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While I'm in there...(sight glass replacement)?


waynerd

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So I just finished installing Helicoils in the four tapped holes for the shark-fin mounts, and I'm staring at the original sight glass. Both front and back sides are extremely accessible at this point as I have the front cover/alternator support off. At 48K miles, I'm wrestling with:

 

Change the sight glass: I'm going to need to change it at some point and it's never going to be more accessible than it is now. I can easily protect for glass in the crankcase if I happen to break the new one on install.

 

Don't change it: The seal is perfect, the window is nice and clear, and the new glass ones sound like they are rather tricky to install.

 

I've read a number of threads on changing this and don't get a warm & fuzzy. With the access that I have, I'm wondering if a controlled force (bar clamp) would be better than pounding it in. Also thinking a seal driver sized from PVC pipe might be safer.

 

Your thoughts and advice are appreciated.

 

 

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Afternoon Wayne

 

If it is that clear is it a glass sight glass now?

 

If a plastic lens I (personally) would preemptively replace it now.

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Thanks DR. I can't imagine it's a glass one. I have had the bike since June '09 and 14K miles. I was under the impression that the new glass ones replaced the plastic version sometime after that - plus I'd surprised if the previous owner would have had to replace it with so few miles. Always possible, I guess. I will try to check it tonight.

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Afternoon Wayne

 

(just looked it up in my service bulletins) ---The all-glass sight glass was available as of July 11, 2010

 

Does your sight glass have a small center red dot or just a larger circle?

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My sight glass has a large red circle and a clear (molded) dimple in the center. I was able to scratch a little mark in it with my pocket knife. Thinking it is the original plastic version.

original%20sight%20glass_resize_zpsk6bddq0t.jpg

 

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Afternoon Wayne

 

Well NOW is the time to make your decision. You will never have a better access opportunity than you do now to replace it.

 

Those things are PITA to replace while on a trip or in the out-back.

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You're ok.

The plastic one had a red dot or "bullseye" in the center.

The glass one has the clear dimple like you have.

There are aftermarket glass ones that are empty of marks in the center, just the outer ring in red as indentifers.

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I'm glad it worked out, and I hate to disagree with Jim, Andy and Stan (who are almost always right), but I would have replaced it if it had been plastic.

 

I found out the hard way.

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I would have replaced it if it had been plastic.

 

I prefer the plastic and carry one as a spare. The plastic ones can be removed using a red hot screw and don't shatter when you tap the new one into place.

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+1 on Stan's comment.

The thought of shattered shards of glass into the crankcase is not my idea of fun.

Installing a glass one on the side of the road is really a recipe for disaster too.

If it were done at a dealership, i'd like to be there just to make sure they hadn't smash one and then install another one.

Whatever you decide to do, please be careful and make sure you do it carefully.

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Thanks everyone, for your insight. I expected a variety of opinions. Can you please clarify some of your observations.

 

- Do I really have a glass site window, as Tri750 states? Trying to come to terms with this as I've had the bike since '09 and the glass ones didn't emerge until 2010.

 

- Can you still obtain plastic windows? I understand that changing a glass window by the side of the road would be a scary proposal, but I think I'm stuck with whatever BMW is offering as replacement.

 

- Related to above, that is why I'm considering swapping it now. I will never have better access to both the outside AND INSIDE of the crankcase than I do now.

 

I did order a spare on Monday. Might be here today, so that might provide some answers.

 

I really appreciate everyone's replies, just need a little clarification. Thanks much!

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Afternoon waynerd

 

- Do I really have a glass site window, as Tri750 states? Trying to come to terms with this as I've had the bike since '09 and the glass ones didn't emerge until 2010.---Not if you can easily scratch the lens. Also, if you haven't replaced it since 2009 then I doubt it is glass as they weren't available in 2009.

 

- Can you still obtain plastic windows? I understand that changing a glass window by the side of the road would be a scary proposal, but I think I'm stuck with whatever BMW is offering as replacement.---Only IF you can find some new old stock (somewhere) or find a plastic one on E-Bay, or from a member here that doesn't need their spare any longer. I would think that most BMW dealers are now selling only the glass ones (part number should be your guide here)

 

- Related to above, that is why I'm considering swapping it now. I will never have better access to both the outside AND INSIDE of the crankcase than I do now.--- Personally, I sure would do it now but I have limited access to the correct tools.

 

I did order a spare on Monday. Might be here today, so that might provide some answers. ---(yes that should tell the story)

 

 

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OK, got the replacement window last night. Picture isn't the greatest, but I think you'll get the idea. I see how my original window could be interpreted as a glass version. The new one has the large red circle, just like my original. It does have a center dimple of sorts, but it is very, very small (compared to the original), and the dimple is actually punched or scribed into the rear metal piece - not a feature in the window, as on the old one.

 

Interesting that I ordered 11 11 8 523 906 from the online parts list and the part numbers on both the box and the bag had been scratched out and corrected to reflect this part number. The original part number on the packaging was 11 11 8 527 546. This could be interpreted one of two opposite ways, but one of these part numbers is the probably old plastic version and the other is the glass. Guessing "546" is the old one. Kind of an academic argument as I'm pretty sure you can only get the glass ones from BMW.

 

6hop2PU.jpg

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If the sight glass isn't weeping, I wouldn't touch it. Mine was, and having replaced one, if the sight glass on my 1999 R1100RT ever starts leaking again, this is a job I never want to repeat. I found it to be a royal PITA.

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Interesting that I ordered 11 11 8 523 906 from the online parts list and the part numbers on both the box and the bag had been scratched out and corrected to reflect this part number. The original part number on the packaging was 11 11 8 527 546. This could be interpreted one of two opposite ways, but one of these part numbers is the probably old plastic version and the other is the glass. Guessing "546" is the old one. Kind of an academic argument as I'm pretty sure you can only get the glass ones from BMW.

 

Evening Wayne

 

From my BMW parts data book--

 

 

Part Number: 11117710474 (plastic lens) was superseded by 11118527546 (glass lens), the latest (newest) sight glass (glass lens) is 11118523906.

 

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