How to Remove ESA SHocks on a 1200GS

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by jachard, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. jachard

    jachard Been here awhile

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    All,
    I thought I would write a short tutorial on how to remove ESA shocks from a GS so here goes:

    Rear:
    The rear is pretty straightforward, you will need a #50 torx, a 15mm box wrench and some zip ties.

    1. Put bike on centrestand with ~1.5" of boards underneath, this is somewhat important for the rear but VERY important for the front.
    2. Remove muffler and flapper box, this will make removal of the bottom £50 torx fastener much easier.
    3. Once you have these items removed, disconnect the two connectors at the top of the shock.
    4. Remove the bottom fastener, when it comes out, be prepared to support the rear wheel in order to facilitate the removal of the fastener.
    5, Loosen the top fastener and with your right hand support the shock in order to take the load off the screw, then push it out. At this point, the shock will be free but will need some gentle coercing in order to remove it from the bike. THis is where having the bike up on the boards helps.

    Install in reverse order. I went with aftermarket shocks which made installation much easier.

    [​IMG]

    Front:
    The front is much more time consuming, you will beed to remove the tank in order to gain access to the ESA connectors so let's do it!

    1. Remove side panels and top tank panel, make sure you put a rag in the tank in order to avoid dropping the screws around the filler into the tank. The screws you need to remove here are at the 2, 4 8 and 10 o'clock positions.

    [​IMG]

    2. Remove the tank fuel line and electrical connectors, the charcoal canister connector on the front RH side and the vent tube on the LH side.
    3. Remove the mounting screws on each side and slide the tank back.

    [​IMG]

    4. Now, there are two wires that control the ESA, one that comes from the top of the shock and another from the bottom. These wires have been zip tied to EVERYTHING. Take your time and follow the wires to remove them. Here is the top one:

    [​IMG]

    ...and the bottom one, which is tied to the RH side frame member, it is easy to identify since the sheath is shiny blac tubing:

    [​IMG]

    5. Once you have cut all the zip ties, disconnect the wires from their respective connectors on top of the ECU and GENTLY pull them out of the bike. At this point I re-zip tied all of the ties I cut so I remembered where they were. I like to use an set of cheap dykes to trim them that I have ground the sides flush so that I get a nice clean cut. Nothing worse than getting cut by slightly protruding zip tie ends!

    6. Now that the wires are free, you will need to loosen the top nut (15mm) by inserting a 5mm allen key in in order to stop the shaft from rotating. Leave the nut on the shaft for now.

    [​IMG]

    7. Remove the bottom #50 Torx fastener that holds the shock to the telelever arm.

    8. Gently push the arm down in order to gain clearance.

    9. Now finish removing the top nut. Be aware that there is a large washer under the nut and a grommet. Be ready to catch the washer before it dives into the bowels of the bike, not that this happened to me of course. A stick magnet is handy here.....

    10. Now, if you put the bike up on the boards, you should be able to pull the top of the shock down and out of the front of the bike. There is one plastic deflector that will need to be removed at the top by prying the part together, my apologies for not taking a picture but it's pretty self explanatory.

    ESA exorcism complete!!

    Install the front in reverse order:

    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps someone! All said and done I did this in 2.5hrs.

    Cheers, James
    #1
  2. oalvarez

    oalvarez Resident Raggamuffin

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    Thank you for taking the time to write it up...nicely done. :deal
    #2
  3. GSFunADV

    GSFunADV GSFunADV

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
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    Outstanding post, and very helpful as I would like to do the same procedure.

    Questions

    When the OEM ESA shocks are removed, does that throw a fault to the bike's computer?

    Do you get the dreaded amber triangle warning of an ESA problem?

    Must you take the bike into the dealer to get the ESA system "turned off"?

    Best of luck with your new suspension.
    #3
  4. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Good write-up.

    One question, why did you remove the top panel of the tank? You can/should move/remove the tank with that panel on.

    Jim :brow
    #4
  5. jachard

    jachard Been here awhile

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    GSFun, here are the answers to your questions:

    1.So far, my bike has not thrown a code or given me the amber triangle.

    2. I just bought the bike yesterday and performed the ESA exorcism. My dealer was super helpful and said if I do get a warning, he will fix it. He couldn't do it proactively since BMW did not send him the flash in time.


    An added bonus of going to non ESA shocks was a nice weight reduction too, those shocks are HEAVY!!

    Let me know if you have any other questions. I'll be editing my how too soon with some further advice and updates.

    Cheers, James
    #5
  6. jachard

    jachard Been here awhile

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    Yes, I noticed that afterwards but I do like to have all painted panels away from the line of fire, so to speak:1drink

    The bike is brand new and I didn't want to risk a scratch!
    #6
  7. GSFunADV

    GSFunADV GSFunADV

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    Thanks for the info, I'm really looking forward to doing this to my bike.

    Best regards.
    #7
  8. SeeRace

    SeeRace Been here awhile

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    Good write up. So......... How does it ride with the Yac's? How did you get them set up?
    #8
  9. seaswood

    seaswood seaswood

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    All said and done I did this in 2.5hrs.

    Was that front & rear in 2.5 hours took me all day then some front/rear.
    The lower bolts were some stubborn had to go out get another T-50 as it was no go after the front bolt. the front end is quite involved finding all where how to get it out properly.
    What did you do with the ends of the connectors?
    I put mine in plastic bags with tape later need to find something better.
    I installed ohlins, now have to go read. How to set them.
    #9
  10. jachard

    jachard Been here awhile

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    I was able to do both ends in 2.5hrs total. I just zip tied the connectors up out of the way.

    I have finally got a few miles on the bike with the Yacugars and all I can say is PLUSH..:D

    These shocks are fantastic.


    I took the bike out on one of my local dirt roads that is in really "interesting" shape after this winter. Lots's of potholes, washboard, snowy spots, slimy,frosty mud etc. The bike totally hooks up now. I did one run up the 5mile section to see how I liked the stock settings. Ended up backing out 3 clicks of high speed compression F and R. Then backed out 1 click of rebound in the front and the bike is almost perfect. After that I took the bike in the woods and found a nice 8" tree across the trail to practice rolling over, once again, the suspension did not disappoint. The spring rate is just right and keeps the bike high in the stroke for clearance yet gives me good feedback.

    After a short session in the woods it was back to some high speed washboard, then on to regular roads for the trip home. I'm really looking forward to running these for a while!

    Cheers, James
    #10
  11. Kdawg

    Kdawg Adventurer

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    Nov 22, 2014
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    Thanks for the guide. Rear was easy, front was fiddly. Why oh why are two of the 5 front ESA nuts not welded to the subframe? I would also recommend removing the front beak (4 screws) as it provides much better access to these bolts. Getting a few of the connector clips off the frame was also challenging. If I had remembered to extract the top part of the shock first it might have saved some time...also if removing the rebound damping bolt heat it first...or it might shear...
    #11