This is really good news for BMW owners. I have had rear drive failures on my 2001 GS, 2003 GS Adv and my 2008 K1200GT. My LT was written off before it had a chance to fail.
Fortunately they all were covered under the warranty due to BMW's 3 year / no mileage restriction on CDN bikes. This is BMW making marketing a no cost marketing benefit as a result Canada's 5-6 month riding season.
As Chris outlines in his email below, the initial investigation will be on the K1200LT's, expect more bikes to follow.The classic photo of the GS's rear drive on fire and melting is one of the great pieces of motorcycle photography.
Canadian recalls generally follow the US it seems.
So the issue that "never existed" is finally being investigated.
After over 145 individual complaints filed between April 2001 and August
2011, the NHSTA has finally opened its first official investigation into the
failure of crown gear bearings on BMW models equipped with the Paralever
style final drive. NHSTA investigation DP12001 opened 1/20/12 is centered
on 1999-2005 K1200LTs for now. But, if the findings are what we all believe
they will be, the scope of the investigation should be expanded. I found
the only way to get NHSTA to listen and focus was to pepper its director,
David Strickland, with repeat letters as well as inquiries from WA Senator
Patty Murray who chairs the subcommittee over funding for the NHSTA. If
you have had a final drive failure on your Paralever equipped BMW, and have
NOT already reported it to the NHSTA, I urge you do it now.
You will need your VIN, (est.) date of failure and mileage. State your
model as well. While they should be able to identify from VIN, their data
was wrong 50% of the time. Specify if gear oil leaked.
or call (888) 327-4236
or mail to:
Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
1200 New Jersey Ave SE
Washington DC 20590
In your complaint, select "Power Train" as the component and reference that
you have had the same failure as described in ODI No. 10439549, and
currently being investigated under Campaign DP12001.
Send an email to your Congressman and US Senator to follow up on your behalf
A couple of notes
The four BMW final drive failures that occurred in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally are having
an effect on hardware choices this year. Another K1200GT rider, Jeff Earls, will actually be carrying a spare final drive with him. Long time BMW rider Eric Jewell has taken an even more effective step to minimize the risk of having his ride end with a final drive failure; he sold his BMW and purchased a Honda ST1300. Tom and Rosie Sperry, who have been riding BMWs 2-up for many years, have adopted the same strategy. After experiencing a final drive failure on their K1200LT following the last Iron Butt Rally,
they switched to a Honda Gold Wing.
While BMW continues to claim that there is no significant problem with its final drives, a number of long-time BMW riders disagree and are switching brands. BMW’s reputation for building the most reliable motorcycles has been damaged within the long distance riding community.
There's a *very* extensive article in the September 2008 Motorcycle Consumer News magazine on the final drive failures.
- BMW uses two different final drive systems: the older Paralever design, which is still used on the K1200LT, and the 2nd-generation "EVO" Paralever, introduced in 2004 and, used on most current bikes. EVO design is easily identified by the 50mm hole in the rear axle.
- From 1980 to 2000, BMW final drive failures were rare
- Starting in 2001 an increasing number of final drive failures started appearing on K1200LT and R1150GS models
- Most of those were on 1st generation Paralever bikes, although some were on EVO Paralever bikes.
- Of 38 Paralever-equipped BMWs in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally, 14 were R1200 EVO models. Of these four didn't finish due to final drive failure -- a 29% failure rate.
- In Sept 2006 BMW revised the service recommendation for final drives to include final drive oil change at the 600-mi service (previously was considered lifetime lubricated).
- In 2007 BMW increased the size of the pinion gear needle bearing on EVO Paralevers, and added a magnetic drain plug.
- BMW didn't publicize but extended the final drive warranty to five years on bikes sold after January 2007
- Owners can check final drive status by putting bike on center stand, grabbing back wheel at 12 and 6 o'clock positions and rocking back and forth. Repeat at 3 and 9 o'clock positions. On EVO bikes up to 1 mm of play measured at the wheel rim is considered normal. More is abnormal and might indicate an impending problem
- A better inspection inspection method is draining final drive oil and inspecting magnetic plug for metallic particles. If any uncertainty, the final drive must be removed and gears/bearings inspected and gear lash measured
- A survey on the BMW LT forum resulted in 174 reported final drive failures
- A separate survey resulted in 80 people reporting failures, of which 11 were EVO Paralevers
- So far no reported crashes resulting from final drive failures