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Thread: '05 r1200rt ticking but not starting, EWS code on main display

  1. #1
    JuergenB
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    '05 r1200rt ticking but not starting, EWS code on main display

    So after riding my 05RT for the first time this year about a week or so ago, and having the bike on a BMW charger most of the winter, today I tried to start it but am getting the following:

    The bike sounds "normal" when turning the key, I can hear the whirring of the (fuel pump or whatever), lights come on etc.

    But when I turn the key over, I hear a loud "tick - tick - tick" sound about .5 secs apart

    Eventually I get the "engine symbol" and a display of "EWS" in large letters on the main computer.


    Can anyone here help me diagnose what might be happening?


    Thanks in advance, Juergen


    The techs at my NJ Cross Country BMW dealer says it might be an old battery, but could not tell me what the EWS code is, said to "bring the bike in" (duh). I've had a weak battery before, but never this behavior.

  2. #2
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    All R1200s, except for the R1200C series, are HEXheads, not OILheads. You will get more focued responses by posting in the correct forum (example- no oilhead came with an EWS anti-theft device)

    Mod- clean up on aisle 7 please. Bucket & mop required.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  3. #3
    JuergenB
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    Sorry for the mis-posting...

    Apologies...

  4. #4
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Check the battery voltage with key off, and again with the key on and the starter button pushed. I suspect the battery is bad. The click-click sounds like a starter relay not holding to me.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  5. #5
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    Paul is probably right but it could be a poor battery connection so be sure to check what he said with the meter probes on the actual battery terminals, not something bolted to them.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  6. #6
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Stand by for a move over to Hexheads...
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  7. #7
    JuergenB
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    Thanks, it was a bad battery

    Thanks for the help and advice, guys, you were right: It is a bad battery, that's all..

    I replaced it, and all is well. After all it was the original OEM battery on a 2005 bike, so it was time, and it had shown signs of weakness last year already.

    The EWS code only appears after trying to start unsuccessfully for too long (2 or 3 secs).

    Sorry again for misposting under oilheads, appreciate the help in spite of being in the wrong forum!

  8. #8
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Welcome to the party!

    Glad you got a fix...An EWS antennae ring is a little bigger issue, but can be replaced on the side of the road if you have to...if you have one! Some of us with the 05-06 models carry one for good luck...and hope to NOT use it!

    the EWS ring is the ring around your ignition switch that reads your key...when they go bad you cannot start the bike.

    No problem on the posting, I sent you a PM and moved it over here to Hexheads
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  9. #9
    Registered User Anyname's Avatar
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    That battery was due to die anyway, but you need to watch the BMW chargers if they are plugged into a Canbus socket. if you have a power outage, they will not restart charging without you going through the routine with the ignition key. Guess how I learned that. I have since taken to using a directly to battery connection for charging.
    BMW R bike rider, horizontally opposed to everything...

  10. #10
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Juergen,

    EWS isn't that likely a failure on your bike. Later model Hexheads (starting with late '06 production up to about early '09) had a bunch of problematic "antenna rings" which are part of the anti-theft system (it reads a chip in your key, so ONLY your key will start the bike.) The EWS warning means that system was triggered. Luckily - your bike was earlier then the problem rings. The fact that the dealer didn't know what EWS meant means you were talking to someone who wasn't terribly knowledgeable. Knowing that dealer - it sort of surprises me..

    Anyway - glad it's fixed. I've also added the year of your RT to the thread title since that's a clue that it actually wasn't the antenna ring causing your problem. The EWS system can be triggered if the battery gets too low, and I believe that's why you saw that warning.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuergenB View Post
    Sorry again for misposting under oilheads, appreciate the help in spite of being in the wrong forum!
    Glad to get you to the right place. Be sure to read the fine print.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #12
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by JuergenB View Post
    Thanks for the help and advice, guys, you were right: It is a bad battery, that's all..

    I replaced it, and all is well. After all it was the original OEM battery on a 2005 bike, so it was time, and it had shown signs of weakness last year already.

    The EWS code only appears after trying to start unsuccessfully for too long (2 or 3 secs).

    Sorry again for misposting under oilheads, appreciate the help in spite of being in the wrong forum!
    Wow! OEM on a 2005 R1200RT. You were living on borrowed time.

    The OEM (Exide) batteries found in BMW's don't die of old age - they have heart attacks.

    Sudden death after about 3 years, despite diligent maintenance, leaves you stranded and scratching your head.

    Sure, there will be some that last a bit longer, but those are exceptions.

    My advice: After 3 good years of use, replace the OEM battery with something more reliable, i.e. an Odyssey.

    Enjoy your rides!
    Last edited by Greenwald; 03-19-2011 at 11:24 PM.
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
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  13. #13
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    Have now messed with a handful of these BMW Exides in various bikes and noticed a few things about them. Probably the most useful observation is that they really don't do well left on old fashioned transformer chargers that don't produce the right float voltage and switch incorrectly or not at all for a gel battery. If you want to use gel or agm batteries its really a good idea to modernize your chargers to a type specifically designed for such. Have now several times simply put a proper charger on what to the owner appeared to be a crapped out agm or gel type and have it "magically" come back to life, verified by a load tester. Two of these epsiodes involved an owner still using an antique 2 amp BMW transformer charger thats essentially no different than any older cheap Schumacher from your favorite discount joint. I suspect some of what gets blamed on these batteries are problems created by wrong chargers or improper use of a charger, based on my observations.

    Aside from the negligible risk of acid from a flooded battery (on a street machine, not a dirt bike), if you really want to hang onto your old chargers - then you ought to hook them to what they are meant for- a flooded battery.

    The only features stil useful to me on my antique chargers (I'm almost toally out of the flooded battery arena and using agm's and gel cells) are the higher voltage of an older one meant for maintenance free" batteries- its enough to charge a fully discharged AGM but has to be manually tended because the antique has no idea when to shut off and go to float when hooked to an agm. And my old "boosters" that can put out 50 - 100 A for a while have their place in getting clunkers going- though you really shouldn't throw that much juice at a battery you want to keep for a long time..

    Now if makers would only put some effort into standardizing terminals. The last two (non-BMW) gel and AGM batts I put in stuff needed bending of BMW stock cable ends and/or enlarging batteries post holes PLUS shimming the battery for fit.
    Makes a routine 3 minute job a bit of a PITA when you hunting for tools in a friends garage. BUT they were a lot less $ than those BMW Exides.
    Last edited by racer7; 03-20-2011 at 01:15 AM.

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