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I'm thinking of buying a 2012, but the piston cracking potential is a concern, and I would like to know that if it did happen I could buy and install new pistons myself. I've done it before on other engines, but I wonder if you can even buy the parts. Bike bandit lists them for $330 each, so it would cost you. But I wonder if listing them is all theu do, and if you tried to order, you'd find out that they couldn't get them.

By the way, is the engine aluminum block with steel sleeves? Or magnesium block?
 

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I'm thinking of buying a 2012, but the piston cracking potential is a concern, and I would like to know that if it did happen I could buy and install new pistons myself. I've done it before on other engines, but I wonder if you can even buy the parts. Bike bandit lists them for $330 each, so it would cost you. But I wonder if listing them is all theu do, and if you tried to order, you'd find out that they couldn't get them.

By the way, is the engine aluminum block with steel sleeves? Or magnesium block?
If you wait till you need to change the pistons it may be too late. Severe damage could already be done to the cylinders, pistons and who knows what else. It you do it as a preventative that may work fine but as you noted very expensive. I have not heard of anyone changing them but maybe someone will come forward. I believe the cylinder block is aluminum with a coating on the bores. So no steel sleeves.
 

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The cylinders are aluminum with a Nicasil style surface coating (BMW uses its own process, dunno the specifics), no liner to fix, bore, hone or anything. If the bore is damaged a short block is on order. Pistons are available from BMW only and they are artwork compared to what HD used until very recently.
 
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The cylinders are aluminum with a Nicasil style surface coating (BMW uses its own process, dunno the specifics), no liner to fix, bore, hone or anything. If the bore is damaged a short block is on order. Pistons are available from BMW only and they are artwork compared to what HD used until very recently.
Agree! Short block if that's even available, new engine or find a good deal on a used take out. Unlike a HD or small block Ford or Chevy, these motor tolerances are so tight, unless you had a high end machine shop I doubt anyone could match the quality and fit and finish to BMW standards.
 

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Despite what you think this 2012 model bike your looking at isn't the only K1600 BMW ever built. Personally.. I think buying a bike then spending an additional 2k (from your numbers above 330 x 6) on it to replace the pistons just because there might be a problem.. is moronic.

Rational thought and logic would suggest to add that 2000 bucks to the budget and buy a newer bike that won't give you sleepless nights over worries of possible bad pistons.
 

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Despite what you think this 2012 model bike your looking at isn't the only K1600 BMW ever built. Personally.. I think buying a bike then spending an additional 2k (from your numbers above 330 x 6) on it to replace the pistons just because there might be a problem.. is moronic.

Rational thought and logic would suggest to add that 2000 bucks to the budget and buy a newer bike that won't give you sleepless nights over worries of possible bad pistons.
My God......there is actually someone left in this world with common sense.
Fantastic.....



btw - The above is not pointing fingers at the OP........just today's world in general.
 

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I agree with Darby. Buying a '11/'12 K1600 that hasn't had the pistons changed is a crap shoot. The price difference between '12-'13-'14 isn't that much.

Duane
 

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Not sure about the K1600 engine but the Nikasil coating on the snowmobile motors I build is .004 thick and can be replaced if damaged at about $200 per cylinder. Never knew about the bad 1600 motors, this forum has good info.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Despite what you think this 2012 model bike your looking at isn't the only K1600 BMW ever built. Personally.. I think buying a bike then spending an additional 2k (from your numbers above 330 x 6) on it to replace the pistons just because there might be a problem.. is moronic.

Rational thought and logic would suggest to add that 2000 bucks to the budget and buy a newer bike that won't give you sleepless nights over worries of possible bad pistons.
If you read the post you will see that I said these words "I would like to know that if it did happen I could buy and install new pistons myself." I don't know where the idea would have come from that I intended to tear the engine down when it had nothing wrong with it. What I wanted to know was whether I could fix it if it happened.



Another open question that I have never seen answered is what year bike got the new part number pistons. General thinking is that the 2014 didn't have any problems with this. Some 2013's did.



Thanks for the information about the block. From the posts where riders on here had the issue it seems like the cylinders usually do okay even with the ring lands cracking. The pistons are also softer aluminum, so they might not scratch the harder coating on the walls. I'm behind the times I guess, because it surprises me that you wouldn't have to sleeve a soft aluminum block. I know that Porsche has been doing it for a while and they had problems with their older coatings.
 

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If you read the post you will see that I said these words "I would like to know that if it did happen I could buy and install new pistons myself." I don't know where the idea would have come from that I intended to tear the engine down when it had nothing wrong with it. What I wanted to know was whether I could fix it if it happened.


Another open question that I have never seen answered is what year bike got the new part number pistons. General thinking is that the 2014 didn't have any problems with this. Some 2013's did.
Regardless of what you actually said.. doesn't change the fact that your wanting to buy an older bike with the potential risk. You've researched it for hours (according to your other thread) found replacement parts, and thought it out far enough to be willing to do the repairs yourself if something were to happen. Bottom line is this, your still willing to throw an extra 2k into an older bike if you have a problem when a newer one won't have the same issue. So we've come full circle back to the fact if you add that 2k to your budget you can get a newer bike and not have to worry about a potential problem.

Yes, seems it was worked out by the 14 model year. So my advise would be to pass on the 12 and buy a 14 or newer model.
 

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The pistons are also softer aluminum, so they might not scratch the harder coating on the walls. I'm behind the times I guess, because it surprises me that you wouldn't have to sleeve a soft aluminum block. I know that Porsche has been doing it for a while and they had problems with their older coatings.
Porsche has used Nikasil since the 1970's.

BMW has used it since the early 1980's. My 1985 K100 has Nikasil.
 

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If you read the post you will see that I said these words "I would like to know that if it did happen I could buy and install new pistons myself." I don't know where the idea would have come from that I intended to tear the engine down when it had nothing wrong with it. What I wanted to know was whether I could fix it if it happened.



Another open question that I have never seen answered is what year bike got the new part number pistons. General thinking is that the 2014 didn't have any problems with this. Some 2013's did.



Thanks for the information about the block. From the posts where riders on here had the issue it seems like the cylinders usually do okay even with the ring lands cracking. The pistons are also softer aluminum, so they might not scratch the harder coating on the walls. I'm behind the times I guess, because it surprises me that you wouldn't have to sleeve a soft aluminum block. I know that Porsche has been doing it for a while and they had problems with their older coatings.

Modern designs don't have a sleeved aluminum cylinder block anymore. If the piston does not damage the bore, the rings certainly will.



It appears that you are overthinking something that you don't know enough about to come to a solution. A short block including all additional parts is probably North of $4000 which added to the 2012 purchasing price likely buys you a 2015. For me it would be an easy decision.
 

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@ViennaK, your pricing is off a bit. When I replaced my '12 motor last year I looked at the short block option, $9,000.

Duane
 

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If you read the post you will see that I said these words "I would like to know that if it did happen I could buy and install new pistons myself." I don't know where the idea would have come from that I intended to tear the engine down when it had nothing wrong with it. What I wanted to know was whether I could fix it if it happened.
Another open question that I have never seen answered is what year bike got the new part number pistons. General thinking is that the 2014 didn't have any problems with this. Some 2013's did.

Thanks for the information about the block. From the posts where riders on here had the issue it seems like the cylinders usually do okay even with the ring lands cracking. The pistons are also softer aluminum, so they might not scratch the harder coating on the walls. I'm behind the times I guess, because it surprises me that you wouldn't have to sleeve a soft aluminum block. I know that Porsche has been doing it for a while and they had problems with their older coatings.
The pistons should not be wearing the cylinder wall at all. Softer pistons should not be a requirement; but a piston that is more resistant to breaking may be. Only the rings should be touching the cylinder, and I assure you they are harder than any piston. The piston sleeve, if it has one, should not be touching the cylinder wall due to the layer of oil provided to protect them; unless run low on oil, improper oil, or overheating occurs, etc.

EDIT:
I probably shouldn't mention this, since the K engines probably don't have this problem, but BMW cars have been known for "butter blocks", which can strip out head bolt holes during driving, and sometimes cylinders becoming egg shaped. Butter blocks may be rare, but do exist and from what I've been told, can not usually be repaired. The aluminum is just too soft to hold a thread insert and cylinders can not be repaired. Also, some engines were porous and had oil leaks that could not be repaired; often mistaken for valve cover leaks, etc. Let's hope the K engines don't ever have this problem, but who knows.
 

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@ViennaK , your pricing is off a bit. When I replaced my '12 motor last year I looked at the short block option, $9,000.

Duane
@Gunnert Maybe we have a different definition of short block. If you include crank, pistons etc it is close to your number. How do you call just the cylinder block with no other components? Not a native speaker, so sometimes I don't get the terminology right.
 

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It appears that you are overthinking something that you don't know enough about to come to a solution.
It appears to me EVERYONE ELSE is overthinking their answers to a relatively simple question:

Anyone put in new pistons themselves? Simple answer seems to be no. :grin:

Tom
 

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It appears to me EVERYONE ELSE is overthinking their answers to a relatively simple question:

Anyone put in new pistons themselves? Simple answer seems to be no. :grin:

Tom
Just a guess but I bet that even your average BMW dealer mechanic might have to call in some help on a piston change for the K1600.
 
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