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Thread: Driveshaft failure 2007 R1200GSA

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    Driveshaft failure 2007 R1200GSA

    I was cruising at 62mph on the Alcan Hwy 90 miles east of Whitehorse, Yukon Territory when I felt a vibration. I immediately pulled over and the exact instant I stopped the drive train locked up -- a catastrophic driveshaft failure. I was very fortunate because had I gone on a few seconds longer this could've been nasty. My bike had only 48,530 on it when this failure occurred. I have read on other forums of similar driveshaft failures. I've put together a document and pictures to send to BMW North America detailing this. Does anyone have a name of a person and address I should send this to? Thanks, Brian
    Last edited by fossilsx15; 08-14-2013 at 05:17 PM. Reason: misspell

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    Glad you're safe!

    Please also report the incident to the NHTSA so that they will be better able to detect any trends in such failures: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/Vehicl...nt/index.xhtml
    2000 R1100RT / 1987 K75C (RIP) / Santa Clarita, CA

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesInCA View Post
    Glad you're safe!

    Please also report the incident to the NHTSA so that they will be better able to detect any trends in such failures: https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/Vehicl...nt/index.xhtml
    James, thanks -- yes I intend to report to NHTSA as well --

    I want to start a dialogue with BMW because it's happening way too much --

    Yes, I realize how lucky I am -- I ended up being holed up in Whitehorse for a week waiting for a replacement shaft --

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    Experience suggests your "dialogue" with BMW will be about as productive as a dialogue with with your driveshaft.

    That, of course, is the other reason to report to the NHTSA -- a dialogue with them will be "an offer [BMW] cannot refuse," so to speak.
    2000 R1100RT / 1987 K75C (RIP) / Santa Clarita, CA

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    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesInCA View Post
    Experience suggests your "dialogue" with BMW will be about as productive as a dialogue with with your driveshaft.

    That, of course, is the other reason to report to the NHTSA -- a dialogue with them will be "an offer [BMW] cannot refuse," so to speak.
    What he said.

    Glad you didn't get catapulted!
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
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    Kitsap County Rounder cwsenn's Avatar
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    Glad you are okay and got it fixed. I don't understand why so many feel the need to report every problem they have to BMW and NHTSA. All mechanical devices have failures and some last longer than others. I have had u-joints go out on vehicles numerous times back when most cars where real wheel drive and I would never have even considered blaming the manufacturer. I have replaced half shafts on front wheel drive cars as well and again I did not blame the manufacturer. Mechanical items break and some sooner than others so just move forward and enjoy your ride and avoid the frustration you will experience trying to get the manufacturer to take responsibility. There is no way you would prove in a court of law that it's the fault of BMW so what are you really expecting to accomplish going down that road? Life is short, enjoy the ride and avoid spending time like a cat chasing it's tail.

    Just my humble opinion and I wish you many great years of riding without anymore drive line failures.
    Chuck Senn
    2006 R1200RT (Red)

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    2014 R1200GSW Rich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwsenn View Post
    Glad you are okay and got it fixed. I don't understand why so many feel the need to report every problem they have to BMW and NHTSA.
    Maybe because this is a HUGE safety issue.

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    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Maybe because this is a HUGE safety issue.
    +1 !
    Kevin Greenwald - MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
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    Motorcycle & High Performance Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwsenn View Post
    Glad you are okay and got it fixed. I don't understand why so many feel the need to report every problem they have to BMW and NHTSA. All mechanical devices have failures and some last longer than others. I have had u-joints go out on vehicles numerous times back when most cars where real wheel drive and I would never have even considered blaming the manufacturer. I have replaced half shafts on front wheel drive cars as well and again I did not blame the manufacturer. Mechanical items break and some sooner than others so just move forward and enjoy your ride and avoid the frustration you will experience trying to get the manufacturer to take responsibility. There is no way you would prove in a court of law that it's the fault of BMW so what are you really expecting to accomplish going down that road? Life is short, enjoy the ride and avoid spending time like a cat chasing it's tail.

    Just my humble opinion and I wish you many great years of riding without anymore drive line failures.
    IF there is a pattern of driveshaft failures, that's much more of an issue than "some fail, some don't." But how would we ever know if there is a pattern of driveshaft failures? The manufacturer's interest runs against publicizing it. So that's why independent agencies like NHTSA track critical safety failures.

    Fossilsx15 didn't say anything about suing BMW. He doesn't need to prove anything in a court of law. He doesn't need to demonstrate whether or not BMW's manufacturing is faulty. All that's been asked is that he make his experience part of the record that would help establish whether or not this part has a flaw, for the safety of other riders.
    2000 R1100RT / 1987 K75C (RIP) / Santa Clarita, CA

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    I haven't yet had the fun of a shaft failure on a bike but have had a couple go in cages. In a cage one gets a decent warning unless one is an oblivious driver.

    I'd expect to get a reasonable warning from a bike shaft in most cases- though it might get masked in off road riding. I don't need a tpms to tell me when my bike or cage tires are getting low.

    Still, nothing wrong with reporting failures that might be safety related.
    Though I doubt there are enough early shaft failures on BMW bikes to garner any response and at least some of those I've seen reported looked like they might have been influenced by poor boot seals FDs and fuel leaks are a different story............

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    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Stay in bed:)

    Because getting out of it is dangerous! I do all the most challenging things in life, most anyways. I was also JUST IN Whitehorse, Yukon with my '07GSA with 108000m, no failures yet, thank goodness. I too have heard of the driveshaft weak link on some bikes. Its worrysome, but you're not likely to make any dent in BMW by reporting anything to anybody. Its been here so many times already, dozens of issues of the like and dead ends everytime I read it. Feel good maybe, get it off your chest, BUT if you get any satisfaction beyond that, you're a genious beyond most. Good luck! Whitehorse a cool town, had a tire mounted there at Honda Dealer. I carried tire. They were very reasonable in this request, good folks. 25$. I just rode my GSA to the most remote, worst dirt byways in Alaska and BEAT this GSA to "near its death" fully loaded and my driveshaft and the entire bike still is whole. I thought not at times, never make it out of here on this BMW. I sure am sorry about the driveshaft break on yours AND it sure would be nice to hear WHAT BROKE in shaft!!!! Slight incomplete description. Please tell more, or did I miss it? ALSO, sure glad your skin came out intact. A sliding rear wheel is pucker time. A HD rider in Chicken, AK when I was in AK, lost his life to same rear wheel lockup, BUT his was a baggage on his bike coming loose and entering rear wheel. His life ended when he slid into large RV going in opposite direction, Sad day. A week in Whitehorse must have been interesting and WHO fixed the bike??? This story needs completed, please. I'm interested. THX, Randy, same bike here'07, GSA.

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    As dangerous as it sounds, does anyone have personal knowledge of an injury resulting from the driveshaft breaking? The few I've heard of all ended the same way as this one. A ruined trip but no injury.
    Marty Hill
    12 GS black/Boxer Cup Replika

    ride till you can't

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    Because it's dangerous and there seems to be a pattern

    I did send BMW a letter with photos detailing my driveshaft failure as well as including mention of a few other postings on the Internet of the same problem. I also filed a complaint with the NHTSA. No, I didn't threaten to sue BMW. No, I didn't demand that BMW pay for my repair bills. After spending time on the Internet, I noticed there were a number of postings of driveshaft failures between 40 - 55k miles. I've been touring on BMW motorcycles since the late 1970s with not one driveshaft failure. I mentioned to BMW that my current vehicles a 1950 Plymouth (165k miles), 1978 Caprice (93k miles), and 2003 525 Touring (103 k miles) all have their original driveshafts. My point being that a drive shaft should last longer than 48k miles -- like the life of the vehicle. I used to work as an auto mechanic: mostly European brands: Porsche, Audi, VW, Volvo, BMW, and for a few years supplied movie sets with antique cars -- I have a mechanical aptitude. My driveshaft failed without warning. It happened as I was cruising comfortably down the Alcan Hwy. (this is how it happened to me) I felt a vibration, pulled over immediately, and my drive train did lock up the very moment I stopped. You can play the different "what if" scenarios in your head. But I do credit my mechanical knowhow and luck that nothing serious happened.

    What I pointed out to BMW Motorrad was that there were many others having similar problems and that BMW should investigate and seriously consider a recommended driveshaft inspection interval or replacement.

    I'm sorta baffled by the sentiment of "owners complaining to BMW every time something goes wrong". I'm well aware that things fail and that if mine had been a "one-off" then I wouldn't have gone to the lengths that I have. This is the first time I've ever done something like this. From the little research I did there seems to be a real problem which could and may already have resulted in crashes and injuries. I think it should be investigated and others made aware. This is why I posted.

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    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martyhill View Post
    As dangerous as it sounds, does anyone have personal knowledge of an injury resulting from the driveshaft breaking? The few I've heard of all ended the same way as this one. A ruined trip but no injury.
    Yes. 1150GS. Doing about 70MPH on dirt when the driveshaft broke. Rider was a member of US GS Challenge Team and kept the bike upright for a long distance but went down. Road rash and a mangled finger were the result. Nothing long lasting.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

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    Registered User rebake's Avatar
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    Pulled the driveshaft from my 05gs yesterday.Front u-joint was missing needles,so i was close to having it fail at speed,i guess.Mine has 79800 miles on it.Ed
    Ed Baker

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