Coolant? - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    Hello all,
    I recently purchased a 2013 F800R (4,500 miles) in almost new condition. Previous owner had all scheduled maintenance completed and new tires installed. I am new to the F800 engine, but I'm not new to BMW.
    My Questions:
    When should the coolant be changed? I used to go by the 3 year schedule , but my ideas may be outdated?
    Fork oil I used to not worry about, but this is the first conventional front end I've had in a decade. Should it be changed , or is it best left alone?

    Thanks in advance for your replies.
    Patrick

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  3. #2
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    Welcome Patrick,

    I would change the coolant if you do not know when it was last done. And the same for the fork oil, don't forget to change the seals too.

    Personally i would get the fork oil & seals from BMW - yes they will be more expensive than aftermarket, but you get a guarantee on them and you know they were designed to fit. Plus for a job you do every 5 years it is worth the investment, IMO.

    Coolant is a pretty easy one to do as the bike holds so little (1.6L). I usually go for every 3-5 years (and change if i do not know when it was last done), even though a coolant checker may say the antifreeze element is ok, you can't test the rust inhibitor or the boiling point without further test.

    I would recommend picking up a Haynes manual to guide you through the process.
    BMW F800ST, 2010, Black, Fuzeblock, Sat Nav, BMW Tank Bag, Givi Touring Screen, Spotlights, 50K Miles 

  4. #3
    ccramerusc's Avatar
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    The coolant is not listed as a normal maintenance item. It is a sealed system, so as long as you haven't had any leaks or problems with the coolant system, I would leave it alone. 10-15 years old, maybe worth doing, but I wouldn't worry about it just yet. Especially with the extremely low miles you have. I changed mine at the 51,000 mile mark, but that was because I replaced the engine and needed to remove the radiator to do so...

    Forks on the other hand should be done now. I change the oil at least every 3 years. That stuff breaks down quickly with age alone. High mileage speeds the process due to the dirt and bugs exposed to the inner tubes getting through the seals. I typically do my seals every other time when I do a thorough cleaning. On the alternating changes, I just drain and refill. No need to remove the seals in that case. With your low miles I'm sure your bushings will be in great condition and would think that the seals would be fine too, so I would just do a quick dump and fill. Very easy on the R as they are pretty exposed.

    Haynes manual is indispensable if you plan on doing your own work. My book is almost worn out at this point. It's saved me thousands in shop costs.

    Welcome to the F club!

    I've used the All Balls 56-133 kit for the seals twice now. Works great.

    As far as fork oil goes, it depends on your taste and any upgraded hardware. The stock setup is 10w. The problem is that fork oil weight measuring units are not consistent across brands. That said, most people complain at how soft the front end of these bikes are, so they add heavier oil. That does make things a little stiffer, but it takes away from the dampening ability. Other go all out and replace some of the hardware in there which typically calls for a specific oil to match the new springs and/or damper system. I myself have added Intiminators which call for 5W oil so that it does the work of dampening before the stock dampening tube does.
    08' F800ST- side panniers & Shad SH45 top case, Russell Day Long seat, MRA Vario Windscreen, SW Motech crash bars, ZTechnik exhaust, PC-8 fuseblock, Stebel Nautilus horn, Throttlemeister throttle lock, SW Motech handlebar risers, LED fog lights, highway pegs 

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  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccramerusc View Post
    The coolant is not listed as a normal maintenance item....
    Not being specified by the manufacturer as a standard maintenance item, isn't the same as neglecting to check and replace as and when required.

    E.g. no change interval is specified for brake pad replacement but you'd be wise to check condition periodically and replace when required.

    Ride safely.






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    Quote Originally Posted by ccramerusc View Post
    Haynes manual is indispensable if you plan on doing your own work. My book is almost worn out at this point. It's saved me thousands in shop costs.

    I've read a few posts recently that advocate for this manual. I've been using the electronic version supplied by BMW but find that some instructions assume you have access to obscure, one-off, task specific tools. Time to look for a manual!

    Unlike most other fluids, particularly oils, coolant has a long life. There are anti-corrosion and rust inhibitors elements as well as elements that improve heat transfer. You will find no shortage of opinions and a scarcity of science on the topic. My thoughts are that for the little money and modest effort, a change every 4 or 5 years, depending on your riding, is a good investment.
    Concrete remains undefeated. 

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccramerusc View Post
    The coolant is not listed as a normal maintenance item. It is a sealed system, so as long as you haven't had any leaks or problems with the coolant system, I would leave it alone. 10-15 years old, maybe worth doing, but I wouldn't worry about it just yet. Especially with the extremely low miles you have. I changed mine at the 51,000 mile mark, but that was because I replaced the engine and needed to remove the radiator to do so...
    The need to change coolant has nothing to do with whether the system is sealed or the number of miles. It has everything to do with the length of time the coolant has been in contact with the metal engine and radiators. We change coolant not because it gets dirty but because the anticorrosion additives wear out.

    Forks on the other hand should be done now. I change the oil at least every 3 years.
    But, the forks are sealed!
    2016 Yamaha FJR1300A; 2016 Beta 430RS; 2007 BMW F800S; 2009 Husaberg FE450; 2016 Subaru Outback; 2018 F150; 2013 Tesla Model S 85; 1983 Porsche 928S; 9 cats 

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    Corrosion is oxidation. Oxidation can't occur without oxygen. A sealed system with no air in it can't oxidize. Sure, there is a tiny bit of air that gets trapped in there as you seal it, that's why there are the corrosion limiting chemicals. They break down much faster when exposed to heat (like anything with chemical bonds) so the more miles driven, the more heat it's exposed to, the sooner it would need to be changed.

    If the forks were perfectly sealed then there would never be any oil residue on the inner tubes. It is physically impossible to have a perfect seal unless the inner tube was to never move. The fact that the inner tube slides past the outer tube shows that there is a gap. As it slides in and out, dust and bug guts make its way past the seals and mix with the oil. This speeds the already fast process of fork oil degradation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccramerusc View Post
    ... so the more miles driven, the more heat it's exposed to, the sooner it would need to be changed.
    Based on your observations on maintaining machine's, you best get onto BMW to make this a standard maintenance item based on mileage.

    Ride safely.

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  14. #9
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    Thanks all. Your response(s) are helpful.
    Kindest Regards,
    Patrick

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccramerusc View Post
    Corrosion is oxidation. Oxidation can't occur without oxygen. A sealed system with no air in it can't oxidize.
    I’ll remember that when someone suggests flushing airtight sealed brake fluid every 2 years. And I will laugh.
    2016 Yamaha FJR1300A; 2016 Beta 430RS; 2007 BMW F800S; 2009 Husaberg FE450; 2016 Subaru Outback; 2018 F150; 2013 Tesla Model S 85; 1983 Porsche 928S; 9 cats 

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    Air enters (or escapes) via multiple mechanisms including diffusion through the material. Most materials have some permeability to air.
    Concrete remains undefeated. 

  18. #12
    BoxerBits's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
    I’ll remember that when someone suggests flushing airtight sealed brake fluid every 2 years. And I will laugh.
    Nice example.

    Agree, the coolant is a consumable, it's condition and volume should be checked periodically and action taken as result of check dictate.

    No specified change interval and neglect are not the same thing.

    Conversely a change interval of time or mileage doesn't mean a consumable shouldn't be changed earlier. As an example a lightly used engine in a cool environment may experience emulsified engine oil. (Oil has a milky appearance) Waiting until a specified change interval in that case would not be the best of plans.

    Happy daze.






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  19. #13
    ccramerusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
    I’ll remember that when someone suggests flushing airtight sealed brake fluid every 2 years. And I will laugh.
    Completely different reasoning. Brake fluid is hydroscopic. As soon as you break the seal on the bottle it will start to absorb liquid from the air. Air with moisture can fit through small pores in some brake lines and almost all fittings because it is much smaller of a molecule than brake fluid. Once that liquid is absorbed, it will easily boil when heated by brake use causing microscopic air pockets with will compress causing a soft pedal/lever. Corrosion is not an issue here.

    As far as a radiator is concerned, the problem isn't moisture. Instead it's minerals and other contaminates that can react with the aluminum. In fact, being continually submerged in liquid dramatically reduces exposure to these. This is also where the coolant additives help. Yes, they will slowly breakdown over time (especially with heat), but if no additional minerals or other contaminates get in (from a leak or breaking the seal) then it will be a very long time before any corrosion can start. That is exemplified by the fact that most cars these days don't include a coolant service until at least 100,000 miles. Not many many motorcycles live that long, thus my reasoning to leave it alone unless there has been a leak.

    To each their own, but in every vehicle I have owned, I've only had a coolant system problem in one of them, and that was years after a leak and repair. I've had a few others go well over 100,000 miles and 10-15 years with a perfectly functioning coolant system that was never touched.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G891A using Tapatalk
    08' F800ST- side panniers & Shad SH45 top case, Russell Day Long seat, MRA Vario Windscreen, SW Motech crash bars, ZTechnik exhaust, PC-8 fuseblock, Stebel Nautilus horn, Throttlemeister throttle lock, SW Motech handlebar risers, LED fog lights, highway pegs 

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