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post #1 of 29 Old Dec 2nd, 2005, 11:42 pm Thread Starter
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Smile New and improved shifter linkage

For those who have suffered shifter linkage failure here is a new and improved, heavy duty replacement prototype. Let me know what you think. It is a true ball joint, permanently lubricated and sealed (no maintenance). Race proven components. I plan on installing it in my bike in the next few days and giving it a workout. Top is stock, middle is current aftermarket replacement, bottom is new and improved system.
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Adversity builds character.

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My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
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post #2 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 7:13 am
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How did you get it? How much?
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post #3 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 9:29 am
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I am going to throw a little rain on the parade.

The only two things that break on the stock shifter are the ball stud, where the threads are, and the threaded rod between the two end pieces. Many have changed the threaded rod for stainless steel to prevent that breaking. Stainless is not STRONGER, but far more ductile than the stock steel rod, and will bend before breaking.

The ball studs seemingly always break at the top of the thread, probably because of loosening, then the little working back and forth stresses the thread and it breaks. Most people who periodically check the tightness, or Loctite the studs in, don't have further breakages. Personally, I would not Loctite them, because that makes getting one back out if it does break much harder.

Both of the systems you show will solve the center threaded rod problem, but at far more expense than changing to a stainless one. Both still have 6MM ball studs though, which seems to be a weak point. The different end pieces are certainly more substantial, but the stock ones have never broken, so those are fixes looking for a problem. All the "better" shift linkages I have seen proposed here are larger, heavier ball joint assemblies, but the heavier end pieces with larger balls do not address the basic problem with the ball studs, in that they still have 6MM threads.

I had one ball stud break, replacee that, and replaced the center rod with stainless, and in over 100,000 miles never had another issue with the gear shift. Maybe that is because I carried spares of both though.

I was looking for other possible fixes, and found these stainless steel units before I wrecked my bike. I think that they would be a possible fix, and keep the system looking stock. They can also supply rubber boots for the ball. Look here, part number 6NXG2/B
http://www.jwwinco.com/products/sect...-ni/index.html

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
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post #4 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 10:20 am Thread Starter
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Thanks David for your comments. You are correct that the weak link is the ball stud. This new link has a higher grade steel in the ball joint than stock which should help. Also the linkage fails when not properly lubricated. This is a permanently sealed unit and does not require maintenance. The center union threaded piece in this prototype is stainless steel and is not the strongest material to use. If this goes into production then alternative materials can be chosen. The hope here was to replace both linkages, the long one that fails and the short one behind it. With this upgrade it becomes a non-maintenance item. We are having trouble shortening the secondary linkage to fit.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
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post #5 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 10:25 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_Kas
How did you get it? How much?
I am working with a friend who is an automotive engineer in Detroit. He has exclusive rights to the linkage ends and designs applications for race cars. Have no idea what the cost would be, it depends on the interest. I do know that the LT is not the only bike that uses these types of linkage components from BMW. The big question is if this is truly a significant improvement over stock.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
'06 Toyota Landcruiser (black again)
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post #6 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 11:54 am
 
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Exclamation Alternative shifter parts solution

Before you go through all that trouble...there just might be someone already making an alternative part. I planned on ordering a couple of these this winter and reporting on the quality...but since you brought it up first.

They can't be any worse than the ones BMW supplies. I've broken two already, and I know it's only a matter of time. (I admit that I am a heavy shifter...but so what?)

HTH
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post #7 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 12:04 pm
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I bought one of Phil Johns units and installed it as a preventative measure. Nice stuff. THe middle unit in Doc's picture. Sorry I lost his E-mail address but I know someone has it. Maybe in the FAQ's?

One thing that surprised me is that my bike definitely shifts more *crisply* than before. It might just be due to wear/misadjustment on the old OEM unit but it is definetly better.

That new unit you found is MAJOR strong, WOW.


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post #8 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 12:15 pm
 
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I had planned on buying philjohn's replacement unit until I stumbled on the parts in the Reid Supply catalog. Anything is better than the crap BMW uses...and shifting would certainly have to improve. Oh the difference I feel getting off the Ninja and getting on the LT. What's worse is getting off the LT and on to the Ninja. There are times when I wonder if I shifted. I didn't "feel" anything. I didn't "hear" anything. And yet, the gear has been magically changed!
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post #9 of 29 Old Dec 3rd, 2005, 2:08 pm Thread Starter
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I have seen that one that looks like the BMW unit only using different material. It looks like it might be an easy bolt in replacement. The difference though is lubrication and maintenance. Having a protective boot is one thing, having a permanently sealed permanently lubricated unit is another.
Anyway, I have a prototype and I will be testing it over the next few weeks if it feels good and shifts easier then it may be worth pursuing, if not then, oh well. One last point is these are race proven units, under heavy duty use. It might be just the thing for heavy shifters or stompers or whatever.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
'06 Toyota Landcruiser (black again)
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post #10 of 29 Old Dec 4th, 2005, 12:09 am
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Stainless steel is just fine for the threaded rod. Many of us have replaced the stock one with stainless. The problem with the stock one is that it is TOO HARD, read "brittle". It has broken on several bikes.

The stainless steel rods are softer, and if hit hard enough will bend before they break.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #11 of 29 Old Dec 4th, 2005, 1:44 am
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Linkage educational

Hey guys, the research in great on the replacement parts but where would one get the stainless rod after getting the new joints? Also I assume that when the ball joints were replaced both were done at the same time.
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post #12 of 29 Old Dec 4th, 2005, 9:13 am
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SS rod

Robsay;

You can pick up a 6x1 SS rod at most hardware stores or a Home Depot and if you want to keep a spare, you'll need to get new joints.
As David Shealey pointed out, you shouldn't need SS joints unless you want to go with Doc Wagner's perma-lubed ones because the socket isn't a stress point in the linkage.The OEM style just has to be maintained(greased) where Doc's doesn't need the maintenance - sounds very good to me!
If you go with new joints, you might want to check the price from BMW for the secondary linkage-the sockets are the same as the primary linkage.You will have to order the retaining clips seperately.

Sorry I don't have the part numbers for you. If you post a link for the online parts catalog, I can get them for you.

Douglas
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post #13 of 29 Old Dec 4th, 2005, 10:23 am Thread Starter
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ONe of the issues we are trying to deal with is adjustability. Having a standard rod connecting two ball joints is fine only if you don't have to make adjustments.If you do then you have to remove the unit turn the joint and reinstall. If your adjustment requires only a half turn then you've got more problems. With our unit we have righthand and lefthand threaded ball joints and turning the center adjuster will extend or contract the linkage as needed.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
'06 Toyota Landcruiser (black again)
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post #14 of 29 Old Dec 4th, 2005, 11:10 am
 
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Thumbs down Criminy !

Quote:
Originally Posted by docwagner
With our unit…
Blah, blah, blah, blah… proselytizing a product ("new, improved, bulletproof, etc. shifter linkage) w/o providing sources is useless !

OTOH, if lack of lubrication is the issue… just grease the damn thing(s).
.
.

Last edited by mintaka; Dec 4th, 2005 at 11:22 am.
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post #15 of 29 Old Dec 4th, 2005, 5:44 pm
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The standard unit is just as adjustable as anyone needs it to be. I have adjusted a couple for people, and one certainly would never need "1/2 turn" precision on this. You would not even be able to feel the difference 1/2 turn would make.

The one you are proposing is just fine, but in my opinion, really not needed.

If I was going to make a substantial change that I felt would completely solve the problem, I would just put in ball studs with 8MM threads instead of the standard 6MM. I actually have two from Toyota Hood struts that I was thinking about installing, but did not. They still have the same 10MM ball on top, just larger threads. The only change would have been to tap the threads out to 8MM, but then anyone getting the bike later (did not know I was going to total it) would not be able to get parts at the dealer.

I just think that to really "fix" the issue, the real focus should be on what breaks. No need to make things that NEVER break even stronger.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #16 of 29 Old Dec 5th, 2005, 12:18 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mintaka
Blah, blah, blah, blah… proselytizing a product ("new, improved, bulletproof, etc. shifter linkage) w/o providing sources is useless !

OTOH, if lack of lubrication is the issue… just grease the damn thing(s).
.
.
I see your occupation fits you well.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
'06 Toyota Landcruiser (black again)
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post #17 of 29 Old Dec 5th, 2005, 12:24 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
The standard unit is just as adjustable as anyone needs it to be. I have adjusted a couple for people, and one certainly would never need "1/2 turn" precision on this. You would not even be able to feel the difference 1/2 turn would make.

The one you are proposing is just fine, but in my opinion, really not needed.

If I was going to make a substantial change that I felt would completely solve the problem, I would just put in ball studs with 8MM threads instead of the standard 6MM. I actually have two from Toyota Hood struts that I was thinking about installing, but did not. They still have the same 10MM ball on top, just larger threads. The only change would have been to tap the threads out to 8MM, but then anyone getting the bike later (did not know I was going to total it) would not be able to get parts at the dealer.

I just think that to really "fix" the issue, the real focus should be on what breaks. No need to make things that NEVER break even stronger.
I hear you David and maybe you are right. Perhaps the ball joint is not the weak link and the stud is. I spoke to my engineer friend today his response was that the ball and stud is a grade 10.5 steel, most likely that is harder than stock. He felt stainless steel was too weak for anything and if this things goes into production and more durable threaded rod would be used. The bottom line is we'll see how it rides in the bike. I can stomp on it a few thousand times and see if there is a difference. If there is none then that'll be that. If it shifts crisper and holds up to my heavy foot without needing maintenace then maybe it is worthwhile.

Adversity builds character.

BMW MOA #: 115771
My rides: '01 K1200LT Black (of course)
'00 BMW 540i (also black)
'76 Toyota Landcruiser FJ40 (not black)
'06 Toyota Landcruiser (black again)
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post #18 of 29 Old Dec 5th, 2005, 10:44 am
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The stock ball studs, like the stock threaded rod, are too hard, and break. The replacement stainless steel threaded rods will not break, can be bent over at 90 degree angle in a vise. I know, I did it. A stock threaded rod broke, did not bend far at all.

I don't know how hard the stainless steel ball studs from Winco are, but stainless steel, unless in the 440C range, cannot be hardened quite as hard as high carbon steels, so MAY be more ductile and not break as easily as the stock ones.

If I still had my LT I probably would have ordered some of the Winco ones by now and done a bench "vise" test on them. If those did not break easily, it would be a really nice "fix", keeping the fittment basically stock, with the only change being material used.

The real issue is not the "strength" of the parts, but their "hardness", or "brittleness". The stainless steel has a considerably lower tensile strength (still WAY higher than needed), but much higher ductility.

A high strength part can often break way before a part with much lower tensile strength due to impact forces. That is one of the things one has to take into account when designing machine parts, how the part is loaded by expected forces.

In case you did not know, I am a design engineer myself, with a LONG history of working with machine design and materials. About ready to semi-retire though.

The studs you have may very well be "softer", thus much less likely to break as the stock ones do, even though the same thread size.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #19 of 29 Old Dec 5th, 2005, 6:03 pm
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Shift Linkage replacement

Howdy guys. I'm still in the businesss and I've got 53 linkages ready to ship. Phil W. Johnston; [email protected] Still going for $52.00 with a left handed drill bit and a Easy Out. I've got them for '05 and '06 bikes, too. Linkage only goes for $40.00. Thanks and good riding.
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post #20 of 29 Old Dec 5th, 2005, 11:03 pm
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Not that any one is real interested but

The big problem with the OEM ball that breaks is simple metallurgy. The metal they use the heat treatment and plating all have a role in its failure. When mine broke and I closely examined the failure.

BMW saved about $.02 at the most by not using a more suitable metal for the device. The broken part appears to be a medium carbon steel case hardend then plated. (This is a typical method of making parts like these) If they did not "Bake" the parts prior to plating they may have a problem called "hydrogen embrittlement" This may not be the case but is a possibility.

It is Bavarian MOTOR Works not Ball joint works

A little about stainless steel You can get certain types of stainless steel hardened and tempered to be in the vicinity of a sae grade 8 fastener.

Think about a stainless steel boat propellor ususlly 17-4 stainless very tough stuff. What about your swiss army knives? tough, sharp, but not brittle. Stainless steel.

You can read more about metals @ www.mcmaster.com industrial materials web site or www.matweb.com a materials web site for the engineers out there.

The aftermarket products that are sold look like real well made items and the price does not seem bad for what you get.

Mike G
Northen Illinois Packer Fan
K1200lt 2002
LT Trunk Latch Maker
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post #21 of 29 Old Dec 5th, 2005, 11:38 pm
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BMW does not actually make these parts, but like many other hard parts on the bike, they just buy them. They could ask the vendors to make a change in the metallurgy, but like most manufacturers do not wish to raise the cost due to requested changes. They just let us keep replacing them.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying.

David Shealey
Dandridge, TN
EX: '01 Black LT, BAT BYKE (Totaled at 110,000 miles)
IBA SS, BB, BBG, 10/10ths.
No bike now, but maybe in the future.
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post #22 of 29 Old Jan 9th, 2006, 10:24 pm
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shifter ball joint

i broke one around 60k. i was fortunate in that after an 800 or so mile trip that it broke the next morning in my driveway as i was headed out to work. i replaced all or them. i also made my own washers, but not out of foam. i used half inch felt which i saturated with lithium grease. so far so good. omurphy
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post #23 of 29 Old May 13th, 2006, 1:26 pm
 
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Happened to me too...

It finally happened. On a ride this morning I felt for the foot shift and it wasn't there. I looked down and there is was hanging like a dogs broken leg. The two Harleys and two Hondas with me stopped and waited until the BMW shop's truck arrived to pick up my LTE. We took the shifter off and it was broken right at the ball as has been described here. Our bike is an 03 we bought new. It as about 30,000 miles on it and we love it, BUT most of the problems reported in this forum have happened to us. Thankfully I did go to the dealer and bought three more years of warrantee a few months ago. I am hoping they will bring out a new version of the LT in the next couple of years.
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post #24 of 29 Old Jun 22nd, 2006, 1:19 pm
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Linkage

The rod ends that Doc has are available commercially for $10 each. I broke the stock linkage Father’s Day, ordered my rod ends Monday and received them Tuesday. These rod ends will not break even at the stud end. They are the way to go.
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post #25 of 29 Old Jun 22nd, 2006, 1:26 pm
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$10 each? From where? Source?

Nuts to it - Phil's already done the leg work and has it all together - that's worth a few extra bones.

Phil - you still got some on hand? I'm ready.

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post #26 of 29 Old Jun 22nd, 2006, 1:35 pm
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Phil - you there? Tried to email you using the address in this thread and got this back:

<[email protected]>: Host or domain name not found. Name service error for name=invismax.com type=A: Host not found

Got a new addy?

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post #27 of 29 Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 9:02 pm
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Anyone know if this is a problem with the '05+ bikes?

Jim in Dublin, OH

2005 - LT Ocean Blue (Catuffalo - Part Cat / Part Buffalo)
2002 - Moto Guzzi Cal Spec Sport
2000 - Moto Guzzi V11 Sport
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post #28 of 29 Old Jun 23rd, 2006, 10:51 pm
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The Johnston linkage

Guys; I'm still in the business. Holler if you need help with a linkage problem. The e-mail address is: [email protected] FWIW
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post #29 of 29 Old May 28th, 2007, 10:00 pm
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Had my second one break today. First one at 17k miles, and this new one had about 200 (yes two hundred) miles on it. Ugh.
Hopefully Philjohn still has a few around!

R1200GSA Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's off to Alaska I go!
(Down to ONE BIKE - ARGH!)
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