A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines) - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 12:34 pm Thread Starter
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A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

Today a friend & fellow forum member Curt D. & I took a ride in the Hill Country for breakfast. Curt has a 1999 K1200LT with just under 30,000 miles. The bike is well maintained for the most part just not rode a lot.
About 30 minutes into the ride I pulled over to plug in my intercom that had been pulled apart. As I started to pull back onto the road Cut flagged me to stop. This is when I saw smoke coming from the back of his bike. As I ran back he started yelling "FIRE FIRE !!!".

With the help of an extra pair of riding gloves and a few small rags he put the fire out. It was at this time we saw the rubber brake hose had ruptured dumping brake fluid on the hot rotor & Fd causing the fire. We pull the hose loose & pumped out the remaining fluid, then cleaned the wheel and tire off. After checking the bike over the only damage was to the hose, rotor, caliper, pads and speedo/cruise wire.

Thankfully the 99 does not have linked brakes & the bike was rideable. We went on to breakfast then a nice ride back home. Curt will now get all the parts to rebuild the rear brakes but the bike will be on the lift for a while. Thankfully it could have been much worse & Curt has 2 other bikes he can ride till the LT is back on the road.

For all you out there with LT's that have the stock rubber brake hoses please get them replaced with stainless steel ones.
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post #2 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 2:33 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

I had lost 2 and I replaced with SS lines when the second one went. Luckily, both happened as I was leaving my garage and not out on the road.

I agree 100%. If you have one of these older bikes, do yourself a huge favor and change out the lines. I am glad I did and there is a very good chance that it could save your life. They are going to go and you don't know when or where.
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Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
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post #3 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 5:31 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

Caught fire on the hot rotor. I suspect the rubber hose delaminated, made a check valve of sorts and clamped on to the rotor heating it up. Then finally burst with more use and no strength. Any OEM rubber lines over 10 years old have done their duty. A wild tail for sure.
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post #4 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 7:30 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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Caught fire on the hot rotor. I suspect the rubber hose delaminated, made a check valve of sorts and clamped on to the rotor heating it up. Then finally burst with more use and no strength. Any OEM rubber lines over 10 years old have done their duty. A wild tail for sure.
amazes me that these bikes don't seem to hold up given the stories I read here. You guys make these bikes sound like they are a death trap.... I have the feeling that this spring I will have nearly as much in this new to me bike as I paid for it repairing and replacing all the systems on it that seem destine to fail. Thinking I should have purchased another Harley. Glad I kept my little Harley, guess I can ride it while this one is out of service. Funny this site seems to be all about the mechanical upkeep and failures of these machines and the local DC BMW site is all about the members that wreck them always with injuries, often as a result of low speed instability or being run down or over in the DC metro area.

Rick Smith
Hagerstown, MD
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post #5 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 8:06 pm Thread Starter
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

Rick when I had my LT I had no break downs that kept the bike off the road in 75,000 miles. My rear brake hose (like my friends) sprang a leak but since I never use the rear It did not stop me from riding. The bike was down for 1 weekend while I replaced all the rubber lines. The majority of people who post on these forums are either looking for info on a problem they have or like my post telling others about a problem. These people are a very small amount of the total owners of that bike. The vast majority of owners never visit forums they just ride & enjoy.

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post #6 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 10:19 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

Things generally last as long as they are designed to last without abuse. The brake lines on mine were 14 years old so I figure they did their duty before giving up. I have had car lines go in less time than that. The 99 mentioned in this post is 16 so it is more a factor of the age of the lines than anything else. Most cars at 16 are no longer on the road at all unless you live in Cuba.

The rest of the items I am doing and posting about are preventative because I have a bike with no papers. I am not rich but currently, I can afford to put a little into my bike and set a baseline as I intend to keep it for awhile, plus I enjoy working on things like this.

My O-ring was hard and just starting to seep a little but not much at 14. I could have ridden it for maybe another couple years before having a real issue. My clutch was worn about 30% at 53K so that too was not in any real need of any action but replaced. The slave and bearing was also looking almost new so no issue there but replaced it anyways. Drilled the weep holes so I will know if any of these systems starts to have some problem. Replaced the seals on the back engine and transmission just because I could though none were leaking at all.

The things you hear people continually talking about are a culmination of all issues the LT has but not all LT's have every issue and if they do, it isn't usually all at once. As katnapinn said, a lot of people come here looking for help on fixing an issue and i can't think of a better place for them to come. The guys here are also quick to recommend other things to look at if you are doing some sort of maintenance where you could also inspect or change something "while you are there". It doesn't mean it needs to be done now.

All in all, now I know I seem to have bought a pretty well maintained bike with no real issues at 14 save the brake lines but at least now I know exactly where I stand with it and expect it to perform extremely well with few issues over the next couple years. I just need to learn to ride it better so I can keep up with those K1300's and GTL's through the twisties in April. I am ready for the next 14
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Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
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post #7 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 10:29 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

In short, things get old, you have to do regular maintenance and preventative maintenance. Only normal. This event is not unexpected for a fifteen year old bike. They are good bikes and will go way over 200,000 miles, but one needs to take care of the small stuff.
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post #8 of 24 Old Jan 10th, 2016, 11:40 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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In short, things get old, you have to do regular maintenance and preventative maintenance. Only normal. This event is not unexpected for a fifteen year old bike. They are good bikes and will go way over 200,000 miles, but one needs to take care of the small stuff.
Well put. All the fix it before it breaks warnings are out there for those that do preventative maintenance on their LT. A lot of us are just able to get by garage mechanics with the LT riding passion and we value this forum for the real wrench masters that willingly provide valuable assistance. Without it some of us would say goodbye. Everyone has a all shucks tale to tell and we love hearing them. Can't wait for the weather to change so I can run thru the gears and feel the happy.
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post #9 of 24 Old Jan 11th, 2016, 10:35 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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Things generally last as long as they are designed to last without abuse. The brake lines on mine were 14 years old so I figure they did their duty before giving up. I have had car lines go in less time than that. The 99 mentioned in this post is 16 so it is more a factor of the age of the lines than anything else. Most cars at 16 are no longer on the road at all unless you live in Cuba. <snip>
I'm sorry, but no. I have an '02 Dodge Dakota, and I fully expect the soft brake lines to be perfectly functional a decade or more from now. If the LT brake lines are an issue, they're an issue, and I have no problem whatsoever with the notion of dealing with that issue (in fact, it's first on my list of preventative repairs), but please don't try to rationalize the issues of this bike by comparing it to cars. They're totally different animals with different goals, strengths, and weaknesses.


Mark

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post #10 of 24 Old Jan 11th, 2016, 10:57 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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please don't try to rationalize the issues of this bike by comparing it to cars. They're totally different animals with different goals, strengths, and weaknesses.


Mark
Sorry Mark, I don't know what came over me.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
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1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
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post #11 of 24 Old Jan 11th, 2016, 11:10 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

Even though that looks suspiciously like sarcasm (), I'll go ahead and play it straight and say "no problem".

Trust me, I haven't forgotten your help when I first showed up here, and I'm digging the pics you've put up on the clutch thread. I just calls 'em as I see 'em.


Mark

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post #12 of 24 Old Jan 11th, 2016, 11:35 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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Even though that looks suspiciously like sarcasm (), I'll go ahead and play it straight and say "no problem".

Trust me, I haven't forgotten your help when I first showed up here, and I'm digging the pics you've put up on the clutch thread. I just calls 'em as I see 'em.


Mark
It was probably a little of both Yes, they are different animals and I realize that. Beech said it better and shorter.

Things get old and need to be replaced at the end of their designed life span regardless if it has 2 wheels or 4. We are lucky to have enough information on many of these things to predict that they are getting close to failure and deal with them before they cause a possible bad situation.

I loved both my Dakotas. I still may get another but the newer ones don't fit me as well as the old bench seat extended cab ones. I had a 89 and a 96.

It was too cold to get out and put any more of my LT together tonight. My girl friend brought over a larger heater than my little one so maybe i can continue tomorrow. I want to get my cage back in the garage so I don't have to scrape the windows in the morning I will keep posting as i get things done.
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Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
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post #13 of 24 Old Jan 12th, 2016, 5:48 am
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

The front brake line on my 05 LT failed the week after returning from a rally in Jasper, Arkansas. I went with the Spiegler lines. I'd have been up a creek if it had failed in Arkansas. Ten years is enough to ask of these lines................
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post #14 of 24 Old Jan 12th, 2016, 9:30 am
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

This thread re-affirmed my decision to preemptively change out my OEM brake lines to Speigler lines last year. To me it is a moot point that car brake hoses most often last longer. I am much more willing to take the risk of a burst hose in a cage than on my bike.

Jim
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post #15 of 24 Old Jan 12th, 2016, 10:14 am
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

OK, OK, I'll look into replacing my brake lines. It is a 2002 and all original parts.

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post #16 of 24 Old Jan 12th, 2016, 5:37 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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OK, OK, I'll look into replacing my brake lines. It is a 2002 and all original parts.
Bones, don't look into it. Just do it! It's not that hard and the peace of mind is worth it.

Robert
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post #17 of 24 Old Jan 13th, 2016, 8:56 am
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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Bones, don't look into it. Just do it! It's not that hard and the peace of mind is worth it.

Robert
+1
Bones, I replaced the lines on my 2001 with Spieglers at about 46K miles. I had previous experience because I had put them on my 86' Connie when I noticed a bulging line during a periodic inspection. That was when there was a Lone Star and Denise was running the parts. She gave me a deal equal to the online price and we were in business. Just do it!
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post #18 of 24 Old Jan 13th, 2016, 1:02 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

The truth is that the OE lines were poorly constructed. Four of mine sprang leaks. (I just replaced them as they failed.) It's a calculated risk. Fortunately they usually get pin leaks and I had many stops left when the brakes started to fade.
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post #19 of 24 Old Jan 13th, 2016, 5:18 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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The truth is that the OE lines were poorly constructed. Four of mine sprang leaks. (I just replaced them as they failed.) It's a calculated risk. Fortunately they usually get pin leaks and I had many stops left when the brakes started to fade.
finally an explanation as to what the deal is. My two hobbies are old cars and bikes. I have a survivor 70 chevelle with the original brake lines that I check each time I take it out and they are 56 years old and are fine. I also have a 25 year old motorcycle with original lines. That is why I could not imagine having to do the kind of maintenance suggested here. If it is just a poor design and poor quality original materials, that makes sense. I will replace them before riding season. I do hope as someone suggested that I will eventually find I can just ride the heck out of this thing. My purchase was to have a long distance 2 up traveling machine. I went with this for its looks and I thought it would be a smoother and more comfortable ride than another Harley. Hope that turns out to be the case. I have several 500 plus mile trips planned for next summer.

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post #20 of 24 Old Jan 13th, 2016, 5:50 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

Since owning the LT, tracking the brake line issues on this forum, and replacing my lines with Speiglers (a relatively easy job, especially when done in conjunction with the periodic system bleeding exercise), it got me wondering about the safety of the original lines on my '56 T-Bird and '66 Mustang. I've always done the brake work on them myself, but have never drained their systems to replace the fluid - looks like they are overdue and will look into replacing the lines with something similar to Spieglers while I'm at it...

Dave Beck
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post #21 of 24 Old Jan 13th, 2016, 9:58 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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finally an explanation as to what the deal is. My two hobbies are old cars and bikes. I have a survivor 70 chevelle with the original brake lines that I check each time I take it out and they are 56 years old and are fine. I also have a 25 year old motorcycle with original lines. That is why I could not imagine having to do the kind of maintenance suggested here. If it is just a poor design and poor quality original materials, that makes sense. I will replace them before riding season. I do hope as someone suggested that I will eventually find I can just ride the heck out of this thing. My purchase was to have a long distance 2 up traveling machine. I went with this for its looks and I thought it would be a smoother and more comfortable ride than another Harley. Hope that turns out to be the case. I have several 500 plus mile trips planned for next summer.
500 miles? Are you planning to ride more than 5 hours per trip? Of course, at that speed, you may need to plan for time getting fast speed awards. If your bike is like mine, it will do a long trip and ask for more. When running close to the speed limit, it acts like a rottweiler straining at a chain and longing to run free. I couldn't believe how hard it was to go 55 when a police officer changed his turn signal to pull out behind me and follow me for about 15 miles today.

You will have a very different experience as compared to a V-twin.
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post #22 of 24 Old Jan 14th, 2016, 9:39 am
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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500 miles? Are you planning to ride more than 5 hours per trip? Of course, at that speed, you may need to plan for time getting fast speed awards. If your bike is like mine, it will do a long trip and ask for more. When running close to the speed limit, it acts like a rottweiler straining at a chain and longing to run free. I couldn't believe how hard it was to go 55 when a police officer changed his turn signal to pull out behind me and follow me for about 15 miles today.

You will have a very different experience as compared to a V-twin.
How true, and how easy it is to forget your speed - I have to use my GPS to keep an eye on it. But I have to say so far I've been lucky talking my way out of an award on the LT. The last time is kind of amusing - I was traveling on a 55 MPH secondary highway in KY that I often ride & generally keep it to about 60-62 using cruise. Well an old farmer in a beat up pickup truck obliviously pulls right out in front of me & proceeded to plod along going about 45-50. I had to follow him for about 6 miles before I came to a legal passing zone with a big clearing coming the other way. So as the last car is approaching, I drop back some, downshift to 3rd & accelerate up to the old fart to pass just after the last car cleared. Passing, I upshift & keep on the throttle just for kicks. I'm back in my lane well before the next car is approaching which I then saw is the county sheriff! I see his lights go on and as he's banging a U-turn I found my spot to stop on the shoulder and was already getting off the bike as he pulled up. I explained the situation and he said, "Oh - I saw the whole thing." So I asked if he could kindly cut me some slack and he replied - I'm not going to write you up, I ride too & the way you blew by that truck I just wanted to check out your bike! We chat for a while and as he's walking back to his cruiser he said, by the way I clocked you at 85. I never have that luck in a car.
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post #23 of 24 Old Jan 14th, 2016, 5:56 pm
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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I'm not going to write you up, I ride too & the way you blew by that truck I just wanted to check out your bike! We chat for a while and as he's walking back to his cruiser he said, by the way I clocked you at 85. I never have that luck in a car.
Yep, you can be at 85 very easily... in 3rd gear (and beyond). Great story! What kind of bike did the officer have?
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post #24 of 24 Old Jan 15th, 2016, 10:52 am
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Re: A Cautionary Tale (Brake Lines)

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Yep, you can be at 85 very easily... in 3rd gear (and beyond). Great story! What kind of bike did the officer have?
He had a HD. That's probably why he was surprised how a big bike could get up & go like that.

Jim
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