Help! F800GS clutch slipping - stuck near Green River, UT

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by CoydogSF, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. CoydogSF

    CoydogSF Ambitious Amatuer

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    Writing this from my iPhone outside World Famous Papa Joe's Stop & Go at the junction of 191 and I-70. Started this morning out of Moab on the TAT (Gemini Bridges Rd) and came to a steep, very sandy hill on my loaded F800GS. I immediately got bogged down and worked for 20 minutes or so to crawl my way up it. By the end of the effort, I had to let the clutch all the way out to get ANY power. Now even on the flat, it's slipping in all gears. I was able to limp it to the pavement and the 20 miles to I-70 where I'm letting it cool now.

    Question: did I fry the clutch or might this resolve once it cools down? Any thoughts on anything to check? Oil bath clutch so no fluid or anything. Any help would be appreciated. I will subscribe to this thread and check email frequently.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod I want to do right, but not right now

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    Have you tried loosening the clutch cable at the clutch lever?
    #2
  3. doubleoh7

    doubleoh7 AKA Chief FallsAlot

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    our bikes like to be shifted quickly. how do you know it's slipping. i thought my bike slipped as well, but learned it was how i was letting the clutch out. i learned from another that if you have the bike in 6th at 50mph and go wot if the bike doesn't take off and accelerate like it should you have a slipping problem. once i tried this the bike seemed to go just fine. i talked to the dealer who said the friction zone is toward the first couple micro-inches of pulling the clutch in thus if you throttle to quickly as you go thru the gears and don't dump the clutch fast enough, it will slip, but only because you are not out of the friction zone. does that help? let me know.
    #3
  4. CoydogSF

    CoydogSF Ambitious Amatuer

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    Hey guys, thanks for the responses.

    Gramps: I will take a look at whether I can loosen anything at the lever but it seems like it's more than just a tight cable.

    doubleoh7: It's definitely slipping. I've ridden this bike 2500 miles already on this trip and know the feeling of where the power is. The last 20 miles on the freeway I could keep it above 50 in 4th, 5th or 6th. Twist the throttle and it would just rev.
    #4
  5. doubleoh7

    doubleoh7 AKA Chief FallsAlot

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    well, since i can't be much help in the way of knowledge. what do you need? the closest resources I have are in Salt Lake City. I have a couple guys riding your way tomorrow morning, kind of. They are due to stop in St. George or shortly after. Give me directions on what would help and I'll do whatever I can to help out.
    #5
  6. CoydogSF

    CoydogSF Ambitious Amatuer

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    Well, after letting it cool a while, now I can let the clutch out all the way in first and it won't move OR stall. Now that's bad... So, roadside assistance called and bike will go to the dealer in Grand Junction in the am. Hopefully, they can get me back on the road quickly. Bike will be stored at the tow co in Moab overnight so looks like I'll hitch a ride down there with it and have me a margarita on a patio somewhere tonight. Follow to Grand J tomorrow.

    Thanks so much for the input and offers of help. Looks like there was no "virtual" solution to this one. Just an old fashioned flat bed truck... This bike has been a bit of a headache for me. Then why do I love it so much?
    #6
  7. doubleoh7

    doubleoh7 AKA Chief FallsAlot

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    glad you got it worked out. here's to getting back on the road soon :freaky
    #7
  8. M N B

    M N B would rather be riding

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    Dave, same thing happened to me out in the middle of freaking nowhere at 3600 miles. I was able to get to civilization by letting out the cable adjuster on the tranny ALL the way. It still slipped like mad, but I was able to get just enough grip to climb the last couple hills.

    The clutch was fried. They took 5 weeks to replace it, but I expect yours will go much faster. I was the first case I know of with this problem. You are the third or fourth I've heard of.

    Clutches are burning out rapidly and far too early. Are the springs loose? Are the clutches hard to adjust properly so they slip a bit all the time? Are the clutch plates just plain crap? I dunno. But it doesn't seem to be an isolated incident anymore.

    While there is less clutch wear when you shift quickly an off road bikes needs a clutch that can be slipped. Sometimes you HAVE to go 7-10mph and that's too slow in first without slipping the clutch.
    #8
  9. Dieselboy

    Dieselboy Journey not Destination

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    So fellas, were both of you running stock gear ratios?

    MNB, I've not followed any of the clutch issues, do you know if any of the others were running stock or lowered ratios?

    I'm not an off roader, but with this bike I wanted to be able to try TAT-like exploration. Do we have an issue in the F8 community with poor clutch quality or are we pushing the envelop with fully loaded "off-road" adventures. Not an accusation, more of a quest for enlightenment from my own ignorance.

    BTW, Coydog, hope you situation is resolved quickly.
    #9
  10. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    I was carrying a two-week load, including tools and spare parts, and slipping the clutch (on purpose) frequently on my ~2,500 mile ride down the Divide. I've now got 13,000 miles on my F800GS, and zero issues with the clutch. If it is as issue with these bikes, then it's not affecting everyone's bike.

    Sorry to hear about your troubles, CoydogSF.

    David
    #10
  11. M N B

    M N B would rather be riding

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    I'm 98% sure all cases I've heard of were stock gear ratios.
    #11
  12. The Griz

    The Griz Long timer

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    I had the clutch basket come apart inside the engine.

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=459539

    After that was fixed, I've had no issues with the clutch since. Knock on wood.

    Sounds like your clutch plates are burning up to me. Or a clutch cable or lever problem. I'm betting on burnout though. If the clutch assembly itself was going to fail then it would be very abrupt and catastrophic.
    #12
  13. CoydogSF

    CoydogSF Ambitious Amatuer

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    Hey All,

    Thanks for the input and support. So, yes, I was running stock gearing, loaded for a three week trip, had been carrying a passenger the few days before, and was doing some rough off-roaring including sections of the TAT and the White Rim Trail (http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=487054 - a few days behind on the updates). Definitely pushing the bike to its limits but also exactly what they say it's designed for.

    So as of my last post, I got trailered to Grand Junction where they called a tech in on his day off to determine that they needed to have a new clutch plate overnighted. Of course, the next day (Tues) they realized I needed springs as well and were having trouble locating them. Just as I was weighing my options for getting home in time for an important wedding on Friday, my riding partner who I'd sent on to enjoy the rest of the trip texted saying that the transmission on his KTM 990 had seized and he was stuck in Fillmore, UT. Within 45 minutes, I was in a 14' UHaul on the phone to GJ BMW telling them I was on the way to get the bike. I picked my buddy and his KTM up this morning and as I type this now, we're just outside of SLC and 10 hours from home. Both Scuderia and BMW of San Francisco are expecting deliveries from the UHaul tomorrow morning.

    Not exactly how we pictured the trip going, but it definitely falls into the category of "adventure."
    #13
  14. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    Well, FTFF! That sucks, CoydogSF. Here's hoping they get you patched up quickly, and that the wedding you're going to make it to is a whole lot more fun than this trip was!

    David
    #14
  15. CoydogSF

    CoydogSF Ambitious Amatuer

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    No doubt the wedding will be great but would be hard for it to beat the trip. Yeah we spent sometime in dealerships and had to "workaround" some isssues but we also rode our motorcycles from SF to CO on maybe 40% dirt then rode halfway back through 13,000 ft passes and incredible alpine scenery (check out the pics if you haven't already and more to come in the next couple days). Frustrating at times for sure, but definitely inspiring in the larger proportion!

    Thanks again for the good wishes.
    #15
  16. M N B

    M N B would rather be riding

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    new springs, too, eh? I wonder if some springs aren't providing sufficient tension... That might cause slippage and wear over time.
    #16
  17. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

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    Interesting developments. Now both bikes out of commission. It will be an interesting picture, the end of the TAT adventure and you take a photo: a KTM and a BMW in the back of a U-Haul truck. Too bad guys, that it ended this way. At least it was a mechanical failure, it can always be fixed.
    Lion
    #17
  18. ducpilot

    ducpilot Been here awhile

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    My bike fried the clutch at just under 6000 miles. Of course I rode it hard in Baja and was doing rolling burnouts when if gave way :evil but I did find out that there are no aftermarket options or HD upgrades from BMW.

    I know it sounds like a "duhh" situation considering what I do to my poor little bike but if you think about it once the clutch is fully engaged it should not fail even doing what I was doing (not the first bike I have used for light stunting) :clap Once the clutch is fully engaged there should be no slippage and once the back tire brakes loose there is minimal resistance. I hate the stock tires and could think of a better excuse to throw them away. Amazingly after 150 ft slow roll burn out the tires hardly have any evidence of what I had done !!! that's hard rubber...

    No I don't normally do stunting on the F800GS but there was a squid on a stretch Busa' that I had to show up. :D

    When I pulled the clutch out it had bluing form excess heat and had sheared all of the fibers off of the front side of the first plate leaving the bike completly impared. I suspect that even if I had only been using if for the offroading I was doing (yes I am geared down) it would not have made it much further.

    I wish I could upgrade it like I have in my other bikes.

    If I could figure out how to post pictures on the thread :(: I'd include a few good one
    #18
  19. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    I have actually found the F800GS clutch to be pretty good, but if you superheat it just once, or fail to notice all the slack is gone in the cable it will cook in short order.

    My clutch is sickly but it's at 11,000 hard miles and I can tell you exactly when it got cooked.

    So could anyone that was riding behind me that day.

    Insane no track hill climb with lots of logs that had to be hoped or crashed over, throttle pinned, slipping the whole way up for control, riding way beyond my skill level but with pride and determination as my companion.

    I made the top of the hill which is more then most did, but by half way up everyone could smell my clutch. When you can smell a wet clutch, you are really frying the shit out of it :)

    same thing as you, the first friction disk took the brunt of damage.

    FYI. If your bike was built before 2/2010 there is a HD option, the current factory part. BMW hardened the clutch up some, but you will have to replace all springs, disks, and plates.

    A cheaper option if you like, bike bandit sells the oe disks and plates piece meal so you could just replace the first and save some dough.

    Good luck :)

    was the boosa rider impressed?
    #19
  20. MoToad

    MoToad Been here awhile

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    2011 Tiger, perhaps?
    #20