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Thread: new 2003 K1200GT owner.. did I make a mistake?

  1. #1

    Exclamation new 2003 K1200GT owner.. did I make a mistake?

    I own several bikes, but have been without a BMW for the past year, so I broke down and bought a used, 2003 K1200GT with 26,000 miles on it recently at my local BMW dealer. The bike's had extensive service in its lifetime, and I'm wondering if I jumped into an endless pit of expensive maintenance with this bike? I guess I'm a little paranoid about things breaking down. So, I could use some assurance from other owners of this bike that this purchase was not a mistake, OR that buying a nearly 20-year old BMW is not a mistake in general for those of us who don't do our own wrenching.

  2. #2
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    “Extensive service”, as in pretty much completely following or exceeding the recommended service schedules, or as in having required a large number of significant repairs? The 2003-2004 GT bikes are great machines in my book, with a limited number of known trouble areas. One is the o-ring that seals between the crankshaft and clutch, by the rear main seal. Typically that’s seen at around 70k miles but may have already been done on your bike. The o-ring dries out from heat and age, then cracks and allows oil to foul the clutch. Replacing the o ring with a Viton version should get another 100k or so before it needs attention again.

    The other focus area is the brake system, which absolutely needs to have a fluid flush and bleed every other year at least. Doing so prevents a lot of issues with the “whizzy” brake system, which is expensive to repair. It’s a service procedure worth buying at the dealer as it’s a handful trying to do it on your own.

    I have 100k on my ‘04 GT, over half of that has been pulling a sidecar, two people, and full camping gear. It’s had the clutch, o ring, and rear main seal replaced at 69k (usually a package deal once you’re in that far) and is still running the original brake system. Can’t think of another bike that was more fun to ride as a solo bike, or would do a better job of pulling the sidecar.

    Ride it and enjoy it; in my book you’ve done well!
    Best,
    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S-PD — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT — 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  3. #3
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    Dave, welcome to the forum. I can't comment on your particular concerns, but I do know that BMW and "extensive, expensive maintenance" seem to go hand-in-hand. But most (or all) on this forum are willing to put up with it for the experience of owning and riding one of the best machines on the planet.

    Glad to have you with us. Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  4. #4
    Mehrten
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    Dave,

    I've owned three K1200RSs and they were generally bullet proof. The GT isn't much different than the RS.

    Doing the routine maintenance is really easy compared to the later slant/wedge bikes where everything has to come off.

    Wanda and I currently own a 2002 K1200RS with 96,000 miles on her.

    I did the o ring and lots of other stuff when we bought her in Oct 2012 with 62,000 miles on the odo.

    She hung front the ceiling for a month or two before we got her on the road.

    Like a rescued pound animal that needed a lot of care, she is a favorite ride now.

    Enjoy the new to you bike.

  5. #5
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.
    Both my wife and I put about 90,000 miles on our 2003 K1200RSs.
    The K1200RS/GT is a very smooth and comfortable sport touring bike.
    All the repairs we had on our happened during the first 3 years while they were on warranty. After that they were trouble free.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  6. #6
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    Hey Dave,
    Welcome to the crew. I do find it amusing that you've come on a board dedicated to Flying Bricks to ask if they are a bad bike. I would guess that most of the guys who had problems with theirs have long since moved on. Then again, where else would you go to ask?

    I've owned a couple of late model K12RSs (basically the same as your GT) and love them. Can't say I've put a ton of miles on them, but the current one has been with me for nearly 12 years. I can readily afford to replace it, but it's so good at everything I ask of it, I see no reason to. Fast, smooth, two-up comfy, and easy to work on. Newer bikes obviously offer more bells and whistles, but those are the very things that make them more difficult to maintain.

    The whizzy brakes have already been mentioned. I've never had a problem with mine. There are other problem areas than most owners end up dealing with. A wet clutch from engine seal leakage is common with age. Parts aren't horribly expensive but getting to them is a PITA. Probably over $2000 if you have BMW do the job.

    BMW used cheap plastic quick-connects in the fuel lines between the tank and the engine. They get brittle from the fuel pressure and heat and will eventually crack. I'd strongly recommend you replace them if that hasn't already been done. There are aftermarket offerings and even BMW's replacements are now metal.

    Rear drive units are known to suffer bearing failures that will strand you on the side of the road of not detected in advance. There are probably a few other threads on just this issue if you want more info. I'll add that cheap (~$200) replacements can be found online from bikes being parted out.

    While all that may sound intimidating and threatening, especially if you are paying for all your wrenching, there is no assurance you'll see any of these problems

    Not sure what your standard of comparison is, but I really like this generation of bike. Ride and enjoy.

  7. #7
    Registered User jonnybow's Avatar
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    I absolutely LOVED my K12GT! I had mine for 8 years and rode the bike like it was meant to be ridden, long rides 2up in the twisties, on the slab, through the mountains, on the flats, it's just a awesome bike.
    Made the foolish mistake of riding a K16GT and fell in love all over again.
    Enjoy every minute with your K bike, you're going to love it
    Jon
    K1600GT & R1200GSA

  8. #8
    Registered User VIEJO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davemyers View Post
    I own several bikes, but have been without a BMW for the past year, so I broke down and bought a used, 2003 K1200GT with 26,000 miles on it recently at my local BMW dealer. The bike's had extensive service in its lifetime, and I'm wondering if I jumped into an endless pit of expensive maintenance with this bike? I guess I'm a little paranoid about things breaking down. So, I could use some assurance from other owners of this bike that this purchase was not a mistake, OR that buying a nearly 20-year old BMW is not a mistake in general for those of us who don't do our own wrenching.
    Years ago I went into Lone Star BMW (Austin) looking for a driveshaft boot for my '81 R100 and ended up with a new '03 K1200RS (and the driveshaft boot). When I first saw a K bike I swore I would never own anything that complex and far removed from my bare bones vision of what a motorcycle should be. Almost seventeen years now with the RS and it's the bike I'll never sell.

  9. #9
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    Another comment

    I think you made a good choice. I bought my K1200GT new and now have 159,000 miles on it. The most serious problem I have had was drive shaft failure at just over 100K. The same thing happened at similar mileage on my '87 K100RT. Seems like it may be something to anticipate.
    Needless to say, I'm very happy with the GT and especially its longevity (knock wood). Hope it keeps going.

  10. #10

    Cool K1200gt

    Thanks everyone for your input. Yes, this bike had clutch replaced at 18,000 miles (!) I assume from the seal leakage problem mentioned by more than one of you. It was a $2,000 job done by the dealer. That's one of the issues that concerned me - why this would have been needed at such low mileage. But, my dealer said that one of the worst enemies of this bike is sitting for too long. So, I have to resolve to get it out regularly even tho' I have 5 other bikes! At 18,500 it had the rear caliper and disc rotor replaced. This was a $2,600 repair bill done by the dealer! No idea why that cost so much. Before I bought it, all the fluids were changed, hydraulics bled, etc. I know about the brake issues having had an '03 R1200CL with these brakes. I have my fingers crossed...

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider View Post
    “Extensive service”, as in pretty much completely following or exceeding the recommended service schedules, or as in having required a large number of significant repairs? The 2003-2004 GT bikes are great machines in my book, with a limited number of known trouble areas. One is the o-ring that seals between the crankshaft and clutch, by the rear main seal. Typically that’s seen at around 70k miles but may have already been done on your bike. The o-ring dries out from heat and age, then cracks and allows oil to foul the clutch. Replacing the o ring with a Viton version should get another 100k or so before it needs attention again.

    The other focus area is the brake system, which absolutely needs to have a fluid flush and bleed every other year at least. Doing so prevents a lot of issues with the “whizzy” brake system, which is expensive to repair. It’s a service procedure worth buying at the dealer as it’s a handful trying to do it on your own.

    I have 100k on my ‘04 GT, over half of that has been pulling a sidecar, two people, and full camping gear. It’s had the clutch, o ring, and rear main seal replaced at 69k (usually a package deal once you’re in that far) and is still running the original brake system. Can’t think of another bike that was more fun to ride as a solo bike, or would do a better job of pulling the sidecar.

    Ride it and enjoy it; in my book you’ve done well!
    Best,
    DeVern
    Interesting.. How big a job is it to proactively replace that o-ring before it fails and fouls the clutch, causing the big repair bill? And, is that something I could possibly do myself without lift facilities, etc.

  12. #12
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davemyers View Post
    Interesting.. How big a job is it to proactively replace that o-ring before it fails and fouls the clutch, causing the big repair bill? And, is that something I could possibly do myself without lift facilities, etc.
    It is a major undertaking, but doable by those with reasonable mechanical skills. A lift greatly eases the task, as one of the frustrating issues with the job is accessing some of the wiring and fasteners that need to be undone and redone. Depending upon the mileage on the machine you may find the clutch worn enough to also need replacing as well.

    Personally, it’s not a job I’d tackle until it’s necessary and then I’d plan on seal, o-ring, clutch, and an inspection on the alternator. The one job I do consider worthwhile as a preventative measure is remove/inspect/replace the clutch slave cylinder to make sure it is not leaking into it’s recess in the tranny case. Leaking DOT4 brake fluid (which is the fluid used for clutch system on that bike) can build up in the recess, then follow the clutch pushrod forward and take out the front seal on the trans. Normal practice when removing and inspecting the slave is to drill a 2-3mm hole in the bottom side of the recess wall to allow any leakage to drain. That can also be accomplished by using a file or dremel to make a notch where the slave cylinder flange seals against the trans case—that will also allow leakage to drain away. A new slave cylinder is <$150 plus new crush washers.

    HTH,

    DeVern
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S-PD — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT — 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  13. #13
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davemyers View Post
    Interesting.. How big a job is it to proactively replace that o-ring before it fails and fouls the clutch, causing the big repair bill? .
    It was probably replaced when the clutch was replaced. How many years ago was the clutch replaced?
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  14. #14

    Smile

    65k miles on my 02 K12RS.

    Never been stranded.

    Only repair so far was clutch O-ring.

    Replaced by dealership with BMW part.

    Some discussion in the past as to which material is best for the O-ring replacement.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by davemyers View Post
    Interesting.. How big a job is it to proactively replace that o-ring before it fails and fouls the clutch, causing the big repair bill? And, is that something I could possibly do myself without lift facilities, etc.
    I've done several in my garage; no lift.
    One issue you'd have to address is how to keep the bike upright when you yank the transmission out. Both stands are bolted to the underside of the tranny and thus can't be used to hold up the bike. I threaded a couple of big eyebolts into a beam in the ceiling, and hook ratcheting straps from there to the bars/fork area.
    There is nothing exotic involved in the job, but a LOT of stuff needs to get removed or relocated. That includes the swingarm, battery, the e-brake ABS pump (which means the whole brake system will need to be refilled and bled), starter and alternator. Of course all the wires and hoses that connect to those devices need to be pushed aside and then properly rerouted at reassembly.
    Again, not overly sophisticated work, but enough of a PITA that few would want to undertake it if not absolutely necessary.
    FWIW, the aftermarket does offer an oil-resistant clutch disc.

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