Sprag clutch killed my bike - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 7:00 am Thread Starter
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Angry Sprag clutch killed my bike

So my k1200RS is 9 mos out of warranty (with less than 20k mi on the odo) and I try to start it to go to work. I am greeted by a horrible metallic grinding noise, which converted to the sound of the starter motor freewheeling before I could let go of the starter button.

My dealer picked up the bike and diagnosed a blown starter sprag clutch (which they have never seen before, but I have seen it mentioned here a few times). Because the clutch shattered, it dumped metal fragments into the crankcase. They tried for 2 weeks to get BMW Motorrad USA to cover the damage since it was so close to warranty and not even over mileage. The dealer wanted to replace the engine, but BMW was having none of it. BMW's solution was to have the dealer dismantle and steam clean the engine, for which they would pay all of $1500. That amounts to less than half of the labor alone. Gee, thanks.

I am now looking at a $2-3k bill to fix a bike that could potentially still grenade its engine without notice if any metal fragments end up being left behind. If that's how BMW Motorrad is trying to keep its customers in the brand, they need to rethink their policy. I'm done.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 10:22 am
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So what's the problem if there are some fragments left in the crankcase?
Will they not just migrate to the bottom and lie there?
The filter will stop any bits recirculating with the oil.

It comes down to how much you are prepared to pay to keep it running, before the alternative of breaking it and listing parts on ebay becomes the more attractive option.

Douglas C.
1998 K1200RS
1968 Triumph T120
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 5:40 pm
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If the dealer is dismantling the engine completely, then that phase should reveal any serious additional damage. Perhaps arrange to go look at the parts and discuss with the dealer. I can't see BMW picking up the bill on the clutch and not for other parts which may be damaged as a consequence of the failure. The Sprague clutch contains hardened metal parts, if they get minced, then particles will get around. But in theory they should get no further than the oil pickup strainer. If they recover all the rollers and bits with no sign of damage you got lucky. If they recover only some of the rollers and find bits minced up then what concerns me is the BMW intermediate shaft driven from the big crank gears (they would make a great mincer)

I think you need to agree with the dealer how far he's going to look and what you'ld expect BMW to pay for if more damage was found. If BMW want the whole engine dismantled. I'd look at bores, gears, crank bearing journals, roller bearings and oil pump. If particles have been minced I wouldn't trust the output shaft and front crank seals either.

If your griping the extra labor, what's the position if the main crank gear is damaged - will BMW pay for a replacement crank? Roller bearings and seals which could come into contact with metal fragments (e.g on the intermediate shaft carrying the clutch) should also be replaced.

It sounds as though you need a further question answered: If you're expected to pay towards the labor, who pays for any other damaged parts found after dismantling?

If the motor wasn't running much after the failure you could be lucky.



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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 6:25 pm Thread Starter
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I was fortunate that the engine never started. Nothing metal should have gotten ground up in the engine and other internals. I am griping about having to pay not only for the remaining labor (40 hours total) but that I am also responsible for all parts. This bill will likely be in the $5000 neighborhood depending on the cost of parts and whatever additional damage is discovered. BMWs contribution will remain only $1500. The dealer has been very good throughout this advocating for me. The pittance that BMW has offered is almost insulting, and has left me quite disinclined to own another BMW bike.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 2007, 11:28 am
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Clutch Bummer

CC,
Man this whole thing just stinks, I feel for you. Keep fighting and don't be afraid to play dirty pool. The power of the pen (keyboard) is mightier than the sword. It sure would be a shame BMW finding out allot of people heard of your woes, wink-wink What year KRS is it anyhow?

Jim S.
* Everyone crashes. Some get back on. Some don't. Some can't.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 2007, 3:08 pm
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Why in the hell is the starter......able to dump metal in the crank anyway....mean to tell me the starter drive is exposed to the crankcase.....what am i missing....never looked at one ....But....what the hell is it doing on the oil side.....now there is a great idea :wtf
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 2007, 6:06 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BAK04GT
Why in the hell is the starter......able to dump metal in the crank anyway....mean to tell me the starter drive is exposed to the crankcase.....what am i missing....never looked at one ....But....what the hell is it doing on the oil side.....now there is a great idea :wtf
If you buy a bike designed with an intermediate driveshaft and no flywheel, then they had to think of another way to start the motor and it's the Sprague clutch. When I had mine apart it was like looking at clockwork inside the bowels of the motor, not the sort of chunky components you expect like the crank, pistons and main bearings. Little springs and metal pawls that can spring apart if you take it apart. I'd say it was about on a par with a Sturmy Archer cycle rear wheel gear if you know those.



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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 2007, 9:38 pm
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....MMMMMM......(scratching head thinking)......Maybe a catch all mesh screen.....For those annoying parts that seem to get a way..... ......But i would push the issue to no end till i got it covered......if its something that really doesnt happen that often...then i would think it would more than likely come from the assembly line......just out of curiosity...you would think they would want to have a look see.....But then again...they dont make the "brick" anymore....sooooo

Last edited by BAK04GT; Dec 5th, 2007 at 2:12 am.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 4th, 2007, 9:43 pm
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You're prolly better off finding a used, low mileage engine. I had to do it with my LT at 68,000 miles. Bought an egine from a totalled bike that had 32k on it. Put another 40 on it before I went to the GT.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old Dec 5th, 2007, 1:23 am
 
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Doesn't the starter turn the tranny - not the motor - on your K1200RS?
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