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Clutch or Gearbox Question:


First:  Letting the 12K service go until 14.5K is not terminal.   These bike
are made for long miles. That's why you have separate oil in the trans and
the engine, a dry clutch etc.  Doing it this way keeps the engine oil
cleaner than a wet clutch system like a Japanese bike.   No clutch material
gets in the oil.  Granted, a dry clutch won't hold up as well for burnouts
and wheelies, but that's not what these bikes are all about.    

BMW gearboxes are notchy, especially anything before the newer hex-head
models, but even hex heads are a bit noisy at times.  That said, you can
learn to shift them very smoothly.  One good skill is to pre-load the shift
lever before you pull in the clutch.   A little practice will show you how
much pressure to use.  When you pull the clutch, the next gear snaps into
place and you go.   It works for downshifts too but you have to get the revs
right.  Wet clutches are smoother for the uneducated masses, but you have
that pesky "all in one" oil thing going on with them.   Not as good, in my

Synthetic oil in the trans WILL cause it to make more noise.   This is
especially true if you've tried to save money by buying a Mobil One
synthetic gear oil or some other commercial brand.  This is the one place
where I've found the BMW product to be superior.   It costs about $20 a
quart now, but it's the only synthetic that keeps gearbox noise down.You
only need a quart to fill it and how often do you really need to change?
Not often, so it becomes a pretty minor expense.   I am in favor of
synthetic in these boxes because the catalytic converter is directly below
the gearbox and it puts off a lot of heat.   A good argument for synthetic
or semi-synthetic in the engine is the small oil cooler lines that can coke
up in hot traffic situations and, over time, cause engines to run hot in
these conditions.  Synthetic won't get clogged arteries like conventional
oil in those extreme conditions.  

I don't think the final drive is the noise or notchiness issue.  If the
final drive is making enough noise for you to hear while you ride, it's got
a problem.   Again, I've always used synthetic BMW oil in mine.   I ride in
cold weather and it just works better for that.  It's probably good for 1
mpg or so in normal weather and it doesn't turn to molasses in the cold or
to concrete when it's very cold.  

The final drive lube will have no effect on shifting.  BMW synthetic gear
oil has always made my gearboxes shift better, but with slightly more noise.
I used Mobil One synthetic gear oil in my gearbox once only.  It made the
box much noisier.   I've also found that Mobil 1 synthetic oil in the engine
makes more valve noise than BMW synthetic engine oil, but I don't think that
hurts anything.  I know guys with 6 figure mileages on their bikes who've
used Mobil 1 the whole time without problems.  I buy BMW oils to support my
dealer, but I would buy their synthetic trans oil anyway.  It's great for
these boxes.  

You don't need a spline lube until 35,000 miles.  It's not even a prescribed
procedure.  I would have it done at that time because, if you have a leak in
the rear seal, they will find it when they take the bike apart to lube the
spline.  If they need to repair the rear seal, the spline lube is part of
that procedure and it will ALL be covered under warranty.  At least, that's
what happened to me with my '99 RT.  I got lucky.  The leak had just started
and the clutch was not soaked with oil.   I don't know if they'll cover a
2000 bike like yours here in 2007, but you might get some help.   

I change my own oil and set my own valves.   I remove wheels and bring them
in for new tires.   I can change air filters and do all the other little
procedures.  Throttle synchs can be done with easy-to-get-equipment.   I
document everything I do in the owners manual and I buy the supplies from
the dealer so he knows I exist.   I save the oil receipts so I have proof
that I did the oil changes.  

One of the best things about BMW bikes is how well each piece is made.  It
makes them fun to work on compared with other bikes.   Oh sure, I curse
their engineers every time I have to remove the fairings from my RT to do
the most routine maintenance procedure, but the quality of the pieces and
some of the thought that goes into these bikes is pretty special.   

There is a new DVD out that shows all the procedures for major and minor
services for newer bikes than yours.  There is a lot of information on
www.ibmwr.org as well.  Sometimes you can find a BMW shop manual in the
classifieds for sale.  Haynes makes a manual for Oilhead bikes.  If you have
the time, it's well worth it to buy the tools and do the well-documented
procedures yourself.   Learn all you can about routine maintenance and how
your bike works.    Someday you may be stuck on the side of some lonely
road.  If you know your bike and your tool kit, you may be able to get it
back to civilization.  If you are on this list, well that's a good first
step.  Lots of great resources here for a lot of problems.   A good dealer
will not begrudge you for doing your own work if you are straight with him
about your reasons, are careful and organized and support him by buying
maintenance products from him rather than buying mail order.   These guys
appreciate real riders who know their bikes.  


>Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 15:41:34 -0500
>From: "Doyle, Kevin CAPT SEA07, 073" <kevin.doyle@xxxxxxxx>
>Subject: Clutch or gearbox question

>I have a question for the collective.

>The patient:
>2000 R1100R w/ Techlusion "chip" (highly recommended), 16.7K miles, major
12K service at 14.5K miles in May, '07 (don't ask . . . >prior owner,
sheesh), located in DC area.

>Notchy gearbox (clunking or getting the shifter to find the gear)
especially when downshifting. (I think, some of it could be related >to
using synthetic oil in final drive when serviced??)

>Clutch or gearbox? Is this really a problem? Otherwise the bike runs fine,
drives fine, not the smoothest of down shifts though (no >>idea when/if
splines last lubricated, low mileage however.)

>I'm trying to avoid immediate loss of $400-$500+ of personal savings just
by driving towards a BMW dealer.