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Discussion Starter #1
Got my LT back yesterday after two weeks off the road, clutch was burnt out, no leaks no apparent reason just severely worn, at 20,000mls and not even three years old.
Whilst stripped the clutch slave was changed as a precaution and gearbox output shaft seal (slight leak) and push rod. One curios thing, the tech said that the clutch had been getting VERY VERY HOT! as shown by the blueing to the pressure plate, spring plate, housing etc.
I have been riding bikes for 30 years and never had a problem before, am I doing something wrong, riding it or am I just supposed to polish and look at the LT, maybe I will have to start riding my softail more?
Anyway, back on the road, running like a dream, it might be me but the clutch and gear chamge seem slicker, lighter. easier. Going to start saving for the rear drive failure next!
 

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Thor1340 said:
Got my LT back yesterday after two weeks off the road, clutch was burnt out, no leaks no apparent reason just severely worn, at 20,000mls and not even three years old.
Whilst stripped the clutch slave was changed as a precaution and gearbox output shaft seal (slight leak) and push rod. One curios thing, the tech said that the clutch had been getting VERY VERY HOT! as shown by the blueing to the pressure plate, spring plate, housing etc.
I have been riding bikes for 30 years and never had a problem before, am I doing something wrong, riding it or am I just supposed to polish and look at the LT, maybe I will have to start riding my softail more?
Anyway, back on the road, running like a dream, it might be me but the clutch and gear chamge seem slicker, lighter. easier. Going to start saving for the rear drive failure next!

Might as well save up for the abs after that


<evil grin>
 

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Try Practicing

Hi Stuart , Try practicing taking off by using the clutch only . Don't use any throttle , & try not to slip the clutch more that necessary . Don't do this wile out riding on the road , but some place were you won't get that run down feeling (;-»). I do it all the time in my driveway & out back getting it in & out of the shed . This will help you to learn just were it takes hold. mine has a 300# wart on the side , and I try not to slip the clutch too much . It takes maybe 2-3 seconds or so from stoped to full engaged . But then again with the 300# wart , & if I do stall it , it doesn't fall over .My LT's clutch handle is at least 3/4 or more out before it starts to bite , and almost all the way out before it is full engaged . ....BUT If your motor is revved up and the clutch is slipped too much , things will get heated up . Hope this is of some help ...Patric ...
 

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Thor1340 said:
Got my LT back yesterday after two weeks off the road, clutch was burnt out, no leaks no apparent reason just severely worn, at 20,000mls and not even three years old.
Whilst stripped the clutch slave was changed as a precaution and gearbox output shaft seal (slight leak) and push rod. One curios thing, the tech said that the clutch had been getting VERY VERY HOT! as shown by the blueing to the pressure plate, spring plate, housing etc.
I have been riding bikes for 30 years and never had a problem before, am I doing something wrong, riding it or am I just supposed to polish and look at the LT, maybe I will have to start riding my softail more?
Anyway, back on the road, running like a dream, it might be me but the clutch and gear chamge seem slicker, lighter. easier. Going to start saving for the rear drive failure next!

Was that covered under warranty or did you have to pay for it?
 

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cfell said:
Sounds like you had too much clutch fluid in the reservoir. That would keep the slave piston rod engaging the clutch... that would allow the clutch to "slip", overheat, etc.
Damn....I was just going to say that but you beat me to it....
 

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cfell said:
Sounds like you had too much clutch fluid in the reservoir. That would keep the slave piston rod engaging the clutch... that would allow the clutch to "slip", overheat, etc.
How do you figure that? The slave piston will only be moved by as much as the master piston tells it to, regardless of whether the fluid is down to minimum or overflowing.
 

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Thor1340 said:
Got my LT back yesterday after two weeks off the road, clutch was burnt out, no leaks no apparent reason just severely worn, at 20,000mls and not even three years old.
Whilst stripped the clutch slave was changed as a precaution and gearbox output shaft seal (slight leak) and push rod. One curios thing, the tech said that the clutch had been getting VERY VERY HOT! as shown by the blueing to the pressure plate, spring plate, housing etc.
I have been riding bikes for 30 years and never had a problem before, am I doing something wrong, riding it or am I just supposed to polish and look at the LT, maybe I will have to start riding my softail more?
Anyway, back on the road, running like a dream, it might be me but the clutch and gear chamge seem slicker, lighter. easier. Going to start saving for the rear drive failure next!
Do you ride with your hand covering the clutch lever? Are you possibly applying a little pressure to the lever that could be engaging the clutch slightly, causing the excessive wear? What you experienced is not normal wear (unless you're drag racing or doing stunt shows with your LT a lot), but I recall a very similar report from a year or so ago. The guy actually rode with the cluth level pulled in a little bit all the time, just in case someone cut him off and he had to execute an emergency stop. IIRC he fried his clutch in about 10-12K miles.

So, if you do, I would recommend stop doing that. :)
 

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Thor'

I burned out my clutch in just 15000 miles. When I took it in, I expected it to be a warranty issue but was told the problem was my riding style. I had to pay for the replacement. The point is not trying to learn to take off without slipping the clutch too much or putting too much pressure on the clutch handle while you ride, it's the fact that it is a heavy bike with a weak clutch. If you are too aggressive accelerating or clutch breaking, the clutch can't handle the load. "Ride it like you stole it" and you will burn out the clutch. Ride it like a touring bike and it will last a long time. Just my humble and probably not popular opinion.

Steve
2004 LT
 

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North south CRAP

FYI in Miami CRAP runs north and south
Court , Avenue, Road and Place all run that way. While street, Blvd, terrece and Way all run east to west
Took me awhile to figue that out, and yes there can be a name (Like Flaggler) that is used on all of them.
So visit Miami and ride north to south, then your a true crap rider
Rock
 

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good question..

brianbeemer said:
How do you figure that? The slave piston will only be moved by as much as the master piston tells it to, regardless of whether the fluid is down to minimum or overflowing.
The reservoir holds fluid for the clutch actuation. It also has to have a little "air space" so that when fluid expands there is somewhere for it to go. Being a "sealed system", if to much fluid and not enough airspace is the condition, then the "slave" cylinder piston will not fully retract. That will leave pressure on the clutch parts.

Or it could just be that the "slave" cylinder is binding internally .... and there's plenty of "space" for the fluid movement.

Or, I could be wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the replies

I do not feel like I slip the clutch, but maybe I do, I take on board the suggestions and will try to adjust my clutch hand but I do like to ride fast and hard. None of my other bikes have ever had clutch problems and they were all ridden the same way including my other current steed a 97 softail with 25,000mls on the clock.
 

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xenia said:
If you are too aggressive accelerating or clutch breaking, the clutch can't handle the load. "Ride it like you stole it" and you will burn out the clutch.
Oh shit! I always use engine braking, always have, better change that habit then, I've replaced one clutch after 10K, and am currently at 20K.
 

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Hey All;

Maybe Im the exception. I have 2002 with 75000 and I ride hard in Florida wheres its hot and the traffic makes you pull in the clutch all the time.
I ride it like I stole it,I still take her to 7000 rpms once in a while, but I dont slip the clutch at stoplights. Recently I have tried to get the clutch to slip while riding, Giving it full throttle at 40 in 5th gear. Still waiting for the slip. Well now that I said it I better get ready for a new clutch. Murphy's law sucks.


Zeke
 

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Just my 2 cents. Keep your hand off the clutch until you NEED to actuate it. You can make a panic stop out using the clutch. Sounds to me like you are "riding" it. Common with cars (left foot on the pedal) - easy to avoid just don't touch it.
 

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I'd have to disagree on several points.. The LT's clutch is VERY robust...It's a car clutch after all.

You have to slip it a certain amount to get the fat pig rolling. That shouldn't cause the failure that you've indicated..And certainly not downshifting or engine braking.

Are you driving it like a drag racer ??? Full throttle and drop the clutch ?

Doing any burnouts ?

Unless you're doing that then I'd be hard pressed to believe that it's your driving style..

Driving with the clutch covered and partially actuated might cause the type of damage you are indicating.. Or driving like speed racer...You can abuse it to that point but it takes a lot of abuse to get it there.

Perhaps there was a problem with the clutch actuating assembly as a whole that was not letting the clutch fully engage...

The main reason the clutch fails of the LT is because it gets contaminated by oil or Dot4. When that happens then it starts slipping and can then blue the pressure plate..



John
 

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xenia said:
Thor'

I burned out my clutch in just 15000 miles. When I took it in, I expected it to be a warranty issue but was told the problem was my riding style. I had to pay for the replacement. The point is not trying to learn to take off without slipping the clutch too much or putting too much pressure on the clutch handle while you ride, it's the fact that it is a heavy bike with a weak clutch. If you are too aggressive accelerating or clutch breaking, the clutch can't handle the load. "Ride it like you stole it" and you will burn out the clutch. Ride it like a touring bike and it will last a long time. Just my humble and probably not popular opinion.

Steve
2004 LT
An opinion for sure, but not one that rings true in fact about any of the 3 LTs I've owned. I've ridden each one of them hard - high speeds, hard cornering, up and down shifts at all RPMs, using engine braking, etc. - and none of them ever had a clutch failure. Had about 38K on the 99, 26K on the the 02, and approaching 28K on the 05. Oh, I've toured on them, too, and the clutch didn't fail then, either.

One of the first things the dealer told me when I bought my my first BMW in 1996 (an RT) was that you need to use the clutch like an on/off switch, not feathering it like you do with a multi-plate wet clutch. I worked on changing my riding style to accommodate that on all 6 BMW bikes I've owned and never had a clutch problem, and they've all been ridden hard.
 

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cfell said:
The reservoir holds fluid for the clutch actuation. It also has to have a little "air space" so that when fluid expands there is somewhere for it to go. Being a "sealed system", if to much fluid and not enough airspace is the condition, then the "slave" cylinder piston will not fully retract. That will leave pressure on the clutch parts.

Or it could just be that the "slave" cylinder is binding internally .... and there's plenty of "space" for the fluid movement.

Or, I could be wrong.
I think you may be wrong, but not for the reason you give! The fluid doesn't expand. If it did it no hydraulic system would work as they rely on the fluid not being compressible. OK, at extreme temperatures and pressures they do change volume, but we're looking at normal use. When fluid is moved from the master to the slave, it creates a partial pressure in the air left above the fluid in the master cylinder - which is why there is usually a tiny air bleed hole to compensate. Inside the master cylinder is usually a thin rubber gasket that prevents any fluid blow-back out of the bleed hole onto your nice shiny bike - not good. If the bleed hole is blocked AND there is no airspace at all I could see a problem with operating the clutch, but the fluid volume always remains constant and is simply moved from the master to the slave.

On the other hand a binding slave cylinder sounds very plausible, as does 'heavy' use of the clutch. Even if it is a 'car clutch' I have known cars burn out clutches in under 10k miles when used aggressively, so why not a bike? I have even known clutches go in 5 miles - but that was exceptional and down to nitrous!

The question I have for Thor is did you notice any clutch burning during use? I sometimes get that awful smell when I do a 'traffic lights grand prix' and I'm fully loaded - 2-up and all our luggage - when the clutch has to work really hard. I wouldn't classify that as 'crap', just using the bikes power to maximum effect :D :D
 

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clutch slippage

You're not going to burn a clutch unless you slip it. Slippage builds heat and Fast! My LT slipped only ONCE that I can remember before I replaced the clutch and it was blued and burnt. I've driven a truck for 20 years and I am always in tune with rpms and speed. I work in a transmission shop and most of the clutches we replace are high mileage or out of some kid's 4 cylinder hot rod. I often cover my clutch in traffic but I make sure my hand is just resting on the handle with fingers out so I don't put any pressure on it. It's the way I was taught to ride.............. :D
 

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Don't know about the LT but the R and RT call for almost 1/4" of free play in the clutch lever. Even if your hand was resting on it I doubt it would pull far enough to start slipping?
 
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