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Final Drives - What are we going to do about it?


Twisties

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Hi,

 

I think we need to take action.

 

If this is a safety issue, and I think it is, maybe we can get NHTSA to start something.

 

For starters, IMHO, everyone that has had this happen needs to report it to NHTSA, no matter how long ago it occurred, no matter how nice BMWNA was about it, it needs to be reported. Please encourage anyone you know of to do so.

 

I also think we need a letter writing campaign urging BMW to come clean about the problem, offering statistics on the issue by model and year, a technical explanation of the problem's causes, a commitment to keep FD's for affected model years in stock at all dealers at all times, and a guarantee of lifetime replacement.

 

We have members who are on other boards as well. Perhaps we can get this letter writing and problem reporting campaign going with several of the boards together.

 

We're pretty loosely organized so I suggest people just post here and say if you've done something like started a similar post an another board, or sent BMWNA a letter, filed a complaint with NHTSA. or have another suggestion.

 

What say you?

 

Jan

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russell_bynum

1. I want to remind everyone that you're free to contact BMW on your own, but DO NOT do so on behalf of this group.

 

2. Have fun with that.

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What say you?

 

As the guy who led the charge on the surging issue and interfaced directly with BMW, handing them all the data and following up on it (including getting other boards involved), I'd say you'll be more productive picking lint out of your belly button. grin.gif

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John Ranalletta

Don't buy one. Tell your friends not to buy one. As long as this problem's been around, sales continue to increase. Tells me people don't care, that is, until their final drive pukes.

 

BMWs are just "me, too" fashion statements anyway.

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What say you?

 

As the guy who led the charge on the surging issue and interfaced directly with BMW, handing them all the data and following up on it (including getting other boards involved), I'd say you'll be more productive picking lint out of your belly button. grin.gif

 

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

 

bncry.gifbncry.gifbncry.gifbncry.gifbncry.gif

 

You are undoubtedly correct... and I am too new know much about the history of surging, though I've seen plenty of reference to it. Still, I'll be posting my letter tomorrow as a model. I'm hopeful that reporting to the NHTSA might have some effect. We know they are looking at fires already. The naivete of youth (with respect to Beemers and BMWNA)!

 

I would be quite interested to hear the story of the surging problem and the attempts to resolve it. There are too many posts that come on the subject to piece together the tale. Is there a post that summarizes it that you can refer me too. If not, can you be persuaded to tell the tale?

 

Will you be at Torrey?

 

Jan

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You are undoubtedly correct... and I am too new know much about the history of surging, though I've seen plenty of reference to it. Still, I'll be posting my letter tomorrow as a model. I'm hopeful that reporting to the NHTSA might have some effect. We know they are looking at fires already. The naivete of youth (with respect to Beemers and BMWNA)!

 

BMWNA is a slimly-populated, powerless distribution office in NJ. They won't help at all. Making noise at the federal level, between those two choices, has a better chance. But still sort of like winning the lottery.

 

I would be quite interested to hear the story of the surging problem and the attempts to resolve it. There are too many posts that come on the subject to piece together the tale. Is there a post that summarizes it that you can refer me too. If not, can you be persuaded to tell the tale?

 

I submitted 275 detailed reports in June, 2002. Each included date of submission, DB name, model, model year, odometer reading, subjective rating scale, detailed comments, and the person's email address. We went back and forth, back and forth, and then forth and back. The most helpful people were the ones who were later fired or ignored.

 

It went nowhere.

 

BTW, I think the LT people did a survey and found a 6% failure rate, but that's just from memory.

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BMWs are just "me, too" fashion statements anyway.

Thats a curious statement. Why do you play around on a BMW board? Just trying to be fashionable?

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Don't buy one. Tell your friends not to buy one. As long as this problem's been around, sales continue to increase. Tells me people don't care, that is, until their final drive pukes.

 

BMWs are just "me, too" fashion statements anyway.

 

 

 

 

WOW!!!!!!!

 

 

lurker.gif

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Don't buy one. Tell your friends not to buy one. As long as this problem's been around, sales continue to increase. Tells me people don't care, that is, until their final drive pukes.

 

BMWs are just "me, too" fashion statements anyway.

 

Speaking for yourself... grin.gif

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Seriously, I did just that on my last bike.

My wife gave me her permission to buy any bike I wanted.

After reading all the BMW problems and having my Old RT transmission explode at 80000 miles I new my next bike wasn't going to be a bmw. I really wanted to stay loyal but I just couldnt.

Even though the BMW bike has an excellent warranty it serves no purpose when it blows chunks 1000 miles from home. Vacation is over. That is why I chose a Vstrom.

If I break a chain I can get one in the next town .

I admit the suzuki has it's faults in the suspension department but the running gear is bullit proof.

I can't hang with the fast boys but I couldn't hang with them when I had a bmw. I will get there on the same day just a few minutes behind them.

When BMW gets the problems fixed and admits it, I will buy another BMW.

Until then Japan Rules in my garage.

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I'm 47 years old and have a big beer gut. I'm short, ugly, and need to have my back waxed but ain't gonna do it. I have not washed my riding jacket since I bought it 5 years ago. My old lady is into Southwest cooking so she feeds me tons of beans.

 

But, I have a BMW so I am fashionable!! YES!!

 

I knew it, I knew it!! You rock.

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Count me among the former BMW loyalists who would never consider the purchase of another BMW so long as the current attitudes hold sway from corporate, BMWNA, and yes, most of the dealers I've experienced. Fortunately, at least on the dealer front, I do know where to find good ones in a pinch, even if they aren't the closest to my home. This should be pretty relevant to BMW, as I'm sure I'm their ideal demographic (approaching middle age, owns numerous bikes, replaces them often), and they definitely have bikes that appeal to me (GS and K-R sport) that I'll never buy. Someone at BMW should be getting fired for the fact that I consider a Triumph to be an infinitely more reliable motorcycle purchase than a BMW, not necessarily on mechanical reliability along, but definitely on long term satisfaction.

 

--sam

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What say you?

 

As the guy who led the charge on the surging issue and interfaced directly with BMW, handing them all the data and following up on it (including getting other boards involved), I'd say you'll be more productive picking lint out of your belly button. grin.gif

 

 

David, problem is: the surging issue is just an annoyance not a safety related issue..

The failed final drives could be a safety issue but so far as I know haven’t been..

 

 

To get NHTSA’s attention you really need to show a real danger issue like deaths, injury’s, or total failure in traffic.. If the rear brakes or rear tire are oiling up that should be included in any correspondence.. Final drive failure probably doesn’t mean much to NHTSA but rear wheel fall off,, or brake failure,, or oiled up rear tire might perk their interest.. It’s all in the details furnished..

 

Twisty

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I have to apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge on this matter, but are the final drives blowing up on the oilheads or does this issue afflict the new R1200 and K1200 bikes as well?

 

I know about the oilheads, I own one; my splines went at 70,000 miles. I am not aware of the newer bikes having this problem.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Don't buy one. Tell your friends not to buy one. As long as this problem's been around, sales continue to increase. Tells me people don't care, that is, until their final drive pukes.

 

I don't know why, I wasn't that bothered when mine blew up at 85K miles; I just ordered up a new one from Chicago BMW, installed it, and rode out to Cody. I suppose I might have been more ticked if it had blown up 1000 miles from home; I got lucky in that regard, I guess.

 

BMWs are just "me, too" fashion statements anyway.

 

Russell loves to rip on us for our conformist gear choices, and now you're telling me my bike was a conformist choice, too?

 

Troll.

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...filed a complaint with NHTSA.

Living in the DC area I tend to run into federal regulators on occasion. One such contact is an engineer/investigator for NHTSA who handles many of the motorcycle-based cases -- this man was a mentor in my becoming an MSF instructor. When I last saw him a year ago he was riding an oilhead RT. We once talked about the NHTSA safety investigation process; essentially (absent political pressures from congress) it is a tedious effort of building a case and "negotiating" with the manufacturer. An assumption on my part, but based on our conversations NHTSA probably is aware of the allegations of FD failures and (big if) IF it deems this failure to be safety related, then NHTSA probably has assigned a case to this issue. All the more reason for people who have experienced FD failures to write to NHTSA. If your failure led to an increased risk of crashing by losing control, etc. include that info with your complaint. I don't know whether NHTSA has a threshold for complaints that trigger an investigation, but I assume it does. I also assume that there may be a weighting factor for injuries/fatalities. Again, all assumptions on my part based on recollection of long-passed conversations.

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John Ranalletta
Don't buy one. Tell your friends not to buy one. As long as this problem's been around, sales continue to increase. Tells me people don't care, that is, until their final drive pukes.

 

I don't know why, I wasn't that bothered when mine blew up at 85K miles; I just ordered up a new one from Chicago BMW, installed it, and rode out to Cody. I suppose I might have been more ticked if it had blown up 1000 miles from home; I got lucky in that regard, I guess.

 

BMWs are just "me, too" fashion statements anyway.

 

Russell loves to rip on us for our conformist gear choices, and now you're telling me my bike was a conformist choice, too?

 

Troll.

Hah!

 

I finally figured out the code here. If you call somebody out and put a smilie on the comment, it's for real. Omit the smilie and it's a put on.

 

I loved my BMWs. One puked a RD at 28k. For most the good stuff outways the bad. The truth? BMW can't do anything more about the RD in light of their past actions. A complete re-design will appear one day as "new and improved" with no mention that it cures a recurring problem.

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Hi,

 

I think we need to take action.

 

If this is a safety issue, and I think it is, maybe we can get NHTSA to start something.

 

For starters, IMHO, everyone that has had this happen needs to report it to NHTSA, no matter how long ago it occurred, no matter how nice BMWNA was about it, it needs to be reported. Please encourage anyone you know of to do so.

 

I also think we need a letter writing campaign urging BMW to come clean about the problem, offering statistics on the issue by model and year, a technical explanation of the problem's causes, a commitment to keep FD's for affected model years in stock at all dealers at all times, and a guarantee of lifetime replacement.

 

We have members who are on other boards as well. Perhaps we can get this letter writing and problem reporting campaign going with several of the boards together.

 

We're pretty loosely organized so I suggest people just post here and say if you've done something like started a similar post an another board, or sent BMWNA a letter, filed a complaint with NHTSA. or have another suggestion.

 

What say you?

 

Jan

 

 

Ophra Hazard to the white courtesy phone please grin.gif

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My 2006 R1200RT already has over has 27k on it and this thread has me very concerned.

 

When the final drive goes, what does that actually mean?

 

Does it simply 'let go', as in disconnects, or does it 'lock up' the rear wheel and cause you to come skidding to a stop.

 

Have any accidents been attributed to a final drive failure?

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A complete re-design will appear one day as "new and improved" with no mention that it cures a recurring problem.

 

It's the no-fault German engineering/marketing philosophy; "We've realized some of the features built into current final drive design have not been as popular as we'd anticipated. For instance, the one where the final drive catches fire to notify the owner the unit has reached it's scheduled service interval. We will be launching an improved version with the next design release. Unfortunately it will not include this important feature, but it proves we are listening to our customers"

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Joe Frickin' Friday
When the final drive goes, what does that actually mean?

 

Does it simply 'let go', as in disconnects, or does it 'lock up' the rear wheel and cause you to come skidding to a stop.

 

It may be as minor as pittting in the crown bearing that causes a lot of noise and vibration (that's your clue to shut down and call a tow truck), or the bearing may actually come apart. In the latter case the wheel suddenly develops large amounts of lateral play/slop, i.e. several inches at the wheel surface, and the final drive will let its gear oil out (now that the loose hub is no longer riding snugly against the seal), typically onto the wheel/tire.

 

I'm not aware of any cases where the wheel has completely parted company with the rest of the bike, and I'm not aware of any cases where an accident has been attributed to final drive failure, but there have been some close calls; I'm surprised there hasn't been an accident.

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Hi,

 

I think we need to take action.

 

If this is a safety issue, and I think it is, maybe we can get NHTSA to start something.

 

For starters, IMHO, everyone that has had this happen needs to report it to NHTSA, no matter how long ago it occurred, no matter how nice BMWNA was about it, it needs to be reported. Please encourage anyone you know of to do so.

 

I also think we need a letter writing campaign urging BMW to come clean about the problem, offering statistics on the issue by model and year, a technical explanation of the problem's causes, a commitment to keep FD's for affected model years in stock at all dealers at all times, and a guarantee of lifetime replacement.

 

We have members who are on other boards as well. Perhaps we can get this letter writing and problem reporting campaign going with several of the boards together.

 

We're pretty loosely organized so I suggest people just post here and say if you've done something like started a similar post an another board, or sent BMWNA a letter, filed a complaint with NHTSA. or have another suggestion.

 

What say you?

 

Jan

 

 

Ophra Hazard to the white courtesy phone please grin.gif

 

Mods. Please ban this poster. Calling up the ghost of Ophra Hazard. This will not end well. lmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

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Go ride your bike and enjoy life. Has anyone mentioned the many thousands of R 12 moto's that have not had any problems? And yes, many have gone way beyond 20 something k miles without any probs.

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Oh, jezzze.

 

It took you guys two years to wean me away from my Harleys- which not one in 20 years ever had a mechanical failure... over to BMW.

Now you tell me it is just a fashion statement, and the rear wheel is gonna get loose and wobble.

 

I'm so confused! I think I will reconsider the extended warranty question too....

 

But, I love to write letters.

 

There is another thread here somewhere wherein some comparison is made to the BMW auto lineup and that the R12RT is supposed to compare to one of the high end Beemer sedans- probably the 540i... and thus should have the reliability and competence built in... but then my X5 lunched its front differential last January... to the tune of $4000... and they (BMW) did not seem to care all that much, but they did have one in stock.

 

I think the final drive failure is scary and ought to be researched and supported by BMW. Count me in to help.

Good luck.

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Go ride your bike and enjoy life. Has anyone mentioned the many thousands of R 12 moto's that have not had any problems? And yes, many have gone way beyond 20 something k miles without any probs.
+100

 

Go Ride. Quite frankly, I'm more worried about the dangers of road conditions and cages. Remember, it's just a flippin' motorcycle for gawds sake. It's not your kidney.

 

Mike O

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russell_bynum
Go ride your bike and enjoy life. Has anyone mentioned the many thousands of R 12 moto's that have not had any problems? And yes, many have gone way beyond 20 something k miles without any probs.
+100

 

Go Ride. Quite frankly, I'm more worried about the dangers of road conditions and cages. Remember, it's just a flippin' motorcycle for gawds sake. It's not your kidney.

 

Mike O

 

For the most part, I agree with that.

 

But if my final drive had failed 1000 miles into the trip to Gunnison in 2002 rather than as I entered the dealeship parking lot A week prior to our planned departure date, I might feel differently.

 

FWIW, the replacement final drive is still going strong. The bike had over 60K on it when I sold it.

 

What I don't like about this is the lack of warning. When the chain and sprockets on my Tuono start to wear, it's obvious. I can monitor the wear and make plans (financial and logistic) to replace them.

 

When the final drive on my RT let go...it just WENT. No warning and no outward signs of trouble. The oil had even been changed 4K prior to failure and the old oil didn't show any signs of trouble.

 

It was dumb luck that it went when it did rather than a week later when it would have ruined our vacation.

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russell_bynum

There is another thread here somewhere wherein some comparison is made to the BMW auto lineup and that the R12RT is supposed to compare to one of the high end Beemer sedans- probably the 540i... and thus should have the reliability and competence built in... but then my X5 lunched its front differential last January... to the tune of $4000... and they (BMW) did not seem to care all that much, but they did have one in stock.

 

That was me, and I was talking about the quality of the suspension, not reliability.

 

Although...my experience with newish BMW car's reliability hasn't been all that great either.

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My 2006 R1200RT already has over has 27k on it and this thread has me very concerned.

 

When the final drive goes, what does that actually mean?

 

Does it simply 'let go', as in disconnects, or does it 'lock up' the rear wheel and cause you to come skidding to a stop.

 

Have any accidents been attributed to a final drive failure?

 

I think it's worth keeping in mind that there's more than one reason why final drives "fail", and have to be replaced. Mine is a case in point. I have a 2006 RT and my FD failed last month in Wyoming while I was on a five-week trip with my wife. The closest dealer was five hours away in Salt lake City. My FD failure had nothing to do with the bearings, and there was no oil to be seen. My back wheel developed a wobble. When I checked it out, there was metallic residue on the rear wheel (somewhat like brake dust), and if you grabbed the wheel at the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions, and gave it a shake, it really moved around noticeably -- quite a bit of play. Turns out it was the splines on the flange (attaches to rear brake rotor), and the splines on the axle tube. These two sets of splines mate with a compression fit, and a snap ring. That's what holds your rear wheel on. I also had a friend who e-mailed me a Tech Service Bulletin (BMW USA) which covered this exact failure on the R1200GS (this was before the RT and other bikes with identical rear ends were released). Obviously there have been more than one or two failures to warrant a TSB on the issue.

 

The dealership in Salt Lake took about 15 seconds to agree with our over-the phone diagnosis, once they were able to see the bike in the flesh. They replaced the FD, rear rotor, and all wheel nuts. BMW allows maximum play of 1 mm in the rear wheel, according to the TSB. The only fix is to replace the FD.

 

All this to say, having your rear wheel develop a wobble is not a comfortable feelng when your two-up, and thousands of miles from home. At first I thought it was the tire, as I had just switched to Pilot Roads from Z6s for this trip. Another thing to bear in mind is that these parts (flange and axle tube) are not lubricated, and the failure had absolutely nothing to do with seals, bearings, final drive fluid changes etc.

 

My bike was 15 months old, and had 38,000 kms (about 22,500 miles) on it. The repair was covered under warranty, and would have cost $2,000 parts and labour, if I had had to pay for it.

 

The flange (bolted to the rear brake rotor), and then the axle tube. Note the splines on each:

 

IMG_0893.jpg

 

IMG_0897.jpg

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wrestleantares

Well, it has not happened to me on my 99LT, but I am considering a new r12gs.

 

What I will personally do is purchase an extended warranty. I usually feel like that is a sucker bet and do not get extended warranties, but feel like that is part of my purchasing a new BMW and needs to be considered when I make the purchase.

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Jim VonBaden

Bah, it's a machine! Machines break, and people whine about it.

 

Afraid? Buy something else and hope it doesn't break. Enough people do this and maybe BMW will change.

 

For me, I just ride. If my bike breaks I fix it, all part of the adventure. thumbsup.gif

 

Oh, and let's have MORE government intervention into our lives, we can never have enough of that! dopeslap.gif

 

Jim cool.gif

 

PS Flame suit on! grin.gif

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Bah, it's a machine! Machines break, and people whine about it.

 

I enjoy watching The Long Way Round DVD of the 1150GSs going 19k miles in 107 days in the harshest conditions imaginable. Those bikes were banged up and crashed countless times, they were completely submerged in water several times (and started right up after cranking the water out of the motors), ridden through dust and mud and rocks and potholes deeper than the bikes, etc. If I recall, they broke one shock and the rear subframe twice (from overloading gear). The welder cooked the ABS while fixing the frame. Yeah, it's just an anecdote, but I'd rather have an R bike on such a trip than anything else. To those whose FDs died, it's a btch and I'd be pissed, but I don't worry about my RT. If it happens it happens. It's a mechanical beast.

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Mercedes Benz is year after year at the very bottom of most reliability surveys I've seen, yet people continue to buy them. BMW cars are about average along suprisingly, with Ford. It can't be the technology in them... Lexus has the first 8 speed automatic and lots of bells and whistles, yet is considered about the most reliable car you can buy.

 

I love my BMW for it's function and overall performance. I just hope it runs reliably. No other bike quite fit my needs. I don't even mind it's inferior POS shocks. thumbsup.gif

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True, it's a machine. I had a Honda VFR throw a chain and take out my clutch slave cylinder and sidecase. It did major damage to the left side of the engine as the countershaft sprocket spun all the chain into a small area packed around my shifter shaft. It was unexpected and I had to repair it. The VFR was a great bike that broke down. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat even though my old one left me stranded and the fix was way more than I wanted to spend at that time. The good times outweighed the failure, breakdown and costly repair.

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PS Flame suit on!

 

Well, I won't flame you. Too much respect for all the sound advice you give. I will however ask that we can agree to disagree. I think the evidence is overwhelming that this issue is not just another run of the mill mechanical problem, that things wear out. Please look at this:

 

Link to BMWLT Survey Results

 

What I see is that the failures are occurring in young bikes (in terms of miles), that the failures are quite expensive - this is major mechanical failure, that the failures are potentially dangerous, that 153 of them have been documented in LT's.

 

I think these failures are most peculiar because we never hear of an engine failure, or really any other major mechanical failure in a low mile beemer. These really stand out in all respects.

 

That said, for all the other threads on this matter and concern here on this board, it is clear to me from this thread, that we as a group are not interested in pursuing the matter. A few people yes, but no groundswell of support that would be necessary to make an impact. 35 responses as I write, and not one report of a letter sent, a cross post to another board, or a failure reported.

 

Our most senior members, for various reasons, are not going to lend their support. I respect this and their experience. This board is a riding board, and the sentiment expressed several times in this thread, "Just ride" seems to sum it up nicely. Bullett and I have had our bikes since May, and have 6700 shit eating grin miles on them, so I'm not just blowing steam when I say I understand and respect that sentiment.

 

Moreover, this site is not set up structurally for this sort of thing. It's hard here as we have no committees, no way to manage sub-groups, etc. I'm not complaining, it's not a fault, it's just not what this site is about, and I wouldn't even want to see anything like that... it's not in the DNA. I only mean this is not the place to organize an action.

 

The BMWLT group is pursuing the matter, and they are going the NHTSA route. If anyone wants to report, the link above has information on where and how to report for the most impact. Please go there and take a look at what they are doing. Although their survey is for LT's, it looks like you can list other bikes there too... but the main thing is the NHTSA reporting.

 

At this time over here, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to respond, and express your opinion, it has been a learning experience.

 

With that, I respectfully withdraw my suggestion for action here, and submit that this thread be allowed to fade away.

 

Have a nice evening,

 

Jan

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I have to apologize in advance for my lack of knowledge on this matter, but are the final drives blowing up on the oilheads or does this issue afflict the new R1200 and K1200 bikes as well?

 

I know about the oilheads, I own one; my splines went at 70,000 miles. I am not aware of the newer bikes having this problem.

There have been a few reported incidents of FD shelling out on the new design too. What % we don't know.
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There have been a few reported incidents of FD shelling out on the new design too. What % we don't know.

 

Considering BMW is making 100k bikes per year now and there heve been a "few" reports, the % is probably an insignificant number. Unless of course it happens to you in which case it's 100%.

 

As I stated in one of the other 12 threads on this subject on here, the internet has a way of making a couple of reported incidents seem like hundreds and a pervasive problem. I'm not convinced it is..... yet.

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the internet has a way of making a couple of reported incidents seem like hundreds and a pervasive problem.
Yeah, like the Final Drives (drives plural) catching fire issue. There is one photo of one drive that overheated and the boot caught fire, that has been passed around 100 times. Now you'd think there are dozens and dozens of bikes burning to the ground!
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Hi,

 

I think we need to take action.

 

If this is a safety issue, and I think it is, maybe we can get NHTSA to start something.

 

For starters, IMHO, everyone that has had this happen needs to report it to NHTSA, no matter how long ago it occurred, no matter how nice BMWNA was about it, it needs to be reported. Please encourage anyone you know of to do so.

 

I also think we need a letter writing campaign urging BMW to come clean about the problem, offering statistics on the issue by model and year, a technical explanation of the problem's causes, a commitment to keep FD's for affected model years in stock at all dealers at all times, and a guarantee of lifetime replacement.

 

We have members who are on other boards as well. Perhaps we can get this letter writing and problem reporting campaign going with several of the boards together.

 

We're pretty loosely organized so I suggest people just post here and say if you've done something like started a similar post an another board, or sent BMWNA a letter, filed a complaint with NHTSA. or have another suggestion.

 

What say you?

 

Jan

 

Well, you could buy an F-800, (or any Buell) they have a belt drive that more than likely won't fail.

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There is one photo of one drive that overheated and the boot caught fire, that has been passed around 100 times. Now you'd think there are dozens and dozens of bikes burning to the ground!

 

 

You go down on one guy in an airport men's room, and everyone starts talking.

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Jim VonBaden
the internet has a way of making a couple of reported incidents seem like hundreds and a pervasive problem.
Yeah, like the Final Drives (drives plural) catching fire issue. There is one photo of one drive that overheated and the boot caught fire, that has been passed around 100 times. Now you'd think there are dozens and dozens of bikes burning to the ground!

 

Even more, when you read the story, it was actually the brakes that got so hot they caught the pivot boot on fire. The rider didn't even know his bike had a problem. The FD felt fine!

 

Jim cool.gif

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Well, you could buy an F-800, (or any Buell) they have a belt drive that more than likely won't fail.

 

Yeah but then when it comes time to change the belt be prepared to pull the swingarm off or pay someone to do it.

 

Yes much cheaper parts but at $85 per hour (or whatever you pay in your area) it's gonna cost you some coin.

 

I also had a chain break on my old GSXR1100 and whack me in the back of the helmet, it left a pretty good dent too! That bike would eat chains and sprockets.$$$

 

No matter what you ride things are going to break and it's going to cost something to fix it.

 

As for BMW's FD..... I think I'll just buy the extended warranty for my own peace of mind!

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Yeah, like the Final Drives (drives plural) catching fire issue. There is one photo of one drive that overheated and the boot caught fire, that has been passed around 100 times. Now you'd think there are dozens and dozens of bikes burning to the ground!

 

You mean I installed a fire supression system with a thermocouple to my final drive for nothing.......DAMN IT!

 

lmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

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Well, you could buy an F-800, (or any Buell) they have a belt drive that more than likely won't fail.

 

Yeah but then when it comes time to change the belt be prepared to pull the swingarm off or pay someone to do it.

 

Yes much cheaper parts but at $85 per hour (or whatever you pay in your area) it's gonna cost you some coin.

 

I also had a chain break on my old GSXR1100 and whack me in the back of the helmet, it left a pretty good dent too! That bike would eat chains and sprockets.$$$

 

No matter what you ride things are going to break and it's going to cost something to fix it.

 

As for BMW's FD..... I think I'll just buy the extended warranty for my own peace of mind!

 

According to Buell their belts are guaranteed for the life of the bike - yes, you read that correctly. The BMW belt is good for 25k miles, and the F-800s have a single sided swingarm, are you sure it needs to be dropped to replace a worn drive belt?

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[hornet's nest]

 

1. Final Drives are supposed to be maintenance-free, not failure-free.

 

2. Chain drives are infinitely more expensive to maintain and operate, even in light of the failure rate of final drives, BMW or otherwise.

 

Let’s take a look at some numbers and put emotion aside, shall we.

 

First, if it’s YOUR final drive that fails, it hurts. $1,500 ($1400 for the FD and about $100 labor to R&R) is nothing to sneeze at. I’m not trying to minimize the importance of your pain, just put this FD issue into perspective.

 

Some BMW websites have done surveys/polls regarding FD failures. Highest I’ve seen is about 6% failure rate. Lowest I’ve seen is about a 2% failure rate. That assumes a great deal. It assumes that those who haven’t had a failure, and those who have, are equally motivated to participate in the poll. But these websites have thousands of members, and yet get maybe 100 or 200 overall responses, both good and bad, to these polls. Clearly, not everyone is participating and it’s reasonable to expect that those WITH a failure are more likely to contribute to such polls than those without. Realistically, I would put the failure rate of FD’s is on the order of 1%, maybe 1.5%, although I'm probably estimating too high. No, that’s still not OK. But it’s closer to what the reality is. But to keep the nitpickers at bay, let’s take the higher assumption, double it and call it 3%, just for discussion.

 

At best, a 1000cc, 120hp sport-touring (or sport-touring capable) bike will eat a chain and sprockets in 15k-20k at an installed cost of about $400 for a quality DID chain and some good sprockets. Let’s call it 20k miles.

 

Maintenance/service: Chain lube at $10/can and 500-mile applications, vs. 230cc of a qt. of $20 synthetic gear lube. Well, it’s far more expensive to lube the chain but let’s just call it even. Same for the labor involved in maint/service. You spray your own chain lube 40 times during a 20K chain life. You change your FD fluid 3x. Again, a wash.

 

So, at the end of 100,000 miles, you will have spent $2,000 on chains and sprockets (5X$400), yet if you have a BMW with shaft drive you run an admittedly inflated 3% chance of having to spend $1500. And there’s a big IF involved here. IF your FD fails outside of warranty and IF you didn’t buy an extended warranty, which would eat up a fair share of that $1500, but which would cover your bike for up to 7 years, unlimited mileage, and zero deductible. There is NO warranty that covers chains and sprockets. None. Not from the manufacturer. Not from an aftermarket company. Unless the chain breaks as you pull out of the dealership upon taking delivery of a new bike, it’s considered a “wear” item. You pay. Every time. End of story.

 

Japanese FD’s: Do the Japanese do a better job? Can’t say. Perhaps. But statistically they don’t get as many miles put on them as quickly. And they only offer, on average, a 12/12 warranty, not a 36/36. What does that say about how much confidence they have in their products, or concern for you, their customer?

 

I know. We can whine ad nauseum about what happens when an FD fails in the middle of BFE and being 150 miles from the nearest BMW dealer. Trust me, the local Honzukaha dealer may be 25 miles away, but he doesn’t stock Japanese FD’s either. Doesn’t matter what you ride, you’re gonna need a tow and a motel room.

 

Look, the Japanese do what they do and produce what they produce, and BMW does it their way. I’ve put 90K on an RT and now ride an FJR. Believe me, as competent as the FJR is, they’re not the same and the BMW is worth the difference in more ways than I can enumerate.

 

You bought a shaft-drive bike so you wouldn’t have to muck with the FD, not so you would NEVER have to replace it. If you put $400 in a bank account every 20K miles, equal to what you’d spend if you had to replace sprockets and chains, when you hit 100K miles you’d have $2000, with only a 3% chance that you’d have had to spend $1500 of it. WAIT! If you factor out the BMW factory warranty period, then that’s 3% X (64,000/100,000miles), or about a 1.9% chance that you would have had to spend the money. And remember, the 3% was actually 1.5% doubled for the sake of discussion.

 

So, what would you do with that $2000 since there’s about a 98.5% real-world chance that you’d actually still have it? Sounds like you’ve got a good chunk of your next down payment.

 

FD failures make for BIG news and BIG complaints because it’s a sudden BIG expense. That’s all. (So was the $4,000 transmission in my wife’s Lexus which went out at 70K, but we budget $250/month for car maintenance, save the unused, and had it covered before it happened.) Still, if you’re one of the ones, my heart goes out to you because statistically the boogyman got you, just like it got us. But if you look at the numbers, and calculate the costs, and figure the percentages, AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY, we’re way ahead on shaft-drive bikes. Even the ones that have the relatively rare FD failure.

 

What these threads do for me is they point out the assumptions people make, their unrealistic expectations, and their eagerness to look to someone else for solutions. It also shows me how little people plan, then how angry they get when their lack of planning bites them. But that gets into a whole other area of life-living philosophies and practices. It is sooooooo much easier to take a statistically tiny percentage and just blame the manufacturer.

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[hornet's nest]

(So was the $4,000 transmission in my wife’s Lexus, but we budget $250/month for car maintenance, save the unused, and had it covered before it happened.)

 

You had a failure on a Lexus? Be sure to post that on a Lexus forum. wink.gif

 

You make a great point about overall maintenenace costs and risks. I also like your comment about the RT vs. the FJR. Great to hear an honest opinion from the owner of another make. Why are you riding an FJR then instead of a GT?

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