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Change final drive oil?


Beech

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Hi, I have read the manual on the subject of changing final drive oil on my R1200RT. I know it is said that is is lubed for life. I have real trouble with that, especially when it is documented in the factory manual how to do it. I plan on giving it a go this fall. My new 1150GS had quite a bit of "silver" when I changed it at 3000 miles. I think using the factory procedure and the "BMW" lubricant things should be good. Anyone have any thoughts on this? thanks, beech, Mount Vernon, WA.

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I've changed my final drive oil (1200GS), replaced with Redline Shockproof, it's a bit tricky to do, but i followed the CD Manual.

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I have real trouble with that, especially when it is documented in the factory manual how to do it.

 

You raise an interesting question Beech.

 

Should we trust that a company who has years of experience and a host of engineers and designers to get it right, and that we can rely on the longevity of a drive train that is 'lubed for life'... or should be press on and do our own thing, because we feel strongly about it, despite the manufacturer reassuring us that it is not necessary. I wish I knew the answer! The cynic in me says not everyone can be taken at face value and manufacturers do get it wrong, which is not a problem...until your bike goes out of warranty and something major goes wrong. The other part of me says that sometimes we get paranoid over things we are not as conversant with as the 'experts' and maybe should just trust them as they may actually know best! Like I said, a real quandary....

 

ps maybe it is documented in the workshop manual simply because things do go wrong sometimes and if a dealer has to rebuild a drive train they have to also change the lube?

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Personal opinion, seeing as you asked, is that the mfg. is right. I mean after all, what would cause the deterioration of the lube in the FD? No source of external contamination is possible, it operates at low heat, relative to lubricant breakdown temps., there are relatively low shear levels to break down the molicules...

 

Sure FDs have failed, but due to lube break down issues or mechanical ones?

 

I'm no chemical engineer, so others more versed in this can/will chime in, but I struggle to understand what valid reason there is to change it.

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The only reason I can think of would be if you had done some off road stuff(GS) and had the FD submerged. Would the vent allow for contamination?

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Personal opinion, seeing as you asked, is that the mfg. is right. I mean after all, what would cause the deterioration of the lube in the FD? No source of external contamination is possible, it operates at low heat, relative to lubricant breakdown temps., there are relatively low shear levels to break down the molicules...

 

Sure FDs have failed, but due to lube break down issues or mechanical ones?

 

I'm no chemical engineer, so others more versed in this can/will chime in, but I struggle to understand what valid reason there is to change it.

I'm no chemical engineer either but I do know that contamination does occur as parts wear. And shear forces on gearsets are generally high, not low. By the above logic it wouldn't be necessary to replace lubricant in any final drive or differential yet the vast majority of manufacturers (both in the motorcycle and automotive world) call for regular lubricant replacement. I think that there's a reason.

 

But I dunno, the BMW final drive might live a long time without a lubricant change... or at least certainly past the warranty period... wink.gif

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James Clark

1. The copy writer couldn't find the drain plug in the expected location and made the "lubed for life: assumption.

 

2. He discovered the reason for the plug's unusual location and didn't want people asking why it is located at the back of the housing. (The reason would be to force driveshaft inspection during service.)

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