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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi

I drained the final drive yesterday on my 99 LT and the plug showed filings.
Is this a concern or should I wait and see at the next change?
The oil was a good colour.
The plug was cleaned 5000km ago.

Thanks
 

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Hi

I drained the final drive yesterday on my 99 LT and the plug showed filings.
Is this a concern or should I wait and see at the next change?
The oil was a good colour.
The plug was cleaned 5000km ago.

Thanks
Welcome to the forum. The FD will normally make a very fine powder that will mix with the oil and form a paste that accumulates on the magnet. If that is nothing more than a paste, then it is probably OK. If there are flakes or larger particles, that may be in indication of the crown bearing beginning to deteriorate. Wipe that off on a smooth surface and look at the particle size. Check the rear wheel for any play by shaking it at 9 and 3 and also at 12 and 6. There should be no play that you can feel. If there is, you need to determine if that play is in the wheel bearing or worn pivot bearings on the swing arm. If it is in the wheel, you are looking at doing the crown bearing replacement in the near future.
 
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Hi

I drained the final drive yesterday on my 99 LT and the plug showed filings.
Is this a concern or should I wait and see at the next change?
The oil was a good colour.
The plug was cleaned 5000km ago.

Thanks
Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like more than the normal gray sludge. I would consider sending the FD to Saddleman for a pre-emptive inspection and possible rebuild.
 

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Wipe it onto a clean white cloth and look for shiny or "sparkle" stuff. Old gray "fuzz" is normal, shiny is bad.
 
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The 2 that I lost looked like that about couple thousand before they failed.......

I would just change it, run it and check back in 4-500 miles. I would give odds you need a rebuild and the guy to fix it is right here.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome to the forum. The FD will normally make a very fine powder that will mix with the oil and form a paste that accumulates on the magnet. If that is nothing more than a paste, then it is probably OK. If there are flakes or larger particles, that may be in indication of the crown bearing beginning to deteriorate. Wipe that off on a smooth surface and look at the particle size. Check the rear wheel for any play by shaking it at 9 and 3 and also at 12 and 6. There should be no play that you can feel. If there is, you need to determine if that play is in the wheel bearing or worn pivot bearings on the swing arm. If it is in the wheel, you are looking at doing the crown bearing replacement in the near future.
Thanks for the welcome.
There is no movement in the rear wheel.
There were some larger particles that concern me.

Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like more than the normal gray sludge. I would consider sending the FD to Saddleman for a pre-emptive inspection and possible rebuild.
Yes definitely more than grey sludge. There is some metal coming from somewhere.
I'm in Australia so may need to tackle the drive myself.

Thanks for your response.
 

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The 2 that I lost looked like that about couple thousand before they failed.......

I would just change it, run it and check back in 4-500 miles. I would give odds you need a rebuild and the guy to fix it is right here.
Thanks, what happens when they do go? Are you stuck where it happens or can you limp some distance?
Who is the guy to fix it here in Australia?

Thanks again for your reply.
 

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Thanks, what happens when they do go? Are you stuck where it happens or can you limp some distance? Who is the guy to fix it here in Australia?...
If that is a "classic crown wheel bearing failure" (which I suspect that it is...), the usual progression is a sense of rough running in the rear of the bike as the balls and races become more severely pitted, followed by fracture of the bearing retainer as the stresses on it become greater. This progression happens rapidly over just a few miles. Then the bearing retainer breaks, shards of the retainer tear the main output seal of the final drive (located behind the rear brake rotor) and the lube runs out onto the wheel/tire.

No one has confirmed a severe crash directly related to this lube on the rear tire, but there have been suggestions of accidents that may have been caused by this. Gear lube on the rear tire of a motorcycle clearly not a good thing.

At the point of loss of seal integrity, folks have been able to continue to ride a limited number of miles but this at risk of causing greater damage to the internals of the final drive. In some cases, the riding of additional miles has destroyed components in the drive requiring replacement of the drive. (being more cost effective to replace than repair).

BTW, the "shake the wheel test" has never been a good indication of a failing crownwheel bearing; it will reveal worn or loose swing arm pivot bearings, but in all the years I have been following these final drive failures, I have never seen or heard of the "shake the wheel test" detecting the early stages of the bearing failure. By the time you can detect any axial or radial movement originating in the final drive, other symptoms of failure are clearly evident. i.e. retainer shards on the drain magnet or ruptured seal.

Not sure about a rebuilder Down Under, but with info on this site and suggestions from the group, you could DIY. I have become an advocate of having someone experienced with these drive do rebuilds but if you post pics along the way, folks on this site will help walk you through it.

HTH
 

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Contact users Axle or CWS as they are the most active down under.

In the mean time look over this article I wrote about a field repair. Could be an alternative for a proper rebuild if you can't find some one.
 

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I was only 20 miles from home when the first one became apparent although I was waiting for it. This was in 2001. I was able to then ride it 15 miles or so for repair under warranty.

The 2nd honestly surprised me a good deal. I had changed the rear drive oil a few weeks before. Had some sludge but although concerned did not expect such a sudden failure weeks later. The week before I had returned from a fairly long trip though and should have checked the drive oil. That was my chance to be diligent that I won't miss now. I was a good 125 miles out on failure day. Short long story we totally suited up in leather and I nursed it home. It was so bad after cooling it froze. Had to drag it on the trailer. I felt fortunate. Still under warranty it was repaired again. Still in 2001.

I left the brand and bike until a rebirth:) last year.......

I also bought a spare FD first thing as well. Being that if I send mine off I would request new bearings I am just watching mine closely. First sign of anything its off to Dave. I haven't heard of one yet not being caught before hand with diligent FD oil changes which take 10 minutes tops. ( I am sure many would not want to change it as much as I do) A quart basically does 4 changes.
 

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There are some detailed videos on YouTube about this repair job also. My friend who is handy but not a machinist did it in his garage. I think a secret is not to use original shims but follow one of the ways to measure things and use the "new" shim pack spacing as indicated by your measuring. Also, should be no problem by now but be sure your replacement bearing has 19 ball bearings not the original 17 sizing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
If that is a "classic crown wheel bearing failure" (which I suspect that it is...), the usual progression is a sense of rough running in the rear of the bike as the balls and races become more severly pitted, followed by fracture of the bearing retainer as the stresses on it become greater. This progression happens rapidly over just a few miles. Then the bearing retainer breaks, shards of the retainer tear the main output seal of the final drive (located behind the rear brake rotor) and the lube runs out onto the wheel/tire.

No one has confirmed a severe crash directly related to this lube on the rear tire, but there have been suggestions of accidents that may have been caused by this. Gear lube on the rear tire of a motorcycle clearly not a good thing.

At the point of loss of seal integrity, folks have been able to continue to ride a limited number of miles but this at risk of causing greater damage to the internals of the final drive. In some cases, the riding of additional miles has destroyed components in the drive requiring replacement of the drive. (being more cost effective to replace than repair).

BTW, the "shake the wheel test" has never been a good indication of a failing crownwheel bearing; it will reveal worn or loose swing arm pivot bearings, but in all the years I have been following these final drive failures, I have never seen or heard of the "shake the wheel test" detecting the early stages of the bearing failure. By the time you can detect any axial or radial movement originating in the final drive, other symptoms of failure are clearly evident. i.e. retainer shards on the drain magnet or ruptured seal.

Not sure about a rebuilder Down Under, but with info on this site and suggestions from the group, you could DIY. I have become an advocate of having someone experienced with these drive do rebuilds but if you post pics along the way, folks on this site will help walk you through it.

HTH
Thanks CharlieVT, your description certainly helps to understand what will happen and this all seems inevitable. The fellow I bought the bike off said he had it happen twice so clearly from what I have read it has never been rebuilt properly. The bike has 127000K's.
Like any bearing failure on any piece of machinery more damage occurs if you keep going just to finish the job.
Might be rebuild time.

Thanks again for your reply.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was only 20 miles from home when the first one became apparent although I was waiting for it. This was in 2001. I was able to then ride it 15 miles or so for repair under warranty.

The 2nd honestly surprised me a good deal. I had changed the rear drive oil a few weeks before. Had some sludge but although concerned did not expect such a sudden failure weeks later. The week before I had returned from a fairly long trip though and should have checked the drive oil. That was my chance to be diligent that I won't miss now. I was a good 125 miles out on failure day. Short long story we totally suited up in leather and I nursed it home. It was so bad after cooling it froze. Had to drag it on the trailer. I felt fortunate. Still under warranty it was repaired again. Still in 2001.

I left the brand and bike until a rebirth:) last year.......

I also bought a spare FD first thing as well. Being that if I send mine off I would request new bearings I am just watching mine closely. First sign of anything its off to Dave. I haven't heard of one yet not being caught before hand with diligent FD oil changes which take 10 minutes tops. ( I am sure many would not want to change it as much as I do) A quart basically does 4 changes.
Thanks cbxchris, I'm with you about changing the drive oil regularly, cheap way of checking what is going on.
I might do another few hundred ks and check the plug again just to be sure.
Dragging the beast up a plank onto a trailer would take an army of mates:smile:
 

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There are some detailed videos on YouTube about this repair job also. My friend who is handy but not a machinist did it in his garage. I think a secret is not to use original shims but follow one of the ways to measure things and use the "new" shim pack spacing as indicated by your measuring. Also, should be no problem by now but be sure your replacement bearing has 19 ball bearings not the original 17 sizing.
I watched a video last night and it appears I would have the gear here at home to tackle the job.
From all the reading the shim sizing seems to be critical.

Thanks for your reply.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Contact users Axle or CWS as they are the most active down under.

In the mean time look over this article I wrote about a field repair. Could be an alternative for a proper rebuild if you can't find some one.
What a great document, good on you for writing it.
I think the old saying"be prepared" in this case means fix it now so you dont have to carry out the repair out of your comfort zone in someone else's garage.

Thanks for your reply jzeiler
 

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... The fellow I bought the bike off said he had it happen twice so clearly from what I have read it has never been rebuilt properly. The bike has 127000K's...
Thanks for the bike history. Very informative. "Unembellished" or "summary" bearing replacements where the bearing is replaced but the preload is not calculated are destined to fail again.

Sorry, I am a "damn yankee" and have to think in miles: That's about 80K miles, and the bike is on its third final drive failure. That's about 20K miles per bearing which is consistent with those early bikes with serious excess preload on the bearing. The majority of those early bikes which failed, failed around 20K miles. The results of my inquiry over the years found that those bearing were over preloaded about 0.15-0.20mm.

Here's a serious short cut to a rebuild: Follow jzelier's excellent write up: http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/technical-files/94554-rear-drive-field-repair.html#post892450

When you get to the point where he says if there are two shims, toss out the thin one, do exactly that. The thin shim will be a 0.15mm shim. (Added on edit: given the drive has been worked on a couple of times already, you never know what is in there. I suggest you put a micrometer on the thinner shim just to confirm it is 0.15mm.)
If there is only one shim, put a micrometer on it and then replace it with a shim that is 0.15-0.20mm thinner.

That is clearly an estimate based on a review of failed drives, but short of doing a proper rebuild (which should give you a 100K+ mile trouble free drive), you'll get at least another 20K miles and probably much more than that.

If you are willing to remove and disassemble the drive, and take pics along the way, we'll help with checking for other know problems in the drive.

You'll need a seal and crown wheel bearing, time and tools...

I wouldn't just ride it.

HTH
 

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Hi James, didn't realise you were an Aussie when you posted on FB. :wave
Not sure if anyone here has rebuilt a final drive as yet, I expect Linton (Axle) who is in Portland, Vic would have a go at it.... but he's madder than me.... haha. I'm in Sydney.

I got lucky and picked up a near-new one from a triked LT and swapped mine over during a clutch rebuild at 100,000km, which Linton kindly helped me with.
But if you rebuild yours and do a good job, you'll be the local expert!

Another mate Brian who lives in Orange had an LT for many years (Brian and Mim) but they're on a triked Goldthing these days. Don't think he was mechanically inclined though.

For now I'd put the plug back in with new oil and see if they are any spares on fleabay you could pull apart in the meantime and have a go at rebuilding.... if you plan on hanging onto the LT, that is. :)
Cheers mate.
 

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Hi James, didn't realise you were an Aussie when you posted on FB. :wave
Not sure if anyone here has rebuilt a final drive as yet, I expect Linton (Axle) who is in Portland, Vic would have a go at it.... but he's madder than me.... haha. I'm in Sydney.

I got lucky and picked up a near-new one from a triked LT and swapped mine over during a clutch rebuild at 100,000km, which Linton kindly helped me with.
But if you rebuild yours and do a good job, you'll be the local expert!

Another mate Brian who lives in Orange had an LT for many years (Brian and Mim) but they're on a triked Goldthing these days. Don't think he was mechanically inclined though.

For now I'd put the plug back in with new oil and see if they are any spares on fleabay you could pull apart in the meantime and have a go at rebuilding.... if you plan on hanging onto the LT, that is. :)
Cheers mate.
Yea Chris I'm happy to have a go at it, I've had a go at all other things on the LT.
I like the idea of tracking down another drive and rebuilding it.

Have seen Brian and Mim on the Goldwing at a Ulysses ride, they take turns riding, good on em.

Thanks
 
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