After a rough week, I decided to take on some maintenance tasks to make myself feel like I can actually ACCOMPLISH something...waiting for Tony Kay to get back from frollicking in California to help me with the Valve check and spark plug swap to finish the rest of the "12,000 mile service."
I gathered the necessary parts and goodies from the BMW dealership, but decided to give Royal Purple synthetic fluids a try (http://www.royalpurple.com/prodsa/cycle.html)
, max-cycle for the engine at $10.99 a quart (same price as BMW synthetic, went with 20W50 which fell within spec according to the maintenance manual for the LT) and syncromax for the trans and rear drive.
Autozone had the perfect-fit oil filter "socket" for $4.99, instead of $35 at the BMW shop.
First off, if I ever meet Hans or Gunter or whoever turned the wrench on my '04 which now has 17K miles on it, I am kicking his ass, because I had to put a two foot pipe on the end of my ratchet to break loose the bolts on the exhaust hanger and engine skid plate, and I think I gave myself a hernia opening up the transmission and final drive drain plugs.
The rear drive fluid looked like raw sewage, I was glad I ran the beast first to warm everything up...I also attached an inflation nozzle for an air bed to the end of my tire inflator and put it into the fill hole after it drained for a bit, turned it on to blow out a few extra tablespoons of old fluid. Trans fluid was ugly as well, conventional oil was definitely overdue for a change.
Nice thing about the Royal Purple syncromax is that it comes in essentially a quart-sized squeeze bottle with a pointed tip that fits inside of the fill plug hole perfectly, squeezing the bottle puts the fluid into the resevoir without need for a special funnel (oh, cut it out, you sickos...I'm talking about engine lubricants!!!).
Check, double check, followed the EXCELLENT advice in the "hall of wisdom" on how much goes in the rear drive, the fantastic "oil change checklist" (thank you much!), etc, no drips, no leaks, etc.
Also followed the advice of another forum member and took off the left footpeg assembly and tightened the first link in the gearshift, uh, linkage? Tightening it two full turns...and voila, no more fumbled first to second gear shifts.
I LOVE THIS STUFF.
I am not sure how much of the MASSIVE improvements I've seen is due to the fact that I've gone from conventional to synthetic, and how much is because it's "Royal Purple" brand synthetic fluids, but instantly the beast is like a brand new machine. Engine runs 100% smoother, vibration is smoothed out...smooth as glass. Even the tell-tale buzziness that always popped up at 4,200 to 4,300 RPM in any gear (it's a 2004 LT) disappeared. Feels stronger, throttle response is better.
Previous bike was a used California Highway Patrol RT with over 60K miles, when I switched from conventional to all synthetic, I didn't notice any difference save for slightly smoother shifts on that miserable getrag transmission.
I don't know about RP's claims of cooler running engines, or increased horsepower. I'll give an update in a thousand miles or so as to whether I see an increase in gas mileage. But I'm definitely sold on this stuff.