6 Common BMW K 1600 GTL Problems [With Easy Fixes]

BMW K 1600 GT is an amazing touring motorcycle for riders who love enjoying tours for long rides. You can cover long distances with this machine since it has amazing power and tremendous features. A tank range of 200 miles is a must as it has a large 7-gallon tank.

However, you might find a lot of troubles with this machine because the BMW K 1600 GT problems are overwhelming

These issues are frustrating and it can cause you to feel completely lost. But, don’t worry because you can find, fix, and eliminate these issues with this guide.

This motorcycle first came in 2011 and comes with a four-stroke, liquid-cool 1649 cc engine. With these specs, it can provide over 160 horsepower along with 175 ft-lbs in torque. The MPG range is near 40 miles per gallon and you can expect a top speed of 140 MPH.

BMW K 1600 GTL Problems

The common BMW K 1600 GT problems are related to overheating, failure of ignition coils, failure of handlebar and switches, bearings, shocks, and ECU malfunctioning. Further issues include clutch, pump, and issues with valve adjustment.


1. Overheating And Leaks

The most common problem you might find in almost every second BMW K 1600 GT is related to overheating issues. Both these issues make things pretty terrible because it comes with a lot of frustration for the bike rider.

For its overheating, problems arose when its gaskets failed. The head gasket blows out due to an immense gap between two engine components but it’s out of capacity. Due to extreme rise in temperature and engine overheating you get a blown head gasket.

Then, the issue becomes unstoppable. Right after the gasket failure, you might find a failure of the radiator fan probably due to electrical issues but there are other reasons too. Its radiator is the culprit. The fins on the radiator clog due to contamination of dust, debris, old coolant, and oil.

It blocks these fins and limits the air passage between two ends. Ultimately, the radiator stops working and its fan stops working. Instead of heat escaping, the heat traps inside and does not come out. It overheats the fan motor and it eventually malfunctions.

BMW K 1600 GT is a liquid cool engine and it uses coolant which circulates and cools down the engine. However, when the radiator and fan stop working, the coolant gets an overheating effect and starts boiling sometimes. 

Later, it deteriorates the coolant lines and even pumps leading to leakage. However, you can stop these issues by properly cleaning the radiator, upgrading the coolant pipes, and replacing the fuse of the fan. Remove the blown gasket and replace it with a new one.

2. Ignition Coil Problems

The faults with the ignition coil and other ignition components make the second most frustrating issue in the BMW K 1600 GT. Most commonly, the ignition coil.

The ignition coil is the most important component of the ignition system in any motorcycle because it converts the current from the battery into power so it can spark the fuel and turn its engine on. 

The battery voltage is usually 12v in a motorcycle but it’s not enough to spark the fuel.

So, the ignition coil comes into play and converts this 12v charge into up to 25,000 volts spike for the spark plug to start the combustion cycle and the engine. 

Failure of the ignition coil can lead to several issues, primarily your motorcycle won’t start. However, there are symptoms too.

If your motorcycle is idling roughly, you are feeling vibration and issues like engine misfire, stall, backfire or you see its check engine light turning on and overall you are unable to start it, the ignition coil is at fault. 

Other reasons are weak battery, overvoltage, battery connection, and fuses.

To fix the issue and let you start your motorcycle comfortably, you need to replace these coils because they are not easy to repair. It might cost you several bucks and the result won’t be great or long-lasting still. So, it’s better to remove the burnt coil and replace it with a new coil.

3. Handlebar Quick Shifter And Switches Failure

Problems with the handlebar quick shifter and other switches are another issue on this motorcycle. Though, it is not common in recent models, it was much of a trouble in early models. BMW even had to recall some models with these issues.

The build quality of these handlebars and switches on it was compromised. These switches are prone to rust and eventually, they stop working

Some riders even reported the breakage of these switches and controls which of course leads to a complete disappointment for a bike like BMW.

In early models, let’s say the early 21st century BMW K 1600 GT, this issue made a lot of noise amongst bike owners. Other than build quality and design, contamination of salty and acidic water was also a major cause of its rusting and fragility.

Over the years, BMW sorted out most of the issues with these controls and the overall handlebar. So far, there might be a lot fewer motorcycles with such issues because they were resolved back then. 

The issue may arise again as you travel 50,000+ miles on it due to wear and tear or age reasons.

4. Gearbox And Bearings Failure

BMW K 1600 GT is a great bike, but there are some reports on certain models for issues with its gearbox and overall transmission leaving the riders in chaos. The BMW K 1600 GT has got a recall on gearbox issue and it was a major concern on 2015 and 2018 models, primarily.

If you want to avoid gearbox problems, you better stay away from these two years. Otherwise, you will be facing issues such as difficulty in transmission and changing gears, gears being stuck, and overall frustrating transmission which does not respond on time.

The fix for these problems is not DIY or simple and you would need a proper mechanic to solve it. However, you can surely try some things on your end, such as draining the old oil and putting in more transmission oil to fill its oil levels. Because gears sometimes get stuck due to low oil.

The same goes for its bearings and a couple of fasteners such as bolts and screws of specific parts or locations. The failure of bearing usually occurs if your BMW K 1600 GT has covered 50,000+ miles already. 

For the bike of this age, failure of bearing is obvious and pretty normal.

Instead of panicking, you should replace these worn-out bearings and fasteners because there’s nothing else needed
However, the front bearings are prone to wear out quickly which indeed is a problem.

You need to replace it before failure, somewhere between 40 to 42,000 miles mark.

5. ECU And Front Shocks Failure

BMW K 1600 GT is a modern bike and it has several sensors on it. For perfect and accurate functioning, it has an ECU to control all these sensors to pass and receive signals. This electronic control unit is a prestigious client on this motorcycle but it sometimes fails.

Upon its failure, most of the electronics on the motorcycle stopped working. But, you can restore these electronics either by remapping or replacing this ECU.

You might need an installer for that if you have no idea how to do it, but it’s generally simpler and cheaper to fix.

ECU on this motorcycle is not a bigger concern. Suspension issues, problems with shocks, and failure of the front forks on this motorcycle are bigger and more problematic concerns. The fork seals are prone to damage or wear out quickly.

But, if you maintain it well and replace it with a nicer thing, you can expect it to last for over 50 to 60,000 miles which is quite a good thing. However, it mostly does not last that long

Sometimes, you need to replace the entire front shock because it is noted to rust and wear out.

Replacement of shock is a simple but expensive task on a motorcycle. It starts to rust and wear out when it faces its first few oil leaks. It already is a big and heavy motorcycle, the oil consumption for suspension is usually a bit more and frequent.

Due to this fact, most BMW K 1600 GT rebuilds its suspension every 30,000 miles mark.

6. Fuel Pump And Sprag Clutch Problems

Failure of several components has been one of the major problems with the BMW K 1600 GT. Primarily, issues with fuel and transmission-related components are worth your focus because it may lead to further issues and more expenses for maintenance.

Most importantly the fuel pump was much of an issue in this motorcycle. There’s been a fuel pump recall for 2012 to 2014 models in which BMW fixed, replaced, or rebuilt the fuel pumps on several hundred motorcycles for free.

Yet, there are still some imperfections in pumps.

Another one is the sprag clutch. A sprag clutch is technically a more convenient and modern way in the transmission system of motorcycles helping in smooth shifting of gear. The sprag clutch slips when you start the electric motor and the crankshaft turns faster.

It fails when both these departments are working but the engine does not reach the required RPM due to slipping noise leading to wear and tear until it completely tears.

Replacement is the only option which is left because the sprag clutch has a life, way less than conventional clutches. So, if you face this issue, your sprag clutch should be replaced immediately, especially if it does not engage even after you try it a couple of times. 

Excessive torque beyond its maximum limit leads to its destruction making it unusable.

BMW K 1600 GTL User Reviews:

Great looks, comfort & power. He always puts a stupid grin on my face. Side stand poor quality Engine noise Exhaust over burble fuel economy Luggage space & OEM add-ons. Source: motorcyclenews.com

My second BMW K1600 GTL is a fantastic bike, I would have given it 5 stars but the model is getting older & would have liked updated clocks on this year’s model, otherwise, it’s almost perfect.  Source: motorcyclenews.com


Know About The BMW K 1600 GT

K 1600 GTL | BMW Motorrad

BMW K1600 – Wikipedia

2 thoughts on “6 Common BMW K 1600 GTL Problems [With Easy Fixes]”

  1. Would be best practice and very much appreciated for you to put a date stamp on articles like this as WHEN it was written is important top the subject matter and model years affected. Please.

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