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Fact or fallacy: you can smell a clutch burning?


RTme2

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Some claim that you can smell a clutch burning just before it goes out. On an 11RT, I can't imagine that you could smell it...too low and away from the rider. Besides, it's not vented. Right?

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Mine died (along with the input splines) on a Saturday. The previous Thursday I rolled into the dealers service lane for a 6K and the service writer said "What's that smell?" I said "Yea, you need to look at that."

 

The last couple weeks I could also feel heat on my right calf when stopped and feet down. Do I sound bitter?

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Oh yea, I smelled my clutch plenty when I was first learning to ride my R850 (once stopped of course)!

 

Yes, it is vented - the hole for inpecting the TDC mark on the flywheel (though that one usually has a rubber plug) and the hole used to insert a tool to lock the flywheel at TDC during maintenance. Also, the mating surface between the transmission and engine housings doesn't have a gasket so stink could conceivably seep out of there too. I know oil will if you have a leaky rear crankshaft engine seal!

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Joe Frickin' Friday

It's plenty vented. Big gaping clearances around where the starter meshes with it.

 

And I've smelled clutch plenty on abusive launches before (high revs + lots of throttle once you start engaging the clutch).

 

As to smelling it just before it goes out, I don't have personal experience with this, but I wouldn't doubt it; the first time it would slip would be under high-torque conditions, which is going to rapidly dump a lot of power into the friction plate and cook up some righteous stink for ya. crazy.gif

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It's plenty vented. Big gaping clearances around where the starter meshes with it.

 

And I've smelled clutch plenty on abusive launches before (high revs + lots of throttle once you start engaging the clutch).

 

As to smelling it just before it goes out, I don't have personal experience with this, but I wouldn't doubt it; the first time it would slip would be under high-torque conditions, which is going to rapidly dump a lot of power into the friction plate and cook up some righteous stink for ya. crazy.gif

 

Having just replaced a worn-out clutch I can tell you it does stink - if you stop shortly after a high-power application in a high gear. At speed the smell gets carried away, leave it too long before you stop and it has cooled down below the 'stink-point'.

 

Andy thumbsup.gif

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Dave,

There are two distinctly different types of bike clutches, wet and dry. If you are talking about a wet clutch, when it has been abused, the oil takes on the burned smell and it is virtually impossible to get rid of it. Shopping for used bikes with wet clutches, it is common practice to check for the clutch oil smell to see if it has been abused. Perhaps this is the context in which you've heard about "the smell"?

 

As for your RT, it has a dry clutch, and a pretty good sized surface on it as well. I ride the same year and model as yours, ride pretty hard, and I have never had the slightest smell from mine. I'm sure you could deliberately cause it to smoke, but assuming nothing has leaked oil on to it, under even aggreessive normal circumstances, I doubt it would happen.

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Mine was fried pretty bad (see thread for photo) but the only smell I experienced was the smell of greenbacks with little wings on them flying out of my wallet.

 

Bob

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skinny_tom (aka boney)

A slipping (dry- like on an 1100RT) clutch smells just like over used brakes. The catch; it must be slipping to produce the burning smell. A clutch that is "just about to go out" may never smell if it never slips.

 

Get the bike out on the highway, maybe on an uphill, and whack the throttle open. If your engine revs but the bike doesn't accelerate much, then your clutch needs replacement.

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A motocop from the Spotsylvania County (VA) sheriff's department did slow-speed demos at the Morton's BMW open house last spring, using the clutch and rear brake to stabilize the bike during tight turns and balancing exercises. He said, "It smells like sauerkraut," and several in the audience agreed.

 

--John cool.gif

(I probably would've agreed too, but I don't have much sense of smell. frown.gif )

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It slipped a couple times last year, while on the highway, in the act of passing quickly. I haven't had that happen again, though I may be babying it just a little now.

 

I have smelled that "used brakes" odor a few times this spring.

 

Fine time for Cincinnati to be without a BMW dealership. Any Cinci riders out there using a local mechanic that you would recommend?

 

Dave

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You BMW dry clutch folks need to leave the burnouts to the HD guys with the wet clutches........

 

BTW, the R clutch is not that difficult to replace yourself. Try it, you'll like it.....about a 4-6 hours job with the correct tools.

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