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Thread: What an RT mechanic said

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    What an RT mechanic said

    I was getting a tire changed at the dealer recently and began questioning the mechanic about the most common problems he sees on the r1150rt. His shop has the CHP contract, so he services literally hundreds of the bikes each year. Bottom line, he said, is change the fluids, especially the brake fluid, and they'll run forever. He said concern about clutch spline lubrication is unfounded. In the hundreds of bikes he's worked on he never once performed the service. Failure, he said, is rare.
    I asked him why people on BMWMOA talk so much about it and he said it's pure parnoia. Don't believe what you read on the Internet, he said.
    He didn't strike me as a company apologist. So what's up with the divergent opinion?

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    Minnesota Nice! braddog's Avatar
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    My mechanic has pretty much said the same thing about oilheads.

    Remember, people on the internet rarely post in technical sections about how NOTHING'S wrong. There was a requirement for regular spline lubrication on airheads.
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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sportrider View Post
    His shop has the CHP contract, so he services literally hundreds of the bikes each year. Bottom line, he said, is change the fluids, especially the brake fluid, and they'll run forever. He said concern about clutch spline lubrication is unfounded. In the hundreds of bikes he's worked on he never once performed the service. Failure, he said, is rare.
    All the CHP BMW's are run thru one shop?
    Ask him how many miles does CHP keep one in the fleet? Curious as those who have had failiures will say not rare to them. Some are not total failures and often just poor shifting behavior. I bet under 50K they are being replaced if the same formula the city I worked for is used. A combo of years/miles. The 1150's are disappearing from the local fleets...Hondas back in the mix with 12RT's here.

    The shops with police 1150RT's around here were replacing clutches often until the fellas figured out they were not wet clutches or Harleys.
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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I know that the RTP bikes in Overland Park, Kansas get a new clutch every 30K to 40K or so. Clutch wear is a hazard of cop bike use. With a new clutch comes a new clutch hub of course, and new lube when they put it in. Now I wonder why cop bikes don't need periodic spline lube. Geee, I wonder ....
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    Registered User David13's Avatar
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    Well, I suppose they mean CHP district. Not the whole state. And it wouldn't be hundreds of them, but many of them more than once.
    I didn't think the CHP had any 1150s left. I thought it was only 1200s now. But what do I know.
    And I suppose clutches won't go out much in the first 50k miles. But if you are near 100k, can't you expect a clutch to be about done?
    dc

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    Having worked 30 years in police fleet service , repair....I largely agree.

    Occasionally a particular motorcycle might be problem laden....but most of them are subject to the officer that rides them and his 'habits'.
    I had some guys that their motors seldom needed anything more than fluids, tires,,the usual....other guys could ruin an anvil with a rubber mallet.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Having worked 30 years in police fleet service , repair....I largely agree.

    Occasionally a particular motorcycle might be problem laden....but most of them are subject to the officer that rides them and his 'habits'.
    I had some guys that their motors seldom needed anything more than fluids, tires,,the usual....other guys could ruin an anvil with a rubber mallet.....
    I think this is accurate. Back in my previous life I was a Service Manager for a British Leyland auto dealer. Certain customers could be relied upon to have problems; others, hardly anything. I believe much of it was poor habits.
    '03 R1150R, '03 F650GS, '97DR200SE,'78 Honda CT-90, '77Honda CT-90

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    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    This would be a more informed discussion with the numbers.

    How many Oilheads in service?

    How many miles per year?

    What is the wear rate by model and year?

    How many catastrophic failures per year?

    Etc. ...

    With all we know, it seems that periodic wear inspection is warranted.

    On a different note, it seems to me that 100% of in tank hoses are going to fail. There's nothing unusual about my 8 year old 27,000 mile bike. The in-tank hoses were shot.

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    the Wizard of Oz 26667's Avatar
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    Question Q if you can pls

    is clutch wear more related to the number of uses/shifts or to the manner in which you shift?

    i.e. smoothly, quickly, preloading the shifter, or "dragging" it and othefr variations on bad gear changes.
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    I think the (maybe obvious) thing to remember is to be completely off the throttle when you pull that clutch lever.

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 26667 View Post
    is clutch wear more related to the number of uses/shifts or to the manner in which you shift?

    i.e. smoothly, quickly, preloading the shifter, or "dragging" it and othefr variations on bad gear changes.
    Both. As it relates to police bikes, training teaches the officers to use slight throttle and to modulate slow speed maneuvers by slipping the clutch. It is a very useful skill doing U turns on narrow streets, etc. but it takes its toll on clutches.

    Old fashioned rally field events can do the same thing. Slow races and other such events are hard on clutches. I used to need to replace the clutch in Voni's R80/7 every fall following a season of maybe a dozen rallies with field events because it wouldn't last another year.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ClassicVW View Post
    I think the (maybe obvious) thing to remember is to be completely off the throttle when you pull that clutch lever.
    I disagree. You want to match engine rpm and transmission input shaft rpm which will minimize any slipping action in the clutch. You don't do this dumping the engine speed back down too far. Just up a little on downshifts, and down a little on upshifts.
    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
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    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Precision riding as taught in enforcement riding involves a lot of feathering the clutch. The clutch is not fully seated in tight maneuvering to allow better control over the bike. That translates to additional wear but in reality for every day enforcement riding is not that big of a deal. It's when you are in training or practicing for Police Motor Rodeo competition that it really wears on the bike. It's because you are doing far far more of that feathering in those events.

    It has been my experience that the rider determines the longevity of the bike. How smooth they make the shifts and general operation of the machine will go a long way to make it last longer.

    I used to enjoy doing the practice and rodeo competitions. as a result I put more wear on the clutch pack (Kawasaki KZ1000P bike) than I normally would. Having said that I had only one bike in over a decade of riding require a clutch replacement. That particular bike had three of the 5 friction plates mounted backwards so that I was only getting 2 plates operating properly with the other disks. I still rode that bike for 2 years and a couple rodeo's before it started to slip in operation. Other guys I rode with would burn out a clutch every other year even without doing rodeo work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I disagree. You want to match engine rpm and transmission input shaft rpm which will minimize any slipping action in the clutch. You don't do this dumping the engine speed back down too far. Just up a little on downshifts, and down a little on upshifts.
    Makes sense, thanks Paul. But I did read that in some publication, the stay off the throttle thing.

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    Thanks for the comments on the original post. To answer a few questions, this shop has the contract for the north coast of California only. But that's a pretty big contract that includes local police. The mechanic said the R1150RT is being phased out by the 1200 but many units remain in service. They live a hard life yet suffer no major failures, he said. Don't know the clutch change interval. That's a good
    question for another time.

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