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R1100R Clutch Slippage


Geoff_J

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I'm having trouble with a 1996 R1100R I bought last fall. The bike has just over 24k miles. A dealer performed the 24k service before I took delivery.

 

When I'm riding in 4th or 5th gear and want to accelerate, I give the bike gas and my engine jumps from 4000 to 7500 RPM with minimal acceleration. The clutch is obviously slipping. There is no slippage during off idle acceleration from a stopped position. The clutch is properly adjusted.

 

Could my clutch be worn with only 24k miles? On the other hand, could this be an alignment problem? Is a bad seal allowing oil to collect on the clutch? Do the splines need lubrication? The (dealer) repair might be costly. So I'm trying to decide whether or not I should keep the bike. Any ideas what's wrong?

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Your clutch with only 24k on it is probably not worn out, but is fouled due to a failed seal. You won’t know what the culprit is until you’re in there. Your solution will be the same regardless of the cause. You’ll have to replace the clutch plate and address the cause of the problem. Below is a down and dirty assessment of the ball park costs.

 

1.Clutch friction plate is worn out. Shop time about 7 hours at the prevailing shop hourly rate plus parts. ~$125 for the plate, or ~$325 for all the clutch components.

 

2. Main seal leaking, add another hour plus parts. Plus #1

 

3 Transmission seal leaking, add 4 hours to service the transmission and replace the seals, plus parts about $50. Plus #1

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Could my clutch be worn with only 24k miles?

 

Takes abuse, but it can be done. I've heard RT-P bikes had problems like this before the LEO's were instructed that dry clutches shouldn't be continuously slipped like wet clutches.

 

Is a bad seal allowing oil to collect on the clutch?

 

Happens now and then. You might look down by the starter on the left side of the bike to see if you can spot signs of oil (collected dust/grit, etc.) at the area where the starter engages the flywheel. If the smell of burnt clutch isn't too strong, you might be able to smell and see if it's gear oil (which means the gearbox input shaft seal is bad), or engine oil (which means the crankshaft seal is bad).

 

Do the splines need lubrication?

 

At 24K? Probably not. If your splines were shot, your bike would not accelerate ever again after that initial rev jump. crazy.gif

 

Any ideas what's wrong?

 

Quite clearly your clutch is shot. At a minimium, you'll want a new friction plate. Probably also want new pressure plates, if there's been a lot of slippage (heat will warp them). If you can confirm oil leakage, and type (gearbox or engine), you can also replace the appropriate seal.

 

Should you keep the bike? I dunno. How many miles did you ride since buying it? Any kinda warranty on it? If you're not mechanically inclined, maybe you can convince the dealer to split the cost of repair (if no warranty). If you are, then repair is just a bunch of work, nothing that requires tricky tech know-how (like engine rebuilding).

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Geoff,

 

While checking cable clearance is always good starting point, it's likely that rear main motor seal is leaking oil on clutch face, causing slip. So, solution is involved and costly ($700 ?) with rear seal replacement (necessitating some "tear" (man, I wish I had another word) down)) and new clutch required.

Best of luck,

 

Wooster

 

last funny of the day: dinosauric termite makes dynomite

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Could my clutch be worn with only 24k miles?

 

Takes abuse, but it can be done. I've heard RT-P bikes had problems like this before the LEO's were instructed that dry clutches shouldn't be continuously slipped like wet clutches.

 

Is a bad seal allowing oil to collect on the clutch?

 

Happens now and then. You might look down by the starter on the left side of the bike to see if you can spot signs of oil (collected dust/grit, etc.) at the area where the starter engages the flywheel. If the smell of burnt clutch isn't too strong, you might be able to smell and see if it's gear oil (which means the gearbox input shaft seal is bad), or engine oil (which means the crankshaft seal is bad).

 

Do the splines need lubrication?

 

At 24K? Probably not. If your splines were shot, your bike would not accelerate ever again after that initial rev jump. crazy.gif

 

Any ideas what's wrong?

 

Quite clearly your clutch is shot. At a minimium, you'll want a new friction plate. Probably also want new pressure plates, if there's been a lot of slippage (heat will warp them). If you can confirm oil leakage, and type (gearbox or engine), you can also replace the appropriate seal.

 

Should you keep the bike? I dunno. How many miles did you ride since buying it? Any kinda warranty on it? If you're not mechanically inclined, maybe you can convince the dealer to split the cost of repair (if no warranty). If you are, then repair is just a bunch of work, nothing that requires tricky tech know-how (like engine rebuilding).

 

Thanks for the reply. I rode the bike less than 300 miles before the slippage started. That's the disappointing thing. I don't know the bike's history so I can't comment on clutch abuse. I'm going to ask the dealer to share the cost of repair.

 

I forgot to mention that when I ride the bike and come to a stop, I can smell something like asbestos. I believe this is coming from the clutch.

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Geoff,

 

While checking cable clearance is always good starting point, it's likely that rear main motor seal is leaking oil on clutch face, causing slip. So, solution is involved and costly ($700 ?) with rear seal replacement (necessitating some "tear" (man, I wish I had another word) down)) and new clutch required.

Best of luck,

 

Wooster

 

last funny of the day: dinosauric termite makes dynomite

 

I checked the clutch adjustment at the hand lever and it was ok. I have a shop manual, so tonite I'll check the adjustment at the input lever at the rear of the transmission.

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A lot of '96's had their input shafts damaged by some ham fisted guy at the factory. The result is they hold oil until about 20K and then start puking it out and fouling the clutch. If your input seal is leaking you will probably notice some gear oil (look for the distinctive smell) coming out at the back of the transmission where the clutch rod enters. Mine did this some years ago.

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I bought this bike used and rode it about 400 miles before the clutch started slipping. I called the dealer who sold me the bike and asked if they'd split the repair cost with me. I'm awaiting a response.

 

The clutch adjustment is correct and there's no oil coming out where the clutch rod enters the engine. I can only conclude that the clutch disc is worn. I don't know the bike's history or if it was abused before I bought it. However, a boxer with only 24k miles should not need a new clutch.

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Of the 3 BMW's that I've replaced clutches on, 2 of them have been fouled by the transmission seal leaking. None of them had any smell or evidence of the cause of the slippage prior to disassembly. After disassembly the only thing that you knew was that there was plenty of friction material, but it was greasy. You might see the oil if it is a Main seal because of the view angle, if it is a significant leak, or it been an ongoing problem, but it doesn’t take much oil to wick up the pushrod to foul the clutch. With a small amount of 90 weight oil you’ll never see it but you will feel it.

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Stan Walker

Could my clutch be worn with only 24k miles?

 

The early oilhead clutch was re-designed in '97 to extend it's usable life. BMW indicated that they wore out with too few miles on them. The earlier parts are no longer available and you will have to upgrade to the later parts.

 

I think Jan's '96 RT clutch would have made 100,000 miles but I replaced it at 70,000 when I was in there doing it's first spline lube. I didn't want to go back in another 30,000 just to do the clutch !!!!!

 

Stan

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I once had a '79 R100RS. The original clutch lasted until about 80k miles. It seems BMW compromised the clutch design with the early oilhead bikes.

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It's easy enough to pull the starter to have a look at the whole clutch area. You can definitely tell if oil has invaded. Not sure I've ever smelled asbestos, or if I did I didn't know it.

 

When you pull the starter, if it looks like you macerated a blackbird in there, it doesn't necessarily mean you have an oil leak. My recent catastrophic clutch failure took a pretty good bite out of the friction disk. It's made of little copper wires and black fiberous stuff so it's going to be oil colored. Stick your finger in and feel around for oils other than the grease that was used to lube the spring.

 

Bob

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I just had the exact same issue with my 99 r1100rt. I am guessing that the PO had adjusted it too tight or something but from the time I bought it to the time I realized it was out of whack the damage was done and a proper clutch adjustment bought me some more time. A few weeks ago I ended up replacing the clutch plate...(no seal leaks) and doing a spline lube - (splines were perfect). Although it it exponentially better I still think I have the tiniest amount of slippage under WOT on 4 and 5th. In hindsight I should of just bought the replacement kit with the spring, pressure plates and clutch plate. But until next winter I will continue to play with the adjustment of the clutch cable using the adjustment at the transmission method.

 

On mine the entire inside housing was "caked" with clutch dust. You will be able to see this when you take off the starter while it too will be caked.

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The dealer who sold me the bike last fall is going to replace the clutch at his cost. Seems fair. I'll find out next week if the problem was the previous owner's poor riding technique or a bad seal allowing oil to get on the clutch friction material.

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