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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2015, 5:44 pm Thread Starter
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Clutch noise?

Got back from the Billings rally, washed and waxed my 2008 K1200GT and went for a ride today. Immediately upon startup, there is a very loud rattling, grating, banging noise emanating from the clutch housing area. The bike ran perfect for 2500 miles to the rally and back. If one revs the engine to over, say 2800 rpm, the noise disappears completely and the bike sounds just as it always has. Still seems to run and shift normally. Makes no difference if clutch is engaged, released, in gear, or in neutral. I can "feel" the noise through the seat and handlebars, just a bit more vibration comes through. I rode it for about 50 miles today, keeping the revs up, but I think it is louder upon return than when I left. One last thing, I can hear and feel something engage when in gear, clutch disengaged, engine off, just rolling it back and forth. The drivetrain from the rear wheel is turning something that makes noise now, when it didn't before today. Or at least it was barely noticeable.

Please help!!!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 11th, 2015, 8:32 pm
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Your problem sounds like it might be a cam chain tensioner issue. The cam chain tensioner is is just above the clutch cover. It can be changed from the outside without removing the clutch cover. There are three types of cam chain tensioner for your K1200GT.

1. Original BMW cam chain tensioner. Flat on top. A simple spring pushes down on a piston to apply tension. I do not remember if 2008 K1200GTs came with this cam chain tensioner, or whether BMW had switched to the new one by then.

2. New BMW cam chain tensioner. This one has a small reservoir that sticks up above the housing, maybe 3/4 inch or so. The reservoir fills with oil that drives a small piston which pushes down on the cam chain and keeps the tension applied. Things happen, and this cam chain tensioner doesn't always do its job. When it fails, the cam chain rattle can sound very bad. It is not good - if the cam chain skips a tooth, serious engine damage may result. It is a common issue for many K1200GT owners.

The tensioner problem may go away and then reappear. It did for me - the first time it went away. The second time was so scary loud that I thought the cam chain might have skipped a tooth. It did not get better with higher RPMs, but I didn't have the courage to rev it very high; I was afraid of destroying my engine.

See this post for photos of the old and new BMW cam chain tensioner:
http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....l=1#post672455

Full thread, FYI:
http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....oth-jump-guard

3. APE makes a manual cam chain tensioner. You screw it down manually, so that it applies the right amount of tension, and then tighten a lock nut to hold it in place. Simple. It works very well and solved my cam chain problem for good. The only issue is that you must check / readjust it every other oil change or so, but it does such a good job, it is worth the extra attention. See:
http://www.aperaceparts.com/bmw.html
http://www.ascycles.com/detail.aspx?ID=123666

If your problem turns out to be the cam chain tensioner, you can replace it without opening the cover.

Related: Check with your BMW dealer to verify that the cam chain guard recall has been performed on your K1200GT.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2015, 12:01 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info! I appreciate the quick response. I have had all of the recalls/service bulletins, etc. done for the bike. All verified when I had the flange replaced in July. What has me wondering is the fact that it all goes away at 2800 rpm and sounds normal after that. Maybe I have the hydraulic CCT and it is just not getting enough pressure until it hits the 2800 rpm. Not sure that makes sense as max oil pressure should come up just after idle. Other than just replacing the CCT, is there any diagnostic way of determining if it is functioning properly?
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2015, 11:26 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumlinger
Thanks for the info! I appreciate the quick response. I have had all of the recalls/service bulletins, etc. done for the bike. All verified when I had the flange replaced in July. What has me wondering is the fact that it all goes away at 2800 rpm and sounds normal after that. Maybe I have the hydraulic CCT and it is just not getting enough pressure until it hits the 2800 rpm. Not sure that makes sense as max oil pressure should come up just after idle. Other than just replacing the CCT, is there any diagnostic way of determining if it is functioning properly?
I hate to say, "You know it when you hear it," but that's my answer. If it is a loud rattle that comes from just in front of the clutch (behind the edge of the panel), then I think the cam chain tensioner is the likely cause of your problem. What you describe is exactly what happened to me.

About a year and a half ago, I had heard the same sound. It was not nearly as loud as the recent issue. It cleared up after getting underway (e.g., revving the engine as you describe). That lasted a few days: Start engine with rattle, clear up after riding 200 yards down the street (and stayed cleared up until the next day's engine start). That problem went away on its own, so I assumed it was the cam chain tensioner and let it ride. I wish I hadn't.

A few months ago, the K1200GT ran fine for a very long trip. I got home, shut off the engine, opened the garage, and then restarted the engine after only a few seconds. There was a very loud rattling sound. This was different than before - it was much much louder and scarier. I let the K1200GT sit for a couple days and tried again. A friend came by to help, took one listen, and knew. Sure enough, it was the new-style BMW cam chain tensioner not doing its job. Fortunately, he had an extra APE cam chain tensioner with him. That fixed the problem instantly.

Think about the fact that the K1200GT cam chain tensioner is such a common problem that a third-party company (APE) makes and sells an improved version. Consider how few K1200 / K1300 motorcycles have been sold overall, yet it was worth it for them to do the design, engineering, and manufacturing. Hmmm.

Running the engine with a loose cam chain is a bad idea. If it skips a tooth, then the valves will collide with the pistons, and you do not want that. Even if it does not skip a tooth, the wear and tear on your chain, stretching, and other damage can't be good.

Perhaps it would be worth it to replace the cam chain tensioner with the better one prophilactically? If it doesn't solve your current problem, then it could prevent a future one.

Perhaps someone here may suggest alternate explanations, but my vote is for cam chain tensioner, based on your description.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2015, 11:35 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XMagnaRider
I hate to say, "You know it when you hear it," but that's my answer. If it is a loud rattle that comes from just in front of the clutch (behind the edge of the panel), then I think the cam chain tensioner is the likely cause of your problem. What you describe is exactly what happened to me.

About a year and a half ago, I had heard the same sound. It was not nearly as loud as the recent issue. It cleared up after getting underway (e.g., revving the engine as you describe). That lasted a few days: Start engine with rattle, clear up after riding 200 yards down the street (and stayed cleared up until the next day's engine start). That problem went away on its own, so I assumed it was the cam chain tensioner and let it ride. I wish I hadn't.

A few months ago, the K1200GT ran fine for a very long trip. I got home, shut off the engine, opened the garage, and then restarted the engine after only a few seconds. There was a very loud rattling sound. This was different than before - it was much much louder and scarier. I let the K1200GT sit for a couple days and tried again. A friend came by to help, took one listen, and knew. Sure enough, it was the new-style BMW cam chain tensioner not doing its job. Fortunately, he had an extra APE cam chain tensioner with him. That fixed the problem instantly.

Think about the fact that the K1200GT cam chain tensioner is such a common problem that a third-party company (APE) makes and sells an improved version. Consider how few K1200 / K1300 motorcycles have been sold overall, yet it was worth it for them to do the design, engineering, and manufacturing. Hmmm.

Running the engine with a loose cam chain is a bad idea. If it skips a tooth, then the valves will collide with the pistons, and you do not want that. Even if it does not skip a tooth, the wear and tear on your chain, stretching, and other damage can't be good.

Perhaps it would be worth it to replace the cam chain tensioner with the better one prophilactically? If it doesn't solve your current problem, then it could prevent a future one.

Perhaps someone here may suggest alternate explanations, but my vote is for cam chain tensioner, based on your description.

It sure does sound like the CCT, especially when the clutch is performing as normal. Makes me think it's not the clutch. It's amazing how much noise the tensioner (or non-performance of the tensioner) can make. I probably shouldn't have ridden it 50 miles like that. I suppose the Jump Guard must have done it job! I ordered the new CCT assembly from my local dealer, should be in my hands in a week. I did not look to see what style is in there currently. Old or new style, it isn't working for me. I also bought a new clutch cover gasket and a set of new bolts. I will probably take a look inside to see what I can see.

Any tips or tricks on installing the new CCT? Does it need to be "primed" with oil prior to installation? If I take the clutch cover off, is there anything I should be aware of or looking for?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 13th, 2015, 5:23 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bumlinger
It sure does sound like the CCT, especially when the clutch is performing as normal. Makes me think it's not the clutch. It's amazing how much noise the tensioner (or non-performance of the tensioner) can make. I probably shouldn't have ridden it 50 miles like that. I suppose the Jump Guard must have done it job! I ordered the new CCT assembly from my local dealer, should be in my hands in a week. I did not look to see what style is in there currently. Old or new style, it isn't working for me. I also bought a new clutch cover gasket and a set of new bolts. I will probably take a look inside to see what I can see.

Any tips or tricks on installing the new CCT? Does it need to be "primed" with oil prior to installation? If I take the clutch cover off, is there anything I should be aware of or looking for?
You will need to pull the plastic K1200GT side panel off to replace the reservoir. If you have never done it before, take your time. Look for the hidden screw behind the top rubber flap in the front. There is also a plastic plunger that fits into a rubber grommet that requires a straight pull to get it off. When replacing the panel, there are lots of little tabs that fit into little slots - take your time. A great tip that I learned from a friend is to take a photo of your side panel (or get one from the Internet. Tape the photo to a box lid, like the one that comes with a box of copy machine paper. As you remove the screws, punch them through the photo at the same location, to help you remember where they go. There are many different screw lengths, so it is easy to get them confused. I still have the same pair of box lids that I used 8 years ago.

Here are the instructions from the BMW RepROM for installing a new cam chain tensioner with reservoir are:

* Install new seals (the image shows small and large rings above the piston, below the reservoir).

* Install timing chain tensioner (the piston).

* Place oil reservoir in position with the recess towards the inside; make sure that the clutch pressure cannot chafe against the oil reservoir. (The image shows a small "notch" behind one of the screw holes - that's the "recess".)

* Hold oil reservoir against the force of the pressure and install OILED washers with screws. (The image shows washers between the screw heads and the top of the screw holes on the reservoir.)

Torques:
M6 x 16
Initial torque, 9 Nm
Loosen, 90 degrees
Final torque, 9 Nm

There are no comments about pre-filling the reservoir. I assume it is not necessary. Besides, it would leak out and make a mess when you flip it over to screw it down.

I do not understand why you purchased the BMW brand tensioner, nor the gasket and screws. I would have spent the money on an APE tensioner and forgone the BMW one.

Before I continue, I need to warn you that I am NOT an expert. I have book knowledge, but not that much experience. In addition, I do not know how many miles are on your K1200GT. I hope someone with real-world experience can offer more advice.

If you open up the cover, then I would look at:

* Cam chain jump guard: Is it in good condition. It is made of plastic and could have been damaged.
* Other damage inside or metal flakes?
* Cam chain wear - is it damaged, stretched, or ready for replacement?
* Timing (cam) chain rails - do they look okay?

Note: Replacing the timing (cam) chain or bottom rail is a very big job. You'll have to remove the radiator and valve cover, to get at the top of the engine. That's something you might save for when you do a valve clearance check.

Get a RepROM DVD from your BMW dealer. You will need a Windows computer (or a Windows virtual machine on your Mac). Buy a genuine, latest RepROM DVD from your dealer; PLEASE do not feed those @#[email protected] on the Internet who sell bootleg copies of old versions.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 14th, 2015, 1:54 pm Thread Starter
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Much obliged for the info! I guess I'd like to try a new tensioner. Hopefully this one will work as it should. Otherwise I'll go with the APE manual tensioner. I guess curiosity has gotten the better of me. I'm going to open up the clutch cover just to make sure the jump guard is indeed installed and it is in good condition. And to clean out any loose bits that might have come loose!

I've taken off most of the bike's fairing several times for air filter changes, Booster Plug install, etc. It's not too difficult once you know where the screws are and where to pull. I haven't gotten into the engine mechanicals as yet. I've been into a '81 Honda CB750 many times. How different can it be?

Last edited by Bumlinger; Aug 14th, 2015 at 2:01 pm.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 17th, 2015, 4:40 pm Thread Starter
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I have the new style CCT with the oil reservoir. Removed it, and the piston. Difficult to tell if there is anything wrong with it. Took the clutch cover off. Yes, there is a jump guard in there. There is no debris visible to the naked eye anywhere that I can see. However, I think there is a LOT of slack in the oil pump drive chain. I can easily move the chain to the rear and up against the tensioner's plastic housing. From what I can gather from the repROM, this is too much slack and needs to be readjusted. Does this mean that I have to remove the clutch basket to do this? It seems like the adjusting screw is accessible just below the clutch ring gear. Can I just loosen the screw, move the tensioner a bit to remove the slack and tighten 'er up again? Has anybody done this? Or is removing the clutch mandatory?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 18th, 2015, 10:31 pm
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Hi, might have missed the info in a previous post but how many miles do you have? If it's over 30-40k I would consider repalcing the entire timing chain works (chain, sprockets, rails, tensioner). If the noise you are hearing is really the cam chain at 2.8k rpm (too high). The tensioner should be well past the point of being fully pressurized. I'm not being negative on the APE tensioner, I have one on a 05 K12s with 23k and works great. The only other thought is the oil pump is not producing enough low end pressure/volume but haven't seen that to be a common problem.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old Aug 19th, 2015, 12:47 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnberg
Hi, might have missed the info in a previous post but how many miles do you have? If it's over 30-40k I would consider repalcing the entire timing chain works (chain, sprockets, rails, tensioner). If the noise you are hearing is really the cam chain at 2.8k rpm (too high). The tensioner should be well past the point of being fully pressurized. I'm not being negative on the APE tensioner, I have one on a 05 K12s with 23k and works great. The only other thought is the oil pump is not producing enough low end pressure/volume but haven't seen that to be a common problem.
Just turned 25k. Got the new parts from BMW. It seems like the stroke on my old piston assembly was limited. The new one seems to have a longer stroke. I'll have to do some measurements...
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