Final Drives- How Crazy is this? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2009, 6:55 pm Thread Starter
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Final Drives- How Crazy is this?

So, the thing about the final drive that BMW NA DID admit is that there is <insert whatever material here> inside the early final drives from manufacture. What was once considered by them "lubricated for life", then was changed to "change at 600 mile check" to eleviate that material. Since then, no real consensus stated from BMW about how often to change, but they added drains to do so.

The reality is that my '06 has only 16,640 miles on it, and only it's third final drive fluid change-

* First at 1200 miles (bulletin came out after I got the bike)
* Second, about 6,200 miles ago
* Third, about 150 miles ago (first time performed by me, results of which were just analyzed by Blackstone as having high iron and chromium and looked nasty)


What I was hoping to adopt,was an "annual" change like I have had for nearly 25 years with my K100RT (which incidentally lost it's final drive bearings at around 68,000 miles, so this is not new territory for me....)

But how crazy is this idea? (Grif, Meese, et al- chime in please)

If the dumb final drive "has something in it from manufacture" and changing the drive oil is supposed to somehow assist in the process, I defy how .66 liters of oil over 16,000 miles is gonna help.

So how hard is it to take the drive all the way off, put it in some kind of tub with the drain plug out and obviously the speedo sensor plug, and flush the #$%#$% thing out using, say, about 2 gallons of gear oil? Hook up a pump like a parts cleaner, and just flush the hell out of the thing with a bunch of clean lube?

I know I've read articles "hypothesizing" about incorrect bearings used, incorrect bearing torques, faulty seals, but the ONLY thing BMW admits to is that there is udesireable stuff in the things from the beginning.

Why not take 'em off and flush 'em REALLY good? It just seems to me a paltry .22 liter at a time every year ain't gonna do it...

Opinions? Has anyone actually done this? I just might. Seems like a cheap, albeit inconvenient, attempt at helping the issue. At least I'd personally like to see the thing drain clean fluid BEFORE I put new stuff in....

B.

Just my thought..
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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2009, 7:04 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brahma
So, the thing about the final drive that BMW NA DID admit is that there is <insert whatever material here> inside the early final drives from manufacture. What was once considered by them "lubricated for life", then was changed to "change at 600 mile check" to eleviate that material. Since then, no real consensus stated from BMW about how often to change, but they added drains to do so.

The reality is that my '06 has only 16,640 miles on it, and only it's third final drive fluid change-

* First at 1200 miles (bulletin came out after I got the bike)
* Second, about 6,200 miles ago
* Third, about 150 miles ago (first time performed by me, results of which were just analyzed by Blackstone as having high iron and chromium and looked nasty)


What I was hoping to adopt,was an "annual" change like I have had for nearly 25 years with my K100RT (which incidentally lost it's final drive bearings at around 68,000 miles, so this is not new territory for me....)

But how crazy is this idea? (Grif, Meese, et al- chime in please)

If the dumb final drive "has something in it from manufacture" and changing the drive oil is supposed to somehow assist in the process, I defy how .66 liters of oil over 16,000 miles is gonna help.

So how hard is it to take the drive all the way off, put it in some kind of tub with the drain plug out and obviously the speedo sensor plug, and flush the #$%#$% thing out using, say, about 2 gallons of gear oil? Hook up a pump like a parts cleaner, and just flush the hell out of the thing with a bunch of clean lube?

I know I've read articles "hypothesizing" about incorrect bearings used, incorrect bearing torques, faulty seals, but the ONLY thing BMW admits to is that there is udesireable stuff in the things from the beginning.

Why not take 'em off and flush 'em REALLY good? It just seems to me a paltry .22 liter at a time every year ain't gonna do it...

Opinions? Has anyone actually done this? I just might. Seems like a cheap, albeit inconvenient, attempt at helping the issue. At least I'd personally like to see the thing drain clean fluid BEFORE I put new stuff in....

B.

Just my thought..
The final drive problem is not a lubrication issue. You can change the fluid once a week and the final drive can still fail. It's a design issue which BMW has yet to address. I have read articles about the torque values at assembly being to high, but who knows. Last Month BMW ON had a whole write up on final drives, if your interested it very informative, but it also concludes oil changes are not the solution.

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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2009, 7:07 pm Thread Starter
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That's one of the articles I read. It's a decent article, but in the end, nothing but conjecture.

Before the thread is hijacked, I'm just interested in if ANYONE has EVER TRIED IT.
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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2009, 9:20 pm
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In one of my prior lives, we used an engine washer that ran off an air compressor that pumped kerosene via a spray nozzle through the oil pan drain. All sorts of crap came out of the engine and was caught by a small screen to show the customer how effective it was.

Seems like a snake oil approach now, but I don't know. Maybe it was a good idea. I suppose you could devise some sort of pump to flush the final via the sensor hole and out the bottom, or visa versa, and maybe through some sort of filter or screen? It wouldn't take much to make a ball lock and skid, spread the bearing ball retainer, pop out a rivet, and the whole thing subsequently explodes.

I wonder what BMW used in them to think it was lifetime lubricated? Probably graphite which can act as an abrasive over a moly compound - or just a poor compund. If the new drives ('09+) oil is coming out clear (straw yellow, purple, or red) then they decided whatever it was must have been very bad.

Fwiw, I just came from my dealer and they quoted me $1487 for a complete drive on an '06 (prior to 8-06, after they added the drain plug at 6 o'clock)). I'm seeing prices on the net from as high as $2200 down to <$1500 out of Chicago BMW (once past their listed prices and approx. 20% off their site's price).

Reason for me being there was to pick up a new fill plug (mine's the 3 o'clock only drain) with the magnet. Girl checked it and we both said it seemed very weak in strength. Looks to be buried in solder in the well of the plug. My funky Radio Shack rare-earth jobby with JB Weld in an old plug makes it look sissified in gauss (magnetic) strength. The new BMW one wouldn't even make a good reefer door magnet. Oh, it don't fit my final either as the thread pitch is very different (too coarse).


Mack
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old May 5th, 2009, 10:28 pm Thread Starter
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I have a small 12volt bilge pump that I can sacrifice for the job. It would be great to make a threaded fitting that would go into the drain plug port the blast the thing for awhile through the speedo hole. However, I don't have the capability to make such a fitting, and I also don't know what kind of job it would be to remove the whole drive.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2009, 6:57 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brahma
I have a small 12volt bilge pump that I can sacrifice for the job. It would be great to make a threaded fitting that would go into the drain plug port the blast the thing for awhile through the speedo hole. However, I don't have the capability to make such a fitting, and I also don't know what kind of job it would be to remove the whole drive.
Removing the entire drive is not a very big deal. There are one or two "single-use" bolts/nuts you'd have to replace and if you remove the disk there are a number of "single-use" screws you'd also need to refresh, but in terms of effort, with the correct tools it shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes including muffler and wheel removal.

The idea of flushing the drive is not a bad one either, but having a good relationship with your dealer is probably far more valuable. My '06 final was replaced on my bike under warranty at 33k km. If it fails again I am completely confident that my dealer and BMW Motorrad Canada will step up to the plate and replace it again, inside warranty or not.

Best of luck.

Chris
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2009, 7:26 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GMack
In one of my prior lives, we used an engine washer that ran off an air compressor that pumped kerosene via a spray nozzle through the oil pan drain. All sorts of crap came out of the engine and was caught by a small screen to show the customer how effective it was.

Seems like a snake oil approach now, but I don't know. Maybe it was a good idea. I suppose you could devise some sort of pump to flush the final via the sensor hole and out the bottom, or visa versa, and maybe through some sort of filter or screen? It wouldn't take much to make a ball lock and skid, spread the bearing ball retainer, pop out a rivet, and the whole thing subsequently explodes.

I wonder what BMW used in them to think it was lifetime lubricated? Probably graphite which can act as an abrasive over a moly compound - or just a poor compund. If the new drives ('09+) oil is coming out clear (straw yellow, purple, or red) then they decided whatever it was must have been very bad.

Fwiw, I just came from my dealer and they quoted me $1487 for a complete drive on an '06 (prior to 8-06, after they added the drain plug at 6 o'clock)). I'm seeing prices on the net from as high as $2200 down to <$1500 out of Chicago BMW (once past their listed prices and approx. 20% off their site's price).

Reason for me being there was to pick up a new fill plug (mine's the 3 o'clock only drain) with the magnet. Girl checked it and we both said it seemed very weak in strength. Looks to be buried in solder in the well of the plug. My funky Radio Shack rare-earth jobby with JB Weld in an old plug makes it look sissified in gauss (magnetic) strength. The new BMW one wouldn't even make a good reefer door magnet. Oh, it don't fit my final either as the thread pitch is very different (too coarse).


Mack
I had a good buddy back in the 70's who owned an AMX Javlin. He kept begging me to use this Gunk engine flush in his engine. I told him over, and over it was a bad idea, finally he did it on his own, adding one quart of Gunk engine flush to the crankcase, and running it for 15 minutes as the instructions said. Then he changed the oil, twice just like the instructions said. Plenty of gunk came out of the crank case, but that was the demise of that engine. Every place that engine had a seal began leaking oil, and I mean everyplace. In the end we took the engine out, and sent it to machine shop to rebuild. I would suggest that rinsing the engine, or final drive will not solve the real problem, and could do more harm than good.

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old May 6th, 2009, 8:38 pm Thread Starter
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I would suggest that rinsing the engine, or final drive will not solve the real problem, and could do more harm than good.
I am suggesting using ONLY clean 75w90 until it comes out perfectly clean. Not any type of "cleanser"...
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old May 7th, 2009, 9:45 am
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In my opinion, it would do no good. I used to change the gear oil on my LT every 3,000 miles. It came out clear and beautiful and I still lost the rear at 68k.

It's not the oil that's causing it. I believe it's a part problem. Since it happens to a very small percentage of the bikes, but a significant number over the years, NHTSA is either blind, or paid off.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old May 7th, 2009, 1:18 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brahma
I am suggesting using ONLY clean 75w90 until it comes out perfectly clean. Not any type of "cleanser"...
After chiming in on this thread I went and found the MOA article. I would like to correct a previous post of mine, and mention that the article I referenced in the BMW ON Magazine was the November 2008 issue. Bottom line in the article is that the final drives are failing because of incorrect preload, and shimming in the final drive. This causes incomplete contact between the gears, and we know where that leads. The wrong preload is also pressing the bearing so tight in its race that the oil film required is impossible to achieve. Under these circumstances changing the final drive fluid will at beast delay the inevitable slightly. So in effect, if the preload was set incorrectly at the factory, the destiny of your final drive has been etched in stone during manufacturing process

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