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Discussion Starter #1
While driving on the interstate I smelled what I thought was gear oil. When I pulled into the rest area I discovered that pulling in the clutch lever did nothing and the lever felt very soft. When I inspected the bike I could see a damp spot on the rear exhaust header pipe but no real leaks. This trip was over only 175 miles into it. I made a few phone calls to get the rescue team coming and went back to looking over the bike. I grabbed the clutch lever and it felt normal and the cluch disengaged enough to roll the bike while it was still in gear. On the highway I thought the smell was my turn for the rear drive. Nice and tight and no leaks. When I was stopping I thought the slave cylinder had failed even though I didn't have any sign of slipping. Then I was thinking maybe the clutch hose had ruptured. Now Ihave no clue what is going on. I am looking for ideas as I sit and wait for the trailer to get here. :confused:
 

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Check the fluid level in the clutch master cylinder reservoir. Make sure the return port in the master cylinder is clear of debris and/or corrosion. Keep your fingers off the clutch lever unless you are actually shifting gears or have the bike in gear with the engine running.
 

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I had what I think might have been the same at about 45,000 miles on my previous KLT Lux. My local BMW dealership diagnosed that the clutch slave cylinder had ruptured. This was a very big job to repair, and I was glad that BMW did it under the extended warranty I had on the bike.

Just getting to the broken part required a complete strip down of the back half of the the bike. I saw it on the work-bench and was quite shocked!

I hope your problem is not this, but from your description, it sounds awfully like my own experience.
 

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Barney, I had that happen to me a few years ago. The slave had gone bad and had allowed fluid to run down the clutch rod onto the clutch disk. It caused the clutch to slip. I replaced the slave cylinder and drilled a weep hole and went back together. It continued to slip. I drilled a couple of very small holes where the trans mates up the engine and started the bike in neutral. With the bike running I flooded the bell housing with brake clean through those holes. (you will have to look in a parts store for other cans that have a longer straw that will inter change with the brake clean can as it is not long enough to reach the drilled holes. Right after I did this I took the bike for a test ride and it was still slipping. It then dawned on me that of course it would slip as I just saturated it with fluid. Parked the bike and went for a test the next day and there was no slippage. I took it to the BMW shop and had the top mechanic take it for a test ride to try and get it to slip and he gave it a clean bill of health. Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here is what has been going on since I started this thread. We had a trailer come and get us and we took the bike home. The bike was loaded under its own power bet there was what seemed like a lot of clutch chatter. A friend saw my post on facebook and offered us his 08 Concours to use on our vacation to the Black Hills. Since it doesn't have a hitch on it we used my car trailer to tow it and the Timeout to the Sturgis area. I rode the LT around here this last Sunday and still smelled gear oil and seemed like there was some noise that was not normal. Tonight I put the bike on the lift and pulled the center stand assembly to make it easier to carefully pull the drain plug from the transmission. I immediately notice the gear oil was black and smelled burnt. When I drained the surface oil off the drain plug I found the cavity around the magnet was full of metal. :cussing: I have never heard of these failing. It looks like I have a clutch job along with a trans repair or replacement in my near future. Maybe if I get enough time, I can ride it before the snow flies.
 

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My initial reaction is that those metal shavings on the drain plug does not seem out of the ordinary, especially if the transmission fluid hasn't been replaced in a while, and the bike has been ridden somewhat spiritedly. Manual transmission fluid has a strong sulphury smell, and your oil may vey well be normal for the use it has seen. An oil analysis may provide a better indication of the transmission wear levels, but I will not jump into transmission repair from what I see on the drain plug.
 

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Barney, considering the clutch slippage, I'm guessing you have the dreaded transmission input bearing failure that has destroyed the shaft seal allowing gear oil onto the clutch disk. Sounds like time to change the clutch disk, pressure plate, engine "O" ring and seal and slave cylinder and while you are in there drill the weep holes.

Sorry to hear this, Robert.
 

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..... I'm guessing you have the dreaded transmission input bearing failure that has destroyed the shaft seal allowing gear oil onto the clutch disk.....
Sorry to hear this, Robert.
I forgot about this little problem, but that makes a lot of sense and will explain the 4S issues of slip, sound, smell and shavings! Of course it all translate into $.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Barney, considering the clutch slippage, I'm guessing you have the dreaded transmission input bearing failure that has destroyed the shaft seal allowing gear oil onto the clutch disk. Sounds like time to change the clutch disk, pressure plate, engine "O" ring and seal and slave cylinder and while you are in there drill the weep holes.

Sorry to hear this, Robert.
Yeah it is time for a tear down to inspect to see what is all wrong. Then make a parts list and order them. Probably going to do the brake hoses since I have it nekkid. I hope I can get by for under $1K
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Barney, considering the clutch slippage, I'm guessing you have the dreaded transmission input bearing failure that has destroyed the shaft seal allowing gear oil onto the clutch disk. Sounds like time to change the clutch disk, pressure plate, engine "O" ring and seal and slave cylinder and while you are in there drill the weep holes.

Sorry to hear this, Robert.
Well as usual Robert you are correct on the failure. I now have the parts ordered after tear-down. Here is what I have found. The input shaft bearing did fail and the front gear is shot since it moved forward against the bearing race. (see pic) I am lucky 2 times on this failure. #1 is the way it pushed ahead it didn't allow any oil to leak into the clutch area so the disc is fine and is not worn out. This also allowed the gear to move forward and not damage the mainshaft gear. #2 is the slave cylinder had just started to leak. Also not enough to get any fluid on the disc. The information from this site and its members has proven to be invaluable again.

I am wondering if pulling the heavy Time Out camper could have caused this? As I look at the way the gears work and the way the shock cushion acts on the shafts, I am thinking this has caused extra load forward on the input shaft. I know I do not ride as hard as some people on this site. Since the roads are so crappy in Minnesota and there are many places that cause continuous front and back bucking I may be going back to a lighter trailer and a tent or maybe I will be designing a cushioned hitch or trailer coupler for the camper. Has anybody done this? I see no reason to engineer something that somebody has already done.
 

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Well as usual Robert you are correct on the failure. I now have the parts ordered after tear-down. Here is what I have found. The input shaft bearing did fail and the front gear is shot since it moved forward against the bearing race. (see pic) I am lucky 2 times on this failure. #1 is the way it pushed ahead it didn't allow any oil to leak into the clutch area so the disc is fine and is not worn out. This also allowed the gear to move forward and not damage the mainshaft gear. #2 is the slave cylinder had just started to leak. Also not enough to get any fluid on the disc. The information from this site and its members has proven to be invaluable again.

I am wondering if pulling the heavy Time Out camper could have caused this? As I look at the way the gears work and the way the shock cushion acts on the shafts, I am thinking this has caused extra load forward on the input shaft. I know I do not ride as hard as some people on this site. Since the roads are so crappy in Minnesota and there are many places that cause continuous front and back bucking I may be going back to a lighter trailer and a tent or maybe I will be designing a cushioned hitch or trailer coupler for the camper. Has anybody done this? I see no reason to engineer something that somebody has already done.
Barney,
being a curious mechanical kind of guy myself, a few questions if i may:
(1) How many total miles on this K1200LT ?
(2) How many of these miles pulling a trailer/camper ?
(3) Do you know maintenance history and/or previous replacement of related parts (clutch, seals, transmission...)

Thanks!
 

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Well as usual Robert you are correct on the failure. I now have the parts ordered after tear-down. Here is what I have found. The input shaft bearing did fail and the front gear is shot since it moved forward against the bearing race. (see pic) I am lucky 2 times on this failure. #1 is the way it pushed ahead it didn't allow any oil to leak into the clutch area so the disc is fine and is not worn out. This also allowed the gear to move forward and not damage the mainshaft gear. #2 is the slave cylinder had just started to leak. Also not enough to get any fluid on the disc. The information from this site and its members has proven to be invaluable again.

I am wondering if pulling the heavy Time Out camper could have caused this? As I look at the way the gears work and the way the shock cushion acts on the shafts, I am thinking this has caused extra load forward on the input shaft. I know I do not ride as hard as some people on this site. Since the roads are so crappy in Minnesota and there are many places that cause continuous front and back bucking I may be going back to a lighter trailer and a tent or maybe I will be designing a cushioned hitch or trailer coupler for the camper. Has anybody done this? I see no reason to engineer something that somebody has already done.
Ouch.

Hard to tell if towing contributed, but towing is a load BMW did not design for...

I've also heard it postulated that lugging could cause this. I tend to lean that way myself as applying the same output power will require less torque and more, but less intense, power pulses at the input of the transmission. Do you run at low RPM and high throttle very often?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Barney,
being a curious mechanical kind of guy myself, a few questions if i may:
(1) How many total miles on this K1200LT ?
(2) How many of these miles pulling a trailer/camper ?
(3) Do you know maintenance history and/or previous replacement of related parts (clutch, seals, transmission...)

Thanks!
I have owned the bike since new. This is the first failure of any component other than the amp in the radio in 59,xxx miles. No seals, clutch, or transmission work has been done. I change trans oil every 3rd oil change with synthetic 75/90 gear oil. I do the final drive oil every change just to check for metal on the drain plug. I would have to make an educated (or not) guess at how many miles I have pulled the camper. I would guess somewhere around 15,000 miles have been with the camper in tow. I had just changed the trans oil about 500 miles before the failure and I was towing the trailer at that time. There were no noticeable metal shavings on the magnet in the trans drain plug at the change. I have weighed the trailer when it was loaded and we top out at 518 lbs. Yes we take everything we need but, no cast iron pans.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ouch.

Hard to tell if towing contributed, but towing is a load BMW did not design for...

I've also heard it postulated that lugging could cause this. I tend to lean that way myself as applying the same output power will require less torque and more, but less intense, power pulses at the input of the transmission. Do you run at low RPM and high throttle very often?
I may run at lower RPM but not lugging it. I tend to use higher RPM to get the beast to accelerate rather than using the low end torque. I will probably make sure I use higher RPMs now because I can see where the pulses could accelerate this type of wear.
 

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I have owned the bike since new. This is the first failure of any component other than the amp in the radio in 59,xxx miles. No seals, clutch, or transmission work has been done. I change trans oil every 3rd oil change with synthetic 75/90 gear oil. I do the final drive oil every change just to check for metal on the drain plug. I would have to make an educated (or not) guess at how many miles I have pulled the camper. I would guess somewhere around 15,000 miles have been with the camper in tow. I had just changed the trans oil about 500 miles before the failure and I was towing the trailer at that time. There were no noticeable metal shavings on the magnet in the trans drain plug at the change. I have weighed the trailer when it was loaded and we top out at 518 lbs. Yes we take everything we need but, no cast iron pans.
Barney,
Thanks you for these answers. I would also suspect (1) added load of trailer/camper (2) combined with possibly too low RPM when pulling power (torque) is needed. These engines love to be run above 4K RPM. Consumption should not get much worse unless you run above 5K full time. So a range of 4k to 5K offers a very good compromise.

Another similar failure threads here 11 months ago on these forums:
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81249

And a Video tutorial about the repair (video link into this thread)
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=84682
 

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I did the same repair for a guy with a side hack and he though the low speed high gear stresses were the cause of his failure. He had a tendency to lug it a bit.
 
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