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  #1  
Old 6 Jun 2009
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GS 1200 rear bearing. Do they usually break down?

Hi. I´m at Budapest preparing the next step on my way to Mongolia. I met here a good non official BMW mechanic and he told me If I ride off road I will get a rear wheel failure because the bearing. Tipically BMW problem, he says.

But this is an off road trip. He asks less than 200 euros for the whole fixing, so I think he is not trying to rip me off. The problem is the part shouldn´t arrive till monday 8th June and my Russian visa (a nightmare to obtain it) starts on 11 th and finishes on 14th. If I wait for the part, I will have to cross Ukrania as a thunderbolt and I don´t think it´s a goo idea to ride so fast there.

I don´t know what to do because this bike is only 25.000 km and never got into the wild. I feel her perfect but I don´t want to imagine what could be if the rear wheel bearing fails in Kazajstan. He also could ship the part to Ukrania and I can get it there, but it seems not an easy work to replace it. Would know Kazajstan mechanics how to fix it even with the workshop book? Does someone know anything about these kind of bearing problems? I rode a R80 GS (1992) all over Africa and nothing wrong happened with the rear wheel.

Thanks.
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Old 6 Jun 2009
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I've done around 3500 miles offroad on a 1200GS and 1200GSA without a wheel bearing failure. But bearings do occasionally fail and I had one go on my 2008 F650GS twin in April in Fez (only 13000 miles on the clock of which less than 300 offroad).

But bearings are generic items, there's nothing special about BMW bearings. The local moped shop in Fez measured the failed bearing and sent a lad off to get a replacement. He was back in ten minutes with one the right size, however the mechanic wasn't happy and he sent the lad off again for a slightly different version with coverings over the side of the bearing.

They didn't have a bearing puller but mechanics in these types of countries know all the tricks. He welded another bearing inside the BMW one so it could be drifted out from the other side. Total time taken was about 1.5 hours. Total cost for parts and labour was 100DH which is about €9.

So if you think you are not being taken for a ride with the "less than €200", think again!!!

Tim
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Old 6 Jun 2009
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Thanks

Useful information. Thanks. Looking up the BMW book, it seems a not an easy fixing: heating, cooling, etc. 3 hours work at least and a BMW part in adition. Paying 200 euos is much worth than a break down in the middle of nowhere. In Spain than kind of fixing it would cost much more, and Hungary I see is not cheap as it was since they are in UE. I will take the part with me and we´ll see what is going on.

Thanks again.
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Old 6 Jun 2009
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I have heard stories that the 1200GS rear bearings are a bit prone to early failure but that is all hearsay to me.
However I do know about the 1100 GS as I ride a 1999 model , and I can relate from experience that getting the rear bearing replaced is not a simple case of dropping by the local bearing supply shop.
The bearings are inside the bevel drive housing and if one goes the whole assembly has to come apart.It needs a special large size bearing and a smaller roller bearing and new BMW oil seals for re -assembly and some skill in getting the tolerances between the bevel gears set up correctly. .

My rear large wheel bearings broke up this year , but that was with a total of 241 000 km accumulated, so it is in my case not a very common event.But I do mainly highway touring and some modest gravel road exploring which does include the occasional very hard bumps .
Is it really an "off-road" trip you are making or more realistically a "poor roads " trip?. If you now actually have a failing bearing there is nothing to do but get it fixed regardless of your time limits. If it is not showing symptoms why would you replace it as a pre-emtive strike ? Is it very high km already ?
The break -up in my case happened in Guatemala and the official BMW dealership charged $200 Canadian dollar equivalent for parts and labour and it took about 8 hours.

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 6 Jun 2009 at 16:19.
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Old 7 Jun 2009
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I´ve also heard of bearing failures, especially about 1150 GS; but there are also people telling these tales are bullshit. The bike is in very good condition, the former owner just did few urban rides and I´m not carrying heavy luggage (I learnt you always need less than you bring, even when you go very far). I´m not going to do motocross, I´m just expecting poor roads, paths and gravel roads, but as I´m travelling alone, I will slow down anyway. The expected mileage is high because I want to go back through Kazajstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Greece and Italy. If the bearing fails and no one can fix it I should ship the bike back. But that´s the game. Isn´t it?

Thans for answer.
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Old 7 Jun 2009
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Have a look through some of these threads...

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Old 7 Jun 2009
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I'm with Tim on this one, bearings are genereic and available anywhere. I did one of my rear bearings in Kazakhstan on my Burgman last year. It was the right bearing - the opposite side to my bevel drive and was an easy fix. Interestingly I had brought spare front bearings with me (because I had previously had a failure) but not the rears.

Which raises the question - are there one or two bearings in the GS rear end - I would have thought a minimum of 2, possibly 3.

Miquel, I suggest you repair the bearings when they fail - not before, unless they are obviously loose and/or binding. I am sure the pounding the bearings received from the corrugations on the bad roads I travelled between Khabarosk and Chita, and in Kazakstan, were what caused my bearings to fail in the first place. If you replace them now, you will likely need to replace them again once you travel those roads anyway.

Enjoy your ride.

Garry from Oz.
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Old 10 Jun 2009
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Thanks all. Sincerely.

I got the bearing, the seal and the oil in Budapest. I kept them in my lugage and left the city. I´m in Mariupol, Ukrain, where the people looks like angry and the roads are just a big hole. Tomorrow getting into Russia. I think it´s possible a mechanic failure in Kazahstan, but it´s not going to be the FD or the bearing. If it happens, I will be something I have no spare. Bussiness as usual.
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Old 17 Jun 2009
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If you are interested, send me an email (jc4ever@telkomsa.net) and I will forward you an article (in english) that was published regarding the rear wheel bearing failures of both 1150 and 1200. It's in Jpeg form, scanned from a magazine.
It does not give a sulotion for the problem, but is a good read. The bottom line is that both the 1150 and 1200GS has lots of bearing problems.

My 1150Gs had 5 rear wheel bearing failures in only 130,000kms. The first one failed in the middle of the desert 500kms from the next city (Oman). I hitched a ride on the back of a truck to the city, but it was not a nice experience.
I fixed the problem after the 5th bearing went on me in the USA with a different type of bearing, but the 1200GS has a very differnt bearing and design.
Some people get to ride 100,000kms and more without any problems? Most people are not so lucky.

Johan
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Old 22 Jun 2009
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no bearing problems so far...

Knock on wood, but I got Almaty without any problem about my final drive. Around the Aral Sea, I ve been riding the worst non roads I´ve ever seen. Jumping from hole to hole or crunching the shocks on the toughest gravel roads, the bike worked perfectly so far. Hope she works perfect the rest of the trip.
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Old 22 Jun 2009
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Congrats! They're great bikes, and IMHO very reliable despite all of the nay-saying.
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