Sometimes a special tool is required when performing maintenance on your motorcycle. It doesn’t matter who makes your motorcycle, sooner or later you’ll need that “Left handed reverse nut turner for someone with only 9 toes”.
One of the things that needs to be done on the BMW K1200LT every 12,000 miles is changing the final drive (shaft) gear oil. It’s a pretty straight forward thing to do…..almost. You see, on our Suzuki C50T Boulevard the drain was on the bottom of the final drive and the fill hole was easily accessible on the side. The instructions were really simple. They were something like this: “Fill the drive with oil until it reaches the bottom of the fill hole.” That’s pretty easy and you can’t overfill it because if you do, your overfill ends up on the floor. BMW Motorrad is a bit different. The drain bolt is on the bottom as you’d expect but the fill opening is near the top and hard to reach because of the side cases. The manual calls for 230 ml of gear oil to fill the drive. Now, filling to the bottom of the opening would overfill buy a lot and risk damaging seals. How do you get 230ml in there from your fill bottle that won’t fit under there? Enter that little bit of MacGyver in all of us!
This tool making expedition will take us to your local dollar store to purchase a baby bottle. It doesn’t have to a fancy or expensive one, it just has to have metric measurements for millilters on one side. Carefully pick out the color you want to use. If you’re lucky they’ll have a bottle that matches the color of your motorcycle. When you get home, just cut a small portion of the nipple off at an angle (clicking on the thumbnail will enlarge the image). Go ahead and fill the bottle with the appropriate amount of gear oil (in my case 230 ml) and put the lid back on the bottle. The nipple is flexible so you can put it in the fill opening and simply turn the bottle upside down and let gravity do the rest of the work. If you don’t already know, gear oil is much thicker and moves slower than motor oil so you might be holding it just a few minutes. There you go! You’ve just filled your final drive with the specified amount of oil. Just remember to use this bottle only for gear oil and never fill it with baby formula to feed a baby! The baby won’t like the oil and the motorcycle won’t like the baby formula. Can you tell that I was rummaging around in the tool box and garage and got bored?