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usually the clutch acts up intermittently, have you tried synthetic oil or diesel motor oil, both are highly detergent, change oil take for run on highway

have not had any problems with my LT but my K100 and K1100 both acted up if I did only short runs back and forth to work in cooler weather, a good run on the highway always cleared it up.
 

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A good card cleaner will also work. I had a clutch loose from a bike (bad engine) and soaked it a couple of hours in Gumout (tm) Carb cleaner in a one gallon can. Totally removed all the varnish.
 

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jzeiler said:
A good card cleaner will also work. I had a clutch loose from a bike (bad engine) and soaked it a couple of hours in Gumout (tm) Carb cleaner in a one gallon can. Totally removed all the varnish.
I agree, if a good amount is sprayed into the three holes on the sprag clutch housing. Just be sure you drain the oil right after spraying. You do not want carb cleaner in the oil.

For those who do not know where the sprag clutch is located: (Don't worry, you do not remove the crankshaft to get to it! This is just the only picture I had of the engine with the crankcase cover off).
 

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Shell Rotella diesel is extremely good oil, very high detergent, I have used it, the LT is basically a car motor so it is fine, easy to try before anything more ambitious

I normally use Castrol 4 stroke motorcycle oil 20 - 50
 

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There was a member who drained the oil, put a gallon of PB Blaster into the crank, and heated the pan with a halogen lamp. He claimed it evaporated from the lower case and then condensed on the sprag, etc., dripping back to the bottom of the pan. After a few hours he drained the PB out and let the pan set open to evaporate any excess. He claimed that fixed it. Several others (including some dealers) claim that running synthetic is what causes the sprag to gum up. I presume that IF that's true it would be due to the synthetic doing a better job of sticking to the metal and drawing carbon to it since I don't think it gets splashed when the engine runs. Probably gets mainly hot vapors when the engine runs.
 

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deanwoolsey said:
There was a member who drained the oil, put a gallon of PB Blaster into the crank, and heated the pan with a halogen lamp. He claimed it evaporated from the lower case and then condensed on the sprag, etc., dripping back to the bottom of the pan. After a few hours he drained the PB out and let the pan set open to evaporate any excess. He claimed that fixed it. Several others (including some dealers) claim that running synthetic is what causes the sprag to gum up. I presume that IF that's true it would be due to the synthetic doing a better job of sticking to the metal and drawing carbon to it since I don't think it gets splashed when the engine runs. Probably gets mainly hot vapors when the engine runs.
That is one I would not try! It is far easier to pull the crank cover and get to the sprag clutch directly and spray something into it through the three holes in it's housing. Besides, have you price a gallon of PB Blaster??

Oil does get into the clutch or it would rapidly wear out. It slips the entire time the engine is running.

Here is a picture of the sprag cage I took out of mine. It could have been cleaned and re-used, but I had already purchased the replacement.

 

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dshealey said:
I agree, if a good amount is sprayed into the three holes on the sprag clutch housing. Just be sure you drain the oil right after spraying. You do not want carb cleaner in the oil.

For those who do not know where the sprag clutch is located: (Don't worry, you do not remove the crankshaft to get to it! This is just the only picture I had of the engine with the crankcase cover off).
+1 on David's procedure quoted here. I've used synthetic oil in my bike's engines for 12 years and have never had a Sprag clutch fail, however I've helped two other folks with theirs. So far David's procedure has kept both bikes on the road without starting problems for over two years. I used non-chlorinated brake clean and also removed the total sump cover in order to get all of the cleaner out of the engine. The sump cover is just sealed with RTV silicone sealant and 13 allen head cap screws. When reinstalling the cover use a very thin layer of sealant and torque the bolts to 10nm. (this picture was from when I rebuilt my engine and an example of the cover removed).



In case someone is stuck out on a ride:
You can use a wooded block and a mallet on a flat spot of the engine casting near the Sprag (just to the rear of David's arrow) to give a little shock therapy and get yourself out of a jam. This requires the removal of the right lower tupperware (fairly easy to do on a trip in a parking lot) It does not take much of an impact to free up the Sprag so don't get carried away with this emergency procedure, and remember to use a wood block for the drift. Give it a few taps with the mallet and try the starter button. Better than towing it home in most cases.
 

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Thanks for a Good discussion guys!
This is the kind of thread that's really enjoyable to read. No grousing about "design flaws". Just Real solutions (from experience) to real issues that come up during the operation of a fine riding machine.

Thanks
 

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I used carb cleaner & Marvel Mystery oil to clean mine through the three holes. The holes are difficult to see & they are offset a little from each other. I removed the spark plugs & grounded the spark plug wires. I sprayed the carb cleaner in the three holes & then bumped the starter button several times. Then I sprayed the three holes with the Marvel Mystery oil & bumped the starter button several times. The Marvel oil does not evaporate like the carb cleaner does and I let the oil set for a few hours & then did the carb cleaner & the oil over & over all weekend long.

That was two or three years ago & I now have 178,000 plus miles on it with no sprag problems since. You can use a punch or screwdriver in the crankshaft balance holes to turn the crank over by hand so you can line up the three holes to get the spray into them.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys, loads of useful info and your cheering me up a little I was not looking forward to stipping it all to get at the sprag :) .
 

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Things are looking up today, firstly I tried ErnieA's suggestion with a wooden block and mallet, but no luck with that one. Next I pulled the right side tupper ware and the bit of frame from in front of the crank case cover, 10 srews latter and the ccc dropped away with no problem. I located the sprag assembly, trod the gearbox up to top gear and emptied about a can and a half of Roco Electra clean solvent aerosol into the 3 holes around the sprag by turning the engine over by pushing the rear wheel round with my left foot and with a 200w lamp trained on the sprag holes, also did a bit of tapping on the side of the sprag assembly with a wooden dowel and mallet (but pretty sure that didn't do much).
Anyway the solvent did the job, with the gearbox back in neutral, one hand on the start button and the other on the kill switch (still got the ccc pulled remember) and the starters spinning the engine over :dance: .
So having contaminated the engine oil with solvent, although most seems to have run out of the open ccc and I guess some will evaporate, before running the engine the oil will be changed for Shell Rotella diesel oil for its enhanced cleaning properties and hopefully that will help keep the sprag clean and stop it hanging up in the future.
Thanks again guys for the help and support :bmw: ..
 

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gdb32 said:
Things are looking up today, firstly I tried ErnieA's suggestion with a wooden block and mallet, but no luck with that one. Next I pulled the right side tupper ware and the bit of frame from in front of the crank case cover, 10 srews latter and the ccc dropped away with no problem. I located the sprag assembly, trod the gearbox up to top gear and emptied about a can and a half of Roco Electra clean solvent aerosol into the 3 holes around the sprag by turning the engine over by pushing the rear wheel round with my left foot and with a 200w lamp trained on the sprag holes, also did a bit of tapping on the side of the sprag assembly with a wooden dowel and mallet (but pretty sure that didn't do much).
Anyway the solvent did the job, with the gearbox back in neutral, one hand on the start button and the other on the kill switch (still got the ccc pulled remember) and the starters spinning the engine over :dance: .
So having contaminated the engine oil with solvent, although most seems to have run out of the open ccc and I guess some will evaporate, before running the engine the oil will be changed for Shell Rotella diesel oil for its enhanced cleaning properties and hopefully that will help keep the sprag clean and stop it hanging up in the future.
Thanks again guys for the help and support :bmw: ..
Sure glad you are back on the road. Now ride her fast and hard.
:)
 

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My year 2000 K1200lt has the dreaded sprag clutch failure,not sure what repair route to take but it seems like a good idea to try the oil additive or remove the crank case cover and spray the sprag clutch, the problem is in the UK the products mentioned, Rislone and CD-2 oil additive, do not seem to be available. I have looked at this Starter sprag clutch problems in BMW Classic K, K1, K75, K100, K1100 motorcycles and this Starter motor spins
I had this problem on my k100lt and now my k1200lt both from dirty oil left the oil change to 7k miles. the first time i was lucky managed to rock the starter back to life got it home and changed the oil straight away. High Detergent oil!
This time too late now I have to remove the blighter thats going to be three weeks work when I it done.
 
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