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Thread: Help with clanking in Transmission?

  1. #1
    JohnWC
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    Unhappy Help with clanking in Transmission?

    I have a 96 1100RT. These are the symptoms. When it gets warmed up it has a rapid "clanking" that seems to be coming from the transmission area. It's pretty loud and you can feel the clanks slightly in the handlebars, as well as the lower fairing right behind where your leg goes. The bike seems to run well, although when you get over 3500 rpms it feels a bit coarse, not smooth from then on up. Ah yes, I almost forgot an important point. As it sits idling and softly "clank-clank-clank-clanking..." if I pull in the clutch lever, the noise stops.

    I should note that this bike has only 37,000 miles on it, and was previously owned by a guy who built his own experimental airplanes for a hobby. He had the transmission completely rebuilt by Anton Largiader and Virgina Motorrad when it had only 29,000 miles on it. It also has a new clutch disc, bolts, new diaphram clutch spring, and supposedly a dose of Kluberpaste on the splines when that work was all done.

    Do all the oilheads of this vintage make this clanking sound, and I shouldn't be worried? I can not for the life of me, think what could be making this sound. And if, as I suspect, it is not normal, I also can not believe that a motorcycle with this low mileage, and with the amount of time and money that has been lavished on it, would not be running like a proverbial Swiss watch.

    Thank you all for any assistance/insights.

  2. #2
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    I have no clue on this, but if it were me, I would call the previous owner an politely ask if he has any suggestions. Seems he is technically astute. And, cared for the bike too.

    Others who know more should be able to help more. I might get blown away, but I am thinking universal joints or something in the shaft area that clanks when loaded ...
    Ed
    2011 R1200RT Thunder Gray Metallic; 2000 Triumph 900(sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  3. #3
    Left Coast Rider
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    Question: Does it "clank" when you're riding it or only in neutral? If its only while your bike idles in neutral my money is on clutch plate rattle. Mine does it faintly. Others more knowledgeable will chime in shortly.

  4. #4
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Preload

    Just preload the shift and ride the hell out of it. Mine has always done that.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  5. #5
    JohnWC
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Question: Does it "clank" when you're riding it or only in neutral? If its only while your bike idles in neutral my money is on clutch plate rattle. Mine does it faintly. Others more knowledgeable will chime in shortly.
    The first response, that it is the universal joint, doesn't seem likely. I failed to mention that it does this while sitting on the center stand, in neutral. I will have to ride without a helmet to try and hear if it is doing it while in a gear, and with the clutch engaged. I don't think so. But, I know I hear it when I come to a stop.

    As to the quote above, can this be true? It would mean that the clutch disc is such a terrible slop fit on the input splines that as it spins around, un-engaged from the pressure plate, that it flops and bangs against the splines in a rhythmic motion, wacking the heck out of those fragile splines. If that is it, it's unbelievable. I mean, when did BMW start farming their transmission parts out to a guy in Shanghai province working on a dirt floor in his garage?

    As far as "driving the hell out of it", I guess that means till it bangs itself apart and leaves me stranded in the middle of nowhere. Maybe I should just get a used Yugo. Same ultimate ending, but cheaper, and I'd have some shade while I waited for the hook.

  6. #6
    Ed Kilner #176066
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    The first suggestion in the first response was that you call the person you bought it from to get their opinion ...
    Ed
    2011 R1200RT Thunder Gray Metallic; 2000 Triumph 900(sold)
    http://triumphantsblog.blogspot.ca/

  7. #7
    IBA #44567 Ken F's Avatar
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    My 95 R11RSL has been doing it for 25,000 miles now.
    I had the Service manager @ Bentonville BMW ride it when it was hot, and he said "Ride it like you stole it." Next time you have the bike apart, get it fixed.

    Paul Glaves listened to it at the Nationals last year and said exactly the same thing.

    It bothers me. I usually sit at a stop light in first gear with the clutch in so it doesn't make noise & so that I can take off in a hurry if someone comes up behind me and I can see that they are not going to stop. Mine shifts wonderfuly, and preloading the shifter makes it smoo lik butta.

    It's hard to diagnose a noise over the internet, but the way you describe it it sounds exactly the same.

    Worse when warm, right?

    KEn
    IBA #44567 Pres. Springfield BMW Roadriders
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."
    -Albert Eienstein

  8. #8
    JohnWC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken F View Post
    Next time you have the bike apart, get it fixed.

    Mine shifts wonderfuly, and preloading the shifter makes it smoo lik butta.

    Worse when warm, right?

    KEn
    Yes, it definitely is worse after it warms up. True, mine seems to shift fine also. Could someone explain to me the term "pre-load the shifter". Having driven standard transmissions on every vehicle I have ever owned, I thought you just pulled the lever/pushed the pedal, and the clutch disengaged. Is there something I am missing?
    Lastly, and most important, the top statement clearly indicates that there is something wrong that does indeed need "fixed". What exactly is it? This is seconded in the statement by Paul Glaves. Okay. He is a respected authority on these machines. But am I to understand that he is letting Voni ride all over the country on a machine that clanks like an old steam locomotive, and that there is no danger that these two parts are going to destroy themselves suddenly in the middle of nowhere and leave her stranded. Or does he tear into it and fix the problem before it gets worse.

    Keep in mind this bike, at it's young age, has already had a very pricey transmission rebuild by one of the best in the business, and a new clutch plate put in. What else can you do to it to "fix" any problems in that area? Like everyone else riding these R bikes, I now live in subtle fear that my dreaded "input shaft" will go south and I will be faced with either $1700 in transmission rebuild fees or selling the bike to Beemer Boneyard.

    I talked to a guy riding a K1200GT yesterday. (His third K bike) I believe I saw a cable leading to a multiple disc,wet clutch on the rear right side of his engine. You know, like the kind Japanese bikes have had forever. He didn't seem to ever give his clutch a thought.

  9. #9
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by JConway607 View Post
    Could someone explain to me the term "pre-load the shifter". Is there something I am missing?

    ...a machine that clanks like an old steam locomotive....
    1. "Preloading the shifter" means that you apply gentle pressure to the shift lever before you pull the clutch in. Using this technique when you shift, it will be accomplished quickly and smoothly.

    2. What is the severity of the "clank", its hard to hear it over the internet.
    If you like, why don't you post up a video with sound so we can hear exactly what you're talking about.

  10. #10
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Balance the throttle bodies and the gear lash at idle in neutral will be minimized. But it is normal for Oilheads.

    Here is the detailed explanation - written by Oak Okleshen in 1974 about the then new 5 speed /6 gearbox, but it applies even more so to the Oilhead 5 speed gearboxes:

    "The noise is the result of an unloaded transmission and the backlash in the mating parts clattering slightly due to variances in engine speeds when at idle. The engine, though we think of it as running at a constant speed, varies in a miniscule amount when it is unloaded and at low speeds near idle. This happens between the power pulsations from the pistons. The flywheel helps to prevent the uneveness but does not cure the problem entirely for it would take a much larger and heavier flywheel than necessary to make the machine run properly and would detract from acceleration performance. As a result, the engine pulsates and the transmission attempts to run at a constant speed. Between pulsations the backlash in the transmission causes the components to clank lightly and cause noise.

    The noise can become more noticeable if ...unbalanced left to right. This causes engine pulsations to become more uneven and, hence, there is more noise in the transmission in neutral, clutch engaged."
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  11. #11
    Registered User
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    This sounds pretty much like what my 94R11RS has done since 20K and it now has 117K on the original driveline. It only happens in neutral with the clutch out or when I'm idling along in 1st at parking lot speed. It's loud enough that people ask if it's supposed to do that.

  12. #12
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by socaljohn View Post
    This sounds pretty much like what my 94R11RS has done since 20K and it now has 117K on the original driveline. It only happens in neutral with the clutch out or when I'm idling along in 1st at parking lot speed. It's loud enough that people ask if it's supposed to do that.
    It is normal for that bike. Annoying but normal. On later models BMW added rubber O ring cushions to damp the backlash but after a while they get old and hard and then even the newer boxes do it like the earlier ones.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  13. #13
    Registered User
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    "They all do that".

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

  14. #14
    Registered User twinsig's Avatar
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    my 2 cents

    After TB rebuild, valve adj & dead on syncing, my 02RT is not near as clanky at neutral idle.
    Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch
    Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote

  15. #15
    JohnWC
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    Smile

    Thank you all for taking the time to reply. Excellent advice and feedback. I will now stop worrying about the sound. I am happy to hear my Beemer is healthy. I really like this bike. I go to bike shops and I see nothing there that I would trade mine for. It is a practical motorcycle, and for me, that means beautiful.

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