BMW Goodwill
What does it amount to?

[ Tuesday - July 27, 2010 ]

BMW goodwill ... what does it amount to?  Quite a lot if you ask me.  However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

To start this article, let's turn the time machine back about 4 years.  It's 2006 and I'm on that behemoth of a GS with wizzy breaks (e.g. the blue '05 R12GS).  I don't exactly remember the date, but it was late in the afternoon if not dusk.  I had just finish my project support and I'm just about ready to leave for the day.

As I sit there on my R12GS, getting ready to twist the throttle and pick up my feet, I'm confronted by a fellow worker that I have never met before.  The facility I'm working at has some 10K people working there.  I'm just one among many.  Still, I've been singled out for a question.  As the individual made his way to me he popped the question, "How do you like your BMW?"  I said, "It's good.  Really good.  It's a bit much bike for me, but I'm managing so far."  He then proceeded to ask questions about Brown Motor Works and BMW.  I don't have any issues with Brown nor BMW so I have nothing negative to say.  He on the other hand, had a lot to be disgruntle about.  As luck has it, bad luck in this case, he has purchased a used BMW K1200LT and is having an issue.  In particular, his dry clutch is blown with only 20K+ miles on the bike.  Attempts to get Brown and/or BMW to replace the clutch under warranty failed.  The reason for this... the clutch is regarded as a wear item.  Thinking to myself, I can agree with that.  I regard the brake pads, engine oil, oil filter, air filter, chain,  radiator fluid, throttle cable, tires, inner tube, clutch, and similar items as wear items.  It only makes sense.  They're also labeled as consumable after all.  In his case, he didn't like the idea that he had to plunk down $2K for a clutch job when the bike has relatively low miles.  He was morbid about the matter and persisted to mention setting up a website to bash BMW.  To alert the world of BMW's wrong doing and such.  OK...  That's your prerogative buddy.  I don't have a problem so leave me out of the picture.  When he was done ranting and raving, I casually and quietly bid him farewell and rode off into the sunset.  A little dazed and flustered from his tossing of words.

Dial the time machine forward to modern day... July 27, 2010.

I'm in the parking lot of Brown Motor Works picking up my 8GS that just received another fuel injector set and a fuel pump change.  I'm standing there talking to the service manager and I'm floored.  Yes, I have purchased 4 BMW motorcycles from Brown over the course of the last 6 years, but what I found out about the service done on the 8GS has me humbly thankful to both Brown Motor Works and BMW NA.  As the situation has it, BMW is being extremely generous to me by replace my FIs and FP twice on their dollars.  Why?  This is because it is not BMW's fault that the FIs get clogged and the FP fails.  This is especially the case when the fuel is the cause of the problem.  BMW has no control over the fuel manufacturing.  I'm sure Eddie saw my jaw drop to the floor.  As I'm listening to all this, "HOLY COW!" fired across the synapses within my brain.  Eddie is right.  BMW doesn't have any means of controlling what fuel is being put into these machines and are really not obligated to perform this service under warranty.  As yet they are willing to flip the bill for the fuel system fix.

Screech!  Hold that thought a minute.  Let's deviate a little bit here.  Let's do some basic math.  Once I'm done, perhaps you'll understand why I so much appreciate what has happened here.  Let's tangent a bit.  We'll get back to the story soon enough.

F800GS fuel injector... $120 per fuel injector x 2 = $240.  F800GS fuel pump... $600.  That totals to $840 for one fuel system set.  Now multiply that by 2 because I received two sets of fuel system parts.  That comes to a total of $1680 for parts.  As for the labor, let's WAG the labor rate at $80 per hour.  The amount of time needed to do the task?  I approximate 10 hours, just to make the math simple.  10 x $80 = $800.  Now multiply that by 2 times for 2 sets.  We have an approximated $1600 for labor.  For materials, let's say that it cost $50 for cleaning chemicals.  Done twice, that comes to $100.  Now the grand total for everything is $3380.  Please recognize that this is WAG city.  For you folks that don't know what a WAG is, no it's not what a dog does with its tail.  instead it's a Wild Ass Guess.  However, I think I'm decently close on the parts cost.

Now back to the story at hand with the WAG amount taken into consideration.  That number up there ($3380) is what BMW did as goodwill for a customer.  Of course for BMW the parts cost is not that much.  Still that amount is the approximate amount I would have to pay if BMW truly acknowledge it's not their fault because the US ethanol fuel requirement itself is the cause of all the problems.  Now refer to the flash back above cross referenced with my own BMW service experiencing.  Do I believe BMW is cold, calculated, and devoid of compassion?  I think the facts speak for itself.  In fact, I'm not the only one experiencing this fuel system problem.  There are plenty of 8GS and 650GS twin owners in the US mid west that are experiencing this same problem.  In all cases, BMW has elected to replace fuel injectors and fuel pump on BMW's dime.  If this is not good customer relation and service, I think you need a brain MRI.

To the folks at Brown Motor Works and BMW NA, may thanks for your unending support and service.  Life would be just that much more difficult if it wasn't for a large company's understanding of their customers.  Stay the course as you have proven time and time again that BMW is up and above other motorcycle manufacturers with your engineering and your service.

To the individual at work that complained endlessly about the clutch on his K12LT, instead of complaining and crying like a baby, learn about your machine.  If you think 20K+ with a blown clutch is bad, look at what happens to some of the Police officers out in the field with R12RTPs.  There are cases where the R12RTP has burn out a clutch in less than 3K miles.  Face it, it's time to learn about the dry clutch and adjust your riding.  Understanding is everything.  Deal with it and stop behaving like a 5 year old spoiled brat.

Written on: July 27, 2010
Last modified: July 27, 2010