Rear or Final Drive Failure - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 1:58 am Thread Starter
 
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Thumbs down Rear or Final Drive Failure

Some of you may recall a post on the previous site where I asked about experiences with rear drive failure. To refresh your memory, after taking our bike for a 13,000 km tour of the US, my wife and I were at the Grand Canyon when we suffered a major failure in the rear or final drive. Although we discovered it before it could do so, the result of this failure can sometimes be that a large amount of oil is dropped on the rear wheel without warning. I have since discovered that there are many, many reported cases on the US site and an ongoing survey is being conducted. It appears that the problem has not been so common downunder but it has occurred. Anyhoo! I approached my local dealer and asked them to make approaches to BMW Australia on my behalf to see about a goodwill repair. This I know, has occurred many times in the US with some owners getting it done twice.

HA!!

Here in Australia, I had no such luck. Even though the problem was exactly the same, bearing collapse which leads to seals getting chewed out and all sorts of other damage, the answer from BMW Australia was that because the bike is more than six years old (It's a 99), they can't assist me. Great! I am now stuck with a $1200 repair bill for something that, I believe, should have been done on a general safety recall. Of course it wasn't because that would have cost too much.

Now that I have had my little whinge, I would like to stress to you all to consider checking the bearings on the rear drive, especially if your bike is an earlier model like mine. My failure occurred at 50,000 km, which is not a great deal of travelling in the big scheme of things. I realise that it is a big job to check the condition of these bearings but you may end up saving yourself a lot of money in the long run.

If someone from BMW Australia is reading this, I would like you to know how disappointed I am. I love my bike but I am not very happy with your lack of consideration. Even half would have been nice.
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post #2 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 2:54 am
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G'day Fitzy,
Sorry to hear about your rear end (so to speak)...nasty! Whilst such failures don't appear to have been that common downunder, Phil Ward has made up for it now having suffered two of them!

Considering that BMW know of this problem, it is really disappointing to discover that they won't even consider coming to the party to replace (or at least discount) the parts.

The lawyer in me questions whether there is an action available and if their attitude would change if such was suggested...I'm thinking about Fair Trading Acts and the like and might get back to you on that front...

Cheers mate,

Ian
Melbourne, Australia

2000 K1200LT Grey - 'The Airbus'
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post #3 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 3:11 am Thread Starter
 
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Thumbs up

Thanks Ian,

I would like to say that they haven't heard the last of me yet. I am sure that I won't be the last to have this happen either. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know.

Fitzy
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post #4 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 1:32 pm
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by fitzy79
Thanks Ian,

I would like to say that they haven't heard the last of me yet. I am sure that I won't be the last to have this happen either. If you have any suggestions for me, please let me know.

Fitzy
Morning Fitzy,
Ahhhhhh the memories come spewing back .....that is ....of a whole load of oil over the back wheel, brake, Sydney peak hour traffic (which of course could be any time of the day....) SWMO on the back, winter pitch black time, and still vivid memories of explanations on why this BMW very expensive bike was needed.........

This of course after a 21 year stint of riding my old trusty, ever faithful Yammy XS1100E.......with not even a blink of discomfort from the rear drive.

A right royal PITA at the least. I had to ask SWMO to walk about 3kms while I limped home on Beryl Beemer in 1st gear....verrrrrryyyyyyyy slowly before getting the cage to pick up SWMO who took refuge in a pizza shop.

Now do you think I was slightly put out????????

This was one of a number of dealings I had very early on in the piece with BMW, and the national service manager....who always gave me the impression he was personally paying for repairs to Beryl, (rear brake pads, disk, rear drive bearings, pinion shaft seal that drives the rear drive crown gear, (the one that then lets oil from the rear drive up through the drive shaft tunnel and appears outta the lower rubber boot)...blah blah

Don't bother talking to these guys....you end up banging things against the wall....dong! Write/fax/email (do all three otherwise they may say they didn't get the correspondence...) to Mr BMW Oz himself....they rotate these teflon guys every couple of years, sorta like "before the mud sticks" thing, BUT the couple of times I have had to write to different CEO's it achieved the desired result.

boring??? extremely so, that this guy has to deal with things like this.

The USA guys have collected heaps of data on this subject.....and always appear to change the complete rear drive assembly when ever there is a problem....here they change the bearings and seal unless there is some damage with the crown and pinion gears themselves....labour must be cheap here.....not from my last exhaust valve experience......

ok winge time over...Beryl is chugging along nicely, 131250kms on the clock, 99 model from the 2nd shipment to Oz.....off down to Canberra again this weekend with SWMO....makes a good weekend away.

Where you located at Fitzy.....you put yourself on the "where you are map" at all from one of my previous posts??

cheers

Phill
78XS1100E "The Tardis" (ret)
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post #5 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 8:16 pm
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Hi Fitsy.
Remember reading about your troubles, pity to hear they are "on-going".
I spoke to an owner of a 99 LT while in Thredbo the other week, he had around 50,000km on it, and said he was selling it, I think because he had a sense something was going wrong... any way it was a quick conversation in passing, hope its not another one about to bite the oily dust.

On a lighter note, there was a link (somewhere I think amongst the LT site...) to some travel tales of an Aussie going across the US, was that your travels, or someone who led you to give it a go?
Would like to find that link again.
It gave me an idea that I might fly in a couple of years time (50th heading my way) of using up some frequent flyers and trying to do bike-swap, if someone from the US wants to travel Oz for a month or two at the same time...

Anyway, anyone know the link please repost, and all the best with your "negotiations", good to see onions might be able to give you some support...
well done Ian!

Chris
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post #6 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 9:33 pm Thread Starter
 
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Gidday Chris,

Yes that was us travelling around America. Onions posted the link to our website in the old forums. I still have my website up and running there may be a few links that you have trouble with but nothing serious. I haven't been maintaining it since I got back. Despite all the troubles I had with Customs and a few mechanical, we had the best holiday of our lives (and we have had a few). In hindsight, I would probably think about trying to do the same as what you are contemplating or even buy something and sell it on consignment before leaving. A brand new 05 LT was $20,000 USD on the showroom floor, so you can imagine that you would get a 2nd hand one reasonably cheap. If you do consider it, I have made quite a few very handy contacts as well as some lifelong friends that just love to host Australians so let me know.

Anyway, have a look at the website and if you want to know anymore send me a PM. www.geocities.com/terryfitzmaurice There are also more photos on the Blue Knights website photos page www.bkaus1.org
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post #7 of 34 Old Dec 8th, 2005, 9:42 pm
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hey, thats the one! Thanks Terry.
I'll bookmark and read when I get some leisuretime.
I've had to do a lot of extra work hours in the "getting stupid near Xmas" frantic period, that and having to clock up some more k's on the bike to try to catch up to Spike... ;-)

Got it over 5000k's now Spike, if you happen to see this!
And doesn't that engine run beautifully between 5-8k revs!

Chris
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post #8 of 34 Old Dec 9th, 2005, 2:06 am
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This link will hook you up with the (drive failure) survey results done on this site . It also indicates how the matter was resolved with BMW. There is a ton of info in this survey.



http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/survey.p...results&sid=28
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post #9 of 34 Old Dec 9th, 2005, 5:08 am
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Do let us know when you start planning your US holidays. There are many folks up here that would be glad to help you plan, maybe offer a place to stay, or even a bike to ride. Just make sure you plan out what's highest on your list of things to see, as you could easily spend a lifetime here and still not see it all.

Ken
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post #10 of 34 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 12:26 am
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Hi Fitzy

Had my rear end failure just over 12 months ago (October 2004) with 42000kms on the clock. Did not even consider giving BMW a call (99A model, second-hand bike, did not think of it, etc). We were out on a local Ulysses ride when we noticed the noise in the back. With no other way to get home, we rode very carefully back about 100kms or so. It was a very sorry sight by the time we got home. Anyway got it to my local mechanic (ex BMW trained) who got it fixed for me, still cost $1200 though.

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post #11 of 34 Old Dec 10th, 2005, 12:57 am Thread Starter
 
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Do you know Brian, you have got me wondering now, how many others are in a similar situation as you. I think that a lot of the problem in Oz may be that nobody has ever really taken them on. I am going to make a call to Department of Transport and Regional Services (DOTARS) and see what they think about the safety aspect of this situation. The more I think about the lack of consideration, and what's more, the lack of publicised warning of a potentially life threatening situation when they know about it, the less amused I am.

Fitzy
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post #12 of 34 Old Jan 31st, 2006, 3:09 pm
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Cool The "how to change your own rear drive bearing"

Mooooorning,

Just been trolling the USA forum in the last week and they have a couple of good replies to this problem,,,,

Wellllllllllll..... one has to select the good stuff and keep a print out within your hardcopy of the manual...

Have attached a Word doc of what needs to be done to change the rear drive bearing....seems fairly straight forward and you don't even have to remove the complete drive from the bike. Looks like remove the rear wheel and take the guts of the drive out from here....

This is a worth while doc to pin up on your garage wall....
Attached Files
File Type: doc REAR DRIVE BEARING REPLACEMENT.doc (55.5 KB, 388 views)
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post #13 of 34 Old Feb 5th, 2006, 8:11 am
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I just read thru this thread, one of seemingly hundreds on the subject. I have had my rear end stuff up while away on tour (2000LT). If the main theme of the thread is to comment on the attitude of BMW to the problem in Australia, then thats fine. In the US they did better with many of the affected people getting assistance from BMW USA. I was one and though my bike was out of miles, the labor and parts were free. The overall attitude of BMW to the problem has been well commented upon in the main forum for years so I can't add meaningfully to that.

Two facts are clear though - the ratio of affected bikes was 3-4% and the problem was largely (or totally in some people's minds) restricted to earlier bikes (sometime in 2002 I believe was the cutover point). So, while "lots of bikes" may literally be true, I think it also needs to be seen in perspective of the above numbers.

There is a new part that seems to fix the issue. Phil shows the detail in his post. In the US, the pricing is a little different between dealers, but the #2 dealer in the US, Bob's BMW in Maryland, quotes ~$148 including labor to change the part. For those concerned, seems like it might be worthwhile to get done on your next dealer visit just for the peace of mind.

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post #14 of 34 Old Feb 5th, 2006, 7:39 pm
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That 3%-4% figure is crap. We heard the same figure 4 years ago. Since the population of 1999-2002.5 bikes hasn't grown since then, and they're continuing to fail, its mathematically impossible. I'd bet its closer to 20% by now.

I do agree - if you have a pre-2002.5 bike, just go get the bearing replaced now. I do question the price quote. From previous discussions here, the bearing itself is over $100, and its got to be at least 2 hours to change it (more?). I suspect that price was for parts only. Whatever - $300 will rid you of the problem. Just do it.

Don Ferrario
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post #15 of 34 Old Feb 7th, 2006, 8:38 pm
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Don

I'd have to agree with your logic on the % of 99-02's affected, it can only be rising if its still happening. 20% may be a mythical figure as well though.

On the cost of the repair, look at post #2 on this thread....
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...al+cover+bolts
...I didn't click thru to see the original details as my popup blocker was too effective, but the words did say parts & labor.

I guess I do have a bit of a thing though on the topic of rear ends (not this thead) as we seem to have a line of riders in the US who won't ride their bike's any distance because they are worried about the rear end going - whats up with that! Its crybaby stuff really. As my mother said about my grandfather - he wouldn't throw a sprat to catch a mackeral.

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post #16 of 34 Old Mar 17th, 2006, 8:51 pm
 
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rebuilt final drive now spewing oil

spent $600.00 on final drive repair now the things spreading lude all over the rear tire.
took it back to the dealer a he says the oil is foaming and will come out the seal when the fluid is to high.

I took out the oil and calculated the quantity of oil roughly 8 oz is in the final drive.
or just below the treads on the fill hole
if anyone has had this before please let me know if you have had a deal like this
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post #17 of 34 Old Mar 17th, 2006, 9:23 pm
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Sounds like you did not get a new seal in the repair OR the breather on top is plugged. That would cause oil to pass by an otherwise good seal as the pressure built up. Foaming would not.

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post #18 of 34 Old Sep 1st, 2006, 1:15 pm
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Concerned Newbie (Rear bearings)

Just upgraded from a '90 K75C (only 12K miles) to a '00 K1200LTC and started lurking on the site. {I’ll keep the K75 for local commuting so please don't make me an offer I can't refuse!}

The LT has 18K miles and it seems that from 2002 on the rear bearing issues started to rear their UGLY heads.

I did find on post referring to a 2000 LT that had mega-miles on it with no problems.

For the happy owner of an almost new LT, should I expect "issues" with the 2000 with 18K miles? (Changing the gear oil tonight as a start, since I haven't yet received the previous owner’s maintenance records).
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post #19 of 34 Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 1:20 am
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There's no real easy way to tell if your rear drive is gonna fail or not. As near as we can tell, it happens to about 4% of the LTs, sometimes at high mileages, sometimes really low. Riding solo, or two-up, or even towing a trailer doesn't seem to have a direct effect on it. The incidence does seem to happen more frequently in the earlier years, and thin out sometime in the '03 model year, but later bikes have also failed. I had a '99 let go at 26K, and an '02 let go at 12K. Just be aware it's a weak point on the LT, check the rear wheel occasionally for any free play, roughness, or oil seepage. Otherwise, just ride it, and don't fret too much.

Ken
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post #20 of 34 Old Sep 2nd, 2006, 7:51 am
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LT Rear end

Ken,
Thanks for the info. I rode to the Burlington Rally earlier this summer on th K75 and didn't have any concerns after the 9K maintenance drill.
I'll do the same on the LT knowing that there is a greater probability for a great ride rather than the other.
Thanks to all for great info on this bike!
Paul
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post #21 of 34 Old Sep 3rd, 2006, 6:09 pm
 
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What is the difference between the LT final drive and other paralever models that causes them to fail more than the others.
I had to replace the output bearing on my '97 R1100RT at 100000km but it gave plenty of warning via a rumbling noise that it was failing. I assumed that the failure was primarily due to the fact the previous owner used the bike to tow a trailer - I bought it after 36000km.
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post #22 of 34 Old Sep 4th, 2006, 10:12 pm
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The LT is heavier, and often carrying two people with full luggage. But as you mentioned, the Paralever has also had problems on R bikes and GS bikes. I think BMW has simply reached its design limits, and had a rash of bad bearings coupled with some build quality issues.

Ken
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post #23 of 34 Old Aug 15th, 2009, 5:52 pm
 
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Hi everyone.
I've been drooling over the LT since its release, and have FINALLY saved enough to get one.
As lots of people do, I started searching the net for problems current owners may be having.
The FD issue scares the hell out me. The implications of an FD failing mid-bend at speed are disastrous.
I will have to seriously reconsider realising my long held dream of owning an LT.
But what are the alternatives??
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post #24 of 34 Old Aug 16th, 2009, 12:56 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

A pretty old thread you've dug up Sean.
Find '05 or later model (if you want the "latest" version of the bike) and take it for a run.... if you love it, buy it...
Things break, you fix them.
Enjoy the ride... mine's done just over 50k (km) and wouldn't give it up for quids, despite a few little problems from time to time.

The alternatives... a Goldwing.... some like 'em.

cheers

Chris
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post #25 of 34 Old Aug 16th, 2009, 7:05 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

The final drive issue seems to be running about 4%. An article I read a few months ago in the wall street journal said most companies expect manufacturing failures (i.e. returns) to be about 20%. So those aren't bad odds. I have never had any problems on my "02 and I'm at 43K miles. Hopefully I never will but if I do after reading all the things people have fixed here I'm guessing it's not to horrendous fixing it yourself. At least we have a great community here and access to a lot of really smart people. After 40 years of riding I will say this is the best bike I've ever owned. Of course the next best was an old R60/2 I used to ride back in the 70's. I'l repeat what one of our other members has said over and over. Buy it. Ride it like you stole it, and if it breaks fix it. This forum will be here to help.
Anything mechanical can have a failure, I worked on airplanes for 30 years and even with all the maintenance we would do they sometimes just break.
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post #26 of 34 Old Aug 16th, 2009, 10:59 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

I wish people would stop with the 4% and everythings better since 2005. Both statements are incorrect. Show me where you get this data and how you determine it to be accurate.

Yes, the final drive is an issue and yes, they still fail, even after 2005. Noone to date has indicated clearly that a catastrophic failure has occurred to cause a serious accident becaue of a failure. At worst, so far, it is annoyance, and a large repair bill if not under warranty. On my last final drive failure (had 2- one on a 2001, and one on a 2008 with 7500 miles on the clock), I was in the middle of nowhere WV. Options were to get it towed out of state or drive it to the nearest dealer. Third option was to drive it as long as I could, pointed home, to get to my dealer. We picked option 3. Oil was just slowly leaking out of my unit, so it allowed me to keep riding. I stopped every 50 miles to clean the oil off the tire ( with brake parts cleaner and rags, and every 100 miles I'd check/ top off with gear oil (I found some cheap gear oil in a small convenience store in WV- used it as I figured they had to replace the unit anyways. I was 2 up on this trip- just took every right hand turn carefully (even on the highway) and rode straight and left-handers normally. LaNett didn't want a plane or rental car. We made it back to NC and to my dealer who met me on a Sunday to take the bike in. Not all final drive failures will allow you to ride it any further, at all.

I say all this to point out that some of us, although we have known of the failure and had it happen more than once, are either too dense to know better, or really like this bike and are willing to take the chance.

We shouldn't have to worry about this, BMW has not stepped up and fixed it, and it still affects their potential customer base to this day. They can pay mags to give them good reviews, etc, but at the end of the day, until they fix this, the BMW badge is tarnished and it does not mean what it once did.

In the end, it's a great bike, and could be an even greater bike if and when someone finds a permanent fix for the final drive one day. When all works, this is an amazing machine, it really is.

You're limited in options if you want a luxury tourer. Good luck with your search.

Norwood and LaNett Dennis
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post #27 of 34 Old Aug 18th, 2009, 3:56 am
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Talking Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Hi ,

ich hatte das gleiche Problem bei meiner US-Tour in New Mexiko ;
Deming hieß die kleine Stadt !
Ich werde sie nie vergessen ......
Die Reperatur meines Kugellagers im Hinterantrieb hat total ca. 700 US-Dollars gekostet und auch ich hatte gehört , das in den USA BMW auf Kullanz reguliert . Also hatte ich mir keine Gedanken gemacht weil , so dachte ich , in meiner Heimat Deutschland das dann auch kein Problem wäre und ich das Geld wieder bekommen würde . Falsch gedacht !!! Man lernt halt nie aus )
Jetzt freue ich mich auf meine nächste Tour im Janur 2010 nach Australien !
Das Lager wird aber vorher hier noch genau kontrolliert , damit mir dort nicht noch einmal das Gleiche passiert !
Aber wenn man ehrlich ist , auf einer Tour kann immer etwas passieren . Damit muß man einfach rechnen und bei diesem Luxusliner werden Reperaturen halt ein wenig teurer wie normal !
Bis dahin und allzeit eine gute Fahrt wünscht Euch aus Deutschland

Hartmut der Smutje


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post #28 of 34 Old Aug 18th, 2009, 4:54 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCrider
I wish people would stop with the 4% and everythings better since 2005. Both statements are incorrect. Show me where you get this data and how you determine it to be accurate.
Gee, who said "everythings better since 2005" ?? Merely stated it's pretty much same as current model.... sheesh....

Chris
Sydney, NSW
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post #29 of 34 Old Aug 18th, 2009, 5:14 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Sorry Chris about the the 2005. I probably didn't read your post clearly. Others often say things are better since 2001 or 2005 or something to that effect, but the fact remains they still fail, even up to 2009 models.

Norwood and LaNett Dennis
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post #30 of 34 Old Aug 18th, 2009, 1:09 pm
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

In my opinion, with more power available at newer LTs, one may get Rear Drive more stressed. So, in theory the failure could even be worse with newer LTs ( I hope I am wrong!!!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by cws
Gee, who said "everythings better since 2005" ?? Merely stated it's pretty much same as current model.... sheesh....

Matt Kas

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post #31 of 34 Old Aug 18th, 2009, 4:38 pm
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCrider
I wish people would stop with the 4% and everythings better since 2005. Both statements are incorrect. Show me where you get this data and how you determine it to be accurate.
As has been discussed here many times, we originally got the 4% number from the horse's mouth. Not sure how much more authentic you want it to be

Still, that was a while ago and to be completely clear, what the man said (a BMW NA rep at an early CCR) was that 4% of LT's produced up to that point were subject to warranty work involving the FD. That doesn't necessarily mean 4% of FDs failed but it is a reasonable assumption to make.

There have been at least two reports I know of involving FD failures that dumped oil on the rear tire. Neither seems to have resulted in a crash but that was more dumb luck than anything else. To believe that a crash won't ever happen seems like a stretch to me.

The point remains - BMW has known about this issue for a long time and has ignored it. That's unacceptable to me and so I'm done with modern BMW's for the time being. I'll not pay a substantial premium for a bike with this type of liability. Especially when there are other options offering 90% of the functionality I care about for 50% of the price and do it with dead solid reliability

Todd R.
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post #32 of 34 Old Jan 3rd, 2012, 4:19 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCrider
Sorry Chris about the the 2005. I probably didn't read your post clearly. Others often say things are better since 2001 or 2005 or something to that effect, but the fact remains they still fail, even up to 2009 models.
Damn, and after reading some of the other threads, I was starting to feel relieved w/ the newer models. It would be beneficial to know what the percentage is of the newer models, especially before I buy one.
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post #33 of 34 Old Jan 3rd, 2012, 4:38 am
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Said it back then and I'll say it again, things break, get it fixed.... in between enjoy the ride, the LT is a great bike and can hardly be beat for comfort.
Pushing 88k on mine now... and still love it every day.

If you've read CharlieVT's threads (and I presume you have from some other posts I've seen you made), you'll get a clearer picture of the rear drive issues, he seems to have it pretty sussed.

Would I buy another LT.... absolutely.

Chris
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post #34 of 34 Old Jan 3rd, 2012, 7:25 pm
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Re: Rear or Final Drive Failure

Fitzy, I reckon that statistically speaking there will be 4% of the population of LT's in Oz that will suffer the FD failure. It's just that there wont be a very large number of them here, and not every owner will subscribe to this forum..That said, BMW needs to weed out the weasel amongst it's rear drive assembly techs who have obviously got the crown bearing preload wrong and piss him/her off out of it. You'll find that the maker has closed ranks on this problem and the frustration of trying to get some justice will ultimately wear you down and make you bitter. Box the FD up and send it to Curtis (Charlie VT) and you'll not need to worry about it again. He has the jigs, understands the failure, has a passion for what he does and (obviously) does good work. Buy a new unit and you risk a repeat failure.

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