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Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by Carlisja, Feb 12, 2017.
great looking bike!
An inmate posed a few questions to me about this adventure. I set a response via PM but here is an edited version since the questions were good ones. Will follow up soon with the repair report.
Within minutes of getting off the bike, I had figured out what went wrong, but my very first concern was smoke coming off the front of the swing-arm. I was worried that if I did not get it cooled down fast, the rubber boot would ignite and the whole bike would go up in flames. So I pissed on it. That was the best I could figure out and it worked.
While it is true I was out of town, I was within 100 miles of home where I have a garage. So I immediately began working on how to get myself and the bike home. Since I am a member of AMA, BMWRA and BMWMOA wich all include towing services I called one of them. It turned out to be the AMA because it was the first card I grabbed. I called AMA Roadside Assistance and said I wanted to get all the way home. I was informed that it would take a bit longer to find a tow company but it could be done for an additional expense. The additional expense turned out to be $210 payable by credit card well over an hour before the "tow-truck" ever arrived. The projected arrival time was 4:15pm. Once the tow was set up and the additional fees were negotiated, I realized that I should have checked my Anonymous Book.
I was waiting anyway so I checked my location on a map, and pulled out the Anonymous book. I was about 8 miles from a town that happened to have someone listed in the book. According to the codes, He could do it all. I decided to call him and thank him for being in the book. He offered to come get me (even to tow me all the way home). I thanked him again and turned down the offer as help was less than an hour away already. This turned out to be a mistake.
The "towing company" showed up in a 25 year old Ford Windstar and a home-made plywood and steel trailer with almost flat tires a little after 5pm. The driver was unsure of how to secure a motorbike to the trailer. He spent almost an hour beating pieces of his trailer into place. The trailer lights were all wired with cruddy wire twisted together. The plug to the trailer wire connector was non existent. He just shoved the bare ends into the receiver side. Even then the lights barely worked. I left my 4-ways on for the entire trip which began at 6:10. The van leaked so much transmission fluid that he seemed to have to stop and top off every 20-30 miles. The tires had to be filled in the trailer within the first 5 miles. The couple driving were very nice but not confidence inspiring. 95 miles in 6 hours for $210 with a bike covered in transmission fluid all hauled by a rickshaw of a tow vehicle. I finally got home at 9:30 pm. I am not impressed with the AMA roadside assistance. Luckily it is only one small part of why I renew each year, but this experience will make me seriously consider if I really need or want to spend my money on the AMA since I also spend on other motorcycle organizations that offer similar benefits. The only good news is that I spent the time in transit working with folks on ADVRider and the GS Giants Facebook page and figured out my way ahead as well as ordered the new drive shaft from Ted Porter's BeemerShop.com. Of note there was also a guy on the GS Giants site that indicated he was less than 100 miles from my breakdown location, had a trailer, and was willing to get me home. By the time I saw that the "tow-truck" had already arrived.
The next night I began to tear down the bike. I kept at it till midnight by which time I realized that I would never fully trust the swing-arm. I ordered one off E-bay from Italy as well as some new bearings from Bob's BMW in Jessup MD and the two reproduction swing-arm boots from Ted Porter. All of that was delivered Friday night (17 February 2017). I am out of town all weekend and will make the rest of the repairs on Monday the 20th.
I spent most of today cleaning 82,000 miles of road and off road gunk off the bike and installing my used parts. Here is a little teaser: the steps such as drive-shaft re-connection that are usually so frustrating went easy. But other steps were very frustrating.
The drive shaft just slid on and over the snap ring perfectly. Then I pulled the swing arm bearings out of the replacement swing-arm and installed new ones. This too went without a hitch. Next step was to install the new swing arm boots that I bought from Ted Porter's BeemerShop. Although these are reproduction parts, I cannot find any discernible difference from the originals. I got 60,000 miles out of my original set so I won't know how to compare the parts until I hit 140,000 miles other than the fact that they are less expensive and seem to be of at least the same quality. I slid the refurbished and new to me swing arm up over the drive shaft and installed the pivots.
Back at the 60,000 mile service, inmate "HeloFlights" showed me this excellent tool for installing the swing arm pivot and set nut. This may not be a must have for this job but it sure made doing it right a snap.
The next step was the final drive. But I wanted to replace the rear brake rotor. I had attempted to remove all the rotor bolts while the final drive was still on the bike but the head of one of the bolts stripped out. I tried heat. I tried a punch. I tried soaking it for two days in PB Blaster. I worked at it again today trying every trick I could think of. Finally I went to the hardware store and found an extractor that could be employed from the back side of the offending bolt. I used the drill press to drill a hole all the way through the center of the bolt and then hammered in the extractor. As carefully as possible I began turning the extractor. Just before I thought it would break, the bolt began to turn.
Once the bolt was out everything else went together easy. I already had the replacement set of brake rotor bolts in stock. On went the new rotor, refill the final drive, brake and abs lines re-attached, brake caliper installed, and mount the rear wheel.
Test ride complete. Ordering replacement spares such as caliper bolts and brake rotor complete. Looking forward to riding to work in the morning. Again I want to thank all the folks that helped me get the parts and provided advice.
Outstanding, great to hear all worked out for you
Good job getting all the parts and repairing the machine so quickly. I have a question, are you serious about the AMA Towing vehicle that got you home? WTF? Most Airheads have a better set up waiting for someone to call them for help.
Outstanding James! Nice shop too btw
Unfortunately I am serious. I don't think the description did the experience justice. At one point there was a policeman with me while I waited for the tow. Even though he was off duty, heading home from a class he had been teaching, he stayed while the "tow-truck" driver got me loaded up. Then he followed us the 5 miles to get air in the tires. He had no more confidence in the set up than I.
I sent a letter to AMA. They have been very gracious even offering to reimburse me. I turned it down in trade for a promise that neither they nor their contractors would ever employ this tow company again.
Not to mention the local dealer who marks up the marked up price and sells ABOVE retail....
AMA tow? What a joke...a friend of mine is lifetime AMA member (not that really matters) drives old cars and is religious adherent to the belief of next to no maintenance. I've told him many times to get AAA coverage. Won't do it. So his GS fries the wiring harness and strands him. Calls AMA they send a truck that has NO way to transport a motorcycle. Tow truck driver offers to come back with a pickup truck and a ramp, but won't do so until the next day.....
So my buddy calls me and asks if he can use my AAA card. Works like a charm. So, whaddaya think...does he join AAA????
Nicely recovered. I had the same thing happening to my '05 R1200RT at around 120k. That joint broke and the shaft started eating rubber. Didn't get to the outer housing in my case though and was repaired under warranty (I bought it second had with 80k and 1y warranty).
There have been other threads here about the AMA's crappy roadside service. Not a 1 time deal, to be sure.