Headlight clip - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 49 Old Mar 9th, 2017, 7:42 pm Thread Starter
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Headlight clip

OK, So I blew the headlight bulb on the RTW yesterday. It lasted 28K so I wasn't unhappy and I had read enough threads here to know it was a pain but the dealer couldnt get to it until Tues at the earliest and its 75 degrees so I decided to try it. To make matters even better I tangled with a feral cat the night before that got a few good bites into my right hand but between Tracy and I we got the old bulb out and the new bulb back in place with 1 side clipped. We could not make the right side even with the cleaning rod trick. It just wouldn't go. Gave up and tried again this afternoon. I realized that one post said make the right side first so we released the left side and started over. When I reached back in to make sure the bulb was seated the clip came out on my hand. After several attempts to reattach said clip it now lives in the bowels of the headlight housing presumably forever. We have fished it back to the top several times with a wire tie wrapped in tape to discover it still wont come back out from that position. I ordered another one. So now questions;
1) What does the TOP of that clip actually attach to and how? It seemed like I was feeling a plastic lip it wanted to just cross but when we dismantled it the clip seemed to catch in the up position and allow the bulb to pass and it wont do that attached there. As well from there if you bump it in that position it lives in the bowels of the headlight housing, presumably forever. I watched several videos but never saw a pic of the top of the clip.
2) Can the clip be replaced without disassembling the works? I assume so because it came out and I really don't think we broke anything.
3) Short of removing the entire housing is there any way to access that area and recover that clip or does it really reside there forever?
4) Besides the fact I will know it is there and therefore it will rattle will it hurt anything to leave the clip there?
5) Is removal and reassembly of the headlight assembly humanly possible by someone who is ready to dynamite the bike changing a 2#@4^ headlight bulb?
6) Anybody want to ride to Greenville SC and fix this? Lots of people said they could do this in less than 15 minutes. We are beat to death DAY 2. I presume it will still be a week to get in at the dealer and I would rather pay a rider to get me going ASAP as I will ride early next week if at all possible.
Thanks, Steve
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post #2 of 49 Old Mar 9th, 2017, 8:26 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

If the clip is metal, try using a flexible nut magnet retrieval tool to snake down into the bulb hole to see if you can retreve it.
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post #3 of 49 Old Mar 9th, 2017, 8:36 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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If the clip is metal, try using a flexible nut magnet retrieval tool to snake down into the bulb hole to see if you can retreve it.
No room for a magnet. With Tracys tiny hands she was able to get the wire tie in there. I would have bet good money that clip wouldn't fit. Steve
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post #4 of 49 Old Mar 9th, 2017, 9:36 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

It's bizarre BMW hasn't already fixed this ridiculous hold-down mechanism. I replaced one at 14K miles (wasn't out, just was heading on a long trip) and for me it was the left side (from the front of the bike) got stuck somehow between layers of sheetmetal. I was able to get it out and fortunately I knew not to force anything so the wire clip still works. I need to do this again w/ an exposed receptacle so I actually see at point blank range exactly how the spring tabs are to be reentered into their housing. So easy to come up with a smarter design it seems to me.

Good luck with it what a drag...

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post #5 of 49 Old Mar 9th, 2017, 10:24 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

Well Good loves me and he sent me Tracy. She came in carrying the clip a few minutes ago so I shall try again when I can. I have to work all weekend so I missed my only opportunity to ride this week. Snow forecast for Sun. I will still pay someone with the expertise to do this but I aint dead yet. I do still need an idea of how the top of that clip attaches. Surely I am not the only one ever to have this nightmare.

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post #6 of 49 Old Mar 9th, 2017, 10:31 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
It's bizarre BMW hasn't already fixed this ridiculous hold-down mechanism. I replaced one at 14K miles (wasn't out, just was heading on a long trip) and for me it was the left side (from the front of the bike) got stuck somehow between layers of sheetmetal. I was able to get it out and fortunately I knew not to force anything so the wire clip still works. I need to do this again w/ an exposed receptacle so I actually see at point blank range exactly how the spring tabs are to be reentered into their housing. So easy to come up with a smarter design it seems to me.

Good luck with it what a drag...
It is. Several things bother me about the design of this bike. This and the location/accessability of the coolant reservoir are amongst the top. There is plenty of room for am automotive type twist lock in that housing. This would be a 5 min procedure for anyone.
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post #7 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 3:48 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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...Several things bother me about the design of this bike. ...
Me too.
I just don't understand why the headlight assembly is not removable from the front of the machine. much like many cars. A couple of hidden screws in the bottom and a couple of locating dowels in the top and the unit could just pop right on out allowing EASY bulb changing, and front access to many of the bits and bobs hidden behind the fairing!
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post #8 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 6:27 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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Me too.
I just don't understand why the headlight assembly is not removable from the front of the machine. much like many cars. A couple of hidden screws in the bottom and a couple of locating dowels in the top and the unit could just pop right on out allowing EASY bulb changing, and front access to many of the bits and bobs hidden behind the fairing!
You are promoting an increase in unemployment!

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post #9 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 7:29 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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To make matters even better I tangled with a feral cat the night before that got a few good bites into my right hand
I learned my lesson a few years ago. Cat bit me but I was fortunate that I was able to capture it. Problem is that you don't know if they have rabies or not so if you get bitten, you either need to capture the cat and watch it for 30 days or go ahead and have it killed and the brain sent off for examination. That is unless you want to get the shots........Not. Many are very friendly but friendly or not, if they bite you, you are in a pickle.

In GA it is now against the law to handle "wild" animals - you have to call a specialist to capture them.

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post #10 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 7:34 am
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Re: Headlight clip

I had to remove my headlight assembly to retrieve a part. Not fun. There is a pocket knife in there again, after an attempt to change a bulb in Montana....

This picture might help. Not sure how the clip could come loose. Might be just as easy to remove the headlight housing to replace the clip.



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post #11 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 8:29 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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You are promoting an increase in unemployment!
Since I have to make arrangements with the dealer a week in advance to even get the bike seen I will maintain that they dont need the work. Steve
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post #12 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 8:41 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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I learned my lesson a few years ago. Cat bit me but I was fortunate that I was able to capture it. Problem is that you don't know if they have rabies or not so if you get bitten, you either need to capture the cat and watch it for 30 days or go ahead and have it killed and the brain sent off for examination. That is unless you want to get the shots........Not. Many are very friendly but friendly or not, if they bit you, you are in a pickle.

In GA it is now against the law to handle "wild" animals - you have to call a specialist to capture them.

Yeah, I have to deal with 3 or 4 feral cats per year and about 1 out of 4 eats me alive. It was my time I guess. I usually just let them be when at home and my dogs handle it but this one got into the building where I work so he had to go. I would say we live and learn but I havent learned and figure odds are in my favor now for the next 3. Steve
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post #13 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 8:43 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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I had to remove my headlight assembly to retrieve a part. Not fun. There is a pocket knife in there again, after an attempt to change a bulb in Montana....

This picture might help. Not sure how the clip could come loose. Might be just as easy to remove the headlight housing to replace the clip.


THANK YOU! That is the pic I was looking for. It doesnt look easy but may be doable. Steve
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post #14 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 9:47 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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Since I have to make arrangements with the dealer a week in advance to even get the bike seen I will maintain that they dont need the work. Steve
I lived in Greenville for years - very nice place to live............There used to be only the one dealer there at the intersection of Laurens Road and Pleasantburg, next to the post office. I remember when he was just starting out. Now I think he has a BMW car dealership too (?). Things are a little better here in ATL with 3 dealers for the entire metro but still a month or more wait for most maintenance.

I am a little envious of you as you have access to some great riding in just a few minutes from your house.

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post #15 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 10:32 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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I lived in Greenville for years - very nice place to live............There used to be only the one dealer there at the intersection of Laurens Road and Pleasantburg, next to the post office. I remember when he was just starting out. Now I think he has a BMW car dealership too (?). Things are a little better here in ATL with 3 dealers for the entire metro but still a month or more wait for most maintenance.

I am a little envious of you as you have access to some great riding in just a few minutes from your house.

Still just have the one dealer here but we DO have some great riding here. Steve
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post #16 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 10:45 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

Looking at the pic supplied by realshelby and thinking about what I went through trying to reattach that clip last night I dont forsee me being able to reinstall that clip with the headlight in the bike. I guess I will schedule it to go back to the dealer whenever he can get it in. This bike is also now FOR SALE! I hate to give it up as I do like the bike but this is a deal killer. I stepped up and bought a top shelf touring machine I really couldnt afford so I could ride without aggrevation and this is UNACCEPTABLE. They knew this lamp would eventually blow and need replacement. My old bikes were old and did break but I could usually repair them in a few hours. A bulb replacement should be no more than a 5 minute procedure able to be performed by the rider in a parking lot.
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post #17 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 10:57 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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This bike is also now FOR SALE! I hate to give it up as I do like the bike but this is a deal killer.
WOW ... you are seriously going to get rid of such a great bike over a bulb change being a pain? There must be other factors at play here, since this seems like a major overreaction to a small frustration (in the grand scheme of life).

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post #18 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 11:48 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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WOW ... you are seriously going to get rid of such a great bike over a bulb change being a pain? There must be other factors at play here, since this seems like a major overreaction to a small frustration (in the grand scheme of life).
+1.
good grief, the bike appears to be one of the most bulletproof bikes around yet you reject it because of a clip!
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post #19 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 12:59 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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WOW ... you are seriously going to get rid of such a great bike over a bulb change being a pain? There must be other factors at play here, since this seems like a major overreaction to a small frustration (in the grand scheme of life).

Yes, and there are other factors at work but most relate to the fact that service and upkeep on this bike are beyond my abilities. It IS a great bike, just not for me. I work long hard days and the bike is virtually the only relaxation I get. It is my only release from the stress of my everyday life. I am better off personally with something I CAN do my own maintainance/repairs on. I really started getting frustrated with the bike in general last summer when I was trying to figure out when/where to have the bike serviced in Canada during our vacation. We were into the same thing there with everyone needing 1-2 weeks notice to get the bike in. Thats hard to do when you are still a month and 3500 miles away but have a tight window to get the work done in (we had to go back to work in SC on schedule). Loosing the day of vacation while they did a 12K/annual service was frustrating in itself but acceptable, reality that brand doesnt matter it still takes time to actually do the service. Other issues arose which put us behind schedule and in a rush to make it to the dealer who we did get it scheduled at which seriously decreased our enjoyment of the trip. Again, not the bikes fault but something we had to overcome. So yes, If something as simple as a blown bulb causes this much added stress in my life and takes the bike down for weeks at a time this just isnt the bike for me. Steve
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post #20 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 1:19 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

Steve-

I am sorry to read about your woes with your bike. There is no question that BMW service is costly and to the extent that one (who is more capable than I) can do their own servicing, one can save quite a few bucks. There is also no question that some of the engineering of the bike makes what should be a routine job (eg. replacing a headlamp) a PIA, if even possible by the mortal being.

As I have owned several different BMW bikes, this is not unique to this particular bike. But each iteration does seem to become more complex (at least to me).

But, having said that, I can only attest to how much I have enjoyed over the years to be able to ride such well built and functioning bikes. I have owned others (eg. Triumph) and ridden others (eg. HD's) and none comes close to the pleasure that I at least can take from either the K1600GTL or the R1200RT. NONE.

We will be sorry to see you leave the family!

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post #21 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 3:48 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

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Still just have the one dealer here but we DO have some great riding here. Steve
Sometimes it is the dealer vs. the bike. If all the dealers were like my first service experience, I would think about selling too. It might be worth a phone call or drive over to Eurosport of Asheville, NC. I have spoken to their service department a couple of times and their reviews are good. I've also seen there is an independent guy but I have no firsthand experience with him. (Motorrad Unlimited LLC)

I can't imagine any motorcycle shop being so busy they wouldn't "work in" a 15 minute job. Last year my bulb went out and Carolina BMW of Greensboro, NC said come by before 11 am and we'll take care of you. About an hour later, I was done and back on the road.
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post #22 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 9:12 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

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This picture might help.
Thanks for posting that photo it really helped me. One horrid problem w/ this design is the wire loop straddles the J (red arrow) tab such that it became really difficult to move it laterally because you can't push directly on it to make it go inwards the tiny bit it takes to be able then to push it out laterally. This left side got so stuck I think what finally helped me get it out laterally was pushing down where the blue arrow in the photo indicates AND then simultaneouslly I could move the looped wire off the J tab. I actually had both hands in there doing some sort of contortionist maneuver to get enough force on it. I really thought it had become completely stuck in some other part of that plate metal base but as I look at the photo you can see the firm spring wire loop grabs the J tab.


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post #23 of 49 Old Mar 10th, 2017, 9:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

Well I do learn and I tied a string to the clip before I dropped it this time. At this point the headlight housing has to come out for us to ever have a shot at putting this thing back together. I cannot stand the thought that this clip is going to beat me so I am getting ready to search for an online manual with good, DETAILED step by step instructions to remove the headlight housing and all the bits that must come off in order to pull said housing. Any suggestions as to which I should purchase? I have NEVER been afraid of working on my own bike but must admit this one intimidates me mostly due to the potential costs of any errors. I am just hoping at this time we havent already broken something in the housing that cant be replaced. The dealer called back today and said the clip was only available as part of the assembly. I found a link to one at Beemer Boneyard but havent checked the website yet. We did recover the original one and I think it is still OK if we can just get it back in. Steve
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post #24 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 8:03 am
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Re: Headlight clip

Looking at the first photo posted, it doesn't look like the spring clip can completely separate from the housing (and fall inside the housing assembly) - is it really that easy for the spring clip to separate at the top and fall inside?

I haven't changed my bulb yet but I definitely have learned something from this thread. Must be a trick or tool that BMW uses because I cannot imagine that the dealer would disassemble the front bodywork just to change a light bulb.

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post #25 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 9:26 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by WillH View Post
Looking at the first photo posted, it doesn't look like the spring clip can completely separate from the housing (and fall inside the housing assembly) - is it really that easy for the spring clip to separate at the top and fall inside?

I haven't changed my bulb yet but I definitely have learned something from this thread. Must be a trick or tool that BMW uses because I cannot imagine that the dealer would disassemble the front bodywork just to change a light bulb.
I don't know how Steve ended up w/ a disconnected clip because it seems to be housed in a metal hinge as it were. My F800GT's clip was horribly designed and everyone ends up with either the clip coming out or as bad the clip was made to be retained by plastic, not the metal design w/ the RTW's, and the plastic would crack and chip away making it impossible w/o a gerry rigged solution to make it work again.

I'm tempted to let the dealer routinely swap in a new long life bulb (BMW sells them now for about $10 over the standard OEM replacement) at the every 12K mile valve checks etc.

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post #26 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 9:34 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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Looking at the first photo posted, it doesn't look like the spring clip can completely separate from the housing (and fall inside the housing assembly) - is it really that easy for the spring clip to separate at the top and fall inside?

I haven't changed my bulb yet but I definitely have learned something from this thread. Must be a trick or tool that BMW uses because I cannot imagine that the dealer would disassemble the front bodywork just to change a light bulb.

The clip is not suppossed to come out. I have to assume something broke in mine. Tracy was doing most of the work under there initially so I dont know if she pushed something too hard or if it just came apart that easily. It was already ajar before I really got deeply involved but it may have been me that broke it trying to get the right side clip loose to get the old lamp out. I am just hopeful it is repairable without replacing the $1000+ housing. Mine is scheduled to go into the dealer Thursday afternoon so they can see what is going on. The bags are getting a few scars fixed the first of the week as well and as soon as the dealer releases the bike I will get it cleaned up and advertised. Steve
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post #27 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 10:28 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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The clip is not suppossed to come out. I have to assume something broke in mine. Tracy was doing most of the work under there initially so I dont know if she pushed something too hard or if it just came apart that easily. It was already ajar before I really got deeply involved but it may have been me that broke it trying to get the right side clip loose to get the old lamp out. I am just hopeful it is repairable without replacing the $1000+ housing. Mine is scheduled to go into the dealer Thursday afternoon so they can see what is going on. The bags are getting a few scars fixed the first of the week as well and as soon as the dealer releases the bike I will get it cleaned up and advertised. Steve
It would seem that with the threat of a $1000+ repair bill should something go wrong, it would probably be well worth the insurance to let the dealer exchange the lamps, and, as suggested above, to do it routinely with a long life bulb. Just saying.

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post #28 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 10:31 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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I am just hopeful it is repairable without replacing the $1000+ housing.
My shop was able to warranty the F800GT's headlamp housing ($450 part) because of its (universally) broken retention mechanism. Even though I had done the permanent jerry-rig fix myself and was selling the bike I wanted to do this just to get meaningful feedback to this heinous design flaw). In fact, before the new replacement was installed I asked the mechanic to please fashion the permanent solution so the next guy didn't have to deal with it ever again, and indeed he did. If your bike is still under warranty maybe there is something you can do along these lines. BMW should absolutely be called to task for this wretched design.

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post #29 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 11:20 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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It would seem that with the threat of a $1000+ repair bill should something go wrong, it would probably be well worth the insurance to let the dealer exchange the lamps, and, as suggested above, to do it routinely with a long life bulb. Just saying.

I agree, and that $1000 figure is just for the part, no labor to install it. Pure guess is 3-5 hours labor to R&R the housing, probably more. I could have waited the week instead of trying it myself but I really wanted to take advantage of the few hours of great weather available and ride. Local dealer said they only charge 1/2 hour to change the bulb but the manual actually calls for 3 hours. I think they charge about $100 HR so around $75-100 at his cut rate to get out the door. The dealer in Canada was in excess of $125 HR US when he serviced the bike last fall x3 hours + the part = over $400 charging by the manual just to change the bulb!!! I accepted the costs of owning and maintaining this bike before I bought it but that is ridiculous! Steve
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
BMW should absolutely be called to task for this wretched design.

Absolutely! I even wonder if NHTSA would get involved and force a change. It would seem to encourage riders to ride with the non-working headlight, especially if they are traveling and have done this before. I know after this fiasco if I do end up having to keep this bike a while longer I will certainly hesitate before I ever attempt this operation again. Steve
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post #31 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 3:43 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by Why aint we riding View Post
Absolutely! I even wonder if NHTSA would get involved and force a change. It would seem to encourage riders to ride with the non-working headlight, especially if they are traveling and have done this before. I know after this fiasco if I do end up having to keep this bike a while longer I will certainly hesitate before I ever attempt this operation again. Steve
I had a chance to talk to a mechanic at BMW this morning about this and he confirms what I mentioned above in the photo w/ the arrows. You want to push in (towards the front of the bike) where the blue arrow points and simultaneously push outwards and theirin lies the release procedure. He stated if you push the loop that straddles the flat j shaped tab it's impossible to release and that is what I discovered myself, believing I must have got the thing stuck in the wrong spot. When you get your replacement headlamp if that's the route you're going be sure to play around w/ freeing and reattaching each side of the wire clip to be sure you know exactly how it's supposed to work before it's installed. After reviewing this again w/ the mech I decided I would definitely attempt it again myself. I remember now once I got on to where to push forward (blue arrow) and laterally it released quickly, and resecuring it wasn't too bad--I've got pretty small thin hands and could actually get enough of BOTH hands inside the work area from the front of the bike to do the swap. And of course, no can man-handle the entire retention wire. And you probably are aware to never touch the bulb itself on these which is a common source of early failure they tell me. I keep a new long life BMW H7 on board plus some exam gloves should this strike while on a trip.

Also, I know w/ the '16 models and maybe earlier RTW if your low beam goes out I believe one high beam comes on automatically, or something along those lines, as a safety backup.

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post #32 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 4:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
I had a chance to talk to a mechanic at BMW this morning about this and he confirms what I mentioned above in the photo w/ the arrows. You want to push in (towards the front of the bike) where the blue arrow points and simultaneously push outwards and theirin lies the release procedure. He stated if you push the loop that straddles the flat j shaped tab it's impossible to release and that is what I discovered myself, believing I must have got the thing stuck in the wrong spot. When you get your replacement headlamp if that's the route you're going be sure to play around w/ freeing and reattaching each side of the wire clip to be sure you know exactly how it's supposed to work before it's installed. After reviewing this again w/ the mech I decided I would definitely attempt it again myself. I remember now once I got on to where to push forward (blue arrow) and laterally it released quickly, and resecuring it wasn't too bad--I've got pretty small thin hands and could actually get enough of BOTH hands inside the work area from the front of the bike to do the swap. And of course, no can man-handle the entire retention wire. And you probably are aware to never touch the bulb itself on these which is a common source of early failure they tell me. I keep a new long life BMW H7 on board plus some exam gloves should this strike while on a trip.

Also, I know w/ the '16 models and maybe earlier RTW if your low beam goes out I believe one high beam comes on automatically, or something along those lines, as a safety backup.


The clip is a simple design and worked well on other bikes I have owned that secured the bulb similarly but those bikes did not have the accessability issues the RT does. I know it can be done as others here have accomplished this task but it is unnecessarily difficult in this application. There are so many better designs available that would even accept the same bulb in the same position with very little change in the housing. I wouldnt be complaining if this were a lesser bike but this is unacceptable for what is suppossedly a top tier touring machine. Rider friendly replacement of wear items should be designed into a high end touring machine. I have to accept that we broke it somehow but I really dont understand how we could have. Steve
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post #33 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 5:53 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

I've replaced several headlight bulbs in my RT, it can definitely be done but it takes a lot of patience.
Two things I've learned:
1) the clips have to be finessed into place, when you get everything lined up just right they just slide right in. Extra force on the clips doesn't help.
2) The bulb can feel like it's in place when it's not, quite there, then the clip won't clip and you cant figure out why. I found it helpful to look at the bulb through the headlight lens to be sure it's 100% to place as I clip it in.

You can remove some plastic and loosen the gauges to get better access to try and replace that clip, it's pretty easy and straightforward to do, just keep close track of which screw goes where because there are several lengths of screws that look alike. I take pictures with my phone as I take things apart so I'm sure I put it all back in the right order.
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post #34 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 8:28 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

Ya see.. you have to think like a German... "Bulb Never Burn Out!!!!" It only has the appearance of low light.

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post #35 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 8:38 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

Might be worth having something like this if it could help you see what you are doing.


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post #36 of 49 Old Mar 11th, 2017, 9:25 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by NoelCP View Post
Might be worth having something like this if it could help you see what you are doing.


I may go buy one of those. I have a microscope that connects to the computer from my coin dealing days that I tried but couldnt get a good enough angle to convince me it would work and it would not connect to my tablet so I would have to move the computer to use it. Didnt get an opportunity to look at it today at all. I had to be at work at 7AM and should be leaving here in the next hour. Might get a chance to look again tommorrow night when I get home. Work schedule says to 5 PM but I have been told not to expect the event to end that early. Could go several hours later
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post #37 of 49 Old Mar 12th, 2017, 8:35 am
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Re: Headlight clip

I have a Haynes manual which gives good enough instruction to remove the headlight assembly. I too do NOT see how the clip could have come loose. But having had the headlight assembly out I will tell you that it is not that bad of a job at all. I would advise a manual to guide you however.

As for servicing this generation of RT, I will say it is one of the least labor intensive and straight forward bikes I have had for many years. Meaning it is easier and cheaper than a new Super Tenere, Suzuki V Stroms, etc. Yes, the headlight bulb replacement could have been better engineered. Yet once you have the knack of it, I can do it in a few minutes. From the front of the bike, never needing to look into the bulb housing. Bugger up the clip using force, and the nightmare begins.
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post #38 of 49 Old Mar 12th, 2017, 9:03 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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Originally Posted by realshelby View Post
Bugger up the clip using force, and the nightmare begins.
Yes this and the tabs on the upper front fairing panels have not been sufficiently idiot-proofed! Same with the tabs once you understand how to remove and replace the panels it's very easy to do w/o snapping them.

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post #39 of 49 Old Mar 12th, 2017, 2:38 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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I have a Haynes manual which gives good enough instruction to remove the headlight assembly. I too do NOT see how the clip could have come loose. But having had the headlight assembly out I will tell you that it is not that bad of a job at all. I would advise a manual to guide you however.

As for servicing this generation of RT, I will say it is one of the least labor intensive and straight forward bikes I have had for many years. Meaning it is easier and cheaper than a new Super Tenere, Suzuki V Stroms, etc. Yes, the headlight bulb replacement could have been better engineered. Yet once you have the knack of it, I can do it in a few minutes. From the front of the bike, never needing to look into the bulb housing. Bugger up the clip using force, and the nightmare begins.
I matched the actual spring to the pic from Beemer Boneyard resizing the image to match. The spring itself is not distorted. The angles are the same etc... I would think that would be what would bend first. I THINK if I had the assembly out where I could see exactly how it was originally attached it would snap back into place. Looking at the pics I have been able to find I cant tell if the clip goes over the whole assembly the pushes back up into the loops at the rear (which seems be what gave up, maybe bent but hopefully it just unsnapped) slides all the way to the rear of remainder of that clip assembly on its top side and pushes up or if it slides in from the underside and pushes up into those loops. I have had several people look at the pics and we all come to different conclusions. So without seeing an assembly in the flesh we are just trying to guess. At this point we are where we are and the dealer and I can both get back to the bike about the same time. Since I have fretted and lost sleep worrying myself over this so much I expect the dealer is the next stop. Steve
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post #40 of 49 Old Mar 12th, 2017, 2:53 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

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I matched the actual spring to the pic from Beemer Boneyard resizing the image to match. The spring itself is not distorted. The angles are the same etc... I would think that would be what would bend first. I THINK if I had the assembly out where I could see exactly how it was originally attached it would snap back into place. Looking at the pics I have been able to find I cant tell if the clip goes over the whole assembly the pushes back up into the loops at the rear (which seems be what gave up, maybe bent but hopefully it just unsnapped) slides all the way to the rear of remainder of that clip assembly on its top side and pushes up or if it slides in from the underside and pushes up into those loops. I have had several people look at the pics and we all come to different conclusions. So without seeing an assembly in the flesh we are just trying to guess. At this point we are where we are and the dealer and I can both get back to the bike about the same time. Since I have fretted and lost sleep worrying myself over this so much I expect the dealer is the next stop. Steve
If you "blow up" the first picture it looks to me like the spring clip has come loose from the back of the tabs/ears of the metal bracket. Based on my knowledge of metalworking and metalforming, the bracket looks like a roll formed piece of metal rather than a welded piece so there is probably a gap at the back where the spring snaps back in place into the tabs/ears of the bracket. If you can get a mirror back in there you might be able to see if the ears/tabs are deformed or if there is a wide gap which may have allowed it to pop out in the first place. Only 2 ways those ears could get deformed: Either they were that way when they left the factory or they were deformed during a bulb change. If it is deformed you may have an even harder task of fitting pliers to squeeze those tabs/ears back to where they will hold the spring clip again...............Worst case scenario is that the tabs/ears are broken which means you would likely have to buy a new assembly.

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post #41 of 49 Old Mar 12th, 2017, 5:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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If you "blow up" the first picture it looks to me like the spring clip has come loose from the back of the tabs/ears of the metal bracket. Based on my knowledge of metalworking and metalforming, the bracket looks like a roll formed piece of metal rather than a welded piece so there is probably a gap at the back where the spring snaps back in place into the tabs/ears of the bracket. If you can get a mirror back in there you might be able to see if the ears/tabs are deformed or if there is a wide gap which may have allowed it to pop out in the first place. Only 2 ways those ears could get deformed: Either they were that way when they left the factory or they were deformed during a bulb change. If it is deformed you may have an even harder task of fitting pliers to squeeze those tabs/ears back to where they will hold the spring clip again...............Worst case scenario is that the tabs/ears are broken which means you would likely have to buy a new assembly.
Much better wording of what I was trying to say. It looked to me like to try and reengage the clip into those ears ( in the hope that maybe it would catch) the spring would need to pass across the top, drop down, pull back towards and lift up, or in other words the ear is at the top and rolled towards the front of the bike. All that wont work IF I am getting past everything. That's a big if because I feel like I hit something and the spring wont drop down or I am not getting enough lift to clear the top of the ears. So we look at the pic some more and where the spring WILL move and it could be that the spring needs to go in from the bottom and climb the back wall going towards the ears OR it could be that the ears roll forward and I am simply not pushing it up into the gap hard enough. It MIGHT have been catching in the notch when I was trying to clear the top of the ears to get at the back side of the ears. I would push a bit harder and know if the housing wasn't over $1000. If I had more time I would build the confidence to tear it apart but I have only short patches of time until Sunday and tearing that nose down seems like something I personally would need to do in one straight sitting with lots of uninterrupted time. I am hoping the mechanic laughs and sticks this thing right back in and it really may be that easy the second time. Steve
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post #42 of 49 Old Mar 16th, 2017, 4:01 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

Well it must not be that difficult if you have been there before. Dropped the bike with Touring Sport at 12:30 for my appointment which was either 2:00 or 2:30. The guy that writes the service tickets took the clip and dropped it in the bag with the work order and said they would let me know if there was a problem. I don't know when the mechanic (Johnathon Hazinski) actually got the bike in/finished but the call came at 2:50 that the bike was ready, bill was done and I could come get it any time. Looking at the bill I only have a labor cost, not broken down into time, but based on the total they charged less than an hour plus the bulb (I chose not to use the one we had since we had handled it so much already).
I have vented a lot during this thread and do get aggravated with the demands of both the bike and the dealer but I will also admit that I have had great service from both. Every time I have scheduled a service they were ready for the bike at/near my appointed time, did a first rate job on it and got the bike back in my hands quickly. The bike itself has been nearly bulletproof and with the exception of the water pump weep would score a 10/10 on that front. I expect to replace things like tires, brakes and bulbs so I don't even count that stuff. Owning this bike has not been a terrible experience. Steve
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post #43 of 49 Old Mar 17th, 2017, 7:15 am
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Re: Headlight clip

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Looking at the bill I only have a labor cost, not broken down into time, but based on the total they charged less than an hour
So they probably were able to snap it back in place without removing many (if any) of the fairing pieces.

Glad the bill was minimal and you are back on the road.

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post #44 of 49 Old Mar 17th, 2017, 8:54 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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So they probably were able to snap it back in place without removing many (if any) of the fairing pieces.

Glad the bill was minimal and you are back on the road.
As quickly as they got the bike back to me I dont believe they had time to tear much down. I guess it is possible if one knows what they are doing but I would have expected several hours even for the pros to remove/reinstall the headlight housing. I am glad now I stopped when I did and took the bike in instead of trying to tear the nose apart in my impatience. Seems nothing was actually broken but I am sure something would have been if we kept going. Steve

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post #45 of 49 Old Mar 17th, 2017, 11:08 am
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Re: Headlight clip

so have you changed your mind about putting it up for sale?

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post #46 of 49 Old Mar 17th, 2017, 7:37 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

Get a friend or fellow riding buddy to show/help you with the service. It is no problem at all. I have owned several Harley's and always serviced them as well as my R1200RT 2014. Nothing to it.....Get you a Torque wrench that reads Newton Meters and get with it.....
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post #47 of 49 Old Mar 20th, 2017, 10:39 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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so have you changed your mind about putting it up for sale?
Unfortunately no I havent. It was/is a hard decision but it is the correct one. When I bought this bike it did not fit the budget. I made it work by allocating nothing for repairs and barely enough for routine service, gambling the farm on BMW's legendary reputation and leaving NO safety net. My reasoning was anything that went wrong would be covered by either warranty or insurance and though uncomfortable I was able to accept this arrangement. So far the bike HAS lived up to that reputation. I further reasoned that I would have the dealer do the first few servicings and I would then take over myself to alleviate some of this burden. All was well until I decided to add coolant. While researching what type coolant to use I discovered a number of owners that had made an $800 mistake removing/reinstalling the panel. That made the ramifications of the lack of a safety net become all too real and seeded this inane fear of touching this motorcycle in me. Several times each year that lack of a safety net causes a non-issue to send me into a great and unhealthy panic. This time it was a simple blown headlight bulb. In reality the bike was fine, out of service only due to my own overbearing hard line rules (implemented due to my girls penchant for dashes that look like she has driven over a Christmas tree). But then I touched it as I would have any other bike I have ever owned. I spent the next week with literal nightmares that I had destroyed the headlight housing, followed by a true concern that something in this Canbus system (of which I remain blissfully ignorant) would turn to fairy dust if I tried to start the bike since I now could not put a bulb back in (it didnt). Once again all was fine and my panic was unwarranted but that panic was also very real. If I HAD broken the housing and had to replace it my financial guy would have simply declared the motorcycle is parked for the year, there is no budget left to actually operate it. It IS a great machine and I WILL have another very soon but I bought this one a few years too early. Ive gotta let it go and breathe now. Steve
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post #48 of 49 Old Mar 20th, 2017, 11:01 am Thread Starter
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Re: Headlight clip

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Get a friend or fellow riding buddy to show/help you with the service. It is no problem at all. I have owned several Harley's and always serviced them as well as my R1200RT 2014. Nothing to it.....Get you a Torque wrench that reads Newton Meters and get with it.....
Working on this bike terrifies me. Ive built jap bikes, Harleys, British bikes, helped Dad with old Indians and brands many have never seen/heard of and it never bothered me. I think nothing of tearing expensive equipment at work apart and seeing what makes it work and I can usually fix it when it is broken. This bike terrifies me. I KNOW I am capable of changing fluids and filters, have dealt with a similar valve setup on older Porsches and have no doubt I can at least check them (which seems to be all they have ever needed) and little I could get them in adjustment if it was required but opening anything up on this bike scares the crap out of me. It seems there is an expensive booby trap at every turn. I have always been the guy my friends brought their bike to when they couldnt fix it and there have been very few I couldnt fix. I dont like to but I have split cases on several jap bikes and was able to get them back together and riding. I am terrified to pull the plastics on this bike. Steve
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post #49 of 49 Old Mar 20th, 2017, 12:25 pm
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Re: Headlight clip

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Unfortunately no I havent. It was/is a hard decision but it is the correct one. Steve
Understood and sorry for your loss (meant sincerely). You have certainly given it plenty of thought and come to the logical decision "for you". I remember many years ago when I had an opportunity to pick up a motor home for pennies on the dollar and had to come to a conclusion (that I didn't want to get to), which was if I couldn't afford it, I couldn't afford it no matter how great of a deal it was.

Best of luck to you, hope it sales quickly and you don't get hurt in the transaction 😉

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