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Thread: Clutch out at 14000 miles

  1. #1
    cliffeley
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    Clutch out at 14000 miles

    The clutch on my 1200 RT went out at 14000 miles. I thought if was a seal leak but the shop said it was worn down to the rivets. I believe the shop but I can't understand how this would happen. I don't drive it aggressively. I don't keep my hand on the clutch handle. I was told that the police run through the gears without letting off the throttle and they get 20,000 out of the clutch. Is it possible it's a defect in the material?

    It cost a fortune to replace and wasted two days of my vacation. Otherwise, I love the bike but I don't want to be replacing the clutch again in another 14K. Any advice? Thanks.

  2. #2
    jingdog
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    You need to determine if its you or the bike. Quite possibly a switch to a bike with a wet clutch would help, since they are more robust and if broken can be changed easily and cheaply. The dry single point clutch on these BMWs can be a real problem if you happen to have the habits that wear them out. Maybe its not fully released when you let go of the lever?

  3. #3
    cliffeley
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    I'll ask the dealership about if the hydraulics could somehow be out of adjustment and not fully releasing the clutch. Maybe I have some habits of which I'm unaware that are hurting the clutch. Any obvious ones come to mind?

  4. #4
    Registered User mccodavj's Avatar
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    I had to replace the clutch on my K1200RS after 58k miles. Like yours, mine was also worn down to the rivets with no sign of fluid or oil contamination.

    I don't ride aggressively and was really expecting the clutch to last longer than this. Since many of the miles were ridden with a passenger, it was suggested that maybe I had feathered the clutch to pull away more smoothly and that that had contributed to the problem. I don't believe that this was really the problem, but I don't know why the clutch was worn out after just 58k either.

    I mainly ride solo now - my daughter has got her own bike - but I am paying attention to how I pull away and change gears. I have 38k miles on my LT - I hope that one lasts longer.
    Dave
    2008 K1200 LT
    2004 K1200 RS

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    spending any amount of time in the friction zone, as you might on a wet clutch bike, is very not good for the single plate dry clutch of (most) BMWs.
    has nothing to do with how aggressively you ride the bike- if you live in the fz, your clutch will die in the fz (or something like that).



    FYI-your bike is a "hexhead", not (for forum purposes) an oilhead. you'll get more accurate/thorough responses posting there.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  6. #6
    jingdog
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffeley View Post
    I'll ask the dealership about if the hydraulics could somehow be out of adjustment and not fully releasing the clutch. Maybe I have some habits of which I'm unaware that are hurting the clutch. Any obvious ones come to mind?
    The main problem is applying throttle to the engine with the clutch lever not fully released. Before wacking open the throttle a single plate dry clutch wants to be fully engaged. Also, drag strip starts should be avoided. Holding the bike on a hill with the trans in 1st and slipping the clutch isnt good either. I think BMW is going to tell you there is no adjustment to go wrong on a hydralic clutch. See if it is properly bled though.

  7. #7
    Nickname: Droid
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    I have a 94 R1100RS that I have used to teach many MSF ERC classes. I have done mostly highway riding on my bike, but perhaps 30% is in town riding. I got over 60,000 miles on the original clutch before the main seal failed and oiled the clutch. I have heard of other dry lcutches going over 80k miles. 14,000, or even 20,000 miles in police service is abnormal to me. A typical dry clutch on an Oilhead in normal use should go at least 60,000 miles. For the clutch to wear out that quickly, assuming it was not an issue of operator, which is does not sound like from your description, then something had to be wrong.

    I would have had the repair shop check for some tranny to engine misalignment issues. Other factors may be something in the clutch hub or tranny input shaft splines that was causing the clutch to not fully engage even though you had fully released the clutch lever. Could be a defect in the clutch hub splines. Could be a defect on the tranny input shaft splines. Could be a failed inner tube in the clutch hose that was for some was not allowing full release of pressure (this can happen if the inner tube comes loose and acts like a check valve). Could be contamination in the clutch master or slave cylinder that again was not allowing clutch actuation pressure to fully released. It takes very little applied pressure to cause a clutch to to be constant slight/

    Something mechanical had to be at fault, to cause the clutch to not be fully engaged, That is the only thing that would cause that type of excessive friction plate wear.

    I don't see a bike with a wet clutch being the answer. Something was wrong with the setup on this clutch.

  8. #8
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    or it could have been operator misuse.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  9. #9
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    Frankly this has always been a concern of mine too

    as i know that i have been rather hard on my clutch. I attribute it more to the F%^&*g TALL first gear that our oilheads come with..... never made sense to me that i could do 55 in first gear; but wouldn't pull off of a hill two-up.

    Now i generally only ride solo, and i guess that i have gotten better at releasing smoothly.
    Somers, NY

    Just enjoying the ride.......

  10. #10
    cliffeley
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    One thing is clear, no more wheelies for me!
    Last edited by cliffeley; 09-15-2009 at 02:26 PM. Reason: typo

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