Yet another rear end mystery! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 9:38 am Thread Starter
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Question Yet another rear end mystery!



3000 miles ago before leaving for CCR, I dutifully changed the oil in both transmissions as I have done many times on our 99KLT. We pulled our Unigo and rode in 100 degree weather enjoying all the curves, attacking some rather aggressively, for those of you who know my riding style. During our CCR miles and since, never a complaint nor drop of redline appeared from the rear end transmission. Yesterday we decided to make a short trip from KC to Cottonwood Falls KS to meet a distant relative even though the weather forecast was promising stiff southerly breezes. As we drove SSW on I-35, we started experiencing the promised south wind with the usual head snapping hold-on-to-your-helmet regularity at speeds within the 70 mph speed limits. Upon arrival at Cottonwood Falls, we disembarked for some liquid refreshment and an attempt to call our relative for directions who lives in the beautiful Flint Hills area on a gravel road and found 1st, we had no cell phone signal connectivity, and 2nd, there was redline transmission fluid all over the rear transmission housing and rear tire. Of course our first thought was that the dreaded bearing failure had just occurred, but we had not experienced any of the flat tire, grinding metal feelings. We called our friend using the pay-phone at the Casey's store where we had stopped and told her of our dilemma.

While waitng for her to arrive, we put the bike on the centerstand and began cleaning the redline transmission fluid off the housing and rear tire. I noticed there was no excessive side-to-side free play nor noise when spinning the rear tire, so out came the trusty allen wrench from the tool kit and as I removed the transmission fill plug, I found the fluid level warm and at near normal level. The external temp of the transmission housing was warm as usual, but not too hot to touch. We were then in a real quandary. Were we actually really experiencing a rear end failure, or had the excessive side winds we experienced caused the transmission to get overly warm enough to expand the fluid which may have been a touch over-full pushing it out the weep hole? As it was nearing 4 pm and the opportunity to rent a truck was quickly diminishing before rental stores closed in nearby Emporia KS which is about 20 miles away, a decision had to be made. What to do! We finally asked our friend to follow us for a few miles as we headed home to see what would happen as she had a different cell phone carrier which worked in the area. She too had given up on ATT/Cellular after they had moved to all digital service and her cell phone no longer worked in this area of the Flint Hills.

Off we went stopping after 15 miles and no indication we had a problem. The transmission housing was still clean. We said thanks to our friend as we traveled this time north on KS177 towards Council Grove were he had planned to enjoy the food at one of our favorite restaurants, the Hayes House. We enjoyed traveling "with the wind" for a change and stopped for fuel before eating, again noticing no red residue on the transmission. After some mouth watering fried chicken the way grandma used to fix, fried in old caste iron skillets, we made a call to some Kansas City friends to tell them of our situation in case we needed an emergency "come get us" call as we neared home. It started getting dark and the deer made our anxiety quickly double as we rode towards Topeka. We stopped in Teopka and again noticed no redline fluid anywhere on the rear end, called our friends to report our situation and started the last leg of our journey home. As we pulled in the garage, the Garmin indicated we had traveled almost 400 miles, and again no redline fluid was evident anywhere on the rear end. We called our friends to let them know we were home safe and sound and started to clean off the rear wheel and transmission housing.

Now the mystery begins. Did this happen because the stiff side winds had caused enough stress to make the transmission hot enough to expel possible excess fluid? Why didn't it happen at CCR while we were aggressively riding the Ozark curves in temps nearing or at 100 degrees? Does this mean we have a rear end failure in our future? The rear bearing was changed "just in case" by our dealership at/around 50k miles. That was 18k miles ago. Everything seems normal but we are in a quandary what, if anything, to do next. I'll contact the dealership next week and get their opinion, but the mystery of the K12 rear end never seems to end.

Any opinions would be welcome. Has this happened to anyone and not been a rear end failure?

Gary & Mary Droege
1999 K1200LT
2008 K1200LT

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Last edited by gdroege; Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:00 am.
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post #2 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 10:17 am
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Question That is weird...

If you rode 400 miles after losing your Redline I really doubt you have an FD failure. I think the FD would have come apart long before that if it were failing.

Here's some pure speculation: With the wind howling as you describe I wonder if the FD vent was subjected to increased air pressure. With the increased air pressure and air flow I am wondering whether a RedLine bubble was created that ultimately popped and resulted in some gear oil being forced out the vent hole.

Scratching head.....

Tom

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post #3 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 10:22 am
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I use the heavy duty redline gear oil and had the same thing happen to me this summer.
I think in my case, I just put a little too much oil in the final drive. It will seep out the breather on top of the final drive if overfilled.

DCH
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post #4 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 10:44 am
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Exclamation Bearing after all

Quote:
Originally Posted by gdroege

Any opinions would be welcome. Has this happened to anyone and not been a rear end failure?
Hi Gary,

I had this happen too, but in the end is was the dreaded bearing giving up. The pics can be found on http://picasaweb.google.nl/Flipachick/RearEnd. I tried to feel for lateral play or grinding noise but couldn't find any. I had an oil dump the month before, rode it to my dealer and had the seal replaced. What was not obvious then is that the metal band holding the ball bearings in place was desintegrating at a low rate. The second time around none of the flat tyre or wobbly feeling, but again an oil dump. It appeared that a piece of metal had pushed the seal out of place for a while.

So, I've never heard of oil leaking because of over-filling. The first thing I would look for is metal parts and shavings on the magnet. And a visual inspection of the bearing. Hope it is just a fluke.

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post #5 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 10:53 am
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I'm a little confused. You said that fluid was full after the leakage. There is only just over .25 quarts of space for fluid in the final drive. The way you described the leakage, unless I misread your post, sounds like a lot of loss. I would suspect more the transmission then the final drive.

Have you inspected any of the seals under the bike like the input/output shaft seals??

You may want to investigate futher.
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post #6 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 12:07 pm Thread Starter
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I understand your question, but a little redline goes a long way when on the outside of the rear transmission housing. I've changed the fluid many times and am aware of how small an amount is required. There was no doubt it probably came from the weep hole on the top of the housing. Also no evidence of any other leakage. My puzzle is why it did not show up while riding at CCR were the temps and riding conditions were much warmer? I plan to dump the oil to see if there is any residue on the magnet. Otherwise I'm stumped!

Gary & Mary Droege
1999 K1200LT
2008 K1200LT

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post #7 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 12:13 pm Thread Starter
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To be exact, the return trip was just shy of 200 miles after the leak event happened. As for the wind, it was pushing from the opposite side of the bike away from the transmission, so my theory is that it was stressing the rear assembly as we fought to keep the bike upright; therefore, it might have taken the whole assembly to a higher internal temperature? Not sure how much wind cooling is needed to keep everything at normal operating temperature? The ambient temperature was in the mid to upper 80's.

Gary & Mary Droege
1999 K1200LT
2008 K1200LT

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post #8 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 12:16 pm Thread Starter
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From you picture, it appears all drainage came from the bottom/sides of the housing assembly? Mine was definitely from the top weep hole. I hope they aren't related!

Gary & Mary Droege
1999 K1200LT
2008 K1200LT

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post #9 of 11 Old Oct 21st, 2007, 1:40 pm
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If I were in your shoes, I'd warm it up and then change the FD oil. I'd want a real close look at the magnetic drain plug to see what it has to say.

B D R
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post #10 of 11 Old Oct 28th, 2007, 1:39 pm Thread Starter
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UPDATE...

No answers found in the fluid which appeared almost as red as when originally installed 3k miles ago. No metal flakes or excessive residue of any kind on the magnet. I have no idea of why it happened, even after discussing with Engle here in KC. Only idea is it was slightly over-full and waited until this time to spit it out the weep-hole.

Gary & Mary Droege
1999 K1200LT
2008 K1200LT

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post #11 of 11 Old Oct 28th, 2007, 1:59 pm
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I had a very siimilar bizarre thing happen to me this past summer - on my 88 Chevy 1 ton dually.

Started it up cold, and tranny fluid comes gushing out the top vent hole of the bell housing. I'm thinking my tranny is toast - and I just put a new one in two years ago. DAMN.

Drove it a bit and it shifted just FINE, so what gives.

Filled it back up and started it again the next day and another gusher - I'm talking maybe two quarts. This is REALLY weird. Sonomabeach runs great as usual!

Finally scratched off what little hair I have left on my head and took it to a tranny expert - he had no idea what was going on either, he had never heard of such a thing. This is a guy with 30 years experience.

Up on the rack it goes, pulled the filter and everything looks great.

AND THEN - the tech found that the vent hole was plugged with MUD as hard as concrete, and this truck has never been off the highway.... That will be $165.00 please.

The culprit? An insect had decided that would be a wonderful place to build a nest.


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