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OldTownRT

Recommended Preventative Maintenance for a 1998 RT

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OldTownRT

So I have a 1998 RT with about 45,000 miles.  (I know - I should ride more.)  I've owned the bike for all but its first year.  I get the regular maintenance done and keep it on a battery tender and the bike has been rock solid.  About four years ago it stranded me for the only time when the HES sensor failed.  Over the winter I couldn't clear the ABS lights and the dealer identified it as the ABS module.  That was nearly fatal but I went for the rebuild.  (From reading this forum it seems like these ABS modules are all timing out right about now.)

This last weekend I went to start her up and the "choke" (I know it's not really a choke) would not reset.  It wasn't just the cable housing.  We pulled the side panel off and you could press the cable back towards the bike to get it to reset.  I have an overnight ride planned for next weekend so I just disabled the choke at the handlebar end so I don't use it out of habit.

 

I'll get the choke fixed next time I take my bike in for service, but here is my question after this long preamble - for a 21 year old bike, what are the things that I can expect to fail and should consider replacing so I don't get stranded?  Like for instance when we fix this choke issue I think I'll get that and the throttle cable replaced. 

 

I think some things to consider -

- If it fails would it strand me somewhere (i.e. the HES stranded me, the ABS module did not)

- The relative cost (i.e. cables vs an ABS module)

- The relative ease of bundling it with regular maintence tasks (if they already have the tank off, they might as well do this....)

 

I know this may be a hard question to ask but I thought I see what the collective wisdom of the forum offered.  I don't have as much time for riding as I'd want and I'd rather try to lead-turn any maintenance and repair issues and not waste time diagnosing and fixing problems.  Thanks in advance!

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dirtrider
16 minutes ago, OldTownRT said:

So I have a 1998 RT with about 45,000 miles.  (I know - I should ride more.)  I've owned the bike for all but its first year.  I get the regular maintenance done and keep it on a battery tender and the bike has been rock solid.  About four years ago it stranded me for the only time when the HES sensor failed.  Over the winter I couldn't clear the ABS lights and the dealer identified it as the ABS module.  That was nearly fatal but I went for the rebuild.  (From reading this forum it seems like these ABS modules are all timing out right about now.)

This last weekend I went to start her up and the "choke" (I know it's not really a choke) would not reset.  It wasn't just the cable housing.  We pulled the side panel off and you could press the cable back towards the bike to get it to reset.  I have an overnight ride planned for next weekend so I just disabled the choke at the handlebar end so I don't use it out of habit.

 

I'll get the choke fixed next time I take my bike in for service, but here is my question after this long preamble - for a 21 year old bike, what are the things that I can expect to fail and should consider replacing so I don't get stranded?  Like for instance when we fix this choke issue I think I'll get that and the throttle cable replaced. 

 

I think some things to consider -

- If it fails would it strand me somewhere (i.e. the HES stranded me, the ABS module did not)

- The relative cost (i.e. cables vs an ABS module)

- The relative ease of bundling it with regular maintence tasks (if they already have the tank off, they might as well do this....)

 

I know this may be a hard question to ask but I thought I see what the collective wisdom of the forum offered.  I don't have as much time for riding as I'd want and I'd rather try to lead-turn any maintenance and repair issues and not waste time diagnosing and fixing problems.  Thanks in advance!

 

Morning  OldTownRT

 

The big one that comes to mind first is the "U" shaped high pressure fuel hose inside the fuel tank.

 

Those are known to split & if that happens it will strand you.

 

Next, would be to install new brake hoses as those can fail with age (might not totally strand you but sure is a pain to deal with on the road).

 

Otherwise things like throttle cables, clutch cable (they usually fail at the clutch lever barrel),  keep an eye on the final drive crown bearing (rear wheel lateral movement/and/or sharp metallic bits in the gear oil),  broken wires in the wire harness near the zip ties in the steering head area.  

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OldTownRT

Thanks dirtrider, that's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for.

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Jim Moore

Are you going to do this work, or are you paying someone?

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OldTownRT
21 minutes ago, Jim Moore said:

Are you going to do this work, or are you paying someone?

Paying someone.  I go to Bob's BMW.  

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Jim Moore

I've always looked at PM as more of a DIY effort. You can quickly spend a LOT of money preemptively trying to out-guess future problems. My advice is to save the money, buy some tools, and start doing your own maintenance. Oilheads are simple to maintain and a great platform for learning how to turn a wrench. Getting to know your bike inside-and-out is the best PM there is, IMO. 

 

That being said, I would do dirtrider's list. I'd also swap out the alternator belt. Keep the old belt and cables and use them as spares. I would also replace the exterior fuel lines and install quick disconnects on the fuel lines.

 

At 100K miles I'd be shopping for a low-mile driveshaft and replacing the rear pivot bearings.

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OldTownRT
3 minutes ago, Jim Moore said:

I've always looked at PM as more of a DIY effort. You can quickly spend a LOT of money preemptively trying to out-guess future problems. My advice is to save the money, buy some tools, and start doing your own maintenance. Oilheads are simple to maintain and a great platform for learning how to turn a wrench. Getting to know your bike inside-and-out is the best PM there is, IMO. 

 

That being said, I would do dirtrider's list. I'd also swap out the alternator belt. Keep the old belt and cables and use them as spares. I would also replace the exterior fuel lines and install quick disconnects on the fuel lines.

 

At 100K miles I'd be shopping for a low-mile driveshaft and replacing the rear pivot bearings.

Thanks for this info.  Yea, I hear you on doing it myself.  When I first got the bike I had those side panels off every weekend doing something.  And I used to have a Ural rig and did mainteance out of necessity.  But I just don't have the time anymore, and - more importantly - a garage.  It kills me but the bike is outside under a cover. 

 

But again, thanks for mentioning the alternator belt and the fuel lines.  

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fatbob

I’d have them do the pivot bearings now.  I’ve had 2 sets (R1100 & 1150) get loose at 50K.   Jim is right about ALL of the fuel lines.   Your bike may not have quick connections on the fuel lines, but if she does and has the plastic ones they gotta go!    

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OldTownRT

Appreciate all the responses on this.  Great forum!

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AndyS

Checking of the Final Drive unit for wear damage (side to side movement of the back wheel).

Once the large bearing starts to fail, it can destroy itself very quickly, leaving you stranded.

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CNred

Everything as mensioned above plus the alternator belt. If it''s never been changed, it would be over 20 years old by now. 

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dave_a

Flushing the brake fluid out yearly is always on my to do list.

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OldTownRT

Again, thanks for all the responses.  Especially due to the alternator belt comment, I was starting to feel like I was riding on borrowed time!  So I sat down with my 20 years of service invoices (I save everything!), and was relieved to see my alternator belt was replaced both in 2008 and 2014, and my external fuel lines were replaced in 2014.  I still have a lot to take care of (the internal HP fuel line especially) but feel better about my longer ride this weekend.  And kudos to Bob's for taking care of much of this stuff during the regular maintenance services.

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AndyS

Interesting. On my R1150RT I never ever replaced the alternator belt. I inspected it every 12000 miles and it never showed any signs of wear. When the bike was moved on at 130000 miles it was still good.

I did however have a brand new spare in my cupboard for when it was needed. The new owner has that item now!

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