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Oil Leak


The very first thing I'd do is go to a real BMW dealer and see if you can
talk them in to some warranty coverage for the repair.  It's very low miles.

Another thought, oil seals have been known to swell when oil gets on them
for a while.  When no oil gets on them for a long time, they don't swell and
can even dry out and crack.  36K on a 1991 motorcycle is very infrequent
use.  If it were my bike, I'd take it out and thrash it a little (after
complete warm up of 20 minutes of riding) to really get everything wet.
This may just be a small leak caused by lack of use.  The good news is, if
that is the cause, getting the seals wet again will cause them to seal back

I had this problem on my '99 RT.  It was fixed under warranty.   I was told
that there was a small piece of flash in the casting where the oil seal
seats.  If this isn't taken off at the factory prior to install of the seal,
the seal will leak sooner or later.  My mechanic found flash and removed it
before replacing the seal.   I went 30K more miles on the bike before
trading it and had no more issues.   

If you are a conservative rider, you can run with a contaminated clutch for
a long time.  If it starts to slip so you can notice it, it must be fixed.
Your chances of BMW participating in repair expenses is better if you do it
right away.  I'd negotiate.  This is a known problem on these bikes.  


>Subject: Oil Leak

While having the 36k service done on my 2001 R1100RL (a pampered bike that
has been scrupulously maintained), I was informed of an oil leak between the
motor and transmission. I was a bit surprised because I've never seen any
oil, never experienced any clutch slipage, and oil use is pretty much what
it has always been. Also, I think 36k is more than a little bit young for
this sort of problem. So I have some questions for the group:

1. The service guys say this is a serious repair that will require some 10
hours of work and, if the clutch needs to be replaced, the whole package
will be around $1200. Does this strike you as reasonable?

2. Given the relatively low mileage, should I be raising hell with BMW and
ask them to chip-in on this? Of course, years-wise, the bike is long out of
warranty. But I certainly think that rear seals should be good for more than

3. As noted, I've experienced no clutch slipage to date, and want to
continue to ride the bike putting off the repair for now. Is it safe to do
this? I assume oil leaks of this type worsen over time. Does anyone know how
much, how fast, etc.?

All advice is appreciated.

George Panichas
Easton, PA