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Clutch Troubles


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A little back ground first, my 2007 R1200RT has 157+ K miles and has been fairly trouble free.

For the last 2-3 K miles the clutch lever has been feeling a little strange at different times. But there is no clutch slippage and no real consistency from the symptoms.

So this morning I decide to go for a ride and after about 40 miles, the clutch lever starts to feel really strange, I have to pull it all the way to get it to disengage the clutch and it fully engages in less then 1/4" movement. It is even causing the gear shifting to be hard and stubborn.

So I pull over, start looking for leaks or stuff, have a drink and start thinking about the problem and decide not to push my luck and return home.

As I start the bike after 15 minutes, the clutch feels much better, so I pick a route home that has less need for shifting.

After about 20 miles, the clutch lever again has lost all travel.

Once I made it home, I check the searched the board and studied the BMW Rep CD.

I figured I had either lost the clutch slave cylinder or there is too much oil in the reservoir.

So after the bike cooled off, I removed the cover of the clutch master cylinder, and it was full. I think the oil was maybe green at one time. No, I have never changed this oil, and so has nobody else.




As you can tell it is filled over the top of the full mark.

So I removed 10 ml/cc of oil.




After that the oil level was down to the minimum level.




The lever feels better, but I will not know if it fixed anything until I get to take it for a longer ride.

Also if the clutch starts to wear and the oil level in the reservoir increases with clutch wear,

how much life is left in the clutch when it fills the reservoir with 10 ml/cc's of oil.

Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.

PS: I will order new clutch hydraulic fluid from my dealer on Tuesday and schedule a change as soon as possible.


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Afternoon Bernie


Your problem doesn't really point to too much fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. It more points to air in the clutch line.


If your problem doesn't go away (it probably won't) then you can try cutting the zip ties on the clutch line then REROUTE the clutch line so it goes uphill (without dips or high spots) from the slave to the master cylinder.


There was a BMW service bulletin on this & so far it has cured most of the "close to the bar engagement issues" on the BMW hexhead.


The real problem is in the slave cylinder allowing a little air to get into the system after a long ride without using the clutch. A new slave will for sure cure it but in most cases just eliminating the high spots in the line that can trap & hold the air will keep the problem from coming back.




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If you need "clutch fluid", get mineral brake oil from a cycling goods shops: most are Shimano branded. It's enough to fill the circuit two or three times over and cheaper than Magura.

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A quick update. I pumped the clutch lever several times yesterday.

This morning I had another look at the back of the transmission.

It is now covered with oil. So I removed the slave cylinder and it leaks.

I guess it is time to order a replacement.

Thank you for the help.

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Thank you all for the ideas and help.

Clutch slave cylinder and fluid replaced last night. System bleed and fluid lines located to prevent any dips in the layout.




Test ride this afternoon successful, clutch and lever action feel as good as ever.

Bike is ready for SECFF lunch ride on Saturday. :clap:

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