Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Unexpected Neutral When Downshifting to First

  1. #1
    professor
    Guest

    Question Unexpected Neutral When Downshifting to First

    On more than one occasion, I've been stopped at an intersection, light changes, start to go, but discover the bike (GTL) is in neutral. I down-shifted like I usually do, heard the clunk each time, but apparently either did not go into first gear with the last clunk or it slipped out. When that happens, I pull in the clutch, press down on the shift lever, hear that strong "clunk", and it usually goes into 1st, but sometimes it's still in neutral and has to be pressed again once or twice to get it into first. The dealer checked the linkage and says it's fine and most of the time there is no problem.

    On a 20 mile trip through numerous stoplights, I often make it home without a single malfunction, but some days it will happen two or three times. The record so far is seven failures to go into first during one trip home.

    I'm sure it is not my shifting technique, because I have ridden motorcycles for decades (including other Beemers - an RT and an LT) and have never had this happen. Anyone else have this experience? Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    1,729
    I'm not the only one!!

    I had this problem with two K16's. After a LOT of technique observation/modification, lever adjustments, tranny research, and general soul searching, I came to this conclusion:

    The transmission goes into neutral from 1st too easily, and my "normal" shift technique when stopping caused the tranny to pop into neutral.

    As I come to a stop, I tend to hold the shift lever down in 1st with my toe until it's time to put my foot down. When I do put the foot down, I don't lift my toe off the shift lever, I simply slide it laterally off the lever and extend to the ground. When my toe clears the lever, the return spring in the tranny returns the lever back to its rest position -- with enough strength that the momentum rolls the shift drum into neutral.

    This is consistently repeatable for me, and if I think about it and don't let the lever "pop" back up, it never goes into neutral.

    IMO, the issue is a design issue: either the return spring is too strong, or the cam between first and neutral on the shift drum is too shallow -- either way, there is not enough resistance built into the system to prevent the roller that follows the shift drum from over-topping the cam and allowing the tranny to shift itself as the lever returns to rest.

    Unless/until the return spring and/or the shift drum is modified by the Mothership, the only option for me is to train myself to not allow the lever to ever suddenly be released when in first to "pop" back up.
    Last edited by mneblett; 11-11-2012 at 01:26 PM.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

  3. #3
    professor
    Guest
    Thank you so much!!! I think that might be what the problem is. I'll play with that idea when I'm riding today and see if that's it. As I review the times when this happens, I'm thinking that what you describe is exactly what is happening. I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts.

    Jim

  4. #4
    professor
    Guest
    Now Mark, just one other thing. Can you explain why the 1600's have two oil drain plugs? I'll be doing my first oil change soon and I don't think there will be a problem, but I can't find out why it is designed that way. Thanks.

  5. #5
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
    Posts
    1,729
    The K16 is a dry-sump motor. Unlike the previous wedge-K K12/K13 motors that had their oil reservoirs as separate tanks, the K16's dry sump reservoir is integrated into the engine -- part is at the right rear (where you add oil) and part is under the engine (the sump between the catalytic converters). The two reservoir portions communicate with one another, and therefore form essentially one tank.

    When you remove the first drain plug, you are draining the oil reservoir. When you remove the second plug you are getting any remaining oil in the dry sump under the crankshaft and gearbox, above the lower reservoir.
    Last edited by mneblett; 11-10-2012 at 02:10 PM.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

  6. #6
    professor
    Guest
    Thanks, Mark. I knew I could count on you.

    I'm still not sure why the two tanks are better than one - since "The two reservoir portions communicate with one another, and therefore form essentially one tank." - but at least I know more than I did. I appreciate it.

  7. #7
    professor
    Guest
    In my constant search for knowledge, I ran across this"

    It explains the dry sump system pretty well. Here is a quote:
    The primary advantage of a dry sump system is its ability to make more power. With very little oil in the pan, the rotating assembly is not burdened with the weight of excess oil (a phenomenon commonly referred to as "windage"). And because there is no internal pump, the windage tray or screen which serves to isolate sump oil from the rotating assembly, is allowed to run the full length of the pan. Keeping the rotating assembly free of windage allows it to spin freely and make more power.
    I'm thinking this also explains the different sound of the K1600 that has worried some of us when cruising at low speed with a steady throttle. In a wet sump engine that most of us are used to, the "excess" oil buffers the sound of the engine to some degree whereas with the dry sump system, the parts are well-lubricated, but not sloshing around in the stuff, so we hear the sounds of the internal engine more clearly. That's my theory until something better comes along.

    Another source says that the dry sump system avoids the problem of the oil being pulled away from the moving parts during hard cornering and is primarily used in high-end racing engines. It appears that this is another example of BMW Motorad using the very best racing technology in it's street machines.

    Thanks for giving me the information I needed in order to know what to look for. This is interesting stuff.

  8. #8
    professor
    Guest
    A summary from howstuffworks.com

    Dry sump systems have several important advantages over wet sumps:
    ÔÇóBecause a dry sump does not need to have an oil pan big enough to hold the oil under the engine, the main mass of the engine can be placed lower in the vehicle. This helps lower the center of gravity and can also help aerodynamics
    ÔÇóThe oil capacity of a dry sump can be as big as you want. The tank holding the oil can be placed anywhere on the vehicle.
    ÔÇóIn a wet sump, turning, braking and acceleration can cause the oil to pool on* one side of the engine. This sloshing can dip the crankshaft into the oil as it turns or uncover the pump's pick-up tube.
    ÔÇóExcess oil around the crankshaft in a wet sump can get on the shaft and cut horsepower. Some people claim improvements of as much as 15 horsepower by switching to a dry sump.

    The disadvantage of the dry sump is the increased weight, complexity and cost from the extra pump and the tank -- but that's a small price to pay for such big benefits!

    OK, I'll be quiet now.

  9. #9
    Bluenoser
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Lethbridge Alberta
    Posts
    451
    Yep many bikes including HD use dry sump systems. As to why the manufacturers use a dry sump system, the biggest advantage as I see it is that it allows them to build a shorter motor, which allows the engine to sit lower in the frame and gets the central weight mass lower in the bike.

    One thing with a dry sump system is that it is easier to over fill. You always want to check your oil level when the engine is warmed up. If you check the oil with the engine cold and then warm, you'll notice a difference in the level. When the engine sits cold for a time, oil will drain down into the scavenger pump area which will affect the level in the oil tank. So if you check it cold it will show a lower amount but in reality the level is fine.
    1971 R50/5 SWB with R75/6 drivetrain
    2013 DL650

  10. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    78
    Quote Originally Posted by Professor View Post
    In my constant search for knowledge, I ran across this"

    It explains the dry sump system pretty well. Here is a quote:

    I'm thinking this also explains the different sound of the K1600 that has worried some of us when cruising at low speed with a steady throttle. In a wet sump engine that most of us are used to, the "excess" oil buffers the sound of the engine to some degree whereas with the dry sump system, the parts are well-lubricated, but not sloshing around in the stuff, so we hear the sounds of the internal engine more clearly. That's my theory until something better comes along.

    Another source says that the dry sump system avoids the problem of the oil being pulled away from the moving parts during hard cornering and is primarily used in high-end racing engines. It appears that this is another example of BMW Motorad using the very best racing technology in it's street machines.

    Thanks for giving me the information I needed in order to know what to look for. This is interesting stuff.
    Awesome Explanation!!!! Thanks

    I too have been wondering about the extra noise that I have read about here and else where.. That really explains it.

    I did the first oil and final drive fluid change at ~700 miles... To me It is a little tricky getting that inner bolt out. Mine was Supper Tight. I thought I was going to strip it for sure and was really freaking until it cracked loose. I could not get it with the T handle... I used and older Allen, and a adj. wrench on it.

    Putting it back I could not get my torque wrench with the extension I had to reach. I will fix that with a trip to sears to get the Long Allens for 3/8 drive. So I tightehted as I have many other drain bolts for years.. Tight.. Not Crazy Tight.

    Comming back to the orginal topic.... I have also seen the slip into N. And Also follow that same technique, foot slip left...Popping Shift lever... I will try to adjust...

    It has only happened one or two times... But still I hate that...

    Th

  11. #11
    professor
    Guest
    Thanks, Roadkill, for the info on the oil change. I haven't done it on my own yet and am a little nervous about it. Reading your experience is helpful. Doing it myself will sure save some money. If you have any other tips, feel free to share.

    About torquing: I have a friend with over one million documented miles on Moto Guzzis and is a better than average motorcycle mechanic. I don't think he has ever touched a torque wrench. Somehow people got along for decades without one.

    I have one and use it when I can, but I'll bet your old-fashioned "Tight.. Not Crazy Tight" method on that inner drain plug will work just fine.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    78
    I have To give credit to RL Lemke and others on the K1600 forum...Excellent how to

    Here are the links...

    http://www.k1600forum.com/forum/bmw-...id-change.html

    http://www.k1600forum.com/forum/bmw-...ools-tips.html

    These were helpfull...

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    2

    Shifting

    I too experience problems while shifting, albeit infrequently. When shifting from 1st to second gear I get stuck in neutral. At times I'll have to kick the shifter several times, I mean really kick it, before it goes into gear. And yes, there is the normal clunk each time. What concerns me is I will find myself in a situation when I really need the bike to kick into second and it won't go. I've taken the bike into the dealer and, well, I can't get no satisfaction. They can find nothing wrong with the clutch or the transmission. So what is a body to do?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •