Nightmare at Lima BMW Dealership

Discussion in 'Latin America' started by Mr Steam Turbine, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Mr Steam Turbine

    Mr Steam Turbine Adventurer

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    I've posted a few times about my troubles here in Lima and have found the cause of the repeated clutch failures after the Lima dealership replaced the clutch on my 2002 R1150GS. The shop mistakenly filled the clutch hydraulic system with Vitamol V10 instead of the DOT 4 fluid the bike was designed to use. The Vitamol is only for newer R1200GS bikes. This simple mistake by the dealership has cost me a few thousand of dollars in parts and repairs, not to mention a couple months of hotel bills. The Vitamol causes all the rubber seals to swell and no longer function after just a few hours.

    Worse yet, I made it 200 miles after they first repaired it before the clutch master cylinder failed and the only way I could get back to the shop was to attached the clutch line to the front brake master cylinder so I had a clutch ( not knowing about the incorrect fluid.) The fluid in the clutch line contaminated the front brake system and now the front brake master cylinder has failed just like the clutch master cylinder failed! The shop in Lima charge $1100 for each master cylinder and it's a three week wait for parts.

    The lesson to learn here is DON'T trust the Lima BMW Dealership to have the same level of expertise as other BMW shops, it has cost me all the remaining money for my trip and basically ruined the remainder of my adventure. They are probably alright for changing a chain and sprocket and perhaps the oil, but I certain learned not let then do any repairs if at all possible.
    #1
  2. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    The problem at BMW Lima is they hired the wrong guy. There are very few big bikes in Lima, so they only have one bike mechanic - he's a youngish non-rider who went on a BMW training course. Yup, it's that bad. This is the second time I've seen this - the first was another young mechanic at BMW Panama City who over-filled my oil by a quart. How it's possible to miscount a row of oil bottles beside a bike I have no idea, but he did. Yeh, I know, should have done it myself. Or worse yet, you could go to Ruta 40 in Medelllin, the anti-Christ of bike shops.

    BMW take great pride in their training. But this is just a way to put spin on the dealers not having to do the harder thing - find mechanics with talent and experience. There is no better example than Jorge at Moto Asturias in Cali who is some kind of breed of super-mechanic in comparison to the BMW goofs. Even if you don't need anything done it's worth going there just to have Jorge poke the bike for luck.

    The BMW network of mechanics is a joke. Maybe the best reason to buy a KTM. Due to some mods to my bike I've had to visit a couple of KTM dealers in SA and everytime I visit one I'm envious. If you were at talented young mechanic, who you go to work for? Hardly going to fire up a doobie after closing at the BMW shop...
    #2
  3. TeeVee

    TeeVee His mudda was a mudda!

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    that truly sucks ass. sorry. not that the chances of them doing aything are all that good, but i would certainly entertain the thought of writing bmw a nice letter. my experience with licensees around the world is that the licensing entity could give two shits less about what happens to a customer at a licensed location abroad. but hey, bmw is so proud of their machines and bill them as top of the line, perhaps they may think the crap experience you had will reflect poorly on the brand in general and they'll throw you some dough.
    #3
  4. jfman

    jfman Long timer

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    Maybe they get more practice?!? :bert
    #4
  5. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    Actually, if you lean on them hard they may respond with something. They made a mistake on my HP2 and I rained hell on them with the result that they flew the mechanic down to Arequipa at their expense to fix their error and credited my bank with the cost of the part they incorrectly installed. They will back off a position if they've screwed up, in their favor. But not without a fight.
    #5
  6. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

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    Or just learn to maintain your own bike. :huh

    When you think about all the expenses piled onto a long term trip, when you hand the entire basis of that trip over to a complete stranger and just have faith that he'll do it right because he has a shirt on with a bmw logo is crazy. Would you hand some stranger $20,000 and just have faith that he'll bring it back to you tomorrow? Riding a motorcycle around the world and NOT being able to change your own oil or brake fluid is asking for trouble. When you have problems because of it, don't expect others to be surprised, especially after the endless number of sob story threads about BMW dealerships in latin america destroying bikes.
    #6
  7. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    Being able, or not able, to fix one's own bike is not entirely the issue. The thread is about calling out a bad incident with a dealer.

    Yes, I can do basic maintenance and in some future circumstances will have to. I don't bother and stop at dealers because it's not fun for me at all unless I have a problem. I've had a major issue I had to fix in Belize (and find the parts) far from a dealer and did so quickly. Some of the harder things I rehearsed with a mechanic friend at home, taped and sent up to YouTube to be there when needed, if needed, assuming I can internet. The only thing I do currently is blow out my air filter over-frequently because I'm paranoid after an early incident.

    Absolutely agree that you live with the consequences of your inabilities and the rewards of your resourcefulness and like everyone going a long way I've thought that out in detail and never forget it. And Longrider's famous quote is brilliantly succinct.

    Also, I agree that complaining about a screwed up basic job is maybe asking for being torched here. But it's generally the harder things that they really screw up, like op's clutch. Should he have done his clutch job himself?

    and on the subject of rtw riders, the biggest bullshit event I ever saw was at Ruta 40 in Medellin and it happened to a very accomplished rtw guy, can do all his own work but occasionally sees a dealer, who had almost finished after 4 years on the road. How is it that one of biggest advocates of doing all your own work here on ADV posted an endorsement of Jorge the other day? Did he just hear that from someone else, or God forbid, did he actually use him?

    I think most everyone here understands the issues and lives with the consequences.
    #7
  8. ApexJeff

    ApexJeff Been here awhile

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    Where are you now? Was Endurance any help? Keep us updated, I am going back down to Lima in about a month, can I help?
    #8
  9. TUCKERS

    TUCKERS the famous james

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    You can maintain your own bike, but it's pretty hard to throw a clutch in a BMW oil head at the side of the road.
    #9
  10. bananaman

    bananaman transcontimental

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    But it's easy to change your clutch yourself with the help of a certified mechanic at a dealership. That's what I did, because I didn't trust my bike with a stranger. No Fucking Way.
    #10
  11. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

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    if failure was indeed caused by wrong brake fluid. then all the hydraulic cylinders mechanically are still good. meaning all cylinders should be rebuildable with kits ... NOT complete cylinders.

    there's a HUGE difference in costs between brake master cylinder vs a BMC kit. what determines if BMC or what ever cylinder is rebuildable is condition of internal piston and if cylinder walls has pits/scratches too deep to sand out.

    all competent mechanics will know this ... did the repair shop offer to rebuild cylinders at much reduced costs? your repair bill should be a fraction of original estimate.

    insist that mechanic flush all lines out with alcohol. most brake fluids are alcohol based so flushing with alcohol should return all metal hydraulic lines to new condition. your worry is if wrong fluid damaged rubber flex hydraulic hoses. dot 5 silicon fluid and evidently newest brake fluid are not alcohol based.

    hopefully a local inmate will be along soon to steer you to another shop that's not crooked as can be.
    there's several BMW parts suppliers that can air freight parts to you ... rubber kits weigh very little compared to entire cylinders.

    don't worry there are all sorts of folks on Adv that will help get you going again ... got any more questions .. just ask ..

    -------------

    Aral Vitamol V 10 is a hydraulic fluid based on synthetic hydrocarbons with distinctive efficient capabilities. The special additive technologie combination causes an improvement of the VI (Viscosity Index) performance, corrosion prevention, pressure absorption ability and the ageing protection.


    Specification
    The low viscous Aral Vitamol V 10 has a proven performance for the use in shock absorbers. Furthermore its suited for all hydraulic systems, which need extremely precise control even with large variations in temperature. Possible applications are hydraulic elevators, hydraulics for water resource and distribution equipment, auxiliary engines, N/C controlled machine tools and copier hydraulics.
    #11
  12. Misery Goat

    Misery Goat Positating the negative Super Moderator

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    Leaving your bike in the hands of any mechanic you don't personally know is asking for trouble. This is where doing your own maintenance and having a basic understanding of your bike comes in handy. I'm shocked at the number of riders I met on the road who couldn't handle basic maintenance on their bikes, all BMW riders coincidentally.
    #12
  13. Mr Steam Turbine

    Mr Steam Turbine Adventurer

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    Damn, you guys are tough! The repair work was actually more than just the clutch. The transmission input shaft bearing had failed and took the clutch out with it. In any case, I have learned the difference between the fluid specification for new 1200 GS and the older 1150 GS bikes. I had no idea the two bikes used incompatible fluid. As far as replacing the clutch and transmission bearings along side the road or I some hostels sidewalk go for it! I'm as mechanically inclined as any of you guys and it's not for me...
    #13
  14. Mr Steam Turbine

    Mr Steam Turbine Adventurer

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    The Lima Dealership actually came through today though. The ring gear bearing in the final drive failed about 350 miles north of Lima yesterday so I removed it and returned to Lima by bus. The dealership gave me a driver for free to go find a replacement bearing out in own and hooked me up with a machine shop to press the new bearing on. I'm taking a bus back to the bike tonight where I will assemble the entire final drive, by myself, on a sidewalk in a hostel. Feel better now Airhead?
    #14
  15. steveWFL

    steveWFL Long timer

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    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. Mr Steam Turbine

    Mr Steam Turbine Adventurer

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    Yea, I found the shop and I wish I new these guy a couple months ago. The shop is clean, professional, and just looked good. Christian was also very helpful, but unfortunately he was booked up and couldn't fit me in with such short notice. It's a great resource to know about.
    #16
  17. OK Lucinda

    OK Lucinda n00b

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    OK, I want to make sure I understand you. Never once in your years of riding in Latin America have you met a non-BMW owner who couldn't maintain their bike?
    #17
  18. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

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    You're right. It's pretty tough on the side of the road. In an underground parking garage in the outskirts of Bogota it's a snap though. (that's my clutch on the ground by my foot)

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Mr Steam Turbine

    Mr Steam Turbine Adventurer

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    Airhead, since you know how to do your own maintenance I have a question that I could use your help with. When replacing the ring gear bearing, how do you measure the bearing preload? Dial Indicator to Torque Whench? This is the preload established by the shim thickness under the bearing when it is pressed into the housing.
    #19
  20. Mr Steam Turbine

    Mr Steam Turbine Adventurer

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    Is there anybody on this forum that took a BMW to South America that didnt have a failure of a major component??? I'm beginning to wonder..... still love my bike though.
    #20