Intermittent flickering oil light on early S/ST's - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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    Intermittent flickering oil light on early S/ST's

    84 Comments by livewire Published on 05-12-10 02:46 PM
    Edit by de100kb: moved this thread to the HoW for future reference. Jump to posting no 50 and on for the real info thanks to Dunny.

    End of edit de100kb


    Hi Folks

    Just wondered if anyone can shed some light on this for me.
    Just turning into the car park at work this morning when I noticed that the red oil light flickered on and off a couple of times (F 800 S 07 reg 23,000 on the clock) . Stopped on the car park with the engine running and it did it again very briefly also noticed that it seamed to sound a little noisier on the top end, bit like a tappet noise.

    Checked the oil level and found it to be level with the max mark.

    Thought I would take a gentle run home to see what it was like as maybe a faulty sensor and all was good for about ten miles then I noticed in low speed traffic or at stand still that sometimes the oil light would flick on and off a couple of times.

    Again I check the oil level when I got home to find all as it should be, but again the engine seamed noisy at top end with a tappet like noise.

    Just wondered what other owners experiences are, is this a common fault? Or am I looking a major engine works here. I hope not as I have only owned the bike for a few months and it has been fantastic so far.
    Last edited by de100kb; 06-30-13 at 08:09 AM.

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  3. #2

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    Have you got the correct oil type installed? (eg you havent just replaced oil have you or when was last oil change ?) Different viscosities can affect oil pressures which ive seen before on other bikes with similar symptoms. This solved itself when correct oil fitted.

    Other than that just hope that its just a dodgy sensor that needs replacing, although would of thought a dodgy sensor would just fail and not be intermittent ? Anyway suggest if you havent the equipment to test then a dealer can diagnose if the sensor needs replacing or not, or advise if its a more serious problem.

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    Brisbane, QLD, AUS pldac is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    I don't think there is any easy answer. From this point you could be branching off in a number of directions.

    However, my bike has done this from time to time from early days. The evironment has been heavy (traffic
    slow riding) and braking. Usually I have just noticed only the slightest flicker in the corner of my eye.

    Hasn't amounted to anything and I have had it checked at 2 services. Hope your in the same boat.

    When it first happened BMW said to drop it in, but they were so busy they wouldn't get to it for 4-6 weeks. So
    I kept riding it another 5,000 until the next service. It did it a couple of random times. Hasn;t done it in the last
    10,000klm.

    Sorry, not particularly helpful I know.
    F800ST Grey since new 01/07
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    Do our bikes have an oil pump? Could be there is a problem with the the oil pump and it isn't pumping enough oil to keep the oil pressure high enough? Maybe?

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    If you do some strange search terms on here you will find a few posts on the same issue.

    example (read thread to end of 3rd page before you get too worried ! )
    http://f800riders.org/forum/showthre...ht=oil+warning

    It would seem that a combination of oil changes, new sensors (£25 worth i think ??) or replacing the clutch cover gasket solved the problem. Other than that as pldac has mentioned some people havent bothered doing anything.

    If still under warranty take the bike in. If not then personally i would change the sensor if its only £25 odd.

    Pat h will be along in a minute to give you a full answer...

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    Pats on hols at the mo, but I'll take his place and say that the most likely cause is the gasket. Happened to me on my '06 ST.
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    FWIW, i've experienced this condition several times over maqny vehicles. the most freqent cause has been a low oil level. the second most commen cause has been intermittant grounding of the oil pressure sender. the third most common cause has been a failed sender. the forth cause has been hot weather and oil with too low a viscosity (a single incident in hot weather & heavy traffic). i've never experienced a flickering oil warning light without it's being caused by one (or more) of the above.

    you say that you heard noise, and, you describe conditions that may have been warm, so the first thing i would check is the true oil level; dipsticks can be devious liars, fakers or imposters. btw, i don't like the f800 dipstick. my dipstick check during my first oil change on my f800s indicated the level was correct with just 3 qts in the sump.

    the second thing that i would check is the oil pressure sender wire. is it properly connected? is the wire in OE condition? lord canbus issues?

    the third thing that i would do is, with the ignition off, ground the oil pressure sender wire w/ a test lead, start the bike (stationary and at idle). if the warning lamp stays lit, bad sender (could be an internal, intermittant failure that can be difficult to replicate).

    if you need to explore at the cause #4 level, you have my sympathy and best wishes. you might want to check if your cooling fan operates correctly. other (and unlikely IMHO) could be bad bearings, bad oil pump, clogged oil gallerys, etc.

    good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Walrus1 View Post
    Pats on hols at the mo, but I'll take his place and say that the most likely cause is the gasket. Happened to me on my '06 ST.

    No excuse...hasnt he heard of mobile internet

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    id say its the oil pressure sensor maybe. unhook the oil pressure sensor, its on the back left hand side of the engine, there are 2 electric connections, one on the left is oil pressure sensor, right is engine temp. unhook the oil sensor. when i did that on mine, there was oil all over it.
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    From memory, I think that this was a fairly common issue in the early days of F800 and in most cases was due to faulty engine side cover gasket allowing internal leak / pressure drop. Dealer should be aware of this.
    By all means try a new sensor but don't live with it too long and risk damage. It is tempting to think / hope that it's an indication fault when there may be a risk of costly trouble if pressure genuinly low.

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    Had this happen once just as i got home and getting off bike. never seen it again but do keep an eye out for it.
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    You could just take the bulb out. That way the oil warning light wont be on any more.


    ....joking aside, i used to work as a Navy Officer and once was observing a new guy through the back of the bridge window (the bit you steer from for those that dont know) without him knowing i was watching. Anyway an alarm went off, which he silenced, but the lamp remain lit as the fault still existed. Not knowing what to do about the fault and worried about handing over the watch like this, I then observed him open the cover and remove the bulb and then pretend it never happened ! ).

    Lets just say i wasnt amused and he learnt his lesson !

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris f View Post
    From memory, I think that this was a fairly common issue in the early days of F800 and in most cases was due to faulty engine side cover gasket allowing internal leak / pressure drop. Dealer should be aware of this.
    By all means try a new sensor but don't live with it too long and risk damage. It is tempting to think / hope that it's an indication fault when there may be a risk of costly trouble if pressure genuinly low.
    +1 for Chris's diagnosis. I had the same symptom -- flickering oil light with adequate oil level -- and it turned out to be an internally failed clutch cover gasket (meaning there's no visible leak or sign of the problem other than the oil light). The gasket broke up inside the casing and bits of it clogged the journals that bring oil up to the cylinder head. If that's what's going on with your bike, it's bad juju for the cams and valve train.

    I advise having the dealer check the oil pressure with a proper gauge ASAP, since the dash warning is just an idiot light and the engine could still be running with lower than optimal oil pressure, just not low enough to always trigger the idiot light.

    Once the problem was diagnosed, the dealer fixed it under warranty right away. As Chris said, even if you're out of warranty, this was a known issue with some F800s so you might push for a free fix.

    Good luck!
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    When was the last time the oil was changed? I have this symptom when the oil has done around 6000 miles. Goes away with fresh oil.
    Regards Cusi

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    Ahh yeah, might wanna check the whole clutch cover. Maybe see if any of the bolts are loose.
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    Hi All

    Thanks for all your replies.

    The independent Bike shop I bought it from did the major 24k service (had 21,500 on it at the time) before they delivered it to me that was less than 2,000 miles ago

    Talked to two different BMW main dealer service departments who shall remain nameless just to get their feelings on the subject also asked what oil should be in the bike as I had no way of knowing. Was advised that Castrol GPS Power 1 10w-40 semi synthetic should be used by both main dealers but that were the answers stopped being similar.

    Main dealer one said that all F800 sound like they are about to explode but they keep on running, so don’t worry about its just a faulty sensor and to keep on riding it. They also said a major service is due at 24k, which is soon so they could check it over for me then. When I said it did not sound like that before and always sounded sweet sounding before, but sounded more like there was a lack of oil feed to the top of the cylinder now hence the tappet type sound. Was informed it could not be that.

    Main dealer two said that it sounded like one of the mechanics should take a look at the bike, that he would check the oil pressure sensor to ensure it was operating correctly if the sensor was not at fault they would carry out a oil pressure test by putting a gauge on the engine to measure the oil pressure and ensure this was operating within the normal ranges. If this failed to find the cause of the problem they would carry out further investigative work to resolve the issue for me. But that I should not ride it as if there was a major problem I would cause serious damage.

    Been back to the independent bike shop I bought it from to check oil used and guess what, Castrol GPS Power1 10W- 40W Semi synthetic after a quick chat the owner was in agreement that they would pick the bike up from me and carry out investigative works along the lines of main dealer two, so fingers crossed it something simple will keep you updated on the progress.

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    I'm gonna put my money on the sensor
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    Just out of interest is the gasket a quick home fix. i.e. drain oil, remove clutch cover, new gasket, oil , all done. Or is ther more to it.....any one know ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cb83783 View Post
    Just out of interest is the gasket a quick home fix. i.e. drain oil, remove clutch cover, new gasket, oil , all done. Or is ther more to it.....any one know ?
    Just looked into this and for those who cant get this done under warranty looks like easy home fix.

    Before removing engine cover, simply drain oil, disconnect clutch cable at engine end, remove dipstick and disconect and remove gear shifter. Then remove cover (with selector rod still firmly attached to cover).

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    You would think it a fairly simple job, but so many of us have had leaking rocker cover gaskets (from slight seeping to veritable gushing) after the dealers have worked on them, that I'm thinking maybe there's a bit more to it than that.

    I've had mine messed up twice by the dealership, the second time (during the 24k service) triggering the intermittent flickering oil light on my own bike. In my case, they confirmed that oil pressure was fine, and that the sensor was damaged. After they fixed the gasket properly and changed the sensor, mine has been fine ever since.
    Formerly on a Lahar Grey F800S, then after 47,000 happy miles it was traded in for a new Midnight Black F800ST, which was more or less converted back to an S. And now I'm on a brand new R1200RS, which is rather awesome! I'll still stick around if you'll have me, though, as my wife is now on the F800... 

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    Before you take anything apart, you might want to check the torque on the screws. Should be 12 nM. Both the clutch cover and sump cover on my bike were weeping. I found all of the screws slightly loose. To get to all of the sump cover screws, it's necessary to drop the exhaust. And guess which screws were the loosest. Why the ones made inaccessible by the exhaust. Tells me that the dealer didn't bother doing the whole job at 12K/20K service.

    So tighten things up and see what happens. If the trouble isn't cleared, proceed with Plan B.
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    Clutch cover gasket is an easy fix. If you have a center stand, and a cold bike, you don't really need to drain the oil. A bit will come out, but not much. And then proceed as described.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky 13 View Post
    I advise having the dealer check the oil pressure with a proper gauge ASAP, since the dash warning is just an idiot light and the engine could still be running with lower than optimal oil pressure, just not low enough to always trigger the idiot light.
    +1

    Probable the issue is not very important

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  27. #25
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    looks like I can now join this discussion......

    Intermittent LOP light at idle.
     

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    Clutch cover gasket and LOP switch ordered - bits should arrive thursday.......
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dunny View Post
    Clutch cover gasket and LOP switch ordered - bits should arrive thursday.......
    How much did this cost Dunny ?

  30. #28
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    I've no idea, I didn't ask. You cant put a price on BMW quality.

    I'll let you know when I pick them up.

    LOP switch looks an arse to get at. Might have to remove the coolant temp switch so I can get a spanner on it. No doubt all the coolant will fall out if I remove the coolant temp switch.....
     

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    Dunny, you could always just do the gasket and see if that solves it. If not then do the sensor.

    By the way the reprom doesnt specify anything special for replacement of LOP, just remove fairings if necesssary, disconnect LOP plug, unbolt, install new LOP and tighten up to 20nm, reconnect plug.
    Perhaps a socket would fit ? (Havent looked on my bike yet, just the photo in reprom.)

  32. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb83783 View Post
    How much did this cost Dunny ?
    Here in the States the gasket cost about $24 if I remember right. Dealer did the work under warranty so I don't remember what they allocated for labor time, but it can't be more than 1.5hrs...

    I replaced the engine casing on the other side myself in about 2hrs, and that was more complicated because the stator has to be removed and swapped into the new engine casing.
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  33. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb83783 View Post
    Dunny, you could always just do the gasket and see if that solves it. If not then do the sensor.

    By the way the reprom doesnt specify anything special for replacement of LOP, just remove fairings if necesssary, disconnect LOP plug, unbolt, install new LOP and tighten up to 20nm, reconnect plug.
    Perhaps a socket would fit ? (Havent looked on my bike yet, just the photo in reprom.)
    I've tried to get a socket on it, but the electrical part of the switch extends too far to get a standard socket on it. A deep reach socket would be too long as you are also restricted on height above. I reckon I might be able to get in with an offset ring spanner.

    Its not impossible, its just a case of how disassembly is required to get access.

    The side casing gasket looks the easier of the two jobs to do.
     

  34. #32
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    duplicate post....
     

  35. #33
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    picked up the spares today from BMW -

    Oil pressure switch £11.49 + VAT
    Clutch cover gasket £10.90 + VAT
    Oil filter (in silver !) £8.71 + VAT
    Drain plug seal £0.85 + VAT

    Total inclusive of VAT = £37.54

    Just need to get hold of some new oil and I'll get on with the job...
     

  36. #34
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    To change mine, I went in from the right side with a regular spanner. Had to unplug the temp sensor and pull that out as well. Nothing fell out, maybe a few drops, but it was fine. Then take off the oil pressure one, then reverse everything.
    Quote Originally Posted by batamali View Post
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  37. #35
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    Cheers, that looks the easiest option. It a big spanner as well..... The sensor measures up at 24 mm AF.
     

  38. #36
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    Any markings on the oil pressure sensor? Oil pressure sensors are about as common as spark plugs. Might be easier to walk into the local autoparts store to purchase one than to go to the hassle of ordering. My nearest BMW motorcycle dealer is 100 miles away.
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    0.2-0.5 bar

    Its only got one pin on the electrical plug, so I'm assuming its a switched ground through the case of the switch.

    I'll get a photo of it when I get around to doing the job.
     

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    Had the light flicker last week for 2 days in a row only when idleing and only after about 20 minutes of riding after that it never did it again. was in to check it today and oil change they are replacing the pressure switch due to a "service bulletin" no charge.
    Were all here because were not all there!
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    The fix is a retorque of bolts. Was told due to temp the oil was bypassing slightly internally. This is a known thing under bulletin 11 001 07(022). Seems fine now.
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    Where does one find a copy of 11 001 07(022) to read?
    2016 Yamaha FJR1300A; 2016 Beta 430RS; 2007 BMW F800S; 2009 Husaberg FE450; 2016 Subaru Outback; 2013 Tesla Model S 85; 1983 Porsche 928S; 7 cats 

  44. #41
    Dano's Avatar
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    I have no idea. I tried to get all the info from them but they would not go into much detail.
    Were all here because were not all there!
    07 Blue ST (Blue Boy) 09 R1200GSA(Grey Boy) HID on both
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  45. #42
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Based on what I've read on this over the years it seems part of the main oil feed is directed into the clutch cover casing (to feed the thrust washer maybe).
    There were some reports of the casings not matching correctly possibly due to production changes. Or warped cases. The gasket is a thin thing with not much give in it so little ability to absorb differences in the mating surfaces.
    This allows the oil to escape past the gasket and the oil pressure drops. This isn't a good thing for the engine as the whole oil feed pressure is reduced at low RPM.

    A new gasket may help. Ensuring the bolts are torqued correctly may help.
    Changing the pressure sensor may help (if the new one is triggers at the lower pressure end of the 0.2 to 0.5 BAR, but this would just be masking the problem)
    Personally I'd go for some sealant around the gasket particularly there but taking care to ensure none spills into the oil flow and risks blocking that feed.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


    Don't miss the F800 Garage Door Opener Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-Bxifv2Pk 

  46. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
    Where does one find a copy of 11 001 07(022) to read?
    I have a copy as pdf that I obtained a long time ago, either direct from this forum or via link. The forum reply system wont upload the pdf so, here is a cut / paste attempt of part document:-
    Service Information Bulletin
    "
    **Technical Campaign**
    Subject: Checking security of threaded fasteners, engine-block covers
    Date: May 2007
    Bulletin #: 11 001 07 (022)
    Source: SI 19/2007
    BMW Motorrad USA
    Service and Technical
    During the first hours of engine operation, the pretension of the threaded fasteners
    securing the engine-block covers diminishes because the coating on
    the covers is expelled from the areas underneath the heads of the screws. This
    can result in two kinds of leaks:
    1. Oil weeping at the sealing face between cover and engine block; clearly
    visible, but generally not critical in terms of engine operation.
    2. An "internal" leak at the clutch side cover gives rise to the risk of damage
    to the engine: the pressurised oil that lubricates the conrod bearings
    flows through the left engine block cover. A leak from the pressurised
    oil duct to the sump (see bottom photo, arrow) where the oil is
    not under pressure, is not visible from the outside, but it causes a drop
    in oil pressure.
    When the engine of an F800 affected by this problem is warm and
    idling, the oil pressure telltale light might show intermittently.
    Production
    Solution:
    Currently produced motorcycles will have the coating from the areas of the
    engine-block cover that will be contacted by the heads of the securing screws
    removed at assembly. Specifically, from engine number 08087308 onward, the
    areas of the covers underneath the screw heads have been factory prepped.
    Models: F 800 S / ST (K71)
    In a once-only check, the next time a motorcycle in the range affected is brought
    into the workshop, check the security of all engine-block cover screws (see
    photos) by application of a tightening torque of 12 Nm.
    If the oil pressure telltale light shows when the engine is running, always check
    first to ascertain whether the left engine-block cover gasket is cracked, and
    replace if necessary.
    It quotes applicability to Vin Numbers:
    "S" ZP00001 > 00510
    "ST" ZR 10000 > 10835

  47. #44
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    The worry is the info states potential engine damage if the oil light flicker is caused by an internal leaking gasket. But we know dealers have had a far mor relaxed and less worried view of the flickering oil light.
    But I guess they only stand to gain from future work.....
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


    Don't miss the F800 Garage Door Opener Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-Bxifv2Pk 

  48. #45
    N4HHE's Avatar
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    Thanks! Ordered a new gasket and oil pressure sensor last week. IIRC both had updated P/N's since original 2007 production.

    Interestingly it appears Bike Bandit is shipping a not-BMW sourced oil sensor. The F800S part was $12, but the ST part was over $20. Amused me enough to simply order it and see what I get.
    2016 Yamaha FJR1300A; 2016 Beta 430RS; 2007 BMW F800S; 2009 Husaberg FE450; 2016 Subaru Outback; 2013 Tesla Model S 85; 1983 Porsche 928S; 7 cats 

  49. #46
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
    Thanks! Ordered a new gasket and oil pressure sensor last week. IIRC both had updated P/N's since original 2007 production.

    Interestingly it appears Bike Bandit is shipping a not-BMW sourced oil sensor. The F800S part was $12, but the ST part was over $20. Amused me enough to simply order it and see what I get.
    From what I saw of mine when I last worked on the bike it looked like a standard part.
    As long as the trigger pressure is similar it should be fine.

    I was looking at an electronic oil pressure gauge but the engine end sensors are quite large and not that cheap.
    Then I decided it maybe more scary to know the actual pressure. Sometimes not knowing is best....
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


    Don't miss the F800 Garage Door Opener Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-Bxifv2Pk 

  50. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris f View Post
    I have a copy as pdf that I obtained a long time ago, either direct from this forum or via link. The forum reply system wont upload the pdf so, here is a cut / paste attempt of part document:-
    Service Information Bulletin
    " Specifically, from engine number 08087308 onward, the
    areas of the covers underneath the screw heads have been factory prepped.
    Models: F 800 S / ST (K71)
    "ST" ZR 10000 > 10835
    Mines about 800 more than that.......does that mean i am safe from this problem

  51. #48
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb83783 View Post
    Mines about 800 more than that.......does that mean i am safe from this problem
    Complicated by the fact that some early models have had warranty work done on the clutch thrust washer so will have had tyhe cover removed and re-fitted. So this will have resulted in the torque being correct.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


    Don't miss the F800 Garage Door Opener Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-Bxifv2Pk 

  52. #49
    N4HHE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cb83783 View Post
    Mines about 800 more than that.......does that mean i am safe from this problem
    It means BMW believes the problem was fixed with manufacturing changes before your bike was built.

    That doesn't mean you are 100% safe from this issue. Its still useful to know where to look if you have a flickering oil light at idle (as I do).
    2016 Yamaha FJR1300A; 2016 Beta 430RS; 2007 BMW F800S; 2009 Husaberg FE450; 2016 Subaru Outback; 2013 Tesla Model S 85; 1983 Porsche 928S; 7 cats 

  53. #50
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    I eventually got around to it today, although it all went to shit when I attempted to remove the oil sump plug.....

    Part 1 - Low oil pressure switch change.

    1. Disconnect electrical plugs. Remove coolant temp sensor (22MM) to access low oil pressure switch. Only a thimble full of coolant falls out.





    2. Remove and replace low oil pressure switch (24MM). The new switch is a different part number from the original and has a sintered core. The pressure markings on both switches state 0.2-0.5 bar operating pressure.





    3. refit coolant temp sensor, reconnect electrical plugs, function and leak check.
     

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