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intermittent binding while downshifting


JGP

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Looking for some advice. My 04 RT has 14k and has since around 8k been binding while downshifting. Not all the time by any means, just occassionally. Up shifts perfectly. Seems to do it when the rpm's are up and the bike has been running in say 3rd or 4th gear for a while and then you downshifting the binding is present....

 

Dealer checked it at 12k service and couldn't get it to repeat itself.

 

What if dealer cannot get it to do it, and doesn't make any repairs under warranty, and the warranty expires. Where does it leave me, seeing I've had it documented on dealers service order?

 

For those of you that have experienced the same issue, what was the fix, and did your dealer handle the repair.

 

thanks

 

jgp

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Paul Mihalka

Your description of the problem is typical for clutch spline problems. At that low mileage it is premature wear more than lack of lubrication. It is likely that it will fail completely in the near future. It is good that you have your complaint documented. IMHO you have a choice: or wait for it to fail, may be in a bad or far away place, or have your dealer take it apart, you guaranteeing payment if they don't find very worn clutch splines. I'd be willing to take a big bet that your bike's clutch splines are close to failing.

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I have had the exact same problem with my '04 RT for the last 7 or 8 thousand miles. Everyone (but the dealer) seems to agree that this is a clutch spline issue. Blipping the throttle with the clutch in allows the downshift when it binds.

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I have had the same exact problem with my '04

 

There was a discussion on it several weeks ago, but I don't think it resolved to any kind of conclusion. I my case I don't think it's the dreaded spline symtom as it seems to be an intermttent, slight bind. I recently changed to synthetic trans oil, and while it didn't immediatley solve the issue, I can't recall it happening in the last few weeks, either. Honestly I think it slipped off my radar, because it hasn't been occuring lately. I had also checked the linkage, but nothing seemed out of place so I didn't do any adjustment or cleaning confused.gif

 

I'm writing my problem off to lazy shifting or worn gear oil unless it presents itself again. I hope it's that simple for all of us.

 

Chris

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Mine failed at 12K+, TWO DAYS AFTER THE 12K SERVICE. I got a complete new trans and clutch though.

 

Here's my symtoms:

 

Balky downshifting at low RPM, especially 1st and 2nd coming to a stop.

 

Very noticible heat coming off the engine / trans case on my right calf when feet down.

 

That BMW organic clutch smell all the time. When I pulled into the sevice lane for the 12K, even the service writer said, "What's that smell?"

 

Good luck and don't leave for Alaska bncry.gif

 

-RickP.

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You may notice this is my first post. So I'm the new guy to the forum... out here in Central PA, pretty much on my own as far as BMWs are concerned.

I have a R1150RT '02 currently at 18k. It started this downshift binding as described at about 8k. I just couldn't bring myself to believe the splines were to blame after this light duty. (My previous bike ,a R1100RT '98, shifted "like a Beemer" without binding till I sold in @40k.)

 

My solution was to retrain my down shift strategy so that there is no apparent load in the drivetrain. Basically the smallest "blip" of throttle after pulling in the clutch allows my bike to down shift perfectly everytime. I maybe fooling myself into impending doom but I am just not convined I need to do anything. The bike is so smooth and perfect otherwise that I really have forgotten about it until reading about it here.

 

I welcome you comments.

Best,

R-Daddy

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I also have an '04 that is binding while downshifting. I have 14000 miles on it, and the binding started about 4000 miles ago.

 

I've tried changing the tranny oil to 75-140, but it seemed to get worse. Switched back to Mobil 1 75-90 and it seemed to improve, but it still binds at times. I also had the dealer check it, and they said it shifts like an RT. I too discovered that if I blip the throttle when I shift, it doesn't bind at all.

 

Something is definately changing in the gearbox, but I'm going to keep riding it. I have another year on the warranty so hopefully it'll blow up in the next year or it'll get better on it's own as things continue to "wear in".

 

I find it interesting that several '04s are having this problem. . .I might save this thread and show it to the dealer at some point. . .

 

Rob

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Have you checked the linkage at the tranny end where the pushrod is actuated? Are there any adjustments there with a hydro clutch?

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I'm with R-Daddy. On mine, at least, if I hold the clutch in for longer than a few seconds, I believe the input shaft stops rotating. If the engagement dogs are not aligned, you may not be able to select the gear you want.

 

Rolling the bike (while at a stop, for example), "blipping" the throttle, and "double-clutching" are all ways you get things moving again down there. Once those gears are spinning again, she'll slide right in. thumbsup.gif

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From my observations of other folks problems, I'd say there were two diiferent processes at work here.

 

It seems some bikes were assembled without any lube on the splines. This will result in balky shifting but failure can be 30K to 70K miles or years for some bikes.

 

Bikes like mine that have a catastrophic failure (metal screeching followed by loss of drive while cruising)exhibit engine/transmission alignment wear patterns on disassembly (why they replaced my entire transmission, sometimes they replace only the trans input shaft).

 

These latter kinds of failures in 04 RT's, while probably a small percentage of total production, are common enough that my dealer had two others besides mine at the same time. Be observant and informed.

 

-RickP

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Seems mine failed JUST this past Saturday morning. I'm at 23K. I heard the awful noise and then I was immobile frown.gif

I'm covered under an extended warranty, but I noticed that it specifically excludes clutch work!

Are there any additional resources you folks can recommend so that I'm prepared when the dealer contacts me with the final verdict?

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Paul Mihalka

Don't report it to the extended warranty as a clutch failure. Report it as a gear box input shaft failure, which it is. Even if they don't pay for the clutch parts, removing and repairing the gear box is the biggest part of the expenses.

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  • 11 months later...

I have a R1150RT '02 currently at 24k. It started downshift-binding as described at about 8k. It has gotten progressively worse.

 

While doing the 24k service, I decided it was really time to determine if this was a spline issue. Reading the posts of late convinced me to just take the starter off and look. To my horror my eye indicates quite a sloppy clutch spine. In 6th gear and rotating the rear wheel... it appears that the tanny input shaft can turn from the center of the the valley of a spine (minor dia.) to the center of the peak of the next spline (maj. dia.) before clutch resistance it felt at the wheel.

 

A 10 hours plus job awaits.

 

R-Daddy crazy.gif

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My '04 started binding around 25K. The dealer and BMWNA were less than useless. I removed the trans and cleaned/lubed the splines. No more problems in the last 30k miles.

 

Ron

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before clutch resistance it felt at the wheel.

 

That would mean nothing as it will include all the slop in the transmission, universals, rubber coupling in the drive shaft, and final drive.

 

You need to be looking for the amount of play (measured at the outer rim of the clutch disk) before movement occurs on the transmission input shaft.

 

Stan

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I also have an '04 that is binding while downshifting. I have 14000 miles on it, and the binding started about 4000 miles ago.

 

I've tried changing the tranny oil to 75-140, but it seemed to get worse. Switched back to Mobil 1 75-90 and it seemed to improve, but it still binds at times. I also had the dealer check it, and they said it shifts like an RT. I too discovered that if I blip the throttle when I shift, it doesn't bind at all.

 

Something is definately changing in the gearbox, but I'm going to keep riding it. I have another year on the warranty so hopefully it'll blow up in the next year or it'll get better on it's own as things continue to "wear in".

 

I find it interesting that several '04s are having this problem. . .I might save this thread and show it to the dealer at some point. . .

 

Rob

 

yes, very interesting, mine's an 04 as well, with almost 39k on it. exactly same symptoms, have taken to blipping the throttle slightly if I feel it binding. Does not happen often as the others have said but there u go.

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I didn't realize that it is most common here to measure the clutch to transmission spline wear based on the distance the outer diameter of the clutch can be turned before the transmission input shaft moves. In this case I can move the clutch about one inch before the transmission input shaft moves.

 

I am taking this as very bad new indeed.

 

So far BMW is NOT willing to fix.

 

Opinions?

 

Many thanks, R-Daddy

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A question I got. I was recently told by a pretty good dealer that the new 1200RT does not have spline issues as did all previous oilheads. Is this true and if it is what is different?? If it is true this could be a great argument in favor of trading? My 04RT runs great and shifts good but one can't read these posts without wondering just a bit. tongue.gif

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I didn't realize that it is most common here to measure the clutch to transmission spline wear based on the distance the outer diameter of the clutch can be turned before the transmission input shaft moves. In this case I can move the clutch about one inch before the transmission input shaft moves.

 

1/8" - 3/16" would seem to be the "like new" range of motion.

 

1.0" would be close to a complete failure according to figures posted on this forum by others. If I were in your shoes I would tear it down for a real look.

 

You might want to search this site for "alignment", "splines", etc.. Be sure to up the search period to at least the last year.

 

There is a video available that shows a complete spline lube on an 1100. The 1150 isn't much different. Not an quick job, but not too hard either. Of couse if the input shaft of the tranny is damaged the job gets bigger, and more expensive too.

 

Wishing you luck.

 

Stan

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I was recently told by a pretty good dealer that the new 1200RT does not have spline issues as did all previous oilheads. Is this true and if it is what is different??
I think it's too early to know. The oldest of any R1200 series is the '05 (US model) R1200GS. OTOH I haven't heard of any spine failures on the R1200 series either. So at least that's encouraging.

 

Now if BMW could just make a damn motorcycle that didn't leak everywhere...

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I think it's too early to know. The oldest of any R1200 series is the '05 (US model) R1200GS. OTOH I haven't heard of any spine failures on the R1200 series either. So at least that's encouraging.

 

I also wonder if in the process of installing the new transmissions in the hex heads the trans alignment issue wasn't addressed? Also, if this is the case wouldn't it make a good case for extended warranties for oilheads?

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wouldn't it make a good case for extended warranties for oilheads
Uh, yeah, good luck with that. The oilheads are officially ancient history. BMW doesn't even remember them anymore. Let alone warranty them!
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I enjoy the information here, but sometimes too much information rattles the anal tendencies in us. Such as worrying that the oil sight glass will melt or pop out. My bike sometimes is hard to downshift, but it is because I have become comfortable with the bike and sometimes shift lazily. I tend to slow down using more brake than transmission and therefore pull the clutch in prematurely and hold it. Things stop spinning in the transmission and the symptom occurs. These transmissions are clunky at best and I believe this is normal. Look at the stats put together by another member here. The 2004RT doesn't seem to have a problem.

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A question I got. I was recently told by a pretty good dealer that the new 1200RT does not have spline issues as did all previous oilheads. Is this true and if it is what is different?? If it is true this could be a great argument in favor of trading? My 04RT runs great and shifts good but one can't read these posts without wondering just a bit. tongue.gif
They will probably tell you that the final drive probems are fixed as well. Dave
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Wow...I hadn't realized this was a widespread pandemic! LOL. My 04 has been doing this since around 9k..very slightly...and a little more often now at a little over 14k. I had been writing it off to lazy shifting on my part. I think I will take it in so that at least it is documented in my service records in case there is a failure.

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