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BMW recommends changing the front wheel bearings on many bikes at 75K miles. K12/13 bikes come to mind. Heavy bikes like K1600 or even the beloved Lt1200 may not go so long. Your tire changer should check the bearings by feel at each tire change. And, do not ever pressure wash your bike. The UK has an in ordinate amount of corrosion problems. I think they treat the roads with acid. And stick to the factory torque setting for the front axle, not tight is good enough. A sly symptom of front bearing failure is pulsing brakes. Wobble. But if it has gone this far, wow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
thanks, ordered NSK bearings and seals, my local bmw guy couldnt tell me what brand he had on the shelf were. I’ve only put about 3500kms on the bike since I bought it at 95000km, I figured they would need doing at some point, but didn’t expect them to fail that quickly. Anyway, all cleaned up ok, took the opportunity to remove the brake discs, cleaned up the wheel as best I could and ensured all the floating bobbins were freed up, a lot of crud in them. Then also cleaned up the forks, a lot of crud inside the bottom yoke and split joints where the pinch bolts go.

I am also stripping the bike down to check plugs, coolant etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
BMW recommends changing the front wheel bearings on many bikes at 75K miles. K12/13 bikes come to mind. Heavy bikes like K1600 or even the beloved Lt1200 may not go so long. Your tire changer should check the bearings by feel at each tire change. And, do not ever pressure wash your bike. The UK has an in ordinate amount of corrosion problems. I think they treat the roads with acid. And stick to the factory torque setting for the front axle, not tight is good enough. A sly symptom of front bearing failure is pulsing brakes. Wobble. But if it has gone this far, wow.
Weird thing is there was only noise, a grumble and hum (cool song title btw), and only on the day I wheeled it into my workshop did it make a grinding noise as I turned left. The LH on had collapsed, I think only one ball missing, cage all squirreled up and outside bearing seal destroyed. The dust seal was only just holding on, so yeah, lucky catch. Amazingly with that damage, the hub, bore and crush tube were all OK. right hand side a bit better, but bearing really rough, seals intact though.

hardest part was getting the wheel nut off. I had tried once when I replaced the esa shock at the front, I could not get it to move, even with a 600mm breaker bar, extension tube or my air impact rattle gun.

this time tried again, same set up, would not budge. Then I took an old extension bar and gave the axle a hard tap axially, applied penetrant to the LHS and ensured the pinch bolt was tight. With me standing on the breaker bar, it finallly came loose with a squeal and the rest was easy. axle threads cleaned up well and so did the retainer. PO used a truck load of antiseize which I think had the opposite effect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Refitted new bearings and seals today, noted a scuff mark on the lh inside fork leg, this means the brake bobbins must have kissed the inside leg. Definitely dodged a bullet there, would have been not pretty at speed had that bearing fully collapsed.
 

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That's kind of a check every 20K miles thing. Apparently, these things eat bearings if the axle is over torqued.
There is a tube inside the wheel that prevents damaging the bearing if it gets over torqued. I suppose it could damage the bearing if it was over torqued enough to collapse the tube a little. I never leave home without a small tool kit & that includes a 3/8" drive torque wrench.

Every front wheel bearing failure that I have replaced and I have done many for myself & my riding friends was because water had got past the seal & into the bearing. My 2004 K1200LT with over 200,000 miles has the original front wheel bearings. I have replace the seal many times & the seal pipe that the seal rides on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, I call that the crush tube, these wheels have an internal collar that the outer race seats onto, the crush tube end then has around a 0.5mm gap to the inner race. Torqued the LH clamp bolt to 19Nm, then the Axle nut to 50Nm and finally the RH clamp bolt to 19Nm.



Calipers back on, bolts torqued to 30Nm and all good.
 
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