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The pleasure and the pain


cabbage

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Hi all. I was so pleased with my 1100rt that I've bought a K1200LT as well. Unfortunately in my eagerness to buy I overlooked the growing oil stain beneath the engine/transmission join. No clutch problems as yet. My research suggests this is a main seal problem.

 

How long can I ignore this problem? Can it fail catastrophically and (for example)lubricate the rear tyre?

 

Has anybody got a photo walk through of the replacement of the seal or clutch replacement?

 

Cheers

 

Cabbage

 

PS, tried bmwlt.com but they must all be away on vacation, either that or they don't like the look of me grin.gif

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The clutch could start slipping tomarrow. How's your luck been lately?

 

I had the same thing happen to me earlier this year and I stopped riding it until I could take it apart and correct the problem. Forunately by not riding it, I saved myself a few bucks by not having to change out the clutch too, $300.00 US.

 

Here's a good place to start looking, if your thinking about doing it yourself. Keep in mind if your take to a dealer instead, it'll cost you upwards to $1,500.00 US.

Do yourself a favor and replace ALL the seals while your in there so you don't have to repeat this any time soon.

 

Good Luck

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Dennis Andress

I'm not saying this will work and I'm not recomending it but...

 

I just had the clutch replaced due to a rear main leak. It leaked for several months before it harmed the clutch. A couple of days before taking it in for the work I added about 1/4 a quart of oil. The same amount as always actually as it would only leak down so far. I didn't ride the bike that day but the next morning as I pushed the bike out to the street it left a couple of puddles of fresh oil. Upon looking closely at the oil on the ground I recognized it to be the same $10 a quart synthetic I'd added the day before. I didn't take it very well..

 

I'm thinking the bottom of the rear main seal is lower than the full line on the sight guage. Over the few months the bike leaked I didn't keep the oil filled to the line, not that I had a plan or anything like that but every time I added oil it took the same amount no matter how many miles I'd travelled since I'd last added some. The clutch started slipping after my trip to Gunnison when I actually carried a quart of oil and made the effort to keep the oil level correct.

 

Again, I'm just saying....

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Thanks for your replies. As always some very useful and interesting information. I found the K-bikes.com to be particularly good for the problem I described.

 

I would like to think that keeping the oil level not overfilled will buy me some time. Going to France soon and will probably cover 2000 miles. Tempted to just go for it and take the risk that the clutch will hold out until my return. I could take the RT instead but I'm smitten with the comfort and gadgets on the LT and would like to sample it on a longer journey.

 

Cheers

 

Cabbage.

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I would like to think that keeping the oil level not overfilled will buy me some time. Going to France soon and will probably cover 2000 miles. Tempted to just go for it and take the risk that the clutch will hold out until my return. I could take the RT instead but I'm smitten with the comfort and gadgets on the LT and would like to sample it on a longer journey.

 

Your a brave man. Have you thought about how much it would cost you to get it back home from France if it fails?

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I would like to think that keeping the oil level not overfilled will buy me some time. Going to France soon and will probably cover 2000 miles. Tempted to just go for it and take the risk that the clutch will hold out until my return. I could take the RT instead but I'm smitten with the comfort and gadgets on the LT and would like to sample it on a longer journey.

 

Your a brave man. Have you thought about how much it would cost you to get it back home from France if it fails?

 

AA 5-star European breakdown cover is about £65 for two weeks or £115 for a year.

 

Andy

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That's not too bad and something I'd have before going away on a trip with a questionable bike. thumbsup.gif

 

Over here, AAA will cost you about $100.00 US for a year's coverage and there's also a mileage limit or dollar amount per tow.

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I'm thinking the bottom of the rear main seal is lower than the full line on the sight guage.

Darn; I just read this after putting my bike back together after the timing cover leak.

I bet you're right Dennis, as the engine output is a jack-shaft under the crank. What I wish I could have done is to visually check at what level the oil reaches the bottom of the seal. I always have the level at half glass, but since I'm going on a week-long trip soon (my first), I topped it off almost to the top of the sight glass this time. I think a continuous exposure to a hot oil 'pool' eventually cooks the seal, and leaks; makes perfect sense. That could be one more reason to always leave it at half level. Or maybe it even reaches it at half level???

Can somebody doing a valve job check that for us???

Wonder if I should remove some oil, or just leave it there and not top it off again.

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Thanks guys. I'm well covered with breakdown insurance. Still haven't decided which bike to take. I'm really lucky I have a choice. Having spent some time researching on other forums it seams the main shaft seal problem is very common on this engine. The major difficulty seems to relate to releasing the swinging arm fasteners which are torqued down big time.

 

I'm already psyching myself up for the repair, going over the procedure in my mind. Looking forward to the challenge. It's about mastering the bike. What is it about fixing things that gives people like us so much pleasure? It's not just motorcycles, washing machines, lawnmowers, TVs etc all these are fair game to a serial mender. We're out of line in a throwaway society.

 

Perhaps BMW design in a few problems deliberately to keep us occupied and out of other mischief. wink.gif

 

 

Cabbage

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Dennis Andress
I'm already psyching myself up for the repair, going over the procedure in my mind. Looking forward to the challenge. It's about mastering the bike.

 

I like to wrench and enjoy tasks like this too but let me say: Extended Warranties Rock!!! Its probably the most important feature to consider when purchasing a used bike.

 

 

Keep in mind that I ran with my oil level below the sight guage, not overfilled.

 

 

And, JC, It is unlikely that a seal will be damaged by sitting in a pool of oil. Indeed, the tansaxle seals in most front wheel drive cars are near the lowest point of the transmission and have several quarts of nasty tranny fluid above them. No, my observation is just that a worn seal leaks less if the oil level is kept lower then normal.

 

Dennis

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Good to know Dennis. But am still curious which is the lowest point of the seal's inner diameter in relation to oil level (1/2 glass, 3/4 glass, etc). If there's no oil touching the jackshaft when parked, even if the seal gets damaged, oil leaking out would be minimal because oil is definitely below that level with the engine running.

 

The reason I want to know that, is not to avoid replacing a bad seal, but in case it fails during a long trip, to be able to make it home by keeping oil level below that threshold, until we have time to replace it at our convenience.

That's my only concern at this point, along with slave cylinder failure. At this point, my black beauty seems to be in perfect condition after my 12K service and timing cover fix (bone dry, finally!!). What I do is check clutch fluid level regularly to catch any problem early on. Good day to all.

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Dennis Andress

JC, the real problem with leaking seals is not that they let oil out but that they let dirt in. Most crankcases run at a bit of negative pressure so generally air is being sucked in past a worn seal when the engine is running and oil is dripping out when the engine is off. This can be seen in the engine oil getting dirty sooner when an engine has some kind of a leak.

 

As to where the seal sits in relation to the sight guage: I didn't see any oil in the guage at all eek.gif. When I did add oil it would take between 1/4 and 1/3 of a quart to bring the level to the dot in the sight guage. It didn't take me long to recognize that it would take the same amount every time, even if that was 5,000 miles after the oil change. On the occasion when it dripped out the fresh oil, I'd added 1/4 a quart the day before to bring the level to the dot in the sight guage.

 

Running with the oil level low might help if you were to experience a failed rear main seal, it did for me. But, keep an eye on how much oil is comming out, I would normally see just a few drops on the ground, something about the size of two quarters, and that would taper off over time. If there were to be lots of oil then the seal has failed in a big way and oil is spewing out even when the engine is running.

 

Again, I'm just sayin....

 

Dennis

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back from my France trip.

 

Bike performed without fault. Oil leak continues with no clutch slip. Did not top up oil at any point, level hovers at mid point when hot.

 

I wonder by what mechanism oil gets on the clutch from the main seal. If the leak is small perhaps it just finds its way down to the bottom of the case and leaks out. I suspect this is the case with my bike. I suspect a drastic leakage would be necessary to contaminate the clutch (yes I know a small amount on the clutch would cause problems but to get that small amount it would need to leak substantiantially elsewhere)

 

Who knows? Perhaps I'm in denial. Bike performs fine at the moment though.

 

Cabbage

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