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Spline Lube Blues


W8NONU

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Well, I am fairly certain I have the dreaded dry splines on my 2000 R1100RT........

 

Having difficulty downshifting unless I give a little blip on the throttle. This is the third major problem with the bike in 62,000 miles. I asked my dealer at the last service if I would need a spline lube and was informed there is no requirement as the unit is good for life. Sure wish I had pushed him to do it when he had the bike torn down for other service.

 

What I have discovered with the one and only BMW I have ever owned is this:

 

1. I love the handling of this bike.

2. I love the wind management of the bike.

3. I love the comfort of the bike.

4. I don't love the maintenance costs

5. Did I say I love the handling of the bike.

 

I bought the bike with 13,000 miles on it and have put on 49,000 in the last two years. Lots of short trips and several very long trips. I have kept telling myself if there was one more major failure I would trade the bike.

 

I will get it repaired and then will most likely begin the process of finding a replacement. It will be difficult because I really like this bike, but don't like the reliability issues I have experienced.

 

All it takes is money frown.gif

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Don't know where you are in Oklahoma, but you might be able to find someone in your area from here who has experience doing the spline lube job and would help you do it if you don't want to tackle it by yourself.

 

Absent that, if you want to take a run up to KC, I can do one over a weekend, if we start early on a Sat. morning and keep right at it.

 

A dealer's going to charge you a fortune (and they are correct when they say there is no official BMW requirement to lube them), but that's always the high $$ option.

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Just to be sure, check your shift linkage and make sure it is tight.

Next, change your transmission gear oil.

You are looking to see what the condition of the oil is.

If the gear oil is milk chocolate in color or metal visible, then the problem is most likely a failing bearing on the input shaft.

If gear oil looks good, then splines are likely.

 

Good luck!

 

(BTDT)

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Correct me if I am wrong...but I think your RT has the mechanical clutch linkage. I would make very sure the clutch adjustment is correct and is not "dragging". That would cause the same symptoms. After having to do a clutch job on my '04 at 14K I can see no reason to do a clutch spline lube as a maintenance ritual. More likely some other problem!

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Just to be sure, check your shift linkage and make sure it is tight.

Next, change your transmission gear oil.

You are looking to see what the condition of the oil is.

If the gear oil is milk chocolate in color or metal visible, then the problem is most likely a failing bearing on the input shaft.

If gear oil looks good, then splines are likely.

Yeah, I think that's the right order. Much is made of effect of spline lube on shift quality but in my experience while it does make a difference it's also relatively minor. If a shift problem is really noticeable I'd look at the linkage and check the gear oil. Hopefully no chocolate color to ruin your day... frown.gif
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I'm in agreement with first checking the gear oil, but believe me, my previous K bike got really tough to downshift when the clutch splines needed lubing. Once lubed, the downshifting was night and day different (easier), it just snicked into gear.

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I'm in agreement with first checking the gear oil, but believe me, my previous K bike got really tough to downshift when the clutch splines needed lubing. Once lubed, the downshifting was night and day different (easier), it just snicked into gear.
No doubt, but I don't think the K bikes and the oilheads are exactly the same in this regard.
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Lone_RT_rider
If the gear oil is milk chocolate in color or metal visible, then the problem is most likely a failing bearing on the input shaft.

 

Wow does that sound familiar.... crazy.gifeek.gifdopeslap.gif

 

Shawn

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I appreciate the replies and info. I looked at the linkage early on and have ruled that out. I hope to get time this weekend to change the fluids and see if there is an obvious sign as several of you have mentioned. Once this is done I will report the findings. Thanks again for the info, advice and offer of assistance. I may take up the request of a KC weekend maintenance run. I need to get away for a few days. Even tearing down the bike would be a relief right now and this is coming from someone who prefers not to do other than routine maintenance.

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Hey, Jim. wave.gif

 

I just did another "Splinal Tap" on my bike last week as it was also starting to get stiff--especially between 1st and 2nd. I was waiting on the Öhlins to come back from a rebuild before I could button it all back up and take it out for a test ride. I did that just the other day and I have to say--it's FINE now! smile.gif

 

This time after the lube was applied, I used a blast of compressed air from a can (like the canned air used to clean electronics, etc.), and that seemed to have a more immediate effect. Without that previously, it seemed to take a few rides before the shifting became noticeably better--this time the very first ride out the gate was night and day! cool.gif

 

I would also still check the shifter linkage (the R1100's can sometimes work loose), the clutch adjustment (they definitely need to be adjusted now and then as things wear and cables stretch), and tranny oil for problems (just to make sure you're not looking at a major failure) as the others have mentioned too, but the "Splinal Tap" is a 30 minute job solo, vs. 6 hours with a friend. You can then also easily check your spline wear while you've got the starter off and make sure you're not looking at stripped-out splines and a replacement disk anytime soon! dopeslap.gif

 

I could pack my "Splinal Tap" device with us on the Pied Piper Tour! We'll be at Mike 05's place in Dallas, TX on Wednesday 08/29 and at Bud's place for two days in Nashville, IL starting on Friday 08/31. We'll be doing a TBS and valves on Bud's bike and he might not mind if you set-up alongside and pull some Tupperware--like I said, it's a pretty easy job! smile.gif

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This time after the lube was applied, I used a blast of compressed air from a can (like the canned air used to clean electronics, etc.), and that seemed to have a more immediate effect.
Those laparoscopic surgeons have nothing on you Jamie. grin.gif
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This time after the lube was applied, I used a blast of compressed air from a can (like the canned air used to clean electronics, etc.), and that seemed to have a more immediate effect.
Those laparoscopic surgeons have nothing on you Jamie. grin.gif
Look out, Seth! I'm coming through "central Texas" in another week . . . and I'm bringing my "instruments"! blush.gifeek.gif

 

"You'll just feel a slight 'pressure' . . . !" lmao.gif

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Hey Jamie,

 

Sounds interesting. I read your first post regarding the spinal tap and sure would rather try that than going the dealer route or even taking the whole bike apart myself. I am not interested in doing the major surgery on the bike myself. Not sure I could do it first and probably don't have all the tools to accomplish the job. I sure would like to try this before the Falling Leaf Rally. If I don't get it done before then I will not be able to make it there. I really wanted to join in on the UN in WV this year, but with the new business cannot make it.

 

Thanks for the input, I will see if I can find an appropriate tool to accomplish the spinal tap.

 

Have a great trip out to WV and have lots of fun there. I know it will be a blast. Wish I were going.....

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Jim,

 

A few months ago, based on requests, I went looking at the medical supply place for more "Taps" and I bought up what they had on the shelf. I've got one more left. I think I calculated that for the needle, the syringe, the Honda moly lube, the packaging and postage to the lower 48 it was around $30.00. Let me know if you want one, or maybe Ken will want one and he can be the central US "Splinal Tapper"! lmao.gif

 

So far: I've got one, I sent one to the SF Bay Area, there's one in Ohio and one in PA--looks like we need one in Kansas City, one in Wyoming and one down in Georgia somewhere! grin.gif

 

Good luck with the new business and we'll see you at Torrey! thumbsup.gifwink.gif

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As one who's had a input shaft failure, I like Jamie's approach. Additionally, a check of the slop between the trans input shaft and clutch disk has a lot of merit and gives you another piece of info. It’s described in this post. About three months after I responded to the post I had a spline failure on my 02 RT. I now do this check every 6K miles (one done, one due shortly).

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maybe Ken will want one and he can be the central US "Splinal Tapper"!
Works for me.

 

Guess though I'll have to review how you actually do it sometime though huh?

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Lone_RT_rider
maybe Ken will want one and he can be the central US "Splinal Tapper"!
Works for me.

 

Guess though I'll have to review how you actually do it sometime though huh?

 

After I get my rebuilt trans back in and all is right with the world again, I think I would be willing to explore being the South Eastern connection for this "procedure". I am at the point that if the rear subframe of my RT goes up in the air one more time..... I am going to take a hostage! crazy.gifeek.gifdopeslap.gif

 

Shawn

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One thing to keep in mind is that Jamie's Spinal Tap doesn't remove any existing dirt, grit, clutch dust, etc., before mixing it with the injected grease. The end result is a paste with unknown "grinding" qualities. I wonder how much this will increase spline wear compared to a more conventional tear down and clean prior to applying the lubricant.

 

Stan

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Lone_RT_rider
One thing to keep in mind is that Jamie's Spinal Tap doesn't remove any existing dirt, grit, clutch dust, etc., before mixing it with the injected grease. The end result is a paste with unknown "grinding" qualities. I wonder how much this will increase spline wear compared to a more conventional tear down and clean prior to applying the lubricant.

 

Stan,

 

Just some off the top of my flat head thoughts here, but what if Jamies method was an "intermediate" measure used to keep the splines well lubed between long term spline lube intervals. I think the readily accepted intervals are around 50K miles? I know some do it more often and of course time vs. miles ridden (or miles per year) as well as riding environment also play into the decision on how long that interval is.

 

If someone was to do the spinal tap every 10-20K miles and then also do the full spline lube at 50K intervals I can see where that would do nothing but help the situation. It would reduce the PPM of particulate or debris on the splines by adding fresh grease and also keep the removal of the debris on the schedule for 50K. Sounds like a win/win situation to me. It may be overkill, but if someone ever had to replace/repair the transmission they might think the extra is justified.

 

Your thoughts?

 

Shawn

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