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2004 r1150rt valve lash/noise - new owner needs some help


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I just got my 1st BMW bike last week. A Titan Grey 2004 r1150rt all stock, little over 7,000 miles. Bike has never been down. 600 and 6000 mile services performed.


I am hearing some valve lash (more like a knock)on occassion. The service writer at the dealer says my bike is ok. Others and myself are not so sure so I figured i'd post here.


Basic problem intermittent "clunk" and I think it is a valve or rocker issue.


Once in a while, when I start the bike. I hear a brief valve "clunk" (it is very loud and sounds damaging to me)and then the bike starts up. Bike then clatters a bit then quits down once the oil pressure rises.


I hear the same clunk at times if I rev lightly at a stop sign. Ex, I pull up to a light and mildly rev the bike ( and I do mean mildly), engine goes "clunk" then revs up. I can repeat it easily if I rev it up a few times with only a very brief pause in-between revs.


As I am not familiar with the boxer engine. The following might be normal behaviour. It sounds like my engine is knocking slightly when I take off from a stop. Just in the lower RPM's and at initial take off. I have to be careful about my rpms at takeoff or it will knock.


Also, how much oil should i expect to burn?


Thanks, I appreciate your help.



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You are describing 2 different sounds.....The startup clacking is likely the cam chain tensioner.....This is fairly common, mostly harmless. But there is a fix with updated parts, not particularly expensive or complicated. Do a search, you should find the info.

The noise when you start off sounds like detonation. This can happen occasionally without harm. Are you using high octane fuel? If so, you may have a carbon build up problem. Chevron techron can help with this. Also, riding a little harder can help.

"Normal" oil consumption can be up to a quart per thousand miles, according to BMW. Proper breakin can take up to 15k. Oil use can gradually drop off, or it may just stop all at once. The harder you ride, the faster the break in. Oil use is generally less on long rides. Good Luck!

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My 1150 cam chain tensioner makes the same sound on initial start-up.. A lot of the boxers seem to make that terminal sound on cold start-up..

There are some different chain tensioners (retro-fits) that were offered.. The expensive middle released parts seemed to help on a few of my friends boxers.. Unfortunately that part is no longer available & there is at least one superseded piston & body available.. I want to install one of the later piston/body sets but as of this moment I am not sure the latest parts are a viable cure (I have heard a few 1150’s with the latest cam chain tensioner parts installed & they still seem to knock on cold start-up..’


A sort of work around I have found is to crank the cold engine at full throttle for a few seconds (that holds the injected fuel at “clear flood” no fuel) so it won’t fire off there.. Then I let the throttle up to no throttle (choke or fast idle setting only).. That allows some oil pressure to build on cranking so when it starts it is fairly quiet or only knocks for a very short time..


That knocking while revving in place could be some side (verticle) play in your rocker arms.. I had that same rev it in neutral light tapping/knocking until I re-set my rocker arm side clearance to .002".. Look in the archives for the procedure.. Most info I read on setting rocker arm side play refered to using a .002" or .003" feeler gauge to set it but personally I got a better more accurate setting (at least seemed better to me) using a small dial indicator.. Basically it involves loosening the one lower head nut & two lower rocker shaft suport bolts then tapping the lower rocker shaft support up or down until you have .002"-.003" rocker arm verticle movement on both teh intake & exhaust rocker arms.. Mine were well within specs (about .010") but were noisy until lowered to .002"..


On your drive away knock?… My 1150RT does the same thing & it is R/H throttle body throttle plate clacking away until the intake pulses even out (somewhat normal & not a pleasant sound).. Doesn’t bother me nearly as bad now that I have isolated & identified it,, it does seem to be normal on some of the boxers..



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As mentioned, there are some things you can do for the at start up noise of the cam chain tensioner not yet pumped up, but for the most part, they all do that. Even my R1200GS if it's been sitting for several days. It's just the nature of the boxer beast. Causes no harm, boxers have been making that noise for decades.

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