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Discussion Starter #1
I was looking at a used R1200ST yesterday and the owner mentioned that it did not have a drain plug in the final drive, but that they had replaced the fluid and said it should be good for the life of the bike. Having looked at a few new BMWs lately, I never looked to see if they are still making the final drives this way or if they went back to a drain plug. What is the verdict on the dependability of drives made this way and are they still making them this way?
 

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What year was the ST? My 2005 R1200GS does NOT have a drain plug. When the new style rear drives appeared in 2005 they were intended to be "lifetime"/sealed units - never needing to be serviced.

BMW reversed that decision and they now recommend final drive fluid replacement every 12k service (I think that's the interval anyway, I'd have to check). I think there has also been a service bulletin or two changing the amount of fluid that the drive should have. Indeed the new style drives (with and without drain plugs) have had a few failures too.

In 2007(?) I think they started to put drain plugs on the final drives again.

To drain the final drive on a non-drain plug model you have to unbolt and disconnect the rear drive hub from the driveshaft and rotate it down and drain the fluid out of another hole. Not complicated, but certainly more work that it needs to be or should've been.

I don't think you can add a drain plug to a non-drain plug model either. At least I've never seen anything about it on advrider.com or any other site.

I bought my GS from a guy last year who rode it sparingly. It only has 20K miles but the rear drive is going strong so far. I just changed the rear fluid again and no signs of impending doom.

The R1200 bikes are fun to ride bikes. When the cyclops headlight ST first came out I thought to myself that whoever designed the front end of that bike should be beat with a rubber hose, but it has grown on me. The ST would certainly make for a lighter-weight slightly more sporty alternative to the RT.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #3
motoexplorer said:
What year was the ST? My 2005 R1200GS does NOT have a drain plug. When the new style rear drives appeared in 2005 they were intended to be "lifetime"/sealed units - never needing to be serviced.

BMW reversed that decision and they now recommend final drive fluid replacement every 12k service (I think that's the interval anyway, I'd have to check). I think there has also been a service bulletin or two changing the amount of fluid that the drive should have. Indeed the new style drives (with and without drain plugs) have had a few failures too.

In 2007(?) I think they started to put drain plugs on the final drives again.

To drain the final drive on a non-drain plug model you have to unbolt and disconnect the rear drive hub from the driveshaft and rotate it down and drain the fluid out of another hole. Not complicated, but certainly more work that it needs to be or should've been.

I don't think you can add a drain plug to a non-drain plug model either. At least I've never seen anything about it on advrider.com or any other site.

I bought my GS from a guy last year who rode it sparingly. It only has 20K miles but the rear drive is going strong so far. I just changed the rear fluid again and no signs of impending doom.

The R1200 bikes are fun to ride bikes. When the cyclops headlight ST first came out I thought to myself that whoever designed the front end of that bike should be beat with a rubber hose, but it has grown on me. The ST would certainly make for a lighter-weight slightly more sporty alternative to the RT.

Joe
It was an 05 also. I think I'll stay away from the non-drain plug models since BMW is now recommending changing the fluid, unless I get a really good deal on one, which this wasn't. I like the bike however, since it reminds me of my first Beemer, an 04 R1100 RS, which the ST kind of replaced after the 1150 versions of the RS. The headlights might look weird, but how they light up the night is what's important, and that looks like it did a pretty fair job of that. When did they stop making the ST and are there some drain plug versions out there?
 

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The oil in those drives only lubricates the gears. The bearings are sealed, grease filled units.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
jzeiler said:
The oil in those drives only lubricates the gears. The bearings are sealed, grease filled units.
That may be so, but you are still going to have some metal coming off the gears, no matter how little, contaminating the fluid, plus it would break down from heat over time. What were the years they used the non-drain plug drive?
 

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Drain plugs on the GS re-appeared for the 07 model part way through. My early 07 does not have a drain plug, later 07 models do. To drain the drive without a drain is rather easy, take tire off, remove speed sensor, remove plug on top of unit, remove nut holding swing arm, and rotate down and let drain. I am sure I am missing a step in there, caliper off? but it takes just a few minutes and can be done on the center stand, at least for a GS. While draining, lube up the splines. Once done, put it all back together and fill through the speed sensor hole. Figure there is no difference in the final drive itself other than the casting that now has a drain at 6 o'clock. And yes, the fluid amount has changed.
 

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I must have the early 07 GS as it does not have one as well...
 

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I traded my '99 LT in on an '05 R1200ST and it too has the 9:00 position drain plug.

You can get a service video on Beemer Boneyard and the final drive fluid change is no biggie, although not as easy as it was on the LT.

From what I've read, less than 700 ST's were imported in model years 2005 - 2007 so it's relative scarcity may impact pricing.

I'm really enjoying mine! It has a sportier riding position than the LT but I'm getting used to it.

Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sit said:
Drain plugs on the GS re-appeared for the 07 model part way through. My early 07 does not have a drain plug, later 07 models do. To drain the drive without a drain is rather easy, take tire off, remove speed sensor, remove plug on top of unit, remove nut holding swing arm, and rotate down and let drain. I am sure I am missing a step in there, caliper off? but it takes just a few minutes and can be done on the center stand, at least for a GS. While draining, lube up the splines. Once done, put it all back together and fill through the speed sensor hole. Figure there is no difference in the final drive itself other than the casting that now has a drain at 6 o'clock. And yes, the fluid amount has changed.
Still a lot more hassle than one with a drain plug, but I'd still go for one, but the price has to be right.
 

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tonyn1 said:
Still a lot more hassle than one with a drain plug, but I'd still go for one, but the price has to be right.
Yup, more work, but not that big of a deal. The only issue is nut that has to be removed to release the swing are is a one time use nut according to BMW. Of the two shops close to me, one had never hear that and did not have any in stock, nor did they show any record of ever ordering one for a customer or their shop. ??? That would be why my bike has never been worked on by them. The other shop had hand fulls of them since they replace them every time a swing arm is release, cost like 74 cents. I think when I did it, it took less than an hour.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Sit said:
Yup, more work, but not that big of a deal. The only issue is nut that has to be removed to release the swing are is a one time use nut according to BMW. Of the two shops close to me, one had never hear that and did not have any in stock, nor did they show any record of ever ordering one for a customer or their shop. ??? That would be why my bike has never been worked on by them. The other shop had hand fulls of them since they replace them every time a swing arm is release, cost like 74 cents. I think when I did it, it took less than an hour.
It's hard to believe that BMW would have a part that only costs 74 cents!
 
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