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Thread: 2008 R1200RT - 32,000 Miles - Final Drive Failure

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    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    2008 R1200RT - 32,000 Miles - Final Drive Failure

    Here's another one to add to the list. My RT was in for a 6K service at my BMW dealer. During the service the technician discovered that the final drive was grinding. Looks like a replacement is the next event. The folks at the dealer advised me not to ride it so I had an ignominious ride home on a beautiful day in a rental car.

    I had purchased an extended warranty a couple of years ago, and so the Service Mgr. is working with that company to get authorization to replace the unit. I think I'll be OK, money-wise. FWIW, this RT had been serviced strictly by BMW dealers since new.
    Last edited by ExGMan; 05-07-2013 at 05:56 PM.
    John Gamel
    2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
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    Registered User liv2ride's Avatar
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    I am sorry to hear you experienced one of these failures. Did the technician provide specifics as to what they believe failed within the FD? Did you have any indication there was a problem with the FD prior to bringing it in for service?

    I hope all works out with the warranty and your bike is back in operation quickly.

    Scot

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    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Scot - At the moment I am not aware of the particulars of the failure, that is which bearings, gears, and the like caused this. As this evolves, I'll attempt to get that information so that I can pass it on. The particular technician has done almost (but not quite) 100% of the maintenance work on this bike, so knows its innards better than anyone I'd say. After it's fixed, then I'll post details about what his analysis determines.

    As to pre-failure symptoms, the seals were leaking on the rear drive a while ago (I made a thread with photos then, and will try to find that). Those were fixed under warranty and the FD fluid was replaced. For the most recent event, I observed no external changes, but felt that the rear end felt a little loose when cornering. I ascribed that to road surface irregularities, which, of course, it might have been, but maybe not. The BMW tech said the FD was failing but had not failed catastrophically (yet). I guess the "yet" means it was down the road, but not far.

    I hope this is helpful to you and others. More to come, so to speak...
    John Gamel
    2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
    LEOSA Certified

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    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExGMan View Post
    Scot - At the moment I am not aware of the particulars of the failure, that is which bearings, gears, and the like caused this. As this evolves, I'll attempt to get that information so that I can pass it on. The particular technician has done almost (but not quite) 100% of the maintenance work on this bike, so knows its innards better than anyone I'd say. After it's fixed, then I'll post details about what his analysis determines.

    As to pre-failure symptoms, the seals were leaking on the rear drive a while ago (I made a thread with photos then, and will try to find that). Those were fixed under warranty and the FD fluid was replaced. For the most recent event, I observed no external changes, but felt that the rear end felt a little loose when cornering. I ascribed that to road surface irregularities, which, of course, it might have been, but maybe not. The BMW tech said the FD was failing but had not failed catastrophically (yet). I guess the "yet" means it was down the road, but not far.

    I hope this is helpful to you and others. More to come, so to speak...
    Did you ever rock the rear wheel to see if there is/was play? I check mine when I service my bike and at 12K miles no play, 18K, which was this past weekend, some play. I'll have to keep an eye on it. So you thought it felt loose when cornering? Did it the seal on the crown bearing fail this time?
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    Certifiable Old Fart beemerdons's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenwald View Post
    +1, Gunny!
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    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post
    Did you ever rock the rear wheel to see if there is/was play? I check mine when I service my bike and at 12K miles no play, 18K, which was this past weekend, some play. I'll have to keep an eye on it. So you thought it felt loose when cornering? Did it the seal on the crown bearing fail this time?
    Ponch - This situation was discovered by the BMW Tech at the dealership which services the bike. About a month ago, I tried to rock the rear wheel to see if there was any play, and there was not. 1k miles later, I left with the bike with the dealer for service and the Technician discovered the grinding and rocking of the wheel. As I noted, I thought I felt a little looseness in handling when riding to the dealer, but then Massachusetts roads can be pretty awful anyway. I don't know the answer to your question about the crown bearing, but will find out.
    John Gamel
    2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
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    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Had a wheel side leaker start on Helen's 07 R12R Sunday.After a spirited run, she said the bike felt wrong and the rear brake was minimal. I looked down to see black gear oil on rim and brakes...we called it a day and rode home.

    65K ,second owner. She said the bike felt rough on road feeling the shocks were set wrong after a recent loaded trip. The bike had a service a month ago with clean lube showing no sign of distress. I rode it and felt the binding which altered the road feel for sure.

    The wheel did not rock in any position, however the bearing is binding severely. removed the FD last night to break down further.

    With five of these EVO final drives in our fleet( two K12S's and three R12's) , I just figure we were due. Her '02 1150 got new guts after a bearing fail last summer at 97K. My 09GSA has 75K and is our highest mileage R12.

    While annoying, it's just part of the game here and will repair and ride on.
    Steve Henson
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  9. #9
    Grocery Getter TGA57589's Avatar
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    Rear drive gear

    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Had a wheel side leaker start on Helen's 07 R12R Sunday.After a spirited run, she said the bike felt wrong and the rear brake was minimal. I looked down to see black gear oil on rim and brakes...we called it a day and rode home.

    65K ,second owner. She said the bike felt rough on road feeling the shocks were set wrong after a recent loaded trip. The bike had a service a month ago with clean lube showing no sign of distress. I rode it and felt the binding which altered the road feel for sure.

    The wheel did not rock in any position, however the bearing is binding severely. removed the FD last night to break down further.

    With five of these EVO final drives in our fleet( two K12S's and three R12's) , I just figure we were due. Her '02 1150 got new guts after a bearing fail last summer at 97K. My 09GSA has 75K and is our highest mileage R12.

    While annoying, it's just part of the game here and will repair and ride on.
    Well I'll tell you how I feel about my 2007 RT that I bought new because I loved my used '96 RT and thought it's a great idea to buy a new one. When I hear of everyone having trouble with the ring a pinion capping out at 32k that is huge concern for me. I change my gear oil every year and yes I am expecting mine to be one of the casualties because I ride quite a bit but it turns out being many short trips but it seems I'm on it all the time. I have had a concern since my first gear oil service: When I take the speed sensor out it make a popping sound because there is pressure built up in the ring and pinion case because fine greman engineering didn't put a vent in this case. When you go to drain the oil there is no drain plug so you have to drop the rear housing down and drain through the fill hole which isn't getting ALL if any debris out with a gear oil change. I'm a little disgusted with this whole final drive issue because it should have never happened. I don't get my service done by a dealer and I prefer to do it myself mainly because there are some really smart guys on here that know which end of the wrench to use and have it hands down over what I just saw happened at my dealer where I bought my RT. I won't go in to that but it just re-instilled my ability to do the maintenance on my own machines. When my gear finally craps the bed I may end up just taking the gear case to a dealer and tell them to do it and I'll put it back up myself. I hate it for all the people who had this happen to them and I know it's coming to me sometime soon and it just might be the reason to ride something else after the beaten' some guys have ad over a manufacturing issue. If I'm off base someone enlighten me but it grinds me to see this going on because I bought my machine to ride and I don't ride bar to bar to talk about riding, I ride because that's what I like to do and to do service on my vehicles is also something I like to do but this "annual changing of gear oil" at my expense because the mauf. knows damn well it is going to result in failure due to their manuf. process is all wrong.

  10. #10
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGA57589 View Post
    Well I'll tell you how I feel about my 2007 RT that I bought new because I loved my used '96 RT and thought it's a great idea to buy a new one. When I hear of everyone having trouble with the ring a pinion capping out at 32k that is huge concern for me. I change my gear oil every year and yes I am expecting mine to be one of the casualties because I ride quite a bit but it turns out being many short trips but it seems I'm on it all the time. I have had a concern since my first gear oil service: When I take the speed sensor out it make a popping sound because there is pressure built up in the ring and pinion case because fine greman engineering didn't put a vent in this case. When you go to drain the oil there is no drain plug so you have to drop the rear housing down and drain through the fill hole which isn't getting ALL if any debris out with a gear oil change. I'm a little disgusted with this whole final drive issue because it should have never happened. I don't get my service done by a dealer and I prefer to do it myself mainly because there are some really smart guys on here that know which end of the wrench to use and have it hands down over what I just saw happened at my dealer where I bought my RT. I won't go in to that but it just re-instilled my ability to do the maintenance on my own machines. When my gear finally craps the bed I may end up just taking the gear case to a dealer and tell them to do it and I'll put it back up myself. I hate it for all the people who had this happen to them and I know it's coming to me sometime soon and it just might be the reason to ride something else after the beaten' some guys have ad over a manufacturing issue. If I'm off base someone enlighten me but it grinds me to see this going on because I bought my machine to ride and I don't ride bar to bar to talk about riding, I ride because that's what I like to do and to do service on my vehicles is also something I like to do but this "annual changing of gear oil" at my expense because the mauf. knows damn well it is going to result in failure due to their manuf. process is all wrong.


    Preaching to the 'non-Kool-Aid' choir, buddy.

    Wish you better luck than many of us have had.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.)
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer,THE REF Staff)
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  11. #11
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Resolution of Final Drive Failure

    I heard from the Service Manager of the BMW dealership which is working on my RT. He said that BMW is sending an entirely new final drive unit from Germany to replace the FD in my RT, thus this is a replacement not a rebuild of the unit. As my extended warranty will cover that cost, I'll have no out-of-pocket expenses (other than the cost of the warranty) and will get two years of BMW service/parts warranty on the replacement unit. I think that since they're replacing and not rebuilding the unit, and as a result, won't be disassembling it, we may never know which parts inside actually failed.
    John Gamel
    2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
    LEOSA Certified

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    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Actual Cost of Final Drive Replacement

    I picked up the bike two days ago (I had been away for two weeks out of the country). For those who are interested in the specifics, all the parts came to $1951.60, and labor came to: $150.40. Anyway, the big piece was a 33 11 7 726 895 part for $1857.68. This is described as a "Right-angle gearbox with vent, silver." Another $92 covered nuts, pivot pins, screws, etc. Since this install was done at a BMW dealer, it now has a 2-year warranty from BMW. Since it's a brand-new final drive, I was advised to return to the dealer to change the fluid at 600 miles on the new piece.

    For me, the cost of the extended warranty was worth the peace of mind as I embarked on an 8200-mile trip to CA and back last Fall. Now that it has actually paid off, I'm pleased that I spent the $$ but am a little nervous about the future with this RT.
    John Gamel
    2008 Kalahari Beige R1200RT
    LEOSA Certified

  13. #13
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Glad your bike was covered for this, John.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  14. #14
    Registered User Alfred02's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGA57589 View Post
    Well I'll tell you how I feel about my 2007 RT that I bought new because I loved my used '96 RT and thought it's a great idea to buy a new one. When I hear of everyone having trouble with the ring a pinion capping out at 32k that is huge concern for me. I change my gear oil every year and yes I am expecting mine to be one of the casualties because I ride quite a bit but it turns out being many short trips but it seems I'm on it all the time. I have had a concern since my first gear oil service: When I take the speed sensor out it make a popping sound because there is pressure built up in the ring and pinion case because fine greman engineering didn't put a vent in this case. When you go to drain the oil there is no drain plug so you have to drop the rear housing down and drain through the fill hole which isn't getting ALL if any debris out with a gear oil change. I'm a little disgusted with this whole final drive issue because it should have never happened. I don't get my service done by a dealer and I prefer to do it myself mainly because there are some really smart guys on here that know which end of the wrench to use and have it hands down over what I just saw happened at my dealer where I bought my RT. I won't go in to that but it just re-instilled my ability to do the maintenance on my own machines. When my gear finally craps the bed I may end up just taking the gear case to a dealer and tell them to do it and I'll put it back up myself. I hate it for all the people who had this happen to them and I know it's coming to me sometime soon and it just might be the reason to ride something else after the beaten' some guys have ad over a manufacturing issue. If I'm off base someone enlighten me but it grinds me to see this going on because I bought my machine to ride and I don't ride bar to bar to talk about riding, I ride because that's what I like to do and to do service on my vehicles is also something I like to do but this "annual changing of gear oil" at my expense because the mauf. knows damn well it is going to result in failure due to their manuf. process is all wrong.
    Wow
    So you are sweating about something that might never happen to you.
    Then you complain about the design and even suggest that you will change brand due to that yours "might" end up with a fault.
    Good luck with finding the "perfect bike" with no failure ever found.
    You sound like the Triumph Salesman I spoke to last week.
    I was having a look at the new Trophy SE and he spend all the time talking down my bike for all the "failures" he knows about via the Web, while talking up the Trophy and that it wouldn't happen to them.
    I asked him how he would know that, since the bike is "just" on the market..... still waiting for an answer on that one.

    As I wanted to know the change over cost, I told him I would see him next day.
    In the meantime, had a quick look on the Web and told him next day that on the Triumph forum, I have found 3 break downs already, with 2 ending up in minor accidents due to engine just stopping for no apparent reason.
    He told me not to take any notice of forums as most of the users just make up stuff...LOL
    Same Salesman on questioning: Never owned a BMW.....Hadn't ridden the Trophy SE but was just an expert in both.

    You sound a bit like it.
    Australia N,S,W
    Mid North Coast
    2014 R1200RT LC/SE

  15. #15
    Ponch
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    Alfred:

    If BMW didn't have problems with FDs, then it wouldn't be an issue. Enough people have had problems and it makes the most anal among us crazy. I've owned other bikes that had common issues with a particular model/engine, but the fixes were found by the owners and it was/is relatively cheap fixes. In this case, failure of a FD isn't going to be cheap and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to why they blow up. On the other hand, there are plenty other manufacturers that produce FDs with engines that have a lot more stonk and bikes that weigh more, yet they don't see near the failure rate we do. So, it may never happen to you or I or TGA, but you have to admit, it's in the back of your mind that it could happen.
    My Motorrad
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