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R1100RT rear wheel "clicks"


GAMalong

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I hope this topic hasn't been discussed elsewhere, I have the impression it has because I've seen references to rear wheel bearing failure but I can't find specifics. I learned a lot from browsing these forums prior to purchasing my bike and greatly appreciate all the advice/knowledge in them.

 

Anyway, I recently bought a 2000 R1100RT with 8500 miles on it. I absolutely love the bike. However, the other day I was checking the rear wheel and noticed a "click".

 

I'm squatting on the right-hand side of the bike, towards the rear. In this position I can look through the "spokes" of the rear wheel. I then hold the frame, under the passenger seat with my right hand, grasp the top-most portion of the tire (not the wheel) with my left hand, and pull towards me. While doing this I get a distintive "click" feel about 1/2 the time.

 

This is the only time I get the "click". If I grasp the rear-most portion of the tire and pull towards me then it doesn't happen. Also, if push the tire (holding it anywhere) it doesn't happen.

 

I'm worried that this indicates a bearing failure. Unfortunately, I'm also worried that I'm just imagining things or making mountains out of molehills. Does anyone have any experience with this? Suggestions/comments would be appreciated. If it matters it has ABS.

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Stan Walker

Use two hands, one top, one bottom, in a push / pull then pull / push motion. Any play is a problem. I also try is one front, one rear.

 

Most likely cause for play is loose final drive pivot pins and bearings. At 8500 miles it's unlikely that your final drive bearing is toast. But, you don't know the history on the bike so anything is possible.

 

Try the above and get back to us.

 

Stan

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With such low milage, its not likely the bearings. Remove the caliper and see if the noise goes away. Is so, it could be worn "buttons" that attach the disk to the hub.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
With such low milage, its not likely the bearings. Remove the caliper and see if the noise goes away. Is so, it could be worn "buttons" that attach the disk to the hub.

 

Rear wheel on the 1100RT does not have the same "floating rotor" configuration as the front wheel: the rotor is rigidly fastened to the hub.

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Stan Walker

You might want to check the torque on the rear wheel attachment bolts, s/b 105 Nm. A loose wheel wouldn't be at all funny at speed.

 

Stan

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Thanks everyone for your help. Stan, I tried using your method and the movement is definitely there. It's not much movement, just enough to tell something is happening, you can't see it using any reference point I've looked at though.

 

I checked the torque on the wheel nuts and they're good. I then took the wheel off and tried your push/pull method on just the rear disc. It's harder to get a feel because there is much less leverage but I swear the movement is still there.

 

I rode it two days ago and it rides fine.

 

Any help/suggestions are greatly appreciated.

 

Greg-

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Stan Walker

the movement is definitely there. It's not much movement, just enough to tell something is happening, you can't see it using any reference point I've looked at though.

 

My '02 came from the factory with just a tiny little bit of movement. I ignored it for about 50,000 miles before it started to get worse. Then I adjusted the pivot bearing to remove the play. Somewhere around 70,000 miles I lubed the splines, replaced the pivot bearings, and one of the pivot pins that the bearing had been rotating on (wasn't rolling like a good bearing should). While these bearings are a known weak point on the bike, they fail gradually giving lots of warning.

 

I'm a little anal about this, so I check my final drive like you just did every week while I'm checking the tire pressure.

 

My advise would be to get a second opinion from your local dealer, or someone with more experience wrenching on oilheads. It's hard to judge how much play you have over the internet.

 

Stan

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Yes, the swingarm bearings are subject to a failure mode called false brinelling due to the fact that don't don't really rotate enough in operation for the bearing to work properly. As Stan noted this causes a rather slow and predictable failure, and means that you may have to adjust the swingarm bearings every 20k or so. Eventually it will get bad enough to require replacement but it's no big deal when that time comes as the bearings are pretty easy to replace. If replacing the bearings every 50k or so bugs you there apparently are some bronze sleeves available in the aftermarket that don't suffer from this problem (although they haven't really been around long enough to see what new problems they may introduce. grin.gif)

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Thanks Stan & smiller. As the movement is real small I think I'll just keep an eye on it for a while. If it doesn't seem to be getting any worse I'll just plan on adjusting the swing arm at around 20k and replacing bearings around 50k. The idea of replacing them doesn't bother me. Just the idea of having them go suddenly while riding. Doesn't sound like that happens. Thanks again to everyone.

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"While these bearings are a known weak point on the bike, they fail gradually giving lots of warning."

 

Stan, last year at the Lima Rally they talked about this bearing failure. They mentioned it seems to happen between 35K and 50K. My bike had 45K. I left the seminar and checked my bike, the bearing felt solid. About 300 miles later I made a right turn, heard a noise and felt a vibration. I pulled over and checked the wheel. Not much top to bottom play, but a severe roughness as I rotated the wheel. You could really feel it in the luggage carrier. I limped home (about 100 miles). Took the bike to the dealer and the crown bearing was toast.

 

Hopefully I'm good for another 45K.

 

Now if that Hall sensor will hang in there I'll be happy. smirk.gif

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"While these bearings are a known weak point on the bike, they fail gradually giving lots of warning."

 

Stan, last year at the Lima Rally they talked about this bearing failure. They mentioned it seems to happen between 35K and 50K. My bike had 45K. I left the seminar and checked my bike, the bearing felt solid. About 300 miles later I made a right turn, heard a noise and felt a vibration. I pulled over and checked the wheel. Not much top to bottom play, but a severe roughness as I rotated the wheel. You could really feel it in the luggage carrier. I limped home (about 100 miles). Took the bike to the dealer and the crown bearing was toast.

I think we were (or at least I was) referring to the swingarm pivot bearings, not the crown bearing.
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Stan Walker

I think we were (or at least I was) referring to the swingarm pivot bearings, not the crown bearing

 

Me too.

 

The crown gear bearing (really the main rear wheel bearing) doesn't give a lot of warning when it goes. Nor has the history of bikes been of much use, as some go early (20-30K) and some never fail.

 

It's the principal reason I check weekly. I also have a spare bearing sitting on the shelf at home. Hopefully I'll never need it.

 

Stan

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Joe Frickin' Friday
The crown gear bearing (really the main rear wheel bearing) doesn't give a lot of warning when it goes.

 

Mine was giving warning signs for about 400 miles, all the way from the Iowa/Illinois border to home. Thought it was tire tread noise until I got off the highway in Ann Arbor, then realized something was seriously messed up.

 

Because of my gearbox's age (110K miles) and the safety importance of the final drive, I now change the oil in both every 6K miles instead of every 12K miles, just to check for chunks.

 

Re: pivot bearings, if they get really sloppy they can affect the handling, but you aren't likely to see a catastrophic failure that lets the rear wheel go. Once there's slop, it means the rollers all have flat spots, and at that point it's hosed. You can snug it up, but they won't roll like they're supposed to, and in another 5-10K miles the slop will be back. I replaced mine a few times; it seems like a real week point, horribly undersized. Think about it: those little bearings bear the entire dynamic weight of the rear of the bike, plus all the acceleration/braking load, plus all the torque delivered from the driveshaft to the final drive, all without being allowed to move enough much range of motion to stay properly lubed. frown.gif

 

Next time mine crap out, I'm gonna look for (or make) those bushings.

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Stan Walker

Mine was giving warning signs for about 400 miles

 

To me, that's not a lot of warning. I'm headed to Minneapolis in a week, round trip will be about 4,500 miles. There is just no way to tell before leaving home if the crown gear bearing will last out the trip.

 

Don't get me wrong, I consider it a low probability thing and I won't let it worry me before or during the trip. I don't worry about my crankshaft bearings, my rod bearings, my valves and seats, the rings, the inside of my tranny, the 2 U joints, or my crown gear bearing. I do everything possible to make sure I have no known problems before a trip of this nature. Then I just go. If something breaks on the road, I'll deal with it then. Knock on wood, it's never happened on either of my RT's. That's a combined 145,000 miles without a breakdown on the highway, without a major failure of any kind.

 

Stan

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