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post #1 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 7:14 pm Thread Starter
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Brake flush intervals

I just spent the better part of 5 hours flushing my brake circuits. I take my time and wash things down with water before and after to ensure no dirt gets into the reservoirs and that no residual brake fluid causes problems. Blowing off the water and waiting for things to dry slows the pace considerably.

I did my first flush 18 months ago at my 24k (27K actually) service when the bike was 5.5 years old. The dealer had done the 6, 12 and 18K services. I now question if they ever once flushed the brakes. When I did it the first time, the fluid was very dark, the color of very dark maple syrup. I was a little concerned this time as I was 6 months overdue on the wheel circuits. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The wheel circuits were honey colored, not even close to as dark as last time. And the control circuits looked almost like new fluid. There was slight darkening, but it was literally impossible to tell when the new fluid came into the speed bleeder bag hose. Either the Valvoline synthetic DOT 3&4 fluid degrades more solely than other fluids or the dealer never changed mine. As dark as the first change was, I am suspecting that was 5+ years old fluid!

Anyway, it appears that changing the wheel circuits every year is overkill as is changing the control circuits every other year. I think John Z mentions in his video that BMW chamged the intervals to 2 and 4 via TSB. Does anyone have this TSB? Any special requirements needed to accompany the interval extension?

I don't want to abuse my ABS pump, but this job is a pain and there is no need to flush out new looking fluid as was the case with both control circuits. If I can reasonably extend the intervals, that would be nice news indeed.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #2 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 8:08 pm
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Re: Brake flush intervals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
I just spent the better part of 5 hours flushing my brake circuits. I take my time and wash things down with water before and after to ensure no dirt gets into the reservoirs and that no residual brake fluid causes problems. Blowing off the water and waiting for things to dry slows the pace considerably.

I did my first flush 18 months ago at my 24k (27K actually) service when the bike was 5.5 years old. The dealer had done the 6, 12 and 18K services. I now question if they ever once flushed the brakes. When I did it the first time, the fluid was very dark, the color of very dark maple syrup. I was a little concerned this time as I was 6 months overdue on the wheel circuits. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The wheel circuits were honey colored, not even close to as dark as last time. And the control circuits looked almost like new fluid. There was slight darkening, but it was literally impossible to tell when the new fluid came into the speed bleeder bag hose. Either the Valvoline synthetic DOT 3&4 fluid degrades more solely than other fluids or the dealer never changed mine. As dark as the first change was, I am suspecting that was 5+ years old fluid!

Anyway, it appears that changing the wheel circuits every year is overkill as is changing the control circuits every other year. I think John Z mentions in his video that BMW chamged the intervals to 2 and 4 via TSB. Does anyone have this TSB? Any special requirements needed to accompany the interval extension?

I don't want to abuse my ABS pump, but this job is a pain and there is no need to flush out new looking fluid as was the case with both control circuits. If I can reasonably extend the intervals, that would be nice news indeed.
After 12 years of doing it myself, my experience (with look and color of fluid) is to stay with the old conservative intervals (every year). At the cost of these ABS units, I would rather spend some more time on it - I have seen too many fail after the bike sat idle for 18 months or more with no fluid change.

To answer the rest of your question, I am posting an extract from an article I wrote but never published in a blog:

---------------------
INTRO / BACKGROUND
---------------------
In 2006, BMW came out with Service-Bulletin “# 34 002 06 (019)” that allows extended brake fluid renewal intervals for the “Integral ABS” system of many motorcycle models. After extensive trials and road tests, the company determined it was possible to extend service intervals (for certain models) without affecting safety. As a result, there is a potential reduction in maintenance costs.

Maybe your dealer forgot to mention this to you, but based on this Bulletin you could save roughly between $50 to $100 per year. Talking to many K1200 owners at various rallies, I got the impression that the time billed for the bleeding procedures vary quite a bit from dealer to dealer, even for the same model. Like me, many riders taught that the “Integral ABS” system was an important asset but they often complained about the time and cost of bleeding those brakes.

----------------------------------------------
Does this apply to all BMW motorcycle models ?
----------------------------------------------
This bulletin is mainly applicable to bikes equipped with the “Integral ABS” system. All non-ABS models with rubber hoses or older bikes with ABS I or ABS II still need to have the brake fluid changed every year.

To understand the table in the next section, you first need to identify which ABS system your BMW motorcycle is equipped with. As far as I know, there are 4 simple criteria to cover all bases:
1)The “EVO integral ABS” was introduced only late 2001 or early 2002 depending on the country.
2)When the ignition is ON and engine is not running: if you have the “EVO integral ABS” you will hear the ABS modulator pump (also called servo-pump) do a noisy “Wiiiizzzzz” when the front brake is applied.
3)If your K1200RS is prior to 2001 or if you cannot hear the pump as described above, you probably have the ABS II system or no ABS at all. I am assuming most owners would know if their bike is equipped with ABS brakes.
4)If you have any other BMW motorcycle that was built in 2007 or later, it could be equipped with the new “BMW Motorrad integral ABS” system that does not have an electrical modulator/servo pump - so you will not hear the noise mentioned above. For these models, I suspect that your owner's manual has been written to reflect the new brake service intervals - check with your dealer.

To understand the table in the next section it is also important to know if your machine is equipped with rubber brake lines or with steel-braided lines (called “Stahlflex” brake lines in the bulletin). Unless you machine was modified, all K1200 come from the factory with black rubber brake hoses. If you have a more recent model like a K1200S or a R1200GS for example (from 2005), you should have the factory installed steel-braided lines. In this case, the Service-Bulletin still applies, with even more savings in maintenance costs.

---------------------------
New recommended intervals
---------------------------
The expression “Wheel Circuit” means between the ABS modulator and the brake caliper (at the wheel).
The expression “Control circuit” means between the handlebar fitting and the ABS modulator.

Rubber brake hoses Interval:
Front / Rear Wheel circuit: annually (no change)
Front / Rear Control circuit: every 4 years (doubled)

Stahlflex brake hoses Interval:
Front / Rear Wheel circuit: every 2 years (doubled)
Front / Rear Control circuit: every 4 years (doubled)


Most of the early K1200RS and K1200LT (1998 to 2001) had rubber brake lines with an ABSII system, so they do not gain anything here. You still need to change the brake fluid every year.

For all bikes equipped with “EVO Integral ABS” you can now wait 4 years (was 2 years before) between fluid changes for the “Control Circuit”. For the “Wheel circuit”, you gain 1 year if your bike has steel-braided brake lines as standard equipment.

-------------------------------------------
Further cost reduction for the Control-circuit
-------------------------------------------
The 2nd part of this Service-Bulletin allows further maintenance cost reduction if your BMW motorcycle is equipped with the “Integral ABS”. The brake fluid replacement for the “Control circuit” has been simplified to the bleeding of only 2 “control circuit” ports on the unit. In the past, the technician had to bleed 6 ports on the ABS unit. For those who do their own maintenance, note that the old (and longer) method must still be used when servicing any major component like the replacement of a brake line or the complete ABS unit.

So, based on this information, the “Control circuit” brake fluid replacement will be needed only every 4 years, plus the procedure should be less costly on your service invoice.

-------------------------------------------------
John (Montreal, CANADA)
K1200RS (2002 IceBlue/Red - 96,000 miles)
-------------------------------------------------
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post #3 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 8:33 pm
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Re: Brake flush intervals

My 2006 was purchased used with 36,000 miles, from a local BMW dealer, who in turn had purchased the bike as part of a dealership closing in another state.

I have the BMW signed and stamped service records for the bike, up to the 36k mark, from the original ( now closed by BMW ) dealership.

Having nothing but problems with the bike, I mentioned it to a reputable dealer up north just a bit, who mentioned that BMW had closed the dealership where the bike originated due to allegedly falsified service records from that dealership.
That explained many io the issues. It seems my bike may have had no service other than oil changes during its previous life. When I took time to bring things current, including flushing the really nasty looking brake circuits, life improved to the point that I no longer worry about the bike stranding us in the middle of nowhere ( happened 3x in the 1st 5k of our ownership ). Like you, I suspect my brake lines and servo circuits had never been addressed. Post flush improvement was amazing.
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post #4 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 9:08 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Brake flush intervals

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailor View Post
After 12 years of doing it myself, my experience (with look and color of fluid) is to stay with the old conservative intervals (every year). At the cost of these ABS units, I would rather spend some more time on it - I have seen too many fail after the bike sat idle for 18 months or more with no fluid change.

To answer the rest of your question, I am posting an extract from an article I wrote but never published in a blog:
Nice article, thanks. It appears that the wheel circuits still need annual flushing, so savings is minimal here anyway. Once the Tupperware is off and the tools are out, might as well do the control circuits I guess.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #5 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 9:10 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Brake flush intervals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoodcounty View Post
My 2006 was purchased used with 36,000 miles, from a local BMW dealer, who in turn had purchased the bike as part of a dealership closing in another state.

I have the BMW signed and stamped service records for the bike, up to the 36k mark, from the original ( now closed by BMW ) dealership.

Having nothing but problems with the bike, I mentioned it to a reputable dealer up north just a bit, who mentioned that BMW had closed the dealership where the bike originated due to allegedly falsified service records from that dealership.
That explained many io the issues. It seems my bike may have had no service other than oil changes during its previous life. When I took time to bring things current, including flushing the really nasty looking brake circuits, life improved to the point that I no longer worry about the bike stranding us in the middle of nowhere ( happened 3x in the 1st 5k of our ownership ). Like you, I suspect my brake lines and servo circuits had never been addressed. Post flush improvement was amazing.
The shop I used is still in business and I have not heard any issues with their maintenance records, I can only say how dark the fluid was when I first changed it compared to the second time after 18 months. The fluid was at least 3X darker the first time which seems at least somewhat consistent with a 5.5 year time span as compared to 1.5 years.

I never had any performance issues with my brakes and noticed no functional difference after the first flush. The only difference was much lighter colored fluid in the sight glass!

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #6 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 9:17 pm
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Re: Brake flush intervals

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager View Post
Nice article, thanks. It appears that the wheel circuits still need annual flushing, so savings is minimal here anyway. Once the Tupperware is off and the tools are out, might as well do the control circuits I guess.
Correct for the tighter schedule of the "Wheel-Circuit". Main reasons is the fact that the small white 2 sections container (2001-2004) or the container on top of the ABS-unit (2005-2009) are BOTH vented to the outside world with long black overflow tube. This part of the system is more subject to picking moisture from the outside.

In opposite to the above, the FRONT "control-circuit" is more of a sealed system. On early model (2001-2004), the REAR "Control-circuit" will also use fluid from the small white container. Thus, when I see a machine that has not been maintained properly, the REAR "control-circuit" fluid color is always darker than the FRONT "control-circuit".

-------------------------------------------------
John (Montreal, CANADA)
K1200RS (2002 IceBlue/Red - 96,000 miles)
-------------------------------------------------
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post #7 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 10:15 pm
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Re: Brake flush intervals

Quote:
The shop I used is still in business and I have not heard any issues with their maintenance records, I can only say how dark the fluid was when I first changed it compared to the second time after 18 months. The fluid was at least 3X darker the first time which seems at least somewhat consistent with a 5.5 year time span as compared to 1.5 years.
Mine was like weak chocolate milk when I did the 1st flush.
Took the better part of a quart of fluid to get everything to run clear.
Subsequent flush at year 2 of ownership was like almost new fluid.
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post #8 of 9 Old May 24th, 2014, 10:28 pm
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Re: Brake flush intervals

I've had my fluid get very dark in as little as 6 months. It seems for me it depends on how hard I use the brakes when I'm riding in the mountains.

Dave Selvig
2004 Black LT
2000 Canon Red LT



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post #9 of 9 Old May 25th, 2014, 9:45 pm
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Re: Brake flush intervals

You really have to base it on where you ride and how you ride. Here in the deep south where humidity is near 90% most of the spring and summer I continue to do wheel circuits annually and control every two years. If I was in Arizona I might let them slide a year. If you are flushing a circuit and the fluid looks good then adjust accordingly. Mine always look dark.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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