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Does any one know exactly when BMW changed / modified the final drive (number of ball bearings) to try to remidy the final drive failure issue?
 

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I have an '03 LT with +30K miles on it. I am religious about fluid changes. I have used synthetic for years, recently purchasing Redline for transmission and FD.

Before that, I owned a R1100RT for a couple years.

Before that, I owned a K100RT for 17 years. Sold it with 67K miles.

I may be jinxing myself, but I have never had any FD issues.

In all my FD oil changes, I have never seen anything but the "Paste" on my magnet.

Am I just lucky?
 

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Just an interesting note, but my dealer (Hanson BMW in Souther Oregon) who is a very experienced and respected BMW facility, old me yesterday that BMW is back to using the original bearing again. He had ordered some new bearings for some riders who have him change the bearing as PM in advance to some LD riding. He also says its the same bearing in the other K1200 models. As far as I understood his technical speak.
 

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There was never a permanent change. All the LT drives from '99 until sometime in '03 as far as I can tell from posts had the 19 ball SKF bearing. There was a period where 17 ball FAG bearings began showing up in new drives and as replacement parts. We originally thought that there may be some difference in the bearings to attribute drive failures too, although it made no sense as SKF is at least as good a company if not better than FAG. The bearing ratings were all the same for load also.

The FAG bearings did not stay in the pipeline for very long at all before SKF bearings started showing up again, which leads me to believe the change was ONLY supply line/pricing driven, NOT a quality issue.

In my opinion, something else changed in the process of building the drives which was the reason for the drop off in failure rate around mid '03 model year. This also agrees with the bearing engineers report to me when I sent two bearings in to have them evaluated. The report basically stated that the evidence of the failure pointed toward assembly process problems causing brinelling of the races at assembly. This could have been as simple as an assembly operator "helping" the assembly with higher than normal pressures, or even use of a hammer or mallet where other stations or operators did it differently. That could easily explain a relatively high failure rate where the big majority of drives did not fail. All conjecture though. I still do not think the actual brands of bearings used had ANY impact on the failure rate whatsoever.
 

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davek1 said:
I have an '03 LT with +30K miles on it. I am religious about fluid changes. I have used synthetic for years, recently purchasing Redline for transmission and FD.

Before that, I owned a R1100RT for a couple years.

Before that, I owned a K100RT for 17 years. Sold it with 67K miles.

I may be jinxing myself, but I have never had any FD issues.

In all my FD oil changes, I have never seen anything but the "Paste" on my magnet.

Am I just lucky?
The '03's & '04's have the lowest failure rates - only one or two have been reported on this site for those model years. I've been a member here since 6/03 and purchased a new '03 in 7/03 so I've been paying attention to this topic!

Keep your 03!!
 

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I think it was after 07 in 2002.

My bike is a 2003 and was produced in 09 2002
 

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After having the same old final drive failure in my 2003 (production date 09/02) I read everything I could find about this problem and was inclined to send the bearing in for failure analysys until I found the learned Mr Shealy's comments on this dating back to his first failure. I have examined the evidence from mine and everything I see points me to a similar conclusion, after the bearing analysys they suggested the bearing may have been damaged upon the original installation if only in a small way. It was suggested by the manufacturer back then there may also be an issue with internal clearance after installation. That clearance could be checked but I have not read where anyone has done so, the "C" after the part number of the bearing deals with the amount of clearance the bearing should have radially as it is installed, this bearing which is unique to use in Europe has much greater clearance than it's American counterpart.

My failure had the almost classic flakes which were from the surface of the balls and the race, there were flakes of considerable size which leads me to suspect that possibly it was a clearance issure but I doubt that I will ever know for sure, I had a relplacement on hand so I simply exchanged them but I will rebuild the one I removed and keep it against the possibility of another failure in the future.

Much has been said with regard to the the fact that the early production bikes had a greater failure rate but in my case my 99 had no problems and although I sold it when the mileage was in the high 30's I have kept contact with it and it now is over 50000 with no problems, this 2003 failed at just under 25000. It is my belief that as we go through time and the later models gain mileage we will see similar numbers of failures in them.

There is one issue though that baffles me, I read of repair shops, dealers among them simply removing the rear wheel and opening the drive to replace just the crown bearing without further disassembly or cleaning, this causes a HUGE red flag to fly in my mind, because of the flakes of material that circulate with the lube during the early part of this failure there just has to be damage to the other bearings, I also noted that there are some out there that had a short service life after a repair and without further knowledge of the particular circumstances I should not comment but in my experience with automotive differentials I would be inclined to think it foolish to replace only the crown bearing without also replacing the others.

To those who have not had these failures I am sure this topic seems to be beat to boredom and I hope that they never experience these problems but it does have an impact on our enjoyment of this motorcycle, my wife does not wish to take trip away from home on our LT because she worry's that we will get stuck somewhere, I enjoy the ride immensley and would not want to be without one of these wonderful machines and I guess this is just one of the inconveniences that comes with it.
 

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I purchase 03 LT 4k miles ago and had a local BMW Auth. Mach change all the fluids with-in the first week of the purchase. Yesterday I did a FD oil change, Trans and oil myself. All three were extremely dark and the FD had small bits of metal. I have heard negative things about this mechanic since I used them and I am now doing all the work myself. Is this normal for the fluids to look this bad after 4K? Should I be concerned about the FD? I am going to do them again in another 3K just to get a baseline. I did switch everything to Synthetic.
 

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MSal4090 said:
I purchase 03 LT 4k miles ago and had a local BMW Auth. Mach change all the fluids with-in the first week of the purchase. Yesterday I did a FD oil change, Trans and oil myself. All three were extremely dark and the FD had small bits of metal. I have heard negative things about this mechanic since I used them and I am now doing all the work myself. Is this normal for the fluids to look this bad after 4K? Should I be concerned about the FD? I am going to do them again in another 3K just to get a baseline. I did switch everything to Synthetic.
Hi,
I've been told by my dealer that the dark oil isn't a biggy. However, metal pieces on the FD drain plug magnet IS a big deal.

I drained mine at 3000 miles after a rebuild by the dealer and the oil was pitch black. However, no evidence of pieces on the drian plug magnet yet.................so he says to just keep riding.

I for one AM concerned about a long trip. So I keep a close watch and change the FD oil every 3000 miles. It's awfully easy to do.

Here is my past experience on my "03 LT.

Bought used with 8700 miles.

At 18,000 miles FD failed.

Drove it about 20,000 miles and began to see pieces on the magnet.

The dealer repaired it with new bearings and seal and now have 4500 miles on this fix.
So, do I just have 15,500 miles to another fix????? Sure wish I knew!

I've had the bike 2 years this month (April 2008) and the clock says 46,322 miles! :bmw:
 

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MSal4090 said:
I purchase 03 LT 4k miles ago and had a local BMW Auth. Mach change all the fluids with-in the first week of the purchase. Yesterday I did a FD oil change, Trans and oil myself. All three were extremely dark and the FD had small bits of metal. I have heard negative things about this mechanic since I used them and I am now doing all the work myself. Is this normal for the fluids to look this bad after 4K? Should I be concerned about the FD? I am going to do them again in another 3K just to get a baseline. I did switch everything to Synthetic.
Mark - regarding the fluids/oils/lubes being dark in color. Not to worry. What usually happens while changing fluids is that you can't get 'all' the old dark fluid out - some of it remains in the nooks and crannies and coatings on the surfaces. Then, when you add fresh fluids, it only takes a few rpms to mix the new with the old and there you have it - darkened new fluids. The engine oil is the most prone to this quick discoloration.

As has been said in this thread - bits of metal in the final drive fluid and on the magnet is a concern. Watch this closely, and often. Good luck.
 

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Re: Bearing ID

David,
You are correct in everything in your post other than the bearing Manufacturer. The 19 ball bearing is a German FAG and the 17 ball bearing is a French SKF. If you find metal flakes or metal particles on the magnet on your drain plug you have suffered a FD failure and the drive will have to be rebuilt. These particles flow with the lube into all of the other bearings in the FD, you know kind of like throwing sand into a ball bearing and expecting it to live through that. Having been through a lube drain where I found flakes or metal particles on the drain plug magnet but no movement in the rear wheel meant a complete disassembly of the FD and replacement of all of the bearings and seals. And you cannot just replace these bearings they must be set up with the proper shims to achieve the proper gear lash and bearing preload, no easy way out of this. In fact I will not rebuild my drive when this happens next time I will just purchase a new FD and along with the new FD you get a warranty.
 

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Hpw much does a final drive failure cost to be fixed at the dealer if one were to have it happen? Whats involvef in the fix? just new bearings? I am asking becasue I have been looking at buying another LT. Just curious.
 

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When my FD failed at 29,000 miles, the dealer said the oil had a burned smell to it. They replaced the bearing and shimmed the drive.

When they gave it back to me the informed me that the clutch was bad (slipping), suggesting the driveshaft or clutched would have to be replaced - Driveshaft replacement would cost $1000, clutch would cost $1500 to $1800. They said the driveshaft and clutch were) not a under warranty.

I haven't ridden the bike enough to know if the FD problem is behind me -- I'll start doing as much of my own service and repair as possible - staring with a new clutch.
 

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I spoke to my local BMW Shop (120 Miles away) and told him about the flakes in the fluid. He said most like it is a main bearing failure and would be around $500.00 to rebuild it. He also mentioned if I wanted to remove the FD and ship it to him I could save $175.00. He will also warranty the FD for two years.
 

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Rebuild with 2 year warranty

Mark,
That sounds like a good deal but I question what the dealer is going to do with the other bearings that had those metal flakes going through them for some time, I cannot believe that there was no damage to them. It is amazing that they are willing to give you a complete warranty on the FD assembly and only replace the one failed bearing.
 

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Just a general comment. My 2000 LT has over 46k miles and no sign of a final drive problem, or any other problem. The bike runs like a dream and I run it hard and fast a lot. Just wondering if there is any kind of standard time limit or mileage situation after whick FD failures seem most likely to occur.
 

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gpolakow said:
Just a general comment. My 2000 LT has over 46k miles and no sign of a final drive problem, or any other problem. The bike runs like a dream and I run it hard and fast a lot. Just wondering if there is any kind of standard time limit or mileage situation after whick FD failures seem most likely to occur.
Check this thread.
 

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MSal4090 said:
I spoke to my local BMW Shop (120 Miles away) and told him about the flakes in the fluid. He said most like it is a main bearing failure and would be around $500.00 to rebuild it. He also mentioned if I wanted to remove the FD and ship it to him I could save $175.00. He will also warranty the FD for two years.
Another option is to contact Hannigan or one of the other trike manufacturers. They often have low mileage take-off final drives for about half of retail.

And while I agree that rebuilding the drive isn't as good as replacing it, a 2-year parts warranty could be worth something.
 
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