BMW R1200R Forum banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As noted in another thread, my 2015 LC decided to throw a Cardan (universal) joint on the second day (Tuesday) of a recent tour of Tasmania. I had decided to overtake a couple of slow vehicles on a steep incline – in second gear, I rolled on the throttle and would have been past them in seconds but for a sudden vibration that seemed to be coming though the suspension, predominantly the rear. Scanning the road surface, it looked smooth, but the vibration was like the ripples they put in the outside lane marker of freeways to wake dozy drivers as they drift off. I backed off and the vibration eased, then it came back as I completed the overtaking manoeuvre.

I knew immediately it was a drive shaft issue and pulled over as quickly as possible, receiving an indignant toot from the cars I’d just passed. Pulling back the rear gaiter confirmed my suspicions, and I almost burned my finger on the Cardan joint as I inspected it. There was virtually no verge at the point I had stopped, so I tried to press on to safer ground. After 500 metres or so, I could feel it getting worse, so gave up on the prospect of making the crest where there the tiny settlement of Cethana was. By the time I stopped, the bike struggled to again provide forward momentum, and the bike could not be wheeled backward (which made subsequent unloading from the tilt-tray awkward).

I knew my tool-kit would be of no avail, no matter how many zip ties I might have included, so while I was on the phone to the road service, Andrew was on the line to Launceston BMW to enquire about availability of a drive shaft and the prospect of having it fitted ASAP. The part, at over $1500, would need to come over from Melbourne in two or three days, and they should be able to fit the job into the workshop that week. I resigned myself to that expense, plus an hour or two labour, plus the excess towing charge beyond the 30 km included in my road service subscription. I never thought I’d need a tow; maybe just some air to inflate a plugged tyre if my muscles gave out on the mini hand pump I carry, so hadn’t gone ‘premium’ on the road service.

Sam the tow truck driver from Devonport turned up at about 5 pm (~an hour after my fail-to-proceed) and expertly tied the bike to a frame that was then winched onto the tilt-tray. I carry a couple of tie loops for this purpose in case a tow truck doesn’t have such facilities, but they weren’t needed in this instance. We had a good chat as we traversed the 110 km to Launceston BMW. Sam is a biker, having recently sold his GSXR-1000 before it killed him or his licence.

Sam doesn’t have a depot in Launceston from which he could deliver the bike the next morning during business hours, so the service consultant from Launceston BMW offered to come in from home to open up and secure the bike. She and her brother, the dealer principal, then dropped me at the hotel where the rest of our party had made arrangements for overnight lodgings (rather than Deloraine, our intended destination). Nice, small-town service.

I’d resigned myself to being out of pocket over $2000 (the tow truck surcharge being $360) and the flak I’d cop from non-shaft drive biker friends. In subsequent discussion with our travelling party though, Murray suggested I make a Consumer Guarantee claim under the Consumer and Competition Act 2010, as the drive shaft is not a service item or consumable and therefore should last essentially the life of the vehicle. I’d taken this action before (in particular with the BMW topcase on my F800 that decided to become a bowling ball after we’d hit a deep dip at speed) but with 95,000+ km on the clock, all servicing done by me rather than a dealer, and being well out of regular dealer warranty, it hadn’t occurred to me at the time.

I didn’t have the energy to address it that evening, but the morning following our next leg, I woke early, so crafted a carefully worded email to Launceston BMW seeking a free of charge repair. In essence, I stated what happened, what I wanted (free of charge repair under the relevant Act) and why I felt it should be free of charge (noting that under the Act, a saleable item must be of ‘acceptable quality’) – it is not a service item and is not serviceable, so normal maintenance would not pick up any wear; the failure placed me at some safety risk given it failed as I overtook other vehicles, and there was no verge where I had to pull over; I would not have bought the bike if I knew there was risk of such failure; I am a member (now moderator) of five years standing of the R1200R Forum and no other failures have been reported, so this would seem an anomaly; and other than this failure, the bike rides as new with not even a valve clearance adjustment yet required – I’d expect the drive shaft to be of the same engineering quality.

BMW Australia treated it under their post-warranty goodwill repair program and initially wanted me to pay for an inspection and hook-up to download any relevant data and service history; the assessment process for my claim was expected to take three or four days. I advised that this inspection etc was irrelevant and that under a Consumer Guarantee claim, I should not be required to pay for an inspection. I wanted the shaft replaced anyway, so we were simply ‘arguing’ about who pays; take the shaft out, observe that it’s broken, and that’s it. I was happy to pay up front if necessary and be reimbursed later. Note that in my correspondence, I maintained my Consumer Guarantee perspective, while BVMW Australia spoke Goodwill Repair language. I even emailed the Canberra dealer from whom I bought the bike (and therefore liable under the Act for remedy) to confirm they were happy with my approach so as not to compromise my bargaining position under the Act.

Much to my delight, I received a call Thursday afternoon to say BMW Australia would cover the full repair cost, although the damaged gaiter would have to be replaced later by my local dealer (again, free of charge) as the part is not in stock in Australia. I felt I had a very strong Consumer Guarantee case so it’s the appropriate outcome, I believe, but had they not come to the party, it would have been a very tedious and time consuming process to pursue through the appropriate legal processes.

During the negotiation process, I’d been asked for service records as evidence of the bike being appropriately maintained. While this was irrelevant to my claim, on return home I scanned all 32 pages and emailed them to Launceston BMW, taking the opportunity to ask for photos they’d taken of the failed shaft showing scuffing of the shaft housing/swing-arm. The technician had assessed the scuffing as non-structural, to which BMW Motorrad Australia agreed, but I felt it reasonable to ask, given I was the one to ride the bike.

The pictures showed that this was no sudden failure. The bearing seals on one trunnion of the joint had failed a long time ago, allowing the bearings to run dry and rust. As wear got worse, the trunnions and yokes wore more and more.

I feel somewhat ashamed that I didn’t detect this earlier, but being a non-service item, I hadn’t felt the need to do any checking. I’ve racked my brain trying to recall any indicators. There may have been some that I subconsciously dismissed as normal. I do recall noticing the drive-train slack at an intersection earlier in the day as I went from off-to-on throttle at a T-intersection, but put it down to characteristics of the gearbox. Such it is when you ride only one example of a particular bike – things that would be noticeable if you switched from a perfect example can gradually creep up on you, lulling you into a false sense of security.

In retrospect, rocking the back wheel back and forth in neutral with the bike on the centre stand would have showed up the problem straight away – being able to feel and hear any slack in the Cardan joint. Following repair, all is silent. This will become a routine check in my maintenance regime from now on (virtually guaranteeing it will never again fail 😄)

All in all, it didn’t inconvenience me too much as I was able to share riding duties with Dieter on his 2006 RT for the three days mine was in dry dock, and I wouldn’t have otherwise had that rather pleasant experience.

111257
 

·
Registered
R1200R LC 2017
Joined
·
28 Posts
Actually the shaft itself doesn’t look too bad (no corrosion)
This is how mine looked after only 14000 kilometres, corroded solid to the end drive.
Off course just out of warranty period...
The dealership managed to get it loose but I don’t know how many force they used in order to get it off...
So it is possible that the joints have had a lot off force and future problems like yours could happen.
Do you know how your splines looked like? Were these corroded?
I can imagine that if the splines are corroded, the drive shaft has a fixed length which puts extra stress on the joints?
111258
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
I don't think I've ever read a more elegant, detailed post like this. Seems like a chapter in a soon to be released book.
Wow, the drive shaft replacement is outrageously expensive if you have to pay for it.
You are correct that no driveshaft related maintenance is specified in the owners manual.
I for one have dropped the shaft and lubed the splines near the final drive on my R9T, and will do the same for my 2014 R1200R.
But there is no access to lube the drive shaft U-joints.
Long time ago, on my rear wheel drive cars, the driveshaft U-joints had Zerk grease fittings
 

·
Dave in NE TN
Joined
·
1,123 Posts
I'm always astonished that Motorrad continues to have final drive problems after building driveshaft bikes for 98 years. Seems like a complete take down, clean up and competent lubrication early in the bike's life might be prudent.

Cheers, Dave
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,199 Posts
Nicely writ, Pz - and a nice outcome, with no blood pressure anxieties by the sound o' things. Now onto the next 95,000km.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Panzermann

·
Registered
Africa Twin's and a BMW or two
Joined
·
39 Posts
How technically difficult would it be to put a grease nipple into the spline assembly?
 

·
Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Do you know how your splines looked like? Were these corroded?
No mention was made of the spline condition by Launceston BMW. There's no evidence of surface rust on the Cardan joint or shaft in the pictures (just the disintegrated needle bearings) so I expect it should have been fine and not having been subjected to moisture/condensation. The final drive was replaced at 48,000 km as the result of being scuffed in a lowside and I would expect the local dealer to have used ample grease when fitting. I'll mention this point when I have the rubber gaiter replaced.
 

·
Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Seems like a complete take down, clean up and competent lubrication early in the bike's life might be prudent.
That won't prevent Cardan joint failure, though Dave, as each bearing is sealed at manufacture.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dbyker

·
Registered
Joined
·
412 Posts
Thank you for so eloquently sharing your 'road back to recovery' PZ and overall a pretty good outcome. It would appear it is certainly worth checking the amount play in the final drive periodically (perhaps every oil change?). That way you may be able to ascertain in advance if there is any increase in play, which would suggest some incremental damage.

Is it possible the final drive boot was accidentally damaged during removal or do you think it was munged up by the failed cardan joint flailing about as it finally gave up its ability to provide forward momentum? It would appear it is a re-useable item if removed with care.

Also, given the FD ass'y was replaced at 48k km, is it possible the boot/gaiter was not properly sealed around both ends which allowed ingress of water, which lead to rusting of the cardan joint? The sealing of the gaiter to prevent ingress of water seems to be a critical element in maintaining the health and mechanical integrity of the FD ass'y??

On the bright side, you're now good for another 100,000 kms and we are all now much better informed.
 

·
Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
it was munged up by the failed cardan joint flailing
Definitely the latter, Tony. It chewed off the inner lip at the point where the shaft housing has been ground down, and on the opposite side. It would normally be reusable and, given there are none in stock in Australia, it's not an item often ordered (unless there's been a run on them lately! 😄)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
How technically difficult would it be to put a grease nipple into the spline assembly?
Panzermann's universal joint failed. I used to regularly grease universal joints (in my youth, as a half assed auto mechanic) that had a grease nipple. And regularly replace them in vehicles that missed routine service or didn't have a fitting. But I suppose BMW and other manufacturers believe in the superior chemistry of lifetime lubricant. I mean this is a rare occurrence, right? I have read about FD failures over on the advrider forum but most are spline issues? Or U joint issues? Or something else entirely in the FD? (what else is there?)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Great that it resolved with bmw coming to the rescue, but sorry to see that it's an ongoing niggle that has never quite gone away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
149 Posts
I have wondered whether I would bother adopting the greasable joints available eg. DRIVESHAFT UNIVERSAL JOINT – Munich Motorcycles or the serviceable driveshaft option DRIVESHAFT – Munich Motorcycles and DRIVESHAFT – Munich Motorcycles which also have a rebuild kit available, DRIVESHAFT (REBUILDABLE) O/HAUL KIT – Munich Motorcycles . Not sure you’re model year is available 🤔. Am about to open mine up for FD issue & perishing rubber boots mentioned in earlier post, so will certainly be having a detailed look at the driveshaft ... thanks for sharing. 👍🍻
 

·
Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
The unholy trinity of boxer ownership: final drive corrosion, paint bubbling and clutch failure.

Plus the bonus Nav VI nightmare if you’re really feeling lucky.

I’ve only had one of the trinity so far, but with an equally positive outcome - engine block corrosion at 1000km leading to a completely new engine under warranty.

Oh for the halcyon days of mere fuel strip failure!
 

·
Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Plus the bonus Nav VI nightmare if you’re really feeling lucky.
As Clem might have said, ride more, connect less ...
 
  • Like
Reactions: ArbOl
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top