Dealer service sub-par? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 10 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 9:56 am Thread Starter
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Dealer service sub-par?

I just finished doing my clutch and final drive. Getting that deep into the bike, I found some real frustrating faults. I know that my bike was dealer serviced, and I know two of the dealers that are responsible for that service. As I got into the bike, I found 3 bolt holes stripped out, and one wallowed out so badly that I went ahead and fixed it too. I had to heli-coil two on the valve cover and two on the front seat mounting bracket. I also found that the bracket holding the center of the muffler (the one that needs to be moved to drain the transmission) is gone. All that's left is a sheared bolt and a nut welded to the muffler. I also got into my final drive, and like many others, found it to be over shimmed.
I guess it really doesn't matter much, as my intention is to do my own maintainance, but it's pretty discouraging to see the lack of pride or even concern on the part of the dealers. It makes one wonder how important it is to see a bike for sale with the statement "dealer serviced".
Then again, maybe it's just me, so I'll quit whining.
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post #2 of 10 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 5:29 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

That is why I usually do things myself .... It doesn't seem to matter what it is , motorcycle / car / you name it ... If it needs worked on ,and you take it to someplace , they never have time to fix things right ...But plenty of time to fix it again .

Patric Blackman
2002 K1200LT/Hannigan2+2
2010 R1200GSA ...1987 Helix...
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post #3 of 10 Old Jun 2nd, 2010, 5:52 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

It's not just you. While my bike was under warantee, I had the dealer do a few things to it. I have found missing tupperware screws, loose screws, scratches, scratched rim from a tire change, and all the tabs on the chrome covers for the tip over wings broken off. Now that the bike is out of warrantee, I won't be taking it back for anything.


2006 K1200LT "SNOB"

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post #4 of 10 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 8:36 am
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

This is why MOST of us do our own work. This way there are NO suprises down the road.

Stevie Shreeve
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post #5 of 10 Old Jun 3rd, 2010, 8:00 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

The only time mine was at the dealer I found one cross threaded torx screw in the adjustable left air flow wing that required removing the left front speaker to run a tap in from the other side to fix. The hex head screws with the washers that go to the bottom engine cover were on the tip over wing covers. And the worst was the # 2 spark plug wire was pinched from being left in a loop outside of the plug wire cover. I wouldn't let that dealer change oil in my lawn mower. My bike will never see a dealer lift again.

Dave Selvig
2004 Black LT
2000 Canon Red LT

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post #6 of 10 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 12:35 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

No one will take care of your bike like you will!

I don't mind screwing up, but I know I fix the screw up, right. No excuse for leaving a stripped bolt hole. No matter who is doing the wrenching.

I said good by to the dealer after the 600. Just could not afford to pay the prices they wanted.

It is a learning curve but one would thing a BMW dealer would have competent people. So for the money they charge it is best to do it yourself. Of course preaching to the choir here as far as you been in so far.

I don't think or expect someone to be able to check calves and replace buckets but fluid changes while quirky are not that bad. A tech session cures the mystery of a valve check, as once you been guided it is easy. Now the buckets take a bit more but the Gunsmoke article is strait forward.

At any rate I lost my support the dealer mentality pretty quickly not because the mechanic was bad, he was top notch, but the price was high. So then I tried to use them for parts and filters and stuff but that got old both in cost, and availability.

So use the Internet for parts, and this Forum for your referance, and your own tools and do it yourself.

The only way to know it is done right.

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post #7 of 10 Old Jun 4th, 2010, 4:15 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

Originally Posted by LAF
No one will take care of your bike like you will!
Lee, you are right...

However... there are folks who are mechanically challenged. When it comes to an R&R of the rear main seal on an LT, they wouldn't know a box wrench from a box lunch. For those folks, the dealer (or a friend that wrenches) is the only alternative. They sacrifice doing the work themselves (knowing that it's done right), for someone else who has the tools, time and knowledge at a price point well above DIY. In other words, a portion of the thought process is that you sacrifice getting it done like you would do it for just getting it done.

I don't begrudge any dealer doing any kind of work for anyone... True, dealers can be expensive and they can be very flippant when it comes to doing it right or backing up their service if it's determined to be the fault of the technician. But they are a necessary evil (ouch, my local dealer will have my a$$ for this statement) and some riders really do depend on them to keep them on the road.

The actual mathematical equation one would use to determine if work should be done by a dealer or DIY is buried under a ton of variables. In some cases it just pays to get something done by the dealer. To take your scooter in to have authorized work done and then whinge about the cost of the repair to the dealer is sort of idiotic.

What I have a problem with is the dealer who knows that you are doing most of the work on your bike and they will ding you 2 and 3 times for something (i.e. the book says REMOVE - REPAIR - REPLACE is $785.00, yet the dealer is only doing the REPAIR portion of the job) that the dealer has to do since they have the $12,000 machine or tool to make something right (tic). Or a dealer who will refuse to R&R a tire or press fit a part because you bought that tire or part from someone (or somewhere) else.

I, like you, am learning to do my work myself for many of the same reasons you state. But I try and maintain a decent relationship with my dealer because I know someday I will need him in the future... if not for parts and labor, it might be for the next gen LT...

just a thought...

Uncle Mark

BMW '06' 1200LT "Wild Blue"
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post #8 of 10 Old May 23rd, 2011, 8:13 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

I recently took my 2000 K1200LT in for the 36,000 service and on the advice of the service manager, had all the brake lines changed to SS. I told the service manager the right front caliper was binding and he said it was the brake lines. $1,300 and 11 days later I got the bike back... Front ABS sensor wire dangling above the fender, 3 pieces of plastic trim broken, brake fluid all over the left caliper, dust cap on bleeder not reinstalled, greasy fingerprints all over the bike, 5 new scratches in the paint, and the biggy, the brakes still don't work!

I went back to the shop and complained about the broken trim. The mechanic said he was sorry and pulled the broken pieces out of his shirt pocket and handed them to me. I didn't notice the rest of the problems until I got home.

I talked to the owner on the phone and he asked me to bring the bike back so he could see the damage. I told him I'd be in on Friday to see him. I went on Friday to find he had taken the day off and the woman at the counter refused to call him for me.

So after paying them $1,300 I figure I have to spend at least $400 more to purchase what I need to repair the damage they did during the "service".

A lesson learned... DO NOT use a dealer for anything you can do yourself!!!

Gregg Oldberg
'81 R100RT
'00 K1200LT
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post #9 of 10 Old May 25th, 2011, 6:18 pm
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

One can find inept workers at almost anything and no doubt some dealers employ sloppy or badly trained techs. I do my own work so can't claim much experience with our "local dealer" (if you call several hours away local) but they did a quick and first class job on the brake line recall on my RT so I've got no complaints. I've also found the service guys a good source of tips and advice- even though I've wrenched a lot of stuff the RT is my first BMW and there's nothing like getting tips from a good pro (or a good web forum!).

I know enough to do mine right, I am not under time pressure like the shop guys, and in the time it takes to get to a dealer and back I can do a whole lot of work. I'm retired so cost matters more now than it did when I worked but is not the primary driver. Many of us old school guys remember when if you couldn't fix it on the road you'd better not go very far from base and have habits from those days even though today's bikes are generally very reliable.

I work on friends stuff for fun- one of a few guys in our local club who regularly offer help to others. I've spent more time correcting "owner's friends" mistakes and sloppy work than that from any local shop. The most recent one was fixing a totally botched install of an aftermarket exhaust system on an R1100s plus repairing the damage it caused when it came off- only took a couple hundred $ in replacing stock parts (that had been discarded) and a few hours repairing other bits (eg the under seat heat shield).

But I don't do my own tires- we have a pro member in the club who does mine at such a good price there is no reason for me to put a tire machine in my garage or wrestle with irons- and I like to visit his home shop anyway....
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post #10 of 10 Old Mar 24th, 2012, 12:59 am
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Re: Dealer service sub-par?

There's some good information here, and it'd be nice if names were mentioned, so others could steer clear, or know where to find a good one as racer7 mentioned. I'd imagine the pro member wouldn't mind a few kudos and "atta boys" thrown his direction, as well as a bone once in a while (but then good ones usually have more work than they need/want).

Customer service and just plain service in any industry seems to be very hard to find, and when it is found, then it makes the invoice a little easier to swallow.

It is ironic how white collar professionals- other necessary evils, such as lawyers and doctors can so easily hide behind their mistakes/incompetence, and most people think nothing about it, yet we expect perfection from a working class that is, generally, not formally educated. That does not excuse their poor performance- they should still take pride in their work and strive to do their best everyday, if for no other reason, than as mentioned, the costs involve being very steep.

I feel very blessed to be mechanically inclined. God didn't make me rich, but He gave me the ability to fix my own vehicles, knowing I wouldn't be able to afford sending them to a garage. I have been dumbfounded when I've heard and seen the prices of people's vehicle repairs, and especially when they paid it w/o even blinking an eye.

As a professional mechanic, one of the worse parts of the job is going in after the previous mechanic, who left things half-baked, as mentioned in this thread, and having to fix their screw ups. Anyone w/ integrity is going to want to do it, but it will inflate the customer's bill and piss them off at the same time.

These reasons are why I do my own work.

Big D is my neck of the woods

99 K1200LT (don't need loud pipes w/ 8 spk. stereo)
08 HD wide glide
07 HD XL1200C (sold!
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