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Thread: 2000 R1100RT; Input splines AGAIN!! Done with this bike

  1. #16
    Curmudgeon nrpetersen's Avatar
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    Clutch spline alignment problems with BMW bikes goes back a long way. My 1975 R90/6 stripped its splines at ~20K miles about 20 years ago before I knew anything about the problem. I replaced everything & lubed with anti-seize paste. A year ago I checked the splines again (now maybe 45K miles) & they were OK. BUT - I also noted that when ever the engine-transmission bolts were loosened there was cyclic micro motion between the engine and the block whenever the clutch was let out. So the problem was and still is there. The lubing helped though.

    The OP might want to question the rebuild quality & find out what the mechanic did to verify the alignment engine to the transmission. Threads at Pelican detail this procedure, although the threads do not check the engine's rear main bearing clearance which is also critical. If there is an alignment problem, the clutch disk is being dragged around the face of the flywheel, imposing very high loads on the engine's rear main bearing. When this rear bearing wears eggshaped, the spline once again will have to radially carry the piston forces from the engine to the transmission input bearing. In that case, even though the engine transmission alignment is correctly shifted with different pins, the rear engine main bearing should be replaced too.

    Splines offer a very compact way to carry torque while allowing some axial relative motion. But if there is a radial misalignment, the spline tooth loads become very cyclic and will cause each tooth to wear as fretting corrosion. Lubing will cover the problem for a while, but the otherwise dry application in our bikes is very intolerant of misalignment.

    I'd guess the engine axis and the transmission axis should radially be within maybe .003 inch TIR for good spline life. Otherwise the spline teeth don't smoothly share the torque generated load, and will soon rub out and fail.
    Retired w 2005 K1200LT, 2000 R1100RT, & 1975 R90/6

  2. #17
    Registered User Detroit Kim's Avatar
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    So what would describe user error ?
    I have a 2002RT and the previous owner had this issue after only a coiple of thousand miles. I am now worried that if its an alingment issue it could resurface during my tenure. I would like to make sure I'm riding the bike correctly.

  3. #18
    motorcycle cowboy Tennessean's Avatar
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    So, whatta we gotta do, go to school and learn how to ride a BMW motorcycle? This is way more complicated than it really needs to be. Someone said that rider error (engine braking) is a reason for stripped splines. Seems to me that is the best way back to first gear when coming to a stop.
    2013 Goldwing

  4. #19
    Curmudgeon nrpetersen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroit Kim View Post
    So what would describe user error ?
    I have a 2002RT and the previous owner had this issue after only a coiple of thousand miles. I am now worried that if its an alingment issue it could resurface during my tenure. I would like to make sure I'm riding the bike correctly.
    Unless you beat the snot out of your bike, user error is just a convenient explanation to cover a manufacturing/assembly error. If you do beat your bike hard, the clutch will burn up well before the splines would let go.

    I suggest you remove the starter and look inside the clutch housing & check it for debris and spline backlash. you should also be able to see if there is any lube in the spline surfaces. Get a good picture of the debris & post it here. My 2000 R1100RT has good alignment & the clutch area was pristine at 24K miles. Others that have failed are full of gray crud.

    The misalignment problem may also be caused by assembling the clutch pack and not using a good alignment tool before assembling the transmission to the engine. That's my speculation because the clutch housing is quite thin aluminum, and has the starter port in it making it quite easy to distort as everything is dragged across the flywheel by poor initial alignment. Others don't seem to be buying it, though. At any rate, when the engine-transmission bolts are being drawn up, pull the clutch in!
    Retired w 2005 K1200LT, 2000 R1100RT, & 1975 R90/6

  5. #20
    Happily Bent dieselyoda's Avatar
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    On some of our Cat hoes we could cook the pump drive splines every few thousand hours. Alignment and material defect turned out to be the real causes but the big guys in the office wanted to blame the operators. When I was a Cat tech-rep, I saw the same thing on a wide variety of machines including drive axles and every once in a blue moon, the drive coupling on their compact machines. It was always alignment and material defect.

    Practically, my R1100RT has serrations, clutch ID and tranny OD, defined by the lack of radius on the outer diameter. Just a distinction that doesn't matter unless someone thinks they know better. Good lube is important and not to add a whole pile of controversy because so many are so smart, I use wheel bearing grease. Works for me, all the way back to my old bikes.

    BMW, like Caterpillar and all the others don't make machines to inherently fail but, I've seen stuff come off the factory floor "close enough" and I have even seen dealership technicians/mechanics at PDI say, "really, we are going to give this to a customer?"
    1997 R1100RT (Restored Basket Case) , 1981 KZ 440 LTD (Restored Basket Case)
    1986 K75S(the beutch), 1993 K1100RS (blown engine), 1997 Chev Short Box (4x4 with an LT1)
    "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."

  6. #21
    Curmudgeon nrpetersen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselyoda View Post
    On some of our Cat hoes we could cook the pump drive splines every few thousand hours. Alignment and material defect turned out to be the real causes but the big guys in the office wanted to blame the operators. When I was a Cat tech-rep, I saw the same thing on a wide variety of machines including drive axles and every once in a blue moon, the drive coupling on their compact machines. It was always alignment and material defect.

    Practically, my R1100RT has serrations, clutch ID and tranny OD, defined by the lack of radius on the outer diameter. Just a distinction that doesn't matter unless someone thinks they know better. Good lube is important and not to add a whole pile of controversy because so many are so smart, I use wheel bearing grease. Works for me, all the way back to my old bikes.

    BMW, like Caterpillar and all the others don't make machines to inherently fail but, I've seen stuff come off the factory floor "close enough" and I have even seen dealership technicians/mechanics at PDI say, "really, we are going to give this to a customer?"
    Think of a spline as a 1:1 gearset with one gear running inside of the other. The internal and external teeth of a spline are involute, just like regular external gears (i. e. curved profile). But splines are designed assume that all teeth will equally assume the load (actually contribute to the torque). The problem comes if the load varies every revolution as when the "gears" are not aligned precisely and rotating on the same centerline. This causes fretting when the lube eventuallyis rubbed out and things weld themselves metal to metal. This causes the characteristic red (ferric) or grey (ferrous) debris in failed clutch spline housings.

    The best lube is some sort of antiseize. Moly greases do well here but it also has to be very sticky and have a lot of extreme pressure material in it.

    Note that if the shaft supports are stiff (and they are here!), misalignment will cause the clutch disk to be drug around the flywheel face and pressure plate, placing a massive radial load on the spline that rotates with the spline axes. This is what causes the fretting wear - whenever the engine rotates with the clutch out.
    Retired w 2005 K1200LT, 2000 R1100RT, & 1975 R90/6

  7. #22
    Registered User Olsensan's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the spline problems you have had. I understand you are angry and discouraged but you can learn a great deal from this experience which will carry you into any other machine you choose to purchase in the future. I lubed my splines 2-3 years ago and put together a pretty descent procedural. Whay not take a look at it and reference all the other works members have compiled here and take a shot at it. You'll save a bunch of money and walk away feeling so much more in control of the workings of your bike and even car. Check this out:

    http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....RT-Spline-lube

    Its not that bad, just note everything and keep stuff organized, you'll be surprised what you can do with a little motivation, this should be it. -Greg O

  8. #23
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    A problem for 1150s as well

    The problem occurs on the 1150, as well. My 02 R1150r stripped the splines at 46,000 miles, was rebuilt, and is now back in the shop with the same problem at 82,000. Lubing isn't a problem, I've had the dealership maintain the bike since it was new. I'm a fairly sedate rider, so the transmission isn't getting abused with wheelies or drag strip behavior, either. I wish the factory would admit the problem and offer a solution, other than having customers drop $2k on the bike every few years, and risk being left on the side of the road somewhere.

  9. #24
    Registered User Jim Rogers's Avatar
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    Failure Rates?

    What is the spline failure rate and on what models/years? How does the failure rate improve by performing the spline lube? Is performing the lube job more of an insurance thing or a necessity? How many out there never did a spline lube and never had an issue?
    Gear Up and Ride Safe
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  10. #25
    Curmudgeon nrpetersen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rogers View Post
    What is the spline failure rate and on what models/years?
    More and more I am suspecting an initial factory assembly error in which the transmission ends up pulling radially on the engine crankshaft bearings with a high force, causing the engine crankshaft bearings to wear. After the engine bearings wear, the spline has to carry piston forces into the comparatively rigid transmission bearings because the engine bearings are now so sloppy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rogers View Post
    How does the failure rate improve by performing the spline lube?
    If the spline is properly aligned on initial assembly, there seems to be little need for future re-lubrication. If there is an alignment error, spline wear shows up about every 20,000 miles (my guess). If there is only a little alignment error, the failure rate is reduced. If the error is small (like under .003 inch run out) the splines seem to last almost indefinitely - as also the rear crankshaft bearing. A common tear down recommendation seems to be every 20,000 miles but that seems pretty conservative if the alignment is good. And just maybe the alignment can be screwed up on reassembly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rogers View Post
    Is performing the lube job more of an insurance thing or a necessity?
    Somewhere in between.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Rogers View Post
    How many out there never did a spline lube and never had an issue?
    I did a tear down at 24,000 miles on my 2000 R1100RT and found the spline system to be pristine[QUOTE] The spline system is easily inspected through the starter port in the clutch housing/adapter. The presence of wear particles that tend to be rust red or grey is an indication that the spline is distressed and needs lubing.

    I also suggest that to complete any spline alignment check and lube job that the clearance in the rear crankshaft bearing be checked if there has ever been a spline failure. This doesn't require the engine to be disassembled, and only that a dial indicator be set up to measure flywheel radial motion in all directions. If there is wear, of course it will be in the direction of the misalignment. Otherwise main bearing wear in these engines should be essentially non-existent.

    Look at olesen's spline lube pictures. Notice the complete lack of wear.
    Retired w 2005 K1200LT, 2000 R1100RT, & 1975 R90/6

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmoran View Post
    The problem occurs on the 1150, as well. My 02 R1150r stripped the splines at 46,000 miles, was rebuilt, and is now back in the shop with the same problem at 82,000. Lubing isn't a problem, I've had the dealership maintain the bike since it was new. I'm a fairly sedate rider, so the transmission isn't getting abused with wheelies or drag strip behavior, either. I wish the factory would admit the problem and offer a solution, other than having customers drop $2k on the bike every few years, and risk being left on the side of the road somewhere.
    maybe, maybe not.
    a spline lube is not part of any BMW scheduled maintenance procedure, so unless you specifically directed them to do a spline lube, it was not done.

    splines stirpping out after ~40K miles is indicative of an alignment issue, not a lube issue. Lube related stripping is more common to show up in the 75+K mile range.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #27
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    Smile Input spline failure

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerfish1100 View Post
    maybe, maybe not.
    a spline lube is not part of any BMW scheduled maintenance procedure, so unless you specifically directed them to do a spline lube, it was not done.

    splines stirpping out after ~40K miles is indicative of an alignment issue, not a lube issue. Lube related stripping is more common to show up in the 75+K mile range.
    Those of us who have been riding BMW's for a long time will all remember that up until about the year 2000 lubing the spline every 40,000 miles WAS part of normal maintenance. I bought a 2000 K1200 LT and at 40,000 miles took it in to have the splines lubed and was told that it was no longer necessary. They then told me that they thought BMW was crazy. Went ahead and lubed my splines. Thank God for a good dealer with a good wrench.

    My '99 R1100 w/sidecar had it's splines lubed when I bought it with 42,000 miles on it. They had not been done. I can assure you they will be done at 80,000. Spendy job but well worth it.

  13. #28
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    In regards to anyone not ever lubing splines - that's me. I bought R60/6 brand-new and have never touched them. Probably 130,000 on the bike. I do put anti-sieze on the wheel splines whenever I do a tire change...
    Virginia Beach
    current:14 R1200RT 75 R60/6
    past: 11 R1200RT 10 R1200RT 03 R1200CLC

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkmolt View Post
    Those of us who have been riding BMW's for a long time will all remember that up until about the year 2000 lubing the spline every 40,000 miles WAS part of normal maintenance. I bought a 2000 K1200 LT and at 40,000 miles took it in to have the splines lubed and was told that it was no longer necessary. They then told me that they thought BMW was crazy. Went ahead and lubed my splines. Thank God for a good dealer with a good wrench.

    My '99 R1100 w/sidecar had it's splines lubed when I bought it with 42,000 miles on it. They had not been done. I can assure you they will be done at 80,000. Spendy job but well worth it.
    oh, I fully agree that it may have been part of the maintenance schedule we all performed or requested, but go ahead and find it for me in a BMW maintenance schedule- I doubt it exists anywhere in print (which was my point).

    I've been looking for it since the 70's, and have yet to find it.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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