BMW maintenance

GS throttle cable swap

So today I swap my throttle cables. I pick up the new cables at lunchtime from Portland BMW…

…there are 4 cables and a splitter box. A main throttle cable leads from the twist grip to the splitter box, then 2 shorter cables lead to the respective throttle bodies. A separate “cold start” cable runs from the left hand grip to the splitter box.

Ricardo has told me that he’d rather do a rear drive swap than a throttle cable change, a thought which fills me with confidence as I approach the bike…

First off – remove the tank. A simple enough task – I find a prop of some sort…

…in this case a mallet, is a useful way to gain access to the fuel line quick-disconnects.

Soon the tank’s off…

Some of you who have GSes may find my bike a little different to yours. This is for various reasons: I don’t have ABS, so there’s a big gap ahead of the battery, where the ABS pump would live; I have an alarm and a Techlusion 259, as well as various other electrical bits fitted, so try to ignore the odd coil of wire cable tied around the place…

Back to business. You only need to remove this one bolt to gain access to the twist grip end of the throttle cable…

Take off the plate and disconnect the cable (excuse the focus – point and shoot one handed )…

At this point, I threaded the new cable alongside the old one, to make sure it followed exactly the same path, to avoid it getting kinked or trapped.

I undid both the left and right (pictured) cables at the throttle bodies.

Undo the 10mm locknut, unscrew the adjuster and, after feeding the cable through the gap in the plate, disconnect the spring clip on the inner side of the throttle body to release the cable. You have to do this by feel, but you’ll get the idea when you try it…

The splitter box lies directly under the ABS Pump plate, in a specially designed niche. It’s difficult to photograph, as it’s partially obscured by the crank case breather hose…

To disconnect the “cold start” cable, I first removed the bar end weight and moved the handguard, for ease of access. As with the throttle side, you only need to remove one bolt…

…apologies again for the standard of pic…

…to remove the lever – once again, the cable can then be easily disconnected. I ran the new cable alongside the old one.

Time to remove the splitter box…

First, lift the breather hose out of the way (or as far out of the way as possible)…

…then depress the spring clip at the bottom of the housing…

…before steadily pulling the splitter box out…

It may require some persuasion – mine had been there since manufacture in early 2002, and had done 74k miles…

…but eventually it came out. It was full of dust and crap, but, for all that, the cables still operated smoothly…

The wheel which the three throttle cables attach to is held in place on its shaft by this circlip…

…probably not a good idea to lose it.

Cold start cable operates a cam which cracks the throttles open by a fraction to boost idle speed on cold start up…

…getting this long spring to stay put whilst re-assembling the cables onto the wheel is fun – if you have 3 hands…

Time to re-insert the splitter box…

Re-assembly is simply a reversal of the strip down. When fully re-assembled I did a full throttle body synch (see ADVRider Hall of Wisdom, if you are not familiar) and a TPS re-set (remove Fuse No 5, turn ignition on, roll throttle fully open, pause, fully closed, pause, repeat – ignition off, replace Fuse No 5).

The result? Well, despite the throttle action previously being smooth and there being no visible kinks or frays in the old cables – the difference is remarkable. The bike feels very smooth (nearly all of the previous “surging” has gone) and extremely responsive and the throttle considerably lighter. I kept thinking I was in a lower gear than I actually was. I’d advise anyone with a high mileage oilhead with original cables to consider doing this – 4� hrs well spent

EDIT MikeP from UKGSer has recently done this job and has fitted the modified throttle cable guide kit which you now need to fit new cables to pre Dec 2004 bikes – his write up follows:

Mike O has detailed the cable-swap and his guide can be found on the AdvRider Hall of Wisdom:…le%20swap.html

If you are contemplating doing the same and your bike was built before December 2004, then you will get a different main cable (the one from the throttle-grip to the splitter-box) and you will need the replacement guide.

The new cable cannot be fitted to the old guide.

The new cable is Part # 32737692561

The new guide is Part # 32727691990 (listed as SET: REP.KIT ACCELERATOR CABLE DEFLECTION) on the BMW fiche.

Here’s what it is:

It took a little head scratching to see where the new parts went and what exactly they replaced and how, so this may save you some similar puzzlement.

Remove the hand-guard, the end-weight and the mirror.

Locate the bottom cover screw of the switch-block:

There is another screw holding the bottom cover in place at the extreme end of the underside near the brake master cylinder. Mine was solid and rather than chew the screw-head, I just pulled the plastic bottom cover down a bit.

Locate the self-tapping screw that is hidden by the (now removed) mirror stalk and remove it:

Lift the switch-block clear (it needs to be off of the throttle guide under the rubber grip) so that the twist-grip can be slid along the handlebar.

If your bike has heated grips, feed some more of the control cable into the handlebars to allow you to pull the twist-grip along the bar a little.

You need enough room to be able to get at the two (now exposed) cross-head screws (replacements are included in the kit). They are removed in this photo:

Once you have the screws out, you can slide the old cable-guide towards the twist-grip. It is located on the lug on the underside of the handlebar and has a ring of plastic around the bar:

Rather than removing the twist-grip from the handlebar completely, just snip the plastic ring in a couple of places (you won’t be needing it again):

It’s pretty obvious where the new parts fit so I won’t insult your intelligence, you will end-up with an arrangement like this:

and a pile of redundant parts like this:

The modification is apparently because the old parts allowed the cable to jump out of the guide (that’s what I was told anyway) but the up-side is that the cable adjuster at the twist-grip end is easier to work than the old one.

BMW maintenance

GS Speedo Fix

GS Speedometer Accuracy Fix Thread

I just installed a speedo hub from the R1100R. It has a 2.875 ratio, compared to the 3.0 ratio stock on the Oilhead GS. The changeover is quick, under 15 minutes including cleaning your hands afterwards. Bottom line: it works just fine, and my speedometer is now *much* more accurate.

Here are some data for 6th gear:

Tires: Metzler Tourance
38.5 rear, 35.5 front, cold pressures

With 3.0 speedo hub,
3000 RPM 65 mph indicated, 60.8 actual, 6.9% error
3500 RPM 75 mph indicated, 70.0 actual, 7.1% error
4000 RPM 85 mph indicated, 79.2 actual, 7.3% error

With 2.875 speedo hub,
3000 RPM 62 mph indicated, 61.2 actual, 1.3% error
3500 RPM 71 mph indicated, 70.0 actual, 1.4% error
4000 RPM 80 mph indicated, 79.0 actual, 1.3% error

I used a Magellan 315 GPS on flat straight sections of freeway at steady throttle to allow the GPS time to settle. Obviously, my data collection technique is imperfect, it’s hard to read the analog speedometer and the digital GPS at the same time while avoiding trucks and SUVs. The GPS is only accurate at steady speeds on straight roads.

The part number from BMW is 62 12 2 306 532. Maybe you’ll find it for less than I paid… but it’s worth it for peace of mind.

Now I’m happy, a 1.4% error is much better than a 7% error. If I were buying a new GS, I would demand that the dealer include the speedo hub from the old Roadster in the package, out the door. It’s absurd that BMW gets away with selling bikes with inaccurate speedometers.

BMW maintenance

GS Sidestand Interlock Bypass 4 Dummies

GS Side-Stand Safety Interlock Bypass for Dummies


BMW maintenance

GS Shock Install and Adjustment


GS Ohlins Installation, Adjustment Tips & Tricks


BMW maintenance

GS heated grip replacement

Replacing Heated Grip rubbers…

After 92k miles, the rubber grips on my 2002 GS Adv are looking pretty worn…

…so, inspired by Steve Currell, from GSClubUK, I decided to swap the rubbers, whilst leaving the heating elements in place. Unlike Steve, who replaced his grips with bright yellow ones �€“ I decided to follow the more traditional route of sourcing some standard black replacements.

I bought the grips, made by Ariete, from Motorworks, where Kevin told me that, to fit these (pattern) grips, I’d need to buy 2 pairs and use the throttle sized grip on each side, to allow for the extra diameter of the heating element.

The two pairs of grips came to a total of just over �20.

So, equipped with Allen keys, replacement grips and hair-spray (Tesco’s value range – 37p), I set about the task…

I first undid the countersunk Allen headed bolt at the end of the handlebar…

…then removed it, and the chamfered washer that it fits in…

…I then pulled the handguard out and forward before removing the bar end weight…

I have a throttle lock (from Bob�€™s BMW in Maryland), but I understand lesser mortals have standard BMW weights…

Having done this on both sides, I turned my attention to the left grip. I carefully peeled back the rubber from the switchgear (inboard) end. The grips seem to be glued at both ends, so you have to slowly and carefully let the tension you are putting the rubber under to break the seal of the adhesive…

Once the circumference of the inboard end of the grip had come away, I started to gently roll the grip back, like taking a, erm, sock off. Yes, that’s right – a sock…

As you can imagine, this gets progressively more difficult the further you go. I eventually managed to get the grip almost all the way off – only to find that the ring of adhesive on the outboard end was more difficult to shift. Indeed, the resin like coating covering the heating element wire had torn slightly as a result of my efforts…

To make life easier I decided to cut most of the rubber off with a craft knife…

…before rolling the remainder back on…

…in order to try and peel it back from the outboard end.

It didn’t want to cooperate, though. So I peeled off the remainder and pulled it off, leaving several bits of rubber still attached. I carefully trimmed these down with a craft knife and checked, by offering up the replacement grip, that they would not obstruct fitting the new grip.

I turned my attention to the right hand grip and, after loosening the inboard glue, tried rolling back the outboard side. For some reason, the glue on the right hand grip was stuck much faster. After a little effort, I was able to start rolling it off the heating element…

…but I decided to give myself a bit of assistance by cutting the rubber as I rolled it off. I was very careful to only cut the rubber that was folded double – I didn’t want to damage the wires in the heater…

Soon I had the right hand grip off too – it took some of the brown resin cover with it – but I decided not to worry about that, as the grip was going to protect the wires from water ingress etc anyway.

Time to fit the new grips. The secret weapon here (thanks Steve ) is hairspray. It acts as an excellent lubricant, and a pretty good fast-drying adhesive. I sprayed the inside of the grip liberally (at 37p per can, I was willing to go a little crazy)…

…then, covering the tank, sprayed the grip heater�€�

…before sliding the new rubber on.

The hairspray ‘went off’ in about 4 minutes, leaving both grips stuck fast. I did a quick function check, which proved both heated grips were working fine, then replaced the bar end weights…

…and fitted & tightened the countersunk bolts through their washers…

…before declaring the job done.


GS Clutch Flush w/pics

04 R1150GS Hydraulic Clutch Flush

I thought this might be useful to some…

On the hydrolic clutch circuit, the master cylinder is located at the clutch lever and the slave cylinder is located on the transmission housing. As hose runs between the master to the slave cylinders. A bleed hose is attached to the slave cylinder and a “ball bearing type” check valve is attached to the end of the bleed hose.

This picture shows the end of the bleed hose as it is zip-tied to the frame.

This picture shows the capped end of the bleed hose and the protective sleeve.

This picture shows the check valve fitting on the end of the bleed hose.

This picture shows the cap removed and the check valve inside the fitting.

This picture shows the “bleeder” fitting (about $9) needed to attach to the end of the check valve. The bleeder fitting pushes open the check valve and allows you to easily flush the circuit.

This picture shows the two fittings assembled. Finger tight is all it takes.

This Mityvac system (about $75) makes it much easier to flush clutch and brake circuits.

This picture shows the dirty DOT4 fluid in the reservoir. Most of this was removed before I added fresh fluid.

This picture shows the assembled vacuum system. The inline needle valve is helpful.

This picture shows clean fluid in the reservoir. However, notice the grime on the walls of the reservoir. I did not see this until I looked at the picture. Looks like I have a little more work to do.

There… that’s better…

I suggest that you flush the circuit until clean fluid is continuously coming out and then remove the bleeder fitting from the check valve. Then work the clutch lever several times to pump the slave cylinder. Then flush the circuit again. I did this three times and by then end all of the fluid coming out looked clean.

My bike is an 04 R1150GS with 26k miles. I recently took a long ride (8094 miles) from Idaho Falls, ID, to Deadhorse, AK, and the only problem I had with the bike during the trip was the clutch circuit. It had never been flushed and this caught up with me on my trip when, along the Cassiar Highway, it decided to stop working. I flushed the circuit on the road by holding the check valve open with a screw driver and this brought the clutch back and I was able to finish my ride with only a few hours interruption. Today I properly flushed the circuit and now it feels 100% again.

Here is a schematic of the clutch circuit for reference. It does not appear that there is much to “rebuild”. If the master or slave cylinder goes out, you have to replace the units. The master cylinder or “clutch handlebar fitting” (#1) is about $385 and the slave cylinder or “output cylinder clutch” (#6) is about $127.

STOP THE PRESSES!!! Updated on August 8, 2009.

Thanks to the good advice from this site, I discovered the real problem.

This picture shows the slave cylinder being removed.

This picture shows the condition of the slave cylinder.

This picture shows the condition of the location occupied by the slave cylinder.

The bottom line is this, if the DOT4 fluid in the clutch system turns muddy, then the slave cylinder is shot.

I just order a new slave cylinder and gaskets. To access the slave cylinder I removed the muffler, rear tire, and rear shock.

Updated on August 17, 2009.

I installed the new slave cylinder over the weekend and this is what happened. When I finished the installation I filled and flushed the clutch system (with the new and dry slave cylinder) with DOT4 fluid using the Mityvac. However, at one point during the procedure the DOT4 fluid would no longer flow out of the check valve and into the Mityvac. I would pump the clutch lever but no more fluid would drain out through the check valve, despite the vacuum. I buttoned everything up and took the bike for a ride. I was disappointed because the clutch lever did not feel much better with the new slave cylinder than it did with the old slave cylinder. However, when I got back home I decided to flush the system again and this second time I had none of the same problems as the first time. On my next ride the clutch lever felt 100% again. It seems that I did not get all of the air out of the clutch system on my first flush after installing the new slave cylinder.

BMW maintenance

GS FD Big Bearing swap

Manual on Changing the Final Drive Big Bearing


BMW maintenance

Garage Opener

Wiring A Garage Door Opener To Your R11xx.


BMW maintenance

Final Drive R & R

R-dubb & Ricky’s Do’s And Don’ts For Changing The Final Drive.

Final Dive R&R Procedure

OK, so here it is, all the Do�s and Don�ts for changing out the Final Drive.

The usual disclaimers apply. For instance, do you really want to attempt mechanical work that puts your ass on the line, in more ways than one, risks damage to some very expensive parts, may result in premature drive line failure, and may disable your scoot for weeks or months while someone else cleans-up a costly mess? It is therefore stated that the author hereby recommends that each person performing work do so based solely on the procedures published by BMW in the R1150GS Repair Manual.

All supplemental information and comments are provided for background understanding only and are not to be relied on by any individual performing actual mechanical work. Proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Parts and Supplies Required (as specified by BMW):

* Replacement Final Drive Unit including Pivot Bearings.
* Drive Shaft Boot Zip Tie Fasteners
* Staburags NBU 30 PTM. Spline and Bearing Grease
* Loctite 270 Maximum Strength
* Brand-name hypoid gear oil, SAE 90, API class GL 5 (250ml)

Recommended Tools:

* Large Torque Wrench, >= 200NM (for Fixed Pivot)
* Small Torque Wrench, <= 5NM (for Floating Pivot)
* 30mm Socket (for Fixed Pivot)
* 16mm Socket (for Reaction Link)
* 12mm Allen with adaptor to fit Small Torque Wrench
* Misc. Standard Sockets, Adaptors and Drives
* Long Reach Flat Screw Driver
* Heat Gun or Propane Torch
* Packing Strap (to tie off center stand)
* Scissor Jack (to support rear swing arm)
* Flash Light

The Official BMW Procedure in plain English
Do�s and Don�ts: Wrenchin� Retard Tips, Comments & Additions in Italics

Rear Drive Assembly Diagram from BMW 1150GS Repair Manual.


1. Drain the drive oil.
It need not be drained but will save spilling it later cause both the ABS port and top vent leak.

2. Remove the rear fender flap (if not gone already).
Now is a very good time to strap the center stand to the front wheel.

3. Remove the brake caliper and ABS sensor and secure.
Note washer on rear caliper bolt; front bolt uses the ABS eyelet as a washer. Do not allow brake pedal to be depressed with caliper removed. You might slip a wood shim between brake pads to avoid this potential.

4. Remove the rear wheel.
Put trannie in gear to prevent wheel rotation.

5. Loosen the rear reaction link bolt (paralever strut) but don�t remove.
Support rear swing arm with Scissor Jack behind trannie on left side of swing arm.

6. Clip the zip ties and peal the rubber boot to the rear.

7. Heat (max 120 C.) the floating bearing stud (left-hand 30mm lock nut and 12mm stud) to release loctite, loosen but don�t remove.
A heat gun is best (not a hair dryer). A propane torch will work fine at a medium/low setting. Apply flame only to the bolts to avoid melting finishes or the rubber boot. You can loosen the bolts while applying heat but be sure the loctite is melting to avoid potential thread damage. Actual measuring of the temp should not be required. The heat is only needed to melt loctite and has nothing to do with pressed fittings.

8. Same on fixed stud (right-hand 30mm bolt).
Remove the locknut first! Then loosen the left stud with a 12mm allen key.

9. Remove reaction link bolt; remove left stud; remove right stud while supporting drive unit. Pay attention to inner bearing race on each side.
When pulling the studs, be careful not to let the bearings crash on the edge of the bolts. EZ does it.

10. Slide drive with pinion shaft (U-joint section) to the rear to disengage from drive shaft spline.
Slide the drive all the way out, then down. If your going to store the drive unit. Zip tie the inner bearing races after the drive is out to prevent losing them.
Now is a good time to remove the rear shock. This is not required, but will allow more upward rotation of the drive shaft for easier alignment of the drive splines.

Photo shows shock bolt being used to support drive shaft perpendicular to transmission.

Diagram shows proper phasing of drive shaft. The U-joint lobes are mirrored on each end of the shaft.


1. Clean and pack roller bearings with grease.
The better the bearings are cleaned and the more grease is worked into the cages, the longer they will last. If the bearings are used and have pitted races, show roller indentations, or have blued due to over heating, replace the bearings. Use any good solvent to clean the bearings. Do not remove the roller cages or bearings from the outer race. The inner race comes out easily and should be removed for cleaning and repacking. New bearings do not require cleaning or repacking. If they drop or become separated later, re-clean and repack unless you�re sure no sand or metal has gotten in.

Overheated bearing race has blued and shows indentations from being over torqued previously.

2. Clean and coat drive shaft and pinion shaft splines with grease.
Now is when you �Phase� the U-joints. Before greasing the splines remove the pinion shaft (U-joint section) from the drive unit by carefully prying outward with a large, flat screw driver. It should pop fairly easily. Then align the splines with the drive shaft to phase the U-joint. The position of the lobes to the front of the U-joint must match the position of the rear most facing lobes of the drive shaft U-joint, deep with-in the housing where it meets the back of the trannie. Use a flash light and move the drive shaft up and perpendicular to the back of the trannie to see the exact position of the lobes. The splines only meet one way and the U-joint should be turned 180 degrees if they don�t match up. When matched, mark a convenient spot on both pieces with a scratch or indent. Remove the pinion shaft and grease both ends and both sockets. I don’t use the BMW grease cause it’s hard to find. I used a Moly type, high preasure, CV joint grease. Insert the shaft into the final drive and give it a soft hammer blow to reseat. Make sure it is fully seated and does not pull back out by hand.

Pinion shaft �pops� free when pried from Final Drive with a long, stout screwdriver.

Pinion shaft phased with drive shaft. Note circular U-joint fitting can be visually matched by looking
deep into the shaft housing at the right angle with a bright light.

3. Place rubber boot in position on drive unit.
Don�t forget to do this or feel stupid in about two minutes.

4. Clean both bearing studs with acetone and apply high strength loctite to threads of each stud.
Cleaning the studs and the housing threads is important. Particularly the left, or floating stud. When clean, test the studs in the housing to be sure they screw all the way with no resistance. If rough, clean again and run from the inside out to de-burr any rough threads. The left stud must turn freely to properly preload the tapered bearings. The floating, or left stud, preloads both sides. Apply a single bead of loctite, lengthwise on the right, bolt. I am told (via the Pelican R11S Forum) that BMW has issued a service bulletin recommending that the left stud not be treated with loctite to facilitate later re-torque. I have not seen the bulletin or verified it with a dealer.

5. Align U-joints and slide final drive splines into drive shaft socket.
To insert the splines matching prior marks, the drive shaft should be held parallel by carefully inserting a screwdrive through the right pivot hole in the drive shaft housing. Use the screw driver to hold up the shaft while moving the housing into place.

6. Install right, fixed stud bolt to engage inner bearing race (Do not allow stud to pinch the outside edge of bearings) finger tight.
The right pivot stud must line up straight through the bearing race. If the stud pinches the bearings or the plastic bearing cage, the bearing is ruined and must be replaced. Make sure the right stud has seated before installing the left. To replace bearings, heat the housing lightly and drive the bearing out with a socket and extension that closely match the outer diameter. Replace in the same fashion. Do not try to extract bearing races with a pry bar or screw driver.

Pivot bearings can be pressed free with a properly sized
socket and extension. Light heat may be applied if needed.

7. Similarly, install left floating stud without tightening.
The left stud should only be run about half way into place. You can hand screw all the way in and then back out about five turns if you want.

8. Torque right stud bolt to 160Nm. (118ftlb.)
When the right stud is torqued, the left stud must not fully seat or the bearings will be over-loaded and ruined. If the left stud is tight after torqueing the right side, you�ve done it wrong and need to re-inspect the bearings carefully. Replacement likely.

9. Tighten left floating stud (without lock nut) to 7Nm. (5.2ftlb.)
The left stud is torqued lightly (5ftlb.) to pre-load the tapered bearings. Like a steering head. The drive should pivot evenly, and without snags. If the bearings are under torqued, slight rear wheel wobble will result. If over torqued, they will over heat and wear rapidly. Since 5 ftlbs is difficult to set on a large bolt, most mechanics do this step by feel. For a torque wrench to work, the threads must be very smooth and any locktite must be very soft. A little too tight may be better than a little too loose, but way too tight is not OK.

10. Torque lock nut (left) to 160Nm.
Make sure the stud does not rotate while torquing the lock nut.

11. Install reation link bolt finger tight.
Put the shock back on now. Top bolt: 50Nm (37ftlb.). Bottom bolt: 58Nm (43ftlb.). Do not tighten the reaction link fully at this time.

12. Replace zip-ties on rubber boot.
You don�t need OEM parts. Any zip ties long enough will do.

13. Reinstall rear wheel with two stage torque, 72Nm (53ftlb.), then 105Nm (77ftlb.).
I place a wedge under the wheel to raise into position. Alternate bolts.

14. Reinstall brake caliper bolts. Torque to 40Nm (30ftlb.) and install ABS sensor.
Don�t forget the ABS shims. Ease the caliper on to avoid opening the pads too wide. Check brakes and bleed if required. Since the caliper is going on the same rotors there should be no reason to adjust the ABS gap, but it should be checked.

15. Load 87kg (187lb.) onto free standing motorcycle and torque reation link bolt to 43Nm. (32ftlb.)
A heavy person sitting on the bike is required for this step. It is important to preload the strut, or it won�t operate in the correct flexibility range.

16. Fill final drive with 250ml gear oil.
Fill the drive to the bottom of the filler port threads. I use BMW synth. Some folks say to break-in a new drive with conventional gear oil. I don�t agree.

Test Ride and Laugh Your Ass Off!

When all else fails��

KTM maintenace

Changing Oil on an LC4

How To Change The Oil And Filter On A KTM LC4