Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Grass Valley, CA, USA
03 K1200GT Clutch Slippage
I have owned and enjoyed this magnificent machine for 3 years and 53,000 miles. I purchased it used (7,000 miles) from A&S in Sacramento (#1 in my book...good folks and my dealer from here on out) and have performed all the maintenance myself. I commute 80 miles/day and carve the twisties of Northern Cal at a moderate rate. I do not launch hard, and do not hold the clutch in at stops. I have noticed oil residue and weeping at the case joints (intermmediate/trans joint) and have developed friction plate slippage upon hard acceleration, particularly in 6th. I can reproduce the slippage in virtually any gear, but its more evident as gear ratio drops. I know the friction plate is getting saturated with motor oil due to a seeping rear main (customary failure on this model series). Now what I ask? Arrange service at the dealership at about $2,200 or do it myself (thus burning LOTS of time in the garage). I have MUCH better uses for my time and money, especially in the times we now live in.
There is a third option I thought of that just might work. Years ago while on the farm back east, the tractor developed the same malady. Economics in money and time being paramount, gramps would simply remove the access plate at the the bottom of the clutch housing and would thoroughly cleanse the friction plate, pressure plate and related parts with a degreaser and high pressure air. This process was messy indeed, but was COMPLETELY effective. The clutch resumed absolutely normal operations until it became very slowly oiled again much later. He cared not that the main output seal was seeping, this tractor was known for this problem. He did not have the time or money to try to mitigate a design flaw, and refused to throw bucket loads of farm cash at the damn thing every 3 years or so.
Up on the centerstand the K went. The lower cowl was removed and a small hole has been drilled into the bottom rear (about 1 " from the trans joint) of the intermmediate housing. As expected, black oil seeped out. I let that drain thoroughly by giving it time. Then I bent the plastic stinger from a can of brake cleaner (NON residue) so that the spray would be directed in the general location of the friction plate & pressure plate assembly inside. I placed the trans in first, clamped the clutch lever (master cylinder) to full activation, inserted the stinger and sprayed while turning the rear wheel (thus turning ONLY the fritcion plate inside). I then inserted an air nozzle stinger (similar to the stinger used to fill basketballs only open at the tip) and purged the cavity with compressed air thoroughly. I then started the engine and allowed the clutch housing, pressure plate etc to spin and repeated the whole process over again until I was getting nothing but fresh clean fluid from the housing hole. Dit it work? Hell yes it worked!!!!!
The test ride was absolutely marvelous! Full throttle roll ons in 6th gear at highway speeds, low gear roll ons up hills and NO slippage whatsoever! Perhaps I'll tap the hole and install a small stainless hex bolt w/copper sealing washer to prevent incursion of water etc. but I do not believe this would be a problem because the hole is so small and is at the very bottom of the housing. I now have over 600 miles since the procedure and NO slippage of any kind, any gear, any speed.
Of course, friction plate, pressure plate (do you launch hard and punish your clutch system?) and seal conditions (current leak rate) may vary your individual results, but what the heck do you have to lose? This took about 3 hours, 3 cans of brake cleaner and some initiative. I know this procedure may insult the purists out there, but it was completely effective at mitigating the symptom, saving me a boatload of cash and about 16 hours of labor. I'm also NOT wild on the idea that this leaking seal bullshit may recur NATURALLY on this model every 40-60K.
Now I will save for the teardown and parts that may be necessary when the clutch system physically wear down, as opposed to dealing with oil saturation in a closed environment.
For what it's worth fella's...hope this helps someone besides me.