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Clutch Splines


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During the last 5K or 6K miles ther has been a clunk coming from the drive line. While riding in the mountains I lost all power to the rear wheel. Nothing in any gear. Got towed to Carolina BMW. The mechanic pulled the starter, with the bike in gear the trans turns but not the clutch. Clutch splines. Still under warranty, a good thing.

This is my second BMW, both had a major breakdown at a little over 30K. First had a burnt valve now the famous clutch spline. I am begining to worry about reliability of BMW bikes. confused.gif

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What year and model oilhead do you ride? Did you notice any new symptoms (such as clutch problems or harder shifting) leading up to the spline failure? I ride an '02 R1150RT with 26K miles and I'm taking off on a 4K+ mile trip next month. This spline thing has me nervous!

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The most noticeable indicator for dry clutch splines (and pending failure) is a difficulty to down shift (mostly 3-2 and 2-1.

If you need to blip the throttle to downshift you may have a problem.


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Thanks for the info. Seems like I had heard that before. Fortunately, my R1150RT shifts crisply and without any extra effort needed. I will take that as a good sign!



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This spline thing has me nervous!


You have 3 choices.


Take some drugs to take your mind off it..... (legal drugs of course) smile.gif


Tear your whole bike apart to inspect / lube then (a spline lube job).


Pull the starter. By rotating the clutch by hand you can determine how much free play there is before the input shaft on the tranny moves in either direction. On perfect splines this is in the order of 1/8 - 3/16 of an inch measured at the outer edge of the friction disk. Bad splines will be much larger figure, maybe even an inch.


There is even a technique for injecting some lube into them that a search for "protology" might turn up. lmao.gif



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My bike is a 04. Shifting was not hard like I have heard about. The main symptom was hard to get into 1st gear and when letting out the clutch you could hear a clunk as the lash came out. I talked with the mechanic, he said they saw several failures in the early models of the 1150 but not the later models.

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I did a search but was unable to find a thread regarding lubing the clutch splines. Does anyone have a link or even a

procedure for this. tongue.gif

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Your best bet is to get hold of a copy of Ted's Spline Lube DVD. Search for that, or someone may post a link to obtaining one.

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