When Should I Change My Final Drive Fluid?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by mafpolo, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. mafpolo

    mafpolo Been here awhile

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    My '06 lives in a climate controlled garage (battery tender always attached), and gets fluid changes and maintenance every two years. I only have 5,075 miles on it. When I bought it I was still riding a lot, but had three bikes. Shortly thereafter, my riding group disappeared. Two found golf and stopped riding, two people moved, and the only female in the group got married, and her new hubby didn't want her riding. I don't ride much at all in the summer (too hot and humid and won't ride unless all gear is on). Recently found a buddy to ride with. Neither of us knew we rode and we both ride GS's.



    The shop that takes care of my bike (local dealer is lousy, so I won't use them) told me he doesn't believe that the final drive fluid needs to be changed. I don't know enough to make the call on that based on time or miles. Should I have it changed, and if so what should it cost?
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  2. Lead Wrist

    Lead Wrist Mehr Gelände Weniger Straße

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    Originally, FD fluid was "lifetime fill" but that has changed after all of the blown FDs cases started to be reported out. Then, the fill qty was reduced to 180ml and I believe recommended to change the fluid every 12K. With your low mi, you could add it to your yearly maintenance and fluid changes...

    Your mechanic may be still living in the yesteryear time of '05-'06 when FD oil was "lifetime fill"...

    It's relatively easy to do except the FD needs to be dropped down to drain old fluid out - at the same time FD splines can be lubed too. To someone who knows what/how to do it, it should take less than hr - ymmv...:deal
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  3. GS Addict

    GS Addict Pepperfool Supporter

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    ^^^
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  4. Dan-M

    Dan-M Long timer Supporter

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    Changing the fluid regularly is cheap insurance. I generally do it every time I have the tire off.
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  5. Callisto224

    Callisto224 Long timer Supporter

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    You can get away with changing it every 6,000 miles. As Lead Wrist said, clean and lube the splines as well.

    Cost will vary from shop to shop but I would think you're looking in the $150-$250 range for a FD drain and fill with spline lube.

    If you can do it yourself, it's about $25 worth of lube and gear oil.
    #5
  6. oldfool

    oldfool Long timer

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    I change all fluids final drive, brake , and clutch every other year. Engine oil every 3,000 miles. I like my stuff to last a long time.
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  7. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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  8. mafpolo

    mafpolo Been here awhile

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    Thanks everybody. I am going to do or get it done.
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  9. lewisjr1

    lewisjr1 Long timer Supporter

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    That's a fair point, but 3K mi. for an engine oil change is way short. You could easily ride synthetic engine oil to 6-8K mi.

    Nothing wrong with excess maintenance. I'm even a fan of it, but you win.
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  10. LAFS

    LAFS Long timer

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    Miles not time is what BlackStone labs told me. I said well even 3 year old oil and his answer was the oil is still good until the additive packages start to break down, they break down due to use, at a molecular level, NOT time.

    24K is the fluid change interval for FD.
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  11. Rider2

    Rider2 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Sounds like the OP isn't changing fluids based on mileage but on time. I realize it's an oilhead so not not an exact match but the way I interpret BMW recommendations for wetheads, service should be:
    • Oil and filter annually
    • FD oil every other year (even you have a "lubed for life" FD, experience has shown this was not actually such a good recommendation)
    • Brake fluid every other year (alternate them: FD one year, brakes the next, FD/Brake/etc.)
    • Plugs/air filter/valves - they say every 12K but really if you have a 14-year old bike with 5K on it maybe just do it every 5 years or so because it'll be mid-2030's before it accumulates enough miles.)
    Synthetic oil really doesn't need to be changed anywhere near as frequently as BMW recommends. Once my wethead got to 120K, it started using enough oil that it wouldn't last until the next 6K maintenance interval. I'd been having the oil analyzed and it was showing no wear and the oil properties (viscosity, shear, additive package) were still good. So I just added a quart and changed it when it needed a 2nd quart. I did that a few times and oil analysis was still showing good at 10K intervals, and I was toying with the idea of extending the interval to 15K but I sold the bike before I made up my mind. Valves had never checked out of spec so going 3K beyond the recommended interval didn't worry me.
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  12. Rockred

    Rockred Been here awhile

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    I changed my final drive oil a month ago when I did a routine service. It was in lockdown, so I changed the final drive oil, as I had the oil and the time. The oil had only done 6000 miles, and it was almost as clean as the new oil that went in, so 12000 miles it will be next time. Have ago at doing it yourself, it really is an easy job, and I find it very satisfying, not to mention the time saved going to the Dealer/Indie and the money saved.
    #12
  13. LAFS

    LAFS Long timer

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    If it was Dino that would be good. We changed Dino every 2500 miles for 30 years growing up in our house. My UOA BlackStone came back and said the oil was fine at 6000 miles and recommend I run it out to 6500. I did not, and have not had it tested in a while but I never ever worry if I am 500 or 1000 miles over on a trip or something that Synth oil is good for a lot more then 7K. UOA back to back, can get you extended out on your oil changes, where it may be your particular bike can go 8 or 9k with enough additives left. I am not advocating 8K oil changes but with UOA you can extend to the safest distance possible and that may be 8K or longer.
    #13