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Firefight911

R12 series final drive fluid swap (lots of pics!!)

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Firefight911

So I changed my “lifetime” final drive oil! Could someone define “lifetime” for me!!! dopeslap.gif

 

Anyway, at the Arnold Tech Daze, we all got together and changed Bakersdozen’s final drive fluid. Although I don’t have pictures of this event, let us suffice it to say that the oil that came out was eek.gifhideous eek.gif, to say the least. Very black, metallic sheen and some nice metallic bits stuck to the speed sensor. They looked like a Mohawk! lmao.gif

 

I just changed mine last week while getting ready for Torrey! Mine had some metallic bits on the speed sensor as well. More like a flat top than Mohawk!! The fluid that came out looked great comparatively to Matt’s although it did have the metallic sheen to it.

 

I am not comparing mine to Matt’s for any other purpose than to raise an awareness that one should, IMHO, not view this fluid as lifetime. As a matter of fact, it appears that the ’07 R1200XX series bikes will have a magnetic drain plug on the bottom of the final drive along with an inclusion to the 600 mile service to swap out the fluid!!!!!!

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

 

Anyway, what follows is a pictorial/tutorial for you to do your own final drive fluid swap. It is very easy to do!!!!!!!!

 

I am at work so I can’t give you the technical specs/torques but can if you need them once I am home again.

 

Here you go:

 

Here is the before and after look of the bike.

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After getting the exhaust and wheel off, remove the speed sensor. It is easy to get too, just turn the rotor to gain access, unbolt it and wiggle it out. It has an o-ring seal so be careful not to lose it. It is a tough wiggle but it will come out.

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Feed the sensor out of the way by removing the wire from these clips.

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Remove the caliper bolts (2) and support the caliper out of the way. Note the zip ties.

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Remove the drain plug.

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Remove the lever bolt. Support the final drive during this so that it doesn't just drop a way form you. A bungee through that great big hole works well!

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95885665-L.jpg

Place a suitable pan below the drive and carefully lower the final drive unit to drain the fluid. It may take a little shimmy by turning the rotor but it will come out.

 

DO NOT FREAK OUT!! The drive shaft separates at the rubber boot exposing the splines.

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After draining, reverse the procedure, refill the fluid, and torque to proper specs.

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Final drive takes 230 cc of fluid. Measure it! I added about 10 cc to account for the fluid that never gets in there.

I also fabricated a highly technical filler tube since the fluid is put into the speed sensor hole.

95885679-L.jpg

Yep, that is a sheet protector that I rolled up and taped with painter's tape!!!! grin.gif Patent pending!!

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Retorque!!!

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Here's a poor picture of what came out.

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I also did the transmission fluid. Yes this is another sheet protector protecting the header.

 

IMPORTANT TIP!!!!! Take the filler plug out first. If it won't come out you will be fine. If you take out the drain first, you will not be able to get any fluid back in so you can get it somewhere to get the fill plug out!!!

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The transmission takes 900 cc of fluid.

 

I used full synthetic 75w140 gear oil for both FD and transmission.

 

Make sure you do a very good job of cleaning up! Get some brake clean and clean the drain and fill locations and really clean up the rotor!!!!!!! Oil is bad on the brakes, although it is good to quell any squeels you may experience. dopeslap.gif

 

After swap report is positive. The drive train is quieter and my shifts appear ever sol slightly smoother and slicker.

 

Hope this has helped you realize that; 1) there is no "lifetime" fluid, and 2) you can do this yourself, very easily!

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duckbubbles

Nice job and pics.

 

One question- why not fill using the "drain" plug hole and set the level to the edge of the threads like on other bikes? Just curious.

 

I'll be doing this to my bike real soon.

 

Frank

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Firefight911

Certainly a plausible idea.

 

I can only surmise that any variance in work surface level or aftermarket shocks with different ride height (my bike has Wilbers) could impact quantity that goes in.

 

Hole size is the same whether you use the sensor or drain and the sensor still has to come out to allow the drive unit to swing away.

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Limecreek

Phil your timing is perfect. I have my 12K service coming up and planned to change the rear drive fluid. Your instructions will take the mystery out of it for me--thx.

 

The TSB issued by BMW regarding fluid changes in the new R series is interesting. While they are mandating a change at the 600 mile service to minimize wear caused from suspended particles in the factory oil; they are not recommending changes at any other major service interval—in fact they view subsequent fluid changes as unnecessary and of no practical benefit.

 

Practical benefit or not; I will service my rear drive every 12K going forward.

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lawnchairboy

thanks... I am just about ready to do this myself, did the tranny last week at 12k...

 

the most challenging part of changing the tranny fluid on the RT is the tupperware-ectomy... and making the tinfoil sluice so that the fluid doesn't run all over the center stand cross bar...

 

thanks for the helpful post.

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bakerzdosen

Thanks for getting that together Phil. Some of those photos were better at showing how to do it than the ones that Leslie took (no offense Leslie - it wasn't exactly your "job" to document everything smile.gif ) during mine. Excellent post.

 

Again, I have no idea why my final drive fluid was SOOOO much blacker than yours, but so it was. I think I agree with Limecreek. I'll probably change the fluid again at 24k. Maybe sooner as mine was done during my 6k. Since we have no official (logical anyway) guidance from BMW, 12k sounds good.

 

One thing that you didn't mention (maybe you didn't do this) is that the manual says that for both the tranny and the final drive, that you should have the fluids warmed up first. (They're pretty thick.) I rode mine for about 3-5 miles before draining the fluids. Of course, then your headers are hot, so tin foil would work better than plastic sheet holders to guard the headers from oil.

 

Also, I've sort of had a fear of being accused of having a "dyno butt" or somethng similar for saying this, but since you said it first, I'll concur. Shifting is much smoother since I put the Amsoil (thanks Charlie) in my tranny case. I don't know how to describe it really, but it just slides in better. I'm not saying that the thing goes into first (if I forget to do it while rolling) at a stoplight without releasing the clutch or rolling a bit - because that still happens just as before. But rather, it just feels less "clunky" now. (Oh, and as I said before, it corners better, low-end torque is much improved, and I'm sure I get an additional 10hp since I changed to synthetic in the tranny and final drive. lmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif)

 

I thought about the rear plug instead of the speed sensor plug to fill it, but once you remove the rubber washer from the speed sensor hole, it's probably easier to fill.

 

thumbsup.gif on the post.

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JohnBeaven

What I don't understand is that if BMW tested the theory that the final drive was filled for a "lifetime" - and I can only assume they did - how come they didn't pick up on any problems.

I think at the next service I will be requesting that the dealer change my final drive oil. I would do it myself but having the dealer do it will avoid any warranty issues that may arise.

Thanks for the pics - they are a great help for everyone.

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Firefight911

Warranty issues?

 

Document what you did. I have a log book I use. I log the date and mileage along with what I did, e.g.; Changed final drive fluid with BMW synthetic 75w140 gear oil. I then initial the log post.

 

Keep your receipts for materials.

 

Use saved money to buy Fosters!!! tongue.giftongue.gif

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Lawman

So how many quarts is 1130 cc's?

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Firefight911
So how many quarts is 1130 cc's?

 

.946 liters to the quart.

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RightSpin
...the most challenging part of changing the tranny fluid on the RT is the tupperware-ectomy...

 

What is this tupperware you speak of?

743898-BMW_002_2004_43_1024x768_BM.jpg

grin.gif

 

Nice job, Phil. The only problem I see with your presentation is that your bike is waaaaaaay too clean. Come on over to Savannah, and I'll help you square that away. thumbsup.gif

743898-BMW_002_2004_43_1024x768_BM.jpg.f53dcfebd93ec736ed0a733c63346784.jpg

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Lawman

If my calculations are correct 1130 c.c.'s is 1.194057672 qt.'s clap.gif

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Firefight911
If my calculations are correct 1130 c.c.'s is 1.194057672 qt.'s clap.gif

 

You can round it off to 1.1940577. No need to be precise to the 9th decimal place, 7 is more than adequate!! grin.gif

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Firefight911
...the most challenging part of changing the tranny fluid on the RT is the tupperware-ectomy...

 

What is this tupperware you speak of?

743898-BMW_002_2004_43_1024x768_BM.jpg

grin.gif

 

Nice job, Phil. The only problem I see with your presentation is that your bike is waaaaaaay too clean. Come on over to Savannah, and I'll help you square that away. thumbsup.gif

 

Dear sir,

 

While your statement of cleanliness is appreciated, it is incorrect!!!!

 

I would direct your attention to the picture containing my finger as it points to the transmission drain plug. It clearly contains evidence of UNcleanliness. Do you not see the water spots on the frame???????

 

Thank you for your concern.

 

Sincerely submitted with love,

 

Phil grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif

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JohnBeaven

Use saved money to buy Fosters!!!

 

Believe it or not very few Australians actually drink Fosters. I can't even remember when I last saw it in the shops.

 

As for warranty issues. Down here it can get a little tricky if you have a warrantable problem and you have has some work done by a non qualified mechanic. You are absolutely correct that if you document everything fully, then you should have no problems. But it can create an "out" for the manufacturer. This is a risk and hassle that I can do with out.

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Firefight911
Use saved money to buy Fosters!!!

 

Believe it or not very few Australians actually drink Fosters. I can't even remember when I last saw it in the shops.

 

As for warranty issues. Down here it can get a little tricky if you have a warrantable problem and you have has some work done by a non qualified mechanic. You are absolutely correct that if you document everything fully, then you should have no problems. But it can create an "out" for the manufacturer. This is a risk and hassle that I can do with out.

 

Fair enough, but the more important question would be, "What do you drink?" Always like to try something different. Please DO NOT say you drink that fine imported beverage they call Budweiser! YYYEEEECCCHHHHHH! lmao.gif

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wilsons

I'm with you on this one buddy, I'm not very mechanically inclined, tho I am very visual and I could do it, I rather take the chance after my warranty is up smile.gif

 

I drink amber/dark beers grin.gif

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JohnBeaven

What do I drink?

 

My preference is for any of the James Squire beers such as Amber Ale, India Pale Ale, or Porter. Also, Redback is a good drop. All these are Australian beers and I don't know if they are available in the US.

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bimmers

this is really interesting with the lifetime fluid. In the 7 series car they have a sealed transmission and fluids shall not be changed UNLESS it fails.

I wonder if they in this case have a calculated lifetime but realized that for the new batch 12's they have to pre-empt an imminent failure after all. Why would they not recommend a fluid change for all older ones as well, beats me.

I will either ask for dealer to do it or if I have time do it myself.

How often do you change the engine oil? I was supposed to change this weekend at 4000 miles but weather was too nice.

 

grin.gif

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smiller
Could someone define “lifetime” for me!!!
Sure, it is the period of time from the original in-service date of the final drive unit until its demise due to lubricant failure. grin.gif This interval will probably be just slightly longer than the warranty period.

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IanW

If you have the equipment (block and tackle and an A frame) you can place a sling around the front wheel (after removing the small front mudguard) and raise the bike to almost verticle (requires two people) and drain the final drive oil. Doing this it is just a matter of replacing the plug, removing the muffler and rear wheel and replacing the oil as described. I did mine like this.

Ian thumbsup.gif

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blob

Out of interest, would it be possible to remove the drain plug, vaccuum the oil out and refill via the same point?

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aggieengineer

In the bike's normal position, is the fluid level below the drain plug? If so, I think I'll pick mine up your way and then refill through the same hole. That would really be quick. Thanks for the great idea. A drain plug on the bottom would have been so nice.

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Fran

With regards to BMW automobiles switch to life time fluids in transmissions and rear ends, the change, oddly enough, occured when BMW started offering free maintenance for their more recent model years. I have a 95 M3 and they did have recommended transmission and rear axle fluid changes at specified periods. When they started paying for service is when they said you can go 15K miles or so between oil and filter changes. Well thats my take on the whole matter anyway.

 

Fran

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IanW
Out of interest, would it be possible to remove the drain plug, vaccuum the oil out and refill via the same point?

I think you will find if you remove the drain plug (at rear of FD)oil will come out. ie. the plug is lower than the oil level.

Ian smile.gifsmile.gif

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Lawman

Phil,

Excellent write up! Just finished my final drive oil change..Went just like you explained..No surprises..I had a little difficulty getting the splines back together and ended up using a syringe to put the oil in..My sheet protector funnel sucked... bncry.gif But other than that just as you described..Now unless somebody tells me my final drive is gonna crash for using a gear oil I've never heard of (Royal Purple synthetic 75 w 140) I should be good to go for a while..Thanks for the post..Wouldn't have done it otherwise.. thumbsup.gif

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KMG_365

So how did the fluid look and how much metal was there stuck on the SpeedSensor? confused.gif

 

We were wondering why Matt's looked so bad or if they put Moly in the FD oil! His FD fluid was dark grey and the sensor had a crew-cut of metal shavings about 1/4" long on it! eek.gif

 

BTW, the splines have a small keeper ring that has to be snapped back on somewhat hard. I futzed with Matt's for a bit until I realized I was lined up after all after the first very small movement (use the rotor to line it up) and I just needed to push/lever the FD up a bit harder until it "popped" in. Don't forget to snap both plastic clips around the ends of the boot into place as well. It's kind of a cool set up as the drive shaft is now a single piece that does not detatch anymore so you don't have to worry about phasing (properly aligning) the u-joints either! thumbsup.gif

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Lawman

The fluid itself looked fine. I did have what appeared to be some "sludge" stuck to the sensor. It did not seem to have any metal in it but was just a big glob of really black slick snot like stuff..Anyway I wiped it off..Hope it was not some secret ingredient..

My black rubber boot fits snug at both ends but it is not locked in..I can easily pull it back to look inside..Is that normal? What keeps water from going in there?? confused.gif

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oregon
So how many quarts is 1130 cc's?

 

For those of us who cannot do metric conversions in our heads, Google has a handy calculator. Go to their normal search page www.google.com -- In the search box enter

1130 cc in quarts

and it will respond

1130 cc = 1.19405767 US quarts

 

Also handy for torque - foot pounds and newton meters

For example, enter a search:

20 ft lb in N meters

(the "N" needs to be capitalized)

and it will answer

20 (ft lb) = 27.116359 N meters

 

Enjoy

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KMG_365
My black rubber boot fits snug at both ends but it is not locked in..I can easily pull it back to look inside..Is that normal? What keeps water from going in there?? confused.gif
It should have a plastic clip/frame around the inside of each end of the rubber boot that "snaps" lightly into the metal housing on each end of the joint. If you didn't feel it "snap" it might not be fully seated. eek.gif

 

It doesn't take a lot of force to pull it loose, but if it feels like you can just easily pull it back and see the U-joint, then I would say you need to go look closer at it. You should just see a few little plastic tabs that protrude from the rubber. Line it up, then try to push behind the last "fold" and see if you can snap the tabs in more securely. You don't want water getting in there and corroding things. dopeslap.gif

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Jim VonBaden

OOps, I just posted an almost exact same thread.

 

Nice job.

 

Did you find you had a little trouble getting the FD and drive shaft back together? I had to put the bike in neutral first.

 

Jim cool.gif

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aggieengineer

How's this for a nasty surprise. I'm getting ready to go on a 900 mile trip, so I thought I'd go ahead and change the final drive oil just for the peace of mind. Attached to the magnet was the usual fine bits of steel....and the sheared-off end of a T40 Torx bit. The final drive is coming off and going to the dealer in the morning for disassembly and inspection. Two-and-a-half hours of driving and a wasted day. Makes me wonder if there's an assembler in Kiev wondering where the rest of his Torx bit is!

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Lawman
How's this for a nasty surprise. I'm getting ready to go on a 900 mile trip, so I thought I'd go ahead and change the final drive oil just for the peace of mind. Attached to the magnet was the usual fine bits of steel....and the sheared-off end of a T40 Torx bit. The final drive is coming off and going to the dealer in the morning for disassembly and inspection. Two-and-a-half hours of driving and a wasted day. Makes me wonder if there's an assembler in Kiev wondering where the rest of his Torx bit is!

 

Okay..I know this has to be a joke..so what's the punch line? confused.gif

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aggieengineer

Okay..I know this has to be a joke..so what's the punch line? confused.gif

 

Man, you have no idea how much I'd like to have one for you.

IMG_0430.jpg

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lawnchairboy
eek.gif

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KMG_365
Okay..I know this has to be a joke..so what's the punch line? confused.gif

 

Man, you have no idea how much I'd like to have one for you.

DANG, Dude!! That's NASTY!! eek.gif

 

Don't show that pic to any of the old HD guys, it'll give 'em fits reminding them of the bad-old AMF days where you could find the whole wrench in the engine case! eek.gif

 

On the good side it doesn't look as though it got beaten up too much so it might've sat in the bottom and not beaten up the bearings and inside the housing also.

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Jim VonBaden
Okay..I know this has to be a joke..so what's the punch line? confused.gif

 

Man, you have no idea how much I'd like to have one for you.

IMG_0430.jpg

 

Wow! That's amazing! How many miles on the bike?

 

Jim cool.gif

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bross

Just changed mine on my 06 RT at 15,000kms. The speed sensor didn't have much for shavings on it but the oil didn't look very good.

HPIM3134.sized.jpg

 

HPIM3135.sized.jpg

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MarcS

Yesterday I decided to stop by Morton's since I was running errands in the F'burg area anyway and ask about the FD oil since mine came out very dark and smelling a little funky.

 

Stuart (the service dept head honcho) tells me that FDs come from the factory with some sort of black not-quite-anodizing on the gears for corrosion resistance during storage. He said this stuff usually wears off into the oil very quickly, and when they have done FD work on other bikes throughout the ages, the next change would come out looking ugly.

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gettysburg
..... ask about the FD oil since mine came out very dark and smelling a little funky.

 

When I changed my FD fluid, the old oil pretty much smelled like the the replacement oil. This wasn't the case with my wife's GS. When I pulled back the speed sensor, it was like the whole garage got "skunked" eek.gif

 

Both our bikes have roughly the same milage on them; although we did purchase our bikes from different dealers.

Is the FD oil something that would have been added when the motorcycle was uncrated/assembled at the dealer? Just wondering what would account for that God-awful smell. Maybe the difference between "dino" and synthetic oils?

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MarcS

My best guess is that the smell is from a sulfur-based additive for high-pressure operation -- I've got some suspension grease that has a similar smell. This may be an additive that is only used on the GS (?) or on certain builds.

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Dick_at_Lake_Tahoe_NV
Use saved money to buy Fosters!!!

 

Believe it or not very few Australians actually drink Fosters. I can't even remember when I last saw it in the shops.

 

As for warranty issues. Down here it can get a little tricky if you have a warrantable problem and you have has some work done by a non qualified mechanic. You are absolutely correct that if you document everything fully, then you should have no problems. But it can create an "out" for the manufacturer. This is a risk and hassle that I can do with out.

 

A Aussie friend of mine says Fosters is mainly for Export--most Aussies think of Fosters as Kangaroo-piss. Anyway, they drink so much Bundaberg Rum, there is little available for export--this is truly the National drink!

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apm

Actually, the most popular beer sold in OZ is VB (Victoria Bitter).

Much nicer beer than Fosters!

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kopov260

So what happens if you don't change the FD oil at all? My 05'ST has more than 26K without any noise in the tranny or any issues. I haven't received any info. from BMW requiring to change the FD oil. My book says it's filled for lifetime. So I'll keep riding it unless there is a real concern that your final drive will fail.

Opinions???

thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

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JayW
So what happens if you don't change the FD oil at all?...

 

No one knows, but it could fail prematurely - though most likely after the warranty has ended. Changing the fluid is fairly easy, and also gives you the opportunity to upgrade the factory fill to a synthetic lubricant.

 

I see your point though.

 

Jay

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GregB
Could someone define “lifetime” for me!!!

 

Answer: Long enough to be comfortably out of warranty before failure dopeslap.gif

 

Thank you SO much for this info, just bought the fluid and was going to start looking soon. From my extensive experience on cars I know "lifetime" diff fluid is a joke and wanted to change mine by 12,000 miles.

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Warren_H
MS Calculator Plus is a free download that will do conversions for us metrically challenged souls.

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Flash1034

I use and recommend Red Line "Shockproof" Gear oil. Do a search for it a and read up. Its great stuff. thumbsup.gif

 

 

Flash

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ghaverkamp

This has nothing to do with your oil, Phil. I just wanted to point out, since Russell hasn't, that with such lacking chicken strips, you must be a very irresponsible rider.

 

 

95885642-L.jpg

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Firefight911
This has nothing to do with your oil, Phil. I just wanted to point out, since Russell hasn't, that with such lacking chicken strips, you must be a very irresponsible rider.

 

 

95885642-L.jpg

 

lmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

 

Nicest compliment you've ever paid me! Thanks Greg!! thumbsup.gif

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