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Clutch Woes


LGannon

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Took the bike to work this morning and the clutch lever felt very "soft" after a couple of miles it got quite difficult to downshift, is the clutch on the way out ? its an 2002 RT with 23,500 miles

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Well maybe not the clutch itself. What you describe is symptomatic to a failing clutch slave cylinder. I'd look there first.

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Took the bike to work this morning and the clutch lever felt very "soft" after a couple of miles it got quite difficult to downshift, is the clutch on the way out ? its an 2002 RT with 23,500 miles

 

Leslie, could be the fluid is gone/going from the clutch hydraulics.. Check the fluid level in the clutch master cylinder if low or gone see Ken’s post above..

 

Twisty

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Thanks Guys, I took it to the dealer this afternoon as it is under warranty, hope to have news tomorrow, will post findings.

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Took the bike to work this morning and the clutch lever felt very "soft" after a couple of miles it got quite difficult to downshift, is the clutch on the way out ? its an 2002 RT with 23,500 miles

It has nothing to do with the clutch. Clutches "on their way out" as you state, result in slippage, not hard shifting.

 

What you have is air in the system. That is basically the only thing that can result in a spongy feeling, and lack of full disengagement. This could be caused by a worn seal in the slave cylinder (as Ken states) that admits air, or simply fluid level that is too low and air got sucked in.

 

Bleed the clutch. This will restore correct operation, although if the problem is a worn slave seal, the problem may reccur.

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Replacement clutch fluid sorted the problem, under warranty as well. When they checked the service history of the bike it had never been changed.

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That's good to hear. I don't mean to rain on your parade, but it is probably a bad slave cylinder, which means the problem is gonna return. Good luck.

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Does the cylinder itself fail? or the seal? and if the seal fails does it show up as a loss of fluid or does the fluid just degrade?

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gary4photos

both the seal dies and the fluid leaks away

the only fix is new slave cyl

i would insist they do as warranty as it will go again

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silverhornet

Clutch slave cylinder failed at 32,000 miles on my R1150RS, first shows up by rear wheel turning while on centre stand on start up,

Next the clutch lever bite point changes,then you notice fluid on the ground,

then..........no clutch.

I had an interesting 20 mile ride home from work without a clutch.

 

The new cylinder has been modified with different seals and piston and is easy to fit although space is tight.

After fitting my clutch slipped because fluid had been pumped through to the clutch disc.............don't panic!

just ride it without using high revs and it will return to normal clap.gif

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I had the same problem I had just finished a 900 mile round trip of scotland on my 48k 2001 R1150gs. Went to work the next day and thought the lever was a bit spongey - filled up with petrol and the clutch dumped its contents under the bike. dopeslap.gif This seems to a relitivly common problem and one which can appear anytime after 10k

Anyway limped home with constant fluid top ups and had to bleed clutch twice on the way - clutch plate now slips somthing rotten - i have been advised by local BMW guru I need a new slave cylinder and clutch. oh joy.

Anyway good luck to you all (and if this appears x2 put it down to inexperiance with these things)

Dougie

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The throwout bearing normally fails, which causes all sorts of interesting phenomena. In my case it created suction when I used the clutch. Suction so strong it sucked transmission oil past the rear input seal and into the clutch hydraulic line. Imagine my surprise when I bled my clutch and tranny oil came out! Weird, but true. I would never have believed it, but I'm not the first one it happened to.

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Replacement clutch fluid sorted the problem, under warranty as well. When they checked the service history of the bike it had never been changed.

It has nothing to do with the clutch fluid. The problem was air in the system, and replacing the clutch fluid simply eliminated the air.

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so I got a quick fix from the dealer ! and the problems going to return-Great!!! I think I'll try and source a replacement slave cylinder on the net and do the job myself.

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Went for a ride this morning as its a bank holiday here, got about 100 miles from home when the lever went slack again and down shifting got near to impossible, there is no obvious fluid leak nor is the level in the master cylinder low, could the actuation piston be sticking?

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Went for a ride this morning as its a bank holiday here, got about 100 miles from home when the lever went slack again and down shifting got near to impossible, there is no obvious fluid leak nor is the level in the master cylinder low, could the actuation piston be sticking?

 

Leslie, yes that is possible.. Could be a sticking master cylinder piston but that would also require the fluid to bypass back into the reservoir or you would have no drive due to the clutch being held released.. Seeing as the fluid level stayed up but the lever went slack it doesn’t sound like a slave cylinder problem but I suppose anything is possible..

 

Maybe pull the clutch hand lever off & see if the master cyl piston is stuck down in the bore..

 

Twisty

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It's the slave cylinder, or more accurately, the throwout bearing in the slave cylinder. Don't wrack your brain looking for exotic causes. The slave cylinder is easy to check. You can remove it and look at the bearing. It will be shot. A new one is about $100. Simple.

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Thanks Jim, by simple you mean remove the rear wheel drop the rear shock, exhaust and remove the cylinder right? If I can drive it the 5 or 6 miles to the dealer I'll let them tackle it, thanks again to everyone for their input, it looks like this is a common problem on this model.

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SAAB93driver

I have a spare slave cylinder I bought a while back along with some gaskets in the event mine goes bad, are there other parts needed to do the swap?

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There's a felt seal on the push rod, it may be worth changing if you're going to the trouble of replacing the cylinder, see attached for part no. 15

873542-B0003296.png.20d447c5f17f0c5061e3a5f321a87b28.png

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There's a felt seal on the push rod, it may be worth changing if you're going to the trouble of replacing the cylinder, see attached for part no. 15
The felt ring is not a seal, its only purpose is to center the push rod in the input shaft center during assembly. If the old one is good enough to do that you're good to go!
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