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Thread: 2009 RT U-Joint Failure

  1. #31
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    Had a simular failure on my 07 GSA at 84K in Oct. Covered by an extended warranty. U Joint broke, and drive shaft jamed in the housing. Was at speed when this all happened. Strong vibration and loosing speed. Stopped the bike and it would die in gear. OK in neutral. 100 miles from home, very limited cell phone coverage. Walked about 1/2 mile to find a few square inches that the cell phone would operate and called the wife who came with trailer to retrieve bike and me.

    When the dealer disassembled, reported some play in the FD and ended up with an entire new FD, the updated housing with drain, along with driveshaft.

    There have been simular failures on previous models. Paul G had written an article a few years ago on this very subject, checking drive shaft u joints. Had them checked on my 01 GS at 102K and they were beginning to tighen up.

    They are not a seviceable part and will require some inspection as the miles accrue

    For a dealer to say they "never seen this before" or something like that, I think is a poor excuse.


    Glad that BMW is covering your failure

    bob

  2. #32
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sloride
    Has Kawasaki,Yamaha and Honda figured out how to make them bulletproof?



    Quote Originally Posted by Motodan View Post
    My point was: Harley has...they don't use them. Must be something about motorcycle shaft final drives that makes them more failure prone, than all our car applications.
    My post was simply a question. If I had to answer the question myself I would say thay have. I'm not saying there has never been a failure but bullet proof like a BMW boxer engine
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

  3. #33
    KevinRT
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    Re: U-joint failure

    I have a friend whose U-joint went on him on the way to Bloomsberg on his 05 R1200RT. First a bit of vibration, then more, then clunking and more vibration. It got him to Bloomsberg (about 300 miles) and he sought advice. He ended up gingerly riding it to Hermy's on Thursday morning and, as suspected, it was the U-joint in the drive shaft. While no one likes to have an expensive failure of this sort, he was extremely lucky. When we went to pick up his bike on Friday, the tech showed us the worn parts. The race for the needle bearings (I think) had just failed - and everyone who saw it thought that he had miles or even just yards to go before the whole thing flew apart and would potentially jam everything inside the swingarm, taking the swingarm with it, and potentially locking up the entire back end with disastrous consequences. While the bike was apart he had them replace the clutch plate and related parts as the clutch had got fried on the Going to the Sun highway last year in stop and go, uphill traffic. It was badly warped, still working but he knew it wasn't right.

    Big time Kudos to Hermy's as they had anticipated needing all the required parts with so many bikes going to be in the area. He got it there Thursday morning, they gave him a loaner bike to get him back to the rally, and it was ready Friday morning. 8.5 hours of labour and lots of parts. It was very expensive but could have been much, much worse. And they did give him a free Tshirt and a beer huggie for each of us!
    KevinRT
    Ottawa, Canada

  4. #34
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    KevinRT

    Do you know how many miles are on your friends bike?

    That job had to be very expensive 8.5 hrs labor alone at the BMW shop I go to would be $646
    Anthony S.
    2012 R1200GS

  5. #35
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloride View Post
    KevinRT

    Do you know how many miles are on your friends bike?

    That job had to be very expensive 8.5 hrs labor alone at the BMW shop I go to would be $646
    Kevin,

    Not sure if that's a comment on the time charged for, or the expense of the job.. hence my original comment:

    Including a clutch (where the bike is basically broken in 2)? "While the bike was apart he had them replace the clutch plate and related parts as the clutch had got fried"
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  6. #36
    KevinRT
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    Fix Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by sloride View Post
    KevinRT

    Do you know how many miles are on your friends bike?

    That job had to be very expensive 8.5 hrs labor alone at the BMW shop I go to would be $646
    I wasn't going to mention the cost but as this is relatively anonymous, the total bill for the U-joint and clutch repair came to $2770. His bike had about 58,000 miles on it - an '05.
    KevinRT
    Ottawa, Canada

  7. #37
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    Not exactly great mileage for a driveline but I guess not so surprising with the abuse described. Sure hope mine does double that, though.

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemergirl View Post
    another....
    Mine disintegrated in pretty much the same way --

  9. #39
    Jeff cookie's Avatar
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    Someone mentioned the joint could have been greased. I did not see any grease fittings on the u-joint shown in the pics.
    Anybody know for sure if the Hexheads have serviceable u-joints?
    I think I will put my 08 RT on the stand tonight, put in neutral and give her a spin and feel for consistent smooth operation.
    Most of us expect our Beemers to be very dependable considering the price of these wonderful machines.
    I do know of a friend who came to work one morning and found his FD shaft input housing cracked and leaking fluid on his Yamaha Virago.
    I love my RT
    Jeff Anderson
    I ride a 2008 R1200RT

  10. #40
    Registered User natrab's Avatar
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    Went through something similar with my friend's 07' RT at around 36k miles. Thankfully, he noticed the drive shaft sounding "clunky" and we opened it up to find the u-joints in the process of failing. We removed the drive shaft and sent it up to Bruno's in Canada and had the u-joints replaced with serviceable ones. The standard ones are supposed to be greased for life and they are sealed.

    Since my bike is up around 80k, I'm considering pulling my drive shaft out and preemptively changing out the u-joints to beefier serviceable ones.

    Not sure why they fail. One of our concerns was that moisture may have gotten in through the boot seal.
    Nate R
    2013 R1200RT 90th - "Tyr" - Purchased 12/13/2013 brand new!
    2007 R1200S - "Sexy Beast"
    2006 R1200RT "Wōden" - 84k - Retired and sold

  11. #41
    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by sloride View Post
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sloride
    Has Kawasaki,Yamaha and Honda figured out how to make them bulletproof?





    My post was simply a question. If I had to answer the question myself I would say thay have. I'm not saying there has never been a failure but bullet proof like a BMW boxer engine
    Can't say I have ever heard of a GW drive shaft failing and Kawasaki does ok with the 1500/1600 Vulcans. The u-joints go eventually, but not with the low miles I have read here. I think a shaft assembly for a 1600 Nomad is around $300.
    My Motorrad
    BMWMOA 162849 | BMWRA 41335 | VROC 8109-R | VBA 19

  12. #42
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    My confidence in the R1200RT is severly shaken. A 2009 with only 37,000 miles has a U-joint failure. Really? Are you kidding me!! Just truly disappointed. 37,000 miles is next to nothing in my book. With the proper care, I thought this bike was built to last several hundred thousand miles. I thought it was indestructable and desinged to last. It's certainly one of the reasons that factored into my deision making process to purchase this bike. Its just inexcusable not to mention a safety hazard. Is it a design specification flaw or poor quality control standards? Either way, the end result is not good. Both conditions will mean additional failures are bound to occur. I'm just not as enamoured with the bike as I used to be. Please take the time to report this to the NHTSA as it is a safety concern.

  13. #43
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Returning from the Salem Rally this year my buddy and I were headed for the Lolo pass in mid afternoon and took the smaller and twisty-er option east from Lewiston ID to Kooskia ID via Hwy 95, 13 and finally to 12. As we got on Hwy 13 and ready to enjoy it's curves we ran into some construction. They had slathered a lot of tar on the road and had mixed it with the gravel crush. Normally this congeals and packs pretty good but this day the temperature was over 35C (very hot for this Canuck!) and the mixture was more like liquid gravel. We were stopped as a group of two bikes and the Flagman checked our bikes (my 2008 RT and a friend's 2007 FJR - both shaft). He explained that the day before a group of Harley's went through a section like we had and "tore up" their drive belts and were out of commission. We were waved through with a simple 'ride safe'. By the time we got to Kooskia the inside of each of our wheels had 3 inches of liquid gravel stuck inside but no issues whatsoever with the drivetrain. Just one real world example where the shaft drives on the BMW and Yamaha bikes were superior for the particular road conditions we encountered.
    Ken
    [2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blue) - Mine]
    [2007 R1200RT (Sand Biege) - Hers]

  14. #44
    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogthebasher View Post
    Returning from the Salem Rally this year my buddy and I were headed for the Lolo pass in mid afternoon and took the smaller and twisty-er option east from Lewiston ID to Kooskia ID via Hwy 95, 13 and finally to 12. As we got on Hwy 13 and ready to enjoy it's curves we ran into some construction. They had slathered a lot of tar on the road and had mixed it with the gravel crush. Normally this congeals and packs pretty good but this day the temperature was over 35C (very hot for this Canuck!) and the mixture was more like liquid gravel. We were stopped as a group of two bikes and the Flagman checked our bikes (my 2008 RT and a friend's 2007 FJR - both shaft). He explained that the day before a group of Harley's went through a section like we had and "tore up" their drive belts and were out of commission. We were waved through with a simple 'ride safe'. By the time we got to Kooskia the inside of each of our wheels had 3 inches of liquid gravel stuck inside but no issues whatsoever with the drivetrain. Just one real world example where the shaft drives on the BMW and Yamaha bikes were superior for the particular road conditions we encountered.
    I don't see the logical connection based on the previous arguments. I don't think anyone thought a belt drive would solve the problem of u-joint failures on BMW motorcycles.
    My Motorrad
    BMWMOA 162849 | BMWRA 41335 | VROC 8109-R | VBA 19

  15. #45
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post
    I don't see the logical connection based on the previous arguments. I don't think anyone thought a belt drive would solve the problem of u-joint failures on BMW motorcycles.
    I should have inserted this quote from earlier in the thread for clarity:
    " I bet the prior owner of your bike, who went with the Road King, hasn't has a defective U-joint yet. Perhaps BMW should consider going to belt drives on the big Rs, like they have on some of the 650s and 800s. I know their ads use to say shaft was the only way to go, but since they haven't figured out how to make them as bullet-proof as their engines, it might be a good alternative....it works for Harley and they're pushing more weight and more torque in most instances."
    Ken
    [2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blue) - Mine]
    [2007 R1200RT (Sand Biege) - Hers]

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