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Thread: 2005 R1200RT Final drive failure

  1. #16
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    I know this has been thrown out before... BUT... Why not an ombudsman from the club that can bring up ...Significant ...problems to the company heads ie final drives, abs modulators that cost $2,300 ? Etc. we have thousands of members that buy their very expensive product, shouldn't we have some clout?...?

  2. #17
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    Because we love them(BMWNA) & they love us & we want to keep it kissy faced & not spoil our camping trips either...

  3. #18
    Precision Pothole Locator bullzeye's Avatar
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    I was forced to replace the FD on my '06 R1200RT at around 30K miles, after the sealed bearing failed and scored the shaft portion of the ring gear to the point it would no longer accept a new bearing. I attributed this to a "hard knock" the FD received during a chance encounter with a series of very deep potholes, however I have since read that this is a common failure mode for these FDs. The sealed bearing is, indeed "lifetime lubricated" and although it is immersed in the FD lubricant, it is sealed in (grease) and does not benefit from any oil changes, at any interval. Once it decides to fail, the result is noise and then, in my case, grabbing and galling on the installed surfaces, which in my case was the FD shaft. I was not given the option of repairing the component and the bike was way out of warranty, so I paid to have the drive replaced. Disgusted, I tossed the failed drive away...hundreds of dollars of castings and precision-machined parts, made useless because of the failure of a (relatively) cheap bearing. I have often wondered if the bearing wouldn't have been better off without its seal, so that the drive lubrication fluid could circulate through it. Now--far be it from me to second guess the vaunted BMW engineering team on their design / selection of a bearing that is apparently not up to this task, but this is one of several "little" engineering shortcomings that have made me question BMW's decision-making process. It is a sad situation when so much otherwise brilliant design and development effort by truly brilliant engineers is undermined by, apparently, the leadership mentality that values a relatively few cents in savings over durability and excellence.
    There are other prominent examples of this unfortunate mindset (e.g. frequent failure of fuel level strips, cracking fuel tank line bosses and corroding brake disc bolts) that point up the need for improvements in BMW's quality control program.
    Great minds think.
    -Jay Willmott

    (I'm ridin' a 2006 R1200RT)

  4. #19
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestaino View Post
    I know this has been thrown out before... BUT... Why not an ombudsman from the club that can bring up ...Significant ...problems to the company heads ie final drives, abs modulators that cost $2,300 ? Etc. we have thousands of members that buy their very expensive product, shouldn't we have some clout?...?
    While the BMW MOA does have a standing "dialogue" with BMW NA concerning owner issues, it's cordial at best.

    Keep in mind, BMW is very guarded when it comes to admitting engineering/manufacturing 'errors.'

    I suspect they have more lawyers than designers - something they probably learned from America's culture, or as a defense against it.

    Everytime I get together with, say 4 other BMW owners and the topic of FD failure comes up, there always seems to be one in the bunch with a horror story. NO - that doesn't mean the failure rate is 25%. For all we know, it could be higher.

    Problem is, no one - not I - not you - not anyone on this Forum - knows the actual failure rate. We all speculate, based on our biases, anecdotal 'evidence' or presumptions.

    Your suggestion has merit - it just doesn't stand a chance of having a pulse.
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  5. #20
    R1200RT jankoman's Avatar
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    I own a 2007 RT and I have been keeping an eye on the final drive (FD) threads. I'm at 16000 miles.

    I'm wondering if the RTP bikes have had similar issues? And, if so, what has been the "fix" for an RTP? I would think that if there is a known failure rate for a FD on specific model year RTs and these same drives are on a police bike, then BMW would have addressed the issue from a safety standpoint knowing that police officers are riding and training on the RT.

    I believe the gearing is a little different on the RTP. What about the FD itself? Is the FD built to higher standards because it's a RTP bike?

    If the RTP FDs are failing, how is the problems being addressed? Rebuilt FDs? New FDs?

    Just some food for thought.
    "To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex." MK

  6. #21
    Precision Pothole Locator bullzeye's Avatar
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    Well, their legal advisors seem to saying to them: "deny a few rather than pay for all". To them, this is purely a financial matter, no question about it.
    IF a recall of 100,000 RT FDs were to be required at a cost of $3K each, they'd be looking at a $300-million outlay...BMW can pay a lot of lawyers for that kind of money.

    But I maintain that it's a "chicken-egg" proposition...by paying a little more for better bearings (or whatever), the number of complaints might decrease, and the legal bill might be lower.
    This is a "Quality" issue that goes to the heart of their (any) manufacturing organization, and lawyers are simply a "band-aid" for flawed decision making, poor quality and bad customer service.

    I found this "admission" of quality issues by BMW in an old issue of Motorcycle news, from 2008:

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/Ne...ality-problems

    Good News: Sales are up!
    Bad News: So are Quality Issues!

    So, of course BMW knows there are problems, but in the interest of shareholder value, do not see it necessary (yet) to address them. We are left with only legal recourse, or are we?
    Witness the ($1.5-billion?) settlement reached with Toyota this week following their "unexpected acceleration" debacle. "Quality isn't expensive, it's priceless!"

    Perhaps we could attack this via BMW's quality program? For what it's worth, BMW is ISO-registered--which means there must be proscribed methods for systemic review of all internal processes, from design through customer satisfaction. Maybe there is an avenue to be taken that would cause BMW to reconsider their treatment of "non-conforming product" under threat of ISO de-certification? Or would we just get a corrective action report?

    We clearly need a bigger, or different kind of hammer. The one tool we all share the ability to recommend (or to denounce) this company, its products and its customer service practices.

    None of these quality issues really matter, until they happen to -you-!
    Great minds think.
    -Jay Willmott

    (I'm ridin' a 2006 R1200RT)

  7. #22
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    Bearing troubles

    The large bearing in the FD on our bikes is a known failure site. I don't understand how BMW could have under-engineered this piece. FWD cars like my SAAB use sealed bearings in their front wheels and they are much smaller and I've not had one fail in 600,000 miles of use. They are not serviceable and neither are they very expensive. They are easily removed and replaced. Why doesn't BMW wake up and smell the roses?
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  8. #23
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bullzeye View Post
    The sealed bearing is, indeed "lifetime lubricated" and although it is immersed in the FD lubricant, it is sealed in (grease) and does not benefit from any oil changes, at any interval.
    The large grooved ball bearing on the hexhead FD is on the dry side of the oil seal. It does not sit in the oil bath.

  9. #24
    Registered User nplenzick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MPMARTY View Post
    The large bearing in the FD on our bikes is a known failure site. I don't understand how BMW could have under-engineered this piece. FWD cars like my SAAB use sealed bearings in their front wheels and they are much smaller and I've not had one fail in 600,000 miles of use. They are not serviceable and neither are they very expensive. They are easily removed and replaced. Why doesn't BMW wake up and smell the roses?
    Their crappy bearings from their vendor which is why when Hemy's BMW rebuilt mine they used after market not BMW. They have never had a problem with their aftermarket bearings such as SKF.

  10. #25
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    I know this has been thrown out before... BUT... Why not an ombudsman from the club that can bring up ...Significant ...problems to the company heads ie final drives, abs modulators that cost $2,300 ?Fuel strips Etc. we have thousands of members that buy their very expensive product, shouldn't we have some clout?...?



    Well we do have power we just have to use it??? But I guess if your invited to Germany and product launches there might be a conflict of interest??

  11. #26
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestaino View Post
    I know this has been thrown out before... BUT... Why not an ombudsman from the club that can bring up ...Significant ...problems to the company heads ie final drives, abs modulators that cost $2,300 ?Fuel strips Etc. we have thousands of members that buy their very expensive product, shouldn't we have some clout?...?



    Well we do have power we just have to use it??? But I guess if your invited to Germany and product launches there might be a conflict of interest??
    Yes, and maybe.

    While we have always had "the power" to affect BMW NA, only a massive boycott of their product (any BMW shaft-driven bikes since 2005) would likely get their attention, and I don't see that happening. Besides, given their grouchy, defensive nature, they would probably just retreat back to Europe from a shrinking American market demand, and who wants that?!

    As for those who are privileged to attend product launches in Germany (won't ever be me - have been too vocal about the FD situation - even had a one-on-one conversation with Petier DeWaal at the Bloomsburg Rally about it), those are oppurtunities for your magazine staff or MOA officers to get a good look at upcoming models and report back to the general membership. That's a good thing.

    The FD situation will continue to frustrate MOA members for years to come, and ironically, if and when the problem is finally solved, no one will actually know for many years after that!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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  12. #27
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    Kevin that's my point...product launches are all well in good but if you are (technically ) my employee, shouldn't you be my advocate? Rather have them tell me my abs modulator when it fails can get parts for or something other than paying...$2,300 for anew one?

  13. #28
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prestaino View Post
    Kevin that's my point...product launches are all well in good but if you are (technically ) my employee, shouldn't you be my advocate? Rather have them tell me my abs modulator when it fails can get parts for or something other than paying...$2,300 for anew one?
    I feel your pain, and I don't have all the answers. Sorry.

    While the MOA does have a 'soft consumer advocate' approach for member concerns, it's rarely adversarial enough to nudge BMW NA to action - more like a 'dialogue' with the mother ship.

    While BMW's long rode the coat tails of their once "reliable, bullet-proof" reputation, earned when compared to many other brands during the 60's, 70's and 80's, the new reality is that when all systems are working well, the bike runs great, but when (and not 'if') it breaks, it breaks BIG.

    DIY only goes so far and does not appeal to everyone, and some components on these bikes are simply astronomical in price. Complex function, an extended overseas supply chain, greedy mark-up, very limited warehouse inventory in Pennsylvania and other factors all contribute to this dilema. It's not exactly something any dealership clarifies for you when you walk in the door as a perspective first customer. Duh.

    If you feel a repair issue (classic example: the final drives) has become chronic, I suggest you access the NHTSA and fill out a formal complaint on their web site.

    Or, if sufficiently frustrated, switch brands (you wouldn't be the first), and send a letter off to BMW NA as to why, for now, you jumped ship.

    Hopefully somewhere between your local post office and the corporate mega-shredder in Berlin, someone will actually read your correspondence.
    Last edited by Greenwald; 01-01-2013 at 03:22 PM.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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  14. #29
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    Smile BMW North America????????

    My FD gave up the ghost at about 100,000 miles (161,000 Kms) on my 2005 RT. I suppose 100,000 miles maybe reasonable for the life span of a final drive, I don't really know, but I think they should go farther with todays technology. In this thread and others the name BMW North America is mentioned several times. My RT is a Canadian bike and I was in the USA when it failed. I ride in Arizona each winter. GO AZ BMW in Scottsdale were great and attempted to get a financial assist from BMW. There seemed to be some type of misunderstanding with the rep., Canadian bike, huh?, we can't find the serial number in our files, what's a Canada, eh?

    So, does BMW North America realize that there are two countries involved, do they talk to each other, are there any plans for riders breaking down in the neighbouring country? Do they care? I usually have three or four relatively new BMWs in my garage. I have in the past bought a new bike every two years. I was due to purchase in 2011, but did not, due to the final drive issue. I still can't decide whether to get a new bike or not and I am not sure what is holding me back. It is not the money, I have that set aside, I think it must be some sort of a trust issue.

    The last time I dropped into my dealer, the staff asked me where I have been. Well, now that my bikes are off warranty, I do all my own service, such as replacing plugs, for a third of the cost than at the dealer, change and balance my own tires, change oil and filters, flush brakes etc.

    I am not annoyed about the financial loss so much, I am retired and can afford a few toys. I think my concern is that I trusted BMW, but when they had a problem that left me stranded on the side of the road, I was treated like I was riding a Honda or something. It was like they were hiding something in plain sight by not at least acknowledging there was a problem with "some" final drives. The drive shaft failed on the RT a month after the final drive and I accepted I had a lot of good miles on the bike, so it didn't bother me that much, but I was stranded in the middle of nowhere again. I have just kept fixing them and I will likely not buy a new bike in 2013 either.

    The salesmen talk a good line, mentioning BMWNA a lot, road side assistance anywhere, etc., as if it were one big happy family. But I still have my doubts. I really like BMW motorcycles, the fit, the technology and the handling. But, if BMW expects loyalty from us, and want to expand the North American market, they have to reciprocate even if it is a sorry dude letter we can't help you, but here is a coupon for a free, authentic BMW coffee mug. Or possibly, we called the Canadian rep and he said the bike was too old, too many miles for assistance, but here is his telephone number if you want to talk to him in person. At least you know they considered it. BMW may have good lawyers, but good PR guys will sell more bikes. It doesn't take much effort to keep one in the family and at this point in time I think it is the individual dealers that are filling that role.

    (This is post is officially designated as an opinion and a non-rant)

    Dash 2005 R1200RT, 2007 R1200R, 2009 K1300GT

  15. #30
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    I agree one hundred percent.....instead of the straight faced service writer at bergen bmw who says to me while looking me in the eye (2008 rt with 8,400 miles and 2 months out of warranty)

    " fuel strips ? No never seen one go we can't call BMWNA you are out of warranty.... You'll have to call them "

    ha ha ha ha ha I says to myself...never buying a bike here... Went to cross country bmw in metuchen where they said hey let us give bmw a call and see what we can do.....fixed under warranty thanks cross country and owner Dan Notte .....

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