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Actually, two red, that little bit of spline grease, along with checking rubber boots and exact fluid levels in the final drive will result in a final drive that should last darn near forever. I have a lot of experience with shaft drive bikes with well over 100000 miles (i've owned 3 bikes that clocked over 100000 in my care, two of them are still on the road and one is permanently attached to a toyota :)

If its lubed, and it is aligned properly and doesnt come apart early, there is a chance it should literally last longer than any moving part on the bike. You are correct in assuming the vol is a value machine, but shaft drives last forever and a day.

My last old school beemer was pulling a sidecar. I decided to completely strip the final drive to look for signs of excessive gear wear. My tech, the best in the US, looked at me like i was crazy and told me that if it wasnt broken at 75k, it would probably last indefinitely.

So, you can see why us shaft drive fans are so anal about using a great moly paste lube and ensuring we generously and properly grease the splines. Done so, just a few times in a lifetime, will keep the part working indefinitely.

On my paris dakar, the driveshaft was pulled and lubed at 40,000 miles, then not touched again until 150000 miles, then never again. You can see how just making sure the grease is done it will work a long time.

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Your Long term trouble free drive shafts is exactly what I would expect to experience Spline failure seems to me to be an anomaly perhaps a result of too much force for the spline engagement on a particular bike. I would think changing the suspension if it results in less engagement of the splines coupled with a significant increase in power or excessive load would be those things that could cause splines to be ground off with only a 1/2 inch of engagement possible lowering the bike with a modified suspension causing it to squat is likely a major component of shaft failure. Friction doesn't seem to be a problem with a spline engagement there is very little movement hence very little friction although corrosion due to a lack of grease is of course a possible cause but excessive force due to a lack of normal spline engagement is too me the most likely culprit.

But being a cautious guy when I replace my rear tire I will take the precaution of greasing all my splines with the best corrosion preventative high pressure grease I can find. It's part of my DNA my wife says I am forever oiling and greasing more than the average guy.
 

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A good theory, but these components are under a massive amount of pressure. If they are not lubricated at all, ever, if they are assembled bone dry (which many are). The outcome will be obvious. The grease prevents corrosion and provides some resistence to the massive pressures and heat.


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I alos agree, though that twinkling with the loads by messing with the suspension is a very bad idea on a shaft drive bike.


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Well this thread has been a good one to read through. Suzuki isn't the only maker that may be unaware of there even being a problem here. And, some makers are well aware that a very minor modification to a component, would prevent a well known premature failure. A good example? The so called "doohickey" on the KLR650 Kawasaki. It's an engine balancer tensioning device. For years either the tensioner spring, or the tensioner itself were known to break. The spring looks like a .40 cent part. Spring breaks, the tensioner quits. Tensioner breaks, things can really get ugly. A guy name of Eagle Mike designed his own tensioners and springs, and many owners put them in their KLR's. Finally, after years of complaining owners, in 2008 Kawasaki did something about it. They redesigned the tensioner bracket that liked to break. But, did nothing about the spring! The spring still breaks like before, dissabeling the tensioner. You have to do a fair amount of engine teardown to get at the dam spring. They could have redesigned the spring, or gone to a stout torsion spring, and all would have been well.

I wonder if our friend here that owns or works at a Suzuki shop is aware of the problems with the S40/Savage cam chain tensioners. Maybe not, if he only sees low mileage S40s.
 

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I have an '06 C50 with very low miles (5K). I recently had new tires put on just because of age, not wear. I had the shop check the splines for lube. They said it looked fine, but they did add a bit & put it back together. I felt better.
 

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I have an '06 C50 with very low miles (5K). I recently had new tires put on just because of age, not wear. I had the shop check the splines for lube. They said it looked fine, but they did add a bit & put it back together. I felt better.

They done nothing for you for this problem. For this problem, you have to physically remove the drive and shaft, and then separate them, that is where the failure occurs. It is the splines at the end of the driveshaft where it connects to the final drive that must be lubed to fix this issue.
 

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They done nothing for you for this problem. For this problem, you have to physically remove the drive and shaft, and then separate them, that is where the failure occurs. It is the splines at the end of the driveshaft where it connects to the final drive that must be lubed to fix this issue.
That's what they did, checked where drive shaft goes into the drive.
 

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That's what they did, checked where drive shaft goes into the drive.
Hmmmm.......I'm not having any problem understanding what they did to your bike. "...where the drive shaft goes into the drive...". That is exactly the end of the drive shaft that fails. That failure is almost always associated with a rust colored fine powder. That is all that is left of splines that have been destroyed by corrosion.

"Depth of engagement" has nothing to do with it. The splines on the drive end are never less than 100% engaged with the splines in the coupler which is on the final drive itself. It's the splines that engage the coupler that fail and they are prevented from anything less than 100% engagement by a snap ring.

This is also where the rubber seal is. I think what happens is that moisture is allowed past that seal and it sits in there and the splines begin to corrode. Lack of any lubrication accelerates the process and the splines are weakened and fail.
 

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Yes my BMWs are troublesome. I have ridden them 500000 miles and never had to discuss a broken driveshaft on the internet... Cuz mine have never broken :)
 

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Kinda feel sorry for this guy then...

 

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Or this one... OOOps.

 

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That's a downfall of drivelines. When they go, you are stuck needing a truck and/or trailer. Chain and sprockets, you have a shot at at least, a temp. repair. Might have to carry a short piece of chain,and a chain breaker tool and master link. But, this stuff is fairly small.
 
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