Originally Posted by kevincook
I'm not really complaining.
Didn't think you were
There's no question that there's room about the bike for an external filter; the question is "is it a good idea?" Every year or so, someone posts the suggestion of moving the filter outside of the tank (not saying you did, I'm just posting to head off the inevitable from someone else
Obviously, I'm very strongly against it. As infrequently as the filter is replaced, and given the fact that there's little additional labor involved (the tank has to come off for the air filter service, anyway), I'd much rather leave the filter encapsulated in the tank and not have the "what if" question constantly in the back of my mind.
There's been more than one BMW owner - on this list alone - that replaced their filter, put the bike back together, and shortly thereafter had the bike stop running -- because the filter had slipped off the pump outlet. If the filter had been outside the tank ... well, imagine what a 50 psi, 1/4" diameter jet of water feels like. Then imagine how quickly and thoroughly that jet would spread all over the place. Now imagine the same thing, with gasoline on you and the bike, with the added joy of the possibility of ignition sources nearby. Ugh.
Maybe this is a case where the design is a pita to service, but the BMW designers did "the right thing." Now about that air filter, and the location of the tranny drain plug! ...
FWIW, I'm apparently not alone in my views on the fuel filter issue, because for cost, better installation space use, and safety reasons, most fuel filters are joining their pumps in the tanks on new cars -- some even in mid-life cycle, despite the added costs of doing it early rather than in the next design. For example, Chevrolet overhauled the fuel system design of the 97-04 Corvette in mid-2003, putting the filter inside the tank, despite the fact that the next generation Corvette was almost ready to release in 2005. This was probably done in part to help push some of the C6 vette's development costs to the C5 program, but also no doubt to get the in-the-tank system out as soon as possible and proven for C6 use.
FWIW2, if BMW really wanted to make an improvement here, they could substantially increase the size of the filter and increase its life -- my '04 vette's in-tank filter is a 100,000+ mile device; BMW should be able to spec a similarly long-lived unit. Of course, then the dealers would be complaining about the lost service income opportunities
More proof than no matter how you make a situation "better," someone's gonna complain