R100GS Oil Filter Installation
OK, listen up! The picture above shows the parts that come from BMW in the oil filter change kit. I use everything in the kit except the paper gasket (the triangular gray gasket on the left in the picture above) and the small copper washers that I’ve heard are for use with the thermostat housing on other BMWs. I install an oil filter in my R100GS by inserting the parts from right to left as they are shown in the photo. That translates to first the filter (the end with the glued on o-ring goes in first), then TWO steel shims, then the white o-ring, then the black o-ring in the filter canister cover, then the cover itself. I’m careful not to let either the white or black o-rings slip out when positioning the oil filter canister cover. This strategy has worked for the last 125,000 miles, the bike doesn’t leak, and the oil pressure light never comes on when the engine’s running. Having said that, though, I’m told by reputable sources that other GS bikes, and other BMWs that use oil coolers, don’t use the same parts in the same order. The most controversial aspect of the filter change is whether or not you’re going to use the paper gasket that fits between the oil filter canister cover and the engine case. Some folks say to never use the gasket, as it moves the oil filter canister cover away from the end of the oil canister, decreasing compression of the white “O” ring, possibly allowing high pressure oil to leak back into annulus between the canister and the engine case, returning to the sump without first lubricating the motor (the canister is what makes the shelf around the outside of the oil filter, about 3 mm from the end of the oil filter opening). Obviously, this could lead to engine failure, and I’ve communicated with one person that has had this happen. My own take on this, for my own GS, the dimensions of which may differ considerably from yours, is to use two steel shims and not the paper gasket. I determined that two steel shims were necessary by measuring the distance between the oil canister lip and the outer surface of the engine case. Under no circumstances will I use the paper gasket. For a detailed discussion of this issue, see this web page by Snowbum.