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yerguy
04-08-2009, 12:29 AM
Just got a bit of bad news from one of my best friends about his '05' ST Hexhead.

After a short absence from riding he was shopping for a new bike. He's ridden Harleys in the past and was considering another. His criteria was...Aircooled, 2 cylinders, and comfortable riding ergonomics.

I brought to his attention the problems with the valve train on the newer big Harleys's and suggested he consider one of the boxer BMW's. Once he saw the R1150RS, he was in love but would'nt you know towards the end of 2004, we could not find 1 single new one anywhere here in So. Calif. He was insistent that he buy a brand new bike, nothing used or demo'ed.

About that time, the Hexhead GS was making news and everyone ourselves included were waiting, watching for the replacement for the RS and RT series. Long story short, he bought the 3rd RS available in San Diego and has been in love with everything about the machine.

Until now, he has been very happy with his new machine and has thanked me numerous times for turning him away from the "dark side".

ALL maintenance has been done per the book at the dealer and a recent service at 21,000 miles revealed leaking tranny input/output shaft seals. Dealer is insistent it be corrected immediately. The printed estimate is in excess of $750.00.

IMO, this seems very unlikely for such low milage and should be covered to some degree by BMW North America.

I also wonder if perhaps a previous service may have overfilled the tranny. As a former mech, I know how easy it would be using the pressurized lube gun to do just that. You inject lube till it begins to run out the fill port, but if overfilled and the plug is replaced before the lube has a chance to self level would result in too much lube. The gears thrashing about in all that fluid could pressurize the case just enought to start forcing it out of the seals??????? I've seen it before, so it can happen.

If anyone has any knowlege or history of tranny leaks on Hexheads, please let us know and the outcome.

So now, he's wondering if buying the BMW was a mistake and is quite disappointed, is wondering what else will go wrong and how pricy will it be.

marchyman
04-08-2009, 03:22 AM
Input and/or output shaft seal leaks are apparently somewhat common on '05 (and maybe '06, not sure) GS. Don't know about the other hexheads. Mine were changed at just under 27K. The leak was noticed around my 24K service, about 2 years after purchasing the bike. The dealer wasn't quite sure if it was really leaking, so dumped some florescent die in the tranny to see if it showed up on the bike later. It did.

// marc

Polarbear
04-08-2009, 01:03 PM
Thats why I bought my first time ever, extended warranty on my '07 GSA to 7 years. One thing breaks and its paid for itself:). No mileage stipulations either and I like that, so I can ride forever and still get it fixed on them:). Actually me, as I paid for the warranty, but its not that expensive, compared to the fixes of these things today! Randy

greenwald
04-08-2009, 01:25 PM
Thats why I bought my first time ever, extended warranty on my '07 GSA to 7 years. One thing breaks and its paid for itself:). No mileage stipulations either and I like that, so I can ride forever and still get it fixed on them:). Actually me, as I paid for the warranty, but its not that expensive, compared to the fixes of these things today! Randy

Exactly!

I went with Contego - my '05 R1200RT is covered against those wallet-busting repairs thru 2014, and for less than that tranny seal fix would cost.

By then, we'll see what the new K1200LT has morphed into?!



PS: My tranny seal leaked once already under warranty (24,000 mi.) and was replaced.

briana
12-23-2009, 03:33 PM
Replacing the input shaft seal on my bike as we speak. I'm looking at an $800 bill. 2005 R1200ST with 38K miles.

Brian

bob1100rtc
12-23-2009, 05:31 PM
I had the trans seals replaced at 6500 miles on my 07RT. If your a former mechanic you should do the job yourself. I haven't had the trans out of my 07 because its under warranty but I did put a clutch in my 00RT and it wasn't that bad. I'm shure parts and the case of imported beer your buddy will be giving you will be under $100.

milo
12-23-2009, 09:35 PM
I guess this is a stupid question but what are the symptoms of failing transmission seals? Is it an exterior oil leak or is the leak internal?

bob1100rtc
12-23-2009, 10:49 PM
I had oil dripping on my catalytic converter causing a smell after a long ride when I parked in the garage. Laying on the floor I could see oil leaking between the engine and trans.

vinton
12-23-2009, 10:57 PM
Slipping Clutch on my 04 RT was caused buy leaking transmission seals. It had 33k on it when I noticed it starting to slip when passing in 5th or 6th gear. Cost me $850 to have done. That included replacing the clutch which had been contaminated with oil. Granted this was an input shaft seal which required splitting the transmission case so I had all the seal replaced at that time. Should it have happened this soon? don't know! Bought the bike used so have no idea how it was treated before I got it. Still very happy with bike.

milo
12-23-2009, 11:10 PM
Thanks Bob, and Vinton. I'll pay particular attention.

PGlaves
12-24-2009, 01:29 AM
ALL maintenance has been done per the book at the dealer and a recent service at 21,000 miles revealed leaking tranny input/output shaft seals. Dealer is insistent it be corrected immediately. The printed estimate is in excess of $750.00.

IMO, this seems very unlikely for such low milage and should be covered to some degree by BMW North America.



BMW's obligation is spelled out in the Warranty document. Beyond that document (defects in materials or workmanship arising within 3 years or 36,000 miles whichever comes first) the dealer might try to convince BMW that they should participate in the cost of the repair on a good-will basis. Or the dealer might choose not to do that.

If it were my bike - since both seals seem to be leaking in concert - before I did anything else would drain whatever gear oil is in the transmission and install Castrol Hypoy C 80w90 non-synthetic gear oil. The seal leaks might well stop

greenwald
12-24-2009, 02:43 PM
BMW's obligation is spelled out in the Warranty document. Beyond that document (defects in materials or workmanship arising within 3 years or 36,000 miles whichever comes first) the dealer might try to convince BMW that they should participate in the cost of the repair on a good-will basis. Or the dealer might choose not to do that.

If it were my bike - since both seals seem to be leaking in concert - before I did anything else would drain whatever gear oil is in the transmission and install Castrol Hypoy C 80w90 non-synthetic gear oil. The seal leaks might well stop

Because it is thicker?

Is 'seapage' a chronic issue with synthetics?

Just curious.

dpspeer
12-24-2009, 04:45 PM
My '07 RT leaked with synthetic but does not with regular dino oil. I switched to synthetic at 24k and almost immediate noticed seapage. After cleaning everything and switching back, there are no signs of leaking (48k miles now).

yerguy
12-24-2009, 06:03 PM
Paul,

I certainly do appreciate your piping in. I've always enjoyed and learned from your comments here on the OA forums and the magazine as well as following you and your wife Vonnie's adventures. I've even referred several women thinking about riding to your site to read about Vonnie.

As a factory trained VW, Porsche, Audi, BMW (auto) and Alfa mech from years ago and as the service dept. manager of three different dealerships I know that if a seal is installed improperly by either setting it too deep, too shallow, crookedly or without lubing the inside contact surfaces, chances are the seal will tear and eventually leak. Otherwise, it should pretty much last the life of the tranny or crank seal.

More than once I've seen crank or tranny seals with well over 100K on them and no leaks. If you are already in there doing a clutch might as well R&R the seals...cheap insurance. Seems like the slight disturbance of the old/new parts sometimes itself leads to leaks.

There are exceptions to this of course and from my automotive experience usually a call to the regional service rep will result in authorization to replace via warranty or at the least on vehicles with less than 60K, a split in cost with the customer if they have taken reasonably good care of the vehicle.

I can recall one instance on a Honda Accord, 75K+ on the clock of a leaking rear crank seal. Caught it on a clutch replacement. Mechanic noticed a deep groove on the crankshaft at the same point the lip of the seal would normally ride. We decided to try something a bit unique that might work. We carefully peeled back the seal lip, removed and trimmed about 1/8 inch off the seal tension spring, wound them back together and installed the seal thinking it might seal a bit tighter to make up for the grooved area.

It did'nt work. Still leaked. Brought the car back, called regional rep, had him take a look at the grooved crank. He agreed there had to be something wrong about the original installation. He OK'd a new crank which means new bearings, rings, seals and all. Customer paid less than $200.00 for touching up the valves and seats and drives out with essentially a new motor.

On the Honda CVCC models, the first 3 years had a problem with head gasket sealing. As a part of the CVCC head gasket campaign all CVCC models got a new head gasket. If there was any sign at all of of coolant leaks, automatically the motor would receive a 1st or 2nd overbore, new pistons, rings, bearings, seals. Again, for only the labor of the resurfacing the valves and seats and valve stem seals, a customer drives out with a new motor.

And the factory reimbursed both parts and labor at the normal shop rates. Nobody loses out or got cheated and the customer drives away singing praises to Honda and our shop. This is the kind of experience I've had in the auto service biz and feel it should be the norm, not the exception no matter if it is a car or a motorcycle.

I know for a fact that on many domestic models that is not the case. Warranty repairs are paid at lower flat rate times, lower labor rates and often the parts dept. get less than cost on parts. So, there is little incentive for warranty repairs if everyone loses. I know for a fact this was the case for GM models and Chrysler/Dodge throughout the 80's and 90's. Consequently no one wants to do warranty work....it is a $$ loser.

And you wonder why no one would buy GM or Chrysler or their reputations went down the tubes ???? I seriously wonder if that is the case with the motorcycle biz ?????

And that is what disturbs me about this. A seal should last longer than 20K and I fully believe it should NOT be customer pay. To fail at this mileage to me means that something is WRONG in either the install or quality of the part. I'd think that at the least for the sake of customer relations the factory would take care of this and that BMWNA warranty dept. would like to inspect the parts to determine why these fail prematurely.

In my friends case, he was 3 months outside the 3 year warranty, close enough that I would think they would have made an exception. Dealer insisted that BMW would NOT help, that it was a customer pay issue.

Perhaps warranty claims are handled differently for motorcycles vs. automobiles but I am tired of hearing and reading of so many instances from my experience would/should have been resolved by some kind of intervention by the factory and a full or partial warranty claim. Maybe the dealers are not reimbursed as well or often vs. the auto biz ????? Or maybe, just maybe the dealers are a bit more selfish and want the customer pay $$$ ????

I lust after the new hexheads myself, love everything about them but when I read of all the final drive failures, tranny leaks, slipping clutches, key fob ring failures, and so on, I wonder if mistakedly BMW is still my version of motorcycle nirvana?? Perhaps all the new fangled features are problem prone. Perhaps the older style of keeping it simple is better???

Because of the $$$ of the new hexheads, I'll have to shop for a used model and I wonder if I'm just asking for trouble?? My dream is long distance cross country riding like so many of you lucky SOB's get to do and I cringe at the thought of something major failing in the middle of nowhere that might cost an arm and a leg to fix.

For what it's worth, my friend went ahead and paid for the repairs and just two weeks ago due to a one moment lapse of attention crashed heavily, stuffing the bike in the weeds totaling the bike and dinging himself up pretty good in the process. Asked if he was wearing the "Stitch" or the Belstaff jacket I turned him onto he replied it was too hot, just wearing jeans and T shirt.

Good example of paying attention, ATGATT, and you go where you look.....

I've been a long time advocate of synthetic lubes but after reading comments from Brian Curry, Tom Cutter and Anton Largiader regarding tranny lubes on my 1100RS I too have changed to a mix of 2/3 Castrol Hypoy and 1/3 Redline Shock gear lube with no leaks and consistently smoother shifting. I chose Shock because of my experiences on dog clutch racing trannies used on the road race cars I've crew chieffed over the years. When a rally car or road race car makes hundreds or even thousands of clutchless shifts and the tranny lives....that's says a lot about the lube.

To answer the member asking why synthetics may leak is not because it it thicker. In fact, most synthetics are much thinner, yet possess the crush and tear characteristics of a heavier lube.

The difference is the synthetics are a bit higher in detergency meaning they can and will clean everything internally better than a conventional lube. The downside of this positive attribute is if a seal has a minute crack, the synthetic lube will wash away any gunk that may have clogged up that crack. Think of it in terms of adding Draino to a clogged sink. The Draino clears the clog and the sink runs free. In the case of the synthetic lube, it does the same thing, clears the clog and VOILA, it begins to leak.

I am beginning to have serious doubts about the ethics of motorcycle service depts. and factory warranties. So many cases of clear cut premature failures of a component and the dealer or factory will not step up to the plate and resolve the issue unless you have a very good dealership that will go to battle with the factory. Seems most won't bother.

I'd love to hear from someone in the biz to enlighten me why these issues are handled so poorly vs. the automotive versions of similar problems.

gwood
12-28-2009, 04:11 PM
And the factory reimbursed both parts and labor at the normal shop rates. Nobody loses out or got cheated and the customer drives away singing praises to Honda and our shop. This is the kind of experience I've had in the auto service biz and feel it should be the norm, not the exception no matter if it is a car or a motorcycle.


You could have ended your post with this paragraph. The Honda car experience, in my opinion, is the gold standard. I'd gotten so used to hearing "they all do that" and "there is no problem" (Jedi hand wave), I'd forgotten what it felt like to be treated as a real "valued customer". I've never bought a new Honda MC, so I can't say if the bike division operates to the same standard, but that new VFR looks pretty neat, and if my RT starts puking tranny oil....

mpmarty
12-28-2009, 07:32 PM
Perhaps a few of those on this site could get together and discuss their dis-allowed repair claims with an interested attorney. Class action suits generally get the undivided attention of the automotive defendants.

yerguy
12-28-2009, 07:55 PM
Gwood,

That was my impression of Honda's attitude towards owners. I can recall many an instance where the problem was in fact the customers fault yet they would still go out of their way to approve resolution. Case in point: An 18 yr. old girl brought her car in for 6K service w/complaints of difficult shifting, noisy brakes and sluggish handling. Curious about the problems, I had her take me for a test drive.

The girl would bang up and downshifts with poor clutch coordination, would go flying into turns with the steering wheel cranked over at least 15 deg. more than needed. You could feel/hear the tires just grinding away and only THEN would she apply the brakes and downshift. Very poor driving form. Asked who taught her to drive a manual trans, she replied her father.

At the shop I find tires virtually bald, between 6-18 psi in the tires, brakes worn to the backing plates and the rotors destroyed. Found the car was not purchased thru a dealer but one of the volume discounters so popular back then. The car had not been given the Pre Delivery Inspection nor had the initial service been done at 1K. Only 6K on the car and it needs new pads, tires, rotors, a clutch and transmission synchros!!!!

In a very snotty fashion, the girl demanded we fix all this or else her dad would intervene. Knowing this is the result of her driving technique, not a result of parts failures I informed her that this might well be the responsibility of the owner. Dad did intervene and we set up an appointment with the regional rep. The rep agreed the problems were the result of poor driving and lack of proper maintenance by the owner yet....he authorized replacement of all the above, with the understanding that the customer knows this time only.

Why?? For the sake of customer relations, nothing else. The rep and Honda simply did not want customers thinking that they'd made a mistake choosing a Honda. That is above and beyond what anyone could hope for from the manufacturer yet that is the way Honda was. Had very similar experiences with VW, Porsche and Audi when they were a combined enitiy as they are again just recently.

Motorcycle example.....

I've an '01' Triumph Sprint ST, purchased with 6K on the odometer at almost 1/2 price. Thought it might be the last M/C I'd ever buy. Outfitted it for long distance riding, was absolutely anal about manintenance and care. Not having the needed shims for valve lash adjustment, I left this to dealer care done at 12K intervals.

The 12K service includes valve adjustment and upload/download of latest ECU tunes and a computer reset of idle position after throttle body synch. TB's synched with manometer but the ECU would not even initialize the shop service tool. Pointed out excessive exhaust heat was distorting and melting the belly pan along with my legs anytime engine speed was over 5K RPM. None of the typical backfire, flatspots, surging or popping common to overly lean A/F ratios but definitely not right. Dealer reply..."If it runs good, don't worry about it." Keep in mind the Triumph warranty was 12 months/12K miles.

Dealer no help. Found local Ducati/Aprillia dealer had a solid rep for working with the Sagen(French??) computer used by Triumph and some Aprillias. They were known for several screaming Triumph Speed Triples in the area. On the dyno they too could not link with the ECU, but the 4 gas analysis and infrared temp gauge confirmed my suspicions...the ECU was retarding spark timing and going excessively lean above 5K RPM. Otherwise it rode/ran like perfect carburation. Learned to live with it, but knew it was'nt right.

Prepping for my first Iron Butt event, did all service but valve adj and TB synch. This time to a local dealer w/21.8K on the odometer. Wanted the valve lash and TB synch done.

Tech found all valves beyond minimum lash, said tulipped valves (sunken valves) probably won't make it to the next adjustment. Curious about a slight rattle on the left rear side of the engine, all the techs kinda' stepped away and shyly pointed in the area of the alternator, suggesting the noise "might" be in that area. I could tell by their body language and reluctance to elaborate that they knew more than they were telling. I asked if new alternator drive rubber cush's would help all they would say is "maybe".

Like earlier Kawasaki's, the early Trumph triple has a geared cross shaft for the starter, clutch and alt. drive supported by ball/needle bearings outboard on each side. With alt. and drive cup removed I found that the outer race was gone along with all but 4 of the balls in that bearing. Removed the clutch and found only 7 of the 22 needle bearing on the right side. Drained oil, dropped the pan and found less than half of the missing bearings parts. That means the rest are floating around somewhere in the engine. Thankfully they had not gotten caught up in tranny gears while riding. That would have locked up the rear wheel instantly probably causing a very nasty crash.

I would think there is a liability possibility here??

Did a bit of online research and find this is not at all uncommon. Most cases were handled the same fashion as mine..."We've never seen that before. Sorry can't help you. Now go away before you scare any other customers away"

Response from the two area dealers???? One says "$5,000 to start and we may be able to fix it with a $500 trade in offer towards a new bike!!" the other says "No way!!! With bearings in the motor, we won't touch it even it you left it here with a blank check" Scrap it, buy a new bike....

What bothers me is when all this was found, the dealers now treated me as if I were a leper and would prefer that I left along with my compaints.

Sent a Certified Letter to Triumph Cust. Relations NA. Did not even get the Cert. Letter reciept back???? Numerous Emails have all gone unanswered and the desk operator will not forward my calls to the Warranty or Customer Relations Dept. As the local San Diego dealer says..."They don't care" Obviously.

So I've now got a very low mileage Triumph nicely farkled out that has a burnt up motor needing an O-haul, and a junk ECU ($1800) that is worth more as scrap metal than a motorcycle. Obviously you are a valued customer only when you are freely spending $$, but don't think that entitles you to help when the machine lets you down.

That is why I am so concerned about the horror stories I hear and read about so often when it comes to dealer and factory support. Read the warped/excessive rotor runout problems with the new K1200/K1300's here at the OA forums. Or simply read the customer satisfaction surveys in Motorcycle Consumer News. As a whole, I feel the industry needs a good enema to humble themselves or they are going to go down in history as the next General Motors or Chrysler.

I am not one to advocate more laws and legislation but perhaps it is time for something similar to automotive consumer protection laws for motorcycle owners. Apparently the powersports industry seems to be exempt from these. I do not know why that is???

It's getting awfully drafty up here on my soapbox, lemme' clmb down have a medicinal shot of single malt before I really get worked up....