Alaska trip failures

Discussion in 'Americas' started by EM-50, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. EM-50

    EM-50 Been here awhile

    Sep 26, 2008
    Rhinelander Wi
    I'm knee deep into planning my trip to Purdoe bay. I've read and read and read. The question is for the the inmates who have been there done that.What problems did your GS throw at you and did it leave you?I'm using this info to tweak the tool set.I know this should go in planning but I wanted GS info. Thanks! PS- I'm takin an 07 1200 GS.
  2. johnlt

    johnlt Been here awhile

    Dec 11, 2003
    Green Valley, AZ
    Had a ring antenna failure at the end of the trip. We had a spare as well as a spare fuel pump electronics module and alt. belt but didn't need those. Bikes ran great all the way other than the RA failure at the end (back in Washington). We put on the spare and the dealer in Montana replaced it under warrantee.

    XPLORZ Been here awhile

    Mar 23, 2006
    Battle Ground, WA
    '09 Adv ran flawless. I did drill out and replace the security bolts for the antenna ring and packed a spare. If the bike was a year or two older, I would have also prepared for the fuel pump controller problem.
  4. holckster

    holckster dougholck Supporter

    Jun 29, 2006
    Lodi, Ca
    Destroyed a rear a tire 24 miles after leaving to return from Deadhorse.
    Managed to put in 6 plugs in a large gash and limp back but had to air up ever 1/4 mile so took 6 hours.
    Luckly was carrying a Satalite phone so booked another night at the Prudhoe Hotel and had another tire flown in next morning.
    Next time I think I might go to a local Fairbanks bike shop and borrow an old take off tire as a spare to carry as well as tubes.

    The Satilite Phone saved the day.
  5. Abenteuerfahrer

    Abenteuerfahrer Deaf on Wheels

    Dec 27, 2007
    Prescott, Arizona, USA
    2005 1200GS: ran flawless


    rear tire
    rear brake pads
  6. waddyp

    waddyp Quite Content

    Apr 25, 2006
    Ann Arbor and Hoxeyville, Michigan
    Did my ride solo- 13.4k miles on an '07 GS. Changed oil/filter twice, tires once, bike ran flawlessly. Wish I had a custom seat for the ride. Have a ball, don't worry.
  7. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv Long timer

    Oct 6, 2003
    Ft Likkertail , USA
    1150 GSA ran flawless for 15K miles from S. Florida to Prudhoe and back...:thumb
    Don't worry too much but preparation is key. Don't get your bike serviced the day before you leave unless you do it yourself. Start with fresh tires and have something lined up along the way if needed. Barbara at Alaskaleather is a gem of a lady and can be of great help. I found out for myself when I needed tires sooner than I thought. The roads are rough on tires even when paved, and they will wear faster IMHO on the paved stuff vs the unpaved roads. Just stop in northern BC and look at the paved road....
    The rear pads wore out faster than usual but I brought spares.. IIRC I did one oilchange in Montana on the way back and that was about it.
    Have fun and take lots of pics!!
  8. beammeup

    beammeup Guaging racefully

    Jul 13, 2008
    Eagan or Knife River, MN
    +1 on carrying a spare tube, although I never had a flat

    My RT was abused pretty badly on the Dempster. I blew out the preload on the rear shock and had to get a new one installed in Anchorage - Warranty covered it and the dealership treated me well.

    If you don't have a throttle lock- get one.

    Watch for Moose and other critters as well as random frost heaves. This pig was completely airborne leaving Anchorage on the road to Glennallen. LOL
    :wings :ricky

  9. JSD

    JSD old and crumbly

    Jun 23, 2006
    GJ CO
    On my trip in '08 the rubber boots on the driveshaft came loose, both front and rear. The foward one was siliconed by the dealer in Mousula MT, warranty. And I ended up duct taping the back one in Coldfoot, its still taped. Others I met had the same problem though I dont recall it deing dicussed here. Take duct tape. Also rear brake pads. The lesson I learned the hard way was that one pad wears faster than the other. The one that is harder to see wears faster. Check both. Good luck, enjoy it.
  10. Z50Pilot

    Z50Pilot Sparky

    Jun 3, 2008
    Columbia, MD
    Fly into Anchorage and rent:-) We didn't have to worry about bike problems that way.

    Fuel pump relay, antenna ring, final drive, tires, brake pads.... There are many things that could go wrong. Start with going over the whole bike, replace any wear items, have good crash bars, and carry a visa card.

    Enjoy the trip.
  11. GSA Ghost

    GSA Ghost LOST

    Nov 2, 2008
    Boca Raton, FL

    I just returned from the top, I'm sure you've tortured yourself with all the stories you read everywhere about the Alaska trip, although it was all extremely informative this is what I did.

    Completely serviced my bike before my journey (oil, filters, final drive service even though it wasn't needed and new tires).

    I had the bike serviced (oil change and air filter) and bought a new rear tire prior to the Dalton hwy from Fairbanks BMW or whatever you call that so called BMW dealer :cry . If you can, bring your own tires otherwise be prepared to pay 3 times the value of a tire (Flame suit on so bring it)

    Tools: I always carry with me a fairly complete aftermarket tool kit that I purchased from Touratech when I got the bike, 2 oil filters, 2 air filters, 2 qts of oil, a tire repair kit and a small air compressor (I found that the little CO2 bottles are more effective and occupy less space). Just so you know all I needed out of this batch was the compressor to inflate my tires after getting off the Campbell and Dalton Hwy and one qt of oil prior of getting service throughout the trip.

    Rain suit: Good to have, I took mine and didn't use it once even though it rained on me a few times, I was too lazy to unload the bike to put it on and I was already a mess so what the heck :wink:

    Canned foods: if you're camping great but if you're not pack a power bar, a couple of trail mix bags, Tuna fish (the kind you don't need a can opener) in the sealed pouch and move on.

    Bring "lots" of drinking water and if you're a coffee drinker a thermos wouldn't hurt to have.

    Knobbies: not needed (total bu!!$h!t all the fuss you hear and read about "a must have") I rode behind a pack of KTM's, KLR's and some Beemers on the Dalton, Campbell and TOW hwy, those guys I swear they looked like they were going to WWII or something with all the hardcore off road gear those guys had on their bikes, what they really needed was an offroad learning session. Just use common sense and don't try to prove anything, ride with caution and never ride over your personal limits, if you get tired stop, get a room, pitch a tent or whatever suits you best, wildlife is literally "everywhere" so you must be very alert.

    A "GOOD" camera with extra batteries is a must, I have well over 7,000 pictures, you will have a lifetime experience that you will never forget.

    A Fuel can since you're on a GS and make sure you top off your bike at every gas station within 50 miles from your last fillup.

    Needless to say, your Full protective gear along with an extra helmet visor.

    When you return home you will need another complete service (final drive included even though they'll tell you is not needed) and maybe rear brake pads depending on your riding...

    I wish you the very best, you will love it, your bike will treat you just as good as you've pampered her.

    Don't rush your trip, be safe and the best advice I can possibly give you is "Do not ride at night"


    GSA Ghost

  12. scooteraug02

    scooteraug02 Dog Rancher

    Feb 18, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
  13. BMWRich

    BMWRich Long timer

    Jan 15, 2005
    GSA Ghost pretty much hits the nail on the head!!!...:clap .
    I did it in '07 on my bike not knowing of the failure rate of final drives,fuel pump controllers,and antenna rings. :huh
    Prepare to a certain degree and then go have some fun.
    My only failure....not enough coffee for when I stopped for a Kodak moment!
  14. space

    space a.k.a. Jake

    Jan 1, 2006
    Los Angeles
    Did the trip a couple years ago on a '00 R1150GS. RR here:

    My transmission totally failed about a week into the trip. Just one of those things. In retrospect there was a minor oil leak on the bike that I hadn't had time to track down before the trip. Turned out it was the tranny input seal. Oops.

    Tool required: credit card. Some things you can't fix yourself. I also wound up stuck in Green Bay for 4 days while Beemer Boneyard overnighted a used tranny and De Pere BMW installed it.

    My point is that you need to budget extra time and money for the unknowns of a trip like this.
  15. EM-50

    EM-50 Been here awhile

    Sep 26, 2008
    Rhinelander Wi
    Thanks for everyones replys. I want to plan this trip as best I can yet not over plan.I don't know if that makes sense to anyone else but me.The info here is great, excactly what I was hoping for. There are so many reports its hard to summerize them.I just keep going over the tool kit and what extra parts to bring.
    One more question.I've always planned this trip solo,but I might have a chance for riding partners.Right now I'm still solo, but the wife would love for me to have company. I've had plenty of offers, but mostly co-workers on Roadkings that have chromed the one screwdriver in thier toolkit. " Don't worry about that crap, I've got roadside assistance." No thanks. I have no problem taking care of myself.Just don't want to add any problems. Do you think a partner increases your saftey that much?
  16. cammyontheback

    cammyontheback ADV'ers

    Dec 10, 2006
    Carson City, NV
    Very short ride report should answer most questions.

    The more people on your ride the more likely of failure. Their failure often becomes yours too.

    My only failure was the loss of one screw that holds on the left rear turn signal lens.

    From another post of mine; (the Alaska trip)

    Two up, fully loaded, 80 to 108 Degrees F, 75-80 mph on pavement, 2500 miles dirt...........

    Rear has 4200............. Just got to the Tread Wear Indicators.
    Front has 4200............ 70% done

    Air pressures were closely monitored, dirt and pavement. (See other post in GS for psi details)

    Found it.

    Pulled it from a previous post so if it sounds a little off subject just ignore.
    Non-GSA model for me would be about 2 psi less.

    Wife and I two up on 07 GSA, with all gear for 6 weeks = bike at max gross weight.
    Rear on pavement - 42 psi 80 mph
    Front on pavement - 38 psi 80 mph

    Rear off pavement - 36 psi 55 mph max if on pavement for short times.
    Front off pavement - 32 psi "

    Nearly 11,000 miles tripin this summer to all points north.
    About 3,200 miles of it off pavement.
    TKC80s ROCKED!
    The last set were installed in Fairbanks, AK.

    Here is the link

    Good luck<!-- / message --><!-- sig -->

    Hey, this might be usefull too

  17. Grad

    Grad Wannabe

    Dec 7, 2004
    Athens, GA and Blairsville, GA
    not Alaska, but I did 7 weeks and 9200 miles this summer (2up on a 12GS that started out with just under 40,000 miles on it) and spent the better part of a year planning for the trip. I was a bit worried about failures, but everything turned out just fine. Ride and enjoy!
  18. waddyp

    waddyp Quite Content

    Apr 25, 2006
    Ann Arbor and Hoxeyville, Michigan
    Did my 13.4k mile trip to Prudhoe solo. Chose to avoid catering to others' agendas. I'm pretty self-confident and not afraid of adversity. Cell phone, credit card will take care of just about any problem. On the Dalton, even at 3:00 a.m. there's usually a truck to come along, eventually. About the loneliest I've ever been, almost to the point of being spooky (on the North Slope), but it made Prudhoe Bay Hotel that much friendlier. I did AK portion of ride late May/early June. Rode the Dalton at night (always light) so the NaCl could set-up and to avoid traffic. That worked. I'm going back, its that good. Ride on....
  19. Dogscout

    Dogscout Wow why and adventure

    Jun 11, 2006
    Gone walk-about
    Went up the Dempster in July 07. Totally dry up to Eagle Plains then rained for days. Do not ride the Dempster with Tourances in the rain. Right out of EP is a down hill and I was on the pegs with the bars going stop to stop at 20 mph. I went 30 miles past the circle and could not handle any more. Shooting my brains out would have felt better.

    1 year later I rode the Trans Lab on TKC's in the rain. No worries and a fun trip singing and smiling the whole way across.

    Yes part of it had to do with better skill the following year, but a big thing was that I was more confident of the tires.
  20. dave58

    dave58 Not if I see you first

    Mar 25, 2008
    Roseville, CA
    Rode to Deadhorse and Inuvik in June...'08 Adventure ran flawless with miles o' smiles. I stressed over the antenna ring, but decided against a spare since I had the 247 part. Took 20 lbs of tools and every concievable method for repairing a tire...up to an including a total changeout. Didn't need any of it, but glad it was there nonetheless.