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Firm downshift on R1100RT......


cali_beemer

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cali_beemer

Well, the bike has been running great but I have noticed lately that on my downshifts, mainly the 2 to 1 downshift that the lever is very firm to press. It doesnt have a problem shifting once you pressed hard enough but it sometimes gets very firm on shifter. It doesnt do it all the time either sometimes it still shifts just fine. It hasent done this before and i am hoping that this isnt a tell tale sign that the tranny is about to blow. Its a 97 Rt with 17,000 miles on the odometer. 5 speed gearbox. I am little concerned. Is this something that changing the tranny fluid to something better may help?

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Your engine and tranny are just getting broken in, IMO. Firm shifting, as you describe it, between 2 and 1 (especially on the downshift) can be quite firm, at least on the BMWs I have owned.

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cali_beemer

even when you sometimes have to press down really really hard? or when its about 3 times as firm as the other downshifts? I hope this is just normal but I am very concerned its not normal.

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Is it real hard to shift into 1st while you are stopped, or only when you are still moving? Mine is harder to downshift while still coasting but it is consistently harder to engage. While stopped it goes in easily.

 

 

 

You may want to drain your Tranny fluid and look for any small pieces of metal or a silver metalic gleam to the drained fluid. If you find either, it's a sign that a Tranny rebuild could be in your future plans. Is your tranny a M94 or a M97? You can look near the serial number on the tranny and it should be stamped Mxx after the number. M97 trannys are a lot better than the M94s and less likely to have issues at such low mileage.

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Well, the bike has been running great but I have noticed lately that on my downshifts, mainly the 2 to 1 downshift that the lever is very firm to press. It doesnt have a problem shifting once you pressed hard enough but it sometimes gets very firm on shifter. It doesnt do it all the time either sometimes it still shifts just fine. It hasent done this before and i am hoping that this isnt a tell tale sign that the tranny is about to blow. Its a 97 Rt with 17,000 miles on the odometer. 5 speed gearbox. I am little concerned. Is this something that changing the tranny fluid to something better may help?
Probably not as likely the tranny as it is the splines needing a bit of lube. Check out this thread.
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There are several things that can cause this, ranging from something as simple as a loose shift lever height adjustment to the need for a spline lube to internal transmission problems. As a first step I'd check out the shift lever and clutch adjustments carefully to be sure everything is OK there, and also drain some oil and look for anything unusual (it should look pretty much identical to the new gear oil that goes in.) The results of those efforts should give you a few clues.

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Is it real hard to shift into 1st while you are stopped, or only when you are still moving? Mine is harder to downshift while still coasting but it is consistently harder to engage. While stopped it goes in easily.

 

 

 

You may want to drain your Tranny fluid and look for any small pieces of metal or a silver metalic gleam to the drained fluid. If you find either, it's a sign that a Tranny rebuild could be in your future plans. Is your tranny a M94 or a M97? You can look near the serial number on the tranny and it should be stamped Mxx after the number. M97 trannys are a lot better than the M94s and less likely to have issues at such low mileage.

 

 

Just looked up the date BMW switched over to the M97 Trannys. It was 1996 so yours should be a M97 which is good news.

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There are several things that can cause this, ranging from something as simple as a loose shift lever height adjustment to the need for a spline lube to internal transmission problems. As a first step I'd check out the shift lever and clutch adjustments carefully to be sure everything is OK there, and also drain some oil and look for anything unusual (it should look pretty much identical to the new gear oil that goes in.) The results of those efforts should give you a few clues.

 

+1 with the caveat being a spline lube being an unnecessary procedure.....IMHO, only a misaligned gearbox-to-engine situation would benefit from the spline lube procedure; and that only postponing a failure.

 

Again, only my opinion and I'm not trying to ignite a huge debate, but with this spline failure business....either you have it or you don't -- kind of like there's no such thing as a "litle bit pregnant." Unfortunately, the OP doesn't have enough mileage to know the answer yet.

 

Check the linkage, change and inspect the fluid, but ultimatly your answer lies many miles down the road. Enjoy those miles! thumbsup.gif

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... It hasn't done this before and i am hoping that this isnt a tell tale sign that the tranny is about to blow. Its a 97 Rt with 17,000 miles on the odometer. 5 speed gearbox. I am little concerned. Is this something that changing the tranny fluid to something better may help?

 

Well, I'll give you my honest opinion, based on personal experience.

 

My 2001 R1100RT ex-police bike shifted OK when I got it. If there were shifting problems, I was ready to attribute it to my inexperience with BMW's. A BMW definitely does not shift like a Japanese dirt bike.

 

A whole bunch of folks on this forum promoted heavier transmission fluids (e.g. 75W140, Redline 75W250, etc.) with a GL5 rating, but higher viscosity. I read the testimonials and read the technical literature, and I became so convinced that Redline Shockproof heavy was the perfect fluid for BMW Getrag transmissions, I even chimed in an recommended it to others. It took me 6 months before the odometer said it was time to change the transmission fluid, and test the new oil that'd make bike shift smooth and quiet.

 

So, then I tried it. I filtered the tranny oil as I drained it. No silvery oil, no flakes, no big chunks to be found. We were looking good. I added Redline Heavy Shockproof (75W250), and test road it to find out the good news.

 

Well, it did seem to shift "a little" better. It wasn't what I had hoped for, but it was worth a little longer field test before passing judgment.

 

Well, after about 600 miles, the field test was done, the results were done, and my transmission was done. It had peculiar Spalding on the intermediate transmission gear assembly. BMW said "the oil looks like water" when they disassembled it, and proclaimed every part in the transmission a total loss. eek.gif

 

I don't necessarily blame Red Line. I don't necessarily blame the higher viscosity oil. I certainly don't blame anyone who recommended the oil.

 

However, I do know that I'll never move outside of the Manufacturer's recommended specifications again. I'm running 90 weight or 80/90 GL5 gear oil. Nothing exotic. My transmission was rebuilt to run better than new, but it'll run 90 weight, not 140 or 250.

 

YMMV.

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Clive Liddell

SWB,

I want to say I agree fully with your thoughts. I really do not see the sense in following a snake oil makers recommendations or what a friend of a friend told him on the internet when the designers and manufacturers recommend a certain weight and type of oil. I know who I trust more.

 

And strange to say but I have had no problems on either of my oilheads (combined milage 160000km)

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Stan Walker

However, I do know that I'll never move outside of the Manufacturer's recommended specifications again. I'm running 90 weight or 80/90 GL5 gear oil. Nothing exotic. My transmission was rebuilt to run better than new, but it'll run 90 weight, not 140 or 250.

 

75W-140 GL 5 is a BMW approved oil for the oilhead transmission. Saying otherwise is apreading false information.

 

It's listed in the BMW service manual and sold in BMW branded containers at BMW dealers.

 

 

Stan

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I had the same problem on my 99 RT, and just last week took it to the dealer, he readjusted the clutch cable play at the bottom of the cable, amzing improvement in the shifting.

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My 04 RT from the onset was rather sluggish in downshifting, I expressed my concerns with my dealer and with BMW in NJ, needless to say, it fell on rather deaf ears. But as the mileage built up, the shifting become better. At 12K service I switched over to completely sythetic oil, and transmission lube. At about 15k the downshifting was significantly absent. With 23k, it is virtually history.

 

There is a lot of threads and opinions on the spline matter, and I for one am not convinced there isn't issues. But I've talked with many a BMW mechanic on this matter (outside of work) and not one would confirm that the spline problem is a problem. But one thing is for sure if there is: BMW has stuck its ugly head in the sand on the matter, and its no wonder, can you imagine the $$$ they would have to pay to replace parts, lube spines or whatever it took.

 

I do know after 5 different BMW over 30 years, and the lack of support from the local dealer to NJ, the next bike I buy will be something other than a BMW. I hate to say it, IMHO BMW has damaged it's reputation so severely they will not recover.

 

jgp

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YMMV.

Boy isn't THAT the truth! grin.gif

 

I bought my 2003 R1150RT new (with 70 miles on him) in September of 2002 and switched to SP-Heavy in the tranny at 6K miles (about a month later). I noticed a smoother shifting (again not like a Japanese tranny, but noticibly better). After about 13 months of a combination of sport and touring including 120* F temps and near freezing temps I was pushing 36K miles. After reading about numerous final drive failures and a few tranny failures here, I thought I should put the factory stuff back in in case I had a failure before the 36K warrantee period (I already had the extended warrantee, but the coverage is slightly different). After putting the BMW oil back in I was convinced my tranny was shot! It shifted like crap and was noisy like the bearings were coming apart inside. eek.gif

 

I panicked and thought the RedLine ruined it, but being trained in the scientific method, I decided to put it back to the last conditions under which it ran fine and drained the BMW stuff after only a few thousand miles and put the RL SP Heavy back in--problem solved. smirk.gif

 

The bike is now four and a half years old and has 123,667 miles on it--all but the first 6000 miles (and a few thousand back in late 2003) with RL SP Heavy in it. Leslie's early 2002 R1150RT was bought used in the Spring of 2003 (from a little old man who only drove it on Sunday . . . but never stopped! lmao.gif ) with 30K miles on it and has used the same RL tranny oil since then. It also now has 124,373 miles on it and neither bike has had so much as a burp of trouble. cool.gif

 

Evidently, there is at least some body of evidence that RL will not necessarily kill a Getrag tranny in 600 miles unless there is some other factor in play. It also proved to me that I didn't have enough experience with how poorly the RT's tranny shifted in the first 6K miles to know the difference--until I put the BMW stuff back in at around 35K miles! The difference in shifting was so noticable--and the negative consequences, at least for the first 120,000 miles have been so non-existant--that I'll stick with it. At least for the time being! wink.gif

 

Regarding the spline lube: I noticed the down shifting getting a bit rough, lubed the splines slightly and noticed an improvement. It's been a few years now and I'm starting to notice it again. I'll re-lube and report back with my findings. I still have the original tranny and clutch (I did have the bike stink-bugged at the dealer to fix a fuel rail recall item and I can't swear that they didn't lube them for me then), and with 123K miles I'd say I got a good one. That said--if you have one of those bad tranny-spline alignment bikes--a lube will only forstall the inevitable as no amount of lube will compensate adequately for the fretting which will inevitably occur. Even with a good tranny alignment, I did notice an improvement in feel with a freshly lubed set of splines.

 

But . . . YMMV! wave.gif

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