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Old 08-05-2012, 06:10 PM   #16
brittrunyon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
And I'm puzzled by Rob's comments. Here's someone who personally experienced the related failure, but people* are paranoid for trying to prevent it? By doing what BMW themselves realized needed to be done?

It must be an English attitude. My mom is English; her house had plumbing on the outside "because it was easier to fix when it froze."

* but only if they're American. Never mind that people in other countries add circlips, too.
What he said...................
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Old 08-05-2012, 06:12 PM   #17
onaXR
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My bike had a non circlip trans and at 20,000 miles it was rebuilt by Oak Okleshen.
He states in the letter I have in my hand.

" Heavy vector forces and thrust of the angle cut 5th gear slowly pushes the bearing off the shaft. (with out the circlip)
This very stupid engineering or a production blunder took place in the five speed boxes from 87 to 93.
As result the movement in your case caused a tightening up of the end play. Output shaft abnormally difficult to turn. The trans will still function but sluggishly. If left alone it will overload the bearings and starve them of lubrication. The final stage will cause bearing to disintegrate then all hell breaks loose and may explode on the interior"

I tend to trust a guy that can read calipers and a mic.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:23 AM   #18
TEXASYETI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
And I'm puzzled by Rob's comments. Here's someone who personally experienced the related failure, but people* are paranoid for trying to prevent it? By doing what BMW themselves realized needed to be done?
^^^^^ This.

I was on a trip to Key West on a 91 PD and I started to get a vibration in the pegs. By chance, the diode board mounts went bad so I took it to a multi-line dealer in Miami - who happended to carry BMW's. Work on BMW's? Not so much.

They got the diode board sorted and changed the tranny fluid. Said there was a lot of fuzz on the magnet but not to worry.

Made it to Orlando when the thing went south. I was on the highway and by the time I managed to get it to BMW of Orlando it was completely thrashed. Should have towed it but had no idea what was going on and the damage being done. When I pulled in it was on its last legs. End result was a completely trashed transmission where - according to the owner RIP - only the case was salvageable. Being a newbie I did not go with a used tranny but had it rebuilt with all new parts.

Got another 91 for an Alaska trip and after reading up on the circlip issue, called Bob Clement in Montana and scheduled a circlip mod on the way to Alsaka. Call it PM with an OCD flair but when we pulled the tranny apart on this 13,000 mile example, the output bearing was really crunchy.

Obviously opinions vary and I've heard other very knowledgable naysayers (Bruce Davidson at Boxers by Bruce) but the physics make sense to me and there are enough knowledgable folks giving creedence to the issue - in the midst of my own first-hand experience - that I take it seriously.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:35 AM   #19
Airhead Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TEXASYETI View Post
Obviously opinions vary and I've heard other very knowledgable naysayers (Bruce Davidson at Boxers by Bruce) but the physics make sense to me and there are enough knowledgable folks giving creedence to the issue - in the midst of my own first-hand experience - that I take it seriously.
BMW is very stubborn and self-righteous when it comes to admitting mistakes. If they changed their mind and started installing the circlip again in the '90s, then there had to be a VERY good reason. I don't know that I'd tear open a perfectly good box to install one, but if I was already having it rebuilt anyway, I'd definitely add the circlip.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler View Post
BMW is very stubborn and self-righteous when it comes to admitting mistakes.
I think that's true not only of BMW, but of German companies generally.

I used to work on helicopters from MBB (later Eurocopter, a merger between MBB and the French Aerospatiale--what an unholy union!) They seemed to have among their corporate mantras the following:

- If we didn't invent it, it doesn't exist.
- If someone else invented something similar to ours, it is obviously inferior.
- There is only one way to engineer any component, and that is the most complex, expensive way conceivable.
- If something goes wrong with our product, it is the fault of the U.S. seller, mechanics, or operator, never a problem with the design.

I don't know enough of BMW corporate culture to say whether the same notions exist there, but I can see many similarities in the design approaches of the two companies.

Sorry to derail the thread a bit. I agree that if the circlip existed on pre-'87-ish models, and it returned on post-94 models, there must be a good reason for it being there. Before I bought my '93 GSPD several weeks ago, this upgrade was one of the first things I wanted to verify. Circlip, check! Done at 45k miles, one less thing to worry about.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Pica Hudsonia View Post
I think that's true not only of BMW, but of German companies generally.
Not only germans, the austrians do it too. Look at KTM. Their flagship model has eaten water pumps since it debuted almost 10 years ago. Do nothing about it and it's not a 'problem.' Fix it in the next model year and you open yourself up to huge warranty claims.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:22 PM   #22
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It's definitely there for a reason but a lot of trannies work fine without it for a lot of miles. And a lot don't. Don't forget that that bearing was what a lot of people would call the five speeds #1 problem WITH the circlip. The circlip is by no means a cure all. Nevertheless, I add them when I am in there. That's for sure!
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Old 08-07-2012, 09:08 AM   #23
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I can fully understand adding the clip if you are already pulling the tranny apart for other work. But to pull a tranny that is working perfectly with no issues, just to add the circlip in case it may one day, in the future, in a land far far away, possibly in an alternate universe, become a problem. Well, that is either just being foolish, or you have way too much time on your hands and money in your wallet.
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Old 08-07-2012, 10:04 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveBall View Post
...Well, that is either just being foolish, or you have way too much time on your hands and money in your wallet.
If you don't or can't venture all that far from home, sure, you can just run things to failure. It can be really expensive, though. A guy recently blew up his transmission not all that far from you and it's totaled. His shop's estimate for parts alone is in the thousands.

Worse, he had to abort the Alaska trip he was on. People running the IBR have thousands of dollars invested in their trips and blowing up a trans will typically take them out of the rally. Most riders aren't going to change transmisions on the side of the road, so their trip is either over or severely delayed with expensive consequences either way in towing, buying a replacement, having it installed, etc.

"But you'll know in advance if you look at the oil." Yeah, but on a 20,000 mile trip you can go from OK to total failure. That's how long my Alaska trip was (my circlipped transmission did just fine).

So again, if the consequences of failure are low FOR YOU, you might choose to leave well enough alone. But you can't speak for people who would simply rather not break down. In the real world a $400~600 preventive repair just isn't a big deal.
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Old 08-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #25
caponerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
And I'm puzzled by Rob's comments. Here's someone who personally experienced the related failure, but people* are paranoid for trying to prevent it? By doing what BMW themselves realized needed to be done?

It must be an English attitude. My mom is English; her house had plumbing on the outside "because it was easier to fix when it froze."

* but only if they're American. Never mind that people in other countries add circlips, too.

I think his problem was that he had a circlip in the transmission, and it came out, leading to failure in spite of having one.

(the circlip might not have come out if care had been taken to make sure the ends of the clip were either up or down, rather than on either side of the bearing hole, inertia can make those things do weird things)
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Old 08-07-2012, 12:14 PM   #26
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People that would rather not break down? I would rather not break down but I will not start treating my bike as if it were an airplane. It gets very expensive replacing things before they break. And then things STILL break! If I were going to Alaska or around the world and I wanted to do my best to not break down, I would rebuild my tranny before the trip whether it had a circlip or not. That bearing goes bad WITH circlips! I maintain my bikes as best as possible and then I don't worry about it from there but even that cost me a trip before I ever got started last time. I had a head gasket leaking oil that I wanted to fix before a trip. I always do a leak down before I take heads off. Doing that I found that I had some leaking exhaust valves. After I pulled the head I saw that my exhaust was leaking for completely toasted guides. No time for a valve job before I wanted to go on that trip so I didn't go but I still don't fix anything that does not yet need it.
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:26 PM   #27
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If I am in the box anyway, do the circlip at the same time. To open a box that is working perfectly to do this repair as preventative maintenance makes no sense. If there are no signs of impending doom then ride it and don't worry. But there are people that love this stuff and preach about every possible defect a bike might have in incredible detail and how I am forcing the hand of fate for ignoring my circlip. Fortunately I ride with none of them.

limeymike screwed with this post 08-07-2012 at 02:37 PM
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:57 PM   #28
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Maybe someone that is very learned in this area could post some impending signs of doom to look for .
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:00 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by R100LT View Post
Maybe someone that is very learned in this area could post some impending signs of doom to look for .
A cylinder sticking out each side? Oops, that's a sign of impending doom right there.
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:47 AM   #30
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I fully respect Anton in most things. But sometimes we have a difference of opinions. This should be expected. Using his reasoning, I should not have taken that trip to Mazatland last spring, via Newfoundland then back via LA and upthe coast to home. Total of over 25,000 miles when all was done. Not a single unexpected issue on my 31 year old bike. Had to replace a few tires and oil changes.. Didn't pull any thing apart before leaving. But I do proper maintenance on a regular basis. In fact the engine is totally stock and just turned over 300,000 miles. I don't ride the crap out of my bikes, and do not abuse them. I just ride them, and when something tells me to fix it, I do so before it does. You can usually tell if something is not right, if you pay attention. The bike will tell you.

I do believe in preventative maintenance, within reason. But see no reason to fix something that is not broken.
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