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Discussion Starter #1
After riding from my house to Pittsburgh (all interstate, 3 1/2 hours w/1 stop), I was showing my brother the LT in his driveway. I took it off the centerstand to roll it around; engine was off, bike was in neutral and it was very difficult to move by foot power. My first impulse was that it felt like a flat tire, or perhaps the bike was in gear, or like a parking brake (if there was one) was set. It's an '05, w/4,200 miles on the odometer.

I'm able to put the bike in gear. Engine starts and runs fine; all systems appear to be OK except it doesn't roll smoothly. This is on flat concrete, no grade.

I haven't gone out this morning to see if the problem has mysteriously vanished. Don't know why it would, but I have my fingers crossed that I was having some kind of dumb-a$$ attack as I was showing my brother the bike.

What might be wrong with my LT?

I'll be calling BMW of Pittsburgh when they open at 9:00 today if the problem persists. Worst case scenario is having the bike towed and borrowing a car to get home tomorrow.

Not a happy camper at this time.
Appreciate your suggestions, and if I'm doing something really stupid don't hold back!
 

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All I could figure is that it maybe one of the brake calipers dragging, or at worst case, the rear drive went bad. Get it up on the center stand and start turning some wheels!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
mtrevelino said:
All I could figure is that it maybe one of the brake calipers dragging, or at worst case, the rear drive went bad. Get it up on the center stand and start turning some wheels!
Question on the rear drive failures: I've read many of those threads. Was the bearing replaced/upgraded in '05s and newer, resulting in a non-issue, or does the problem continue with '05s?

Just back in from checking it out:
Front wheel turns freely.
Rear wheel is locked -- will not turn. Bike in neutral, on center stand, brakes not applied, front wheel on the ground, rear wheel in the air.

I don't see any evidence of any kind of oil on the ground or on the rear wheel.

Is this a rear drive failure? :(
Can it be driven to the closest dealer (20 min.) or should it be towed?
 

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I would tend to suggest a binding brake caliper, but it IS a heavy mother, and I try to move it under it's own power at all times, even on the flat. As suggested, try turning the wheels and if they move, relax.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Malki said:
I would tend to suggest a binding brake caliper, but it IS a heavy mother, and I try to move it under it's own power at all times, even on the flat. As suggested, try turning the wheels and if they move, relax.
I move it frequently with the engine off; on smooth concrete (e.g., in the garage) it's not difficult, and I'm used to that scenario. This feels different.

The rear tire will not turn.
 

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2005 K1200LT
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Just to be sure start the engine with it on the center stand, put it in first gear and release the clutch. See if the wheel then turns or the engine dies. If the wheel turns, let it do so for 60 seconds and shut down. Approach the rear disc with caution to see if it is hot. That will confirm a dragging brake.
 

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OR..... while on the center stand, remove the two bolts holding the caliper on the back and secure caliper out of the way with a cable tie or two, THEN... try to rotate the wheel in neutral. This way you won't grind up the rotor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
jzeiler said:
Just to be sure start the engine with it on the center stand, put it in first gear and release the clutch. See if the wheel then turns or the engine dies. If the wheel turns, let it do so for 60 seconds and shut down. Approach the rear disc with caution to see if it is hot. That will confirm a dragging brake.
I rode it (engine on and in 1st gear) to the end of the driveway and back. Now, the rear wheel turns -- but not freely -- while the bike is on the center stand; it turns not as easily as the front wheel.

Is there still a problem?
I have called BMW of PGH; they are open but not answering their phones yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Update

While cleaning the wheel to see if anything was leaking from the rear drive, I noticed the fill plug is gone. MIA. Whereabouts unknown.

A check of the rear drive (used a screwdriver as a dipstick) shows no oil is present.

The plan is to replace the fill plug, refill the unit with gear lube, drive around the block, look for leaks, drain and refill. If OK, going to ride the bike home tomorrow and take it to the dealer.
 

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If you've ridden without fluid damage is almost certain. Even if things free up after adding fluid I wouldn't risk riding it. Have it towed to the dealer. Cost of a new drive is a minor issue compared to the risk you'd be taking by riding it. A total lock up can be deadly.
 

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jzeiler said:
Just to be sure start the engine with it on the center stand, put it in first gear and release the clutch. See if the wheel then turns or the engine dies. If the wheel turns, let it do so for 60 seconds and shut down. Approach the rear disc with caution to see if it is hot. That will confirm a dragging brake.
Just a note here. I believe, even with the '05, that if you do this, you'll trip your ABS and be doing witout until you pay a visit to your dealer and get a reset.
Happened to me. Couldn't figure out, no matter what I did to clear the fault and regain ABS function (Rear wheel would lock-up and lights were'a flashing) what was going on until I realized that I had done this very thing in the garage earlier in the winter for some reason.
 

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Makes me wonder how you can have a missing fill plug without tons of visible gear oil on the housing and tire?

Would adding gear oil, riding around the block, and then draining it remove any metal bits?
Save the drain oil for the dealership?

Local dealer is not open on Mondays.
Bob
 

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When was the last time you had it serviced ? and is your drain plug sitting on their service bench ?

It would seem to me, if you have not seen indications of oil "splattered" around your back wheel, that it must have been drained and not re-filled:(
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Update II - with a follow-up question

Just back from running around Pittsburgh to find oil and a new fill plug. I have those on hand (with a new crush washer).

For those who commented about visible indications of oil loss:
Yes, the back tire was covered in what I thought was brake dust, but when swiping my finger through it you could tell it was oil and brake dust. There also were many instances of splatter marks -- oil on the outer edge of the wheel and on the tire, thrown by centrifugal force.

For those who commented about prior service:
Dealer has done all the service on this bike. Last service (other than Motolights installation last month) was the 600 mile service, done at 1200 miles. The drive oil is not replaced at that time, but the level is checked. I have to assume that's when it was either (a) not replaced, or (b) not replaced tightly. Either way, I've ridden 3,000 miles since then and don't know when the fill plug was lost.

My plan is to ride it back home tomorrow; already have it scheduled to take back to my dealer on Tuesday. If I have any indications of failure I'll pull over and call BMW Roadside Assistance.

The dealer didn't flinch at acknowledging their responsibility for this. I assume a new drive unit will be installed. Will find out Tuesday.
 

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Dag Howard! And I thought me having to spend $12 on 4 dash lamps was ridiculous. Here's to hoping everything's OK. I wouldn't assume that damage has occurred. There's no way to be certain of when that plug was lost. Could've been on the way to Pittsburgh, for all we know...
 

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I don't know how far you are from home or the dealer, but I wouldn't ride it. If the wheel is still hard to turn, putting oil in won't make it any easier. I'd say the damage is done, and just trailer or tow it to the dealer and let them sort it all out.

Honestly, what are you saving by riding it versus what you're risking? It's just not worth the chance of it failing badly and causing you a very bad day.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
meese said:
I don't know how far you are from home or the dealer, but I wouldn't ride it. If the wheel is still hard to turn, putting oil in won't make it any easier. I'd say the damage is done, and just trailer or tow it to the dealer and let them sort it all out.

Honestly, what are you saving by riding it versus what you're risking? It's just not worth the chance of it failing badly and causing you a very bad day.
Need more info on this, Ken (and others, please).

Here's an update:

We put fresh oil in it. Rode it around the block. Wheel turns much, much better than before. Perhaps just as freely as before this problem, but that's subjective.

Drained the oil. Magnetic drain plug had tiny pieces of metal on it -- smaller than grains of sand -- barely perceptible -- "gritty" might describe it. Refilled the drive. Drove it 11 miles. Drained and refilled; more grittiness. Drove 11 more miles. Drained and refilled. Drive never got more than warm to the touch. There is a very small amount of play in the rear wheel. The bike is parked at this time.

The last time we drained the drive it looked like a metal flake paint job -- lots of microscopic metal pieces in the oil.

First question:
Do I ride the bike home tomorrow, taking it easy and staying off the interstate, or do I have it towed to the nearest dealer whom I have no knowledge of? I'd much rather have my "home team" work on it. This option includes riding it to my home and having BMW Roadside Assistance tow it to the dealer on Tuesday when they reopen.

If I ride it home my wife will follow me in a car. If a get-off is possible because of this failure I don't want her on the bike with me.

Second question:
Should I be concerned about what happens IF it fails before I get it home?
Is there a small window of opportunity to shut it down or does everything seize up and you go flying off into the ditch?

Anxiously awaiting all comments/suggestions, as tomorrow morning we have to go home either way. Thanks.

PS: The only positive in this is, as mentioned earlier, the dealer has stepped up to acknowledge they screwed up.
 

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hschisler said:
PS: The only positive in this is, as mentioned earlier, the dealer has stepped up to acknowledge they screwed up.
Then I sure would NOT jeopardize that situation by riding it - not even a leetle bit. I know you want to Howard, butt when you finally have that 20/20 hindsight, you'll see the wisdom of parking it now and either towing it home yourself, or having it towed. I haven't kept up with the thread enough to know your mileage to go, butt U-Haul rents a sweet motorcycle-specific trailer for ~$16 a day.

When Toad's rear drive went south, I left it on a motel parking lot in Clinton, MS until Grif and I could go git it a week later. After seeing what came out of the rear drive during the repair, I 'maybe' could've gotten outta Clinton and to the middle of nowhere and then 'kablooey' - disaster time and my 20/20 would've been for sheeetz!!
 

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Like I said, it's you who has to balance the risk versus the ride. But at least you have this group to gather info and opinions from.

Very small metallic particles (metal flake paint is a good description) is normal. Any visible pieces or chunks of metal is bad. If you feel like the wheel is spinning as normal, and the test rides felt OK, it sounds like you may be fine. But then again, I can't tell from far away, and it's your but on the line, not mine.

When my first rear drive failed, I was literally in the middle of nowhere halfway between Prague and Dresden. I felt a regular vibration, like it was a bad road, but it just didn't feel right. It took me a few kilometers and a few times of pulling over to check the rear wheel to realize what was happening. The entire real wheel and brake being covered in gear oil was a pretty good indicator. As I was not near any sort of town, or even anyone who spoke English, I slowly limped the bike to the the German border about 25 Km away. By the time I got to the first hotel across the border, I couldn't roll the bike backwards to get it onto the center stand. The Dresden dealer came and retrieved the bike with a trailer the next day. However, I'm still not sure I should have ridden it even that far. For the record, BMW Germany refused to cover the cost of the rebuild, and told me that 26K miles was way too much. BMW GB eventually reimbursed me, but only after months of hassle and a very good local dealer.

When my '02 drive failed, it was the same basic thing. Several stops to decide if it was a rough road or a bad drive, and less than 20 miles later I pulled into a gas station and felt a definite roughness when spinning the wheel. At that point, I just stopped and called Cross Country Service, who were all but useless. I then called a friend who had a trailer, and he came and got me. The dealer replaced it without question.

I also know of a guy who had definite roughness in his rear drive in Crescent City, and rode several hundred miles back up to Oregon without incident. So there's no real way to tell.

Based on your descriptions, I doubt you'd have any problems, but I personally wouldn't take the chance. Better to just rent a truck or trailer and take it right to the dealer. What are you really gonna save except a few buck and a few hours? And is that really worth the risk?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
meese said:
Based on your descriptions, I doubt you'd have any problems, but I personally wouldn't take the chance. Better to just rent a truck or trailer and take it right to the dealer. What are you really gonna save except a few buck and a few hours? And is that really worth the risk?
That's what I still need to understand: is there a risk of the wheel seizing and I go flying? If it's a "simple" breakdown by the side of the road I'm tempted to risk that.

And FWIW: I was on hold for an hour with BMW Roadside Assistance -- "all representatives are still busy...". On a Saturday night? Are BMWs breaking down all over the country? Somebody call Homeland Security... :D (I called them to ask how the process worked after hours.)

The nearest dealer to where it would be towed, AND my home dealer open again on Tuesday. That means it stays here at my brother's house until Tuesday at which time it's towed, or it's towed tonight/tomorrow and sits in an impound lot until Tuesday and then towed to the dealer.

I'm tempted to leave it by the curb with the key in the ignition and turn the porch light off. ;)
 
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