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19 inch FRONT Snowflake Wheel Recall
(for BMW Airhead motorcycles ONLY)
© copyright, 2017, R. Fleischer
article 54, section 1
UPDATE, 2016: Information is that the silver replacement wheels are no longer available (or, are on backorder with no delivery time) (36 31 1 238 959), but the gold replacement wheels are still available and the recall will still be honored (36 31 1 238 960).
19 inch front cast aluminum snowflake wheels were recalled. Not 18 inch front wheels. Not 18 inch rear wheels. Recall is only for certain Airheads 19 inch front wheels.
I still hear occasionally about an old recalled wheel that is still in service. There was a BMW factory recall on some front 19" cast snowflake wheels. Supposedly a U.S. Federal Recall Campaign never goes out of date. The Recall is world-wide, & there are specific recall campaigns in various countries. BMW will provide the recall service, as described in this article, for the motorcycle, and the bike identification is needed, as far as I know. I have yet to hear of/from anyone who brought in a wheel to be exchanged & the wheel was not tied to a specific bike identification. You could be the first to tell me the details!
A good time to do this wheel exchange is right away if you are super safety conscious, or at tire replacement time if you are not overly concerned. The wheels were recalled due to some hairline cracks appearing in the hub when the wheels were subjected to rather severe use. You could keep your "recalled" wheels & keep an eye on them, if you wish. I suggest you try to get them in the recall.
The USA Federal Recall is #84V-092
The original BMW bulletins are: 36-022-84 (2117); and, 36-023-84 (2123). 36-022-84 specifically notes USA & Canada.
The recalled wheels could be from model years 1977 well into 1983. Because sometimes wheels from various years can be found on other year bikes, do check yours, using the information below in this article.
The following chart is, errors and typos and all, directly from BMW's 36-022-84 (2117) page. Even if your bike is not in this list it could be affected! Check your wheel! Read this entire article! The chart below is from BMW! Do not depend on the specific information! Do check your front wheel! Yes, I am aware of the strange things in this chart.
I have confirmed that this recall is in effect in other countries. For example, in Australia, the defect code is 00 00360 800; the SI covering the recall is 87/01 (002) of July 1987.
The 'good' wheels have support ribs between each main spoke & the hub at the hub area. By support ribs I mean of the main spokes. This is from approximately the point where the X ribs intersect those main spokes about half way out to the rim from the center, very roughly, to the hub. The main spokes are slightly widened in their mid areas ...like a duckfoot web ...in other words, they are broadened at the center thickness, but not as thick as the spoke itself. The web that was added is more or less shaped like a U, if one includes the portion of the hub they are connected to. This is all easy to see even with a quick glance. Do not let that description confuse you, I have photos, below, that makes it very clear what I mean.
Wheels with other numbers of main spokes have been reported ....that is, both 8 & 10 spoke wheels have been recalled; but see the photos.... as only those without the webbing at the hub are recalled!
There is a manufacturing date code stamped into the side of a 'spokes crossover point'. If the date code is 9/82 or before, and, there are no support ribs, then see your BMW dealer for a new tube, new bearings, seals, ...and a new wheel!
BMW does not pay for a new tire, even if you need one. It is not clear if your dealership has to install a tire you bring (say, purchased elsewhere's), that is not yet mounted by you. The dealer is paid in full by BMW for de-mounting your old tire, replacing the tube, & remounting tube and tire onto your new wheel, and balancing.
If you are doing this at a time when your tire is worn out, or nearly, & you intend to bring a tire for mounting in this recall process, I suggest asking your dealer ahead of time. Some may want to just exchange wheels, or have the dealer set up the preload as I outline, or, whatever. The SI is not clear about these finer details....& questions about such fine details has hardly ever come up. What has come up & is serious, is about the wheel preload. Read the rest of this article!
Do not let the text description, above, confuse you, I have photos, below, that make it all very clear.
.....BMW has been shipping replacement wheels without bearing grease, or minimally greased, usually only oil if anything. This is on the bearings inside the wheel. You need to be absolutely certain that the dealer does do a preload test (done on oiled bearings, seals removed), adjusting the shimming if needed. The dealership should then clean out that oil, grease the bearings, install new seals, clean the rim, install your tire, & balance the tire/wheel. All of this is covered by the recall. Note that a qualified Airheads mechanic can adjust preload reasonably well by feel, but it is much better to measure it. I have an article on how that is done. Click for that article here:
BMW specifications for preload is, in my opinion, too high ...so read that article!! If your dealership cannot do the bearings properly, you may want to do them yourself, or find someone that will do them properly.
Be sure to insist on all the above!
There is no cost for labor or parts ...except if your tire is worn out, the dealer will not give you a new tire, but in any case you do get a new tube.
Note: If you have the nut on the valve stem screwed down to the rim, it does not belong in that position ...it should be missing; or, up against the cap. There is a BMW SI on that.
The replacement silver wheel is 36 31 1 238 959; the replacement gold wheel is 36 31 1 238 960
AFAIK BMW honors these various numbered recalls worldwide .....so no matter where you are, where the bike was sold, no matter who owns it, etc ....it is a free new wheel, etc. ...courtesy of BMW.
While not pointed out in the photo, this recalled wheel also has the Date Stamp. See below photo's wheel.
Below is an updated replacement wheel. There can be two types of stampings in the crossover areas. The one you should be looking for is in normal Arabic numerals ...there are no Roman characters. If your wheel is stamped with Roman characters where you are looking, find the other stamping.
04/22/2010: Review all prior updates, review article, minor changes.
05/11/2010: Clean up article somewhat; also remove one bad link.
05/02/2011: Prepare to add the two photos with annotations; add a few more words to article in various places.
05/03/2011: Finish with the photos; also added notation regarding stock preload as being too high.
09/09/2012: Add QR code; Add language button; very minor cleanup, NO technical changes.
2013: Remove troublesome language button.
04/18/2015: Update to clarify some minor details and background coding.
12/11/2015: Clean up article. Update meta-codes. Similar work, 04/30/2016.
10/16/2016: Update notice at top of page.
11/20/2017: Go through entire article. Reduce excessive HTML. Layout improved. Fewer font and color changes.
© copyright, 2017, R. Fleischer
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Last edit of THIS page: Monday, July 22, 2019