She’s Not As Pretty When She’s Naked

A while back I wrote that the Magic Carpet was leaking a drop of oil every few days.  Well it definitely had the consistency and smell of motor oil as opposed to gear or transmission oil.  Those of us who do our own vehicle maintenance can usually tell the difference.  But I did need to get up under the body work to see if I could find where the leak was coming from.  So yesterday afternoon I began removing body panels, or tupperware as it’s called, to see what I could find.  I figured while I was under there, I’d perform a few general maintenance tasks too, you know, while she was naked so to speak.  And speaking of being naked the K1200LT is not nearly as pretty when she’s naked as she is with her body on!

She's not pretty when she's naked!

Well it looked like the oil was leaking from the intermediate (bell) housing between the engine and the transmission.  This is where the clutch is located.  I was really hoping for a failed crush washer on the oil drain plug!  This particular motorcycle uses a dry clutch like a car does as opposed to a “wet” clutch that most motorcycles use.  By “wet” it means that the clutch is bathed in oil for cooling and operation.  Oil on a dry clutch is bad news!  Getting oil on the clutch would cause it to slip which means a clutch replacement and a very expensive repair bill.  At the minimum it indicates the rear main seal is leaking which is still a hefty bill on its own.  My leakage appeared minimal, a drop every few days.  I decided to drill a weep hole in the intermediate housing while had the parts and skid plate removed.  Even up on the centerstand there wasn’t enough room to fit the drill under there without putting the motorcycle up on a work stand (which I don’t have).  But, my trusty Dremel would fit!  I fitted the drill bit collet to the Dremel and put in a 3/32″ drill bit.  I marked my spot and the Dremel drilled right through the aluminum housing.  At least I think it’s aluminium and not magnesium like other parts of the engine!  Now remember, the intermediate housing is supposed to be dry.  I immediately got a steady drip of oil from the hole but the dripping quickly slowed.  I was expecting the oil and as soon as I removed the drill I put an empty soup can under the hole to catch the oil.  It didn’t even leak enough oil to cover the bottom of the soup can.  It’s now 2 hours later and no more drips from the hole.

Now it was decision time.  Do I order all the parts and strip the motorcycle down to her bare bones (and removing the final drive and transmission) and attempt to replace the rear main seal myself, take it to the dealer and let them spend a few days doing it or since it’s a minimal leak with no clutch slippage try using a sealant?  I opted to try what others have done with the same leak and I’ll change the oil and put in a bottle of rear main seal sealant and “stop leak” while monitoring the weep hole.

Tomorrow I’ll get her all dressed again and in a few days I’ll change the oil and add the sealant while crossing my fingers.  I’ve been in touch with a guy who did this at 90,000 miles on his K1200LT and he now has 127,000 on the motorcycle with no ill effects, leaks or troubles.  There is an advantage to this type of repair.  The instructions recommend to drive for 100 miles or at least 2 days before it will seal the leak.  So right after I change the oil, I get to ride!

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Categories: Maintenance & Repair | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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