Rear Drive: Premptive Strike - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 24 Old Jan 29th, 2006, 8:09 pm Thread Starter
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Talking Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

I'd like to thank everyone who has posted the rear drive failure data, especialy the field repair method from Dick Fish of the LD board and in a way the BMW representative at each of the last two CCR event. The discussion of the new 17 ball bearing at CCR-VI made me take pre-failure action and change the crown bearing before a catastrophic failure occured. I can't get over how simple and inexpensive this repair was (assuming you catch it before failure).

I had worried about a rear drive failure leaving me stranded in the middle of nowhere for some time now and I'm sure this change will improve my long distance travel confidence. In fact, my main reason for changing the bearing at 45,500 miles was becuase of an upcoming trip to Fairbanks, AK that a fellow LT'r and I will do in May-June.

This weeked I purchased the new 17 ball crown bearing, main drive seal and housing O-ring, all which were in stock at my local dealer and it set me back a total of $133.90. I printed out Dick Fish's removal and repair description and cross referenced it with the appropriate pages from my BMW Shop Manual. Then I dove it! I could not believe how easy it was to remove and disassemble the drive. Dick's instructions were dead on for the most part. If you do this repair at home prior to a field failure, don't even mess with trying to remove the bearing from the shaft with Dick's heat gun and screw driver approach. Simply remove the housing with a heat gun and then take the drive to an auto parts store with a hydraulic press and have them remove the bearing from the shaft (took 5 minutes and $5). I attempted Dicks approach and fought with various pullers I had and heating the inner bearing race while applying wet rags to the shaft for about an hour before taking it to the guys with the press. Re-assembly is very, very easy because you can place the driveshaft in your freezer (-5F) and heat the new bearing (+250F) in your oven for about 30 minutes which result in the bearing simply falling on the shaft. Once everything is back to room temperature, re-install the shim, heat the housing cover and drop it back on the bearing. Oh, by the way, I measured the old and new bearing thickness' and they were within one ten-thousanth of an inch of one another. Hence, there is no need to be concerned with the new bearing changing the pinon to ring gear backlash. Re-install the assembly into the drive unit, torque everything back up, add oil and and your ready to roll.

I've attached some pictures of this process for those who might care? It's an easy process and most mechanically inclined folks could handle it in about 4-5 hours (if you've never done it before). I'd say that it could be done in about 2-hours knowing what I do now and not stopping to take pictures and screw around with trying to remove the bearing myself. FYI. The new 17 ball crown bearing is much beefier than the old 19 ball piece. I also noticed that the old bearing was a FAG made in Germany and the new one was a SKF made in France. Both had the same number on them 61917/C3.

Based on my experience with this effort, I'd say if you have even thought about changing to the newer bearing, just do it! IMHO the $133 is very cheap insurance and pails in comparision to the money I 've spent and other goodies for this bike. I should have done it earlier and if I had I know my back woods travels would have been less worrysome.

Alaska or Bust

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post #2 of 24 Old Jan 29th, 2006, 8:23 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old1951
-------------Oh, by the way, I measured the old and new bearing thickness' and they were within one ten-thousanth of an inch of one another. Hence, there is no need to be concerned with the new bearing changing the pinon to ring gear backlash.--------
old1951
You are Probably just fine, but there is one falacy in using the bearing width measurements to determine if the the gear fit will be compromised. The width of the races is not the real determining factor. the OFFSET under load between the two races is what determines the fit. If the bearings are just slightly different in race to ball clearance fit up, the inner race will offset either less or more than the removed bearing, and the pinion to ring gear clearance will change.

This is probably not going to be a problem thouogh, as they are both C3 clearance (looser than standard), and any differences will likely be pretty small.

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post #3 of 24 Old Jan 29th, 2006, 8:38 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by old1951
Based on my experience with this effort, I'd say if you have even thought about changing to the newer bearing, just do it!
Great job, Vern. And approval from Shealey on the first try! Aces!

Blessings!
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post #4 of 24 Old Jan 29th, 2006, 8:54 pm
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Do you have a link to Dick Fish's repair instructions? That would be good to add to the hall of wisdom.


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post #5 of 24 Old Jan 29th, 2006, 11:50 pm Thread Starter
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Unhappy Dick Fish Link

El Jeffe,
Unfortunately, I'm not too up on (and haven't been too active either) the new website format so all I can tell you is that I went to the SEARCH option and typed in "Final Drive." A thread popped up from "Murray" dated Oct. 3rd, 2005 @ 11:21 AM. Attached to his post was Dick Fish's synopsis of a final drive "Field Repair." Murray wondered if Dick's write up shouldn't be added to the "Hall of Wisdom." I was going to just dive in to the bearing change regardless but thought I'd take a quick look (you never stop learning). Glad I did, because it confirmed my engineering experience with rear drive units and ring and pinon backlash settings.

Shealey is correct in that an ideal setup would be under the preload condition. Unfortunately, to do that you must have the BMW setup fixure or as I used to do on my Volkswagon Offroad Race Cars, an old transaxal case with windows cut in it for backlash measurements. It's kind of spooky how similar the BMW final drive of a K1200 is to an old Volkswagon Beetle transaxale.

Maybe the Web gurus can extract the link?

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post #6 of 24 Old Jan 30th, 2006, 2:15 pm
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Excellent summary, gents. Thank you.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...ht=Final+Drive
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post #7 of 24 Old Sep 17th, 2007, 4:11 pm
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nice project for my 99 LT this winter. I have 71000km on the final drive with no probs so far. However, opening the housing and changing to the new bearing doesn't have any negatives from what I've read. I just ordered the parts so thanks for the description.

My question is what process is there to view the mating of the gears with the new bearing? Just measurement of the new bearing? Or, I've seen where a dye is applied to the drive gear to see where the new teeth are meshing. Is this something that would be useful or not needed?

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post #8 of 24 Old Sep 17th, 2007, 5:20 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjdm
nice project for my 99 LT this winter. I have 71000km on the final drive with no probs so far. However, opening the housing and changing to the new bearing doesn't have any negatives from what I've read. I just ordered the parts so thanks for the description.

My question is what process is there to view the mating of the gears with the new bearing? Just measurement of the new bearing? Or, I've seen where a dye is applied to the drive gear to see where the new teeth are meshing. Is this something that would be useful or not needed?
Using blueing to check the tooth contact is not necessary if just changing the crown bearing. Tooth contact pattern is neccessary to check and correct if the pinion bearing is changed. That pattern check is to insure that the pinion is the exact correct distance from the centerline of the crown gear. If the crown gear bearing is changed, the pinion offset distance will not change, however the pre-load on the crown bearing may be incorrect due to axial clearance difference in the new bearing.

As I have stated before, it is NOT the thickness of the bearings, as this is controlled very tightly in manufacture, but the axial clearance between the races and balls, which has a tolerance 5 TIMES what is allowed for radial clearance in these type ball bearings. That is what shimming is for, to make sure the AXIAL pre-load on the bearing is correct.

One could measure the axial clearance of a bearing by supporting the outer race on blocks using a dial indicator to measure the difference in race surfaces when the inner race is loaded down. This should be done on both sides, as it may not be the same from one side to the other. Problem in replacing a failed bearing though is that you do not know what the loaded offset in the old bearing was, so no way to know if the shim needs to be changed. That is why the measuring tecnique stated by BMW, or some similar way to obtain the measurement is necessary. Otherwise, it is a crap shoot to just replace the bearing with the old shim used and no measurement taken.

In my somewhat learned opinion, just replacing a bearing with no measurements stands maybe a 50/50 chance of being correct. Not good odds for me. I would not try it.

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post #9 of 24 Old Sep 18th, 2007, 1:24 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dshealey
Using blueing to check the tooth contact is not necessary if just changing the crown bearing. Tooth contact pattern is neccessary to check and correct if the pinion bearing is changed. That pattern check is to insure that the pinion is the exact correct distance from the centerline of the crown gear. If the crown gear bearing is changed, the pinion offset distance will not change, however the pre-load on the crown bearing may be incorrect due to axial clearance difference in the new bearing.

As I have stated before, it is NOT the thickness of the bearings, as this is controlled very tightly in manufacture, but the axial clearance between the races and balls, which has a tolerance 5 TIMES what is allowed for radial clearance in these type ball bearings. That is what shimming is for, to make sure the AXIAL pre-load on the bearing is correct.

One could measure the axial clearance of a bearing by supporting the outer race on blocks using a dial indicator to measure the difference in race surfaces when the inner race is loaded down. This should be done on both sides, as it may not be the same from one side to the other. Problem in replacing a failed bearing though is that you do not know what the loaded offset in the old bearing was, so no way to know if the shim needs to be changed. That is why the measuring tecnique stated by BMW, or some similar way to obtain the measurement is necessary. Otherwise, it is a crap shoot to just replace the bearing with the old shim used and no measurement taken.

In my somewhat learned opinion, just replacing a bearing with no measurements stands maybe a 50/50 chance of being correct. Not good odds for me. I would not try it.
david with what you've said in mind, do you know whether bmw shops have a way to check for the correct preload when they do this job?
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post #10 of 24 Old Sep 18th, 2007, 8:14 am
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Final drive rebuild

I suspect that some (many?) BMW service departments will rebuild a final drive by just replacing the original pre-load shim. Properly done, there is a BMW special tool for measuring needed shim thickness. We don't know why these things fail but it makes sense to me that it is a combination of factors: the bearing is not quite up to the job, some bearings suffer defects, the whole final drive assembly is a little un-engineered for the job, AND sloppy attention to detail during assembly i.e. shim selection for pre-load. The variables that a rebuilder can control is choosing which bearing to put in there and the preload. (Okay, what gear oil to use but let's not go there )

When I rebuilt my final drive pre-emptively I didn't want to just change the bearing, I wanted to really check the pre-load. The most elequent method I found was posted here by Duane (DMAN). I found this technique to be a very repeatable direct measurement and does not require the BMW tool:

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthre...18116#poststop



Addendum:
David Shealy, did you ever use that bearing with the beefy looking retainer you posted a picture of some time ago?)
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post #11 of 24 Old Sep 30th, 2007, 6:41 pm
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I just ordered and received the parts for the preemptive bearing change. When it came in the parts guys told me it was a 19-ball bearing so I explained the issue and asked them to verify if this was old inventory. After some discussion and talk with BMW they report that the 17-ball is now obsolete and a new 19-ball bearing is the latest part. So, if I'm correct, this is v3 of this final drive bearing.

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post #12 of 24 Old Oct 1st, 2007, 5:54 pm
 
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Okay, let me make sure I got this right,,,,,

You change a perfectly good part with only 45K on it that would probably have gone another 100K because you thought the part might go bad some day.... Did I get it right???
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post #13 of 24 Old Oct 1st, 2007, 6:24 pm
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Preventive maintenance or....

don't fix it if it's not broken.

Well, color me stupid too, because I changed out a "perfectly good part" around 30-40K miles too.

Hi Pete, your post sounds just a little bit critical of someone's decision to rebuild/replace a part that is known to fail more than it should (never mind estimates of what percentage is failing).

Ever heard of TBO hours in the aircraft world? After a certain number of hours certain things get rebuilt/replaced rather than wait for them to fail. Well the LT isn't going to fall out of the sky if a rear drive fails, but some of us would rather replace a "perfectly good part" at home on our own schedule rather than wait for it to fail on the road. It may be unnecessary but we don't know that, we know there is a risk of failure with final drives.

For less than $200 and a few hours of labor we get the peace of mind afforded by a new bearing. And if time is taken to carefully calculate pre-load as I did, there is the assurance that the bearing is properly set up.

Consider those of us who do pre-emptive bearing changes as those who are willing to purchase a little more trip insurance. When you consider what some folks have dealt with regarding tow charges, vacation time lost, bike down time, etc., a little insurance against that doesn't seem all that foolish to me.

And by the way, my final drive had no outward signs of any problems, but when I got the old bearing out and cleaned up, it had a slight roughness that was not evident when the bearing was oiled. There was slight roughness that was simply not dectable without disassembly and inspection. I have no regrets about doing a pre-emptive rebuilt and would not discourage anyone else from doing it, especially if they have one of the early models which seem more prone to failures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by petepeterson
Okay, let me make sure I got this right,,,,,

You change a perfectly good part with only 45K on it that would probably have gone another 100K because you thought the part might go bad some day.... Did I get it right???

Last edited by CharlieVT; Oct 1st, 2007 at 9:37 pm.
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post #14 of 24 Old Oct 1st, 2007, 10:40 pm
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It is not just a "part", it is a bearing with a "wimp" of a ball retainer. Yes I also changed my 2000 at 47K miles, under the shade tree. To many of these early production LT bearings have failed their retainers in the 50K mileage ballpark.

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post #15 of 24 Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 1:59 pm
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Does anyone have the dimensions of the bearing (ID, OD, Width)? I'm certain it has to be metric. I'd love to do a search around to see if this ball bearing could be replaced with a tapered roller bearing.

EDIT - Never mind, it's 85mm ID, 120mm OD, 18mm width. No, there are no tapered roller bearings that size available. Bummer. I've never seen any good results with a ball bearing/tapered roller bearing combo under preload before. Two tapered roller bearings would be - pardon the expression - the balls!

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post #16 of 24 Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 5:41 pm
 
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CharlieVT,,, really I tried hard not to be critical or to sound critical in my post but jeeeez!!!
I have 20 years in Marine Corps aviation so I'm aware of what high time parts are....really.....
Its probably that I'm just educated way beyond my level of intelligence cause axle bearings don't qualify as high time parts just because a few have failed over the course of the last 6 or 7 years...... This is a case of needing highly qualified technicians to correctly install and set the tolerances on this bearing... Most shop techs may not have the expertise to to it right......Anyway I'm going to wait for the big BMW bearing sale before I do mine...........Pete
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post #17 of 24 Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 6:40 pm
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When the sand storm is over,

and the dust has settled, I may be able to see if I am riding a horse or an ass.

Truth is, we'll never know if those of us who did a pre-emptive bearing change actually prevented something. But given the history of failures I wouldn't fault anyone who decides to change it.
Reading this board creates lots of work. We've got people drilling holes in their clutch slave housings, (I did), changing out clutch slaves which have never failed (I did), throwing away charcoal cannisters (did that too), making modifications we never would have thought of and buying stuff we ddin't know we needed because of this board.
Some people surely think I'm nuts for fixing all this stuff that isn't broken.
But then I think that people who re-engineer their bikes to relocate the air and gas filter are nuts. To each his own right?

Pete, 20 years USMC huh? HooRah!
Semper Fi
I did 22 with Mother Navy... several of those years with FMF. Which gets me thinking, how about we change out the LT's final drive with a "final drive" off the stabilizer rotor from a CH-53. Those things never broke did they?

Quote:
Originally Posted by petepeterson
CharlieVT,,, really I tried hard not to be critical or to sound critical in my post but jeeeez!!!
I have 20 years in Marine Corps aviation so I'm aware of what high time parts are....really.....
Its probably that I'm just educated way beyond my level of intelligence cause axle bearings don't qualify as high time parts just because a few have failed over the course of the last 6 or 7 years...... This is a case of needing highly qualified technicians to correctly install and set the tolerances on this bearing... Most shop techs may not have the expertise to to it right......Anyway I'm going to wait for the big BMW bearing sale before I do mine...........Pete
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post #18 of 24 Old Oct 2nd, 2007, 10:34 pm
 
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I sir, do NOT ride on any motorcycle that has ANY tail rotor gear boxes, drive shafts or rear shaft cowlings thank you very much!!!!!!
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post #19 of 24 Old Oct 30th, 2013, 10:29 pm
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Re: Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

Quote:
Originally Posted by petepeterson
Okay, let me make sure I got this right,,,,,

You change a perfectly good part with only 45K on it that would probably have gone another 100K because you thought the part might go bad some day.... Did I get it right???

Got a hell of a laugh out of your extended logic !!!! OK, now for me...What lub do I use for the final drive????? Can it be easily changed ??? and How often does it need to be done????...................
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post #20 of 24 Old Oct 31st, 2013, 5:13 pm
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Re: Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rightrudder2
Got a hell of a laugh out of your extended logic !!!! OK, now for me...What lub do I use for the final drive????? Can it be easily changed ??? and How often does it need to be done????...................

There are some great threads here.

Spec is a GL-5 90 weight. But most run 75W-90 or 90W-140 full synthetic. If you change it every time you change the engine oil you get to look at the drain plug magnet for the tell tale "shiny" bits. Gray fuzz is OK. A quart will do at least three changes (230 ml each). Remove the filler plug before you remove the drain plug as it is very hard to turn the bike upside down to re-fill through the drain plug (just in case it won't open).

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post #21 of 24 Old Nov 1st, 2013, 9:03 am
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Re: Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

Wow Rightrudder2, just because It's Halloween is no reason to necro a 6 year old thread.

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post #22 of 24 Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 11:36 am
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Re: Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

On the issue of doing pre-emptive repairs, particularly the FD... I did mine pre-emptively this summer. the new shim I needed was 3mm thinner than the original. I used a stock crownwheel bearing, and if you understand bearing manufacturing standards they are designed to be uniform. That means to me my FD was shimmed 3mm to tight from the factory. I think this pre-emptive repair will prove to have saved me from a breakdown somewhere down the road.

As a professional mechanic it's very obvious to me that every vehicle has common problem areasbecause of design, materials, or assembly issues, Pre-emptive repairs only make sense - unless you like being broke down on the side of the road. Steve
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post #23 of 24 Old Nov 2nd, 2013, 11:51 am
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Re: Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

Steve... did you re-use the crown wheel bearing that was in your FD...or did you replace it with a new one?

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post #24 of 24 Old Jul 1st, 2014, 1:33 pm
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Re: Rear Drive: Premptive Strike

Just scored a used final drive.
May take it on long rides as a spare , If bike lasts until end of summer maybe I will rebuild it this winter.
What are the best sources for parts, can a standard machine shop tests clearences and preload?
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