(Several prices are mentioned in this post. Prices may have varied over time, do your homework–ed.)
Ed (Fast Eddie) Benson – FastEddieB@aol.com
(original publish date unknown)
My 1989 R100GSPD with 28,000 miles suffered from a binding front universal joint on the driveshaft. This was first noticed by a subtle “thrumming” when slowing down, and verified by parked on again-off again resistance when spinning the rear wheel by hand. I decided to remove the driveshaft myself, both as a learning experience and to save money. Was fairly straightforward (using the Clymer manual). Be sure you have a 12mm allen wrench before you start (available at Sears). Also a torque wrench, loc-tite, anti-seize compound and the right “moly” grease for the rear splines. The upper (forward) u-joint was definitely binding in one plane. Opinion varies on how common this is, and whether, like K-Bike splines, it’s a known weak point. Eurotech said they were getting 6 or 7 calls a day (!) on bad u- joints. Fred, at 441 Cycle, said it was the first he’d ever heard of. Here is a summary of options I discovered (by no means exhaustive):
Let the dealer do it. Pros – Simple, and possibly warrantied, plus a new driveshaft. Cons – Possibly over $600 – $435 for the driveshaft, plus whatever labor involved. (Note: BMW denied coverage ref: age and mileage)
Do it yourself, with a new driveshaft. Pros – a learning experience, and you can be sure the job is done to your high standards (assumed). Cons – Still $435 for the driveshaft, at least one long afternoon to do the work.
Do it yourself, and have the driveshaft repaired. Pros – as in option 2, Cons – unknown quality of repair work.
I discovered 4 u-joint repair options:
Erich Demant in Germany advertises u-joint repair, along with a warranty. Pros- he’s apparently done a few, Cons – he’s in Germany
Johann Sebastian Bach Strasse 22
D-74193 Schwaigern (Massenbach)
phone: +49 7138 4168
About $250 US total
2. Eurotech also has repaired u-joints. $275 with a good core. When I called however , they said there was a wait of at least 2 months. Pros – a US company, Cons – the delay.
Eurotech Motor Sports
26 Hangar Way
Watsonville, CA 95076
3. Find a shop to repair your driveshaft.
Blue Moon http://www.bluemooncycle.com/salebike.html (1-770-447-6945) has the replacement u-joints for $75 plus $5 shipping. It’s where I got mine. The package consists of the u-joint (with grease fitting), 4 collars with circlips and some shims. I used Broward Power Train in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. To the untrained eye, anyway, the work looked
pretty good. They had never done a BMW driveshaft before, but had done a few GoldWings. Took 2 hours and cost $80. Anyway, that repaired shaft is back in my GS and seems to work fine. I can e-mail a .jpg of the finished job to anyone interested. They built a jig and are willing to do more. If anyone wanted me to handle it, for a lump sum of $200 plus tax ($212) I would be willing to receive your old driveshaft, get the new u-joints, get everything up to Broward Power Train and return it to you. I have to make clear that I couldn’t warranty the work in any way, but it might be a useful service to someone in a small town or who can’t find a shop to do the work. I could take Visa/MasterCard or Discover through my business. Call me at 954-435-8277. Disclaimer: this was all done on my 1989 R100GSPD- I don’t know how other years or other models of BMW with similar Paralever rear ends might differ.
4) For those wanting to do the repair themselves, who have the welding equipment and the skill, you might try:
1-800-222-7777 Store 227
He apparently did it himself and is willing to share the details. If you discover other options, please let me know and I’ll include them in this summary.
Ted Porter’s BeemerShop offers an aftermarket driveshaft for less $$ than the OEM replacement, and might be another option. I have no personal experience with the product. Google Ted Porter BMW and you’ll find his website.
I bought the driveshaft from Ted Porter’s shop for my 1992 R100GSPD. It’s supposed to be much beefier and is rebuildable and greasable. But I’m fairly certain that the BMW shop in my town that installed it did not replace the rubber driveshaft boot which I ordered from Ted as well. So now I have a new driveshaft with 1000 miles on it but a driveshaft boot that needs replaced. You would think a BMW shop could handle an early airhead but apparently they don’t have a clue (Typical in Florida.)