05 R1200GS Brake fluid change interval?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by John Smallberries, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Hi all;
    I've read my '05 1200GS maintenance manual and it's not perfectly clear on the issue of brake fluid changes. I bought my bike used with 10,000 miles, so I'm looking ahead to 12,000. The manual shows a brake fluid inspection at 12k, but also lists brake fluid CHANGE annually, with the full change of fluid in the control module every 2 years. By this math, I should be on my 5th brake fluid change. The brakes seem to work fine now.

    My dealer warned me that NOT changing the brake fluid can cause the control module to fail (likely stick or rust internally) with a replacement cost of $2000.

    I'm setting up an appointment for a fluid change to be safe. Does anyone else have a clearer understanding of the manual than me? Do we really need new brake fluid annually?

    Craig:freaky
    #1
  2. JetSpeed

    JetSpeed Naviator

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    You are correct, change the brake fluid in the wheel circuits first at 6,000 miles then every 12,000 miles (or annually) and change the brake fluid in the ABS control circuit first at 6,000 miles then every 24,000 miles (or bi-annually), that is about as clear as BMW makes it.

    This is likely one of the most commonly neglected service items on a GS and yet there seem to be few system failures reported.

    I would recommend taking the time to learn the procedure (it isn't that difficult) and then you can DIY the fluid change at the proper intervals without the hassle or expense of taking the bike to the dealer, there are a few good write-up's on this forum that walk you through the process.
    #2
  3. BerndM

    BerndM Shiftless One

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    All my brakes fluids were changed by the dealer (at additional cost, of course) during the 12K service.
    i am now at 24K and am in the process of doing everything myself, using JVB's fine video tutorial. I have the laptop in the garage and just going along with the video. Finished the valves yesterday and they were found to be absolutely PERFECT.
    Get the DVD and have fun!:evil:evil
    Regards
    Bernd
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  4. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    I paid a visit to my local dealer to discuss the brake fluid change and got an odd response. My bike has been serviced there since new by the previous owner (who was actually a dealership employee), so they have all the records. He confirmed that my bike (now at 10k miles) was up to date on its service as of 6000 miles. I asked specifically about the brake fluid and he confirmed it would NOT have been changed as part of the 6000 mile service. What about the "every year/every other year" issue - his answer: Yes - you should do that, but you have to ask.

    That's a bit odd - I would expect the dealer to wring every last buck out of us owners and try to sell me an annual brake fluid change. Here is a bike cared for by the dealer and it has never had a brake fluid change in 10,000 miles and 5 years.

    I scheduled a fluid change with an estimated cost of $190 - which doesn't sound too bad considering the time involved.

    I'll get the DVD and consider doing the next one myself.

    Craig
    #4
  5. jeffjbmw

    jeffjbmw Threadkiller

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    Frankly, I think the interval for changing brake fluid everywhere on the bike should be about two years.

    I did my wife's RS after its fifth year. I did mine after the third year. That probably was too long, but every 6000 miles isn't necessary.

    How often do you change your car's brake fluid? Having owned VW's and I learned from their maintenance schedule to change it every two years.

    Even on my bikes with those long times, the fluid was pretty good and actually very clean coming out of the control module.

    I have been using this rule of thumb for a long time with good results. Never had a caliper fail.
    #5
  6. marchyman

    marchyman DR and GS

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    The interval for the '05 was spec'd at 1 year for the wheel circuit and 2 years for the control circuit. You can see this in the original maintenance schedules [pdf]. At some point BMW changed the spec to every 2 years for wheel circuits and 4 years for the control circuits. That's how it reads in the '07 version of the RepROM.

    I compromise with my '05 and change the fluid in both wheel and control circuits every 2 years. :deal
    #6
  7. PETDOC

    PETDOC Long timer

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    I recall seeing a BMW bulletin posted on ADVRIDER which doubled the brake fluid change interval if you have stainless steel brake lines.
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  8. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Same here, no point in half a job anyhow.

    By the way, all servo-ABS systems on the R1200 have SS lines.

    Jim :brow
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  9. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    After reading the Wisdom information and lots of other posts, I'm taking the plunge and doing the brake bleed/flush myself on my '05 1200GS. I ordered the funnel/reservoir, the speed bleeders, the hose, the collection bag, the DVD:clap..., the works.

    The posted instructions and photos are so well done, I feel confident I can take this on. If I do this every year, I'd hate to have to chuck out $190 a pop.

    Next: getting ready for the valve adjustment an 12k service! Thanks to those who have posted instructions.

    Craig
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  10. drdata

    drdata R1200GS

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    Agree, and I too plan my own bleed, that is if no more abs faults on my test ride after having topped up. To date its seems a flush does not fix anything, just prevents. Hate to do the work if I yank the servo out anyway.

    One thing I am not clear on it the wheel vs control circuit. I thought there were two separate bleed points, but from the how article it looks like you have extra fluid above the servo, open a wheel bleeder, and then hit the brakes to pump fluid through. That seems to be the wheel circuit.

    Edit: I see teh control stuff is further down. The main section title of both wheel and control threw me.

    My question now is what is the deal with the simplified control bleed?
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  11. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    As I read the Wisdom article, you actually have to do nine separate bleed operations:
    (2) - front brake calipers - both sides
    (1) - rear caliper
    (3) - taps for the front controls on the ABS servo module
    (3) - taps for the rear circuit on the ABS module

    I read later that it may no longer be necessary to do all of the servo circuits. While I have the patient open and the funnel gizmo attached, it seems like I should do them all - like the instructions.

    CMR
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  12. marchyman

    marchyman DR and GS

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    11 bleed operations. One of the three taps in the ABS module is done twice for both front and rear control circuits.
    #12
  13. drdata

    drdata R1200GS

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    WTF were they thinking? Not so much hard, but repetitive as all get out, and makes the whole design seem like a bitch baby about to crap its dipey because "zee korrect sequence vas nicht followed".

    At 2k a pop, like he said. Might as well bleed the bitch dizzy while you got her knickers down.

    Cheers
    #13
  14. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    I do the two control circuits, and the main wheel circuits. The amount of fluid missed is drops IMHO. Nothing worth the extra hassle.:deal

    Some time back a dealer (IIRC) posted a tech bulitin, or similar, that said basically the same thing. I wish I had saved it, but I am confident that I am not missing enough fluid to justify the extra hassle of doing 11 circuits!

    Jim :brow
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  15. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    Am about to flush all the brake fluid on my 2005 this weekend. Are we all still thinking that standard DOT 4 is the way to go?
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  16. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    Yes, no reason to use anything different.

    Jim :brow
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  17. Emoto

    Emoto Sure, why not?

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    Thanks, Jim. :thumb
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  18. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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    dot 3, 4 and 5.1 are all various glycol blends and additives. You have some different molecular weights of glycol and of course additive content can vary. The additives are for corrosion protection. For this reason I try to get major brands. The more often you change it, it less important additives are. On the BMW schedule, I think about anything would work.

    Rod
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  19. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    I believe Dot 5 is silicone-based, not glycol. I used Dot 5.1 on my last flush. Still glycol-based like Dot 4, but with a higher boiling point. All seems ok so far. You can't go wrong sticking to the manual here, but I don't think 5.1 was available back in 2004 when mine was written.
    #19
  20. Zigo

    Zigo Panzerfahrer

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    DOT 5 IS silicone based and must NOT be mixed with glycol based fluids like DOT4. It will rea ct chemically with the glycol and gum up the innards of the brake system. It will also cause a more spongy feeling to the brakes. Mainly used for old veteran cars which is in long time storage as DOT 5 is not absorbing water.
    #20