R1200GS Drive Shaft U-Joint Failure @ 58K Miles

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by airansun, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. airansun

    airansun Ride Wet!

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Oddometer:
    307
    Location:
    NorCal
    Yes, I regret to report that my ‘05 GS has eaten its drive shaft’s front universal joint.

    A recent 125 mile freeway trip persuaded me that something might be amiss: going over rises and dips, as the suspension unloaded and recompressed, I observed increased vibration in the pegs and bars. Pulling in the clutch made the symptom much less pronounced. I assumed that a driveline bearing was going.

    I got home fine, although I rode slower than typical. The next day (a Saturday), I rode it up to a local bike hangout. On winding two lane narrow roads (under 50 mph), I did not notice anything significant. But, going across long, straighter sections at 60-70, the same symptom was present. I rode the bike home and parked it.

    This past Tuesday, I rode the bike into the dealership. By that time, I noticed that there was a rubbing noise at less than 25 mph. Without an appointment, it took the shop a couple of days to get to it. Yesterday, I stopped by and was shown the drive shaft. The u-joint needle bearings were all gone or embedded in the metal. There was about 3/16" play and the metal was all heat colored and deformed. (I will post pictures when I get the part back from the dealer.)

    Facts:
    Bike has just short of 58,000 miles.
    Very little dirt riding (less than 1,000 miles probably) and probably less than 25% freeway either.

    At 54,000 miles, the transmission assembly tab on the bike’s frame was repaired. While the bike was split, we replaced the clutch. The input splines were almost completely shot, so the shaft was replaced at that time too. Here’s the link to that thread:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=202388&page=2

    Obviously, there may be a relationship between this previous problem and the drive shaft.

    Just thought you all should know.

    PS - The bike does have an extended warrantee.
    #1
  2. CheckerdD

    CheckerdD Long timer

    Joined:
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    Dave Rankine, Reno NV
    Oh Boy now I can look forward to something else going wrong. I am getting tired of the final drive failing. I demand greater variety. Dave
    #2
  3. GsGrins

    GsGrins does his own stunts

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Oddometer:
    272
    mine tanked at 41,000 miles. It's a ~ $650. part, u-joint & driveshaft. I traded mine broken on a Sprint ST (ABS)....
    #3
  4. brenter

    brenter Brenter

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    Mar 6, 2006
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    . Missouri
    You must be missing it since you are on this site.
    #4
  5. GsGrins

    GsGrins does his own stunts

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Oddometer:
    272
    "missing it" ? No, not me. My early '05 was just a lemon from the get-go. I pushed it into Canada w/ 700 miles on the clock (faulty o-ring on fuel pump brain cover) , spent 2000.+ to have the motor resealed. 3 final drive seals in 3 months, clutch slave cyl (new, updated seal failed), then the u-joint/driveshaft failure @ 41,000 miles.

    People visit sites like this to gather additional datapoints. I've had trouble free experiences w/ two previous GS's. If I were do do my MotoAmericas ride again the R12GS would NOT be on my list, short or otherwise, for appropriate bikes.

    I wish you well w/ yours......
    #5
  6. Just_Sean

    Just_Sean herewegoagain

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Oddometer:
    14,504
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    At least he had some warning - my driveshaft went (the rubber dampener disintegrated) with no symptoms at 58,000 miles

    Then the FD Big bearing at 58,600 (same trip :deal)

    Fuel pump at 61,000

    Maybe I should sell it?


    NOT!!!!!! I abuse it - it takes it,

    So, when I hit 100,000 miles, (and about every 50,000 after that)I'll change the driveshaft, FD and fuel pump as preventative measures
    #6
  7. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

    Joined:
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    Front u-joint blew up at 39,000 miles on my 07 12GS too. I noticed a very light pulsating vibe in 6th gear for a couple of hundred miles. Wasn't sure if I was imagining it or not, but it seemed some type of bearing might be going out.

    Had an appointment with the dealer for new tires and thought I would have them ride it and see if they felt the vibe too. However, before I could ever get to the dealer, the front u-joint bearing blew up. Gouged the swingarm housing when it went. I'm out of oem warranty, but fortunately, I bought the extended warranty at time of bike purchase (Don't ride a late model BMW without it!). $1800 in parts and labor paid by warranty and she's back running fine. Haven't heard about too many of these, but I do know one other rider in town this happed on their 07 12GS too. Just another worry bead to add to the list.:1drink
    #7
  8. Wallowa

    Wallowa Long timer

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    Front U-joint...any possible link to not lubing the front drive line splines? Could that affect the angle while the u-joint was under load? Most riders [my guess] never lube the front spline on the drive shaft and if the splines do not have the correct movement could that incorrectly or excessively load the front u-joint?

    Just askin'
    #8
  9. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    Fas as I know front splines were never lubed other than at the factory. I had the dealer replace FD oil at the 600 service, and then again at 36k miles. No FD issues to report.
    #9
  10. Wallowa

    Wallowa Long timer

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    Front and rear splines on the axles are service items...I use Moly 60 on them.....nothing to do with FD issues other than those of us with drain plugs at 8 o'clock on FD need to drop it when changing FD lube and that makes it easy to lube splines..
    #10
  11. ShaftEd

    ShaftEd Long timer

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    Wallowa, How often are you doing the spline lube. I'd imagine it's whenever you do the FD oil change too?

    I've never known the 12GS to have a maintenance schedule for the splines.
    #11
  12. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid!

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    This should have nothing to do with lubing the front splines since the splines are locked by the C-clip. The rear splines move just a tiny bit for any needed compensation.

    If I had to guess I would suggest the front U-joints were improperly lubed at assembly which caused them to fail.

    Jim :brow
    #12
  13. Desert Skies

    Desert Skies One brick shy...

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    OK everybody, pull them puppies apart and see if they have enough lube in them.

    You know BMW put "Lifetime" lube in these parts, just like the early FDs.:lol3
    #13
  14. Wallowa

    Wallowa Long timer

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    Yup I forgot about the front clip which will hold if not lock in the shaft on the splines....lube is to keep the splines from corroding..

    SE...I do drain and change my own FD on an 8,000 mile schedule [Redline Heavy Shockproof lube]...excessive perhaps but I ride almost entirely in the dirt and through mud/water/snow so lubing the splines is part of the FD lube change protocol for me...

    All this lets me check on wear and hopefully spot problems before they disable the bike or become expensive!
    #14
  15. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato

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    Does BMW have some secret plan to make a shaft drive require as much or more maintenance than a chain? Perhaps they are trying to make the shaft obsolete?
    #15
  16. ricohman

    ricohman Marinoni man

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    I would be planning on greasing my u-joints far before 58 000 miles.
    I wouldn't drive any of my vehicles that far without greasing them.
    Since the ones on my F250 are sealed I just replaced them (with greasable ones) at 40 000.
    #16
  17. uncreative

    uncreative Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Oddometer:
    300
    all of their new bikes are conspisciously NOT shaft driven. the 800 and 650 GS, the 450x, etc.

    #17
  18. ricohman

    ricohman Marinoni man

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    I don't think anyone would buy a shaftie 450 or 650.
    The weight/power penalty would be to much.
    However I did have 650 Suzuki that was shaft driven. Reliable but not much snap.
    #18
  19. Wallowa

    Wallowa Long timer

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    I believe the airheads were all shaft driven..and had "smaller displacement"


    As for replacing sealed u-joints with those with lube fittings...first I don't know if there are u-joints that will fit our bikes that can be lubed...

    Secondly sealed u-joints are stronger that those with zerke fittings for lubing them...having said that, I doubt that on our bikes that would make a difference..on my '62 with 414 ft/lbs of torque it does...
    #19
  20. Twin headlight Ernie

    Twin headlight Ernie bar napkin engineering

    Joined:
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    Welcome to the club. My R100GS is on it's third driveshaft. My first two went at about 38K. Funny how I'm on my 3rd driveshaft and still have my original brakepads. 2HE
    #20