Author Topic: A question about front end wonkiness  (Read 602 times)

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Offline Strawboss

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A question about front end wonkiness
« on: September 21, 2018, 03:53:48 pm »
The other day, I was riding my brothers BMW, straight road, just me, sunny day, just started out. A terrible whining noise started from the front, intermittent. brakes good, tires good, front end, good, all bolts, tight, pads good, no shimmy, no play in wheel. I stopped, when the light changed green, I started a left turn, the noise returned and the bike WOULD NOT TURN, it was everything I could do to wrench the bars and get it to turn, the gyroscopic effect of the turning front wheel seemed to stop and it was as if I was trying to fight the wheel that seemed to want to go right instead of left. I went home. Again, everything was in order. I'm thinking bearings as I can't find anything amiss on the whole front end, the God awful noise coming from the front wheel is my only clue. I have to go through his files to see when the bearings were replaced if ever, its a 1980. Any ideas?
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Offline Bob_C_CT

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2018, 04:11:15 pm »
Yes, I would say wheel bearings. If you can get the front tire off the ground and check for play and or noise while spinning the wheel before taking wheel off to check the bearings. I wouldn't ride it again until you figure it out. Catastrophic failure of a wheel bearing at speed is no good.
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Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2018, 12:09:46 am »
No play, no noise. But I'm still thinking bearings. BMW installed tapered roller bearings in some bikes, and some required heating the wheel prior to install and to be pre-loaded and shimmed and balanced. It looks like mine are simple bearings from what I've read. I have a shop manual coming but I may just drop  the wheel off at a dealer if its anything more than a simple install.
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Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2018, 03:09:45 pm »
Dropped the front wheel off at the dealer to get the bearings replaced. Again, I'd do it myself but BMW did some different things back then with wheel bearing removal and replacement, shimming, heating the wheel, indexing, pre-loading. I know its going to cost, stayed tuned.
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Offline Jim_Sherman_ID

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2018, 03:17:40 pm »
Check the steeringhead bearings also. That could cause the hard steering.

Offline MizzouMike

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2018, 04:00:52 pm »
[popcorn]

I have a neighbor who is a big time old airhead guy (he has 4 bikes from the 50-90s)  I have offered to buy one when he decides to sell.  So I am interested in how this plays out. 
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Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 03:33:24 pm »
Well folks, here we go. OK. There are only 2 BMW dealers in northern Ohio. the one thats 10 miles away, and from which the bike was originally purchased from 38 years ago is a VERY small shop, very cramped, very messy, family owned, open for decades, but, after calling them 5 times and service never answering the line, I decided to go to the next closest dealer, 50 miles away. Bigger dealer, multi brand, open for decades. Its now been 2 weeks since dropping off the wheel and the part has still not come in yet. I get its an older bike and they are getting it from BMW, its a fairly simple and I would think easy to get part. When I called this morning to check, service told me to call again in a few weeks. This was a test for me to see the workings of BMW, service, parts, dealers, I was warned. I know keeping an old one running is certainly a full time task and labor of love. I guess I'm spoiled by Murph where we order on Monday, receive on Tuesday, bike apart and part installed on Wednesday for under $50. And by Kawasaki who designed and built a totally simple machine that just plain works.
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Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2018, 06:26:14 pm »
At 3 weeks, I called, "oh, yeah, I think it came in" service manager says, ok, can you install it I say. "Sure". He calls Monday, its done. I pick it it up..............$158. OK, I knew it was going to cost and labor is $95/hr there, ok, I look at the receipt, 20 minutes labor, $110 parts. $110 for a bearing. Again, I'm so used to murph's at under $20 for bearings. The bike was out of service for 3 weeks at time of the year here in Cleveland where NO ONE rides, not even BMW's. Imagine service in July? forget it, seasons over. Bike runs fine. and again, its a labor of love cause its a pain in the a$$ to get parts, service and maintain this bike, a REAL pain. I don't see a new BMW in my future.
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Offline MAN OF BLUES

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2018, 10:03:21 pm »
sooooooo....
didja write down all the numbers from the bearing, so you can find another one in the future...
???

I have a BFH, and we can make it fit.... no special heating and stuff...  :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

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Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2018, 11:08:53 pm »
No, I figured that this over designed, over engineered, overbuilt piece of Austrian work of art called a bearing should last another 38 years like the original. I do have to say though that the wheel bolted up nicely in about 32 seconds, try that with the dual rotored, dual caliper, speedometer pickup, and axle spacer Concours. Also, when you remove the front wheel, the bike tips back on the rear tire, and when you remove the back wheel, it tips forward onto the front tire all while on the easily engaged center stand. It truly is a wonder why they lost the war. ;D
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Offline Jim_Sherman_ID

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2018, 03:54:04 pm »
BMW bearings are junk. The rear bearings on my 800GS had to be replaced in 18k miles and the front at 22k. Just go to an industrial place and buy good bearings, like SKF. You can just take the old bearing in and let them measure it. Then they can look it up or might even be able to find it by motorcycle make and model. They will last 3 times as long as the BMW and cost less.

Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2018, 01:29:49 pm »
I know Jim, but on my bike the wheel is required to be heated to a certain temp and a certain way whereas the bearing then pops out, then the race needs to be replaced along with the bearing and wheel being indexed, pre-loaded and balanced afterward, all things I can't do hence the need to take it to a dealer and pay. I have all the drivers and seaters I need to replace normal bearings as I've done it on the Concours no problem, $16 from Murph. It takes a motorcycle village to keep an old Beemer on the road! ;D
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Offline WillyP

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2018, 12:49:51 am »
Never seen a BMW wheel apart, but even so, I gotta call BS on that one.
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Offline Jim_Sherman_ID

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2018, 02:28:38 am »
All you need to do is heat the hub and then you can drive the bearing out. Heat the hub again and freeze the bearing and it slips right in. Nothing else needs to be done.

Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2018, 08:16:45 pm »
I'm going to listen to the guys that have the old BMW's and work on them, and this is what they said, this is what the manuals said, this is what the dealers said. this is how its done up to a particular VIN number, that's when BMW changed the bearing removal and install process, my bike was before this happened. There was also a recall on the snowflake wheels on bikes before a certain VIN number, cracks were noted in some wheels, you want to heat wheels in the garage that might have cracks? Could I have done it? Sure, I'm confident I could have accomplished what needed doing, I have the tools, I've done it before. I know nothing about BMW's, and I certainly don't know all about the procedure outlined by virtually every source I looked into that said I absolutely needed to it it this way. I figure the bike is 38 years old and $150 spent to have it done right and make it last another 38 years comes out to $3.94 a year for piece of mind knowing it was done correctly. I will learn more and be able to better address service on this bike as we go along. I changed the oil but I did not change the filter as it was a bit convoluted and I did not have all the gaskets, O-rings, crush washers and understanding of removal/recycle of parts on the connected/articulated two piece oil filter. Again, old school, this motor design has roots back to the 20's and it evolved over the years, but it still needs a mechanical understanding to do simple things we all take for granted on Japanese bikes.
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Offline m in sc

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2018, 07:48:49 pm »
arent those the funky tapered ones? glad you got it sorted.

Offline Strawboss

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Re: A question about front end wonkiness
« Reply #16 on: Yesterday at 02:10:41 pm »
Yes, they are tapered rollered bearings. Runs great now, just in time to put it away for the winter. ;D
01 Concours  1982 KZ550A  1979 Triumph Bonneville  1995 Honda scooter  COG#5852  AMA Life 302525  NRA 9098599  SASS 28759