Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Boulder, CO, USA
Clunking ABS unit
>>>Question for you... did your bike always or even usually make that dreaded clunking sound leading to another fault, or was it random, and sometimes non-existent?<<<<
I rode my 2001 LT for 5 years and 55k miles with normal ABS function. No noises...no faults....no clunking abs units when pulling away from stoplights. My abs would set itself the first time after a startup and would be silent the rest of the time.
This summer I noticed an occasional clunk pulling away from stoplights. It didn't happen very often, and at first I thought it might even be loose items in my topbox or saddlebag. I rode to Vermont and back in July without hearing the clunking sound, so I thought things were fine.
After my return from Vermont (a 2500 mile trip), the clunking starting up again on occasion. Some rides it didn't do it at all. Other rides, it would clunk about 25% of the time while pulling away from stops. I still wasn't getting an abs fault, so I just kept riding. Then on my trip to Georgia in August, the clunking increased. It was sporadic. I could pull away from stops 10-15 times in a row without incident. Other times, the clunking was much more frequent.
Finally, while pulling away from a stop in Northern Kentucky, the abs lights came on. During the next two days over several hundred miles, I watched the alternating lights flash at me. No clunks at all while the lights were flashing.
I had the bike inspected at Blue Moon near Atlanta while at the Curve Cowboy reunion. The intitial fault code indicated a "piston failure" and recommended an abs unit replacement. They cycled the unit with the computer which cleared the fault. But on the same day, the clunking returned. I've ridden the last two months with no abs faults, but with the clunking occuring on anywhere from 10 to 40 percent of my pull-aways. Then yesterday it faulted again.
So now, I'm faced with your delemna. How much do I really want to spend on a 2001 LT with over 60k miles on the clock? I can't imagine the bike is worth more than 8-9 grand. I haven't gotten a firm price yet from my dealer. I could buy the abs unit from Chicago BMW for 20% off retail and have a private mechanic do the repair. He's good, and I trust him...but I'm sure BMW wouldn't warranty the part if a dealership didn't do the repair (even though my mechanic was bmw certified before BMW of South Bend closed). Still, I could probably save about $400 that way. Or, I can have Grand Rapids BMW do the job and pay full retail plus labor. For the extra money I'd get a year or two of warranty on the repair.
For the next couple of months, its a moot point...'cause with Christmas coming up and with some home improvement to pay for, I simply don't have the funds. Perhaps by next spring....
In the meantime, I'm glad my 2001 has full braking function even with the abs faulting. The newer integrated brakes don't have that benefit. In my 35 years of riding, this is my first BMW, and the only bike I've had that included abs. I'm sure I'll still enjoy the bike without it. I plan on keeping the LT. It runs like a top and I've kept it looking great. I still get the ooh's and aah's at rest stops from curious onlookers. It's the perfect two-up bike that Reggie and I have thoroughly enjoyed, set up with Ohlins and HID lighting and all of the farkles that I've collected.
Today...I'd be inclined to wait and put that $2500 toward a sportier bike (gt? rt? gs?) that I would use on solo rides, instead of putting the money toward a repair. We'll keep the LT for our two-up rides unless further breakdowns necessitate getting rid of it altogether.
But....I'm also the type that will always remember that things aren't perfect anymore on the LT. That will eat away at me and may make me eventually cave in. There's no question that I would prefer to have the safety feature of the abs. It's just hard to justify spending 25% of the bike's value on a repair item that could easily happen again!
Sorry for being so long-winded. I certainly wish you the best and hope you go months or even years without your abs fault returning. But....the clunking is not normal, and would seem to indicate a failure is looming sometime in your future. At least you'll know you're not alone! :>)
For now...enjoy the heck out of your LT. It's a joy to ride with or without the abs!
South Bend, IN