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2001 R1100RT(P): Time of Death 18:30 11/02/2006 (Transmission)


SWB

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I think my baby died. She was complaining a bunch for quite a while, but I just told her to suck it up and ride on. Tonight at work, she just couldn't do it any more. I rode down the road like usual, but instead of the clunky 1st to 2nd up-shift, I shifted up to 2nd and got neutral instead. Then I tried again, and got neutral again. Finally, my baby screamed at me "... are you going to listen to me now, idiot??". blush.gif Yeah, she got my attention.

 

I stopped the bike, turned it off, put it into 1st, and rocked the bike to see if I could get it into 2nd and avoid the tow. After cranking upwards on the shift lever 3-4 times with no apparent result (i.e. no "click" or "clunk"), I pulled the clutch, and turned on the ignition, and "weeeee", she was in 4th. I started her up, eased her back down into 2nd, and road home 45 miles without stopping again, mostly in 5th gear. She shifts into 1st, or from 2nd through 5th relatively easily, but 1st to 2nd takes an act of God, if it can be done at all. I get the "clack, clack, clack" sound of 2nd grinding when I try to force it into 2nd from 1st, but unless I turn off the engine and shift with my hand, it's not going into 2nd.

 

Some more background:

 

* Shifting has never been smooth, and I've "lost" a gear from 2nd to 1st or vise-versa for about 6 to 12 months about 3-4 times a month. I attributed it to sloppy shifting technique on my part (not an unreasonable possibility), and maybe an overdue date for a spline lube party.

 

* Until I get to about 4K RPM, the bike transmission in 2nd gear sounds like a truck, i.e. loud, hydrallic whine. I usually attributed that to the fact that my baby hates RPM's below 4K in 2nd.

 

* I serviced the transmission and final drive about 1000 miles ago. There was some fine "powder" on both magnetic plugs, but no larger metal shavings or "chunks" in the oil. The old oil really looked pretty good.

 

* Bike has 58K miles. At 54K miles, the shop said that the clutch cable was fully extended, meaning that a new clutch was due, probably by the 60K service. The bike rarely slipped, and again, mostly due to clutzy start up's on my part. It's never slipped during shifting at highway speeds. But I was ready to buy the clutch and do the spline lube thingy the weekend after next (along with new cables throughout).

 

* My RT has "felt wrong" over the last 500 miles. I've felt vibration that wasn't there before. At times, I have imagined that the front end had excessive play during turns, but then again, rain grooves feel that way too. I was ordering parts today to R&R the front and rear bearings (images in my mind of my front or rear wheel locking up at 80MPH due to bearing failure, plus the 58K miles on the odometer, pushed the decision to just replace both wheel bearings), and take a closer look at the final drive, Telelever arm bearings and ball joint, and the steering head bearings. The vibration also could have due to imbalanced TBs & cylinders, so I was preparing to tune it up this weekend.

 

So, what's wrong, and what should I do now?

 

My guess is that a synchro gear between 1st and 2nd is shot, and that it's tranny rebuild time. Maybe a spline lube and new clutch could improve things, or even the shift linkage could be damaged, but I'm guessing it's the transmission.

 

The bike isn't a RTP in "perfect" shape. It has a bit of road rash on one side (dropped by the Tustin Police Department), some rust on the un-bent crash bars, and it runs rough (which I intended to resolve this weekend with a "zero-zero" tune up, and replacing the gaskets in everything in the intake/throttlebody assemblies).

 

A rebuilt tranny costs $1600 (or so I've heard), maybe Bruno can do it for less, it needs a clutch, compression is good but it runs rough. It desperately needs new shocks (minimum $1100 for Wilbers).

 

Is it worth fixing this thing, or should I just ebay-it-out for parts? I don't want to take it to the "$600 store" (i.e. the minimum charge every time I take it to a dealer) and blow $2000+ on a $5000 bike.

 

Recommendations?

 

I know I can rebuild it myself - I've restored a couple of dirt bikes from the ground up, but it'd mean about 100 hours of study and 200 hours of work in the garage (I do work as good as any pro; it just takes me 4x as long, and I always have a half-dozen "extra" parts left over afterwards). I just don't think I have the time to rebuild it myself, or the money to pay to have it done. bncry.gif

 

Well, time to bite the bullet, or the 2nd gear synchro, as the case may be.

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Save her!

 

Perhaps a used transmission would a less pricey alternative? I see that Bimmerboneyard has used ones for under $700.

 

 

 

 

.

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Save her!

 

Perhaps a used transmission would a less pricey alternative? I see that Bimmerboneyard has used ones for under $700.

.

 

Checking Bimmerboneyard was my first move, but unfortunately, there's nothing available for my bike (R1100 R). And after $700-800 for a tranny that hopefully, is better than the one I already own, there's $500 more for the other parts I need (clutch, cables, etc.), and I have $150 of parts sitting on the shelf already. Plus I need shocks. My baby's a money tree. All that expense is with $zero labor costs. eek.gif

 

Anyhow, anyone think that this might NOT be a transmission problem?

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Well, maybe I'll tackle this myself after all. I've seen Teds spline lube video and read through the process 100 times. And, since my bike WILL BE down for a while, I don't have to worry much about planning on the parts to order in advance. I'll just take her apart, take lots of digital pix and video tapes, organize my "parts storage" table, and take my time and enjoy my misery. grin.gif

 

I start tomorrow night. By Saturday noon, my baby will be nak*d and transmission-less. I don't know what's broken, but I figure by the time I get the transmission apart, the problem will be pretty clear.

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ShovelStrokeEd

Bad news is that it is the transmission.

 

BTW, there are no "synchros" in a motorcycle transmission. It is probably the bearing in the second gear or the input shaft bearing that has gone.

 

You will need a workshop manual and some shims and a few specialized tools to do the repair yourself. What with the cost of the tools and the precision measuring equipment needed, you might be better off shipping the transmission out to a specialist.

 

As to the clutch, well, you knew that already. Ditto the shocks. A little shopping might get you a set of lightly used stockers till your wallet recovers from the hit of the tranny rebuild.

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Ed,

 

If it had a bearing gone, wouldn't it be making metal though?

 

OP,

 

Before you panic and pull the tranny, be real sure this isn't something as simple as a linkage problem. Take a close look at everything behind the right foot plate.

 

If indeed in the end it is internal, if it was me I'd go the used tranny from a salvager route. Simpler, quicker, probably cheaper.

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Ed,

 

If it had a bearing gone, wouldn't it be making metal though?

 

OP,

 

Before you panic and pull the tranny, be real sure this isn't something as simple as a linkage problem. Take a close look at everything behind the right foot plate.

 

If indeed in the end it is internal, if it was me I'd go the used tranny from a salvager route. Simpler, quicker, probably cheaper.

 

SWB,

Ken meant to say LEFT footpeg plate. smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif

I had this happen once. The pivot point (where you adjust the shifter position with the slot) was slightly loose. After about 300 miles of this, it began to shift REALLY funny. I could ALWAYS get into 1st but 2nd was almost impossible. After I worked it up to 3rd, it shifted OK.

Check for any loose parts in the shift linkage before you go in.

 

Mick

Tucson

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Ken meant to say LEFT foot peg plate.
What? Your BMW doesn't shift on the right?

 

So THAT explains some of the problems I've been having with smoothness.

 

Oops.

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Hi Scott,

 

My RT-P (which, BTW, you influenced my buy of when I was considering it), has 65K miles and I consider it to be in the prime of it's life. I think that on mine even if it needed $2K worth of work I would do it because I really like the bike and it does for me what no other bike does.

 

FWIW, I did Wilbers on my bike two weekends ago. I was a tough job on the front because the Rt-P's crash guards prevent you from easily removing the front shock. The solution was that I had to remove the Telelever arm. I did a write up on it here:

 

http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/sh...true#Post758540

 

Anyway, at 65K miles, I don't think that the Wilbers made that much difference. If you want to ride mine sometime (I am up in Newport) to see what a new suspension feels like you are more than welcome to before you spend the $$. I don't think that I would do it over again.

 

Mike......

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Ed,

 

If it had a bearing gone, wouldn't it be making metal though?

 

OP,

 

Before you panic and pull the tranny, be real sure this isn't something as simple as a linkage problem. Take a close look at everything behind the right foot plate.

 

If indeed in the end it is internal, if it was me I'd go the used tranny from a salvager route. Simpler, quicker, probably cheaper.

 

Well, I feel better about all this than I did last night. I went quickly from shock and anger through to melancholy and sadness in about 8 hours. A quote of around $250 from a local dealer to break the case disassemble, and reassemble the transmission, plus parts, moved me to the "steely resolve" stage. Even if the parts are $500, it's a far cry from $1700 for a factory rebuilt transmission, and I doubt that at 58K this transmission is a basket case.

 

So, this WAS the plan: Hurry home, check to make sure the shift linkage wasn't the problem, strip the bike down, pull the transmission and get it over to the shop before COB tomorrow afternoon.

 

So then, I checked the shift linkage (for the shifter that's on the LEFT side of the bike; details are important), and what did I find?? (Drum roll please....) I'll bet none of you can guess.

 

(I'll post it in an hour when my son gets back with my digital camera, so I can attach a picture.)

 

I know that I was shocked; still think the tranny is going in for overhaul, though.

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Heck with it.. my son's got the camera, so I can't get you a picture. The wierd result at inspection is that the left side footrest plate failed, with a stress fracture entirely ringing the mount point for the shift lever, plus a crack an inch away just behind the peg. One good kick on the foot peg, and a major chuck of the left plate could have come off, along with the shift lever and peg.

 

This definitely could impact shifting, as the shift lever torques down and inward during downshifting. The shift linkage is out of position. However, it does not seem to torque when upshifting, and that's the point at which I have the problem (and only 1st to 2nd). I clearly need to replace the footrest plate. I'm thinking about trying to weld the plate (which is aluminum, I believe), to reinforce it and stiffen it up, and then test the transmission again before I pull it for R&R.

 

I don't think the plate is the cause, but rather an effect, the result of hard shifting. The bike has never been down on the left side, and I can't think of any reason for this sort of failure. I mean, I'm a bit overweight at 250lbs, but come on, I'm not so fat that I busted the side plate by standing on the peg. blush.gif

 

I still think the transmission needs work. I don't think "pre-loading" is going to solve this problem. For $230.00, since I will R&R the clutch and fuel regulator (separate problem) anyway, and am having the shifting problem, I might as well have the gear box opened up and checked. I think that I'm going to "stress test" that VISA credit line this month anyway. bncry.gif I'm guessing I'll have $1500 to $2000 into this little project, and that's without new shocks.

 

Heck, I must have gotten the Tustin, CA PD training bike. dopeslap.gif

 

We'll take pictures and present something interesting (or maybe, at least funny) when we're done.

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Don_Eilenberger

Mike wrote:

Anyway, at 65K miles, I don't think that the Wilbers made that much difference. If you want to ride mine sometime (I am up in Newport) to see what a new suspension feels like you are more than welcome to before you spend the $$. I don't think that I would do it over again.

Mike......

Very odd - since doing Wilbers on my 24k mile RS sure made a difference.

 

Have you done any fine tuning on the Wilbers? Done many miles (they seem to take about 100-200 miles to really "settle-in"..) Klaus usually gets the settings very close right out of the box, but I also do some fine tuning on mine (I had the first Wilbers Klaus ever sold on my K bike - still have it..)

 

I found on the RS that backing off the high-speed compression damping 2 clicks (the red screw) made mine feel like the bike is on rails - at high and low speeds. The high-speed control adjusts the compression damping response to sharp impacts - like hitting a pavement expansion lump at speed. The low-speed one (blue screw) sets up the response to undulations and things like high-speed sweepers (which is also where the rebound damping comes into play..)

 

I'm really surprised - since this is probably the first time I remember someone not feeling a difference with Wilbers vs stock - even new stock suspension. My 24k stock setup really felt rather soft and mushy compared to the Wilbers..

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Hi Don,

 

I have played around with the rebound rate at the bottom. Klaus' setting was pretty good - I think that I finally ended up about 3 clicks firmer than what he had set them to. I could definitely tell a difference there between setting it to very loose, where I felt few bumps in the road, to very tight, where it I felt everything and there seemed to be no compression. The problem is that on the RT, getting access to the compression adjustment will be nearly impossible without removing the shock since it is burried so far up the front so I haven't tried that yet.

 

I am pretty sure that the bike had the stock shocks on it, I had the compression tightened down about 2/3 of the way and the rebound tightened about 2/3 of the was as well (both on the rear since there was no adjustment on the front). With the new stuff the bike sags about the same 1.5" when I initially sit on it, and the ride quality feels about the same as with the stock stuff on it - I don't notice any dramatic difference. The kicker is that the front end still moves up and down when I shift, which is what I thought the new shocks would cure. I guess I needed to do it becuase I would always be doubting my suspension had I left the stock stuff on, but I can't say that it made a big difference in the way the bikes rides or handles. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them because I'd really like to feel the difference in my new suspension. Thanks!

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Scott,

David may have the LH kickplate you're needing. He's parting out a '99 RT. He ships promptly and packages well. Here's the forum:

99 R1100RT parts for sale

Good luck,

James

 

Thanks for the tip; others have referred me to David also. However, he indicated that this part was the first to sell. Failures of this plate must be alot more common than I expected.

 

Thanks again.

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Sorry to hear of your troubles.

 

I just went through a transmission swap on a 99 RT-P. The Spline Lube video is great for familiarizing yourself with the task, and the manual gives lots of specifics so the job gets done right.

 

I popped in a second hand transmission w/ 11K. This bile only had 20K so I feel like it was a good investment even though you run the risk of getting a bad transmission used. I was pretty comfortable w/ the seller and so far and a few thousand miles behind me, the bike feels like new.

 

The RT-P throws a few curves at you, but nothing you can't handle. If I can help in any way, drop a note.

 

I have the 20K tranmission that I removed. If I could get that repaired for $250 plus parts I'd be all over that!

 

I'm thinking about cracking the case just for the education and to see if it's just bent fork shifters. I'll keep you posted on that as well.

 

Save the beast man. It's got life left in her!

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I have the 20K tranmission that I removed. If I could get that repaired for $250 plus parts I'd be all over that!

 

I'm a bit skeptical about the price quote, but the guys are my local shop, and have been great when I've dealt with them previously. I'm afraid of the hidden "extras". We'll see how it works out, and I'll be more than willing to give kudo's to a shop when they do a good job at a fair price.

 

In fact, I'm going to be purchasing about $700 in parts in addition to the transmission components, and was considering ordering from Chicago BMW, to take advantage of their 20% on-line discount. I may take my order to this shop instead, and see if we can work something out so that I can give them this business also.

 

I'm hopeful. I will try to wrap up the tranny removal job, and drop off the tranny Tuesday A.M.. Then there's a bunch of stuff to work on before I get the transmission back:

 

* New bowden box and all cables R&R

* New Oxygen sensor (looks like the current one is toast).

* New belt

* New bearings for the front (I may have the shop inspect the final drive and R&R those bearings).

* 60K mile tune-up & annual maintenance (2K miles early, fuel filter, etc.; already did the fluids, ironically, including the transmission 1K miles ago).

 

I have a ton of work to do, but when I'm done, this "baby" had better shift like a Honda and purr like a sewing machine, or I'm done with her. I'm tired of all the "TADT" excuses about clunky shifting, rough idling, and other maladies. Maybe I'll finally get to ride a "real Beemer" when I get though with this.

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I have a ton of work to do, but when I'm done, this "baby" had better shift like a Honda ....or I'm done with her.

 

oh,yeah, right! Let US ALL know when you achieve that milestone. Then bottle it and sell it to AG.......... grin.gif

 

We wait with baited breath....

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IMHO, if you want it to "shift like a Honda" you should buy a Honda because I have owned Honda's for 35years and BMW's for about the same length of time and they have never shifted the same.

 

Whenever I shift my BMW in a manner than sounds/feels like a Honda, I get a really big grin under my helmet because it doesn't happen all that often. eek.gif

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IMHO, if you want it to "shift like a Honda" you should buy a Honda because I have owned Honda's for 35years and BMW's for about the same length of time and they have never shifted the same.

 

Whenever I shift my BMW in a manner than sounds/feels like a Honda, I get a really big grin under my helmet because it doesn't happen all that often. eek.gif

 

Well, when I got this Beemer, I had it "checked out" by TWO dealers, one at purchase at 50K, and one during the 54K (6k) service. Both said "no problems"; first one said "need new throttle cables", and second said "clutch is coming due" (since adjuster was fully extended). Neither said "second gear is going kaput". I blamed the rough shifts between 1st and 2nd on my own incompetence.

 

On the other hand, three experienced riders(but not on a BMW) who rode my bike told me that thought 2nd gear was a bit bulky. I told them "TADT; you just needed to "pre-load" during shifting; BMW had this wonderfully precise Getrag transmission that was so percise ... " and etc.. And, I learned to "preload" during shifting, and that helped a bit. I tried "Redline Heavy" transmission oil, and although 2nd was a bit bulky, it seemed to help a little (hey.. I WANTED it to help).

 

Well, 2nd gear (or the bearing or shift fork) is gone 8K miles after I bought the bike, and about 6K after everyone who rode it EXCEPT a trained BMW service man told me "hey.. something's wrong with second gear".

 

So, my point is, I'm biting the bullet now; I'm having the transmission overhauled at 58K miles. I'm checking all the splines. I'm replacing wheel bearings, the flywheel belt, doing the "zero-zero" tune-up, I'm checking the final drive, the swing arm, and every other piece of this bike. I'm replacing the clutch, and inspecting and lubing the splines. I may even do a leak down test, while I've got this thing ripped apart. I'm doing "Tech Daze to Armageddon" in my garage.

 

Hey, this is a USED POLICE bike, and it's very possible that it was trashed by 15 different new motor officers learning their trade. Ok, luck of the draw. I'm willingly paying the price now. All I ask is a reliable, relatively maintenance free bike from BMW. I'll do the tune ups, install and balance my own tires like I did in the "good old days". I might even touch up the paint.

 

But if this bike grinds and clunks and stutters and shakes, I won't be attributing this to the mechanical condition of my bike, or "TADT". I'm replacing a transmission at 58K miles on a bike which purportedly has a 100K or 200K mile power train.

 

Next month, my baby has her 1st birthday all over again. It'd better be worth it. I wanted a BMW all my life because of it's reputation for top-quality motorcycles. BMW's engineering is now "on trial", for this customer. I want BMW to pass this test, and I'm betting a couple of thousand dollars more that it will, but I have alternatives.

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"I'm doing "Tech Daze to Armageddon" in my garage. "

 

Well get that camera back and share the experience. I'm guessing you will enjoy this experience and hopefully will share with those that want to be there for you.

 

If it was a Honda you probably wouldn't have this opportunity. eek.gif

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..and was considering ordering from Chicago BMW, to take advantage of their 20% on-line discount.

Place your order well in advance of when you'd like to have the parts in your hand. Some of the small stuff they might be able to ship relatively quickly, but otherwise, you could be waiting longer than you'd like.

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"I'm doing "Tech Daze to Armageddon" in my garage. "

 

Well get that camera back and share the experience. I'm guessing you will enjoy this experience and hopefully will share with those that want to be there for you.

 

If it was a Honda you probably wouldn't have this opportunity. eek.gif

 

Well, I did most of the work alone, and taking the pictures with one hand while holding a wrench with the other, and balancing a part with my left toes, got to be tough. So I don't have as many pix as I intended.

 

Have disassembled to the point of removing the transmission for service; Lesson's learned thus far:

 

1) Nothing on the job is really "hard";

 

2) Disassembly is not hard; remembering all the pieces and bits, even with photo's and labeling of every part is going to be a challenge.

 

3) Removing the final drive and swing arm bolts with heat is a pain; I gave up and surrendered my industrial strength heat gun, breaking all the rules to use a propane torch. The real tough part is that (a) you don't know when you've reached 250F (and not 200F or 400F, or 800F), and (b) you don't know when you're "cranking" on the screw how close you are to stripping it. Best method for us was: Heat it, and then attach a needle torque wrench, and crank on it until you reach 150 ft lbs (the torquing spec). When it's hot enough to melt the locktite, the bolt will give way at almost exactly 150 ft lbs. The right side bolts are tougher than the left side bolts with the lock nut.

 

4) No matter how much you plan, you're still heading to the hardware store unless you happen to have a full master mechanic's tool set in your garage. I reviewed Ted's spline lube video twice. I documented every step they went though on an Excel spreadsheet. This method fixed the video picture in my mind with the text instructions I used as a guide. Then I reviewed those instructions with my manuals (BWM and after market), and reviewed any conflicts or areas where I was unclear. EVEN AFTER ALL THAT, I didn't know that the retaining nuts on the final drive and swing arm required a 30MM wrench. (Grrrrrr..... one more trip to the store, one more delay, one more day for the work.).

 

5) Make sure you have a fairly substantial racheting tie down. The cheaper, lightweight kind (which I happen to unfortunately have) are useless)

 

6) The biggest hassles were:

 

(a) removing the bottom crash bar bracket that's across the rear of the transmission (unique to RTP models), and which happens to hold the middle kickstand up (you know, like the kickstand that the bike is resting on in EVERY picture of this service procedure; guess what happens to a parked 600 lb motor when the center kickstand is removed out from under it??); and

 

(b) Moving the wire harnass at the upper left side of the transmission without cutting the harness (oops), braking some of the components the battery tray is attached too, like the ABS brake pump (hope not!!), or damaging the clutch thrust pin while removing the transmission, and

 

© nearly dropping the transmission on the way out to the car, when the plastic box used to transport it disintegrated due to UV damage (whew!!).

 

 

Bottom line: If you have the tools, Ted's video, and a manual or two, it's not a tough procedure.

 

More info with pix coming later on.

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