Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ??? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 31 Old Aug 4th, 2014, 7:10 pm Thread Starter
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Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

I've only replaced my transmission fluid once before, but I didn't notice this much difference. On Friday, I replaced my engine oil and filter, the FD oil and the transmission oil. When I went out for the obligatory test ride afterward, there was a noticeable difference when coasting to a stop. I found that I was using much more of the brakes and the engine wasn't providing the stopping power it had before the fluid changes.

My MPG calculation on my motorcycle has been climbing steadily too. I was getting 38mpg in the winter and 42.7mpg during summer. I haven't changed my route or riding speed. Since Friday, my mpg calculation has climbed up to 44.7mpg. Has anybody else experienced this?

I change my engine and FD oils every 6k and the transmission every 30k. I'm thinking that it might be worth it to increase the frequency of the transmission oil replacement.

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post #2 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 12:07 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

10%+ change in energy consumption ! seems a lot of difference, should show up somewhere as heat. Can't say I've ever noticed any differences other than a little lighter shifting after a gearbox oil cahnge.

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post #3 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 8:38 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Placebo effect.
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post #4 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 9:58 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

you'd be getting 120 mpg if you used Amsoil...

I changed my trans every 12,000, final drive every oil change, probably overkill but cheap insurance and I always noticed better shifting after changing.

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post #5 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 10:57 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

My LT runs better every time I wash it!


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post #6 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 12:03 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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Placebo effect.
Yep, no way this is real. If the MPG difference is real, then it is due to some other coincident change.
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post #7 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 12:50 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

You guys may be correct. After another ride to work this morning my mileage average is down to 44.2mpg. I'm not sure why it started to climb so quickly. I never reset it. My computer has always been rather accurate about my mileage when compared to manually calculating during a tank refill so I've come to trust it.

On my bike, I have found that the fuel efficiency is typically only effected by the change of season (winter), when I put the shield up, flaps out, and turn the heaters on.

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post #8 of 31 Old Aug 5th, 2014, 12:54 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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Originally Posted by cealbrecht View Post
You guys may be correct. After another ride to work this morning my mileage average is down to 44.2mpg. I'm not sure why it started to climb so quickly. I never reset it. My computer has always been rather accurate about my mileage when compared to manually calculating during a tank refill so I've come to trust it.

On my bike, I have found that the fuel efficiency is typically only effected by the change of season (winter), when I put the shield up, flaps out, and turn the heaters on.
Many things affect MPG. Temp, humidity, traffic, your throttle hand, type of gas (ethanol content mainly), phase of the moon ... OK kidding on that last one!

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post #9 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 12:58 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

You nailed it! That has been true of every bike I have owned.
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post #10 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 2:45 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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Originally Posted by cealbrecht View Post
You guys may be correct. After another ride to work this morning my mileage average is down to 44.2mpg. I'm not sure why it started to climb so quickly. I never reset it. My computer has always been rather accurate about my mileage when compared to manually calculating during a tank refill so I've come to trust it.

On my bike, I have found that the fuel efficiency is typically only effected by the change of season (winter), when I put the shield up, flaps out, and turn the heaters on.
That explains it..the bike computer is not very accurate at all.
It's best to hand calculate with a calculator.

later...Randy

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post #11 of 31 Old Aug 27th, 2014, 11:00 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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That explains it..the bike computer is not very accurate at all.
It's best to hand calculate with a calculator.

later...Randy
My computer has been historically very accurate. So accurate that I stopped doing the hand calculations at the pump. I've only changed the transmission fluid once before this, so I haven't had many chances to take note of any side effects.

With this last change, I had the computer on the MPG calculation display and I noticed that the gas mileage calculation climbed very rapidly on the first tank of gas after I changed all the fluids. The next tank however....the calculation started to level off, and then it began dropping. As I refilled each time, I noticed that the mileage calculation kept creeping lower. After 3 tanks of gas, my mpg calculation is back to its normal range of 41.5-42.5. I have no idea why this happened since I did not do anything out of the ordinary other than the transmission fluid change, so I thought I would post it. Maybe others will pay attention the next time they change the transmission fluid on their bike and see the same thing....I don't know??? Doesn't matter, it was very short lived over a span of 150 miles....then things started to come back to their norm.

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post #12 of 31 Old Aug 27th, 2014, 11:37 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Chad, once in awhile I'll get a tank of gas which gets much better mileage than normal. I attribute this to the batch of fuel and how much percentage of jet fuel, diesel fuel, or premium gas happens to be in that particular tanker. The way fuel is shipped these days in the pipelines allows a certain percentage of cross contamination between fuel types. I suspect that's what causes the great mileage occasionally.


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post #13 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 9:25 pm
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Thumbs up The time has come to present new data.

If your gas mileage is in the low 40's there is something wrong with the bike. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what that something is. I am reviving this thread because my gas mileage has recently increased by 15-18%. I am only presenting the data. Use it or ignore....I don't care.

So, my bike would get around 50 mpg when I lived in Virginia back in 2009. I moved to upstate NY in 2010 and within that first year, I noticed that I my mileage dropped into the low 40's. In the winter, I even saw some tanks in the upper 30's. On this thread, I mentioned that I noticed a slight rise in gas mileage after I changed my transmission fluid, but after everyone attributed the gains to a 'magic' tank of gas or my imagination, I really didn't want to continue to mention that I saw the same increase after each change of engine and FD oil. But, with each short term gain my mileage would once again settle back to the low 40's after the 3-4th tank of gas. It was fun to watch, but I really could not explain why it consistently happened after each oil change.

Here's my current story: I was going on a 6-7 hour ride from upstate NY to southern PA at the end of July, so I wanted to change the fluids beforehand. I went to Wal-mart and bought all of the cheap-ass oil and the $3.50 filter that I always use. Performed the same procedure that I always do (nothing special), then I strapped my golf bag to the passenger seat and headed south. Even with all the extra drag from my golf bag sticking out to the sides, I noticed my mileage starting to climb again. I didn't need to refill until I was at 260 miles when my prior range was typically 240. I spent a couple of days in south PA and continued to watch the mileage calculation increase as I puttered around my old home town for a few days (not even on the highway).

During my return trip to NY I noticed that I was able to go 275 miles comfortably before I needed to purchase gasoline. I hadn't seen that range in years. My gas mileage after 4 tanks of gas was continuing to increase to nearly 47mpg. I've been back in NY for 3 weeks now and I've been through another 8 tanks of gas. Currently my mileage is calculated to be 49.1mpg and my range was 292 miles on that last tank before I felt nervous about making it to the next exit.

I only wrote this to let you know that there was something wrong with my bike for the past 5 years, but I can't tell you what it was. I am certain that it was associated in some way with my oil changes. If you experience the same symptoms, well....I wish I could help. Right now, I'm debating if I will ever change my oil again.

After my last oil change and the trip to PA, my bike seems to revving smoother and I don't hear as much 'rattle and pinging' noises coming from the engine (not that it was real bad before...). The bike gives me the impression that it is 'gliding and coasting' with more ease between the gears and during 'throttle down' as if the engine breaking has been greatly reduced. I swear, I've done nothing more than my standard oil change. I leave it at that.
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post #14 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 9:29 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Hmmm. What the hell happened to my old account? Interesting that I am logged in with my full name.... Did I miss something? I know that I haven't posted in a few months, but hey...?
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post #15 of 31 Old Aug 22nd, 2016, 9:54 pm
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Re: The time has come to present new data.

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If your gas mileage is in the low 40's there is something wrong with the bike. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what that something is. I am reviving this thread because my gas mileage has recently increased by 15-18%. I am only presenting the data. Use it or ignore....I don't care.

So, my bike would get around 50 mpg when I lived in Virginia back in 2009. I moved to upstate NY in 2010 and within that first year, I noticed that I my mileage dropped into the low 40's. In the winter, I even saw some tanks in the upper 30's. On this thread, I mentioned that I noticed a slight rise in gas mileage after I changed my transmission fluid, but after everyone attributed the gains to a 'magic' tank of gas or my imagination, I really didn't want to continue to mention that I saw the same increase after each change of engine and FD oil. But, with each short term gain my mileage would once again settle back to the low 40's after the 3-4th tank of gas. It was fun to watch, but I really could not explain why it consistently happened after each oil change.

Here's my current story: I was going on a 6-7 hour ride from upstate NY to southern PA at the end of July, so I wanted to change the fluids beforehand. I went to Wal-mart and bought all of the cheap-ass oil and the $3.50 filter that I always use. Performed the same procedure that I always do (nothing special), then I strapped my golf bag to the passenger seat and headed south. Even with all the extra drag from my golf bag sticking out to the sides, I noticed my mileage starting to climb again. I didn't need to refill until I was at 260 miles when my prior range was typically 240. I spent a couple of days in south PA and continued to watch the mileage calculation increase as I puttered around my old home town for a few days (not even on the highway).

During my return trip to NY I noticed that I was able to go 275 miles comfortably before I needed to purchase gasoline. I hadn't seen that range in years. My gas mileage after 4 tanks of gas was continuing to increase to nearly 47mpg. I've been back in NY for 3 weeks now and I've been through another 8 tanks of gas. Currently my mileage is calculated to be 49.1mpg and my range was 292 miles on that last tank before I felt nervous about making it to the next exit.

I only wrote this to let you know that there was something wrong with my bike for the past 5 years, but I can't tell you what it was. I am certain that it was associated in some way with my oil changes. If you experience the same symptoms, well....I wish I could help. Right now, I'm debating if I will ever change my oil again.

After my last oil change and the trip to PA, my bike seems to revving smoother and I don't hear as much 'rattle and pinging' noises coming from the engine (not that it was real bad before...). The bike gives me the impression that it is 'gliding and coasting' with more ease between the gears and during 'throttle down' as if the engine breaking has been greatly reduced. I swear, I've done nothing more than my standard oil change. I leave it at that.
Some things are just mysteries, but I guarantee oil changes aren't yielding 15%+ mileage improvements. Engine friction accounts for no more than 10% of fuel consumption in a modern engine. Even if you found an oil that completely eliminated friction, you wouldn't see a 15% change. Smart people working really hard on better lubricants are struggling to see 2% improvement.

http://www.ltu.se/cms_fs/1.82748!/file/IanTaylor.pdf

In the northeast, several things can change mileage. Cold temps vs. warm. Winter gas vs. summer. Yes, there are seasonal variations in fuel in many northeast states. Riding style, traffic and road variations, tire pressure, etc., all affect mileage. No easy way to know what all factors are coming into play in your case.

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post #16 of 31 Old Aug 23rd, 2016, 8:35 am
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Re: The time has come to present new data.

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Some things are just mysteries, but I guarantee oil changes aren't yielding 15%+ mileage improvements. Engine friction accounts for no more than 10% of fuel consumption in a modern engine.
I am in no way claiming that the cheap Wal-Mart oil or the crappy Puralator filter have anything to do with curing my bike. I'm only stating a symptom that I have witnessed for the past 5 years / 60k miles / 10 oil changes. I made an all day ride around to VT in July before my oil change and my gas mileage was my normal 42-44mpg. I have been through several tanks of gas since my last oil change and I can tell you that something has changed besides the weather, gas, oil, etc. I have no idea what that something is, but it is somehow related to the oil changes.

I have read about many others who are not able to achieve the high 40's mpg, and I was one of them. I wonder if any of them have ever watched their mileage to see if there is a slight uptick in mpg on the very first-second tank of gas after an oil change? That was my symptom for the entire timeframe which I've stated above.

No matter where I've traveled, where I purchased gas, octane, ethanol, windscreen height, flap settings, seat heater, grip heater, throttle use, etc........I have not seen 49mpg or the 290 mile range for many many years.

I will let the forum know if my mileage starts to work it's way back under 45. If I can run all winter without seeing the high 30's then I know that my bike has cured itself of whatever it was.
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post #17 of 31 Old Aug 24th, 2016, 9:40 am
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Re: The time has come to present new data.

Hi....
Just adding my two cents! What makes a difference of mileage has a lot to do with the grade of gas you use... The 91 octane gas, will give me a bout 3 miles more per gallon. Another noticeable difference, is the ratio of ethanol added, depending on the company and the location....

Happy ride.
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post #18 of 31 Old Aug 24th, 2016, 3:48 pm
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Re: The time has come to present new data.

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Hi....
Just adding my two cents! What makes a difference of mileage has a lot to do with the grade of gas you use... The 91 octane gas, will give me a bout 3 miles more per gallon. Another noticeable difference, is the ratio of ethanol added, depending on the company and the location....

Happy ride.
Octane rating alone will have virtually no affect on LT fuel economy. The LT has no means to adjust for different octane fuel.

Ethanol content makes a significant difference due to ethanol's much lower energy content per gallon.
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post #19 of 31 Old Aug 27th, 2016, 1:05 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

did u go to a high quality synthetic oil???
i know on the 4 wheel things that the reduce friction, makes a huge difference
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post #20 of 31 Old May 4th, 2019, 8:08 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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you'd be getting 120 mpg if you used Amsoil...

I changed my trans every 12,000, final drive every oil change, probably overkill but cheap insurance and I always noticed better shifting after changing.
Because of where it is I had always let the BMW dealers change my tranny fluid but this last time they said they needed to remove all the plastic, which you know adds probably 2 Hrs labor so I said NO.
Got her back home and did it myself, big pain in the posterior but I got it done. I used synthetic and it is amazing the difference in the shifting...so much easier both up and down.
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post #21 of 31 Old May 4th, 2019, 8:27 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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Because of where it is I had always let the BMW dealers change my tranny fluid but this last time they said they needed to remove all the plastic, which you know adds probably 2 Hrs labor so I said NO.
Got her back home and did it myself, big pain in the posterior but I got it done. I used synthetic and it is amazing the difference in the shifting...so much easier both up and down.
Did you remove all of the plastic?

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post #22 of 31 Old May 4th, 2019, 10:56 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Going to synthetic oil you might start to notice a little oil leak out of the join between the transmission and the engine bell housing. I believe the molecules are smaller and get past the seal easier.
Not sure how true this is but I put synthetic in mine and started noticing a small leak. I have gone to a semi synthetic to see what happens.
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

What is this transmission fluid you speak of?

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post #24 of 31 Old May 5th, 2019, 7:36 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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Going to synthetic oil you might start to notice a little oil leak out of the join between the transmission and the engine bell housing. I believe the molecules are smaller and get past the seal easier.
Not sure how true this is but I put synthetic in mine and started noticing a small leak. I have gone to a semi synthetic to see what happens.
I have used synthetic oil all of my cars and trucks since 1977. I began using the fleet version of Mobil 1 as it was readily available at the distributor where my uncle bought lubes for his logging business. It was called Delvac 1 if memory serves. I basically believe that synthetic does not leak any more than conventional oil, however, I have had two engines that started life on conventional oil and were then switched to synthetic after a few miles (50,000 in the case of a 79 Chevette I got used) and 24,000 in the case of my LT). Both started to leak within 5,000 miles of the change-over. So, I admit that this makes me a little skeptical, particularly with engines of older design such as the LT.

I canít say that the synthetic caused either leak and it may have been purely coincidence. However, Tom Cutter, a fairly well known BMW tech told me that he has seen many BMWs that developed leaks on synthetics and had the leaks largely go away after switching back to conventional. I switched my LT back to conventional and the leaks did seem to slow down substantially, but my clutch was already trashed so it didnít matter.

I also tried Mobil 1 in my 87 Voyager and it caused the clutch to develop a shudder during engagement that never completely went away even when I switched back to dino oil.

I suspect the new seals I got from BMW are probably fine with synthetic lubes. They were a different color than the stock seals and I suspect probably a different material, but I have no way to no that. I am sticking with conventional Castrol oils in my LT. I donít ride much below 32 or above 100 so synthetics really offer little benefit in that range. And the claims of dramatic fuel mileage increases are pure fiction. Synthetics of the same viscosity as conventional oils will make at most a couple percent reduction in overall friction and that is pretty much too small to measure given the normal tank to tank variation in fuel mileage.

I suspect synthetic is fine in most LTs and I believe that JZ and others here have run Mobil 1 without issue, but given my experience and Tomís recommendation, I am staying with dino oil until the bike makers start shipping their bikes with synthetics in them. Although, I suspect any engine designed after 2000 will have no issue with synthetics.
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post #25 of 31 Old May 5th, 2019, 4:18 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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I canít say that the synthetic caused either leak and it may have been purely coincidence. However, Tom Cutter, a fairly well known BMW tech told me that he has seen many BMWs that developed leaks on synthetics and had the leaks largely go away after switching back to conventional. I switched my LT back to conventional and the leaks did seem to slow down substantially, but my clutch was already trashed so it didnít matter.
I am a believer of this, especially with the LT's rear main seal.

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post #26 of 31 Old May 5th, 2019, 5:58 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

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I am a believer of this, especially with the LT's rear main seal.
Ironically, with my LT the engine did not leak the synthetic, it was the transmission and FD. BOTH started leaking shortly after the dealer replaced the gear oil with the BMW (Spectro??) synthetic lube. Every single rotating shaft in the transmission was leaking when I tore the bike down and the pinion seal of the FD was leaking. It sure acted like an issue with the OEM seals and the synthetic gear oil, but I certainly can’t prove that. It is just hard to imagine three transmission seals failing simultaneously otherwise.

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post #27 of 31 Old May 6th, 2019, 11:01 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

I have run synthetic in my rear drive and transmission since 2006 (24 K service) and never had a seal in either one leak. Just one more data point.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
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2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
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Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #28 of 31 Old May 6th, 2019, 6:39 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

On a bit of a side note but I think still related to oil changes. I have been doing fairly frequent oil changes on my bike, engine, gearbox, and final drive. I figure it's the cheapest thing you can do to keep your bike in better condition. What I have noticed is that my reverse function has improved. It used to reverse for a short distance and stop. Now it keeps going.
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post #29 of 31 Old May 9th, 2019, 8:01 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazza View Post
What I have noticed is that my reverse function has improved. It used to reverse for a short distance and stop. Now it keeps going.
reverser misfunction is not uncommon Wazza. Search the threads you'll find numerous posts about what needs replacing, had mine done by dealer early in its life.
Magic pixies might have fixed yours though, by the sound of it!

Chris
Sydney, NSW
2005 Dark Graphite Metallic K1200LT
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post #30 of 31 Old May 9th, 2019, 10:02 am
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazza View Post
On a bit of a side note but I think still related to oil changes. I have been doing fairly frequent oil changes on my bike, engine, gearbox, and final drive. I figure it's the cheapest thing you can do to keep your bike in better condition. What I have noticed is that my reverse function has improved. It used to reverse for a short distance and stop. Now it keeps going.
Frequent oil changes certainly donít hurt as long as they are done properly, but I am pretty sure they didnít fix your reverser operation. If only it were that easy!

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
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post #31 of 31 Old May 9th, 2019, 7:41 pm
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Re: Replace transmission fluid = +2 mpg ???

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazza View Post
What I have noticed is that my reverse function has improved. It used to reverse for a short distance and stop. Now it keeps going.
That behavior is due to something blocking the reverse speed sensor (or sensor failure) in the transmission. Perhaps the oil change caused the chip or what ever was blocking the sensor to be removed. Or the connector for it was loose and during your maintenance it got pushed together better. Either way it is now working as it is supposed to. But just an oil change would not fix it.

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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