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Old 03-26-2013, 08:38 PM   #1
Spinalcracker OP
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How much to lube a clutch spline ?

After asking around I think I need to replace the clutch cable and have the clutch spline lubed on my 1972 R60/5.

The guy I got it from had it for 10 years and never had the spline lubed.

I called around and one dealer said 6-7 hours labor and about $600-$700

Another smaller dealer said they charge $70 an hour and they don't quote jobs they just charge by the hour.

I'm going to change the cable myself but I don't want to take the engine and trany apart.

Any Idea how much the clutch spline lube should cost ?
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:48 PM   #2
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The entire job takes about 1-1/2 hours, including the 1-2 minutes for the actual lube. You might want to factor in about 15 minutes or so to remove and lube the throw-out bearing.

Look up any local Airheads and tech days and you can learn a lot about your bike, and maybe even do it yourself with their guidance.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:02 PM   #3
Plaka
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Originally Posted by Spinalcracker View Post
After asking around I think I need to replace the clutch cable and have the clutch spline lubed on my 1972 R60/5.

The guy I got it from had it for 10 years and never had the spline lubed.

I called around and one dealer said 6-7 hours labor and about $600-$700

Another smaller dealer said they charge $70 an hour and they don't quote jobs they just charge by the hour.

I'm going to change the cable myself but I don't want to take the engine and trany apart.

Any Idea how much the clutch spline lube should cost ?
Charge by the hours is bullshit. Avoid that shop. Even independent shops use (or should) the regular BMW flat rate book that lists the time, to the quarter hour, for the service and repair procedures. Shops have different hourly rates but the time is the same. Shop rate X flat book time = cost.

A spline lube job is actually a fairly simple DIY job. You need a torque wrench, A swing arm socket (for my preferred method) an old tooth brush, some spray brake cleaner and a couple old toothbrushes. And some lube. Honda Moly 60 is popular (Honda place). There are the usual ragin' discussions about the "best" lube. I say a 2:11 mix of boiled boar urine and possum lard. (warm the urine).

Only replace the clutch cable if it is bad. Remove it and see how it slides off the bike. If any broken strands at the bar end, replace.

Cleaning and lubing the pivot barrel in the handlebar lever and the lever bore is critical to cable life. Yearly.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:07 PM   #4
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+1 on the Boar urine (heated) and possum lard.

Like Plaka said, this is a great way to get to know your bike on a personal level.
Ask questions, search posts and have a go.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:09 PM   #5
east high
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Before you get too carried away, what's going on with the bike? I lubed the splines on my bike trying to chase down a specific problem. Turns out the whole clutch pack needed a refurbish. It's not a hard job to do, but it sucks doing it twice in a year.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:06 PM   #6
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The most popular product for the transmission spline lube these days is Honda Moly 60. In a small tube, enough to last a lifetime, it will cost about $10 at your local Honda Dealer. (park your Airhead right in front, it will make their day, really)

None of those dealers you talked with sounded to me like they knew the first thing about Airhead maintenance. This becomes a bigger problem all the time. They can mess up your bike big time if you turn it over to them. They mean well but they are trying to make money and not knowing what they are doing they will end up doing it wrong.

You either have to find an alternative place, independent shop or mechanic, or learn to do tihs yourself.

Hooking up with the local Airheads can provide you with current local knowledge.

The ABC is a good source for Tech Days and meeting local Airheads. It costs (I think it's still $25 a year) but is money well spent and you will get the monthly paper that has many, many Tech Articles.

http://www.airheads.org/

Look in the local section here on advrider and see if a local Tech Day is listed.

And finally, join the Airlist, it is Free. Many of the Airheads from the ABC are there and they are also active with local Tech Days and can sometimes recommend you to a good local mechanic. Here is a link that should have the info about the Airlist;

http://micapeak.com/mailman/listinfo/airheads
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:35 PM   #7
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If the clutch isn't grabby it is a waste of time. If your clutch is grabby, it needs to be done. Hopefully it isn't grabby so you can get to know your bike doing things to it that it really needs. I work on tons of bikes that never get lubed and are no worse for wear. My own bikes? Right at a quarter million miles. I never lube my splines unless I am already there. So far, I have never taken my own tranny off to lube splines. I would if my clutch got grabby but they usually only do that if they sit a lot. Being a professional BMW motorcycle mechanic, I make money doing it for others but I would rather make money doing something the bike actually needs and, almost to the tee, they usually need something else WAY worse!

Nothing wrong with checking out the throwout bearing but why lube it? It gets lubed by tranny fluid if any is in there.
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Old 03-27-2013, 06:39 PM   #8
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As Supershaft says, why take something apart to lube it, if there are no issues. I usually will pull a tranny back and lube the splines, only if the clutch is grabby, or bike has been sitting for a long time.
But, there are a lot of people that just love to apply a fix or 3 where there is no problem. Usually creating an actual problem in the process.
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by DaveBall View Post
As Supershaft says, why take something apart to lube it, if there are no issues. I usually will pull a tranny back and lube the splines, only if the clutch is grabby, or bike has been sitting for a long time.
But, there are a lot of people that just love to apply a fix or 3 where there is no problem. Usually creating an actual problem in the process.
And ignoring a bunch of other problems. The hardest lesson to learn IMO is that the easiest problems to fix are ones you invented. Real problems take real fixin'!
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Old 03-27-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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I would like to plead...

But, there are a lot of people that just love to apply a fix or 3 where there is no problem. Usually creating an actual problem in the process.

GUILTY
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Old 03-27-2013, 08:45 PM   #11
Plaka
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Originally Posted by DaveBall View Post
As Supershaft says, why take something apart to lube it, if there are no issues. I usually will pull a tranny back and lube the splines, only if the clutch is grabby, or bike has been sitting for a long time.
But, there are a lot of people that just love to apply a fix or 3 where there is no problem. Usually creating an actual problem in the process.
Why change your oil? There's no problem. Still runs just fine. Unless the stuff is leaking out..then you add more. if the main bearings feel grabby and it's starting to overheat, then is time enough to do it.

Why change your gearbox, shaft or rear drive oil? Anything broken? Bearings burning from bad lubrication? Anything getting notchy? total waste of time and oil if nothing is acting up.

Grease the bearings? Pfft..wheels are turning fine. Don't fix what ain't broken (yet).

Grease swingarm or pedal pivots? How many used bikes have you bought where these things were never toughed for tens of thousands of miles and they still run just fine. it's all a conspiracy by the lubricant companies I tell ya.


Hmmm....


By the time the clutch splines get grabby all the lubrication is gone and you have raw metal grinding on raw metal. This Generates nice steel particles and which accelerate the wear. By the time you get around to lubing it you've done some unnecessary damage.


The deceptive thing here is that you don't do regular clutch spline lubes an a manual transmission car. My truck has 26 more HP than the bike (%37) and clutch splines that are 4 times as large (%400). Between the initial lube and transmission oil weepage, the lube is good for the life of the clutch. Not so for the throwout bearing which usually starts failing before the clutch despite efforts to use a sealed-for-life lubrication routine. You get the clutch canaries first, then the plate goes in a couple months to a year. it's so much work to get in to the clutch that it's worth burning the splines in the disk (and they are softer than the tranny input) to get the full life from the pad material.

The beemer has small fragile splines carrying a lot of power. It's a poorly designed dry clutch, other motorcycles use a wet clutch that avoids the whole issue. So to maximize life, you lube them regularly. And if you think they don't need it, consider that they DO get grabby from lack of lubrication--so I guess they need lubrication sometime.. They are not lubed for the life of the disk. So, you lube them on some schedule. It's simple to do (for some), it's widely accepted practice among owners and competent shops and it prevents ever having a lubrication failure.

I do it yearly because it works in with the maintenance cycle. When I do swing arm pivot inspect, grease and torque--- for a few bolts more I can do the spline lube too. probably doesn't need it yearly. Just works out and I get to inspect the clutch and seals while I'm having fun.

I don't let others work on my bikes because there are just so many hacks out there. I trust a couple of mechanics I have known for a long time and who have stellar reputations. I see one here rarely, the other never. They don't tolerate bullshit and stupidity gladly. For myself, I'd like to think some things are obvious and I still get surprised (I don't know why, core idiocy?) when so many don't seem to get it.

Whatever. As the good book said, "come to know your ass, for it bears you".

Plaka screwed with this post 03-27-2013 at 08:52 PM
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Plaka View Post
Why change your oil? There's no problem. Still runs just fine. Unless the stuff is leaking out..then you add more. if the main bearings feel grabby and it's starting to overheat, then is time enough to do it.

Why change your gearbox, shaft or rear drive oil? Anything broken? Bearings burning from bad lubrication? Anything getting notchy? total waste of time and oil if nothing is acting up.

Grease the bearings? Pfft..wheels are turning fine. Don't fix what ain't broken (yet).

Grease swingarm or pedal pivots? How many used bikes have you bought where these things were never toughed for tens of thousands of miles and they still run just fine. it's all a conspiracy by the lubricant companies I tell ya.


Hmmm....


By the time the clutch splines get grabby all the lubrication is gone and you have raw metal grinding on raw metal. This Generates nice steel particles and which accelerate the wear. By the time you get around to lubing it you've done some unnecessary damage.


The deceptive thing here is that you don't do regular clutch spline lubes an a manual transmission car. My truck has 26 more HP than the bike (%37) and clutch splines that are 4 times as large (%400). Between the initial lube and transmission oil weepage, the lube is good for the life of the clutch. Not so for the throwout bearing which usually starts failing before the clutch despite efforts to use a sealed-for-life lubrication routine. You get the clutch canaries first, then the plate goes in a couple months to a year. it's so much work to get in to the clutch that it's worth burning the splines in the disk (and they are softer than the tranny input) to get the full life from the pad material.

The beemer has small fragile splines carrying a lot of power. It's a poorly designed dry clutch, other motorcycles use a wet clutch that avoids the whole issue. So to maximize life, you lube them regularly. And if you think they don't need it, consider that they DO get grabby from lack of lubrication--so I guess they need lubrication sometime.. They are not lubed for the life of the disk. So, you lube them on some schedule. It's simple to do (for some), it's widely accepted practice among owners and competent shops and it prevents ever having a lubrication failure.

I do it yearly because it works in with the maintenance cycle. When I do swing arm pivot inspect, grease and torque--- for a few bolts more I can do the spline lube too. probably doesn't need it yearly. Just works out and I get to inspect the clutch and seals while I'm having fun.

I don't let others work on my bikes because there are just so many hacks out there. I trust a couple of mechanics I have known for a long time and who have stellar reputations. I see one here rarely, the other never. They don't tolerate bullshit and stupidity gladly. For myself, I'd like to think some things are obvious and I still get surprised (I don't know why, core idiocy?) when so many don't seem to get it.

Whatever. As the good book said, "come to know your ass, for it bears you".
All your non-clutch lubing examples are not our clutches. You are comparing apples and oranges. Myself and every other person that I know that does not lube their clutch splines lube all the other things that need lubing regularly. Where and when it matters, we lube things. How many well used bikes have I seen and the clutch splines had not been lubed for tens and tens of thousands of miles and the clutch worked perfectly? Too many to count. That is for sure.

I am not going to consider that they get grabby when not lubed. It is a fact that our clutches do not get grabby when they are not lubed. I never lube mine as do a lot of my customers and they never get grabby. They typically get grabby from not being used, NOT a lack of lubricant. Lubing them prevents lubrication failures? Sure, if you lubed them every oil change. The fact of the matter is they work perfectly with nothing but bone dry rust on the splines. At least that is what it looks like shortly after they are lubed. They will continue to work perfectly like that for tens and tens and tens of thousands of miles with no additional lubrication. I have seen it done time and time and time again.
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:35 AM   #13
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I changed my 81 friction plate maybe 10 years ago? I can't quite remember.
The rest of the clutch is original.
Bullet proof.

There was a time when I could have removed my gearbox blindfolded, as I did it that often for different reasons.
As SS says, a week after lubing, the splines look as though they've never been done.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:38 AM   #14
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Being a former aircraft owner, which required annual in depth inspections. Some of us are believers in preventative maintenance.
Especially with these old machines.

After I bought my 81 R100RT several years ago, I slowly learned how the bike worked and what things to do to maintain it.

My first spline lube showed me the spline was lubed but so badly worn it was ready to fail and the throw out bearing was also about to fail. The previous owner told me he didnt believe in having free play at the clutch lever.

I eventually went all over a perfectly running bike and found way too many area's that were going to bite me in the ass if I didnt find and correct them.

Everyone has a choice to make.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:45 PM   #15
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I strongly recommend preventative maintenance. Lubing the splines does not prevent anything if it is working alright to start with. And then to add injury to insult, there is usually preventative maintenance to be done that does prevent failures not getting done at the expense of lubing the splines. I have seen that scenario play out countless times. I am not recommending not taking care of your bike. I am recommending to stop wasting your time doing something that doesn't matter and take care of your bike in a manner that does make a difference! Big diff! Fix your carbs. TUNE your carbs better. Adjust your valves so they don't sound like a cement mixer. Align your forks. The examples could go on and on!
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