R100GS Drive Shaft

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by spacebro, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. spacebro

    spacebro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Madeline Island, WI
    Hi all,
    I've been lurking and reading this site a lot. I've read every thread relevant to my bike, and 100's that were tangentially related, and 100's more just for fun. Anyway, I acquired a '92 R100GS back in April. At the time it had 88K miles on it. It was clearly not fawned over, but also seemed like reasonable care had been taken of it and everything worked. It came with some service history, but a lot was missing, so I really don't know everything that's been done to it. There was something from a BMW dealer in the history that just said "warranty drive shaft." So I guess it's likely that the shaft was replaced at about 23,000 miles. I had read about the drive shaft issues and transmission cir clip dealio, and hoped everything would hold out for me for the riding season and that I would look at the drive shaft in the winter.

    I put 7,000 miles on it over the summer, it's now at 95K and I'm holding the driveshaft in my hands. Having no experience with what the u-joints should feel like, it's a little hard to judge the condition, but one axis of the upper joint feels real tight. Feels to me like it isn't right. Certainly feels different than the one on the other end, that one seems real good. What say you? Should I just have it rebuilt? Anyone near Minneapolis that could give it a look?
    #1
  2. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,134
    Location:
    Back home in the UK
    I would certainly get it looked at, a friend of mine had one break on him and it locked the rear wheel at 70 mph almost causing an accident. I cannot recommed anybody in the US to get it rebuilt but had mine done by Motorworks in the UK and it has done 10,000 miles since then, I will take it out soon and see how it is doing.
    #2
  3. Paul_Rochdale

    Paul_Rochdale Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Oddometer:
    150
    Location:
    Aylesford, Kent, UK
    Jim

    50,000 miles seems to be the often mentioned useful mileage for the paralever drive shaft on a GS, and there are various places who modify them so they either last longer or are at least repairable, Motorworks being one of them. Have a 'Search' as there's lots about them in there.
    #3
  4. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,831
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    I just replaced a torn swingarm boot and had a look at the shaft while I was in there. All the black grease seemed to have come out of the u-joints, but everything was VERY tight and smooth. Zero slop whatsoever at an indicated 26,000 miles. The joints were still tight enough that they wouldn't flop side to side under their own weight. They had to be moved by hand. Do the paralever shafts tend to die very quickly as soon as they develop any play or is a it a relatively gradual decline with a steady increase in the amount of play in them?
    #4
  5. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,134
    Location:
    Back home in the UK
    My first one went suddenly at 47,000 miles, I was rolling it down my drive and heard a clunking sound, investigated and it was on the verge of breaking, I think a good fist full of throttle would have broken it.
    The second one developed some play at around 148,000 miles and I kept a careful eye on it until 150,000 when it was removed and rebuilt.
    #5
  6. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,831
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    How long before it's failure had you inspected it and found no play?
    #6
  7. spacebro

    spacebro Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Madeline Island, WI
    Yeah, I've decided to have it rebuilt. I'll send it off to Hendersen Precision shortly. Now I have to figure out what to do with the transmission. It works just fine, and the oil always looks pretty clean when I change it. But when I pulled the swing arm off I saw it had quite a bit of oil in it, and saw that the transmission output shaft seal was leaking. It also looks like it might be leaking from the neutral indicator switch, if that's possible. I don't have a lot of money, so if I can fix those leaks without dropping a grand or whatever a rebuild will cost maybe I will do that. But then I also hear a lot of alarmist talk about missing cir clips, etc... And there is quite a a few miles on it, so maybe a rebuild should be done. How hard is it to replace that output shaft seal?
    #7
  8. Prutser

    Prutser Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,336
    Location:
    The Dutch swamp
    This picture was sent to me today. Its from a re-buildable (Taiwanese) driveshaft....!
    Some friends of mine are riding from Alaska to Patagonia on their R100 and 80 GS
    But the shaft didn't make it the whole way :baldy It has had its regular service.

    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,134
    Location:
    Back home in the UK
    I had never taken it out by then but had probably checked it at the 45,000 mile service.
    #9
  10. Mark Manley

    Mark Manley Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,134
    Location:
    Back home in the UK
    Mine leaked some oil into the swinging arm a few years ago but it seemed to cure itself after a short time and has not leaked since. If you are short of funds try a new washer on the neutral switch and carry on with it, just keep an eye on the oil level and see how it goes, some oil in the swinging arm will do no harm.
    #10
  11. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,831
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY

    How many km did it take to do that?
    #11
  12. Prutser

    Prutser Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,336
    Location:
    The Dutch swamp
    From Alaska to Patagonia. Don't know how many km's they drove so far.
    I know it has been serviced twice this trip.

    Doesn't look promising :waysad
    #12
  13. bmwblake

    bmwblake upside down parker

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,274
    Location:
    nashville, tn
    which rebuildable shaft is this? i'm hoping it's not the one that is being sold by a couple of different folks as a rebuildable unit.
    #13
  14. Prutser

    Prutser Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,336
    Location:
    The Dutch swamp
    This is the one !

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    31,865
    Location:
    Shawangunks
    inside of 500 miles is my experience.

    DAmn shame about that shaft up there ^. Not the expected fail point.
    #15
  16. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    4,853
    Location:
    Hiding off Hwy 6, B.C.
    That one up there is showing some blue next to the worn part. Looks like it did get hot. Now I have to wonder what type of grease they used in there, synthetic such as Amsoil do have a better resistance to heat but only to some degree, can't make up for mechanical deficiencies.

    Strange wear pattern, if I remember from the old days that was from the assembly being out of alignment. Then more friction....more heat and the grease runs out. Quick failure after that.

    Last GS driveshaft I had to have repaired, started showing signs of failure halfway through the USAs. Got me home to BC and quite a few miles after that and wasn't even too badly worn when I removed it.Unlike the first one that failed catastrophically at pretty low miles and destroyed the swingarm. Don't ignore them strange vibrations that may change in frequencies with the throttle or even disappear........ in the right footpeg.:wink:

    If anyone has one of them in their hands....you really have to close your eyes and check them blind for signs of roughness or binding. Light tapping on the end of the caps may even show the play, that's how we used to loosen up tight u-joints after installation, I think my grandpa knew a thing or two about them, he sure replaced lots of them in his long career and lucky for me, had time to show & tell back then.

    Sorry about the underline....can't edit, silly slow "internet at sea".
    :wink:
    #16
  17. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,831
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    Yours showed ZERO play and then failed within 500 miles?
    #17
  18. Stagehand

    Stagehand Imperfectionist

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    31,865
    Location:
    Shawangunks
    Yes, pretty much. Happened to me, and I've heard tell also that it goes with not much in the way of warning. I check pretty frequently. Its a simple feel, you know? just rotate the back wheel in neutral, and anything other than buttery smoothness is something to watch.
    #18
  19. Airhead Wrangler

    Airhead Wrangler Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    6,831
    Location:
    Back in Seattle, FINALLY
    Oh OK, I'm talking about actually removing the shaft from the swingarm and twisting both ends of it by hand. Due to the final drive ratio of ~3:1, it's pretty much impossible to feel minute amounts of play through the rear wheel, especially once you factor in backlash in the final drive and trans. I would guess that the u-joints would have to be pretty thoroughly f%&$-hammered before you'd feel any discernible play through the rear wheel. I'm new at this whole paralever thing though so don't take my word for it.
    #19
  20. jackd

    jackd Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,528
    Location:
    The Island
    My original shaft had a tight rear u-joint and I ran it for another 8k miles. I just kept an eye on it. I was having too many other problems with the bike to spend money on a new shaft at that time.

    As for the pre-mature failure of the Taiwanese aftermarket unit, I'm not quite prepared to believe that these units are built with sub-standard parts and all that are out there are in danger of failure. Something adverse happened to that particular drive shaft for it to fail so quickly. I see no sign of any wear on my unit in approx 6k miles. The shaft re-build kits are actually less expensive than a final drive pivot bearing and I'm going to leave mine in there longer than I previously planned between servicings. Every time I go into the final drive/shaft area I wind up changing one of those bearings and I really don't feel like going through that process right now. I'm going to go and polish up at the front end of the bike as soon as I finish this posting.
    #20