Can I clean out my final drive with brake fluid?? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 8:14 pm Thread Starter
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Can I clean out my final drive with brake fluid??

I'm changing the final drive fluid, and it came out like a silver slurry. My questions:

Is the silver slurry normal???

I did it cold, the manual says to change the fluid while the unit is hot, to clean out any lingering metal fragaments.

Can I just spray some brake cleaner around in there through the fill hole, and let it run out the drain hole before refilling it with the standard BMW gear oil???
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post #2 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 8:21 pm
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Me personally would just put fluid in it and ride it for a bit to get it warmed up and then drain it again as a flushing procedure. I wouldn't spray brake cleaner in because some rubber and seals do not like the brake cleaner. Just my opinion oil is cheap, seals are not.

Jeremy
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post #3 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 8:24 pm Thread Starter
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Okay. Thanks. I have a full quart, so it's not like I have to buy any more.

Thanks for the quick reply.

Is the silver stuff normal??
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post #4 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 8:25 pm
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Unhappy Crapped out FD

If the lube came out as a silver slurry your FD is toast and will need a complete rebuild or replacement. That silver stuff is bearing material and has been run through all of the other bearings and gears. The gears may be OK but you can bet all of the other bearings have been ruined and now experience pitted races & balls. Just my 2CW Been there done that $750.00 worth. My advice replace it with a new FD & get the warranty.

--Thats OK I don't care--
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post #5 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 8:26 pm
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Yes, it is best to use the proper fluids or the seals may become useless.

Manny
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post #6 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:07 pm Thread Starter
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You guys were right. It's toast. The gears are fine, the bearings, not so much. I'm gonna rebuild it myself, with guidance from the divine.

Thanks,

Robert
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post #7 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 10:26 pm
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I don't understand what I am reading. Gray mush from steel bearings, no talk of chips, or vibration? No gear oil leaking from a torn crown bearing seal? How about some more details. Year, miles, original build from the factory. Thanks

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post #8 of 21 Old Oct 23rd, 2007, 11:21 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilbar00c
I don't understand what I am reading. Gray mush from steel bearings, no talk of chips, or vibration? No gear oil leaking from a torn crown bearing seal? How about some more details. Year, miles, original build from the factory. Thanks

Wilbar: Mine did the same I drained the oil and it was glitter coming out. The deal is the bearings are just starting to let go, The race and a couple of bearings were found to be deteriating. I was able to just change the bearings on mine. If allowed or not caught at the right time it will completly let go and a new FD is required.

I went out and kissed "The Beerburner" square on the mouth,(as per Griff's instructions), cause I got off light less than $400.00, also changed the seals. I have a 2003 it had 36500 just after the warranty went out! ps I had just returned from a BB1500.

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post #9 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 1:19 am
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AH! Now I get it.

Frequent FD fluid changes are NOT to ensure adequate lubrication, but to see the slurry before it all eats itself!

Tate

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post #10 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 10:33 am Thread Starter
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The bike is a 99 LT, meticulously maintained by Patrick F. in Oregon, I bought it used almost a year ago at about 60,000, with 15,000 miles on it since. I don't see anything in the maintenance records about the FD being replaced, but it was serviced several times with fresh fluid.

I went on a 1,000+ mile camping weekend, and on the way back (last 200 miles) it felt like my rear tire was out of balance, with the whomp-whomp sound, and I felt a lot of vibration in my footpegs getting worse the further I went. The tire was scalloped, but we all know the Metzlers get loud when they are low on tread. No biggie, I had a spare rear tire at the house, and it got me home. A few days later, I got some time outside and replaced the tire. While I was at it, I did the rear brake pad and the FD fluid. It had been nearly a year since the FD fluid was changed, and I had never done it.

I noticed the fluid was the silver slurry stuff. The magnet was full, and the fluid had about 40 small (less than a mm) specks in it, which required further inspection. I noticed that turning the brake rotor would produce roughness, and I could feel vibrations through the housing when I turned the brake rotor by hand even with the brake pads removed.

At this point, I called the guru Dan M., who has shown me several "tricks" on this bike, and has helped me with the maintenance to this point. He diagnosed it over the phone as fried FD bearings.

I was still hopeful/ignorantly optimistic, put the whole thing back together, and told myself that I remembered thinking the FD was going out the last time I replaced a rear Metzler. After flushing it a couple of times with clean fluid, I refilled it, and went for a test run. I didn't get to the end of the block. It's toast. Lots of vibration, and the fluid is fleck-filled again. I don't know what's wrong in there, but something is.

Interestingly enough, there is no play in the wheel at all. None. Feels rock solid both in the 12-6 and the 9-3 positions. Maybe a driveshaft U-joint????

I'm planning on at least pulling it apart with the assistance of Dan M. and the tech manual that came with the bike. I read the chapter last night, and it shouldn't be too hard. I'll take pics so I can help someone else one day.

Thanks guys.

Robert
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post #11 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 11:31 am
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Robert

For a write-up of the procedure for replacing a bearing :

Go to FILES at the top of the page
Go to TECHNICAL DOCS
go to second page
There is a word .doc file that sums it up with some good pics also.

dan
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post #12 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 11:37 am
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The race is probably partialy destroyed and several bearings scored, the bearing hasn't come apart yet but it wouldn't be long before it does. Then the whole FD would be fried as right now you should be able to replace the bearing and seals.

Keep us posted on your findings when you open it up!

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post #13 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 7:32 pm
 
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When will you be changing it out?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
The bike is a 99 LT, meticulously maintained by Patrick F. in Oregon, I bought it used almost a year ago at about 60,000, with 15,000 miles on it since. I don't see anything in the maintenance records about the FD being replaced, but it was serviced several times with fresh fluid.

I went on a 1,000+ mile camping weekend, and on the way back (last 200 miles) it felt like my rear tire was out of balance, with the whomp-whomp sound, and I felt a lot of vibration in my footpegs getting worse the further I went. The tire was scalloped, but we all know the Metzlers get loud when they are low on tread. No biggie, I had a spare rear tire at the house, and it got me home. A few days later, I got some time outside and replaced the tire. While I was at it, I did the rear brake pad and the FD fluid. It had been nearly a year since the FD fluid was changed, and I had never done it.

I noticed the fluid was the silver slurry stuff. The magnet was full, and the fluid had about 40 small (less than a mm) specks in it, which required further inspection. I noticed that turning the brake rotor would produce roughness, and I could feel vibrations through the housing when I turned the brake rotor by hand even with the brake pads removed.

At this point, I called the guru Dan M., who has shown me several "tricks" on this bike, and has helped me with the maintenance to this point. He diagnosed it over the phone as fried FD bearings.

I was still hopeful/ignorantly optimistic, put the whole thing back together, and told myself that I remembered thinking the FD was going out the last time I replaced a rear Metzler. After flushing it a couple of times with clean fluid, I refilled it, and went for a test run. I didn't get to the end of the block. It's toast. Lots of vibration, and the fluid is fleck-filled again. I don't know what's wrong in there, but something is.

Interestingly enough, there is no play in the wheel at all. None. Feels rock solid both in the 12-6 and the 9-3 positions. Maybe a driveshaft U-joint????

I'm planning on at least pulling it apart with the assistance of Dan M. and the tech manual that came with the bike. I read the chapter last night, and it shouldn't be too hard. I'll take pics so I can help someone else one day.

Thanks guys.

Robert
Robert,
When do you intend to make this change-out? I live over near Beaumont, and would love to get my hands dirty and learn a few things.

Fred Richardson
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post #14 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 10:39 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep

...I'm gonna rebuild it myself, with guidance from the divine."

Thanks,

Robert


Robert,

As both an experienced mechanic and a pastor, if you do it yourself you certainly are going to need the Lord's help! It is a rather difficult job with a lot of finesse required, but with the help of the folks on this site, and the Lord, you can do it!

Jack Homesley
Cornelius, NC USA
'06 Goldwing - "The Black Pearl"
Too many others to list...


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GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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post #15 of 21 Old Oct 24th, 2007, 11:11 pm
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Robert, thanks for the detailed write up of a bearing that has started to spall. Your story shows others why we check the drain plug magnet of the rear drive at engine oil change time to insure the bearing has not started to fail.

Because of stories like yours, I changed my early 2000 (mfg in 99) rear bearing out at 47K miles as so many failed in that mileage range.

The .doc, that Dan Martin references, is what I used to to give me confidence to do the job at home. A few comments. Here is a measurement you can take to insure you have a similar pinch fit on the new installed bearing. Before you untorque the two housing halves, take a gap measurement between the two halves. This is outboard of the bolt circle where the housings bottom out on eachother. I used feeler stock in the .012 range. When you get it all back together, you should have the same value. If for some reason the bearing shims were thicker than required it would show up as a larger gap.

Also document the orientation of the installed old bearing (FAG) so you can take comparison measurements between the old and new bearings. I used my same spacer as I felt the new and old bearings were within .0015 of each other in the drop dimension from inner to outer race ( the load path). The race widths and ID and OD will be exactly the same but the bearing spec. has a larger tolerance for the inner to outer drop dimension.

Good luck on your rebuild Robert, it's a fun project. In the future you will break into a big smile when you check the drain plug magnet and see how clean it is, based on your handy work.

Many of us have changed this bearing and have our own method of making sure we have the correct pinch. Since your bearing made it 75K miles, the factory installation could not have been to bad.

I feel we see 3 types of bearing failures; 10k-15k failures from poor factory set up of the 99, 00, and 01 bikes from maybe to much preload (ball spalling or cage failure); Retainer failure at rivet location related to vibration from tires or road surface combined with bearing assembly procedures when hole for rivet is installed in retainer (stress concentration from rough hole edge); and lastly just plan old metal fatigue with spalling of a race or ball from a bearing operating in the upper range of its design load (50K miles +/-). Just my theory after being on this site and working around jet engine bearings for 35 years. Barnett

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post #16 of 21 Old Oct 25th, 2007, 12:12 am
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Angry Complete disassembly required

If you are going to rebuild it you had better completely disassemble the unit that means pulling the pinion Gear and that means having special tools to get the pinion bearing out, you have to understand that that silver trash has been running through all of the other bearings in the final drive. There are two of these bearings have races in blind recesses that have to be pulled. Then when you replace these bearings the pinion to ring gear clearances and tooth depth have to be reset so that means reassembling the FD several times to check these fits and changing the spacers to get the proper settings. Not saying that you can't do it but this job is not for the amateur.

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post #17 of 21 Old Oct 25th, 2007, 12:29 pm Thread Starter
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I gotta let it sit for a week or so until I have three full days to dedicate to it. Right now it's looking like I'll teardown on November 2nd, and spend the 3rd & 4th putting it back together. Anyone that wants to come by and witness the carnage is more than welcome. PM me for directions and a set time schedule.

Dan M. (posted above) says he'll be around to give me guidance, and he's done several. I have a pretty well equipped shop, but may need some specialty tools. Any opinions before I get into it??? Feeler gauges and micrometers are already part of my shop, along with several Snap-on torque wrenches, a plethora of air tools, and the standard full array of mechanic's hand tools. The lack of a motorcycle lift is going to be a hassle, although I'm sure I'll manage.

Should I change out the U-joints while I'm in there?? Any other parts I should do at the same time?? I figure this will be a good warm-up for the clutch eventuality.

Robert
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post #18 of 21 Old Oct 25th, 2007, 12:55 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
I gotta let it sit for a week or so until I have three full days to dedicate to it. Right now it's looking like I'll teardown on November 2nd, and spend the 3rd & 4th putting it back together. Anyone that wants to come by and witness the carnage is more than welcome. PM me for directions and a set time schedule.

Dan M. (posted above) says he'll be around to give me guidance, and he's done several. I have a pretty well equipped shop, but may need some specialty tools. Any opinions before I get into it??? Feeler gauges and micrometers are already part of my shop, along with several Snap-on torque wrenches, a plethora of air tools, and the standard full array of mechanic's hand tools. The lack of a motorcycle lift is going to be a hassle, although I'm sure I'll manage.

Should I change out the U-joints while I'm in there?? Any other parts I should do at the same time?? I figure this will be a good warm-up for the clutch eventuality.

Robert
If you are planning to remove the rear drive,you ought to do the slave cylinder weep hole drilling then. At your mileage it would be a good idea to replace the slave. $100 + crush washers. I've got the special 30mm socket and allen wrench for the pivot pins.

dan
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post #19 of 21 Old Oct 25th, 2007, 2:50 pm Thread Starter
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I think it was already done by the previous owner. I'll check with him. Can I borrow your specialty tools??

R
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post #20 of 21 Old Oct 25th, 2007, 3:09 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildernessJeep
I think it was already done by the previous owner. I'll check with him. Can I borrow your specialty tools??

R
of course.

dan
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post #21 of 21 Old Nov 2nd, 2007, 11:09 am Thread Starter
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Tearing it apart this afternoon. Anybody wants to come watch/heckle, I got lots of beer.

Robert
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