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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's pretty clear to me that the electric center stand is something of a bolt-on after-thought design. Not too bad to get it out of the way, but it's clear that for changing oil (and filter of course) you really need a motorcycle lift/table, as access while crawling on the ground is pretty tight (and one heck of a workout - I stopped counting how many times the tool I needed was on the other side of the bike...!!!). Re-directing the transmission oil when it came out, despite the warnings in the write up on this board, was something of a disaster as I missed the re-direct and got gear oil all over the floor, so there's a learning for my next time..... Sadly the transmission oil looked to be in excellent condition, so out with the good and, er, in with the better I guess. The rear drive oil was quite dark (no flecks) but I have no benchmark to check against so I'll be checking that in another 3k miles.

One thing that's worrying me though is the engine. The oil was quite black coming out, and there is a noise (was there before the oil change, still there after) coming from the engine - not a ticking, sounds more like a deeper rattle as it idles. As revs rise it's harder to hear - might be going away, might be still there but not able to hear it over the increased general noise. No smoke coming from the engine when running at all. And it certainly doesn't feel down on power in any way. Would valves out of adjustment make a sound like this or could it be something more serious? If I heard that in a car engine I'd be thinking big end bearing, but the bike has only 11k miles on it so I'd be wondering why that would be the case here. There are no oil leaks anywhere in the bike - all in perfect condition.

Any thoughts? I know without you actually hearing it this is a bit of a message board mystery.

I'd welcome any thoughts. Thanks!
 

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Hi, Rowan. I'd say not to worry about the engine oil being black. It only takes a few miles running after an oil change to pick up leftover oil in the galleys of the sump and new oil is black again. I've yet to see any engine oil color other than black during an oil change on the several LTs that I've been around.

A quick tip to preserve the clean garage floor while changing fluids. You may have read about 'em in past threads. Wal-Mart pet section has packages of puppy training pads that are about 2' x 2' with absorbant lining and plastic backing to catch the drips and spills. Won't hold all the fluids during a change, but will sure minimize the mess and cleanup.

Can't help on the mystery noise. Ole Toad has so many, I've given up trying to find 'em. I will say that most (if not related to rpm rising/lowering) have been tupperware related and difficult to chase. Hopefully, someone will have suggestions on how to isolate your noise, or the possibilities of the cause. Good luck.
 

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Welcome to our world Rowan! The noise is very probably the alternator. And if so, don't sweat it! If you have any Aux lights try turning them on and off at idle and see if the noise changes. A lot of times the alternator will make more noise under load. If it is more like a ticking sound it is probably your fuel injectors. They can sometimes be heard at idle, but would go away as the engine makes more noise.

I'm sure others will chime in here soon.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Dick - gonna try that next time for sure. I have some de-greasing to do in the meantime!

John - wow - that's impressive - you obviously know a lot about this bike. I just tried what you suggested. At idle the rattle is obvious but a little inconsistent (like every now and again for a split second it goes away but is immediately back, but not with a consistent kind of tempo). Put on the high beam - it's definitely (marginally) louder and very very consistent in tempo - and completely repeatable. So I believe you're onto it!

I've got some wiring to do (intercom / music) so I'll take some tupperware off to see if I can pin-point the sound source, as I don't know where the alternator is located (with the tupperware on the rattling is loudest out the side holes in the front lower tupperware of the bike). Would this noise mean an alternator bearing problem? I know it is much louder than a friend's '01 and another friend's '03 (those have more of the typical whine sound at idle without rattling). Or is this sound an '05 trait?

Thanks so much - I was really worried it might be a big end bearing (meaning mucho expensive to repair). I appreciate the help.
 

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After a while I got pretty good about not spilling oil(s), but Dick's tip is a good one. I generally scattered a lot of newspaper and always had a bag of kitty litter handy. Never used a lift, but have several sections of old carpet and a boat cushion for laying on. Keep lots of rags handy and a few empty containers.

Oil out of the engine was ALWAYS black, no matter how long it had been in the engine. Trans and Final Drive oil was ALWAYS shinny new looking and clear with just a smidgen of dust on the magnet after 50,000 miles.
 

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Hi Rowan and welcome aboard. I find nothing more rewarding that servicing my bike. I bought a lift shortly after buying the LT and would never go back. I serviced my RT for years with out it and now my knees just won't go up and down like they used to.

One thing that I use in changing fluids is large aluminum roasting pans. After we roast a chicken or turkey or ham, I slightly clean out the residue and take the pan to the shop. Next time I do a change, I slide the pan under the bike and go for it.
 

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Rowan, if it is the alternator I would not worry too much. I don;t know of any alternators ever going out on any LT from this list, and I have been a member since 2000.

And as far as my knowledge of the LT, I owe it all to this great forum and those who have posted their tips so that I felt confidant enough to dive in and do my own maintenance on this most excellent Bike!

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys. Will try the load test. A tin full of stones (with some oil in there too) is a good analogy to what I'm hearing. Looks like this "just is" for some of these bikes. Interesting that BMW would make something so noisy but so be it.

Charlie - thanks for the links - much appreciated (still getting used to searching this board).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yup - load up the motor, rattle gone.... amazing.

One other question. Just did an oil change, used full synthetic from Beemer Boneyward (12k mile kit). It's 10W50 oil. I notice alot of people suggesting 20W50 oil instead. Now that I've changed the oil, and it didn't do this before the oil change, there is a minor puff of smoke on a completely cold startup and then clear. The smoke is blue grey, so it's not about running rich (black). I'm wondering if the 10W oil is too thin on startup or something. Any thoughts? Again, car guy in me says "valve stem seals".... I hope I'm simply worrying too much. Thanks!
 

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Hi Rowan,

If my memory serves me correctly, the 50 viscosity figure is the warm weather (hot) number for the oil and the 10 is for the cold conditions. Very simply explained. This should not contribute to noise or blowing smoke. One thing to be aware of is when stopping the bike, while holding the bike vertical, stop the engine and keep the bike vertical while removing your gloves and helmet, before letting her down on to the side stand. This will allow the oil to settle and you should get a clean start the next time.
 

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From reading the above post's I'm going to say you sound "knowledgeable"
and at the same time maybe a little...uhmm...concerned :)

Not at all unusual for someone new to a particular machine,

A little alternator noise has been a K-bike "characteristic" since the first ones back in 1985,
but not to worry some of them have been making those same noises for well over 300,000 miles.

Just because it says BMW doesn't mean "perfection"
just a damn good machine (with a certain amount of "idiosyncrasies" :)

I've given up trying to figure out why the Germans do the things they do in the ways that they do them,
but I've learned that "it works"

There are as many opinions as there are "oil related threads" on this forum,
and my opinion is that 12K is a little to early to switch to synthetic,
that "engine" isn't really "broke in" until about 30K,

switching early isn't going to "hurt anything" it will just take a little longer to "break in"
I did the same thing (20 years ago) and that motor used about a quart of oil between (3000 mile) oil changes,

after it "broke in" less than a half a quart between (extended) 5000 mile oil changes.

That little "puff of smoke" is most likely from putting the bike on the sidestand,
it's basically an engine laying on its side,
like Boatzo said give the oil a chance to drain down before you "lean her over"
and you'll probably never see it again.

I've attached a couple of pictures to help you with your next oil change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks guys. Yes I am a bit of a worrier and knowledgable enough to be dangerous...!! I spoke with another buddy about this and he commented that the same thing happens with his '01 after it's been fully cold - no big deal.

I think what's behind my worrying is that I felt, as did my buddy who came with me (and is also a member on this board) the guy I bought the bike from acted quite strangely after I cut the deal. He clearly had no interest in helping to get it loaded on the trailer, because once I signed and paid he pretty much threw the keys and remote at me and left - and I confirmed that this was outside his house (it was not stolen or anything like that - it all checked out clean). He didn't go anywhere, just basically ran inside. His odd behavior got my suspicions up I guess. Being an Aussie living in the US (11 years now) it was not what I am used to in a transaction - we would normally help get it loaded, wish the person luck etc.

The bike had been sitting for a year or two by the looks of it - a few spider webs, some wall paint scrape on the rear case (easy polishing compound fix) and even a mouse-chewed seat heater wire (easy fix).

So from here I think I'll just put it down to "he was an odd bloke", and the bike is in good shape. Thanks to you guys for giving me some peace of mind - it's very much appreciated. Now on the the fuel filter, air filter, spark plug and coolant changes, and a valve adjustment, and I'll be ready for my trip in October (heading down to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee and Georgia).

Thanks again!
 

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Rowan, Sorry you experienced a rude Yank in your transaction. I can understand how you feel. I am sure you will find friendly folks on your ride through Tenn and Georgia, a little Southern hospitality perhaps. :cool: Stick around this forum for friendly folks and lots of good info and help.
 

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Rowan,

He probably just went inside to cry..
 

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Rowan;

Good luck with your new 2005!! Great year.
You have a great dealer close to you.

You can find almost any info you need here, and everyone tries to help out when you have a problem and/or question.

I purchased my 2005 from them in 2008 and had great service and check over.

Here is the info for the dealer :

286 Macedon Center Road (Rt. 31F)
Fairport, NY 14450
USA
Telephone 585-421-0480
Email [email protected]

Regards,
Bowen.
 

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rowie said:
I'll be ready for my trip in October (heading down to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Tennessee and Georgia).

Thanks again!
Hey rowie, welcome to the FORUM. You mentioned a trip to TN & GA in Oct. Don't know your time frame but you might want to consider joining us at what's become known as the "Smoky Mountain Fall Reunion" OCt 20, 21, 22.
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57948
A bunch of us gather at the IRON HORSE Motor Lodge in NC twice each year, in the spring and fall.
http://www.ironhorsenc.com/
It's always a great time at a great location with some of the best motorcycle riding in the US. Plenty of knowledgeable folks there to answer your questions about teh LT as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks Lynn - I'll take a look at the dates (2 other K1200LT buddies in addition to me) and let you know. Thanks for the awesome welcome to the BMW board!
 
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