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I need to hear from those of you who have actually had final drive failures. What are the sights, sounds, and sensations associated with a final drive failure. I have an 03 with 38,000 miles and I have started to notice a vibration I feel fairly certain to be coming through the drive line. Have inspected tire and rotated the rear wheel on center stand and do not detect anything yet. The vibration is of low frequency and repeating but not one you would associate with a deformity or ply separation in the tire. Planning a long trip the first of March and would like the issue resolved prior to the trip.
 

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Get the beast up onto the ceneter stand.
Hold the wheel at 9am and 3pm
try to twist the wheel - push with one arm, pull with the other, back and forth
I put my ear on one of the bexes as well
There should be no movement, noise or anything other than the whole bike moving.
If anything moves other than the bike - start to worry

Now check the oil
drain it into a glass jar
if its jet black - worry

put a magnet in a plastic bag or glove into the oil, if it comes out with particles of metal - start to panic

check the drain plug - a little fuzz maybe ok - a lot of bigger bits - panic

finally, check the gator - if there is oil there - start cussing (oil isnt always there aparently, but has been for me within seconds of the drive failing, unless it is tranny oil, that needs fixing though as well, obviously)

Keeping my fingers crossed for you - let us know
 

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c00k1e said:
finally, check the gator - if there is oil there - start cussing (oil isnt always there aparently, but has been for me within seconds of the drive failing, unless it is tranny oil, that needs fixing though as well, obviously)
If there is oil at the gator or "boot" it's more likely to be from a leaking pinion seal, not related to the typical FD failure. It's an easy fix and not catastrophic or worth cussing about. It usually starts slowly as a weep that collects dust and dirt and looks bad, not the sudden dumping of FD oil "seconds before failure".
 

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McAllister said:
If there is oil at the gator or "boot" it's more likely to be from a leaking pinion seal, not related to the typical FD failure. It's an easy fix and not catastrophic or worth cussing about. It usually starts slowly as a weep that collects dust and dirt and looks bad, not the sudden dumping of FD oil "seconds before failure".
All I can go on is the 4 that have hapened to me.
3 with oil, one without
 

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One of many

Here were my symptoms: http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29115&highlight=final+drive, plus other links within the thread.
I've found, by reading other accounts of failure, that there are a few parts that can individually fail and bring the final drive to its knees. Under K1200LT topics, search "final drive". You'll find an almost endless list of threads.
HTH
Jer
 

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How many miles has it been doing this? If it's more than about 20, it's likely not the final drive failing. When they go they tend to go, not linger for a few hundred miles then fail.
 

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Rear Drive

BMWROLLIN said:
I need to hear from those of you who have actually had final drive failures. What are the sights, sounds, and sensations associated with a final drive failure. I have an 03 with 38,000 miles and I have started to notice a vibration I feel fairly certain to be coming through the drive line. Have inspected tire and rotated the rear wheel on center stand and do not detect anything yet. The vibration is of low frequency and repeating but not one you would associate with a deformity or ply separation in the tire. Planning a long trip the first of March and would like the issue resolved prior to the trip.
The easiest and most effective way to check the rear drive is to have the oil analyzed. I had a 2005 LT with 41,000 miles and had no idea of any problems. I drained the oil in a jar and took it in and had it analyzed. Left it one morning and had a call the next day that I had better be doing something. It showed high iron and aluminum in it. The oil looked fine in the jar. I took it to the dealer and they opened it up and called and said the rear drive had to be replaced. Had it replaced under extended warranty. I was like you planning a long trip and it would have gone out on the road. By doing this you know if you have a problem before it ever shows up.
 

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It might go 5 miles

I heard mine make a methodical rumble at 35 mph after turning off of an interstate and I thought it was something on the pavement, but about 5 more miles at slow speed the growling got worse and finally as I stopped the seal gave up and dripped black oil from the final drive on the rear wheel. My "03 LT only had 18,000 miles on the clock and was under warranty.

Now, I know to check the drain magnet for particles larger than just fuzz. Larger particles means you better fix it NOW!

Parts were under warranty for 2 years and after another 20,000 miles in a year I noticed large particles on the drain magnet so took it to the Dealer and they fixed it free. Oil stayed clean looking this time. I guess it would have gotten black had I not fixed it before it completely gave up. Now I have my fingers crossed to see if it'll go bad during the next 20,000 miles.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
 

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If you have Michelin tires, and if the vibration is most heard going around corners, it is probably NOT your final drive. More likely a symptom of Michelin tires.
 

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CalLT said:
If you have Michelin tires, and if the vibration is most heard going around corners, it is probably NOT your final drive. More likely a symptom of Michelin tires.
There are no Michelin tires rated for the LT.

But I sure do wish there were.
 

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I was servicing mine and the oil was filled with "Glitter". I put the plug back in, removed the plug again and found "Chunks". Brought the bike in to the shop and found the race started to fail and one bearing was scored!
 

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Jerrym said:
The easiest and most effective way to check the rear drive is to have the oil analyzed. I had a 2005 LT with 41,000 miles and had no idea of any problems. I drained the oil in a jar and took it in and had it analyzed. Left it one morning and had a call the next day that I had better be doing something. It showed high iron and aluminum in it. The oil looked fine in the jar. I took it to the dealer and they opened it up and called and said the rear drive had to be replaced. Had it replaced under extended warranty. I was like you planning a long trip and it would have gone out on the road. By doing this you know if you have a problem before it ever shows up.
Just bring the oil to the dealer in a jelly jar or something? Or do I need to find a laboratory somewhere?
 

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My 36k service was done by a reputable dealer at 34k as I had an upcoming trip. Nothing of note was observed or noticed. Bike ran much better than before.

A couple of months later the wife and I were returning from a rally (about 250 miles from here) and were approaching the street where we live. I turned the corner and noticed that it felt as though I had a low tire. Bike was stable, just some extra vibration from the rear. I thought I'd just try to limp on home and I did, only about 150 yards to go. But when I turned the corner into the drive I then noticed some instability with the vibration. I assumed the tire was totally flat. Got up the house, we got off and I looked at the rear tire. The tire was fine, but then I noticed some oil starting to drip from the rear drive. Knowing of the problem with the drive I had a very good idea of what had happened. I unpacked, took the bike into the shop, put it on the center stand and turnd the wheel. Now the oil really started coming out. The next day I got an appointment to take it into the dealer for repairs. They installed a new rear drive, of course, at my expense, and I've yet to have another problem with it. Got 8k on the new drive now and all seems fine, at least for awhile.


hth, tcars
John
 

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Oil Analyzed

used2jeep said:
Just bring the oil to the dealer in a jelly jar or something? Or do I need to find a laboratory somewhere?
You will have to take it to someone that has the equipment to test it. I took mind to Nebraska Machinery Co. in Omaha, NE., which is a Cat dealer that has their own laboratory or testing equipment. You will find a lot of truck service shops that can test oil or tell you where to take it. I do not understand why more people don't do this instead of worrying about their rear drive going out. It cost about 10 to 12 dollars and it is a sure check. I did mind ever 12,000 miles. On a BMW it should be done a bout every 6,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks to all

Thanks to all those who responded. None of you have described what I am experiencing so I can only assume that either I am imagining the vibration or that the final drive has found another failure mode in which to fail. It’s not the Metzler vibration which I have already experienced from the OEM Metzlers. No oil slick so far and no slop in the wheel. The bike was just in for service but checked the plug anyway and found no obvious particulate in the oil nor did I find even a trace of fuzz on the plug. So I am left in a quandary as to the origin of the vibration I am convinced is drive line related. I’ll continue to take short trips and pay very close attention for the symptoms all of you have described. Thanks again.
 

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Lemon Law?

No problem with mine yet, but wondering what the trigger is for a Lemon Law lawsuit. What bothers me the most is the reason most of us are here and have purchased our 2nd or 3rd BMW is the quality and reliability. I have always felt so safe just taking off and riding anywhere anytime.
 

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BMWROLLIN said:
Thanks to all those who responded. None of you have described what I am experiencing so I can only assume that either I am imagining the vibration or that the final drive has found another failure mode in which to fail. It’s not the Metzler vibration which I have already experienced from the OEM Metzlers. No oil slick so far and no slop in the wheel. The bike was just in for service but checked the plug anyway and found no obvious particulate in the oil nor did I find even a trace of fuzz on the plug. So I am left in a quandary as to the origin of the vibration I am convinced is drive line related. I’ll continue to take short trips and pay very close attention for the symptoms all of you have described. Thanks again.
I always rest my left hand on the final drive housing while spinning the wheel with my right hand. If you can't feel any roughness in your left hand, then it's probably not the drive.
 

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I have not had any problems to date :D
That being said I worry about the final drive a fair amount :mad:
 
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