Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue) - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 11:18 am Thread Starter
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Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Hello All,

I am generally new to this forum and the K1200LT (my last bike was a GL1800 that I sold about a year ago, but I ultimately missed my "therapeutic rides" and have since purchased a 2003 K with about 120k miles). The bike has been well maintained and while it has some miles, you can tell that the previous owners took care of and maintained the bike.

While the GW is a great bike, I really like the feel and riding position of the K as compared to the GW, for me, it handles better and is more fun to ride, hands down.

That said, there where were some minor issues that I addressed when I purchased the bike (ie rattles that had to be chased down, fixed the rear disk cowbell, bent front wheel that I replaced for a great deal on ebay, fluid changes (final drive oil looks good), etc).

I have had the bike for about 2 months and now with all the initial kinks worked out I was just starting to appreciate how extraordinary a machine this is and earlier this week noticed that my clutch has started slipping in 5th at about 3000 RPM when I really goose the throttle. It seems fine in gears 1 through 4 for now. There is a weep hole that I added on the bell housing side and some oil did come out (about 1-1.5 ounces), but it has been dry since. I am not sure about the slave cylinder side.

The quotes I am getting to replace the clutch (I am in Northern VA) is anywhere from 2000-2700 dollars which includes replacing the seals. I do not believe that I can tackle this job by doing it myself after reviewing what it will take from the detailed postings on this site, so that is not an option for me.

I believe I got a good deal on this bike, but the 2700 dollar quote to replace the clutch is almost as much as I paid for the bike originally.

My question is, given your collective experience with this bike and its ability to rack up the miles, given it already has 122k miles, what are your thoughts on doing this work and feeling that you will be able to ride this bike for years to come versus cutting your losses and either trading it in or parting it out.

Also, if i were to proceed with replacing the clutch, I am not in a position to do this work without saving up for it first and would I be able to continue to ride the bike without doing any additional damage that would ultimately end up costing me more to fix. (ie., is there anything I can do to minimize the slipping so I can get another season or two of riding in while I plan and save for the eventual clutch replacement)

Thanks in advance for any insight or feedback you may have.

--j
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post #2 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 12:56 pm
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Welcome to the forum jnyr1112.

120K is not a lot for these bikes if they are maintained. The issue of continuing to ride and further damage are this. If you really slip the clutch, it can burn and warp the pressure plates and those would possibly need to be replaced adding cost to the repair. The clutch disc should be replaced without question if contaminated ( IMO) so no real added cost in continuing to ride there. If you can save up and have it repaired, you will get many more miles out of it barring some of the other things that can go wrong.

The oil out the weep hole is a good indication of one or the other seal issues. If your clutch lever is still remaining good and the fluid level is not dropping in the reservoir then you may be able to ride further. The oil leaking from the seals may tend to run down the back side of the case whereas the brake fluid gets dumped inside the clutch itself.

You can continue to ride it but if the slipping gets much worse you might be better off putting it away till you can get it repaired or expect more parts expense when you get to it.

There may be someone nearby that could help you with the repair outside a shop and save you some green. Lets see who else responds and maybe you can get it done for less than full shop service.

Gordon
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post #3 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 12:56 pm
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jnyr1112 View Post
Hello All,

I am generally new to this forum and the K1200LT (my last bike was a GL1800 that I sold about a year ago, but I ultimately missed my "therapeutic rides" and have since purchased a 2003 K with about 120k miles). The bike has been well maintained and while it has some miles, you can tell that the previous owners took care of and maintained the bike.

While the GW is a great bike, I really like the feel and riding position of the K as compared to the GW, for me, it handles better and is more fun to ride, hands down.

That said, there where were some minor issues that I addressed when I purchased the bike (ie rattles that had to be chased down, fixed the rear disk cowbell, bent front wheel that I replaced for a great deal on ebay, fluid changes (final drive oil looks good), etc).

I have had the bike for about 2 months and now with all the initial kinks worked out I was just starting to appreciate how extraordinary a machine this is and earlier this week noticed that my clutch has started slipping in 5th at about 3000 RPM when I really goose the throttle. It seems fine in gears 1 through 4 for now. There is a weep hole that I added on the bell housing side and some oil did come out (about 1-1.5 ounces), but it has been dry since. I am not sure about the slave cylinder side.

The quotes I am getting to replace the clutch (I am in Northern VA) is anywhere from 2000-2700 dollars which includes replacing the seals. I do not believe that I can tackle this job by doing it myself after reviewing what it will take from the detailed postings on this site, so that is not an option for me.

I believe I got a good deal on this bike, but the 2700 dollar quote to replace the clutch is almost as much as I paid for the bike originally.

My question is, given your collective experience with this bike and its ability to rack up the miles, given it already has 122k miles, what are your thoughts on doing this work and feeling that you will be able to ride this bike for years to come versus cutting your losses and either trading it in or parting it out.

Also, if i were to proceed with replacing the clutch, I am not in a position to do this work without saving up for it first and would I be able to continue to ride the bike without doing any additional damage that would ultimately end up costing me more to fix. (ie., is there anything I can do to minimize the slipping so I can get another season or two of riding in while I plan and save for the eventual clutch replacement)

Thanks in advance for any insight or feedback you may have.

--j
I feel your pain.

My 07 began to occasionally slip in 4th and 5th gear three years ago and when it had about 27,000 miles as best I recall. It now has 54,000 on it and I am about to buy a lift and tear into this winter now that I am retired (well, from my corporate job anyway...). I rode the bike to Tennessee and road the Tail Of the Dragon, to Michigan and to Newfoundland last year. That should answer your one question. I have to be careful when passing and remember to shift down. I had some times in Newfoundland that I had to run in 4th gear as the combination of long grades and 40 mph headwinds were too much for the clutch in 5th. And I knew I was running a risk of a complete failure, but I was willing to take that risk to defer the clutch work to after my retirement so I could more easily do the work myself.

If your clutch is original, it may just be worn out. Otherwise, it is likely contaminated from one of three possible sources: clutch slave cylinder, transmission input seal, engine main seal. I am pretty sure mine is due to contamination rather than wear, but won't know for sure until I get her opened up in a few weeks once the PA riding season is over (generally after thanksgiving for me).

As to whether it is worth the cost, if everything else is in good shape and you like the bike, I would say it is worth fixing. But that is a judgement only you can make.
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post #4 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 1:14 pm
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

With the report of oil weeping it is certainly the 19mm Oring that seals in the area with the main crank seal.
In general besides a new friction disk you will find your pressure plates warped. Even small amount will not permit full contact and is not good. And a new spring pressure plate is a good thing. So parts for this job add up to about $500, more if you replace all the rubber stuff that is in there like engine crankcase vent stuff and the intake seals. You have to remove the intake manifold to lower the engine. And foolish not to replace clutch slave cylinder. Your bike is about 14 years old. Maintenance? Do you have new brake lines, front wheel bearings, ignition cables etc.. All these things do not last forever. Buying a older bike does not come with out a price, maintenance. Your bike will be a wonderful one when you do all this work and will give you another hundred thousand miles. There are extensive how to threads on the internet and it is a good way to dive into the deep end of the pool. The job you need takes about 8/9 hours by a professional who has done it before. The price quoted to you is high. It should be less than $2K at a dealer and another 500 cheaper at an independent BMW shop. Last one I did took me 25 hours going slow and looking at everything.
Here is a good thread on what to expect:
GregRS's journey into seal territory - I-BMW.com
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post #5 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 1:22 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Thank you both for the input, I really have grown quite fond of this bike in a short period of time and it is reassuring that you can get such timely quality feedback and support by knowledgeable fellow riders.

I am really glad that it seems like I can continue to enjoy this bike as I figure out how to resolve this more long term.

Thank again!

--j
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post #6 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 1:30 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Thanks Beech, the brake lines and wheel bearings have been replaced, not so sure about the ignition cables (though I remember seeing a great video on this from Kirk that gives me the confidence to give it a shot). I appreciate your quick response and insight.

--j
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post #7 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 3:20 pm
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

As your experience increases you will get more confident to tackle jobs. The seal replacement is actually a daunting job and you may well be served to find a BMW mechanic who is up to date with the problem and willing to go for it. There is a shop in Seattle that would do this for about $900 + parts.
Here is a source that is very reasonable for costs on a ignition wire set. These are under a lot of electrical strain and get high voltage punctures in the insulation when in the ten year old range. A tiny black spot with a gray area about 1/4" in diameter is the sign.
K1200LT/RS/GT Spark Plug Wire Set
There is a Clymer book for your bike available from Amazon of course. Well worth it.

Beech
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post #8 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 3:54 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Thanks Beech..wish I was in Seattle......that price is quite a discount from what I am being quoted here in the DC/Northern VA area.

Thanks for the tip on the source for the ignition wires, the price on that website seems very reasonable compared to the OEM set I was quoted.

I do have the Clymer book and it has been very helpful with jobs and issues that are at my experience level, however, I fear the clutch job is way beyond my level and while I would love to tackle it, knowing how frustrated I can get with things like this, lol... I would be very wise to find a plan B.

--j
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post #9 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 4:07 pm
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

I also have an 03 and just finished replacing my clutch about a month or so ago. I think it is a achievable job given the information on this forum, but I will say it is not the easiest thing to do. mechanics earn their money imo, but I would agree the $2700 sounds high. the parts I got cost me about $750 as I had A few other LT demons to exercise, so the clutch parts and cylinder were around $550 to $600 without pressure plate (they weren't warped). when I got my LT I got a great "deal" on it because partly I think the guy knew the clutch was going. I could not remember the mileage reading when I felt noticeable slippage, but by after I put 8K mi (mainly highway) on it i developed a skill of clutch management I am still trying to unlearn. I am not saying you will get thousands more miles, but if you are considering the plates to be warped anyways then you have more time. by the way the BWM wrench I talked to after I finished told me in a robot voice "BMW recommends replacing the pressure plate when replacing the clutch disk", so I think it is safe to say the quote includes that well.

also I would remember you might not have full power before you pull out into traffic.

02 K1200LTC Black

Last edited by Panzer; Nov 6th, 2015 at 4:13 pm.
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post #10 of 12 Old Nov 6th, 2015, 4:47 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Panzer, thanks for the input. The local BMW shop here indicated that the quote was for the entire "clutch pack" is how I believe he referred to it as, to include all the seals, which I presume includes the pressure plate because of the high amount of the quote.

Seems like the input I am getting suggests that if the rest of the bike is sound (which I believe it is), this is definitely something worth investing in.
That's good, because I am getting quite attached to this bike, now I just have to figure out how to pay for it and keep in mind that I might have clutch slippage issues at the most inopportune time in the interim.

--j
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post #11 of 12 Old Nov 7th, 2015, 8:05 am
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

There is Bobs BMW in Laurel MD. 1 hour away, Beemer Uber Alles in Maassas VA 45 min. away and check out the BMW Bikers of Metropolitan Washington who may know an independent mechanic, good Luck..

Scott
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post #12 of 12 Old Nov 9th, 2015, 12:40 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Some Advice & Wisdom Needed (03 K Clutch Issue)

Thanks Norton, I did include those two sources when stating the quotes I received for the potential cost to repair.

At this point I have decided to keep her and I am going to try and ride it (probably only locally for now) to the extent I can and monitor the situation closely while I try and save up for the repair or come up with some other resolution.

Thanks all for your insight and quick response. Looking forward to get past this bump in the road and enjoy this bike for years to come!

--j
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