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Thread: R1200RT Rear Drive Failure

  1. #1
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    R1200RT Rear Drive Failure

    My almost new R12RT is laid up at the dealer with a failed rear drive assembly. It's not clear to me exactly what failed because I have never seen the diagram of the rear assembly. The bike had 3500 miles on the clock and was new in June. Had to cancel my long planned September vacation.

    Oddly enough BMW can't supply replacement parts to my dealer nor can they provide a date by which the parts will be available. The dealer has been great but there does not appear to be a solution in the near future.

    I had a heck of a time finding a phone number to reach customer service at BMW NA and when I did the person would not tell me their full name or give me a direct number for reaching them. He did say he'd call me back in 48 hours with an update. My dealer is closed on Monday's so he can't touch base with them until tomorrow.

    Is this a common experience? This is my seventh Beemer and my first after taking a break when my local dealer closed down. I switched to Harley's for nearly seven years, but missed having a Beemer. This is the first time I've had a serious failure with a BMW during warranty since 1987 (and then the dealer harvested the needed part from a bike on the floor to get me riding again).

    There was little or no warning that the rear drive was failing and there was enough lateral play in the rear wheel by the time I found the problem that the wheel probably would have come off at some point had I continued riding.

    Looking back two things should have warranted further investigation. I smelled a burning smell that I thought was the clutch a few times after long rides. On my last long ride before discovering the problem I felt the rear end slipping out on a few tight corners (racked it up to loose surface material). There was probably a third to half an inch play in the wheel by the time I discovered the problem.

    I was washing the bike and a steady stream of black came out in the rinse water from the area of the rear axle. I thought it was oil but as it turns out the seal was intact. It was the powdered aluminum from some portion of the hub assembly that had been ground down over time (according to the shop). There was a lot of material and it took several minues for the water to run clear again.

    Keep an eye on your wheel and test the lateral play! This sort of failure has the potential to ruin your whole day.

    -Gary
    Portland, OR

  2. #2
    BUBBAZANETTI
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    over at advrider. i realize two failures can hardly be called a major issue, yet even 2 people reporting issues, out of what might be an active internet community of a few hundred, should signal something might not be right

  3. #3
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    This was not supposed to happen with the new rear ends in the R1200 bikes. I have a friend with a R1200GS that had a rear end failure. One has to wonder about the new design and permanent lubrication.
    Frank G.
    Hattiesburg, Mississippi
    2004 R1150RT

  4. #4
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFrank
    This was not supposed to happen with the new rear ends in the R1200 bikes. I have a friend with a R1200GS that had a rear end failure. One has to wonder about the new design and permanent lubrication.
    It's still not clear whether this is the oft sited rear end failure or another variant peculiar to this situation. AFAIK the rear gears did not fail nor did the oil seal fail. What seems to have failed is the hub assembly that holds the wheel onto the rear drive assembly. But again, I have no picture to refer to so I am at loss to explain it better.

    -Gary
    ----------------------
    Gary Wasserman
    MOA#38120 DoD#0216 Airheads#12166 BMWRO
    '85 K100 / '83 R80RT

  5. #5
    RIDERR1150GSADV
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    Question

    I have heard about plenty of those FD's failing and last friday when my 1150 GS was in for it's annual, I saw a 1200 GS with a busted FD. The wrench there told me there are no servicable parts?!?! and a new one was on order. Well, after all the hoopla about how 'bad' the 1150's are, I'll stick with mine for now. I guess that all that's new isn't always an improvement after all.

  6. #6
    BMWNUT grw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubbaZanetti

    over at advrider. i realize two failures can hardly be called a major issue, yet even 2 people reporting issues, out of what might be an active internet community of a few hundred, should signal something might not be right
    I did note a burning smell when I stopped after long-ish rides. For some reason I thought it smelled like clutch material and figured it was my fault. In retrospect it might have been the rear hub. All that wear must have generated some heat.

    By the time I discovered the problem the rear wheel would not turn easily by hand (with bike on centerstand). Disturbing. Nothing with flames, though! :-)
    ----------------------
    Gary Wasserman
    MOA#38120 DoD#0216 Airheads#12166 BMWRO
    '85 K100 / '83 R80RT

  7. #7
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    R1200RT Rear Drive Failure

    This is very concerning. Please keep us posted with the final diagnosis of the problem and the manner in which BMW handles it. There should be some engineers in the fatherland sweating marbles.

    Easy
    Big Empty, Texas
    We ought not be over anxious to encourage innovation, in case of doubtful improvement, for an old system must ever have two advantages over a new one; it is established and it is understood.
    C. C. Colton

  8. #8
    Transition
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    Rear end failure

    Thank you for the heads up information. I will keep a eye on the problem area. At this point I have 8000 miles on my 05 RT and problem free.
    CW
    Chicago

  9. #9
    Registered User soffiler's Avatar
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    A word or two about failures.

    The electronics industry created a failure model that was ultimately dubbed the "bathtub curve" because it looks sorta like an old clawfoot bathtub (minus the feet). Time marches along the horizontal axis of this chart, and failure rates are on the vertical axis. Early-life failures (to the left-hand side) are high due to "infant mortality" where something is just plain wrong right out of the box. Then failure rates drop to a low level for the "normal" life of the product (whatever that is) and failure rates shoot upward again at end-of-normal life due to "wear-out".

    What we got here at 3500 miles is infant mortality. Those of you with, oh, say 10,000+ miles shouldn't be concerned... with this particular failure mode that is.
    Steve O. - MOA #122171
    '05 R12GS, '76 CB200 (wife's)
    '91 K100RS, '87 Honda CBR1000 Hurricane, '84 Yamaha FJ1100, '85 Honda VF500F, '76 Yamaha RD400, '82 Honda XL500... and more

  10. #10
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 121247
    Thank you for the heads up information. I will keep a eye on the problem area. At this point I have 8000 miles on my 05 RT and problem free.
    CW
    Chicago
    BMW is recommending a fluid change starting with the '07s at the 600 mile mark. And installing a new magnetic drain plug (with a new o ring) instead of the non magnetic one there now. The drives come with Castrol SAF-XO 75W90 synth extended drain gear oil. BMW supplies a synth 75W90 long drain gear oil made by Spectrol. I notice the factory stuff is black and full of molybdenum disulfide or the moly is added to it. Don't know, but it is black and will stain your fingers to the point of difficulty in cleaning them. The Spectrol is clearish and red. Oak has always recommended dino and a moly additive. I put the new magnetic plug in mine and went a couple dozen miles and found almost nothing on the magnet. Maybe some of the drives needed more cleaning after manufacturing.
    If you drain your drive, it is recommended that you replace the nut you remove when tipping the drive 90 degrees to drain it. It's a lock nut type nut. When you fill it (with a measured amount of fluid) thru the ABS sensor hole (upright in place now) use a new o ring on that when replaced.
    I checked with the BMW car side for the Castrol SAF-XO and they can get it but only in a big drum. Hmmm...a lifetime supply...and here I thought that the .22L in my drive was a lifetime supply.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  11. #11
    On the Road
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    How eerily remarkable. After all the final drive news, I decided to change my lubricant prior to a trip next week. 2006 R1200RT, 3600 miles. Look what I found besides oil:

    This is the sheared-off end of a T40 Torx bit.

  12. #12
    Curmudgeon nrpetersen's Avatar
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    Now THAT is an unmitigated quality problem. Has BMW been having labor problems?

  13. #13
    Registered User soffiler's Avatar
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    That's a personnel problem. The schmuck on the assembly line that is driving T40 fasteners, undoubtedly with a pneumatic device, snapped off the driver bit. He/she might have, in all honesty, not known exactly where the broken piece ended up. The problem started the instant he/she decided the missing piece of the old bit was no big deal. Shoulda told somebody, stopped the line, found the piece.

    Our bikes are still assembled by human beings. Was he/she just having a bad day? Fight with spouse? Money troubles? Hangover? Bored silly?
    Steve O. - MOA #122171
    '05 R12GS, '76 CB200 (wife's)
    '91 K100RS, '87 Honda CBR1000 Hurricane, '84 Yamaha FJ1100, '85 Honda VF500F, '76 Yamaha RD400, '82 Honda XL500... and more

  14. #14
    fracture
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    No doubt every make of motorcycle has its share of mechanical problems, quality control, etc. However, I am becoming more than just a little concerned about what I have been reading lately regarding failures of BMW motorcycles. And, it is not just final drives. I hear about clutches, splines, brakes, etc. And it costs plenty to have them fixed if out of warranty. Even if you do it yourself, the cost of parts is very high.

    I would like to get another bike. After looking around I have determined that for my riding style, ergonomic requirements, etc. something like an RT is what I need. Not many other makes have what I want so I am hoping BMW can figure out what is going on here.

    Yes, there are BMWs out there with high miles on them that have not had any major failures. But that is little consolation if it happens to you. Are the failure rates really that high, or are they in the normal range?

    I have owned other makes but I always came back to BMW. They were not perfect but they did everything well enough and with enough reliability. Now, I have started looking elsewhere. I am losing my confidence in BMW to produce a motorcycle that can be bought at a reasonable price and still provide the expected reliability.

  15. #15
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFrank
    This was not supposed to happen with the new rear ends in the R1200 bikes. I have a friend with a R1200GS that had a rear end failure. One has to wonder about the new design and permanent lubrication.
    One has to wonder about the Paralever - single sided swingarm design in the first place...period! I wonder why the other manufacturers haven't gone that route, and some of their bikes even produce far more power than a BMW.

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