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Thread: 2011 R1200 GS - Clutch spline lubrication - Toronto Motorcycle Show

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    2011 R1200 GS - Clutch spline lubrication - Toronto Motorcycle Show

    Yesterday, at the Toronto Motorcycle show, I asked a representative from BMW Motorrad whether my bike required clutch spline lubrication. He told me that it does not. He appeared to be aware of this issue\topic when I brought it up.

    I think he might have indicated that earlier models (1100s???) did??? I am not sure.

    But in any event, he said that mine did not.

    So either:

    • he is correct about my bike, or
    • he doesn't really know, and he simply told me what he thought I wanted to hear about my bike, or
    • he was deliberately misleading me about my bike.


    At 46,000 km, I haven't noticed any problems yet. Unless I do, I can't see myself spending thousands to take the bike apart to lube the splines, since there is no mention of it, that I can find, in the BMW Repair CD 6th edition, nor in my owner's manual.

    Down the road, if it should come to light that BMW was covering up a major $$$ maintenance issue that they knew about and that they should have disclosed to me when I was deciding whether or not to buy the bike, that is the type of thing that I would be livid about.

    Dave McDougall
    2100 R1200GS

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    The JVB video demonstrates lubing the spline shaft. Simple process, especially when servicing final drive. Think it's cheap insurance for a very costly problem

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    Lost again Texpaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t6pilot View Post
    The JVB video demonstrates lubing the spline shaft. Simple process, especially when servicing final drive. Think it's cheap insurance for a very costly problem
    Dave is talking about clutch splines, t6pilot is talking about drive shaft splines. I know you need to lube the drive shaft splines, not so sure about clutch splines. My '05 1200GS went 100K+ without clutch spline lube and it didn't appear to be any worse for the wear when the cltch was replaced.

    Of course Dave is riding a year 2100 1200GS so maybe they don't even have clutches or splines
    Paul Mulhern
    MOA# 56330
    '05 1200GS Big Blue

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    BMW didn't specify clutch clutch spline lube on the classic K (K75, K100, K1100) bikes. Grind/screetch. Oops. $2,000

    BMW didn't specify clutch spline lube on the R1100 and R1150 bikes. Grind/screetch. Oops. $3,000 minimum.

    Now BMW doesn't specify clutch spline lube on the R1200 bikes. Whoopee! I am eternally grateful and overjoyed.
    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

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    One other thing I forgot to mention. In Canada, BMW sells their bikes with 3 year unlimited mileage warranty (probably because they figure our riding season is so short they are not assuming that much risk). My bike is under warranty until July 2014 and I expect to have at least 100,000 km on it by then. If it fails during that period, I expect that it would be repaired under warranty.

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    The Bloviator DocZ's Avatar
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    As usual, Glaves is right

    You have had your bike HOW LONG and not lubed splines?

    I had a Honda ST1100 for about 10 years - overlapped with an R100RT I also had for about 10 years. Yes, even with the major home appliance grade reliability (and absolute lack of "BMW'isque" drama), ALL the splines had to be lubed. Even as early as 97-98 saw LOTS of comments from ST11 owners warning of such. And the Honda remedy for worn splines hurt in the wallet too. Bad. Real bad. Copper Clapper Caper bad.

    Due to some health issues, my 07R12RT has only 8K miles now. Am already thinking about going ahead with lubing splines soon. JVB is about to get an order.

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    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocZ View Post
    You have had your bike HOW LONG and not lubed splines?
    7 1/2 years (75,000 miles).

    Quote Originally Posted by DocZ View Post
    Due to some health issues, my 07R12RT has only 8K miles now. Am already thinking about going ahead with lubing splines soon. JVB is about to get an order.
    Does Jim's current DVD include splitting the bike in two to get to the clutch splines? I know his first version didn't. The splines covered in his first version were one of the three sets of splines in the drive line (where the drive shaft meets the final drive). Drive shaft to transmission output and clutch to transmission input were not covered.

    I will lube my clutch to transmission input splines if/when I have an issue assuming I still own the bike. To date there have been minimal reports of clutch spline issues on the R1200 hexhead bikes. That may well change as the bikes get older.

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    BMW is Boxer-Boxer is BMW GregoryT's Avatar
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    Clutch splines.

    As of now the basic design of any Boxer BMW clutch is extremely similiar to a typical car type - seperate engine, dry clutch, and then transmission.
    In this layout there is NO REASON for lubing clutch splines, some auto manufactures use stainless steel clutch disc hubs - that is it, it's less for a life of the clutch or engine.
    I don't know about you, but I never heard of recommendation (as a preventive maintenance) lubing clutch splines by any car manufacture.
    Last edited by GregoryT; 12-12-2012 at 01:43 AM.
    G.T.
    BMW MOA # 71371
    Everett, WA

    2013 R1200RT

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregoryT View Post
    As of now the basic design of any Boxer BMW clutch is extremely similiar to a typical car type - seperate engine, dry clutch, and then transmission.
    In this layout there is NO REASON for lubing clutch splines.
    Except for the inconvenient fact that on BMW motorcycles they wear if they aren't periodically cleaned and lubricated. But other than that little problem, I suppose they are just like cars.

    Oh, and as for that "basic layout" back in the Airhead days BMW did say lube them once every year, even though car guys weren't saying that.
    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

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    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Not to be contentious Paul, but I have heard of exactly one clutch spline failure on a hexhead (and none on camheads.) Since there are a lot of hexheads out there running around with well over 100k miles on them now, it would seem if this remained as a real "problem" - we would have seen more complaints of failed clutch splines.

    Have you received reports of clutch spline failures I may have missed? I'm fairly active on about 4 different hexhead forums, and you know how people like to scream about any failure.. I have seen a number that have been apart for oil seal replacement, with no wear evident, even on what appeared to be quite dry splines.

    Mine has 62,000 miles on it, and so far no indication I can find (I haven't disassembled it) that the splines are ready to fail.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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    Lubing up your SPLINES

    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Not to be contentious Paul, but I have heard of exactly one clutch spline failure on a hexhead (and none on camheads.) Since there are a lot of hexheads out there running around with well over 100k miles on them now, it would seem if this remained as a real "problem" - we would have seen more complaints of failed clutch splines.

    Have you received reports of clutch spline failures I may have missed? I'm fairly active on about 4 different hexhead forums, and you know how people like to scream about any failure.. I have seen a number that have been apart for oil seal replacement, with no wear evident, even on what appeared to be quite dry splines.

    Mine has 62,000 miles on it, and so far no indication I can find (I haven't disassembled it) that the splines are ready to fail.
    I ask
    Is it whether they need lubed or something much deeper?

    If we are not to Lube our splines on the hexheads Then how are we to start a conversation with our fellow BMW riders?

    In the past the first thing you ask of a fellow rider at any gathering was "HAVE YOU LUBED YOUR SPLINES YET???"
    What are we to do now???
    Oh I know, " HOW MANY FUEL STRIPS HAVE YOU HAD REPLACED"

    Just sayin
    Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Except for the inconvenient fact that on BMW motorcycles they wear if they aren't periodically cleaned and lubricated. But other than that little problem, I suppose they are just like cars.

    Oh, and as for that "basic layout" back in the Airhead days BMW did say lube them once every year, even though car guys weren't saying that.
    Paul- there you go again, letting facts get in the way of perfectly good theory. I sure hope you don't plan to run for Congress in your retirement, you'd never get along with their methodology.
    However, if the Hex/Camheads have gotten to the point of not needing spline lubes... Yay!
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Not to be contentious Paul, but I have heard of exactly one clutch spline failure on a hexhead (and none on camheads.) Since there are a lot of hexheads out there running around with well over 100k miles on them now, it would seem if this remained as a real "problem" - we would have seen more complaints of failed clutch splines.

    Have you received reports of clutch spline failures I may have missed? I'm fairly active on about 4 different hexhead forums, and you know how people like to scream about any failure.. I have seen a number that have been apart for oil seal replacement, with no wear evident, even on what appeared to be quite dry splines.

    Mine has 62,000 miles on it, and so far no indication I can find (I haven't disassembled it) that the splines are ready to fail.
    I have said all along Don, that I don't know if BMW has finally fixed the spline lube problem on the `1200s. Maybe they finally have. I think it is too early to tell - a few high mileage successes notwithstanding. Tom Cutter is at least cautiously optimistic. Coming apart dry is not a good sign, but if dry there are not signs of fretting corrosion that is a good sign.

    But the mere fact that people keep saying that BMW doesn't schedule it as required maintenance so it isn't needed is claptrap balderdash. BMW didn't schedule it on late model Airheads, classic K bikes, or Oilheads, and hundreds of failures later people still say "BMW didn't schedule it so it isn't needed." That line of reasoning has cost owners hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

    Time will tell. I hope they don't need it because the need for spline lubes is a huge, expensive pain. But the fact that BMW doesn't schedule it at a certain interval is totally meaningless. Lots of miles on lots of bikes without failure will be meaningful. Until then, I am suspicious without certain knowledge.

    The issue will go away of course on the Wethead - with a front mounted wet clutch.
    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

  14. #14
    BMW is Boxer-Boxer is BMW GregoryT's Avatar
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    Maintenance.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Except for the inconvenient fact that on BMW motorcycles they wear if they aren't periodically cleaned and lubricated. But other than that little problem, I suppose they are just like cars.

    Oh, and as for that "basic layout" back in the Airhead days BMW did say lube them once every year, even though car guys weren't saying that.


    At the Airhead days car guys were lubricaiting U-joints, ball joints and replacing ignition points - even on the motorcycles.

    G.T.
    BMW MOA # 71371
    Everett, WA

    2013 R1200RT

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    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I have said all along Don, that I don't know if BMW has finally fixed the spline lube problem on the `1200s. Maybe they finally have. I think it is too early to tell - a few high mileage successes notwithstanding. Tom Cutter is at least cautiously optimistic. Coming apart dry is not a good sign, but if dry there are not signs of fretting corrosion that is a good sign.

    But the mere fact that people keep saying that BMW doesn't schedule it as required maintenance so it isn't needed is claptrap balderdash. BMW didn't schedule it on late model Airheads, classic K bikes, or Oilheads, and hundreds of failures later people still say "BMW didn't schedule it so it isn't needed." That line of reasoning has cost owners hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.

    Time will tell. I hope they don't need it because the need for spline lubes is a huge, expensive pain. But the fact that BMW doesn't schedule it at a certain interval is totally meaningless. Lots of miles on lots of bikes without failure will be meaningful. Until then, I am suspicious without certain knowledge.

    The issue will go away of course on the Wethead - with a front mounted wet clutch.
    Paul,

    Interesting thread on BMW Sport-Touring (mostly an RT list, but other bikes are discussed..) in the hexhead section, by a chap who is (IMHO unnecessarily) replacing his clutch disk at 110k miles:

    http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthread...784#Post812784

    I've asked if he could take photos of the male/female splines so we can see how they look after 100k miles. Hopefully he'll do so. That might (or might not) put your concern to rest. He did mention in the thread: "Splines look good--no rust."

    BTW - no argument at all with your feeling that since BMW doesn't spec it it isn't needed.. If I had a nickle for everything BMW wrongly didn't spec, or mis-spec'd service on between my cars and bikes, I'd have enough for a good 6 pack of German beer. I think my reasoning is - we have a lot of bikes with more then 100k miles on them with very few (only one I know of) evidencing a spline problem, so it is possible BMW has "solved" the problem.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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