Engine knocking - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    Hi Guys. Great help so far. I have my bike 800gt up on the stand likely for long periods over winter. I start it up every few days . I noticed when on the stand and running in first gear there is a knocking noise coming from the engine. It gets worse as you move up the gears, but stops when clutch engaged. It sounds like somebody hitting it with a light hammer.

    This bike is well looked after , just in august 8000 mile bmw service.
    Should i be worried or is this why my friends often tell me bmw engines are very ' agricultural ' . The bike rides ok.

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  4. #2
    Richard230's Avatar
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    I think that may be a sound coming from clutch basket rattle that will go away when the clutch is disengaged or when the engine drive train is under a load.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    I'm sure it's fine. They tend to be a bit noisier when cold.
    I wouldn't start it up very few days. This is likely to do more harm than leaving it standing for a few months. If you do start it then let it run hot - until the fan comes on.
    A trickle charger will keep the battery ship shape. Turn the front wheel once a week so it doesn't Develop a flat spot.
    I've never had a problem with bikes starting after being laid up.
    I spray all the metal and unpainted plastic bits with a generous coating of GT85 (avoid the brakes and the fork stanchions). It will burn off when you eventually start the engine and leaves no residue.
    All in my humble opinion of course

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    I'm not sure what the technical cause is, but like Richard wrote, it has to do with the clutch. Pull the clutch lever in, and the noise starts. Let the clutch out in Neutral and the noise goes away. If you have it in gear and the rear wheel off the ground, you'll then get noise from the drivetrain.

    Earplugs help too.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

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    As Dalesman has said, get a trickle charger. And if you must periodically run the engine while on the stand, for your own safety do it in a well ventilated area.

    Personally, I see little merit and a few drawback in running the engine repeatedly for short periods on a regular basis.

    Stay safe.

    Sent from my moto g(8) power lite using Tapatalk

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    i'm pretty sure the noise you hear is normal ---- but why do you need to start it every few days ?
    '13 F800GT
    '93 DR350S 

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    Thanks for worthy advice. Forgive me i thought it was a good idea to have the engine run and parts being oiled up and freed while running burning off damp ect. Interested to know why its bad, as i am always open to advice. Sadly my father was a merchant ship engineer who always did my mechanical work instead of showing me how. Keep it coming. I sold a ten week old honda cbr500 to buy this 3 year old bmw after riding it. I like it so much more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Davdundrod View Post
    Thanks for worthy advice. Forgive me i thought it was a good idea to have the engine run and parts being oiled up and freed while running burning off damp ect. Interested to know why its bad, as i am always open to advice. Sadly my father was a merchant ship engineer who always did my mechanical work instead of showing me how. Keep it coming. I sold a ten week old honda cbr500 to buy this 3 year old bmw after riding it. I like it so much more.
    Where do you live? Is it possible to ride year around?

    I never put mine on a trickle charger, but then I also ride year around. I took it this morning to Damascus House with a slight morning mist in the air. It was a nice ride.

    I think the drawback on running the engine for short periods, is that you build up acids in the oil that can be detrimental to the inside of the engine. When you let it warm up, the acids burn out of the oil. I'm not sure how much of that is "real", and how much is what we've heard and take to heart without facts and data to back it up. As a general rule, motorcycle owners tend to baby their bikes.

    I had a lawnmower that sat for months with nothing special done to it. In the spring, I might not get time to change the oil till I'd run it a few times. After 20+ years, it still didn't burn oil.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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    I read, years ago that when cold you get some blow back of combustion gases and maybe a bit of oil mist into the crankcase because the piston and oil scraper rings are not performing optimally with a cold engine. Thus the oil gets contaminated with acids. Secondly, a petrol engine produces about a gallon of water for every gallon of fuel burnt. If you start the engine and don't get it to operating temperature, some of this water stays in the cylinder and you can then get some rust. If I lay mine up over the winter I use a trickle charger. I also apply the brakes every so often to keep the calliper pistons free. Also rotate the wheels a bit (as suggested previously) to prevent flat spots. Rotating the rear wheel also prevents the drive belt sitting in the same position for months, which apparently can stretch it a bit. I also drop a little bit of fuel preserver in the tank to prevent corrosion of fuel components and prevent lacquer build-up. Bottom line is that it's generally not good to start the engine and only run it for a short time. As mentioned, it needs to get up to operating temperature, otherwise you'll probably do more harm than good.
    18 F800GT 

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    Davdundrod,
    If you are running it in gear AT IDLE SPEED the noise you hear is the rapidly uneven idling speed, as the pistons are firing the power strokes, while the rear wheel rotating mass tries to fight the engine's minute rotational speed changes that cause the transmission gear engagement dogs to KLACK between their mating large "doghouse" engagement spaces. Perfectly normal in that idling-in-gear engine circumstance. That run-in-gear process you use is NOT only not necessary for belt drive, it can be dangerous. If you wanna make the noise stop, raise the RPMs up to 3,000 or so in an upper gear like 3rd gear as a test (!!Dangerous!!). Rather than let it idle "every few days", once every 2 weeks hold the RPM's between 1,600---3,000 in neutral until the cooling fan cycles On--OFF twice . . . . (you'll feel the hot breeze). Then let it idle about for a 2 minute exhaust valve cool-down and shut it off. That will cook the condensates out of the oil and exhaust system, without damaging anything.
    To prevent any owner perceived belt "settling" on the sprocket curves, just turn the rear wheel by hand just-a-little-bit once a week to ease your mind.
    BTW, my `09 F800ST is still
    Only one who can see the invisible can do the impossible.

    2009 Champagne F800ST, non-ABS, OBC, HHG, CS, Zumo450, Givi E260N tail trunk. 

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    Let it sit for winter if you're in a cold climate and can't ride. I put mine on a Deltran battery tender (not a trickle charger), put some Star Tron fuel treatment in at the last fill up (and be sure to run it for 10 miles or so, to get it through the fuel system), put air in the tires to the full specification and rotate the front periodically, as someone said (assuming you have a center stand, of course). Some also recommend fresh oil before "storage", but if I've had it serviced within a couple of thousand miles, I don't worry about it. Keep it in the garage and I cover mine with a cotton beach towel, and the bike sits on a mat, to protect it from the cold floor.

    Never run it unless you're going to ride for an hour, is my motto.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flyrider View Post
    Never run it unless you're going to ride for an hour, is my motto.
    Pretty much the same for me. I keep riding my bikes until the first de-icer is applied to the roads, then the bikes are put away. When I suspect riding is coming to an end - the last tank of fuel is ethanol free with Sta-Bil added, and the last ride will be a half hour or more (and I also never put a bike away after washing it without a half hour ride to heat everything up and get the moisture out).

    The bike then goes on the centerstand, gets covered to keep the dust off, and I rotate the battery tender between vehicles and they end up with it attached for a day every couple weeks. My bikes are in a heated/dry garage so they have it pretty easy for the 4-5 months they are laid up. On my bikes with a carb and all my yard equipment - they get stored with empty fuel tanks and empty carbs..... the chainsaws get the fuel dumped and then started and run until they stop.

  19. #13
    Melbourne, Australia IanA is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daboo View Post
    I'm not sure what the technical cause is, but like Richard wrote, it has to do with the clutch. Pull the clutch lever in, and the noise starts. Let the clutch out in Neutral and the noise goes away.


    Chris
    Isn't it the other way around, Chris? All my bikes have been clacky when idling and quieten down when you pull the clutch ie load up the release bearing and clutch mechanism. Or is my memory slipping again.... it's been a while.

  20. #14
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    It might be. I thought I went out and tried it to be sure...but it's a long way from the garage to the keyboard...at least 50 feet. At my age, I could easily have got it mixed up.

    I do know that when you put it in gear on the centerstand, then you add in all the drivetrain noise too.

    The point is to realize that some noise is normal...and then recognize when something pops up that isn't normal.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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  22. #15
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    From new, both my '07 ST and '13GT had the very widely reported death rattle at idle with clutch engaged. I did over 40,000 miles on each bike and the noise never worsened. Noise stopped when clutch disengaged [lever to bars].
    In October'19, I bought one of the end of line GT's and am surprised / pleased that it does not have the rattle. Don't know what BMW did but I am pleased. Also, on start up, both earlier bikes rattled briefly from the cam drive chain until oil pressure built up on the chain tensioner. That was a widely posted feature. The '19 bike doesn't have that issue.
    In general, I find the '19 engine very pleasant and like the ride by wire throttle.

  23. #16
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    A cold engine is when the most wear takes place, (in addition to what has already been said). Incidentally my GT sounds like a bag of spanners being shaken in a tin when hot and not 'driven'. It is cured with earplugs.

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    I have the same experience Chris. My 2013 had the rattle and slightly jerky throttle at low speeds. My 2018 doesn't have either. The whole bike just seems a little quieter and smoother. Less vibes through the bars too. Maybe BMW made a few small tweaks here and there in addition to the fly by wire.
    18 F800GT 

  25. #18
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    I also have the same noise problem when the bike starts to start. But it will disappear the next few miles. I don't think it's a big deal so I have left my bike like that for a week now

  26. #19
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    The later F800 engines gained from a lot of improvements over the earlier engines.
    My F800S (2006) had the new pistons and barrels at 25,000 miles (and has done 100K miles since) since the new pistons the bike had a lot more vibes at speed.
    Filling the bars with caulking and sponge grips solved that.
    The bike rattles (always has) at startup before the cam chain tensioner gets its oil pressure up (stacking washers under the tensioner spring helps to take up the wear in the cam chain)
    On my early bike the engine has always had a horrible "rumble" at tickover in neutral but it goes away with the clutch pulled in.

    At slow speeds the backlash in the gearbox and transmission can be an issue but I found packing the rear pulley cush drive with hard rubber strips helped.

    These engines do sound like a bag of spanners in a tumble dryer but the good news is they just do that all their lives. And those lives can indeed be long and reliable.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


    Don't miss the F800 Garage Door Opener Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-Bxifv2Pk 

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  28. #20
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    True!! My 2012 GS has 93K and still going strong on the stock barrels & bore!!
    Frequent oil changes & meticulous maintenance is the key to longevity.

  29. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davdundrod View Post
    Thanks for worthy advice. Forgive me i thought it was a good idea to have the engine run and parts being oiled up and freed while running burning off damp ect. Interested to know why its bad, as i am always open to advice. Sadly my father was a merchant ship engineer who always did my mechanical work instead of showing me how. Keep it coming. I sold a ten week old honda cbr500 to buy this 3 year old bmw after riding it. I like it so much more.
    Don't run the engine at all. In aviation the rule is to only start the engine if you can run it at something approaching cruise power for 1 hour afterwards. This is mostly to burn off accumulated water from the start-up. I am amazed at how much water is introduced to any engine on cold start and that water is quite acidic, so best avoided. I maintain at least a dozen motors and they are shut down in fall, re-started in spring and all I ever do is fill the tank with fuel before parking in a cold but dry place, clean and with a loose fitting cover/tarp....sometimes sprayed with WD40 or ACF-50, but not always. Never had a problem in 50 years of this practice.
    The snatching/rattling sound you've been hearing sounds fearsome but is pretty common with these noisy parallel twins. Greg

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