NHSTA Opens Investigation into BMW Final Drive Failures

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by rdcyclist, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    Well, this thread indeed generates wry smiles....same old, same old..."no problem, they all do that" and "you should have bought"...reminds me of Monty's "A mere flesh wound!".<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
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    At the end of the day I agree with GB...lots of hope and promise but BMW is Teflon coated and this too will fade.<o:p></o:p>
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    The above request to specify if your FD has a gear oil leak does make for a pause...since many failed FDs did not leak any lubricant...Hmmmmm.<o:p></o:p>
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    Will any of us ever know for certain why the FDs have failed? For example does anyone out there know for certain why the ignition antennae [multi versions] failed and generated the dreaded EWS? The weaknesses in these components will go to the grave with some BMW engineer...assuming that even they have a clue.

    What BMW does know is the true percentage of FDs that have failed; not surprisingly that is a corporate secret. Nothing but WAGs for now and probably forever from the rest of us.<o:p></o:p>
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    Oh yes, I dearly love my '07 GSA and when, not if, it breaks I will fix it and dirt ravage another set of TKCs!
    An old western phrase: "Ride for the Brand" doesn't apply to BMW for me, I ride because the bike is so damn much fun and inspite of BMW's marketing mentality. :wink:
    #61
  2. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    And MANY leaked but never failed!:deal

    Amazing how many think a seal leak is a FD failure!:norton

    Jim :brow
    #62
  3. SocalRob

    SocalRob Long timer Supporter

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    Sounds like the government concern is leaking oil on the rear tire leading to a loss of control issue. Is that commonly a factor in failures? I've had a seal failure that was limited to some seepage on the hub, but no gushing oil. I have not had a FD failure in 75,000 miles on BMW shafts.

    Does a failure ever lead to the rear wheel locking up and control loss?

    Out riding once I did meet a guy on a BMW with oil all over his wheel and some on the tire.
    #63
  4. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

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    Oil in the tyre?

    [TaSK]
    #64
  5. dcstrom

    dcstrom Long timer

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    You're kidding right? For one thing, "chudder" wouldn't strand you by the side of the road. IF your DL clutch parts weren't covered under warranty, baskets are cheap and could be fixed by any moderately skilled shade-tree mechanic, with no special tools.
    #65
  6. scottie boy

    scottie boy Homebrew Guru

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    Personally, I think you need to shut the fuck up noob.
    BTW, 36K on an '04 1150RT with too many problems to mention.
    #66
  7. Willie B

    Willie B Been here awhile

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    What's a noob? Is it something accidentally brewed by a Home Master Brewer?
    #67
  8. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    Zero is a number often cited. 1% manufacturing defects WAS considered a realistic target. Zero is pretty much impossible.

    I think there are a percentage of problems due to unrealistic expectations about the durability of any system in nasty conditions as well.

    So many kool aid drinkers I have read going on like BMW have invented some magic metal unknown to the rest of the world. They didn't, and service must be done just like any other bike and probably more so than the recommended intervals if the environment is tough.. I don't think the basic design, lends itself to tough conditions though. For most road only users, properly serviced it SHOULD be OK, but OK is all it is.

    See how the Triumph and Honda go. At least that will give an idea about how other SS swing arm shaft systems go in the real world.

    No that was a sub frame failure.
    #68
  9. roarin calhoun

    roarin calhoun Been here awhile

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    hay there darrendep, same to ya. You're a hoot."Benchmark" you say? So is the Yugo. I was advised by a good lawyer to file complaints(plural) with NHSTA about my GS's multiple problems but like a lot of folks nowadays I just figured it was a waste of time,what with hordes of pension seeking govt bureacrats running the place. How many MORE didn't file legit complaints for the same & other reasons? Or never heard of NHSTA??? To folks who have these busted beemers, it's not very funny. Carry on ,beemerphiles. Gawd bless Yamaha.
    #69
  10. mcstark

    mcstark Living brappy...

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    And two Ohlins went poof. Yes the bikes were over-loaded, but the OEM "replacement" lasted the rest of the trip. :wink:
    #70
  11. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    There should be an investigation into why an expensive item like Ohlins went poof, seeing it's such a popular and expensive replacement for the standard shocks.

    People seem to like to pay a lot of money for fragile things with nice coatings.
    #71
  12. rdcyclist

    rdcyclist Long timer

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    Hey Marty sounds good! As long as it's before I head out to Georgia for the ButtLite Rally in August...:freaky
    #72
  13. rdcyclist

    rdcyclist Long timer

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    Actually, I'm not sure BMW really does know the true number of failures. I don't think dealers send a failure report for every repair they do. A personal valid data point is the number of true failures I know about. There do seem to be an inordinate number of them within the community I ride with. That being said, there isn't another bike that does it for me like the GS and when put up against the possibility of FD failure I'm willing to take the risk.
    #73
  14. roarin calhoun

    roarin calhoun Been here awhile

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    Well put,rdcyclist. Best of luck to you,truely. I got tired of the potential risks you mention becoming realities & went Tenere's way since I ride some fairly desolate areas,often with my wife on the back. Am much relieved. Different strokes for different folks.Good luck. I know & ride with a couple GS & GSA guys who have few problems( a couple tho).I wasn't that lucky.
    #74
  15. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    I bought my '07 in Feb of '07 and since then I have read of several replaced FDs being sent back to BMW Motorrad.

    Then and perhaps now, the failed FDs were not rebuilt by BMW dealers but were replaced and the failed FDs were shipped back to BMW.

    Independent of that, BMW dealers know of the FD issue and most certainly get some type of support from BMW for FDs replaced under a warranty.

    I could be wrong, but BMW counts beans and FDs are big beans!:wink:

    All that aside I would love to eventually find out why they are failing...no guess work but actual engineering reports.:brow
    #75
  16. rdcyclist

    rdcyclist Long timer

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    Most of the catastrophic hexhead failures I know about may have started as leaks and ended up as torched bearings. It's hard to tell if the bearing failed and caused the seals to leak or the seals failed and loss of lubricant caused the bearings to fail. With the way the FD bearings are loaded, they don't last long running dry. One of the hexhead failures was a pinion shaft bearing and was definitely not a seal failure.

    Of the two failures I experienced, the first one was at my 600 mile service in October of 04; an inner seal failure. The FD was still tight and hadn't lost much lube. The dealer had to replace the FD with a new one because they didn't have the tools to pull the flange off the stub axle. That FD eventually failed 60k later with the guy that bought it from me. Seal. Bearing. Stranded.

    The second failure was a loose flange on the stub axle. This one was inexcusable on the part of BMW; the way this failed is an out of spec part from their supplier. The flange is a shrink fit to the stub and should never come loose. The only way that could happen is if the parts aren't a tight enough fit. In this case it was the flange. I bought another flange and installed it hot AND with red Loctite. It's gone 40k or so on two Iron Butt Rallies and various other LD rides. No problems...

    In the case of the oilhead (R11 and 1150) failures all of them were crown bearing failures. Pretty much a crap design. As I sit here thinking about it, I think the number of failures experienced by people I know personally is more than five. More like eight...

    So no, I'm not talking about a little seal failure. I've had several of those on my various GS's and fixed them in comfort of my garage. During any Long Distance ride, I check the FD at every gas stop and I've got a spare with tools, boxed and ready for FedEx in case of emergency. :deal
    #76
  17. Dallara

    Dallara Creaks When Walks...

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    ~


    I gotta' admit, I was stunned when BMW introduced "sealed" final drives on the Hexheads...

    And thought it was fairly intriguing when they ceased that practice not too long thereafter, suddenly having drain and fill plugs on the next generation final drives, and recommending fluid changes at 600 miles, etc.

    What happened with the "sealed" final drives that were gonna' be so good they would last the "lifetime" of the motorcycle?

    To be fair, I never had a single problem whatsoever with the final drives on my 1980 R100RT or my 2002 R1150R, though I did have all the wonderful charging system issues folks had on those R100's and I had the infamous fuel clamp issues associated with the Oilheads... :cry

    That said, I have known several folks who have had final drive meltdowns, both on Oilheads and Hexheads.

    What do you guys think about those Hexhead "sealed" final drives?

    Dallara


    ~
    #77
  18. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato Supporter

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    When I worked at a dealer as a mechanic we saw failed 1150 final drives weekly. I left in mid 2007 and didn't see as many 1200 failures. The mechanics know what fails if you find one who will be up front about it. If sales and service of the brand pay your bills, you don't want to scare away potential customers.
    #78
  19. Rogue_Ryder

    Rogue_Ryder

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    I wonder how many final drive failures have more to do with how the bikes are ridden and maintained over the actual design?

    Type and frequency of gear oil changes?
    How loaded up is the bike?
    Frequent decelerating by downshifting (engine braking)?


    My first BMW was a K100 with like 60K on it, I think it had close to 80 when I traded it, and when that guy parted it out he had 190K on it, and the Final Drive never failed. Coonass commuted to our old workplace on his 1150 for 100K miles with no failures. All I've ever experienced on an 1150R and now my 12GS have been seal failures. I'm not denying there's not an issue; but I don't think we know what the true cause is, just a lot of anecdotal evidence and pissed off riders that their expensive bike is broken.
    #79
  20. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    If you mean 'non-vented' as sealed or do you mean 'no lube change needed, ever', as sealed? My '07 was a "never need to change the lube in the FD...ever". That BMW stance lasted perhaps 3 months and then they said....well OK, you do need to change it at the 500 mile [or was that 600 mile?] check in...but never again! Then they backed off of that when FD started failing more often and I now believe it is at the first "Check In" and every 12K miles you supposed to change the FD lube. Since I do my own, I do it every 6K and use RL HD Shockproof...only time will tell if my FD craps out or not. Venting would introduce a lot other issues if not engineered correctly since I ride my GSA only off road and often in water. Trans is vented so I guess the FD could be as well, but venting should only be done if needed. No proof that venting is needed so putting another hole in the FD, an open one at that, doesn't make sense if it does not fix a specific demonstrated problem.

    Doing helter skelter "fixs" without clearly identifing the cause of FD failures is a losing battle. Find the weakness and then engineer a permanent correction. Kinda like BMW going from 220 ml to 180 ml of FD lube to fix an undefined problem.

    Just my take and I could be wrong!:wink:
    #80