing pinion seal. After verifying the seal was bad, I had it replaced. The final drive was refilled using the shop's Shell synthetic 80W/140 GL5 fluid. After almost a year and 30,000 miles in my service, this represents the RT's first real repair.

June 14, 2007 - 44,550 Miles: Cross-Country BMW in Metuchen performed the balance of the 48,000 mile service. There were no open recalls. This service included a new fuel filter. Also, my cracked left front turn signal lens (victim of a stone chip) was replaced. 

June 9, 2007 - 44,303 Miles: Time for an overdue fluid change. The dealer will perform the rest of the service due sometime later this month.

May 29, 2007 - 42,309 Miles: En route from Kansas towards Kentucky on our "Short Way 'Round" cross country tour, I decided to check the condition of my Metzeler Z6 tires in the hotel parking lot and was horrified to find the steel threads showing through! The bad news was this was on Memorial Day and no shops were open, so we lost a riding day. The good news is I discovered this in the parking lot of a Hyatt instead of the hard way! The next morning, the good folks at Mid-America Powersports in Wichita were kind enough to squeeze me into their queue and got me out before noon with a new mounted and balanced set of Metzeler ME880 Marathons. While the Z6s routinely last over 12,000 miles here on the east coast, the roads out west (plus the additional weight of all the luggage I was carrying) reduced their useful life to only 7,900 miles!

April 26, 2007 - 34,406 Miles: I changed changed the oil, transmission, and final drive fluids myself, while Cross-Country BMW in Metuchen performed the balance of the 36,000 mile service. There were no open recalls. This service included a new fuel filter and a new alternator belt. The RT's breather hose was cracked and beginning to leak, so it was replaced. New Metzeler Z6 tires were mounted and balanced. I also had the dealer install a BMW power socket in the dashboard, and finish up the wiring of a set of Hella Micro DE foglights which I mounted to the lower fork legs. To facilitate the mounting, I utilized the unused mounting points for the R1100RT style front fender on my RT's forks, and drilled them out to accept some brackets which I made from 0.187" aluminum and then spray painted black. Here is a standalone picture of the bracket, and here it is mounted on the fork leg. To this bracket, I mounted the Hella mounting bracket, and here is what the fog light looks like when all is completed. The illuminated Hella switch to control the lights now resides on the dashboard next to the new power point for easy access. The finished product looks and performs very well. Finally, I installed the BMW 27 liter tankbag which came with the bike. The RT is now ready for the epic cross country journey Terri and I are leaving for this week!

April 8, 2007 - 33,597 Miles: I installed some K1200GT "High" Mirrors on the RT's handlebars. Beware the websites (like A&S) which say you just need the 2 mirrors, 2 nuts, and 2 washers. You also need some spacers on the mirror stems to complete the installation. I used 5 BMW sleeves per mirror, as shown in the picture below.

March 28, 2007 - 32,998 Miles: My original Aeroflow Aeroscreen developed a crack over the winter, likely to due overtightening the mounting hardware upon initial installation by the bike's previous owner. This crack eventually grew to the point where replacement was necessary. Being completely satisfied with the original Aeroscreen, I installed another.

March 27, 2007 - 32,885 Miles: A Z-technik carbon fiber tank protector was added to protect the gas tank's paint from my jacket's zippers and buttons.

January 28, 2007 - 30,897 Miles: A second Stebel Compact Nautilus Air Horn was installed to compliment the first one installed back in October. A full test was conducted to measure performance. In addition, I finally got around to producing a suitable mount for my new Garmin Zumo 550 GPS. Essentially, I fabricated a simple bracket made of aluminum stock, made to fit between the two handlebars. I spray painted the aluminum black, and then used some longer bolts (left over from Terri's Aeroflow windshield install) to install it. Finally, I topped it off with a diamond-shaped RAM Mount, which will connect to the Zumo's stock cradle and RAM. 

January 20, 2007 - 30,789 Miles: For two weeks now, the Valeo starter has been producing a strange grinding sound for a few seconds after releasing the starter button. I decided to take a look inside. As expected, the shaft assembly and plunger mechanism were absolutely caked with thick black crud. I decided to clean everything up and re-lubricate without going to  the extreme of disassembling the whole starter. Most of the black filth blew out with compressed air, and the rest was degreased with an agent. I applied a sparing amount of silicone lube to the plunger, shaft, and splines. The whole operation took less than 30 minutes. After reassembly, the dreaded grinding sound has disappeared!

January 16, 2007 - 30, 642 Miles: I replaced the tired Exide / BMW sealed battery in the bike with a new Hawker Energy Genesis XE16X model. We use these Hawkers at work in our military UPS Systems, and they are very similar to the vaunted "Odyssey" battery Hawker sells for motorcycles. The battery features a metal casing for extreme durability against shock and vibration, as well as extended operation up to 60 degrees Celsius. Expected lifecycle is 8-10 years rated at 25 degrees ambient. This is about double what you would see out of the gel cells normally sold by BMW for the bike. Our controller here at work has had one in his Harley since 1997, and it's still going strong! And best of all, it was free!! Perks of the job....

 

December 27, 2006 - 29,698 Miles: I swapped fluids, and installed a new Wunderlich magnetic oil drain plug in the process. I also installed a new Signal Dynamics Dual LED License Plate Frame (wired as additional running lights and brake lights) for added conspicuity.

 

October 24, 2006 - 25,808 Miles: Cross-Country BMW in Metuchen performed the balance of my 24,000 mile service and checked for any open recalls, of which there were none. While the tupperware was off, I had them replace the stock Bosch horn with a Stebel Compact Nautilus Air Horn. The small, self contained 139db horn fit easily without any clearance issues, and provides an incredible improvement in horn volume and clarity compared to stock. Definitely useful for those commuting days on the NJ Turnpike!

 

October 2, 2006 - 24,522 Miles: Has it been 6,000 miles already? I changed the fluids after this weekend's trip to Niagara Falls, Canada. The dealer will perform the rest of the 24,000 mile service sometime later this month.

 

September 28, 2006 - 23,462 Miles: New Metzeler Z6 Roadtec tires were mounted and balanced by Cross-Country BMW in Metuchen. The old Z6s has been on the bike since 12,000 miles and still had some meat left on them, but I'd rather be safe than sorry with a long trip to Niagara Falls coming up tomorrow. The Z6s continue to impress me with their excellent combination of wet weather performance, dry grip, and overall longevity.

 

September 22, 2006 - 23,059 Miles: I installed a JJ Cyclepass bracket to mount my EZ-Pass on the RT's Ram Mount. Having it out in the open like this should lead to fewer false readings as I pass through the EZ Pass lanes.

 

September 17, 2006 - 22,721 Miles: On September 16, my friend (on his 2005 R1200RT) and I completed an Iron Butt Association Saddlesore 1000 ride, traveling through 4 States (NJ, PA, OH, and WV) and logging on 1,129 odometer miles in approximately 18 hours, including all stops for food, gas, bathroom, etc. The RT performed flawlessly, delivering excellent MPG in the process. On September 17, I replaced the original blue light lenses that came on the BMW Auxiliary Rear Running Light Kit (63-21-1-468-253) with generic red lenses I bought from a truck stop. The new red lenses are legal and also feature built-in reflectors, unlike the OEM blue lenses.

 

September, 14 2006 - 21,551 Miles: The stock 1157 type bulbs that came with the front turn signal RUN-N-LITES were replaced with Sylvania's 2357 (Long Life) types. These are the same candlepower as 1157 on low filament, and about 20% brighter on high filament. They also are rated to last twice as long. A cheap way to increase conspicuity.

 

August 14, 2006 - 19,550 Miles: I installed a Bead Rider 14x14 pad to increase comfort on longer rides. So far, it has been effective in reducing "hot spots."

 

August 11, 2006 - 19,265 Miles: I installed a Motion-Pro helmet lock on the rear of the left-side system case.

 

August 7, 2006 - 19,062 Miles: I installed a Kisan Technologies P115W-H7 headlight modulator to modulate the low beam. This is an excellent conspicuity upgrade.

 

August 3, 2006 - 18,872 Miles: Cross-Country BMW in Metuchen performed the balance of my 18,000 mile service and checked for any open recalls, of which there were none. They also changed the DOT-4 brake fluid in the control and wheel circuits as an additional part of the service. For added conspicuity, I installed some minor upgrades to the front and rear lighting systems. Up front, I replaced the stock OEM H7 low-beam with a Philips VisionPlus H7, the stock OEM H3 with an Osram Silverstar H3, and the stock OEM H3 Fog Lights with a pair of Philips Azzurro All-Weather H3 bulbs. All replacement bulbs were of the same wattage as the stock OEM bulbs, though the light output is noticeably higher. In the rear, I installed BMW's LED Brake / Tail Light, which acts both as a running light and a pulsing brake light using two rows of super-bright LEDs. In addition, I also added BMW's auxiliary rear running light kit as used by Police Motors (though I do need to change from blue to red lenses for legality - they are on order). Finally, I converted my stock turn signals to RUN-N-LITES all around, so now they act as running lights and turn signals, using readily available 1157-type dual filament bulbs.

 

July 25, 2006 - 18,035 Miles: Time for a fluid change! Everything went according to the service manual, nice and easy. The dealer will perform the rest of the 18,000 mile service sometime in early August, when they have a free spot to look at my bike.

 

July 23, 2006 - 17,869 Miles: After a soggy BMWMOA rally in Burlington, VT, I decided to add one of Bob's BMW Sidestand feet to lessen my dependency on old aluminum cans lying about the campsite! I also added a pair of Bob's "Bungee Buddies" to each system case, so packing will be easier next time around.

 

July 16, 2006 - 16,963 Miles: The stock grips are too thin for my taste, so I added a set of Grip-Tek's foam grip covers. In retrospect, the diameter of the covers I bought is a little too large, and its length a little too short, so the next time around, I need to buy one step smaller diameter and one step longer length (model GSM-5) to fit the stock BMW grips. Also, I added a full set of Motoequip's black 3M reflective vinyl tape kits to the BMW system cases and top case, for a little added conspicuity during night riding.

 

July 1, 2006 - 15,908 Miles: Titan Gray 2004 BMW R1150RT picked up with 15,908 original miles. What a machine! The 110 mile ride home from the seller's house in PA was enough to convince me that two things had to change. First, the rear brake lever is too small for me to feel comfortable with. Second, the front fender is too short, sending streams of water, dirt, and road grime directly into the polished header pipes and alternator cover of the engine. To solve these problems, I installed Bob's BMW Brake Lever Extender, and Pyramid's "Fenda Extenda." Also, I couldn't resist adding a large 3-D BMW logo beneath the license plate bracket, again courtesy of Bob's.

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