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Rear Engine Main Seal Leak


Ben_Ricci

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While doing my 6K maintenance on my '05 R12ST I noticed oil or gear oil weepage at the rear of the engine. I guessed it might be a gearbox leak I'd seen in other posts. I had not noticed a particular excessive use of engine oil. Of course it was changed at 600 miles and I'd estimate I might have added one-third to a half-quart since then.

 

I dropped it off at the dealer last night and they said it was a "rear engine main seal leak" and estimated it would take three working days (including time to get parts).

 

Has anyone else seen this type of leak before? It doesn't concern me because stuff happens. I really don't like being without a bike right now (guess I'll have to cage it to Gettysburg's Bike Week and look at the Harleys grin.gif).

 

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Bill Murray

I, too, have just had my R12ST diagnosed by the dealer as having a main engine seal leak. The bike currently has a little over 16k miles. The bike has continued to use oil since completing the break-in, and during my recent trip out West (about 6,100 miles total), it used approximately 1.3 quarts of oil.

 

The dealer diagnosed the seal leak when I took the bike in for valve adjustment and throttle body synch. You can se the oil leak residue around the vertical joint between the engine and transmission. There has been no drippage, thus far, and no clutch slippage (yet).

 

I experienced a similar engine seal leak on my 2003 K12GT, and believe the dealer overfilling it with oil during a routine service may have contributed to that seal leak. The dealer fixed that seal under warranty. Since that experience, I have been meticulous about not overfilling the oil -- never above the dot (mid-window).

 

The dealer is scheduled to replace the seal the week after next (under warranty). He is recommending replacement of the clutch, regardless of whether it has or has not been contaminated with oil.

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I just had all of the tranny seals (input/output shaft, slave cylinder) on my 05 RT replaced along with the entire clutch at 20K miles. The wetness under the engine looked just like your pictures. With almost 4K miles on the bike since the repair job it is dry as a bone under the engine. Thank goodness.

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The dealer is scheduled to replace the seal the week after next (under warranty). He is recommending replacement of the clutch, regardless of whether it has or has not been contaminated with oil.

 

I was wondering about the clutch. I think I caught my leak early and I've only put about 200 miles on it since then. Hopefully my experience will be like Ken's.

 

I just had all of the tranny seals (input/output shaft, slave cylinder) on my 05 RT replaced along with the entire clutch at 20K miles. The wetness under the engine looked just like your pictures. With almost 4K miles on the bike since the repair job it is dry as a bone under the engine. Thank goodness.

 

It's a little hard to see the leaking location on the drivetrain without taking the bike apart. I couldn't tell if it was engine oil or gear oil. I hoping the dealer's diagnosis is correct and it's not the tranny seals. Time will tell.

 

It's times like this that I wished I had a second bike. wave.gif

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Ben

I first noticed the wetness in Jan. 07 when I was replacing the shocks on the bike at 18K miles. Then I saw a post about leaking trannies the end of March 07 and looked under the bike and it was noticeably leaking and wet (ie. your pics). Took it in on a Sunday and left the bike, took off for a business trip on Wednesday got home to an email Friday morning saying the bike was fixed and the entire clutch was replaced. What the H#$%? Picked it up Saturday. I received great service from Long Beach BMW. Luckily for me I never missed it.

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IndianaHarvey

After reading this post I went and looked under my engine. I to have what appears to be a leaking rear main seal. Called the dealer and they said they've seen a lot of R1200s with leaking rear main seals. Without even looking at the bike they scheduled me an appointment to replace the seal and to inspect the clutch. Must be a widespread problem with the seals so everyone should look under their bikes and look for wetness under the engine. Mine was wet from the oil filter all the way back.

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Any ideas what the root cause of this is? (It sounds like the infamous cardboard gaskets back in Harley's AMF days.)

 

How difficult a fix is this?

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My '05 1200RT showed some "dark moisture" way back up there at about 11M miles and was repaired under warranty....New seal and clutch plate...I would think that all dealers would replace the plate when this aparently flawed seal leaks...My feeling is that it was mostly with the '05's but I don't have any data....Our dealer has replaced a bunch of them (not necessarily all '05's)....Friend has an "05 also and at about the same mileage his leaked and was repaired...Kathy and I just got back from a 4,000 mile ride and it is dry as a bone.....

Another lowest bidder issue probably......

 

R1200LeakySeal002.jpg

 

R1200RT Leaking seal.....

 

Phil..........Redbrick

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Any ideas what the root cause of this is? (It sounds like the infamous cardboard gaskets back in Harley's AMF days.)

 

How difficult a fix is this?

 

I'm not certain. I didn't speak directly to the service manager after dropping my ST off. I just heard the diagnosis in voicemail. I'll call on Monday and inquire about the clutch.

 

Hijacking my own thread for a moment...(TowJam speaking of Harleys, I did indeed check them out to sooth my bikeless mood. I'm looking for a candidate for a second bike that my wife can ride and that I can entertain myself with, too. I really liked the proportions and look of the Nightster: narrow, low and minimalist. thumbsup.gif Very clean for a factory design. I saw your comments over on hdforums. Looks like a prime candidate!)

 

Redbrick and others thanks for the input. I will definitely ask whether or not the dealer is addressing any issues related to the clutch. wave.gif

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Hijacking my own thread for a moment...(TowJam speaking of Harleys, I did indeed check them out to sooth my bikeless mood. I'm looking for a candidate for a second bike that my wife can ride and that I can entertain myself with, too. I really liked the proportions and look of the Nightster: narrow, low and minimalist. thumbsup.gif Very clean for a factory design. I saw your comments over on hdforums. Looks like a prime candidate!)

 

Apologies for further hijacking the thread but let me suggest that you and/or her take a lengthy test ride on the Nighty before putting the money down. I had an opportunity to ride a fresh-fresh-from-crate, totally stock Nightster for about 20 miles very recently. The stock seat sucks - absolutely no padding, there is NO lean angle, the rear suspension bottoms out VERY easily (and the preload had been jacked up to "4" from the factory setting of "2"). The Nightster might be the best looking stock Harley but it is THE most uncomfortable worst handling bike I've ever ridden. For anyone who's ridden a bike other than a Harley, I'm betting they'll find it totally unacceptable - even as a 2nd or 3rd bike.

 

If you're looking for a 2nd bike that's minimalist, a total blast to ride, good ergos for even us vertically challenged people and will out handle/perform any Harley, check out the Buell XB12Scg. It's a lowered version of the Lightning - same engine, frame, etc. but a lower suspension and deep cut seat. You sit "in" the bike and it has a net seat height about 2"-3" inches lower than a standard Lightning. It is a very popular bike for us shorter riders. However, the MSRP is about $1k over the Nightster (but darn worth it).

 

Just my $.02...

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Apologies for further hijacking the thread but let me suggest that you and/or her take a lengthy test ride on the Nighty before putting the money down...there is NO lean angle, the rear suspension bottoms out VERY easily (and the preload had been jacked up to "4" from the factory setting of "2"). I'm betting they'll find it totally unacceptable - even as a 2nd or 3rd bike...check out the Buell XB12Scg. However, the MSRP is about $1k over the Nightster (but darn worth it). Just my $.02...

 

Thanks for the input. I had a very strong hunch the Nightster might have little to no lean angle. It sits VERY close to the ground. I'll check out the Lightening XB12Scg. The other prospects were the Wee-strom, and Monster 695 (My wife used to ride my Seca II before I sold it.) The Lightening might be a bit much for her. All that said, my 2nd bike research reaffirmed the ST was the bike I really wanted. grin.gif

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It sounds like the infamous cardboard gaskets back in Harley's AMF days.
Yeah really. I used to make fun of how much HD's leaked. No more since buying a BMW. My GS has had four different leaks fixed.
How difficult a fix is this?
It's a big job. The tranny has to come out. The good news is that once fixed they seem to say fixed. I've not heard of any repeat failures.
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Ken (or others) I'm trying to understand exactly where the "rear main engine seal" is located and what it is so I can intelligently discuss the potential for clutch contamination with the dealer. I pulled this image off of a repair CD. Is it "A" or "B" (guessing it probably doesn't matter much). Looks like the clutch and gearbox have to come off to make the repair. Looks like there's LOTS of work involved. frown.gif

 

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Don_Eilenberger

It's A - the B is the balance shaft end (which is interesting that it comes through the case.. can't imagine why..)

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Stan Walker

which is interesting that it comes through the case.. can't imagine why

 

It's the power take off point for small tractors......

 

Stan

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which is interesting that it comes through the case.. can't imagine why

 

It's the power take off point for small tractors......

 

Stan

 

Hey, does BMW sell a 3-point hitch and pull-behind mower I can bolt on? Hmmm... eek.gif

 

Jay

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Seems that way, neither have I....Lowest bidding bearing manfacturer (or poor engineering) dopeslap.gifdopeslap.gif and they replace them with good bearings when they leak...Where's the economic or quality bike image sense in that? confused.gif....

 

Phil.........Redbrick

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It's the power take off point for small tractors......
lmao.gif

 

Well it's not the first time the boxer engine has been referred to as, "Tractor like."

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All these seal leaks have me nervous. I have an 05 and at 13000 it's still dry as far as I can tell. What seems to be the average milage these seale are failing?

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Firefight911
All these seal leaks have me nervous. I have an 05 and at 13000 it's still dry as far as I can tell. What seems to be the average milage these seale are failing?

 

Don't be so nervous!! No one posts about how their bike doesn't leak.

 

They fail when they fail. Your nerves should be at rest as you have 23,000 miles and/or approximately 1 year to go on your warranty.

 

Ride it like you own it!! thumbsup.gif

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All these seal leaks have me nervous. I have an 05 and at 13000 it's still dry as far as I can tell. What seems to be the average mileage these seale are failing?
Like Phil said, the danger of Internet forums in general is a few people talking about a common problem can all too easily be interpreted as a massive problem with all. Yeah there are some things that are known, there is with any product, but if we all sold our __________ based on what we read complaining about it, we'd go crazy running from one product to another, only to stumble upon the next "big" issue with what we'd just bought.

 

Which is another way of saying there is nothing objective about Internet forums. This one included.

 

Ride. Enjoy.

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..we'd go crazy running from one product to another, only to stumble upon the next "big" issue with what we'd just bought...

 

Guilty as charged. blush.gif

 

Damn. Someone had to go and interject common sense into an Internet discussion. What's the fun in that?

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All these seal leaks have me nervous. I have an 05 and at 13000 it's still dry as far as I can tell. What seems to be the average milage these seale are failing?

 

Rotor I don't know if this is common or not. I was preparing to do my 6K service and noticed the leak. I wasn't using oil and didn't notice any other symptoms. If you look at the number of people that have looked at this thread and noted a similar problem, it's a very small percentage (recognizing my analysis isn't scientific). If it was widespread there would be dozens-to-hundreds of similar posts. Anyway, that's my assessment. wave.gif

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My 05 RT started leaking around 40,000km.

From the amount of oil I would have sworn that it was an rear main seal. Turned out to be both the input and output seals on the gearbox. They also replaced the complete clutch assly.

Have put 10,000 km on since and it remains nice and dry!

 

Of course three weeks after the gearbox leak was fixed the final drive sprung a leak, so back to the dealer it went. All is fine now. I hope!

 

Andy.

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My 05 R12RT is leaking now at 35,000 miles and is scheduled to go in for repair next week. Not sure which seal is leaking, motor or trans.

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I know nothing about anything. All I know is that I'm going through oil like I own the oil field. I snapped a few photos of the underside of the bike. Here's one.

oil of some sort under there. What do you think?

 

There are a few more photos here, if you care to look. The one above seems to have the most dark shiny stuff (oil maybe) on it.

 

Thanks! I've got my 18k service coming up and would like to get it all taken care of before leaving for the UN.

I don't think the leak show in your photos has anything to do with engine oil consumption. Not to say you don't have a leak, you do. The round thing with the wires coming out of it, best seen in your picture #4, is the transmission gear position indicator potentiometer. It looks to me like its seal is bad. The dealer should indeed replace it under warranty.
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I got the gear box seals changes last week on my o7 RT, it has 10k miles on it. I told them I wanted the clutch change also, and they said it was okay, and wouldn't change it!!! They had my bike for a week after telling me it would only take one day to do the job. confused.gif

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Jim VonBaden

In my experience, 1 in 2 have this issue, especially with the 05 and early 06 bikes.

 

It doesn't matter if it is a GS/RT or ST.

 

Tina's, and mine both went within 12K.

 

Jim cool.gif

 

PS Easy one day fix if the dealer has the parts in stock.

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Jim VonBaden
Jim,

 

In your opinion (which I hold in high regard), what's causing these leaks?

 

Thanks,

 

I lean towards an installation error at the factory. My local dealer insists that is the case. He claims that they can be installed too far, IIRC, into the cavity and are not on the smooth sealing surface, or something like that.

 

That is why, despite identical seals being used, they leak, but not after being fixed unless the dealer makes the same mistake.

 

Jim cool.gif

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Jim

I think I would agree about it being an installation problem. It seems like a lot more owners are now coming forward with the same problem or at least posting it on this site. I noticed mine leaking at 18K miles originally and did not have it fixed until 20K miles when I saw it was really starting to get bad thanks to a post on this board. This has to be a big headache for BMW. I guess the dealerships are loving all of the warranty work.

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Jim VonBaden
Has this problem been resolved with the 07's?

 

Although it still happens to the 07 bikes, it appears to be far less in frequency. It is well more than 50%, in my local club of about 30 bikes. Nearly all that have been bad have been pre-mid 06 bikes.

 

Jim cool.gif

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Got my ST back this morning with a new clutch, pressure plate and new transmission seals all covered under warranty. All and all a very good experience with Battley Cycles in Gaithersburg, MD who delivered the bike all nice and shiny (thank you). thumbsup.gif And I had a blast riding it home, too. clap.gif

 

Now I can finish my 6K service. grin.gif

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Jim VonBaden
Got my ST back this morning with a new clutch, pressure plate and new transmission seals all covered under warranty. All and all a very good experience with Battley Cycles in Gaithersburg, MD who delivered the bike all nice and shiny (thank you). thumbsup.gif And I had a blast riding it home, too. clap.gif

 

Now I can finish my 6K service. grin.gif

 

I love the job Batleys do, being a multiline and HD dealer. They always return the bike spotless and shiney after service thumbsup.gif

 

Jim cool.gif

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Took my '06 R12RT in for 12k service last week and asked the mechanic to check for any rear seal leaks. There is a bit of "weeping" on one of the seals so it's going back in to be fixed. eek.gif If it wasn't for this board I would have never thought to have this checked out. Thanks everyone.

 

I'll post again when they determine which seal is leaking.

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  • 3 weeks later...

It turns out that the transmission seal was defective. Dealer is fixing under warranty and replacing pressure plate. This could have really messed up my trip to Northern California next month. frown.gif

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Thats what I thought too.

Dealer verified my leak on July 7th and

Scheduled for service on July 24th.

I still dont have the bike back.

As of last Friday they had not even started on it.

That is totally unacceptable, when I was told if would be worked on on the 24th.

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It's going to take my dealer 2.5 days to fix. This dealer does a lot of repairs on CHP bikes so I have a high level of confidence in their abilities to do 'complex' jobs. thumbsup.gif

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