Clutch issues. swelling? - BMW S1000RR Forums: BMW Sportbike Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Clutch issues. swelling?

Bike: S1000RR 2011.
19k miles / 30k km
Big service done a few months ago, according to maintenance schedule.
Started noticing this issue after service, but this can be a coincidence or hotter weather.

Problem:
When the bike gets hot the clutch cable free play increases, anything from 0.5" free movement on the lever to the whole lever just being free play.

Example 1:
I adjusted the clutch cable to have the correct free play (0.5 - 1.0mm) while bike was cold.
It was a hot day 85f (30c) and after an hour on the highway going at about 80-90mph (130-145km/h) the clutch lever had so much slack it came knocking on my knuckles.

Example 2:
I set the correct slack while cold, then went out for driving. I did some launches, went driving on a twisty road and came home about an hour later.
I couldn't get the bike to neutral or even shift gears when I got back to the garage. The free play in the lever was about first half of the clutch grip.
After removing all that free play I could shift in to neutral again.

Note:
I have never really been able to get it from 1st to neutral, since I bought this bike about a year ago.
I noticed that after I've done hot adjustment and the bike cooled down, I can. So it seems my clutch cable needs to be over tightened to be able to shift 1st -> neutral.

Service details:
My valves was checked, but no adjustment was needed.
Oil was changed to Motul 5100 according to my receipt.

Together with the regular maintenance I also:
*switched from a full race exhaust with decat to the stock exhaust.
*switched the power commander back to a 0 map.
(Perhaps both of these changes can increase temperature a bit).

Lastly, is it worth replacing the "shift star" on the old models while doing clutch work?
As I understand it, BMW has improved that part.

I know that the clutch slack on these bikes changes a bit while hot, but this is excessive, so I think something is broken or incorrectly set.
Any ideas what it could be?
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Last edited by sniglom; 08-16-2019 at 06:41 AM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
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I started to do some basic checks.

I found this picture of clutch cable routing:
My cable seems to be routed correctly, but the picture doesn't show how the routing from right side to left side should be done.
If there is some magic going on here to keep the cable from touching parts of the engine, please enlighten me.

Then I thought I should check the oil level.
Manual showing oil level info
Alright, so check oil when bike is hot and engine is turned off. Oil level should be within the circle.
I didn't have my gear when I was in the garage, so I let the bike idle until the display showed 160f (70c+).

First a picture of how it looks when cold. Looks normal to me.

While engine is idling, ~160f. Too low?


Turned engine off, waited a minute.

Last edited by sniglom; 08-15-2019 at 12:25 PM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 12:27 PM
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I was having issues when my bike was hot with finding neutral going from 2 -> 1 or 1 -> N sitting at a stop or even when slowly approaching a stop. It only happened when really hot after being stuck in stop and go traffic in the city on hot days.

Brought this issue to the attention of the service department when bringing the bike in the for 20k service and they adjusted the clutch free play "slack" as you're referencing and since then I've not had an issue. Seeing as how they just did a fairly major service I would think the first thing would be to bring it back into the dealership and get them to resolve the issue. What else do you pay them large sums of money at your service visits for if not to correct seemingly minor issues in comparison to a valve clearance check/adjustment? I would hope they would resolve this at no cost since they just had it in and somehow it didn't need to be adjusted yet you're experiencing some issues that clearly require attention.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 01:49 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
Brought this issue to the attention of the service department when bringing the bike in the for 20k service and they adjusted the clutch free play "slack" as you're referencing and since then I've not had an issue.
Sorry, maybe "slack" is the wrong translation. English is not my native language.

Adjusting the free play as stated in the service manual gives these 3 conditions:

Cold: Clutch cable is not tight enough for 1 -> N, but good enough for all other shifts.
Hot: The clutch handle is a bit loose, shifting is harder, eventually 2 -> N is possible.
Really hot: Clutch cable has gotten so much free play the clutch handle is totally loose. Only clutchless shifting is possible. You'll need to use the brakes to stand still, since the clutch won't disengage.

There is no adjustment of free play that is according to specifications and still work correctly, cold or hot.
The "correct" free play is a bit too small cold and waaay too small when hot.

Maybe I could just super-over-tighten the clutch cable, but I want to find the underlying issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
Seeing as how they just did a fairly major service I would think the first thing would be to bring it back into the dealership and get them to resolve the issue.
I did. They believe my clutch is busted or a cheap third party clone. They want $900 to replace the clutch.
I wanted to find out if somebody had seen this issue before, maybe it's something else going on.

But I'm a bit dubious, why would my clutch suddenly become like this after the service? Or is it just the hotter weather doing it's thing? I don't know.

Last edited by sniglom; 08-15-2019 at 02:41 PM.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sniglom View Post
Adjusting the free play as stated in the service manual gives these 3 conditions:

Cold: Clutch cable is not tight enough for 1 -> N, but good enough for all other shifts.
Hot: The clutch handle is a bit loose, shifting is harder, eventually 2 -> N is possible.
Really hot: Clutch cable has gotten so much free play the clutch handle is totally loose. Only clutchless shifting is possible. You'll need to use the brakes to stand still, since the clutch won't disengage.

There is no adjustment of free play that is according to specifications and still work correctly, cold or hot.
The "correct" free play is a bit too small cold and waaay too small when hot.

Maybe I could just super-over-tighten the clutch cable, but I want to find the underlying issue.


I did. They believe my clutch is busted or a cheap third party clone. They want $900 to replace the clutch.
I wanted to find out if somebody had seen this issue before, maybe it's something else going on.

But I'm a bit dubious, why would my clutch suddenly become like this after the service? Or is it just the hotter weather doing it's thing? I don't know.

Before going the route of replacing the clutch I would explore replacing the cable. Maybe its at the end of its life or near it. Is the no other dealer that you can go to?

I go out of my way to go to a better dealer that's well past at least 2 other dealers I could go to because Budds BMW in Oakville is in my opinion the best BMW dealer in the Greater Toronto Area. I won't go back to my selling dealer because a guy I met at a bike meet informed me they didn't have the tools to do his fork oil or chain replace on his 2015!!! and that was late last year he brought it in for the 30k service. How long have they been selling these bikes and they don't have the tools to do the work!? If you don't like the dealer close by and its not even remotely convenient to go elsewhere then you may be forced to get the part and do the work yourself. Definitely sounds like something you want @bennymx or @skapan to maybe consult you on.
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Get busy living or get busy dying, remember life has an expiration date.
Winter house is an igloo, summer house is a tree fort.

2005 GSX-R 600 (write off) retired cop turned in front of me
2006 GSX-R 600 (stolen)
2004 GSX-R 750 (sold)
2018 BMW S1000RR - current
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 05:05 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
Before going the route of replacing the clutch I would explore replacing the cable. Maybe its at the end of its life or near it.
Regarding the cable, I have no issues with replacing it. But doesn't it seem odd that it would expand that much?
I have looked at its routing, whether it could be receiving too much heat, but the service manual picture is vague.
The routing does not look weird to me, but that doesn't mean it's right.

Is it possble that a bad wire could expand that much by just heat?
For the sake of it, I looked at thermal expansion of steel, just to get a grasp of whether it seems feasible.
Say that the wire needs to expand 0.5" (1.3cm) for the clutch handle to start hitting my knuckles.
Steel heated to 1200f (600c) will expand about 1%. The OEM cable is 51" (130cm), so that would make for an expansion of 0.5" (1.3cm).
But that means all of the clutch cable needs to be 1200f.

Sure, the bike is hot. But it's not that hot. Or is it something I'm missing in my thought process?
Maybe clutch wires expands much by heat before they break? I haven't had to replace one before on any bike.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
Is the no other dealer that you can go to?
There are other dealers. One that is authorized on BMW and one that isn't but I've heard good words about their work. I've been trying to reach both of them via phone to get a second opinion, but it's hard when it's motorcycle season here in Sweden.

But I have no issues with the dealer I use, or perhaps I should say repair shop, because they only do repairs, no sales. They have a good reputation, has been around for 30 years and are authorized on BMW.

Just to clarify, they won't replace my clutch without verifying that it's broken. They said that if I had time, they could open up my clutch, see how it looks and only then order a new one if that's what's broken.
It's not a greedy shop trying to do unnecessary repairs, rather it's the opposite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
If you don't like the dealer close by and its not even remotely convenient to go elsewhere then you may be forced to get the part and do the work yourself. Definitely sounds like something you want
I'm not afraid to do the job by myself. But before ordering parts I want to get a grasp on what's wrong.
And I need to source BMW parts, which seems harder with BMW than Kawasaki or Honda(?) Or maybe I need to look harder for vendors in EU. Couldn't find original BMW clutches in Sweden, unless I wanted to buy them at a premium from the repair shops.

Last edited by sniglom; 08-16-2019 at 06:44 AM.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-15-2019, 10:16 PM
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Ok so if the shop near you is reputable as you’ve stated then I would trust their opinion and get them to look into it. Maybe there’s an issue at play and they’ll be able to solve it. This definitely seems like a PITA and I’m not sure id want to be dealing with it during riding season but a clutch issue isn’t something you can easily wait until the off season to address. If replacing the cable yourself would cost more than paying the shop to diagnose the issue then it’s an easy choice, pay them. I’ve only ever replaced one clutch cable and it was due to fraying near the lever end but otherwise I’ve never had many issues. I’m not super proficient with the S1000RR and it’s many intricacies so this is why I’m content to let the dealer fix things. As a licensed technician for cars I have come to realize customers come back to the dealer for work because they trust our work and knowledge. I wish I could help more but this falls outside my scope of knowledge and other than minor adjustments to my clutch cable on my GSX-R before the S1KRR I’m just not tinkering with a bike I’ve spent over 30k on in areas I’m not willing to risk messing up on. I’ll do my own oil changes, chain adjustments/cleaning/lubing, accessory installs but where I draw the line is when it affects something that could drastically change how the bike operates and more specifically something as important and being able to shift gears. I’d hate to lose control or have an incident on the bike that could have been prevented by letting a professional with much more knowledge than I work on the bike. A few hundred dollars or more is more than reasonable to me to let a factory trained technician make adjustments or diagnose issues on something that I’d rather spend my time enjoying than fixing.
:end rant:

Get busy living or get busy dying, remember life has an expiration date.
Winter house is an igloo, summer house is a tree fort.

2005 GSX-R 600 (write off) retired cop turned in front of me
2006 GSX-R 600 (stolen)
2004 GSX-R 750 (sold)
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 12:57 AM
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Yeah doesn't sound right at all. Have you always owned the bike?

1. Check clutch cable mounting at the actuating arm and where the bottom adjustment is located. Under the tank and on the left side of the bike. Make sure both lock nuts are tight where the cable is adjusted at the bottom.
2. Cable is possibly stretched very badly
3. Clutch thrust piece needs to be adjusted (on the clutch hub)
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 06:37 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennymx View Post
Yeah doesn't sound right at all. Have you always owned the bike?
No, I've owned the bike less than a year. Bought it last autumn.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bennymx View Post
1. Check clutch cable mounting at the actuating arm and where the bottom adjustment is located. Under the tank and on the left side of the bike. Make sure both lock nuts are tight where the cable is adjusted at the bottom.
2. Cable is possibly stretched very badly
3. Clutch thrust piece needs to be adjusted (on the clutch hub)
1. Thanks, I've looked at the arm previously, but I will double check it.
2. May be, but only while hot
3. How can this be verified?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
This definitely seems like a PITA and I’m not sure id want to be dealing with it during riding season but a clutch issue isn’t something you can easily wait until the off season to address.
I still have my F4i, so it's fine I kept it, because I know these things happen and I have no car.
Driving the F4i from Gothenburg to Stockholm and back over the weekend. Going for a cruise and meetup. Going to be a 600 mile drive in total, so I would have preferred the BMW seat though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageS1000RR View Post
A few hundred dollars or more is more than reasonable to me to let a factory trained technician make adjustments or diagnose issues on something that I’d rather spend my time enjoying than fixing.
:end rant:
Agreed. I've done most of the service myself in the past. I try to avoid it nowadays, but if I have to, it's okay.

Last edited by sniglom; 08-16-2019 at 06:54 AM.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-17-2019, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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Time for an update.
I sent the bike to a mechanic, I thought the clutch plates were busted.

When the mechanic looked at my bike, he found that the cog wheel that goes around the clutch basket had free play when it shouldn't.
Thus the clutch basket, the pressure plate and the bolts had been damaged. He also said that my clutch plates were burned.

My clutch basket was replaced with one from a crashed s1000rr that had 8000km/500 miles on the odometer.
The clutch plates were replaced with new ones from Barnett. (At least according to the mechanic, the receipt doesn't show a brand).
The mechanic accidentally broke the return spring for the clutch (the one that often breaks), so it was replaced as well.

After all this, I felt a lot less vibration in the right footpeg (great!), but the clutch issues doesn't seem to have been resolved.

Today I made two videos.

First I drove through town for about 20 minutes. Not many stops and no hard driving, just regular commute.
It was 10c/50f outside and I was driving mostly at 80kmh/50mph and 40/25mph.

After I got to my destination, this is what the free play looks like.
It took me many tries to get from 1st to neutral. Because the clutch doesn't disengage as much.

This is 4 hours later, when the bike is cold. The free play is gone. I think this is correct adjustment according to the manual(?).

So is it the clutch cable? No, it itsn't. The free play comes from the arm/lever on the left side of the bike. The one where the spring is located.
When the bike gets hot, part of the travel of that lever becomes very lose while the point of where the clutch engages/disengages changes as well.
Please do note, that in this last video the bike isn't as hot as in the first, so the free play is less. But the video still shows that the free play does not come from the clutch cable, but the clutch arm.

Last edited by sniglom; 10-17-2019 at 06:34 PM.
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