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Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Q80GS, Apr 12, 2009.
Glad to hear you found a knowledgeable dealer who cares !!!
I had the same problem with my 07 GSA during a trip. A&S BMW in Roseville CA didn't have the clutch slave cylinder in stock, so they took one off a showroom bike and got me back on the road. Great service from a really good dealer.
Final update on clutch slave: looks like success, again thanks to Big Sky BMW and all of you who helped. Nice to have a working clutch again and no worries for the continuation of my trip. 3000 miles down, 3000 to go!
That's very good news, Larry. I'm glad the Big Sky staff rolled out the red carpet for you. In my travels, I've always found the dealerships very willing to help travelers. It's just a shame BMW doesn't have more dealers. When I travel from NC to CA, I always "gulp" a little when I head west from San Antonio via the southern route, as my closest help is over 1000 miles away in Albuquerque.
Travel safely and keep having fun!
I have the same problem, loss of clutch pressure, at 2,000 miles on my 2009RGS Special Edition. Solution: New master cylinder installed under warranty.
No trace of leaking fluid when my slave went.
I would bet thats a rear main seal going south. Get to it before it ruins the friction disc.
Given that it's an '05 I'd guess tranny input instead of rear main. But yeah, it needs fixing.
I just returned to Houston from a 3,000 mile ride on my 2009 GSA. About 500 miles into the trip I found that after about 50 miles on the highway the clutch would not disengage and the lever would go limp indicating air in the hydraulic system. If I would let the bike sit for a period of time I would get partial control of the clutch back and with repeated pumps on the lever I could get the bike in gear and get going again. I stopped in Kansas City at the BMW dealer and they also said they had never heard of such a problem and of course the clutch was operating fine at this point. I went ahead and finished the 3,000 mile trip by having to stop about every two hours to bleed the air out of the system and top off the reservoir. The system has no signs of leakage. I am now back in Houston and have called my dealer again and once more they tell me they have never heard of such a problem, but to bring it in and have "patience with them" until they can duplicate the problem. They say that they will not go forward on the basis of what may be written by experienced riders in ADVrider, but must diagnose the problem themselves. It is surprising BMW has not got a bulletin out on this problem; with all off the reported failures as seen on this thread alone. The problem is not only a nuisance to riders, but in certain circumstances it can create an acute safety issue.
I'm glad Big Sky got you back on the road. It was crazy reading your posts...I went through almost exactly the same scenario in June, except I was coming down toward Missoula from Kalispell. I stopped at the Harley/Ducati dealer and asked them if there was a BMW dealer in town. They pointed me to Big Sky. As soon as I rolled in and told the service manager my problem, he said "'2009 GSA? Probably clutch slave".
Couldn't agree more with your summary - great guys at Big Sky BMW.
Although this is a known issue, some shops haven't actually seen the problem. My '09 did the same thing. BMW put the wrong mineral oil in my bike so my dealer changed the master cylinder, slave cylinder and the hydraulic lines. With that done, they still bled the system five or six times before getting all the air out.
Make sure the dealership has done the brake line recall (just a repositioning of the line) and replaces the mineral oil. I think there is a bulletin out about the slave cylinder on the '09s. I'm going by my dealership today and will check.
Thanks Mike, my dealer did reposition the hydraulic line during the time of the first recommended service. I will be very interested to learn if there is a bulletin out on the 09 slave cylinder. I was surprised to see so many riders of the 09's had experienced the problem and then two prominent dealers; one in Kansas City and the other in Houston reported they had not heard of any problems. Do you know anymore about the correct mineral oil? The mineral oil can be purchased from a BMW dealer with the BMW logo on the bottle, but from your report it seems it may not be the correct fluid.
I was at Carolina Euro today and they were swamped. The service manager said, "Sure there was a bulletin on the slaves and the mineral oil." but he didn't look it up. My original fluid was clear and was replaced with a red-colored oil. If you look at the new bikes on the dealers floors, you'll see red oil. I was in Death Valley when I noticed the clutch getting a little "wimpy." The next day, it was pretty cool when I left and it was okay until I got to Phoenix and it started feeling soft again. By the time I got to Tucson that afternoon, I could pull it about half way in before I felt pressure. The next, it was still wimpy feeling and finally lost all pressure about 100 miles west of Las Cruses. I made it to El Paso and shut 'er down. By the time I got back to North Carolina three days later (bike in a trailer) the pressure was up a little but it was very evident something was wrong. I had called my dealer about the problem when I was en route from Texas and he had all the parts when I got there. After the repair, I've had no problems.
I had my clutch slave go out on my 2006 HP2 at 4800 miles. Replaced it on my own as the nearest reputable dealer is over 3 hours one way. It lasted exactly another 4000 miles. WTF?!! I made sure the clutch was bled properly by using a mighty vac multiple times.
I used BMW hydraulic mineral oil. In the bottle I have, the fluid is dark blueish black looking. Have they changed it again?
This is getting a little old. Two clutch slave in 8800 miles? Personally, I'd kill to have a cable actuated clutch at this point.
Does anyone know if there is a quality aftermarket slave available for the R1200? I checked Evoluzione, but they only list one for the K12 / K13.
I think the problem is the hose sweeps lower than the slave cyl and vibrates where tied to the frame. IIRC, I read that this creates small bubbles in the oil. Re-routing cures this.
Wanted to bring this discussion back up to the top.
Rode out to Savannah, GA last Thursday and back on Friday from Va. Beach. It is right around 1000 miles round trip.
When I left the temps were in low 30s with light snow for the first 200 or so miles, then it warmed up to around 40. The trip back was a little warmer (low 40s). Didn't have any issues with the clutch on the way down but on the way back (around 350 miles from home), I noticed the clutch acting "weak", once I pumped it a few times, the pressure would build up and everything was back to normal.
I had this problem two years ago while riding across Texas and Oklahoma in July (temps well above 100), and I attributed it to the heat and air in the clutch hydraulic system (did the lean the bike to the right and pump the clutch trick to get the air out). Once I got around to the cooler leg of my trip (Idaho, Montana, etc.) didn't have any issues. Had the bike checked out when I got home and I was told everything was normal. Can't blame the heat for the latest episode. Didn't see any leaks by the slave cylinder back then or this past week. The fluid level is still normal (it is the red kind).
I will be leaving in June on a 12K mile 30 days trip, I am thinking about having the clutch slave cylinder replaced so I don't have to worry about it. How hard is it to DIY and what am I looking at $$ wise?
The bike is an '09 GS with 39K miles on it, BTW.
Bin Ridin made a good comment. Not long after I got my '09 GSA, there was a service bulletin about re-routing the clutch slave line. I believe they basically replaced a zip tie installed at the factory. I had the mod done and rode the then-new machine to California (from NC). On the return trip, my clutch lever had a mushy feel and finally gave up near El Paso. Short story even shorter, someone in Germany had put the wrong fluid in the clutch resevoir. I had to have the entire system replaced.
Since then, everything has been fine but I do have it flushed out periodically. If I were preparing for a nice long trip like you are (you dog!), I'd sure get it checked. It may just need to be flushed.