New front oil leak while on the road. Advice?
On our second morning out of Colorado bound for Florida, we stopped for breakfast on I70 about halfway between Kansas City and St. Louis. After our meal, I noticed some oil on the ground under the front of the bike (99 with 43K). Panic set in as I thought the nearest dealer in front of me was Nashville (Cape Girardeau if I wanted to go out of my way) or Kansas City two hours behind me. I called Kansas City BMW and was told there was a brand new dealer in St. Louis, Gateway BMW. I talked to Shannon, the service manager there. We agreed that since the sight glass still indicated a full crankcase, I could probably make it to their shop safely. We headed off east stopping at every rest area and most exits to check the oil level.
I found Gateway on a tricky frontage road two exits south of I70 on I170. These guys could not have been nicer nor more accommodating. It was determined after much cleaning of the engine front that the leak was either the timing cover sealant or the front crank seal behind the hall effect cover. The downside of a new dealership (open just two weeks) is that they don't have a complete parts stock yet. We didn't want to take the bike apart only to find that a seal might need to be ordered, delaying our trip by at least a day and losing a couple of prepaid motel reservations. I bought two quarts of oil and pressed on southward.
Now here is the dilemma. I took the machine to a Florida dealer to see about getting an emergency repair. The wrenchís diagnosis was the same, timing cover sealant or front crank seal. Then he looked at the sight glass and said the crank case was over filled. The level (while on the center stand) was just below the top. He stated that the proper oil level was at the center of the glass in this position. My manual, 1999 version, states that this is the proper level for the tilt stand. Every dealer-preformed oil change since Iíve owned the bike has had the level at mid sight glass while on the tilt stand. On the center stand it has always been at the top. I checked a brand new LT in their showroom (which was on the tilt stand) and found it to be at the bottom of the sight glass. Has BMW changed this specification? If not, should I trust this dealer to do the work if they are indeed wrong about the proper oil level? After 1000 miles I have lost maybe 1 to 2 ounces of oil. Currently the weeping is not that bad. Has anyone had experience with a similar leak and then had a catastrophic loss of oil? I would prefer to have this work done at my local dealer than on the road just in case there is any warranty issue with the work preformed yet I donít want to put the bike and myself at risk by not taking care of this issue while I have the chance.
What would you do? I welcome your collective opinions.
Engineering is making what you need from what you have.