2004 R1150RT Driveline Play

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by mdrauh, Jun 28, 2021.

  1. mdrauh

    mdrauh Adventurer

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    I recently picked up a 2004 R1150RT for next to nothing from a buddy. I’ll admit this is my first BMW. The bike has 37500 miles on it and is in good shape overall, though it sat for about four years prior to the day I hauled it home. Went through fuel system, brakes, performed the 36k mile service and have about 150 miles on the bike so far.

    I’m pretty concerned about the amount of rear wheel play evident when the bike is in gear on the center stand. The best way to illustrate this is a video using the brake rotor holes as a movement reference. My source of worry:

    Symptoms: A definite clunk when starting from a stop in first gear or getting on the throttle after coasting. The play is very obvious when loading and unloading the driveline. That said, I feel no concerning vibrations at any speed up to 85mph.

    I peeled back the final drive to swing arm boot and found what has to be a u-joint grease seal in the swingarm tube (see attached photo). Is there any other source for the seal shown in my attached photo?

    Alright BMW guys, share some oil head wisdom with me here. For reference, I’ve got a 60k mile Super Tenere with a fraction of this much driveline play! I was all geared up to pull the final drive and swingarm, but figured it might be wise to ask here before I get too deep into things. Thanks for the help!

    Unrelated to my driveline play concerns, the pinion shaft seal is leaking a decent amount on my final drive. Is seal replacement alone (locknut removal and all that) something that can be done without any other final drive work?

    Attached Files:

    #1
  2. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    ^ Your back and forth test above isn't a true representative of what may be going on w FD and if there's reason to be worried or not.

    A bit better way of further diagnosing the potential FD issues is grabbing the rear wheel at 9-3 o'c positions and push-pull to see what movement is present. Then repeat at 12-6 o'c. Minimal movement of ~1mm is expected and considered "they all do that" - more than that, there may be further diagnostic needed to determine what's going on with it.

    It looks like you've got manuals to help you our dealing with seal replacement so you should be good to go.

    Last but not least, although RT may share similar/same components w GSs, there's dedicated RT thread under Road Warriors subforum you may want to participate in with your questions, comments etc: The Official RT Thread | Adventure Rider (advrider.com)
    #2
  3. mdrauh

    mdrauh Adventurer

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    I should’ve mentioned I’ve done the 9-3/12-6 wheel movement check for pivot pin looseness or big bearing failure. Minimal play there which is good. The rotational play in what seems like the driveshaft assembly coupled with my mystery seal from the swing arm tube are what have me concerned. Will check out the RT thread, thanks!
    #3
  4. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    ^ No worries... If you checked 9-3 and 12-6 push-pull and got minimal play, very highly likely you're good...

    As you're getting familiar with new-to-you bike, you can drop the FD down, inspect/lube the splines, drive shaft UJs and put your worries to rest... :thumb
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  5. lewisjr1

    lewisjr1 Long timer

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    Lash in the drive line of BMW Oilheads can vary considerably. That video shows more lash than I might expect or prefer, but I'm not convinced it's excessive. The u-joints could be telling though.

    On a bike getting long in the tooth, and that hasn't had much maintenance for a few or more years, I'd pull the driveshaft to clean & grease the splines. That will provide an opportunity to check the u-joints.

    The apparently dislodged seal provides another reason to delve deeper into the swingarm.
    #5
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  6. mdrauh

    mdrauh Adventurer

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    Great advice and probably the only way I’ll feel good about it. Searching through the RT thread for anything along these lines now. The bike seems worth the effort so far!
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  7. mdrauh

    mdrauh Adventurer

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    Removed final drive, swing arm, and driveshaft for inspection after work this evening. Conclusion: All detectable play is in the transmission! Video for reference:

    https://youtube.com/shorts/X15BWF8kums

    Not sure how to feel about this, but at this point I don’t really suspect a major issue. Fluid recently drained from the trans looked just fine.

    Other issues:
    - Missing u-joint grease seal from up front. I suppose it technically isn’t missing. See photos. U-joint feels a bit rough, I’ll contact Machine Service in Green Bay about driveshaft service as this will just fail prematurely.
    - Pretty bad final drive pinion shaft leak. Volume is hard to estimate, my best guess is ~4oz of gear oil dumped out when I pulled my rear boot back for the first time.

    Anyone have experience or a recommendation on how to remedy this amount of trans output shaft rotational play? I’m leaning toward “do nothing,” try to get used to it, and keep up with frequent trans fluid changes.

    Last question, anyone have a recommendation on the final drive pinion shaft seal? Should I send the thing off for a major service considering the mileage on the bike? Again, any advice is appreciated! Good thing I like wrenching on my bikes as much as riding. :D

    Attached Files:

    #7
  8. danketchpel

    danketchpel Long timer

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    Another option on the drive shaft is the rebuildable one from Ted Porter.

    I recently put one of these in my Urban GS. It's a little pricey, but it's fully rebuildable, plus an extra set of drive cushsions comes with it. It's half the price of a new shaft from BMW.

    It looks like it should be lighter than the stock, but it's not. It's a bit heavier because the shaft is solid, stock is hollow tubing.

    20210508_131159-2.jpg
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  9. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    It may be time to talk to one of the experts on the topic of both trans and ds's: www.largiader.com

    Anton is also an inmate here so you can reach out via PM - look up "AntonLargiader" and follow up as you see fit...
    #9
  10. mdrauh

    mdrauh Adventurer

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    danketchpel and Lead Wrist, thanks for the replies. I’ll look into a replacement DS and pm AntonLargiader for some more info. I did get a good reply from a guy whose R1150 DIY maintenance videos I follow on YouTube. Apparently his similar age R bikes have the same amount of driveline play. Maybe the problem is my unreasonable expectations.
    #10
  11. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore Ze, Zim, Zhey

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    That's perfectly, 100% normal. Put it back together and go for a ride.
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  12. mdrauh

    mdrauh Adventurer

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    Thank you!
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  13. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    Maybe... :lol3

    You've got new-to-you bike, are cautious and observant, you're learning about BMW idiosyncrasies until you get to "they all do that" conclusions - nothing wrong with that! :thumb
    #13
  14. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    The play measured at the wheel is about 2".Hold a felt pen steady and move wheel.

    Some of that play is the final drive.Lash specs are in the manuals.And some normal play in the transmission.

    Pinion seal can be a real pita.Making tools....buying sockets & supplies? I'd lend you all that in Western Canada but you are better off having a shop do that for you.

    The compression sleeve is the part that wears, that is the sleeve the seal rides on.That sleeve was updated by BMW ~12-15 yrs ago so the update and a new seal will last.
    #14