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post #1 of 9 Old Sep 5th, 2006, 12:41 am Thread Starter
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No Clutch!

Riding into heavy afternoon traffic yesterday I felt my clutch go spongy. The next thing I was crashing through gears and the clutch was useless. I tried pumping it to no avail. Traffic stopped, no clutch, nothing for it but to hold onto the brake and stall it out. (in the middle lane)! To get Big Bertha to the side of the road without spilling over was a trick in itself with no clutch, but using starter and brake I managed to get the traffic to hold up for me while I performed what must have looked like an guy who's just stolen a bike and knows nothing about riding it!

Reversed bike into a parking area and phoned local dealer (who came in 10 minutes, all praise to them)

LT - 3 month's old. Checked reservoir - empty! (just enough to form a miniscus in the bottom of the glass)

Dealer pumped clutch, started bike, clutch held, grabbbed my helmet and rode off to workshops leaving me to drive his truck (rather him drop it now than me)

Back at workshop, confirmed no fluid in reservoir. So what happened to the fluid? Is this a major "fix" with tupperwear coming off? Bike has done 5K miles, should I get them to do the 6K service at this time whilst doing the clutch thing?

Thanks for your advice

I would rather be riding my bike and thinking about God than sitting in Church thinking about my bike!

Regards
Allen
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post #2 of 9 Old Sep 5th, 2006, 12:50 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdman
-----------------------------------------
Back at workshop, confirmed no fluid in reservoir. So what happened to the fluid? Is this a major "fix" with tupperwear coming off? Bike has done 5K miles, should I get them to do the 6K service at this time whilst doing the clutch thing?

Thanks for your advice
All too common, has happened to MANY of us. The clutch slave cylinder has failed, and contaminated the clutch with brake fluid. It is a BIG job, final drive and swing arm come out, transmission comes out, and clutch gets replaced.

Try to get the dealer's mechanic to drill a drain hole in the transmission boss where the slave cylinder mounts. We have done a lot of them that way, quite a few as a preventive measure, so that if the slave fails again the fluid drains out and is not forced through the transmission input shaft and into the clutch. The stupid way BMW designed the system is that the brake fluid has no where to go when the slave cylinder fails except forward along the clutch actuating rod and into the clutch. They even gasket the cylinder to the transmission to be sure.

Unfortunately, you have suffered one of the two worst problems the LT has, the other is '99-'02 years have a rather high percentage of final drive bearing failures. We have only seen one or two '03 or later final drive problems though. For some reason, there have been a lot of very early slave cylinder failures on '05-'06 models though. You would think BMW would have improved that, not let it get worse.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #3 of 9 Old Sep 5th, 2006, 10:19 am
 
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This is starting to really bug me. I am about to make a pre-emptive strike on my slave cylinder at 40K miles. But now that I am hearing about '05-'06 failures, I am not so sure that I want to put a possibly inferior unit in there. Sounds like another BMW out-source to the lowest bidder situation. I can hear the bean counters now. Its "only" a simple slave cylinder. How hard could that be to make? Uh-huh.
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post #4 of 9 Old Sep 5th, 2006, 10:53 am Thread Starter
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OMG - bike in pieces!

Went to see my bike at the dealer's workshop - I just want to cry!! Everything is off the bike exposing all the guts. According to them, this is only the start. Back end has yet to come off to get to the clutch. There's so much stuff that it looks like a mechanic's nightmare. Will they ever get my LT back to what it was before the clutch failed?

My question is, the bike being brand new and just recently built in the factory, how can it be put back together again where seals and gaskets are replaced under workshop conditions rather than build line conditions where everything is perfectly lined up and sealed? They assure me that they won't be left with a "box full of parts". Hell, if I could only believe them! Maybe the best fix for a failed clutch on a new bike is to issue you with another brand new one!

After now reading all the posts pertaining to failed clutch slave cylinders etc, it begs the question as to why the problem has never been sorted out. My '03 GT has the same K1200 engine ergo the same clutching system - never heard of a clutch failure amongst GT riders, so why only the LT?

Did they redesign the system for the LT? The old saying come to mind - "if it 'aint broke - don't fix it"!

I would rather be riding my bike and thinking about God than sitting in Church thinking about my bike!

Regards
Allen
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post #5 of 9 Old Sep 5th, 2006, 1:16 pm
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They can do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdman


My question is, the bike being brand new and just recently built in the factory, how can it be put back together again where seals and gaskets are replaced under workshop conditions rather than build line conditions where everything is perfectly lined up and sealed? They assure me that they won't be left with a "box full of parts". Hell, if I could only believe them! Maybe the best fix for a failed clutch on a new bike is to issue you with another brand new one!

!
Have faith in them. Mine went on my way to BMWMOA rally in VT. My dealer happened to have a tent at the rally but asked if I had a problem taking it back to thier shop in NH and repairing it under better conditions seeing how much work it was to do it. I of course agreed. I had the bike back and repaired at no charge to me two weeks later and it is better than new. Mine failed at about 8K. To me it sounds like you ahve a good dealer seeing how fast the tech got to you. If they did not care they would let you deal with roadside assistance. Hope everything works out for you. I know things could be worse but when you spend this kind of money you expect things not to go wrong but that is not a realistic point of view.

I still love the bike and if I had to do it all over again I would buy a BMW everytime. I ride it the way I want to and I do not worry about breakdowns, if it breaks it can and will be fixed. BTW, i live 2.5 hours from my dealer and I ahve dealers within CT that I would not buy from. But thats a whole other post.

I would see what deal they will give you for the 6k service seeing the bike is torn down. They should work with you on that.

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post #6 of 9 Old Sep 5th, 2006, 2:48 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks Jim!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lzyellodog
Have faith in them. Mine went on my way to BMWMOA rally in VT. My dealer happened to have a tent at the rally but asked if I had a problem taking it back to thier shop in NH and repairing it under better conditions seeing how much work it was to do it. I of course agreed. I had the bike back and repaired at no charge to me two weeks later and it is better than new. Mine failed at about 8K. To me it sounds like you ahve a good dealer seeing how fast the tech got to you. If they did not care they would let you deal with roadside assistance. Hope everything works out for you. I know things could be worse but when you spend this kind of money you expect things not to go wrong but that is not a realistic point of view.

I still love the bike and if I had to do it all over again I would buy a BMW everytime. I ride it the way I want to and I do not worry about breakdowns, if it breaks it can and will be fixed. BTW, i live 2.5 hours from my dealer and I ahve dealers within CT that I would not buy from. But thats a whole other post.

I would see what deal they will give you for the 6k service seeing the bike is torn down. They should work with you on that.
Thanks Jim for your reassurance, it's just what I need right now

I would rather be riding my bike and thinking about God than sitting in Church thinking about my bike!

Regards
Allen
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post #7 of 9 Old Sep 6th, 2006, 7:19 am
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Trust the shop. Mine has been apart like that twice in the last year. But both times it came back it was actually better than it had been previously. I just wish I'd had my camera along to take pictures.

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post #8 of 9 Old Sep 6th, 2006, 9:38 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birdman
------------My question is, the bike being brand new and just recently built in the factory, how can it be put back together again where seals and gaskets are replaced under workshop conditions rather than build line conditions where everything is perfectly lined up and sealed? ------------------
Of course it depends on the skill and knowledge of the mechanic assigned to it.

My bike was rebuilt after an accident by a good dealer, when they pulled all the fairings they discovered the frame had the sub frame support tabs broken off, so called the insurance adjuster back expecting the bike to be totalled. The adjuster surprisingly told them to put in a new frame. My bike was stripped down to nothing but the engine and transmission assembly on a jack sitting on the lift, with the rear subframe suspended in air and attached with brake lines and wiring harnesses.

I put just about 100,000 miles on that bike afterward, and it was as good as new. I did find a couple screws that had been put in the wrong places (very minor) over a couple years of working on the bike, but otherwise no one would ever be able to tell it had been disassembled.

Hopefully you get as good a mechanic working on your bike as most of us have when clutches were replaced.

In all actuallity, even though it is a lot of work, there is little that can be done wrong IF the mechanic is decent and they follow the documented service procedures.

The worst thing I have seen from mechanics doing this is using Loctite on the swing arm and final drive pivot parts. Stress to them that you do not want Loctite used there! It causes undue problems for anyone removing these parts later, and is not supposed to be used anyway. The service manuals specify where Loctite is to be used, and it is not called out on these parts. Some mechanics are way too free with their Loctite bottle.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #9 of 9 Old Sep 6th, 2006, 11:36 am
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Wink Mechanic's build is not such a bad thing

Quote:
Originally Posted by birdman
My question is, the bike being brand new and just recently built in the factory, how can it be put back together again where seals and gaskets are replaced under workshop conditions rather than build line conditions where everything is perfectly lined up and sealed?
FYI, I am a process engineer at the Harley-Davidson Softail final assembly plant in York. There is something to be said about having an experienced mechanic, one who is knowledgeable of the entire machine and has a knack for problem solving "outside the box", work at a methodical pace on just your vehicle, having met you face to face - as opposed to a building full of assembly line workers, who are given a limited number of seconds to mount & secure the same handful of parts on the bike, over & over again all day long, without having to think much (or pay attention much) to what they're doing. Not that a factory build is necessarily inferior to a mechanic's build - but realize that there are pros and cons to each scenario.
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