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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie to the BMW community and cycles. I've ridden small Honda crusiers for many years, and wanted to jump up to a large tour bike. I narrowed it down to the Gold Wing and the LT and the LT won.

Last fall I bought a 2003 LT with 28k miles on it. I took it in for the the 36k service and got a whopping bill but was able to live with it. Rode the bike cross country from PA to NM and back, and loved it.

So now I'm back. Took it in for the 42k service, and got a $3700 bill. Most notable replacement was a rear spring strut [email protected] $729, a new drive shaft @ $691, various other odds and ends, and labor of course.

Now I'm a man of modest means, & not very mechanically inclined. If it goes beyond changing oil, count me out. So I'm wondering if I've gotten in over my head with this bike? At 42 thousand miles is this a sign of poor quality, abuse by a previous owner, or just the cost of riding a BMW?

Thanks for any opinions.
 

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It sounds to me like you need to find a different shop to work on your 03. There are options available for rear shocks that are much less expensive. For example I have the Hyprepro springs installed over the stock shocks for a price of $ 239 for both front and rear shocks.

Did they tell you why you needed a new driveshaft?

Hopefully someone from your area will jump in here and invite you to a tech session. I have not spent that much on parts on my 03 with 129000 miles on it.

Ron
 

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A Dealer maintained bike can cost big bucks. This is why the vast majority of us do our own work & save the money. I would see if there was other LT riders in your area that would help you do the things you are not comfortable doing yourself.
 

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Not to discount things that can go wrong with any machine, but I would wonder about the entire transaction with your dealers service department......What did you tell the dealer you wanted? If you told him to do what ever it needed, be prepared to accompany that with a blank check. If you told him that the bike had some specific issues that you were concerned about, Then consider how big the concern is compared to how big the bill is to fix the items.....Just going by the forum input, the drive shaft doesn't seem to be a common wear item. The shocks seem to be something that requires attention, but once again you need to temper that repair with how much of a problem you are having. Certainly a search of this forum can give you a lot of information that would allow you to make an informed decision about needed repairs and cost of parts when confronted by the service manager with his bank vault load of "suggested repairs". I only bring this up because $3700 is just $400 less than I paid for my whole bike with 17K on it....You don't have to be mechanically inclined to know which end of a wrench to hold on to. There is plenty of help to be had from the members here both online, and in person to help keep your costs down.
At this point, I would say that in spite of your frustration at the FAT bill handed to you by the dealer, don't get rid of the bike!! You have it all squared away now, so just ride it and quit worring, the past is behind you now (winter is in front of you --SUCK!--) Just put Thousands of miles on the bike to amortize that bill out to PENNIES on the mile, and when you think about it that way, it won't hurt so bad........OOPS! your time is up....see you next week??? :rotf:
 

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flyinguy68 said:
Now I'm a man of modest means, & not very mechanically inclined.
Having a dealer service your bike is going to be very expensive. If your not mechanically inclined do you at least have some other useful skill like the ability to cook lunch or at least tell good stories? :wave

We riders in the Northeast have not been doing a good job with tech sessions lately so we are going to have to get back in the swing of things.

I'd suggest attending a tech session to start to learn more about your bike. That and ask for suggestions on this forum before having your dealer replace any more parts.

Good Luck,
Kevin
 

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I don't know I would EVER authorize a dealer to start replacing parts at his pleasure.

He must have called to tell you before the shocks and drive shaft (with estimate??).

Sounds like he saw you looking at that big worm on the hook and he got you in the boat. Time to learn to swim on your own :).

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #7
casualemt said:
Not to discount things that can go wrong with any machine, but I would wonder about the entire transaction with your dealers service department......What did you tell the dealer you wanted? If you told him to do what ever it needed, be prepared to accompany that with a blank check. If you told him that the bike had some specific issues that you were concerned about, Then consider how big the concern is compared to how big the bill is to fix the items.....Just going by the forum input, the drive shaft doesn't seem to be a common wear item. The shocks seem to be something that requires attention, but once again you need to temper that repair with how much of a problem you are having. Certainly a search of this forum can give you a lot of information that would allow you to make an informed decision about needed repairs and cost of parts when confronted by the service manager with his bank vault load of "suggested repairs". I only bring this up because $3700 is just $400 less than I paid for my whole bike with 17K on it....You don't have to be mechanically inclined to know which end of a wrench to hold on to. There is plenty of help to be had from the members here both online, and in person to help keep your costs down.
At this point, I would say that in spite of your frustration at the FAT bill handed to you by the dealer, don't get rid of the bike!! You have it all squared away now, so just ride it and quit worring, the past is behind you now (winter is in front of you --SUCK!--) Just put Thousands of miles on the bike to amortize that bill out to PENNIES on the mile, and when you think about it that way, it won't hurt so bad........OOPS! your time is up....see you next week??? :rotf:
@ Casual - Thanks for your reply, and to all the other's whom have offered sage advice.
As for what I told the service department I wanted was a state inspection, 42k service, and they reminded me that the bike had a few oil leaks that needed addressed. I was not prepared nor contacted regarding the rear shock spring nor the driveshaft, until after the work had been done. I asked to look at old parts particulary the rear spring only to find that the tech had thrown them out. It would not surprise me to learn that the shock needed to be replaced or rebuilt, but the spring surprises me. As for the drive shaft I never noticed any drive problems which is why this whole service has caught me more than a bit off guard.

As I said, I am new to the BMW world, and I thought when I got such a nice bike that I would make the effort to do the dealer services, and get my book stamped, and in turn avoid the big dollar repairs. Ooooops my bad. Again thanks to all that have shared their opinions, and I will be looking to learn what ever I can in the DIY arena.
 

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flyinguy68 said:
@ Casual - Thanks for your reply, and to all the other's whom have offered sage advice.
As for what I told the service department I wanted was a state inspection, 42k service, and they reminded me that the bike had a few oil leaks that needed addressed. I was not prepared nor contacted regarding the rear shock spring nor the driveshaft, until after the work had been done. I asked to look at old parts particulary the rear spring only to find that the tech had thrown them out. It would not surprise me to learn that the shock needed to be replaced or rebuilt, but the spring surprises me. As for the drive shaft I never noticed any drive problems which is why this whole service has caught me more than a bit off guard.

As I said, I am new to the BMW world, and I thought when I got such a nice bike that I would make the effort to do the dealer services, and get my book stamped, and in turn avoid the big dollar repairs. Ooooops my bad. Again thanks to all that have shared their opinions, and I will be looking to learn what ever I can in the DIY arena.
WOW!
My input is your next visit YOU advise them that no work is to be done unless you authorize it FIRST.
This is standard business practice @ all shops I have dealt with.
 

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I might be looking for another dealer. Which stealer was it?
 

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You need to set ground rules with that dealer. Actually you really shouldn't have to, but it looks like they are taking advantage. Next step as Michael said, "find another dealer". And as has been said, best of all, learn your bike inside and out. These LTs are sophisticated machines and usually work very well, but IMHO, with any bike, boat, airplane, car, it is best to at least be familiar with them as much as possible and don't take anything for granted from servicers.
 

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flyinguy68 said:
Hi everyone,

I'm a newbie to the BMW community and cycles. I've ridden small Honda crusiers for many years, and wanted to jump up to a large tour bike. I narrowed it down to the Gold Wing and the LT and the LT won.

Last fall I bought a 2003 LT with 28k miles on it. I took it in for the the 36k service and got a whopping bill but was able to live with it. Rode the bike cross country from PA to NM and back, and loved it.

So now I'm back. Took it in for the 42k service, and got a $3700 bill. Most notable replacement was a rear spring strut [email protected] $729, a new drive shaft @ $691, various other odds and ends, and labor of course.

Now I'm a man of modest means, & not very mechanically inclined. If it goes beyond changing oil, count me out. So I'm wondering if I've gotten in over my head with this bike? At 42 thousand miles is this a sign of poor quality, abuse by a previous owner, or just the cost of riding a BMW?

Thanks for any opinions.
Wow, you live just down the road from us and we have had just as much if not worse experiences our Honda vs BMW's. Started with a POS 99 1100RT and traded for a 99 LT a month later with 41k. Week 2, it needed $1250 in minor servicing, none of which was disclosed before we paid for it. It then needed another $4500 in repairs.......having had no idea it could possibly cost that much. I did all the work myself and sold it while in perfect condition not being able to deal with any possibility of more repairs and parts not being available.

Last Oct we bought a 2006, GL1800 with 7K, one owner and a four year warranty. We spent $3k to upgrade to the Traxxion suspension which is a must after driving the LT with a new Ohlin's suspension. Another $2k or so for complete servicing, tires, shield, farkles, etc., and nothing but transmission problems since. The alternator had to be replaced at 9k miles, under warranty. That was diagnosed by a Traxxion tech who just listened to it for a couple minutes, and Honda did not believe that was a problem either until it was removed and the shaft could barely be turned.

Since we bought it, its been in the shop many times and I just had it shipped to Lancaster for three weeks. The tech was almost thrown from the bike when the trans locked up only two miles into the test ride. 600+ miles later, they could not duplicate the problem and it comes back Wed with a clean bill of health, stating nothing is wrong with it.

Riding, it does provide cleaner air (the air coming under the LT shield is hard to deal with once you ride a bike that does not have that), little buffeting, great seat, stereo, OEM com and GPS, ABS. Lots of great features and so much easier to handle at slow speed.

The Wing's OEM lights are much superior to the BMW. Not even a comparison. The LT has a MUCH nicer clutch and shifts like a hot knife through butter, at least ours did. The LT has a more user friendly cruise, which I really liked much better, as is the LT reverse.
The LT got 43 MPG, the Wing gets 35-37 tops.

We rode one long trip to Lake George NY last Oct 14th during the freakish snow storm and rode for hours in a blizzard with the Wing, fortunately without incident. I had it for sale and had a buyer, but the SO paid for it and would not sell.

If money were no object, I would continue to look and buy a GOOD wing until I found one I was happy with. Just visit the GL1800 riders forum and look at the daily listings of complaints and transmission failures. I won't even look any more. Just makes me sick.

We only have one BMW dealership in this area and they were off on the diagnosing of almost all of our problems and it was only due to the knowledge shared on this forum and the DVD's that I was able to fix the LT and get it back on the road. It had 48K when I sold it and it ran great.The LT will out run, out perform the 1800, hands down. However, on the long runs the Wing was much more comfy, IMO, and the torque is unbelievable!

BTW, at about 25K, it is suggested the suspension on the LT has had it and or needs service at the very least, and the cost to replace it is about $2600 from your local shop. We had 41K on ours until we realized we actually had NO suspension, which was a killer trying to ride.

If they could only merge the best of both bikes, it would be awesome.
 

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yechave said:
BTW, at about 25K, it is suggested the suspension on the LT has had it and or needs service at the very least, and the cost to replace it is about $2600 from your local shop. We had 41K on ours until we realized we actually had NO suspension, which was a killer trying to ride.
Who suggests that the suspension on the LT has to be repalced at 25K miles?

My 99 had 56K on it and when I moved to a virtually new 2009 the suspension felt almost the same?

And if it is shot at 25K would it not be shot again at 50K and 75K and 100K?

This would make the 4% club look like a group of school girls at a picnic if this was a real problem with the LT...
 

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Had a stealer hit me for $365 to put a new M88 on a dismounted wheel.

I'll never darken his door again.
 

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pauleknight said:
Who suggests that the suspension on the LT has to be repalced at 25K miles?

My 99 had 56K on it and when I moved to a virtually new 2009 the suspension felt almost the same?

And if it is shot at 25K would it not be shot again at 50K and 75K and 100K?

This would make the 4% club look like a group of school girls at a picnic if this was a real problem with the LT...
My OEM suspension was toast at 30K. I have 40K on my wilbers now, still going strong. I've heard from quite a few its gone at 25K and I've heard of over 50K for the OEM. Guess it varies.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the replies folks!

@ yechave special thanks for sharing your experiences. That way I won't think the Wing is the Holy Grail.

As far as naming the stealer, I'll keep that to myself as I was probably partially to blame with walking in smoking my cigars rolled in hundred dollar bills. So I'll chalk it up as an expensive lesson, and hope I've learned from it with an intention to start educating myself in some do it yourself maintenance. I had just hope to avoid this because not only does it require "know how" it usually requires special tools in one form or another.

I do love the LT!
 

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As mentioned in an earlier post to this thread see if you can find some folks in your area who would be willing to help you with the services on your LT. The folks who are willing to help (I consider it a privilege to share the little bit I know with others) often come prepared with the required special tools.

Loren

flyinguy68 said:
Thanks for the replies folks!

@ yechave special thanks for sharing your experiences. That way I won't think the Wing is the Holy Grail.

As far as naming the stealer, I'll keep that to myself as I was probably partially to blame with walking in smoking my cigars rolled in hundred dollar bills. So I'll chalk it up as an expensive lesson, and hope I've learned from it with an intention to start educating myself in some do it yourself maintenance. I had just hope to avoid this because not only does it require "know how" it usually requires special tools in one form or another.

I do love the LT!
 

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Nobody's born knowing how to spin a wrench. And I'll bet most people that do it non-professionally do it just to save money. The profound feeling of satisfaction that follows is just the icing on the cake.

I hate service writers. It's ironic, then, that I am one. I strive to not be THAT kind of service writer, and this kind of crap does not transpire on my watch. But a dealership is just the base of a pyramid scheme designed to extract every possible penny from your wallet while leaving just barely enough customer satisfaction behind so that you'll come back for more. In the future, any special instructions you wish to communicate to all concerned should be dictated to, and included verbatim on the work order by: your service writer. Word for word. Insist on it. The industry standard software most dealerships use for this stuff is called Lightspeed, and there is plenty of room with each repair order line item for notes like "Call customer with quote for authorization prior to commencing repairs." The repair order you sign when you drop the bike off is a binding legal contract for all concerned. Use it to your advantage. Also, unless the bike is under factory warranty, YOU OWN YOUR BIKE'S PARTS. Demand to get any replaced parts back. Get that written on the repair order too and not by hand - in the system. Dishonest dealerships will jerk you around on this issue. Honest ones won't give it a second thought. When the part is produced, request an explanation of the hows and whys of that particular failure. Then request an explanation of what has been done to prevent the failure from re-occurring. There better be one. Let 'em know you're not gonna just keep throwing money away on the same repeating issue. You ain't that guy. That'd be crazy. You want underlying causes to get fixed. Insist on your own satisfaction. Hold people accountable. Make 'em note everything in the system. Get copies indicating and confirming same. Make sure you get plenty of names. Service writer's name. Technician's name. Manager's name. Find out ahead of time who you'll need to talk to if it happens again and one or all of these people have been shitcanned. And be very, VERY polite and friendly through all of this. And don't piss off your service writer. He don't spin the wrenches, and he ain't the boss. But he can make things either very easy or very difficult for you. Make nice to the service writer! :D

Buy a factory service manual. Study this forum. Educate yourself on your bike and the likelihood that you will be hosed in the future will start rapidly diminishing. I've ridden most of the touring bikes out there, and the LT is the one I enjoy riding the most.
 

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My radio/cd has gone on the l/h rear speaker due to amp problem so i,ve ordered a new unit and holy shit it,s gonna cost me £496.00 . My dealer would charge me at least 2.5 hours labour at £65.00 +vat per hour . This beast is costing me a fortune and now my tyre dealer has just rang me to say he,s got 3 sets of metz tyres in and he does,nt know when next delivery is . I did manage to find a set in Aug which are now fitted and i,m thinking should i keep a set as spares .as i don,t want to scratting around looking for tyres again . From now on i,m gonna maintain her myself .
regards numbnuts in blighty .

regards numbnuts in blighty
05
 

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mwnahas said:
My OEM suspension was toast at 30K. I have 40K on my wilbers now, still going strong. I've heard from quite a few its gone at 25K and I've heard of over 50K for the OEM. Guess it varies.
--- One of my BMW Forum Pet Peeves ----- Replacing the shocks at "25,000" miles..... My 02 just hit 48,000 miles and the OEM shocks seem like they did when new. I've asked my local dealer and service people and they all say that there is no reason yet, to replace them.

Got an Infinity QX4 with 90,000 miles and the original OEM shocks and brakes. Same situation!

Personal anecdotal evidence on the K1200LT shocks (and stock seat for that matter) is your weight and if you ride one or two up. I weigh about 150 wet and find the stock seat comfortable and my original shocks working as they are supposed to. Hard thought to do an easy inexpensive A/B shock test!
 

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That is some of the best advice I have ever heard on this topic. I am a salesperson, and while I have nothing to do with the installation of the products I sell, if the customer is difficult, he will pay dearly. I will charge him more and nickel and dime him to death, because that is what he will do to me. If I have to deal with a crappy attitude, I will get paid more...simple business. If the customer is kind and reasonable, I will bend over backwards to make sure he gets the best deal possible coupled with the best service. It simply makes sense. If you want to make my job harder and more unpleasant, I will have to be paid more, and I will try to eliminate you from my agenda as quickly as possible. On the flipside, be a pleasure to work with, and I will be a pleasure to do business with. I am certain the majority in the service business feel the same way.
 
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