R1150 ABS Bikes Clutch Access for Dummies

sykospain

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Having just this last fortnight done two clutch jobs on R1150 bikes, I thought I'd write up a Step-By-Step before my old noddle forgot what I did. Especially with the ABS-equipped GSA.

I'd searched the web for How-To videos for this job, but the only really detailed video is the famous and thankfully now revitalised and relocated Chris Harris one, at 2 hours duration, doing the job on a cable-operated clutch, where the process of tear-down prior to pulling back the complete tranny as a unit, is slightly different to that required for a hydraulically-actuated clutch bike with ABS.

Any comments / pointing out things I forgot, would be most welcome from those who really know...

Maybe the following tome could be of help for someone contemplating tearing into their bike to examine / refurb the clutch and its hydraulic actuation.

"BMW R1150 with ABS – Clutch Access Procedure

Bike on its side stand – crack the rear wheel’s 4 lug-bolts. They’re Charles Atlas tight at 105Nm dry.
Bike on its Centre Stand – strap it firmly with a cam-lock to the front wheel; now the bike can’t roll forward off its stand.
Remove seats and fuel deposito, along with right-side injector cover held by one forward bolt and one grommet.

Remove battery – negative connector first. Remove the two 10mm washers and nuts in the dished cavities in the bottom of the battery box. The other two hiding beneath the ABS unit are almost totally inaccessible - darn.

Remove Diagnostic Plug and Air Temperature Sensor Plug, both clipped to Air Box Lid, then remove the Lid, Air Inlet Snorkel, and Air Filter.

Remove silencer ( rotted pipe-clamps ? ) and also the left-hand pannier frame if fitted and you're in the habit of frequently banging your bonce as you work.

Follow the Oxygen Sensor cable from the Cat / Y-pipe up to its connector plug near the ABS unit and unplug. Note the cable routing up to its connector and from now onwards, take Very Big Flash Close-Up photographs of everything. Or you’ll forget what goes where when you come to re-assemble the bike.

Remove rear brake caliper with hugger / mud splash guard if fitted.

Remove rear wheel, ( you already cracked those 4 extremely-tight lug bolts, didn’t you ? ) noting that ABS bikes have a thin spacer that tries to either stick to the hub or wheel, or tries to run away. According to the expert "Nord" in Motorworks, originally non-ABS bikes don't have a spacer !

Follow the ABS Cable from its sensor bolted to the Final Drive up towards to its connector zip-tied to the rear frame's top tube on the same side of the bike, and unplug it. There is absolutely no need to remove the sensor unit with its hooked spacers attached to the Final Drive.

Identify the (2) thin cable(s) – stop-light ( and speedometer ? ) – then snip the(ir) zipties and undo the(ir) connector(s) on the rear frame’s top rail on the right-hand-side of the bike.

Remove each foot-peg assembly's 3 fixing bolts each side of the bike and zip-tie the peg kits up. No need to undo gear-shift linkage. Do not disturb ABS pipework by the rear brake cylinder.

Struggle to remove the 14mm nut on the 15mm bolt that fixes the top bush of the shock absorber gas strut & spring unit. Might need to remove any seat-height adjuster kits to accomplish this. Then remove lower shock bolt whilst supporting the swing-arm with a Jacques. Don’t let it fall and cut into the large rubber boot where the shaft unit joins the gearbox.. Remove the suspension adjuster hand-wheel unit with its long connecting cable ( zip-tied ? ) and lift shocker away and out. It’s quite heavy.

Now the Air Box Removal Procedure

Remove the two screws, one each side, hidden behind the cables and tubing just above the Telelever pivot.
And don’t forget the top-rear-edge single screw inside the Air Box.

There is no need to remove the Injector Unit assemblies on each cylinder, because the fuel lines which incorporate the Fuel Pressure Regulator can be de-grommeted from their slot at each side of the top front edge of the Air-Box when it is removed in a few minutes from now. The right-side slot holds a triple composite grommet and the left side slot has a single grommet. Ne perdez pas.

Loosen completely the stainless-steel clamps at each end of the Air Box Inlet Tubes from the Throttle Bodies and struggle to slide them both back into the Air Box. Observe the horizontal line on the Air Inlet Tubes - it's there for a purpose to help you re-install. Here, I swear by a squirt of Surgical Spirit available for flumpence at your local chemist. It's a superb rubber lubricant and leaves no trace whatsoever. In the USA it's called Rubbing Alcohol.

When sliding these tubes back into the Air Box, don't damage the thin rubber-ring seal next to the throttle body on each side of the bike. If that ring is slack, an hour in the freezer brings it back to its senses.

With a strong pair of snip-pinch tongs, destroy the BMW single-use hose clamp securing the Crankcase Fumes Vent Hose attached to the right-hand side of the Air Box at its top front edge. Pull the hose off its stub. You'll need a Jubilee Clip when re-fitting, unless you have access to extras of those single-use crimp-type abrazaderas.

Next, the need to raise the rear frame by pivoting it upwards.
Just above each cylinder, a long transverse bolt has a nut on each end. JUST LOOSEN these two nuts, do not remove them. Just below them is the frame’s forward fixing bolt on each side – very tight indeed, usually factory-thread-locked – remove both. One or other of these may be used to attach the crash-bar kit if fitted. If so, a very long socket extension is needed.

The ABS non-flexing twin-pipes leading to the rear brake are perhaps held to the gearbox on the right-hand side by a plastic double clamp with a single fixing bolt. Remove and store these carefully.

Remove the Starter Motor – no need to disconnect its cables. Cut the zip-tie that may be surrounding it and note the routing of any cables held behind it. To avoid trapping them elsewhere on re-assembly.

Remove the hidden forward-facing bolt holding the end of the ABS pipe banjo just above the rear brake master cylinder bolt. ( Remove any forward-facing frame-securing bolt near this )

Connect a very strong bike-hold-down cam-lock strap between the head-stock and the tail. Now the dexterous multi-taskers among us can gradually raise the tail by lifting the top-box frame or passenger grab-handles, at the same time adjusting and tightening in stages the cam-lock strap. . Whilst doing so, carefully watch out for and clear away any dangling and interfering wires and tubing. See what I mean by multi-taskering ? Snip any zip-ties – BMW loves ‘em ! I counted fifteen by the time disassembly was complete.

When the tail is as high as an elephant’s eye – 45 or 60 degrees - latch the cam-lock strap securely and check it won’t slip and nut you.

Now remove the pesky, troublesome, gold-durned Air-Box, untangling it from wires and tubing as you drop it down, back and away.

Now the irritating Rear Frame Cross Bar.
Remove the two forward-facing screws securing the rear-frame-stiffening crossbar at its right-hand end and withdraw it from that side – to reveal the Clutch Slave Cylinder and its 3 fixing bolts, only torqued to 9 Nm. On a bike with more than 20K miles on the clock, this item and its long hose leading to the clutch lever are best renewed, along with the gearbox oil-seal hidden deep inside the Slave Cylinder cavity at the back of the gearbox casting. Seal-picks and an hour's fight are needed if the OEM seal is shot, which it usually is. The stinking juice in there is a cocktail of gearbox oil and DOT4.

After removing the Slave Cylinder and undoing its 2 banjos – new alloy 6mm crush washers are needed with the new unit – it’s as well now to take the short Bleeder Hose to the bench vice, clamping the hex nut just below the black end-fitting - “Werkstück” - heat it gently for a few minutes to soften the factory-applied thread-locker, continuously checking that the plastic hose fitment below stays cool, and replace the useless Werkstück” with a Speed Bleeder – size : 10mm by one. Thereafter, clutch fluid bleeding each birthday is a one-handed job.

Next step is to split the gearbox / transmission / final drive / rear wheel as a single unit away from the bike’s motor crankcase.

But first, withdraw the Clutch Actuation Rod backwards from inside the Slave Cylinder Cavity. If that rod is bent as the transmission is withdrawn from the crankcase, a new rod costs mucho dinero !

Now let’s ask ourselves, which Teutonic tow-rag designed and planned the wiring route running from the Gear Shift Indicator clipped to the back of the gearbox underneath the slave cylinder, up and along to its connecting plug ? Holy Moley, even if you squeeze the two spring prongs holding the indicator in place, so as to free it from the casting, the fecking indicator won't pass through the hole that its wires run through in the gearbox casting, because the a-holes in Berlin-Spandau's casting-design department refrained from making the hole big enough - come to think of it, that's quite unusual for a Berliner who nightclubs..... So you have to unplug the wire at its connector hidden up there behind the thick loom bundle just beneath the battery, then fight to pull the wire and its purple / maroon / reddish coloured connecting plug free, so you can pull back the transmission. On the GSA-ABS, this un-threading procedure took a whole ninety minutes.

Now remove the catalysator box – a 15Kg lump of useless garbage aimed at the Californian market, where any form of breathing is strictly controlled. Again, maybe rotted pipe clamps will hold you up, but the two black countersunk screws that hold the cat's back end to the centre-stand assembly might come out much easier. Remember it’s heavy and don’t rip the Oxygen Sensor wire as you carefully withdraw it.

Now re-fit the rear wheel. No need to strangle the lug-bolts. Yet.

Gently support the gearbox with a trolley jack, remove the six Crankcase Ringer Bolts, carefully noting which of them is extra-long and has a special bracket to hold one or other cables. Photographs please. Replace the top-left and the bottom-right ringer-bolts with 150mm-long headless M8 high-tensile guide-dowels, greased to help the unit to slide back in-line. More if you like – I use four. These guide-pins are igh-tensile long M8 bolts with their heads lobbed off and the end cut across with a screwdriver slot.

UNFORTUNATELY – there is a snag to a smooth pull-back. And I mean SNAG !

At the top-front of the gearbox are two short rubber-cased metal spigots / bolts – those that had the two 10mm nuts holding down the Battery Box. Looped around the LEFT HAND spigot are 2 very thick earthing cables off the loom. That pair must be lifted up over the spigot – if not, the transmission cannot slide backwards away from the engine. A long pry-bar is required. Or an attempt to force the battery box upwards. Or as one correspondent on another forum simply says, lob off that offending left-hand spigot. The other bolt is enough to firmly hold down the battery box.

Now, with the aid of the trolley jacques, not necessarily made in la belle France, the transmission and rear-wheel assembly should slide back on the guide pins away from the crankcase to reveal the clutch and the Gearbox Input Splined Rod.

However, the 2 little dowel-tubes in the crankcase are usually rusted into the bell-housing, especially the one at the bottom right-hand side. So a few hefty whacks with a very heavy lump hammer against a stout wooden pad are needed.

Don't drop the front end of the gearbox when it finally succumbs to your brute force hammering and comes away from the motor casting, because the complete gearbox /shaft / Final Drive / wheel unit is not centrally balanced. It's all very heavy - maybe 60Kg, and wants to tip over to the right because of the imbalance of the shaft and Final Drive.

For Clutch Replacement, see authoritative Chris Harris videos."

That's my sequenced list of jobs for the clutch access on an ABS-equipped bike.

Any comments / suggestions for alterations to the text are most welcome, provided they are in the spirit of helping me and others ! The whole job took 2 hours, plus unfortunately the extra ninety minutes needed to untangle and free the Gearbox Indicator wire from its connector hidden behind the think loom cable on the left-hand side of the bike below the Battery Box.

AL in s.e. Spain
 
Struggle to remove the 14mm nut on the 15mm bolt that fixes the top bush of the shock absorber gas strut & spring unit. Might need to remove any seat-height adjuster kits to accomplish this.

.

You only need remove one side of the seat attachment, the side the bolt slides out from.

Remove silencer ( rotted pipe-clamps ? )


Now remove the catalysator box – a 15Kg lump of useless garbage aimed at the Californian market, where any form of breathing is strictly controlled.

No need to remove the silencer as a separate item. You can take it off still attached to the cat. It also makes pulling the cat off easier and having to deal with a seized/corroded silencer clamp..

Remove the Starter Motor – no need to disconnect its cables. Cut the zip-tie that may be surrounding it and note the routing of any cables held behind it. To avoid trapping them elsewhere on re-assembly.

It's easier removing the starter motor after lifting the subframe and removing the airbox.

Now the irritating Rear Frame Cross Bar.
Remove the two forward-facing screws securing the rear-frame-stiffening crossbar at its right-hand end and withdraw it from that side – to reveal the Clutch Slave Cylinder and its 3 fixing bolts, only torqued to 9 Nm. On a bike with more than 20K miles on the clock, this item and its long hose leading to the clutch lever are best renewed, along with the gearbox oil-seal hidden deep inside the Slave Cylinder cavity at the back of the gearbox casting.
.

No need to remove the rear frame crossbar, in fact do not remove it under any circumstances, it's your friend, you want it in place as it's perfect to use to pull off the gearbox from the engine :D

And no need to replace the slave cylinder or internal gearbox seal if it's all dry. And most bikes are completely clean and dry.
No need to disconnect the clutch lines, just unbolt the three allen bolts hold the slave cylinder to the gearbox move it out of the way and hook it up with a bungee on the lefthand side of the bike.

Now let’s ask ourselves, which Teutonic tow-rag designed and planned the wiring route running from the Gear Shift Indicator clipped to the back of the gearbox underneath the slave cylinder, up and along to its connecting plug ? Holy Moley, even if you squeeze the two spring prongs holding the indicator in place, so as to free it from the casting, the fecking indicator won't pass through the hole that its wires run through in the gearbox casting, because the a-holes in Berlin-Spandau's casting-design department refrained from making the hole big enough - come to think of it, that's quite unusual for a Berliner who nightclubs..... So you have to unplug the wire at its connector hidden up there behind the thick loom bundle just beneath the battery, then fight to pull the wire and its purple / maroon / reddish coloured connecting plug free, so you can pull back the transmission. On the GSA-ABS, this un-threading procedure took a whole ninety minutes.

Ninety minutes ... really ???
Lift up the subframe, disconnect the plug up by the alternator, pop the plug through the gap by the front frame support tubes and wiring harness, lever up the battery carrier slightly with a screwdriver, just enough to squeeze the wire through inbetween where the battery carrier strap lug is and the frame. Plug and wiring is now clear.
 
WOW!!! I was contemplating this over the winter on my 55K 2003GSA... After reading that I'm not so sure. Great right up though. Anyone with the confidence should benefit from all that info, I'm just not too sure I fall in to that camp!
Maybe after a few beers and a couple of Jack Daniel's I'll reconsider and give it a go!

Sent from my SM-G960F using Tapatalk
 
Thanks guys for your various comments, especially those from Neil in Kingston-upon Thames - 'Steptoe' at gsshop.biz

IT actually took longer to do the laborious write up than it did to do the job - really - what with collating all my notes and fotos to make sure everything was in a logical sequence. But Steptoe's tips are always the best, all coming from his long, long experience with work on these old bikes.

I did of course on both bikes slip the X-bar back into place to help in the manhandling of the back end away from the crankcase, but removing the bar in the first place in my opinion really eases your access to the slave cylinder bolts and the ease with which you can withdraw the cylinder and fiddle about with it.

And the Slave Cylinder Cavity in both bikes' gearboxes recently done - my 25K miles Rockster and Mo's 56K miles GSA, both year 04 - were filthy black with ingressed gearbox oil and escaped DOT4 from compromised slave cylinder bearings and seals. A puddle of foul-smelling juice in each cavity, along with blackened and grotty-looking seals, both of which we had to struggle to hoick out and replace with the new-style orange 'viton' seal at 12 quid.

And the 90 minute job of untangling of the Gearbox Indicator Sensor wire really was that difficult, due to the incredibly hard and unresisting loom bundle behind which it's routed, jammed behind the frame tubing against the bottom left-hand edge of the Battery Box, plus the inability to raise that box on the ABS bike because the two 10mm nuts beneath the ABS pump are almost impossible to undo - even with swivel-hex socket kits and our longest ratchet handles. The two beneath the battery are of course a doddle to remove.

But let's not let all that reported hassle put off members from doing this job.
It's essential to split the bike if it has more than - say - 25K miles, 40K Km on the clock - even if you're merely going to lube the splines.
But whilst you're in there, definitely do the slave cylinder rand gearbox-seal replacement, as well as the main clutch hose and the Werkstück removal.. Just free it from the slave cylinder's 6mm banjo , put it in the vice, heat it up, unwind it and fling it as far as you can over the nearest wall so you can fit a SpeedBleeder instead.

Clutch-Slave-Cyl-shitty-a.jpg


Just do it !
 


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