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Old 09-02-2008, 11:53 PM   #13
The Road Scholar
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Joined: May 2003
Location: CheeseHead Land...
Oddometer: 1,123
Originally Posted by bgoodsoil
The circlip is definitely on my longterm list, along with a higher fifth and bearing replacement. Thanks for the pics and the links, now I actually understand what that 'circlip' problem is!

I've talked to Nathan at Boxerworks about it. Since the bike only has 18,000 miles on it he said I could probably wait, but that he could do it pretty easy. I'd have taken it by already but he doesn't have any higher fifths in right now(dang HPN!) and I'd rather be riding. It's really only an afternoon job to pull the tranny.
Waiting can cost you more in the long run...

And there is no way to tell when (and it is WHEN, not if) that bearing will start to eat itself. If it happens when you are more than 20-30 miles from home, the fragments can cause other damage if you don't get a tow once it starts vibrating.

Back before the people at BMW knew what was going on, I had a 1993 R100RT that I bought new which ate that bearing every 15k till some teen spun out in a turn and took me out with his ass end.
To their credit, that was back in the the Unlimited Mileage Warranty years, all three bearing replacements were done under warranty (bike had just over 47k when it was swept out from under me.)
But they just kept replacing the bearings without doing the circlip repair/install...

We picked up a nice low mileage 1986 R65 monolever for the girlfriend to ride last year. Only 9,xxx miles, and within 2k of buying it I started feeling that old familiar rumble...

So when I picked up this '89 R100GS with "only" 17,600 miles, the first thing I did was pop the transmission cover to check for the circlip.
(later found out from the original owner when I tracked him down that the tranny had already had the big bearing replaced under warranty, but as with my '93, they didn't know to replace the circlip yet when it had been done...)

Some have reported that they have gotten as many as 40-50K before trouble, but in my experience (three of them now), it can easily happen with lots fewer than 20k...
And if you don't recognize the symptoms early enough, you are going to be replacing gears, or complete shafts...
NOT cheap.

Seems that it happens earlier on bikes where the rider uses engine braking more frequently, but that may just be anecdotal...


IMNSHO, do it now.

You will KNOW that the tranny is safe, and you may just save yourself a nice fistfull of cash...

YMMV... but I wouldn't put money on it...
Karl Kugler
2005 BMW R1200RT w/Hannigan-LT sidecar
2002 BMW R1150RA
In Memoriam: Harley, 1993-2010 You will be missed.
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