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Thread: Turn Signals don't work-4 Way flashers do

  1. #1
    Registered User ThommyT's Avatar
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    Turn Signals don't work-4 Way flashers do

    On my '84 R80RT, the turn signals failed intermittently a few times and then quit. Worked a time or two more and stopped working again. and now have stopped working. I suppose if I kept riding they may come and go again, but I want to fix them.

    The flasher unit (green one behind the headlight)works-in fact, I tried a new one (silly me).

    The 4 way flashers that were installed by the dealer when new, work, but go off when I turn off the key. They used to come on when I pushed the button/switch with the key on, and stay on when I turned the key off-but not come on if the key is already off.

    Sooooooo, anywho, the symptoms are that the turn signals don't work-the flashers do, but they now go off when the key is turned off. The flasher unit is new.

    The 4Way flasher unit/button/switch was mounted with a hose clamp to the handlebars and protrudes through the center cut out from the impact pad. It fits perfectly and appears to be a BMW unit, with it's own harness that joins and follows other factory harnesses into the headlight.

    Does the 4way flasher unit have a relay in it that may have failed? and taken the signals with it? It seems like the 4Way flashers used to override the turn signal if it was on, then go back to the signal when turned off. That makes it seem to me that there is a relay somewhere that switches priority back and forth between signals and flashers (in bad layman's terms). Would this be a light relay issue?

    Using a tester with a little bulb in it, I find that the pair of wires (from memory they are green with yellow stripe) coming out of the flasher unit flashes with the 4 way flashers, but not with the turn signals.

    The same color wire coming into the turn signal switch on the handlebar has no power to it whether switch is on or not. It does flash dimly with the 4 way flashers flashing.

    The handlebar switch has the headlight, dimmer, flash, horn and turn signal switch. Can I get just the turn signal switch and if so, how do I get the assembly apart? I am guessing that I would have to replace the entire assembly (ouch).

    The Clymers and Haynes don't go into much detail at all about this as best I can see.

    Any ideas?

    Sorry this is so long winded but I tend to make short stories long.

    Thanks to both of you for hanging in there and reading the whole email.

  2. #2
    Brrr YB in IN's Avatar
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    When you say green unit do you mean the relay under the tank? On my 86 R80 I had similar problems with the lights working only sometimes and then not at all. It turned out to be a bad relay. It may be that you have a short somewhere in the system. I fixed all of these sorts of problems by going to the dark side and buying a K-bike Good luck.

  3. #3
    Registered User ThommyT's Avatar
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    Turn signals don't work...

    Thanks for the reply, YB in IN.
    For the record I have also done the unthinkable and bought a '93K75 with less than 7K on it.
    But I've owned the '84 R80RT since new and can't bring myself to part with it. Runs great, only 65K on the clock.

    The green unit I refer to is, on my bike there is a green plastic flasher relay much like the ones in 4wheelers behind the headlight, which I replaced. And there are two silver colored, metal relay units behind the headlight also. They seem to me to be part of an assembly that means I would have to replace both if I want to replace one.
    I'm sure I can get this if can just get the right person, who has been there to give me a couple of hints it will take a lot less time and be less frustrating (I hope)

    When you say"On my 86 R80 I had similar problems with the lights working only sometimes and then not at all. It turned out to be a bad relay. "
    Was that headlights etc. or just turn signals. Did you have 4way flashers?

    I think there is a connection with the 4way flashers and this turn signal issue, because the flashers don't stay on when I turn the key off, either. Both signal related, both involved with the flasher unit which is good, and both involved with the light relay (I would think).

    Wonder if it's worth replacing the two relays I mentioned????? I'm thinking of changing the relays and/or the 4way flasher switch thinking there is it's own relay in there that has failed....

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
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    Green with yellow stripe is the European ground wire. Unless there is something allowing a path to ground, you shouldnt get any voltage from these wires.
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  5. #5
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Ground wires on Airheads and all other German vehicles are brown (like "earth"). There is no comparison to the '86, since the electrical system is changed. The flasher is indeed a green box inside the headlight shell on the earlier model under discussion. This problem is surely in the handlebar switch.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  6. #6
    Registered User ThommyT's Avatar
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    turn signals/flashers issues

    Thanx for the replies so far. I have gotten distracted by life and haven't gotten back to the R80RT. Still interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced this and can offer suggestions. Thanx again.

  7. #7
    Registered User ThommyT's Avatar
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    I finally fixed it!

    Hello again, Thanks for the replies. After many distractions, I finally spent a little time with my twin ('84 R80RT) and discovered that if I listened closely when first turning the key on, if I heard a click from under the tank, the signals and flashers would both work- if I didn't hear that click, they would not work. I assumed that was a relay unit under the tank and for one of the very rare times in my life, assumption was correct and replacing that unit fixed the problem, until one of the rear signals stopped responding - that one was easy - a loose wire in the connector under the seat that connects the front harness wires to the rear one, leading to all the rear lights. easy diagnosis and fix on both cases - just needed a little time devoted to the careful ruling out and in of theories - or in reality, being lazy and trying the easiest things first, and lucking into a diagnosis and repair. Either way it was satisfying...
    Hope this helps someone else down the road having a similar problem.
    Now my od and speedo have become intermittent. After resetting the tripmeter one time as I normally do when refueling, I noticed about 20 miles down the road the odo/speedo was not changing, it ran for 10-15 miles and stopped, sometimes resetting the trip meter got it going again, but only for short distances...
    Sound like gear at trans end of cable? Problem at speedo unit? speedo end of cable? Think I'm hurting anything to keep riding? I'm a stickler for things on the bike working properly...
    Hope all are enjoying the return of spring and keeping the rubber side down...

  8. #8
    James.A
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    The instruments on our BMW's are notoriously un-reliable.

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