Aarrgh, trans oil leak mystery solved, my fault... - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 10:21 am Thread Starter
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Angry Aarrgh, trans oil leak mystery solved, my fault...

Sheesh guys, this one deserves a honor medal from the "Stupidos club"...

I was yesterday wondering where does the trans oil come to my floor. Thought it was the loose drain plug. Thanks to John and Bill I was able to buy the right key to check the plug tightness and realized it was not loose...

It was a broken centerstand bracket that is part of the transmission housing.
And I did this myself! Aargh!

On Thursday I was with my wife in Helsinki and we made a U-turn across a small and harmless looking road construction. My wife had stepped down from the bike already so I was by myself and I did see that there was a granite curb but it did not look too high...
Yeah, it did not look, but it sure was high enough to bang the skid plate so hard that here is the result. (See pics)

Now, how to fix this?

This could be welded but does anyone know the material of the transmission housing? I know a professional welder but he said that he needs to know the material "recipe" in order to use the right kind of additive (or whatever the correct term is in English) in welding process.

If I try some temporary fix with "JB Weld" or similar it might be just making things worse with the final fix, or whaddya guys think? The seeping oil makes things kinda complicated, plus this part gets also pretty warm so just any chewing gum will not do the job.

Of course I could always go to my friendly dealer and tell him "one ´05 tranny, please".

Oh well, life seems to be an eternal learning process...
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Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

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Last edited by pozo_izquierdo; Jul 21st, 2007 at 10:30 am.
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post #2 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 11:24 am
 
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Looks like the skid plate did it's job!!

I'd be looking on ebay for a an entire centerstand frame with the skid plate. You also seem to have quite a bit of some kind of fluid leakage around the stand frame/transmission and some under the engine bell housing. Might also want to opt for a temporary fix till winter and get at those seals when its down for the season. Be sure to clean the area up thoroughly in the meantime and re-check for other possible broken areas as a precaution.
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post #3 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 1:04 pm
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Man, that is a terrible "learning" opportunity!

I expect the material would be an aluminum mix. A metal analysis would certainly give you the exact mix (recipe). That is something the welder will need to know so he can use correct metal for the welding.

Another option would be to get a used casting from a wrecked bike for the welder to "practice" with before doing your work.

I have used some special epoxy putty with steel or aluminum mixed in to repair some serious damage before. It may be an option here.

let me know if you need help finding the epoxy...

...............
J.M.J...
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post #4 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 4:14 pm Thread Starter
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Angry Update on the gearbox leak, tranny is shot

Oh well, since my last post I have removed the centerstand and realized that one of the gearbox legs is totally broken (but not leaking oil) and the other one is cracked from the root and this crack seeps the oil...

I have documented the damages here:
http://picasaweb.google.com/pozoizqu...GEARBOXHOUSING

Now, I don't intend to start gluening or getting the legs and cracks welded.

I will bite the bullet and order a new gearbox first thing Monday morning and I will have my all-risk insurance cover this. Of course my premium will go up and I have to pay the deductible ( 150 euros, if I remember correctly).
I will fill the gearbox with oil so that I can ride the bike to dealer next Friday and I hope to get it back the end of the following week. Let's see how it goes...

I have already changed my Monday business trip ferry ticket from "bike" to "car"...

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

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post #5 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 4:20 pm
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Ari,
yup.. you need a new gearbox. At least you don't need a new motor!!!

All the innards of the gearbox should transfer. While "in there" might ask about replacing the other important seals.... and perhaps the Slave Cylinder?

...............
J.M.J...
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post #6 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 4:37 pm
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Ari,

I was in a worse predicament with my 99 LT, courtesy of Honda of Hollywood.
The center stand was torn off the transmission casing and there were 3 options to get this fixed:
1) Replace the bottom transmission casing. Too expensive in labor as you need to take apart the existing tranny, pulled all the components out of it and install in the new tranny casing. Besides I personally would never trust that specific dealer to do the job right anyway.
2) Buy and install a "good" used tranny. Problem is... how do you know it is good. Also a pricey proposition.
3) Remove the tranny after draining it, and taking it to a professional welder was ultimately the best and most economical solution, and Honda of Hollywood didn't have to put their greasy paws inside my transmission. Peace of mind is such a beautiful thing! .
In any case (pun intended) my transmission case was repaired properly and the center stand re-attached.
I am not sure exactly what the welder used, but the thing worked great!

I personally would not go with the JB-Weld solution as there is a big risk of the "repair" failing and your bike going down when trying to use the hydraulic stand with both you and the wife on-board.
Is it worth the risk? This is up to you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pozo_izquierdo
Sheesh guys, this one deserves a honor medal from the "Stupidos club"...

I was yesterday wondering where does the trans oil come to my floor. Thought it was the loose drain plug. Thanks to John and Bill I was able to buy the right key to check the plug tightness and realized it was not loose...

It was a broken centerstand bracket that is part of the transmission housing.
And I did this myself! Aargh!

On Thursday I was with my wife in Helsinki and we made a U-turn across a small and harmless looking road construction. My wife had stepped down from the bike already so I was by myself and I did see that there was a granite curb but it did not look too high...
Yeah, it did not look, but it sure was high enough to bang the skid plate so hard that here is the result. (See pics)

Now, how to fix this?

This could be welded but does anyone know the material of the transmission housing? I know a professional welder but he said that he needs to know the material "recipe" in order to use the right kind of additive (or whatever the correct term is in English) in welding process.

If I try some temporary fix with "JB Weld" or similar it might be just making things worse with the final fix, or whaddya guys think? The seeping oil makes things kinda complicated, plus this part gets also pretty warm so just any chewing gum will not do the job.

Of course I could always go to my friendly dealer and tell him "one ´05 tranny, please".

Oh well, life seems to be an eternal learning process...

Gilles & Kathy
BMWMOA# 154719
IBA# 71594
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2012 BMW X3 (parts and people hauler)
86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



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For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #7 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 4:45 pm
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Ari, I think the dealer charged about $900.00 for their labor, and the welder charged about $600.00 for his. I suspect you will do the "dealer" part of the job yourself...
After reviewing your updated photos I still think a good welder can fix the casing. The leak is very easy to fix with welding, and the main job is to make sure the legs are welded back at the correct angle on the tranny.

Gilles & Kathy
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post #8 of 21 Old Jul 21st, 2007, 5:51 pm Thread Starter
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Hi Gilles and thanks for your valuable comments,

I could perhaps try to do the "dealer" part if it was winter and the bike just sitting in the garage. But now I am just in the middle of the riding season I just don't have the time. My vacation is passed and I have to travel from Rome to Riga the next two weeks and during that time the bike has a good time to sit at the dealers and get fixed.

I can ask their opinion on the welding but the whole tranny has to pulled out anyway. I have nowadays pretty good trust on my "personal tech" at the BMW dealer so I don't feel shaky leaving the whole thing to him. Either to dismantle the contents of my existing gearbox or swap in a brand new whole box.
And if the cost goes beyond the limit that it's better to leave it for the insurance company then I'd rather have a totally new tranny installed.

Best regards

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

Bike trip from Finland to USA:

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post #9 of 21 Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 10:38 am
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That looks fixable to me, I would pull it from the bike (don't want to fry all the electronics) have that case TIG welded by a good welder. Fix the crack and fill the entire bolt hole with new metal.
(I have a guy who is US Navy Certified Nuclear Welder, that I use for such things)
Then take it to a machine shop and have them retap it for the correct size bolt.
Roughly couple hundred bucks, better than couple grand.
Rock

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post #10 of 21 Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 11:07 am
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I agree Ari, Get it welded...

There's some stuff over here that they sell that will weld aluminum with just a propane torch for heat... It's some kind of alloy and I understand that it works pretty well..

The comercials on TV show them rebuilding broken cases and totally restoring missing mounting ears and such...

But a good welder with a TIG should be able to get it back to solid again..

A quick drill and tap job later and you should be back in business.

Of course then there's the "time" thing...

If you decide to get a new transmission then you could keep the old one and have it repaired at your leisure and have a spare...

Good Luck and keep us posted.

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post #11 of 21 Old Jul 22nd, 2007, 12:24 pm
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I have fixed engine cases with JB weld is there any frame shops were you are at looks like the crack could be welded frame shops may no how or who could weld it they may lay the bike over to do the job
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post #12 of 21 Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 2:55 pm Thread Starter
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Update #2 on the gearbox

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPSpen
I agree Ari, Get it welded...

There's some stuff over here that they sell that will weld aluminum with just a propane torch for heat... It's some kind of alloy and I understand that it works pretty well..

The comercials on TV show them rebuilding broken cases and totally restoring missing mounting ears and such...

But a good welder with a TIG should be able to get it back to solid again..

A quick drill and tap job later and you should be back in business.

Of course then there's the "time" thing...

If you decide to get a new transmission then you could keep the old one and have it repaired at your leisure and have a spare...

Good Luck and keep us posted.

Lindy says hey,

John and Lindy
Hi John (and others as well) ,

if I would pay for the fixing myself I would go the welding route without hesitation.
But I have calculated how much this accident will cost me if I let the insurance company take care of the fixing.

My cost will be:
1) the deductible 150 euros ( about 200 USD)
2) my premium bonus (discount) will drop from 70% down to 50% (but will come back to 70% in two years if I don't make additional claims) This "lost bonus" will cost me a total of 101 euros ( 135 USD) over three years period.

So my total cost would be about 335 USD.

With this money I would get

a) A totally new gearbox (worth 2446 eur = 3300 USD) + installation labor about 15 hours X 75 eur / h = 1125 eur = 1520 USD

or

b) New gearbox housing (worth 789 eur = 1065 USD) + installation labor of changing the old gears in the new housing x amount of hours

Now the decision which route to go is depending on the insurance inspector. Two dealers recommend route a) as they are currently terribly overloaded with work and changing the old gears in new housing would be an extra effort for them. Now both of them try to convince the insurance company that b) option will eventually become as expensive as putting in complete new tranny.

For me both routes are OK. After 66.000 km my present gearbox has become nice and smooth but will it be like that if moved to a new housing is a good question. Shims, bearings etc need to be changed anyway and the whole thing has to be adjusted.

After welding the insurance company would have more use of my old complete gearbox rather than just the housing. There might be some old model LT-riders who might be interested in the new model improved gearbox. Or would the new model tranny fit the old model ? - I don't know...At least the gear ratios are different...

Anyway, my main concern is the timetable...A new tranny from Germany will take one week at least and the dealer techs are extremely busy so in two - three weeks I will be back on the road again. I hope...

My regards to Lindy as well

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

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post #13 of 21 Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 3:02 pm
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Ari, there may be an option c) if your dealer can locate a good used tranny from am 05 LT with low miles, if this is OK with you and with the insurance.
I would definitely be very concerned about option B) as there will be a tremendous amount of precision work that would take place, and in the end the cost might exceed the cost of a new tranny. This will also result in the bike being in the shop for an extended period of time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pozo_izquierdo
Hi John (and others as well) ,

if I would pay for the fixing myself I would go the welding route without hesitation.
But I have calculated how much this accident will cost me if I let the insurance company take care of the fixing.

My cost will be:
1) the deductible 150 euros ( about 200 USD)
2) my premium bonus (discount) will drop from 70% down to 50% (but will come back to 70% in two years if I don't make additional claims) This "lost bonus" will cost me a total of 101 euros ( 135 USD) over three years period.

So my total cost would be about 335 USD.

With this money I would get

a) A totally new gearbox (worth 2446 eur = 3300 USD) + installation labor about 15 hours X 75 eur / h = 1125 eur = 1520 USD

or

b) New gearbox housing (worth 789 eur = 1065 USD) + installation labor of changing the old gears in the new housing x amount of hours

Now the decision which route to go is depending on the insurance inspector. Two dealers recommend route a) as they are currently terribly overloaded with work and changing the old gears in new housing would be an extra effort for them. Now both of them try to convince the insurance company that b) option will eventually become as expensive as putting in complete new tranny.

For me both routes are OK. After 66.000 km my present gearbox has become nice and smooth but will it be like that if moved to a new housing is a good question. Shims, bearings etc need to be changed anyway and the whole thing has to be adjusted.

After welding the insurance company would have more use of my old complete gearbox rather than just the housing. There might be some old model LT-riders who might be interested in the new model improved gearbox. Or would the new model tranny fit the old model ? - I don't know...At least the gear ratios are different...

Anyway, my main concern is the timetable...A new tranny from Germany will take one week at least and the dealer techs are extremely busy so in two - three weeks I will be back on the road again. I hope...

My regards to Lindy as well

Gilles & Kathy
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2011 Ostra Gray RT
06 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate (parts and people hauler)
2012 BMW X3 (parts and people hauler)
86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



For her I climbed the highest mountain!
For her I swam across the deepest ocean!
For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #14 of 21 Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 3:30 pm Thread Starter
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You are absolutely right Gilles.

I am trusting that my "personal tech" will present the case to the insurance inspector with the words you used and thus convince him to take option a).
He might also ask second opinion from the other dealer's BMW-specialist and he is exactly of the same opinion.

The problem with your proposal is the rarity of LT:s in this part of the globe. I still have not located a single company in this country that would even strip LTs or any other BMWs for that matter...There are plenty of Jap bike stripper bays around, though.

But, I will strongly consider your proposal as plan B ( or C to be precise ) in case it starts looking like my techs are not able to convince the insurance company to buy a new tranny.

Thanks for your input!

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
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post #15 of 21 Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 3:48 pm
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I like your position in regards to getting the new box. I've had some bad experiences with tyring to use parts out of junkers, and although the boneyards usually stand behind their products and will give you a new one if needed - this is a little more involved than putting in a tranny in an old Chevy 1/2 ton. For the difference in cost, I would go the route of the new factory built tranny over the swapped cases idea as well for more of less the same reasons.
On the other hand, welding this case should not be a big deal, and I don't think you really *need* to pull it from the bike in order to do it. You would need to get the bike up somewhere to give the welder room to work, maybe something like a pit used at oil changing facilities?

This is really scary though. I whacked my skidplate really hard a while back pulling out of a BBQ place down near Nantahala forest (don't remember the name) and now looking at your pictures, I think I was REALLY lucky! My plate actually got pushed in about 1/2" from the impact with the road surface, I must have REALLY came close to taking if off!
I have to wonder why is that mounted to the cases and not to the frame??

Scary stuff indeed! Good luck with your repair and let us know how you make out!

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post #16 of 21 Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 4:57 pm
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1
On the other hand, welding this case should not be a big deal, and I don't think you really *need* to pull it from the bike in order to do it. You would need to get the bike up somewhere to give the welder room to work, maybe something like a pit used at oil changing facilities?
I the main issue is that this is arc welding, meaning that the transmission will be grounded at one end and the other electrode will be doing the repair by depositing metal where it is in contact with the housing. If the tranny is still in the bike this will fry all electronics...! Hence the tranny must be removed first. No short cuts on that one!!!

Gilles & Kathy
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post #17 of 21 Old Jul 23rd, 2007, 11:40 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KMC1

This is really scary though. I whacked my skidplate really hard a while back pulling out of a BBQ place down near Nantahala forest (don't remember the name) and now looking at your pictures, I think I was REALLY lucky! My plate actually got pushed in about 1/2" from the impact with the road surface, I must have REALLY came close to taking if off!
I have to wonder why is that mounted to the cases and not to the frame??

Scary stuff indeed! Good luck with your repair and let us know how you make out!
Hi Kevin,

have you checked that your tranny brackets are still OK? I mean they can still break without causing the oil leak. In my case the front bracket was totally broken loose and if it wasn't the oil seeping through the rear bracket crack I'd still be a happy camper...Of course this would have come up some day (by me or the next owner). So maybe it was better to experience all this now and at least know from where it all started.

As for the welding, I'm no craftsman in that but like Gilles I have my doubts that it would succeed on site. Frying the electronics is a valid point, too but I would be as concerned of having trans oil as "welding additive" and how that would affect the end result. As I see it, the least that would need to be done is to turn the gearbox upside down and thus stop the oil seeping through the crack.

Best regards

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

Bike trip from Finland to USA:

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post #18 of 21 Old Jul 24th, 2007, 10:38 am Thread Starter
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Thumbs up Update #3, new tranny on the way

Got a phone call from my "personal technician" at BMW dealer this morning. He had just spoken with the insurance company damage inspector and he gave the permission to order a totally new gearbox. While ordering stuff on the insurance company's account my tech also ordered new skid plate and new skid plate frame, just to make sure everything will be perfect at the end...

I like this!

The inspector asked the dealer to save the old tranny for the insurance company. They might want to sell it to somebody most likely in as-is condition.

So I will ride the bike this week Friday to the dealer and leave it there for a week or so and hope to get it back around Aug 7th.

I also promised to help my tech with stripping the bike as it has some little extras that might cause some unnecessary head scratching...

The worst part is I have to sit in a cage for the next two weeks. Bummer, but it's a Bimmer, too...

Regards

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

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post #19 of 21 Old Jul 24th, 2007, 10:44 am
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Glad the Ins. guy is stepping up to help you with this!! Wow!

so.. shall I suggest changing ALL the seals while your "personal technician" is so deep into your ride?

...............
J.M.J...
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post #20 of 21 Old Jul 24th, 2007, 11:23 am
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I agree. Go with the new tranny.
Good luck with getting things done in the shortest possible time.

Manny
Where is the nearest Tims?

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Need to stay awake

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Newf is offline  
post #21 of 21 Old Jul 24th, 2007, 12:10 pm
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Location: SLC, UT, United States Of America
Posts: 2,337
Quote:
Originally Posted by pozo_izquierdo
Hi Kevin,

have you checked that your tranny brackets are still OK? I mean they can still break without causing the oil leak. In my case the front bracket was totally broken loose and if it wasn't the oil seeping through the rear bracket crack I'd still be a happy camper...
I haven't checked them yet, but I sure am going to!
I really appreciate you posting this experience, even if there's no damage this time around, I would not have given it a second thought otherwise. To me, a skidplate is to protect from damage, not catastrophically destroy the vehicle, and would not have even bothered to look for damage as in my case mentioned, or a future skidplate bash. I would have been in the same boat as you, and only found it after sliding out from the leaking oil, or noticing the mess and gone looking for the reason (s).
I really have to question why an "Engineer" would attach an item purposefully designed to take a hit, directly to one of the most valuable parts of the bike? I mean, I'm no rocket scientist, but even I know better!

Really good to hear you are being taken care of by your insurance co. and dealer. Sounds like you're a good example of how to handle tough experiences - "attitude = altitude" right? I bet if you had gone into the dealer all pissy and pointing fingers, you'd be sitting on your thumbs with this one!

R1200GSA Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to Alaska I go!
(Down to ONE BIKE - ARGH!)
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