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Discussion Starter #1
I got my final drive in and I am back on the road and only $260 poorer.
I thought I would share this with you. When my first bearing went bad the balls wore out so you could feel and hear by rotating the rear wheel. So I would rotate the wheel after every ride to feel it and change the oil every 3000 miles more or less.
So with the new 17 ball bearing every was going great till I smelled gear oil and looked at the rear tire and it had oil on it(Oboy).
If the picture worked you can see that the cage for holding the balls let go and cut the oil seal, there was no noise or feeling that anything was wrong.
So you all can figure out how you are going to maintain your Fatal drive bearings.

DON
 

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Well, we now know the famous "17 ball" bearing fails in just the same way the older one did. No surprise to me. Same basic bearing construction, just a different manufacturer. I was just waiting for the failures to start on them too as the mileage built up on them.
 

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Well there's your explanation. That sucker was made in France !!!!

Let's get a German bearing in there, or at least a Japaneese one. or if we just have to, an American one...Just kidding, a bit......

But now you've got me thinking..Has anyone tried toget this bearing/race
from someone else? Bearings and such are mostly standard sizes and I'm wondering if there is someone else who makes the same bearing..
I've got the numbers that are visible. 15-045X then the 5KF or maybe E. Were there any numbers on the bottom that I can't make out? I'm going to waste some time looking around about this.


Spence
 

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How did you get the repair for only $260? You didn't replace that fine French bearing with Razor scooter bearings did ya?
 

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donsobeck said:
So with the new 17 ball bearing every was going great till I smelled gear oil and looked at the rear tire and it had oil on it(Oboy).
Don, it is very difficult to tell from the pic -- are you *sure* it's a 17 ball unit? It's not clear to me from the pic (counting the retainer "lumps" and remaining shards) that it's not a 19 ball unit.
 

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That sure looks like a 19-ball bearing to me. As I recall, the 17-ball bearing looked a lot more beefier when I had mine replaced lasted year.
 

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eljeffe said:
That sure looks like a 19-ball bearing to me. As I recall, the 17-ball bearing looked a lot more beefier when I had mine replaced lasted year.
I had the same thought; moreover, the separtors look exactly like the one in my failed 19 ball unit.
 

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Hi ,I just used a ruler to measure around the bearing (using the picture ) in question .I set the depth gage on my pocket ruler the same as the spacing on the balls that were still where that belong . I counted 17 , but what do I know ...Patric ...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When I first had the bearing out I mark the outer race and counted the marks (DUD) then I counted the balls, there are 17 and the bearing didn't come apart.
If need be I could take more pictures.

DON
 

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donsobeck said:
When I first had the bearing out I mark the outer race and counted the marks (DUD) then I counted the balls, there are 17 and the bearing didn't come apart.
If need be I could take more pictures.

DON
That would be helpful, Don -- if you can get some more light in there, it would help resolve the confusion. I see what *may* be elongated and/or broken-off sections of bearing retainer, but I'm just not sure.

I just found this pic of a new 17 ball unit from the archives:
http://www.bmwlt.net/ubbthreads/downloadattachments.php?attach_id=7398?Cat= , and I have to say, the retainers look very similar. Maybe different retainers from different bearing vendors?? Either way, this isn't looking good for the 17 ball being an absolute cure :(
 

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in the absence of any official statement from BMW we are forced to assume that they have either:

1) taken steps to try to solve the rear drive problem, but failed
2) chosen to ignore the problem altogether, hoping it goes away

neither will do anything to help keep me as a loyal customer. the instant something better comes along i'm jumping ship.
 

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jpspen said:
Well there's your explanation. That sucker was made in France !!!!

Let's get a German bearing in there, or at least a Japaneese one. or if we just have to, an American one...Just kidding, a bit......

Spence
The original "19 ball" bearing WAS a German bearing, by the bearing company FAG. The "new" bearing is by SKF, a Swedish based company, with manufacturing around the world.

I did a LOT of bearing research in the past on this, and did buy a bearing with a machined bronze retainer (by MRC), but totaled my bike before getting to try it out. Sold it to another member here, who has not installed it to my knowledge.

The basic bearing number, which can be cross referenced to any manufacturer is 61917 C3
 

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I got 17...
 

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Don't know that the 17 ball bearing is going to be a perfect fix.

It looks like there is enough room for two more balls. Maybe two got
tossed when the bearing failed.

Does anybody know if that Manufacturer makes a 17 and a 19??
 

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jazzbass said:
It looks like there is enough room for two more balls. Maybe two got tossed when the bearing failed.
i was thinking (hoping) the same thing. i don't recall ever seeing a wheel bearing with that much empty space between the races. but i will readily admit to NOT being an expert on the subject by any stretch.
 

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KBandit said:
i was thinking (hoping) the same thing. i don't recall ever seeing a wheel bearing with that much empty space between the races. but i will readily admit to NOT being an expert on the subject by any stretch.
I'm no expert either but if the overall dimensions (outer size and inner size) must be the same and they have 2 less balls they have to have more air space.. between the balls.
 

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jazzbass said:
It looks like there is enough room for two more balls. Maybe two got tossed when the bearing failed.
Thanks, Don -- that's much better!

That's definitely a 17 ball bearing. :( If you use the spacing between the balls at the undamaged retainers, and walk that measurement around the races, 17 "undamaged intervals" fit neatly around the circle.

Crud. Our first "confirmed" 17 ball failure.
 

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The spacing between balls is a manufacturer's decision, based on how the retainer is going to be made, or just a cost decision in the cheaper bearings.

The machined bronze retainer bearing was a high quality industrial use bearing, and only had 16 balls, to make room for the more substantial bronze retainer.

The number of balls, contrary to what one would think, has very little to do with the bearing's load rating, because in radial loading only 2-3 balls will typically be taking the load at any one time regardless of the number.
 
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