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Old 6 Dec 2009
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Replacing Ring Gear Bearing on the road

The failure mode for the R1150GS is the final drive ring gear bearinng. They should be replaced as a matter of course if you are setting out on a bike with more than 35,000 miles. I ended up having mine fail 40 Km's from Batopilas on the road down from Creel. Unable to get a truck to help me get down and unable to get someone to agree to call for assistance from Batopilas, I ended up changing the bearing on the road.

I stopped for a short break and saw the pooled oil on the tire. I then made it about another half Km or so to the only house I'd seen so far on the road. I pulled the bearing cover and the seal was completely gone, http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/d...w/P1000736.jpg saw the bearing cage was also gone.
I removed the ring gear, and using a Jet Boil stove for a heat source was able to pry off the old bearing. http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/d...w/P1000735.jpg

There are complete instruction on Advrider for changing the bearing. The seal goes in from the inside out. I only had 20-50 motor engine oil and it got me to Batopilas.

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Old 6 Dec 2009
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Good work there mate!

My seal slowly started to leak at around 105 000km doing the Ruta 40 in Argentina. But from a curiosity I wanted to try replacing the bearing as well doing it in the "bush".

And as you already know it is actually very easy to do if you know how to do it by using heat both on removal and on installation of the new bearing. I also used my camping stove (you can use hot exhaust while bike running on center-stand as an alternative! and use your motorcycle gloves to operate with the hot bits).

I always crarry main bearing and seal with me - even BMW-original costs less than a chain+sprocket set, weights times less to carry it with you.

But your 35K Mi bearing failure smells like a bad shimming to me unless you do extreme offroad or load the bike constantly to carry over 500kg. Re-check your bearing preload (shimming) before you do your next big trip!

Mine went well over 60K miles before any sign of bearing wearing out (metal bits in the oil is the first warning sign) and I mostly travel on bad potholed roads, occasionally technical offroad bits and this is all the time with fully loaded bike 2up, places where most people would not dare to go 2up.

Main bevel box bearing should go well over 50K miles when shimmed close to perfect (max +/-0.10mm off the spec). Over 100K when shimmed perfect even if abused with constant offroad and high loads (like mine is).

Ride safe, Margus
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Old 6 Dec 2009
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I'll remember the tip about using the exhaust! I had 53730 miles on the bike when I stopped and saw the oil. I was carrying 70 Kg of gear including my riding suit on a solo from Seattle to Batopilas. I only offered 35k miles as a guide for those who might set out for a tour, the most failures may occur between 40 and 50,000 miles, although some get more. It does seem to be related to shimming and weight. Also, you're correct, the weight diff is better vs a chain and sprocket.

What kind of puller do you carry? All things considered, i doubt that I'll be having this failure again in a place so remote that I cant get to a shop, but I'll alway continue to carry an extra bearing and seals with me again.


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Old 14 Dec 2009
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I posted a picture "how to" change this bearing on the road 3 years ago on ADV rider using the exhaust to heat the bearing.

Don't replace the seal if it isn't leaking, 95% of the time if it isn't leaking it will still work ok. So you can save the unused seal for another emergency.
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