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Thread: Bmw r1150rt burning clutch smell

  1. #1
    Registered User tangoalpha's Avatar
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    Bmw r1150rt burning clutch smell

    Hello Oilheads!

    It's been a long time since I last posted. I hope all is well with you and that your lives have returned to normal since the pandemic. Admittedly, I've done very little riding in the past 2 years. No long trips or adventures to speak of, mainly a few day trips here and there, but for the most part Der Bimmer has sat in the corner of my garage waiting patiently for me to go for a ride. The weather has been very nice here on the CA Central Coast, with temps in the high 60's to low 70's...don't hate me for saying that. Year round riding weather is one of the few perks we have left here in CA, but I digress. So with the guilt of not riding poor Der Bimmer and the weather being optimal, I decided to break this non-riding streak that I've been on and I rode my bike to work the past couple of days. I'm so glad that I did too! I was immediately brought back to all those memories and emotions that reminded me of why I love riding so much. That's the good news.

    Now...for the NOT so good news. After riding home from work and parking the bike in my garage tonight, as I stood next to it while putting the bike on the center stand, I noticed the distinct smell of burnt clutch material. What the??? The bike seemed to be shifting fine. The clutch operation seems to be working as normal. Although...come to think of it, there were a couple clutch engagements that felt slightly grabby to me, but otherwise normal. So I checked the clutch fluid level by peering through the inspection window on the reservoir. I was horrified to see what appeared to be zero fluid in the reservoir. At least, there was none visible through the window. "How did I not notice this?", I thought to myself. So, I investigated further and removed the reservoir cap, only to find that I was wrong about the fluid level being low. In fact, it was high...too high. The clutch fluid was well past the inspection window, giving the appearance it was empty and near the top of the reservoir. Ruh Oh! I have a bad feeling about the grabby clutch, the stinky smell and the overly full clutch fluid in the reservoir. Me thinketh, my clutch and I are soon to be departed.

    Fellow Oilheads, I seek your wisdom. What do you guys think? Any suggestions or advice?
    "Der Bimmer ist wunderbar."

    Tango Alpha
    2002 R1150RT

  2. #2
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Could it be the brakes a bit bound up from sitting?
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by tangoalpha View Post
    Hello Oilheads!

    It's been a long time since I last posted. I hope all is well with you and that your lives have returned to normal since the pandemic. Admittedly, I've done very little riding in the past 2 years. No long trips or adventures to speak of, mainly a few day trips here and there, but for the most part Der Bimmer has sat in the corner of my garage waiting patiently for me to go for a ride. The weather has been very nice here on the CA Central Coast, with temps in the high 60's to low 70's...don't hate me for saying that. Year round riding weather is one of the few perks we have left here in CA, but I digress. So with the guilt of not riding poor Der Bimmer and the weather being optimal, I decided to break this non-riding streak that I've been on and I rode my bike to work the past couple of days. I'm so glad that I did too! I was immediately brought back to all those memories and emotions that reminded me of why I love riding so much. That's the good news.

    Now...for the NOT so good news. After riding home from work and parking the bike in my garage tonight, as I stood next to it while putting the bike on the center stand, I noticed the distinct smell of burnt clutch material. What the??? The bike seemed to be shifting fine. The clutch operation seems to be working as normal. Although...come to think of it, there were a couple clutch engagements that felt slightly grabby to me, but otherwise normal. So I checked the clutch fluid level by peering through the inspection window on the reservoir. I was horrified to see what appeared to be zero fluid in the reservoir. At least, there was none visible through the window. "How did I not notice this?", I thought to myself. So, I investigated further and removed the reservoir cap, only to find that I was wrong about the fluid level being low. In fact, it was high...too high. The clutch fluid was well past the inspection window, giving the appearance it was empty and near the top of the reservoir. Ruh Oh! I have a bad feeling about the grabby clutch, the stinky smell and the overly full clutch fluid in the reservoir. Me thinketh, my clutch and I are soon to be departed.

    Fellow Oilheads, I seek your wisdom. What do you guys think? Any suggestions or advice?
    When's the last time you changed the clutch fluid?
    Is the clutch slipping? (5th gear full throttle roll-on)

    I recently changed out a clutch on a 2003 RT that was slipping. The clutch slave cylinder was leaking and allowed the fluid to move forward through the tranny and soil the clutch.

    Ironically, the fluid level in the master cylinder wasn't down that much.

  4. #4
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    As the disk wears the fluid level goes up. If it gets too full the clutch may fail to operate correctly. Remove some fluid from the reservoir and go for a ride to see how it then behaves.
    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://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  5. #5
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    As Paul says.

    It's time to do a fluid flush on both brake and clutch
    Especially if you have the servo brake system.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  6. #6
    Registered User tangoalpha's Avatar
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    You guys are awesome! I just knew that Omega Man, Paul, & GSA Addict would be answering my call for help. Thank you also RPGR90s for chiming in. You guys truly are what makes MOA membership great. I appreciate you very much. Below are my responses to your answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Could it be the brakes a bit bound up from sitting?
    OM
    Good thought and I can definitely see that happening, but I'm certain it's not the brakes. One of the more recent upgrades that I did was replace the brake lines with a nice set of Spiegler stainless steel hoses (front and rear). I replaced the brake pads and of course serviced the servo-assisted ABS system. Unlike some others, I actually like my servo brakes and mine still work great. They are wonderful to have when fully loaded, with a passenger and holding a hill.

    Quote Originally Posted by RPGR90s View Post
    When's the last time you changed the clutch fluid?
    Is the clutch slipping? (5th gear full throttle roll-on)

    I recently changed out a clutch on a 2003 RT that was slipping. The clutch slave cylinder was leaking and allowed the fluid to move forward through the tranny and soil the clutch.

    Ironically, the fluid level in the master cylinder wasn't down that much.
    I changed the clutch fluid about two-ish years ago, at the same time I serviced the brakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    As the disk wears the fluid level goes up. If it gets too full the clutch may fail to operate correctly. Remove some fluid from the reservoir and go for a ride to see how it then behaves.
    I'll start with that Paul and see where that takes me. Thanks for the suggestion. I may need to tap in to that big brain of yours later, if this doesn't solve the problem in the near term. By the sounds of it, I may need to plan for clutch replacement in the not to distant future.

    Quote Originally Posted by GSAddict View Post
    As Paul says.

    It's time to do a fluid flush on both brake and clutch
    Especially if you have the servo brake system.
    When you're right, you're right! I'll take Paul's suggestion and extract some clutch fluid to level things out and then do a test ride to see how the bike behaves. Either way...it's time to flush the brakes and the clutch. As much as I do enjoy the whizzy brakes, I do loathe servicing them. It's such a PITA, but it needs to be done.
    "Der Bimmer ist wunderbar."

    Tango Alpha
    2002 R1150RT

  7. #7
    Registered User tangoalpha's Avatar
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    UPDATE: The weather has been so incredibly beautiful today that I simply had to get my face in the wind. Taking Paul’s advice, I extracted some clutch fluid from the reservoir to level things out and then took Der Bimmer for a test ride.

    Well, I guess you could say that the test ride went well because I extended the ride to include some canyon riding, up through the wine country then I proceeded to Morro Bay for some fish and chips at the waterfront. All in all it was nice day for a ride and much to my surprise, the bike performed flawlessly after removing the excess clutch fluid. There was absolutely no burning clutch smell either on the ride out or back home.

    So it looks like Paul was correct…again! Thanks Paul. Now with that confirmed, I’ll add a brake & clutch fluid flush to my list of weekend projects.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    "Der Bimmer ist wunderbar."

    Tango Alpha
    2002 R1150RT

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