I am glad you made it home with only BIWT (BMW induced wallet trauma).
I share your pain. My LT has averaged probably $400/year in repairs or preventive measures (Jiffy-Tites, FIBIB, etc.) including FD rebuild three years ago and my recent clutch repair, which may have to be repeated to fix clutch chatter.
Kawasaki really spoiled me for 30 years with three nearly repair free bikes. If they only hadn't discontinued making real touring bikes and moved to the Harley clones.
I love my LT when it is working well, but that has been less than 20% of its 54,000 miles. And every time one thing is sorted out, something new pops up to take its place. Unfortunately, I keep looking for something better, but as yet have found nothing.
I have rented two K1600s, a GTL and recently a GTLE, and they just don't do it for me. Clunky shifting, sloppy drive train and lousy weather protection for hands and feet.
The closest was the Yamaha FJR1300A. With the addition of cruise, I thought this would be a contender. Super engine, perfectly calibrated FI, silky transmission, tight drive train and decent seat. But seriously lacking in weather protection and with lousy passenger accommodations. If I was a solo traveler, I would ride an FJR.
I keep hoping Kawasaki will add cruise to the C14. I think that could then be a real contender. But for now, I keep pouring money into my LT and continue searching for a competent replacement that is engineered and assembled for long-term reliability.
Best of luck with your tear down and repair.
Matt, you've got me thinking. There is a Yamaha shop in my little town but I think the only thing he stocks are 4 wheelers, cruisers and dirt bikes. I only ride solo as my wife rides her own bike. I wonder if a trailer hitch is available. Since I bought my K1200LT with less than 8,000 miles I have done the following:
un plugged the airbox sensor
replaced the in tank fuel lines and filter
replaced the fuel gauge sending unit
drilled the weep holes
replaced the clutch slave
changed the brake lines to Spielers and added speed bleeders
Adjusted the valves to maximum clearance
changed the spark plugs
three rear tires and two fronts
metal valve stems
installed a trailer hitch with wiring and relays
welded gussets to the center stand
bought a spare final drive and sent it to Saddleman and installed it
installed Eastern Beaver relay box
did the Ford starter relay
installed PIIA lights with a Autoswitch
hardwired Garmin plugs
installed a cigarette power outlet in the right dash
I have kept up with all the normal maintenance.
The bike now has 26,000 miles, I think my cost per mile is horrendous even if i discount my labor. This aint no airhead.
Oh well, onward and upward.