NHSTA Opens Investigation into BMW Final Drive Failures

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

  1. A-Wind

    A-Wind Andreas RD07a

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    No need to imagine anything. Do your research before you post.

    A good friend of mine with a shop makes some pretty good extra $$$ with fixing automotive final drives.
  2. cardoctor1

    cardoctor1 Been here awhile

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    as an auto repair shop owner i would like to thank all the engineers for designing sub par equipment.
    as a motorcycle enthusiast over paying for unreliable motorcyles sucks.
  3. ZONKR

    ZONKR Been here awhile

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    It sounds like I got the only good one ever built. My '05 1200GS has the original FD and clutch at 107,000 miles. Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket.:lol3
  4. svennoly

    svennoly Banned

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    Or a Chrysler :}
  5. Anorak

    Anorak Woolf Barnato Supporter

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    Very proud of him.
  6. Dallara

    Dallara Creaks When Walks...

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    Sure sounds to me like those must all be older rear ends, long after the vehicles are out of the OEM's warranty, etc., right?

    I thought we were discussing final drives often failing well within the original warranty period, and some manufacturers trying to ignore there is any sort of problem... Playing it down and all that... Until, of course, the NHTSA steps in and decides there is a big enough problem that at least there should be some sort of investigation, and perhaps a recall...

    And this all despite the OEM, and their faithful, saying there really isn't any sort of problem whatsoever. :evil

    The same OEM that for a while said those same final drives were so well built they were effectively *sealed* for life, but then backtracked on that claim... And then decided the *sealed* final drives actually needed drain and fill plugs... And then quietly offered some owners extended warranties on those final drives that *didn't* have problems in the first place... Etc., etc., etc. :lol3

    Name me those car, or motorcycle, manufacturers that have a similar situation at hand with their *signature* final drives? :rofl

    Dallara



    ~
  7. MIXR

    MIXR Been here awhile

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    You tend to think less highly of BMW engineering when you pull this out of your R1150GSA FD at 65,000 kms.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    However, my old R1150R has 165,000 kms, and has an untouched FD.
  8. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    That was the point. All drives will eventually fail assuming the rest of the bike/car lasts long enough to get them to that point.

    In my life I have had some pretty old vehicles and nada, zip zero failures. (350,000km (2nd motor), 320,000km (2nd motor), 290,000Km just to name a few). These vehicles were bought old and serviced with crap dino oil as well. (Even the best oil when I was a youngin was crap). The worst that happened is the fill plug started weeping. Some Australian built, some Japanese.

    BUT out in the desert, Seals are replaced at fairly regular intervals, (50,000Km is typical).

    I will be watching with interest the performance of the Tiger and Honda, and as some one previously said, it would be good to get a good forensic engineering explanation.

    There should be a TV show soon. "Final Drive Investigation"
  9. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Comparring cars to bikes is apples to oranges.:deal

    Jim :brow
    monstar62 likes this.
  10. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    What a bunch of drivel this has become.

    Rear ends failing in cars... FFS, Dodge had troubles, countless (some would say nearly every) rear end in GM trucks from 1995 to 1997 leaked, etc.

    But in the bloody hell do auto rear ends have to do with a motorcycle rear end?
    If you ever wondered what a 'fallacy of irrelevance' looks like, this is it.

    BMW make a very light, aluminum, single-sided swingarm in a motorbike application where pounds are precious. Auto rear-ends are much larger, much heavier pieces in an application where weight means much less.

    So stop comparing the two. It's meaningless, it's irresponsible, and it's asinine.

    And Dallara, I don't know if you're some sort of troll or not, but when you say things like:

    Until, of course, the NHTSA steps in and decides there is a big enough problem that at least there should be some sort of investigation, and perhaps a recall...

    And this all despite the OEM, and their faithful, saying there really isn't any sort of problem whatsoever. :evil

    You need a kick in the bollocks. So far we're talking about 145 final drives over 10 years. No one knows how many FD's failed. You need to understand that a lot 'failures' we hear about here are leaking seals and a wasted big bearing. Don't forget, it's a wheel bearing, a rear wheel bearing. And they need replaced from time to time.

    Now, I can tell you that I've never actually seen a failed final drive. Nor has my dealership.
    You know what that means? That means sweet fuck-all, same as your take on Hondas. We know that BMW final drives fail at the rate of 14.5 per year.

    How many motorbikes did BMW sell between 2005 and 2010?

    625,672.

    That's how many.

    Nearly 35,000 BMW R1200 GS's a year in both standard and ADV alone.

    Here, now you can't say 'you've NEVER heard of a problem with a Goldwing final drive. .32 seconds in google.
    http://www.goldwingfacts.com/1500finaldrive.htm

    Apology accepted.

    In case you don't feel like clicking:

    ------------------------------------------
    I just helped a friend change a final drive on his 03 with 38000 miles on it. The unit is noisy and when you roll it slowly there is something catching on the inside. For those who have changed these units is there a common failure or more than one type of failure. We plan to dismantle the old unit soon.
    Just curious.

    Wayne
    -------------------------------------------

    Wayne, "fatal final drive". Have a spair.

    Far too common.

    ------------------------------------------

    Most don't disable them, and I never have either. Even Honda ships a new assembly for warrenty which means they too probably don't disable them for a complete inspection. It is probably a bearing and would be nice to know if it is a carrier or pinion bearing that initialy went bad.

    -------------------------------------------

    There has to be a tremendous amount of side torque pressure put on the carrier bearing with a one sided swing arm.
    I know it makes tire changing easer, but I think it's a poor design at best.

    -------------------------------------------

    That works on virtually every other vehicle on the road.

    -------------------------------------------

    Only when it's not designed correctly...........like have too small a bearing to carry the load and too thin of a cross section of the swing arm to aleviate a twisting moment. Sound familiar?

    ------------------------------------------

    You will find too much play in the pinion gear, it can be shimmed one way or the other. Some of the drives go bad from too much play. So it eats up the gears.

    But with the low price and availability of trike take offs, that is the cheaper way to go. Time you buy the gears, shims, seals and build a tool to properly hold the pinion gear and check clearance, you can buy two final drives.

    Some fail early some not, no way to know. Not uncommon to see 120K to 150 K on an original drive and shaft.

    -------------------------------------------

    I replaced mine at about 60k.... Has anyone besides me got an idea that moly based synthetic could be causing the bearing(s) to start sliding,,,ie not rolling ???

    I bought mine used, - the previous owner used synthetic gear oil. I think it had moly because when I drained the unit some whiteish stuff was in the mix and it was super slick.

    Just wondering.

    ------------------------------------------

    There is a possibility that some bikes were shipped from the factory without the rear end being full of oil??? I have read where people have found NO grease in the front steering bearings...not real sure that Honda has a real good final check before shipment[​IMG]

    ------------------------------------------

    I just pulled my Drive apart today because it was weeping.I had already replaced it for ha ha's about two months ago with a new take off for this reason.

    -----------------------------------------

    I checked my final drive at 106k. It was totally asymptomatic. Popped the big seal out and I could see problems with the outer race on the most external big ball bearing. I sawed it apart and you can see where the race was failing!!

    Scary!!

    *Here's the link for that thread:
    http://gl1800riders.com/forums/showthread.php?270646-final-drive-failure
  11. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    By the way, the Caddy CTSV, Saturn Sky and Pontiac Solstice have cronic FD issues. MUCH more than the BMW R series.

    Jim :brow
  12. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Hey...first let's keep the exchange of information civil..<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Next I can't tell if that is Gallic humor or a WAG when you state a number [145 over 10 years] for the total failed BMW FDs? I may have not understood your figures. But it must be humor, cuz NOBODY knows how many BMW FDs have failed or the % in what year or in what models.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    Come on folks...back to the issue...NHSTA is evidentially opening an investigation into the allegations that BMW FDs are failing and in some way these failures are creating a hazard to the rider. Again, nobody knows how many FDs have failed prematurely [yes prematurely is a subjective term; but an easy one to determine when it happens on your bike] or why they have failed.<o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    In the mean time while we wait and hope to get definitive information everyone needs to take a deep breath and chill out. I still love riding my GSA and no I am not an apologist for BMW but my GSA is a joy to ride off road. So I really hope BMW will be forthcoming with details on how many FDs have been replaced, why they failed and what the cure is to stop the failures. <o:p></o:p>
    :brow
  13. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    Maybe BMW should stop making "very light, aluminum, single-sided swingarms" and go and add some appropriate amount of weight and stop being so obsessed with the weight.

    And the 145 figure? Well I personally know 5 of them and I'm not a socialite who hangs around cool BMW parties or anything. Maybe I'm just lucky.

    You know the sales figures because they are reported. The owner has to do nothing except ride the bike.

    They require faults and service work to be reported like that?

    That is comparing Sunflower seeds to Watermelons isn't it?

    I am not saying that the problem has happened in huge quantities (a relative term) but I suspect it is outside the scope of what is considered acceptable by modern manufacturing standards.

    I also expect nothing much to come of it.

    Slap on the wrist, BMW promises to get it sorted, New model with left hand drive, problem solved...Maybe.

    Just for scale between 2005 and 2010 Honda sold 1,436,558 units total and 790,527 over 250cc.

    Suzuki was the biggest "Big Bore" Japanese producer with 1,357,054 over 250cc.
    Maybe that's why Suzuki can deliver such good value.

    I think considering the prices charged BMW could do better.
  14. Schlug

    Schlug JockeyfullofBourbon

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    I'll not be all that civil when someone is trolling here and talking bollocks on top of it. And if you plan on talking bollocks, brace yourself.

    My figures...

    Did you read the thread at all, man?

    After over 145 individual complaints filed between April 2001 and August 2011, the NHSTA has finally opened its first official investigation into the failure of crown gear bearings on BMW models equipped with the Paralever style final drive. NHSTA investigation DP12001 opened 1/20/12...

    These aren't my figures at all.

    Furthermore, I'll repeat myself. You speak of 'Failures' What constitutes a failure in your '5 cases' my be just a leaking seal or a worn big bearing. The big bearing was about 70 USD. The seal about 35 USD IIRC. The whole damn thing can be rebuilt roadside (has been done on this very site) or, with a seal and bearing in hand, rebuilt for about 240 dollars at any capable shop with internet access. Less than a quality chain and sprocket.

    But you're right, we have no figures from BMW, unreliable internet authors who either adore the brand or feel antipathy for it, and little inbetween. But we DO have what so many of you have insisted upon: a number put forth by a disinterested third party: the NHSTA.

    Do I think there are more out there that haven't reported? Sure. How many? I can't say, and neither can you.


    Now you'll tell me how reliable the clutch is on your Opel Corsa for comparison, I suppose.
  15. GrahamD

    GrahamD Long timer

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    That was me that said that.

    Funny thing is I said almost exactly the same thing to the people involved, but here is the issue.

    They were not leaky seals, They may have started like that, but it was a $1200.00 problem. (to them)

    They did not take too kindly to that kind of advice and were mighty pissed that their "piece of shit Jap bikes never had a problem" and I didn't pay "twice as much for this to happen".

    They were not wrenchers, they were riders. They had service people for that. This is where the home mechanic thing falls down. Many who buy these bikes do not know a seal from a pinion wheel. Many don't even read forums.

    Some were less pissed, some more. Most of the problem was from the fact they expected that a rigidly adhered to and pricey service schedule would produce a reliable ride.

    They have almost no choice of BMW service agent, it takes a large chunk out of their time as well.

    So that was 5 from 7. A small sample. None of them put in formal complaints, but changed brands OR models.

    So what percentage of people with problems do actually go to the trouble of reporting to the NHSTA?

    I also know a few who never have problems (K bikes) and one who is a very good wrencher (R1200RT). He has mysterious clunky sounds that appear from time to time and he can't seem to explain it. So far so good.

    He bought a wreck a couple of months ago and is keeping it for spares. It was cheap. He will not be out of pocket by much. He also quotes figures like you, and is very fussy about maintenance and checks.

    He is in the minority.
  16. Wallowa

    Wallowa Diver Down

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    Hey I still don't have a clue what your rant is about, nor do I really care after this babble...but look again..I never said anything about "5 cases". Wee bit confused there lad.

    145 complaints does not = that the total of BMW failed FDs is 145. There is no problem, it is pure illusion:wink:

    What the heck, this is a waste of time...Stay cool and have a pint for me.

    [Opel Corsa? Now that is some funny shit right there!:D]
  17. roarin calhoun

    roarin calhoun Been here awhile

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    Never had a problem with my GS12's final drive(pals did with theirs tho). Nope. It was headlights. oil consumption,tranny,shocks & those DAMNED beemer ABS brakes that fuked me up. I used that thing on dirt a lot. EXPOSED ABS switches got crud in'm & screwed up, dangerously so at times. Final drive was swell tho. On my Tenere too. Love it soooo.It's ABS is God-like on dirt. Doesn't break either. Anybody that thinks the GS's lower weight is an advantage hasn't ridden a Tenere much. All I can say.
  18. A-Wind

    A-Wind Andreas RD07a

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    @Jim von Baden & BobbySands:

    You might have missed my original post. The reason why I brought up automotive FD failures is precisely to illustrate the statistical side of the issue (and of course not to compare apples to oranges).

    Indeed with respect to statistics, FD failure would NOT be something that I would think or worry about too much.
  19. koenig

    koenig Been here awhile

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    G'day everyone. Some of you may have read some of my earlier posts seeing as JLo (2007 1200GSA) has just lost her rear end. As I have said it didn't fail, it just started to wobble, a lot. I couldn't do all the job so my local BMW dealer actually put the thing together and I reinstalled it. Total cost $740 Aus. I'm a bit pissed but not overly so. Bike has 70thou k's on it. I really expected a bit better. But. This is not the first BMW failure I have had. I had An R1100S gear box implode at 38000ks. Poor assembly was the verdict. BMW Aus couldn't give a rats.
    But lets be a little circumspect. There are several on this post that are confusing 1150 drives with 1200 drives. They are nothing like each other. But it confuses me as to why you would put a sealed ball bearing in a drive that is filled with oil. I am all:ear.
    My local dealer has not heard of the "extended warranty" on post Jan 2007 machines. And I believe he thinks I'm a bit of a PIA:eek1. He don't know the half of it, (ask my missus):lol3. By the way he had also not heard of ADV or seen a picture of the new water bottle.
    I love my bike, (almost as much as my dog), and we spend a lot of good solitary time together, but if I think I'm being sold a pig in a poke, I get a little testy.
  20. koenig

    koenig Been here awhile

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    By the way the seal didn't leak. There is a joke about blown seals (and penguins) but perhaps this isn't the place, us being serious and all.:rofl:rofl