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1150RT Cam Chain Guide Repair


KER

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Has anyone ever successfully replaced their cam chain guides? We have had 2 of our higher mileage bikes get turned into parts bikes over the years due to left side cam guides breaking apart. Just yesterday one of my employees bike had the same failure. Both left side guides broke apart and the tensioner fell into the oil pan. Thanks you BMWs ingenious design you have to split the case open to replace the $14 parts. Obviously this is cost prohibited since the dealer price ranges from $1500-$3000 depending on what needs to be replaced once they crack the engine open.

 

I am half tempted to attempt it myself since the parts bike is basically useless as it is. Has anyone attempted this repair at home before with any success? I have also been keeping my eye open for replacement motors at a decent price, figured that might also be an option.

 

anyone not sure what Im refering to, its parts #2,3,4

http://www.ascycles.com/Illustrated_catalog2/MicroImage.aspx?ImageFileName=dbvis5843398635294624211.bin&width=550&height=400

Edited by KER
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No need to split the engine. A slot can be cut into the blade to allow it to be 'pressed' onto the bar.obviously the old plastic tensioner blade parts must be found and accounted for.

There used to be a 'how to do this' on a couple of oilheads forums.

 

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There is another approach as shown in a Chris Harris video where the left cam chain guide is replaced by first pulling the pin it mounts on.

 

ThisPage

 

I haven't any experience with this, but Chris is usually pretty good. If nothing else it will show you what you are biting off.

 

Stan

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Has anyone ever successfully replaced their cam chain guides?

 

Morning KER

 

Yes, I have done a few over the years.

 

As mentioned above there are ways to cheat the system & kind of hack the chain guides in.

 

Personally I just split the engine & do it the correct way as most times the engine is high mileage & should have the main bearings inspected or replaced anyhow.

 

By the time the heads & cylinders are removed & the transmission is removed might just as well go a little further & do it right the first time. That allows all the broken pieces to be removed from the oiling system.

 

It's a lot of work to replace those chain guides but it is lot more work to have to do it again due to compromised parts.

 

  • Like 1
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  • 2 months later...

Hello Gentlemen:

I too, own an 1150RT, with a broken cam chain guide (part 2) on exploded.

I innocently brought my bike into BMW for its 48K service (a bit late at 52K)

Received a call back the next day with the bad news- $3618 to repair.

My bike still runs OK. No noises from engine. Have been cautioned not to start or ride the bike. Hadn't started it since problem diagnosed back in 11/15. Battery kept charged. Finally decided to see if it would start today.

Started up just fine.

Question for you all, what should I do? $3600 is a lot of cash, but the bike is still in good shape. BMW told me that the chain guide has broken but has lodged itself inside and is still providing the necessary chain tension. If I replaced it, will it happen again, or is this a one time thing?

Thanks in advance for all your help.....

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Question for you all, what should I do? $3600 is a lot of cash, but the bike is still in good shape. BMW told me that the chain guide has broken but has lodged itself inside and is still providing the necessary chain tension. If I replaced it, will it happen again, or is this a one time thing?

Thanks in advance for all your help.....

 

Morning rjvbmr

 

Not nearly enough information to make a INFORMED assessment over the internet.

 

If just a little of the tip is broken off I have seen that type of failure not cause a lot of issues.

 

So my suggestion is to investigate it further (or get another technical opinion) on how much is broken & where it is broken.

 

As far as "will it happen again?"-- that DEPENDS on what caused the failure to begin with. If it just broke while riding then it might happen again unless the root cause of the breakage is found & repaired. If it broke due to poor work habits of someone working on the bike (like engine turned backwards with a loose chain, or too much force was used in loosening a cam sprocket), or if it was ridden with a cam chain tensioner collapsed, then it probably won't return after repair.

 

So can you tell/show us--- WHERE the guide is broken-- where the broken piece is or ended up in the engine-- how it got broken to begin with?

 

 

 

 

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I don't have any more spare 1150's but a couple of 1100 and have just replaced these motors for 1/3 that dealer price.

Unfortunately the 1150 clyinders will not go into 1100 cases without milling the opening.

Mark

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Hello dirtrider, and thanks for responding. The honest answer is I don't know how or where it's broken. I was told this when the BMW technician/service writer called and told me it was broken over the phone. He cautioned me not to ride it until fixed, and since that time, 11/7/2015 until yesterday, the bike had not been started. I have been keeping the battery charged. I started it up in my garage in N and let it run for about 3 minutes or so. It ran perfect, so I can't tell you. I can tell you that I asked them to take a picture of the problem with a phone camera and email it to me. THEY NEVER DID THAT, which makes me suspicious.

Also, they have had a real turnover of people from the business. I met one of them (the guy I trusted over the years) at the BMW car dealership when I took my wife's Beamer in for service.

I do have a repair writeup for the bike if you would like me to email or post it. Any info you can supply would be greatly appreciated.

As I stated yesterday in my post, Part number 2 on the exploded diagram is broken, according to the technician....

BMW PN 11311341295

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I think you need to pop both rocker covers off. Get a dental type mirror and a very good torch and closely examine all those blades to make an assessment. Asking opinions online is useless without more info. We can guess at a whole host of things, but until we know what the issue is, we can't be constructive.

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Morning rjvbmr

 

Without a good CLEAR picture of the broken chain guide my suggestion is that you really need to get a second (hands on) opinion on what you have going on there.

 

It sounds like your L/H upper chain guide is broken but we don't know how much or where it is broken. (and just as importantly, where did the broken piece end up)

 

Kind of the bottom line here is: any broken chain guide in the BMW boxer is a serious issue. Sometimes they can run on for quite a while with just the tip of the chain guide broken off but that is a crap shoot.

 

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Hello dirtrider, and again, thanks for your reply. I will look into removing the covers and having a look inside. Wish me luck, and I'll reply when I have a result. This time for sure I'll take pictures!

Thank you also, Andy S for your reply as well....

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, I have removed the valve cover and inspected inside. Took seven pix with my phone. I will try to post at least one for your perusal. To me, with my untrained eye, it looks like the tensioner is at almost a 45 degree angle to the chain. Started it back up after reassembly and bike purrs just as normal. Let it run until one bar on temp gauge, and then shut it down.

Sent my pix to a local shop in Redwood City, CA and Sean says that the bike is safe to ride to him as it looks like most of the tensioner is intact. Would like your opinions on this too. His shop is a 55 mile ride, one way from my home. Thoughts??? And as always thanks for your help...

Not quite sure how to post the picture...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Dirtrider and Andy S,

This is the continuing discussion about my problem R1150RT and the left cam chain tensioner. rode the bike to the shop 55 miles away to a trained BMW motorcycle tech in his own independent shop. He checked the bike out and confirmed that there is a problem with the tensioner, and that nothing short of replacement will fix the problem. The strange thing is- he says he has never seen one fail as mine has. While the chain is not riding in the tensioner groove, it is still providing tension on the chain, as evidenced by the bike still riding quietly. He has no idea how long the tensioner will remain in position, but i was able to ride the bike back home another 55 miles without problems. (Rather ironic, as my friend driving the chase car had problems getting back and didn't think he was going to make it home-he did).

Independent shop said to contact BMW NA because of how it is failing, could be a warranty issue. Contacted them, but in the end, no go. I guess how could I expect them to take care of a 12 year old bike under warranty.

So, gentlemen, where do I go from here? I think I'm going to try and sell it, but not too clear as to how much to ask for. Also, looking at a 1200RT for purchase, but in checking out those models in exploded diagrams, it seems that BMW learned nothing from the tensioner issue. All 1200RTs up to 2008 seem to have the same tensioner assembly.

Am i right that it could all happen again? I would be interested in your thoughts, with what I should do...The repair is priced at $3600+, can't imagine a 12 year old bike with almost 53K miles is worth that?

BTW, still unable to post the pix, if either of you want to provide an email, I would be happy to send them to you....

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clip-- nothing short of replacement will fix the problem.

 

Morning rjvbmr

 

 

At this point posting a picture probably won't add anything towards repairing your problem.

 

It needs a new chain guide & that is a big expensive job.

 

Why it failed only matters if that gets BMW to warranty it for you & they don't seen to want to do that.

 

So you are left with the bitter pill of: repairing it at high cost, or repairing it yourself (big job), or swapping in a good used engine, or selling the bike.

 

If the bike is in decent shape & you can find a buyer with a spare engine or the ability to repair it then it is worth something. How much is kind of open to barter.

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Yes, I have seen this happen more lately than on older 1100's. I had an 1150 I replaced for a guy and a year later, same problem with replacement engine, this time broke top and bottom on left side.

How or why is this happening on a few "select" bikes is boggling!

I will attempt the in frame repair this time by pulling cylinder off and braking up the old one, removing and replacing with "slotted" new rail.

I would be interested in seeing that old thread if it is stiil on sight somewhere?

Mark

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  • 1 month later...
Ozonkiller

OK. I just watched the Chris Harris video. Very encouraging. My situation is a little different. First some background...

 

1996 R1100RS

I am a very accomplished mechanic so diving into the engine is well within my skill level. I'd just rather not. The reason is the bike runs, or ran beautifully, zero oil consumption etc. at 184,000 miles. The left tensioner was changed at around 40,000 miles.

My problem started when the right head gasket started to piss a little oil. Retorqued head etc. and the leak persisted, so pulled right head. While pulling the allen bolt out of the cam, when the bolt broke loose the cam chain whipped and broke the last 30mm of the top rail off. (That is the non tensioner rail.

 

I'm sure that I already know the answer but do you smart guys think I should replace the rail or do you think that it'll be OK. BTW I do have the piece that broke off.

 

Have any of you tried the Chris Harris video with success? I'm thinking that if that rail was that brittle to snap that easily I should probably replace all four.

 

Arghh! I should have just lived with the oil leak but up until about 182,000 miles this thing was perfectly oil tight.

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Tom

 

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Shiny Side Up

Hey Tom,

 

If it were me - I'd fix it - but I'm very attached to my motorcycle and I'm nuts - just ask DR!!

 

On the other hand, how attached are you to the motorcycle?

You could buy a new ride and sell parts from the '96.

Don't know about Chris Harris, but you've basically got to take the bike down to the bare bones engine to fix it. Whole rear end - transmission, heads, etc. There are some pins that need to be driven out from the clutch side of the block and new cam chain rails put in. Those rails are probably the cheapest part on a BMW - but like most parts, getting to them ain't easy!!

 

However, it sounds like you're already familiar with the process so I won't bore you.

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Ozonkiller

My wife has instructions that when I die, she is to put my ashes in the gas tank and my buddies are supposed to come over and dig a hole and push the bike in:)

 

So update on the Harris method... There is a second circlip, so no bueno.

 

Moving on... Gonna do a total rebuild. Might as well while I'm in there. I'll make it better than new and then it'll out live me.

 

Tom

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I just finished repairing a guys bike that had both left tensioners come apart. Destroyed to the point, one is dis-appeared into the crankcase, probably after being disposed into tiny bits.

 

I manaaged to replace both by only pulling cylinder and head off.

 

It requires a bit of grinding & shaving since the tensioner will NOT FIT over or under chain with center sprocket attached.

 

You will never get a BMW shop to do this, I am private and only charged the guy 6 hours.

 

No, I don't feel like doing any more!

 

PS. It would have taken longer if I had to remove old tensioners.

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Tom,

 

I had the same thing happen on my '96 RT. I left it as is and have had no problems. If you're going to do a rebuild anyway then replacement makes sense, otherwise I'd leave it.

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Ozonkiller

Engine is completely torn down. Bearings and bores look like new. Had to pull it down anyway after the Harris method debacle. I am often a loooong ways from home so I feel better about doing this anyway. Better in the comfort of my own garage than 1000 miles north of Toronto on the St. James road...

 

Any suggestions for a supplier of parts. Rings at $140 a hole, Yikes!!

 

Don't say Chicago BMW... I want the parts before Christmas;)

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Wow! Please post some pictures!

 

Can you give a little more detail about why the Chris Harris method did not work for you?

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I have had my own 20 BMW oilheads over past 16 years, worked on a bunch of others too.

I have never had to use dealership for repairs or parts unless extremely hard to find,I keep tons of used parts for myself and others, perfectly good ,usually cost like 10c on the dollar!

Mark

PS Chris Harris repairs where he pulls motor out to fix, might as well get another motor that works.

I did this repair on bike in 6 hours on one side.

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  • 3 years later...
dougiedickson

seems to be an old post. Ive had a cam chain rattle now for a while, pulled left hand cam cage off and changed the push rods thinking it was those (i bought them 1st b4 stripping down so thought id change them) anyway wasnt that. Put it back together then stripped right side and noticed the tip of the top chain guide was lying inside at the bottom. Not sure if i did it when breaking the sprocket bolt or not. So I too have the same problem and no one wants to touch it. im in london uk. Seen the chris harris video also. Thing is my header bolts will need done also if I take off the heads so time I have new bolts fitted its gonna be an expensive job.

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44 minutes ago, dougiedickson said:

seems to be an old post. Ive had a cam chain rattle now for a while, pulled left hand cam cage off and changed the push rods thinking it was those (i bought them 1st b4 stripping down so thought id change them) anyway wasnt that. Put it back together then stripped right side and noticed the tip of the top chain guide was lying inside at the bottom. Not sure if i did it when breaking the sprocket bolt or not. So I too have the same problem and no one wants to touch it. im in london uk. Seen the chris harris video also. Thing is my header bolts will need done also if I take off the heads so time I have new bolts fitted its gonna be an expensive job.

 

 

 

Morning dougiedickson   

 

You are on someone else's original thread  here so you really should start your own thread as anything we add here is hijacking the OP's thread into YOUR problem. It is an old thread so we probably will not interfere with the original thread poster.

 

There is a good chance that you broke that guide when breaking the cam sprocket bolt loose.

 

That Chris Harris video doesn't work on a lot engines (you will notice that the engine he is working with has  already been split so the pin is not extremely tight in the case).

 

I have tried  that way twice & on the  first one I couldn't drive the pin out even with an air chisel with a tapered punch on the end & second one I did manage to get the pin out but that forced the case half's apart enough that the case joint leaked  afterwards. (so still had to remove & split engine after wasting all that time fooling with the transmission & that darn pin)

 

No matter what you will probably have to remove the R/H cylinder head & cylinder so that is something that you need to think about.

 

I'm not fond of this way either but cutting the old chain guide out then cutting a slot in the new R/H  side upper will usually get the new one into place & they do seem to stay & work.  L/H upper won't work that way though as it is located by the inner hole.

 

Might be worth looking into a used engine as those are usually not too expensive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
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dougiedickson

Thanks dirtrider  Ill take that on board, gutted to learn that chris harris video is not for all like... dont know what to do now  really...:27:  

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