Questions on LT problems - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 17 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 6:29 pm Thread Starter
 
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Questions on LT problems

Hello. I would like to thank every one for such great information here. I am looking for a touring bike and have looked at the Ultra Classic, Goldwing and the LT. I love the LT and Iím going to look at a 03 but now have concerns about getting one. It seems like the LT has its share of problems. Failed rear ends, Poor headlights, Failure of rear gasket and a side stand that wonít hold up the bike. Are these problems in just a small percentage of bikes? Donít want to buy a bike and spend thousands on repairs. Thanks
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post #2 of 17 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 7:14 pm
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Hi Rammer,

Like any bike, every once in a while your going to get a clinker. I have over 25G on my '03 and have never had a problem.

Let your butt decide. Ride a LT. Ride a GW. Ride a Harley. IMHO, the LT's ride can't be beat! The big negative is lack of local dealers in many areas. Honda and Harley dealers are everywhere.

If you want to be like everyone else, get a 'Wing or a Harley. Nothing wrong with that. If you want to stand out and be different, get a Beemer!

Good luck,

Rob V.B.
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post #3 of 17 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 7:52 pm
 
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my 'pinion

former wing rider here... if $$$ is the main concern BMW and HD are not the answer for you. some here will say over time the BMW pays for itself better than the other... i disagree. I bought a BMW because the ride is sooooo much better than the wing. I like "riding" not just sitting on top of the motorcycle. BMW... my pals told me early on ... means "bring your wallet" and i cannot really disagree. i am going to do the recommended 12Kmaintenence soon and it will be around $1,000 or more. Many here say do some work yourself and save$$$... that's just not me.

i'm 10K into my 2002 beemer (paid $14,000) and there are a few things i do not like... squeaky brakes... high center of gravity ... and a sidestand that fails (still can't get over that one). In all... the perma-grin riding this bike provides far outweighs the honda-sauris's bulletproof-ness. The HDs are inferior in my opinion. my pinion' ... ride em' and don't look back. pick the one that your wallet and your ass can handle. good luck, let us know what you decide.
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post #4 of 17 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 8:01 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rammer
Hello. I would like to thank every one for such great information here. I am looking for a touring bike and have looked at the Ultra Classic, Goldwing and the LT. I love the LT and Iím going to look at a 03 but now have concerns about getting one. It seems like the LT has its share of problems. Failed rear ends, Poor headlights, Failure of rear gasket and a side stand that wonít hold up the bike. Are these problems in just a small percentage of bikes? Donít want to buy a bike and spend thousands on repairs. Thanks
Hello back atcha. Welcome to the major website for LT riders, along with some forums for sibling Beemer models. There is just a ton of info scattered around here, and more'n a ton of folks who will answer your questions 'til you run out of 'em.

Coupla points: "Failed rear ends". Of the model years that gets the most attention when one fails, that would be '99 thru partial '02. One hand count for the '03 model years, so far. '99-'02 failure rate wuz in the vicinity of 4% of bikes stateside. And of course, that 4% gets talked about far more than the 96% still goin'. That's just the nature of the good, the bad and the ugly. My opinion is on the optimistic side - ride it; if it fails fix it; life is getting shorter every day!!!

"Poor headlights". Older model bikes need a headlight upgrade; usually done by the installation of an HID unit. If you're regularly riding at night, then that should be one of the first mods to do. And some folks, me included, add auxilliary lights (Motolights, PIAA lights, Hella lights, etc ) since we like to be seen both during the day and night, and don't wanna overdrive/outrun the stock lighting at night. They fill an aftermarket niche for not only some BMW model scoots, but others as well. You'll have to hear from the folks that are running '06 model LTs as to whether BMW AG has improved the stock lighting sufficiently to not require upgrades; but since you're looking at an '03, and if planning on any night riding, then those options are available for you.

"Rear gasket"? Not a big failure rate there, I don't think. When one does, it makes the news, butt again, looking at the probability of 20,000 LT units or more in country, the failure rate is pretty low. I know we don't want it to happen, but if one dwells on it, it becomes destructive to enjoying the ride and the trip. Me - I'd rather worry about the cages sharing the road with me than whether or not the rear gasket is about to puke. That's just me - and yup, Toad has had the final drive; the rear gasket; the clutch; the clutch slave cylinder; and the reverse module - all puked during our 110K miles of smiles. And we're gonna go have some chicken wings tomorrow about 200 miles from home and we're gonna concentrate on motoring safe and enjoying the ride.

"Side Stand". You wouldn't park a manual transmission cage in neutral facing downhill without the emergency brake on or the tranny in first gear -- the LT's emergency brake is first gear engine compression, or a strap around the handlebar brake lever. I'm still amazed that the sidestand will hold up the weight of this bike and others of similar poundage (altho I guess it's only holding a portion of the weight, given the tire's supporting roles), butt still, they do get a workout.

OK, that's enough from me. Those are my thoughts on the subjects, and other's opinions will run right or left, or straight down the fairway. Hope you settle on the bike that's right for you and one that gives you pleasure at the end of every ride. Ride safe.
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post #5 of 17 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 9:22 pm
 
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I too am rather new to the LT. I have only put 2k on my 03. The bike itself has a little over 18K. Before buying I too had similar concerns.

My father in law has an 05 GL1800. He allowed me to ride it many times. I did really like the power and handled rather well. An seemed pretty reliable... either that or the GL guys do not complain as much as we do. If you look at the GL forum, you will run across a few issues with them also. Fine bike just did not feel like you were right in a hard corner and Scrapes a lot.

My wife and I are not wealthy so we were concerned about all the postings. But we both fell in love with the ride of the LT. Used LTs are a great deal. Picked mine up for 11K with a trailer and about 2 to 3K of farkles.


Top heavy: yes it is. The LT handles almost as well as my Kaw Concours did.
I can Staddle walk this thing around easier than I could my connie--which is a taller bike but a lot lighter.

Rear End: I looked to find a later model 03. I am a worrier so I will probably still find a spare rear end next year (Just in case) OR purchase an extended warranty.

Lights: Mine came with the PIAA light... Huge difference. I have not had a bike that shows the road this well. Far better than old bike. Not quite as good as the Wing but will do the job.

SideStand: I have noticed that some times when you think it is all the way down it is not. I tend to push it down lean the bike on it then roll it back a little before putting it in 1st. Always park it level or facing in the uphill direction. Another note is that I have really no problem putting it on the center stand and use it alot. Still have not mastered getting it off the center stand.

Just My 2cents.
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post #6 of 17 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 9:28 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rammer
Hello. I would like to thank every one for such great information here. I am looking for a touring bike and have looked at the Ultra Classic, Goldwing and the LT. I love the LT and Iím going to look at a 03 but now have concerns about getting one. It seems like the LT has its share of problems. Failed rear ends, Poor headlights, Failure of rear gasket and a side stand that wonít hold up the bike. Are these problems in just a small percentage of bikes? Donít want to buy a bike and spend thousands on repairs. Thanks
The sidestand issue is mostly because of a lack of dealers telling new owners how to use it. They don't "fail", but they are not "locking", so depend on the rider using it correctly. If you always put the bike in first gear, roll it forward against engine compression, then lean it over on the stand it is just fine.

Nearly every one that complains about either left the gear in neutral, or a higher gear, or did not roll the bike forward until it stops before leaning it on the side stand.

It is a very heavy bike, and gravity will work against you if you let it. Take the proper precautions and it will be defeated. I rode over 120,000 miles on the LT, never had one problem with the side stand.

Because of the weight and relatively short side stand though, sometimes you may have to search a little for a good place to use it.

Most of us only use the sidestand rarely though, as in holding the bike until you get off, then we put it on the centerstand, which is far more steady and solid. The '05 on LTs have the power centerstand, which makes this a snap.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #7 of 17 Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 1:11 am
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<side stand that wonít hold up the bike>

Mine works perfectly. I never use the center stand--I'm afraid my bike will fall over when I try and get her up.

Course, I rode HDs for a few years before we bought the LT. Guess it was good side stand training.

I regularly park up hill at the closest supermarket, park sideways in parking slots to make level ground, or park sideways in a slot up hill.

The head light in my 86FXRS is only good to about 45mph.

Bob, 00LT
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post #8 of 17 Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 1:03 am
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The LT is very smooth compared to the wing, I had my buddy ride me home from the dealer on his 06' Wing, and it was like being on a buck board very harsh ride. He got his 06' wing because at 28k his 03' wing was using oil and had to have the frame welded in three places.

05' LT Dark Grey, "Battle Star"
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72' Honda SL 100
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post #9 of 17 Old Sep 4th, 2006, 10:16 am
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Bought a 2002 with just over 9k and in the last 8 month and now up to 21k without any problems. Ride it and Mama will like you even more. Have a cell phone? You are covered for any problems. I worry more about a flat then rear end failure. Lights are not the best but like others said, make a change.

"BONES" <///><
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post #10 of 17 Old Sep 14th, 2006, 3:54 pm
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My experience with my '04 LT

Has not been the best. If it weren't for this owners support group the LT would have been history awhile back. If it continues to be a PITA I will add an Ultra to go with my Wide Glide. German engineering is why they lost the war!
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post #11 of 17 Old Sep 14th, 2006, 4:01 pm
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If we had a perfect bike, all of us would buy it right?

So, I'm in my second LT and so far I had only one rear end failure on my first 1999 at 25K miles.

The 2002 has about 55K miles and so far, knock knock knock, still going.
Never drop from the side stand (yes, I drop twice in the parking lot because I only have 180pounds and do not do weights )

Just keep in mind that in a forum, like this one, people will bring much more complains than praise. I would say that we have 99 posts of complains for each one of praise.
This is the nature of the forum. If all goes right with your bike you will not be bragging " hei, my bike is so good and all works fine"

But as was wrote on the very first response, try out all 3 bikes and them decide on the best one for you. And live with that bikes issues.

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post #12 of 17 Old Sep 15th, 2006, 9:36 am
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My opinion here. I thinkn the BMWs have lower resale than the Wings or HDs. Actually I KNOW they do. Why? I dunno. Great bike but there are plenty of them on epay. And they often don;t meet reserve, which is close to NADA or KBB. BUT what you save in purchase price, if you get a good deal, you will pay in maintenance costs. But these costs seem to be inline with other bikes of similar size. Guys on HD ultras here say their costs and schedule is similar to mine. I am just not used to that kind of expense, coming here from much simpler bikes.

Low speed handling? Yes I have my share of "oh crap" moments, but knock wood, she hasn't fallen over with me yet. I can Uturn it on my street (approx 20'- 24' wide) with feet on pegs. Just takes techniques I picked up in MSF.

Dealer network is sparse. I have to go 65 miles to closest BMW dlr. There is a honda place here that I would not use and next closest honda is 45 miles so that's a push really, if I were looking for a WING. HD place between the two.

Failures? Haven't had any yet on my 03. Have had shield replaced under warranty and all other things seem to be okay on bike.

Poor headlights? Ride a Honda Shadow for a while. IF you want het best OEM headlights, can't beat a Vstrom.

Sidestand failure? I agree with others that it's a technique thing when parking. Same thing happend with Vstroms, and it has a longer stand, etc.

I think every bike is going to have some probs. My 02 Vstrom was teh 86 th one ever built, according to the VIN, but I NEVER had any of the major problems that some did, i.e clutch basket or "idle hammer". I did have a loose coolant fitting. Other than that, I had 25k trouble free miles, right up till the tourists did uturn in front of me, ending my bikes life with me.

Like someone said to me on here before I bought mine. Be patient, your bike will find you. Mine did.

Good luck.
Rando
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post #13 of 17 Old Sep 15th, 2006, 12:33 pm
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Smile Questions on LT problems

After having owned my 05 LT for about 1.5 years and having added a number of farkles, I am absolutely thrilled with the bike overall. The technical assistance available from the forum and enthusiastic help from many knowledgeable, seasoned riders such as David Shealey and a host of others has proven priceless.
For example, David recommended HID's for low/high beam and the results are absolutely outstanding! I found out on a 3100 mile solo tour this May just how good it is to have HID's at night. I also added caliper-mounted MotoLights which don't actually improve the night vision that much but certainly improve conspicuity with respect to oncoming traffic.

When you add HID lighting, by all means consider adding a weather-protected toggle switch in series from the relay to the input of the ballast which provides power to the HID lamp. Mount it where you can conveniently access it. HID life will be lengthened because of the electro-hydraulic center stand use...ignition off and then on again to deploy the center stand. Do remember to switch the toggle on before you take off the next ride!!!

I also flushed the braking system on the 05 LT a couple weeks ago, compliments of Mark Neblett's (and other contributors) brake flushing treatise. There are a few changes but the overall operation is the same. I viewed the operation with some apprehension but was successful and certainly recommend same to other riders who possess adequate motivation to learn this operation and who have good mechanical aptitude/experience.

Good luck with your 'ride'.

Terry
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post #14 of 17 Old Sep 15th, 2006, 12:57 pm
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LT problems

Hi. I bought my first BMW (2000 LT) in March, and absolutely love it. I upgraded from a 1986 Yamaha Venture Royale. My observations..... Lighting is way better than my Yamaha, don't have a newer model to compare too. I limit night riding because of all the local Deer. When riding at night. I slow down to 55. So far only had to do a 18K service. Did it myself - oil, filter, and final gear oil. Was easy. I don't have a BMW dealer in town, but my local mechanic is BMW trained, and can do everything but major diagnostics, of which hopefully wont be needed. Does it cheaper that a BMW dealer too. Side stand.....Just use common sense when parking, first gear, "slack" taken up. Handling..... My son rides a 650 yamaha, I can do almost all the slow speed things he had to learn in his safety class. SO it is not too bad. Comfort.....Best I've ridden. My wife says so too.
Anyhow............I like my LT alot. Hope you like yours too, if you get it.

Jim G - Rochester, MN
BMW MOA #123976
2000 K1200LTC
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post #15 of 17 Old Sep 15th, 2006, 1:09 pm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rammer
...Failed rear ends, Poor headlights, Failure of rear gasket and a side stand that wonít hold up the bike. Are these problems in just a small percentage of bikes? Donít want to buy a bike and spend thousands on repairs. Thanks
I bought my '02 LT brand new in '02. Absolutely love it! But, the speed demon inside of me has drawn me to the new GT. Bought one of those just a little over 2 months ago. Over 8K miles on it now, and I'm loving it. There's just nothing like a BMW. Period. And there's nothing like a group of Beemer riders.

Yep, LT's break. But when they do, we fix 'em. I had 7 Hondas. They broke too. I fixed them too. Had a Kawasaki. It broke. I fixed it and rode it some more. See a trend?

Welcome to the forum . . . and good luck with the decision. It's not really all that tough. If you don't like it, sell it.
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post #16 of 17 Old Sep 15th, 2006, 3:34 pm
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I too was a little leary of buying the LT after riding the RT's for years. My first test drive of my 03 LT was interesting to say the least. It was spooky trying to turn it around in a U turn and the first time I stopped the front wheel wasn't straight and the bike wanted to tip over. But after bringing it home from Denver, it drove like a dream, smooth, quiet, and I like being able to listen to tunes without blasting out my ears. I am now a LT convert and I really enjoy the bike. I am going to do an IBR next weekend something that would be tiring on a HD. My wife really likes riding the beemer and she asks to go on rides something that never happened on the RT. ride all three of them, but after riding Hondas, Suzuki's and a bad decision Victory (still don't know what I was thinking) I will always stick with the BMW
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post #17 of 17 Old Sep 16th, 2006, 11:36 am
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I rode a yamaha Venture Royale for 15 years and 154k miles. I bought my '99 LT used with 20k on it. I have had a slave cylinder go bad,dented the fuel level sending unit, did a canisterectomy, and had the final drive bearing let loose. I repaired the bike myself.
The yamaha had to have 3rd gear replaced and had to have the frame welded, both required the bike to be completely torn down.
The only thing I don't like about my LT is that the tires don't last very long, 3.5k on the front and 4k on the rear.
I now have 45k on my LT and I would ride it anywhere. I just got back from a trip to Reno NV, 1400 plus miles in 2 days, with 48-53 mpg.
If you like to ride the LT is the bike.
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