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  #1  
Old 6 Sep 2007
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Bmw Final Drive

Have they been a problem in long trips and RTWs ? If so what year bike was it and share your personal story dealing with the problem.

The Iron Butt Rally this year had 3 final drive failures does that make it an issue ? I know chain and sprocket failure is more common with other makes just wondering about BMW.

Thank You
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  #2  
Old 6 Sep 2007
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Visit ADVRider website and do some research ,there is lots of info there .
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Old 6 Sep 2007
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Have you ever felt like your heart and other valuable organs, maybe your guts too, have been ripped out of you without any notice?
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  #4  
Old 15 Sep 2007
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I believe there is a problem with the 1200 generation bikes for sure. Go over to Advrider and look at the GS forum. It is plagued with post, not only of final drives problems but a host of other issues too? I am glad I have an 1100 after seeing all of that.
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  #5  
Old 15 Sep 2007
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35k miles on mine and still going strong!

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  #6  
Old 15 Sep 2007
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Drive spline troubles was an issue with the early parlever models. Also the models pre monolever. seems the best were the mono levers before the paralevers.
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  #7  
Old 20 Sep 2007
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final drive issues

My final drive (1981 R80 G/S monolever) started leaking from the main seal at mile 5,000 of an 8,000 mile trip (45,000 miles on the bike). I watched the oil level closely and refilled when needed. It was a little inconvenient, and oil was spattered all over my rear tire, but the final drive held up. I've since had it rebuilt.
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  #8  
Old 20 Sep 2007
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ahhhhhh i remember my old K100RT

245,000 miles not a bit of trouble......... wish i still had her
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  #9  
Old 20 Sep 2007
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final drive

What was passed along to me regarding the final drive was that bmw originally ran the bikes for a certain amount of hrs to "teethe" the rear drive units.The process of the 600 mile break in and replacement of the break in oil is the same but some years weren't "teethed". For some reason.... money... they decided that this process was not necessary and discontinued it. The failure rate on the models that were not included in this "teething" was high, so they reintroduced it. I asked if the vin number could identify whether or not my bike went through this process. They said no. It was recomended to me to make sure the final drive oil is changed at 36,000 mile intervals. More frequently depending on your paranoia level. I hope that helps some of you out there. Best, Smitty
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  #10  
Old 31 Jan 2008
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160 000 km no worries

160 000 km before a rebuild on my 1996 r11gs. replaced drive shaft at that time too.
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  #11  
Old 31 Jan 2008
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Smile Bearings

It depends from lot of factors IMHO.

1200 failure rate maybe isn't surpassing 1100 or 1150 rate, coz they've sold a 'zillion' R1200GSes already - it's the most sold big trailie model in the World, so we statistically see all the faults picture a bit "exaggerated" compared to bikes that are much less produced (i.e. 1100/1150 GS, older mono or paralever airheads et. al.). It's the bad news that makes the news and we don't know how many happy 1200 owners there are on the road who are not reporting about anything, who just ride.

I've just opened up my '98 R1100GS paralever at 73Kkms for inspection for the first time. The bearings are fine, but I'd expect the cone (needle) bearings to last around double that (around 150Kkm) since the bearing indicators show they're about half worn. I do some offroading, and always 2 up fully loaded when travelling, so for tar only use and lightly loaded bike they'll certanly last longer.

Swingarm bearings didn't had problems, slack or stiff movement. I replaced both the cone and swingarm bearings as "while I was there" jobby and as a perp for the next longer overland travel.

The feared "I was left on the road" scenareo: the bevel box'es main bearing packing in is another story, and I don't check it before it just gives up or gives me a clue of giving up (metal pieces/dust on the magnetic plug when replacing the oil). I have a spare main bearing with the main seal always with me on my travels if it decides to pack in. They take very little room and cost little. So far I haven't got a need for them on my travels.


Couple of things I do and keep in mind:

- I replace the bevel box oil every 10,000km (requires only around 200ml of GL5 spec transmission oil anyways - dead easy job and costs almost nothing), altough BM recommends at every 20,000km. Since I do some offroad (think how much work it has to do) and lot of potholed gravel roads, so I do it together with every engine oil replacement.

- Ride the whole transmission (gearbox details, shaft's universal joints, oil, seals & all the bearings) warm before starting to ride the bike harder and faster. Start very slow, especially on the bad roads - bearings warm up much slower than details in the engine. It's also good for suspension details and seals to warm up, same goes to chain drived bikes that have chain liks as moving parts and swingarm+wheel bearings that take longer time to warm up. I'm riding at least 10-15 minutes carefully, starting very slow and going gently faster before I hit a bad road full throttle. (it's unconfirmed, but I'm guessing lot of FD, wheel, swingarm bearing failures are with the guys who start to ride the bike "full throttle" when the bike is fully cold - many mechanically-unknowing bikers unfortunately do so - i.e. camp a night in the wild, wake up in the very cold morning, jump on the bike and freshheaded "yeehaa" style of fast riding on potholed road just seconds after hitting the starter for the first time)

- When riding through rivers, etc watercrossings and FD bevel box has been underwater for a longer time, replace the bevel box oil ASAP.

Last edited by Margus; 31 Jan 2008 at 19:57.
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  #12  
Old 1 Feb 2008
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Ahhh the 1200GS!!!

I have two of these bikes, the one I have in Australia has been fine both on road and off road. Just electrical problems that BMW in Brisbane won't acknowledge or repair. But thats ok, I ca take care of this myself. The other I have in Tanzania with me now after riding from the Mid east. Have'nt had any diff probs yet.......and I say yet. But have had probs with Wheels (rims) and suspension both ends failed at the first sight of dirt roads!! Thats ok, I had to hobble into Nairobi and went to see the BMW dealer there to claim warranty on these units, easy I thought??? Well that was in October '07. It's now February and I have finally heard from BMW Germany through the dealer in Kenya that they will replace the shocks but not the rims even though they have bent everytime I hit any kind of stone. Poor quality alloy!

Anyway to cut a long story (and countless emails without answer) short I am to get a pair of shocks. Too bad they won't air freight them so I must wait another 3 months! That is 6 months for something a Jap dealer would have cleared up in 1. After this, I will never by a BMW again. Really you pay a lot of money for something that is really substandard! And service, forget about it cause there isn't any when your traveling!

So, does anyone want to buy a BM because I am sellin all 6 that I own.

R50/3 1954
R50/3 1961
R100S 1979
R100GS PD 1991
R1200GS 2005
R1200GS 2004 (in Africa)

Cheers.
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  #13  
Old 1 Feb 2008
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Hi Margus! The 1200 final drive is a sealed unit without a vent. Water should not be a problem, and i've yet to here of one with water contamination. Please enlighten me if this is not the case. Af far as final drive problems, it's kinda a shot in the dark, with maybe a 5% chance of it failing. There's lots of discusion as to why the ones that fail do fail, but there has been no decisive information on that topic. some believe it from improper break-in. The stock oil has moly aditive, which IMHO is counter-productive to breaking in a gear-set and bearings. That being said, BMW now recommends changing the oil at 1000 km, with 20 ml less oil, that being 230 ml from the stock 250 ml. It could be that people over fill the drive, causing seal failure and ultimately resulting in final drive failure. There's a lot of hype about the new drain plug on the bottom, i feel this will only result in people neglecting applying grease to the driveshaft when servicing the oil. Personally, i feel it's a superior system to the previous models in design, only because mine hasn't failed in 40k km
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Old 1 Feb 2008
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Hi Dingo,

you had alloy wheels then? I don't know much about alloy wheels rather than they all break or bend compared to any spoked wheel if you're a hard handed rider.

If you had OEM cross spoked wheels they're one of the strongest out there IMHO, unless you haven't kept correct tire pressures or just have no mechanical sense of things (i.e. riding 100kph over laid bricks on the road). I think even racing EXCEL wheels are less strong due to weight compromises, and even Dakar racers have to be careful how they ride their £££ costing factory bikes not to damage their expensive racing wheels.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with BMW Germany or any bigger dealer that has it's hands full of work selling cars, carbits, service, bikes, bikebits, service etc. 1. They don't want to be bothered with "small problems" 2. They're uncompetent with parts. Tho there are couple of very competent BMW parts companies in Germany too I've heard, but for english speakers Motobins or Sherlock is the place to order your parts - they have huge stock both new and s/h bits and they put the stuff on the way within 24h anywhere in the World with the shipping method affordable for you (1-3 day arrival anywhere in the World DHL/Fedex etc also available). I think the "finding parts in the middle of nowhere" issue long belongs into history with the modern way of organizing things. You can't find parts stocked for any modern bike in the most of the third world anyways IMHO, unless you ride a Honda C90, and if to deal with big unspecialized dealers or directly with factory you have to be unknowing or just plain stupid - like I waited couple of small plastic bits for my Suzuki over half a year too, and this in civilized Europe! e-mails unanswered. While I could have ordered them from a small specialized dealer with couple of days delay...

It was a good lesson for me at least dealing with parts on any make.

Cheers, Margus

Last edited by Margus; 1 Feb 2008 at 07:04.
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  #15  
Old 1 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Ron View Post
Hi Margus! The 1200 final drive is a sealed unit without a vent. Water should not be a problem, and i've yet to here of one with water contamination. Please enlighten me if this is not the case. Af far as final drive problems, it's kinda a shot in the dark, with maybe a 5% chance of it failing. There's lots of discusion as to why the ones that fail do fail, but there has been no decisive information on that topic. some believe it from improper break-in. The stock oil has moly aditive, which IMHO is counter-productive to breaking in a gear-set and bearings. That being said, BMW now recommends changing the oil at 1000 km, with 20 ml less oil, that being 230 ml from the stock 250 ml. It could be that people over fill the drive, causing seal failure and ultimately resulting in final drive failure. There's a lot of hype about the new drain plug on the bottom, i feel this will only result in people neglecting applying grease to the driveshaft when servicing the oil. Personally, i feel it's a superior system to the previous models in design, only because mine hasn't failed in 40k km
Hi Ron,

Hmm... Eralier 1200 didn't had any drain plug, but not sure if they didn't had any vent - I've seen couple of HP2 pics having long vent extensions who plan to do lot of river crossings etc:



But maybe it was only HP2s?

The 2008 models have the paralever now upgraded - ratio is changed, and now servicable too(?) At least on BMW web they officially now say "More serene – a drive train that won’t let you down." Let's see if this is true in a couple of years

Cheers, Margus
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