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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
I've had a complete clutch failure at 12k miles (6k of them mine), 6k previous owner.

BMW are telling me that if this is wear and tear it's not under warantee and I simply can't afford to replace it if this is the case.
Any advice how best to go about this as 6/12k miles out of a clutch on a flagship LD Tourer is not what I expect for this price tag....
 

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What year is your bike? and do you have a trailer, 12k seems awfully low
 

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Hard to imagine it is all wear, unless you ride the clutch.

If you were a "betting man", you would probably bet on clutch contamination.

If you are going to have them do the work, you can "be there" when they take the clutch apart. If it is all full of oil, then it is a seal.

If you have an honorable dealer (did I just use those two words back-to-back??), he will let you know if it is wear or contamination. A measurement of the wear parts should show them within spec.

Do a search on "Clutch slipping" or something similar here and readup.

Sorry for you trouble, good luck!

Joe
 

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Alevel17 said:
...I've had a complete clutch failure....
How do they know at BMW it is wear? By phone conversation or did they inspect?

Unless either you or the previous owner are terrible at riding a clutch, it is most likely a component failure. BMW clutches are of "automotive" style, very rugged and often last well into 6-digit mileage. I've never heard of anyone wearing down his at 12k miles.

Previous post is correct: contamination is much more likely. Clutch slave cylinders are the frequent culprits, although shaft seals fail occasionally as well.

If I were you, I'd have a discussion with dealer on how to determine the cause of failure without spending a ton of cash (in case it is your fault after all).

Beware: as I understand it, some warranties may not cover damage caused by faulty seals. Ask beforehand if it applies in the UK!
 

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Alevel17 said:
Hi All,
I've had a complete clutch failure at 12k miles (6k of them mine), 6k previous owner.

BMW are telling me that if this is wear and tear it's not under warantee and I simply can't afford to replace it if this is the case.
Any advice how best to go about this as 6/12k miles out of a clutch on a flagship LD Tourer is not what I expect for this price tag....
I think they are hedgeing their bets with this statement. In other words if they open it up and NOTHING is leaking it is wear and tear. Mine even at 50K had some oil leakage on it.
 

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If it's caused by a leak, it's clearly warranty and I doubt that anyone will give you any grief over it. If the clutch is worn out, it has all to do with the way it was used and is unrelated to the price of the bike. Once it is taken apart, a simple visual inspection by a layman can determine that.



Alevel17 said:
Hi All,
I've had a complete clutch failure at 12k miles (6k of them mine), 6k previous owner.

BMW are telling me that if this is wear and tear it's not under warantee and I simply can't afford to replace it if this is the case.
Any advice how best to go about this as 6/12k miles out of a clutch on a flagship LD Tourer is not what I expect for this price tag....
 

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Most likely it's contaminated. Clutches don't wear out that fast. My suspicion is you have an older model bike that spent most of the time sitting in a garge and the seals slowly dried up causing your problems.
 

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Clutches last WAY longer than that in LTs, some up to 100,000 miles. AS noted by others it could be contaminated from a leaking seal. Also, you have no idea how the previous owner treated it. A few years ago a guy complained that his clutch was worn out after 10,000 miles. He then proceeded to explain that he rode with his hand covering the clutch lever (good), and with it pulled in a little (BAD BAD BAD!!!) just in case he had to make an emergency stop. I told him to sell the bike and take up staring at rocks as a hobby.
 

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DavidTaylor said:
Clutches last WAY longer than that in LTs, some up to 100,000 miles. AS noted by others it could be contaminated from a leaking seal. Also, you have no idea how the previous owner treated it. A few years ago a guy complained that his clutch was worn out after 10,000 miles. He then proceeded to explain that he rode with his hand covering the clutch lever (good), and with it pulled in a little (BAD BAD BAD!!!) just in case he had to make an emergency stop. I told him to sell the bike and take up staring at rocks as a hobby.
Yes, it is possible to wear out a dry clutch in 10K miles, but it takes really poor technique as you illustrate above or like the guy in the youtube video trying to do a burnout with an LT. That kind of abuse can trash a clutch fairly quickly.

I've driven several standard shift 4-wheelers well past 100K miles and have never yet worn out a clutch. My current pickup, a Chevy K1500, is used to plow snow and haul firewood and the original clutch is still going strong at 115K miles. I expect the truck to rust out before the clutch wears out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi all,
Thanks for the updates.
I'm UK and no I don't ride the clutch :) I do cover it but no pressure on it.
It's an '07 (September)
Errr I do use Engine braking, I did this for 10 years on my other bikes with never a problem but I think they all had wet clutches and I've just been told the LT has a Dry car like clutch, would that be a problem?
(IE Down shifting and letting the clutch out so the engine braking slows you down but obviously never red lining or riding the clutch - if I down shift to far, very very rare...I'll clutch back in and shift up)

I'm glad to hear it's most likely oil, I'm just worried with my luck lately that it will be physical and then I'd have to try argue with BMW (Bang my head against a wall?) about it.
Anyway I'll find out on the 25th when they take a look at it for the 12k service anyway *fingers crossed*
 

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Alevel17 said:
... just worried with my luck lately that it will be physical and then I'd have to try argue with BMW (Bang my head against a wall?) ...
Unfortunately, it is "physical" as well, in the sense that if it is oil contamination, the clutch is destroyed and must be replaced together with the offending seals.

In order to really determine the cause of failure, the bike has to be disassembled.

Sorry, no good news here. Prepare yourself for at least a prospect of spending money, discuss both "what-if's" with the dealer: what happens if the clutch is worn down and what if contaminated. The odds are in your favor (engine braking should not stress the clutch), but as you know, there are no guarantees in life.
 

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Engine braking will not hurt your clutch. I've done this all my life. I drove a truck for 20 years and I've never lost a clutch. I lost my LT clutch due to a slave cylinder leak. I replaced it and it has 45K miles on it now and working fine. Good luck with your dealer. It sounds like he's trying to weasel out of fixing it even before he has inspected it............... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Phew!! thanks! i was haivng a huge DOH moment thinking I had been stupid and damaged it with the Engine braking! Will keep you all updated when I know more on 25t!
 

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Alevel17 said:
Errr I do use Engine braking, I did this for 10 years on my other bikes with never a problem but I think they all had wet clutches and I've just been told the LT has a Dry car like clutch, would that be a problem?
(IE Down shifting and letting the clutch out so the engine braking slows you down but obviously never red lining or riding the clutch - if I down shift to far, very very rare...I'll clutch back in and shift up)
Engine braking per se will not harm the clutch. Letting the clutch out when the engine RPM is not closely matched to the gearbox input shaft RPM WILL wear the clutch. When you downshift you do blip the throttle so that when you engage the clutch the engine RPM doesn't change dramatically, right?
 

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I'm just curious. Is it possible that due to riding condition in Europe clutches wear out much faster than in the US and perhaps than other continents like Australia?

If the UK roads are short and crowded as other countries I have seen in Europe ( and I suspect they are ) chances are that a clutch on any vehicle will be used three to five times more than the US. I think that most of LTs in the US are ridden on longer freeway trips than in any country in Europe, therefore requiring less shifting.
It would make sense that due to shorter distances and crowder roads in European countries one will shift the clutch more often than in the US, consequently wearing it out much sooner. If I ride a 200 miles day-trip in my area I may be do 10-15 complete shifting during the entire trip. In comparison one may need to shift 50-70 times on the same distance in UK. If my analogy is correct a clutch with 12K miles in the UK should have the same wear and tear of a 50K miles' clutch in the US. Hhmmm....,hope I didn't say something stupid here. :eek:
 

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Pier1 said:
I'm just curious. Is it possible that due to riding condition in Europe clutches wear out much faster than in the US and perhaps than other continents like Australia?

If the UK roads are short and crowded as other countries I have seen in Europe ( and I suspect they are ) chances are that a clutch on any vehicle will be used three to five times more than the US. I think that most of LTs in the US are ridden on longer freeway trips than in any country in Europe, therefore requiring less shifting.
It would make sense that due to shorter distances and crowder roads in European countries one will shift the clutch more often than in the US, consequently wearing it out much sooner. If I ride a 200 miles day-trip in my area I may be do 10-15 complete shifting during the entire trip. In comparison one may need to shift 50-70 times on the same distance in UK. If my analogy is correct a clutch with 12K miles in the UK should have the same wear and tear of a 50K miles' clutch in the US. Hhmmm....,hope I didn't say something stupid here. :eek:
I think that is certainly a possibility. However, keep in mind that the US is hardly monolithic. Our rural areas (where I live) are much more rural than most places I visited in England (I lived there for 4 months on a work assignment many years ago), however, the urban areas in the US such as LA, NY, Chicago, Atlanta, etc., rival anything that England has to offer. So, I think that the type of riding likely has a huge affect on clutch life, but I suspect the variation within the US and even the UK may be greater than the variation between the US and the UK.
 

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Pier1 said:
If I ride a 200 miles day-trip in my area I may be do 10-15 complete shifting during the entire trip.
I'd like to know where in Fairfax you live that you may only do 10-15 complete shifts? All kidding aside, you bring up some good points.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Riding 100miles a day through London and the M1 I probably shift close to 100 times a day especially through London =p.

I blip off and clutch in, shift, clutch out and re-apply throttle all in about a half a second or so...but yes the RPM's aren't too disparate (IE The revs don't suddenly go through the roof when I clutch out, if they did I'd clutch straight back in again and shift up)
 

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I believe the challenge is going to be "watching" them disassemble the clutch. I think the chances of it being a seal caused failure is GREAT. I also believe the chances of most dealers telling you that "you" wore the clutch out is greater. I'm not sure how many dealers will let you watch the bike being worked on. I don't think either of the dealers in Atlanta will let you watch. My buddy had a clutch failure at 10K and, of course, they "told him" it was his fault. For those of you that have "reputable" dealers....you're VERY fortunate!
 

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Pier1 said:
... possible that ... in Europe clutches wear out much faster...
12K miles in the UK should have the same wear and tear of a 50K miles' clutch in the US. Hhmmm....,hope I didn't say something stupid here. :eek:
A. Even if this was the case - 12,000 miles? No way.

B. What's wrong with 50k miles? And welcome to my world - metro NY City.

C. Cars get easily 100km+ mileage - at least where I travel, in Germany and east from there - comparable to manual trans cars stateside, no reason bikes should be different.


Now, after all this discussion, I re-read the Original Post and I see that we are getting all bent out of shape for possibly no reason. According to the post, BMW said that "if it is wear", it is not their responsibility. They do not say "it is wear". I think it is fair enough.

And, as most here suspect that it is contamination, they will have hard time fudging the results. Let's hope Alevel17 has good news next week.
 
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