Nightowl 18k Service (early 2019)

I ended last year’s riding season just short of the mileage due for the 18k miles service interval. Consequently, I needed to get this most demanding of the scheduled service tasks out of the way before the start of the busy 2019 riding season.

For those unfamiliar with the BMW K1600 preventative maintenance schedule, it goes something like this:

    Every 6,000 miles: Oil change, check brake fluid/pads, check clutch, check lights, and other normal small stuff.
    Every 12,000 miles: Do a 6,000 service and add a change of the final drive oil and a change or cleaning of the air filter.
    Every 18,000 miles: Do a 6,000 service and check the cam-to-tappet valve lash and replace the spark plugs.

In this specific case, the stars aligned such that I need to perform all three at the same time. Hoo-rah.

The valve lash check is a bit tedious since you have to pull off everything on the Bike from the engine forward to (but not including) the front wheel. This includes lots of body panels (Tupperware) and the radiator. When you finally get the head cover off and can get to the cams/tappets, you have the joyous tedium of:

  1. Rotate the engine to top-dead-center for cylinder one (1).
  2. Measure and record the lash for the two (2) exhaust valves and the two (2) intake valves.
  3. Rotate the engine 120º to bring the next cylinder in the firing order to top-dead-center.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you run out of cylinders.

On most motorcycle engines, this isn’t so bad. A lot of bikes, like the Cruiser and the Vector, have two (2) cylinders. Other bikes demand a bit more attention because they have three (3) or four (4) cylinders.

The Nightowl has six (6) cylinders.

Do the math. That’s 24 individual valve lash checks, all carefully recorded on a form available from the BMW service manual.

Yes, I’m bitching and moaning, but it’s really not that bad, just tedious (I think I’ve use three variants of this word in this post already).

For those scoring at home, the firing order is: 1, 5, 3, 6, 2, 4, with cylinder 1 being farthest to the left side of the bike facing forward.

Interesting Tidbits (to me) from this Service

    • I changed the oil with Shell Rotella T6 5W-40 oil and a Mahle OC306 filter. This is the same oil and filter I’ve been using for a while now.
    • As usual, there was nothing in the condensate drain hose.
    • The side stand was getting a bit stiff to move, so I disassembled it, cleaned it, and lubed it.
    • Before the service I hooked up the GS911 diagnostic tool to the bike (lovely piece of equipment) and read out the fault codes. There were a few codes that were inconsequential, but there were two that got my attention:
      • Failure at the fuel level sender: I expected this one since the indicated fuel level would occasionally drop suddenly to zero and then rise back up to its original position. I removed, cleaned, and reinstalled the fuel sender, which was involved enough a process that I covered it in another post.
      • Breaker reset at the fuel pump: What? When did that happen? I know the Nightowl has run like shit since I first started it this year (a few weeks ago), but I figured it was just skunky gas after sitting around all winter. This fault code is the foreshadowing for a dramatic saga that, again, I will cover in a subsequent post.
    • I replaced the final drive lube with Amsoil Severe Gear 75W-120, which is the same lube I’ve used before.
    • I inspected the air cleaner, which is a K&N unit that I installed earlier, and cleaned any heavy dirt and bugs out of it. Per K&N standards, it was nowhere near being in need of a cleaning and re-oiling. There were also no spots that looked lean on filter oil.
    • When stripping the bike for the valve lash check, I successfully removed the secondary air rail without breaking it. The last time I did this service I broke it on removal and had to replace it for ~$75. The Hylomar I put on the rubber grommets did its job.
    • Refilled the radiator with the standard mix of BMW coolant and distilled water.
    • All the valve lash values were in spec, with no drastic change from the values from the previous 18k service interval.

And While I’m There…

I decided to make a change to my stereo configuration. Last season I ran the BoVee Tune2Air down in the right fairing storage compartment. With the iPhone that it connected to up in the dash (where the BMW Nav unit would usually go), the Bluetooth communication was a bit spotty and would occasionally cause errors, especially when browsing a long playlist (several thousand songs). I elected to run extension USB and 3.5mm stereo cables up the to upper dash so the Tune2Air could be closer to the iPhone. This meant stripping all the Tupperware off the top of the dash, but that’s not too much work.

Note: The trial and error challenges of getting the right connections, power, and quality of signal between the Nightowl’s stereo, the iPhone, my Sena 20S headset, and Karen’s Sena 20S headset, is a long sordid tale that I really should post sometime. Stay tuned.

Finally, all that missing Tupperware exposed the on-board garage door opener remote, which is wired to a module to engage when I pulse the brights two times. The remote itself is still battery powered, so I took the opportunity to replace the battery.

There, good to go… until I need to replace the tires before this years MAMMARY run.

Disclaimer: The photo is from a previous service. I could have posted without it, but you can’t get anybody to read crap these days without at least one photo to look at.

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