BMW /5 Swingarm Bearing Service

| 8/1/2012 4:27:38 PM

BMW /5 Swingarm Bearing Service 

Last issue, we looked at servicing steering head bearings on BMW /5 machines, noting it as one of those jobs owners often put off until it's too late. If that's true of steering head bearings, it's doubly true of swingarm bearings, which owners often let go almost to the point of failure.

Bad swingarm bearings — or bushings — make themselves known by sometimes erratic and often sloppy handling. If you feel the back end of your bike wallowing through a turn instead of tracking through, you probably have worn out swingarm bearings/bushings and/or worn out rear shocks.

Owners are quicker to replace a set of shocks — typically just two bolts and they're out — with immediate improvements in handling following. Standard fitment shocks on many of our classics were pretty poor even when new; add in 40-odd years of use and most of them are pretty much junk.


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But swingarm bearing servicing is time-intensive and can require tools you may not have, like a good hydraulic press for pressing in new bushings. Yet while the average classic from Japan used bushings for swingarms, BMW's /5 series (and every air-cooled Beemer after) used tapered roller bearings.