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Thread: No spark on an R60

  1. #1
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    No spark on an R60

    Hey all. I think I've got a no spark condition on my R60. Fuel's being delivered, compression is good, but apparently, no spark.

    I've checked the breaker and it's opening and closing as it should.

    Any ideas on where else to check? It was running fine, I parked it, and now it doesn't want to start. I put fresh plugs in, thinking I'd fouled them with lots of short trips while I was at the rally.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  2. #2
    BMW MOA co-founder bmwdean's Avatar
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    The coil. Just replaced one.

    Search for "ignition coil R51/3-R69S" --

    http://members.aol.com/vechbmw2/partno.html
    Jeff Dean − Tucson, Arizona − BMW MOA Co-founder (1972)
    http://bmwdean.com − MSF Chief Instructor (1994)
    Friend of the Marque (1999) − Prof. Gerhard Knochlein BMW Classic Award (2013)
    2014 & 2007 R1200RTs, R60/2s, R67/3, R51/3 ↔ 1949 R24

  3. #3
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwdean View Post
    The coil. Just replaced one.

    Search for "ignition coil R51/3-R69S" --

    http://members.aol.com/vechbmw2/partno.html
    They fail like that?

    Interesting.

    And thanks for the pointer to Vech. I desperately need to buy a shop manual.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  4. #4
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    From what I've heard, impending coil failure usually shows up when trying to start the bike when hot...the heat opens up the windings some. It might start fine cold but then later it might take quite a few kicks to get going. Some say having a spare coil with you on the bike is a good way to go...

    I presume you've taken a plug out and grounded it to the fins and confirmed no spark. If you hadn't said that it ran fine previously, I'd say to check the magneto alignment. You want the magneto to be properly aligned to give the fattest spark while trying to kick start the bike. Magneto alignment and ignition timing are two separate steps. Some aftermarket books have mistakes in it when discussing the subject of ignition and how to adjust the points opening.

    Not sure what type of spark plug cap you have. I bought a set of brown bakelite caps from Vech. I'd heard that the metal ones tended to leak energy to ground, causing a difficulty in starting.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  5. #5
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    From what I've heard, impending coil failure usually shows up when trying to start the bike when hot...the heat opens up the windings some. It might start fine cold but then later it might take quite a few kicks to get going. Some say having a spare coil with you on the bike is a good way to go...

    I presume you've taken a plug out and grounded it to the fins and confirmed no spark. If you hadn't said that it ran fine previously, I'd say to check the magneto alignment. You want the magneto to be properly aligned to give the fattest spark while trying to kick start the bike. Magneto alignment and ignition timing are two separate steps. Some aftermarket books have mistakes in it when discussing the subject of ignition and how to adjust the points opening.

    Not sure what type of spark plug cap you have. I bought a set of brown bakelite caps from Vech. I'd heard that the metal ones tended to leak energy to ground, causing a difficulty in starting.
    Hey, thanks!

    I haven't had trouble hot starting it, which would have lead me to suspect a coil issue.

    I'm not sure how to align the magneto, though. I really need a manual for this bike. Any suggestions on good ones?

    I've got NGK caps that are newish. I unscrewed them and looked at the wire inside and it looked clean and whole.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  6. #6
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    It could be several things. You aren't describing the usual coil symptoms, but it could be. All the same, start with the simple stuff.

    As Kurt says, pull the plugs, then lay them so they are grounded on the cylinders. Kick the bike over with the key in to check for spark. The spark should be blue.

    If it sparks on one side, swap things until it changes side. You can easily change the side of the spark plug leads by pulling the front cover and exchanging the posts they are screwed in to.

    If it doesn't spark, check the condensor and points first.

    What Kurt is talking about, when he says "aligning the magneto", is verifying that the rotor and the plate are properly aligned at the S mark on the flywheel. The rotor (which has a big permanent magnet in it) has two hash marks 180* apart that indicate the poles. One of those hash marks should be exactly aligned with the V groove that's cut in the top of the points plate, when the S mark on the flywheel is lined up in the timing window. This assures the strongest spark at idle speed (eg, when you're kicking it over). Mags produce more energy the faster they spin, so you need everything to be in your favor when you're kicking it.

    Good luck!

    (BTW, you might want to join the Yahoo slash2 group.)
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
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  7. #7
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    It could be several things. You aren't describing the usual coil symptoms, but it could be. All the same, start with the simple stuff.

    As Kurt says, pull the plugs, then lay them so they are grounded on the cylinders. Kick the bike over with the key in to check for spark. The spark should be blue.

    If it sparks on one side, swap things until it changes side. You can easily change the side of the spark plug leads by pulling the front cover and exchanging the posts they are screwed in to.

    If it doesn't spark, check the condensor and points first.

    What Kurt is talking about, when he says "aligning the magneto", is verifying that the rotor and the plate are properly aligned at the S mark on the flywheel. The rotor (which has a big permanent magnet in it) has two hash marks 180* apart that indicate the poles. One of those hash marks should be exactly aligned with the V groove that's cut in the top of the points plate, when the S mark on the flywheel is lined up in the timing window. This assures the strongest spark at idle speed (eg, when you're kicking it over). Mags produce more energy the faster they spin, so you need everything to be in your favor when you're kicking it.

    Good luck!

    (BTW, you might want to join the Yahoo slash2 group.)
    Thanks! I just joined. I'll go through those steps and see what happens.

    I need to put the damper back together, too, after it fell off as I was parking the other day.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  8. #8
    Administrator 20774's Avatar
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    For all you wanted to know about the electrical system, check out this PDF file. It's an early version, and Vech has a later version for sale.

    http://www.snafu.org/restore/uandm_bmw_v1.pdf
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

  9. #9
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20774 View Post
    For all you wanted to know about the electrical system, check out this PDF file. It's an early version, and Vech has a later version for sale.

    http://www.snafu.org/restore/uandm_bmw_v1.pdf


    That's beautiful. Thanks, Kurt! I'll mess with it tonight and see where things stand. It always started first or second kick, so I think something has fallen off, become misaligned or some such.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  10. #10
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    I need to put the damper back together, too, after it fell off as I was parking the other day.
    It might be profitable to go around and check the fasteners.

    Just sayin'...
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  11. #11
    Still Wondering mika's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBasa View Post
    They fail like that?

    Interesting.

    And thanks for the pointer to Vech. I desperately need to buy a shop manual.
    I did some checking on the internet. I could not find the dates that - Lucas the Prince of Darkness ÔÇô made parts for BMW. KBasa you must have one my old BSA coils. They winked out seemingly without warning. Any heat that was involved, as I remember, was from me boiling over.

    Check your wire leads for cracks and breaks, clean your connectors and contact points and good luck
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  12. #12
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    It might be profitable to go around and check the fasteners.

    Just sayin'...
    I was thinking the same thing. No cotter pin was inserted to secure the castellated nut.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  13. #13
    Cannonball Rider #52 darrylri's Avatar
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    Just out of curiousity, are you sure that you have the netural and generator lights on when you're kicking? The key switch is a very reliable item until some dPO* has decided that he knows better and starts messing around with it.

    Another thing that can be helpful with ignition troubles is to try kicking it over in a darkened garage with the front cover off. That's how I discovered the condensor on my R51/3 had given up.

    One other idea; below the mag coil, at the bottom of the points plate, there are two metal "fingers" sticking out that bend upwards at the end. These should be 10-11 mm away from the spark plug lead terminals on the coil. This is the safety gap that protects the coil if a lead, cap or plug goes bad, and allows the electrical energy to go somewhere besides through the insulation of the coil windings. If they're too close, the spark might jump that gap rather than the one in the cylinder.

    *) darling Previous Owner.
    --Darryl Richman, forum liaison
    http://darryl.crafty-fox.com

  14. #14
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarrylRi View Post
    Just out of curiousity, are you sure that you have the netural and generator lights on when you're kicking? The key switch is a very reliable item until some dPO* has decided that he knows better and starts messing around with it.

    Another thing that can be helpful with ignition troubles is to try kicking it over in a darkened garage with the front cover off. That's how I discovered the condensor on my R51/3 had given up.

    One other idea; below the mag coil, at the bottom of the points plate, there are two metal "fingers" sticking out that bend upwards at the end. These should be 10-11 mm away from the spark plug lead terminals on the coil. This is the safety gap that protects the coil if a lead, cap or plug goes bad, and allows the electrical energy to go somewhere besides through the insulation of the coil windings. If they're too close, the spark might jump that gap rather than the one in the cylinder.

    *) darling Previous Owner.

    I've got both lights. I put a battery in it and managed to read the manual to figure out how they work.

    I'll probably take it apart tomorrow night and I really appreciate the hints.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  15. #15
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    side stand switch?

    hall sensor?


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