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Thread: I'm seeking wisdom

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Leavenworth, KS

    Question I'm seeking wisdom

    I'm getting ready to re-enter the BMW ranks, with a possible purchase of a 1988 R100RT. My only other Beemer experience was a 1976 R90S that I put 30k miles on in about 4 years. Does anyone have advice regarding common faults with the 1988 R100RT. What should I be looking for? I know about tires, cables, brake pads, leaking front fork seals, torn seat cover, the obvious stuff. Tell me about hidden things. Should I ask that the front cover be taken off so I can see the rotor? Is there a way that I, an amateur, can check the drive shaft u-joints or the differential? I'm listening. Tell me what to look for.

  2. #2
    Blocking the slow lane
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Edwardsville, IL
    We have a late 80s Airhead that was owned by seven people before I got it, and its been a great bike. The only worrisome spot on these bikes is in the transmission....BMW removed a circlip from the output shaft which led to some bikes eating output shaft bearings. Our bike did this the first year we had it, and required disassembly of the trans to "upgrade" back to the old design. The output shaft alone is $300.

    The rest of the bike seems pretty robust. I think the late 80s Airhead had the best driveshaft/spline/final drive solution of all the Beemers with single-sided swingarms, including the new ones. I would ride ours anywhere.
    Jon Diaz
    BMW K75/K12GT
    BMWMOA Ambassador

  3. #3
    Registered User Bones's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Newport News, Va.

    Thumbs up

    Hey! I agree with Diaz, Its a great Airhead with minimal problems! Wish I had One. Bones , aka Jim Post
    Last edited by Bones; 07-24-2003 at 01:33 AM.
    Life without Daring Adventure is not worth Living!


  4. #4
    Registered User R100RS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North Florida
    I haven't had any tranny problems. I have the same bike you're looking at with a different fairing. I had some charging problems early on (needed new diode board and voltage regulator), but those have been solved. A police model VR and sealed battery (both added later) solved any further problems with the charging system. I've had to put new steering head bearings in and have changed the timing chain. Other than that, it's been pretty minor stuff. I did have a clunking coming from the front end when I bought it, which turned out to be a worn top triple clamp which I replaced with a billet one with pinch bolts.

    I'd just check it out thoroughly, ride it, listen for any weird noises and any stiffness/looseness/weird handling. You may also want to put a voltmeter on the battery and make sure the charging system is working (voltage should come up around 3000rpm). The timing chain will make a faint scraping/slapping noise if it needs replacement. You shouldn't have to worry about the driveshaft, the major problems with that are limited to the paralever GS models.

    All in all, you're looking at a very reliable bike. The things I mentioned should not disuade you, just help in negotiating price. There isn't much on these bikes that a reasonably handy person can't fix themselves.

    '02 R1150R
    '88 R100RS

  5. #5
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    This later bike will also have the notorious Valeo starter motor.
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

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