BMW K1200RS (and GT)
Drivetrain Removal and Clutch Replacement
Inside the Intermediate Housing, Slipping Clutch, Oil and All
A retired air force major who was my first flight instructor frequently said, "Don't let your ego write checks your abilities can't cash." Take heed. Tearing the back half off your motorcycle only makes sense if you can do the job without hurting yourself or the bike. If no other alternative seems viable yet you have doubts concerning your own skills, try to recruit the assistance of another BMW owner, preferably one who has done this job before. If nothing else, misery enjoys the luxury of companionship.
Before removing even the first corroded little black button head hex screw from the fairing, make sure your tools are assembled, your jackstands are ready, lights available, jars or bags on hand to place the fasteners and other bits you've removed, and your notebook is close-by so you can keep track of what you've done to the motorcycle. Eventually, these notes will provide the sequence for putting the mess back in some semblance of order. Maybe, with luck, it will even operate properly.
Now, on to the job. I personally prefer using a small, cordless impact tool or an equivalent cordless pocket power driver with a hex bit for removing the fasteners on the fairing panels. Whenever possible, I prefer threading the fasteners back in place so they'll be there when I put the pieces back on. Otherwise, I use small plastic, lidded trays from the dollar store to store the bits and pieces (lidded so when I step on the tray, parts don't go skittering across the floor like frantic little rodents set on finding a hiding place). A permanent marker labels where the stuff came from, a strip of masking tape stuck to body parts and other pieces carries a description of what they are and which side of the bike they go on.
Here are the steps I followed in disassembling my '98 K1200RS. Like everything in life, I might not follow exactly the same sequence the next time I take the bike apart. However, by recording each item as I remove it, I can also check off each item when I put the sucker back together. There's a balance, a satisfying connection between beginning and end, when one keeps track of what one is doing.
- Remove fairing (except for center section with headlight and windscreen)
- Remove grab handles
- Remove left inner radiator fairing
- Remove left passenger foot rest
- Remove fuel tank, two electrical connectors, 1 top, 1 on right side (marked with tags), two tank connectors, two vent hoses
- Remove air filter cover and element
- Remove rear wheel
- Remove speedometer sensor and put masking tape over hole. Drain oil from final drive
- Remove Right rear passenger peg mount, remove inner brake support
- Disconnect brake hose at master
- Remove front inner rear fender/disconnect power plugs
- Remove rear brake master cylinder
- Remove rear wheel disk-mark orientation for reinstallation
- Remove exhaust (O2 connector winds through fram behind ABS unit)
- Remove Exhaust shroud
- Remove left main footpeg bracket
- Remove inside front fairing (black plastic) sections and identify orientation for reinstallation
- Remove oil cooler mounting bolts (to facilitate removing air duct)
- Remove air duct
- Remove Air Box on fuel injection (4 screws, electrical connector)
- Remove final drive, bearing races, drive shaft stub (mark bearing races for correct reinstallation)
- Remove lower shock bolt
- Remolve l/r pivot bearings, label and put in tray
- Remove drive shaft housing (Swing arm)
- Remove crossmember/gearshift pivot
- Unfasten left radiator fan shroud
- Remove belly pan support
- AT THIS POINT, MOTORCYCLE WAS PLACED ON HYDRAULIC STAND, SAFELY SECURED TO STAND, AND RAISED TO FACILITATE FURTHER OPERATIONS
- Remove right radiator shroud
- Pull both radiators from mounts (1 on side, 2 at top back) place clips in tray
- Loosen both front engine mount bolts
- Remove rear engine mount bolt (access through frame at top of transmission)
- Remove coil connector wire
- Disconnect gear indicator at back of transmission
- BEGIN RAISING FRAME, CHECKING FOR ANY INTERFERENCE
- Disconnect starter power cable
- Remove and label 2 starter ground cables
- Remove gear shift (mark to be aligned with mark on shift shaft)
- Unfastened fuse box bracket and rotated fuse box out of way
- Unfastened two hex caps on battery box, bolts taped to bottom of bottom of box
- Remove cap on alternator wire, remove alternator clip wire and hex bolt wire
- Remove bolts at front of starter motor
- Remove side stand switch and wire, all tie locations marked for reinstallation
- Remove center/side stand assembly
- RAISE FRAME UNTIL CLEAR OF TRANSMISSION
- Remove transmission bolts, 1 long bolt at lower left where exhaust shroud fastens, and insert four dowels (M8 x 4" bolts with the heads removed) to guide and support transmission
- Remove transmission using wheeled jack to pull back from intermediate housing
- Remove clutch assembly, indicate on housing where balance marks were located
- Remove 30mm center retention fastener on clutch, make not of sequence of parts
- Remove O-ring on output shaft (cut with a knife, it's going to be replaced)
- Remove inner clutch housing
- Remove output shaft seal (slide puller works well for this job)
Relax, breathe first through the right nostril then through the next. OOOOOOOOMMMMMMM. Or, alternatively, "Ffffffffuuuuucccccc..." You get the idea. Halfway through at this point. Now begins the process of cleaning all the filthy parts that were subjected to oil leaking from the output shaft seal, puddling around the intermediate housing and coating most of the bike plus accumulated road grime from how many years of neglect. Now one understands why keeping the underside of the bike clean is an asset.
Special factory tools absolutely required to reach this point: none. A 30mm socket is necessary to loosen the bearing retainer nut and a 12mm hex to remove the bearing pin but these can be purchased at Sears. An air impact driver is convenient when removing the six clutch assembly bolts but not really mandatory. If one has an impact drive, the clutch center retention bolt can also be removed without using a strap on the housing. Some mechanics prefer not to use an impact drive on the 30mm nut at the back of the output shaft, believing the impact can damage the shaft. That's fine, as the housing retention strap is necessary in order to re-torque the center retention nut so use it if you want. Note: I have a couple of long, 3/4" drive breaker bars with stepdown attachments for 1/2" drive sockets. While not absolutely necessary, these bars make removing highly torqued fasteners much safer and easier. Click on any thumbnail below to bring up a high-resolution photo in a separate frame.
From the upper left going clockwise: fuel injection system; final drive; clutch with oil in bottom of housing; grungy transmission and driveshaft after removing swingarm; swingarm before removal, oil style output shaft seal still in place.
Upper left going clockwise: clutch assembly removed from housing; fabricated bar holding clutch basket while torquing center retention bolt, angle gauge in place; left side of bike with air ducting removed; output shaft with original seal removed; new clutch assembly in place with centering mandrel to align pressure plate and disk; new seal in place. Compare the new seal to the old, metal faced seal shown in pix above.
We are now at step three, reassembling the parts into a functioning motorcycle. If all goes well, the motorcycle will once again fulfill its universal function. If not...the path to enlightenment has not failed, it is merely more involved and rigorous than one might have hoped.
This journal is a work in progress. The motorcycle pictured above is once again garbed in its resplendent plastic fairing and has travelled more than ten thousand miles since the new clutch went in...yeah, the sucker works...but this lesson plan is not yet complete. There will eventually be a "step three" to this series. Or...there won't.
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