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Old 28 Sep 2004
Max Max is offline
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Oil Cooler on 80GS: is it really necessary?

Dear All,
I would like to know your opinion about the installment of an oil cooler on a 1991 80 GS (paralever).
Do you think that the Oil Cooler on an airhead is necessary ever, never or only if you are involved on a ride in a sunny desert? and why?
My opinions is that if something has to be more "refrigerated" on a BMW during an hot ride this is the cylinder, or the gear, not the basement.
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Old 29 Sep 2004
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To start with, cooling the oil will generate cooling for the entire engine. Oil circulates through the valve train, and splashes on the bottom of the cylinders and cylinder wall, which does cool the barrels.

As to whether this is really necessary, it is an open topic, particularly for the smaller engines. BMW choose not to mount a cooler on the R80 for a reason, but this doesn't mean that a hard working R80 in a hot environment would not benefit from one. There are two types of BMW oil coolers: the thermostatically controled units typically mounted on the 1000cc touring (full faired) models, and the later 'always open' type fitted as stock to the R100GS. The always open type helps a bit in terms of adding overall capacity to the oil system, but will slow warm up of the bike.

I have heard comments that on a Thermostatically controled unit, it might only open breifly from time to time in extreme circumstances, but that is when the real benefit is felt. I have also heard that in general the oil cooler equiped engines last longer, all other things being equal.

I purchased an older thermostatic unit for my R80, but haven't installed it yet. I don't consider it essential, and the exhaust has to be modified (to create space for the junction head, where it bolts into the oil filter housing - the non-thermo units are much more flush fitting). The interior of the oil cooler housing also needs to be changed - make sure you look into this before going ahead, a mistake in that area will be very expensive.

[This message has been edited by Timo (edited 28 September 2004).]
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Old 29 Sep 2004
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Why don’t you mount a dipstick with a temperature gauge?
Then you can see if the engine is running hot or not when you use it under your normal conditions..

I have a R80GS and has not mounted an oil-cooler. I might do but so far I have used the bike for 170kkm incl crossing Morocco, Sudan and Egypt in the summer.
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Old 29 Sep 2004
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My mechanic has removed the oil cooler from his r100gs. He has a small sump extension to give increased oil capacity. Oil cooler was prone to damage on rough roads and in falls.

You can replce the oil filter cover with one from non oilcooled bike or use bolts ( the same ones that fit the mono lever G/S shaft oil filler bolts) to plug the holes in the oil filter cover.


Close to Antarctica and a long way from reality
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Old 29 Sep 2004
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Thnbe oil cooler was added to teh R100GS as bmw found it overheated the oil on the autobarns!!!!! The R80 motors did not have this problem. So it is not necessary - adds complication and another failure point. On a standard R80 motor an oil cooler is money wasted.

Extending the sump downwards was agood idea on road going motorcycels - however off road motorcycles have lower sumps hit by rocks - leading to broken sumps and oil everywhere. I know two people who have done that with sumps lower that the GS ... yet to know any standard GS rider with the same probnlem.

Regards Frank Warner
motorcycles BMW R80 G/S 1981, BMW K11LT 1993, BMW K75 G/S
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Old 29 Sep 2004
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I took the oil cooler off of my R100R and it it nearing 200,000 miles without any problems.
But for more information look at some previous posts at
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Old 25 Sep 2008
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The BMW is an air cooled engine. An oil cooler will aid to keep the engine at more even temp and does cut down the peak temps.
When the oil gets too hot is breaks down (faster).

Still... the more parts that can cause trouble,... the moretrouble will ensue - -

Of cause it is worth installing an oil-cooler!

Do you ever ride in trafffic jam ?...
Ever got stuck in traffic ?...

Get the cooler!
Drive Safely,
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