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Discussion Starter #1
Our actions today are based in part, by our past experiences. So, I’m going to blame my past up bringing for my decision process. Now up to speed.

The LT started making a “weird” noise. At first I put it down to tire noise (Metzelers) but it just kept getting worse. Finally to the point where I could feel it in the foot pegs. Hmmmm, pulled the front wheel and checked the wheel bearings, no problems there. Rolled the rear wheel, could feel a little something but didn’t think that was it. Kept riding the bike. Fast forward a couple of weeks and several hundred miles, now the noise is horrible and the feeling through the foot pegs is even worse. Roll the rear wheel again and yep, it feels worse. A couple of things, (1) the BMW shop just replaced the seals in the rear end last April. (2) The person I bought her from had the extended warranty. She is going back to the dealer. Called the service manager told him what was up, called friend with trailer. All set right????

Saturday morning is crisp and pretty. Friend shows up with trailer. First problem, what do you tie onto to secure this thing to a trailer? A whole lot of Tupperware and no hard points. Much looking to no avail. Second problem, don’t really want to break stuff trying to tote this thing 45 miles to dealer. Now, remember that whole past upbringing thing I was talking about? At this point I start remembering back to my aircrew days. I can’t count the number of helicopters we “limped” back to the ship because we either couldn’t, or didn’t want to, land where we where. 10 feet and 10 knots for 30 miles because the main gearbox oil pump went out, heck, I will just ride her there. Insert 10 minutes of friend trying to tell me that this is a bad idea and me steadfastly telling him don’t worry, I’ve done this 1000 times. (hmm should have noticed it is sounding familiar).

Take off for dealership. Still feeling just like it did the last time I rode it, no sweat! First 10 miles it feels the same then, smooth as silk, the noise is still there, but no vibration at all. Uh oh, this is bad! Keep heading for dealership. Next 25 miles are good, just the howling noise and people giving me weird looks because I’m going 50 mph on the GW (George W. Bush Turnpike). The GPS is telling me 10 miles to go when the vibration starts back. Do I stop and put her on the trailer??? With only 10 miles to go I push on. 5 miles to go and I’m starting to remember why I really hated 10 feet and 10 knots!! To bad I didn’t remember that earlier. I don’t think there is any rubber left in the grips, I can’t feel my fingers from squeezing so hard. I’m pretty sure I’ve cracked the Tupperware with my knees. Off the GW onto K Ave, only 3 blocks to go, at this point I’m not sure if what I’m feeling is real or imagined. Was that a slide??? Into the dealer parking lot, stopped, and up onto the center stand, big sigh-of-relief!! Get off bike and walk around to the right hand side,,,,,, I think I’m gonna be sick! Rear wheel and final drive are completely covered in oil.

Get service manager out and immediately find out where you can tie the LT down at.

Long story short, memories are good just make sure to remember “the whole” memory. If your gut is telling you to get off the bike and put it on a trailer, DO IT. I got lucky, but I won’t do that again!!!

So, bearing or seal?? Mechanic at dealership said no play in wheel, probably just the seal. Told him that is all well and good, but check the bearings anyway.
 

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I would hope that the dealership completely rebuilds that drive. Who knows what kind of damage that bearing has now. And they shim it correctly.
 

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Tiger955 said:
.....So, bearing or seal?? Mechanic at dealership said no play in wheel, probably just the seal. Told him that is all well and good, but check the bearings anyway.
Sorry to hear of your troubles. No way that's just a seal. Dealer should know better but it is not surprising. And, given that the dealer said it is probably just a seal, they've indicated a lack of knowledge and probably will just put in a new bearing. That will set the stage for another failure.

Did you say what year bike and how many miles on the bike?

There is a lot of information on this site about different types of FD failures, what we think causes them, and how to try to fix 'em so it doesn't happen again. Here's a good place to start reading:
http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63109
Given your symptoms, you most likely had a "classic" crownwheel bearing failure. It was the bearing failure that cause the roughness and the seal leak. The cause of this type of failure is improper preload shimming. Many instances of FD being rebuild by BMW dealerships have been reported where the FD when on to fail a second or third time. These repeat failures were most likely due to new bearings being installed without checking for proper bearing preload and just using the preexisting, factory installed shims. This treats the symptom and not the underlying cause, setting the stage for failure.

IMPORTANT: there is currently a NTSA investigation going on regarding FD failures. You should report your FD failure and the fact that oil was all over the rear wheel. Read more here: http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66194

I suggest you read a little about FD failures so you can ask important questions at the dealership. Good luck, depending on the dealership, they may "blow smoke" and obfuscate their lack of understanding. On the other hand, hopefully they understand the problem and are prepared to fix it properly.

Just trying to help you be an educated consumer here.

We are hearing of fewer FD failures these days, but they still happen and way too many have occured in the past. I suspect there are lots of relatively low mileage bikes out there that just haven't reached the point of failure yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sorry, it is an 08 with about 42K on the clock. Usage is 2 up loaded about 2 - 3 times a year, commuting when the tigger is broke.
 

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Tiger955 said:
Sorry, it is an 08 with about 42K on the clock. Usage is 2 up loaded about 2 - 3 times a year, commuting when the tigger is broke.
Thanks for that info.

42K miles is pretty typical for mileage for a crownwheel bearing failure; most of the ones I am aware of went somewhere in the vicinity of 20-40K.

2008 bike is well past the "plume" of crownwheel bearing failures.

If you're willing to go to the trouble, ask the service department if you can have any bearing(s) they might remove during the rebuild. I'd like to see a picture of what the bearing looks like.

Addendum: If you ask them what the original crownwheel bearing shim thickness was, and what the new bearing shim thickness was, you get a pretty good sense if they took the trouble to do the measurements or just put in a new bearing.
 

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lesn said:
Charlie,
You are brilliant ! We are so lucky to have your company.
Well, them's kind words.... on the other hand, I'm wondering if maybe they shouldn't be read with a sense of intonation to sarcasm or facetiousness..... :histerica

If you can't dazzle with brilliance, then baffle with BS.

I'm not sure I know why I've made a hobby of failed BMW K1200LT final drives, but I've been at it for several years now. There's a lot I think I understand about them, gained with the help of many others on this board. For my part, it is a case of sheer doggedness rather than perspicacity I think.
 

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The LT is just like a TH55. Bad seals don't make noise. Bad gears do. If you feel it in your ass or feet you got a problem. Glad you made it in one piece.
 

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CharlieVT said:
IMPORTANT: there is currently a NTSA investigation going on regarding FD failures. You should report your FD failure and the fact that oil was all over the rear wheel. Read more here: http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=66194
If it does end up being a final drive failure, please log it as mentioned above - every person who had a problem and does this helps the NTSA get to a proper conclusion, which based on the experience over many years of many on this board should be that BMW knew about the problem and largely ignored the risk posed.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Just returned, BMW place had called, crown bearing failure. I will call them today and see if I can get the old bearings. Will also register on the link.
 
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