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Old 02-03-2012, 08:03 AM   #1
rdcyclist OP
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NHSTA Opens Investigation into BMW Final Drive Failures

A number of us have been wondering when this would happen. Apparently you have to be pretty diligent to get the process started. This is crossposted from an Iron Butt Rally list:


After over 145 individual complaints filed between April 2001 and August 2011, the NHSTA has finally opened its first official investigation into the failure of crown gear bearings on BMW models equipped with the Paralever style final drive. NHSTA investigation DP12001 opened 1/20/12 is centered on 1999-2005 K1200LTs for now. But, if the findings are what we all believe they will be, the scope of the investigation should be expanded. I found the only way to get NHSTA to listen and focus was to pepper its director, David Strickland, with repeat letters as well as inquiries from WA Senator Patty Murray who chairs the subcommittee over funding for the NHSTA. If you have had a final drive failure on your Paralever equipped BMW, and have NOT already reported it to the NHSTA, I urge you do it now.

You will need your VIN, (est.) date of failure and mileage. State your model as well. While they should be able to identify from VIN, their data was wrong 50% of the time. Specify if gear oil leaked.

www.safercar.org

or call (888) 327-4236

or mail to:

NHSTA

Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)

West Building

1200 New Jersey Ave SE

Washington DC 20590


In your complaint, select "Power Train" as the component and reference that you have had the same failure as described in ODI No. 10439549, and currently being investigated under Campaign DP12001.

Send an email to your Congressman and US Senator to follow up on your behalf as well.

Chris Cimino

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Old 02-03-2012, 08:54 AM   #2
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Have not had my FD fail but am glad to hear this so I'm ready when mine fails. (I know, I know, most don't fail)
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:01 AM   #3
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It's good to light a fire under bmw's butt... but i doubt anything will come of it..
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
It's good to light a fire under bmw's butt... but i doubt anything will come of it..
Well there is nothing like a little investigation in an election year.

I posted the note from Chris on our local Sport bike forum and added these two factoids

This is really good news for BMW owners. I have had rear drive failures on my 2001 GS, 2003 GS Adv and my 2008 K1200GT. My LT was written off before it had a chance to fail.

Fortunately they all were covered under the warranty due to BMW's 3 year / no mileage restriction on CDN bikes. This is BMW making marketing a no cost marketing benefit as a result Canada's 5-6 month riding season.

As Chris outlines in his email below, the initial investigation will be on the K1200LT's, expect more bikes to follow.The classic photo of the GS's rear drive on fire and melting is one of the great pieces of motorcycle photography.

Canadian recalls generally follow the US it seems.

So the issue that "never existed" is finally being investigated.


A couple of notes

2009 IBR

The four BMW final drive failures that occurred in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally are having
an effect on hardware choices this year. Another K1200GT rider, Jeff Earls, will actually be carrying a spare final drive with him. Long time BMW rider Eric Jewell has taken an even more effective step to minimize the risk of having his ride end with a final drive failure; he sold his BMW and purchased a Honda ST1300. Tom and Rosie Sperry, who have been riding BMWs 2-up for many years, have adopted the same strategy. After experiencing a final drive failure on their K1200LT following the last Iron Butt Rally,
they switched to a Honda Gold Wing.
While BMW continues to claim that there is no significant problem with its final drives, a number of long-time BMW riders disagree and are switching brands. BMWs reputation for building the most reliable motorcycles has been damaged within the long distance riding community.




There's a *very* extensive article in the September 2008 Motorcycle Consumer News magazine on the final drive failures.

Limited summary:

- BMW uses two different final drive systems: the older Paralever design, which is still used on the K1200LT, and the 2nd-generation "EVO" Paralever, introduced in 2004 and, used on most current bikes. EVO design is easily identified by the 50mm hole in the rear axle.
- From 1980 to 2000, BMW final drive failures were rare
- Starting in 2001 an increasing number of final drive failures started appearing on K1200LT and R1150GS models
- Most of those were on 1st generation Paralever bikes, although some were on EVO Paralever bikes.
- Of 38 Paralever-equipped BMWs in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally, 14 were R1200 EVO models. Of these four didn't finish due to final drive failure -- a 29% failure rate.
- In Sept 2006 BMW revised the service recommendation for final drives to include final drive oil change at the 600-mi service (previously was considered lifetime lubricated).
- In 2007 BMW increased the size of the pinion gear needle bearing on EVO Paralevers, and added a magnetic drain plug.
- BMW didn't publicize but extended the final drive warranty to five years on bikes sold after January 2007
- Owners can check final drive status by putting bike on center stand, grabbing back wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock positions and rocking back and forth. Repeat at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. On EVO bikes up to 1 mm of play measured at the wheel rim is considered normal. More is abnormal and might indicate an impending problem
- A better inspection inspection method is draining final drive oil and inspecting magnetic plug for metallic particles. If any uncertainty, the final drive must be removed and gears/bearings inspected and gear lash measured
- A survey on the BMW LT forum resulted in 174 reported final drive failures
- A separate survey resulted in 80 people reporting failures, of which 11 were EVO Paralevers
- So far no reported crashes resulting from final drive failures
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill 310 View Post
Well there is nothing like a little investigation in an election year.

I posted the note from Chris on our local Sport bike forum and added these two factoids

This is really good news for BMW owners. I have had rear drive failures on my 2001 GS, 2003 GS Adv and my 2008 K1200GT. My LT was written off before it had a chance to fail................



Limited summary:

- BMW uses two different final drive systems: the older Paralever design, which is still used on the K1200LT, and the 2nd-generation "EVO" Paralever, introduced in 2004 and, used on most current bikes. EVO design is easily identified by the 50mm hole in the rear axle.
- From 1980 to 2000, BMW final drive failures were rare
- Starting in 2001 an increasing number of final drive failures started appearing on K1200LT and R1150GS models
- Most of those were on 1st generation Paralever bikes, although some were on EVO Paralever bikes.
- Of 38 Paralever-equipped BMWs in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally, 14 were R1200 EVO models. Of these four didn't finish due to final drive failure -- a 29% failure rate.
- In Sept 2006 BMW revised the service recommendation for final drives to include final drive oil change at the 600-mi service (previously was considered lifetime lubricated).
- In 2007 BMW increased the size of the pinion gear needle bearing on EVO Paralevers, and added a magnetic drain plug.
- BMW didn't publicize but extended the final drive warranty to five years on bikes sold after January 2007
- Owners can check final drive status by putting bike on center stand, grabbing back wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock positions and rocking back and forth. Repeat at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. On EVO bikes up to 1 mm of play measured at the wheel rim is considered normal. More is abnormal and might indicate an impending problem
- A better inspection inspection method is draining final drive oil and inspecting magnetic plug for metallic particles. If any uncertainty, the final drive must be removed and gears/bearings inspected and gear lash measured
- A survey on the BMW LT forum resulted in 174 reported final drive failures
- A separate survey resulted in 80 people reporting failures, of which 11 were EVO Paralevers
- So far no reported crashes resulting from final drive failures
I am not real knowledgeable about the mechanics of the subject. I have a 2001 1150GS which I have owned for about three years. I know nothing about the previous history of the bike. After one year in my ownership the dealer told me that my bike had metal flakes in my final drive fluid and he replaced the bearing. Yesterday, Max BMW informed me of the same thing and replaced the final drive bearing. The time between near failures was 1 year, 10 months. I mean, how can this be? Besides design flaws, are there any contributory factors in how the bike is ridden?

Last year at the BMWRA rally I met a rider with exactly the same bike as mine. A few years before, I am not exactly sure when, he told me he was in a bad single vehicle motorcycle accident where the cause of the accident was that his rear wheel came off his bike for no apparent reason. Is this the type of incident that would be possibly caused by a catastrophic final drive failure?
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Old 06-13-2012, 07:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlin III View Post
I am not real knowledgeable about the mechanics of the subject. I have a 2001 1150GS which I have owned for about three years. I know nothing about the previous history of the bike. After one year in my ownership the dealer told me that my bike had metal flakes in my final drive fluid and he replaced the bearing. Yesterday, Max BMW informed me of the same thing and replaced the final drive bearing. The time between near failures was 1 year, 10 months. I mean, how can this be? Besides design flaws, are there any contributory factors in how the bike is ridden?

Last year at the BMWRA rally I met a rider with exactly the same bike as mine. A few years before, I am not exactly sure when, he told me he was in a bad single vehicle motorcycle accident where the cause of the accident was that his rear wheel came off his bike for no apparent reason. Is this the type of incident that would be possibly caused by a catastrophic final drive failure?
Read the whole thread, then you decide.

There are multiple reasons for FD failures, and especially one following the other like yours. The original failure could be from poor initial assembly, overlaoding the bike, riding in very rough conditions, while overloaded, and getting water in the Fd through streem corssings. Or, it could simply be a defective FD from the start.

As for a FD actually falling off, not unless the owner was so out of tune with the bike that he never noticed major self destruction impending. They do not simply grenade with no warning.

Jim
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Old 02-03-2012, 03:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
It's good to light a fire under bmw's butt... but i doubt anything will come of it..
This has been tried many times before.

Jim
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden View Post
This has been tried many times before.

Jim
Are you saying the NHSTA has opened an investigation on FD failures before?
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Old 02-08-2012, 07:33 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB View Post
It's good to light a fire under bmw's butt... but i doubt anything will come of it..
they will just raise the price of bikes 5 grand to cover the replacement of the of past and future
Final Drive Failures.
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Old 02-08-2012, 08:44 AM   #10
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Cool2 BMW automobiles...

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Again, not to be the devil's advocate here...

But can anyone imagine the wailing fervor and furor there would be in the automobile world if BMW cars had rear ends that lasted only 60,000 miles, or often less, and that blew up with the same frequency as the motorcycle ones do?

As for the mention of Honda Gold Wing final drives failing... I don't have any experience, either as a rider or an owner, about the GL-1800's, but I can honestly say, without equivocation, that in my time around Honda motorcycle dealerships - as a mechanic, parts guy, salesman, or shop owner - I never saw a Honda final drive issue of any kind. And on Gold Wings never saw one through the GL-1000, GL-1100, GL-1200 fours, or GL-1500 sixes...

Not saying none ever happened. Just saying after seeing literally hundreds upon hundreds, with all sort of wear, tear, lack of maintenance, etc. I never saw one fail. I also owned a GL-1000 and two GL-1200's (not to mention two standard CX-500's and a CX-500 Turbo), and had no issues with them, either. One of the CX-500's was endurance road raced for three seasons and never had anything done to the rear end other than fluid changes, and that bike was built from a wrecked one, and was breathed on to within an inch of its life!

Dallara



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Old 02-08-2012, 03:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallara View Post
~


Again, not to be the devil's advocate here...

But can anyone imagine the wailing fervor and furor there would be in the automobile world if BMW cars had rear ends that lasted only 60,000 miles, or often less, and that blew up with the same frequency as the motorcycle ones do?

~
They do...but its much more frequent than FD failures and occurs at much lower mileage...its the high pressure fuel pumps used in the latest generation of turbo BMWs.
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Old 02-08-2012, 04:50 PM   #12
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as an auto repair shop owner i would like to thank all the engineers for designing sub par equipment.
as a motorcycle enthusiast over paying for unreliable motorcyles sucks.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:07 PM   #13
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It sounds like I got the only good one ever built. My '05 1200GS has the original FD and clutch at 107,000 miles. Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:22 PM   #14
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Or a Chrysler :}
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Old 02-03-2012, 12:05 PM   #15
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Bmw rear drive investigation

I don't know how many of you have heard about this buy I found this imbeded in my BMW mail list this morning. Don't bother asking me for more info, I'm an Airhead rider! Just thought that this might help someone down the line:



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [IBDone] NHSTA Opens Investgation into BMW Final Drive Failures
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2012 07:46:00 -0800
From: Chris
To: 'IBDone list'



(IF SOMEONE COULD PLEASE CROSSPOST THIS LD RIDERS AND OTHER SITES, I WOULD
REALLY APPRECIATE IT)



After over 145 individual complaints filed between April 2001 and August
2011, the NHSTA has finally opened its first official investigation into the
failure of crown gear bearings on BMW models equipped with the Paralever
style final drive. NHSTA investigation DP12001 opened 1/20/12 is centered
on 1999-2005 K1200LTs for now. But, if the findings are what we all believe
they will be, the scope of the investigation should be expanded. I found
the only way to get NHSTA to listen and focus was to pepper its director,
David Strickland, with repeat letters as well as inquiries from WA Senator
Patty Murray who chairs the subcommittee over funding for the NHSTA. If
you have had a final drive failure on your Paralever equipped BMW, and have
NOT already reported it to the NHSTA, I urge you do it now.



You will need your VIN, (est.) date of failure and mileage. State your
model as well. While they should be able to identify from VIN, their data
was wrong 50% of the time. Specify if gear oil leaked.



www.safercar.org



or call (888) 327-4236



or mail to:

NHSTA

Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)

West Building

1200 New Jersey Ave SE

Washington DC 20590



In your complaint, select "Power Train" as the component and reference that
you have had the same failure as described in ODI No. 10439549, and
currently being investigated under Campaign DP12001.



Send an email to your Congressman and US Senator to follow up on your behalf
as well.



Chris Cimino

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IBDone@ibdone.org
http://ibdone.org/mailman/listinfo/ibdone_ibdone.org
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