Jump to content

Recently purchased a 97 R850R. What is this drip on the exhaust?


Recommended Posts



I recently signed the paperwork on a '97 R850R and will be picking it up from the dealer tomorrow. It test rode very well. After I got home and drooled over some of the pictures I had taken, I noticed a little drip on the exhaust on the right side just behind the cylinder. Attached is a photo. Any ideas what this may be?



Link to comment

It looks like it is right below the transmission drain/filler plug.


This could be a normal/usual spill during recent service or, over time, burned on residue from the transmission oil.

Link to comment
Clive Liddell

Hi (is it) Phil,


Under the throttle bodies there is a short brass pipe which is either connected to vacuum tubing or a rubber stopper which fits over the pipe. I have had the stoppers perish and allow fuel to drip. Very easy to check on your bike :>)


Link to comment

Morning P_hil


If you are getting the bike from a dealer

then you might have them check it out before

they deliver it to you.




Could be spilled gear oil, or even burnt rubber

boot sole from a misplaced boot on the brake pedal.


It looks like that bike has been dropped on the

R/H side so maybe on the L/H side also.


Maybe the air box is full of excess oil from a

tip-over & is dripping out of the intake boot.

There is an air box drain valve on the left

hand lower rear bottom of the air box, maybe

try draining that to see if a lot of oil comes


Link to comment

Thanks for the replies,


I rode the bike home yesterday. I'm pretty sure now that's just a mark from where my boot is rubbing the exhaust pipe. It hasn't changed at all in 200 miles and it isn't wet. The bike runs and handles a treat, however I noticed something today while doing some spirited riding on the twisties near my house...


In 5th gear the clutch is slipping when revved hard!


The bike has 52,000 miles. I noticed that the clutch lever was tight (no slop like a cable clutch should have), so I screwed the adjuster in on the handlebars a little bit. I took it for another ride and there's still a bit of slip. I later learned that the German Engineers™ specified 7mm of play at the lever, so I adjusted it further using my calipers and will test it out again in the morning.


Is there any way to check if the clutch is oily without dismantling the whole thing? I've read about leaking seals contaminating the clutch on these bikes.




Edited by P_hil
Link to comment

These 850cc 4-valve boxers are lovely bikes - long-legged and durable, with virtually none of the nightmare problems that plague the 6-speed vehicles with the hydraulically-actuated single-plate dry clutch that BMW used for many decades, well past the design's sell-by date before they finally adopted a Chinese-outsourced wet clutch among the 2013 total re-think of the boxer motor's layout and concept.


The 80s and 90s era 850 and 1100cc vehicles were made in Spandau well before the suits at the Car Division took over the control of the Berlin plant and started slashing costs to maximise profits, resulting in over-priced diminished vehicles with a consequent severe negative impact on BMW Motorrad's earlier reputation for manufacturing bikes of high quality and extreme reliability.

But I'd advise you to keep a close eye on the clutch-slip issue after you've set up the Bowden cable's free-play setting correctly, in accordance with AndyS's clear guide appearing above.


The fatally-flawed concept of this ancient back-to-front version of the British Leyland Mini-Minor car design of single-plate dry clutch also applies to this era of bikes, so beware any ominous signs of a stripping spline in either the clutch friction plate or on the mating gearbox output shaft. Evidenced by a grinding, graunching sound deep down. Easy, if costly, to fix but requires splitting the bike in half with its tail high in the air - a minimum 8 hour task.

AL in s.e. Spain

Edited by Alan Sykes
Link to comment
The clutch is adjusted at both the lever AND the gearbox housing. This is important. Please see attached picture.


Echoing what Andy said, I had a similar problem and adjusting at the bottom left me with a normal, proper clutch. Its kind of hard to do, but there are some youtube videos that show you what parts you're looking for. I did a bit of it blind, just holding wrenches.

Link to comment

Thanks for the input, I adjusted both ends of the clutch to the specified tolerances and it has stopped slipping! I put about 200 miles on it today and can't find anything else wrong with it...


Tomorrow when the engine is dead cold I'll take a peek at the valves because who knows when the last time those were looked at.


Anyway, here's a photo from my brief 200 mile victory ride today. I've been meaning to visit this place since I moved to California but didn't

because my pickup truck's clutch is a mess in traffic.


Edited by P_hil
Link to comment
I've been meaning to visit this place since I moved to California but didn't because my pickup truck's clutch is a mess in traffic.


If not before, then certainly after.


San Francisco, devouring clutches since forever.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...