K1200S clutch fluid bleed; what am I missing? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Oct 18th, 2018, 12:25 pm Thread Starter
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K1200S clutch fluid bleed; what am I missing?

I changed out my trans in my 2006 K1200S, and in the process, decided to replace my clutch discs, and my clutch slave cylinder with the Oberon product, which comes with the new bleeder screw.

The Oberon product has a cylindrical plunger which sit on top of a ball, and the first attempt at installation, I dropped the plunger out of the unit, recovered it, and re-installed. At some point, I was able to hear at least the contact of clicking of the cylinder against the tappet on the outside of the clutch disc pack, so itís in there.

1. Tried the suction method, but somehow my vacuum was sending backpressure into the unit such that after sucking fluid out, it pushed in a little bit of air. In addition, despite knowing I needed to watch it, stupid me allowed the bowl to go completely empty (people who say you need to flush out the system anyway are dead on; the old fluid was dark and had a ton of sediment in it) and thus sucked air into the master cylinder.

2. So OK, Iíll do the ďold fashionedĒ method, as in the Oberon instructions (close bleed screw, pump up lever, open screw; repeat). Weak sauce.

3. So OK, Iíll try the BMW manualís method (suck out bowl, then suck out system from bottom, and then use syringe to pump the fluid up from the bottom until the bowl is full). Iíve run 3 bottles of Magura Blood up from the bottom and still no dice, even with trying a suggestion I found of loosening the banjo bolt slightly below the master cylinder, and tapping lightly with a rubber mallet to shake air loose.

4. Tried the ďold fashionedĒ method again. When doing so, note that every time I pull the lever with the cap off the bowl, small bubbles come up from the bottom. Only when I do that, but every time I do that, and it doesnít stop with 100 pulls.

All my connections are tight. If air is coming into the system from outside, something has broken or torn, and if so, I donít see how, and I canít find where.

I know the whole deal of the Oberon slave cylinder is to lighten clutch feel, but w/the bike in gear the rear wheel spins, and nothing changes when you pull in the clutch, i.e., you have to ďfinagleĒ the bike into gear. So it canít be, ďitís probably working, but heís just too dumb to know.Ē

I am ordering more clutch fluid, but in the meantime, can someone help me with suggestions going forward? Iíve bled systems before, but not on this bike so Iím not a total idiot, but still must be doing (or not doing) something stupid, wrong, etc.

The only thing I can think of to do next is to suck out the bowl, suck out the line, remove the clutch cable, inspect, re-attach and go again. Reasonable? And would it be advisable that if I have to go that far, to just go ahead and take the lever/master cylinder off the bar and remove and put the bowl back on? Is there something I'm missing related to this model specifically?

I canít believe I have successfully replaced an entire flipping transmission, and canít get a simple clutch line bleed right!

Thanks in advance, guys, for any wisdom you can offer.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Nov 29th, 2018, 5:33 am
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The "old Fashion" thing should have worked. For one thing, I never heard of "Magura Blood" but that doesn't mean its no good. I have had my clutch apart many times and never had problems with this area but I just use standard Beemer clutch fluid which is essentially Mineral Oil. But I would suggest not to go mixing different fluids because you don't know what reactions the different brands are going to do together. You can't just drain fluid out of a hose and expect you have removed all the old fluid either. It's still wet all the way thru to say nothin of what's in the lever.

I would say that you shouldn't have seen a lot of contamination since clutch fluid doesn't get hot like brake fluid and deteriorate from boiling. Also clutch fluid is not nearly as sensitive to chemical contamination as brake fluid so it usually lasts pretty well so seeing the dirt and discoloration may indicate a leakage somewhere.

If worse comes to worse, get a rebuild kit for the lever and do a good job with it. Put it all back together and you should then have all new moving parts I have an Oberon Actuator myself and it's alright but remember, it's a trade-off. They achieved the easier pull with a bigger piston giving it increased area but also increases the total volume. So it reduces travel for the same amount of fluid pumped. Also remember your hand lever travel is adjustable and If you'd like more travel, you can go to an AC Schnizter lever or something comparable. Don't mess with cheap Chinese garbage.


Also look at the end of the Push-Rod in the Throw-Out Bearing; 1.) for it's presence, and 2.) for it's condition. The end should look symmetrical and smooth with a clean well defined dimple in the middle. If it's chewed up, get a new one.

Check your hose for rub spots where it has to pass under the tank and you do want to be sure your Bleed Nipple is seating. Don't go twisting the shit out of it but make sure it snugs correctly. If it's not sealing correctly, it will drool fluid ever so slightly.

If you do all this and you still got problems, You need to look into that clutch you put all the new parts in. It's easy to screw that up. You can miss-stack the plates, get them out of index in relation to the Basket and miss locate the snap-ring for the diaphragm spring. The Alum. hub is the softest part in the clutch and can sustain wear in it's grooves and hang the plates up.

All these K-bikes, especially the earlier 1200s have serious clutch issues. The first symptom of K-Bike clutch problems is Chatter. If that hummer starts banging a clattering, you got problems. A Barnett Clutch Pack will help but is not a cure. I have written many posts on this and you should be able to find them elsewhere on this forum.

Let me know how it goes.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 14th, 2018, 1:53 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks a bunch, Viking. Between you and a buddy who’s a mechanic at a dealer and trial and error, I’m not only getting closer, but am learning, and it’s not nearly as frustrating in December as it would be in June.

On Magura Blood, they used to be the official supplier of BMW, and apparently are no longer after a lawsuit, but my particular, originally spec’d clutch fluid was the red. I later learned they replaced the recommended fluid for all their bikes with newer, blue Magura (but instructed all dealers to bleed out all the red before putting in blue, and not mix), and then after all that, I learned that following the suit, they just told dealers, like you said, as long as you don’t mix, pretty much any hydraulic fluid would work, as long as it’s mineral based, even down to what you buy at CVS. This particular dealer now uses Castrol Vitamol).

Anyhoo, the biggest thing you’ve told me (which makes sense) is that if I had sediment, I had a leak of some sort somewhere. I bought the Barnett clutch pack and put it back together (and double, and triple, checked for assurance of proper re-assembly), but of note, on this bike with roughly 24k miles, when I got it open I saw the plates couldn’t have been in there for more than several thousand miles, and the prior owner had been required to replace them. Kept them, of course. Basket and springs were in awesome condition, though.

Also, I have the Synto Evo levers, and have adjusted them, because I always have to on all my bikes (small hands). The clutch with new levers was working fine before the trans swap.

After trying all the other “remedies,” I’m about 99% that somehow, some way, there’s a leak on the seals at the bottom of the bowl and/or the master cylinder, which goes along with your rebuild idea.

If I pump the daylights out of the lever, and IMMEDIATELY let loose on the bleeder valve, I’ll get at least a decent squirt (3 ft. or so) out of it, but if I pump it up like crazy, and then wait 2-3 seconds, it only dribbles out. If I do the same and watch the bowl, teeny-tiny bubbles come up from the bottom. I’ve bled and re-bled the whole system multiple times/multiple ways, and it’s always the same. I also have double and triple checked tightness of all the screw-in parts of the system which could leak, so it almost has to be a seal somewhere.

Plan now is: try out old slave cylinder, and see if that cures the problem. If not, and it’s not the Oberon, then rebuild the bowl/lever/master cylinder end, or replace the whole assembly with a used one. Is this sound?

Based on what you said about the Oberon, however, I am now wondering if this could be the case? Old system had a leak, but still worked well enough to be effective (over time I did seem to notice a softening of the clutch pull after installing the new levers, but just thought it was the new clutch lever), but won’t work at all with the Oberon, and so even if going back to the stock slave cylinder achieves results, I may still need to rebuild the lever-end of the system.

I greatly appreciate all the help. I’ve never had trouble bleeding anything hydraulic in my life before this, including tractor attachments, and all the “old hats” at it just laughed at me, told me I'd been lucky, and basically at 51 yr. of age, I was way overdue for something like this to happen to me.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 16th, 2018, 7:21 am
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Doberval,
I just finished a long and extensive reply to your questions above and when I hit "Post Reply" the God damned forum lost it. Shit, I had over an hour's work in it. I've had that happen before.

I'll give it another shot soon. Right now I'm too pissed and it's very late. Talk to you soon.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 2018, 1:29 am Thread Starter
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Viking, thanks much, and Iíve had the same thing happen to me, and know how frustrating it is when it does. I wonít have a chance to work more on it until the end of the month, anyway.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 24th, 2019, 2:34 am
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So Dober Dude, How did it go? What I was going to suggest was rebuild the lever first. That bubbling you saw is the biggest indicator you have so far.

Since last writing I bought a 2nd hand '10 1300 clutch complete. I now know everything they did to fix the clutch chatter problems and would highly recommend you do the same providing you can swing the bucks. What you are up against is the fact that you are on an '06. By that time no improvements had been made to the clutch setup that I can find. Improvements didn't start showing up until '08 and the rest came with the advent of the 1300 in '09. The cost of this shit new is ridiculous. Keep looking until you find a used 1300 setup as recent build as possible.

A friend I ride with had an '06 R and his clutch was a complete mess. we did the Barrette thing and as soon as we finished, his clutch lever was seized. Took it all back apart and found the grooves carrying the Fiber Plates in the Basket were so chewed and galled up we had to hand file them to get the tangs on the Fibers to slide without snagging. I told him this was no permanent fix and to get a 1300 Basket if nothing else. The only problem with going to a 1300 is your 1200 Barnette Fibers won't work. You'll need a 1300 Fiber Plate set. Personally, I don't think the Stock Fibers are a problem and would run them before spending money on a another set. Just get a 1300 Clutch complete with the Plate Stack and all.

I did have one question which I posted a New Thread to address. I called it "The Clutch Spring Mystery". Read this Thread to see more info on this topic. I go into detail about the changes done with the 1300 setup.

Good luck and let me know how it's going.
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Last edited by SpaceViking; Jan 24th, 2019 at 2:46 am.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Jan 28th, 2019, 6:00 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceViking View Post
So Dober Dude, How did it go? What I was going to suggest was rebuild the lever first. That bubbling you saw is the biggest indicator you have so far.

Since last writing I bought a 2nd hand '10 1300 clutch complete. I now know everything they did to fix the clutch chatter problems and would highly recommend you do the same providing you can swing the bucks. What you are up against is the fact that you are on an '06. By that time no improvements had been made to the clutch setup that I can find. Improvements didn't start showing up until '08 and the rest came with the advent of the 1300 in '09. The cost of this shit new is ridiculous. Keep looking until you find a used 1300 setup as recent build as possible.

A friend I ride with had an '06 R and his clutch was a complete mess. we did the Barrette thing and as soon as we finished, his clutch lever was seized. Took it all back apart and found the grooves carrying the Fiber Plates in the Basket were so chewed and galled up we had to hand file them to get the tangs on the Fibers to slide without snagging. I told him this was no permanent fix and to get a 1300 Basket if nothing else. The only problem with going to a 1300 is your 1200 Barnette Fibers won't work. You'll need a 1300 Fiber Plate set. Personally, I don't think the Stock Fibers are a problem and would run them before spending money on a another set. Just get a 1300 Clutch complete with the Plate Stack and all.

I did have one question which I posted a New Thread to address. I called it "The Clutch Spring Mystery". Read this Thread to see more info on this topic. I go into detail about the changes done with the 1300 setup.

Good luck and let me know how it's going.
First, on the clutch. I bought the Barnett plates and installed, but in reality, the BMW plates I pulled out were almost new and looked perfect (so I kept them), and the basket and springs likewise. At minimum, with the bike having over 20k on it, the plates had been replaced at least once. No way that under-oiled thing kept the plates in that condition from new. In fact, the whole trans which I replaced myself, with the larger oil holes (drilled out the collar holes to match diameter to the 13), EXCEPT for the dogs on 2d gear, were in near-pristine condition, making me livid they don't sell just gears like they used to, and one problem makes you buy the whole cassette. FWIW, I never had the clutch chatter in the first place, only a very rare cam chain rattle (jump guard is installed) which isn't annoying.

I have replaced both the master cylinder (albeit salvage from a k13; what are the odds both the old and new to me MS would have the same issue?), and put the OEM slave cylinder back on, with the same result, and STILL the tiny bubbles coming up when you pump up the lever. Iím getting a tiny bit more pressure build-up when pumping it, but not much.

That pretty much leaves me somehow, some way, getting a hole in the line, and I canít see how, and neither can a BMW mech. I know who says thatís by far the least likely issue to have.

That leaves the copper crush washer and screw on the master cylinder end. Anything else to check? How would you prioritize? I'm going with first the washer and screw, since it's cheap, but beyond that, I can't find a rebuild kit for the lever master cylinder, and the only master cylinder parts you can buy separate and apart from the whole assy are the rubber boot for the plunger, and the o-ring at the bottom of the bowl (unless you literally meant the parts which attach to the lever itself, i.e. plunger and spring?). So it looks like if the upper line screw and washer don't fix it, I'm looking at buying the whole shebang from the Mother Ship as a last resort.

Thanks for any other ideas you can give me. Itís now getting comical how I canít get any pressure in a clutch line. I've nearly taken it to the dealer a couple times now, but it's becoming a matter of pigheaded stubbornness now.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 1st, 2019, 5:47 pm Thread Starter
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Welp, I dunno if the following is my issue or not yet, because the parts aren't here yet, but...only yesterday I noticed in perusing the parts diagram that the master cylinder end to the clutch cable calls for 2 washers, which aren't called crush washers but appear made to deform, rather than one.

And my cable only had one, on the bottom, banjo bolt-head side. I'm hoping this could explain why there was no fluid leak, yet tiny air bubbles could get through when trying to create pressure. I'll see and report back, but I can't imagine when I lost it, unless it was when I was cleaning all the crud out of the clutch bowl, master cylinder end in the first place. I really don't think my previously working clutch had the top washer in there, in which case one has to wonder if all the sediment in the bottom of the bowl was somehow HELPING the situation?

At this point, even if I was an idiot and somehow lost the washer without knowing it, I'll gladly accept feeling foolish in return for having my transmission swap completed.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2019, 12:02 pm Thread Starter
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Replaced the hollow, banjo bolt, and both copper washers, and properly installed and torque'd to spec. Still the tiny bubbles issue. At this point, the only part of the system, other than the lever and plunger, which I haven't replaced is the cable itself, which is about $200. At this point, I'm about ready to take it in to a shop and figure out what I did (or didn't do) stupidly, rather than spring for that $200, and throw more money at the problem.

My mechanic friend thinks that's the least likely part of the system to fail, anyway.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2019, 12:52 pm
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The first time I had to go into my Clutch Hose I replaced everything with new Banjo Bolts and Washers. I did mine in Stainless; looks better, won't rust, just a couple bucks more. And remember; a real purist will insist we all change the copper washers Every Time we loosen the Banjo Bolt. That's because the washers are annealed to zero condition and once you tighten them, they are hardened; no more crush.

As for the moving parts in the lever, you can look closely at your existing parts and determine their condition. Look in the bore of the lever for lines of wear and look at the piston for being worn out of round and or being forced diagonally in the bore. The piston will have lost it's symmetry ever so slightly. I've noticed that O-rings on moving parts wear out 50 times faster then those just sitting in closed space sealing static surfaces. Replace them every time you have to do major work in there.

There is nothing that special about stock BMW Levers to make them worthwhile replacing. If I had to replace a lever I'd put some high performance Brembos on there. I'm running an RCS 19 Brembo Brake Lever for 3 years now ever since I did the conversion to a Buell Rim Mounted Disk and Front Wheel with the big 8 Piston Caliper. I needed the extra volume of the Brembo mechanism. The 1st time I get any trouble out of the Stock Clutch Lever, I'll go with the matching Brembo Clutch Lever. Besides, they look so great sitting there on your handlebars. The Italians are masters of Form & Function. Go look at some Rizoma stuff from Italy as well. Ducati buys a lot of stuff from them and puts it on their bikes like it was their own and the customer doesn't even notice.

All and all, it's not like we are rebuilding the engine here so the cost of everything replaced is not going to force a 2nd mortgage on the house. %^D So don't cheap it out. The last thing you want is to have spent $800 on something and it's still got 2 bucks worth of old O-rings or washers in it. If it were me, I probably would have bought a brand new all Stainless Braided Clutch Hose by now from Barnett, Russel, or other aftermarket outfit just for good measure. BTW, stock Beemer Brake and Clutch Hoses have fucking Brass ends on them that they plate to look like Stainless. As a machinist, I hate Brass. It's soft mush. It's only used to keep the machining cheap because it cuts so fast.

As for your complaint about the transmission; yes, everybody is playing this parts game where they make less and less individual parts replicable and you have to buy an entire assembly. Same way with the Clutch. Bigger bucks, less error factor for the parts manager and simpler inventory work. The customer looses big time. Another problem with this crap is the manuals and microfiche have huge omissions in the descriptions because the reasoning is, if you have to replace an entire assembly, they don't have to even mention the changes to parts there in. Right now I'm trying to determine what looks like an update in the 1300 Clutch plates between 2010 and '11 but can't find the specifics. Barnett shows no difference in any plates from 1200 to 1300 and that can't be correct. I know from looking at the parts in my hand that the 1st fiber Plate has to be very different on a 1300 but I won't burden you with that now.

Let me know how it goes.
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