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Sloppy Shifter Fix for 05-08 K1200GT and S


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Ok, first let me say I am new at this posting and picture thing so be patient.


What most of us 2005 to 2008 K1200GT,R, and S owners know is the shifting of the gears seems to be a little sloppy. We deal with the clunking and missed shifts, all the while, wishing we could solve this problem without having to buy 2009 model. Well, recently I was at my favorite BMW shop and was looking at a 2009 GT and S. I was poking and pulling on various parts to see what was different from my 2007 GT. I was most curious about the recent claim by BMW that they had “fixed” the sloppy shifting issue. So, I took a real close look at the shifter and noticed it was far more precise in the movement than my 07. Closer inspection reveals the shifter appears to pivot on a bearing and not the plastic bushings that mine does. As you are most aware, our K1200s have a linkage and not a direct connection to the transmission. Therefore, any play in the linkage will be greatly increased the sloppy shifting.


Well armed with this new knowledge, I pulled my shifter off, pushed out the plastic bushings and measured the bore. 14mm exactly. The bolt measures 7.5mm. I surfed around and found a bearing supplier in So Cal called “VXB Ball Bearings” and found sealed 8x14mm bearings. 10 for $19! I replaced the OEM plastic bushing with a stack of 4 bearings and the mod transformed the shifting into a smooth and precise action. I was so impressed I shared this with my K1200S buddy and he was skeptical until he rode my GT around. We then changed out his K1200S shifter too!


Follow along,


Here are the tools you need:




On the S and GT, remove the single fairing bolt (T2) located behind the shifter to allow the fairing to flex down enough to get the Torx driver on the shifter bolt (T40):




Remove the shifter bolt:




Once free, remove the linkage (10mm):




Wipe the shifter down with a rag and remove the bushings. Mine fell out but my buddy’s S required a small screw driver as a punch to push them out:




Clean out the bore with brake cleaner, MEK, or acetone. I lightly scuffed the bore with emery cloth to aid with loctite adhesion. I used Loctite brand, bearing and stud locker (green), but high strength thread locker (red) will work as well. There are very little side to side forces so this will do.


Here are the bearings I bought from VXB:






Check out their site, oh yeah, super fast delivery too!




You will need to take 2 #8 (I think) stainless washers and bore them out with a 5/16” drill bit. They will rest on both sides of the bearings. They have a smaller OD than the OEM washer and act to allow the free rotation of the bearing. Leave the OEM washer on the bolt.





Ok, now place the shifter in a vice, gently, so the bore is horizontal. Take the OEM shifter bolt with OEM washer, add one #8 washer and four bearings then a #8 washer. Now, lightly coat the bore and outer bearings with loctite. Very little. Slide the bearings into the bore as if you were bolting the shifter back on until the inner most bearing is at the edge of the inner bore of the shifter (side that points to the transmission). I put a nut on the bolt and finger tightened it once I had the bearings in the bore to hold the bearing pack together. Now, to speed up the setting process I uniformly heated the shifter bore area with heat gun to 180 degrees in two heat cycles. Loctite sets in one hour and fully cures in 24 hours. Since I was not in a hurry, I left it in the vice over night for my GT and two hours for my Buddy’s S. He was impatient!





This is too far:







After the bearings are set, simply reinstall the shifter. Torque the shifter to the OEM spec of 19nm. Now on the S we needed to have two #8 washers on the bolt between the shifter and the bracket to ensure the shifter did not rub against the bracket. You will need to adjust it for own application. On my GT only needed one.




Total cost plus CA tax and S&H was, $30 for the bearings (10pk). Another $10 for the new tube of loctite. That’s $20 per bike. Not bad.


As I stated before, please feel free to PM me for details if I did not do this well enough. Also, I live in Cen Cal and would be willing to do the mod for you. (Bring beer money!)




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Calvin  (no socks)

Nice, I didn't even know I had a sloppy shifter. :dopeslap:


... but I am going to fix it before Torrey.

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Very nice write-up and great thinking about the problem in the first place. Good pictures and walk through.



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Thanks for the nice description. From ordering the VBX bearings to adding a 3rd washer to the KS, your fix works just as advertised!





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As soon as I read this post, I got right on line and ordered the bearings, no sweat, very simple. They came a few days ago and I have been looking at them. It has been very cold here and my shop is not heated. Today it got up to about 30 degrees F, so I gave it a shot. Taking off the shifting lever was a snap. However, BMW used about about five ml of locktite on the bolt and some muscle was required to break it loose. Per the instructions, all one need do is drill out two No. 8 washers with a 5/16th bit and proceed to the next step. Do not pass go!! No matter how hard I tried the 5/16th bit ate the washers. The washers did not want to stay in the vice and enought pressure to hold them there caused them to self destruct as soon as the drill was applied. I tried it slow and fast with the same result, a destroyed No. 8 washer. Now maybe, ccii42014 has a machine shop, or just a drill press, but I could not make that happen with the old Mahkita and the vice. I was finally able to manufacture the the appropriate washer by taking a washer with a 5/16th hole and grinding it down with a bench grinder. I finished it off with a file and I belive it will work. So, before you attempt this mod, and especially before you discard your OEM parts, get those little washers banged out, if you can. My fingers are sore!!!!. <<<>>>

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Ok, one more time!! This little job is not as easy as it sounds. Boring out the No. 8 washers to 5/16 proved impossible, for me anyway. Slow or fast the drill ate the washers. I finally overcam that problem by grinding down two washers from the out side to the appropriate size. I assembled the shifting lever, berings and washers exactly as shown in the photos, which were excellent by the way. After waiting 24 hrs for the Locktite to cure, I put the shifter back on the bike (2008GT)at the propoer torque setting. Problem No. 2, The inside edge of the shifting lever was in direct contact with the frame, preventing free movement of the lever. Back to the bench grinder and file, I manufactured a 3rd, special washer. With the third washer, the lever clears the frame by about 1mm, which seems to be perfect. Movement of the lever is smooth and crisp whith no extra play. I am not sure why I needed a third washer/spacer, but the shifter would not have worked without it. I think I will be glad I did the modification, but there was a point where I checked to make sure my OEM parts were in plain site. <<>>>

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How did you go about drilling out the washers with out destroying them? Maybe I have the wrong type of bit, actually I tried several, still no luck. <<<>>

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First, I had to use 3 washers also to make it standoff from the mount, 2 on the back and 1 on front side.


I have a small chinese mill with nice vice. Clamped the washer and backed it up with aluminum and after sharpening my 5/16" bit, drilled at very slow speed and used cutting oil. Stainless is tough to work with, especially with small parts.

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