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My final drive crown bearing gave up 2 weeks ago at 28k miles. I've gotten it apart and was shocked to see that this is (was :-/ ) a totally sealed bearing! After reading about the 12k oil change interval & doing it, and even people changing final drive oil at every engine oil change, I had assumed that the bearing was in the oil bath. Not so! Now I highly doubt that the frequent oil changes have ANYTHING to do with the life of the bearing.

Has anybody tried installing the crown bearing with NO inner seal? I am very tempted. It cannot possibly be worse, and may very well be Much more reliable.

Partly what is leading me to this is in all my reading the last 2 weeks, I saw that on the Right side drive GS's, that BMW changed to a vented gearbox with a bearing with no inner seal.

If I do indeed to this route, I probably have to rig some kind of vent as well to prevent vapor expansion from blowing out the bearing outer seal.
 
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