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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

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It has already undergone a major revision since its initial release as it is no longer made of anodized aluminum but steel. I have them on my bike but too few miles to be able to say they are really good or not. They do have potential though with the capability of lubrication without disassembly but with as little movement there is, I don't think lubrication was an issue with the needle bearings. I think it was a large force on a very small contact area of the needle and race. I would think this is " better" but there is no adjustment to them other than lateral play lightly adjusted to zero so if the materials do not hold up, they too would need to be replaced.
 

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It has already undergone a major revision since its initial release as it is no longer made of anodized aluminum but steel. I have them on my bike but too few miles to be able to say they are really good or not. They do have potential though with the capability of lubrication without disassembly but with as little movement there is, I don't think lubrication was an issue with the needle bearings. I think it was a large force on a very small contact area of the needle and race. I would think this is " better" but there is no adjustment to them other than lateral play lightly adjusted to zero so if the materials do not hold up, they too would need to be replaced.
I will remain skeptical until someone has 50,000 miles on them. :smile:

I thought the bronze bushing solution was going to be the cat’s meow, but mine are sqeaking again after less than 20,000 miles since the last greasing. And the fact that these have already had a major material change, suggests they are not the cat’s meow either. And whenever I see something that says “Awesome new product!!!” I admit that my BS detector starts ticking like a geiger counter at Chernobyl. >:)
 

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I will remain skeptical until someone has 50,000 miles on them. :smile:

I thought the bronze bushing solution was going to be the cat’s meow, but mine are sqeaking again after less than 20,000 miles since the last greasing. And the fact that these have already had a major material change, suggests they are not the cat’s meow either. And whenever I see something that says “Awesome new product!!!” I admit that my BS detector starts ticking like a geiger counter at Chernobyl. >:)
And they come with no installation instructions so installation errors may be part of the equation of time and mileage.
 

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And they come with no installation instructions so installation errors may be part of the equation of time and mileage.
That’s odd. I hope the product succeeds, but I was an early adopter of the bronze bushings and plan to be a later adopter of these ... if they pan out with a few of the early adopters.:wink:
 

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That’s odd. I hope the product succeeds, but I was an early adopter of the bronze bushings and plan to be a later adopter of these ... if they pan out with a few of the early adopters.:wink:
My needle bearings were trashed so it seemed like a good way to go. John had already gotten his set but had not installed them at that time. I'll let you know>:)

My spare FD has a new set of OEM needle bearings in sealed BMW bags I got from Ebay for $30 each. That also seemed like a good idea at the time. Unlike Kirk in his video, they go in a lot easier with a little heat. :)
 

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My needle bearings were trashed so it seemed like a good way to go. John had already gotten his set but had not installed them at that time. I'll let you know>:)

My spare FD has a new set of OEM needle bearings in sealed BMW bags I got from Ebay for $30 each. That also seemed like a good idea at the time. Unlike Kirk in his video, they go in a lot easier with a little heat. :)
Yes, the fire wrench is one of my favorite tools.
 

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I only have 4,000 miles on mine as I installed them with my 2.82 rear drive. I lubed them up before I installed and then a little squirt after the install. I guess that was too much as the excess grease I used separated and left a little oil inside the FD boot area. I wiped it out and it has not returned. They still seem to be holding OK on play.
 

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I only have 4,000 miles on mine as I installed them with my 2.82 rear drive. I lubed them up before I installed and then a little squirt after the install. I guess that was too much as the excess grease I used separated and left a little oil inside the FD boot area. I wiped it out and it has not returned. They still seem to be holding OK on play.
I installed mine after replacing the pinion bearing and seal because the pinion nut came loose through no fault of my own other than not checking it when I had the FD off but who would do that expecting it to be loose. I have about the same 4000 on mine and have not checked since installation.
 

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I installed mine after replacing the pinion bearing and seal because the pinion nut came loose through no fault of my own other than not checking it when I had the FD off but who would do that expecting it to be loose. I have about the same 4000 on mine and have not checked since installation.
I am curious to see how your experience and John’s turn out once you have 30,000 miles or more. My bronze bushings are now approaching 50,000 miles (47,000 to be more exact). I have never felt play in them, but they were getting pretty dry when I last had them apart for my clutch job two years and 20,000 miles ago. They had about 27,000 miles on them then. There were also some wear marks on them, but no discernible play. Now after 20,000 more miles I hear occasional squeaking sounds when I mount and dismount the bike that is either in the Wilbers shock that I installed at the 54,000 mile point or the bushings. I suspect the bushings, but maybe the Wilbers are wearing already. I sure hope not given what they cost!
 

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I doubt it is the bushings you hear since the rotational movement is not very much on mounting. How long have you had the shocks installed? Most manufacturers recommend 30 K rebuild intervals. My bushings were in there for 70 K and showed slight sings of wear, I never heard a squeak.
 

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I doubt it is the bushings you hear since the rotational movement is not very much on mounting. How long have you had the shocks installed? Most manufacturers recommend 30 K rebuild intervals. My bushings were in there for 70 K and showed slight sings of wear, I never heard a squeak.
About 20,000 miles. Yes, hard to tell where the sound is coming from. I hear it when I rock the bike off the side stand when mounting and then when I rock it back onto the side stand while dismounting. I don’t hear it while riding because it is quieter than the engine.
 

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A lot to like on these for sure, but that there's no taper gives me pause. I generally agree with what most have said over the years about the original needle bearing design. Which is to say, not ideally suited for the application, but they were tapered, which is why I'm more in favor of the JL bronze bushings as replacement. Mainly because they are tapered for pre-loading adjustments, and have more contact surface. The JLs state 660 oil-impregnated bronze for bushing material while beemershop.com page mentions copper for EI Bushing Kit.

That said, I have run into a few articles where the JLs didn't hold up well, and some have attributed that to wrong grease and /or not enough pre-load. Seems it's very important to not forget the 500 mile checkup to tighten the pre-load. Would be interested to hear if others agree, or see the Ei Bushing Kit as the new standard
 

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The Ei did not look like copper to me more like the bronze of the JL. Neither specified pre-load (maybe JL had 35 Lb-in I just don't have the sheet anymore). I used the factory setting for the original needles of 7 Nm (62 Lb-in), on the JL I ended up using about 32 Lb-in (just until there was no measurable play with a dial indicator) . For the Ei I just snugged it up so we will see how it does since there was no play even when slightly loose.

Found the sheet and JL just says tighten until the drive just drags a bit and lock down the lock nut.
 

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The Ei did not look like copper to me more like the bronze of the JL. Neither specified pre-load (maybe JL had 35 Lb-in I just don't have the sheet anymore). I used the factory setting for the original needles of 7 Nm (62 Lb-in), on the JL I ended up using about 32 Lb-in (just until there was no measurable play with a dial indicator) . For the Ei I just snugged it up so we will see how it does since there was no play even when slightly loose.

Found the sheet and JL just says tighten until the drive just drags a bit and lock down the lock nut.
Tom Cutter sent me a magazine article as the instructions. It said also to tighten until the FD would just barely rotate downward under its own weight. I believe this took about the same torque as the stock bearings, but maybe a little less.
 

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A lot to like on these for sure, but that there's no taper gives me pause. I generally agree with what most have said over the years about the original needle bearing design. Which is to say, not ideally suited for the application, but they were tapered, which is why I'm more in favor of the JL bronze bushings as replacement. Mainly because they are tapered for pre-loading adjustments, and have more contact surface. The JLs state 660 oil-impregnated bronze for bushing material while beemershop.com page mentions copper for EI Bushing Kit.

That said, I have run into a few articles where the JLs didn't hold up well, and some have attributed that to wrong grease and /or not enough pre-load. Seems it's very important to not forget the 500 mile checkup to tighten the pre-load. Would be interested to hear if others agree, or see the Ei Bushing Kit as the new standard
I have the same reservations. With no taper and preload, the play in the FD is set by the clearances machined into the bushings of this unit. As the bushings wear and clearances increase, I see no way to remove that play as can be done with tapered bearing surfaces. That is why I am skeptical of these units in an application where play can be dangerous at a certain level. That is why I want to see 30,000 miles or more service before I try them.
 

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Agreed. Studying it more I find that whole FD pivot joint a very difficult design to apply conventional wisdom, as it relates to bearings and bushings. Bearings and bushings are great at rotating surfaces. Given the limited movement at that joint (under typical use), most of the load is only at the 6 o'clock position. In theory, I like the FL design because of more contact surface, but that's theory. On the needle design, many have reported failures of flattened/crushed needles, etc, so they can't all be wrong or had bad pre-load as BMW would suggest. Personally, I'm debating all this with myself because I'll be doing a bearing replacement soon on my '04 with 50K and has OE bearings. Set of BMW needles runs $230, and the FL around $120, but aside from that I mainly want to get the best part for the job.
 

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Agreed. Studying it more I find that whole FD pivot joint a very difficult design to apply conventional wisdom, as it relates to bearings and bushings. Bearings and bushings are great at rotating surfaces. Given the limited movement at that joint (under typical use), most of the load is only at the 6 o'clock position. In theory, I like the FL design because of more contact surface, but that's theory. On the needle design, many have reported failures of flattened/crushed needles, etc, so they can't all be wrong or had bad pre-load as BMW would suggest. Personally, I'm debating all this with myself because I'll be doing a bearing replacement soon on my '04 with 50K and has OE bearings. Set of BMW needles runs $230, and the FL around $120, but aside from that I mainly want to get the best part for the job.
In theory, bushings are better than bearings for reciprocating motion like this. I think the issue is that the loading is too high for the bronze bushings. I think if there was more room so they could be larger, they would be the best solution. However, I wonder why elastomeric bushings like those in auto suspension A-arm bushings would not work. They control auto wheel alignment accurately enough and last 100,000+ miles in most cars. Given the limited rotation angle, it seems to me that a sufficiently high durometer poly bushing might be the cat’s meow in this application. No maintenance required and fairly cheap to make.

I think the JL bushings are better than the OEM needles. My needles were quite notchy after 27,000 miles and the bushings have lasted nearly twice as long, but they are far from maintenance-free. It would be nice to have a solution that would go maintenance-free for 100K miles or more.
 
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In theory, bushings are better than bearings for reciprocating motion like this. I think the issue is that the loading is too high for the bronze bushings. I think if there was more room so they could be larger, they would be the best solution. However, I wonder why elastomeric bushings like those in auto suspension A-arm bushings would not work. They control auto wheel alignment accurately enough and last 100,000+ miles in most cars. Given the limited rotation angle, it seems to me that a sufficiently high durometer poly bushing might be the cat’s meow in this application. No maintenance required and fairly cheap to make.
There was a guy over on the AdvRider web site several years ago working on just that. It seems the GSs were fracturing the JL bronze units so he was working on something like the EI solution but out of a Delrin or some other machinable heavy duty plastic material. I never did see the final solution and lost interest.
 
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