Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Reading, PA, USA
Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles
I am very thankful to the members of this digest for their comments and advice.
Don't worry, I would not be offended if I found out that something I was doing in my riding style was causing the problem - as it would mean that I could correct it and keep the bike I love.
In answer to one of the comments - yes I do cover the brake and clutch levers. I did not think I was placing any pressure on the clutch lever, but who knows. In all of my other bikes and in the rider schools they have instructed to cover the clutch and brake, but it this something that is a no-no for an LT?
The way I drove the LT was no different from my other bikes, but maybe that is not suitable for the LT. I did try to minimize slipping the clutch, I am not really sure at what rpm I bring the engine up prior to engaging the clutch from start. I thought I was doing it as low an rpm as I could to keep the plastic upright, but I might be wrong. I have a tendacy to use downshifting as an assist to braking - is that bad?
As I look back around the time of the two failures, the only difference was that we had gone to a rally prior to the start of the slipping. However the weight of gear carried was the same as for my previous GT which I ran for 6 years with no problem. Due to the design of the side and top cases on the LT, I was not able to carry the same amount of gear on the LT that I could put on the GT (I took my topcase off of the GT and used a U-Bag for my tent and sleeping bags). For the LT, I installed a Dauntless hitch and made a luggage rack for the back to store the camping supplies (to keep the same amount of gear that I normally took, but at a lower height for better stability). Last year I constructed a HF Tag-along Trailer for the bike - again to carry the same amount of gear). the trailer was only 120 lbs unloaded and I limited the load to 150 max. Used it one time to go to the Finger Lakes Rally (4 hr. ride). Otherwise my riding is primarily one up back and forth to work with only a briefcase.
Thats about it for my riding style. I really did not think that anything I was doing was abusive to the LT to the point of burning out the two clutches, especially the second one at only 5,500 miles when I thought I was really being careful.
If something I am doing is the problem, I would be happy to know, so I could correct it.
I have transmitted many of the comments received to my dealer to consider. By the way, I feel I am lucky to have a great dealer - Hermy's BMW in Port clinton, PA. They have always bee fair and straight with me and have gone out of their way many times to cut me a break. I have no issues with their techs, but everyone is human and could make a mistake. I'm confident he will look into the comments and if something was not done correctly, he will address it.
Also thanks for the info on the RB Racing Clutch for the LT. Has anyone installed on in their LT. If it is something in my riding style and the aftermarket clutch can "protect the bike from me" then it would seem to be the way to go so that even if I slip back into old habits, I will not be abusing the clutch.
Again THANK YOU ALL for your responses. This is what I love about the BMW community. You all have turned a rather bleak christmas (got the news on December 23rd) into at least on with some hope.
2007 BMW K1200LT (Black)
2008 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic (red)
HF Tag-Along Trailer
2004 BMW K1200GT (Grey-Green)
2004 Suzuki Intruder (Black)