Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Frustrating BMW

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines\

I finally got the new brake lines for the BMW a week ago, but they didn’t have enough DOT4 brake fluid at the motorcycle shop. I had planned to get some on the way home, but got distracted by a fun detour. A week later, I still didn’t have the DOT4.

Did I mention the Spiegler lines above are CHEAPER than the stock BMW rubber ones? How about all the front, rear, and clutch in stainless steel for less than the front BMW lines? The stainless has a lifetime warranty too which is much nicer than the stockers which are supposed to be replaced every four years or so.

For the holiday weekend, I thought I’d work on the BMW and go for a ride. The BMW had other plans.

The new lines look great compared to the stock rubber ones!

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

The front brake lever. I chose the silver lines with silver banjos. It was the cheapest option, and it matches the silver paint on the bike. Spiegler has many other color combinations.

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

My R1150GS never wants to go along with the program. Yea, ok, it has 108,000 miles on it. Yes, it IS a 2001, but so is my SV650. The SV doesn’t give me as much grief.

This photo below shows the line from the front brake (top) going into a distributor (to the ABS) and then out the bottom is the leaky line that goes down to the front brakes. The bottom banjo wouldn’t come loose. They are supposed to be on at 18Nm. This one was put on by Superman. All the rest came off without effort, but not this troublemaker.

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

I tried everything, but it wouldn’t come off. So I took the bike apart and took the whole chunk off. I locked it in a vise and really tried to get it off. Liquid Wrench – nope. PB blaster – nope. breaker bar – nope. impact wrench – nope. By now, I’ve stripped the head out of the bolt. Getting frustrated. vice grips – nope.

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

The distributor above is $25. The banjo bolt is $7. I decided to see if I could save some money and save the distributor. I took out the trusty dremel and went to work. I cut around the copper washer, and then went for the vice grips again.

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Success! The bolt is ruined and a new on is on the way.

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

Another week will go by before I get to bleed the brakes and MAYBE ride the silly bike. I’m happy I saved the distributor piece below. The front and rear lines are all hooked up except for the last banjo.

BMW Stainless Steel Brake Lines

I bought speed bleeders from Spiegler too. They should make bleeding the brakes solo an easy task.

On the positive side, after this, there isn’t much left to go wrong! I want to like the GS, but I just haven’t had much time in the saddle to get to know it yet. I’m hoping this is the last repair/maintenance item for at least 10,000 miles.

I’m a bit focused on getting the house repaired, so I haven’t been doing any pleasure riding. Nearly all the sheetrock is finally up, and one room is primed and ready for paint. Only four and half more rooms to go of mudding and sanding, and we can get doors and a floor again!


  1. Any traces of red Loctite on the bolt or distributor? I've found that many home mechanics aren't aware of the different colors and how they should be used and once they discover that Loctite exists, they want to use it on everything.

    I should probably replace my brake lines as well, after all they're 29 years old...

  2. The beast is determined to be difficult.

    Glad to hear the house is coming along. I'm sure it will help your sense of well being if not your over all mental health to have your home back.

  3. RichardM: I didn't see any loctite. I just think it was age, corrosion, and some bad luck. Since discovering blue loctite, I have been a fan. I don't use it everywhere though.

    new brake lines are nice. I put new rubber ones on when I bought my sv. seriously thinking stainless steel. the spiegler lines are high quality.

    Keith: yes, difficult at every turn. hopefully this will be the end of it for a while.

    just put the first coat of paint on the guest room last night (hint, hint). it has been stressful for both of us with the house in this state. trying to get done by mid october though.