Drive Shaft Failure - Suzuki Volusia Forums : Intruder Volusia and Boulevard Forum
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post #1 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Drive Shaft Failure

Earlier this year I experienced a failure of the spines in my drive shaft (2009 C50, 14000 miles) due to what we believe is the lack of lubrication in the hub. I just heard from my repair shop that they have an 08 C50 with the same problem. Research on forums tells me that this problem is not rare. I am contacting the NHTSA to log a complaint. It seems that if enough people with the same problem would do likewise, perhaps Suzuki USA would take action. Cost me over $500.00 for repairs that should not have been needed... and worse yet... three weeks lost riding time in the early summer.
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post #2 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 04:57 PM
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Log a complaint??? a 5 yr old motorcycle. I own a repair shop, work on Volusias all the time, its very rare. I believe the worst enemy to a rider is a forum. No concrete evidence to back your claim.You are expecting way too much, Life happens get over it
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post #3 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 05:44 PM
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Disagree totally. My M50 (2006) was changed to a VS1400 drive with only 1800KM on the ODO... ZERO lube on the splines- driveshaft AND drive ends.. DRY nothing NADA... I have personally changed 6 drives to VL1500 or VS1400 drives and NONE of them had sufficient lube (ranging from 2005 to 2010 C50 and M50). The drives kits I have sold... Only 3 of the 14 kits I have put together had enough lube on the drive end (When I bought the drives and disassembled)- and looking at the type of lube I did find the ones that were lubed properly did not have the factory grease!.
So this IS a wide spread problem.. the spun splines I have seen and heard on this forum are the tip of the iceberg- I shudder to think haw many bikes are scooting around out there with Zero lube... they will fail too.. or wont if the owners heed the warnings here and lube them at EACH tire change. a $10 seal is all it takes and a few bucks in Moly 60 paste from Honda..

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post #4 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midtown mini View Post
Log a complaint??? a 5 yr old motorcycle. I own a repair shop, work on Volusias all the time, its very rare. I believe the worst enemy to a rider is a forum. No concrete evidence to back your claim.You are expecting way too much, Life happens get over it
You are way off base! This forum is very informative and probably saved me the very same problem. Without this forum, I would never pulled my driveshaft and found dry splines!!! My guess is you dislike forums because we can learn how to fix our bikes and have no need of your services.

I know you believe that you understand what you think I said but I'm sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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post #5 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midtown mini View Post
Log a complaint??? a 5 yr old motorcycle. I own a repair shop, work on Volusias all the time, its very rare. I believe the worst enemy to a rider is a forum. No concrete evidence to back your claim.You are expecting way too much, Life happens get over it
A driveshaft failure at 14K miles and you say "life happens". So what's your shop warranty like - 30 minutes or 30 feet?


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post #6 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-30-2013, 09:22 PM
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A lot of folks complain about a lack of lubrication at the splines, and I have seen the splines be quite dry from the factory. When I pulled my engine last week I pulled the drive and checked ALL FOUR sets of splines (secondary drive to u-joint; u-joint to driveshaft; driveshaft to final drive; final drive to wheel) and they were all just about bone dry (except the drive to wheel one, which was lubed when i put tires on it last).

But with that said, the drive shaft also showed absolutely no signs of rust or wear. I have never seen a drive shaft eat itself up like this in person, though I have seen many shaft drive bikes from all manufacturers suffer from inadequate lubrication at the driveshaft splines, especially on bikes like the C50 where the boot is not held in place with a clamp and water can get in there.

I am curious how many actual driveshaft failures there have been out of the tens of thousands of these bikes made in the last 15 years. I have heard of two for sure on this site and one on another, but not paid much attention to it, but I am sure there are others.

This is not the first person posting that they have filed a complaint to NHSTA, so I can say without a doubt that nothing will happen. They will not respond, and if you call them or repeatedly contact them about it they will respond saying that a driveshaft slowly destroying itself from lack of lubrication is a preventable maintenance issue, not a safety related design defect. But maybe if enough people complain Suzuki will add lubing the splines to the maintenance chart so people know to do it every now and then.
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post #7 of 81 (permalink) Old 12-31-2013, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midtown mini View Post
I own a repair shop. I believe the worst enemy to a rider is a forum.
I am rather curious why you believe a forum like this is an enemy to a rider? Yes, there is a megaphone effect where uncommon issues are magnified, a certain amount of misinformation, and a wheelbarrow or so full of bs from time to time on the forum, but nothing I can see that makes it an enemy. Perhaps some of the basic maintenance tasks we document and do ourselves instead of taking it to a repair shop may be the basis of your statement? Just curious.

Good hunting
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post #8 of 81 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 06:59 PM
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Smitty,
You are showing your ignorance, my shop warranty has nothing to do with this post, but since you asked, depending on the type of work done it can be 30 days or 12 months.

Secondly, you Volusia riders that are bastardizing final drives from a 1400 cc bike to an 800 cc bike is nothing more than ridiculous. dangerous, and just plain irresponsible.

Thirdly, I get to hear some customers that read a few threads on a forum and tell my factory trained Suzuki tech how to do his job. I support forums, and truly believe in an educated customer is a well armed customer. It appears that you all are little thin skinned and cannot accept a little criticism or another point of view. I support an owner doing his own maintenance and hold classes for those who want to learn. Typically you will hear that "my buddy told me" or "I saw it on the internet".

I will say it again. It is a rare item that these final drives are dry. If you would maintain your bike on its schedule, or have a qualified shop maintain it...it would never be a problem. I would venture to say I see more volusias in 90 days than you do in a life time.

Don't get your panties in a wad...its only a motorcycle not a philosophy
Remember to put your big boy pants on before you change out your final drive from a bigger bike....makes perfect engineering sense to me
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post #9 of 81 (permalink) Old 01-01-2014, 10:02 PM
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The bike is way too old to complain about its assembly BUT this is a common failing of the assembly of the bike. We have seen vols on four different continents assembled with dry shaft splines. Now I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is nothing anyone will do about it. The nhtsa deals with safety issues not assembly defects that cost owners money. So if it didn't cause a crash you're out of luck

On a converse side the collective membership has seen way more vols than any shop ever will. We know as a group that dry shaft assembly is an issue from years of thousands of us seeing them as part of routine maintenance.

I have half a million miles on shaft drive bikes and the only dry ones I've ever seen were on vols

Also the c90 conversion although silly and uneccesary IMHO is a well documented success here with no safety issues and only a few failures from someone attempting shade tree engineering. It works pretty good.

Anyway. The VR rocks. Collectively we know a lot. Its a good place to gather wisdom and save dough. I do a lot of my own maintenance because I know when I do it its done right and with care

And efficiency.

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post #10 of 81 (permalink) Old 01-02-2014, 06:57 AM
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Well said, E, well said!!

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