2010 1200GS Drive Shaft U_Joint Replacement 'How-To'

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by vehoriding, May 10, 2020.

  1. vehoriding

    vehoriding Adventurer

    Joined:
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    There are plenty of discussion about driveshaft Universal Joint (U-J) failures and replacements here, but no complete 'how to' that I could find. This is my shot at a procedure for replacement on a 2010 1200GS based on my recent experience. I feel that 'most' of us with some mechanical skills and common tools could do this job. I probably spent 20-25 hours on this (mostly struggling removing the old joints), but now that I know a few 'tricks' could probably do the job in a day.

    Background:

    About 127,000 km (79,000 mi) on the clock. The bike has been maintained pretty much by the book by myself and one previous owner. My ownership (The last 65,000 km) has been a 'healthy' mix of on / off pavement use with a small bit of truly 'off road'.

    Last fall I decided it was time to lube rear and front drive shaft splines. The rear had been done at 60k km by PO. Both splines were in perfect condition but the U-Joints were a bit stiff with a noticeable 'notchiness' similar to badly worn steering head bearings. A significant amount of the factory installed grease had leaked out over time at the seals (these U-Joints have no grease fittings). Failures have been reported (here and elsewhere), some disastrous, from what I can surmise mainly on earlier 1200's and 1150's. So the call to replace the U-Joints was made....

    Replacing most automotive U-Joints is a straightforward job; remove retaining clips, press out the joints and reinstall. The problem with the 1200GS joints is that instead of using circlips, BMW 'stakes' them in place.
    4_Stakes.JPG

    Options:

    1) The official BMW approach: Replace the driveshaft assembly. About $1700 (tax in) here in Canada

    2) Purchase a Rebuilt driveshaft: http://beemersuberalles.com/drive-shaft-rebuild-service-for-hexheads-and-camheads.html (Maybe there are others?)

    3) Winter Project. Replace the U-Joints myself

    4) Used driveshaft assembly. (Ebay - $200-$400 US) (do you really know what you're getting?)

    At one point there was a shop in northern Ontario (Bruno's) who did these. Bruno passed away some years ago. There was (is?) also an option using 'Machine Services' in Wisconsin. The price reported (2013 vintage) of $200-$300 US seems unreasonably reasonable. There have been reports of failures. From pics I've seen I suspect the large welds they use retaining the joints possibly in combination with low quality replacement U-Joints are to blame. (Just the proper Elbe German U-Joints are about $90 CDN each)

    My Path Forward:

    I chose to replace the joints myself. First step in this project was researching other's experience here on ADVrider. Two fellow (Canadian eh!) inmates posted write-ups on how they tackled the job:

    This thread - Particularly 'drcool's post #16

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/05-driveshaft-options.764315/

    ....and this one - 'boomer343' posts are of most interest

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/u-joint-grease.1064941/

    The 'crux' of this job is removal of the old joints. drcool's solution looked good but on my shaft I couldn't see how to get a cut-off disk in deep enough past the yokes to sever the joints. boomer343's solution was to press out the caps as far as possible, then 'grab' them in a vice and pull them out. This worked for me with great difficulty with the first few caps (the press fit is very tight). Problem is there's not enough cap exposed to get a good grip on them. Fortunately I found an easier way (next Posts)

    Here's a couple pics of most of what you will need:
    0_Tool_Setup.JPG



    Elbe_Dremel_Stone.JPG
    The ELBE part number is 0.106.010.001 48mm by 19mm

    https://www.drive-lines.com/elbe/template.php?series=ELBE 106

    In Canada Pat's DriveLine can get them. About $90 CDN each. 'Other' options were quoted at about $20 each but not recommended. You may need to pay shipping charges as they are not normally stocked by Pat's.

    Driveshaft Removal

    Lots of info around here on dropping the FD. You will need to drain the FD oil or it will run out of the removed abs sensor hole. A couple solid whacks with a rubber hammer will pop the front splines from the retaining clip up front. (Alternately loosen the front 'boot' and pry the shaft off with a bar or large screwdriver)

    1_Shaft_Removal.jpg

    Continued next post.....
    #1
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  2. vehoriding

    vehoriding Adventurer

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    Measurements, Stake Removal, and Pressing

    Inspect the UJ's. They should have zero 'slop' (end play) no roughness, and move smoothly through full range. Mine had no slop but both ends had significant 'notchiness'.

    Mark the orientation of the yokes so they can be re-installed 'as found'. Measure the position of the bearing end caps relative to the yoke forging. The new ones should be installed in the same positions. I used a vernier depth gage from Amazon (about $50). Unless you've got young eyes you will need a magnifying glass to read! Other measurements / reference points would also work, just be sure your measurements are repeatable (within a couple thousands of an inch).

    2_Measurements.jpg
    3_Vernier_Depth.JPG

    Remove as much of the staking (and as little of the yoke material) as possible with Dremel grinding stone:

    PIC Stake Removal Stone 5_Stake_Removal_Stone.jpg

    You will need a good vise and socket set to press out the old UJ's. 1/2", 3/4" regular socket, 1/2"and 3/8" deep. I removed the knurled jaws to provide flat and square surfaces. Also had a chunk of nylon board I rigged up to hold one of the sockets in place. The interference fit is very tight so it takes quite a bit of force to get the bearing caps moving. Press the joint as far as possible to one side and there will be about 1/4" of the bearing cap exposed for the next step

    6_Pressing_Out.JPG

    Continued Next Post...
    #2
  3. vehoriding

    vehoriding Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Removal of Old Joints

    I found it 'just possible' but very difficult to grab the 1/4" of exposed end cap and pull it off in knurled jaws of my vice. Problem is once the cap is deformed, there is no way go get a good pulling grip on it. I also tried a new set of good quality vise-grips - no go - those suckers are in there tight. So install a cut-off disc on the Dremel and cut the end of the bearing cap off. Cut off as close to end as possible such that a 'lip' is left behind that you can use to press out the cap from the other side later.

    PIC Cap Removal 8_Cap_removal_Cutoff.JPG

    Press the joint over as far as possible other way (deep 3/8" socket). The joint will be loose and bearings fall out. Wiggle the joint 'til the opposite end bearings come loose and a few drop down between the cross end and the other end bearing cap. Now with bearings under the cap you can press it out far enough to get a good grip on it to pull out with your v/grip or vise. You can remove the cross.
    9_Cutoff_Cap.JPG

    Press out the remnants of the cut-off cap with deep 1/2" socket. Clean up all remnants of the staking, etc with the dremel stone and/or small file as well as any burrs or sharp edges before pressing in new UJ cap.

    PIC_Cleanup Stakes 11_Cleanup_Stakes_File.JPG

    Install new UJoints

    It's easy from here....Press in one new bearing cap (be sure it starts square!). Bearings are well held in place by factory grease. Insert the cross noting position of grease fitting for access. Same process for the other side of the cross. Be sure the yoke is reinstalled in position as marked previously. Adjust position of joints in the yoke to match the offsets measured for the old joints. The new caps are slightly different; what's important is matching the offsets from center...a bit of math.

    12_New_Joint.JPG

    Note that the grease fitting must be removed on front UJ as it will foul with transmission output shaft....after greasing replace it with a very short button head metric allen bolt 7mmx1.5 - clean threads and use blue locktite. The bolt can be removed and grease fitting re-fitted for maintenance in 25,000 km

    Grease the joints with a lithium based high temperature grease. Elbe recommends not to use grease containing Moly. I'm pretty sure we're above 70C in the swing arm at times thus 'high temp' grease is applicable. More info at:

    https://www.elbe-group.de/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/service/Wartungshinweise_e.pdf

    Continued next Post....
    #3
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  4. vehoriding

    vehoriding Adventurer

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    Final Steps - Retainers and Shaft Re-installation

    With the stakes gone UJ retention is either by installing circlips or welding 1/4" washers. There may be a way to 're-stake' but I would be concerned about damaging bearing caps and/or shifting the joint using this process. In my case there was not sufficient end clearance at end of the bearing caps to install clips. I chose to 'lightly' tack weld washers. Keep the welds as small as possible to still do the job. Putting a large amount of heat into the bearings is not a good thing. The UJ's interference fit is tight, thus the retainers don't do much unless the joints are in the process of failing. They 'might' slow the process down a bit.

    PIC_ welded Washers
    13_Washer_Welded.JPG
    Re-install the driveshaft after applying a high-moly grease to the splines. The front UJ can be guided into place with 1 finger and a push from behind (just a bit tricky!) a good hit with rubber hammer will 'seat' the front circlip. Hold the front rubber boot out of the way with a rope or strap:

    14_Shaft_INstall.JPG

    Carefully re-seat the front boot; it's a bit of a PITA to get it right. Make sure it 'snaps in' snugly swingarm side. Swing the final drive back up into place, apply a coating of lith grease to surfaces where boots 'seal' to the swing arm, apply locktite to suspension arm bolt, and refill final drive (180 ml of 75W90 synthetic).

    15_Final_Drive_Fill.JPG

    The bike has about 100 km on a few bumpy roads and up to 140km/hr since this repair so I'm tentatively calling the job a success. I'll pull the shaft in a couple 1000 km and check everything out before bigger trips this fall.
    #4
  5. Coma

    Coma Long timer

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    Nicely done! Thank you!
    #5
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  6. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Excellent tutorial! :thumb
    #6
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  7. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    brilliant work.
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  8. Mcgee

    Mcgee Been here awhile Supporter

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    Very nice write up! Explains just what to do. Thank you!
    #8
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  9. marcmarc

    marcmarc Been here awhile

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    Guys, is this possible for the LC bike? The shaft looks almost the same, especially the u-joints!
    #9
  10. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Yes, same process. I do not know if the U-joints are the same though.
    #10
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  11. Coma

    Coma Long timer

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    Thus has been on my mind this weekend. I couldn’t tell you how many I’ve done under vehicles with a C clamp and socket. The joints are about $73 apiece at one spot I looked.

    Anyone know if a needle zerk will fit in the joint a set screw was put in?

    on edit: I guess they are called flush fittings. It sure looks like they would fit.
    #11
  12. vagueout

    vagueout Long timer

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    IMG_0829.jpeg Vehoriding thank you for the very clear write-up on this job. I did the shaft on my 1150 a few years ago but differed on a couple or so points in the way you went about doing yours, not to say my way was any better but there are options. I too used a bench vise and sockets but no dremel etc was used to remove metal, i followed the advice given in an old post and that was to push each cross back and forth ten times to literally wear away the staked metal, then a good grip on the cap with wise grips was able to remove them without tearing apart. For truing the new crosses i couldn't see the accuracy in measuring depth as you have done, i considered it and figured too many variables with doing that, following the advice of a driveshaft specialist i got my brother to fit the shaft between centres on a lathe and measured actual run-out at each cross and corrected with a big G clamp, this took some time. Had i not had the luxury of someone doing the truing on a lathe i would have measured depth as you have. As to the securing of the cross caps, i considered re-staking or a spot of weld but followed another poster's tip of two or three drops of JB Weld. Re the grease , all advice was to use a lithium based grease as you have. PS an oddity regarding grease nipples that had me scratching my head for a couple of days.... the grease nipples that came with the joints were too long for the application so in fitting short nipples with metric thread no go, threads were different. My brother said he found out the hard way previously that even though a u-joint may be metric it's grease nipple is not necessarily so! He pulled two imperial threaded nipples out of a box, straight fit.:*sip*:thumb
    #12
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  13. mb289

    mb289 2 Wheels Welding LLC Supporter

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    Nice job! I did the same to my '12 GSA last year.
    #13
  14. Coma

    Coma Long timer

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    #14
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  15. Coma

    Coma Long timer

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    #15
  16. GS Addict

    GS Addict Pepperfool Supporter

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    Great presentation, thanks for posting.
    #16
  17. The Other JC

    The Other JC Lurking since 2004..

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    Fantastic.. I bought the u-joints some time ago and recently noticed slight notching in my u-joints when I took out the swing arm as a service process to check those bearings. I could not see an easy way to replace the u-joints myself so took it to the professionals , who said it was likely just a hard piece of grease causing the minor notching.. now I have this post I may well try my hand when the time comes... :clap

    I would consider heating the joints when removing them .. any views on that option?
    #17
  18. Coma

    Coma Long timer

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    Ive thought about that, too. The steel should be tough rather than hard and should take some heating, like 200F. However, heat would be a last choice.
    #18
  19. The Other JC

    The Other JC Lurking since 2004..

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    It can act like a lubricant, helping to break the strong bond between the two metals. It worked for popping my gearbox off the pins!
    #19
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  20. bigjohnsd

    bigjohnsd '14 BMW R1200 GS Adv Supporter

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    https://fortwayneclutch.com/product...ing-kit-ctr-nb-19mm-x-48mm-sku-0-106-010-001/

    ELBE 106 SERIES UNIVERSAL JOINT BEARING KIT – CTR, NB – 19MM X 48MM – SKU# 0.106.010.001
    Price: $87.39


    Categories: 105~148 SERIES (250Nm-7050Nm), 105~148 SERIES (250Nm-7050Nm), DRIVESHAFT PARTS, ELBE, ELBE, HD TRUCK, CONSTRUCTION, INDUSTRIAL, INDUSTRIAL & HD MACHINERY, PARTS, PTO & INDUSTRIAL, UNIVERSAL JOINTS Tag: 0.106.010.001
    SPECS:

    19MM or 0.748" = APPROX CAP DIAMETERS

    48MM or 1.890" = APPROX WIDTH/SPAN ACROSS THE CAPS

    OUTSIDE SNAP RING STYLE CAP RETAINERS

    (1) GREASE ZERK LOCATED IN THE CENTER OF THE BODY (CTR)

    NEEDLE BEARING STYLE (NB)

    NEW - DISTRIBUTED BY ELBE

    *295~520NM or 218~384FTLBS APPROX TORQUE LOAD RANGE
    #20