800GS shock bolt design flaw?

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by johngil, Jul 16, 2009.

  1. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    I have finally lost hope in this beast. Maybe after a few days and some wrenching, my attitude will change.
    To me this is going to be the Achilles heel of my 800.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I feel as though I have been realistic w/ the capabilities of this bike. The improvements I have added have made a great bike even greater. Now this.
    I will be lucky to get the brackets back to their original state. I would need another bike for comparison, but it looks like the cross tube that the tabs are welded to has a bow developing.
    The bottom shock bolt is also slightly bent.
    Needless to say, I'm not happy right now. The design just plain sucks here. I have never seen a shock bolt so long. What were they thinking? It appears the whole shock mounting bolt was designed around providing a mounting point for the seat locking mechanism.
    I'm going to straighten things out, machine some new spacers for the shock and buy new bolts top and bottom.
    From here on out, I think I'd better stay on the seat and keep the speeds down.
    I'm calling bullshit on BMW's advertising and claims regarding this bike (for me).

    If any of you encounter bent shock bolts, please contact me. I would appreciate it.


    Yes, an Ohlins shock is pictured. The stocker bent the bolts too.
    #1
  2. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    Wasn't there someone here asking about a lowering kit?
    Maybe I'm on to something.
    #2
  3. Buffalo Bill

    Buffalo Bill kickthetire.litethefire

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Oddometer:
    997
    Location:
    North Idaho
    Hats off to ya man for being the engineer bmw should've been....Hope she works out...

    I've been watching the 800, thinking about going from 1150 and a klr to something else...Couple friends are in the same boat, and they're closer than me to doing something....Both are leaning to the 800....Shit like this frickin pisses...

    Couple more friends went the other way...KTM 990s...One loves it, the other has had some issues...Wouldn't be so bad if the damn things were'nt so expensive...

    Bill
    #3
  4. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    I first suspected something was wrong when the rear wheel was a couple of inches higher than normal when on the centerstand.
    I've never had a passenger, and even when fully loaded not been over 300 +/- pounds.
    #4
  5. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    Yeah, what he said.

    I do own the world's largest crescent wrench. I'll have to fix things w/ that.

    Math or no math, the bolt should be shorter like a regular bike.

    No thread locking compound was present.

    I would urge all of the 800 riders to check the bolt torque ASAP.
    #5
  6. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    19,485
    Location:
    New Hampshah
    Edited the title for clarity.
    #6
  7. Bruno T .

    Bruno T . N8YQ

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,964
    Location:
    Detroit area, MI
    You bottomed that shock, hard. I'm surprised it didn't piss out all of its oil yet.

    Check the body of the shock at the bottom, where the cap is pressed in. It might be mushroomed out.
    #7
  8. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    19,485
    Location:
    New Hampshah
    I pruned the DL chatter out of this thread. Lets try to keep it on topic, eh? :deal
    #8
  9. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    Well, here we go again.

    Took the bike to have the situation checked out. The dealer was horrified and said the bike would have to be bought back. Great.
    I get a call a couple of days later saying my bike is ready for pick up. ???
    They have installed a new top shock bolt and assure me the frame is fine. I know the frame is bending, so I go home to strip the airbox off the bike and snap a few photos.

    Here is a street ridden 800 w/ probably 8-9000 miles.
    [​IMG]

    Here is my frame which the dealer claimed was fine.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Looks bent to me. I decided I would go for a ride w/ a couple of ADV guys on Sunday. Hit about 90 miles of dirt I'm guessing. Nothing hard or fast.
    I figured I'd give the new bolt a look. Not good. I could see the bend starting.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Now what? Back to the dealer tomorrow. This is going to be fun I'm sure.
    I am preparing to just file a claim w/ my insurance company if I start getting the run around.
    #9
  10. Stretch67

    Stretch67 Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    7,067
    Location:
    Bent, But Not Broken
    How are the 'Lemon Laws' in your state? Specifically, regarding multiple repairs for the same problem, without satisfaction?
    #10
  11. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,330
    Location:
    The great state of confusion
    John:

    I sit here going .... holy crap thats BAD BAD BAD and unless yo are jumping off the sides of mountains there's no WAY this could be blamed on rider error.

    Then I think .... how could this be the first reported failure of this type....

    Then I try to figure out how it could be a problem that affects only your bike....

    Then I give up....

    I'm totally confused... how could you be the only guy this is happening to? :huh

    Don't get me wrong I'm not BLAMING you or anything like that ... it just seems like a problem of this type would have hit a bunch of people by now....
    #11
  12. upweekis

    upweekis Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,846
    Location:
    Indiana-We Tax Everything!
    contact Motorad directly with that story and pictures. You want corporate involved in that
    #12
  13. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    That is pretty much my line of thinking as well.
    I'm stumped. I'll probably be forced to turn it over to my insurance.



    Thinking back, I never would have known there was a problem if I hadn't bought a replacement shock. When trying to remove the top bolt on the original shock, I discovered the problem. I think the initial bent bolt is the cause of the repeat problems. I still can't imagine the cross tube bending.
    I'm guessing not many 800 owners have even disassembled their bike to get a view of the top shock mount. It is a small pain in the ass.
    As for rider/owner error, I am pretty good about bike prep and looking for potential problems. I have yet to even need to tighten the spokes on this bike in 8,000 miles. Aside from a couple of the shroud fasteners falling out, I have not encountered ANY loose fasteners. The bike has (at good guess) 3,000 miles of dirt on it.

    The design seems poor considering the intended use of the bike. The bushing that the top shock bolt threads into just floats.
    [​IMG]

    If any 800 owners have the time, I would ask if they would be willing to check this area of their bike. It will require cutting a couple of zip ties. I'm good for those!
    I just can't believe (not yet) that I am all alone.
    Seeing the bent cross tube is a little difficult w/ the airbox on the bike.
    #13
  14. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    19,485
    Location:
    New Hampshah
    I checked mine, all straight. About 4500 miles of mixed use including a dualsport event loaded with camping gear and luggage. Bent front rim, but the shock bolt and frame are fine.


    What kind of replacement shock do you have?


    :lurk
    #14
  15. Bayner

    Bayner Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,626
    Location:
    Penticton, BC
    John, I'll try to check mine in the next couple of days. I have ridden hard enough to bend the front rim in several spots, and even one in the rear rim. I have bottomed it on several occasions. I'll be a good candidate to see if this is due to riding style or a particular problem with your machine....

    You noticed this bolt was bent when first removing your stock shock, correct?

    I'll keep you posted.
    #15
  16. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    Yes.
    #16
  17. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    4,330
    Location:
    The great state of confusion
    John... I forgot the part about your bent bolt in chapter #1 of this story ...
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>Perhaps that is the explanation ....
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>structural member has "buckled" it only retains a fraction of it's former strength. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
    The simple example is that a person of modest weight can successfully stand on a "perfect" aluminum beer can, yet if there is a small dent in the side of the can .. .you are SOL the can simply collapses. That's not a perfect example, but "whatever"...<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>Perhaps the explanation is that improper assembly at the factory (woefully inadequate torque) allowed your system to take a slight initial "buckle" and as time goes by ... all hell breaks loose with no real way for you to keep it from happening .... <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>Jim
    #17
  18. Dolly Sod

    Dolly Sod Red Clay Halo

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2003
    Oddometer:
    14,010
    Location:
    Richmond, Va

    So the shock isn't actually bolted to the bike? Looks like the bolt hole on the right is not threaded, bolt goes through some bushing, through the shock and threads into the bushing on the left. Everything is tightened against the tab on the right and the bushing on the left is just fit into the hole on the left tab but not tightened into it.

    Would seem like a better design would be a nut behind the tab on the left so everything got clamped together.


    I'm wondering if there is a design/meterial difference between the bushing in BMW shock and your aftermarket shock which would allow the bolt to flex more.
    #18
  19. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    "John... I forgot the part about your bent bolt in chapter #1 of this story ...
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>Perhaps that is the explanation ....
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>structural member has "buckled" it only retains a fraction of it's former strength. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
    The simple example is that a person of modest weight can successfully stand on a "perfect" aluminum beer can, yet if there is a small dent in the side of the can .. .you are SOL the can simply collapses. That's not a perfect example, but "whatever"...<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>Perhaps the explanation is that improper assembly at the factory (woefully inadequate torque) allowed your system to take a slight initial "buckle" and as time goes by ... all hell breaks loose with no real way for you to keep it from happening .... <o:p></o:p>"
    <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>Jim


    I won't be able to prove any of that. I know I need to stay positive, but I'm only positive that I am fucked like a tuna.

    My dealer just reamed me a new one for replacing the original bent bolt.
    "That's just what you dirt bikers do." She didn't seem too concerned when she ordered it for me. She also mentioned there was only 4 hours allocated to replace the frame based on I don't know what. No profit in getting 4 hours to replace a frame for sure.

    Worst case, I will call my insurance provider.
    There will be a lot of 800 goodies for sale in the flea market soon enough.
    #19
  20. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,809
    Like any regular bike that I have worked on for the last 30+ years?
    #20