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How deep can one go with a GS thou (paralever) running - and not running?
Nor much in the former I imagine once the carbs and plugs go under - but engine off and pushing, what needs to be blocked up or removed?
Havent got one to hand so cant visualise it. I have a one metre submersion scenario in mind. If its too much pissing about we'll just leave it and walk.
The Beemers will go through water up to the air cleaner snorkels under the tank - for a short distance. Plugs under water is no problem IF you have really good plug caps and wires. NGK caps work well.
Over a long distance the bow wave can push water up into the snorkels and they'll drown immediately.
Also, eventually the carbs will get water in through the vent holes. Fortunately the carb bowl is easy to remove and drain the water out on the other side.
The nasty surprise on all airhead beemers since 1980ish with the square black airbox is the little rubber water DRAIN plug at the back bottom of the airbox. If in very good condition it works fine as a one way valve - if old, it perishes and sucks dirt and water in when running, and is just an open hole when pushing. It's a real sod to replace too.
The ignition canister should be checked also to make sure it's gasket seal is in good condition. The rest should be fine, but no guarantees at that depth that water won't be splashing into the coil connectors and all the rest of it under the tank and causing all kinds of trouble. Some water repellent spray on all the wiring can help a lot.
Main thing to remember with all water proofing endeavours on hot engines - the instant a hot engine hits water it tries mightily to suck water in through any and all crevices. You can't perfectly seal it - so make sure the water can get out, and or supply a breather hose to adjust for the tmeperature changes. On the Beemer, it's not a problem - the electronic ignition in the canister almost never drowns out, it's small and well sealed.
I'd pay attention to the above and then ride it, prepared to get off and push fast if needed. But then I really hate pushing bikes.
So should I ask where you are planning on a one metre crossing?
I have used my R80GS to cross some rivers in Iceland and Africa and have found that you can go until the waters gets into the airfilter. But you might get some “small” problems before it happens:
-If you spend a long time thinking (or taking a break) in the middle of the river the clutch-housing will be full of water, and the clutch will start to spin, normally you can continue driving. When you get out of the river the water will come out everywhere – quite amusing and a great photo-opportunity!
This might be solved if you cover the holes in the starter-cover, I think most of the water enter here but it’s not a big problem.
-If you go fast downhill into the lake the “splash” from the water might fill the airbox and the engine stops. Depending on the water-temperature your feet will get very cold when you drain the filter-housing (there is a rubberthing you can remove to drain it).
An easy way to avoid this is to cut the bottom out of two plastic-bottles and cover the air-intake but it is even better to rebuild the stupid snorkels…
I have not had any problems because my carbs or plugs has been under.
If you plan to use the GS for a submarine for a long time it is smart to attach a tube to the ventilation in the cardan and gearbox so it doesn’t suck a lot of water. I haven’t done this and it’s quite impressing how much water you can have in the oil before anything breaks…
If you stop the engine there is no limits…. Cover the airbox, exhaust and maybe the vent in the gearbox and cardan and start to walk…. Hmm, might be an option to remove luggage.
Steve, if you were planning on making a habit of such water crossings, yes, it would be a very good idea.
You also really need to vent the gearbox to a hose instead of the moronic drilled 6mm bolt that holds the ground strap on. Then you could dump the stock speedo, go to a Touratech or bicycle speedo, plug up the gearbox speedo cable hole and vent it properly. At the same time move the ground strap to a stronger bolt. Solve lots of potential problems there. (Water tends to run past the -usually perished- speedo cable rubber boot and straight into the gearbox. Which of course eventually eats up the gearbox bearings with an expensive crunch.)
Location: Vancouver, BC - now at large in the world
I think that you'll hit problems earlier, when you contact the stator to water. which is onlyabout half way up the engine block. And water will get in between the plastic cover of the ignition canister before that.
The holes in the front-cover are small and have a design that reduces the waterflow so it will take some time to fill up the housing.
The rotor and stator are isolated so they can get wet. You might loose charging when the brushes get wet (charging-lamp tends to turn on in rivers) but they will dry up fast.
If you drive in salt-water you should open the front-cover and clean the alternator and diodeboard afterwards.
The ignition-canister is waterproof so it’s not a problem.
Hmmm, Chris wrote he had “a one metre submersion scenario in mind”. One meter is a lot of water, it will reach a normal man above the belt… The GS can’t do that, nor can any other bike I have ever seen. It has to be sealed…
On the other hand, when people say a river is one meter deep it’s usually not more then 50 cm :-)
One thing that can make a difference to the survival of your bike is the state of the water you are riding through. As Alibaba says, water gets in through the vents above the starter motor. It then enters the clutch housing and if it's clean water it's not a problem. However, if the water is muddy then the mud sticks to your clutch plates and they lose their friction. Best to cover those vent holes if you know you're going into muddy water.
may i humbly suggest the following:
1. find a man with a conoe/boat to assist in your water crossing endeavours.
2. use a bridge
3. contact you local big G and learn how to ride on water.
if you must ride in deep water, then i can advise a goggles and snorkel assembly that fits well onto your crash-helmet. i can forward a drawing if you need it.
from experience on r100gs beemers: bow waves are not good for airheads. also if your bike stops for long enough in deep water, as mine did in bolivia, and it is too damn heavy to push anywhere, let alone up a riverbank, then your engine oil, driveshaft housing, gearbox and rear bevel drive oil will need a thorough check. a spare dry pair of socks would alos assist your mood.
Thanks for your thoughts, it's actually bobgoggtrotter's RTW 1150 I am lining up but I think after all that it will be best to hack a way around the flooded section of track, try and 'undo' it (as in Call o t Wild) or leave it and walk the rest (doing a film in NW Australia).
I checked it out a year ago and it was up to my hips. I backed off in a car - then I heard another 4x4 tried it and got towed out 4 days later.
It would be a great shot, but not worth shortening Bob's RTW honeymoon for.
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