Rear Hub Failure - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
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    My rear hub just failed, first thought it was tensioner as wheel was firm, however after checking and thinking might be brake pad making popping noise did a short test ride - nope! More popping and then rear wheel starts wobbling! Lots of popping noises! Last week had the bike in for the 30,000 mile service, 24,000 mile service was done last February. No comments about rear hub, they were concerned about the difficulty engaging neutral when hot - been that way as long as I’ve owned it. Has a week from water pump they pointed out. Left Wednesday morning and arrived in Grand Island Nebraska this afternoon - 1,100 miles in 2 days. No issues on the ride although I did stop hard for a traffic light 36 miles back then rode down I80 for 36 miles at the flow of traffic 80 or so. Pulled off exit and it starts making a popping noise. Loud popping!

    For repair, don’t know of any place nearby, they have a Harley dealership. Thinking of shipping bike home and either renting a HD or something and continuing trip or just go home. Have 2 weeks of reservations!

    For repair there are a couple of complete swing arms on eBay that seem reasonable, could swap or maybe repair with a new hub.

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    I’d be very suspect of that 24,000 mile service assuming the dealer replaced the belt as recommended by BMW at that interval. What year is your GT? It may still be under warranty.
    2013 BMW F800GT | 2015 BMW R1200RT | 2014 Honda CB1100 DLX 

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    Could also be worn (rubber) vibration dampers in the rear pulley. These should be checked at every belt change and replaced, if needed. Not a big repair bill. Rear hub failure is very rare for the GT.

    2013 F800GT Valencia Orange 

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    all i can say is that sucks ! hope you figure something out and can keep your trip relatively intact -
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    This guy replaced the hub only:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn6KqQtwQkg
    Sundog 

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    Thanks for all the replies. I’m very suspicious of the service, bike is out of warranty. I have ordered a swing arm and will replace here, Trip is blown but will save for another time. Belt tension seems ok now but will certainly be careful with it when replacing swingarm. Agree with FrankV about hub failures being rare, should have not trusted service to get it right! Had a wheel bearing failure on my FZ6 several years ago - chain too tight. Bearing replacement easy (relatively). This failure is bad enough the rear wheel is wobbling and metal scraping metal in the hub area. Not sure how much damage, replacement swingarm will have Lully, rotor and sensor wheel. I’m going to toss old when when it if fixed as cannot haul it home. If anyone is interested in pulley, rotor or sensor ring or any other small part let me know and I will save for you.
    Having trouble posting pics from iPad.

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    Did you notice an accumulation of belt dust on the rear wheel rim prior to the mishap?

  11. #8
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    Rear wheel is very dirty, even coating of dark grey dust. Rode thru some rain but wheel was clean when I left. Having trouble posting pics. Will try and get some up later today when I get my notebook out - Internet is terrible here.

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    May need p/n 33 17 8 550 928 SET: REPAIR KIT, REAR-WHEEL DRIVE
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  13. #10
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    F800GT back working again. Swingarm arrived Monday morning and the campground owner was so kind to let me use his shop area. On Sunday made a trip to Harbor Freight for needed tools. Removed old swingarm by placing the bike on the center stand with a piece of 2x6 underneath. Removed or loosened the following items in this order: cover plugs from the swingarm shaft, C clip on the left end of the swingarm shaft, belt cover plastics, rear wheel, brake caliper, rear shock bolt, clamp bolts for swingarm shaft. Brake caliper was suspended from the right bottom side case mount. Ran a strap over the seat and thru the hole in the middle of the swingarm - to support weight of swingarm as I maneuvered it out of the way. Removed swingarm pin shaft - it came out very easily, a couple of light taps to get it started. Swingarm came right out, was concerned about clearance with the exhaust but as I pulled it to the rear I also lifted up and it cleared without any issues or touching. Cleaned and greased replacement swingarm bearings. The replacement swingarm came with all components in place including swingarm bearings and seals. Inspected everything carefully. The replacement swingarm pulley had less wear marks from the belt and the brake disk was about the same. I only use the rear brake under hard braking, when it wer or slippery or low speeds. My bike also has mostly long distance miles so not so much stop and go. While greasing needle bearings some OT the rollers dropped out so had the fun of cleaning them again and putting back in place. Installation was the reverse procedure. Using a strap over the seat and thru the swingarm made the process much easier. Hardest part was getting the pin in place. On the first try a few of the bearing rollers dropped down and prevent the pin from goin all the way in. Pulled the pin and put the rollers back in and the pin went in with only a gentle persuasion needed. I used light taps from a rubber mallet for persuasion, with the final bit accomplished by putting a screwdriver blade in the Hollow shaft and lightly tapping the shaft into its final position. Bolted everything up torquing to spec and some bolts got a dab of lock tight blue. Took bike for a spin and like new again. Well as close as a bike with 31,000 miles on it can be.

    Belt tension - checked tension with replacement swingarm. Perfect tension with maybe the slightest bit on the loose side. Much looser than when it was replaced at 24,000 miles. Should have loosened it at that point but didn’t know it was too tight and trusted dealer maintenance. Won’t make that mistake again.

    Saw a nearby motorcycle shop that did a lot of business on eBay selling used parts. Took the old swingarm by and gave it to them. Hopefully they will Be able to sell the good parts from it - brake rotor, sensor ring, pulley and swingarm.

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    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    I had an 08 ST and at that time the dealer was telling prospective customers that the belt was tensioned at the factory and wouldn't need replacing for the life of the bike.
    I didn't have much service done by the dealer and I was good about ignoring it too so my bike at 57K when a deer killed it had the original belt with all it's teeth.
    I'm amazed how much trouble folks have after having the dealer service their bike. Dealer told me they adjusted the steering bearings at some point and then tell they needed replacing 6K miles later. That's when I stopped going to the dealer. It's just a money pit.

  16. #12
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    Totally agree, think the dealers have big backlogs most of the year and jobs are rushed. In addition finding good technicians is hard. They have never seen an F800 with the miles my bike has on it and have to figure what the service entails.

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    L'ho fatto anche io guardando questo video. Magico!

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    PhotoAl, sorry to hear about your hub bearing failure while on your trip. Great job on getting it figured/worked out! My 2013 F800GT hub bearing failed while up in Alberta Canada. Luckily I noticed it 2 days into a planned 7 day trip and was able to limp it back home. It had 27,000 miles on it when it failed and now 10,000 miles later, no further problems. When I got home, I called the service department at the dealership I bought the motorcycle from to explain what happened and what I thought was going on. His response was " I've never heard of that. Sounds impossible that the tire could rub on the inside of the swingarm. I guess bring it in and we'll take a look." Their willingness to play dumb convinced me to do the work myself and certainly saved me a bunch of money. Well, glad to hear you've got it fixed and ready for another adventure. Best of luck on the next one.....MacGyver!

  19. #15
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    Finally returned home after wandering around Nebraska and South Dakota. Here are some photos I was unable to post while on the road.

    First is a photo of the failed hub - look closely between the speed sensor ring and the hub and you can see aluminum that shouldn't be there - almost looked like it was scrapped off and deposited. Note metal flakes on top of hub
    Second is partway thru swingarm swap. new (used) swingarm is sitting on the box.
    Third is F800GT next to my new bike. I was seriously contemplating trading at the end of the trip. Originally found the dealer (Vern Eide in Sioux Falls) hoping they would trade for my broken bike but they wanted it fixed first "we don't know how to fix a BMW". I got a much better deal than I would have here. In addition the bike troubles kept me from making would would have turned into a difficult trip as I would have been in Wyoming when the bad weather hit and would have been stuck there for several days until the weather warmed and the snow melted.

    OK everyone can call me a hypocrite but on the 1,400 mile ride home after putting 600 miles on the bike in South Dakota I miss the MadStad windscreen on the BMW. Even after all my grousing about the ugly MadStad I'm actually contemplating one for the new bike.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  20. #16
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    Al......you went to a chain! I hope you enjoy your new bike and stay in touch to let us know how it compares to the BMW.

    After reading this thread - I loosened my belt tension a small amount last night. The belt seemed awfully tight compared to my experience with my other belt drive bikes. On the Suzuki Savage we adjust belt tension so that we can twist the belt 90 degrees using a thumb and index finger at the mid point between the pulleys.....so I am trying that method on my F800GT.

    I loosened the clamp bolts and backed off the adjusting screw expecting the eccentric to move from the belt tension - but nothing happened. After looking around a bit I found the slotted hole in the bottom of the swing arm is to provide access to the eccentric bearing holder - and there is a round hole where you can install a lever to rotate the eccentric. I use a large nail as the lever....it rotated the eccentric bearing holder and then adjusted the tension using the adjustment screw.

    I am not suggesting that everyone should do this - but I feel a bit better knowing my belt isn't as tight as the strings on my banjo!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpin View Post
    Al......you went to a chain! I hope you enjoy your new bike and stay in touch to let us know how it compares to the BMW.

    After reading this thread - I loosened my belt tension a small amount last night. The belt seemed awfully tight compared to my experience with my other belt drive bikes. On the Suzuki Savage we adjust belt tension so that we can twist the belt 90 degrees using a thumb and index finger at the mid point between the pulleys.....so I am trying that method on my F800GT.

    I loosened the clamp bolts and backed off the adjusting screw expecting the eccentric to move from the belt tension - but nothing happened. After looking around a bit I found the slotted hole in the bottom of the swing arm is to provide access to the eccentric bearing holder - and there is a round hole where you can install a lever to rotate the eccentric. I use a large nail as the lever....it rotated the eccentric bearing holder and then adjusted the tension using the adjustment screw.

    I am not suggesting that everyone should do this - but I feel a bit better knowing my belt isn't as tight as the strings on my banjo!
    The reason for my earlier query concerning a large build up of belt dust on the rear wheel..went to my local dealer and they readjusted the belt tension as they said it was a bit tight and they to also mentioned about the belt twist method to determine approx. correct belt tension..

  23. #18
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    Hopefully my experience will help avoid some bearing failures.

    Yes I did go to a chain, more trouble but I'm OK with it. On a long trip I just add some more lube to it every 500 to 700 miles. I generally keep my chains clean so IMO letting them go a little bit dirty is not bad. Things I really like about the Tracer are the cruse control - it is really nice but the downside is im not that good at maintaining speed on the interstate as don't do it as much. I keep thinking it is in my head but seems like the Tracer is easier to balance than the BMW with doesn't seem right. It is easier to start off at low engine speeds, Ive stalled the BMW a few times not paying careful attention to starting off. Coming from MadStad on BMW the Tracer windscreen is not good at interstate speeds. Have a MSR on order. Sidecases hold less but difference is not as much as I expected. No luggage rack on the Tracer so its hard to strap a small bag behind the duffle I put on the passenger seat, oh did I say the seat is not so good. Standard seat is marginally OK with an AirHawk. Comfort seat on BMW with the AirHawk was vey good for me. The Tracer sits taller than the BMW, I have the seat in the taller position. I miss the Hex EzCan and the lights on the BMW particularly the brake lights. On my liftoff things to do. My brief experience with the Tracer at night, the lights seem to be better - LOL don't have to worry about the low beam burning out.

    The F800GT was my first touring bike and I had several great trips with it and will remember it fondly. It was a trusty steed that saw me thru some wonderful times.

  24. #19
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    I just read this thread a couple of days ago. Took the GT to the pharmacy this morning and heard some bad sounds coming from the rear on the way home. Pretty sure I’m in the same boat with hub bearing failure. Called the dealer, I am 16 days out of warranty. I hope they make this right as the only time that belt was touched was by the dealer when they had to replace a leaky countershaft seal.

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    Sorry to hear. Was your rear wheel covered with belt dust? Mine was, I had washed the bike pretty well just before the trip and had a good layer of dust on the wheel from 1,100 miles. Different than road dirt more like brake dust. IMO BMW should stand by the warranty, keep us updated. My solution wasn't orthodox but it was a quick and relatively easy fix and several hundred less than a new eccentric hub.

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    Limped it to the dealer yesterday and got a call a couple of hours later, the hub assembly is shot and needs replaced. They told me one way or another they’ll get it covered and I should have the bike back by next Tuesday.

    I did have a fair amount of dust on the rear wheel, but it seems like it’s always like that. I also had it in to the dealer for some strange noises in the drivetrain last year, but they couldn’t find anything.

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    That's great news. No cost to you. Part is $995 on one site I looked at. That would be in line with it being a $1,700 job as will necessitate removing and re-installing pulley, brake disk, sensor ring and rear brake caliper. I would pay close attention to belt tension when you get it back. Felt like mine was too tight but trusted the dealers work (oops). Think there are threads here about belt tension. Sundog52 told me how to check it when I installed the replacement swingarm - it was between spot on and very slightly loose. I left it that way as it would be less stress on the bearing and no additional wear on the belt. There is an element of judgement in how hard is a one finger push but to me it was easy then got more difficult pretty quickly so that was the point I checked. Also there should be a white mark on the pulley which should be at the rearmost point of the pulley when checking - it is the most out of round or highest point of the pulley.

  28. #23
    Ware, Herts, UK Pat H is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    Its sad that even now the GT bikes are showing the same issues as the original S and ST bikes.
    All I can say is after replacing my rear hub (Can't imagine why a new swing arm is needed?) the bikes done 60K plus miles.
    Just don't have the belt tensions to the BMW spec. It kills the belts and the rear bearing.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


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  29. #24
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    This thread may have a correlation to my earlier Belt Dust concern..

    https://f800riders.org/forum/showthr...2605-Belt-dust

    ..eventually went to my local dealer and had the belt inspected..dealer said it was tight and they re adjusted it..

    Bottom line seeing a lot of belt Dust on the rear wheel is not a good thing and an early symptom of an impending issue..so check your belt for correct tension

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoAl View Post
    That's great news. No cost to you. Part is $995 on one site I looked at. That would be in line with it being a $1,700 job as will necessitate removing and re-installing pulley, brake disk, sensor ring and rear brake caliper. I would pay close attention to belt tension when you get it back. Felt like mine was too tight but trusted the dealers work (oops). Think there are threads here about belt tension. Sundog52 told me how to check it when I installed the replacement swingarm - it was between spot on and very slightly loose. I left it that way as it would be less stress on the bearing and no additional wear on the belt. There is an element of judgement in how hard is a one finger push but to me it was easy then got more difficult pretty quickly so that was the point I checked. Also there should be a white mark on the pulley which should be at the rearmost point of the pulley when checking - it is the most out of round or highest point of the pulley.
    You’ll have to share the procedure of checking the tension. The owner of the dealer and I checked another GT that he was selling and mine was tighter than that one.

    @Aa3jy I noticed lots of belt dust from day 1 on mine. I didn’t know any better as this is the first belt drive bike I’ve ever owned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tstover View Post
    You’ll have to share the procedure of checking the tension. The owner of the dealer and I checked another GT that he was selling and mine was tighter than that one.

    @Aa3jy I noticed lots of belt dust from day 1 on mine. I didn’t know any better as this is the first belt drive bike I’ve ever owned.
    My first belt drive as well..however having been on boats with Diesel engines ..excessive belt dust is a indicator of maladjustment..to tight a belt could cause over heating of the belt and eventually fails or the water pump/alternator bearing may fail..

    I was told by the dealer one should be able to turn/rotate ( at mid point) the belt approx. 1/4 or 90degrees for correct tension..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat H View Post
    Its sad that even now the GT bikes are showing the same issues as the original S and ST bikes.
    All I can say is after replacing my rear hub (Can't imagine why a new swing arm is needed?) the bikes done 60K plus miles.
    Just don't have the belt tensions to the BMW spec. It kills the belts and the rear bearing.
    I went with a replacement swingarm as it was the quickest and easiest route. I did it myself, a new hub would have been preferable but I could get a lower mileage swingarm with all parts attached for $550 vs $995 for a hub. The swingarm was readily available and who know where and when I could have obtained a hub. Even if it was the same time frame the difficulty of replacing the hub was significantly greater. Swingarm was completely replaced working at a leisurely pace and carefully double checking my work and pausing to drink a coke in 3 1/2 hours. From best I could tell from a careful inspection of the wear marks on the pulley the replacement swingarm had only a fraction of the miles my bike had. Another factor was I was unsure what condition the inside of the swingarm was in. I was stuck 1,200 miles from home and every day was costing me more money.

    As for adjustment information I had when I checked it was 1/2 inch deflection with 1 (that one) fingertip pressing down on the edge of the belt. Location is at the front edge of the upper belt plastic guard. After replacing the swingarm my belt was exactly correct and if any deviation it would have been a very small amount on the loose side - pretty much exactly where I would have set it. There is a mark on the pulley which indicates the most out or round point of it and that should be to the rear of the bike. My replacement swingarm pulley had npc mark so I just checked it. Im not fond of this method as it gives a bit of room for measurement error - how hard can you press down with one finger? I took that to mean press until the resistance changes indicating all slack is out of the belt.

    I don't think this is as bad a problem as the STs had but is more a matter of improper belt adjustment. Not sure if the dealers had incorrect information or BMW had specs for replacement tension that are different from factory settings. Whatever I think this is something owners need to stay on top of if they want to keep the bike long term.

    Looks like my experience has helped several folks which makes me happy. It was a trip turned adventure! I wound up with a new bike that I had been eyeing for a while AND had I gone on my original schedule I would have been stuck somewhere in Montana for an extra week waiting for the snow to melt. I have great memories from the trip (and a new appreciation for the MadStad windscreen) and met some great folks.

  33. #28
    Melbourne, Australia IanA is offline F800Riders.org Supporter
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    When checking belt tension, be aware that a belt that is tight when there is no load will only get tighter when you sit on the bike or load it up, due to the different radius of rotation between the swingarm and the forward belt sprocket. I suggest that if you think you have it just nicely firm at rest - back it off a bit more. Anecdotally it does seem that more damage is done by the belt being on the too tight side than slack. Just sayin'....

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    I always check tension while sitting on the bike. That way its at its "normal" tension.
    Flame red F800s as of Nov 2006. Watch for me around North London.


    Don't miss the F800 Garage Door Opener Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C-Bxifv2Pk 

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  37. #30
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    Forgot to update. Got it back and at no charge. Smooth and quiet again!

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  39. #31
    Aa3jy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tstover View Post
    Forgot to update. Got it back and at no charge. Smooth and quiet again!
    Who was the dealer that did the work? Kissell?

  40. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aa3jy View Post
    Who was the dealer that did the work? Kissell?
    Yes. Josh, the owner, lives up the street from me. Good guy to deal with.

  41. #33
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    Do you think if the belt is adjusted to the BMW procedure with one of their tensioner tools, the belt tension is still too tight? I thought the dust on the rear wheel was brake dust!

  42. #34
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    I am pretty sure the dust on the rear wheel is brake dust...the darn brake disc is centered in the wheel rim.....while the belt and belt pulley is far over to the right side.

    I am not aware of anyone ever reporting a belt that gets the rubber worn off and gets loose - when the belt fails the teeth start to crack and the teeth start to come loose.

    I haven't ever seen any belt dust on the belt pulley.....and I never seen any black bust on the belt cover. How can the black dust get from the belt over to both sides of the wheel rim?

    Somebody needs to go on a long ride and never touch their rear brake - then take that same trip and use the brake often......then compare the amount of black dust on the wheel rim.

    My rear rim only gets black when I ride aggressively on curvy roads, and I believe it is brake and tire dust on my rim.

  43. #35
    Richard230's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thumpin View Post
    I am pretty sure the dust on the rear wheel is brake dust...the darn brake disc is centered in the wheel rim.....while the belt and belt pulley is far over to the right side.

    I am not aware of anyone ever reporting a belt that gets the rubber worn off and gets loose - when the belt fails the teeth start to crack and the teeth start to come loose.

    I haven't ever seen any belt dust on the belt pulley.....and I never seen any black bust on the belt cover. How can the black dust get from the belt over to both sides of the wheel rim?

    Somebody needs to go on a long ride and never touch their rear brake - then take that same trip and use the brake often......then compare the amount of black dust on the wheel rim.

    My rear rim only gets black when I ride aggressively on curvy roads, and I believe it is brake and tire dust on my rim.

    I almost never touch the rear brake on my Zero (due to it having regeneration braking), which has a belt final drive and it accumulates a lot of black dust on the rear wheel. So it might be rubber dust.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

  44. #36
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    Its possible the dust I had on my rear when after the hub failure was from the bearing disintegrating. I almost never use the rear brake, as I recall the only time the entire day I used it was the one hard stop I made. The previous day it rains during the first part of the ride and I may have used it a bit then but only made one stop before getting out of the rain. Haven't studied it carefully but to have the wheel wobble I had at least some of the balls had the have deformed or disintegrated. There was certainly some heat involved so could have been grease/housing/ball/race residue. Im just very thankful it made it until I arrived at my destination.

    A good lesson is to carefully check your bike before even ride particularly when doing a long ride. It would have been easy to have checked the rear wheel rotation and visually inspected. The 30,000 mile service was just before I left and the bearing failure was 1,100 miles later. I expect would have heard some bearing noise but maybe not. I take the rear wheel off and have a new tire mounted and reinstalled the rear wheel but don't remember spinning it afterwards.

  45. #37
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    This is BS. Hub failure does NOT require renewal of swingarm. Bearing failure will NOT generate "dust". What a load of bull.

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  47. #38
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    And of course, who removes a wheel, replaces the TYRE and doesn't "spin it afterwards"? Hmm.

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  49. #39
    Daboo's Avatar
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    Speedy23, welcome to the forum. Please go here and introduce yourself. https://f800riders.org/forum/forumdi...-Introductions

    And since this is an international forum, adding your location to your profile will help in the future.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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