Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: Clutch Fluid

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West Chester, Oh
    Posts
    48

    Clutch Fluid

    Does the Clutch Fluid need to be changed on a R1200RTW?

  2. #2
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bedford, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    1,063
    Depends on which "Clutch Fluid" you are referring to Ken.

    1. Clutch Fluid for the actual clutch
    2. Clutch Fluid in the Reservoir for the clutch lever (the reservoir is located at the clutch level)

    #1 - Yes - As I suspect you know, the clutch is integral with the engine oil (wet clutch) and the 10k engine oil change takes care of that
    #2 - No - Because the clutch is hydraulicly operated it has a reservoir that operates like most other hydraulic cylinders and should not need replacing as unlike brake fluid, it is not subject to extremes of heat, etc. Most hydraulic cylinders operate on one of three fluids, hydraulic oil (10W is common), brake fluid, or ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid like Dextron III). They typically aren't subjected to significant heat build-up, their systems are not usually opened up (exposure to moisture), etc., so for all intents and purposes, unless otherwise stated (not mentioned in BMW Service Schedules that I've seen), they are a lifetime fluid.

    *** Edited to correct location of the clutch fluid reservoir.
    Last edited by AlanColes; 10-16-2019 at 01:52 AM. Reason: corrected clutch reservoir position
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    West Chester, Oh
    Posts
    48
    Thank you.

  4. #4
    The clutch on your R1200RTW does not use any of the fluids mentioned in the previous response! To do so will comprise your clutch hydraulic system. The fluid used in the master cylinder (located on your handle bars) is a MINERAL OIL called Vitamol V10.
    The actual clutch is a “wet clutch” which utilizes your engine oil.


    Milo172
    '78 R100/7
    '94 R1100RSL
    '14 R1200RT

  5. #5
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    SW Iowa
    Posts
    6,421
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanColes View Post
    [*]Clutch Fluid in the Reservoir for the clutch lever (the reservoir is located at the rear of the bike)
    .
    Is this a change for the R1250?
    The reservoir at the back of a R1200 is for the back brake.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  6. #6
    Registered User pappy35's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Collierville, TN
    Posts
    465
    Quote Originally Posted by 61249 View Post
    The clutch on your R1200RTW does not use any of the fluids mentioned in the previous response! To do so will comprise your clutch hydraulic system. The fluid used in the master cylinder (located on your handle bars) is a MINERAL OIL called Vitamol V10.
    The actual clutch is a “wet clutch” which utilizes your engine oil.
    ^^This^^

    This is correct. It's mineral oil and does not need to be changed. Brake fluid is hydrophilic (which means it absorbs water from the air) and since this, over time, encourages corrosion and lowers the fluid's boiling point, it needs to be replaced periodically. Mineral oil is not and so does not need to be replaced, just replenished as needed.
    '13 R1200RT 90th Anniversary Edition

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by 61249 View Post
    The clutch on your R1200RTW does not use any of the fluids mentioned in the previous response! To do so will comprise your clutch hydraulic system. The fluid used in the master cylinder (located on your handle bars) is a MINERAL OIL called Vitamol V10.
    The actual clutch is a “wet clutch” which utilizes your engine oil.
    So what is the difference between "mineral" oil and "hydraulic" oil? Other than BMW's strange terminology, of course. Translated: buy our stuff!

    It is my opinion that what works well in a hydraulic jack or the hydraulic system of a John Deere tractor would work just fine in a BMW motorcycle clutch's hydraulic system. Priced of course at a few dollars per quart instead of a few dollars per ounce.
    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/

  8. #8
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bedford, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    1,063
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Is this a change for the R1250?
    The reservoir at the back of a R1200 is for the back brake.
    Sorry Lee, I meant at the front (at the clutch lever).

    Quote Originally Posted by 61249 View Post
    The clutch on your R1200RTW does not use any of the fluids mentioned in the previous response! To do so will comprise your clutch hydraulic system. The fluid used in the master cylinder (located on your handle bars) is a MINERAL OIL called Vitamol V10.
    The actual clutch is a “wet clutch” which utilizes your engine oil.
    Actually Milo, it does. Vitamol V10 is a 10W hydraulic oil which is what the bike calls for, a mineral based 10W hydraulic oil. Perhaps I should have been clearer, sorry but I was in a bit of a rush and tried to send off a quick response and should have differentiated more between the different types of hydraulic fluids.

    Most hydraulic fluids are mineral oil. I should have noted that while brake fluid has been used in clutch systems (including BMW) it is no longer used as it attracts water (hygroscopic) and therefore, unlike the other hydraulic fluids mentioned that are mineral oil or silicone-based fluids which are not hygroscopic. Hydraulic oil is the generic term used today for Mineral Oil with, as I mentioned, 10W being the standard (but definitely not only - think of fork oils etc.).

    It is also important to note that one cannot use mineral oil hydraulic fluid in a system meant for brake fluid based hydraulic fluid (many BMW bikes with hydraulic clutch systems pre-R1200 models) as the seals will be damaged. I believe the inverse is true, but can't recall.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanColes View Post

    It is also important to note that one cannot use mineral oil hydraulic fluid in a system meant for brake fluid based hydraulic fluid (many BMW bikes with hydraulic clutch systems pre-R1200 models) as the seals will be damaged. I believe the inverse is true, but can't recall.
    Indeed. BMW marks it on the hydraulic clutch master cylinder cover (lid). It is either marked DOT4 for the early systems and mineral oil for the later systems. I don't recall when the change happened but I think it was at the time of the introduction of the R1200 bikes. I know my single spark R1150R still used DOT 4 brake fluid.
    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/

  10. #10
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bedford, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    1,063
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    So what is the difference between "mineral" oil and "hydraulic" oil? Other than BMW's strange terminology, of course. Translated: buy our stuff!

    It is my opinion that what works well in a hydraulic jack or the hydraulic system of a John Deere tractor would work just fine in a BMW motorcycle clutch's hydraulic system. Priced of course at a few dollars per quart instead of a few dollars per ounce.
    Paul, mineral oil is a sub-set of hydraulic fluid and the most common form of it today.

    As I'd noted previously the various formulations of it can be bought as hydraulic oil, ATF and brake fluid. All are hydraulic fluids and all can be mineral oil based, or not.

    I just used 12 quarts of AFT fluid to fill a hydraulic ram on Friday that called for either 10W hydraulic oil or ATF (Dextron III compliant). The big difference that one has to be careful of is the base for the hydraulic fluid. These can be mineral oil (most common for non-synthetic and non-brake fluids) but can range from across:
    • Mineral oil base
    • Synthetic hydrocarbon base
    • Phosphate-ester base

    A lot depends on the industry and application. Aviation and military typicaly have the most demanding specs.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Indeed. BMW marks it on the hydraulic clutch master cylinder cover (lid). It is either marked DOT4 for the early systems and mineral oil for the later systems. I don't recall when the change happened but I think it was at the time of the introduction of the R1200 bikes. I know my single spark R1150R still used DOT 4 brake fluid.
    Also, I have no idea what K-bikes, etc., called for as within the BMW fold, I've only had Boxers.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  11. #11
    Registered User stooie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Salem, OR
    Posts
    74
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    It is my opinion that what works well in a hydraulic jack or the hydraulic system of a John Deere tractor would work just fine in a BMW motorcycle clutch's hydraulic system.
    I dunno, Paul. I think I'm going to respectfully part ways with you on this one.

    I would suggest amending to read "would PROBABLY work just fine ..." There are differences in hydraulic oils: viscosity, optimal temperature range, lubricity, and, very importantly, seal compatibility. The oil is designed to make the seal swell very slightly over time so that it seals well over the life of the oil and the component. The wrong oil can make the seal swell too much or degrade it so that it won't seal at all.

    Admittedly many fluids BMW specifies are priced per oz or gram similarly to the street price of illicit drugs. At the same time, given that the clutch fluid doesn't require scheduled changes, in the once or twice in a bike's lifetime that you might have to change it I'd suggest using what the manufacturer recommends.

    I'm not saying that what works in a John Deere definitely wouldn't work in the BMW's clutch but, for me, the cost savings isn't worth the risk. Your bike = your choice.

    Ride long and prosper!
    Bob Stewart
    Salem, OR

    2018 RT

  12. #12
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    SW Iowa
    Posts
    6,421
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanColes View Post

    Also, I have no idea what K-bikes, etc., called for as within the BMW fold, I've only had Boxers.
    DOT 4 for brakes and I think K bikes started using mineral oil for the clutch in 2005.
    The LT probably never made the change to mineral oil.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  13. #13
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Bedford, Nova Scotia
    Posts
    1,063
    Quote Originally Posted by stooie View Post
    ... Admittedly many fluids BMW specifies are priced per oz or gram similarly to the street price of illicit drugs. At the same time, given that the clutch fluid doesn't require scheduled changes, in the once or twice in a bike's lifetime that you might have to change it I'd suggest using what the manufacturer recommends...
    Bob, you're quite right, it is likely 1-2 times in a lifetime need unless someone is in the habit of rebuilding/customizing bikes, so the price difference is very minor over the lifespan.

    If you do want to reduce costs a little then one could use the same 10W mineral oil hydraulic fluid that BMW uses which, I understand to be Magura, it's available for $7.50/4-oz from Beemerboneyard vs $10 if it has BMW on it. So just a $2.50 savings, or $5/4-oz from Touratech I believe.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  14. #14
    I fully agree that the cost difference between Vitamol V10 which is a 10Wt. hydraulic oil by Castrol and other 10 Wt hydraulic oils is minor. But it is just part of my overall cynicism when I read dogma on this forum and other places that we need to use what BMW recommends. I agree that it is mostly a good idea to use what meets BMW specifications but a specification is not the same as a recommendation of a product from the company that does or has sponsored BMW's racing team.

    I still remember when BMW recommended anti-seize as a spline lubricant followed by BMW #10 red grease which was so unsuitable it melted at room temperature on the shelf, let alone in the hot confines of the clutch bellhousing, followed by Staburags assembly paste, followed by something else. And most know just how well those fiascos worked out for them. Which is to say BMW is a company, not some sort of god.

    But as always, it's your bike and your billfold.
    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/

  15. #15
    Addicted to curves azgman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    AZ
    Posts
    1,163
    Unlike Brake fluid, Clutch fluid (aka Mineral oil) is not hygroscopic, and so does not degrade like brake fluid does.
    MOA #107139
    RA #28511

Similar Threads

  1. BMW Clutch Fluid
    By kthutchinson in forum Motorrad
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-07-2011, 03:22 PM
  2. clutch fluid?
    By r1100r in forum Oilheads
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 04-28-2011, 04:31 PM
  3. Too much clutch fluid?
    By jurgen in forum Oilheads
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-22-2010, 02:27 AM
  4. R1200 Clutch Fluid ('05)
    By bobgerman in forum Hexheads/Camheads
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-12-2010, 11:56 PM
  5. Oil in Clutch Fluid on 04 RT
    By cwtester in forum Oilheads
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-28-2006, 04:49 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •