Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > BMW Tech

BMW Tech BMW Tech Forum - For Questions specific and of interest to BMW riders only. Questions comparing which bike is best etc go in the "Which Bike" forum.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

7 Litre Camel Tank Lets You Explore More, Click to Find out More!

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 1 Jun 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Malton UK
Posts: 4
Leaking from shaft drive??

I just returned home from a 300 mile blast round the lakes on my 1100GS. Just as I got home I noticed the rear wheel was covered in green viscous oil? it has only happened in the last few miles as I had just stopped earlier and all was well. It is all over the shaft drive and the right hand side of the bike. It is only the rear section of bike, nothing forward of the rear wheel and not from the suspension. I cannot locate the exact place it is coming from and I left it over night and no more has come out. It probably spat out about a cupfull!
Does this mean I blown something to do with the shaft drive seal??
Anyone any ideas, I'm loathed to drive it anywhere to get sorted in case I make it worse driving there!

Last edited by Ginna; 1 Jun 2010 at 10:35.
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jun 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Norwich,Ontario,Canada
Posts: 788
Take the bike into the dealership pronto, do not ride anymore.
If the back wheel is covered in thick oil it is obvious you have blown an oil seal in either the rear drive bevel gear housing , in which case riding more will dry it out and ruin it, or the seal on the gearbox output shaft has blown and the oil is draining down into the shaft housing and then out. Same advice, do not ride until everything is put right again.
The rear bevel drive gear seal will also get ruined and leak when the large bearing inside breaks Same story, get it fixed before more damage is done./.The rear wheel unit only holds about 3 cupfulls ,827ml so it does not take much leaking to loose it all.
Also it is not a good thing to get oil all over the disc brake.
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jun 2010
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Montreal
Posts: 104
Hi Ginna,

Like Sjoerd suggests, it sounds a whole lot like to me like "The rear bevel drive gear seal will also get ruined and leak when the large bearing inside breaks". But the FD holds only about 250ml of oil, at least in our 1100.

We have had a failure of the gearbox output shaft seal and they tend to only weep a bit father than gush when they fail. Your leak does not sound like this.

There is an easy way to determine for sure. Just take off the rear wheel and you will be able to plainly see the Final Drive seal and assess damage.

Removing the final drive is fairly straightforward and requires a heat gun and a few basic tools which are good to have in any event. So rather than towing the whole bike to the shop, look up how to remove the FD and just bring that in. And if you are feeling particularly mechanical you can change that bearing and seal yourself. This will require a few extra tools but is apparently quite "doable" in a half day.

Check Gspot on advrider.com for more info than you can shake a stick at on how to do this. Also, UKGSer.com is a great resource for anything mechanical.

Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jun 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Malton UK
Posts: 4
Thanks for the replies, I took your joint advice and got the bike straight into a garage. The guy there agreed with you, on the diagnosis and is fixing it as we speak.
Once again thanks, first time I've used the HUBB for advice and it came up trumps
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jun 2010
AliBaba's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Norway
Posts: 1,352
There are two ways oil can escape your bevel box. Through the mentioned seal and through the breather.
If the breather is clogged or you your oil-level is to high the breather will leak, the oil hits the rim and goes everywhere. It's more likely a seal-problem but cleaning the breather and checking the oil-level is done in a few minutes. There are multiple reasons why the oil-level might rise so I get back to that if necessary.

If it is the seal it might be because your bearing is toast. If not changing the seal is done in 30 minutes. The seal normally lasts more then 200kkm, what's your mileage?

There are multiple ways to check the bearing, the bearing is more or less like a wheel-bearing on normal bike. Sit on the left side of the bike and grab the wheel and se if there are any play. If you don't find any play then drain your oil and look for metal from the bearing.
The bearing is located directly inside the seal and when/if you remove the seal you will se if it's okay.

It's possible to change the bearing yourself, Margus roadside repair:
03.2010 Laos - ::. UKGSer.com .::

Some more info, nice pictures on last page: How to check your Final drive bearing - 1100/1150 - ::. UKGSer.com .::

There is a good "how to" on adv but it's down right now. There is also a video that shows the complete process (incl shimming) I can see if I find it if you like.
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jun 2010
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Norwich,Ontario,Canada
Posts: 788
Right you are Brian , The number of ml I mentioned was more in line with the total 5 speed transmission capacity, just in a hurry and not thinking so early in the morning I guess. . Like you say the rear bevel gear only holds barely a cupfull - all the more reason to not ride any further!
Your problem is being corrected now in a shop Ginna , good for you.
From experience I can say that I really would rather not get into repairing it myself.Last year the bearing on nmy GS1100 went and it was definitely and clearly noticeable with all the grinding and crunching noises it made and oil coming out. Bearing seal replacement may well be a simple task but if the bearing is gone you need a lot more shop tools, press, skill and patience to get it ou t and reassemble the whole bevel gear plot with the proper clearances because the whole thing has to come apart for cleaning.Actually , I am sort of glad that it did crap out where it did in Guatemala because the total bill for the repair came to -gasp -$155 US equivalent at the official BMW store in GT City. I don't think any US or CDN dealership would have been so gentle on my wallet =) !
Reply With Quote
Old 1 Jun 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Malton UK
Posts: 4
Well the bike has only done 47K and the rear bearing was changed last year, about 6K ago for the MOT. So I am kinda hoping that it is just the seal. I shall await the call from the garage and let you know!!
Reply With Quote
Old 2 Jun 2010
Oz Oz is offline
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Kendal, Cumbria, England
Posts: 110
next time ginna? dont go trying to chase down ktm 950's. its obvious your old tractor just isnt up for it and something will blow!!!!!!! glad you got some good advice and it aint too serious. get it fixed asap so scotland is still on.
suerte amigo
Reply With Quote
Old 5 Jun 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Malton UK
Posts: 4
Ha OZ how true, but at least it was a comfy ride in your wake, not a rock hard saddle like you have ha ha!
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 2 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 2 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
leaking seal between gearbox and drive shaft KevOK BMW Tech 2 3 Nov 2009 10:52
Chain or shaft drive? pauldelft Which Bike? 45 30 Jan 2008 21:58
1988 r100 gs shaft drive radioactiveangel BMW Tech 4 5 Oct 2006 17:18
R1200GS Drive Shaft Area Noise and Leaking Oil jv3 BMW Tech 9 12 Jul 2005 21:32
R1100gs Shaft Drive David A BMW Tech 5 12 Dec 2001 01:48


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 00:47.