Final Drive Leak - Question for Other Owners

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#1
The final drive leak that others have experienced showed up on my bike at 23,000 miles. Went for a long dirt ride 3 weeks ago; at one point, we were 50 miles from pavement. Got home and as I checked the bike over, I saw gear oil all over the rim and rear wheel and loads of gear oil on the bottom of the drive. Opened the fill port and there was no gear oil left inside the final drive. Luckily, the final drive did not seize during the ride nor did I have an accident from all the gear oil on the back tire. I trailered the bike to my local dealer for repair. There were no parts available in the US to repair the final drive so parts had to be ordered from Japan. Two weeks later, I got the bike back. Finally got a good weather day and went for a ride on Saturday. 30 miles into the ride, I stopped to have a look at the final drive. It was leaking gear oil and there was goo all over the rear tire and rim again. Headed home, verified there was gear oil inside the final drive and took it back to the dealer. Waiting to hear back from them as to what they think the issue is.

My question to the assembled wisdom is how common is this final drive issue? And more importantly, is a seizure of the final drive common as a result of the leaks? When I searched, I found a number of posts but can't tell how common the issue is; most of the posts seem to be from the early years of the Tenere. My wife and I do a lot of back country rides here in Colorado, most of them out of cell phone range and far enough from civilization that getting a tow truck recovery would be a challenge. Until three weeks ago, I never gave the reliability of my S10 a second thought. Now I'm a bit less cocky.
 

Karl

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#2
Final drive gear oil leaks are reasonably common, I had it recently and fixed it with a good clean of the main seal closest to the rear wheel. It is very unusual to loose so much oil that your final drive is dry, are you sure? How could you tell it was dry. Typically a small amount looks like a disaster and you find you have only lost a small amount.
 

escapefjrtist

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#3
I would hardly call this a common issue. In four FJRs in 14 years and my Tenere going on 6 years, there's never been a hint of any final drive leaks or problems. Seems like the Tenere does collect dirt / debris in the FD seal area, but cleaning at every tire change has so far alleviated any problems.

YMMV

~G
 

RonH

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#6
The fill hole will always be low if even very little leaked. What about the drain hole? I've never heard of a yamaha running the oil dry from leaking or even heard of a failure at all except the leaks once in a while.
 

squarebore

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#7

EricV

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#9
It's not that common. If you experience this again, drain the diff into a container to see how much is really there. You can always pour it back in, if need be. Looking in the fill hole isn't really that good an indicator. Even a small amount of oil would circulate and prevent failure.

The seal area could have been damaged at some point, accounting for the new seal leaking. It's been seen before, where a burr was cutting the seal as it was installed.
 
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#10
EricV - Great suggestion. I'll do that next time. All I know is in the first leak, when I could not see any fluid in the final drive and told the dealer that, the service manager said to trailer it in and not to ride it any more.

Went to the dealer today. They verified the continued leak and have more parts on order.
 
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#11
The Tenere is still in the shop. Awaiting parts from Yamaha to fix the leak that appeared after the dealer fixed my bike. Thinking that it is time to find something to replace it. Riding season is way too short here to lose a month of riding while the bike sits in the dealer's storage area.
 

squarebore

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#13
The Tenere is still in the shop. Awaiting parts from Yamaha to fix the leak that appeared after the dealer fixed my bike. Thinking that it is time to find something to replace it. Riding season is way too short here to lose a month of riding while the bike sits in the dealer's storage area.
I think you need a new dealer if possible. The seals can sometimes be bought from a bearing and seal specialist as I did when mine was leaking. Alternatively it ie easy to take the pumpkin off and take to any motorcycle mechanic. There is o way this should take a month.

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk
 

Checkswrecks

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#15
First off, good that you searched, so you knew leaks occasionally happen. Not common but not unknown. What you should have also seen were that:

1. I've been here since before the bikes came to the US and there have been ZERO - as in NO - reports of anybody seizing a rear drive on one of these bikes. That includes the guy who realized after riding for a while that he had not tightened the drain plug and didn't know how long it'd been gone!!! As for Jlq1969 asking about the bearing, I can't think of a single one needing replacement from this.

2. It really just takes a few drops of lube to make it look like the pumpkin has spilled it's guts. I've btdt more than once on both the Tenere and FJR. (Had two of each and seen those of many forum members) Yes, the first time or two rattles you to see oil on the rear rim and wheel and then you just know it's not a hazard and how to take care of it when you get a chance.

3. Looking in the fill hole will tell you absolutely nothing. As Brother Eric wrote, the only way to know how much is in there is to drain it out.

4. As Karl found, usually removing the wheel to clean the seal and swipe with a SealSaver, the leaking is finished. You probably could bring the bike home to do this if not already disassembled.

5. We've had members let this go till the dirt in the seal wore away the housing, then shifted the sealing face and carry on. The sucker is robust!

6. The three seals (2 shaft and 1 wheel hub) which can leak are easy to replace and there are instructions here on the forum plus in my links below. You can get the seals from most of the online parts sellers. If the dealer already has things apart, buy a set so you can give the dealer one to replace what he's supposedly waiting for. The big seal is only $11.17. Then keep a spare so you will never need them. ;)



Relax and don't over-think this. Yamaha has been using variations of this rear drive for at least 40 years and it's not the same as the rear drive on a BMW. And if you think a KTM is more reliable, I've got one to sell. After owning a number of those we can discuss why KTM stands for Keeps Taking Money


I'm going to put a couple of resource links here. The first is for your seal. Note that Greg (a member) points out that the total job is about 1.5 hours, which means removing and replacing seal will only take slightly more than the time required to pull and re-install the rear wheel.
https://thetenerist.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/yamaha-st12-inner-shaft-seal-replacement/

The second is for a DIFFERENT problem - the forward seals. https://thetenerist.wordpress.com/2013/09/24/rear-shaft-drive-seal-replacement-and-staintune-pipe/
Heed Greg's words about keeping the shaft tube drain open so you prevent this in the first place. The drain is the little hole in the bottom by the four acorn nuts. Also make sure the rubber plug is installed on the inside surface of the swing arm.
 
Last edited:

Paul466

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#16
The final drive leak that others have experienced showed up on my bike at 23,000 miles. Went for a long dirt ride 3 weeks ago; at one point, we were 50 miles from pavement. Got home and as I checked the bike over, I saw gear oil all over the rim and rear wheel and loads of gear oil on the bottom of the drive. Opened the fill port and there was no gear oil left inside the final drive. Luckily, the final drive did not seize during the ride nor did I have an accident from all the gear oil on the back tire. I trailered the bike to my local dealer for repair. There were no parts available in the US to repair the final drive so parts had to be ordered from Japan. Two weeks later, I got the bike back. Finally got a good weather day and went for a ride on Saturday. 30 miles into the ride, I stopped to have a look at the final drive. It was leaking gear oil and there was goo all over the rear tire and rim again. Headed home, verified there was gear oil inside the final drive and took it back to the dealer. Waiting to hear back from them as to what they think the issue is.

My question to the assembled wisdom is how common is this final drive issue? And more importantly, is a seizure of the final drive common as a result of the leaks? When I searched, I found a number of posts but can't tell how common the issue is; most of the posts seem to be from the early years of the Tenere. My wife and I do a lot of back country rides here in Colorado, most of them out of cell phone range and far enough from civilization that getting a tow truck recovery would be a challenge. Until three weeks ago, I never gave the reliability of my S10 a second thought. Now I'm a bit less cocky.
I’ve dealt with this issue when the bike was new, replaced the seal on my own, learned few things from it. Im in Littleton, If you want get the bike out of the dealer, order a seal and I would have no problem helping you sorting this out so you can enjoy the riding season.
 

steve68steve

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#17
I had a leaky seal on the wheel side (I think #25 in the schematic posted above) around 30k miles which leaked for a few weeks of street riding before I realized it. I trailered it to Colorado and there was a puddle of gear oil on the trailer when I got there. I rode the snot out of it for two weeks and trailered it home... another puddle of gear oil on the trailer.

When I cracked it open to change the seal, I could see the oil level maybe a 1/4" below the threads of the fill hole. I couldn't believe how much oil was still in there given how much SEEMED to have leaked out.

Pulled out the old seal with the drill/ screw trick, cleaned everything up, pushed the new seal in. Another 15k miles with no further issue.

This bike is a tank.
 
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#18
Checkswrecks - Thank you for the detailed info and for putting my mind at ease about the final drive and likelihood of a seizure. I'm going to print / bookmark your resource links for my file. I'll have to pass on to one of my riding buddies about "Keeps Taking More." He makes fun of my KTM dirt bike saying it stands for "Kosts Too Much."

Paul466 - Thank you for the offer to help. I may take you up on that depending on what happens with the bike in the near term.

Dealer says they have received the parts for the second repair. Now just waiting for them to get around to doing it. I should have updated my original post; service manager at dealer indicated that when they opened up the final drive the second time, they learned that the mechanic damaged the seal when he did the original repair.

I'll be offline for a while but will post an update when I get back to the forum.
 

dmulk

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#19
Honest dealer at least. :) Was this a warranty repair? Just curious.
Either way, hope things work out and you get out and some miles on her soon! Cheers!
<D>


Checkswrecks - Thank you for the detailed info and for putting my mind at ease about the final drive and likelihood of a seizure. I'm going to print / bookmark your resource links for my file. I'll have to pass on to one of my riding buddies about "Keeps Taking More." He makes fun of my KTM dirt bike saying it stands for "Kosts Too Much."

Paul466 - Thank you for the offer to help. I may take you up on that depending on what happens with the bike in the near term.

Dealer says they have received the parts for the second repair. Now just waiting for them to get around to doing it. I should have updated my original post; service manager at dealer indicated that when they opened up the final drive the second time, they learned that the mechanic damaged the seal when he did the original repair.

I'll be offline for a while but will post an update when I get back to the forum.
 
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