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Hi everybody. I just recently purchased a 1997 R850R and I must say I LOVE this bike. However, like most used vehicles that we buy in life...this one has an issue that has me rather frightened. The story with this machine is that the original owner pretty much neglected it for like 9 years. He put 9000 miles on it and didn't do much else. The second owner (the guy I bought it from) took it and began reparing it. Kremed the gas tank, new fuel filter, changed fluis, replaced other essential parts and made it work again. He put about 2000 miles on it before finding his dream bike. (R1200 GS) I saw the bike and did my research on it. Noticed it was in production in the US for only a few years which made me a bit nervous but, I also kept reading and noticing how dependable and long lasting BMW bikes were. I wanted a good commuter bike to get me to and from work. It also came with a great windshield and the hard cases. At 12k miles I figured I have a bike for life at this point and got it for $2500. There are some rust spots on it but those are things that can be replaced with OEM. I took her in for the 12k service. The mechanic said the bike is in good shape but he noticed there was a little bit of oil around the transmission area. He said that if its a seal issue that the repairs could cost me an arm and a leg. So now I am left wondering....should I fix it and renew this machine and ride it until the wheels fall off or should I just try to resell it? Thanks everyone and I look forward to sharing information regarding my bike with you all.


P.S. If any of you live in the Tampa Bay area know a good independent mechanic PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let me know. Thank you!!

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Welcome to BMWST.

Do you have any pictures?

Describe exactly where you are finding this oil.

It could be a simple as an incorrectly torqued filler /drain plug.

Maybe a missing / damaged crush washer on a filler / drain plug.

More info please.

Do you mean the transmission or the final drive?


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Hi Andy! It looks like the oil bubbles are coming from the part where the transmission and engine meet. I am not mechanically savvy so that is the best way for me to describe it. This weekend with plenty of light I will snap some pics of the area where I see it happening. Once in a while when I ride I'll notice a drop on the floor wherever I park. The bike is fine for now but I was warned to keep and eye out for clutch slipping.

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Glad to see you here, there are plenty of folks who will be able to help you (I am not one of them :rofl:).


In order for those folks to see your picture, you will need to upload it to a picture hosting site like SmugMug or PhotoBucket, and then link to that location in your post.


Give that a try and then others will be able to give you more specific information.

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Hi and welcome on board :wave:


Oil leaks can be hard to track down - a leak higher up end up dripping from the bottom of the bike. Common places to check are the plastic cam-covers, the oil pressure switch (top of engine), the oil temperature sensor (LH side of engine) oil sight-glass and the air-box drain (LH side under the air box).

If the leak is due to engine or transmission seals, the cost is in the strip/rebuild of the bike. This can be done at home. No troublesome procedures, just lots of basic nut-turning. Once off the bike, trannys can be taken to a dealer for re-work. Engine rear-seals can be done without stripping the unit.



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It looks like the oil bubbles are coming from the part where the transmission and engine meet.

That sure is a strange description. Definitely get some pictures. The one you posted doesn't work.

As Glen said, you need to use a host and link to that.

A video would be even more useful as this bubbling is very confusing.


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Hate to be a doomsayer, but I'd guess weeping at trans housing/engine case would be rear main seal.


If it is indeed, then expect 2k minimum for repairs which may include clutch as well.




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