The 60cents DIY BMW G650GS Oil Fill Cap Removal Tool

The BMW G650GS has a dry oil sump design and has its oil reservoir situated where the fuel tank typically resides. And in typical BMW fashion, it requires a speciality tool to remove the oil cap. Yes, the bike’s accompanying tool kit does contain a multi-use wrench that would also open the oil fill cap. But accessing the tool pouch was an inconvenient 4-step process – top box removal, panel removal (using key), seat removal, then tool pouch removal (which is a pain due to the really tight space the tool pouch is situated).

Speciality tool sold on eBay.

So, for garage maintenance, and to encourage periodic checking of engine oil levels, I’d prefer to have a tool readily available.

The ones on eBay cost easily over $20. Just for a dumb piece of plastic – $20?!! So in true DIY fashion, after some measuring, I realised that any 22-23mm hexagonal tool should do the job. I dumped the idea of 3D-printing it – as it’ll likely cost as much as the $20 eBay tool for such a low-volume production.

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Pledge – The Amazing Helmet Polish and Cleaner?

I’ve been using Meguair’s Quik Wax on my vehicles and motorcycle helmets with excellent results. Easy on, easy off application. Smells great too! However, I do find Quik Wax to be a little on the pricey side.

So since I had a can of Lemon Pledge laying around my house (I use it regularly to clean and polish home furniture), thought I’d give it a go on my motorcycle helmet.

Lemon Pledge works excellent as a CLEANER wax!
Giving my Scorpion ADX-1 a Pledge snow-wash treatment.

I realised that one major ability that Pledge had that Quik Wax and most of the other waxes I previously used did not have was a very deep cleaning ability. Areas on my all-white helmet that started showing black’ish stains were easily removed using Pledge.

Inexpensive, effective, and so readily available – Pledge is now my newfound favourite helmet cleaner and polish!

Practiced repairing a tire tube

Since I had accidentally pinched the inner tube on my DRZ while self-installing tires for the first time, I thought I’d use the opportunity to attempt a patch repair. Good to pick up a useful skill during this Covid Circuit Breaker season.

Hole in the tire tube.

1. First, look for the puncture site. 
2. Then scuff it up with a rasp file or some sandpaper. 
3. Apply a generous coat of rubber cement / vulcanising paste. 
4. Wait for at least 5mins to allow the rubber cement to dry.
5. Peel off the aluminium foil backing of the patch and apply patch onto puncture site.
6. Stitch the patch by rolling some blunt tool over it.
7. The patched tube is now ready for use!

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Covid Lockdown – Brake Fluid Flush

Since I had to stay home due to the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures in place, and that I couldn’t ride, I decided to do a little bit of bike maintenance. I’ve not replaced the brake fluids on my G650GS Sertao since I purchased it about a year ago. And now with the DRZ in my stable, I thought I’d take the time to get the brake fluids replaced.

The brake fluid in the reservoir looks a little dark.
Brake bleeder connected and ready to bleed!

Since it was easier on the DRZ as there’s no ABS pump to deal with, I started with the Zee. Connected the bleeder valve kit to the brake bleed valve and started pumping away.

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Why I Won’t Be Using Lithium Batteries In My Bikes

At (just) 2 years and 7 months, the battery on my R1200GS died. Yup, the dealer had warned me when I sent the bike in for valve clearance adjustments and general servicing last month that the battery wasn’t in good condition. It was tested to have only 174CCA when it should be around the 200CCA mark. In fact, the battery manufacturer claims to be able to output up to 290CCA on this model – so that’s some seriously deteriorated life.

Just 10.6V when the bike is powered up. Not a good sign.

While 2 years and 7 months may initially seem like a respectable age for a motorcycle battery to last, I was disappointed.

Why?

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Failed Drive Shaft and Final Drive on my BMW R1200GS LC

My R1200GS left me stranded.

I was on my way to office on morning, merrily rolling along the usual morning traffic when I suddenly felt my rear wheel disengaged from the motor. Blipping the throttle only produced a cringe-worthy rattle with no power transfer to the wheel. And so I pulled to the side of the road and called BMW Assist.

I had to tow.

Grounded splines on the drive shaft mating surface.
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G650GS Sertao Fork Servicing

My Sertao is 6.5yrs old and have seen almost 60,000km. I don’t think the fork oil has ever been replaced. Not only the front suspension is beginning to feel like a pogo stick – bouncing around during brake dives, but my left fork has started developing a leak.

Yipes!

In fact, when it first started weeping, I didn’t even realise it. So much that fork oil dripped down the fork and ended up on the brakes, causing the brakes to squeal and the calliper to bind slightly. Not cool!

Forks removed!
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Brake Caliper Servicing on my BMW G650GS Sertao

Immediately after a recent ride through the dirt trails of Ulu Choh, the G650GS started developing a horrible squeal in the front wheel area. This happens even while riding – and is especially notable at lower speeds. My initial fear was that the wheel hub bearing had gone bad. I have been taking the Sertao on some treacherous off-roading trips of late.

Like a resilient little pig that just refuse to die, the squeal was present when spinning the wheel while the bike is on the main stand. If it was the wheel bearings, that would have been not too good news – I’ve never done a bearing replacement before and probably don’t have the correct tools for extraction and, more importantly, proper re-insertion. But out of curiosity, I removed the brake calipers just to assess the damage – spun the wheel, and…. the squeal was gone!

With the front brake caliper off, the piggy squeal was gone.

Now that I have ascertained that it was the brakes, but not the bearings that caused the squeal, it was time for some brake caliper servicing!

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BMW R1200GS LC Clutch Switch Failure

At 67,000km, my BMW R1200GS clutch switch failed. Symptoms include 1) not being able to start the bike while in gear and 2) not being able to switch riding modes while the bike is in motion.

You see, for either of the above 2 to work, the ECU must know that the clutch lever is FULLY pulled in. The R1200GS that comes with cruise control and/or shift assist pro use a set of dual microswitch instead of the typical single microswitch. The first part of the switch senses that the clutch lever is being slightly pulled in, and the second part senses if the clutch lever is fully pulled in.

Using the GS-911 tool to diagnose the clutch switch fault.
Pulling in the clutch lever fully should actuate BOTH the clutch switch and the clutch switch 2.
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New Shoes for the G650GS Sertao – Shinko 804/805 Off-Road Biased Tires

My little GS needs new shoes. The Metzler Tourance Next tires that came with the bike was almost bald. And since I got this bike primarily to take on the trails and fire roads, I decided to get some 50-50 off-road biased tires too!

After some research, and at the recommendation from a friend, I decided to go for the Shinko 804 (front) and 805 (rear) tires. The set cost just below $200 – which I thought was excellent value for tires!

Carrying the tires to the workshop for replacement.

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