Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 50 Old Dec 24th, 2010, 9:22 pm Thread Starter
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Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I have a 2007 K1200LT. I love the bike, but I am very upset by what appears to be a week clutch for the weight of the bike. The original clutch went out at 14,508 miles. At that time it was replaced under warranty and the dealer instructed me on how to ride the bike. I previously had a K1200GT and put 45,000 miles on it with no problems.

Well I did everything they instructed me - I do not slip the clutch, I do not exceed the GVWR the one time a year when we go camping, and mostly I ride one-up. Well at around 20,000 miles (14 months later) the second clutch started slipping. They took it apart and there was no sign of fluid, everything was dry but the clutch was toast.

The dealer also told me of other LT owners whose clutches have failed from 4,400 to 6,500 miles.

As this replacement is not covered by the warranty (I am on an extended warranty and it only covers seals and not the clutch).

I really do not know how I could ride the bike easier other than not riding it. I basically ride it to work and a few BMW events. From what I've read on the forum, others have had similar problems.

While I love the LT, I can not afford to replace a clutch at the same interval as I replace tires. Since the clutch is basically the same as on other lighter BMW bikes other than a stiffer spring and plate, I can only assume it is a design issue for such a heavy bike, if my very easy riding style destroys the clutch. As such I will have the bike repaired and sell it. As a result of this issue I have a very bad taste in my mouth from BMW and the next bike will not be a BMW.

Any assistance, or advice would be appreciated.

Hanshi
Reading, PA
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post #2 of 50 Old Dec 24th, 2010, 9:52 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanshi
I have a 2007 K1200LT. I love the bike, but I am very upset by what appears to be a week clutch for the weight of the bike. The original clutch went out at 14,508 miles. At that time it was replaced under warranty and the dealer instructed me on how to ride the bike. I previously had a K1200GT and put 45,000 miles on it with no problems.

Well I did everything they instructed me - I do not slip the clutch, I do not exceed the GVWR the one time a year when we go camping, and mostly I ride one-up. Well at around 20,000 miles (14 months later) the second clutch started slipping. They took it apart and there was no sign of fluid, everything was dry but the clutch was toast.

The dealer also told me of other LT owners whose clutches have failed from 4,400 to 6,500 miles.

As this replacement is not covered by the warranty (I am on an extended warranty and it only covers seals and not the clutch).

I really do not know how I could ride the bike easier other than not riding it. I basically ride it to work and a few BMW events. From what I've read on the forum, others have had similar problems.

While I love the LT, I can not afford to replace a clutch at the same interval as I replace tires. Since the clutch is basically the same as on other lighter BMW bikes other than a stiffer spring and plate, I can only assume it is a design issue for such a heavy bike, if my very easy riding style destroys the clutch. As such I will have the bike repaired and sell it. As a result of this issue I have a very bad taste in my mouth from BMW and the next bike will not be a BMW.

Any assistance, or advice would be appreciated.
Hard to know what to tell you. I have had my 07 for 3.5 years and 22,000 miles now and the clutch works fine. I haven't heard of all that many clutches just wearing out. The main failure mode seems to be fluid leaks. If your clutch is wearing out, then I see only to possibilities:

1. It is related to your riding technique, and I realize nobody wants to hear that

2. There is something wrong with your particular clutch. I don't think it is a design error (weak clutch) as that would affect all LTs and many have reported here going well over 50,000 miles with clutches that are only half worn out.

When they replaced your first clutch, did they replace the pressure plate or just the disk itself? If the pressure plate diaphragm was weak for some reason (improper factory heat treat, etc.), then just replacing the worn disk would not address the problem.

If they replaced all of the clutch components after the first failure, then I believe your techique has to be the primary suspect.

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post #3 of 50 Old Dec 24th, 2010, 10:52 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I strongly agree with Voyager, 'specially about replacing to two pressure plates. If that's not the problem, you may want to look at this product: http://www.rbracing-rsr.com/bmwK1200.html
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post #4 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 12:06 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmlt
I strongly agree with Voyager, 'specially about replacing to two pressure plates. If that's not the problem, you may want to look at this product: http://www.rbracing-rsr.com/bmwK1200.html
This brings uP my question
And it is...
How many out there are using the RSR setup?
I mean if it comes up my number and the clutch needs to be replaced , I have no problem about using this set up as long as there has been a good history through you fighter jockies...
Just wanting to ne sure

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post #5 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 6:21 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I think there is something wrong with the clutch setup. I can't imagine you treating the clutch badly enough to wear them out that fast.
I don't think the clutch on this bike is "weak" as long as it is not being oiled by seal leaks (which by accounts on this board isn't all that uncommon).

I'm not sure I'd go for an aftermarket clutch before I had a knowledgeable mechanic look at the set up and go through all the specs of the current setup (not just replace the friction plate, which is probably what was done the first time).

I have 82,000+ miles on my 2000. I do almost all my slow speed riding when two up by slipping the clutch, dragging the brake, and keeping the rpms up. Over the years that's a lot of clutch slipping. I also sometimes ride hard and fast and with the bike at or above maximum weight loaded with camping gear for two. In short, I haven't babied the clutch, and by some standards you could say I have abused it. No problems yet.

It sure sounds to me like if I had your bike I'd have destroyed the clutch. Next rebuild, make sure all the specifications in the service manual regarding pressure plate dimensions, thickness, etc. are checked. I'm betting something in there isn't right.
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post #6 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 8:35 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Two LTs so far.

One with 140K miles that I sold - no clutch problems. Lots of trailer hauling on that one.

One with 40K so far - no clutch problems.

Change the fluid often, drill a weep hole, cross your fingers.


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post #7 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 9:26 am
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Talking Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

'03 LT.......102377 miles...still original clutch.......I ride it sh_t and get!..............AND my fingers are crossed.

Seems to me there is something wrong with your clutch assembly, not your riding style.

Just my .02's worth.


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Bought used K1200LT number 3. This one is green/teal with 31,369(now 7/29/2018 54,143) miles and is an '02. The first 2 bikes made it to near 150,000 miles.
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Due to heart health, the Dr says not to ride under 40 degree air temp. Ugh! Now it is harder to get my 18000 miles a year in just in the summer. Guess that stopped my 20 degree rides now.
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post #8 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 11:24 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I have a '00 LT with 92K still on the original clutch with not any noticable deterioration in performance and I ride pretty hard. Every manufacturer can throw a bad copy from time to time.

Brian Purvis
Park City, Utah

'05 K1200LT
'03 R1150RT
'04 Husaberg 650FE


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post #9 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 2:16 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I believe that you have either a bad clutch plate or the techs did it wrong. As a few of us, I ride like I stole it and have 193k on her now with original. i just can not believe that your riding style is burning a clutch that fast, its not like your first bike. Good luck and keep the rubber side down.

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post #10 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 4:28 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

130,000 miles on my original clutch & I ride about half of the time at the max. recommended weight or more. I usually start out at 1,200 rpm & never exceed 1,500 rpm to get going regardless of the incline. I also make sure the clutch is fully engaged before rolling on the throttle.

Dave Selvig
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post #11 of 50 Old Dec 25th, 2010, 10:24 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I'm not pointing fingers or besmirching your good name, but just a question for you. When you are riding do you guard the clutch and brake with your fingers? And if so, do you put pressure on the clutch lever at all? My RT clutch was working just fine, and I'd just come home from a 2500 mile trip with it. A few days later I let a "good friend" take it so we could ride for the day after his Suzuki wouldn't start. 300 miles later, my clutch is fried. His fingers are shorter than mine and apparently when he was guarding the clutch lever he put just enough pressure on it to move the slave cylinder ever so slightly. Now, I'm out a clutch and the use of my favorite bike until I get it fixed this winter.

Not gloating or anything of the sort, but my 00 LT has 93,000 on it with the original clutch. Been mostly 2 up riding, heavily loaded and last year pulling a Bushtec trailer. It may go out on me before I ride it next time, but so far the LT's been bullet proof for me.

I am sorry to hear about your clutch issues and hope you can get it sorted out. The LT really is a great bike.

Greg

"Loud lives save pipes"

00 K1200LT (Emil) 94,840 trouble free miles. Gone, but not forgotten
02 R1150RT (Artie) 109,000 miles. Favorite bike. With me to the end.
10 K1300GT (The Phantom) 10,110 miles. Like flying a T-38 on 2 wheels. Gone.
12 K1600GTL (Johnny 5) 3,500. A great compromise between the LT and GT

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post #12 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 12:33 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

In line with what Greg is saying and because you are in PA... are you by any chance using Hand warmers such as this one?


A friend of my dad's burnt his clutch in just a few thousand miles because the hand warmers on his bike were interfering with the clutch lever, keeping the clutch slipping just a bit but all the time. Just a thought...

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post #13 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 12:45 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Interestingly enough I have a 2007 LT. I had to pay to have the clutch replaced two month ago at just over 22,000 miles on the ODO.

Its an LT. We do ride 2-up about 80% of the time. I do not race off the line and the only time I feather the clutch is when I am in a parking lot and I doubt I do that more than anybody else does to keep the RPM up so the plastic stays up too,

Yes, I heard the drivel about riders who wear the clutch out at 7,000 with the tires. I think they teach that story at BMW mechanic school.

I will say the bike never shifted a smoothly as it has since the clutch was replaced. I am wondering if BMW had a bad run of clutches in '07.

Bill

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post #14 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 5:22 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

The slight pressure on the clutch lever described below will result in the throw-out bearing wearing out prematurely, but not the clutch friction plates. Slight pressure on the lever, like driving with a foot resting on the clutch pedal of a manual transmission car, will wear out the throw-out bearing because the bearing will be spinning under load all the time; it isn't designed to do that. But this will not result in slipping of the clutch friction plate between the pressure plates of the clutch proper.
Maybe we'd better define what we mean by "clutch" failure.



Quote:
Originally Posted by pushin9s
I'm not pointing fingers or besmirching your good name, but just a question for you. When you are riding do you guard the clutch and brake with your fingers? And if so, do you put pressure on the clutch lever at all? My RT clutch was working just fine, and I'd just come home from a 2500 mile trip with it. A few days later I let a "good friend" take it so we could ride for the day after his Suzuki wouldn't start. 300 miles later, my clutch is fried. His fingers are shorter than mine and apparently when he was guarding the clutch lever he put just enough pressure on it to move the slave cylinder ever so slightly. Now, I'm out a clutch and the use of my favorite bike until I get it fixed this winter.

Not gloating or anything of the sort, but my 00 LT has 93,000 on it with the original clutch. Been mostly 2 up riding, heavily loaded and last year pulling a Bushtec trailer. It may go out on me before I ride it next time, but so far the LT's been bullet proof for me.

I am sorry to hear about your clutch issues and hope you can get it sorted out. The LT really is a great bike.
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post #15 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 5:58 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

You're not alone, have posted about this before... mine went at 16,000km. Burnt out clutch, no oil leaks. But yes, I was riding it hard, including a serious "ride day" at a track, but mostly daily commuting in city traffic.
At 62,000k on the bike now, so over twice what got from the first one... keeping my fingers crossed... for no more slipping.
Maybe there was some alignment or build issue with the first one? I was really surprised it went so fast.

Chris
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post #16 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 6:05 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

My curiosity piqued by this clutch failure report, I decided to pull out my BMW Service Manual and my Clymer's repair manual and learn a little more about the clutch. I haven't been into a KLT clutch but I've done a few Airheads and a couple of automobiles. The KLT setup is a little different.

I was interested to see that there no specification for the clutch (diaphragm) spring dimensions. Clymer only states to "check the spring for any cracked or broken spring fingers" and "Check the spring for weakness. If the clutch has been slipping and the clutch release mechanism is working properly, the spring may have sagged to the point where it is not longer exerting sufficient pressure on the clutch plate." But there is no specification for minimum clutch spring dimension in either manual that I have found.

I'm thinking if I had friction plate wear out prematurely, I'd sure replace the clutch spring too.

Another interesting component I see in this clutch assembly is the "spacer ring" which is located between the clutch housing and the clutch spring. I wonder what happens if you forget to put this spacer ring in during assembly? From the diagrams it looks to me like it would reduce the clutch spring preload if the spacer ring were left out. Many clutch assemblies I have seen don't have such a spacer ring, and an inexperienced K1200LT mechanic who is just going through the motions of a remove and replace might well rebuild a clutch just the way they found it. No spacer ring there before the rebuild, no spacer ring after the rebuild.

I'm just looking for simple explanations of why a clutch would fail twice after such low mileage. I curious to hear comments of those who have done KLT clutches, John Z?

Last edited by CharlieVT; Dec 26th, 2010 at 6:47 am.
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post #17 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 10:14 am Thread Starter
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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.

Thanks again.

Hanshi
Reading, PA
Current Bikes:
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2008 HD Electra Glide Ultra Classic (red)
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post #18 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 11:27 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanshi

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?
Nothing wrong here. I use the gearbox heavily when riding on the local canyons and mountains to keep the RPM where they need to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanshi
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?
I too feather the clutch at low speed and in traffic in L.A. but I also make sure to fully release the clutch before I give it a full throttle.
I doubt you are doing anything wrong with the way you ride the bike. I don't baby the clutch and I don't intend to change my riding habits either. I am more convinced there is something wrong with your setup...

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 #19 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 1:50 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
I'm just looking for simple explanations of why a clutch would fail twice after such low mileage. I curious to hear comments of those who have done KLT clutches, John Z?
I have a full clutch from Steve's old bike so I will try to assemble it with out the spacer ring and see what it feels like.

Judging from the difference in rod depth from my worn clutch to my new clutch I was very surprized. When pulling the slave there was force on it beyond the bolts from the rod. When I put the new clutch in the rod was much farther forward and the slave was almost to the housing before any resistance was felt. Based on that I think it would be a no go at all if you did leave out the ring.

We are in our second day of snow here and the roads are icy so no riding today for me.
OK Just tried it out and if you leave out the spacer ring the clutch has no grab at all. So that is not the cause of these short lived clutches.

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

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

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post #20 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 2:59 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Thanks John,

I thought you might be able to provide some insight into the spacer ring thing...thanks for taking the time to check it out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
I have a full clutch from Steve's old bike so I will try to assemble it with out the spacer ring and see what it feels like.

Judging from the difference in rod depth from my worn clutch to my new clutch I was very surprized. When pulling the slave there was force on it beyond the bolts from the rod. When I put the new clutch in the rod was much farther forward and the slave was almost to the housing before any resistance was felt. Based on that I think it would be a no go at all if you did leave out the ring.

We are in our second day of snow here and the roads are icy so no riding today for me.
OK Just tried it out and if you leave out the spacer ring the clutch has no grab at all. So that is not the cause of these short lived clutches.
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post #21 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 3:26 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildBil
Interestingly enough I have a 2007 LT. I had to pay to have the clutch replaced two month ago at just over 22,000 miles on the ODO.

Its an LT. We do ride 2-up about 80% of the time. I do not race off the line and the only time I feather the clutch is when I am in a parking lot and I doubt I do that more than anybody else does to keep the RPM up so the plastic stays up too,

Yes, I heard the drivel about riders who wear the clutch out at 7,000 with the tires. I think they teach that story at BMW mechanic school.

I will say the bike never shifted a smoothly as it has since the clutch was replaced. I am wondering if BMW had a bad run of clutches in '07.

Bill
Since I also have an 07, I sure hope not!! :-)

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post #22 of 50 Old Dec 26th, 2010, 3:38 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanshi
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.

Thanks again.
I see nothing inherently wrong with covering the brake and clutch on an LT as long as covering is all you are doing. I generally don't worry about covering the clutch as the brake is what really matters. If it takes a half second to disengage the clutch that will make little difference in a panic stop. The LT brakes are FAR more powerful than is the engine.

I would replace the clutch spring at the next rebuild and probably the pressure plate and flywheel as well. That way you eliminate glazed surfaces and a weak spring as modes of failure.

It really doesn't sound like it is your technique, but still want to watch that and maybe have another experienced rider observe. I generally try to do as someone mentioned earlier and keep the RPM at 1200 or less for normal starts. I have went as high as 3,000 when two-up and loaded on a hill. That is where the LTs too tall first fear is a real PITA, but it is what it is. However, even that shouldn't cause a wear issue, but does risk seriously overheating the clutch. So, in those cases I try to get the bike moving as quickly as I can and get the clutch fully engaged.

It seems to me that your clutch has to be slipping nearly constantly to wear out that fast and I am surprised that there isn't a heat issue which you could smell and also see with blued areas on the clutch parts. And if you clutch was slipping all the time it seems you would notice it when riding as the tach and speedometer would not always move in a ratioed unison, but the tach would rise more quickly under heavy throttle, particularly in higher gears.

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post #23 of 50 Old Dec 31st, 2010, 8:40 am Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

With my dealer off for the Holidays, there is nothing that can be done about the bike at this time. I also contacted BMW directly and the end result of our discussion is that they will be sending a Technical Rep. down to my dealer to check the bike out as well prior to any repairs. We will see what results.

With respect to the RB Racing replacement clutches, they look very interesting. I also noticed that Touratech also produced a ceramic clutch (but only for the R1150 and R1100S bikes). Has anyone installed one of the RB Racing clutches? They have a number of options for the LT - in particular the RSR Turbo Six Paw would seem to be the way to go.

Just would like to get some feedback from a user of their product.

I have been told from another Master BMW Mechanic that "my bike doesn't need to be re-engineered, it needs to be repaired properly", and while I can't disagree with that statement, if they find that everything is up to spec on my bike, it would then seem to me that it was something in my riding style that caused the problem. If this turns out to be the case, it would seem to make cense to me to install a ceramic clutch to "protect the bike from me".

Any feedback or thoughts on this approach.

Hanshi
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post #24 of 50 Old Dec 31st, 2010, 9:11 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I'd be willing to bet a cold beer that it is not you or your riding style. I think the comment from your other BMW mechanic friend is right on, "it needs to be repaired correctly". Good luck with your meeting with the rep. Keep us posted on the results.

Happy Newyear

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post #25 of 50 Old Dec 31st, 2010, 10:48 am
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Have you had clutch trouble before on anything? Are you recently hard of hearing? If not I'd bet that cold beer too, that it is something else.

Can you find another similar bike and compare the clutch lever force?. I'll bet the feel of yours is way different.
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post #26 of 50 Old Dec 31st, 2010, 11:40 am Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

No, I have not had any clutch problems on my other bikes.

My hearing while still ok is not what is was when I was younger, but I can still clearly someone call me for food or beer :-)

Will keep forum up to date when I get more info from the dealer / BMW Rep.

Now to focus on bringing in the New Year. Best wishes to all of my fellow BMW Riders.

Hanshi
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post #27 of 50 Old Dec 31st, 2010, 2:08 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanshi
With my dealer off for the Holidays, there is nothing that can be done about the bike at this time. I also contacted BMW directly and the end result of our discussion is that they will be sending a Technical Rep. down to my dealer to check the bike out as well prior to any repairs. We will see what results.

With respect to the RB Racing replacement clutches, they look very interesting. I also noticed that Touratech also produced a ceramic clutch (but only for the R1150 and R1100S bikes). Has anyone installed one of the RB Racing clutches? They have a number of options for the LT - in particular the RSR Turbo Six Paw would seem to be the way to go.

Just would like to get some feedback from a user of their product.

I have been told from another Master BMW Mechanic that "my bike doesn't need to be re-engineered, it needs to be repaired properly", and while I can't disagree with that statement, if they find that everything is up to spec on my bike, it would then seem to me that it was something in my riding style that caused the problem. If this turns out to be the case, it would seem to make cense to me to install a ceramic clutch to "protect the bike from me".

Any feedback or thoughts on this approach.
Well, I'd say not to do anything until you find out what the problem really is. Once the LT is repaired properly, then I would have someone observe your riding technique just to rule that out as a contributing factor. I think too many LTs have logged too many miles on the original clutch for the high wear rate to be a design defect. Something else is going on with your machine.

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post #28 of 50 Old Dec 31st, 2010, 2:54 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Hanshi, when I posted the link to the aftermarket clutch, I wasn't endorsing it. I just did a clutch job on my '01, and felt good enough about the stock clutch that it's what I used - not the one I linked. I just threw that out there as an alternative.
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post #29 of 50 Old Jan 1st, 2011, 12:46 am Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Thanks for the clarification. I also noted that Touratech also has a ceramic clutch but it is just for the GS. I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with a ceramic clutch plate? It seems like it might be a good way to go for the extra assurance.

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post #30 of 50 Old Jan 2nd, 2011, 8:48 am Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Well, I tried to contact RB Racing to inquire about their ceramic clutch plates, but no dice. I asked them for a recommendation and if they could give me a referral to someone who had purchased their product. Their reply was pretty telling:

"We aren't shipping them right now due to other projects need to be finished. Even if we were we would never give any referrals due to privacy issues.

In time everyone can find everyone else. We are not going to be part of that.

RB Racing"

Sort of get the impression that even though they have a nice section of their web page devoted to BMW Clutches, that the actual product may be more vapor ware than reality.

I wrote them back and asked when they would have product and be shipping and which model they would recommend for my LT. Just wanted to give them a second chance, in case they were starting off the New Year on a bad foot.

So it looks like the only answer is going to be a stock clutch replacement.

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post #31 of 50 Old Jan 4th, 2011, 6:18 am
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Just replaced Jenna's clutch after 75,000 kms. Tow a trailer for about 30% of that distance. Began to slip in 5th but only if under high acceleration. Normal signs really, but not too bad.
Knew it wasn't slave as weep hole drilled eons ago and no leaks there. Decided to bite the bullet and pull her to bits. No oil contamination, just wear. Old plate was 4.9mm - 5.1mm
Normal wear on other components, nothing too bad. New plate 6.1mm. Replaced all the bits except the Clutch Housing as per details. Rear engine seal too just to be sure.
Seems odd that slippage occurs with such little wear.
Clutch now seems very light in operation, and only engages in the last 25% of travel. ie next to the bar grip. Maybe lubing the splines as per clymer helps.

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post #32 of 50 Old Jan 4th, 2011, 3:47 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I was wondering.... at what RPM are you shifting up or down...? If my RPMs drop below 3,000, I tend to downshift to the next lowest gear. Upshifting... I never exceed 5,500 RPM. Don't know if that helps any....

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post #33 of 50 Old Jan 4th, 2011, 5:24 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

"I never exceed 5,500 RPM"
Hang on to your hat Dave, you're gonna get jumped for that statement. Me first. If you're not going over 5,500 RPM, you're not enjoying all the bike has to offer. Get into some tight curves, and run her upwards of 7,000, even toward 8, and you'll experience an whole different bike.
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post #34 of 50 Old Jan 4th, 2011, 6:32 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Replaced my transmission at about 65,000 miles due to a bend shift fork for 2nd gear. I do not baby the clutch and have ridden quite a bit of 2up.

We replaced the clutch since it was out anyway. There was no visible difference between the old and the new clutch disc. I did not measure it but I can assure you that it had plenty of life left in it. With all new clutch parts the clutch depresses noticeable easier and engages sooner.

My personal opinion based on experiences with high performance cars: If there are no oil leaks, no broken spring, seized parts or other such easily diagnosed issues once the clutch is removed the only thing left is how the clutch is operated.

Wolfgang

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post #35 of 50 Old Jan 4th, 2011, 8:01 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilton
. Old plate was 4.9mm - 5.1mm
Normal wear on other components, nothing too bad. New plate 6.1mm.
Mine was a bit closer to the 4.6mm wear limit (I think it was 4.7 or 4.8). It was fine except for that once a shot slip in 5th. Pulled strong in the lower gears. Looks like you only get 1.5mm (or less until slippage occurs) to play with. And yes the feel after the new install was quite different.

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post #36 of 50 Old Feb 13th, 2011, 2:41 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Update on my clutch issue - BMW discussed with my local dealer. The decision was that nothing appeared wrong with the clutch assembly other than the wear. However, even though the bike was 1 1/2 years out of warranty, BMW offered to pay for the repair parts with my having to pay for the labor. My dealer gave me a break on the labor as well. I felt it was a fair resolution to the problem.

While the bike was apart, I had the dealer do the 24,000 mile service, so I was able to save the labor cost which I would have had to do in a few months.

Got the bike back saturday and am really trying to look at how I ride it and see how I may have gone wrong.

Glad to have the bike back, as I really missed it. The weather broke this weekend and I was able to ride it a bit.

Now if only Spring would come soon!!

Hanshi
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post #37 of 50 Old Feb 13th, 2011, 3:07 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

That is good news Hanshi and good to hear that your dealer and BMW stuck with you. It will be interesting now to see how long this clutch lasts.

Bill
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post #38 of 50 Old Feb 13th, 2011, 6:28 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hanshi
Update on my clutch issue - BMW discussed with my local dealer. The decision was that nothing appeared wrong with the clutch assembly other than the wear. However, even though the bike was 1 1/2 years out of warranty, BMW offered to pay for the repair parts with my having to pay for the labor. My dealer gave me a break on the labor as well. I felt it was a fair resolution to the problem.

While the bike was apart, I had the dealer do the 24,000 mile service, so I was able to save the labor cost which I would have had to do in a few months.

Got the bike back saturday and am really trying to look at how I ride it and see how I may have gone wrong.

Glad to have the bike back, as I really missed it. The weather broke this weekend and I was able to ride it a bit.

Now if only Spring would come soon!!
Glad that you got some help from BMW. I still find it hard to believe that technique alone, not matter how bad, could wear out two clutches in 20,000 miles. I still wonder if your clutch spring is weak and I don't think you could tell this by visual inspection alone.

However, since you can't affect that at the moment, looking at your tecnique is something you can do. I suggest finding a fellow LT owner (one who has at least 50,000 miles on a clutch!) and have them observe you starting out a few times, particularly on uphill grades, etc. That should quickly tell you if something about your technique is faulty. And they should also observe you riding to be sure you aren't "covering" the clutch all of the time and inadvertantly causing it to partially disengage.

Lastly, I would let this person ride your LT back-to-back with their LT to see if the clutch feels "normal" to them on engagement, etc.

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post #39 of 50 Old Feb 13th, 2011, 6:52 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I replaced my clutch at 19K due to the slave leaking. I reused the pressure plate because it wasn't damaged. When it slipped on me, I took it home and tore it down. Clutch was still going strong at 75K when I totalled it. I'm sure it would have went a lot longer........

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post #40 of 50 Old Feb 13th, 2011, 9:25 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
Glad that you got some help from BMW. I still find it hard to believe that technique alone, not matter how bad, could wear out two clutches in 20,000 miles. I still wonder if your clutch spring is weak and I don't think you could tell this by visual inspection alone.

However, since you can't affect that at the moment, looking at your tecnique is something you can do. I suggest finding a fellow LT owner (one who has at least 50,000 miles on a clutch!) and have them observe you starting out a few times, particularly on uphill grades, etc. That should quickly tell you if something about your technique is faulty. And they should also observe you riding to be sure you aren't "covering" the clutch all of the time and inadvertantly causing it to partially disengage.

Lastly, I would let this person ride your LT back-to-back with their LT to see if the clutch feels "normal" to them on engagement, etc.
Thanks for the suggestions. I will give it a shot and particularly about having another LT rider ride my bike to see if feels the same.

Hanshi
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post #41 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 3:50 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

yeah i had the same problem on my K1200LT. i had a major problem on my 2001 model had only 30000 mikes in the signal my clutch blown out of the case. then i fixed with $4000. then within 2000miles the cluth was slippes and the mechanic figured that the clutch need to replace again, and he said the bearing was out but it is on gaurentee, but i need to spend another $1500. why this happens. its happens on K1200 LT
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post #42 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 4:47 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I have over 168,000 miles on my original clutch. I just rode home with the bike almost 200 lbs over the max GVW at 1442 lbs. I have rode tens of thousands of miles at over 1300 lbs & am going to ride the switch back roads in the mountains in a couple of weeks with a lot of wide open throttle shifting up & down.

It is possible to wear out the LT clutch in under 10,000 miles with improper throttle to clutch lever techniques. I'm sure I'm real close to having to replace my clutch.

Dave Selvig
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post #43 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 5:51 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Not knowing all of the mechanical details and services involved, there appears to be other factors possibly contributing to the clutch failures.
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post #44 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 5:55 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Just an update, since the 3rd clutch was installed at 20,000 miles I have tried very hard to watch my driving style. So far it has worked and I now have 30,000 miles on the bile (10,000 on the latest clutch). What I have tried to do is eliminate any slipping of the clutch at starts, engage the clutch at around 1,000 rpms, and limit engine braking. It is definately a different way to ride the bike from what I did with my previous bikes, but I am getting used to it. Will see how it works out in the long run.

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post #45 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 6:06 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

had a friend who could not keep a clutch in a car, slipped it a lot on start up, I normally have my hand off the lever before travelling 3 feet, engage at idle and apply slight power with a bit of throttle, dry clutch a lot different than wet clutch.

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post #46 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 7:37 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I have 180K on my 1 and only clutch. I use engine breaking all the time and slip the clutch at lights and no problems. Jim
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post #47 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 9:52 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

I've had two clutch failures, in both cases the clutch plate was fried. First time was on my 03 with about 20K miles, dealer fixed it under warranty. Put another 55K on it and I didn't have any more problems. Sold that bike and went about a year stuck in a cage. Bought a 05 last year with 5k miles and that clutch went out around 12K. Again the dealer said the clutch plate was fried. I've got 33K on it now with no problems. The key for me was reading on this site that you should not engage with rpms above 2500. I think the second clutch failed due to some red light racing with local sports cars. Safe to say I've learned my lesson.


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Airwolf - 2018 K1600GTL (planned acquisition!)
2005 Charcoal LT - 48K
2003 Antracite LT - 76K
2001 R1200C 24K
1999 Honda Magna - 5K (RIP)
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post #48 of 50 Old Oct 4th, 2012, 11:26 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

Holy thread resurrection Batman!!

Brian
CCR: 2008, Midway; 2011, Boise; 2012, Duluth; 2014, Chattanooga. MOA: Billings, 2015; SLC, 2017
CCR-R: 2018, Russellville
'13 K1600 GTL-P - "Eva"
Sold but "beloved" ride: K12 LT - "Pepe"
IBA #31242 (SSx2, BB, BBG)
MOA #136148

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post #49 of 50 Old Oct 5th, 2012, 4:48 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

If you get the bike going in first, release throttle and let it idle along a bit you will see the speed at which clutch should be fully engaged, i have not tried it with gps but it seems to be around 4 - 5 mph

if you use much rpm you will fully engage clutch at higher speed having slipped the clutch more tha needed

Gary
2018 R1200RT
Past rides
2012 K1600GTL
2000 K1200LT
1992 K1100LT
2000 V Star 650/Velorex sidecar
1985 K100RT
1965 R60/2
1960 AJS 500 single
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post #50 of 50 Old Oct 5th, 2012, 6:53 pm
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Re: Clutch Failures - 2 at 20,000 miles

My rule is never exceed 1,500 rpm until your hand is off the clutch. I shoot for 1,200.

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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