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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally some nice weather that I can get the bike out. I went on about a 300 mile ride and seemed to have no problems until I came down off the highway I had a noise from the rear end. Sounded like the driveshaft went out of round because it was there then gone then there then gone real fast. Well I was only about a half a mile from home so I just went home slow. For the last leg of my trip it was about 70 miles on the highway but now in town the noise was real load and when I went into the corners it seam to slide a bit. I got the bike in the garage and looked at the back wheel and it is covered in oil. I did not do anything to it yet as I like the expert opinions from here first before I mess it up. I have read a few of the forums on here and it sounds like my final drive went out. OK my questions are is my final drive shot or is this just a seal? I am not sure when the oil went out being it did not make noise when I got onto the highway but who know I may have driven this for say 70 miles and I am sure that is not good. From what I have read the first thing I should do is pull the drain plug and see if I have metal shaving. If I pull the plug and there is no metal shaving does that mean I did not ruin the final drive? And vise versa if there is metal should I just look for a new final drive? Are there any special tools I am going to need to do this job? Is this a job that I could rebuild myself or do I have to send things out for machining? I also read something about shimming is there something I need to shim when going back together? I like to try things myself first and if I don’t succeed I can always pay someone else to put it back together for me.
 

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Pull the drain plug and look for shiny bits of metal. Those are bad. Put it on the center stand and see if there's any lateral play in the wheel. That's bad. It is possible to rebuild most of the drives if it's just the crown wheel bearing. It does sound like your drive is damaged. It's impossible to tell if it's fixable until it's opened up.
 

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Of all the FD's I've rebuilt I have only had to replace the black seal cover twice because of going to far after failure. If it needed a seal cover it adds about $250 to the rebuild.
 

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Finally some nice weather that I can get the bike out. I went on about a 300 mile ride and seemed to have no problems until I came down off the highway I had a noise from the rear end. Sounded like the driveshaft went out of round because it was there then gone then there then gone real fast. Well I was only about a half a mile from home so I just went home slow. For the last leg of my trip it was about 70 miles on the highway but now in town the noise was real load and when I went into the corners it seam to slide a bit. I got the bike in the garage and looked at the back wheel and it is covered in oil. I did not do anything to it yet as I like the expert opinions from here first before I mess it up. I have read a few of the forums on here and it sounds like my final drive went out. OK my questions are is my final drive shot or is this just a seal? I am not sure when the oil went out being it did not make noise when I got onto the highway but who know I may have driven this for say 70 miles and I am sure that is not good. From what I have read the first thing I should do is pull the drain plug and see if I have metal shaving. If I pull the plug and there is no metal shaving does that mean I did not ruin the final drive? And vise versa if there is metal should I just look for a new final drive? Are there any special tools I am going to need to do this job? Is this a job that I could rebuild myself or do I have to send things out for machining? I also read something about shimming is there something I need to shim when going back together? I like to try things myself first and if I don’t succeed I can always pay someone else to put it back together for me.
Your description of events is consistent with what I termed the "classic" crown wheel bearing failure.
You might do a DIY repair but I'd recommend that only for an experienced mechanic. Information in past posts on this site can help you with a DIY rebuild, but you should read and understand what to look for when the drive is open. Things to look for beyond the failed crownwheel bearing are the "creeping" input pinion bearing race, and the "spinning tapered roller bearing race", and the spinning hub in the crown gear.
Absent these problems, rebuilding the drive involves replacing the crownwheel bearing and measuring for preload.
My recommendation is that you: 1) drain the drive (you will probably find metal shards from the crown wheel bearing retainer. 2) remove the drive from the bike. 3) contact someone with the tools and experience at rebuilding these like Dave S. (aka Saddleman on this site).
If you are interested in learning more about the ways these final drives fail, and how to fix them, read my posts and those of others going back years on this site.
 

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Kelly,
Help for DIY final drive rebuild:

I made a final drive video some years ago and presented at the Utah CCR. The original version was loaded on this BWM Luxury Touring server (and still may be) but was hard to find. There is a YouTube version is easier to find.

Someone took the video from this site and edited it and uploaded it to YouTube. The person who did the editing, added the flashy musical intro., and wrote "brakes" where he meant "breaks", and a few other give-aways, made it seem like it was his own work with the statement: "This video belongs to its owner." with no other attribution regarding the origin of the video. Okay, I put it in the public domain, so there it is. But he does have a video editor and did make the video easier to find and watch, so thanks to him for that.

The video is outdated. At one point I was going to ask a site moderator here to remove the video from the server because of its short comings and update it. But once I realized that it had been copied and uploaded to youtube I decided to just let go of it. Subsequent to making the video, I reached different conclusions about the causes of the "classic" crown wheel bearing failure. Those conclusions can be found in past posts on this site. Essentially, having studied a number of failed final drives, and read the reports of others, the conclusions is that crown wheel bearing failures are almost always due to excess preload shim thickness installed at the factory. This was not a design flaw, but rather an assembly error.

In spite of its shortcomings, the video still provides a valid method for replacement of the crown wheel bearing with proper preload. The video DOES NOT discuss other common problems which are often found during a final drive rebuild, i.e. spinning tapered roller bearing race, creeping input pinion needle bearing race, spinning trunion in the crown gear assembly. If you are going to attempt your own rebuild, you should be aware of these things so you know what to look for when the drive is open. If any of these other problems are found, the complexity of the repair increases.
HTH

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn5zs8RslF4
 

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If your final drive is shot, which it sounds like it probably is, I recommend Dave S. (Saddleman). He is a stand up guy who will answer any questions you have about your rebuild. He rebuilt mine and it is working like a champ. He stands behind his service too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks commenting on my post funny I have CharlieVT and Saddleman and Hannigan ID written down from some of the post as I think they are the people that know about final drives and for the video CharlieVT. Not sure if I want to tackle it that far although it would be a satisfying job if I was able to accomplish it. I did drain the oil tonight and it does have metal shavings in it. I will try to post a photo of it. I did manage to follow the book on getting the final drive off but I got stopped by the floating bearing stud as I do not have a hex wrench that big so I will have to buy one. Anyone know the size? Most of the rebuild looks not too bad but I am worried that I might get the shimming wrong. Any ideas about what this is going to cost? Best place for parts or just get them from the BMW dealer? I am on limited funds right now so I would like to do as much myself as I can. I have to ask CharlieVT the oven that you are putting the parts into is not your kitchen oven is it? I actually have a oven in my garage that I used for powder coating small parts found it on craigslist for free it was only six months old. The woman broke the glass top and it was more to replace the top then buy a new stove.
 

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14 mm hex I think. Lots of us have the tools if you want. Usually ends up just costing you shipping. I did mine by following Curtis' video, and as you said, very satisfying to do, and not really that difficult.
 

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You can rebuild it on the bike if nothing is wrong beyond the crown bearing. Yes, the kitchen oven and freezer will do just fine for what you need. I just did one last week. Didn't have a thin bearing puller so I just cut the outer and inner races off with a Dremel tool. If you do this, make sure the cutting wheel is rotating away from the area where the hub seal makes contact. Very easy to nick it and cause a leak. I used a heat lamp to pull the hub from the case cover. Since the case is aluminum and the hub is steel, after 20 minutes under the lamp, the hub just fell out with the case supported on 2 x 4s.
 

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You can rebuild it on the bike if nothing is wrong beyond the crown bearing. Yes, the kitchen oven and freezer will do just fine for what you need. I just did one last week. Didn't have a thin bearing puller so I just cut the outer and inner races off with a Dremel tool. If you do this, make sure the cutting wheel is rotating away from the area where the hub seal makes contact. Very easy to nick it and cause a leak. I used a heat lamp to pull the hub from the case cover. Since the case is aluminum and the hub is steel, after 20 minutes under the lamp, the hub just fell out with the case supported on 2 x 4s.
Hi Dean, Kelly,

It is true that you can replace the crown wheel bearing with the final drive on the bike. However, I'd suggest this as an "emergency" repair. I don't know how you could do the measurements for preload shim thickness with the FD still on the bike, and even if you could, it would probably be more trouble than just removing the FD and putting on the work bench.

Doing a crown wheel replacement with the FD still on the bike would be quicker and easier. But it is a short cut with compromises. As long as folks choosing this approach understand the limitations, it certainly can be done.

And, since the evidence is quite good that crown wheel bearing failures are due to improper preload shim thickness, just replacing the bearing without calculating for shim thickness would set the stage for a repeat failure.

Carrying a spare bearing and the tools to do a bearing change as you describe with the FD still on the bike is great road insurance. I have also suggested another short cut for "emergency" repairs, that is: if multiple shims are found on removing the failed crown wheel bearing, and one of the shims is a 0.15mm, leaving that shim out on reassembly is a good guess. Many failed crown wheel bearings were found to be over-shimmed and leaving out a thin shim is a SWAG fix.

All that said, for long term confidence in a rebuild, the best approach is to remove the FD, inspect for all the known problems, and rebuild with careful measurement for preload shim thickness. When that is done, the FD is likely to be good for >100K miles.
 

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.... it does have metal shavings in it. ....Best place for parts or just get them from the BMW dealer? ..... I have to ask CharlieVT the oven that you are putting the parts into is not your kitchen oven is it?
The pictures certainly suggest a problem. Sometimes a shard of bearing retainer will come out with the oil. You may find pieces of broken bearing retainer when you open the drive. The degree of damage to the bearing is related to how far you rode after the bearing really to break down. The damage to the bearing started many miles ago, but once you start to feel the vibration in the ride, things go downhill fast, and the oil seal leak is often causes by broken bearing retainer fragments tearing it.

When I was doing rebuilds, I always got bearings and seals from a BWM dealer. I used MaxBMW online ordering. They usually shipped very quickly, and M&Ms :)

Contact Saddleman with a private message on this site. When I stopped doing rebuilds I asked Dave to accept my referrals. I think he is still willing to do them. He will be more than fair and do exceptional work.

Yes, I have a very understanding wife. I used the kitchen oven and freezer for heating and chilling parts. Wash the gear lube off the parts really well if you don't want a really stinky kitchen! I once washed some motorcycle parts in the dishwasher, the white plastic liner of the dishwasher turned permanently grey. I bought and install a new dishwasher after that. Oh, and a parts washer too. :histerica
 

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Curtis is correct. Doing the job on the bike is a quickie fix and most likely you'll have another failure. The bike I did had 66,000 on it and appeared to have been opened up once before, so my guess is that it'll last about another 33,000 miles or so before it fails again. The owner just wanted a quick fix. Curtis was kind enough to rebuild mine as I had an additional issue in the FD which I was much more comfortable with him addressing than myself. Dave will make sure it's done correctly, if you elect to have him rebuild it.
 

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Can you have the spun pinion and taper problem without the crown wheel bearing being bad or does the crown issue cause the spun bearing issues?
Separate problems, but sometimes found together.
The spun tapered roller bearing inner race, found most commonly around the 2005 year model can occur without any other problem.
When occurring by itself, in its early stages the only indication is very dark lube due to suspended aluminum particles in the lube. In late stages, instability of the crown gear assembly can cause a lube leak at the hub seal. In latest stages a wheel wobble may be evident.

I found it a couple of times just incidentally when I was doing a preemptive rebuild or a crown wheel bearing repair. But, even when found coincident with a crown wheel bearing failure, it is likely not caused by the crown wheel bearing failure.

Both the spun tapered roller bearing problem and the spinning aluminum trunnion in the steel crown gear are a result of a machining error resulting in an inadequate interference fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks Dave for the offer for tools but I work at our local Ford Dealer as the Quick Lane service advisor so I have about 20 techs that I can go to and find tools. I did find them, one tech had a 30mm wrench and the other had the 12mm hex socket style. I did get the final drive off. CharlieVT video which I am following had me heat the cover and then tap a little and off it came. I started the clean up so I can work with clean parts and that is as far as I got. Alright now for the funny stuff. I don’t have a parts cleaner so I was spraying off the parts into my oil drain pan. Well with one hand holding the part and the other spraying the part it started to slip so I was going to set it down and regrip and as I did that the part slip with of course my pan at the edge of my work bench which flipped the pan up and the dirty brake clean all over me. This my friends is why you should always wear safety glasses which I was or I may not be able to see what I am typing right now. So that ended the night as I needed to get into the shower to stop the burning. It does not hurt anymore so now it is funny. I did not get a real good look at everything but the bevel gear seams to look good and turns real smooth. The tapper roller bearing seam ok too. When I turn the crown wheel though I can feel the roughness in there. So that is my next step is to get that all apart. I again want to thank all of you for the help as you are giving me the confidents to do this.
 
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