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RT Fairing Screws

The 1200 RT is better in so many ways, maintenance-wise, it's difficult to
decide where to start.but it's not perfect nor will it ever be race-bike
quick to access.
First, instead of one panel on each side, there are 2 plus a number of
things involving the tank area.   This may sound like bad news, but for most
routine things, it's good.  
Next, the screws:  They're big and stainless.  Bad news is they're Torx
screws so you need new wrenches.  If you like buying wrenches, this can be a
positive, but if you're trying to fix the bike and haven't bought them yet,
it's definitely not good.   
Practically everything on the bike uses Torx screws.  Good if you have Torx
wrenches, bad if you don't .  BMW sells a tool kit for the bike.  It cost me
$75 and, to my amazement, it was well worth it.  It fits in my Kathy's tool
pouch.  The tools are hardened and work well.  You can change wheels, remove
all the fairings etc.  It's good and I'm glad I have it while traveling. I
bought a Torx socket set for my 3/8" ratchet that I use in the garage, but
there is a large hex for removing the front wheel that I don't have, so I
use the bike tool kit for that.   
The really good news about 1200RT over both 1100 and 1150 is that you don't
really need to adjust the throttle body synch very often.   It's possible to
adjust valves without removing fairings. 
If you're considering buying those BMW accessory valve cover protectors,
which look really cool and do protect the covers in a tip-over.  You should
know that they're held on with 3 bolts that are difficult to remove.possible
but difficult without removing the lower fairing.   I found you can take the
relevant screws out of the fairing, bend it out and stick a screwdriver
behind to hold it in position and then remove the bolts.  It's sort of a
pain, but after the third time, I got better at it.  
I solved it once and for all with some Verhollen crash bars that allow me to
do valves and change oil without removal.   I got these after a little
incident. I was riding alone in SE Ohio one afternoon on a trip to DC and
down the Blue Ridge.  I tried to turn around on a deserted gravel road and
dumped the bike.  I couldn't pick the thing up and it started getting dark.
I thought I'd be eaten by wolves.  These crash bars hold the bike up high
enough to get your weight under it a little.   By the way, I finally got it
up by unloading it (duh) and carefully cleaning all the gravel off the road
and scooting the bike to an advantageous position on the road.  Then I could
do the famed back into the tank, use your legs technique.  
But I digress. My routine maintenance consists of changing oil and filter
exactly like before, adjusting valves very carefully using the same 4
feelers that I used before. I am still a strong believer in getting intake
and exhaust exactly the same on both sides.   It does help.   
After those two things are done, there is no adjustment of throttle bodies
required.   Just put it back together and go.    I have the servo brakes
serviced by the dealer and I have him set the throttle bodies then.   This
happens only once every two years.    BMW changed recommendation on brakes
from one year to two because of the new braided/Teflon hoses not letting in
much moisture from the atmosphere. 
If you want to remove the lower fairing, you have to first remove the upper
one. The uppers come off pretty quickly with 3 screws each.  One above the
front wheel, one on the lower dash and one sort of under that black panel
next to the tank.  There are two screws there and you just remove the lower
one.  Then it just pulls off.  You can even leave the one by the front wheel
on and let the uppers sort of extend to access what you need and then button
it back up for little jobs.   
The tank cover is a nightmare because of that thing they put on to force you
to buy the expensive BMW tank bag.  (Didn't work on me.  I still use my Big
Mak.)  In order to expose the tank, it's necessary to remove the lid to the
radio box by unscrewing the sideways screws that hold the hinges onto the
bike.   That just floored me when I first saw this.  It's not really too bad
of a job, just a lot of work.  The screws are good and there is nothing
really difficult here in the way that the front screw of the Oilhead RT side
fairing is difficult.  Everything fits nicely.   
The big difference is that you just don't need to mess with the bike as much
as the old ones, so you don't take these things off much. There are no quick
release captive screws on this bike either, but it's better to work on and
requires less work than the Oilhead RTs.  There is a great DVD showing Hex
Head service procedures done by a real non-factory person using normal
tools.  He does servo brake service, oil change, valve adjustment the right
way, alternator belt service and some other things, but on a GS.  It's
useful, but it doesn't show you the ins and outs of the fairing.    For
that, I got the BMW Service CD.  It has a section that tells you the order
things have to be disassembled and re-assembled.   This really helped me
understand how it works.  Without this, it's kind of like one of those
Chinese puzzle boxes with secret panels.      
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2008 10:06:54 -0500
From: "Dancoe, John" <jdan@xxxxxxxx>
Subject: RT fairing screws
The battery replacement thread has got me wondering...
One of the biggest complaints I've heard about Oilhead RTs over the years
has been how many non-captive screws have to be removed to get the panels
For example, my RS requires 6 screws to be unfastened, but 4 of them are
captive: they release with a quick twist, don't fall out of the fairing
panel when loose, and don't even have to be screwed in on reassembly--just
Very convenient.
Has BMW moved in that direction at all with the R1200RT?
John Dancoe