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Old 18 Mar 2003
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Opinions wanted, did I buy a lemon r1100rt?

I bought a '96 R1100RT from a dealer, and on my first trip (less than 1000 miles)the oil sight glass blew out while I was riding and basically killed the engine. The dealer has said it may be around $5000 to fix, and that they are going to help me by just charging me cost. Who is responsible for this, and what would be a fair deal? Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks.......liza
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Old 18 Mar 2003
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Hi Liza.
I've never heard of such an incident before, but may I suggest that you also turn to www.r1150r.net, a site for BMW lovers in general and R and RT owners in particular.

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Old 18 Mar 2003
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The problem with the oil sight glass is a well know issue. In fact, some people recommend replacing the sight glass at regular intervals to avoid disasters like yours.

It seems like BMW has helped with the repair costs for some bikes that have experienced the problem. Your bike is well out of warranty. Still, this seems like a design flaw, given that BMW does not recommend any regular service for the sight glass. I would try to convince your dealer to go to bat for you and ask BMW to help you out. If your dealer won't do it, you might try another dealer.

Perhaps this will make you feel better. I put over 60,000 miles on an early model (5/94) GS oilhead with few problems. Don't give up on your oilhead yet! Good luck.

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Old 18 Mar 2003
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Also go to www.ibmwr.org then to
"search the list archives" search for
sight glass. There are some there that have had that happen. As far as I could see it is a part that should be replaced but no one knows how often. I looked for a recall or a service bulletin online but I could not fine one.
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Old 20 Mar 2003
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hi liza, what i have done in the past with bike out of warranty is go directly to BMW, complain that the glass was not fit for the purpose or it should be a replacement item after so many miles, generally kick up shit with BMW not your dealer keep him on your side. Tell them that you are going to inform all the web sites of your treatment, I got a seat replaced by BMW when bubble came up on it after 6 years but my dealer was very surportive. so have a go you have nothing to lose.
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Old 27 Mar 2003
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It's bad that BMW US don't give warranties on used bike. In the UK you get a very comprehensive warranty when you by a bike that is under 10 years old from a dealer. It's renewable every year until it reaches 10. Also now, you can buy a warranty for any BMW under 10 years (or 80,000 miles).

Does anyone know if that is the case in the rest of Europe?
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Old 18 Oct 2011
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These are no longer available from BMW. Whether they are re-designing them or not no one knows.

I'm looking at possibly tapping the hole for a industrial grade sight glass
mounted in a threaded plug.
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Old 18 Oct 2011
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...man that's really a ... construction!

No wonder I still ride /7 beemers

Seriously, ...you must be joking... this simply can not be true... I've had Kawasaki and Suzuki bikes and their sight glasses did never have to be changed, and I have never ever heard of any breaking.
Are you really serious? Do BMW really have such a production miss/flaw???
Drive Safely,
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Old 18 Oct 2011
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You should notice that the posts 1 - 6 are all from 2003 and the bike in question is a 1996 R100RT.
On all of the newer R1200's the sight glass is held in with a cir-clip.
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Old 19 Oct 2011
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There has been a few instances of these coming adrift but it is very rare indeed. You have just been unlucky. I don`t see ho you can expect BMW to accept responsibility on a bike that is 15 years old, but good luck in trying!
5000 dollars seems a lot. It would be cheaper to source a good second hand engine I would have thought?
Usually they will weep to give you warning that the seal is deteriorating. Changing them is a 5 minute job (once fairing is off) and you don`t even have to drain the oil to do it.
This old world keeps spinning round, it`s a wonder tall trees ain`t laying down.
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Old 21 Oct 2011
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There is a previous case with poor design that BMW still takes resposibility for: the non-reinforced 19" cast aluminum spoke front wheel.
(ref. The BMW Club of UK; Journal, September 2000)

This construction fault is so dangerous that BMW still trades in the 19" frontwheels - should there still be any on the roads. All are supposed to have been trade in back in 1979-1978:ish, but one broke on the roads in teh UK in 1999...

I do however agree that it will be hard to win a case of a broken sight glass though... it is kind of equivallent to broken oil-hoses on the /7 series. You do have my sympathies though. This engine failur is horrible blow for you

If BMW have not issued a service memo on this "problem", then you should be able to negotiate a "fair" deal; they stand for the garage work and you pay for the parts (kind of 50/50 deal).
It is worth trying
Drive Safely,
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