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Old 03-28-2008, 10:55 PM   #5
tagesk OP
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Joined: Jun 2007
Location: Tuscany, Italy
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Thumb GSpot FAQ: Part 5 (Oil)

5.1 How much oil goes into the engine?

Without changing the filter: 3.5 liter (0.92 US gallons)
With change of filter: 3.75 liter (0.99 US gallons)

R1200GS: With change of filter: 4.0 liter

From lower edge of the glass to the high edge is 0.5 liters of oil.
From lower edge of the glass to the high edge is 1 liter of oil.

5.2 What is the part number for the oil filter?

1200: BMW part # 11427673541 Filter

Here is an alternative list of filters:
Oil filters:
FRAM is the correct FRAM but hard to find at WallyWorld. PH6063
FRAM is readily available and works PH3614
NAPA 1348
Mobil-1 M1-102
BMW 11.42-1 460 843 or 845
Mahle/knecht/microstar/tecafiltre (original part) OC91
Champion (of motorcycle range) C301
Purflux LS188B
Tech9 (France only, made by Mahle in fact) n16
Hiflofiltro (from Thailand) HF-163
Mann-Hummel MW712
Detlev Louis (Germany) 10050195
Toyota 08922-02004 or 90915-YZZB9
Perf-form (on BMW-1
UFI makes one too (italian)
Donit ( 43 10 133
For After May, '97, 1100RT
Purolator P/N11421460845
Bosch 3330
WalMart ST3614
Purolator L00241

The author of this table, the Honorable JVB, writes:
Keep in mind that that list was originally compiled for the R1100/1150 bikes.
But they will fit and work on an R1200. I will not personally attest to their suitability
in either application. I only know that countless people have successfully used them
on the R1100/1150, and more and more are using them on the R1200. I am aware of no
reports of any issues with their use.

5.3 Can I reuse the washer when changing the oil?

Yes you can, if you must, but preferably not. It is a so called crush washer that deforms to seal perfectly.
Thus the bolt and case are designed with the assumption that a new washer every time. They are inexpensive!

BMW part # 07119963252 Crush washer

5.4 What type of oil can I use in the engine?

For every bike, there are two, not one, answer to this question. The first answer deals with the quality
(chemical properties) of the oil. That is answered here.
The second answer deals with the viscosity (how thick is it). These two are NOT related.
You need to get both correct for your bike.

Here is a real question which started Yet Another Oil Thread in GSpot, and the Politically Correct answer:

Originally Posted by Joe User
Hello, I wanted to know what type of oil do you use on your bike. I own an hp2 and I am thinking to use Bel Ray
Sae 20w-50 (API SG, JASO MA). I was using Castrol full synthetic, but my dealer told me that there is no need to use full synthetic,
as BMW suggests for air-cooled engines simple oil. This is true or not? Does simple oil lubrictes as well as full synthetic or things are
different for boxers? Thanks.
Too many questions at once.

First, it is true that BMW, the designer and manufacturer of your HP2, clearly states that the engine has been designed to run on
plain mineral oil. They do so by stating the requirements for the oil. Plain, traditional mineral oil meets these requirements.
You are free to value the opinion of BMW, the designer and manufacturer or your HP2, lower or higher than opinions aired on the Internet.

Second, it is not true that an old-style mineral oil has as high (and stable) quality as an expensive, fully synthetic oil.
It is also not true that an old-style mineral oil lubricates as well as an expensive, fully synthetic oil after even the shortest use.

Now, based on these three observations (one true and two false), you must decide with great care which of them you believe answered the question you wanted to ask.

You see, I believe you wanted to ask the first question. On the Internet most answers will be to one or both of the second two questions.
In particular, you can expect most replies to answer your first question with false BECAUSE the two second questions have false as their answer.

Here is from the manual:

11xx: "HD Oil classified as API SF, SG or SH, or HD oil classified as CCMC G4 or G5."
Hexhead: "Engine oils API SF/ACEA A2, or better. BMW Motorrad recommends not using synthetic oils for the first 10,000 km (6.000 miles)."
Camhead: "Oil of quality API SF/ACEA A2, or better" (assuming above freezing)
Wethead: "API SL JASO MA2". Note that the wethead has, as a first, a wet clutch. Do not use JASO MB or "normal" car or truck oil.

What does this mean? Oil is classified based on how "good" it is. The S-series spesifies the quality of oil. In general, the later
specifications improves on the old ones. So SG is a better oil than SF, ans SH is better that SG.

When an engine is designed, the oil filter, the interval of oil-changes, and so on is all based on the MINIMUM quality of the oil.
That is, the engine will be designed to run well and without harm on the worst oil meeting the required specification (given that you replace it
as expected). For the GS (assuming above freezing) the minimum quality that is required is SF. You will be hard pressed to find an
oil that does not meet the SF quality criteria.

Notice that the quality of the oil does not depend on whether it is syth or dino!

This concludes the answer of the first of two questions about oil. See 5.14 Which viscosity or the second answer.

5.5 How much oil goes in the transmission?

You fill until it is full. That will be circa 800 ml (0.8 liters).

1200: 800 ml (0.8 liters). Actually, the number seems to be somewhat less.

5.6 What kind of oil goes in the transmission?

BMW, the designer and manufacturer, specifies: Oil for hiopdial
gears class API GL5. Above 5 degrees C SAE 90. Below 5C SAE 80.
Or as alternative SAE 80 W 90".

In other words: Any modern hypoid oil with API GL5 and SAE 90 on it is fine.

5.7 How much oil goes in the FD?

Fill it until it is full at the bottom of the threads. It will be circa 250 ml.

200 ml on initial fill and 180 ml on oil change (notice: it is not a spelling error - 200 and 180).
On the 1200 there might, or might not, be proper holes to drain and
fill the FD. See the document R12GS Final Drive Oil Change.
In the document, the author writes you should fill 250 ml of oil in the FD. That is not correct.

The wethead also uses 180 ml.

5.8 What kind of oil goes in the FD?

BMW, the designer and manufacturer, specifies "Oil for hiopdial
gears class API GL5. Above 5 centigrades SAE 90. Below 5
centigrades SAE 80. Or as alternative SAE 80 W 90".
In other words: Any modern oil with API GL5 and SAE80W90 on it should be fine.

5.9 Can I use 75W140 in my FD?

Yes you can, and many do.
However you might consider that BMW has specified 75W90, probably becuase if your rear drive gets
hot enough to require the 140 chances are you already have final drive problems. Otherwise the 75W90
will lubricate better with less fluid drag, the slightly lighter fluid is better for the bearings.
Heavier fluids with higher temp. ratings (140) work well for extreme temperature's (hotter than your final
drive gets) and higher shock loads, otherwise the lighter fluid is a better lubricant overall.

5.10 How often should I change the oil in the FD?

The consensus among the majority, and now the dealers, is that you should change the oil in the FD at 600 miles (1.000 km),
and then every 12.000 miles (20.000 km).
On the 1100 and 1150 changing the oil is simple.
For the 1200 there is a document in Wisdom (see

5.11 I overfilled the FD or my engine - what do I do?

If you overfill, consensus is that you should drain and then
fill in the proper amount. There is a real chance of destroying
seals inside due to the pressure becoming too high.

That being said: The most common error (at least in Europe) is to fill 4 liters (and not 3.75) in the engine.
Consensus seems to be that it is not a crucial amount, and that you can choose to ignore it.

5.12 What is "dino oil"?

Dino is short for dinosaurus. Dinosaurus lived on Earth at more or less the same time as the deposits were made
that we now extract as mineral oil. Oils are either dino, part dino and part synthetic (called synth), or pure synth.

5.13 Oil consumption

As per the manual, it is normal for oil to be consumed at a rate of 1 liter / 1.000 km (1/4 gallon 600 miles).
There is no reason to worry, or to take action, if your bike uses oil at this rate.
It is, however, not at all common.

5.14 Which viscosity can I use

First, please note that this is the second of two answers to the question "which oil can I use?".
Also, the words CAN and SHOULD have very different meaning.

The primary oil is 10w-40. That is, you should use 10w-40.
Assuming you don't ride below freezing (0C or 32F) you can use:
15w-40, 10w-50, 10w-40, , 5w-40 and 5w-50
Assuming you do start the bike, and ride, down to -10C (14F):
10w-40 (not 15W- and not -50).

Primary oil is 20w-50. That is, you should use 20w-50.
In addition you can use (but take careful note the temperature ranges below):
5w- >=30
15w- >=40
20w- >=40
5w- >=50 Synthetic
10w- >=50 Synthetic

Below 20C (68F): All the above.
In the 20C - 30C range (68-86F): all the above, except 5w dino.
Above 30C (86F): All the above, except 5w dino and 10w-40 dino.

Notice that 10w-40 synth does not meet the demands of the engine when the ambient temperature is above 30C (86F).
In this range the oil must be either 15w-40 dino, 20w-40 dino or 10w-50 synthetic.

5w-40 synthetic (all temperature ranges).

5.15 How hot is the oil?

For oil temperature LCD readout, there are 10 BARS, with no bars showing to be taken as zero bars:

0 33.5 C ..... 92 F
1 40 C..... 104 F
2 65 C..... 149 F
3 80 C..... 176 F
4 90 C..... 194 F
5 105 C..... 221 F
6 130 C..... 266 F
7 150 C..... 302 F
8 160 C..... 320 F
9 170 C..... 338 F
10 175 C..... 347 F

Modern oils are designed to work best in the range of 110 C...130 C (230 F-266 F).
This means about 5 or 6 BARS. Above 150 C (302 F), oil breakdown increases exponentially,
and by about 160 C (320 F), degradation is quite rapid. Petroleum oils will cease to lubricate
with any effect, at about 170 C (338 F)...synthetics at about 190 C (374 F).
A reading of 8 BARS would be the absolute maximum normal operating temperature.

5.16 How much oil is there in the engine

On both the 12GS (hexhead and camhead) and the 11xx, there is an "oil sight glass" on the left side of the engine.

To obtain a correct, and repeatable, measurement of how much oil there is inside, ride
the bike until the engine is warm (at least three bars).
Then, on the 11xx, let the bike sit some minutes on the side stand.
Quite a few bikes needs this to drain the oil cooler.
Then, up on the main stand.
At this point you will see the level in the sight glass.
Obviously, the longer you wait, the more oil will slowly seep down, and the level will rise (a tiny bit).

If you can not see the level because it had been over filled, get some help and lean the
bike towards the right side.
If this enables you to see the level, then, even though you technically speaking have too
much oil, you can safely ride the bike. No need to drain the oil.
If you can't see even when leaning, you have severely overfilled and you should drain.

As long as you see oil in the glass, you have enough oil. I repeat: If you see oil in the glass,
there is no need to fill oil.

Finally: When the bike is on the side stand, the level will be above the top of the glass.
However, this also means that when level, it will be above the bottom of the glass.
Or in other words: If you park your bike on the side stand when warm, and you see that the
glass is completely covered in oil, you have enough oil. No need to establish precisely how much.

Regarding the wethead: The difference between low-and and high-end of the glass is now 1 liter (not 50 cl as older models).

5.17 Oil in the airbox

It is normal to find a little oil in your airbox. The crankcase pressure will almost inevitable blow some oil into the air box. It does not always implies the engine was over-filled.
The harder you run the bike, the more oil you will find in the air box.
'02 R1150GS - Adds life
My Riding in Tuscany-thread is here.
Renting out motorbikes in Toscana, Italy
Proud contributor to Wisdom and GSpot FAQ and European Ride Report Index.
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tagesk screwed with this post 08-04-2013 at 11:57 PM Reason: More details on the 1200 oil.
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