Would that be the beginning of an FD failure? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 8:29 pm Thread Starter
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Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

For some time now and for about 1500 miles I have been noticing some noise from my LT while riding over 35mph like if a bearing was going south. Initially it was only when the bike was leaning left or right. I checked both front and rear wheel and found no play so I thought it was the tires. Then I started hearing a slight grinding noise when riding straight too. The noise is still louder when leaning the bike. I checked the rear wheel again but again found no play nor leak. I contacted the local BMW dealer and they checked the rear wheel on their parking site and said that there was nothing wrong with the bike. They did not test rode it though. They suggested that I was hearing the rear break floating. If it was the rear brake I would think that the noise would stop or change when applying the brake which is not the case. This afternoon I decided to check the FD oil. I drained the oil and found some small pieces of metal at the bottom of my drain pan (see pic). I do not think this to be normal for an oil that was changed changed by the dealer about 3000 miles ago during the 24k service. What do you guys think? Is this the sign of a FD failure?
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post #2 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 8:37 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Way too much glitter there. Something is toast. I change my FD EVERY 3000 and it is still as new in color. With the glitter and color of that oil, something gota be cooking.

Oh, that was a clean container right?

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post #3 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 8:48 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Screwed, glued and tattooed.

Gray "slurry" is cool, flakes that size are no joy. Sorry to be the grim reaper but I've seen enough of them...

Whoops, my bad! Wrong Icon, this is more appropriate:

Hey, it's a machine. Toss a new one in there with a 2 year BMW parts warranty and don't worry, be happy!
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post #4 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 8:58 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

I agree it's toast. Congratulations on being a 4 percenter!
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post #5 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 9:04 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

I change my 02 every 6,000 miles and the fluid always looks new with just a little metallic slime on the magnetic plug. After 36,000 miles it's still the same. No flakes yet..

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post #6 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 9:04 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

What is the cost involved in this getting the FD fixed?
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post #7 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 9:11 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

I am thinking of may be doing this myself. How complex is it to replace the final drive? Is there a DIY somewhere?
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post #8 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:23 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

What year is your LT? Still in warranty, or not? If you have a good relationship with your dealer, I'd probably push them to cover the repair even if you're out of warranty on time. They may cover the whole repair, or maybe just the part and you pay for labor. You'll never know unless you try.

The cost of the full FD unit for an '02 LT is just about $1,000. Some guys have swapped just the internal bearings and seals, which runs several hundred dollars just in parts. The problem is, once you see those metal flakes you don't really know if anything else in there has gotten damaged. Plus, the procedure for properly shimming everything back up is quite tricky, and there's no guarantee that the rebuilt drive will be any more solid than the old one.

You can get factory BMW parts for 20% off from Chicago BMW, if you can afford the long wait time. Another option is to contact Hannigan or Lehman or one of the other trike builders, as they usually have low-mileage take-off parts available at reasonable prices. Just be aware that the actual FD units do vary between years. I believe '99-'01 are the same, then '02-'04, then '05 and up. The main differences are in the ABS sensor mount and the gear ratios.

If you have to pay for the repair out of pocket, then the FD can be changed out by a competent home mechanic using a couple of special tools. There are instructions on this site for drilling a weep hole near the clutch slave cylinder. That procedure included removing/replacing the FD unit. It's probably also a good idea to drill the weep hole and maybe swap out the slave cylinder as well while you're in there, as that can save you from yet another costly repair down the road.

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post #9 of 63 Old Oct 22nd, 2008, 10:50 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Thanks a lot for the information. My LT is a 99 model with less than 27k on it. Bought it in June with 22k so no chance of a good will type of thing on a 9 years old bike.
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post #10 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 5:42 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Doesn't look good to me. The metal piece I circled is reminiscent of pieces I have seen where the crownwheel bearing has failed. I recommend opening the drive to take a look inside.

Here's a video which maybe of help.

http://www.bmwlt.com/uploads/lt_final_drive_rebuild.wmv





Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
For some time now and for about 1500 miles I have been noticing some noise from my LT while riding over 35mph like if a bearing was going south. Initially it was only when the bike was leaning left or right. I checked both front and rear wheel and found no play so I thought it was the tires. Then I started hearing a slight grinding noise when riding straight too. The noise is still louder when leaning the bike. I checked the rear wheel again but again found no play nor leak. I contacted the local BMW dealer and they checked the rear wheel on their parking site and said that there was nothing wrong with the bike. They did not test rode it though. They suggested that I was hearing the rear break floating. If it was the rear brake I would think that the noise would stop or change when applying the brake which is not the case. This afternoon I decided to check the FD oil. I drained the oil and found some small pieces of metal at the bottom of my drain pan (see pic). I do not think this to be normal for an oil that was changed changed by the dealer about 3000 miles ago during the 24k service. What do you guys think? Is this the sign of a FD failure?
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post #11 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 6:15 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

The glitter looks like a problem.

The noise you hear during cornering could be unrelated. Motorcycle tires growl when cornering, especially if the tires are about half-way through their life cycle.

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post #12 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 6:38 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

You're lucky. You caught it at home instead of in British Columbia!! Now you can fix it and go riding again. Good luck with whatever you decide. I'll bet you can hear it growl if you spin the wheel on the sidestand. By the time you can wiggle the wheel, a blind man standing on the side of the road could tell you something was wrong..................

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post #13 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 6:48 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Great video description. Thank you.

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post #14 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 7:01 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

I'm sorry to hear it and welcome to the club. It's true that it's good you caught it at home. If you decide to do this yourself and could use an extra pair of hands, let me know.
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post #15 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 7:35 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCrider
I'm sorry to hear it and welcome to the club. It's true that it's good you caught it at home. If you decide to do this yourself and could use an extra pair of hands, let me know.
Thanks a lot for the offer. Will keep you updated
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post #16 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 7:39 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Is it my computer, or are all the flakes of metal on top of the oil?

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post #17 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 7:56 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BallsCasten
Is it my computer, or are all the flakes of metal on top of the oil?
The oil is at the bottom of the picture. Way more flakes than I ever want to see.

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post #18 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 8:01 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BallsCasten
Is it my computer, or are all the flakes of metal on top of the oil?
Not your computer, Doug. I think you're still sleepy-eyed this morning!!

The oil catcher he's holding is tilted so that the oil runs down away from the glitter (oil is the dark patch below). Prolly been tilted for a bit in order to reveal the glitter and shiney catch basin bottom.
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post #19 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 8:06 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rattler50
You're lucky. You caught it at home instead of in British Columbia!! Now you can fix it and go riding again. Good luck with whatever you decide. I'll bet you can hear it growl if you spin the wheel on the sidestand. By the time you can wiggle the wheel, a blind man standing on the side of the road could tell you something was wrong..................
Howdy James - I know you could sure hear 'me' growl, instead of the wheel, if I tried to spin the wheel on the 'sidestand'!!!
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post #20 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 8:12 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

I recently found metal flakes on the magnet. I removed the FD and had it rebuilt at the dealer. They said it was near total failure. I have the bearing on my desk. It is rough and there are pits on the inside were the metal was coming. There was no play or noise coming from the FD. Cost $399 to repair. Thatís better than $1200 for a new drive and being stuck on the road.

I would get it checked out.
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post #21 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 8:14 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieVT
Doesn't look good to me. The metal piece I circled is reminiscent of pieces I have seen where the crownwheel bearing has failed. I recommend opening the drive to take a look inside.

Here's a video which maybe of help.

http://www.bmwlt.com/uploads/lt_final_drive_rebuild.wmv
Thanks a lot for the video but for some reason i cannot play it. I did download the latest codecs for my player but still no chance.
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post #22 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 8:47 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick
Not your computer, Doug. I think you're still sleepy-eyed this morning!!

The oil catcher he's holding is tilted so that the oil runs down away from the glitter (oil is the dark patch below). Prolly been tilted for a bit in order to reveal the glitter and shiney catch basin bottom.
Exactly
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post #23 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 8:49 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
Thanks a lot for the video but for some reason i cannot play it. I did download the latest codecs for my player but still no chance.
finally got it THANKS
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post #24 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:02 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

This morning I emailed the pic to Jon the service manager at the local BMW dealer. He quoted me around $500 to replace the rear bearing and seal. For that price I am going to have them do it.
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post #25 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:44 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
This morning I emailed the pic to Jon the service manager at the local BMW dealer. He quoted me around $500 to replace the rear bearing and seal. For that price I am going to have them do it.
It's your nickle, but as Ken pointed out for $800.00 from Chicago BMW you can get a completely new, factory assembled unit with a 2 year warranty.... Rebuilt units don't seem to last very long unless the technician is an expert at it and has several under his belt.


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post #26 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:38 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
It's your nickle, but as Ken pointed out for $800.00 from Chicago BMW you can get a completely new, factory assembled unit with a 2 year warranty.... Rebuilt units don't seem to last very long unless the technician is an expert at it and has several under his belt.
I'd forgotten about the 2 year warranty on new parts. That in itself is probably worth an extra few hundred dollars.

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post #27 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 11:49 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
I'd forgotten about the 2 year warranty on new parts. That in itself is probably worth an extra few hundred dollars.
I hear you but it sounds like getting the part from BMW Chicago can take some time while I can get my bike fixed in 2 weeks.
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post #28 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 12:56 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
I hear you but it sounds like getting the part from BMW Chicago can take some time while I can get my bike fixed in 2 weeks.
They run hot and cold - I've ordered lots of stuff from them over the years and they've always delivered within a week. I know a lot of other guys have been very unhappy.

It there is a new final drive for your year in the country they should be able to get it to you quickly. I would ask them straight up when you'll have it in your hands.

I think the rebuilds are fine if you have a guy like Charlie doing it - taking his time and being meticulous. I think you'll find zero BMW techs that would put that much care into it. Measuring the shim preload is absolutely critical not to mention a VERY careful inspection of all the other wear points. I'll guarantee you that most just throw the old shims back in without a second thought.


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post #29 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 1:07 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

How do I get the 20% of from them? Is this the one?
http://www.chicagobmwmotorcycle.com/store/

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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
How do I get the 20% of from them? Is this the one?
http://www.chicagobmwmotorcycle.com/store/
Just ask. They give 20% off genuine BMW parts, and accessories.

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post #31 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 4:14 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
How do I get the 20% of from them? Is this the one?
http://www.chicagobmwmotorcycle.com/store/
Yep, that's the site.

You can enter the part number directly to see the retail price and the 20% discount. You can find part numbers in any of the online parts catalogs, such as the ones at Max BMW, RealOEM, A&S BMW, Hammersley BMW, etc.

Checking the parts catalogs give the rear drive assy for a '99 LT as 33 11 2 333 164. Plugging that into Chicago BMW gives a retail price of $996.00, and 20% off is $796.80.

You can also call them directly to make sure you get the right part number, and to ask them directly if the part is in the USA warehouse (and thus it's just normal shipping delays) or if they have to order from Germany (thus adding international shipping delays).

Again, this path presumes that you have the skills to change out the drive yourself, or at least have friends close by who can help you do the job. Wish I was closer, as I've done a few of these over the years.

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post #32 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 6:39 pm Thread Starter
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THANKS! I call them tomorrow. This board rocks
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post #33 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 6:43 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Can I assume they have now learnt how to preload bearings at the factory so the chance for an FD failure on a brand new FD is much less than it used to be?
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post #34 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 6:48 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
Can I assume they have now learnt how to preload bearings at the factory so the chance for an FD failure on a brand new FD is much less than it used to be?
I am going with we hope

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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gglove
I am going with we hope
I think that really, that is the best any of us can hope for.

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post #36 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 9:17 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpac
Can I assume they have now learnt how to preload bearings at the factory so the chance for an FD failure on a brand new FD is much less than it used to be?
I suspect very strongly that "they" know how, and it is a matter of getting it done right on the production/assembly floor!

As others said......we can only hope.....

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post #37 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:04 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
Yep, that's the site.

You can enter the part number directly to see the retail price and the 20% discount. You can find part numbers in any of the online parts catalogs, such as the ones at Max BMW, RealOEM, A&S BMW, Hammersley BMW, etc.

Checking the parts catalogs give the rear drive assy for a '99 LT as 33 11 2 333 164. Plugging that into Chicago BMW gives a retail price of $996.00, and 20% off is $796.80.

You can also call them directly to make sure you get the right part number, and to ask them directly if the part is in the USA warehouse (and thus it's just normal shipping delays) or if they have to order from Germany (thus adding international shipping delays).

Again, this path presumes that you have the skills to change out the drive yourself, or at least have friends close by who can help you do the job. Wish I was closer, as I've done a few of these over the years.
Very nice of you to take extra time to help him out.


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post #38 of 63 Old Oct 23rd, 2008, 10:44 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

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Very nice of you to take extra time to help him out.
Just paying back for all that this community has done for me over the years. We were all newbies once upon a time.

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post #39 of 63 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 6:57 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

.......You got me, Dick. I didn't see that..........Did anyone ever think that an early failure after rebuild might be due to some chips left in the housing? Maybe hiding up around the input shaft? We see this in transmissions sometimes because of all the little cracks and hiding places for metal shavings that can't always be reached by washing machines and air blowers. Just a thought. My bearing went over 1,000 miles after it started going bad......

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post #40 of 63 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 11:26 am Thread Starter
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

I called Chicago BMW and the price they gave me after 20% discount is $1200! They said their On Line catalog's prices are not up to date. They said that they do not have any in stock and that it would take 2 to 3 weeks to get one.
I think I am going to for the bearing replacement instead of a new FD or may be a used FD with low mileage if I find one which would then enable me to rebuild the current one and keep it as a spare.
I will keep you posted
Many thanks for all your help
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post #41 of 63 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 12:15 pm
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Exclamation Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

FYI. There is a "better" bearing available that has a machined brass or bronze (can't remember which) retainer instead of the stamped and riveted one on the stock bearing Itís from MRC. When my FD takes a dump I will rebuild it using this bearing.

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post #42 of 63 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 12:36 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Do you have a part number for this "better" bearing?

Thanks,
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post #43 of 63 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 5:36 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

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Do you have a part number for this "better" bearing?

Thanks,
I'm not so sure that you could qualify another manufacturer's bearing as better. SKF and FAG brands are among the absolute best in the world.

The load rating on a 6917 bearing is over 5,000 pounds. In this application the overkill is absolutely staggering.

I have never believed - and never will - that this has ANYTHING to do with the bearing itself... my first LT's rear drive lasted over 120K miles, and there are some that have gone even farther.

All of the hard evidence so far has pointed to poor assembly causing brinell dents. Probably by Hans tapping on the bearing race to seat it or using excessive pressure in a press - hard to tell without knowing the actual assembly technique at the factory.


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post #44 of 63 Old Oct 24th, 2008, 10:50 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

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Originally Posted by RonKMiller
I'm not so sure that you could qualify another manufacturer's bearing as better. SKF and FAG brands are among the absolute best in the world.

The load rating on a 6917 bearing is over 5,000 pounds. In this application the overkill is absolutely staggering.

I have never believed - and never will - that this has ANYTHING to do with the bearing itself... my first LT's rear drive lasted over 120K miles, and there are some that have gone even farther.

All of the hard evidence so far has pointed to poor assembly causing brinell dents. Probably by Hans tapping on the bearing race to seat it or using excessive pressure in a press - hard to tell without knowing the actual assembly technique at the factory.
Just two comments:

1. That is radial load rating you are quoting! Ball bearing of that size can take a good amount of radial load, but only limited amount of axial load, and that's why there is a tapered roller bearing at the end of the drive shaft! This acts as a thrust bearing to take up the main axial load as well to provide support of the drive shaft on the other side of the crown gear.

2. That denting of the balls are a sure sign that the bearing had failed due to excess axial load, which loads the balls against the side of the races. Most likely because, as others had pointed out, there is improper amount of pre-load (incorrect shimming) to load up the taper roller bearing. Once the balls have "flat" spots, they starts to skid rather than roll, and that's when nasty things happen!

So, I do agree with you regarding improper assembly at the factory, but for different reasons. Improper rebuild of the final drive will also cause problems.

PS: All of the bearing companies that you named, plus Fafnir, are good companies. I have used them all in my designs.

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post #45 of 63 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 12:27 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

If that's the Co basic dynamic load rating of the 6917 bearing (the 5000+ lbs radial load), it means that that 10% will fail in 500 hrs at 33 rpm (i. e. 1 million revolutions) as I recall. That is a theoretical load rating based on the bearing dimensions. There are additional factors that reduce that rating considerably for applied thrust loads, speed, lubrication etc.

The life we should probably be expecting would be more like a couple percent failure in 50 million revolutions - for our loading - whatever that is.

In addition to the assembly variances, we have been putting faith in the factories original preload recommendations. In so doing we falsely assume that the original engineers knew what they were doing. This is a weirdly applied bearing set (a deep groove ball bearing being preloaded with a tapered roller bearing for a mostly radial load application). It has a complex loading situation and a complex spectrum, in a minimal sized gearcase. I've never seen anything at all like it.

Nobody knew what they were doing in creating a design like this. Maybe the prototype (if there was one) happened to meet their test objectives. Life tests with a small sample are not repeatable, and engineers are not infallible. I can say that because I am one - and I've had a lot of bearing experience. This design is very marginal at best, but since some seem to last considerably longer than others, there just might be a partial solution out there, but it will have to come from field experience

In the mean time we all have to find a way to reduce the pain of a failure.
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post #46 of 63 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 8:06 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

Quote:
Originally Posted by niel_petersen
If that's the Co basic dynamic load rating of the 6917 bearing (the 5000+ lbs radial load), it means that that 10% will fail in 500 hrs at 33 rpm (i. e. 1 million revolutions) as I recall. That is a theoretical load rating based on the bearing dimensions. There are additional factors that reduce that rating considerably for applied thrust loads, speed, lubrication etc.

The life we should probably be expecting would be more like a couple percent failure in 50 million revolutions - for our loading - whatever that is.

In addition to the assembly variances, we have been putting faith in the factories original preload recommendations. In so doing we falsely assume that the original engineers knew what they were doing. This is a weirdly applied bearing set (a deep groove ball bearing being preloaded with a tapered roller bearing for a mostly radial load application). It has a complex loading situation and a complex spectrum, in a minimal sized gearcase. I've never seen anything at all like it.

Nobody knew what they were doing in creating a design like this. Maybe the prototype (if there was one) happened to meet their test objectives. Life tests with a small sample are not repeatable, and engineers are not infallible. I can say that because I am one - and I've had a lot of bearing experience. This design is very marginal at best, but since some seem to last considerably longer than others, there just might be a partial solution out there, but it will have to come from field experience

In the mean time we all have to find a way to reduce the pain of a failure.
How would you design the bearings for an FD like this? Two large tapered bearings? For many years cars used opposed tapered bearings on the non-driven wheels and these bearings were not all that large yet supported one corner of some pretty heavy cars for many thousands of miles. I suspect the front wheels on the 1970 Plymouth Fury III that I once owned had at least 1,000 lbs on each of them, yet the front wheel bearings never failed in well over 100,000 miles of service. I did repack them every 30K miles or so, but that is less frequent maintenance than the BMW final drive specifies.

I suspect the issue with the BMW FD is the side thrust from the bevel drive. I'm not an ME (EE and CE), but I would imagine that under high torque the bevel drive will place substantial asymmetric axial force on ring gear. Is possibly a reason to favor the ball bearing over a tapered bearing? I don't know if this side force is any worse than the side force on the front wheel of an auto during a sharp turn though...

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post #47 of 63 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 11:57 am
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

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How would you design the bearings for an FD like this? Two large tapered bearings? For many years cars used opposed tapered bearings on the non-driven wheels and these bearings were not all that large yet supported one corner of some pretty heavy cars for many thousands of miles. I suspect the front wheels on the 1970 Plymouth Fury III that I once owned had at least 1,000 lbs on each of them, yet the front wheel bearings never failed in well over 100,000 miles of service. I did repack them every 30K miles or so, but that is less frequent maintenance than the BMW final drive specifies.

I suspect the issue with the BMW FD is the side thrust from the bevel drive. I'm not an ME (EE and CE), but I would imagine that under high torque the bevel drive will place substantial asymmetric axial force on ring gear. Is possibly a reason to favor the ball bearing over a tapered bearing? I don't know if this side force is any worse than the side force on the front wheel of an auto during a sharp turn though...
Good question about how one would design such drive! I was going to ask Niel the same thing.

My experience with final drives had been those for much different functions than these light-duty drives - namely for battle tanks (built them, from M1A1 through to Bradley FVS), and it seem to me that the BMW drive that I saw is nice and simple. It is obvious to me that the problems of the drive failures are quality related, most likely with improper assembly of the drives. If it was design related failure, you would have a much higher failure rates.

The taper roller bearing is to take the axial load for when you ride the bike and lean it over! The load (which comes to the drive axle from the rear wheel) is virtually radial on the main bearing, when the bike is upright. OK, there is a small cantilever from the bearing support point to the rear wheel, but the axial component of this moment will be fairly small. When you take corners and lean the bike over, the weight component on the rear wheel will be translated into axial load and that will increase the further that you lean.

The bevel gear will tend to push against the crown gear, which will have a force component to push the drive shaft away from the taper roller bearing, and that increases the importance of having the correct pre-load on the taper roller bearing!


I have to give the German engineer the benefits of the doubt that they have done a proper job of designing. After all, back when I got my first degree in engineering, they were considered the best mechanical engineers around! As a matter of fact, back then, part of the pre-requisite to taking a degree in ME is to take a language course in German so as to be able to read some of the better textx in ME at the time. I have to quickly note that it was a long time ago, and in another country.

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post #48 of 63 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 1:01 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

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I called Chicago BMW and the price they gave me after 20% discount is $1200!
I know that everything imported from Europe is going up in price, but that really sucks.

I'd probably still hit up the trike manufacturers and see if someone has a complete drive on hand. That's probably harder since you can only use a drive from a '99-'01 bike, but it's worth doing the research.

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post #49 of 63 Old Oct 25th, 2008, 2:20 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

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I know that everything imported from Europe is going up in price, but that really sucks.

I'd probably still hit up the trike manufacturers and see if someone has a complete drive on hand. That's probably harder since you can only use a drive from a '99-'01 bike, but it's worth doing the research.
I think I saw a '99 drive for sales on sBay the other day.

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post #50 of 63 Old Oct 26th, 2008, 3:55 pm
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Re: Would that be the beginning of an FD failure?

The loading of the crown bearing is almost entirely radial + an overturning moment about a vertical axis due to the pressure angle of the drive gears, plus an axial loading due to the preload from the tapered roller bearing. There is no moment about a longitudinal axis due to M/C banking, as that component is pretty much balanced out by the lateral acceleration forces applied to the tire patch.

If I was the FD engineer at BMW with management breathing down my neck, I'd first demand that a source of spare FDs and bearings be made available in North America on an expedited 7 day/wk basis. Who pays for them is something else, but at least make them as available as possible. The FD failure scene is just too darn messy.

Then I'd gather all the info I could from failed units returned from the field. Service history vs location, vs lubrication, vs measured dimensions of the shaft diameter, the original shipping method, & type of failure. I would also try to get a few high mileage units that were still operating OK & carefully measure the remaining preload.

From the above I'd review the preload specs and measuring method. I'd consider adding an additional tramp metal contamination trap - maybe using rare earth magnet(s) more in the free stream of the lubrication channels.

I might even consider doing an accelerated actual multiaxial crown bearing durability test stand using one sample bearing to load another sample (i. e. get two bearings under test). I'd go for maybe a 25 percent overload & see if I could get a life of 25 million revolutions which I could do in a couple of weeks on a simple test stand.

Where it would go from there I don't know, but the solution at that point would have to be tantalizingly close as apparently not all high mileage units are presently failing.
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