Circlip mod

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by ML WYDELL, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    Not only germans, the austrians do it too. Look at KTM. Their flagship model has eaten water pumps since it debuted almost 10 years ago. Do nothing about it and it's not a 'problem.' Fix it in the next model year and you open yourself up to huge warranty claims.
    #21
  2. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    It's definitely there for a reason but a lot of trannies work fine without it for a lot of miles. And a lot don't. Don't forget that that bearing was what a lot of people would call the five speeds #1 problem WITH the circlip. The circlip is by no means a cure all. Nevertheless, I add them when I am in there. That's for sure!
    #22
  3. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    I can fully understand adding the clip if you are already pulling the tranny apart for other work. But to pull a tranny that is working perfectly with no issues, just to add the circlip in case it may one day, in the future, in a land far far away, possibly in an alternate universe, become a problem. Well, that is either just being foolish, or you have way too much time on your hands and money in your wallet.
    #23
  4. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    If you don't or can't venture all that far from home, sure, you can just run things to failure. It can be really expensive, though. A guy recently blew up his transmission not all that far from you and it's totaled. His shop's estimate for parts alone is in the thousands.

    Worse, he had to abort the Alaska trip he was on. People running the IBR have thousands of dollars invested in their trips and blowing up a trans will typically take them out of the rally. Most riders aren't going to change transmisions on the side of the road, so their trip is either over or severely delayed with expensive consequences either way in towing, buying a replacement, having it installed, etc.

    "But you'll know in advance if you look at the oil." Yeah, but on a 20,000 mile trip you can go from OK to total failure. That's how long my Alaska trip was (my circlipped transmission did just fine).

    So again, if the consequences of failure are low FOR YOU, you might choose to leave well enough alone. But you can't speak for people who would simply rather not break down. In the real world a $400~600 preventive repair just isn't a big deal.
    #24
  5. caponerd

    caponerd Kickstart Enthusiast

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    I think his problem was that he had a circlip in the transmission, and it came out, leading to failure in spite of having one.

    (the circlip might not have come out if care had been taken to make sure the ends of the clip were either up or down, rather than on either side of the bearing hole, inertia can make those things do weird things)
    #25
  6. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    People that would rather not break down? I would rather not break down but I will not start treating my bike as if it were an airplane. It gets very expensive replacing things before they break. And then things STILL break! If I were going to Alaska or around the world and I wanted to do my best to not break down, I would rebuild my tranny before the trip whether it had a circlip or not. That bearing goes bad WITH circlips! I maintain my bikes as best as possible and then I don't worry about it from there but even that cost me a trip before I ever got started last time. I had a head gasket leaking oil that I wanted to fix before a trip. I always do a leak down before I take heads off. Doing that I found that I had some leaking exhaust valves. After I pulled the head I saw that my exhaust was leaking for completely toasted guides. No time for a valve job before I wanted to go on that trip so I didn't go but I still don't fix anything that does not yet need it.
    #26
  7. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

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    If I am in the box anyway, do the circlip at the same time. To open a box that is working perfectly to do this repair as preventative maintenance makes no sense. If there are no signs of impending doom then ride it and don't worry. But there are people that love this stuff and preach about every possible defect a bike might have in incredible detail and how I am forcing the hand of fate for ignoring my circlip. Fortunately I ride with none of them.
    #27
  8. R100LT

    R100LT Chasing 11

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    Maybe someone that is very learned in this area could post some impending signs of doom to look for .
    #28
  9. motu

    motu Loose Pre Unit

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    A cylinder sticking out each side? Oops, that's a sign of impending doom right there.
    #29
  10. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    I fully respect Anton in most things. But sometimes we have a difference of opinions. This should be expected. Using his reasoning, I should not have taken that trip to Mazatland last spring, via Newfoundland then back via LA and upthe coast to home. Total of over 25,000 miles when all was done. Not a single unexpected issue on my 31 year old bike. Had to replace a few tires and oil changes.. Didn't pull any thing apart before leaving. But I do proper maintenance on a regular basis. In fact the engine is totally stock and just turned over 300,000 miles. I don't ride the crap out of my bikes, and do not abuse them. I just ride them, and when something tells me to fix it, I do so before it does. You can usually tell if something is not right, if you pay attention. The bike will tell you.

    I do believe in preventative maintenance, within reason. But see no reason to fix something that is not broken.
    #30
  11. bikerfish

    bikerfish flyfishandride

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    I have a R100R that was approaching the 60k mark, it fell in the vin range of the missing circlip bikes. I was planning a trip out west for my girlfriend and I so I took the box out and had a friend take it apart, the bearing was starting to move on the shaft. I had the groove machined locally and the box put back together with all new bearings, seals, springs, etc. Didn't cost me much, mainly parts, but I'm glad I did it. Would it have failed on that trip? maybe, maybe not, but it WOULD have failed at some point.
    I threw a new clutch, rear main seal and oil pump o-ring on as well since I was just starting to get a bit of a leak.
    as for my other airheads, unless they are making some nasty noises or vibration, I wouldn't even think of taking a good box apart, but with that bike, I just had a bad feeling about it, so apart it came. Glad I did it.
    #31
  12. limeymike

    limeymike Who Me?

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    Debris in the fluid, extra noisy.
    #32
  13. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    Dunno where you got that idea. My objection is to those who think it's ridiculous for others to correct this flaw before it becomes a problem.

    You can do (or not do) whatever you want to your bike. So can everyone else. There are some things that I think are ridiculous, but preventive measures generally aren't among them. In a very similar vein, people send me final drives to check out that haven't failed yet, because they don't want it to happen on the road. You may think that's ridiculous, but those customers simply have different priorities than you.
    #33
  14. brittrunyon

    brittrunyon R 100 GS F 650 GS

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    :clap
    #34
  15. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    Anton, I agree. A lot of people have very different priorities than I do.

    But then, I have ridden the miles and done the fixes on the side of the road, or in the parking lot of a motel and in a camp site in the Rocky mountains. I figure that I am riding a bike that is old and probably something will break or wear out along the way. So I fix those things when the problem arises. I was brought up in a time when the average guy could and would take the time to learn how to do a majority of stuff on his bike or car on his own. Back when vehicles were pretty simple and could be pretty much rebuilt with a screwdriver, pliers and an implement to pound on things. I look at airheads as being one or two steps beyond those archaic days. You do need a few tools, and most of them came in the tool roll.

    I have replaced clutches while on a trip, had a rear end shipped to me via courier and installed in motel parking lot, had parts sent so that I could replace an alternator and a diode board, and of course had to have a tranny shipped from BC to Baja when I blew some bearings in an old R80. It happens, so what. If you start to hear or see things that are pointing to it going bad, then fix it, or pay someone else to fix it.

    I think that the difference of opinion is more the fact that a lot of riders today have no clue how to work on their bikes. This goes for all brands of bikes. They are used to their cars and newer bikes where they put gas in, maybe check the oil now and again and have everything else done at a dealer or find a good mechanic to do it. Great, they are enjoying at least one part of riding a bike. And it helps to keep mechanics employed. A lot of people just can't take the time or don't want to take the time to learn how to fix their bikes, and there are those that just don't have the mechanical aptitude. That is their perogative. Myself, I would rather fix what needs fixing and spend the majority of my time riding.
    #35
  16. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    I think the real difference is that you subscribe to the run-to-failure school rather than the PM school. Factories learned long ago that they spend more time functioning (riding, for you) by staying ahead of repairs, and likewise PM is the thinking behind nearly all auto and bike routine service. I change the oil before it wears out, and the filter isn't clogged but it gets changed too. My job is to prevent your story from happening to my customers. When they go on a trip, they want to ride, not replace their clutches in some parking lot.

    And when they're not riding, they don't want to mess around with their bikes. Not lack of ability, but pure and simple lack of desire. They'd rather spend time with their families, play music, watch a ball game, etc. Vehicle maintenance is a recreational activity for only a pretty small group of people.
    #36
  17. DandyDoug

    DandyDoug Been here awhile

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    My cir clip /transmission story.
    1985 R80, bought it with 6100 miles showing in May of 2011.
    As I was leaving for a trip to Daytona this past March I noticed a slight knock in the drive line. Never got any worse so i just rode it. Got home and started to investigate , thinking it was a bum U joint we took the shaft loose. Nothing wrong , but could feel some pretty rough spots turning the transmission output shaft. Mileage 11462 indicated.

    Pulled the box out and apart, no cir clip .
    Determined the big end bearing on the output shaft was bad, probably from too much side load due to the shaft itself walking a very small amount. Ball bearings do not like much side load pressure.
    Replaced both the big bearing and the small one. Looked for a local shop to cut a groove for a cir clip, no luck.
    Buddie of mine had a good shaft with the groove already in it, we swapped shafts.
    On inspection the transmission was clean and shifted smooth so we put it all back together after just the two bearing replacement and installing the cir clip.
    Mileage today is just under 15, 000 , bike never shifted better or smoother.

    Was the cir clip the culprit ?
    Who knows, all i can say; is I wonder why BMW stopped installing them in the first place and then started installing them again ??
    Doug
    #37
  18. Hennepinboy

    Hennepinboy Have battery will travel.

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    Breaking down far from home on a trip sucks, I know, I had the transmission output shaft move back taking out the rear bearing and seal. The bike 92 R100GS with 9X,XXX miles before the shaft decide to move, 800 miles from home and miles from help. Knowing what had failed I borrowed a socket from a truck mechanic, placed the socket on the large nut on the output shaft, using a large brass hammer drove the shaft back into place. The rear seal was leaking and bearing was noisy, the bike was not going 800 miles, I limped to where we could rent a truck to haul the bike home.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Rebuild the transmission myself, the University of Minnesota Physics Lab Machine Shop cut the grove in shaft for a small fee. Only the output bearing was rough feeling, but I replace all bearing for good measure. New bearings seals and shift spring the bike now has 160,XXX the transmission shift smooth and has given me no problems after the rebuild.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    If the shaft moving failure would have been close to home it would have been no big deal, 800 miles from home sucked. It would have even sucked worst if I would have been somewhere in Mexico as I was only months before the failure.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p> </o:p>
    Myself I would open the gear box on any bike that I travel on if I did not know if there is a clip or not. Better safe than sorry.<o:p></o:p>
    #38
  19. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Adios Mexico

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    Beancounters. That's one less machining operation on the shafts and maybe $.05 worth of circlip saved on every transmission. They probably tested it out before making the change and it worked fine for long enough that they thought there wasn't a problem. Then after enough years and miles they started failing in quantity prompting a quiet shift back to the circlips.
    #39
  20. DaveBall

    DaveBall Long timer

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    Anton, Yes, a lot of people would rather not bother with working on the bike. They have a lot of other priorities in life and that is fine.
    I never said I do the run to failure routine. I run till I feel, hear or see a problem arising. Then fix that problem and anything directly related. I change my oil extremely regularly and change the filter at every oil change. That is why I buy filters by the case from Motobins. (cheapest place for me). I do all the routine maintenance on a very regular basis. Every winter I do what I call a major maintenance, where the fairing, tank and seat come off and I go over every bit of wiring to ensure no bad connections of any type. Replace spark plugs, check timing, check valves, adjust clutch, replace brake fluid, etc. I clean everything I can get to. Repack wheel bearings and swingarm bearings. Head bearings are done every 2nd year. I touch up paint on the frame where needed. Replace all fluids - forks, engine, trans, driveshaft and diff. Balance the wheels and usually install new tires and tubes. So, yes, I think I am doing a fair amount of maintenance during my usual down time.

    I do not go looking for problems that are not there. We have all heard about people having issues of one sort or another. But I am not one to hear that some part has failed for a couple of people and think, "OH, MYGAWD, I better go fix mine as well!", even though it has never given me one bit of problem. We hear these issues about diode boards, circlips in transmissions and receading valves. Sure, these things can be an issue and a pain in the butt to have to fix it if you are away from home. But, what are the odds that those things are going to happen to everybody? If the issue was so bad, I would think that by now (roughly what 20 to 35 years later) these things would have been sorted out on the majority of these old bikes. And if not, well, really, was it that universal of a problem.

    For me, I don't look at vehicle maintenance as a recreational activity, but as a requirement of vehicle ownership. I choose to ride an old bike with old parts and lots of miles on it. Therefore, if I want it to be reliable, I know that it has to be maintained. I am cheap, so therefore I prefer to spend a few hours now and again working on the bike, than giving somebody else a bunch of money to do what I can do myself. I can then put those saved dollars into the tank so that I can ride somewhere. Riding to me is a chosen and preferred method of transportation. I have a car that gets driven less than one tenth the miles that I put on my bike each year, and never goes more than 200 miles from home. The bike regularly takes me thousands of miles from home.

    So, maybe my priorities are a bit screwed up. But, I like it on my planet.
    #40