R1200GSw LC Wethead Final Drive change and Spline Lube Pictorial!

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by JimVonBaden, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. Campingaddict

    Campingaddict Adventurer

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    Hi guys, in serious need of some advice here...

    I have a 2016 GSA, which I love riding rain or shine. After completing the MABDR in 2018, I came home and dropped the final drive to check it’s status having done some water crossings and lots of rain and as noted previously here, found some standing water in the swing arm above the pivot bolt. No serious rust on the lower shaft, splines, U joints, or input spines of the FD that couldn’t be easily cleaned and re-greased with some moly. As it appeared all good with no rust up the shaft or issues at the transmission output end either, I reseated the shaft and confirmed the circlip was engaged before reconnecting the FD and applying some white lithium grease to the boots and confirming everything was sealed and good to go.

    I live in New Brunswick Canada, so cold weather and riding in the rain kinda comes with the territory but with heated grips and such, it’s still worth it to get as much time on the bike during the short season as I can before we get our 8 feet of annual snow.

    I’m pretty anal about my service Due to the weather and crappy roads here and probably do way more than necessary but truthfully, I like the peace and quiet of performing basic maintenance on my bike almost as much as I enjoyed putting the 111,000 Km on it so far, plus it keeps me in touch with what’s working right and what seems off. So when I started hearing a clunking noise coming from the area of the transmission end of the shaft while moving the bike around the garage with the engine off, I was obviously concerned.

    So, called the dealer who as expected told me they all do that and to just apply some moly to the U joints, which seemed odd considering these are a sealed needle bearing, but what do I know, they’re the pros...

    The application of the moly must have worked as the knocking sound disappeared (which I realize now is likely because the seal was gone allowing the grease to dissipate, while also allowing me to put enough grease back in to get it going just long enough to do more damage...)

    So upon getting the bike out for the first ride of 2020 after a couple of weeks of going nuts working from home, I got about 75km into some badly needed Moto-distancing when this happened...

    979FF77B-979B-4FAE-A5DA-F774CD12B3BB.jpeg

    Deeeeep cleansing breath.....lots of folks have it worse....first world problems....1,3,4,5,6......

    *Note* The rust you see in the pic was not there when last checked and “greased”.

    ...anyway, everything is closed due to Covid, so I head to the internet for a used part which I find and within few days, it’s arrived and looks to be in great shape and splines and U joints all seem good (as far as I can tell, but I also thought putting grease into/onto a non-serviceable “sealed” U joint was a reasonable course of action so there’s that...).

    The issue I seem to be having now is that when riding I am getting an occasional strange vibration with no real pattern in terms of gear selection, speed or anything for that matter. When the bike is cold and on the center stand, there is no noise when spinning the rear wheel, but when performing the same process immediately after a ride, I get a knocking sound similar to what another inmate described earlier in this thread when he realized he hadn’t engaged the circlip all the way. Problem is in my case, I’ve confirmed the circlip is engaged visually and physically (pulling on it and having only a mm or so of play back and forth).

    As mentioned, the shaft appears to be in excellent condition and when checking for lateral movement in the joints there’s none and there is zero notchiness or sticking points when articulating the joints. When I reattach the wheel and spin it without the shaft attached, there is no noise. There is also zero lateral movement on the final drive pinion shaft or the transmission output shaft, all clean, nicely greased and tight smooth movement. So, reinsert the shaft, grease, seal, torque everything to spec and spin it, nice and quiet...but take it out around the block or into town and get some weird occasional vibration (which yes, I’ve considered may be tire wear or very possibly in my head due to paranoia over the catastrophic failure of the first shaft), but the fact remains that when I spin the wheel on the centerstand (by hand, not under power), I definitely get a noise when warm, but not when cold, so I’m less inclined to think that spinning it on the stand is the problem as it’s only there when warm. Oh yeah also, the final drive gets warm as all of my shaft drive bikes have, but never hot as some have described just prior to failure.

    I’m all in to buy another shaft new if that’s the problem and it’s money well spent to have the peace of mind while on a big trip, but if what I’m describing isn’t in fact a shaft problem, I hate to throw $1500 at the wrong thing, only to find out it was something else.

    Any advice very much appreciated, as not riding is leaving me way to vulnerable to being shanghaied into yard work and trips to town to shop for decor, throw pillows and a new area accent carpet to match the furniture in the room I’ll likely have to paint....please help...
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  2. BiggieFalls

    BiggieFalls b00b

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    Sorry to hear about your problem. As you can see by my quote below, I had pretty much the same problem. I was totally paranoid after reinstalling the used swing arm and drive shaft that I bought, thinking the bike was vibrating too much and worried about every noise. I've since started balancing my rear tire in case that had anything to do with the failure but not sure that it did. I've put an additional 20k miles on the bike since with no issues. The paranoia didn't last long but is probably good in case there is still a problem.

    I suspected that my problem was partially due to the fact that I'm more than 350 pounds and always ride with the the suspension set to 2 people. I thought that maybe the increased angle of the upper U-joint from riding in 2 person mode may have caused it to wear prematurely. If you don't ride in 2 person mode then this definitely has nothing to do with your problem. If you do however, that could possibly explain the noise you hear once you've ridden the bike. When your bike is cold, it may be set back to the default height position, once you start it up, if in 2 person mode, the suspension will raise up, increasing the angle of the swingarm and the drive shaft. This could potentially put additional strain on the upper U-joint, especially if you are not heavy like me since when I sit on the bike, some of that angle goes away. Just a theory. Hope you find an answer to your issue.
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  3. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    I suspect that your grenading U-joint has cause excessive play in the Final Drive (FD) Pinion bearing. First check the FD for lateral play, allowed no more than 1mm. If that is good, drop the final drive and see how much wiggle you get on the input shaft to the FD.
  4. Campingaddict

    Campingaddict Adventurer

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    As Biggie suggested, I suspected the ride height being a possible issue, as I usually ride at one rider with luggage setting, being about 190 lbs with aluminum panniers on all the time, but since the shaft grenading, I’ve been keeping it at the one rider setting if the panniers are empty.

    So, was also leaning towards it being an issue with the FD and/or pinion bearing as JVB mentions, as when spinning the rear wheel while on the center stand, I’ve done it both with the shaft in place and without. There is zero noise hot or cold when the shaft is removed from the equation. Regarding excessive play in the pinion bearing, there is zero lateral movement at all. If I immobilize the pinion shaft and try to rotate the brake rotor, the only movement I get is less than a mm and it’s always been there as I’ve noted it before when checking this.

    I should mention that when the last shaft grenaded at the transmission end, it didn’t cause the bike to stop and bind up on the FD end. I only noticed it due to the noise and vibration at the top end and pulled over to limp the bike into a parking lot, where upon pulling the upper boot back noted the excessive wear and damage on the yoke and U joint, Everything was basically just hanging on and only came apart when I dropped the FD and pulled the shaft out.

    JVB, just to be certain I’m checking the right things for wear or damage to the FD and pinion, what is it you do to check for lateral movement or slop in both? And is it possible that what I hear when spinning on the Center stands is just due to everything being warmed up and relatively loose due to hanging in a more free/loosened state as opposed to being under the pressure of the suspension..?..just grabbing at straws here now I know...

    Thanks guys, my wife and daughters are looking at Home Depot “Spring Refresh” flyers as I type this which scares me almost as much as the noise in my drive line... so I really need to make tracks lol
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  5. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Checking the main bearings by grabbing 9 and 3 and pull push. 1mm play allowed. Slack will be 2-3" rotational, though that is not what I am concerned about. The pinion bearing check is with the dropped FD.
  6. msmetz

    msmetz Been here awhile

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    So I just finished my fluid change and spline lube and found this on the floor. DD773E01-E723-44C1-9D65-086656C156ED.jpeg Can’t figure out where it came from. While dropping the rear drive the drive shaft pulled off the gearbox end. That was fairly easy to get back on. The rear splines were a major pita getting lined up.
  7. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    It's a breather, #8 on pic below... It often falls out when manhandling FD back into position...

    [​IMG]
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  8. Campingaddict

    Campingaddict Adventurer

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    OK, so did already check it that way which makes me feel a bit better. There is zero movement laterally as you describe when pushing and pulling at 9&3 and rotating and repeating always yields the same results so that’s good. Rotationally, with the bike in gear I only get the 2-3 inches of movement as you described, that I’ve always attributed to driveline/gear lash, so that’s still all good I guess. In checking the pinion bearing for movement, there is also no lateral movement when attempting to move the pinion shaft side to side or back and forth. As mentioned, when I immobilize the pinion shaft by clamping it, the only movement I get rotationally if I rotate the rotor is a mm or less that I can see outside of the FD, right in the area where the rotor mates with the bearing housing (I think that’s what that is...) but this is also on a rotating axis as opposed to a lateral side to side axis.

    Definitely feel better about it not being something inside the FD which is also confirmed by the absence of noise when taking the shaft out of the equation. Really wondering if doing this on the Center stand with a warmed up system in a somewhat suspended state (not under load from suspension) is what is going on, compounded by possible tire wear vibration that I never noted before the shaft grenaded. Could that be a possibility?..or maybe the used shaft despite looking “ok” has a faulty or failing U joint as well? Or maybe 25 years as a cop has just made me an anal retentive, over analytical, uber -suspicious head case...there’s that option too I guess
    JimVonBaden likes this.
  9. msmetz

    msmetz Been here awhile

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    Yes! Thanks.
  10. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Good news. On this bike the driveshaft isn't phased, but it may be a little out of balance. If the U-joints are not loose or notchy, then you are fine in that area.
  11. Campingaddict

    Campingaddict Adventurer

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    So basically the concern was due to three things; paranoia over possible damage caused by the shaft grenading, a vibration I hadn’t ever noticed before (but that may have always been there...) and the fact that when rotating the wheel on the Center stand, there was a noise that I had never noted before (but again, may have always been there but I wasn’t paying attention)

    I think the shaft coming apart would cause anyone to be a little concerned, but everything checked out as per JVB’s advice, so that’s good. Was already starting to think the vibration was more and more tire/road related but the fact that the slight knocking noise was there was the sticking point for me...which was also made a greater concern by the fact that a buddy with a GS said his didn’t make any noise at all when warm or cold.

    So ruling everything else out, I decided to head over and listen to his drive shaft and FD myself when rotating the wheel cold and warmed up after a quick run around the block a few times...yup, same sound

    ...I’ve scheduled him for an appointment with an audiologist next week. Thanks very much for the help in gaining some confidence in the repair and current state of the bike post shaft grenading.
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  12. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    Yup, time to put away the worry beads! :-)
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  13. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

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    @Campingaddict - Sorry to hear of your ordeal, but I'm curious how your dealer expected you to lube the sealed u-joint, and how, as you said, you actually accomplished that?
  14. Campingaddict

    Campingaddict Adventurer

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    Yeah...I think my dealership may be one of the worst in North America. That was the question I asked the tech when he suggested it and his reply was a stunned look which lead me to believe he didn’t get it. I think the only reason I was able to get anything in there was because it was already dried out and starting to heat up and bend the metal allowing me to get some penetrant in there as well as the moly. Basically, a very very short term fix that gave me a false sense of security that luckily came to an end not too far from home.
    Callisto224 likes this.
  15. Callisto224

    Callisto224 Long timer Supporter

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    Unfortunately, there are several competing for that title!
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  16. Zubb

    Zubb he went that-a-way... Supporter

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    While there may be a few less educated mechanics here and there, doesn’t mean they are bad dealerships. I am really glad to have a dealership or two within reach. It would really suck to not have them nearby.
    god bless these entrepreneurs who are looking at their life savings and retirement hopes melt away during the pandemic.

    I’ve taken a $$ hit with this Crap but still buy parts and gear from my dealer. It’s really not enough price difference to matter is it??

    If you don’t like your dealer, just imagine not having one.
  17. pistole

    pistole Long timer

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    can i just say that it would be apparent to anyone with mechanical ability and who can take apart the rear-end of a gslc that those 2 u-joints are sealed units , cannot be "greased" and if they can somehow be "greased" , something is seriously wrong.

    and If I read that poster correctly , his u-joint was worn out to such an extent that he could get grease into the cups and he proceeded to do that ?

    seriously ?
  18. amartin4410

    amartin4410 Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    So during the COVID pandemic and being in NYC I've had plenty of time to ride and start my maintenance on my bike. I bought this bike used from a dealer with a little over 12,000 miles on it and they had done the 12,000 mile service prior to selling the bike. I've had no issues with the bike in the past 6,000 miles and it has run flawless. I decided to go ahead and order the Beemer Boneyard (highly recommend ordering from them as they made make a great kit) 12/24 mile service kit to do my 18,000 mile service. I wanted to do everything you would normally do in the 12/24 service just to see and make sure everything was up to spec and because I wanted peace of mind. The past 6k miles included mostly road and some off-road miles but not much. Not too many rain days (maybe 10 days of rain riding total).

    For the rear diff, I dropped the fluid and it looked clear coming out. I was stunned how good it looked, basically slightly less clear than the new fluid I ended up putting in. Got the final drive dropped and also, it looked great. No rust or water signs, just very minor surface oxidation on the U-joint side. It had a decent amount of grease already in there but I decided to clean it up and go ahead and re-grease it with the Enduralast 477. Cleaned all mating surfaces and re-sealed them using NBU-30 courtesy of NoiZboy earlier in this thread.

    All in all not a bad experience especially with the helpful JimVonBaden video's. I've used his wethead video to do all the maintenance items so far.

    Attached Files:

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  19. Bigisland78

    Bigisland78 Adventurer

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    Wow that initial picture just like mine from yesterday front universal broken lots of noise no drive ride ended had felt gear changing a bit worse last month or so and stiffness in wheel when cleaning so mines a 2016 gsa with 90k kms i have ordered new shaft no other choices here luckily no other damage but why did it happen who knows any way pay attention to any changes as miles increase cheers graham
  20. collin228

    collin228 Been here awhile

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    Ok I just dropped my final drive and here are the pictures. Glad I did this on my 4 month old 1250GS. I did drop it in a river crossing so thought some water got in. Please check out the picture and I have a few quick (possibly stupid questions).

    I can spray some of the driveshaft with WD40 right to help prevent rust? The gunk in the bottom of the drain plug do I clean it out? Does the gator come all the way out to clean and seal or do I just clean and seal the part shown in the tutorial? Any thoughts? Crazy it’s already a little rusty and very dry? 100% think everyone should do this.

    Attached Files:

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