F650GS/Dakar Frame and Fairing FAQ

compiled & edited by Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
updated 28 Feb 2003


GS/GS Dakar LHS/RHS/Centre Panel Faux Tank Removal Procedure
by Kristian #562

RHS Panel

  1. Remove the seat.

  2. Note that including the Turn Signal Mount screws, there are Seven Torx Screws for each side Panel. Six of the total seven Torx screws are removed and one is loosened. Loosen that screw.

  3. Remove the Turn Signal, by undoing the four screws that go through the silver-colored plates to which the front turn signals are attached. When these four are removed, the turn signal will hang. That's OK. Here are the left and right turn signals (four Torx each). You can unplug the turn signal wires (Just squeeze the black tabs at the sides and pull gently) if you want and remove them completely from the bike (very good idea).

  4. Remove the following remaining 2 screws: the left-most screw that is exposed when the seat is removed, the screw at the front of the "gas tank" slightly forward of the black filler cap.

  5. Putting your hand at the bottom (lowermost) of the Panel, GENTLY remove the right fake gas-tank panel by pulling gently, directly outwards. Do not BEND the Panel outwards.

  6. The lower part of each "tank" half fits in a rubber grommet on the side of (and forward of) the engine. Be gentle or you will break the male fitting on the panel. Use Vaseline on the grommet before installing the panels and assembly/disassembly will be easier next time.

LHS Panel


Follow steps 1-4 above, but between steps 4 and 5, remove the black oil filler cap before taking the left side off.  Put the oil filler cap back on so you don't lose it or drop anything in there.


CENTRE Panel after removal of RHS and LHS Panels


Remove the final two screws that hold the center panel in place and remove the Panel.

Replacement is the reverse of the above. If you're going to do it often consider buying a magnetic Tip Screwdriver with Torx Adaptors.


After you get the Faux Tank off, check the Battery Overflow Connection. Refer Battery Drain Tube - A Better Connector


Plastic Insert Removal

by Kristian #562

Mar '02


At some stage, you might want to remove the Little Round Plastic Inserts (Circled red in photo) for the Luggage-Rack Mounts on the Side Fairing. I had to remove the fairing to install my Motorworks Rear Luggage Rack. INSTEAD OF trying to poke something thin into the Gap from the top and ruining the plastic and paintwork by prising them up, try this:


  1. Take a long thin screwdriver with a Flat Blade about 4-5mm in width and insert it into the little "cooling fin opening" (Green in Photo) opening CLOSEST the Insert you wish to remove.

  2. If you poke your head underneath the rear of the bike you can see what you're doing. (DO NOT try this when the bike (EXHAUSTS) are hot, unless you have a cast-iron head.).

  3. Fit the blade into the little tab and VERY GENTLY twist it. The Insert will just pop up, allowing you to remove it from the Top.

    The Inserts are always lined up the same way, due to the mould of the fairing they fit into, so this works every time.

GS Battery - Easy Access.

by Kristian #562

Jul '02

  1. Unscrew the four centre panel screws. (RHS Similar).

  2. Then, starting with the RHS Panel and starting from the rear of the panel working towards the front, GENTLY lift the RHS Panel tabs up and out of the slots in the Centre Panel. Do not pull the panel sideways away from the bike too far, just enough to get the Tabs out. Be GENTLE.!

  3. Undo and remove the Oil Tank Filler Cap (You can do this with the Spark Plug Spanner if it is too tight).

  4. Similarly to the RHS Panel, starting from the rear of the panel working towards the front, GENTLY lift the LHS Panel tabs up and out of the slots in the Centre Panel. Now that the RHS Panel is free, you can actually tilt the centre Panel slightly to help you free the LHS Panel tabs from it.

  5. When you get to the Oil Filler Cap area, lift the LHS Panel up and just over the little internally threaded spout of the Oil Tank, moving the panel to the side just enough so that it doesn't slide back. That's it. Easy Peasy.




GS/Dakar Broken Rear Mudguard


So far there aren't enough cases to call it widespread, but it has happened to a few people. This is the black plastic assembly that attaches to the swing arm and wraps around the rear tire. It's primary purpose, besides being a reportedly legal requirement in Europe, is to prevent mud from splattering up onto the license plate and tail light. It also may prevent some rocks and debris from being thrown up and into the riders following you when off road.


It appears these assemblies fail on their own, or when subjected to the stresses of off road riding. A much higher incidence of failure is reported by those that have installed knobby tires. The assembly is flexible enough that under some circumstances it comes in contact with the rear tire. The result is eventual failure of some part of the assembly. If it goes unnoticed there is a good chance it will be torn partially or completely off.


Reports failures and solutions from members

Tail Light Assembly Failures

BillW's Tail-light

GS License Plate Bracket Removal
by Brad #1002

For GS models delivered to the US (California specifically but may apply to others) the official government license plate is attached to a painted metal bracket which in turn is attached to the taillight assembly. This bracket also provides a mounting for side facing red reflectors. There are two flaws in this design. First the tabs on the side that provide mounting surface for the reflectors can catch on the rear tire anytime the suspension is fully compressed if you have removed the stock rear mud guard. This is made worse if the bike has knobby tires (i.e. TKC80, MCE Karoo, etc.). The entire taillight assembly is mounted in a way that is flexible and this contributes to allowing the bracket to contact the tire. If you still have the mud guard in place the bracket may still deflect it enough that the mud guard catches the tire and is torn off. Secondly, the bracket is fairly large and the added weight makes the flexing issue on the taillight assembly even worse (under any conditions). If you are willing to give up the red side reflectors (a possible vehicle code violation in some states) you can remove this bracket and mount the license plate directly to the plastic fender. Shown here.

The benefits to doing this include:

T25 Torx - for screws that hold the bracket to the taillight
Drill bit - 7/32" (?mm) and a small pilot drill if available
8mm wrench for the nuts on the above screws
What ever you need to remove the license plate itself

You can probably just reuse the hardware above. Any manner of attachment is possible. I'd suggest one that makes it a more work for someone to steal your plate.

Work time
Should take less than 60 minutes.

Modification process (for an F650GS or F650GSD)

Optional No Drill Mounting Method

You may find that your plate can be mounted using the two existing holes (the ones that were used to mount the removed bracket). However, it requires you mount the plate 90 degrees. This may attract the attention of the police and give them a reason to pull you over. Strictly speaking it is illegal in most states but I see it once in a while so it may only be a problem if they are looking for a reason to stop you.

Missing Something Back There?
June 8, 2000

Gerhard Els from South Africa

Please make sure that you lock the rear panel after washing your bike, I have just lost mine and according to BMW agent ,I am No 8 in the queue. The best advice is to use cable ties, and make a kind of a cable link that will ensure the rear panel is still attached to the motorcycle in the event of you forgetting to lock it, or it comes loose and drops of while driving !!!! I did not so are waiting three weeks for spares !!

update August 19, 2000

The Chain Gang's volunteers have seen this happen personally while on a BMW demo ride at MOA's 2000 rally in MI. Although the latch has been redesigned, the problem is still occurring.

update February 19, 2002

Touratech (www.touratech.de) have a small plate that you screw in  the back, to keep the ends together and help stop the thing falling apart. See

DAKAR/GS Parts from Touratech

Reinforcement H1 F650      Euro 10,00       Part # 040-1305
Like for all manufacturers, the only valid endorsements are from satisfied customers, not from this site. You could even make your own.!

update November 5, 2002

It is easy to make a lanyard to secure the cover to the bike. I made one out of a small bungee cord, TyWraps and some silicone glue. One end of the bungee is hooked to the bike and the other affixed to the lock cylinder on the inside of the tail cover. Here is a picture of the result. Got a better way? Tell the FAQ master about it. Brad #1002


What is the best way to secure the trim bits on GS fuel tank?


Both models of the GS have colour accent trim bits applied to both sides of the plastic fuel cell (tank). There are two pieces of colour matched trim on each side. These are secured to the fuel cell using some kind of adhesive. The position of these is such that the rider's boots or pants will rub up against them. It is worse when riding in the standing position. As a result, they are known to fall off on occasion. Many members have reported that their dealer replaced them under warranty the first time. Subsequent loss required them to purchase new ones.


Two solutions to this one. One, just forget about it, or, two, when replacing them use a stronger adhesive. People have used silicone glue successfully. Use a glue that is safe with plastics. Remember the fuel cell is plastic and you don't want to use a glue that could compromise the integrity of it. A new set is reported to be about $30 USD. To make sure you don't loss the ones have now you can carefully pry them off and re-glue them to prevent future loss.


Fixing the Headlight Shroud "Anchor Screw" Abomination
by Seacuke #1214

On the BMW F650GS, there is a plastic "head" that holds the console and the headlight. This "head" is built of two pieces of plastic which are held together by two plastic screws and some tiny plastic anchors (when the turn signals are removed). In my opinion, this part of the bike should be held together in a more stout manner than it is.

As I was working on installing my Hodger voltmeter, I decided to take care of this problem as good as I could.

I had some spare nuts and bolts laying around, and a couple of counter-sank screws with nuts looked like ideal candidates. I used some stout epoxy-like, silicone-like glue to tack some nuts to the little plastic tabs that the stock "anchors" were supposed to hold on to.

Another look

The counter-sank screws get nice and flat when the head is screwed together, staying out of the way of any windshields. The added tension of the screws should help to hold the bolts in place when I'm doing more rough terrain. In any case, these screws and bolts are a huge improvement over what's put there in the factory.


Color Insert Thingy on Side of Faux Tank Fell Off?

Has it happened to many people? Yes, it would appear a few have been afflicted by it, although it is minor, so many wouldn't probably report it.

Swapping GS to GS/Dakar fairing or Vice Versa?

Weak Subframe Mounting Bolt Point
Courtesy of DHP#711

Original Text Here. You might want to add some of the details for the weakness of the subframe mounting bolt point from my website.