BMW R1200GS Servicing Tips & Extra Information
How to Maintain Your R1200GS (general introduction)
When servicing the R1200GS you should also consider a number of often neglected points (at least neglected by some BMW motorcycle dealers!)
- Change the final drive oil (see here)
Recon oil is cheap, FD’s are expensive! After seeing how much water that can penetrate the rubber boot between the FD and the swing arm I recommend checking the driveshaft and change the oil annually.
- Check/lube the driveshaft splines of the FD. Use anti-seize paste with 60% moly content. Ordinary grease is no good. (see here)
- Check the mono swingarm for slack in the bearings (should be none – just try to rock the swingarm sideways. (details below)
- Brake caliper check (details below)
- Sparkplugs advice (to come)
As always…..Disclaimer: Refer to the workshop manual or a Haynes / Clymer manual and refer to a motorcycle technician / mechanic if in doubt!
To be safer rather than sorry later, remove the swingarm bearings and lubericate them (I use the same high moly content lube as for the final drive splines). The right-hand bearing is simple bolt on, the left has an adjuster hex screw with a locking nut to enable adjustment/torqing. You need a special tool to undo the lefthand bolt which I made myself:
Check the mono swingarm for slack in the bearings, adjust and lubricate
In the first photo above you can see a piece of a thick rubber gasket. I just used it to support the piece of 12mm hex bit at through the 30mm socket. As you can see, this homemade tool is quite similiar to the BMW special tool shown in the RepROM, but much cheaper :-D.
I used a 30mm long ratchet socket and cut the slot with an angle grinder. The slot must be wide enough to accommodate a 12mm ring spanner. From a 12 mm hex / Allen key I cut a suitable length to through the 30mm socket to the adjuster screw on the bike. When replacing the bearing, adjust the torque of the hex adjusting screw to 7NM. Using the special tool you can now hold the adjusting nut still while turning the 30mm lock nut to the correct torque. Simple!
Brake caliper check (see also: Changing brake pads (cleaning calipers)
Another problem area on the 1200GS and probably on all bikes with similar brake setups, is the “floating” type of caliper where the brake pistons are only on one side of the caliper. This requires the caliper to move sideways when brake pressure is applied so that the non-piston side brakepad will contact with the brake disk. I’m sure that many of the problems people are experiencing with the rear brake of the GS is caused by a stuck/sticky caliper slide. This will cause uneven wear on left/right pad and in some cases, excessive wear on one side of the disk (happened to me).
On floating type brake calipers the caliper is attached to a mounting bracket with two guidepins on which the caliper shopuld move freely. The problem with the BMW design is that the front guidepin, made of steel, is moving inside a hole in the aluminium bracket. Even if it’s protected by small rubber bellows, it’s too easy for water and dust to get inside. As we know, the mix of aluminium, steel and water (maybe saltwater in winter) is not good. The alu will corrode, the steel will rust and the result is that the guide pin is stuck solid. To ensure flawless operation of the rear brake you have to inspect and lubricate the guidepins at least once a year. I’m using Loctite Anti-seize paste with 65% moly content, perfect for slowmoving metal to metal moving parts under high pressure and temperature.