Much has been said about BMW Final Drive issues. I certainly would not feel good about a machine that left me stranded on the highway. On the other hand, if you can catch the problems with the final drive before they come to a catastrophic failure it is MUCH less of an issue. My '04 RT had 52,800 miles on it. I could tell something wasn't right, thought it was the driveshaft. When I pulled the drain plug on the final drive.....I knew where the vibration/noise was coming from! Lots of shiny, sharp metal particles. LST, I spent about $130 on parts and fixed it myself. That is less than the chain and sprockets I recently put on the V Strom. And it would have went thru at least two sets!
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION!
What if there was a way to see the small metal shavings from the bearings in between final drive service intervals? Caught early it is usually cheap to fix.
CAUGHT EARLY IT WOULD PROBABLY NEVER LEAVE YOU STRANDED! The peace of mind on a long trip from checking the magnet and seeing no sharp, shiny metal would be priceless.
Below are pictures of some prototypes of a device I came up with to check for the dreaded shiny, sharp metal particles in the final drive oil. I have offered these to some members here on the board, some are running them now, some didn't want to try them. Really need to get a handfull into Oilheads with higher mileage or those that have had final drive issues and maybe suspect they were not rebuilt correctly.
Two views of the base and insert assembled as they would be in the final drive:
This view is of the "indicator" part threaded out of the base:
I am using high strength magnets to insure the particles suspended in the oil will stay on the magnet even though they are at about the level of the oil when parked. This is a 19mm wrench the magnet is holding!
This is one of the prototypes installed in my RT. This is a stainless steel version, most have been aluminum. I put about 450 miles on it yesterday and there was quite a bit of the dark sludge on the magnet. That is normal wear particles. You can clean the magnet and it will attract those same kind of particles as it sits overnight!
The knurled handle makes it very easy to check at a fuel stop during a trip or just when you are doing a "pre flight". I make these totally at home in my shop. What do y'all think?