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Thread: R1200 GSA Clutch Play Varies Widely

  1. #1
    MBROCHETTE
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    Question R1200 GSA Clutch Play Varies Widely

    Greetings,

    I ride a 2006 R1200 GSA with almost 19,000 miles. In addition up to trips to the Sierras, many of these miles are from communting to/from work over the East Bay Hills with my track going from dirts paths, fire roads, rural twists, freeways, and city surface streets.

    Last week on the way to the shop to install a new gas tank sending unit, I noticed a rather sudden increase in the clutch handle play.

    Typically I have about 0.5-1.0 cm of "short" play before the friction zone but suddenly I had about 3.0 cm of "long" play and shifting felt "early" with clutch still in. This happened when shifting for all gears. The clutch does not feel like it is slipping and am familiar with the problem of rotated bark busters depressing the clutch handle.

    As I was already scheduled in for service, at the shop I asked them to bleed the clutch. After the clutch bleed, it initially seemed to be working well but after riding for only several miles the increase long play came back. Over the past week I have monitored the clutch play and it still varies back and forth from the short and long play but I have noticed that the long play tends to occurs the longer I ride.

    After reading the challenges of dry clutch, especally for a weighted bike on hills, I thought maybe the clutch is worn but why would the play vary so much...

    I would certainly appreciate your input as to what the problem is.

  2. #2
    Now Dirt Compatible! ASPHALT's Avatar
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    This is frequently a sign that the slave cylinder is on its way out. That is my guess. I had one warrantied on my 05 GS, and just had one warrantied on my new 09 GSA.
    "Should I bring my shoes...so I have them?
    -Saul Rosenberg

  3. #3
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    I agree;

    GSA1200 here and mine is working fine, but the slave cylinder is a huge question mark here! The hard clutch parts are not a likely issue here. The slave piston is not working right and its probably not compressing the fluids correctly, or letting the mineral oil leak past. This will not show itself as a visable leak right away, or perhaps never, but will do exactly as you mentioned, give different feel at the lever as it does its thing internally. I AM a little surprised the dealer did not KNOW this already and may "well have", just doing the bleed first to see if it helps. The dealer will have to replace the slave to get it done right, it seems certain. Happy Trails, Randy

  4. #4
    MBROCHETTE
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    Smile Going back into the shop

    Thanks Asphalt and Polarbear,

    After another white knuckle commute this morning, I called the shop and re-explained the continuing problem of the varying clutch play, the conversation distinctly rose up a level or two after I have mentioned that I have been researching this problem on the BMOA forum and that responses are pointing to the slave cylinder as a potential and likely cause of varying play. But without a visible leak, they seemed to be hesitant to name the slave piston as the culprit...so, back to the shop next Tuesday for a more in-depth assessment.

    Again thanks for the information, it really helped when talking with the folks at the shop. - Michael

  5. #5
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Good:)

    Keep us posted. Its not rocket science for the BMW Dealer to find this, imo. Its a very simple system of fluids pushing through a slave to activate a clutch. How far can they look until they get it right? Best regards getting it fixed. Randy

  6. #6
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Stop riding the bike! There will NOT be a visible sign of a leak. Your symptoms are those of a collapsed (worn out) throwout bearing which is built into the slave cylinder. If so - then every time you pull the clutch the entire piston is spinning in and wearing grooves in the bore. And wearing rubber off the edge of the piston seal.

    Soon - very soon - that piston will leak and dump fluid into the cavity in which the slave cylinder is bolted. When this happens the only available escape route for the fluid is forward along the clutch rod into the bell housing where it fouls the clutch friction surface.

    Replacing the slave cylinder is easy. I did it on the road in less than 2 hours. In a shop on a lift it would have been quicker.

    Replacing a soiled clutch disk is major surgery - $1,500 or so in labor plus parts.

    At a bare minimum you need to remove and inspect the slave cylinder.

    I bet the throwout bearing is shot - kaput!
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  7. #7
    MBROCHETTE
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    9/22/09 Back in the Shop

    This morning I rode to the shop with the clutch still going from the short and long play...We examined for leaking fluid but still none observed. I left the bike with them for their inspection.

    I appreciate PGlaves posting but did had a little shiver as I have been wondering about my wisdom in contining to ride the bike...even to the shop.

    I'll post when I hear from the shop. - Michael

  8. #8
    MBROCHETTE
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    Slave Cylinder Replaced

    Yes, the folks at the shop confirmed the short/long play during test rides and found the slave cylinder to be leaking but contained with the gaskets.

    The varying play appeared to be a function of the heat associated with different riding conditions....

    In any event, the shop covered the repair and replaced a faulty clutch switch under my warranty which was just about up at 3 years.

    So, be sure to have a thorough clutch inspection before your warranty expires.

    Thanks to all for your input!!!

    Ride On - Michael
    Last edited by mbrochette; 09-30-2009 at 09:22 PM. Reason: Spelling

  9. #9
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Or;

    Have that nice 7 year plan I bought...Thanks for the confirmation on the bad slave. I've read about a few of these failures now. Happy Trails, Randy, GSA1200'07

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