Subject: BMW: An expensive noise... (long) 

I was driving to work yesterday morning, slowing for a light when I heard a
"bang". Not a really loud bang, but not a normal motorcycle noise.

"What the hell was that?" I wondered.

As I accelerated away, I didn't notice anything weird. Until I got on the

Heading down the entrance ramp, the bike started going "wocka-wocka-wocka."

"This is not good." I thought to my self as I pulled off onto the shoulder.

Stop. Get off. Look at the bike. Nothing seems out of place, but I knew
something was wrong. Must be internal. I'll bet it's the driveshaft. Damn,
they just replaced that thing.

Well, I slowly head off the first exit ramp and look for a place to park. I
stop on the side of the street in a residential area. Now what?

It's 0730. I'm about 8 miles from home and 10 miles from work. I think the
bike is un-ridable. I start the motor again to see and when I let the clutch
out, the motor stalls and the bike doesn't move.

Good thing it didn't lock on the freeway...

Well, I get out the cell phone and try to figure out who I know with a truck
or a trailer I can borrow first thing Monday morning.

So, I call my parents. I get the answering machine. No surprise. "I need to
be rescued. Please call my cell phone."

I call my friend Charles. I get his wife. "He's in the shower, can he call
you back?"


I call my brother in law, Stephen, who lives about 30 miles away but has a
trailer. "What are you doing this morning," I ask.

"Well, I have to be at the U by 0930, why?"

I explain the situation and we decide that he can get to my house by 0900
and we can swap cars. Great.

My Dad calls back. "I have to take your mother to work, then I can come get


Charles calls back. "Want some help getting it home and taking it apart?"
"Sure!" You gotta love that guy!

So, my Dad shows up about 0830. We head to my house where I meet Charles and
Stephen at 0900. Charles and I take the trailer back to the bike and load it
up and cart it home.

We pull it apart. The first sign of trouble is when we remove the boot
between the swingarm and the final drive. All these bright, shiny metal
filings fall on the ground. Oops.

We discover that a 12mm Allen wrench is required to remove the final drive.
I don't have one. Of course the local hardware store has no such thing

We let our fingers do the walking and discover that Sears has one. So we
head over to Sears and I add another special tool to my collection.

We get the final drive off and wadda ya know? I'm sure that the U-joint is
supposed to be one piece.

It's totally shredded. It made a bit of a mess of the inside of the
swingarm/final drive housing, but nothing major.

Next we head up to Moon Motors to try and get a new U-joint. Once we get
there, we discover an interesting fact: You can buy the driveshaft, you can
buy the driveshaft with the U-joint, but you can't buy just the U-joint.

You have got to be kidding me. Costs: Driveshaft alone: $375. Driveshaft
with U-joint: $450. But I can't buy the U-joint for $75...

I sigh, get out the plastic and pay the $450. Ouch. I knew that was an
expensive noise. I ask to get that expedited. Should be here Wed/Thurs.

Time to go home.

- --

On Wednesday, I call Moon: "Is it there?" "I just got it." Yippie!

My wonderful wife can go get it on Thursday. Okay, that works for me.

Charles has been pestering me with emails, "Is it there yet?" So I send him
an email telling him it's there. 10 minutes later, the phone rings. It's
Charles. "Want me to go get it?"

"Sure. Knock yourself out." Whatta guy!

Charles shows up at my house about 1800. We eat dinner and head for the
garage. Clean up the mess that the old U-joint made. Start installing the
new one.

At about 1915, Gus shows up with beer! You da man!

What? The new U-joint splined shaft is larger than the old one. It doesn't
fit in the old driveshaft. No wonder you have to buy both. So, what happens
if you blow a driveshaft and just buy that to discover that the U-joint you
have doesn't fit? What a PITA.

We finally get it all put back together. Looks good, time for a test drive.
We all head over the Charles' house and it's running good.

Sure glad that it didn't happen while we were in the middle of Iowa or
during the MN2K this weekend.

- --

Many thanks to: Charles, Gus, Stephan and my Dad.