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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, some of you may already be familiar with my recent purchase of a k1200lt that needed a clutch, and what was supposed to be a bad starter. It's an 05' and I bought it for seemingly a good price because of the work that needs to be done. I am waiting on parts for the clutch job, so I decided to address the "starter issue". After getting the bike home I determined that the starter motor in fact turns freely with a minimal clunk as it winds down. I did the research and quickly came to the conclusion that it must be the dreaded sprag clutch, which wasn't all that big of a deal since I'm already replacing the friction clutch. So now that the transmission is removed, I pulled the starter and with my finger turned the gear that contacts the starter teeth and realized that it free wheels in a counter clockwise rotation, but does in fact engage in a clockwise rotation. It seems to me that it is functioning properly. Is this proper function?

The previous owner loosened a lot of bolts, throughout the bike in his botched attempt at replacing the clutch before he realized he was in way over his head, is it possible that he had something disconnected, or hooked up improperly I.e. The reverser that would cause the starter to turn in reverse simulating a sprag clutch failure?

I've turned the gear that contacts the starter teeth several revolutions, there are no damaged teeth, and it always engages clockwise almost immediately.

Thanks for the help. Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Ok. I tested the starter, and determined that the starter turns counter clockwise which would turn the intermediate gear clockwise. Which is the direction that is silently engaging to turn the motor. So it appears as though the starter, and slash clutch are functioning normally.

I wonder if the reverser may be stuck in reverse?
 

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Ok. I tested the starter, and determined that the starter turns counter clockwise which would turn the intermediate gear clockwise. Which is the direction that is silently engaging to turn the motor. So it appears as though the starter, and slash clutch are functioning normally.

I wonder if the reverser may be stuck in reverse?
Dale, there is a video by Kirk at BMW motorrad club of Illinois on the DIY transmission. Watch it and it shows how the reverser stuff goes in and comes out. Video streams are blocked from where I am but I think there is a cover on top of the reverser gears that can be removed without splitting the case. If my memory is correct, you can pull that cover and inspect if anything is out of place.

BMW K1200LT Transmission Repair and Rebuild DIY
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dale, there is a video by Kirk at BMW motorrad club of Illinois on the DIY transmission. Watch it and it shows how the reverser stuff goes in and comes out. Video streams are blocked from where I am but I think there is a cover on top of the reverser gears that can be removed without splitting the case. If my memory is correct, you can pull that cover and inspect if anything is out of place.

BMW K1200LT Transmission Repair and Rebuild DIY
You're really handy to have around. I'll get into the groove eventually, I'm still in the infant stage of k1200lt apprenticeship.
 

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You're really handy to have around. I'll get into the groove eventually, I'm still in the infant stage of k1200lt apprenticeship.

I could be wrong in my memory. Normally I would go watch the video to make sure I remember what I am telling people to do but frmo where I am, I can't do that so take what I say with a grain of salt. If I am wrong, someone else will certainly and rightly so provide a correction. I didn't take my transmission apart so this is only from memory of watching the video.
 

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If you do have the reversing lever fully in the normal position (not reverse) and the starter spins and does not engage the engine, then it is mostly the dreaded sprag clutch. It can sometimes be loosened by spraying carb cleaner into it after removing the crankcase cover and draining the oil Not real easy, but there are three holes in the sprag housing that you can insert the little tube from the spray can into. Make sure all the carb cleaner is out of the crankcase before refilling with oil. The sprag housing is in the rear of the engine, in front of the alternator in the crankcase.

Hope you do not have to replace it. I did that once, not for the weak of heart. It CAN be done without completely removing the engine, but it is actually easier if you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If you do have the reversing lever fully in the normal position (not reverse) and the starter spins and does not engage the engine, then it is mostly the dreaded sprag clutch. It can sometimes be loosened by spraying carb cleaner into it after removing the crankcase cover and draining the oil Not real easy, but there are three holes in the sprag housing that you can insert the little tube from the spray can into. Make sure all the carb cleaner is out of the crankcase before refilling with oil. The sprag housing is in the rear of the engine, in front of the alternator in the crankcase.

Hope you do not have to replace it. I did that once, not for the weak of heart. It CAN be done without completely removing the engine, but it is actually easier if you do.
I guess I'll bite the bullet and pull the bell housing while I'm in there, if I can simply clean the sprag clutch I won't be out anything but some carb and choke cleaner, and rtv silicone right?
 

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Here is a shot of an RS engine but close enough for the LT. Sprag is just in front of the alternator and you can get too it through the crankcase cover with spray cleaner.
 

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Here is a picture I posted a few years ago. I had taken the picture when I had to replace my pistons, and later marked it up when some were asking about the sprag clutch location, and whether or not it ran in oil all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
First I'd like to say thanks to all of your replies.
So here's the situation, I'm still awaiting parts for my clutch job. I'm leaning towards not opening the intermediate case to access the starter sprag clutch. I really believe that even though the starter was engaging/spinning and the engine wasn't everything appears (to the untrained eye) to be working as designed currently.

With the starter and the alternator removed I can turn the gear that the starter meshes with clockwise which in turn rotates the paddle (for lack of better terms) that drives the alternator in a counter clockwise motion.
Is there anyone who can tell me if this is an indication that the sprag clutch is engaging properly, or is the data inconclusive? If more information is needed to determine proper function can it be determined without removing the intermediate (bell) housing or reassembly of the motorcycle?

I'm anxious to get her put back together without unnecessary cost, but not at the expense of having to immediately tear it all back down and start over.

Btw I don't believe that there is a access plate as suggested earlier in this thread.

Thank you for your time. Dale
 

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When you turn the gear, does the engine crank try to turn? If you turn the gear in the direction the starter would turn it, it should immediately engage the crankshaft. If it does not, then the sprag clutch is not engaging. In operation, once the engine starts the sprag housing is then turning faster than the starter drive, so it free wheels all the time the engine is running. That is why hitting the starter button with the engine running does nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you dshealey, I've seen your posts on a lot of threads concerning this and other technical issues and i highly value your opinion. I haven't checked the crank, and thought that someone would be likely to suggest that. I'll check tomorrow when I return to the garage.

So just to be certain I understand you correctly just because the alternator wheel turns doesn't mean that the sprag clutch is engaging? However, if the crank turns the sprag clutch is obviously engaging properly.
 

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You may be correct that if the alternator drive is turning the crank is also. That would seem to be the case, as the alternator is driven by the crank, not the starter drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, it looks like great news for me as rotating the gear that contacts the starter gear ina clockwise motion rotates the alternator drive, and the crankshaft counterclockwise. I guess whatever the issue was has worked itself out. I'm thinking that the bike probably sat for awhile since the previous owner passed away. Perhaps all the sprag clutch needed was a little movement in the opposite rotation to spring onto action?:smile:
 

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One thing that has helped loosen erratic sprag clutch operation for years, and on earlier BMW models, is CD-2 oil detergent additive. The sprag cage gets pretty gummed up over time, causing the sprags to stick and not lock down.

Try your local auto supply for it. Amazon has it: Amazon.com: CD2 4111 Oil Detergent. 15 oz.: Automotive
 

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Some one has probably done it before and if not, please post pictures :) I would love to see that!

Today, I took mine out for the inaugural ride of 2016 after the clutch and seal refresh, new rear rotor and pads, fluids and a FD rebuild and it reaffirmed why I love this bike so much. Took my girl Susan and I up Atlanta Hwy 9 through Dawsonville to Dahlonega GA for dinner and then back. It performed flawlessly. I think I am ready for whatever Spring training at the Iron Horse has to throw at me. These bikes are Awesome! Even at 15 years old.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Some one has probably done it before and if not, please post pictures :) I would love to see that!

Today, I took mine out for the inaugural ride of 2016 after the clutch and seal refresh, new rear rotor and pads, fluids and a FD rebuild and it reaffirmed why I love this bike so much. Took my girl Susan and I up Atlanta Hwy 9 through Dawsonville to Dahlonega GA for dinner and then back. It performed flawlessly. I think I am ready for whatever Spring training at the Iron Horse has to throw at me. These bikes are Awesome! Even at 15 years old.
I've tried every type of Google search I could think of and haven't seen an example not only with a lt, but any bike. I'm not trying to say it would be entirely original and I would be surprised if it is. The only thing that I can think of is concern for children falling asleep may deter the design for most riders. I intend to make custom "backrests" that will accommodate individual 4 point racing harnesses to keep the kiddos in place while riding. I'll definitely post lots of pics if I decide to do it. I've been corresponding with a leaner sidecar forum, and have to nail down a build strategy before I get too carried away. I have a general idea of what is needed, but went to do a lot of research to give me the best odds of a one and done design.

I really liked my 99' k1200lt and the only real dislikes were the top heaviness, and the operators seat width. The 05 fixed the seat issue, and gave me some cool new features I.e. remote access/alarm, extra lighting, and more importantly power Center stand.

Glad things are going well for you, and wish you a happy and safe riding season.

Sincerely, Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well, it looks like great news for me as rotating the gear that contacts the starter gear ina clockwise motion rotates the alternator drive, and the crankshaft counterclockwise. I guess whatever the issue was has worked itself out. I'm thinking that the bike probably sat for awhile since the previous owner passed away. Perhaps all the sprag clutch needed was a little movement in the opposite rotation to spring onto action?:smile:
Well, I got the bike reassembled to the point that I could try and crank it today. Bad news the starter still spins freely without engagement. :brick:

It'll probably be near next weekend before I have a chance to work on the bike again, then I plan to give it a gallon of fresh fuel, flush the brakes, and slave and try to push start it. I don't what my odds of success are since I'm only going off of the previous owners word that it even runs, nor do I know how long ago it ran last, but I don't see that i have many options at this point.:kaboom:
 

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One off chance thought I had. Did you install the starter backwards? Both ends look the same except the one that goes to the transmission side has a bolt hole for 5 mm Allen. That would explain the spinning as it would now be going in the wrong direction. It has been a while since I have done a clutch job and I never disconnected the starter from the transmission so I really don't know if it is possible.

You could verify by looking at the starter and see if it looks oriented like this one on the transmission. i.e. is the post near the rear or the front of the starter.
 

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