Front end clunk and twist while braking. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 14 Old Jul 25th, 2015, 11:40 am Thread Starter
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Unhappy Front end clunk and twist while braking.

My 2006 K12LT with 40K miles was hit just above the right mirror while parked last year knocking it over and causing what appeared to be cosmetic damage. A reputable dealer did the repairs including new nose, fender, right side damage they also replaced the center bearing since they felt it was due.

About 2K miles after the repair I developed a clunk from the front end when I use the front brake and the front end twists a little to the left. Also the LT's front end seems a bit lighter to me and the front end dives a touch more then before this showed up. This week I had the brakes serviced including caliper rebuilds and new pads, thinking that perhaps one of the calipers where hung. That didn't fix the problem.

Oh, I'm the original owner and know the history of the bike since day one which you have here. Anyone have some helpful ideas and from what I've described do you think the LT is safe to ride? The twist is not overwhelming by any means, it's simply there and hasn't effected my ability to ride the bike, even when I'm in a corner braking.
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post #2 of 14 Old Jul 25th, 2015, 8:12 pm
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkusny View Post
My 2006 K12LT with 40K miles was hit just above the right mirror while parked last year knocking it over and causing what appeared to be cosmetic damage. A reputable dealer did the repairs including new nose, fender, right side damage they also replaced the center bearing since they felt it was due.

About 2K miles after the repair I developed a clunk from the front end when I use the front brake and the front end twists a little to the left. Also the LT's front end seems a bit lighter to me and the front end dives a touch more then before this showed up. This week I had the brakes serviced including caliper rebuilds and new pads, thinking that perhaps one of the calipers where hung. That didn't fix the problem.

Oh, I'm the original owner and know the history of the bike since day one which you have here. Anyone have some helpful ideas and from what I've described do you think the LT is safe to ride? The twist is not overwhelming by any means, it's simply there and hasn't effected my ability to ride the bike, even when I'm in a corner braking.
Do you feel the clunk or just hear it? I wouldn't suspect brakes as they wont torque the steering in any noticeable amount. Remember that many bikes used to have only one disk and they stopped straight.

A pull one direction generally means the steering is being turned a little by the bars. Have you checked for any looseness in the handlebars?

The front dive is perplexing since on the LT that is a function of the suspension geometry more than spring stiffness as on conventional fork bikes. I assume the shop making the repairs checked the suspension parts when they made the repairs, but maybe worth a second look. I don't have the fiche in front of me, but if one side of the A-arm is loose that could cause a clunk and movement one side. I can't remember from memory what the rear A-arm mounts are like.

I checked the fiche and it appears to have a ball bearing on one side and a tapered roller on the other (I think BMW calls it an angular bearing). So, I wonder if the bearing preload may be insufficient or maybe one bearing was damaged during the incident.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
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Last edited by Voyager; Jul 25th, 2015 at 8:21 pm.
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post #3 of 14 Old Jul 25th, 2015, 9:51 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

I both hear and feel it. The feel is in the handle bars where they seem to shift minutely forward a few millimeters. I only mentioned the brakes to give readers the most information I can. The dealer was perplexed as to the cause and told me that it's about 2 hours shop time to diagnose it. If it is one of the bearings dealer said it's about 12 hours for the repair.

After putting in over 2k into the bike in the last year, I'm not sure I want to invest another thousand or so into this bike. As much as I love my LT it's getting expensive in its young/middle age miles.

This is getting depressing. Any thoughts if it's safe to ride?
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post #4 of 14 Old Jul 25th, 2015, 10:42 pm
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

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Originally Posted by Tarkusny View Post
I both hear and feel it. The feel is in the handle bars where they seem to shift minutely forward a few millimeters. I only mentioned the brakes to give readers the most information I can. The dealer was perplexed as to the cause and told me that it's about 2 hours shop time to diagnose it. If it is one of the bearings dealer said it's about 12 hours for the repair.

After putting in over 2k into the bike in the last year, I'm not sure I want to invest another thousand or so into this bike. As much as I love my LT it's getting expensive in its young/middle age miles.

This is getting depressing. Any thoughts if it's safe to ride?
As an engineer, I tend to be fairly conservative when it comes to the safety of others. I would be hesitant to ride it until I at least knew for sure what is wrong. Any significant play in the steering can cause the mother of all tank slippers if excited at the right frequency. I would want this fixed if it were my bike.

You can pull a few covers and check the handlebar attachment fairly easily. Checking the trailing arm bearings is likely a fair bit more challenging.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #5 of 14 Old Jul 25th, 2015, 11:01 pm
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

I would start by checking that both calipers are torqued correctly to the fork, the pinch bolts at the bottom of each fork tube, and the font axle nut, just to eliminate the basics.
Then let us know what you find and we can move on to the next step if needed.

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post #6 of 14 Old Jul 26th, 2015, 12:50 am Thread Starter
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Voyager,
There is no play that I noticed on the bike either at stand still or on the road. But perhaps I'm not checking it correctly. How would you check for the play?

Once the tension from braking is released the handle bars and front end return to a normal. Left to right to center seems OK in general, but just slightly lighter in nature. Sort of like going from under inflated tires to over inflated. However my tires and tire pressure are unchanged and in spec per the sticker on the bike.

Zippy,
To recap, the calipers where rebuilt, new pads front and rear with a new rotor on the rear. The clunk and twist was present before the brakes where rebuilt. There was no change after the brakes where done. I had them rebuilt thinking it might have been the root cause of the clunk and twisting, but it wasn't.
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post #7 of 14 Old Jul 26th, 2015, 2:16 am
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

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Originally Posted by Tarkusny View Post

Zippy,
To recap, the calipers where rebuilt, new pads front and rear with a new rotor on the rear. The clunk and twist was present before the brakes where rebuilt. There was no change after the brakes where done. I had them rebuilt thinking it might have been the root cause of the clunk and twisting, but it wasn't.
OK, so let's assume the calipers are properly secured. What about the pinch bolts and wheel axle? Are both spacers present on the front wheel axle?

Gilles & Kathy
BMWMOA# 154719
IBA# 71594
2011 Ostra Gray RT
06 Mercedes-Benz E350 Estate (parts and people hauler)
2012 BMW X3 (parts and people hauler)
86 Porsche 911 Cabriolet (my "new" baby)



For her I climbed the highest mountain!
For her I swam across the deepest ocean!
For her I walked through the largest desert!
And then she left me... She said I was never home!!!


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post #8 of 14 Old Jul 26th, 2015, 7:48 am
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkusny View Post
Voyager,
There is no play that I noticed on the bike either at stand still or on the road. But perhaps I'm not checking it correctly. How would you check for the play?

Once the tension from braking is released the handle bars and front end return to a normal. Left to right to center seems OK in general, but just slightly lighter in nature. Sort of like going from under inflated tires to over inflated. However my tires and tire pressure are unchanged and in spec per the sticker on the bike.

Zippy,
To recap, the calipers where rebuilt, new pads front and rear with a new rotor on the rear. The clunk and twist was present before the brakes where rebuilt. There was no change after the brakes where done. I had them rebuilt thinking it might have been the root cause of the clunk and twisting, but it wasn't.
If the steering is "lighter" it could be looseness in the steering stem bearings, but that wouldn't cause twisting in the front while stopping.
I would at least partially disassemble the bike so that I could see and hear better at key locations such as handlebar attachment, trailing arm bearings and ball joint, steering stem bearings, etc.

Then tie the rear of the bike down firmly and have a robust helper tug on the front axle back and forth, then up and down and finally side to side as briskly as possible. Listen for noises, particularly with a mechanics stethoscope. Your fingers are also quite sensitive at feeling small movements. Often holding your finger so it can touch both sides of a joint can allow detection of any play.

2017 KLR650 "Mule"
2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise", VOICE II, Navigator V, Motorrad Communicator
1987 Kawasaki Voyager XII
1976 Kawasaki KH400
1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #9 of 14 Old Jul 26th, 2015, 9:33 am
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Did the dealership have someone test drive it or are there any members of the forum who know a lot about the K in your area who can test drive it?

If your interested in continuing to ride and you generally like the K, then fixing the bike is really cheaper than replacing it. If your heart is set on another type of bike, then you should trade it for the bike you want.

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post #10 of 14 Old Jul 26th, 2015, 10:59 am
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Lightbulb Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

? you are checking the front end with the bike jacked up right to take the weight off,
also i would check the lower fork tube mounts and steering damper. both are fairly easy to check.

the bike looks hard to work on but with the info and help from this site you can do pretty much any repair required
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post #11 of 14 Old Jul 26th, 2015, 2:46 pm
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

To check the telelever for play, put the bike on the center stand and have a helper hold the rear end down on the ground. Grab the front end and try to laterally move it. If you have a bad bearing it will show up as lateral play.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #12 of 14 Old Oct 19th, 2015, 10:05 am Thread Starter
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Per the dealer, it turns out that the front fender retaining bolt that connects it to the front end loosened up. Once that bolt was torqued down the LT is back to its solid front end again.
Not being a mechanic I need to trust what the dealer tells me.

Strange,,, very strange.


Thanks for everyone's help!
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post #13 of 14 Old Oct 19th, 2015, 3:32 pm
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkusny View Post
Per the dealer, it turns out that the front fender retaining bolt that connects it to the front end loosened up. Once that bolt was torqued down the LT is back to its solid front end again.
Not being a mechanic I need to trust what the dealer tells me.

Strange,,, very strange.


Thanks for everyone's help!
Sounds like your dealer fed you a line of baloney, based on the symptons described in your original post....

Dave Beck
'16 K1600GTLE
'07 K1200LT (sold 9/24/16)
'74 Suzuki GT750L (long, long gone)


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post #14 of 14 Old Oct 19th, 2015, 7:21 pm
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Re: Front end clunk and twist while braking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarkusny View Post
Per the dealer, it turns out that the front fender retaining bolt that connects it to the front end loosened up. Once that bolt was torqued down the LT is back to its solid front end again.
Not being a mechanic I need to trust what the dealer tells me.

Strange,,, very strange.


Thanks for everyone's help!
I would believe that if he meant the ball joint nut (up above and behind the fender) had come loose but not the fender attach bolts.

Some times the guy giving you the bike after the repair is just miss reading what the technician wrote down on the ticket.
Patric and BennyBob like this.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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