BMW R1200RT Final Drive Problems Explained

Final drive failure and gear wear are seen on the BMW R1200RT. Bearing wear is also seen on the R1200RT. Oil seal failures, grease on the final drive, metal debris on the bearings, and grinding noises near the rear wheel indicate final drive failure.

Common BMW R1200RT Final Drive Problems

Final drives on BMW R1200RT motorcycles can face issues like gear wear and final drive failure over time.

This causes noise or vibration issues.

Crown bearings inside the unit are also prone to wearing out, although this seems less common on vented final drive models.

There is also a small risk that the splines(driveshaft) that connect the final drive to the transmission wear out or fail.

Bearing wear is another concern, potentially catastrophic if ignored.

Symptoms of Final Drive Failure

Oil seal failures that lead to leaks, grease coming from the final drive, metal debris on the bearings, and grinding noises near the rear wheel indicate final drive failure.

Oil Seal Failure

Oil leaks are also reported either through seals or overfilled oil.

Oil seal failure results in oil splatter and loss of lubrication.

Oil leaks provide an obvious clue, but looseness in the final drive can indicate issues before visible leaks occur.

Wheel Movement

Check for play by rocking the rear wheel from side to side with the bike in gear on the center stand.

Any grinding noises during low-speed turns also warrant inspection immediately.


Grease coming from the final drive and grease on the rear wheel and brake rotor often indicate final drive failure.

Metal Particles

Once the gear oil is drained, look for metal particles inside, which signal failing bearings.

Listen for unusual noises, especially during slow-speed turning maneuvers.

Grinding sensations or vibrations felt while riding can indicate problems.

Difficulty smoothly shifting gears can also hint at final drive failure. Noticeable changes in power delivery or performance warrant inspection for metal particles.

Causes of Final Drive Problems

Lack of regular maintenance often contributes to final drive failures.

Fluid changes at proper intervals help longevity.

Contaminants in oil can cause excess wear so inspection at service time is key.

Some models seem more prone to inherent design flaws or manufacturing defects.

BMW R1200RT Final Drive Problems

Preventive Maintenance Tips

Frequently inspect the final drive components yourself or have a mechanic check – this allows early diagnosis.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for lubrication and fluid change intervals.

Generally, this is about 10,000 miles. Ensure proper specifications and amounts of gear oil are used. Check to make sure the driveshaft isn’t worn out.

Final Drive Problems in 2013-14 R1200RT Models

For BMW R1200RT owners specifically, extra vigilance is suggested for the 2013-2014 model years.

Production changes made by 2015 to improve ventilation, serviceability, and specifications have reduced final drive failure rates.

When buying used, look for regularly serviced bikes. Higher mileage could paradoxically suggest a robust final drive.

Seek models with records of fluid changes around 10,000 miles.

Consider an inspection by a BMW specialist during purchase. Then continue routine service yourself or with a trusted mechanic.

Follow factory recommendations for lubricant specifications and quantities during maintenance or repairs to avoid exacerbating any issues.

While individual experiences vary, pay attention to any symptoms and address them promptly for reliability and safety.

BMW R1200RT Final Drive Rebuild

For riders needing to rebuild or replace a worn final drive, there are reputable specialists to perform the intricate work.

A complete rebuild approximately costs $750-850.

Complete replacement with a new unit from BMW carries a higher $2342 price tag but includes a 2-year unlimited mileage warranty.

Salvaged used final drives found online provide another lower-cost alternative if carefully inspected first.

Upgrade to the post-2010 final drive

Upgrading to the post-2010 final drive models with improved bearings and venting is recommended for bikes older than this.

Proper maintenance of all seals, gaskets, bearings, and gear oil remains vital in getting the longest service life from these critical R1200RT components.

Riders should periodically check for any developing play or leaks and address them immediately to avoid more extensive repairs down the road.

BMW R1200RT motorcycles utilize a shaft final drive to transfer power to the rear wheel. Final drive failures happen in several different ways over time.

Expert Opinions and Recommendations

Industry experts advise looking for signs of leaking seals, noticing vibrations, and monitoring changes in performance which could indicate final drive failure.

Getting concerns checked early prevents costlier repairs later. Inspect the driveshaft regularly for wear and tear.

Routine maintenance is emphasized by mechanics to avoid wear and tear leading to breakdowns.

Factors like proper torque on bolts and using premium lubricants can improve durability.

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