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R1200GS LC Coolant Exchange

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Replacing coolant on your Liquid Cooled GS or GSA. I'll be doing this service on a 2015 GSA, the standard GS may have a different access point for the radiator cap and over flow. First I'd like to say this isn't for the average person, this project takes patience and a grasp of a modern automotive cooling system. On a scale of 1 to 10 I'd put this at about 5. Give yourself about a half a day, 5-6 hours to really flush it out.


  • Lets start with Tools. An important thing to have when servicing any BMW is a set of 3/8 Torx sockets, 3/8 Allen sockets, an average socket set, and a 3/8 Ratchet. For this service you'll also need Hose Champ Pliers, a funnel, a flashlight, a measuring cup, and a Vacuum Pum p.


  • Parts needed include BMW coolant, Distilled water, and crush washers for the block coolant plugs (I just re-used the old ones)


(The motorcycle needs to be cold!!)


Step 1: Place motorcycle on center stand and remove access panel on the right side of the motorcycle. Use your vacuum pump and suck out coolant from overflow.




Step 2: Remove radiator cap and fill overflow tank to full line with new BMW coolant concentrate.


Step 3: Place drain pan under left radiator and remove lower radiator hose. Drain coolant into pan.


Step 4: Change sides and do the same with the right radiator.






Step 5: Place the drain pan under the right side cylinder. (You can see it in the picture above and below) You'll see a drain plug directly below the right cylinder, remove piece with either a socket or box wrench. Once the coolant has stopped flowing from the plug re-install it.


Step 6: Locate the opposite plug on the left cylinder. Remove and let coolant drain into pan.






Step 7: Re-install all hoses with clamps and engine plugs.


Step 8: Place a the funnel in the radiator fill area and pour the container of distilled water into the radiator until full. (FYI this will make a mess).






Step 9: Leave the radiator cap off and start motorcycle. Use the button on the handlebar to display engine temperature. At idle let the temperature rise, its normal for the temp to get up to 210F - 212F. Keep the radiator topped off with distilled water. Once you hear the electric fan kick on you'll see the water level drop and temperature drop to 199F - 203F, this means the thermostat opened letting fluid into the engine. At this point turn the motorcycle off and take a break. Let the bike cool off, when the motorcycle displays 100F - 120F it should be safe to drain everything back out.


Step 10: With the radiator cap still off repeat steps 3 - 9. You want to continue doing these steps until you see only clear water coming out of all drain points.


Step 11: Once you feel you got all the old coolant completely flushed, go ahead and use your BMW coolant concentrate. Find something you can pour both distilled water and coolant into (such as an automotive measuring cup), make the mixture 50/50. 50% BMW blue coolant and 50% Distilled water.




Step 12: With everything secured under the bike, fill radiator with the mixture. Basically you want to do step 9 again. Do one last drain of the bike so that you get a true 50/50 mixture.


Step 13: Fill motorcycle for the last time. Once full, start the bike and wait for temperature to rise. With a flashlight keeping an eye on the coolant level, watch the fill neck on the radiator. As the temperature rises to 210F - 212F you'll see the coolant rise and air bubbles will appear as the thermostat opens. The fan should kick on and the coolant will lower as the temp drops down to 199F-203F. This will happen over and over until you see fewer and fewer bubbles. Let it cycle about 9 or 10 times. Then as it's lowering back down, top off the radiator with coolant then close the cap.




Step 14: With the radiator cap closed make sure it never gets over 215F. (If the temperature continues to rise shut the bike OFF, there is still air in the systems!)


Step 15: Keep the radiator and over flow cover off for a couple days so you can keep an eye on the over flow tank. Take the bike for a quick ride, keep a close eye on the temperature gauge. Make sure it doesn't over heat. After a couple rides or even a couple days the over flow tank may need to be topped off.


Somethings to remember

  1. Never open the radiator cap at operating temperature, coolant can cause severe burns! Wait until the bike cools down.
  2. Make sure before using coolant its either pre-mixed or concentrate.
  3. Always use distilled water in a cooling system.
  4. Never operate the motorcycle if its overheating, damage to the motor could occur.
  5. Don't ever dump coolant down the drain, recycle at your nearest automotive store.
Edited by Rogers
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