Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Wilmington, NC, USA
Re: not a happy new owner
The service manager at our local dealership, who I have found reliable (long time at it) told me this when I inquired about the history of the chain tensioner on the bike.
The early 06 models (like mine) had the early tensioner without a reservoir. This is said to be a bulletproof design but prone to making chain noise on startup becasue the tensioner leaks down after a while and has to be pumped up on engine start. BMW addressed this and issued a tech bulletin with new tensioner with reservoir. Problem with that is that the design allows chain skip if the jump guard is not also installed with it. The jump guard is a small plastic bit that is simply inserted and held in place by the clutch cover- a fairly easy job but needs all new clutch cover screws because they're single use stretched aluminum screws and only fools would reuse one. Total parts cost is a little over $200 for all of the above changes and easily done by a competent home mechanic who knows how to properly torque the easily damaged clutch cover screws. I'd expect about 1 1/2 hrs shop time if you don't do your own.
My 06 has none of the upgrades, makes no chain noise when cold and runs fine. I've elected to leave the chain alone until it starts to make noise on start, then do both. Our local dealer reports zero failures of unaltered 06 models to date, describing the original design as bulletproof but noise prone.. Something to watch for is an unsteady, hunting idle- can be an indicator of chain issues and a warning of impending disaster...
The tensioner is on the throttle side of the motor at the top of the wedge and is easily recognized by its lumpy reservoir sticking up (need to pull side plastic to see that area). You've got to pull the clutch cover off the engine to see the jump guard, if its there, and that requires about $70 of new bolts on hand for replacement.
There is a nice factory tech bulletin that covers all this that your dealer service guy can show you. Also google re the K1200 cam chain and you'll find various articles on this stuff.
FWIW, its very useful to know the good BMW pros in your area. My local service manager is very free with helpful info because I take the time to ask him questions and value his (so far always accurate) answers. Then I turn around and buy the parts I need from the parts guy next to him. I also use factory RepROM discs for info and service guidance so I know what to ask and keep my questions to a minimum- its a busy shop. One of my buds was also the dealership mechanic for a different BMW dealership and he is also very helpful- does my tires on his tire machine, for example.
Basically, its either pay or learn enough for yourself. Either works. If you want real cheap, well, you own the wrong bike.
BTW, I'm told the current factory recommendation for the K1200 wedge motor is BMWs 5W-40 synthetic, replacing the 10W-40 previous. Reason is it pumps up tensioner faster in the cold. Revving these motors cold is asking for trouble until that tensioner pumps up. There are also cautions about not stretching the change interval on the 5W-40 beyond factory- something one can easily do on an R motor with its transmission separate so far less oil shear possible (though PAO based syns are very good at staying in viscosity range with use compared to dino juice stuff).
If you've never had the dealer run the recall report on your bike, you should. They can see dealer service info and also any prior recall work. Any open recalls get done free, of course. Your might need the lower suspension link in the rear, for example, if not already done. ($60 part and 30 min if you do it yourself, free if dealer does it.)
Last edited by racer7; Oct 26th, 2012 at 1:08 am.