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Thread: Driveshaft failure 2007 R1200GSA

  1. #16
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    IS That it;

    Waiting for description of failed part! The needles come unglued? Or does the shaft actually break around u joints. I would like to inspect mine and will indeed. GSA with 108000m now. Driveshaft failure question; I've seen so many I cannot count on larger vehicles all my life! Shaft failures are a common event on big rigs and older autos, so I would guess a weak link on any vehicle including bikes. Sure don't hear about it on many bikes, but its present. Me too, a wrench all my life, so this is good you noticed the failure as the wrench you are. Many are not and get hurt badly, most probable. I am not going to complain about anybody steaming off, because I do too. I think I have seen this BMW and NTSA story so many times with no result, so therefore the story goes. Just once I would like to hear somebody wins this argument with either, gets somewhere with all this. Thanks for the data sharing and keep the details coming about just what part of shaft is failing and how to repair it on the ROAD. Guess you did your own repair in Whitehorse. I've been told the shaft pops right out, if ya know how. Tools are easy to get.

  2. #17
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    I'm not the original poster in this thread but here's the damage seen in mine. The joint disintegrates. Photos in the link. It's a huge safety issue....potentially life threatening. Do they really have to wait till someone dies? And I have no doubt that if I went down at 80mph, my bike would have been sent to the crusher and no one would have even looked for a defect. It's very scary.

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...-Joint-Failure
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    Nancy
    '07 F650GS (Sold), 09 R1200RT, 2012 Yami FZ6R
    IBA# 37022

  3. #18
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    Wouldn't be quite so bad if one could just buy a replacement U-joint for $50 or so.
    14 R1200GSA, 93 R100R. No car is as fun to drive as any motorcycle is to ride.

  4. #19
    Lost again Texpaul's Avatar
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    If you are out of warranty, you can catch the shaft before catastrophic failure and you have the time, send the piece off to Bruno in Canada (http://www.brunos.us/). For about half the price of a new one you will get back a shaft with replaceable bearings that can be lubed (shaft has to be removed).
    Paul Mulhern
    MOA# 56330
    '05 1200GS Big Blue

  5. #20
    Jeff cookie's Avatar
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    I don't post very often, I saw this subject and as far as I can remember this is kind of rare isn't it?
    I have replaced cv shaft assemblies in my kid's Buick, my Ranger 4x4, my wife's car but the mileage was higher and it was usually due to a boot tear and it's cheaper to replace the shaft assembly.
    Was there any warning at all?
    The Alcan Hwy is in the sticks man bad luck.
    Jeff Anderson
    I ride a 2008 R1200RT

  6. #21
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookie View Post
    I don't post very often, I saw this subject and as far as I can remember this is kind of rare isn't it?
    As far as I've seen - that's with quite a few R1200xx's in my two local clubs, and following threads on the Internet - yes, it's kind of rare (IMHO - and ONLY my opinion - don't take it as gospel.) I know of 3 or perhaps 4 failures of a driveshaft on an R1200xx bike, 3 of them were rear universals, one was a front.

    I have replaced cv shaft assemblies in my kid's Buick, my Ranger 4x4, my wife's car but the mileage was higher and it was usually due to a boot tear and it's cheaper to replace the shaft assembly.
    Was there any warning at all?
    Dunno. Usually when a universal starts to fail on a car - you get vibration, or noise - or both. Does that happen on a bike - dunno. I would expect it would, but with no personal experience - it's a dunno. I do regularly sit on a stool behind my bike and rotate the rear wheel. I'm mostly doing this to inspect the tire (for nails or other damage), but I would hope if there was a universal going bad, it might make a noise. So far - 71,000+ miles, when I do this - it's quiet and smooth turning the rear wheel. I also DO inspect the rear universal when I drop the rear drive to do a fluid change (about every 12,000 miles.) I feel the motion of the universal - and it again should move smoothly and quietly in all directions.

    The Alcan Hwy is in the sticks man bad luck.
    Indeed it is. The other thing to make sure of - that the rubber accordian boots that connect the swingarm to the transmission and rear drive are correctly installed and sealed. At least two of the failed rear universals I saw had signs of a LOT of moisture being in the area. The yokes were badly rusted, and it appeared the bearings may also have been rusted.

    The driveshaft does run in a sealed chamber IF the rubber boots are correctly installed (and for people who think the big hole in the bottom of the rear drive flange connects to the universal area - it doesn't. Look at it very carefully next time you have the drive dropped to change the oil.) The rear boot is the troublesome one since it's disturbed whenever you service the rear drive. It has plastic expanding clips in both ends of the boot that push the rubber out to make a seal on the swingarm and rear-drive. The rubber that seals to these surfaces is supposed to have a coating of grease on it to help make the seal. When correctly installed - it appears (from my bike at least, that has seen enough heavy rain use) the seal is quite effective.

    That all said - I keep a spare driveshaft on my parts shelf for the bike. Bought it for a very good price on an Ebay auction, off a low mileage R1200R that was front end crashed. It sits in it's mailing tube on the shelf, ready to be sent to me if I experience a problem when off on a trip. Having it there makes it almost certain I'll never need it (Eilenberger's Law of Parts #1 - you never need what you have on hand.)

    It isn't something that gives me a lot of concern. If you're headed into the wilds of Alaska - it might be prudent to inspect the U-joints and the sealing on the swingarm boots before going. If nothing else - it will probably give you some peace of mind.
    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

  7. #22
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by cookie View Post
    I don't post very often, I saw this subject and as far as I can remember this is kind of rare isn't it?
    I have replaced cv shaft assemblies in my kid's Buick, my Ranger 4x4, my wife's car but the mileage was higher and it was usually due to a boot tear and it's cheaper to replace the shaft assembly.
    Was there any warning at all?
    The Alcan Hwy is in the sticks man bad luck.
    Hundreds have posted on public sites (perhaps thousands involved, since not all go public with their issues) with FD failures on their BMW motorcycles.

    Please define "rare."
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.)
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer,THE REF Staff)
    Iron Butt Association Member # 34281

  8. #23
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Read;

    This topic is driveshafts, NOT FDs! Just a tad difference. I just did a 12000m journey throughout the Alaska and Arctic regions, all the way to Arctic Ocean. GSA1200 took a monster beating from conditions up there, moreso than what most put theirs thru, no doubt. I know many shaft failures are from folks riding lower 48 and so on? Many can indeed give GSAs a workout down here too, no question. Ive seen folks doing wheelies on these bikes and talk about a abuse to shaft scenario!!!I imagine NOT many do this, but some do and they ask for failures, imo.. Guess I do too, beating mine in the Arctic region, North Coast. Just one point; I inspect my bike regular, self service almost entirely forever now. I sure am scared of things breaking and so on that could do me harm. I do not go on long journeys, however looking for my bike to give me too much grief, doing my chores before leaving home. Good service looksees. Its possible we miss things, inevitably so as humans and these breaks happen to us on the roadtrips. I'm looking harder at my driveshaft now, because a member has been here, seen this happen. My high miles GSA is longer in tooth now and needs more intense looksee service as I go about my pretrip inspects. So far and in most cases, these bikes are not falling apart with failures, BUT its nice to know when one occurs and we all learn valuable advice for future service of our machines. Take notice when a member has a grief of such, I sure do and look at my bike better next time for pre trip inspections....ANYBODY give good data on just HOW TO remove driveshaft. My dealer says the thing pops out back of housing, after loosening front boot to gain leverage? I already know the FD has to be lowered, a given! Guess its a real TUG required to get it out and over snap ring holding it at front joint??? Some good advice would be cool, as I can imagine folks doing this job soon at home! Me....I have gone this far, loosening front rubber boot and visaually looking at both ends of driveshaft, all clean, no rust. BUT, its not popping loose as my guy described it should come out back of housing quite easy? THX, Randy

  9. #24
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    Front U-joint failure

    I was into Missouri headed for Duluth on 8/22/13 with just over 38K on my '07GSA when at about 60mph I thought the road surface was changing. Subtle vibration at first but when it worsened within a mile or so I pulled off the road and could smell the burning grease as well as see smoke exiting from the front driveshaft U-joint area. The U-joint had failed.

    Thank goodness for my MOA premium membership. Being a Thursday morning I called the MOA in St. Louis and Joe gave me the number for the tow truck folks plus all the necessary numbers and within an hour the bike was on a roll back headed for Bentonville BMW, IMHO one of the best dealerships on earth.

    When we arrived at the dealership Jerry, one of the owners, imparted a good piece of wisdom to remember. Don't put the bike on the centerstand. On a long bumpy ride the weight of the bike can actually bend the frame. Fortunately it hadn't happened to mine.

    A friend who rides an '08 RT had a similar experience just a couple months ago.

    Is this an epidemic?

    I reported it to the NHTSA as well and encourage others to do the same. [URL="http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov[/URL]

  10. #25
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Just an observation - it appears from the few reports I've seen that the GS and GSA are a bit more prone to this failure (certainly the case on the R1100/R1150GS series - where more failures have been reported.)

    I suspect the reason is the working angles of the universal are more extreme on a GS than on bikes like the R1200R (where at normal loading - the driveshaft is basically straight - no real bending in the universal joints.)

    I observed one of our local club members who had an R1150GS that he rode for about 225K miles - with the original driveshaft still working OK. I suspect the reason was - he's a big boy - and when he sat on the bike the suspension was compressed enough that the driveshaft was basically straight, no bending angle in the universals. He certainly didn't baby the bike - with over 200k on it he took it to the BMW Motorrad off-road training course in South Carolina. He loved the experience. He finally bought a new hexhead (now with over 100k on it) when the engine blew up on the R1150GSA.

    The other local club member who did experience a failure had two things working against him.. his rear boot was torn, and there was water and rust in the driveshaft housing and around the input shaft of the rear drive, and he often rode two up on long trips, neither he nor his SO would be described as small people. When they were on the RT with gear - the rear suspension was quite compressed, and the angle on the universals had to be approaching the angle on a standard GS. It did give him some warning, he was riding with me, pulled alongside and flagged me down, said he felt something funny in the bike. We centerstanded it, turned the rear wheel and called the tow truck. His Contego extended warranty paid the repair bill.

    Just a random observation.
    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

  11. #26
    Grampa Tumbleweed
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    Drive shaft Failure 2010R1200RT

    I recently had the rear u-joint fail (caught it before it broke) @ 105k. Use? I'm an old man who rides like, well, an old man. I can report that on my RT, the drive shaft does not come out the back of the swing arm, the swing arm must be removed. I now have a Bruno's rebuilt shaft. Also failing at the same time was the final drive big bearing, a "lubed for life" sealed unit. Does anyone know if all years of hex heads had the sealed bearing? I'd like to get rid of it and put in an open bearing if possible.

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7536 View Post
    I recently had the rear u-joint fail (caught it before it broke) @ 105k. Use? I'm an old man who rides like, well, an old man.
    105K on a 2010? I can't offer answers to your questions implied or otherwise. But, as one old man to another...impressive!
    Dan

    2010 R1200GSA

  13. #28
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 7536 View Post
    I'd like to get rid of it and put in an open bearing if possible.
    On the big-hole drives the big (crown gear) bearing doesn't sit in the oil bath. It is on the dry side of the oil seal.

  14. #29
    Grampa Tumbleweed
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    On the big-hole drives the big (crown gear) bearing doesn't sit in the oil bath. It is on the dry side of the oil seal.
    Thanks, that clarifies it. I'll just have to live with it and replace the bearing as "PM" in another 80k or so.

  15. #30
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    '07gsa

    Servicing my '07GSA and I find my BIG FD bearing has play again! I took it in and my BMW shop did the replacement again, after 33000m from last rebuild. My driveshaft shows no sign of wear as of 108000m.. Subject came up indeed, as we share many thoughts here and I shared mine with BMW Master Tech doing my FD. This is a 40+ year BMW Master Wrench thoughts. They have seen a few driveshafts indeed come thru, all models involved. Most are from owners having no clue to what to watch for when things go bad, absolutely no experience in mechanical issues. Some have had catastrophic failures and much due to owners not knowing when a matter of concern is upon them! Warnings do exist in many cases of driveshaft failure, most cases per this conversation and with proper inspections, a shaft failure will be obvious well before a roadside incident occurs. I speak from my techs mouth with his well deserved years of experience and clearly an expert. We too, are experts, many of us riding for decades and nearing millions of miles, so take no insult from anothers opinion. Just listen. This guy makes a living for 4+ decades working on BMWs and see's stupid come thru his door frequently enough. You cannot share this kind of wisdom with your customers always, or find yourself workless! I think we need to become more aware of our machines and KNOW the ins and outs more to inspect our bikes and catch things before they happen. I must agree as a lifelong biker wrench myself, I believe a shaft failure will give some more signal well before it falls apart, not just a short mile or two. Some have stated, just that happened and I find it hard to imagine the shaft bearings just fell out in a mile or two! This thing had to give some signal, IF we'd had just listened or did a better inspect, pretrip. I do mine every oil change, tire changes, just anytime up on lift I look see all my bike and listen. Rusty joints are a sign of 100s or 1000s of miles added and this too was an indicator in many of the above broken bikes. You simply gotta watch your bike better, remove those boots, look underneath and see what makes your bike tick! If ya don't, expect the worse or at least pay to have the bike inspected proper. Sleep better.

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