Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

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Hidalgo
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Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby Hidalgo » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:00 am

A few years ago I heard many issues with the spline failure. While I did ask a few times to the previous owner about this topic, he assured me his bike was fine at that at 40,000 miles, if the splines were going to fail they would have done so by now. While I have no reason to doubt someone’s honesty, I also have to realize this is a nice guy but also a motivated seller trying to get rid of a beautiful bike. Is there a batch number or particular model of these Rocksters that I should look for regarding spline issued? If for some reason my bike does have that potential for failure, is this something I can repair/upgrade or just the dealership?

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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby kirby » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:15 am

Don't get paranoid about the spline issue. Just ride it. I have almost 300K on oil heads, and have never yet had one fail. It can happen and if it does you fix it or get it fixed or ditch it for something else.
Its a great machine, enjoy it.
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby Hidalgo » Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:54 pm

Thanks Kirby!! It’s confident building comments like yours (and the fact that you actually have an 04 Rockster) that continues to have me falling in love with this Rockster. I will eventually want to do a brake flush and other maintenance to the bike but I have a steep learning curve. I will start looking to join a local club that has tech days. Perhaps there are mainatance videos for this bike.

BEST!!

Gil

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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby peels » Thu Jul 21, 2016 12:56 pm

agreed, as long as its not beat up, buy it! however, I disagree with "if it was going to fail it already would have"

and even if it does happen, you should be able to see it coming. if the previous owner hasn't done the spline lube, you should do so. then youll see for sure for yourself. Its a tough job, but ive seen it as a right of passage, and I know my bike intimately...
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby grwrockster » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:07 am

My 2004 Rockster is close to 40k miles.

A mates 2001 R1150R had his splines go badly at just 18K miles - though I also think his bike had seen a lot of stop-start city work with a ham-fisted owner with no clutch control... but it still should not happen.

I have a (totally unsubstantiated) theory - that the later R1150's perhaps had this misalignment or whatever glitch that caused excessive spline wear ironed out... and being towards the last of the 1150's are also the best sorted.

Also (& I don't advocate this nor suggest its a good idea AT ALL).... I think that the 38K on my bike has tested the splines harder than most. Although I'm not 'hard' on kit through ham-fistedness and a lack of mechanical empathy.... I admit that I did abuse my Rockster quite a bit and use it outside its comfort zone for most of my ownership. My bike has done thousands of wheelies (up in 1st, then clutchless through 2nd and 3rd), and also been jumped over hump-back bridges etc with regularity.

(yes I know how I've ridden this bike is not big nor clever.... but its accurate and is mentioned only to show that the drivetrain CAN be fine - even under abnormal usage. I have however broken a subframe which seems unheard of - I suspect this failure is due to the way I've ridden it, and is my own damned fault).

Also - I have never lubed the splines or changed the clutch plate etc - haven't touched it (so far at least).
A greater worry for me would be Slave Cylinder failure and the resulting fluid leak ruining the clutch plate.... so I have resolved to change the Slave at 50k miles... just in case (and assuming all other driveline stuff remains intact of course).

I am working on the belief that.... if you've got one that's got or getting excessive gearbox input shaft Spline wear.... then it'll happen whatever lubing or whatever you do.... and if you've got one that doesn't have the issue- then you don't need to mess with it and split the bike to lube it. I've always just decided I'm just going to ride my Rockster... and see what happens to the driveline (or ideally doesn't happen).

(Disclaimer: I've not got a fraction of the miles and experience on oil-heads as loads of riders on here.... so this is just personal opinion and experience... but my bike hasn't suffered issues yet- despite my stupid antics. I think that if someone was going to adversely affect a spline prematurely.... then that someone might well be me).

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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby riceburner » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:56 am

kirby wrote:Don't get paranoid about the spline issue. Just ride it. I have almost 300K on oil heads, and have never yet had one fail. It can happen and if it does you fix it or get it fixed or ditch it for something else.
Its a great machine, enjoy it.



This - I've had 2 Rocksters that apply here (the first one only lasted 2 weeks).

I had 1 spline failure at about 30K on my 2nd bike. (fixed under warranty - it was about a year old at the time).

I have had no spline failures on my 3rd bike (it's currently reading 109K).
Non quod, sed quomodo.

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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby sykospain » Wed Apr 12, 2017 6:09 am

This spline-wear issue seems to affect the occasional US-market early Rocksters, etc. Not so much the Euro models for some strange reason. When I bought my first used Rockster 3½ years ago, I was alarmed by Chris Harris' contention that there was a design fault on these vehicles that automatically led to early spline failure. I became paranoid about whether the bike at 30K miles was about to graunch to a halt at the side of the road. So I persuaded my chief wrencher, son Tim in Bury, Lancs., UK, to spend 4 hours working in the open air in his driveway without the aid of a bike lift or any assistance, splitting the bike and examining it.
Not the slightest trace of any spline wear whatsoever... see video:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyND-O1zfoY
So now with my just-purchased second 04 Rockster - should NEVER have got rid of the first 04 one - I'm just going to swing my leg over every day and R I D E !
Last edited by sykospain on Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby peels » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:24 am

sykospain wrote:This spline-wear issue seems to affect the occasional US-market early Rocksters, etc. Not so much the Euro models for some strange reason. When I bought my first used Rockster 3½ years ago, I was alarmed by Chris Harris' contention that there was a design fault on these vehicles that automatically led to early spline failure. I became paranoid about whether the bike at 30K miles was about to graunch to a halt at the side of the road. So I persuaded my chief wrencher, son Tim in Bury, Lancs., UK, to spend 4 hours working in the open air in his driveway without the aid of a bike lift or any assistance, splitting the bike and examining it.
Not the slightest trace of any spline wear whatsoever... see video:-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egZyER5Sn7E
So now with my just-purchased second 04 Rockster - should NEVER have got rid of the first 04 one - I'm just going to swing my leg over every day and R I D E !



very comprehensive video! glad you found the splines in the same condition I did!
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby sykospain » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:58 am

Re-acquainting myself with this entire spline-wear issue, Peels, I find that the bible on the topic is in fact both the Pelican Parts and the ADVRider forums. They contain threads that are dozens of pages long, airing many divergent opinions and several acres of engineering theory expounded by mostly very knowledgeable people.

It appears to all come down to manufacturing, machining and subcontractor-supply problems and errors in Berlin, and between that factory and the Sachs subcontractor in Slovakia who makes the friction plates; issues that BMW Motorrad in Berlin has always refused to acknowledge or address, and now of course never will, since they abandoned the manufacture a few years ago of their ancient design of a hydraulically-actuated single-plate dry clutch. Exactly like the one built into millions of British Motor Corporation "Mini-Minor" cars and little vans, but back-to-front.

The effect, if you're unlucky enough to own a six-speed hydro-clutch bike with a wrongly-aligned setup at the factory between the flywheel /crankcase and the gearbox, is that the clutch friction plate's hub, made of softer metal than normal, ( my pet metallurgist friend called it after her spectrometer analysis "Chinese Pig Iron" ! ) flutters about on the splined shaft of the gearbox input, making the same rapid movement that you observe when using an orbital sander, due to the axes of both being microscopically out-of-true. When the clutch is operated, moving the plate slightly away from the gearbox, the effect is to cause wear, judder, slop or whatever between those components. One distinguished corresponded thinks that this action over time actually machines the shaft into a wear pattern that eventually causes complete failure.

The matter is seriously worsened, he says, by the fact that mistakes were made in the passing of correct information between Berlin and Slovakia over the dimensions of the two crucial components, splined-shaft and hub, resulting in the fact that the clutch hub has never fully engaged along the entire length of the splined rod. Which is why Esmir's solution [ cele0001 and/or vwdoctor ] in Florida is to supply a high-quality CNC machined spacer and a set of bespoke rivets for fitment by the user into their clutch hub, thus fully covering the spline.

On the other hand if in your particular 1100 or 1150 6-speeder, your bell-housing and gearbox happen to have been correctly dowelled and aligned on Berlin-Spandau's assembly line, your bike's dry clutch hub and splined gearbox shaft will last longer than you will ever do. No matter what your style of riding.
It's the luck of the draw....
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby peels » Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:56 am

that's the way I see it, albeit with less detail. IF, in fact, yours had this problem, it would be noticeable rather quickly. I mean there WOULD be wear! it isn't just gonna come along and happen at 40k.

So taking mine apart around 20k, was just for that curiosity(and the gear oil leak which is still happening ugh surface around a seal has to be bad). I no longer worry about splines AT ALL. i think i'm at about 27k?

thanks SYKO. and LOL @ "chinese pig iron"
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby sykospain » Sat Apr 22, 2017 4:45 am

So my friend, would you agree that the advice for those who might be concerned about this type of possible wear inside their bike should simply be to reassure themselves with one hour's work ? viz....

With the bike on the centre-stand:-
1) Remove the starter motor's plastic cover - one bolt and a dowel locator; reach inside this plastic moulding to unclip the charging / accessory outlet socket connector, but there's no need to disconnect the motor's main cables. Check for a zip tie that's holding in place the wires that go behind the motor - cut it and remember where these wires were routed for correct re-fitment. They mustn't get trapped in the bell-housing when you re-assemble; route them towards the back-end of the motor.

2) Unbolt the two 5mm socket- or Torx-head fixings that hold the motor in place - the one beneath is an a b s o l u t e swine to get your socket tool onto, unless you have a v e r y long extension rod. But with the aid of a few well-chosen swear words, it's possible. Zip-tie the clutch lever to the handlebar and select 1st gear.

3) Get the longest, thinnest screwdriver in your kit plus the brightest flashlight you can find. Her Indoors holding the light and heaving the weighty starter motor out of your line-of-sight is quite a good idea. Then you can kiss her trapped fingers better afterwards.....

3) Poke with the screwdriver at the edge of the just-visible friction plate that's sandwiched in among the clutch assembly, rotating the plate a smidgeon whilst watching the tiny amount of hub and spline that you can see, provided Her Indoors is aiming the flashlight at the right spot. Resist the temptation to shout at her.....

4) Hopefully there should be no sign of slop. Any more than about 10mm of radial movement of the plate's edge whilst the spline stays still, might be a cause for concern. If there's no perceptible difference in the degree of radial movement between the plate and the spline, great. Go get a beer.
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby peels » Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:39 am

YES. I did that too, and they looked great, no slop! I figured I was 99% certain they were fine, And, probably would have stopped there.

But, shortly thereafter, followed the slave failure, and then the gear oil leak. And I thought, why not be 100% sure, and take it apart. Also, I wanted to know a bit more about how it works.


and yes, the swear words you mention should be S.O.P.


heres what mine looked like to the eye, starter removed. Thought was, if there was wear, Id see at least the very edge of crooked splines, or shavings maybe.

Image
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby sykospain » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:25 am

Lovely picture..

U P D A T E

I re-edited the video showing Tim pulling the Rockster in half, to delete the unnecessary first 4 mins showing him struggling to remove the bespoke Gimbel G.m.b.H. Suzuki-style twin-headlamp add-on fairing. So the link to the video above doesn't work now.
Here's the new URL for anyone who wants to watch the procedure, starting from where Tim has just removed the 2 side panels that cover the tank-mounted oil coolers:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyND-O1zfoY

Also we should all know by now that Esmir and Bruno's spacer-interposed solution for the too-short Sachs-brand OEM friction plate hub, has now been superceded by an enterprising Thai firm which is now supplying to the usual BMW Bike Spares people around the world, a complete solution in the form of a new friction plate of their own manufacture, already fitted with a hub that's about 6mm longer than the awful 'Chinese Pig Iron' hub on the OEM Sachs-brand plate.
At a price of around a hundred snoojits, including exporter, distributor and retailer markups. I bet that ex-works FOB, the price is about two packs of Camel fags.

Anybody contemplating doing a clutch job is advised to fit that spare part, irrespective of the state of wear of their own friction plate. The Thailand-manufactured friction plate will therefore fully cover the gearbox input shaft's splined length, extending its and the hub's service lives, whether the bike suffers from the dreaded mis-alignment problem - or NOT.

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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby peels » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:14 am

i'm all out of snoojits.

and quit fags about 15 yrs ago.

:lol:

thanks for the info. I wasn't aware of the clutch available with the added length. Ill have to think about that if/when I pull the bike apart again.
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby sykospain » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:26 am

Just a thought Peels - when you split your bike for the clutch job, ¿ did you lube the splines with a pea-sized blob of Staburags on a toothbrush ?
I only ask coz there's a coupla guys on the 'other ' Rockster / R1150R forum who insist that lubrification is unnecessary at that point in the drive-train.
Altho' I must admit, Tim did mine with Klüber Lubricants "Staburags" in the little fat tube.
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Re: Spline concerns on Rockster with 40,000 miles

Postby peels » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:30 pm

sykospain wrote:Just a thought Peels - when you split your bike for the clutch job, ¿ did you lube the splines with a pea-sized blob of Staburags on a toothbrush ?
I only ask coz there's a coupla guys on the 'other ' Rockster / R1150R forum who insist that lubrification is unnecessary at that point in the drive-train.
Altho' I must admit, Tim did mine with Klüber Lubricants "Staburags" in the little fat tube.


TINY swipe with waterproof grease on a toothbrush. The same stuff I lube ATV axle splines and Boat propeller splines with. Then wiped splines with q tips.

I don't really see the NEED for this, but I did it all the same, just because I had it open already to inspect, plus, I work the clutch alot the way I ride.
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