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MCN story on BMW final drive failures

Home Forums General discussion Motorcycle Talk – General Topics MCN story on BMW final drive failures

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  • #61185
    Rallyrat
    Spectator

    OK, For my first RA Forum post it’s about final drives! In the summer of 2007 I had [U]5[/U] personal friends have BMW final drive failures:eek: . Some were lucky enough to be under warranty, some were not. Some were close to home and some were on trips where they had to spend lots of $$$ on getting the bike to a far away BMW dealer for service and then pay lots more $$$.
    Has BMW ever acknowleged a problem with FD’s… NO!:mad:
    They treated some of my friends like crap too. I had a 2002 GS Adventure at the time with about 70K miles on it. I had bought it new. Did I have a final drive failure? No. But I was getting afraid of travelling with in case it would happen. Sold it that summer and currently ride a non-BMW bike. Myself and a number of people I know have not bought current Beemers until something gets resolved about this.
    I think I will own a BMW again but it might be a while. Maybe they can learn how to treat people and deal with an obvious problem in a rational way.
    I’ll still go to rallies and my local BMW club events. I really enjoy the people there.

    #58670
    BEN WHITE
    Spectator

    It appears that BMW is ignoring their final drive failure rate at the company’s peril. While final drive failures are not exclusive to BMW, the rate is definitely higher even when mileage is factored in. Surely the company is capable of building final drives as reliable as Honda…

    #60765
    ANTON LARGIADER
    Spectator

    Interesting word, capable.

    I think the design is very capable of lasting. 150k on my RS, no problems. Paul Taylor (big guy) winning the Ironbutt rally on a very heavily loaded R1150GS, no problems that I know of. Most bikes, big miles with no problems.

    But “capability” also applies to the process, as in: “Can your three sigma stay within the spec?” From what I’ve seen, I believe that some units are produced out of spec. But where that puts them in process control, I have no idea.

    And the new FD is very different than the old one, with different potential problems.

    BTW I have yet to read the article.

    #60776
    Dutch
    Spectator

    Hey all; I am wondering as a new BMW owner with an old Beemer (R90/6) just what years seem to have this problem? One of the reasons I bought a Beemer was it’s reliabliity, and to hear this same issue discussed in several different forums is a bit unsettleing to say the least!! Vaya con Dios, Dutch

    #60777
    ANTON LARGIADER
    Spectator

    I guess you need to read the article to find out. 🙂 Or read the articles we’ve had in OTL.

    Your bike is not affected.

    #60800
    BEN WHITE
    Spectator

    [QUOTE=AntonLargiader »]Interesting word, capable.

    I think the design is very capable of lasting. 150k on my RS, no problems. Paul Taylor (big guy) winning the Ironbutt rally on a very heavily loaded R1150GS, no problems that I know of. Most bikes, big miles with no problems.

    But “capability” also applies to the process, as in: “Can your three sigma stay within the spec?” From what I’ve seen, I believe that some units are produced out of spec. But where that puts them in process control, I have no idea.

    And the new FD is very different than the old one, with different potential problems.

    BTW I have yet to read the article.[/QUOTE]

    My understanding is that the failure rate seems to be from 3 to 4%. If so, this is unacceptable whatever the reason. If Honda were to experience a similar failure rate with the Gold Wing given it’s market share, I believe that company would find a way to correct it pronto. Don’t you?

    #60813
    KENNETH KRUMM
    Spectator

    I have three BMW’s in my garage that I have ridden a combined 300,000 miles. I have never had a drive failure on a BMW. My only two problems were a Hall Sensor on my RT and a waterpump/fuel pump on my LT.

    However, I have lost a rear drive on a Honda Goldwing and main engine bearings on a second Honda Goldwing. BMW owners tend to be very vocal about every little problem.

    #60814
    BEN WHITE
    Spectator

    [QUOTE=Ken Krumm »]I have three BMW’s in my garage that I have ridden a combined 300,000 miles. I have never had a drive failure on a BMW. My only two problems were a Hall Sensor on my RT and a waterpump/fuel pump on my LT.

    However, I have lost a rear drive on a Honda Goldwing and main engine bearings on a second Honda Goldwing. BMW owners tend to be very vocal about every little problem.[/QUOTE]

    I too have had no final drive problems with BMWs. On the other hand, I believe that the failure rate is much too high and that BMW should be concerned about their customers and the company’s reputation.

    #60816
    KENNETH KRUMM
    Spectator

    [QUOTE=ben721364 »]I too have had no final drive problems with BMWs. On the other hand, I believe that the failure rate is much too high and that BMW should be concerned about their customers and the company’s reputation.[/QUOTE]

    I agree. Rear drive failures should be very rare. A 4-5% failure of any part of a motorcycle is unacceptable. Even if it requires extra weight, BMW riders need reliability first.

    #60817
    ANTON LARGIADER
    Spectator

    Do y’all think there is a significant aspect of this issue that hasn’t been addressed by the articles in OTL and MCN? Sometimes I think a certain subject had been beaten to death and then someone will point out that we never talked about this or that.

    I tend to write about how stuff works, leaving it slightly to the reader to understand how the problems happen, and then I totally ignore the simple “Here’s what you should do” part.

    #60819
    BEN WHITE
    Spectator

    [QUOTE=AntonLargiader »]Do y’all think there is a significant aspect of this issue that hasn’t been addressed by the articles in OTL and MCN? Sometimes I think a certain subject had been beaten to death and then someone will point out that we never talked about this or that.

    I tend to write about how stuff works, leaving it slightly to the reader to understand how the problems happen, and then I totally ignore the simple “Here’s what you should do” part.[/QUOTE]

    You are probably correct Anton. The story is getting enough play in other forums for BMW to take note if the company were so inclined.

    #60820
    ANTON LARGIADER
    Spectator

    I don’t write about this stuff for BMW’s benefit. They’ll notice what they want to notice; I’m just wondering what the readers want me to cover in articles like these.

    #60888

    [QUOTE=AntonLargiader »]Do y’all think there is a significant aspect of this issue that hasn’t been addressed by the articles in OTL and MCN? Sometimes I think a certain subject had been beaten to death and then someone will point out that we never talked about this or that.

    I tend to write about how stuff works, leaving it slightly to the reader to understand how the problems happen, and then I totally ignore the simple “Here’s what you should do” part.[/QUOTE]

    Let me first say I’ve got nearly 200k miles riding three different BMWs (2-K bikes and an R11) and have never had an FD failure (the transmission had to get changed on the R11 though!) That being said, I think both OTL and MCN have done a good job of covering the FD failure issue but I think what owners want to know is the “what you should do” part. Sure it’s good to spot the problem early but if you’re 200 miles from the nearest dealer and see the oil leaking/seeping do you keep riding or call the wrecker? And who is paying for these repairs? If your bike is covered under warranty BMW has been doing it but what about after the 3 years? What about the towing fees, motels lost vacation time etc?

    The other problem and maybe the one most vexing to those of us who love these bikes is that the company has not stepped up to acknowledge the problem. Why have there been no re-calls to have the dealers inspect the final drives? I would think by now BMW is aware of what is causing this, why not let us (and the techs) know what to look for?

    BTW-thanks for all of your work getting this site rolling!

    #60894
    ANTON LARGIADER
    Spectator

    Thanks for the input. It’ll take a little bit of time to figure out how I want to address those points, but they are good ones.

    I like your choice of avatar. That’s Meredith (OTL editor) in Nevada. The funny thing is that my bike was just over that little hill; as I walked back to it after taking the picture I found it had a flat tire. She had gone on and I was out there with a flat and no means of repair. Finally (after maybe an hour) I started walking into town and was met by a Sheriff who was coming to look for me. The road forked several times going into town; Meredith wasn’t sure which way she’d come through the various forks and didn’t want to get lost in the desert looking for me as night fell.
    [[{“fid”:”6434″,”view_mode”:”main_image”,”type”:”media”,”attributes”:{“class”:”media-element file-main-image”}}]]

    #60896

    Thanks for the info, I love that picture; I think it captures the dual sport experience well. Makes you want to see what’s over that hill.

    Glad to hear you didn’t have to spend the night in the desert. But the “fix” is not much fun either. On my last longish trip on my DR650 I carried, a new 21” tube (fits the rear in a pinch), two tire irons, one of those 12v air compressors (I’m lazy), and a patch kit. All of which took up about 1/2 of one of my panniers, not to mention the weight. I managed to pinch the tube on the front (thank goodness, I can’t imagine breaking the bead on the rear in the field) and spent an hour or three sweating and inventing a new vocabulary to get it patched and re-attached. It was one of those times you look longingly at tubeless repair kits the GS guys can use 😉

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