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bob_menton Jul 22nd, 2010 7:17 pm

K12GT handling/steering problem
2007 K12GT, 22,000 miles. I noticed an unusual handling issue a few thousand miles ago - seemed to have a little bit of a mind of its own - wanted to go where it wants to, regardless of my wishes. Slowly got worse, so I made an appt. with the local dealer to have his service tech take it for a ride. Before doing so, the service tech asked me to describe the problem. As I fumbled with a description he said, "Won't go in a straight line??" Exactly! He said he didn't need to ride it - knew exactly what the problem was. Ordered two ball joints for the front suspension. Got the bike back yesterday - handles beautifully, once again. I'm off warranty, but BMW kicked in for 1/2 of the labor. I'm happy. :)

- Bob

meese Jul 23rd, 2010 4:11 am

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
Must have been too many curves there, Cowboy. :D

I've heard of maybe a couple of GTs needing the ball joints replaced, but not very many at all.

Happily, mine is still handling fine at 131K miles (although replacing the shocks 13K miles ago sure did help). :)

Boulder35 May 18th, 2016 2:17 am

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
Really, I have the same trouble, I'm almost ready to get rid of her. My dealership said there was no problems and wanted more time & money. Did your front tire keep wearing down more on one side? I tore it down and did not noticed loose or worn ball joints.

How much did it cost for the replacement joints?

Glad your back in action. :)

Biker-Paulo Feb 12th, 2017 12:36 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
I have the same trouble.. It is not stable on a straight road.
I equipped with Michelin GT Pilot Road 4 tires.
On the road again..

beech Feb 12th, 2017 3:19 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
Wunderlich sells the balls for $100 each. I have found them for 70$ in Europe but shipping is a problem. It is about a 4 to 5 hour job if your inclined. You need a 50 and a 55mm deep socket. Easy to make from two normal and weld in a sleeve. I bought them on Ebay. It is a complicated job. Some do it with out removing the front wheel carrier but the manual says to take it off. I take it off. If you do take it off you will need a method of holding the thing while you put some serious torque to the nuts holding the ball joints. The symptom is as you say, wanders at about 30 mph. Feels like an old style bike with too tight of an adjustment on the triple tree bearings. But it gets worse with more miles. If you do this, remember that the small nut, I think it is 19mm that holds the Aframe to the the ball joint has red loctite in it and you need to heat it. And using the 7mm allen hole in the ball joint shaft to hold the shaft from spinning while you torque that 19mm nut tends to strip at the recommended torque. Be prepared to go 10 Ft/lbs. light on the torque if you see that your allen wrench or the hole are starting to give way.
This is a common problem with Transverse engine K bikes.
There even are wrenches:

Biker-Paulo Feb 14th, 2017 4:19 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
Thank you BEECH for your information, I will pass order of the balls to WUNDERLICH Germany and carry out the work as soon as possible.

Elwin Mar 5th, 2017 11:38 am

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
Beech, thanks for the comprehensive info.

I suspect my ball joints to be shot as well, but for another reason:

I don't notice any irregularities while driving.

However, when I lift the front tyre off the ground, I can move the wheel carrier slightly back and forth.

Also, rocking the bike violently back and forth while applying the front brakes, there is a clear clunking sound from the front end.

I'm inclined to order the parts and get to work (2 joints, 50mm and 55mm impact sockets and impact wrench), but before I do, should I inspect the bearings in which the triangles are suspended? Do these wear out? Would be a shame to spend $500.- on stuff (especially the wrench) I don't need.


beech Mar 5th, 2017 2:16 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
I have not heard of those bearings wearing out. If you remove the wheel carrier, there is a rather specific method of torquing some of the bolts. I recommend you purchase the BMW DVD. Also one recessed Torx fastener will need an extended reach driver or possibly a 3/8th drive Torx of the proper size. You will know when you come up to it. And the head of some of the fasteners are semi pivot points that need cleaning and high quality anti seize. I recommend Optima TA, the factory stuff. But I suppose a good substitute will function. Don't forget to heat that 19mm nut to soften the loctite. I have a huge work shop bench vice (over 100Kg) I can hold the front wheel carrier in it with wood pads. I think BMW uses a dumby axle and holds that. I don't like that plan.
If you can feel front to back movement in the front wheel carrier when the wheel is off the ground you are ready for new ball joints. That is the shop test.

Elwin Mar 5th, 2017 3:05 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem

Originally Posted by beech (Post 1696186)
If you can feel front to back movement in the front wheel carrier when the wheel is off the ground you are ready for new ball joints. That is the shop test.

beech, thanks for the info.

Good to know I shouldn't be worried about those bearings.

I thought about getting an impact wrench so I wouldn't have to clamp the fork too much, but I'm actually going to use a door frame/wall between the fork legs. That should provide enough resistance while applying loads of torque. That way I'll only have to get the 50/55mm deep sockets.

Well noted about using the right thread locker.

I have the BMW DVD and I assume you mean the torque settings are all quite different and distinctive (eg. bearing stud to frame: 160Nm, ball joint to leading link: 130Nm, etc.). Or something else I should pay attention to?

Not sure what you mean about the recessed Torx fastener, haven't found it in the BMW data so far. Is there a special tool I should order for that?

beech Mar 5th, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
The upper connection bolts to bike frame are the ones that take additional procedures. Not particularly high torques but sequences are important. One has a light torque and a lock nut with a higher torque. I believe this is the one that takes a T50 .Read through your DVD. I like to print out all the parts including the list of prep work to get to the job. Then I have it all on hand in the shop. I can't remember the Torx size but I believe it was the top bolt that is recessed on the right side of the frame. I bought a long reach Torx but found that a 3/8" drive of the same torx would fit into the recess to gain access (the T50 in question). Some plastic has to come off to gain access to things up front. If you look carefully at the whole set up, you will see how BMW centers this unit to the frame. It is interesting. One guy back in the dust of the forum actually messed with this setup to try to get his bike to track neutral. So you can see that using the manual and understanding what you are doing will be a key to a good end point. I look at all this as fun and learning how the thing works.

Elwin Mar 5th, 2017 4:22 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem

Originally Posted by beech (Post 1696330)
I look at all this as fun and learning how the thing works.

My thoughts exactly.

The two ball joints, a 20-200Nm torque wrench and the 50 and 55mm deep impact sockets are on the way.

I have a 1/2" T50 bit on hand which I hope will access the recessed top bolt you speak of. Haven't found it in the instructions yet but I'll check again.

As a thread locker, you mentioned Optima TA, which I can't find on google. Should LOCTITE 270 High Strength Threadlocker (for parts that do not require disassembly) do the job as well?


beech Mar 5th, 2017 4:36 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
The optimoly ta is an encapsulated anti seize. Just use any good anti seize. It will be on some of the bolt outside diameter of the head on that one at the top, in the scissor connection. The DVD will tell you where to put stuff and when you take it apart you will notice antiseize on some locations. The Loctite to use in my opinion is Blue 242. I seldom use the Red 262 as it is a bear. And never use it if part of the bolt up is Aluminum. If you don't heat it to soften it the red will pull aluminum threads right out.
You can buy Optimoly at Porsche dealers sometimes or from Moto Bins in the UK. But as mentioned get a good brand name anti seize at the car supply shop.

beech Mar 5th, 2017 4:44 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
If you have 262 on hand it would be okay for the 19mm acorn nut on top of the ball joint attachment point. But I would not use in anyplace in the bike frame area for the long attachment bolts because there is not easy way to get heat in there. Only blue if needed.

beech Mar 5th, 2017 4:47 pm

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
Here is that thread about a fellow having trouble with his scissor bolt connections. (the forum got hacked a few weeks ago and have made it difficult for a non member to wonder through the posts)

XMagnaRider Mar 6th, 2017 10:06 am

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
(NOTE: I performed a major re-edit of this post after receiving email confirmation from Moto-bins that they are still selling Optimol (Optimoly) TA Paste.)

I bought the real Optimoly TA (Optimol) from Motobins in the UK. It was expensive, but a small can should last the life of your bike. See this thread:

Web searches show a variety of information, none of it promising. Some people say it has been discontinued, but I just learned that Motobins is still selling it.

Type in part number 95805 in the "Moto-bins Part No. Search" box near the top of their webpage.

What came from Motobins is a small metal paint can approximately 3 inches diameter and 1.5 inches high (from memory). The lid presses in like a paint can. The label is a white "home computer printed" sticker. There is an irregular "blop" of the gray paste inside. It gives all the appearances of coming from a much larger source, and then being portioned into individual cans by hand.

XMagnaRider Mar 6th, 2017 10:30 am

Re: K12GT handling/steering problem
I just found out that Motobins is still selling Optimol (Optimoly) TA paste, so I edited the post above. This message is for those who are "subscribed" to the thread, so that they notice the edit and learn that they can still order it. (The previous version of the post was quite different.)

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