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Old 01-02-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
Johnny Locks OP
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R100GS Drive Shaft

Hi all,
I've been lurking and reading this site a lot. I've read every thread relevant to my bike, and 100's that were tangentially related, and 100's more just for fun. Anyway, I acquired a '92 R100GS back in April. At the time it had 88K miles on it. It was clearly not fawned over, but also seemed like reasonable care had been taken of it and everything worked. It came with some service history, but a lot was missing, so I really don't know everything that's been done to it. There was something from a BMW dealer in the history that just said "warranty drive shaft." So I guess it's likely that the shaft was replaced at about 23,000 miles. I had read about the drive shaft issues and transmission cir clip dealio, and hoped everything would hold out for me for the riding season and that I would look at the drive shaft in the winter.

I put 7,000 miles on it over the summer, it's now at 95K and I'm holding the driveshaft in my hands. Having no experience with what the u-joints should feel like, it's a little hard to judge the condition, but one axis of the upper joint feels real tight. Feels to me like it isn't right. Certainly feels different than the one on the other end, that one seems real good. What say you? Should I just have it rebuilt? Anyone near Minneapolis that could give it a look?
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Old 01-02-2013, 11:15 PM   #2
Mark Manley
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I would certainly get it looked at, a friend of mine had one break on him and it locked the rear wheel at 70 mph almost causing an accident. I cannot recommed anybody in the US to get it rebuilt but had mine done by Motorworks in the UK and it has done 10,000 miles since then, I will take it out soon and see how it is doing.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:31 AM   #3
Paul_Rochdale
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Jim

50,000 miles seems to be the often mentioned useful mileage for the paralever drive shaft on a GS, and there are various places who modify them so they either last longer or are at least repairable, Motorworks being one of them. Have a 'Search' as there's lots about them in there.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:14 AM   #4
Airhead Wrangler
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I just replaced a torn swingarm boot and had a look at the shaft while I was in there. All the black grease seemed to have come out of the u-joints, but everything was VERY tight and smooth. Zero slop whatsoever at an indicated 26,000 miles. The joints were still tight enough that they wouldn't flop side to side under their own weight. They had to be moved by hand. Do the paralever shafts tend to die very quickly as soon as they develop any play or is a it a relatively gradual decline with a steady increase in the amount of play in them?
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:06 AM   #5
Mark Manley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler View Post
Do the paralever shafts tend to die very quickly as soon as they develop any play or is a it a relatively gradual decline with a steady increase in the amount of play in them?
My first one went suddenly at 47,000 miles, I was rolling it down my drive and heard a clunking sound, investigated and it was on the verge of breaking, I think a good fist full of throttle would have broken it.
The second one developed some play at around 148,000 miles and I kept a careful eye on it until 150,000 when it was removed and rebuilt.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Manley View Post
My first one went suddenly at 47,000 miles, I was rolling it down my drive and heard a clunking sound, investigated and it was on the verge of breaking,
How long before it's failure had you inspected it and found no play?
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:19 AM   #7
Mark Manley
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler View Post
How long before it's failure had you inspected it and found no play?
I had never taken it out by then but had probably checked it at the 45,000 mile service.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airhead Wrangler View Post
Do the paralever shafts tend to die very quickly as soon as they develop any play or is a it a relatively gradual decline with a steady increase in the amount of play in them?
inside of 500 miles is my experience.

DAmn shame about that shaft up there ^. Not the expected fail point.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:46 AM   #9
H96669
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That one up there is showing some blue next to the worn part. Looks like it did get hot. Now I have to wonder what type of grease they used in there, synthetic such as Amsoil do have a better resistance to heat but only to some degree, can't make up for mechanical deficiencies.

Strange wear pattern, if I remember from the old days that was from the assembly being out of alignment. Then more friction....more heat and the grease runs out. Quick failure after that.

Last GS driveshaft I had to have repaired, started showing signs of failure halfway through the USAs. Got me home to BC and quite a few miles after that and wasn't even too badly worn when I removed it.Unlike the first one that failed catastrophically at pretty low miles and destroyed the swingarm. Don't ignore them strange vibrations that may change in frequencies with the throttle or even disappear........ in the right footpeg.

If anyone has one of them in their hands....you really have to close your eyes and check them blind for signs of roughness or binding. Light tapping on the end of the caps may even show the play, that's how we used to loosen up tight u-joints after installation, I think my grandpa knew a thing or two about them, he sure replaced lots of them in his long career and lucky for me, had time to show & tell back then.

Sorry about the underline....can't edit, silly slow "internet at sea".
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:53 AM   #10
Airhead Wrangler
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Oh OK, I'm talking about actually removing the shaft from the swingarm and twisting both ends of it by hand. Due to the final drive ratio of ~3:1, it's pretty much impossible to feel minute amounts of play through the rear wheel, especially once you factor in backlash in the final drive and trans. I would guess that the u-joints would have to be pretty thoroughly f%&$-hammered before you'd feel any discernible play through the rear wheel. I'm new at this whole paralever thing though so don't take my word for it.
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Old 05-11-2013, 08:42 AM   #11
R100RT Mark
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1993 23,000 miles R100R Driveshaft Failure

Low frequency vibration yesterday just after I pulled out my drive to run errands. Wondered if I had thrown a wheel balance weight. Got worse over the next three miles. Clearly something more serious. Turned back home. Up on center stand, turned rear wheel by hand and there was very clearly notchiness in the final drive. Up on lift. Thirty minutes later was looking at the very distressed driveshaft UJ shown here.

From quick research it seems that the Taiwanese driveshaft replacements do not seem to have stood the test of time (cannot see any reference to these being available on Ted Porter's website). Am I correct?

Also, while my yokes look to be pretty beaten up which may mean they as not suitable for rebuilding, current North American options seem to be rebuilt units by either Hendersen Precision Products thttp://www.hendersenprecision.com/i..._products.html or Bruno's Machine & Repair http://www.brunos.us/ds_airheads_oilheads.html. Does anyone have any experience-based opinions of the meirts of either vendor?

Does anyone have any experience-based opinions of the merits of some of the European options?

Thanks. I do not want to dawdle on getting repairs in hand.


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Old 05-11-2013, 08:52 AM   #12
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I dont know of a history of bad shafts from the taiwanese. Some defects in everything, but nothing systemic
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:45 PM   #13
R100RT Mark
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Took some additional pictures this afternoon. I am amazed how so quickly the situation when from seeming as if I had lost a wheel balance weight to this.





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Old 06-02-2013, 06:07 AM   #14
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Yep it feels like a tire is seriously out of balance right before the shaft catastrophically fails. Mine would do a 'womp womp womp' sound and vibration only between 30-40 mph. I checked tires, pressure, scratched my head for a week, till it gave up the ghost, fortunately not while riding.

No news on the Taiwanese shaft huh?
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:22 AM   #15
Airhead Wrangler
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stagehand View Post
inside of 500 miles is my experience.
Yours showed ZERO play and then failed within 500 miles?
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