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Old 07-06-2012, 07:17 AM   #1
manfromthestix OP
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Final Drive Crown Seal replacement project

Several years ago I was just a couple of days away from leaving on a three week tour of the Canadian Rockies when I noticed that the final drive crown seal on my R1100RT was leaking. I had never done any maintenance of the FD except oil changes, the long trip was looming in three days, so of course I panicked and headed for the nearest dealership to get it repaired properly, cost be damned! I lived in central Wyoming at the time so that effort entailed loading the bike in my truck, driving 300 miles to Salt Lake City (excellent shop, BTW), spending most of a day at the dealership, and driving 300 miles home. The total bill was 1.5 days of my life burned up, shop costs of $240, and the cost of the drive . Ouch. But the seal on the RT made it through the trip and hasn't failed again to date.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and I noticed the FD crown seal on my 1150GS was leaking. BTW, I have 50,000 miles on the bike and it has been literally flawless in every respect even though I ride it pretty hard and do quite a bit of gravel roads and ratty asphalt, two-up and loaded like a moving van. This time around I wasn't under any time constraints so I thought I'd just do it myself. First step was to peruse ADVRider for guidance, of course, and I found several references to how easy this procedure is but didn't find a photo-documented guide. I've been doing all the work on my BMWs for about 10 years now so I feel more confident and thought WTF, I'll just try this. I ordered the proper seal and a crush washer set from Bob's BMW and had it in my hot little hands in less than 24 hours for about $40 including shipping. Bob's is outstanding, thanks for your help, Matt!

So here we go. Here's the rear wheel, you can see oil all over the paralever and rim:




Wheel off, yup, we got a problem here:



Clean it up good with some nasty chemicals, shop towels, compressed air, and elbow grease:



I'm working out in the driveway because it's so ferking HOT and something literally crawled in my garage and died, so it stinks horribly in there. Better hurry, storm's a-comin'!



Put a couple of the wheel bolts back in and wobble them at 9 and 3, 6 and 12 o'clock to check for play, none detected:



Use a drill driver to carefully screw in some self-tapping sheet metal screws; not too deep, only until they bite good, not so deep that they hit the bearing behind the seal:



Grab with a pair of pliers and carefully pull/pry the old seal out (it's EASY). BTW, I drained the old oil into a clear pop bottle so I could look at it and check for discoloration and metal flakes; all was good and no flakes on the magnetic drain plug:



Check out the bearing, clean out and bits of rubber and crap introduced by pulling the old seal out, inspect bearings (they looked flawless):



Smear a thin film of oil on the inner lips of the new seal (not the outer edge) and CAREFULLY tap it into place, making sure you get it square and don't tap it in too deep (it should be flush with the housing, like the old one). It goes in pretty easy:



Insert drain plug with new crush washer, fill with new oil (I used Mobil 1 synthetic gear oil of the proper weight), put the fill plug with new crush washer back in, spin the hub around a little to see that everything is working as it should, reinstall the wheel, clean up, wheel the bike in the garage about three minutes ahead of the deluge:



Once the rain stopped I rode the bike about five miles and rechecked the oil level, but it was fine (to the bottom of the threads) and I haven't seen a drop of oil leaking from the new seal in the 500 miles I've ridden since the replacement.

This was the easiest repair/service I have ever done on a BMW and it took less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I did not have to remove the FD unit from the bike and did not have to crack open the case to get it done. I feel like an idiot for all the time, effort, and money I spent getting this done on my RT by the BMW shop.

I hope this is of some help to a few people! Ride, ride, ride!

Doug
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:12 AM   #2
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Nice write-up and pics.

Thanks.
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:35 AM   #3
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:42 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manfromthestix;19068942
I've been doing all the work on my BMWs for about 10 years now so I feel more confident and thought WTF, I'll just try this. I ordered the proper seal and a crush washer set from Bob's BMW and had it in my hot little hands in less than 24 hours :clap for about $40 including shipping. Bob's is outstanding, thanks for your help, Matt!

So here we go.


[IMG
http://manfromthestix.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Wrenchin/i-ZHH7xk6/0/L/IMG4255-L.jpg[/IMG]

Smear a thin film of oil on the inner lips of the new seal (not the outer edge) and CAREFULLY tap it into place, making sure you get it square and don't tap it in too deep (it should be flush with the housing, like the old one). It goes in pretty easy:



Insert drain plug with new crush washer, fill with new oil (I used Mobil 1 synthetic gear oil of the proper weight), put the fill plug with new crush washer back in, spin the hub around a little to see that everything is working as it should, reinstall the wheel, clean up, wheel the bike in the garage about three minutes ahead of the deluge:



This was the easiest repair/service I have ever done on a BMW and it took less than 45 minutes from start to finish. I did not have to remove the FD unit from the bike and did not have to crack open the case to get it done. I feel like an idiot for all the time, effort, and money I spent getting this done on my RT by the BMW shop.

I hope this is of some help to a few people! Ride, ride, ride!

Doug
Hmmmmmm....I believe I see a loose cage rivet at about seven o'clock....I could be wrong.

Also, it appears that you installed the caliper while replacing the seal. Why?

Other than a hammer, did you use any additional tool(s) when installing the new seal?

Nice work...BTW, it appears your rear bleeder hardware is rusty.

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Old 07-06-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by def View Post
Hmmmmmm....I believe I see a loose cage rivet at about seven o'clock....I could be wrong.

Also, it appears that you installed the caliper while replacing the seal. Why?

Other than a hammer, did you use any additional tool(s) when installing the new seal?

Nice work...BTW, it appears your rear bleeder hardware is rusty.

Hi Slim, wish I was in the Durango area and not steaming hot Virginia right now! I hope all the fires haven't hurt you... We had a NASTY wind storm last week that trashed this region, but nothing caught fire.

Naw, all the cage rivets and bimmerflues are tight, I checked.

I didn't install the caliper to do this work, I just never took it off when I removed the rear wheel. Note: you don't have to remove the caliper when you pull the rear wheel off your GS for whatever reason, it's an unnecessary step since the disc stays on the wheel (unlike the RT).

I used an o-ring pick to pull bits of rubber and crap out of the bearing race, otherwise nothing but standard shop tools.

Yes, I see the rust and I'm not happy about it. I lived most of my life in the Rocky Mountain West (New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming) and nothing ever ferking rusted out there. Virginia is so wet and humid all the time literally EVERYTHING rusts, not just that part. The trade-off is that I get to live where it's green, we have lakes/streams/rivers all over the place, and I get to ride 12 months out of the year . I do REALLY miss the skiing out West, though . Some day I'd like to try the expert-only backcountry area near Silverton... I digress.

This is easy, don't pay anyone to do it for you!

Doug
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:38 AM   #6
TexasMule
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Doug,

What did you use to "tap" in the seal. A piece of wood? A drift?

Just curious.

TM
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:47 AM   #7
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What's up my brutha Dale? Long time my friend.
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Old 07-06-2012, 09:52 AM   #8
def
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Hi Slim, wish I was in the Durango area and not steaming hot Virgin.........
Who the heck is Slim?
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:55 AM   #9
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What's up my brutha Dale? Long time my friend.
Que pasa, mi amigo? It has indeed been a long time. We are doing very well up here. Hope all is well with you!
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Old 07-06-2012, 04:28 PM   #10
manfromthestix OP
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Who the heck is Slim?
I was sayin' Hi to Fat Chance Slim; I've never met him but his wife was a nurse in the Durango Hospital ER when my buddy had to go there after crashing his motorsickle a few years ago after he biffed in the gravel just above Silverton. She was on an F650GS and we struck up a conversation.

I just used a little hammer to tap the seal in; it really does go in pretty easily and you can over-do it if you aren't careful.

Doug
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:22 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by manfromthestix View Post
I just used a little hammer to tap the seal in; it really does go in pretty easily and you can over-do it if you aren't careful.

Doug
I just pushed mine in with my thumbs. It slides on pretty easily, as he said.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:57 PM   #12
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Nice write up!

I followed your instructions to replace the rear final drive seal on my wife's R1100S. The only thing I had to do differently was on the removal of the old seal. I put two metal screws into the old seal, but when I pulled very hard on both screws at the same time, the seal would not budge. I next tried pulling on one screw and it came out with less than half the pressure I was using before. I'm guessing I was creating a vacuum which was holding the seal in, once I switched to just pulling on one side, it allowed the pressure to escape. Other wise it was a pretty simple and straight forward repair.

I would rate this a 2.5 on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being easy and 10 being difficult.

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Old 07-21-2012, 06:59 PM   #13
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What he said...
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Old 08-08-2012, 10:01 AM   #14
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Thanks for the great tutorial and pics!
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:06 AM   #15
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Excellent photos. Thanks for sharing. I just did mine without your photos, but I am sure that seeing your photos would have increased my confidence to do this task. I agree with the assessment that on a scale of 1 to 10, that this is about a 2.5!

If you are competent enough that you can change a wheel, you can change this seal yourself. Save the dealership or shop for the really heavy duty stuff, and save yourself the labor costs.

-John
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