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Wheel bearing disintegrates - F800

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by tmex, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2015
    Oddometer:
    279
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    LA
    I haven’t posted about this yet, but I had a bad crash in Alaska that totaled my F800GS and caught me a life flight to the hospital.

    I don’t remember the wreck or anything that lead up to it. At Dust 2 Dawson the week before I had luckily met a paramedic rider named Cameron. He and I met up in Fairbanks and were riding to Prudhoe Bay together when it happened.

    Cameron was staggered behind me and said he saw my rear wheel start wobbling out of control. I had a Scott’s steering damper that had worked fantastically for me until that point so I have thought long and hard about what could have caused me a back wheel wobble at about 65mph on a dirt highway when the front kept tracking straight. From what he said I tried to get control of the bike but within a second or two it hooked left or right and cartwheeled down the road with me on it for the first few flips. I’m lucky he was with me since I was unconcious and in the bushes down the steep shoulder. I had my personal locator beacon but who knows when I would have been able to get it out of my pocket and trigger it. I ended up having a badly shattered shoulder and a broken jaw.

    Insurance initially told me they were bringing the bike back to CA so I hoped I would be able to salvage some farkles and look the bike over. They ended up keeping it in Alaska though so I only saw it briefly in the tow yard where they had dumped it on its side.

    Ever since the wreck I’ve been wracking my brain for answers why I went down and keep coming back to this wheel bearing potential. I had ridden solo all the way to Alaska without any issues on much gnarlier terrain than the Dalton. I had gotten it up to triple digits on the Dalton earlier that morning for a little fun and the bike felt perfectly planted at speed. My speedometer was broken off pinned at 60mph so I know I was going a reasonable highway speed when it happened.

    In my head I figure it’s possible I had a rear wheel bearing failure, a rear tire blowout, got caught in a gnarly rut under graded surface, or hit something like a big rock. Cameron was very specific that I had a rear wheel wobble however, and with the Scotts steering damper seems unlikely to have been caused by something like rough dirt highway terrain.

    Curious to hear your thoughts on it. Does that sound like what would happen when you had a bearing fail at speed?
    B732F5B5-5A78-4A1D-8A2D-C82C98FE2764.jpeg
    ArielNut likes this.
  2. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2004
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    Anaheim, CA
    squr,

    You're lucky you survived! Count the blessings!

    Is it possible you lost control due to a failed rear wheel bearing? Yes. Is it the only thing? Well, no... If you are in AK, and I have ridden the roads around Dawson (they were dirt back in '09)...lots of things can happen. Especially if there was mud/rain.

    The only real way to know is if you do a tear down on the bike. Check the bearings yourself. Did they fail? Are they loose now? Diagnose things. It's every bit as possible you made a mistake somehow.

    Here's a pic from the Trans Lab. My buddy Miles and I did this in 2016.

    [​IMG]

    Note that big S-curves dug into the mud? That was me on my F800GS. He was on the well regarded S1000R dirt-bike. Both bikes were perfectly set up with steering dampers (Scotts).

    I didn't crash but danged if I didn't try. I remember that vividly. I suspect it was the 21" front that cut into the mud juuuuust a bit better than his 17" that let me get the bike in line.

    I should point out - this was maybe a 10mph corner. It sucked. I was watching the tandem truck in front of us drifting the rear trailer in each corner...at 10mph. I mean, seriously. Back end would slide a couple feet in each corner. No way was I passing him. There just wasn't traction in the mud. And that there was the worst of the corners.

    Anyway, point is: our bearings were fine. Would they have contributed to a crash? Sure. But it's not the only thing that can cause a dump.

    I'd suggest, again, tear the bike down. Don't second guess it. For all you know a rotor could have warped and locked a rear wheel. Or something else.

    Just, don't second guess it. Go for truth.

    And glad you are still with us!
    squr3l likes this.
  3. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Joined:
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    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately this happened a year ago and I was never able to inspect the bike after the wreck. There wasn’t any mud and I was on a dry straight away section when it happened. I can understand losing control on dirt but I’ve never experienced something that would cause the rear wheel to wobble or jump around for hundreds of feet when the front keeps tracking straight. Here’s 3 photos Cameron took of the accident scene.

    3B345398-1B71-4683-9F13-6E73BBAFDB78.jpeg 75730389-5CFD-493B-9CE6-B9D2B4318632.jpeg C567BE18-2182-4BC6-BA71-C14909E231EE.jpeg
  4. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

    Joined:
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    squr, there's just no way to really know. Personally, I have 15m of life missing from a crash I had. In my case, I pieced together what happened but I can understand the frustration.

    It's possible the back end of your bike got loose in the gravel and maybe you hit the throttle, spun up the rear, hit a pothole (the kind which AK is famous for) and pitched off from there.

    Heck, I was in Mexico (Baja) not two weeks ago and I saw a car pitch to the right, catch the right front tire on the road edge. It careened right, then left, then right bigger left bigger and then spun across to the LEFT road and right off a 15' super steep embankment. Honda Accord no less. I figure the driver was texting and then ran several big over-corrections. All in the space of about maybe 4 seconds. Whoa-Whoa-WHOA-WHOOOW!!! Boom!

    The Miracle was that somehow he missed everyone coming in the other direction. Heh, my buddy Miles (we have over 150,000 miles riding together) was right there with me. The SENA commentary was great.

    Honestly, you can't know for sure. Bearings could have been a problem, no doubt.

    After my crash that did this:

    [​IMG]

    I decided to up my training, do more track days, plan some more dirt time. My gear was solid - and probably saved me from more injuries (7 bones broken in 10 places, life flight, 15 minutes of memories I don't have). All I can do today is stack the deck in my favor going forward.
  5. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

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    PS: for what it's worth, my beloved wife dusted on the Haul Road in '09.

    [​IMG]

    Hit the gravel in a 20 mph corner 20 miles in. Broke two ribs. Rode another 10 days and 4,000 miles that way. Trooper!

    Coulda been so, so much worse.

    [​IMG]
  6. BMW-K

    BMW-K F800GS FTW!

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    As an aside, why is the Touratech tail rack on your F8 bent that way? It almost looks like you wheelied backwards and bent the crap out of it somehow.
  7. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

    Joined:
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    That is from my bike and I endo-ing and cartwheeling down the road 5 or so times at 65ish mph. The paramedic I happened to be riding with saw the whole thing unfold from right behind me and the only thing he can describe seeing is a rear wheel wobble before losing control, no whiskey throttle or potholes. Can’t say for sure but I appreciate the help in reading the clues.
  8. DSRPilot

    DSRPilot Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Pittsburgh, PA
    Another catastrophic bearing failure story: My wife's 2010 BMW F800GS

    Mother's day 2018 (5/13): We had been riding for about 2 hours. Came to a stop light, on green took a left onto a 40 mph road and the bearing let go. We got the bike to the side of the road without incident. Bike shop confirmed a bearing failure and stated there was no corrosion or signs of water in the bearing. They could not determine the cause and were unaware of this ongoing issue with this model.

    I had replaced the sprockets and chain about 5 riding hours before the bearing failed. While the wheel was off I did the finger in the bearing and twist test. Everything felt fine. The bearings had been replaced ONLY 6,000 miles prior at 20k miles on the bike as preventative maintenance.

    Had I known about this 'problem' I would have replaced the bearings with the drive components. And certainly, over the winter I would have sent my wheels somewhere for the service that Woody recommends. I never heard about this until after my wife's incident.

    My wife and I both have F800GS', hers is a 2010, and mine a 2012. We've had these bikes for about 4 years, both were purchased used, so we don't know if the original owners had ever replaced the rear bearings. I just had my rear bearings replaced this winter at 20k miles and my bearings felt fine when replaced. This is just a number in my head that I felt was extremely early and so safer. Guess not on this bike.

    Our riding profile is 90% road, some off road and forest roads when we can. We don't ride in water/rain any more than we have to.

    I'll be voting with my wallet soon and replacing my F800GS and never buying another BMW product.
    My wife wants to keep hers, so I have to figure out how to have her wheel repaired during the riding season without incurring downtime.

    I will be reporting this incident to everyone I can think of. BMW NA, my local dealership, NHTSA, and every F800GS owner I meet or see.

    Forewarned is forearmed.
    squr3l likes this.
  9. RBMann

    RBMann Been here awhile

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    Easy process, buy yourself a new bike then put your 800 wheel on her bike until her wheel is repaired. After everything is good sell your 800. No down time.
  10. The Maz

    The Maz Clueless and lost

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    Which bearing, and who replaced it for you the last time. if it was installed incorrectly (putting a side load on the inner bearing race) the life of the bearing could have been severely compromised.
    The caliper side bearing is the usual culprit. Did it tear up the hub or the rotor?
    If not, just replace the bearing and carry on....
  11. DSRPilot

    DSRPilot Adventurer

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    That's EXACTLY what I'm planning. Waiting for the 2018 Africa Twin, switch back wheels with my F800, and have hers sent away for repairs.
    Question is, when will the AT be available...
  12. DSRPilot

    DSRPilot Adventurer

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    Local bike shop that I've done business with for years replaced the bearings, so I wouldn't expect this to be an installation issue. It was the caliper side and it did not tear up the hub or rotor. My wife thought she had a flat tire and the whole bike shook when moving about once per chain rotation. The bike was only on the road for a few hundred feet once the bearing went.

    Luckily, it happened at a slow speed. Things could have turned out differently, and having checked the bearings 5 riding hours before the failure is pretty scary. I mean, we're on bikes, so we're starting with a high level of risk, but to have a known problem, a FIXABLE known problem, add that kind of risk is indefensible.
  13. BygDaddee

    BygDaddee Where do I get a pie

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    Have you inspected your spacers for wear on the surface were the seal runs ?

    squr3l likes this.
  14. DSRPilot

    DSRPilot Adventurer

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    Bike shop told me everything else looked fine including the spacers and seals. The mechanic actually called me after my wife had picked up the bike to tell me he couldn't determine the cause of the bearing failure. No corrosion, no sign of water, still lubricated. He told me he does that for every bearing failure.
    By the time I got that phone call, I had found this thread and had read enough of it to understand the fault.
  15. squr3l

    squr3l alpaca

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    I can say in my case I had prematurely replaced my perfect looking OEM spacers with the Scheflmeier (sp?) steel upgraded replacements around 12k miles when the bearings felt fine to the touch and wrecked at about 18k during a long trip.
  16. DSRPilot

    DSRPilot Adventurer

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    I'll look around and see what I can find... Thanks.

    upload_2018-5-30_14-20-55.png
    squr3l likes this.
  17. seandiddy

    seandiddy Psshhh, Yeah!

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    I'm currently replacing my bearings - I have ordered SKF 6204 2RS bearings... does anyone know the difference between the 2RS and the 2RSH versions of these? Looking at their site, they don't even show just a 2RS, but that's what motion industries just ordered for me.
  18. Motoriley

    Motoriley Still riding like crap after all these years.

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  19. seandiddy

    seandiddy Psshhh, Yeah!

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  20. ericrat

    ericrat Long timer Supporter

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    The RS seals are Nitrile rubber and the RSH are some kind of Fluoroelastomer. The RSH would be resistant to more heat and chemicals, but I don't that makes any difference in our application.
    seandiddy likes this.