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Hi folks, I am replacing my crown bearing on my 2003 k 1200 LT and I see that the bearing cost at Max BMW is about $160. I'm wondering if anybody has found a place to buy them at a more reasonable price or is there a way I can get a discount at Max BMW?

Also some have suggested to use the SKF version, (SKF 61917-C3) which has 17 balls, as potentially a more reliable solution ..... anybody have any thoughts on that?....... And where to purchase it?

Thanks!

Joe

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Hi folks, I am replacing my crown bearing on my 2003 k 1200 LT and I see that the bearing cost at Max BMW is about $160. I'm wondering if anybody has found a place to buy them at a more reasonable price or is there a way I can get a discount at Max BMW?

Also some have suggested to use the SKF version, (SKF 61917-C3) which has 17 balls, as potentially a more reliable solution ..... anybody have any thoughts on that?....... And where to purchase it?

Thanks!

Joe

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Yeah, they are expensive. BMW tried the 17 ball C3 bearing at one time and went back or went to the 19 ball with the C3 tolerance. It isn't the bearing or the number of balls in it that is the reliability issue. It is an over shimming for the preload on the taper bearing that causes metal fatigue on the crown bearing. If you are going to properly measure for the shims on the new bearing, then get the BMW bearing and be done with it. If you are just going to reuse the shims that were in there from the factory, it doesn't matter which one you get. It will likely fail again in about the same time and neither bearing would be any more reliable. The tolerance on the shimming is so tight that the manufacturing difference between the C1, readily available for less and C3 spec bearings would put the C1 outside the required toerance just on specifications alone so you couldn't shim it properly. It just isn't made accurate enough. I wanted to try and use a C1 bearing as it is less but found that it simply would not work as its potential runout would be more than the minimum to maximum allowance.

Motobins has the 17 ball C3 bearing from the UK ( I think ) but even our goto guy Dave ( Saddleman) for FD rebuilds mentioned to me he won't put a 17 ball in one he sends out. I think he told me he was going to try using a 17 ball on one of his own and see how it held up but that conversation was awhile ago so I may not be remembering that right. Use whatever one you want but the shimming is the key to reliability, not the bearing. If you don't have the tools to do that part, you are better off sending it off to Dave.
 

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Hi folks, I am replacing my crown bearing on my 2003 k 1200 LT and I see that the bearing cost at Max BMW is about $160. I'm wondering if anybody has found a place to buy them at a more reasonable price or is there a way I can get a discount at Max BMW?

Also some have suggested to use the SKF version, (SKF 61917-C3) which has 17 balls, as potentially a more reliable solution ..... anybody have any thoughts on that?....... And where to purchase it?

Thanks!

Joe

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As stated by BMWCOOLK1200 in previous post, you can get proper C3 bearings from UK but they are the 17 balls type. Both MotorWorks and MotoBins in UK are very reliable supplier of BMW genuine parts OR replacement parts at more affordable prices:
1) Motorworks: https://www.motorworks.co.uk/vlive/Shop/Parts.php?T=6&Q=tra42210&search=SEARCH

2) Moto-Bins: https://www.motobins.co.uk/

The Bearing retail prices for export outside of UK (no VAT taxes charged) is about Forty (40) UK pound - so roughly $US 51

BEFORE ORDERING, I would wait to get feedback from our rear-drive expert here (DAVE alias Sadddleman) to see if you should avoid the 17 balls bearing (as stated earlier).

ANOTHER INEXPENSIVE SOURCE that appear to have the proper 19 balls FAG bearing is TILLS in Germany. I have ordered many parts from them in the past and they are quite reliable. Only one instance where I was shipped a non equivalent to OEM part - this was not stated clearly on their web page.
The bearing price is very good and they have affordable shipping too - here on their web site: https://www.tills.de/grooved-ball-bearing-85x120x18-fag-replacing-33121242211.html

Price shown (Euro 73) is in fact cheaper for you or me because the 19% VAT will not be charged when shipped overseas. Will become $US 71 plus shipping when ordering / shipping info is completed.
 
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Yeah, they are expensive. BMW tried the 17 ball C3 bearing at one time and went back or went to the 19 ball with the C3 tolerance. It isn't the bearing or the number of balls in it that is the reliability issue. It is an over shimming for the preload on the taper bearing that causes metal fatigue on the crown bearing. If you are going to properly measure for the shims on the new bearing, then get the BMW bearing and be done with it. If you are just going to reuse the shims that were in there from the factory, it doesn't matter which one you get. It will likely fail again in about the same time and neither bearing would be any more reliable. The tolerance on the shimming is so tight that the manufacturing difference between the C1, readily available for less and C3 spec bearings would put the C1 outside the required toerance just on specifications alone so you couldn't shim it properly. It just isn't made accurate enough. I wanted to try and use a C1 bearing as it is less but found that it simply would not work as its potential runout would be more than the minimum to maximum allowance.



Motobins has the 17 ball C3 bearing from the UK ( I think ) but even our goto guy Dave ( Saddleman) for FD rebuilds mentioned to me he won't put a 17 ball in one he sends out. I think he told me he was going to try using a 17 ball on one of his own and see how it held up but that conversation was awhile ago so I may not be remembering that right. Use whatever one you want but the shimming is the key to reliability, not the bearing. If you don't have the tools to do that part, you are better off sending it off to Dave.
Thank you for the informative response!...... I very much appreciate it

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Hi folks, I am replacing my crown bearing on my 2003 k 1200 LT and I see that the bearing cost at Max BMW is about $160. I'm wondering if anybody has found a place to buy them at a more reasonable price or is there a way I can get a discount at Max BMW?

Also some have suggested to use the SKF version, (SKF 61917-C3) which has 17 balls, as potentially a more reliable solution ..... anybody have any thoughts on that?....... And where to purchase it?

Thanks!

Joe
ONE MORE THING... Just in case you are NOT aware:
I am assuming you know what you are getting into with these rear-drives. Just replacing the Bearing without proper measurements/ shimming will often lead to an early failure - unfortunately this is what many dealers have done in the past and we have data (and 15+ years history) to prove that.
 
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ONE MORE THING... Just in case you are NOT aware:
I am assuming you know what you are getting into with these rear-drives. Just replacing the Bearing without proper measurements/ shimming will often lead to an early failure - unfortunately this is what many dealers have done in the past and we have data (and 15+ years history) to prove that.
Yep..... That's what I come to understand through this forum.

My plan has been to order the bearing, measure its width, and then take the measurements on the housing to determine what shims I need before ordering any shims. It seems like a pretty inefficient way to do it but I cannot I think of a cost-effective way to do it differently since the shims are so expensive

Thank you!

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Yep..... That's what I come to understand through this forum.

My plan has been to order the bearing, measure its width, and then take the measurements on the housing to determine what shims I need before ordering any shims. It seems like a pretty inefficient way to do it but I cannot I think of a cost-effective way to do it differently since the shims are so expensive

Thank you!

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There is a measurable amount of slop in the bearing itselfand just measuring the bearing will give you an incorrect number for the shims. Yes, it is difficult to measure accurately without some special tools as you need to be able to measure from the top of the outside race down to the housing facing or you need to be able to measure the movement of the crown assembly in the housing from seated in the taper bearing seat to the top of the housing. This is usually only able to be done when it has been significantly heated to expand the aluminum enough to allow the bearing to slide easily up and down and has to be done quickly before it cools and no longer slides. The movement is measured with a micrometer dial gauge and setup for that is difficult as the FD can not move in relation to the dial gauge. The bearing does not sit on the bottom housing but floats being suspended by the taper bearing and then sandwiched by the shims and the top cover. There are also other things to look for while it is apart to prevent another type of failure requiring another rebuild so you need to know what to look for. I have a couple pictures of some tools people have made to do this job and the nicest one first is the actual BMW tool. If you have a way of finding the gap accurately, you should do OK in finding the right combination of shims. Take pictures of the stuff inside so we can have a look for any other issues.
 

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I made a mistake on the drawing for the movement method. It is the top cover that needs to be heated not the bottom case.
 

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Yep..... That's what I come to understand through this forum.

My plan has been to order the bearing, measure its width, and then take the measurements on the housing to determine what shims I need before ordering any shims. It seems like a pretty inefficient way to do it but I cannot I think of a cost-effective way to do it differently since the shims are so expensive

Thank you!
OK, the shims are a bit expensive. So what ?.... do you really think it will be cheaper to take a chance and maybe damage one more bearing OR maybe the whole drive.

I am not trying to be cynical, just show that "hoping it will work" or "trying to save" is not a logical way to deal with these technical / mechanical problems. In addition, there has been isolated cases of rear wheel lockup when the bearing fails: do you really think your life is worth a few $$ hundreds dollar.

Seriously... either you do it right or have it done right by an expert like Dave (Saddleman). You will sleep better, ride in peace and will have a rear-drive that will last 200,000 miles.
 

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OK, the shims are a bit expensive. So what ?.... do you really think it will be cheaper to take a chance and maybe damage one more bearing OR maybe the whole drive.

I am not trying to be cynical, just show that "hoping it will work" or "trying to save" is not a logical way to deal with these technical / mechanical problems. In addition, there has been isolated cases of rear wheel lockup when the bearing fails: do you really think your life is worth a few $$ hundreds dollar.

Seriously... either you do it right or have it done right by an expert like Dave (Saddleman). You will sleep better, ride in peace and will have a rear-drive that will last 200,000 miles.
Well said.... I do indeed plan to do it right.

The issue I am dealing with is the time it takes to do it properly. First I have to order the bearing online and once I get there bearing have to take the measurements to find the correct shims that I need. Then I have to order the shims. The ordering and shipping of all this takes time and I was looking for ways to expedite. I think it is what it is. In talking to one of the local dealerships..... they said that the final drives are sometimes apart on the bench for several weeks!

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It will be a few years until I have enough miles on the NTN bearing from Moto Bins so I can have an opinion on the 17 ball bearing. It takes me 8 to 10 hours to rebuild a final drive & I have fixtures, press, oven, freezer & two cleaning tanks set up just for the final drive.
 

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It will be a few years until I have enough miles on the NTN bearing from Moto Bins so I can have an opinion on the 17 ball bearing. It takes me 8 to 10 hours to rebuild a final drive & I have fixtures, press, oven, freezer & two cleaning tanks set up just for the final drive.
Dave, thank you for your feedback on the 17balls NTN bearing. I have one here as a spare that I may need one day...

More QUESTIONs If I may:
1) do you like the alternate option I showed earlier from TILLS - the 19 balls FAG bearing at roughly $US 71
https://www.tills.de/grooved-ball-bearing-85x120x18-fag-replacing-33121242211.html

2) Do you get this bearing from USA suppliers/distributors OR you shop around the world for best prices ?
 

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Dave, thank you for your feedback on the 17balls NTN bearing. I have one here as a spare that I may need one day...

More QUESTIONs If I may:
1) do you like the alternate option I showed earlier from TILLS - the 19 balls FAG bearing at roughly $US 71
https://www.tills.de/grooved-ball-bearing-85x120x18-fag-replacing-33121242211.html

2) Do you get this bearing from USA suppliers/distributors OR you shop around the world for best prices ?
I still buy my bearings & seals from the BMW dealer.
 

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Hi folks, I am replacing my crown bearing on my 2003 k 1200 LT and I see that the bearing cost at Max BMW is about $160. I'm wondering if anybody has found a place to buy them at a more reasonable price or is there a way I can get a discount at Max BMW?

Also some have suggested to use the SKF version, (SKF 61917-C3) which has 17 balls, as potentially a more reliable solution ..... anybody have any thoughts on that?....... And where to purchase it?

Thanks!

Joe

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Joe,

So far, this discussion has centered around replacement of the crown bearing, but I'm assuming you are going to be replacing the tapered roller bearing (SKF 30205) as well, right?

I've got my final drive apart at the moment, and in the same boat. My R1100RT had just reached 75,000 miles when the crown bearing cage failed in dramatic fashion (with twisted fragments of the cage falling out at disassembly).

While I generally view Youtube videos with extreme skepticism, there is a fellow in England (Superbike Surgery) who has been rebuilding final drives for some time. In the beginning, he measured every one until reaching the conclusion that using the original shims - because of bearing manufacturing tolerances being so precise - was the way to go.

I doubt I'll be constructing elaborate measurement fixtures such as those shown below, so I'm tempted to take the guy's word for it.

Jim
 

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Sorry I'm not sure when you sent this question....... but in the end I did not use the original shims nor did I make an elaborate fixture to measure the free play.

What I did was bolt the unit together without the shims and then using a pry bar to move the shaft within the space to measure the free play with a dial indicator. Then I was able to use some of the shims that I had along with one purchased shim to get the correct amount of preload on the bearing.

I know this isn't necessarily a very scientific method of measuring the correct preload but it seems to be working quite well so far. Time will tell in the end if the process was robust.



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Sorry I'm not sure when you sent this question....... but in the end I did not use the original shims nor did I make an elaborate fixture to measure the free play.

What I did was bolt the unit together without the shims and then using a pry bar to move the shaft within the space to measure the free play with a dial indicator. Then I was able to use some of the shims that I had along with one purchased shim to get the correct amount of preload on the bearing.

I know this isn't necessarily a very scientific method of measuring the correct preload but it seems to be working quite well so far. Time will tell in the end if the process was robust.



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lehtabmw, here, this is known as the " DMAN " method as on this forum many years ago, he was the first to bring forth the dial gauge method of measuring the gap and calculating the shim pack thickness. I measure with a modified FD cover and a gauge block as well as doing the DMAN method. If they don't agree, I do it until they do and use that for my calculating my shim pack. The secret to the DMAN method is to make sure everything is very stable as your window of tolerance is less than 4 thousandths of an inch. If things move while you are prying, your measurement is off. I made a bolt on jig of magnetic metal to affix my dial gauge base to so it moves with the FD housing. It isn't fancy but it does the trick.
 
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Thanks for adding the info! I knew I had got the idea from somewhere but couldn't recall where it came from.

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Joe,

So far, this discussion has centered around replacement of the crown bearing, but I'm assuming you are going to be replacing the tapered roller bearing (SKF 30205) as well, right?

I've got my final drive apart at the moment, and in the same boat. My R1100RT had just reached 75,000 miles when the crown bearing cage failed in dramatic fashion (with twisted fragments of the cage falling out at disassembly).

While I generally view Youtube videos with extreme skepticism, there is a fellow in England (Superbike Surgery) who has been rebuilding final drives for some time. In the beginning, he measured every one until reaching the conclusion that using the original shims - because of bearing manufacturing tolerances being so precise - was the way to go.

I doubt I'll be constructing elaborate measurement fixtures such as those shown below, so I'm tempted to take the guy's word for it.

Jim
The problem with that approach is that it presumes that the factory setup was correct. It is pretty well-known now that most failures are due to the factory shimming being incorrect. Measurement of each FD is absolutely essential for long life.
 

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The problem with that approach is that it presumes that the factory setup was correct. It is pretty well-known now that most failures are due to the factory shimming being incorrect. Measurement of each FD is absolutely essential for long life.
Agreed. You might get away with that on the later models where the failures were fewer but if you have a failure and you have less than 100K miles on it, the shimming should certainly be checked and adjusted as required.
 

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...and technically you do not preload the crown bearing with the shims you are preloading the taper bearing.
 
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