Indications of impending FD failure - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 7Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 5:37 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Indications of impending FD failure

Much discussion and speculation about what indicators might be useful for predicting final drive failure.

I continue to try and understand the progression of the "classic" crownwheel bearing failure in our beloved K1200LT. I have now done about 50 final drive rebuilds, both repairs of various types of failures, (the most common being the "classic" crownwheel bearing failure) and a number of preemptive rebuilds. In several of the "preemptive" rebuilds the owner had become suspicious of dark gear lube, increasing grey metal fuzz on the drain plug magnet, and in more advanced cases, weeping of lube at the hub seal.

I have noted in past preemptive rebuilds that in many cases the outer race of the crownwheel bearing is wallowed out. More recently I have seen cases of where the hub seal had started to leak without other signs of catastrophic failure. In these cases, the crownwheel bearing outer race was severely wallowed to the point where one side of the groove had developed a very sharp edge. In the attached picture, I am trying to demonstrate how sharp the edge of the groove gets by shaving a finger nail on the edge of the groove. In this particular race there is also significant pitting, but in some cases the groove is smooth with out any pitting, but the groove is widened and very sharp on one side.

The only other signs of a possible problem other than weeping at the hub seal was dark gear lube and lots of fine fuzzy metal on the drain plug magnet.

Previously, I had maintained that grey fuzz on the drain plug was "normal" and shiney metal flakes were bad. Now it seems that grey fuzz maybe normal but may also be associated with wearing of the race without pitting. Metal flakes are definitely associated with pitting of the races.

In no case that I am aware of a "wiggle test" or "shake the wheel test" indicating a failing final drive. My suggestion is that if you are trying to find an indication of final drive failure, checking the rear wheel for wiggle is a waste of time. Even when the races of the crownwheel bearing was wallowed out enough to cause weeping of oil at the hub seal, there have been no reports of detectable wiggle at the wheel; the looseness is apparently too subtle for the human hand to detect.

Conclusions so far:
- Shiney metal flakes in the gear lube indicate near term final drive failure.
- Dark colored gear lube, especially when previous lube changes have been lighter in color, indicates a problem. This suggests that using the same type/color gear lube and keeping to regular lube change intervals may be helpful in identifying increasingly dark lube. (Please DO NOT start an oil thread here.)
- Increasing grey metal fuzz on the drain magnet may indicate a problem. Again, keeping to a reqular interval of changing lube will help identify increasing amounts of grey fuzz on the drain plug. Increasing amounts of grey fuzz is a bad sign.
- The "shake the wheel" test is basically useless in checking for final drive problems. By all accounts, by the time you can feel the wheel move during a "shake the wheel" test, the hub seal will have already puked out the lube. (The shake the wheel test is a valid check for pivot bearing and other swing arm related problems.)

Based on my increasing understanding of the progression of failure of the crownwheel bearing, I would never suggest just changing the hub seal in a case where weeping at the seal is occuring. Too often there is an underlying cause of the leak that is related to the crownwheel bearing.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Wallowed outer race 004.jpg
Views:	1633
Size:	42.7 KB
ID:	32434  

Last edited by CharlieVT; Aug 10th, 2011 at 7:16 pm.
CharlieVT is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 6:30 pm
Lifetime Supporter
 
ErnieA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milwaukie, OR, USA
Posts: 2,313
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thanks for this very useful info. If I remember correctly you had completed a "few" final drives at the time you made a video of the rebuild process. You state you now have 50 completed drives. Have you compiled any data from the drives you have rebuilt? Since the video (of which I've lost the link) have you changed the process you documented? And, if so, why.

Congratulations on taking the mystery out of the final drive for so many of us LT owners.

Sincerely!

Ernie A
Milwaukie, OR
Member: MOA, AMA, IBA, NRA, MERA
GS911 & GS911 Wifi - Diagnostics Tools Available
2013 R1200GSW
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
> 24k miles!
2002 K12LT Toscana Green - > 234k miles and counting!
2006 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom Silver/Blk - >21k (Sold)
SS1K (x4),BB,BtoB(<24),BBG, SS3k


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
ErnieA is offline  
post #3 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 6:50 pm
Lifetime Supporter
 
deanwoolsey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Topeka, KS, USA
Posts: 3,105
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thanks for the post Curtis. It's always good to hear about FDs from your perspective.

If a guy had an extra drain plug it would be pretty easy to check the FD for excess metal before any big road trip by quickly changing them out and then topping off the reservoir. Just a thought.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
deanwoolsey is offline  
 
post #4 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 7:09 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErnieA
..... Have you compiled any data from the drives you have rebuilt?.... Since the video (of which I've lost the link) have you changed the process you documented? .....
Compiled data? Not really. (I've had formal training in statistics, nothing that I have documented regarding final drives would meet any standard of statistical analysis. Formed impressions? yes. Excess preload resulting from excess shim thickness installed at the factory is a primary suspect in crownwheel bearing failures. I'll refer you to many of my earlier posts on this site.

I have changed my process in many ways since making the video, there are errors in the procedure but none of consequence to the final outcome of a rebuild done on the basis of the video. Substantively, the method shown in the video works. I give credit to DMAN for first posting the dial indicator method of calculating shim thickness. I have compared the results of DMAN's dial indictor with the method described in the BMW Service Manual using a depth micrometer and the two methods, done carefully, yield similar results.

Last edited by CharlieVT; Aug 10th, 2011 at 7:22 pm.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #5 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 9:37 pm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Augusta, GA, USA
Posts: 114
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thank for this work and post Charlie. I have an 06 LT with 14,000 miles. Changed all the fluids at 12K and did not notice anything on the FD plug or in the fluid.

Would you recommend a preemptive rebuild, if yes, would you be able to do it and how much does it cost?

New to BMW's and I'm sorry if I stated anything incorrectly or asked the obvious.

Thanks,
Sammy
sgroover is offline  
post #6 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 10:13 pm
Lifetime Supporter
 
ErnieA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Milwaukie, OR, USA
Posts: 2,313
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
Compiled data? Not really. (I've had formal training in statistics, nothing that I have documented regarding final drives would meet any standard of statistical analysis. Formed impressions? yes. Excess preload resulting from excess shim thickness installed at the factory is a primary suspect in crownwheel bearing failures. I'll refer you to many of my earlier posts on this site.
Perhaps I could have been more specific regarding the "data" I was interested in. I suppose could record information from the damaged / defective units and compare to units sent in for "pre-emptive" repairs but showing little or now wear (I'm sure there have been a few of these sent to you). I thought you mentioned in a previous post that you kept that data. I'll dig around and see if you have anything previously posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
I have changed my process in many ways since making the video, there are errors in the procedure but none of consequence to the final outcome of a rebuild done on the basis of the video. Substantively, the method shown in the video works. I give credit to DMAN for first posting the dial indicator method of calculating shim thickness. I have compared the results of DMAN's dial indictor with the method described in the BMW Service Manual using a depth micrometer and the two methods, done carefully, yield similar results.
Are you using the specs in the manual (0.05 - 0.1 mm (0.0020 - 0.0039 in))? Or do you have another spec you have adopted that works best on your rebuilds?

Ernie A
Milwaukie, OR
Member: MOA, AMA, IBA, NRA, MERA
GS911 & GS911 Wifi - Diagnostics Tools Available
2013 R1200GSW
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
> 24k miles!
2002 K12LT Toscana Green - > 234k miles and counting!
2006 Suzuki DL1000 V Strom Silver/Blk - >21k (Sold)
SS1K (x4),BB,BtoB(<24),BBG, SS3k


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
ErnieA is offline  
post #7 of 141 Old Aug 10th, 2011, 11:05 pm
Senior Member
 
fpmlt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,159
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Curtis, what's your feeling on "dealer" rebuilds?
I ask this with the belief that I've seen a pattern of posts here, and a rebuild of the final drive on my bike by a "dealer", where a new bearing is installed and the original shims replaced without a proper measurement of pre-load taken.
It just seems like I've seen too many posts in which a rider suffers the failure, the dealer rebuilds is, and it fails again 20-40K miles later.
fpmlt is offline  
post #8 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 4:35 am Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgroover
..... I have an 06 LT with 14,000 miles. Changed all the fluids at 12K and did not notice anything on the FD plug or in the fluid......Would you recommend a preemptive rebuild,......?
2006 model year is pretty well past the "bloom" of final drive failures.
14K miles is really low.

A rebuild at this stage would be expensive road insurance. Ride it. Change the lube every 6K miles instead of every 12K miles.

Don't worry, be happy.

If you get to 30K miles and are still seeing increasing amounts of grey fuzz on the drain plug magnet, you might then consider a rebuild.

That's just my S.W.A.G., YMMV.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #9 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 5:16 am Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErnieA
Perhaps I could have been more specific regarding the "data" I was interested in. I could record information from the damaged / defective units and compare to units sent in for "pre-emptive" repairs but showing little or now wear (I'm sure there have been a few of these sent to you). I thought you mentioned in a previous post that you kept that data. I'll dig around and see if you have anything previously posted.

Are you using the specs in the manual (0.05 - 0.1 mm (0.0020 - 0.0039 in))? Or do you have another spec you have adopted that works best on your rebuilds?
Second question answered first: I use the specs given in the BMW Service Manual. I wouldn't presume to reengineer what the BMW engineers have done. I believe the final drive problems are related to fabrication and assembly, not engineering design.

In response to your first question: I had a box full of cut open bearings from both failed drives and preemptive rebuilds. (I eventually took the box to metal recycling, maybe I should have donated them to the Smithsonian? )
Pictures of some of these bearings have been posted here in this forum.
As I learned more, I started paying attention to more things. I note: the orientation of the original bearing before removal, the history of the drive (what the owner reported, e.g. lube leak, vibration, grey fuzz, shiney metal flakes, how far they rode after noticing something wrong, color of the lube, how many miles on the drive, if it was previously rebuilt, etc.). I have correlated my findings on opening the drive and the rider's related history with an inspection of the cut open bearing. (I have concluded you can learn much more from cutting open a bearing than what you can from an assembled bearing, even after through degreasing; trying to assess the status of a bearing without opening the final drive is fruitless). I also have documented what the original shim thickness was so to compare with my calculations. In some cases where the bearing was intact (a preemptive rebuild) I have measured for shim thickness before removing the original bearing to be able to compare my calculations with original shims. In the case of failed bearings, where measuring the original bearing is impossible, I have simply compared the original shim thickness to what the new bearing called for.
By noting spalling of races, roller balls, and retainer integrity (or lack thereof), and correlating the extent of bearing damage to symptoms reported by the rider and drive history, I feel I developed a reasonable picture of progression of crownwheel bearing failure.

What I have started paying more attention to is changes to the race groove in bearings that have not failed. In the past I noted that the race grooves in some preemptive rebuilds looked wider than others, but this is not a change that I have the tools to measure, and in some cases the change is very subtle. (I suppose I could measure the axial play of the bearing before cutting it open and compare the old bearing to the axial movement of a new bearing.) Then I saw a few bearings where there was no pitting or spalling but the groove was worn to the point of having a very sharp edge on one side of the groove. I believe that this wearing of one side of the groove more than the other side correlates with excess shim thickness (excess preload). It was this finding that prompted me to post this new thread; increased grey fuzz without shiney metal flakes and dark lube I now believe to be a sign of bearing race groove wear and an early indicator of eventual failure.

Last edited by CharlieVT; Aug 11th, 2011 at 7:10 am.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #10 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 5:37 am Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by fpmlt
.... what's your feeling on "dealer" rebuilds?
I ask this with the belief that I've seen a pattern of posts here, and a rebuild of the final drive on my bike by a "dealer", where a new bearing is installed and the original shims replaced without a proper measurement of pre-load taken.
It just seems like I've seen too many posts in which a rider suffers the failure, the dealer rebuilds is, and it fails again 20-40K miles later.
Yes, this has been seen and reported on before. We know of several cases where a final drive has failed multiple times following rebuilds. This is evidence that the crownwheel bearing failures are not just a problem with the bearing, but rather an assembly problem, i.e. excess preload applied to the bearing. Hopefully, all dealers rebuilding final drives now understand this, but it is hard to know what any particular mechanic knows. You can ask the service manager if they checked the preload and followed the service manual procedure, but like the K1200LT, some service departments are known to "blow smoke" . There are also many very competent service departments out there, knowing which ones are is the trick; choose wisely.

I have rebuilt failed final drives that were previously rebuilt by "experienced" or "authorized" mechanics. It is, at least in part, a case of "Read the Manual."

Just replacing a failed crownwheel bearing without following the setup procedure as described in the BMW Service Manual is an invitation to repeat failure.

I now suspect that those cases of weeping hub seals without outward signs of other problems, may also have an underlying cause, and recommend that if a seal is leaking, that the seal not just be replaced but the drive opened and inspected. However, I don't know of reports where a leaking hub seal was replaced only to go on and leak again. I suspect that this has occured, just haven't read reports of it. This is one of the points I was trying to make in my original post in this thread.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #11 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 6:35 am
Senior Member
 
wa1200lt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Posts: 2,745
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Charlie, I have an early '01 with about 30K miles on it. The oil in my FD is much darker and "grayer" than the oil I replace it with at each 6K interval. There are never any "chunks" on the drain plug and the fuzz seems to be minimal. No untoward noises from the FD, wobble at the rear wheel, or leaks at the seal.

I have no "machine shop" abilities of my own and tend to think that those who do have these skills are magicians of a sort. I think you are more of a wizard than just a magician.

Is there anything I can do, without any special tools or knowledge, that can put my mind at ease re: my FD? Can I safely and easily take the FD apart and determine what, if anything is making the fluid dark? I get absolutely lost when I look at the measurement taking processes that you go through during a rebuild.

The oil was dark when I changed it at 12K miles (I bought it with 7,800 miles on it) and has been dark at each change since.

Thanks for your consideration,

Loren

WAK1200LT
Loren

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Cave quid dicis, quando, et cui
wa1200lt is offline  
post #12 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 7:36 am Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by wa1200lt
.....I have an early '01 with about 30K miles on it. The oil in my FD is much darker and "grayer" than the oil I replace it with at each 6K interval. There are never any "chunks" on the drain plug and the fuzz seems to be minimal. No untoward noises from the FD, wobble at the rear wheel, or leaks at the seal.....
Is there anything I can do, without any special tools or knowledge, that can put my mind at ease re: my FD? Can I safely and easily take the FD apart and determine what, if anything is making the fluid dark? .....The oil was dark when I changed it at 12K miles (I bought it with 7,800 miles on it) and has been dark at each change since.....
You raise a number of good questions, none of which has a good answer.

2001 with 30K miles: If I were taking long trips on that bike, I'd do a preemptive rebuild, but that's just me.

Gear lube going in clean and coming out dark is normal. Some metal "fuzz" on the drain plug is normal.

How dark the lube and how much fuzz presages a problem? Impossible to say. If I say turning really dark quickly is a problem, what's that mean? Pretty meaningless. Some people have monitored the lube by sending a sample out for oil analysis. Just as looking at the color, oil analysis has to be looked at in terms of trend not a snapshot in time.

As a new drive wears in metal fuzz will be generated, and then then amount of fuzz on the drain magnet should lessen over time. If increasing amounts of grey fuzz on the magnet are observed, that may reflect a problem. How much is too much? Impossible to say. If you get a small amount at one lube change and then a lot more then next change, I'd take that as a warning sign.

As far as inspecting the drive yourself, in my opinion there is little of value you can do unless you are committed to rebuilding the drive yourself. The early stage bearing race groove wear that I started talking about in this thread can only be seen by cutting the bearing open.

(Please, I don't want this thread to be construed as a solicitation to rebuild drives, it is not. I still do them but I am not soliciting them. There are a few folks on this board who know how to rebuild these drives and there are a couple commerical outfits that can be trusted to know what they are doing as well.)
spotben likes this.

Last edited by CharlieVT; Aug 11th, 2011 at 7:55 am.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #13 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 7:55 am
Senior Member
 
MountianMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Stony Plain, AB, Canada
Posts: 586
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

While others were complaining of thier rears sea/bearing problems , I dove in and proceeded to replace mine.
I had seen grey fuzz but at the time it was considered normal. I also saw small shiny specks, like panning for gold. Noted it but passes it off because they were so small.
I change rear lube yearly.
Then my rear hub seal started leaking, leaving deposits on the wheel.
I replaced the rear seal without pulling the FD. IE replaced it while still on the bike.
It was still weeping and it showed up on the very bottom of the brake caliper as a drop. Having just replaced the brake pads I was not interested in contaminating another pair.
I popped the cover off and sure enough the seal was weeping.
So I pulled the FD.
200 degrees F in the oven, turned it over and the bearing fell half way out, pushed it out the rest of the way with my thumbs.
Cut the bearing open and at first thought That I had cut open a perfectly good bearing. On closer inspection I noticed one side of the race was a bit wider and the other side had the sharp edge. Absolutly no pitting anywhwere.
When putting the new bearing on I found out that 170 degrees is not enough. 190 for 15 min and fridge freezer for 15 min and the bearing dropped on with a click.
Using Dmans method I got 4 good readings. At this point it started to warm up and get stiff so I bailed.
I found that with the new bearing my existing shim would have been .2mm overshimed.
New shims will be picked up tonight
a .15mm and a .4mm making up .55mm.
I am going with .05mm preload.
My wife says she thinks it is sexy to have a man in the kitchen, she did not think that I would be baking motorcycle parts tho.
All she wants is a new cookie sheet. She even helped with the measurements on the counter.
And lastly I really have to thank Curtis for coming along for the ride as coach.More as reaffirmation that I was doing the right thing. It is not that difficult of a job, it is more intimidating if one has not done this particular procedure before.

I will be riding again this weekend.

Many Thanks again Curtis

Eric von Laue

3Cyl Kawa ( a long time ago)
450 Yamaha Seca ( maybe it was a Maxim )
1100 Honda Magna
650 Honda XR ( to Guatemala and back)
1990 Honda PC800 ( Mountain Mama )
2000 BMW 1200LT ( Maxamillion )

Keep the rubber side down
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
MountianMama is offline  
post #14 of 141 Old Aug 11th, 2011, 8:44 am Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by MountianMama
.......When putting the new bearing on I found out that 170 degrees is not enough. 190 for 15 min and fridge freezer for 15 min and the bearing dropped on with a click.....
When using oven/freezer to install a new bearing I would use 250degreesF to heat the bearing and leave the bearing in the freezer a minimum of 15minutes. I don't remember what temp I said in the video.
If the bearing stops partway down the crowngear hub and gets stuck, it is annoying and you can damage the bearing if you have to pull it off with a puller.

Glad to hear you got things back together and are on the road. Others should be encouraged by you to tackle the job.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #15 of 141 Old Aug 12th, 2011, 2:21 pm
Member
 
av8trto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eagle, ID, USA
Posts: 85
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

I had a crown bearing seal leak on a trip last June. The seal was working it's way out of the housing. Some members suggested it was because I had gone over a 10K pass in the Sierras. I had taken a picture at the summit and noticed there was no oil on the rear wheel then. By that night I was starting to get a leak.

Got the bike home, took the rear drive apart looked everything over and reassembled it with a new seal.

No metal then and today after 2K miles I change the RD oil again just to see whats going on. No metal or "fuzz" on the drain plug magnet, oil was still clear amber color but the drain plug had a little bit of black sludge on it. One wipe of my finger and the magnet was shiny again.

Is this consider this normal or should the magnet be perfectly clean? I have the 17 ball crown bearing in my '99 so it was most likely changed at some time before I got the bike. I'm the second owner since 34K miles. Currently I have 45K miles.

Thanks to the members who would like to respond. Hopefully Charlie might also like to chime in.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Rear Drive drain plug 003.JPG
Views:	769
Size:	249.0 KB
ID:	32455   Click image for larger version

Name:	Failed Seal (2).JPG
Views:	746
Size:	141.1 KB
ID:	32456  
av8trto is offline  
post #16 of 141 Old Aug 12th, 2011, 4:15 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by av8trto
I had a crown bearing seal leak on a trip last June. The seal was working it's way out of the housing. Some members suggested it was because I had gone over a 10K pass in the Sierras. .....the drain plug had a little bit of black sludge on it...... Is this consider this normal or should the magnet be perfectly clean? I have the 17 ball crown bearing in my '99 so it was most likely changed at some time before I got the bike.
I doubt the leaking seal was due to change in altitude. Unlikely that the vent got plugged to the point that the atmospheric differences pushed out the seal.
My guess it that a very subtle wobble secondary to bearing failure caused the seal to work its way out. This seems to be the way of bearings that wallow out the groove without spalling/pitting the race. i.e. leaking seal but no shiney metal flakes, just grey stuff on the magnet.

Since you have a 17 ball bearing in a 99 it is fair to assume that it was rebuilt. And there's no way to know if it was rebuilt properly or if the bearing was just changed. If the bearing was just swapped out a repeat failure is likely, I've rebuild one FD that had a 17 ball bearing.

I have learned that when you open a drive and "everything looks fine" it isn't necessarily so.

Impossible for anyone to say, but I suspect things are going bad for your 17 ball bearing. I suggest taking it apart, pulling the bearing and cutting it open. Betcha a beer the bearing looks bad.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #17 of 141 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 2:19 pm
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: King, N.C., USA
Posts: 10
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

I can attest to no perceptible movement in rear wheel at failure. I can also attest to increase in fuzzy, not shiny metal on drain plug prior to failure. I was in Sturgis last week and 400 miles into my riding when rear drive failed. I had changed oil 400 miles earlier and detected more fuzz on plug than normal but no other indicators.

After unloading bike in Sturgis on Monday and riding a 100 miles or so, I started to detect a slight rumble, 300 miles later....total failure. AAA loaded bike and delivered to Sturgis BMW. They charged me $63.00 to drain oil out and confirm my suspicion?? Sturgis wanted $1,750.00 to replace drive with no other options. Terrible customer support from Sturgis BMW.

I purchased a Dyna Low Rider and rode 1600 more miles without incident. I will replace drive myself and keep both bikes. I was going to sell Harley when I got home but it fills a niche in the stable.
afastchief is offline  
post #18 of 141 Old Aug 16th, 2011, 9:35 pm
Member
 
av8trto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eagle, ID, USA
Posts: 85
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Three thousand miles and counting since I opened the rear drive, inspected it and replaced the displaced leaking crown bearing seal. I'm a little suspicious of the last seal installation since I noticed some silicone sealant installed/pressed in between the seal wall and the RD housing. (19 ball changed to 17 ball).

Nothing in Clymers or the BMW manual about using silicone here. One thousand miles to date since I checked the magnetic drain plug and changed the RD oil after the last inspection. No leaks, still bone dry and smooth.

I washed the bike today and just hosed off brake dust from the rear wheel, (finger wipe test before wash) no oil after another 800 mile ride last weekend. LED flashlight inspection looking between the rear brake disk and the rear drive housing is clean and dry after 3K miles.

Just the facts but I'm watching it like a hawk.
av8trto is offline  
post #19 of 141 Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 7:59 am
Senior Member
 
Newf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 352
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thanks for all the good info. I have been just checking the rear wheel on my 05 when it is on the center stand. I change the oil every 5000 kms (3000 miles) and have not seem any noticablty difference in oil colour or fuzz on the drain plug. I now have 85000 kms (53000 miles) on the bike and still no problems with final drive. I was thinking about changing the bearing in the final drive at around the 100000 kms mark as normal maintenance.

Manny
Where is the nearest Tims?

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Need to stay awake

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Newf is offline  
post #20 of 141 Old Aug 23rd, 2011, 10:40 am
Senior Member
 
mreuter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: 53498 Bad Breisig, RPL, Germany
Posts: 375
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Don't touch it if it works.

Manfred
mreuter is offline  
post #21 of 141 Old Aug 26th, 2011, 6:14 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newf
Thanks for all the good info. I have been just checking the rear wheel on my 05 when it is on the center stand. I change the oil every 5000 kms (3000 miles) and have not seem any noticablty difference in oil colour or fuzz on the drain plug. I now have 85000 kms (53000 miles) on the bike and still no problems with final drive. I was thinking about changing the bearing in the final drive at around the 100000 kms mark as normal maintenance.
I've seen too many 05 final drives with problems. More with tapered roller bearing seat problems than with crownwheel bearing failure.
Odds are that you are okay.
You can ride it and never have a problem or you might end up riding it until it breaks.
If it were mine I'd open it up and inspect it, but that's easy for me to say having done enough of them to make it easy for me to rebuild 'em.
The next best thing you can do is change the lube at constant intervals using the same type of lube and look for increasing darkness to the lube at changes. The spinning tapered roller bearing will result in shed aluminum which won't accumulate on the drain plug magnet but will make the lube darker. If a spinning tapered roller bearing race is run too far the drive isn't cost effective to rebuild since it will need a new crowngear/pinion gear set and a total rebuild. I've never done that 'cause buying a used drive and rebuilding it is cheaper and easier. I'd even consider buying a new OEM final drive from BMW before I'd consider rebuilding a FD with a new crowngear/pinion gear set.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #22 of 141 Old Aug 31st, 2011, 7:56 pm
Senior Member
 
Newf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 352
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thanks, I may just do that. Ride it and keep checking the oil every time I do a change out looking for color and any small particles

Manny
Where is the nearest Tims?

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Need to stay awake

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Newf is offline  
post #23 of 141 Old May 20th, 2012, 5:59 pm
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Camdenton, Mo, USA
Posts: 95
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Well, I am adding my final drive to the impending failure column. I changed the fluid the other day and it was very dark. I ran fresh fluid for about 50 miles and changed it again. It was still dark, I let it set a couple of days poured the fluid out and sure enough there was the flakes laying in the bottom. Fortunately I purchased a spare awhile back. Will be sending this one in for a rebuild after my I return from the trip I getting ready to leave on in 2 weeks.

Thanks for all the info on this site
Ron
baker is offline  
post #24 of 141 Old Jul 8th, 2012, 6:28 am
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: , ,
Posts: 44
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

If your FD fails will there always be metal in the oil?
I was getting off the highway yesterday and heard a strange clicking noise coming from my drive, but no oil leakage, and the housing felt pretty hot ( it was almost 100° outside though). I then proceeded to ride home slowly since I was close to home. Once I got thereI. drained the drive oil and it was as clean as new. The bike only has 5500 miles on it and 2000 on the drive oil. Does this sound like a FD failure?
hayabusa200 is offline  
post #25 of 141 Old Jul 8th, 2012, 1:14 pm Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

No, it does not sound like a FD failure and it would be very unlikely for a FD failure to occur at those very low miles.
I would investigate the source of the clicking however.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hayabusa200
If your FD fails will there always be metal in the oil?
I was getting off the highway yesterday and heard a strange clicking noise coming from my drive, but no oil leakage, and the housing felt pretty hot ( it was almost 100° outside though). I then proceeded to ride home slowly since I was close to home. Once I got thereI. drained the drive oil and it was as clean as new. The bike only has 5500 miles on it and 2000 on the drive oil. Does this sound like a FD failure?
CharlieVT is offline  
post #26 of 141 Old Jul 8th, 2012, 2:41 pm
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: , ,
Posts: 44
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
No, it does not sound like a FD failure and it would be very unlikely for a FD failure to occur at those very low miles.
I would investigate the source of the clicking however.
Thanks Charlie, I hope you are correct. I will start investigating when I get home from work and see what I come up with. I pray its something simple, being that I start vacation in a few days.
I wasnt looking forward to renting a harley while I was off.
hayabusa200 is offline  
post #27 of 141 Old Jul 8th, 2012, 6:10 pm
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: , ,
Posts: 44
Thumbs up Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Charlie, it took me about 10 seconds to find the problem once I put it on the center stand.
The rear tire was actually coming apart at the sidewall and rubbing on the drive shaft housing, and it also had some blistering. I take it Bridgestones dont like 100 degree days at highway speeds. Thanks again for your reply.
hayabusa200 is offline  
post #28 of 141 Old Oct 31st, 2012, 10:15 pm
Member
 
av8trto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eagle, ID, USA
Posts: 85
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

I'm now 6,000 miles since my crown bearing seal failure/replacement, using the same crown bearing. (see previous post) Still have a "bone dry" rear drive and nothing unusual on the magnetic drain plug or fluid color. I have a backup rear drive but I'm waiting to see if I really need to change this one.

If I had known what I know now I would have taken a long wide blade flat screwdriver and pushed the crown bearing seal back into the recess to get me home. (see my previous pictures) After that, I would evaluate the situation with a tear down in my garage. I have the 17 ball crown bearing which may be a different situation than the 19 ball OEM bearings. ('99 LT that had bearing change by PO)

This would not work for a catastrophic crown bearing failure. I'm not suggesting this works for all situations and maybe only rarely. If you don't see other indications of a catastrophic failure you would still want to check the rear wheel and drive and cautiously ride only short distances to see what's going on. We are talking about just limping home with the bike if possible.

In my situation this probably would have got me home without as much or any oil on my rear brake and tire. I think there are cases where only the crown bearing seal fails. My seal was installed by the dealer with silicone sealant which I think acted as a lubricant at the 120-140F operating temps to allow the seal work out.

Just my opinion, the jury is still out.
av8trto is offline  
post #29 of 141 Old Nov 1st, 2012, 11:04 pm
Member
 
av8trto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eagle, ID, USA
Posts: 85
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

In my original post I mentioned altitude change as a possible reason for my crown bearing seal failure. Probably not, I hadn't previously thought of the higher temperatures due to braking.

I would like to change my observation to thinking higher temps in the rear drive due to extended braking on a road that had 10-15 mph switch backs (Sonora Pass) as the cause. Dragging the rear brake around tight turns caused higher temps in the rear drive that allowed the seal to work out. (seal installed with silicone in the recess) ?

My next seal failure came after riding the Rattlesnake grade with no silicone on the seal. (Google R/S grade)

Maybe the seal doesn't stay in place with the higher temps caused from extended braking situations? Think I'm seeing a pattern?

I don't think a crown bearing seal failure always indicates a bearing failure. Maybe the seal failure can eventually cause a bearing failure? Yes, Da.

Just trying to figure this out.
av8trto is offline  
post #30 of 141 Old Nov 2nd, 2012, 12:46 am
Lifetime Supporter
 
deanwoolsey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Topeka, KS, USA
Posts: 3,105
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Make sure your vent on the top of the FD is not plugged. Unlikely, but check it to be certain. I would recommend 3M Scotch #800 sealant to set your seal. It should stay put with that on it.

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...beQH8HT14PGTgl


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
deanwoolsey is offline  
post #31 of 141 Old Nov 2nd, 2012, 3:36 am
Senior Member
 
bikerj's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Garland
Posts: 1,078
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

In all my years of wrenching, I don't recall ever reading factory maintenance procedures suggesting sealant with a oil seal.

People sometimes do this when there's something else wrong that would keep the seal from doing it's job in hopes it'll magically be fixed.

Other mechanics do it simply because they don't know what they're doing.

I can't see the driving characteristics being the culprit, unless maybe they're compounding/agitating the real problem.

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

99 K1200LT (don't need loud pipes w/ 8 spk. stereo)
08 HD wide glide
prior:
07 HD XL1200C (sold!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
)
78 KZ750 twin
76 CB750F
71 CL175 Scrambler
73? Yamaha 100 enduro

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bikerj is offline  
post #32 of 141 Old Nov 2nd, 2012, 11:08 am
Lifetime Supporter
 
deanwoolsey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Topeka, KS, USA
Posts: 3,105
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by bikerj
In all my years of wrenching, I don't recall ever reading factory maintenance procedures suggesting sealant with a oil seal.

People sometimes do this when there's something else wrong that would keep the seal from doing it's job in hopes it'll magically be fixed.

Other mechanics do it simply because they don't know what they're doing.

I can't see the driving characteristics being the culprit, unless maybe they're compounding/agitating the real problem.
I agree. However his seal keeps popping out. I suppose the hub may be machined a little loose ar maybe the walls are tapered out slightly. The other likely cause is pressure in the FD. This sealant is pretty good stuff in my experience. Short of a complete rebuild or a replacement, it's a pretty inexpensive option to try and hold the seal where it belongs.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
deanwoolsey is offline  
post #33 of 141 Old Nov 2nd, 2012, 11:26 am
Senior Member
 
bikerj's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Garland
Posts: 1,078
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by deanwoolsey
I agree. However his seal keeps popping out. I suppose the hub may be machined a little loose ar maybe the walls are tapered out slightly. The other likely cause is pressure in the FD. This sealant is pretty good stuff in my experience. Short of a complete rebuild or a replacement, it's a pretty inexpensive option to try and hold the seal where it belongs.
If he has a problem with the vent, then it would be best to solve that. If the seating area for the seal is warped or jacked up in whatever way, then I would be trying to rectify that. I just see using sealant as you suggested a way of jury rigging it, and simply delaying a more serious mechanical failure that might not occur until he's on the bike somewhere in BFE.

I have seen such fixes performed on vehicles intended to be sold, thereby hoping to not have an apparent problem for any potential buyer, but I don't think that's the case here.

That being said, he's more than welcome to try whatever on his own bike.

Jeff
Big D is my neck of the woods

99 K1200LT (don't need loud pipes w/ 8 spk. stereo)
08 HD wide glide
prior:
07 HD XL1200C (sold!
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
)
78 KZ750 twin
76 CB750F
71 CL175 Scrambler
73? Yamaha 100 enduro

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
bikerj is offline  
post #34 of 141 Old Nov 11th, 2012, 6:04 am
Junior Member
 
jmsnyder01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Derry, PA, USA
Posts: 20
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
2006 model year is pretty well past the "bloom" of final drive failures.
14K miles is really low.
Thanks for your expertise and willingness to share with the rest of us. You mention that 2006 is pretty well past the 'bloom'. When was the peak of this bloom? I have a 2004 (20K miles) that I just purchased. Since I had no maintenance records, I immediately changed the engine, gearbox, and FD oil. The FD oil appeared a little dark, and nothing on the plug magnet. Is my bike from a year that I need to be more concerned about? I've decided that its so easy to change the FD oil that I'll do it every 6K miles when I do engine oil. Anything else I can do pre-emptively?

Thanks again!

Matt
Derry, PA
2004 K1200LT Black (the fastest and most reliable color, I'm told)
1998 Vulcan 800 Classic
2007 KTM 250 XCF-W
jmsnyder01 is offline  
post #35 of 141 Old Nov 13th, 2012, 9:13 pm
Senior Member
 
K100Dennis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Railton, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 876
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Unless the gear oil has been in the FD "for ever" and hence may be suffering from some slight oxidation, it should come out clean and not discoloured, especially not dark in colour. If you still have the oil, tip some into a tall type plastic bottle, then fix a very strong and as large as possible magnet to the side or under the bottle. leave it for some hours then have a look. If the oil is clear and a black patch is adjacent the magnet, you have the very finest of steel being shed from a bearing, most probably the crown ball bearing (61917 c3). This very fine ferrous metal will not exhibit on the FD magnetic plug (too early in the failure process). If the oil is darkened but sparkly in strong light, you may have aluminium / magnesium in the oil, which may indicate the pinion needle roller inner ring has move axially into the casing. This visual oil inspection is a proactive maintenance strategy. Hope this helps, Dennis.

Dennis
1987 Yamaha TY250R
1991 Aprilia Climber 280
1988 K100RT (the pack horse)
2005 K1200LTE Light yellow metallic
K100Dennis is offline  
post #36 of 141 Old Nov 27th, 2012, 7:12 am
Junior Member
 
jmsnyder01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Derry, PA, USA
Posts: 20
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thanks, Dennis. I did the thing with the magnet. It had no effect. I also looked to see if it was 'sparkly' in strong light, and it wasn't. I suspect that the oil in the FD may have just been old. It was dark, but when I looked at it closely under the light, it actually had more of a dark green hue than a black hue. I'm going to save it and then compare it when I change the FD oil at the next 6000 mile mark.

Thanks again, Dennis, and everyone else that shares your expertise.

Matt
Derry, PA
2004 K1200LT Black (the fastest and most reliable color, I'm told)
1998 Vulcan 800 Classic
2007 KTM 250 XCF-W
jmsnyder01 is offline  
post #37 of 141 Old Dec 12th, 2012, 3:39 pm
Senior Member
 
FatStrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Lake Helen, Florida, USA
Posts: 231
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

After determining that the preload on the Crown wheel bearing was excessive... and making a shim adjustment to correct this...has this modification resulted in greater durability / reliability?

I'm about to pull the trigger on a low mileage 05. If reliability can be restored to something that should last the life of the bike...I'd save myself the trouble of a possible surprise somewhere far from home by correcting the situation now.

What do you think?
FatStrat is offline  
post #38 of 141 Old Dec 12th, 2012, 4:25 pm
Senior Member
 
mwnahas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Bedford Hts, OH, USA
Posts: 4,194
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Bob
Here's what I think. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I bought an 03 over an 02 because the BMW was paying more attention to the problem by then and failure rates dropped off. My 03 has over 80K miles, with no FD failure. I had the clutch and the trunk latch fail. Nethier of which stranded me. Since its just a small percentage of bad FD odds are you'll never see the issue. Worry less and ride more. But if it will make you worry less by all means have someone rebuild it for you. Good luck with whatever you decide.

Just Go
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Mike
Cleveland Ohio
2014 K1600 GTL Grey Wolf.

Last edited by mwnahas; Dec 12th, 2012 at 6:25 pm.
mwnahas is offline  
post #39 of 141 Old Dec 12th, 2012, 4:41 pm
Lifetime Supporter
 
deanwoolsey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Topeka, KS, USA
Posts: 3,105
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

It's pretty easy to pull the FD out with basic tools. You could pop it out and have one of the gurus check your pre-load if it worries you too much. Personally, I would not worry about it and I've had the failure.

You can check the plug and lose very little oil. Just get an extra plug and clean up around the threads good before you pull it. Have the extra in your strong hand and finish unscrewing the drain with your weak hand, then trade them out quickly and top off the oil. I've done this and lost at most a few tablespoons of oil. You then have all the time in the world to look over the sludge, etc. on the plug that was removed. Just check your drain plug frequently and if you see shiny specs, tear it down.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
deanwoolsey is offline  
post #40 of 141 Old Dec 12th, 2012, 5:37 pm
Senior Member
 
K100Dennis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Railton, Tasmania, Australia
Posts: 876
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Bob, I don't/wouldn't disagree with Dean for a moment, but please see my post (Nov 13th) on this. It all comes down to how concerned you are in regard to heading off any potential failure. I was pretty keen to mitigate against a failure part way into a trip across Australia, with obvious consequences associated with being stranded in such remote locations. For the record, my '05 FD did have an over preloaded crown assembly, and the pinion needle roller inner race has also moved away from the pinion face by approximately 1 mm. My bike has 39,000 Km's on the clock. The 61917 c3 bearing I removed after finding the extremely fine ferrous metal in the oil, upon close examination with a magnifying glas, could be seen to have micro-pitting on both raceways. That bearing looked perfect to the naked eye, yet it was in the very early stages of failure. I am still to correct the pinion needle roller inner race displacement problem, when I'll also remove the crown tapered roller inner raceway and secure a new one with Loctite retaining compound. Like I said, it all comes down to your own level of concern regarding a potential failure. Run to failure is a perfectly acceptable strategy for some, and that's fine. Hope this helps, Dennis

Dennis
1987 Yamaha TY250R
1991 Aprilia Climber 280
1988 K100RT (the pack horse)
2005 K1200LTE Light yellow metallic
K100Dennis is offline  
post #41 of 141 Old Dec 12th, 2012, 10:35 pm
Senior Member
 
FatStrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Lake Helen, Florida, USA
Posts: 231
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Thanks for the re-assurance guys. I'm struggling as to whether I'm going ahead with this or not. This appears to be the right bike for the kind of riding that I do (that, and it's so pleasing to the eye).

The question is... "does properly setting the preload result in the longevity that should be expected"? Is there any anecdotal, or otherwise, information that points to evidence that this potential problem can be corrected with proper assembly, and an extended service life of the unit be gained?

I'm hoping that CharleyVT might shed some light on the success rate that he has had after many rebuilds.

Thanks again folks, oh... and G'Day!
FS
FatStrat is offline  
post #42 of 141 Old Dec 13th, 2012, 6:13 am Thread Starter
Senior Member
 
CharlieVT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: , ,
Posts: 4,271
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatStrat
...The question is... "does properly setting the preload result in the longevity that should be expected"? Is there any anecdotal, or otherwise, information that points to evidence that this potential problem can be corrected with proper assembly, and an extended service life of the unit be gained?.....
Okay, here we go again, but since you asked.....

My well considered conclusion is that K1200LT final drive failures are a result of assembly and/or manufacturing errors, not a failure of the basic design of the drive.

In my opinion a preemptive rebuild makes the most sense for early model bikes, 99-03 since those are the bikes that had most of the crown wheel bearing failures. 2005s are worth looking into because of the incidence of the spun tapered roller bearing in this year group. Also, once I started routinely looking for the creeping input pinion needle bearing race, I realized that is a fairly common finding, but doesn't result in catastrophic failure that often and not until relatively high mileage; this isn't a problem that I would open a drive to look for specifically, but any time a final is opened the creeping input pinion needle bearing race should be checked for.

My personal experience with rebuild success isn't as good an indication of the value of a preemptive rebuild as is the information that was garnered over several years from good folks on this board who are professional mechanics or mechanical engineers and in some cases were both professional mechanics and mechanical engineers during their careers. The mechanical engineers were unanimous in one central fact: excess pre-load on the crown wheel bearing will lead to premature failure. This information combined with my observation that virtually all final drives with failed crown wheel bearings were found to have excess pre-load led to the conclusion that excess pre-load was the central factor in premature failure.

I should try to recall all the folks who contributed to this effort over the years. The problem with a list like this is that some folks will be left out, so with the caveat that this list is not all inclusive, and apologies to those omitted, here some of the contributors to the effort to understand final drive failures, in no particular order: dshealy, dman, realwing, saddleman, jzeiler, K100Dennis, neil_peterson. Thanks to all those who took the time so share their knowledge and experience in thoughtful posts on the subject.

(To those lesser contributors, the shoot from the hip gunsmith who was going to build a better bearing in his gun shop, and all other "better bearing" builders, to those who would convert the K1200LT to chain drive, etc., thanks for the entertainment. )

Of the 50 or so final drives I have rebuilt, I know of only one that went on to fail again. It was off an RT, not a K1200LT. While I don't know why this final drive went on to a repeat crown wheel bearing failure I would not interpret it as an indication that proper rebuild does not improve the future longevity of a drive. I suspect I must have done something to damage the bearing during assembly; the rebuild of this particular drive is lost in my memory, but during my learning curve I had occasion to get a crown wheel bearing jammed in the cover due to misalignment during final assembly and this could have caused micro-stress to the bearing setting the stage for failure. The rider of that RT was understanding, stated that he was an Iron Butt rider and rode his bikes hard, however, I do not think riding habits caused the repeat failure; when rebuilding this RT final drive the second time, the pre-load setting did not need changing.

In my opinion, if a K1200LT final drive preemptive rebuild didn't cost time or money, it would always be worth doing; consider it like maintenance work in aviation. Rather than the "don't fix what isn't broken" approach, in the case of early model K1200LTs I consider a preemptive rebuild to be preventative maintenance.

The decision to rebuild is like buying any insurance policy, what do you consider your risks are? If you always ride close to home your risk is different than if you are planning a long trip where a vacation could be ruined by loss of days, money, and hassle.

No doubt there are brands and models of motorcycles out there with better reliability reputations, but remember that the vast majority of K1200LTs are problem free. People post where there are problems, not when things are going fine. And for those of us who love the K1200LT, there still is nothing out there that compares in comfort and performance in a long distance touring motorcycle. The K1200LT is a classic and remarkable work of engineering, and it still has no peer in its class.

Hope this helps in your decision making.

Addendum: If you have found a low mileage 2005, at the right price I say jump on it.
If I found a 2005 locally with low mileage, I'd consider upgrading my 2000 to an 05.

Last edited by CharlieVT; Dec 13th, 2012 at 8:23 am.
CharlieVT is offline  
post #43 of 141 Old Dec 13th, 2012, 6:13 am
Junior Member
 
jmsnyder01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Derry, PA, USA
Posts: 20
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Hi, Bob. In my humble opinion, I believe you are over-thinking this.You do hear a lot about FD problems, but that's because the people talking about it on this forum are ones that either have the problem, or ones that are helping the guys that have the problem. The reality is that the highest rate I've seen here is a 4% failure rate, and that was in the early models. Your model comes after the initial bloom of failures, so its probably way less than that. Of course, there's always a risk of something going wrong. The only bike that never has a problem is one that never leaves the garage. But give me 96% or better odds of having no problems on a low mileage '05 bike that is heads and shoulders above any other bike out there of its type (again, my humble opinion!), and I'll take that every time - the reward far out-weighs the risk.

Matt
Derry, PA
2004 K1200LT Black (the fastest and most reliable color, I'm told)
1998 Vulcan 800 Classic
2007 KTM 250 XCF-W
jmsnyder01 is offline  
post #44 of 141 Old Dec 13th, 2012, 11:36 am
Senior Member
 
FatStrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Lake Helen, Florida, USA
Posts: 231
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
Okay, here we go again, but since you asked.....

My well considered conclusion is that K1200LT final drive failures are a result of assembly and/or manufacturing errors, not a failure of the basic design of the drive.

In my opinion a preemptive rebuild makes the most sense for early model bikes, 99-03 since those are the bikes that had most of the crown wheel bearing failures. 2005s are worth looking into because of the incidence of the spun tapered roller bearing in this year group. Also, once I started routinely looking for the creeping input pinion needle bearing race, I realized that is a fairly common finding, but doesn't result in catastrophic failure that often and not until relatively high mileage; this isn't a problem that I would open a drive to look for specifically, but any time a final is opened the creeping input pinion needle bearing race should be checked for.

My personal experience with rebuild success isn't as good an indication of the value of a preemptive rebuild as is the information that was garnered over several years from good folks on this board who are professional mechanics or mechanical engineers and in some cases were both professional mechanics and mechanical engineers during their careers. The mechanical engineers were unanimous in one central fact: excess pre-load on the crown wheel bearing will lead to premature failure. This information combined with my observation that virtually all final drives with failed crown wheel bearings were found to have excess pre-load led to the conclusion that excess pre-load was the central factor in premature failure.

I should try to recall all the folks who contributed to this effort over the years. The problem with a list like this is that some folks will be left out, so with the caveat that this list is not all inclusive, and apologies to those omitted, here some of the contributors to the effort to understand final drive failures, in no particular order: dshealy, dman, realwing, saddleman, jzeiler, K100Dennis, neil_peterson. Thanks to all those who took the time so share their knowledge and experience in thoughtful posts on the subject.

(To those lesser contributors, the shoot from the hip gunsmith who was going to build a better bearing in his gun shop, and all other "better bearing" builders, to those who would convert the K1200LT to chain drive, etc., thanks for the entertainment. )

Of the 50 or so final drives I have rebuilt, I know of only one that went on to fail again. It was off an RT, not a K1200LT. While I don't know why this final drive went on to a repeat crown wheel bearing failure I would not interpret it as an indication that proper rebuild does not improve the future longevity of a drive. I suspect I must have done something to damage the bearing during assembly; the rebuild of this particular drive is lost in my memory, but during my learning curve I had occasion to get a crown wheel bearing jammed in the cover due to misalignment during final assembly and this could have caused micro-stress to the bearing setting the stage for failure. The rider of that RT was understanding, stated that he was an Iron Butt rider and rode his bikes hard, however, I do not think riding habits caused the repeat failure; when rebuilding this RT final drive the second time, the pre-load setting did not need changing.

In my opinion, if a K1200LT final drive preemptive rebuild didn't cost time or money, it would always be worth doing; consider it like maintenance work in aviation. Rather than the "don't fix what isn't broken" approach, in the case of early model K1200LTs I consider a preemptive rebuild to be preventative maintenance.

The decision to rebuild is like buying any insurance policy, what do you consider your risks are? If you always ride close to home your risk is different than if you are planning a long trip where a vacation could be ruined by loss of days, money, and hassle.

No doubt there are brands and models of motorcycles out there with better reliability reputations, but remember that the vast majority of K1200LTs are problem free. People post where there are problems, not when things are going fine. And for those of us who love the K1200LT, there still is nothing out there that compares in comfort and performance in a long distance touring motorcycle. The K1200LT is a classic and remarkable work of engineering, and it still has no peer in its class.

Hope this helps in your decision making.

Addendum: If you have found a low mileage 2005, at the right price I say jump on it.
If I found a 2005 locally with low mileage, I'd consider upgrading my 2000 to an 05.

Thank you Charley for your in depth reply. The fact that only one FD that you rebuilt failed a second time speaks volumes. I interpret that as "you got something right that the factory got wrong".

Jim Snyder,
You're probably right that I'm over thinking this thing. At this stage of my life, this is probably going to be the last motorcycle that I will be buying. I want to get it right.
I've gotten alot of info from this forum lurking about. I've been scouring this place for two weeks with every free moment to get a feel of how you guys view your bikes. As a collective, it appears as though the overwhelming majority appreciate the machine.

Well...armed with this knowledge...just as soon as I finish this post, I'm off to negotiate a deal on a "Pristine" 05 LT. Wish me luck!

Thanks to all,

FS
FatStrat is offline  
post #45 of 141 Old Dec 14th, 2012, 2:05 pm
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Lawrenceville, PA, USA
Posts: 5,099
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmsnyder01
Hi, Bob. In my humble opinion, I believe you are over-thinking this.You do hear a lot about FD problems, but that's because the people talking about it on this forum are ones that either have the problem, or ones that are helping the guys that have the problem. The reality is that the highest rate I've seen here is a 4% failure rate, and that was in the early models. Your model comes after the initial bloom of failures, so its probably way less than that. Of course, there's always a risk of something going wrong. The only bike that never has a problem is one that never leaves the garage. But give me 96% or better odds of having no problems on a low mileage '05 bike that is heads and shoulders above any other bike out there of its type (again, my humble opinion!), and I'll take that every time - the reward far out-weighs the risk.
I agree with you on most points. I don't let the risk of FD failure diminish my enjoyment of my 07 LT, even though it has been leaking oil from the FD boot for a year now. I will probably pull the FD this winter and take a look at it.

I place no credibility in the 4% number. It has been a while since I saw the origin of that number, but I recall thinking of the time that it was not based on much fact. I think only BMW knows what the failure rate really is/was. Regardless of the real number, the fact that we know about so many failures from this forum, from Iron Butt results, etc., clearly shows that this was a serious problem for BMW and LT owners.

2007 K1200LT "Starship Enterprise"
VOICE II
Navigator V
Motorrad Communicator
Voyager is online now  
post #46 of 141 Old Mar 25th, 2013, 10:29 pm
Senior Member
 
copperstatetour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Avondale, AZ, USA
Posts: 794
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

I am resurrecting this thread instead of starting yet another FD failure thread. I am concerned that my FD on my 2000 LT is heading down the path to failure and I was hoping that some of the experts could chime in and tell me if I am panicking needlessly or whether I should be removing it and sending it off for repair.

This FD oil change was done at ~37,100 miles and the fluid is just under 5,000 miles old. The first pic is the glop of stuff that was on the magnetic plug, there were no 'shavings' of any kind, just this silty, sludge of particles too small for my eye to resolve and my fingers to feel. Apparently I am not smart enough to get my pictures in the text so you'll have to view the attachments - See pic titled "5k drain magnet sludge".

Next is the fluid removed and placed in a clear glass container held up the the light of day to demonstrate opacity: see pic titled "5k fluid in jar".

I put a magnet on the side of the jar to let it set and attract any metal that was in the fluid, here is a pic some time later with a light shining on the other side of the jar showing the glob that had collected at the magnet: see pic titled "5k fluid accumulation"

and here it is removed from the side of the jar on my finger, same as the sludge that was on the drain magnet: see pic titled "5k accumulated sludge"

These pictures were about 500 miles later when I changed the FD fluid again just to see what was going on, same stuff just significantly less (obviously since 10% of the mileage): see pics titled "500mi drain plug" and "500mi drain on finger".

and a comparison of the 2 side by side, 500 miles on left, ~5,000 miles on right: see pic titled "500mi to 5k compare".

Finally, yet another piece of the happenings down in FD land, I am collecting an unknown (but suspected FD fluid) on the front lower arm thing on the FD, leaking out of the boot. I pulled back the boot to see which way it is coming from (those pictures didn't really come out well at all), and I am fairly confident that it is creeping forward from the direction of the FD, the shaft side that goes to the transmission was as dry as stale bread but there was a little residue on the FD side of the joint: see pic titled "Accumulating oil".

So hopefully I did not provide too much info but enough to provide for a reasonable diagnosis over the internet. The bike currently has 39,500 on the clock, was going to do another fluid change to add to this but I am so busy that hasn't happened yet so this is the info I have available.

Am I gonna live doc?!?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	5k drain magnet sludge.jpg
Views:	272
Size:	53.3 KB
ID:	38017   Click image for larger version

Name:	5k fluid accumulation.JPG
Views:	269
Size:	94.4 KB
ID:	38018   Click image for larger version

Name:	5k accumulated sludge.jpg
Views:	262
Size:	46.7 KB
ID:	38019   Click image for larger version

Name:	500mi drain plug.JPG
Views:	266
Size:	121.8 KB
ID:	38020   Click image for larger version

Name:	500mi drain on finger.JPG
Views:	242
Size:	113.5 KB
ID:	38021  

Click image for larger version

Name:	500mi to 5k compare.JPG
Views:	271
Size:	117.2 KB
ID:	38022  

-Steve

2000 BMW K1200LT
2000 BMW R1200C
copperstatetour is offline  
post #47 of 141 Old Mar 26th, 2013, 11:26 am
Wrencher Extraordinaire
 
jzeiler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hazel Green, AL, USA
Posts: 11,461
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Steve,


I see nothing in your text or photos that makes me think your drive is on the way out. A magnetic paste or suspended magnetic fuzz in the oil is quite normal for a low mileage drive.

If it was dark and the sediment that was not magnetic it would indicate a taper bearing spinning on the spigot. If there were shiny flakes on the magnet it would indicate a large ball bearing failure was imminent.

Now for the oil in the boot. It could be the pinion seal leaking but that is fairly benign and can be tolerated until it "flows" out. Best way to check for sure is to remove the drive from the swing arm for a better look.

All I see is normal gear wear. We will see what Curtis has to say.

John
2009 K1300GT
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 Ocean Blue Blue Wizard
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN


CCR 06 Braselton CCR 07 Osage Beach CCR 08 Midway
CCR 09 Rapid City CCR 10 Killington, VT,CCR 11 Boise, CCR 12 Duluth
CCR 2013 Bend, CCR 2014 Backyard! CCR 2015 Couer d'Alene

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
jzeiler is offline  
post #48 of 141 Old Jun 17th, 2013, 7:04 am
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Svartrċ, , Sweden
Posts: 2
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Hi everyone, i'm new to this forum
and to make along story short, i just had my first FD bearing failure.
and the way it's designed i doubt it would be the last,
so my questione is , has anybody thought about puttin a tapered rollerbearing
instead of the groved ballbearing on the crownwheel side.
i've been diggin in several FD on varius kind of cars and they all got tapered bearings
on both sides of the FD. so after open this one and see a single grove ballbearing
made me suspicius
i have already ordered new bearings ,
but i also ordered a tapered bearing. and i will try to make it work,
and if not, i'll go back to the standard bearings

so if anyone knows anything about why it's designed the way it is
and recomend me not to try a tapered bearing, because??

by the way the bike is a 2000 modell and done 45000 miles
Bismarck is offline  
post #49 of 141 Old Jun 17th, 2013, 12:30 pm
Wrencher Extraordinaire
 
jzeiler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Hazel Green, AL, USA
Posts: 11,461
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

If you take the time and do your research here you will find that the design is fine but were missassembled at the factory with too much preload. This occurred mostly up to about mid 2002.

Yes others have looked at a taper bearing but this one is actually over designed for the loads. Also setting a proper preload for a large taper would be difficult at best given the case design.

The preload is there for the small taper bearing and if done correctly will not affect the large bearing. If done incorrectly too much preload will take out the large ball bearing. We have members here that have collectively re-build over 75 of these and the root cause for big bearing failure has always been over shimming by a factor of 2x. There are a couple of other failure modes such as the taper bearing spinning on the spindle, race creep on the pinion gear roller bearing, but they are rare.

John
2009 K1300GT
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 Ocean Blue Blue Wizard
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN


CCR 06 Braselton CCR 07 Osage Beach CCR 08 Midway
CCR 09 Rapid City CCR 10 Killington, VT,CCR 11 Boise, CCR 12 Duluth
CCR 2013 Bend, CCR 2014 Backyard! CCR 2015 Couer d'Alene

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
jzeiler is offline  
post #50 of 141 Old Jun 17th, 2013, 1:04 pm
Senior Member
 
copperstatetour's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Avondale, AZ, USA
Posts: 794
Re: Indications of impending FD failure

Just in case anyone (besides me) cares, to provide an update on my post #46 above, I drained the fluid that was in there at the time I made that post after about 1,000 miles of use and there was absolutely nothing to report. I would have posted a pic to show everyone but just go pour some brand new gear oil in a jar and you will see the same thing; nothing on the plug magnet either, and I mean nothing. Whatever was getting ground up in there is ground up and gone.

I refilled with Redline in order to try to diagnose the buildup of oil on my paralever arm, the thinking being red colored oil collecting in the boot and on the arm means it's coming from the back, gear oil color it's coming from the front. Well, that effort has been unsuccessful. I have 2,000 on the redline and so far there is nothing seeping whereas before I was collecting crud and oil residue in a few hundred miles. At the risk of starting an oil thread this could be the first time replacing dino with synthetic has stopped a leak rather than creating one

Before anyone asks, the rear was not previously overfilled, used the same baby bottle marked for the fillup so the quantity is equal in all fills. A cautionary note about the baby bottle refill method, if you have a baby, check with your wife before you commandeer a bottle for use to avoid the wrath that ensues from using the wrong bottle

-Steve

2000 BMW K1200LT
2000 BMW R1200C
copperstatetour is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the BMW Luxury Touring Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in









Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Poll...How many folks have had final drive problems missusfinz RT Series 126 Aug 16th, 2015 7:59 pm
What are the suspected reasons for final drive failures av8trto K1200LT 49 May 31st, 2012 7:02 pm
Final Drive Failure (Warning Light System) Tourdog K1200LT 26 Nov 3rd, 2008 8:02 pm
final drive impending failure light beck0007 K1200LT 18 Jul 3rd, 2008 3:29 pm
Final Drive Failures at 4% rate? hallzee K1200LT 27 Nov 24th, 2007 3:49 pm

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome