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Out Here in Big Bend with Bike Issue


twilmotte

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Good morning from Big Bend's Chisos Lodge -- the only wi-fi hot spot within 50 miles, so I can ask these questions and seek advice ...

 

It's been very cold in the mornings and my 2004 R1150RT makes screaming noises from the front underneath while I'm on the move shortly after I get two bars on the engine temp gauge and before the bike and weather totally warms up. I suspected the alternator belt was slipping badly, but the lights didn't seem to dim and I stopped by Paul Glaves' hacienda out here and he confirmed the alternator seemd to be functioning properly. We then suspected the speedo cable is doing the screaming since the speedometer needle was bouncing around wildly when the noise was there.

 

Then I get up to the Lodge and shut down the bike and I smelled something burning (smelled it somewhat at Paul & Voni's, but didn't say anything then). Smells like rubber or clutch disk burning -- same smell you get when you feather the clutch too much. I checked the clutch fluid reservoir and that looks OK, but I'm remindful of what my wrench said onetime about what can happen if you don't change clutch fluid regularly (seal leak and dripping on clutch plate assembly and big bucks repair bill). My fluid was change 2000 miles ago so fluid is fresh.

 

Here's my question: As long as the bike seems to run OK when it's warmed up and the weather isn't below 45 degrees, am I likely (??) to encounter a breakdown on the way back to San Antonio? I know it's hard to say yes or no with this limited info, but has anyone else had the same symptoms as I'm having? And does anyone have any sugggestions on what I should check before I head for home (with very limited or no cell phone coverage until I get north to I-10)? I have a small tool kit with me. (And I have Paul & Voni Glaves about 40 miles away, but I'd hate to be an imposition on those wonderful folks if the bike (clutch or alternator or speedo cable) isn't likely to croak on me.

 

Sorry for long post, but I'm looking for some comforting or caution advice. I'll be back to this hot spot later today after I scale Emory Peak with my buds. TIA :wave:

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Twil, If your brake fluid was leaking onto the clutch causing it to slip enough to produce a burning smell you likely would feel it slipping as you move down the road. That doesn't seem to be the case. The alternator could be turning enough to charge the battery and still have a belt loose enough to squeal sometimes. My guess is the speedo cable needs to be regreased. You noticed a wild mph reading with the noise present. You could enjoy the ride as is and regrease it at home or easily do it on the road. One phillips head bolt holds the cable housing to the drive unit on the front wheel. Remove the bolt and pull the housing out from the drive unit. The inner cable will pull out from the cable housing. Clean the gunk from the inner cable, add a little fresh grease and reinsert the cable into the housing. If no grease is available try motor oil or even leave the inner cable out for the ride home.

 

Good luck,

Ron

Round Rock

 

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Can't help with the smell, but you could disconnect the speedo cable at the wheel end and see if that eliminates the noise.

 

Stan

...and assuming that is not the problem, then I would go ahead and pull the cover over the alternator belt and check it.

If you have not done this before, most remove the left "shark fin" piece of the fairing to allow removal of the belt cover.

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Smells familiar; I had the same thing happen to me coming back from Maggie Valley. 600 plus miles from home (or anywhere). Short story, 2K miles later I still can't figure it out, I made it home with no problem the smell went a way at about two hundred miles (while on the road).

 

I did check the belt - not fried and was tight to specs. There were no visible evidence of oil anywhere, the clutch was/and is perfect. It's a hard one, and I hope you get home safely.

 

If you figure it out let us know - by the way I ride an 04 R1150RT.

 

Joe

R1150RT

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I have an 04 RT and it happened to me also. It was the speedo. I replaced the cable and it didn't help. I bought a new speedo , never changed it ,but after a while it worked fine again.

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Can't help with the screaming, but I have also had that smell before -- riding last fall and winter. It was hard to pinpoint, but was strongest when sniffed by the steering head.

 

I'm not sure any of this is related, but the smell went away over the winter. Early spring I needed some gearbox work done when my oil came out chocolaty. That's when they noticed the clutch plate had significant bluing.

 

The screaming seems to indicate alternator belt......you sure your clutch isn't slipping?

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You'll see your clutch slipping on the Tach...and engine noise changes...lots of motor noise but no forward motion, especially bad on hills.

 

MB>

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You'll see your clutch slipping on the Tach...and engine noise changes...lots of motor noise but no forward motion, especially bad on hills.

 

Sure. With the speedo needle jumping around, you have to think it's the cable -- unless he's doing wheelies and it's the pillion doing the screaming! :Cool:

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If it's not the alternator belt or the speedo cable, then check to make sure you don't have one of the brake calipers sticking. Feel the caliper/disk for excessive heat.

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Unhofliche_Gesundheit

tom/twil - i have a theory that the problem is somehow correlated to the cold weather.

last night leaving a party at 2am. my bike waiting for me and very cold at curb and 17F ambient my bike really did NOT want to start. turn over v slowly would not catch. give it gas - finally catches - then dies,etc.

anyway when i finally got it going.... i heard the squealing too.

it went away after a minute or so.

6000 miles on the belt and I checked tension 1000 miles ago... 1/4 turn twist like they want.

 

my bike was in N so i woulnt be thinking it was clutch in my case. of course your case might be different.

 

so maybe cold belt = unhappy belt. combined with higher draw - alt trying to recharge battery after all that cranking.

might you be turning on electrics around the time your squealing starts?

 

 

maybe next you get the noise be ready with stethoscope (or tube or stick whatever) to try to determine where the noise comes from. check if corrected to bike speed or engine speed or neither. you might even want to take off the belt cover and inspect the belt at this time to reduce risk of getting stuck far from civilization.

 

if you dont have it now maybe get breakdown assistance (with towing...) as insurance against huge towing bill.

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You'll see your clutch slipping on the Tach...and engine noise changes...lots of motor noise but no forward motion, especially bad on hills.

 

Sure. With the speedo needle jumping around, you have to think it's the cable -- unless he's doing wheelies and it's the pillion doing the screaming! :Cool:

Not necessarily. When my speedo needle was jumping and I had the howling noise, It was the speedo and not the cable.
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Not necessarily. When my speedo needle was jumping and I had the howling noise, It was the speedo and not the cable.

 

What was the fix? Mine was intermittently doing this same thing this past weekend.

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Guys (and gals?),

 

I made it home safely, but not without reading your replies before I left the Chisos and being reassured that my cold weather "screamer" was probably a speedo or alternator belt problem. While descending the mountain early Sunday morning in 50 degree weather at slow speeds before the bike was fully warmed up (2 bars on the engine temp RID), I heard a "whining" noise (lower volume, high pitched noise) from the front low part of bike. Suspecting speedo rather than alt belt, I pulled in clutch lever and still heard the whining noise at engine idle rpm and contant velocity. Then when I started braking to lower speed the noise volume got lower and lower. The clutch felt fine, the brakes worked fine (fortunately), and I never did get any idiot light from the instrument panel indicating an electrical problem. So, my ride home was uneventful and I strongly suspect a cranky speedo cable (which I will repair/replace before my next cold weather outing).

 

I did learn two important things from this little incident: 1) Buy and carry one of those little voltage/amperage meters that Paul Glaves used to test my alternator output and battery condition. (He recommended the small one that fits into any sized tool bag and costs about $20 from Radio Shack.) And 2) I learned (again) that technical expertise and experience sharing on the BMWST Forum is awesome. I really appreciated the opportunity to come back from my Saturday hike, connect to the Lodge hot spot, and read all the thoughtful responses from guys smarter than me who have had similar issues with such cold weather noises (issues) with their RTs. As a result, I was much less anxious about the long desolate ride home on Sunday, and I really appreciate your comments and collective wisdom.

 

Thanks again! :clap:

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Similar thing happened on a riding partner's bike. It WAS the rear brake caliper sticking. Burned up the disc., and ended up locking the wheel.

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I think the problem was the speedo cable or the drive unit by the front wheel. I removed the cable today, cleaned it up and regreased the cable and drive unit opening. Re-install was easy. Now I have to wait until we have some more freezing temps in south Texas to check it out. I'll post again when I'm able to do a check in freezing temps. Thanks again for all your responses. :wave:

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Not necessarily. When my speedo needle was jumping and I had the howling noise, It was the speedo and not the cable.

 

What was the fix? Mine was intermittently doing this same thing this past weekend.

I called the speedo repair company in California and was told it was not repairable. I bought a new one and then read Leslies post how it happened to her but after a while it fixed itself. I waited a while and lo and behold it fixed itself. I now have a new speedo in the box on a shelf in my garage.
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Glade to hear you made it home safely and with no mechanical failure. I see that you figured out the Spedo issue, but I am not seeing anything in regards to the burning smell.

 

Still searching on that, or it went a way and that's that (that was my approach since I could not figure it out).

 

Happy tDay, don't eat too much (ha).

 

Joe

R1150RT

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Yeeha! Stephen
, but I am not seeing anything in regards to the burning smell.

 

Still searching on that, or it went a way and that's that...

Joe

R1150RT

 

 

I recently had an issue with the clutch throwout bearing making a squealing noise. Found out it was shot, and the noise was the release push rod galling on the bad bearing. Replaced the slave cylinder since the bearing is made into it, and the release rod and everything is fine now.

 

What got my attention in this thread, is the burning smell. I too, smelled something burning on my bike and thought something had flown onto the exhaust pipes and/or the cat converter. On initial search, I found nothing up in there to burn, and I just blew it off. I wish I had not done that. Turned out to be brake/clutch fluid leaking from the bad slave cyclinder and on to the top of the cat converter. Had I heeded the warning, I might have gotten to the release rod problem sooner. Thankfully it did not strand me out on a trip.

 

May not be related to the above problem, but you might check your clutch slave to be sure...

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