Disaster: 1150 GSA Final Drive Failure in Ushuaia

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Aventeren, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. Aventeren

    Aventeren Been here awhile

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    Did It: US to Ushuaia, Argentina
    Well, I arrived in Ushuaia 2 days ago. I let the bike sit for a day, and didn't do a damn thing yesterday. It was great. :clap

    I had a lazy morning today, and I finally swung my foot over my bike at 11a to head for the actual end of the road in the Tierra Del Fuego Nation Park. So off I went--smile on my face, all bundled up, playlist a playin'. :freaky

    My first block away fro the hostal, I felt the thump thump thump under my left foot, which I knew from previous final drive posts meant that my final drive might be failing. So I road on, and really started to tune into the bike. It got worse. I made it to the end of the road, snapped my photos, ate my tin of smoked oysters that I'd been carrying with me for 23,420 km (14,551 miles) and whopped it up with the bus bound tourists. But I knew in the back of my mind that my FD was probably failing.

    So I swung my leg back over the bike and road the 18 or so km back into Ushuaia. The knocking got worse, and then I started hearing audile noises. I pulled over because I thought my bike was about to fall apart, put the bike up on the center stand and wobble the rear tire. I didn't see any oil (which means my seals are okay), but the rear tire wobbled like crazy. :eek1

    I road into town and found the first gas station I could find. I bought some gear oil for 30 pesos (SAE 80-90W--which amazingly is the spec) and then cut a 2L water bottle down for an oil catch. I put my socket on the plug and loosed it--and it was at this point, on my side next to my bike, that I knew my FD had failed because I couldn't back the nut out because there was so much metal in the oil and on the magnetic plug. I eventually got the plug out, and the oil was burnt and full of metal--not shards, but small flecks. I cleaned things up, dropped in the new oil and road here, to this fine eating establishment with WiFi to try and figure out just what in the hell I am going to do. :huh

    I'm pretty frustrated about this whole thing, because I had preemptively put in a new big bearing before I left--plus I had my small bearing replaced in San Jose, Costa Rica. So I figured that I was set on my FD. No such luck. Man I'm bummed right now. :kboom

    From a logistics standpoint, I was supposed to travel on the Feb 18 Navimag ferry out of Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, which I paid $380 for. So now I am not only looking into the final drive grap your ankles event that is about to come, but I also may be out my $380 from the boat. Is swearing allowed on ADV? :dog

    The first thing I did was sent an email to Patagoniarider.com. I had met the head rider, Horatio, in Bajo Caracoles on my way down Routa 40, and his touring outfit is based out of Punta Arenas and they have 18 1150 GS/GSAs in their fleet. So I am hoping that Horatio gets back to me--and that he has a big bearing. :beer

    My other option would be checking with BMW Santiago and BMW Buenos Aires to see if they have a big bearing--and then flying up there to physically put my hands on the bearing--and then flying back down here. I could also take my final drive with me in a bag on the plane. :deal

    I could also have the bearing shipped to Ushuaia, but I have no idea who would ship it, how much it would cost, what the deal would be with customs if it came out of Chile--and more importantly, how quickly it could get here.

    So I know what I need to do (swap my big bearing, BMW part number 33 12 124 2210) and I know how to make the fix (because I just *&^%ing did it), but I just don't know how in the hell I am going to get my hands on a big bearing. If anyone can offer any advice I would be very grateful.

    Thanks.
    #1
  2. LaurelPerryOnLand

    LaurelPerryOnLand Long timer

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    So sorry to hear that your adventures have turned darker.

    As it apparently turns out...avoiding another Chaiten volcano was the least of your worries.

    Despite your frustration...it sounds like you have numerous GOOD options identified for securing the bearing.

    As for the ferry...and the $380...well...sometimes things just happen. At least there wasn't another digit in front of that fare...like $2,380, etc.

    Hope Horatio comes through for you.

    Sorry that I can't be of more help...but...keep all of us informed of your progress.
    There's a reason why the bike is called an Adventure!

    Good luck with the repairs.:clap

    BTW: Looked up the bearing part number you provided and found this:
    Part Number Description lb Each
    33121242210 GROOVED BALL BEARING - 85X120X18 1.15 $89.47
    33121242210 was superseded by 33121242211.
    This is a FAG 19 ball bearing from Germany. It's an open bearing that is lubricated by the final drive fluid.
    #2
  3. Aventeren

    Aventeren Been here awhile

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    I fine catch LPOL. Thanks a ton!

    Now if I can just: a) find one, b) get it here, and c) find someone in Ushuaia that has the big ass allen socket that is needed plus the big ass socket to break the lock nuts.

    Man this is frustrating. This big bearing only has ~20,000 miles on it. AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHHH!

    #3
  4. Aventeren

    Aventeren Been here awhile

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    Okay, I know that I may get laughed out of the site for this, but is there anyway that I can ride this damn bike to Punta Arenas from Ushuaia? I'd be looking at something like 300 km to the border, and then probably another 250-300 km to Punta Arenas? So about 550-600 km...maybe less. 80% would be on tarmac...and the other 20% would be on excellent gravel (which I road on the way down).

    How long will a failing bearing hold out for?

    It's making a lot of racket now, but the wheel is rolling.

    Does anyone have any experience with pushing a failing FD bearing? If so, are there any tips or tricks?
    #4
  5. I GS 1

    I GS 1 I 90S I

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    If you see or hear of anyone around on a 1150 it's worth the ask as a lot of folk carry one as a spare when they travel.
    (Heat will help break the lock nuts and if you do find a spare make sure you get the shimming right as I have known a new one to fail after only 5,000km with incorrect shimming)
    #5
  6. Aventeren

    Aventeren Been here awhile

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    Believe me, my head is on a swivel for every motorcycle I hear--and surprisingly, I have only seen one 1200 GS down here 2 days ago. I was expecting to see quite a bit more big bikes down here making the journey.

    I measured the shimming last time, and the existing shims were okay. I'll do the same again on this one, too.

    Thanks! I appreciate your feedback and thoughts! :beer

    #6
  7. Hache_arg

    Hache_arg End of the world rider

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    why won´t you order both from BMW argentina, leave the bike on your hostel, go get the trip you already pay for, and when you get back to ushuaia, hopefully with the bearings, you go to Moto Pablo and change them.

    even costly, it would be cheaper than send the bike to Natales, and THEN wait and try to find some bearings.
    i had send you a PM with some info.

    H
    #7
  8. Aventeren

    Aventeren Been here awhile

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    So here is the plan:

    1. Get the bike from Ushuaia to Puerto Natales by 8p on Monday, February 18th to load my bike on the Navimag ferry to Puerto Montt. Given that my bike still operates, albeit I'm not sure for how many more km, I am going to try and get a truck in Ushuaia--either rental or hitch hike--to first Rio Grande, then San Sebastian, then Punta Arenas, then Puerto Natales. If I have to ride my bike for given legs I will--and hopefully the bearing will not completely fail. I just flat don't know how long this bearing is going to last.

    2. Once I get my bike to Puerto Natales, I will order the bearing from BMW Santiago and have it shipped to Puerto Montt (probably the ferry terminal).

    3. While my bike and I are on the boat for 4-5 days, hopefully the bearing will arrive in Puerto Montt.

    4. Once I (and hopefully the bearing) get to Puerto Montt, I will ride my bike to a place to swap the bearing. I know the swap out process, as I've done it before, so I just would need to find a shop with the big allen socket, a big socket to break the lock nuts, a heat gun, a bearing puller and a freezer. I should be able to do everything from there.

    5. With the bearing swapped out, I will continue to Santiago--and then get my bike and body shipped back to the US (as was the plan).

    The above plan is 100% contingent on getting myself and my bike to Puerto Natales by 8p on Monday (tomorrow). So that's my mission for the next 2 days. I'm totally stranded in Ushuaia (at this point), so I need to get out.

    If anyone can help me with a truck between Ushuaia and Puerto Natales, please shoot me a note.

    Thanks to everyone for their help! I really appreciate it!!!! :beer
    #8
  9. Pekkavee

    Pekkavee Been here awhile

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    Why do you need the big allen socket and a big socket to break the lock nuts?
    You can just open the FD cover and change the bearing.

    You just need the bearing puller.

    Pekka
    :eek1:eek1:eek1
    #9
  10. LaurelPerryOnLand

    LaurelPerryOnLand Long timer

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    Aventeren,

    Sounds like you've got a pretty well thought out plan on how to get back on the road!:clap

    Keep us informed!:clap
    #10
  11. stevie88

    stevie88 That's gotta hurt

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    I would be concerned about chewing up the ring and pinion gears if I rode the bike any further. Then you are looking at a great deal more expense and time delay to repair.
    #11
  12. batoutoflahonda

    batoutoflahonda Long timer

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    Well, a long time ago, before this whole final drive thing came up. Started feeling the click in the pegs around Fort Stockton, TX. Not knowing what it was, found it in a parking lot east Texas/Louisiana. Didn't get it replaced till Baton Rouge, LA. So, about 700-800 miles. Had about 1/4" of play by the time I got there. I asked if the wheel could fall off, "We don't know". Nice!

    All they did was replace the big bearings. No other damage. Good luck!
    #12
  13. Britome

    Britome Get Free

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    This scenario is everyone's nightmare. So sorry I have no help or insight to offer. We are paying close attention so we can learn.
    #13
  14. I GS 1

    I GS 1 I 90S I

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    Because I imagined that it could become a nightmare I carried a spare FD bearing, oil seal and O-ring around in a little box for almost 70,000km. I figured that in an emergency I could always persuade someone to lend me his/her workshop, it would only be the parts that would be a problem. When (at 93,000km) I picked up, during a routine FD oil check, that mine was finally on it's way out, I was in the comfort of my own workshop. I used it then but needless to say, I have bought another as a spare to carry while touring.

    From inspection of the bearing I took out at 93,000km my conclusion was that rust (from water getting into the FD) had weakened the bearing surface so even though I change the FD oil at each oil change I have fitted a snorkel to the FD breather so it would now have to suck in water from the level of the air intake to the engine.

    Pity none of this is of any use to poor old Aventeren. Hope it all works out well for him
    #14
  15. LaurelPerryOnLand

    LaurelPerryOnLand Long timer

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    Excellent advice for carrying one for a HIGHER mileage GS.
    Hope that you never have to replace it again...particularly in the FIELD.

    Also...carrying an extra might earn you immediate access to heaven (at least SAINTHOOD)...should you be able to help another rider like Adverteen!
    #15
  16. SteveROntario

    SteveROntario Adventurer

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    I have never laid hands on a BMW bike but I've been able to save a differential full of metal before so keep that in mind before listening to me. ;)

    I think your best bet is to change out the oil again before you hit the road and perhaps again half way to the boat if you have the time. Gear oil is amazing at lubricating if it can get where it needs to go. That being said, don't travel between two transport trucks either. You'll want some extra space around you just in case.

    The biggest problem you face will be cleaning out cavity when you get it repaired. You will need tons of aerosol cans of WD40 or an air compressor with a venturi pick-up to spray varsol into the cavity. It has got to be absolutely spotless when wiped down with a white paper towel before it goes back together. If you pick up any metal on a lightly oiled paper towel you'll have to keep rinsing...it can take forever but it's mandatory for a long term repair.

    Steve
    #16
  17. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    I GS 1 , not to hijack this tread but could you elaborated a bit more the snorkel idea?
    #17
  18. strsout

    strsout Banned Camp

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    The lack of updates, I can assume that aventeren had some good luck and he is on the back of some truck going to chile...
    Let's hope for.
    #18
  19. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    I sure hope so, too. I had an FD failure on a K1200LT (very similar to the 1150GS part), and in my case it became un-rideable within several tens of miles. No way would I expect it to make it all the way from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas, especially on the gravel.

    Basically, in aventeren's situation, I'd arrange for pickup/truck transport to get the bike where it can be worked on. It is moveable, but only enough to get up and down loading ramps.

    Best of luck to him - hey, when things break down, it still is an adventure! (Particularly, in the comfort of one's home, after return... :rofl)
    #19
  20. I GS 1

    I GS 1 I 90S I

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    I based it on the assumption that when you ride into deep water, as in a river crossing, the rapid cooling of the warm final drive housing will tend to suck in air or water in through the FD breather. With silicone, an O-ring and a grub screw I attached a brass coupling (slightly modified) to a pipe which vents up at the bike's fuse box under the seat (little filter attached) so that now only air can be sucked in. The pipe is large enough in diameter so that any negative pressure would not cause any water to be sucked in through the oil seal. (When I next have access to a lathe I may turn up a less clumsy looking coupling)

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/geckoracing/8484038899/" title="photo.JPG by i90si, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8102/8484038899_1e3bed6b44_z.jpg" width="478" height="640" alt="photo.JPG"></a>
    #20