Jump to content
BMWSportTouring
Lemans

RT LC cam problems

Recommended Posts

Lemans

After a breakfast ride, less than 2 weeks after purchasing an '18 RT LC with all the goodies, it's back at the dealer. After a breakfast ride Sunday, it would crank but not start. BMW Roadside Assistance arranged a flat-bed reasonably quickly, and the bike and I were at the dealer before closing. Strangely enough, my dealer is open on Sundays.

After finding no codes, the initial diagnosis was bad gas. After further investigation, I am told by the tech that the cam position sensor wheel had come loose and had rotated 180 degrees. Spark would then fire on the exhaust stroke. After repair, the bike would start, but with some unusual noise.

 

What they tell me is an unrelated problem is visible grooving on the L side intake and exhaust cam lobes, and on the followers as well. R side OK. This has occurred at about 800 miles, and after a dyno breakin, oil and filter change, and a second oil and filter change at about 650 miles. I did the 600 mile change with the BMW specified Castrol 5W-40 product. The tech tells me that BMW has had issues with cam surface hardening. He believes this is the issue. New cams and followers are on order.

 

Has anyone heard of this issue? I expected to take a hit on the value as I rode it off the lot two weeks ago. but now I have a brand new bike with a major service issue and a service history. I'm unhappy. I doubt the dealer would be willing to swap it out for a new one, but I feel that I have lost value, gained worry and non-riding time. I'm taking some time to cool off before approaching management. If anyone has found themselves in a similar situation, I'd like to hear how it was managed. I feel that I am owed more that a warranty repair and a handshake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernie

A friend of mine had a problem with his cams on a CamHead, I think it was a 2009 or 10 version. But he had many more miles on it and it was discovered out of warranty.

I do not know if the dealer was able to help him out with the repairs or not.

But I am glad your dealer has been able to find and is assisting you with your problems on your 2018 RT-LC.

I am not having that much luck with my 2018 RT-LC. It is my 3rd RT since 2000 and this particular unit has spend more time at the dealer then the other two combined in over 290,000 miles.

There are all sorts of unexpected and unexplainable electrical problems or issues. None of them can be repeated and they do not register any fault codes.

Also, most of the time, I cannot get a clean shift from 2nd gear into 3rd gear using the clutch. This problem shows up after 30 to 50 miles and doesn't get better until the bike cools of over night.

Another problem is downshifting using the Shift Assist (clutch less). If I close the throttle quickly and try to down shift at the same time, the gear shifter locks up solid. If I relate pressure on the shifter and then make a second attempt, it works.

The bike has now a little over 9,100 miles and it is getting worse. Off course a lot of these things happen after you ride the bike for a longer time on back roads.

The dealers techs cannot duplicate the problems and since there are no error or fault codes and the transmission shifts fine for them, it must be the customers imagination.

All they tell me is don't worry you have warranty. LOL

But it has always started and has yet to get me stranded. So I guess I just have to ride it till to blows up. LOL

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LAF

I can not be to specific but I know of another cam issue on a LC and 1/3 of the lobe was gone on a intake cam! I could not believe the picture when I saw it.

 

I have checker 14 LC bikes for cam timing and have NEVER felt with my nail or have seen a bad cam lobe. But there is a issue and I have seen the picture and it was fugly!

 

From what I am told the lobe is only surface hardened and if it is bad it will "flake" off. I do not know more than that at tis time but I do know the bike in question was at the dealer for a valve check 1000 miles before this was discovered while doing a cam timing check. I do not know what the resolution was or how the dealer handled it but I would have been totally pissed.

 

 

I hope they caught yours when it was only scoring the lobe and not when it was eaten off as this one was. I can not imagine how the bike ran but it did with only one intake lobe on one side. It wore just the width of the follower and looked like a chain link with a thin sliver of lobe left on each side.

 

 

I hope it works out for you and they do the right thing for you. It is a shame how much we pay for these bikes to have issues like this. It would appear they are sourcing parts on cost and not quality.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AZgman

If the Cam sensor "had come loose" it would rotate continuously on the shaft, or some random amount before it somehow tightened up. 180 degrees off seems odd. Can we assume the bike ran normal until you stopped for breakfast? Which dealer, Peoria or Scottsdale?

Edited by AZgman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PadG

Yes Lee, typically components like camshafts, crankshafts, are hardened in localized areas ONLY as part of the manufacturing process. Heat is applied to the local areas (modern production lines uses induction coils, while in the old days, flames are used, hence the term "flame hardening") and then the area is rapidly cooled. The effect is very similar to case-hardening, but with a lot deeper case. Still, the hardness is just on the surface, and the material below retains its toughness.

 

So, if somehow the process got screwed up, you will have soft spots that will wear very rapidly!

Edited by PadG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LAF
Yes Lee, typically components like camshafts, crankshafts, are hardened in localized areas ONLY as part of the manufacturing process. Heat is applied to the local areas (modern production lines uses induction coils, while in the old days, flames are used, hence the term "flame hardening") and then the area is rapidly cooled. The effect is very similar to case-hardening, but with a lot deeper case. Still, the hardness is just on the surface, and the material below retains its toughness.

 

So, if somehow the process got screwed up, you will have soft spots that will wear very rapidly!

Yes I hope I can post a picture of this soon but while it is going through evaluation I can not.

 

It amazed me I did not understand what I was looking at for a second or two. My mind and eyes were at odds. Like I said I have heard of this but never saw it.

 

 

Another reason for one to do your own work and look at stuff every 6k instead of the 12K. Really is not a lot of work to pull the valve covers and inspect things. I will of course check valves at 6K as mine were tight at 56 miles. I also will be inspecting my cams and while the finger nail will work I am going to use a jewelers loop next time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lemans
If the Cam sensor "had come loose" it would rotate continuously on the shaft, or some random amount before it somehow tightened up. 180 degrees off seems odd. Can we assume the bike ran normal until you stopped for breakfast? Which dealer, Peoria or Scottsdale?

 

 

Scottsdale. Doesn't make a great deal of sense to me either. The bike seemed to run fine up until the moment I shut it down for breakfast. One hour later, it wouldn't fire. I'm told that there was much valve clatter when it was started at the dealer, prompting investigation of the valve clearances. Maybe it was noisy on my breakfast fun, but I might not have heard it with good noise insulating ear buds and music. 150-200 miles earlier, when I warmed up the oil prior to change, I didn't anything unusual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LAF

Cam sensor is on with 5 Nm. That is not a lot. I have never seen a loose one in 14 cam checks. I have seen them out of alignment though.

Edited by LAF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JEF

My 2016 R1200RT - LC is now at the shop for the same cam wear problem. The one cam lobe looks just like LAF had described it. The bike has 67K miles and I have an extended warranty plan. I am jumping through all the hoops that the extended warranty has one do, and hopefullly will be resolved soon. I noticed no difference in the way the bike was running prior to this being discovered during a routine 12K service. It seems BMW enjoys always inserting one weak link (or more) into each of their models. I purchased this bike to ride, not to have it sit at a service shop waiting for repairs for an issue that should not happen. I wonder how many cents BMW saved in the mfg process, by using a shoddy and/or ineffective process?

 

JEF

Cincinnati, OH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lemans

 

Here's one of the cams taken from my bike at 800 miles.

 

 

 

EPtzLov.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AndyS

Here's one of the cams taken from my bike at 800 miles.

 

 

 

EPtzLov.jpg

 

OUCH!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rider1200RT

Holly cow, I'd say that this is way out of whack!

 

On a side note; The front intake and exhaust valves on both sides of the motor where way out of spec on my '17 RT with 11.5K miles...

After I told my dealer what I had found, they told me that they had never adjusted the valves on a wet-head with that low mileage at all. Makes me wonder what Hans and Franz are doing at the plant... :dontknow:

Edited by Rider1200RT

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LAF

In April I checked my valves and cam timing on my 17.5 new GS at 59 miles. Cam timing was good. Valves were very tight. I will be coming up on my 6K pretty quick here so I will check again. If they appear as tight again I will be resetting them. Every GS/A I have checked the valves have been tighter than the RT's I have checked.

 

 

Not happy I may have to set valves at 6K but it is what it is. I will set for middle of the range.

Edited by LAF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AZgman

Not good. At least it is a warranty repair

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
fastlarry

Jeff, I live in Cincy and also have a '16 RT. Where did you take yours for service?

 

Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ohbeemer2004

I have just experienced the cam deterioration malady on my 2014 RTW at 22,000 mi. They are being replaced at a dealer in Ohio. they said cams only and will "flush" the engine before the rebuild. My question is about the proper break in after the repair. any thoughts on this from those who have experience. thanks. Rally grounded in Ohio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ohbeemer2004

JEF please see my todays post. How did your situation work out? Agree they find a weak link somehow.....disappointing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bob H.

Here's one of the cams taken from my bike at 800 miles.

 

I'd say BMW better get a new company to make their cams because this one apparently doesn't believe in quality control. Apparently this cam wasn't properly heat treated , I've seen cams with over 100K on them that looked better.

 

 

 

EPtzLov.jpg

 

OUCH!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JamesW

I am beginning to see why so many owners of these high tech wonders part with them before the warrantee expires. Oh, I can also see why the third party extended warrantee is so expensive. It's reassuring to see not much has changed with BMW in the years since the oilheads hit the road with their faulty rear drives and trans input shaft splines to name but a few problems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NoelCP

Geez I guess. Prior to this story the wetheads have been quite solid and reliable, but now this. Ouch! My '16 has 35,850m OTC and I had decided to forgo an extended warranty until this story again makes me second guess the decision once again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
realshelby

The Wethead is still solid and reliable. For one thing these cam problems are not new and certainly not widespread. They also don't tend to leave you stranded, although if you kept running I assume it might eventually. Plenty to worry about in the world today. But don't miss much sleep over these cam issues. Still the best bike I have ever owned.

 

About the only riders that will complain about them.....are ones that have not owned one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pickaxe

Is it the cams or a lubrication failure? That's an awful lot of wear for 800 miles. I remember Ford having a similar problem with OHC 1600 engines in the 80s. Very concerning.

Edited by Pickaxe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AndyS
I guess. Prior to this story the wetheads have been quite solid and reliable, but now this

 

. Very concerning.

 

Really? how many issues of this have you heard?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pickaxe

TBH, only this one and why I wondered if it might have been an isolated lubrication problem. If it was a problem with the camshaft hardness, you would presume a batch would be suspect?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
marcopolo
TBH, only this one and why I wondered if it might have been an isolated lubrication problem. If it was a problem with the camshaft hardness, you would presume a batch would be suspect?

 

If I recall, there were a handful of GS riders who reported this issue over at ADVRider, citing camshaft hardness as the cause.

 

Edited by marcopolo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AndyS
TBH, only this one and why I wondered if it might have been an isolated lubrication problem. If it was a problem with the camshaft hardness, you would presume a batch would be suspect?

 

If I recall, there were a handful of GS riders who reported this issue over at ADVRider, citing camshaft hardness as the cause.

 

Interesting....I am surprised we had not heard about it here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
realshelby

Cam issues have been brought up here. There have been a very few. The first I heard of were from the Colorado State Police who have many Wetheads in their fleet. They had at least one of the early models fail at like 40 K miles. It seems to be very isolated. It must be in how the cams are hardened. If you have checked your own valves. the cams are ALWAYS covered in oil. Not likely a lubrication problem. That is a good time to inspect for any scoring. Doing mine now, they look fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernie

This isn’t unique to the WetHeads, I know of at least two cases of cam failures on CamHead motors.

I would just like to know what made the fellow with the failure at 800 miles open the valve covers. What where his symptoms?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pickaxe
This isn’t unique to the WetHeads, I know of at least two cases of cam failures on CamHead motors.

I would just like to know what made the fellow with the failure at 800 miles open the valve covers. What where his symptoms?

With wear like that I would presume noise and loss of performance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
realshelby

Reports of a lot of ticking noise and too much mechanical noise from the offending side are what I have read about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JamesW

This is kind of interesting and makes me wonder what effects, if any, using a motor oil that contains a good quantity of ZDDP might have on cam lobe wear? Shell Rotella I think still contains ZDDP and I do use the 15-40 Rotella dino oil in my R1100RS for the ZDDP as well as preventing, I hope, seal leakage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lemans
This isn’t unique to the WetHeads, I know of at least two cases of cam failures on CamHead motors.

I would just like to know what made the fellow with the failure at 800 miles open the valve covers. What where his symptoms?

 

The bike failed to start after a 100 mile ride. I was told by the dealer that the bolt securing the cam position sensor had loosened, allowing the sensor to come out of alignment. The cam wear was obvious with the covers removed. I was told the bike ran with quite a bit of valve noise, not surprisingly. I use an old set of Er6 earbuds with music playing...very good noise isolation. Maybe too good. I never noticed a thing. I was told the problem was caused by faulty surface hardening of the cam lobes. Who knows. Because the bike was purchased new less than 2 weeks previously, I insisted on a new replacement bike and got it, after a month or so of hassle. The cams looked fine to me at 600 miles and I will be looking again this week at 6000 miles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PadG
This is kind of interesting and makes me wonder what effects, if any, using a motor oil that contains a good quantity of ZDDP might have on cam lobe wear? Shell Rotella I think still contains ZDDP and I do use the 15-40 Rotella dino oil in my R1100RS for the ZDDP as well as preventing, I hope, seal leakage.

We are not talking about normal wears, which would take MANY tens of thousands miles to even be measurable. This issue is a clear case of heat-treating quality issue. A manufacturing problem that can be very difficult to detect, but easy enough to make sure that one don't have it in the first place, IF a decent quality system was in place! I am talking as someone who has experience in setting up manufacturing systems for crankshaft production, and the process is fairly much identical to cam shaft, but the big 6-cylinders crankshaft is a lot more critical in many respects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JamesW
This is kind of interesting and makes me wonder what effects, if any, using a motor oil that contains a good quantity of ZDDP might have on cam lobe wear? Shell Rotella I think still contains ZDDP and I do use the 15-40 Rotella dino oil in my R1100RS for the ZDDP as well as preventing, I hope, seal leakage.

We are not talking about normal wears, which would take MANY tens of thousands miles to even be measurable. This issue is a clear case of heat-treating quality issue. A manufacturing problem that can be very difficult to detect, but easy enough to make sure that one don't have it in the first place, IF a decent quality system was in place! I am talking as someone who has experience in setting up manufacturing systems for crankshaft production, and the process is fairly much identical to cam shaft, but the big 6-cylinders crankshaft is a lot more critical in many respects.

 

I see your point and I doubt lubrication is the answer since these failures occur in bikes that are new with few miles on the odometer. When it comes to quality control I do think BMW has made improvements in recent years but I guess there is always room for more. I would not feel comfortable owning one of these bikes beyond the warranty period and I think I'm not alone here. Actually that kind of works to the benefit of the manufacturer come to think of it.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

×