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Discussion Starter #21
Newf said:
Thanks for all the good info. I have been just checking the rear wheel on my 05 when it is on the center stand. I change the oil every 5000 kms (3000 miles) and have not seem any noticablty difference in oil colour or fuzz on the drain plug. I now have 85000 kms (53000 miles) on the bike and still no problems with final drive. I was thinking about changing the bearing in the final drive at around the 100000 kms mark as normal maintenance.
I've seen too many 05 final drives with problems. More with tapered roller bearing seat problems than with crownwheel bearing failure.
Odds are that you are okay.
You can ride it and never have a problem or you might end up riding it until it breaks.
If it were mine I'd open it up and inspect it, but that's easy for me to say having done enough of them to make it easy for me to rebuild 'em.
The next best thing you can do is change the lube at constant intervals using the same type of lube and look for increasing darkness to the lube at changes. The spinning tapered roller bearing will result in shed aluminum which won't accumulate on the drain plug magnet but will make the lube darker. If a spinning tapered roller bearing race is run too far the drive isn't cost effective to rebuild since it will need a new crowngear/pinion gear set and a total rebuild. I've never done that 'cause buying a used drive and rebuilding it is cheaper and easier. I'd even consider buying a new OEM final drive from BMW before I'd consider rebuilding a FD with a new crowngear/pinion gear set.
 

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Thanks, I may just do that. Ride it and keep checking the oil every time I do a change out looking for color and any small particles
 

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Well, I am adding my final drive to the impending failure column. I changed the fluid the other day and it was very dark. I ran fresh fluid for about 50 miles and changed it again. It was still dark, I let it set a couple of days poured the fluid out and sure enough there was the flakes laying in the bottom. Fortunately I purchased a spare awhile back. Will be sending this one in for a rebuild after my I return from the trip I getting ready to leave on in 2 weeks.

Thanks for all the info on this site
Ron
 

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If your FD fails will there always be metal in the oil?
I was getting off the highway yesterday and heard a strange clicking noise coming from my drive, but no oil leakage, and the housing felt pretty hot ( it was almost 100° outside though). I then proceeded to ride home slowly since I was close to home. Once I got thereI. drained the drive oil and it was as clean as new. The bike only has 5500 miles on it and 2000 on the drive oil. Does this sound like a FD failure?
 

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Discussion Starter #25
No, it does not sound like a FD failure and it would be very unlikely for a FD failure to occur at those very low miles.
I would investigate the source of the clicking however.


hayabusa200 said:
If your FD fails will there always be metal in the oil?
I was getting off the highway yesterday and heard a strange clicking noise coming from my drive, but no oil leakage, and the housing felt pretty hot ( it was almost 100° outside though). I then proceeded to ride home slowly since I was close to home. Once I got thereI. drained the drive oil and it was as clean as new. The bike only has 5500 miles on it and 2000 on the drive oil. Does this sound like a FD failure?
 

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CharlieVT said:
No, it does not sound like a FD failure and it would be very unlikely for a FD failure to occur at those very low miles.
I would investigate the source of the clicking however.
Thanks Charlie, I hope you are correct. I will start investigating when I get home from work and see what I come up with. I pray its something simple, being that I start vacation in a few days.
I wasnt looking forward to renting a harley while I was off.
 

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Charlie, it took me about 10 seconds to find the problem once I put it on the center stand.
The rear tire was actually coming apart at the sidewall and rubbing on the drive shaft housing, and it also had some blistering. I take it Bridgestones dont like 100 degree days at highway speeds. Thanks again for your reply.
 

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I'm now 6,000 miles since my crown bearing seal failure/replacement, using the same crown bearing. (see previous post) Still have a "bone dry" rear drive and nothing unusual on the magnetic drain plug or fluid color. I have a backup rear drive but I'm waiting to see if I really need to change this one.

If I had known what I know now I would have taken a long wide blade flat screwdriver and pushed the crown bearing seal back into the recess to get me home. (see my previous pictures) After that, I would evaluate the situation with a tear down in my garage. I have the 17 ball crown bearing which may be a different situation than the 19 ball OEM bearings. ('99 LT that had bearing change by PO)

This would not work for a catastrophic crown bearing failure. I'm not suggesting this works for all situations and maybe only rarely. If you don't see other indications of a catastrophic failure you would still want to check the rear wheel and drive and cautiously ride only short distances to see what's going on. We are talking about just limping home with the bike if possible.

In my situation this probably would have got me home without as much or any oil on my rear brake and tire. I think there are cases where only the crown bearing seal fails. My seal was installed by the dealer with silicone sealant which I think acted as a lubricant at the 120-140F operating temps to allow the seal work out.

Just my opinion, the jury is still out.
 

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In my original post I mentioned altitude change as a possible reason for my crown bearing seal failure. Probably not, I hadn't previously thought of the higher temperatures due to braking.

I would like to change my observation to thinking higher temps in the rear drive due to extended braking on a road that had 10-15 mph switch backs (Sonora Pass) as the cause. Dragging the rear brake around tight turns caused higher temps in the rear drive that allowed the seal to work out. (seal installed with silicone in the recess) ?

My next seal failure came after riding the Rattlesnake grade with no silicone on the seal. (Google R/S grade)

Maybe the seal doesn't stay in place with the higher temps caused from extended braking situations? Think I'm seeing a pattern?

I don't think a crown bearing seal failure always indicates a bearing failure. Maybe the seal failure can eventually cause a bearing failure? Yes, Da.

Just trying to figure this out.
 

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In all my years of wrenching, I don't recall ever reading factory maintenance procedures suggesting sealant with a oil seal.

People sometimes do this when there's something else wrong that would keep the seal from doing it's job in hopes it'll magically be fixed.

Other mechanics do it simply because they don't know what they're doing. :rolleyes:

I can't see the driving characteristics being the culprit, unless maybe they're compounding/agitating the real problem.
 

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bikerj said:
In all my years of wrenching, I don't recall ever reading factory maintenance procedures suggesting sealant with a oil seal.

People sometimes do this when there's something else wrong that would keep the seal from doing it's job in hopes it'll magically be fixed.

Other mechanics do it simply because they don't know what they're doing. :rolleyes:

I can't see the driving characteristics being the culprit, unless maybe they're compounding/agitating the real problem.
I agree. However his seal keeps popping out. I suppose the hub may be machined a little loose ar maybe the walls are tapered out slightly. The other likely cause is pressure in the FD. This sealant is pretty good stuff in my experience. Short of a complete rebuild or a replacement, it's a pretty inexpensive option to try and hold the seal where it belongs.
 

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deanwoolsey said:
I agree. However his seal keeps popping out. I suppose the hub may be machined a little loose ar maybe the walls are tapered out slightly. The other likely cause is pressure in the FD. This sealant is pretty good stuff in my experience. Short of a complete rebuild or a replacement, it's a pretty inexpensive option to try and hold the seal where it belongs.
If he has a problem with the vent, then it would be best to solve that. If the seating area for the seal is warped or jacked up in whatever way, then I would be trying to rectify that. I just see using sealant as you suggested a way of jury rigging it, and simply delaying a more serious mechanical failure that might not occur until he's on the bike somewhere in BFE.

I have seen such fixes performed on vehicles intended to be sold, thereby hoping to not have an apparent problem for any potential buyer, but I don't think that's the case here.

That being said, he's more than welcome to try whatever on his own bike. :D
 

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CharlieVT said:
2006 model year is pretty well past the "bloom" of final drive failures.
14K miles is really low.
Thanks for your expertise and willingness to share with the rest of us. You mention that 2006 is pretty well past the 'bloom'. When was the peak of this bloom? I have a 2004 (20K miles) that I just purchased. Since I had no maintenance records, I immediately changed the engine, gearbox, and FD oil. The FD oil appeared a little dark, and nothing on the plug magnet. Is my bike from a year that I need to be more concerned about? I've decided that its so easy to change the FD oil that I'll do it every 6K miles when I do engine oil. Anything else I can do pre-emptively?

Thanks again!
 

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Unless the gear oil has been in the FD "for ever" and hence may be suffering from some slight oxidation, it should come out clean and not discoloured, especially not dark in colour. If you still have the oil, tip some into a tall type plastic bottle, then fix a very strong and as large as possible magnet to the side or under the bottle. leave it for some hours then have a look. If the oil is clear and a black patch is adjacent the magnet, you have the very finest of steel being shed from a bearing, most probably the crown ball bearing (61917 c3). This very fine ferrous metal will not exhibit on the FD magnetic plug (too early in the failure process). If the oil is darkened but sparkly in strong light, you may have aluminium / magnesium in the oil, which may indicate the pinion needle roller inner ring has move axially into the casing. This visual oil inspection is a proactive maintenance strategy. Hope this helps, Dennis.
 

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Thanks, Dennis. I did the thing with the magnet. It had no effect. I also looked to see if it was 'sparkly' in strong light, and it wasn't. I suspect that the oil in the FD may have just been old. It was dark, but when I looked at it closely under the light, it actually had more of a dark green hue than a black hue. I'm going to save it and then compare it when I change the FD oil at the next 6000 mile mark.

Thanks again, Dennis, and everyone else that shares your expertise.
 

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After determining that the preload on the Crown wheel bearing was excessive... and making a shim adjustment to correct this...has this modification resulted in greater durability / reliability?

I'm about to pull the trigger on a low mileage 05. If reliability can be restored to something that should last the life of the bike...I'd save myself the trouble of a possible surprise somewhere far from home by correcting the situation now.

What do you think?
 

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Bob
Here's what I think. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I bought an 03 over an 02 because the BMW was paying more attention to the problem by then and failure rates dropped off. My 03 has over 80K miles, with no FD failure. I had the clutch and the trunk latch fail. Nethier of which stranded me. Since its just a small percentage of bad FD odds are you'll never see the issue. Worry less and ride more. But if it will make you worry less by all means have someone rebuild it for you. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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It's pretty easy to pull the FD out with basic tools. You could pop it out and have one of the gurus check your pre-load if it worries you too much. Personally, I would not worry about it and I've had the failure.

You can check the plug and lose very little oil. Just get an extra plug and clean up around the threads good before you pull it. Have the extra in your strong hand and finish unscrewing the drain with your weak hand, then trade them out quickly and top off the oil. I've done this and lost at most a few tablespoons of oil. You then have all the time in the world to look over the sludge, etc. on the plug that was removed. Just check your drain plug frequently and if you see shiny specs, tear it down.
 

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Bob, I don't/wouldn't disagree with Dean for a moment, but please see my post (Nov 13th) on this. It all comes down to how concerned you are in regard to heading off any potential failure. I was pretty keen to mitigate against a failure part way into a trip across Australia, with obvious consequences associated with being stranded in such remote locations. For the record, my '05 FD did have an over preloaded crown assembly, and the pinion needle roller inner race has also moved away from the pinion face by approximately 1 mm. My bike has 39,000 Km's on the clock. The 61917 c3 bearing I removed after finding the extremely fine ferrous metal in the oil, upon close examination with a magnifying glas, could be seen to have micro-pitting on both raceways. That bearing looked perfect to the naked eye, yet it was in the very early stages of failure. I am still to correct the pinion needle roller inner race displacement problem, when I'll also remove the crown tapered roller inner raceway and secure a new one with Loctite retaining compound. Like I said, it all comes down to your own level of concern regarding a potential failure. Run to failure is a perfectly acceptable strategy for some, and that's fine. Hope this helps, Dennis
 
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