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Drive shaft spline greasing


CoarsegoldKid

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CoarsegoldKid

Getting to the chase. Do we need to grease both ends of the drive shaft and and how often should it be performed?

 

Now for the before the chase. We all know how paranoid BMW owners can be. We diligently pay for service or perform the maintenance on our final drives ourselves. I do mine about every second rear tire change or so. I drain and refill with 180cc of liquid gold and inspect the drained fluid for little bits and clean off the whiskers from the magnetic speed sensor. I even give the splines a fresh smear of Mobil One red colored grease. I feel pleased with the knowledge that I'm taking good care of the machine. Then a few days ago a friend says to me, "Aren't there splines on the other end of the drive shaft? Don't they need attention too? So I got to thinking that I really don't know what's on the other end of the drive shaft. I pull out my professionally produced BMW DVD commonly called the RepROM to check it out. There's a section on drive shaft. But there isn't any information worth a tinkers damn on the drive shaft. They could have saved a few megabits of DVD storage by leaving the line item off the list entirely. What were they thinking?

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Evening Joe

 

The service manual calls for using Optimoly TA

High-temperature assembly grease on the splines at drive shaft installation but there isn't a service interval called out for maintenance.

 

It's a big job to remove the trans end of the drive shaft from the trans splines as the rear swing arm has to be removed first.

 

That Red Mobil 1 grease probably isn't the best choice for rear spline lube as it doesn't do much to prevent spline fretting but it's better than nothing.

 

 

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The service manual calls for using Optimoly TA High-temperature assembly grease on the splines at drive shaft installation but there isn't a service interval called out for maintenance.

DR: Out curiosity, is this stuff a reasonable substitute (too late for me if you don't, because I have no desire to split the bike again unless something fails):

 

moly.jpg

 

Honda dealers are a lot easier to find.... I bought a tube of the stuff about 15 years ago for lubing the FD gears on my Pacific Coast, and I have gradually cut down the tube as I use it up. At my past consumption rate, I think I have a 10-year supply remaining.

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Honda Moly 60 is what I used on my previous bike.. a Suzuki cruiser and that's what was called for.. I beleive that's the stuff for our bikes, too.

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Evening Selden

 

That Moly 60 is good stuff. Probably just fine for the drive shaft spline area. Some speculation (or maybe fact, I don't really know) from the BMW technician training that the Moly 60 is not compatible with the Optimoly TA so they shouldn't be mixed.

 

 

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Do not mix is interesting, but I avoided that pitfall by cleaning the splines and friction disk meticulously with 91% isopropynol and brake parts cleaner before assembly.

 

I just did some searching, and apparently the Optimoly TA (despite its name) is a graphite-based lubricant, while the Honda stuff is 60% MoS2 by weight. The former is supposed to have better performance at very high temperatures, although I found this in a Wikipedia article on MoS2:

 

Few alternatives exist that can confer the high lubricity and stability [of MoS2] up to 350° C in oxidizing environments.

If the transmission splines/clutch temperature ever exceeded 350° C, I think I would have other things to worry about.

 

Mitch (or other chemists here): Do you have anything to add from the perspective of a chemist?

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Tim(10ovr) showed me the failed drive shaft in his bike and that got me paranoid so I did the big time maintenance on it. I cleaned both ends really good and used Honda Moly 60 to re-grease the splines. So far things seem good, that was about 800 miles ago.

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Guest Kakugo
The service manual calls for using Optimoly TA High-temperature assembly grease on the splines at drive shaft installation but there isn't a service interval called out for maintenance.

DR: Out curiosity, is this stuff a reasonable substitute (too late for me if you don't, because I have no desire to split the bike again unless something fails):

 

moly.jpg

 

Honda dealers are a lot easier to find.... I bought a tube of the stuff about 15 years ago for lubing the FD gears on my Pacific Coast, and I have gradually cut down the tube as I use it up. At my past consumption rate, I think I have a 10-year supply remaining.

 

That's one of the best products money can buy and it's widely available. :)

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The service manual calls for using Optimoly TA High-temperature assembly grease on the splines at drive shaft installation but there isn't a service interval called out for maintenance.

DR: Out curiosity, is this stuff a reasonable substitute (too late for me if you don't, because I have no desire to split the bike again unless something fails):

 

moly.jpg

 

Honda dealers are a lot easier to find.... I bought a tube of the stuff about 15 years ago for lubing the FD gears on my Pacific Coast, and I have gradually cut down the tube as I use it up. At my past consumption rate, I think I have a 10-year supply remaining.

 

That's one of the best products money can buy and it's widely available. :)

 

My final drive is hanging down right now and I'm going to the Honda dealer this afternoon to pick some of this stuff up. Internet legend shows it to be perfect for this application and available with only a 25 mile drive for me.

 

 

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mwsR1200RT

Moly 60 has been my go to for heavily loaded bearings for over 15 years now. Zero issues.

I use it on driveshaft splines and the needle bearings in shock linkages.

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Just FWIW from everything I've read over the 15 years since I purchased my '96 RT I've come to the conclusion that the requirement for regular disassembly and lubrication of the input shaft splines is iffy at best. There is clearly a problem with certain bikes manufactured in certain date ranges which seems to have something to do with sub-optimal alignment of the transmission/engine and extra lubrication will probably help these doomed units to live a bit longer, but beyond that I'm not sure regular spline lubrication is necessary or worth the considerable effort. In my case I finally succumbed to the fear at about 60k miles and pulled the bike apart to find dry, rusty splines... in perfect condition, as so many others have. So while I'd stop short of advising anybody not to do it I'm also not really convinced it is necessary in most cases, and the same goes for the driveshaft ends. But if you're gonna do it Moly 60 is good... :grin:

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I agree pretty much with most of what smiller said above, but it makes me feel much better knowing it is greased properly now. I wouldn't recommend doing it on a regular basis though...too much work removing the swing arm.

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Brian Louw

+1 on the Honda Moly.

Joe, I was in BMW Fresno when I was up there for your ride and asked Al what they use.

He pointed me to a jar of lube under the front of the parts counter. I decided to go with the Honda one anyway.

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