Stuttering at freeway speed

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Ravenslair, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Ravenslair

    Ravenslair Been here awhile

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    536
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    This is long, so I apologize now. I just want to give as much detail as possible.

    A little background. I purchased a 2004 1150GSA a month ago. It had 20,000 on the odometer when purchased and I have put 500 miles on it since I bought it. This is my first BMW. I come from the world of Japanese bikes. Since purchasing it I have done the following:

    -------------When purchased-----------
    -Flushed the clutch (fluid in the master cylinder had a slight amount of color. Not muddy or dark at all. Fluid bled from the bleeder valve looked almost new)
    -Changed the oil and filter (oil was dark, but not burnt or black)
    -Changed the transmission fluid (slightly brown, but still see through)
    -Changed the final drive fluid (looked very fresh with no discernible color other than standard oil color)

    -------------Less than 100 miles ago-----------
    -Changed all four spark plugs
    -Adjusted the valves

    I drive about 50 miles round trip to work and have done this for the last two weeks on the bike. Today when almost home, and going ~65pmh, the bike stuttered. I cannot think of a better way to describe it. In hindsight, I cannot tell if it was an acceleration or deceleration. It just bucked for a second and kept on going like nothing happened and it did not happen again the last five or so miles until I got home. There was no sound when it happened. There was no grinding, screeching, banging, popping, explosion or anything. It almost felt like what you would expect a piece of 1"-2" pipe would feel like if you ran it over at speed, without the upward jumping of the bike. Just the stutter of hitting it.

    Instead of going straight home, I found a quiet stretch of road to run a few tests. Here is what I found:

    I accelerated and worked through the gears. Nothing other than the normal clunkiness of the BMW transmission. Like normal, I could keep this from happening if I only pulled the clutch in about an inch. If I was in a gear higher than third and held the clutch in and came to a stop, the transmission would not shift to second from third without me letting the clutch out while applying downward pressure on the shifter. This was the case going from second to first. Following the same procedure from second to first, the bike would go to neutral instead of first. If I tried any of the above while still moving, the transmission shifted just fine as it normally does. I do not know if the transmission did this before or not, as I usually downshift prior to coming to a stop.

    I went home and checked the drive shaft. I put the bike on the center stand and rotated the rear tire. No clunk-clunk, clunk-clunk of a bad u-joint. No side to side play of the rear tire (other than the acceptable <1mm). I am at a loss as to what would cause what I felt.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
    #1
  2. everycredit

    everycredit Been here awhile

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    If I'm reading you right, I think the transmission is fine. Do you know what RPM range you hit when you got the "stuttering"? Was it an engine stutter or a ride stutter?
    #2
  3. Ravenslair

    Ravenslair Been here awhile

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    Off the top of my head, no. The bike is new enough that I am not familiar with the RPM's at various speeds and/or gears, yet. I know I was around 65mph in 6th gear at a fairly constant speed or just slightly accelerating. Sorry I cannot give you more. I appreciate your input.

    Not sure if I know the difference between a ride stutter or engine stutter. I assume an engine stutter would involve a change in the engine characteristics. If so, the engine did not rev nor did the RPM's appear to drop. Whatever it was happened in less than a second and it kept on going.
    #3
  4. roger 04 rt

    roger 04 rt Long timer

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    There's a good transmission article on Anton Largiader's web site. Due to the design of the transmission, it doesn't downshift well if not moving. Here is a link to bmw transmissions.

    At this point you should probably wait for it to happen again. Maybe your transmission wasn't fully in gear, it happens.
    #4
  5. everycredit

    everycredit Been here awhile

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    I've had it stick between 5th & 6th gear sometimes. It hasn't happened since I changed the fluid, but I don't know if it was the cause.

    But yes, I would agree about reproducing the problem.

    6th gear at 65 mph is about 3.5k rpm, I think (on my GSA). My bike has a "dead" zone at around 4.5k rpm
    #5
  6. Ravenslair

    Ravenslair Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the all the information and insightful help. Hopefully it does not happen again. If so, I will be sure to make note of the conditions. Thanks for the link to the transmission article. I am in the process of reading it now, but it seems like it is full of great information. In the short time I have had the bike, I feel like I am driving an old Ford 8N tractor. Those tractors will always shift, but they let you know it each time. Not a gripe or complaint at all. Merely an observation. Thanks again.
    #6
  7. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Between the K-bikes and R-bikes I had, a few times the trans popped out of gear into false neutral. I assumed that I have not been careful enough with complete shifts, let it linger on edge of engagement.

    Your situation is somewhat different, because you stayed in gear - but maybe similar enough?

    The behavior of gearbox you describe seems normal to me. Preload when shifting seems to be the key with these clunkers while moving. When standing still holding the clutch, the dry clutch lets the gears spin down almost completely (unlike in a wet-clutch box) and they will not mate - some movement in box is required.

    Thus, +1 on the advice to wait and see.
    #7
  8. Mike Ryder

    Mike Ryder Kriegerkuh

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    That might be the first hic-up from the about to fail hall effect sensor.
    Known here as HES. Was the bike wet or has it been very hot recently?
    Read all about it in Hall Of Wisdom found at the very bottom of any page.
    #8
  9. Ravenslair

    Ravenslair Been here awhile

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    I have been reading up on the HES. I have not gotten it wet nor has the temperature been above the normal range. I may have to pull the HES and rewire it as a precaution or order one and have it with me. Thanks for the recommendation. My understanding is when the HES goes, the bike is dead. Might be worth the time it takes to take care of it now.
    #9
  10. scooteraug02

    scooteraug02 Dog Rancher

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    If I remember correctly the 1150 gouge was to preload the shifter slightly as you pull in the clutch and shift. Shifts can be as smooth as a Jap bike with practice.
    #10
  11. Night Goat

    Night Goat Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    SF East Bay
    I agree with Mike Ryder. When I first read the symptoms my first thought was a fuel or ignition hick-up, not a trans issue.

    I have been riding a 2002 R1150RS since May of 09 and my bike has done something similar 2 or 3 times so far. Basically it feels like it shuts downs for a second then comes bake to life. I can definitely feel the power disappear for a second. The first time wasn't too long after I bought it, and of course I was a few hundred miles from home. It freaked me out, but she ran like a champ for the rest of the ride. 15,000 mile later and it&#8217;s still screaming. As I write this it occurs to me that it hasn&#8217;t done it for quite a while now.

    I&#8217;m not sure if my issue is spark or fuel (or even an issue), but until it fails completely, I&#8217;ll just ride. For reference, my bike has 27K on the clock.



    Good Luck, and enjoy your bike.



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    #11
  12. racer

    racer Long timer

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,717
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    Indiana
    I had a 2004 1150gsa for a while too. Biggest piece of crap I've ever owned. Surging, over heating and pinging in traffic, burned oil, wimpy front forks,and lots of very expensive parts with a long history of going bad.

    Kept it two months and unloaded it. Hope you didn't end up with my old bike. Sorry, I feel your pain.
    #12
  13. Ravenslair

    Ravenslair Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    536
    Location:
    Placer County, California
    That sounds like my issue. I have close to 21k on the clock. Will pick up an HES and keep it on hand just in case. Cheap insurance. Definitely enjoying it!
    #13