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Discussion Starter #41
Hi Marcin

According to the Haynes manual, for the RS the oil levels with fork leg vertical and fully extended, without spring, are:

With ESA, RH 82 mm, LH 65 mm
Without ESA, 110 mm both sides

I understand the initial viscosity spec was 7.5W but later changed to 11.5W (which it seems only BMW markets).

As per the first post in this thread, I’m using Castrol 10W and that’s certainly firm enough for me, although it seems fork oil ratings vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
BTW, oil volumes are 590 ml each side for non-ESA and for ESA 682 ml RH fork and 304 ml for LH.

So with ESA you might just sneak in with a one litre bottle. For non-ESA you’ll need more than a litre.
 

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BTW, oil volumes are 590 ml each side for non-ESA and for ESA 682 ml RH fork and 304 ml for LH.

So with ESA you might just sneak in with a one litre bottle. For non-ESA you’ll need more than a litre.
According to BMW, non-ESA initial fill is 521 ml before checking level. You might end up having to draw off a lot if using the Haynes value. Has anyone actually done an oil change to find out who's right? (BMW and Haynes agree on the ESA volumes).
 

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According to BMW, non-ESA initial fill is 521 ml before checking level. You might end up having to draw off a lot if using the Haynes value. Has anyone actually done an oil change to find out who's right? (BMW and Haynes agree on the ESA volumes).

Hah! Who knows? I wouldn't bet the farm on either source from my experience.
 

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Luckily, there are two ways to measure, volume and air gap. Might be worth measuring the current air gap, and the volume of old oil that drains out. :wink2:


In any case, it's not really, really critical. If there's not quite enough oil, they'll feel a bit spongy, and too much will make them feel too stiff. Add/subtract to suit taste.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
The poster was asking about the RS rather than R, the figures for which I took from Haynes. Didn’t check the BMW manual this time, but they were the same for the R when I changed mine, if I recall correctly.

In any case, volume is a poor way to measure as it’s too imprecise; BMW does say ‘approx’. There’s no way to practically measure the oil remaining on removed components (springs and spacers) or the amount left in the fork damper.
 

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Discussion Starter #48
According to BMW, non-ESA initial fill is 521 ml before checking level. You might end up having to draw off a lot if using the Haynes value. Has anyone actually done an oil change to find out who's right? (BMW and Haynes agree on the ESA volumes).
You're right, Sturgeon. My early version of the BMW manual specifies 590 ml for the R and 521 ml for the RS, whereas the Haynes manual specifies 590 ml for both non-ESA models.

As per the original post in this thread, I changed the oil in my ESA forks and got away with a litre container, so the R height and volume specs seem to match. Don't know about the non-ESA, but either way, you'd need more than a litre and correct measurement is by the oil height rather than volume.

Note that some owners play around with oil height a bit anyway to soften/harden fork springing. I'm happy to run with what the BMW engineers recommend, although I happened to order another bottle of Castrol 10W last night (on sale) in prep for the 60,000 km service. In hindsight, I might have preferred to seek out the mythical 11.5W BMW stuff (at likely three times the price) to see what it's like.
 

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Was Donovan servicing a BMW in 1965 when he sang


" In the chilly hours and minutes of uncertainty, I want to be .................

............. Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind"




Di di, di di di di di indeed
 

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Panzermann,

I converted your write-up and photos into a PDF which I would be happy to send you or to share with others with your permission. It is about 2 MB, so I can't attach here but I could email it.

Thanks for the clear exposition.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Panzermann,

I converted your write-up and photos into a PDF which I would be happy to send you or to share with others with your permission. It is about 2 MB, so I can't attach here but I could email it.

Thanks for the clear exposition.
Thanks Will - that would be handy, especially as I see my second fork oil change loomimg in the near future (don’t want to get that slippery stuff on my iPad!).

BMW has now changed the spec to 11.5W (probably so we buy the oil from the dealer ...) so if you could add a qualifier at the end of the second para, that would be good. There’s also (at least) one spelling error that needs fixing.
 

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I am in the middle of doing the left fork on a 2015 R1200R and am at the point of refilling it with oil. I am unclear on how to measure the volume added. This is an ESA LH fork tube. The book says 304 ml and 75 mm down from the top of the outer fork tube. But… I have added about 250 ml so far. And if I push the outer (gold in my case) tube all the way down, the oil level is almost at the top of it, maybe 5 mm below the top. Haynes say to let it stand for a few minutes for bubbles to migrate out. Panzermann suggested pumping the rod in the center. I have done both but the oil level is staying near the top of the gold outer tube.

Am I measuring it incorrectly, or have I not gotten the oil into tube correctly yet, or something else.

Thanks
 

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Sure you drained all the old oil? i.e. measured what you took out?
Removed the damper unit before draining the final amount?
When you re-installed the damper unit, did you seat it all the way into the fork base?
My e-version of the manual says 290 ml to start, then draw off enough to get a 75mm gap.

Other than that, I got nothin'. @Panzermann might have better ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #56 (Edited)
Is the damper rod fully extruded?

I didn’t remove the damper unit as I wasn’t replacing seals or bushes, but I did flush with kerosene (paraffin) which may have helped get all the old oil out and drain the fork completely.
 

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It looks like you are both correct. I only drained out about 150 ml and that includes a small amount of new oil that I spilled into the drain pan. I'm going to leave it til tomorrow when I am fresh and drain it again. I think I will first take it down to the 75 mm line then measure how much I get out. It means I am going to need to buy another liter of oil to have enough for the next (RH) fork, so it was a kind of an expensive mistake (500+ pesos ≈ $25 usd), but it's not that big a deal.
 

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I've been meaning to check this for a while now, but the parts fiche shows that the BMW 7.5W fork oil has been superseded by 11.5W. So I expect that recent models will feel a little firmer than did my 2015 model when it was new.

It would be interesting to see a viscosity analysis of the BMW oil compared with others. For an illustration of the variability between different brands of the same nominal weight, see link 1 and link 2 .
Of course BMW might have simply changed their fork oil supplier, and the change in 'weight' only reflect the difference between them. I.E. with the wide variations known between brands, one supplier's 7.5wt may well be the same as another's 11wt! The nearest example I can come up with without too much effort, is between Silkolene PRO RSF 7.5wt and Maxima Fork Oil 10wt at 37.19 and 32 cSt @ 40 deg C respectively, making the 'lighter' oil actually 'heavier'.

Great write up and photos BTW. I've done a few conventional forks over the years, and admit some nervousness when it comes to the USD ESA forks which I'm yet to attempt.
 

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Sorry if I missed (will read fully once it's my time) but define left (or right) fork. Looking at the headlight or sitting on a seat. Considering the oil levels are different, good to know. This is an excellent thread with great details - thanks Panzerman.
 

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Left as seen from the rider's point of view. It's the one with the ESA cable coming out of the fork cap. Hence the smaller volume on the left.

You do have ESA, right?
 
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