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Thread: Final Drive Failure - BMW Parts Warranty - 02 R1150R

  1. #1
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    Final Drive Failure - BMW Parts Warranty - 02 R1150R

    I previously posted the first part of this story under a different thread, but decided that this needs a new thread.

    The first part of the story:

    On the way to the MOA rally in NY last summer, I had a final drive failure while on the way to the Rally. The bike had about 35000 miles on the odometer. The final drive had been serviced annually and never showed any sign of problem except a small amount of metal in the oil at the previous oil change. The failure was quite sudden. I was traveling on the turnpike near Pittsburg when I noticed a strange vibration. I thought I might have a flat tire. There was a lot of vibration oil covering the rear tire and brake, but I managed to get off the road safely. Fortunately European Motorcycles of Pittsburg was fairly near and I was able to have the bike towed there. They were great, moving me to the front of their line and getting me out the door and on the way more quickly than I thought possible. They turned what could have been a really bad experience into a fairly good one. My trip was delayed a couple of days, but I made it to the rally and home with no problems. I didn't do a lot of riding the rest of the season due to other non motorcycle travel and obligations, but everything seemed to be working well.

    The second part of the story:

    Fast forward to December. When I drained the oil from the final drive as part of my winter service, there was a lot of metal in the oil. The pile of flakes on the magnetic oil plug completely covered the magnet. Thinking (hoping) that the metal might be left over from the previous failure, I refilled the final drive and drained it several times, to see if I could flush out the rest of the debris. By the third flush, I was still seeing a lot of metal. The bike had been ridden less than 2000 miles since the final drive repair.

    At this point I emailed European Motorcycles of Pittsburg through their web site and explained what had happened, asking for some feedback. I happened to be leaving on another non motorcycle trip for about a month shortly thereafter. When I returned there was still no reply from the dealer, so I contacted the service department by telephone. The person I talked to agreed that there was something wrong, and told me that the service manager would be getting back in a day or two.

    In the meantime I studied up on the final drive and decided to remove it and take a look inside. I found a pile of metal flakes around the drain plug and spread around inside. With the axle assembly out, I could feel a bit of notchiness in the bearing when I turned it over. On closer inspection, I saw that the retainer inside the bearing was broken in one place with one of the rivets missing. I also noted several other places around the bearing where the retainer was cracked at the rivet hole but still held in place. The shim was also kind of chewed up, and there were some dings in the main casting, maybe from debris moving around inside as pieces of the bearing broke loose, or maybe from the previous failure. I was glad I had taken a look as it is clear that the bearing was in the process of breaking apart.

    At this point about a week had passed with no callback from the dealer, so I called them. The person I talked to again agreed that something was wrong. When I suggested that the cause of this new failure had to be either a defective part or defective installation, he agreed. I offerred to send pictures to document the failure but he was not interested. When I asked if the dealer stood behind its work, he did not answer. In the end he said that there was nothing they could do short of bringing the bike to them for repair, that any warranty claim had to be done by the dealer and that this required that they do the disassembly. I expected him to ask me to send the final drive to him to take a look, but he did not. At the end I thanked him for the information and told him I would take it from there.

    At this point I decided that I wasn't going to let this interfere with my riding season, and decided to proceed with the final drive repair on my own and follow up with BMW, etc. separately. I have the parts and a couple of new tools on the way.

    Has anyone out there had any experience with the BMW parts warranty? In this case the part was installed by an authorized BMW dealer, but a lot of us do repairs on our own. Is there no warranty there?

    I would appreciate your feedback and or suggestions.
    John Peck
    Maple City, Michigan
    R1150R
    F650GS

  2. #2
    Registered User rocketmanli's Avatar
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    Last time I had a final drive repaired/rebuilt by a BMW dealer, I believe it came with a 2 year parts and 1 year labor warranty. Mine failed 2 more times after the dealer rebuild, at which time they refunded my money and I purchased a used, low mileage final drive, and its been fine for about 40,000 miles since.
    2009 R1200RT, 2005 R1200C Montauk (The elusive Piedmont Red & Silver "350" commemorative model); and 2002 R1200C Montana
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    Final Drive Failure

    Sounds like an out the door Warranty. Recall your history Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall folk standing in a circle pointing to the guy on his left the quote it was his fault

  4. #4
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    John - I looked around and found that there was (and perhaps still is) a 2-year warranty on BMW parts. Take a look at it here: http://www.bmwmotorcycles.com/us/en/...sStatement.pdf

    This document is dated 7 years ago, but I'm pretty sure it still is in effect. You should attempt to talk with BMW of North America Customer Service (800-831-1117). I do think the fact that you've disassembled the unit yourself will not work in your favor, however.

    In addition, the BMW MOA has a member service called "Consumer Liaison." Here is the contact information for these folks:

    Lee Woodring - 770-331-2419; lee.woodring@bmwmoa.org

    Joe Leung - 403-689-9939; joe.leung@bmwmoa.org

    I have a similar role at the BMW Car Club of America, and we Ombudsmen there handle a large number of inquiries from members each year, some of which involve the 2-year parts warranty which is still in effect for BMW automobiles.

    I hope this is helpful.

    JG

    PS - I just looked at "Bob's BMW" website. Bob's is a big dealer in Maryland. Their website shows two-year BMW warranty on parts and one year on labor. See it here: http://www.bobsbmw.com/service/warranty/
    Last edited by ExGMan; 03-12-2017 at 03:34 PM. Reason: Added information
    John Gamel
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  5. #5
    Why not just start with doing what the parts warranty says?

    "To obtain service under this warranty for parts installed by an authorized BMW motorcycle dealer, the BMW motorcycle must be presented to an authorized BMW motorcycle dealer. Upon presentation of the original repair order invoice or bill-of-sale showing the installation date and BMW part number, the dealer will repair or replace said part(s) or accessories covered by this warranty without charge for parts or labor to the customer."

    You don't have to go back to Pittsburgh.
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by AntonLargiader View Post
    Why not just start with doing what the parts warranty says?

    "To obtain service under this warranty for parts installed by an authorized BMW motorcycle dealer, the BMW motorcycle must be presented to an authorized BMW motorcycle dealer. Upon presentation of the original repair order invoice or bill-of-sale showing the installation date and BMW part number, the dealer will repair or replace said part(s) or accessories covered by this warranty without charge for parts or labor to the customer."

    You don't have to go back to Pittsburgh.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jpeck View Post
    Has anyone out there had any experience with the BMW parts warranty? In this case the part was installed by an authorized BMW dealer, but a lot of us do repairs on our own. Is there no warranty there?
    I realized I didn't address this part of the question. Although the warranty statement doesn't have language to this effect, there has to be some consideration regarding correct installation of the purchased part. A bearing that was installed in a final drive without proper shimming should be considered improperly installed. The chances that the bearing itself is defective is pretty much zero.

    Furthermore, the warranty excludes wear items such as wheel bearings from coverage, and someone could argue that this is a wheel bearing. In practice, I have never heard of that happening and FD failures under warranty (and even beyond) were covered by BMW.

    All that said, I have little direct experience with warranty claims on individual parts. Occasionally something might be damaged or incorrect, but not defective.
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  8. #8
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    I am curious here...
    Count the number of balls on the big bearing. Does it have 17 or 19 balls?
    17 (33 12 1 242 210) is the old style bearing that was superseded by the 19 (33 12 1 242 211) which is a FAG 61917 C3
    (I'm trying to eliminate the chance that an old stock bearing was used)

    From the MAX fiche:
    33121242210 was superseded by 33121242211.
    This is a FAG 19 ball bearing from Germany. It's an open bearing that is lubricated by the final drive fluid.

    FYI most of the final drives that I have serviced/repaired have been shimmed too tight from the factory. If the dealer simply replaced the big bearing without checking the preload chances are good that the bearing will fail again.

    I just repaired one that lasted 10,000 miles from a dealer in Utah, it was shimmed way too tight which leads me to conclude that bearing was just simply replaced.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSAddict View Post
    I am curious here...
    Count the number of balls on the big bearing. Does it have 17 or 19 balls?
    17 (33 12 1 242 210) is the old style bearing that was superseded by the 19 (33 12 1 242 211) which is a FAG 61917 C3
    (I'm trying to eliminate the chance that an old stock bearing was used)

    From the MAX fiche:
    33121242210 was superseded by 33121242211.
    This is a FAG 19 ball bearing from Germany. It's an open bearing that is lubricated by the final drive fluid.

    FYI most of the final drives that I have serviced/repaired have been shimmed too tight from the factory. If the dealer simply replaced the big bearing without checking the preload chances are good that the bearing will fail again.

    I just repaired one that lasted 10,000 miles from a dealer in Utah, it was shimmed way too tight which leads me to conclude that bearing was just simply replaced.




    Thanks for your thoughts.

    There are 19 balls on the big bearing. The number printed on the bearing is 61917-H79-C3.

    The condition of the shim also leads me to suspect that the clearance was to tight or even no clearance at all. The shim has a ridge around the inside and outside edges which matches up with the shape of the outer bearing race, as if it was crushed around the contour of the race. I have never been inside one of these before, so I don't know if this is normal or not. The failure of the bearing retainer is also consistent with too tight shimming in that all of the failure points are on the inboard side of the bearing, except the one place where the rivet is completely gone and the break is on both sides. The other six "failure" points are apparent cracks in the retainer at the point of the rivet, but where the rivet is still in place. The wear on the outer race is also consistent with side loading of the bearing such as would be caused by a shim that is too thick. If I load the outer race against the inner race from the shim side I can feel the crunch of the wear more than if I load it in the other direction

    I suppose there are other ways to get the same effect, such as if the big bearing were not seated properly, but that should have shown up when the tech checked the end play on the axle shaft...

    Anyway, I have the bearings pulled and I'm waiting for the new parts to arrive. I decided to replace both bearings on the axle shaft since I already have it apart. It will be interesting to compare the new bearing to the old and to figure out the correct shim thickness so I can order the correct shim. Stay tuned.

    From what I've learned so far, it seems very unlikely that the bearing was defective, which only leaves improper installation. However, I've decided not to pursue any more conversations with the dealer or BMW until I have things figured out a bit better myself...
    John Peck
    Maple City, Michigan
    R1150R
    F650GS

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by jpeck View Post
    However, I've decided not to pursue any more conversations with the dealer or BMW until I have things figured out a bit better myself...
    They may extend goodwill, but after digging into it yourself I think you have pretty much closed the door on any obligation on their part. The repair they would be warrantying doesn't really exist any more.

    You'd have been better off handing your bike over to the dealer for repair, THEN taking it apart.
    Anton Largiader 72724
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  11. #11
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    Perhaps, but the nearest dealer is over three hours away. Likely the dealer would not do the repair while I waited, so I would have to make two trips totaling some 12 hours and about 700 miles of driving. It will likely cost me less in money to do it myself than to bring the bike to a dealer to get it redone for free, even if dealer 2 decided that dealer 1 didn't do the job right or that the bearing was defective and the cost was covered by warranty. I'm also more concerned with figuring out what went wrong and getting things together right so I can have some confidence in the motorcycle than I am in getting someone else to pay. This way I'll end up knowing more about how the bike works which will maybe help me be more aware of final drive issues in the future.

    I take your point, but maybe goodwill is all there is in a case like this anyway.
    John Peck
    Maple City, Michigan
    R1150R
    F650GS

  12. #12
    Yes, that kind of distance to the dealer changes the equation. Maple City is way out there!
    Anton Largiader 72724
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    Virginia Motorrad Werkstatt BMW motorcycle service and repair in central Virginia

  13. #13
    Macrunch MCrenshaw's Avatar
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    As stated by some very experienced folks above, the critical issue is proper shimming of the bearing. I had a final drive failure on an '04 R1150GSA, pulled the seal and saw the big bearing was disintegrating. I considered repairing it myself, even went so far as to order the bearing, but upon actually getting into the FD case I realized that you really need to have the proper jigs and measurements in order to install the correct shim thickness. That is beyond the skill of most of us. I pulled the FD, sent it to Tom Cutter for repair. Yes, it was not cheap, but not outrageous either. Give Tom a call to discuss before you make the final decision to do it yourself.

  14. #14
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    Yes, getting the proper ship thickness does seem to be key, yet many BMW techs seem to have problems getting it right, even with an official BMW fixture.

    I found a guy on Youtube who demonstrated how to measure the end play on the main shaft using a dial gauge which makes sense to me intuitively. (Search GS Shim Calculation) After that it's a matter of doing the math to get the shim thickness. One advantage of this method is that it makes the measurement with the actual parts used in the assembled in the final drive, rather than to a fixture. It would also seem to allow measurement of the clearance after the final drive is assembled with the shim in place.

    I wonder if the special fixture (or the use of the fixture by the BMW tech) might actually introduce the potential for some additional error into the process.

    So far the job has been pretty straightforward, removing the final drive, disassembling, removing the bearings, and cleaning out the housing. I'm still waiting on the parts. Installing the bearings is straightforward, and measuring the endplay and determine the correct shim thickness looks straightforward. I'll be proceeding carefully, and may yet change my mind about finishing the job myself.
    John Peck
    Maple City, Michigan
    R1150R
    F650GS

  15. #15
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    When the final drive failed on my 2008 RT at 32,000 miles, my dealer was going to order parts from BMW to repair the unit. Back then (four years ago) BMW advised the dealer that they could not repair the unit, but had to replace it, and send the defective unit back.
    John Gamel
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    BMW CCA 2006 - Present; BMW MOA 2009-Present
    Walt Kelly: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

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