To Flush Or Not To Flush - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 8 Old Jan 30th, 2017, 6:38 pm Thread Starter
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To Flush Or Not To Flush

I have an '02 K1200LT and an '04 R1150RT.
Both have been to a dealer for their services since new, (I bought them second hand) and very well looked after since I owned them by the mechanics at my local dealer.


Although they have different ABS pumps, both have had the recommended brake fluid flush every two years.

Having moved, I talked to a new dealer about a major service for the K1200 and got an answer that surprised me. They do not like doing the flush on the K1200LT since they say it causes pump failures.
An eyebrow raised - I wonder if perhaps when they have done a flush it dislodged gunk that then caused the pump failure - gunk that should have been flushed out more often.

Anyway, I will ride the K1200 back to its usual mechanic soon for the service.

My understanding is that the flush is essential to prevent pump failure.

Your views?
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post #2 of 8 Old Jan 30th, 2017, 7:57 pm
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

I'd ask them if their concern was about flushing them using the original brake lines or would their position be different if the bike had aftermarket Speigler's installed...

Dave Beck
'16 K1600GTLE
'07 K1200LT (sold 9/24/16)
'74 Suzuki GT750L (long, long gone)


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post #3 of 8 Old Jan 30th, 2017, 8:50 pm
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

Flush them. Wheel circuits every year and control every two years. I have done that for the last 12 years on my 2005 LT (bought in April of 2004). I always get dark fluid out of the wheel circuits as the humidity is high in the summer here in Alabama. BMW did reduce the frequency to two year and four but I am sticking with the original. I have seen too many pump units destroyed by rust to not do it. Brakes are still working fine and I did go to Spiegler lines in 2014. I would highly recommend it on your 2002 as those lines are now 15 - 16 years old.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #4 of 8 Old Jan 30th, 2017, 9:29 pm
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimbler View Post
I have an '02 K1200LT and an '04 R1150RT.
Both have been to a dealer for their services since new, (I bought them second hand) and very well looked after since I owned them by the mechanics at my local dealer.


Although they have different ABS pumps, both have had the recommended brake fluid flush every two years.

Having moved, I talked to a new dealer about a major service for the K1200 and got an answer that surprised me. They do not like doing the flush on the K1200LT since they say it causes pump failures.
An eyebrow raised - I wonder if perhaps when they have done a flush it dislodged gunk that then caused the pump failure - gunk that should have been flushed out more often.

Anyway, I will ride the K1200 back to its usual mechanic soon for the service.

My understanding is that the flush is essential to prevent pump failure.

Your views?
I flush mine every couple years and the fluid comes out amber, but not real dark. Our winters in PA are quite dry compared to many parts of the country. I suspect most failures aren't from gunk in the system getting dislodged, but rather dirt getting in through careless flushing. I always wash the area above and around the ABS unit and let it dry well before flushing. It would be very easy to get junk in the ABS while removing the caps, installing the funnel, adding fluid, etc. I take great pains to be scrupulously clean when doing this job. I suspect most dealers are not so careful, but that is just a guess.


I think there is virtually zero chance that a proper flush would fail an abs.
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post #5 of 8 Old Jan 31st, 2017, 7:46 am
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

Definitely flush. And do it yourself. I worried about doing mine for a long tine before i actually did it. Surprisingly simple if you do it with the IV bag system. The hardest part is taking the tupperware off.
JZeiler: when did BMW change the interval for flushing, and where would i get the new maintenance interval?


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Joe
Palm Coast, FL.

2006 K1200LT (Love it)
2002 R1150RT (Sold)
2007 Harley FLHTCU (sold at 137k Miles)
1999 Harley Night train (blew the eng at 150k miles)
1986 harley Davidson FLTC (Sold When assigned to Europe
1982 Harley Wide Glide (sold)
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post #6 of 8 Old Jan 31st, 2017, 10:42 am
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

I would definitely flush but only if the lines have already been replaced or if they have been flushed regularly. They deteriorate from the inside out and even though Voyager makes a good point of external contamination being a possible cause of failures, the only place that could enter is the reservoir as all fluid flow would push out contaminants unless you were pulling fluid in reverse with a vacuum. I prefer to push myself. We have also seen old lines collapse and become blocked with their own internal crap. New lines and a good flush should not cause a failure by itself assuming you do not introduce air inadvertently. Do as jzeller and Voyager said and make sure you are not sabotaging yourself with external gunk. You should be fine.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #7 of 8 Old Jan 31st, 2017, 1:22 pm
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

After 12 years of doing it myself, my experience (with look and color of fluid) is to stay with the old conservative intervals (every year).
At the cost of these ABS units, I would rather spend some more time on it - I have seen too many fail after the bike sat idle for 18 months or more with no fluid change.

To answer your recent Question (when was interval changed), I am posting an extract from an article I wrote but never published for a blog. Obviously, I do NOT intend to follow this less strict regime, but I am posting this for your info as it came from BMW:

---------------------
INTRO / BACKGROUND
---------------------
In 2006, BMW came out with Service-Bulletin “# 34 002 06 (019)” that allows extended brake fluid renewal intervals for the “Integral ABS” system of many motorcycle models. After extensive trials and road tests, the company determined it was possible to extend service intervals (for certain models) without affecting safety. As a result, there is a potential reduction in maintenance costs.

Maybe your dealer forgot to mention this to you, but based on this Bulletin you could save roughly between $50 to $100 per year (if work done at dealer). Talking to many K1200 owners at various rallies, I got the impression that the time billed for the bleeding procedures vary quite a bit from dealer to dealer, even for the same model. Like me, many riders taught that the “Integral ABS” system was an important asset but they often complained about the time and cost of bleeding those brakes.

----------------------------------------------
Does this apply to all BMW motorcycle models ?
----------------------------------------------
This bulletin is mainly applicable to bikes equipped with the “Integral ABS” system (also called ABS with servos). All non-ABS models with rubber hoses or older bikes with ABS II still need to have the brake fluid changed every year (this would be mainly 1994-2001 for USA market).

To understand the table in the next section, you first need to identify which ABS system your BMW motorcycle is equipped with. As far as I know, there are 4 simple criteria to cover all bases:
1)The “EVO integral ABS” was introduced only late 2001 or early 2002 depending on the country.

2)When the ignition is ON and engine is not running: if you have the “EVO integral ABS” you will hear the ABS modulator pump (also called servo-pump) do a noisy “Wiiiizzzzz” when the front brake is applied.

3)If your K1200RS/LT is prior to 2001 or if you cannot hear the pump as described above, you probably have the ABS II system or no ABS at all. I am assuming most owners would know if their bike is equipped with ABS brakes.

4)If you have any other BMW motorcycle that was built in 2007 or later, it could be equipped with the new “BMW Motorrad integral ABS” system that does not have an electrical modulator/servo pump - so you will not hear the noise mentioned above. For these models, I suspect that your owner's manual has been written to reflect the new brake service intervals - check with your dealer.

To understand the table in the next section it is also important to know if your machine is equipped with rubber brake lines or with steel-braided lines (called “Stahlflex” brake lines in the bulletin). Unless you machine was modified, all K1200LT/RS came from the factory with black rubber brake hoses. If you have a more recent model like a K1200S, K1300GT or a R1200GS for example (2005 or later), you should have the factory installed steel-braided lines. In this case, the Service-Bulletin still applies, see below....

---------------------------
New recommended intervals
---------------------------
The expression “Wheel Circuit” means between the ABS modulator and the brake calipers (at the wheels).
The expression “Control circuit” means between the Master-Cylinders (handlebar, pedal) and the ABS modulator.

Rubber brake hoses Interval:
Front / Rear Wheel circuit: annually (no change)
Front / Rear Control circuit: every 4 years (doubled)

Stahlflex brake hoses Interval:
Front / Rear Wheel circuit: every 2 years (doubled)
Front / Rear Control circuit: every 4 years (doubled)


Most of the early K1200RS and K1200LT (1998 to 2001) had rubber brake lines with an ABSII system (no servos), so they do not gain anything here. You still need to change the brake fluid every year.

For all bikes equipped with “EVO Integral ABS” you can now wait 4 years (was 2 years before) between fluid changes for the “Control Circuit”. For the “Wheel circuit”, you gain 1 year if your bike has steel-braided brake lines as standard equipment.

-------------------------------------------
Further cost reduction for the Control-circuit
-------------------------------------------
The 2nd part of this Service-Bulletin allows further maintenance cost reduction if your BMW motorcycle is equipped with the “Integral ABS”. The brake fluid replacement for the “Control circuit” has been simplified to the bleeding of only 2 “control circuit” ports on the unit. In the past, the technician had to bleed 6 ports on the ABS unit. For those who do their own maintenance, note that the old (and longer) method must still be used when servicing any major component like the replacement of a brake line or the complete ABS unit.

So, based on this Service-Bulletin, the “Control circuit” brake fluid replacement would be needed only every 4 years, plus the procedure should be less costly on your service invoice.
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-------------------------------------------------
John (Montreal, CANADA)
K1200RS (2002 IceBlue/Red - 96,000 miles)
-------------------------------------------------
Think twice before you hit [SUBMIT REPLY] - famous quote by another member:
"The value of this board is not founded on dismissing the ideas of others, but by posting to share our experiences and what we've learned from them."

Last edited by sailor; Jan 31st, 2017 at 1:31 pm.
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post #8 of 8 Old Feb 13th, 2017, 12:35 pm
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Re: To Flush Or Not To Flush

Thanks, Sailor. Great explanation. Now, I did a search everywhere but could not find anything on Service Bulletin 34 003 03 (021): "Modifications to Intregral ABS Modulators: K1200LT. What's that about? Plenty of us have modulator (servo) issues.

I also wonder about Service Bulletin 06 004 01 (009): " Integral ABS Bleed Test for K Series Motorcycles"

2006 K1200LT since new

Last edited by starbeem; Feb 13th, 2017 at 12:43 pm.
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