How much time do I have? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 26 Old Jul 26th, 2014, 8:05 pm Thread Starter
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Question How much time do I have?

Changing the FD oil today and have found the first evidence of metal shavings on the magnetic plug. I change the FD oil very 6k with a Mobil 1 75-140 and it looked good as new when it drained today as it has on the past. 05 LT with almost 45k. Purchased used 3.5 years ago and have put just over 15k on it. Primarily used for daily commuting with a round trip of 30 miles. Spring and fall she will take me to NC and GA to officiate tournaments so it will see anywhere from 200-400 miles on some weekends. So, ballpark figure how long before having a total failure? What does a failure look like? Back wheel lock up? Grinding? Anything I can do to limp it along and stretch out a total failure? And of course, what kind of $pend am I in for? Look forward to the feedback.
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post #2 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 9:22 am
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Re: How much time do I have?

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post #3 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 9:29 am
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Re: How much time do I have?

What kind of shavings? What i mean is ..Shiny metal powder like dust? or shavings?.It's difficult to assumme it's failing without pics or more evidence.Also you saying the oil looked new. If it's actual semi large shavings.I wouldn't push it any further. Just bite the bullet and rebuild it or get it rebuilt. Thats the last thing you need is to be far away from home and have total FD failure. And if pushed far enough,it's sometimes too damaged to rebuild.Again i'm assuming on the info you've provided.There are a few guys on here that rebuild them.Dave Selvig is a guy that rebuilds them. He rebuilt mine. It's about $400.00.

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post #4 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 9:51 am
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Re: How much time do I have?

Small 'shavings' ok. Chips like off a lathe is bad. Did you take a picture?

Some people say you can check for 'play' in the rear wheel. Some hear a rumble noise, others see gear oil on the rear wheel. If it has happened there is no putting the cork back in the bottle.

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post #5 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 10:46 am
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Re: How much time do I have?

I was in denial after an oil change just prior to a trip...so I went anyway. My drive failed 700 miles into the trip in the middle of nowhere Kentucky. Trailer to Louisville and back on the road $1500 later.

My symptoms were vibration in the pegs followed by grinding and oil on the rear tire.

You would probably save some money if you pulled it down now.


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post #6 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 11:47 am
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Re: How much time do I have?

For me it would wreck the trip as I am wraped a little tight when it comes to repairs an maintenance .
As for the magnet collection grey/black is normal gear dust but any silver is repair me now .
Much better to pick your time an place to repair.
Any estimate of miles to go would just be WAG.

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1999LT gone , FD bearing silver shards at 70K
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post #7 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 12:27 pm Thread Starter
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Re: How much time do I have?

I failed to take a picture. Having just changed the oil and not having anything lined up outside of the daily commute I will probably give it another 1000 miles and drain the oil. Will take pics at that point. I don't have any other symptoms (yet) and the lube looks brand new every 6k miles when I drain it. Gonna have to strip the bike down at some point soon anyway to pin point a leak around the tranny. Probably a good time to get the FD done. What's a rebuild cost?
Thanks for the responses.
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post #8 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 1:01 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Ride it 20 miles or so & pull the drain plug after it sits overnight. Have someone hold a finger over the drain hole while you inspect the drain plug for more metal flakes. One flake is all it takes for the bearing to fail fairly soon.

If you ride it to far after the bearing fails you can damage the black seal cover & that adds over $250 to a rebuild. My rebuilds start at $400 & that includes the crown bearing, crown bearing seal & any necessary shims to achieve the correct preload.
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post #9 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 1:18 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaltyn View Post
Changing the FD oil today and have found the first evidence of metal shavings on the magnetic plug. I change the FD oil very 6k with a Mobil 1 75-140 and it looked good as new when it drained today as it has on the past. 05 LT with almost 45k. Purchased used 3.5 years ago and have put just over 15k on it. Primarily used for daily commuting with a round trip of 30 miles. Spring and fall she will take me to NC and GA to officiate tournaments so it will see anywhere from 200-400 miles on some weekends. So, ballpark figure how long before having a total failure? What does a failure look like? Back wheel lock up? Grinding? Anything I can do to limp it along and stretch out a total failure? And of course, what kind of $pend am I in for? Look forward to the feedback.
I would not start a trip after seeing any shavings at all on the drain plug. A very fine paste, yes, but anything that can be called a shaving indicates that failure is imminent. Get thy FD to Saddleman or other competent rebuilder ASAP.

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post #10 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 1:23 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Since you don't have photos, how does what you're seeing compare to what you've seen in the past? ANY change would and should cause concern. When they go, they go fast.
I repaired my own. Glad I did, and enjoyed the work. Not difficult at all.
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post #11 of 26 Old Jul 27th, 2014, 7:08 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

[QUOTE=gbaltyn;1035369]Changing the FD oil today and have found the first evidence of metal shavings on the magnetic plug. ... So, ballpark figure how long before having a total failure? What does a failure look like? Back wheel lock up? Grinding? Anything I can do to limp it along and stretch out a total failure? .../QUOTE]

If the metal on the drain plug magnet is shiney and reflects light, you have a problem. If you only have grey, fuzzy, metallic mud, it is okay.

Since you used the word "shavings", I suspect the former. Don't ride it. Don't try to get a few more miles out of it. Assuming it is a "classic" crown wheel bearing failure, further riding will lead to seal rupture, oil coming out on the rear wheel, and risk for additional damage inside the drive. I've never heard of a documented FD lock up, but the was an accident attributed to FD failure. Most folks are lucky and don't get hurt, but have the repair bills. It is kind of remarkable that no one has been hurt with so many cases of oil on the rear wheel having been reported.

Your best option is to remove the FD and ship it to Saddleman who has already posted in this thread.
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post #12 of 26 Old Jul 28th, 2014, 4:16 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Check out my recent posts....like has been said, shiny anything on the magnet, even shiny mush is the evidence you need a rebuild...DO IT! or don't drive far, if you feel the vibration in your foot pegs, or hear a rhythmic drone, The End Is NEAR!!! Send it to Saddleman, and he'll fix u up!!!

RICH CANNON
2000 K1200LT "a great ride"
2002 GL1800 powerful, but boring..(gone)
1979 XS1100 (gone)
1986 VT500 Ascot (gone)
1972 Honda 500-4 (gone)
1961 Lambretta (way gone)
1962 Allstate Compact (gone but not forgotten)
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post #13 of 26 Old Jul 28th, 2014, 5:22 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

One more vote......... any particles on the magnet that reflect light means you're close to failure. Stop riding it and get it to Dave. I had a chip detector on mine and caught it early. From start to junk isn't very far, certainly not a trip gamble I would take.


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post #14 of 26 Old Jul 28th, 2014, 6:15 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

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Originally Posted by deanwoolsey View Post
One more vote......... any particles on the magnet that reflect light means you're close to failure. Stop riding it and get it to Dave. I had a chip detector on mine and caught it early. From start to junk isn't very far, certainly not a trip gamble I would take.
Chip detector ?
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post #15 of 26 Old Jul 28th, 2014, 6:23 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

I changed my Final Drive lube today. Thought I would post some pics of what I think is normal. The "stuff" collected by the magnet can be decieving. It clumps up into nasty looking objects on the magnet. Once you get it off the magnet and onto a paper towel it becomes clear that it is like dust.
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post #16 of 26 Old Jul 28th, 2014, 7:26 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

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Originally Posted by ltlfeat View Post
Chip detector ?
Yes. Built my own. Technology borrowed from the aviation and/or manufacturing industry. Basically like a spark plug with a magnet for an electrode. Shorts the metal shavings to ground to light an LED. Spent some time in a Hughes 300 and got the idea from doing tail rotor oil changes on it. I posted a crude drawing and some specs a few years back if you want to research it. Fairly simple project if you have a drill press.


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post #17 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 2:04 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mountain_in_sight View Post
I changed my Final Drive lube today. Thought I would post some pics of what I think is normal. The "stuff" collected by the magnet can be decieving. It clumps up into nasty looking objects on the magnet. Once you get it off the magnet and onto a paper towel it becomes clear that it is like dust.
Dear M-I-S...Nice photos, That's exactly what my plug looked like at my last FD oil change, 250 miles later, I was riding a bucking bronco that sounded like a locomotive....$540 Towing bill, and $350 rebuild later, and my FD drain plug doesn't have anything on it now!
There's a reason why Final Drives are such a big issue on this site....don't ignore the evidence. If I hadn't, I would have been $$ ahead, and not blown a whole trip! Think about it.......

RICH CANNON
2000 K1200LT "a great ride"
2002 GL1800 powerful, but boring..(gone)
1979 XS1100 (gone)
1986 VT500 Ascot (gone)
1972 Honda 500-4 (gone)
1961 Lambretta (way gone)
1962 Allstate Compact (gone but not forgotten)
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post #18 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 5:46 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

I thought that the diff oil was GL-5 Hypoid Oil 80W90...

I've read many times that people are putting 75W140.

So, which one is it?
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post #19 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 6:04 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

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I thought that the diff oil was GL-5 Hypoid Oil 80W90...

I've read many times that people are putting 75W140.

So, which one is it?
I believe 80W90 Castrol dino oil is what was originally recommended. I believe the 75W140 is synthetic. I am a synthetic fan in general and use it in all of my cars and trucks, but not in my LT. Two reasons for this:

1. Tom Cutter of RCRG fame, recommends against it for BMW transmissions and final drives. Since I had him rebuild my FD, I am following his recommendation.

2. My LT didn't start leaking oil into the clutch housing until after the dealer put synthetic into both my engine and transmission, without consulting with me I might add. I changed back at my next changed and the leaking slowed, but never completely stopped. My clutch started slipping a year or so later and will need work soon.

Since most bikes don't see either the extreme cold or extreme heat where synthetic really makes a difference, I am saving money and using dino oil. I can't say the synthetic caused my leak and subsequent clutch contamination. It may have been simple coincidence, but it is not an experiment I plan to repeat with my next clutch!

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post #20 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 6:12 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

I would think that 140 is much, much more viscous than 90.

Actually, Castrol's "synthetic" is just highly refined "dino" oil. They had a big fight with the other oil vendors (Motul, Mobil, etc) that were actually doing synthetic oil. But Castrol's high-refined "synthetic" exceeded their specs.

Anyways, it's all in the web, it could be a lie...

I'm about to change the gear and diff oils. I'll be using Castrol's synthetic GL-5 80W90.
Though, I also have some Mobil GL-5 75W90.
it's hypoid (sulfur added so it smells like rotten eggs).

It's always hot in here (>95F)... so the lower number makes no difference.

But the 140 vs 90 should make a difference.

the more viscous oil could cause undue stresses in the gears and stuff. dunno.
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post #21 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 6:32 pm Thread Starter
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Re: How much time do I have?

I'll pull out the plug this weekend and see what I got. What I saw previously wasn't nearly as messy as the pics posted above. Oil looked brand new, almost no hint of fuzz and what I saw on the magnet looked like 2-3 of the chunks on the gent's finger who was kind enough to show the pics. Out of curiosity what does the "drone" sound like, at what speed/gearing and/or rpms is it typical?
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post #22 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 7:02 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

If you really want to get a good idea of what's on your magnetic drain plug, just get a small container of mineral spirits and gently swish the plug in it. It'll give you a much better view of what's there. Then rub some of it between your fingers. If you can feel sharp particles in it, time for some rebuild work.


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post #23 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 7:14 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Sharp particles?

I got that last time on the K12R...

hahahaha!
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post #24 of 26 Old Jul 30th, 2014, 8:28 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Quote:
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If you really want to get a good idea of what's on your magnetic drain plug, just get a small container of mineral spirits and gently swish the plug in it. It'll give you a much better view of what's there. Then rub some of it between your fingers. If you can feel sharp particles in it, time for some rebuild work.
You can also put some of the oil on a piece of glass, then shine a light under it. Nasty things in the oil show up pretty well that way.
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post #25 of 26 Old Jul 31st, 2014, 6:31 pm
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Re: How much time do I have?

Rich, Thank you for the photo comments.
I forgot to add that I do not know how many miles were accumulated on that magnet. This was the first Final Drive change for me during my ownership. There are a little over 33,000 miles on it now. The last entry in the owner's book was at 6000 miles.
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post #26 of 26 Old Aug 1st, 2014, 7:15 am
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Re: How much time do I have?

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Originally Posted by mountain_in_sight View Post
I changed my Final Drive lube today. Thought I would post some pics of what I think is normal. The "stuff" collected by the magnet can be decieving. It clumps up into nasty looking objects on the magnet. Once you get it off the magnet and onto a paper towel it becomes clear that it is like dust.
I'm curious, what year bike and how many miles on it?

The first time I looked at your photos, I didn't pay much attention. I just looked more closely at your last photo with the paper towel. Sorry to say, but I don't like the looks of that. I think you may be headed for a FD failure. If it were my FD I'd do a preemtive rebuild.

It is hard to just from a photo, but that debris looks more severe than the grey "dust" that is found during normal break in.
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