Originally Posted by Briantime
Perhaps I'm being too pragmatic here, but wouldn't it stand to reason that newer bikes (less miles) will have the fewest failures? Not due to some mysterious (and unverified) change in build or engineering?
I love this site, but I think we may too frequently accept our small sampling as the rule on these topics.
Just my .02
Around May 2002, the LT bearings changed from a 19-ball to a 17-ball. This is fact. Also, during 2002, the 1999's would be approx 3 years old, the 2000's would be 2 years old, etc....At the end of 2002 there were roughly 270 reported LT failures of these 3 model years.
Similarly, we are now in 2008, so the 2003's would be 5 years old, the 2004's 4 years old etc...There have not been 270 reported LT failures (I don't think there has been 20) of 2003's, 2004's, 2005's 2006's 2007's and 2008's COMBINED over the last 5 years.
Virtually every time a failure is reported, it is a model 2002 or earlier, regardless of whether it is reported now or back in 2003 or earlier.
When I bought my 2003 new in July 2003 this was a very hot topic, and I have followed it closely ever since. I truly belive the "best" LT's are model years 2003 - 2004, which is right after the initial bearing chang and before they were changed again around 2005.
Granted, since BMW doesn't release failure stats there is really no way to tell. The only sources are what is reported on this board and the NHTSA.
However, based upon what has been reported on this site, IMHO it is safe to say that you will greatly reduce your chances of rear-drive failure with a model 2003 or newer.