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Thread: '03 vs '04?

  1. #1

    '03 vs '04?

    Long story but I just purchased 2 R1150RT's. One is an '03 with 16 K miles in great condition with a solid service history. The other is an '04 with 29K miles in great condition also with a solid service history.

    Other than the obvious ie. color, mileage, etc, are there any failure points, techinical reasons, maintenance reasons to favor one over the other?

    I did not intend to buy 2 but now I have to decide....any input or advice will be appreciated! Thanks.

  2. #2
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    I can only add the 04 is a dual plug motor that was supposed to eliminate any surging, but that also gives you one more coil to worry about. They both have the whizzy brakes that need special attention service wise. I own an 03 with 26K on it.

  3. #3
    Just learning about each....the 04 has servo assist brakes.....apparently the 03 does not. Both have the ABS ring on each wheel so I assume both are ABS equipped.

    The fuse setup on the 03 does not mention ABS while the 04 has fuse(s) for ABS functions which confused me as I thought ABS required electrical capacity.

    I have noticed the 03 surges at or under 3K rpm but the 04 does not....did not know the dual spark was the fix. I can live with the surging.

    I much prefer reliability....and ease of maintenance unless there clear advantages.

    If the 03 definitely has ABS, it seems that the 03 is favored? Being new to these bikes I don't want to live with a hasty decision.

    All opinion/advice will be greatly appreciated!

  4. #4
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    AFAIK Both bikes of that vintage should have servo brakes.
    Providing the ABS system are operational, you should hear a servo motor actuate when pulling the brake lever or pushing the pedal.
    Last edited by GSAddict; 09-17-2017 at 09:56 PM.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  5. #5
    The 03 came with servo brakes... it was not an option. It may be that the servo unit failed, was removed and the brakes are now manual. A common modification. ABS is integral with the servo unit... if the servo is gone so is the ABS. The sensors are usually left installed out of convenience of not having to remove them.

  6. #6
    Now I am really concerned/confused... the 03 owners manual fuse description page makes no mention of ABS fuses, etc. The 04 manual on the fuse page does mention ABS. The 03 fuse box has 2 empty slots with no wiring prongs in spots where the 04 has fuses.

    I hear the servo motor on the 04 but not the 03.

    On both bikes the ABS warning lite flashes until the bike travels a few feet then goes out.

    Where should the servo motor be...and what does it look like?

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    The brake unit is under the tank...a big aluminum block with a bunch of hoses connected to it and a big ass electrical connector.

    Have you checked the VIN to verify that it is indeed a 2003?

    Here's a VIN checker that I ran across... BMW VIN Checker
    Last edited by markaz; 09-18-2017 at 02:32 AM.
    2004 R1150RT
    BMW MOA 181289

  8. #8
    Registered User cap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAS View Post
    I can only add the 04 is a dual plug motor that was supposed to eliminate any surging, but that also gives you one more coil to worry about.
    I have an '04 RT with the dual-plugs. I recently (inadvertently) ran an entire multi-day tour of 3000+ miles using only the secondary plugs. I am a fan of the dual plugs. I have owned single-plug 1150's that did surge a lot, and I do like the smoothness of the dual-plug engine (When both plugs are firing!).

  9. #9
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Dual spark was from 12/02
    Ref: Max fiche
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GSAddict View Post
    Dual spark was from 12/02
    Ref: Max fiche
    It might be on the fiche that way but I've never seen a '03 with dual spark.

    Dual spark bikes don't surge. Single spark bikes might. I had an '02 that was almost unrideable. The '04 behaves like a good running old Airhead.

    both bikes have Servo assisted brakes. i believe that started in '02, but was improved slightly to be less sensitive by '04.

    proper maintenance on the servo brakes, bi-annual brake flushes is all you need to do. I love them personally.

    Many people are of the opinion that the '04 Oilhead's are one of BMW's better designs. IMHO too.

  11. #11
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPGR90s View Post
    It might be on the fiche that way but I've never seen a '03 with dual spark.

    .
    One of my regular clients has a 02/2003 RT1150 dual spark.
    Others I have serviced were dual after '02
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  12. #12
    My '03 R1150R was built in June of '02 and is a single spark (thank goodness). I hate unreliable stick coils. I would not buy a twin spark.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  13. #13
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPGR90s View Post
    It might be on the fiche that way but I've never seen a '03 with dual spark. Dual spark bikes don't surge.
    My '03 R1100S is dual spark. Dual spark bikes don't surge as much as single plug motors.

    I had to replace both stick coils at about 60k miles..

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by skrusich View Post
    Long story but I just purchased 2 R1150RT's. One is an '03 with 16 K miles in great condition with a solid service history. The other is an '04 with 29K miles in great condition also with a solid service history.

    Other than the obvious ie. color, mileage, etc, are there any failure points, techinical reasons, maintenance reasons to favor one over the other?

    I did not intend to buy 2 but now I have to decide....any input or advice will be appreciated! Thanks.
    My first BMW was a used 04RT I found on eBay (in 2010 ) for $7,000 with 17,000 on the odometer, in the 90,000 miles I put on it in five years the only major repair was the fuel pump at 57,000 miles , replaced the stick coils twice and the hall sensor once other than that just routine maintenance . The 04RT is a very reliable bike the only thing that's touchy was getting used to the fully integral brakes but once you knew how they worked they weren't a problem.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I would not buy a twin spark.
    You would if you had an '03 that surged like my did.

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