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When I bought my Lt 2 years ago it had this annoying rattle coming from the front case at the cam gears. I read the forums and figured that this sound was a normal unusual noise ( Clutch, exhaust). I tightened the 3 loose exhaust nuts and still had rattle. I called my mechanic and asked about trying a lighter weight oil. ( I normally run 20-50) He told me to try running 10-40 in it. I did a change out to 10-40 and added 3 ounces of Sea Foam to the oil. The rattle has since gone away. Im thinking that there may have been some deposits in the oil ports. Has any one else had this problem? IS it safe to keep running 10-40 or should I switch back to the 20-50? ( Im using conventional oil)
 

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Sorry that I cannot help, but its an interesting fix. I am also thought about the possibility of having narrow channels blocked by high weight oil, especially when I do a lot of short runs that barely gets the LT engine temp up to normal, mixed in with a lot of long weekend trips.

Thanks for the details.

Bill
 

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WildBil said:
Sorry that I cannot help, but its an interesting fix. I am also thought about the possibility of having narrow channels blocked by high weight oil, especially when I do a lot of short runs that barely gets the LT engine temp up to normal, mixed in with a lot of long weekend trips.

Thanks for the details.

Bill
What made me think that the noise was an oil problem was when we had that week of 90' plus temperatures. I took a 150 mile ride and the bike got good and hot. The rattle went away. I figured I'd try a lighter oil and my mechanic agreed with it. He told me to use only half the Sea Foam as what they sate on the bottle. I put the 3 ounces in then the oil. It took about a week of riding to work and back. I cleared up yesterday morning and the bike didn't even get warm. I started it this morning when it was good and cold and still no rattle. I still hear the clutch and other normal engine noises but no rocks in the box sound.
 

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Drumbum said:
ill have to try this as mine rattles as well and it is quite disconcerting to say the least....
Keep in mind that it may not work right away. It took a week of riding to get it to start working. When you switch to 10-40 use about 3 ounces of Sea Foam. The oil will appear watery. Ive been assured by my mechanic who I swaer by that this will not harm the engine. Once the rattle goes away dont be alarmed if it comes back on a cold start. It will eventualy go away completely. Once gone, the bike will sound and feel like brand new. You will never want to get off it... as you should never want to get off it in the first place :D . Also while your at it put a small splop of Sea Foam in the fuel tank before your next fill up. Works great in the fuel as well as the oil. This is a cheap alternative to having a walletectomy from having the motor torn apart. Good luck, Hope it works out for you.
 

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I use SeaFoam regularly in the fuel (on all my gas powered stuff) but have never used it in the oil. I have NO knowledge of what the long term effects may be from leaving it in the oil, but I would be cautious. Just sayin.
 

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Here's what's going on - and very well explained by our own John Zeiler:

"What I suspect you are hearing is the K bike rattle. Most noticeable at startup and at idle. It is caused by the movement of the gear train from the crankshaft to the clutch shaft and is associated with the alternator drive gear. These all fit rather loosely and will rattle about until loaded, ie. electrical load increased, RPM increased or clutch pulled in. You see two of the three gears in this photo."

Interestingly enough, if you search the archives through hundreds of thousands of posts (and millions of miles) I can only remember one outright engine failure of a K1200 - and that was caused by a member purposely messing around with mixture causing a lean condition.

The Flying Brick is probably one of the most trouble free engines EVER invented - automotive or motorcycle. Treat it right with oil changes and OEM filters and the odds of an engine related failure are extremely remote.

All engines have their own little quirks and peculiar noises - this one is well known and nothing to be concerned with. After two LT's, nine years (usually fully loaded and towing a 300 lb. trailer) and 180K miles mine still sounds like marbles rattling in a coffee can when cold.

BTW - oil additives are expressly NOT recommended by BMW. Maybe your "mechanic" knows something they don't. :rolleyes: ...but if Sea Foam floats your boat... ;)
 

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'All engines have their own little quirks and peculiar noises - this one is well known and nothing to be concerned with. After two LT's, nine years (usually fully loaded and towing a 300 lb. trailer) and 180K miles mine still sounds like marbles rattling in a coffee can when cold.'

It's amazing how 'quirky' sounds and the like can make some of us crazy. A friend who was new to BMW's refused to believe it was 'normal' for early 'R' valves to be noisy and periodically produce frightening sounds. No amount of tech articles or reviews was going to stop him from 'fixing' it. His final fix was to sell the bike. Oh well, what is it they say about horses and water?
 

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I am so glad to hear this. At idle and while coasting up to lights, I always figured there has got to be something out of adjustment making all the noise. Just a bit of gas and gone. Now I know. I will put the worry beads away for something else.
 

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When I bought the bike ( Used ) it had the rattle. I took it to my local Beemer mechanic Heids Hodaka in Johnsburg N.Y. Paul Heid looked at it and took it for a spin. He didn't seem bothered by the noise. I also checked the forums here and read about the same noise by other owners. I decided to just deal with it. I read about the clutch rattles and K motor whine. I put a mechanics stethoscope to the engine. I found the sound to be coming from the timing chain case up front. The sound traveled from the cam gears all through the head. It was heard at idle and got louder at 2500 rpms up till 3000. It went away at 4000rpms. I would keep the revs up just to keep things quiet. What made me look at it again was when New York had that week of 90'F plus temps. The rattle went away and the motor sounded great. I consulted Paul Heid and he agreed that it could be an oil issue. He stated that 10-40 would work fine in the K-motor. He told me that Sea Foam was pretty much benign ( hope im spelling that right) stuff. He suggested using only half of what the directions stated. The motor is now quiet and I now hear the K motor whine and the clutch noise. The clutch noise is the same noise my old 1100 Gold Wing made. I think I may have had gunk or air bubbles in the oil ports. I may try switching back to 20-50 at the next oil change with out the Sea Foam. I will becarful about adding stuff to the oil though. The Heids have always done right by me and I trust them 100%. Oh by the way I also have them working on a fix for my broken trunk latch. Ill post that as soon as they are done.
 

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mjordans2000 said:
'All engines have their own little quirks and peculiar noises - this one is well known and nothing to be concerned with. After two LT's, nine years (usually fully loaded and towing a 300 lb. trailer) and 180K miles mine still sounds like marbles rattling in a coffee can when cold.'

It's amazing how 'quirky' sounds and the like can make some of us crazy. A friend who was new to BMW's refused to believe it was 'normal' for early 'R' valves to be noisy and periodically produce frightening sounds. No amount of tech articles or reviews was going to stop him from 'fixing' it. His final fix was to sell the bike. Oh well, what is it they say about horses and water?
Every time I start my '79 R80 it shudders violently and begrudgingly sputters to life. The next thing I hear are strange death rattles and loud ringing sounds before the cylinders receive a fresh charge of oil. One cylinder always seems to be louder than the other. Strange clicking, clacking and tapping noise abound. This engine is definitely coming apart!

Is that a valve starting to recede? Could it be a rocker arm isn't adjusted just right? Did I somehow tighten the valves too much? Is my timing not advanced enough and causing it to ping? Are my points wearing out? Should I be running a heavier weight oil? Should I be using lead substitute in every tank of gas? Due I have an air leak in one of the carb mounts causing a lean condition on one side? Do I have my carbs balanced perfectly? Do I need to tighten/loosen my throttle cables?

Then I went to the national rally and listened carefully as a large group of 25 to 50 year old airheads whizzed by my tent one morning. Cacophony is the only word I can think of to describe the sound, yet sweet music to my ears.

Now I just put in my ear plugs and RIDE IT, :D
 

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"Every time I start my '79 R80 it shudders violently and begrudgingly sputters to life. The next thing I hear are strange death rattles and loud ringing sounds before the cylinders receive a fresh charge of oil. One cylinder always seems to be louder than the other. Strange clicking, clacking and tapping noise abound. This engine is definitely coming apart!"

So maybe you know this then Ron, did BMW copy this from Harley, or did Harley copy it from BMW?
 

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Here's what I can tell you with absolute conviction......... I want one of those cutaway engines like the one in Ron's photo!

In fact, I would love to have a failed engine to just tear down, study and enjoy.

Anyone?

Loren


RonKMiller said:
Here's what's going on - and very well explained by our own John Zeiler:

"What I suspect you are hearing is the K bike rattle. Most noticeable at startup and at idle. It is caused by the movement of the gear train from the crankshaft to the clutch shaft and is associated with the alternator drive gear. These all fit rather loosely and will rattle about until loaded, ie. electrical load increased, RPM increased or clutch pulled in. You see two of the three gears in this photo."

Interestingly enough, if you search the archives through hundreds of thousands of posts (and millions of miles) I can only remember one outright engine failure of a K1200 - and that was caused by a member purposely messing around with mixture causing a lean condition.

The Flying Brick is probably one of the most trouble free engines EVER invented - automotive or motorcycle. Treat it right with oil changes and OEM filters and the odds of an engine related failure are extremely remote.

All engines have their own little quirks and peculiar noises - this one is well known and nothing to be concerned with. After two LT's, nine years (usually fully loaded and towing a 300 lb. trailer) and 180K miles mine still sounds like marbles rattling in a coffee can when cold.

BTW - oil additives are expressly NOT recommended by BMW. Maybe your "mechanic" knows something they don't. :rolleyes: ...but if Sea Foam floats your boat... ;)
 

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fpmlt said:
"Every time I start my '79 R80 it shudders violently and begrudgingly sputters to life. The next thing I hear are strange death rattles and loud ringing sounds before the cylinders receive a fresh charge of oil. One cylinder always seems to be louder than the other. Strange clicking, clacking and tapping noise abound. This engine is definitely coming apart!"

So maybe you know this then Ron, did BMW copy this from Harley, or did Harley copy it from BMW?
LOL... I forgot to mention that all day long at 80 mph mine is quiet and silky smooth due to that heavy flywheel and autobahn 5th gear - and no trail of parts is left behind. :wave

Can 1979 Harley's do 80 mph?? :D
 

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RonKMiller said:
LOL... I forgot to mention that all day long at 80 mph mine is quiet and silky smooth due to that heavy flywheel and autobahn 5th gear - and no trail of parts is left behind. :wave

Can 1979 Harley's do 80 mph?? :D
My 1970 HD did 85 once, I think I still have the ticket the nice LEO gave me :p
 
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