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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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Hanshi said:
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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fpmlt said:
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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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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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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'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. :bmw:
 

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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.
 

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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.

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Zeke
 

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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.



pushin9s said:
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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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.
 

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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?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
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.
 

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Hanshi said:
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.

Hanshi said:
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...
 

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CharlieVT said:
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.
 

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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.



jzeiler said:
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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