Small oil leak at valve cover bolt after drop

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by cug, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,731
    Location:
    Sunny California
    (Model: 2010 R1200GS, DOHC engine!)

    Hi.

    Last weekend I decided that for a full review of my new Micatech V-Pilot boxes I needed to dump the bike on top of one, so I put the GS on the side stand while on a downhill slope and left it alone, running, to walk away and see what happens ... :lol3

    Hmmm, maybe not exactly like that. I was just brain dead and did what I described but more to help my wife getting out of a bad situation in a u-turn: narrow road, a deep rut in the road where she got stuck with her bike blocking the whole lane. Bummer, I ran over there, heard her screaming over the intercom, didn't understand a word, just "Nooooo", then she pointed and I saw my bike lying on the side. Hmpf. Okay, so what. It's a GS.

    Initial damage review:

    1) Left front signal popped out of the stalk, stalk popped out of the frame part that's holding it. Nothing dramatic, opened the signal, unscrewed the stalk, popped everything back into place, no harm done.

    2) Scratched: GSA windshield, left winglet, left handguard, left valve cover.

    Now the bad one though:

    3) I used just the OEM valve cover guards and the left one got pushed in badly. It cut the plastic cover that protects the underside assembly of the head a little bit, bent out of shape to I had to bend it even more to unscrew it.

    Underneath I found some oil. Not good. What I found out so far is that it's leaking tiny amounts of oil at the valve cover bolts. Haven't had a chance to take them off yet, the bike got me another 200 miles home, no serious oil loss. About a drop for each 50 miles. Less than what the beast burned through the first 1000 miles ... :lol3

    Now, my questions:

    a) I assume I can take the valve cover off without draining the oil first, right?

    b) What can I expect to find? What would make the thing leak along the bolts?

    c) What parts should I have handy when doing this (gaskets, ...)?

    d) What is the torque spec for 2010 R1200GS DOHC engine valve cover bolts?

    Thanks for all your help! Much appreciated!
    #1
  2. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    84,503
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    First, yes, you can pop off the cover, you will drip a few teaspoons.

    My guess is the valve cover got tweeked over a bit. Not damaged, but the design of the Camhead valve cover allows a bit of movement. This moved the rubber in the seald of the bolts. There are only two, instead of the four on previous versions.

    Remove the valve cover, check the bolts to make sure they are straight, and check the rubber seals for damage. If no damage, I am betting if you reinstall the valve cover, proper 8nm torque, they wont leak.

    [​IMG]

    Jim :brow
    #2
  3. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,731
    Location:
    Sunny California
    Awesome! Thanks Jim for your help! I'll take the valve cover off tonight, take a closer look, if any seals are bad I'll replace them. Will check the bolts, too.

    The bike has taken it really well all things considered. It was a pretty hard fall as I wasn't slowing anything down from 20 yards or so away ... man, was I pissed about my own stupidity. Didn't even take a photo from the bike on the ground. That's the only one in existence, valve cover guard already taken off (by bending the hell out of it after removing the two screws I could get to):

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. MJS

    MJS Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,709
    Location:
    Off the grid in San Felipe, Baja
    Very common on the camhead to have the valve cover bolt bend slightly with a drop. When that happens the cover can shift upwards and the VC gasket will leak at the bottom. Hard drop and the oil is very noticeable. :eek1

    As JVB said, sounds like you can just readjust everything and be good to go. We just carefully lay the bike over on the other side then the oil stays in the motor. Check the bolt carefully to be sure it is straight and also the locating tabs on the gasket. Wipe all the oil off the gasket surfaces and reassemble.

    PS: those factory guards won't help. Crash bars will. Worthwhile IMHO to carry a spare VC gasket and bolts for serious off-road trips.
    #4
  5. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,731
    Location:
    Sunny California
    Okay, I'll give a good look tonight and certainly check whether the bolts are straight. I don't mind a bit of oil, just don't want to mess around with lots of it.

    If the drop had happened in off-road - at least it would have been cool. But no, I was putting the bike on the side stand and left it running where I should have turned it off and put a gear in. But to my defense: I was running to help the most lovely wife of all. :deal
    #5
  6. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,731
    Location:
    Sunny California
    :ruskie

    So far - no luck. I stumbled over myself again. Forgot that I didn't get the tool to remove the spark plug connector ...

    Will this work with the 2010 model?

    http://www.ascycles.com/detail.aspx?ID=43282

    Didn't want to use pliers or so. The other thing is that I think one of the bolts is slightly bent, so I'll get replacement bolts just in case. Will talk to my dealer first thing tomorrow morning and find out what they have in stock. I want to get the bike back on the road, it's my main vehicle if I'm not taking the bicycle.

    One more question: what's the best way to pull of the plastic cover of the spark plug cap without breaking it?

    Thanks again!
    #6
  7. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    84,503
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    That one will work, or I use this one: http://www.marcparnes.com/BMW_Plug_Tool.htm\

    The plastic cover on the Camhead is a little hard, and feels like you are doing something wrong when removing. I grab it from the bottom with a hook tool, though you can use a screwdriver, and pull. It usually pops off suddenly, and can fly if you are not preparred for it.

    Jim :brow

    PS I tried using a screwdriver trick on the camhead. It can be done, but it is hard on the lip of the stick coil.

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,731
    Location:
    Sunny California
    Thanks again Jim. Yeah, I pulled pretty hard on the plastic cover and it popped off, just wanted to know whether there is a better way.

    I tried the screwdriver method on the plug, but it felt pretty bad (like plastic shortly before breaking) so I left it alone and will get one of those tools hopefully today - if they have one at my dealership. If not I might just get an order for some Marc Parnes tools in.
    #8
  9. cug

    cug -- Super Supporter

    Joined:
    May 31, 2009
    Oddometer:
    6,731
    Location:
    Sunny California
    Update:

    I got the BMW plastic puller tool and two new bolts. Wasn't sure about the old bolts - optically, they look just fine, but I wasn't certain. Will keep them as spares.

    The plastic puller is complete crap. It slides off when you pull. Completely useless. The trick is to get two fingers in the puller part, pull them sideways (to front and rear of bike), this puts "closing pressure" to the front, now also pull the plug connector out. Completely stupid but worked.

    I couldn't find anything wrong when I had the cover off, so I wiped everything off put all the seals back into place, put the valve cover back on and torqued it to 8NM. Will have to see whether it still leaks.

    What's the recommendation if it does?
    #9
  10. dr. jones

    dr. jones Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    475
    Location:
    The Ham, MA
    agreed on the bmw tool - complete crap. i used pliers but covered the cap with a soft cloth to avoid damaging. i also found twisting the cap as i pulled helped.

    glad you got it sorted.
    #10
  11. Ridin08Blue

    Ridin08Blue Back to Adventure

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    South East QLD
    Jim (or others)
    Can anyone tell me how to get the spark plug coil covers off the DOHC motor (with out breaking them). Previous motors just grab them at the back and pull. The DOHC motor has its cover running vertically so I assume grab at bottom of motor. Cant move.

    Any help would be useful - thankyou

    Regards
    #11
  12. Oldbear

    Oldbear Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2011
    Oddometer:
    367
    Location:
    Fin Land
    Grab at the bottom of the cover and pull firmly towards yourself. The cover has tabs holding it in place so it will (eventually) come out with a "pop".

    I use a spring puller which makes it a bit easier.
    #12
  13. Ridin08Blue

    Ridin08Blue Back to Adventure

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7
    Location:
    South East QLD
    OldBear - Thankyou for you advice.

    Appreciated
    #13
  14. FangitAshmo

    FangitAshmo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Brisbane
    An old post above, though a re-assuring one. Thanks Jim von Baden and MJS. This site is a fantastic resource.

    I recently returned from a trip which unfortunately involved dropping the bike (Camhead) twice in soft sand at low speed (<30 km/hr) I do not have crash bars, just the BMW valve cover protectors. Both drops were to the right side - the right aluminium valve protector has a dent. Setting up camp 2 nights after the drops and approx. after 1000km's I noticed a little engine oil covering the head of the forward most valve cover bolt on the right side. Scared thre living daylights out of me. Cleaned it up , checked oil level and checked bolt after another +/-300km's and again a very small (enoughto cover head of bolt) was evident. Again cleaned it up. Arrived home after approx. 400km's and checked prior to washing the bike there was no sign of any further oil leak. Have not ridden the bike for two weeks since, and still no evidence of any further leak.

    I will keep an eye on it though I am now in the market for some crash bars.
    #14
  15. EPMD

    EPMD Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2012
    Oddometer:
    205
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Same situation here. 2015 GS, slow speed tip over on a gravelly rocky switchback, then oil weeping around valve cover bolts and between the engine and valve cover.

    I pulled the bolts, noticed one had actually had its rubber grommet/gasket cut. I replaced all three.

    Then pulled the cover, removed the gasket, cleaned and inspected, no obvious damage, reinstalled everything and no more leak.

    I've since fit crash bars, and machineart moto head covers.
    #15
  16. Zoef zoef

    Zoef zoef Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,100
    Location:
    Finn√ły Island, near Stavanger, Norway
    To remove stick coils, I use an angled point nosed pliers. End flat above and below the head of the stick coil, rest knuckle on valve cover, and then you can lever the stickcoil out
    . [​IMG]
    #16
  17. FangitAshmo

    FangitAshmo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    69
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Thanks EPMD. I will check mine out too. I have mulled over getting crash bars since I got the bike new in 2010. If you are going to take the GS off-road, I have no doubt in my mind now that crash bars are an essential investment.
    #17