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Thread: R1150RT Fuel System Failure and Warning Light.

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  1. #1
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    R1150RT Fuel System Failure and Warning Light.

    A few days ago, doing 75 mph in the passing lane, my motorcycle started to feel slightly starved for fuel--slightly low power at full throttle. It took about 8-10 miles before the condition progressed and engine stopped dead. After a 2 1/2 hour wait and 100 mile tow (thank you BMWMOA Platinum Club), I've debugged this to the point that I know the problem is inside the tank (lots of fuel flow but no pressure) and will drain it (it's full of course) and figure out what's wrong later today.

    Since the failure, I've been thinking about adding a low fuel pressure annunciator. Has anyone done this, have experience doing it on another vehicle, or have a suggested pressure switch?

    The normal pressure in the fuel system according to the BMW spec is 3 bar (43 PSI), +/- 0.2 bar--a 14% range, which means without an O2 sensor AFR has a 7% range Open Loop but that's another thread. My understanding is that the fuel pump can put out 60 PSI or more which means that the return pressure is 10 PSI or more while the injectors are consuming fuel.

    My thought is to put a 5 PSI (nominally) sensor switch in the return line and then connect that to a light on the front panel that would signal low return flow. If the pressure dropped below 5 PSI, that would mean the pump or hose or filter or something was acting up. My reasoning on the return line is that it might not be a good idea to add a connection on the high pressure line.

    What do you think?
    RB

  2. #2
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    I've got some photos of what led to the complete loss of power the other day. In a nutshell, all three high pressure hoses inside the tank need to be replaced. Two are not submersible and one is original and a moment away from rupturing. This highway shutdown was completely avoidable and began a year ago with the dealer's incompetent replacement of the fuel filter and was compounded when I ignored the red-flags.

    Here is everything that flowed from that fuel filter replacement by the dealer's mechanic last year.

    1) On my second day of ownership, the tank vent and filler neck drain began leaking at the right footpeg. The charcoal canister flooded. The dealer picked up the bike and replaced both those hoses inside the tank.

    2) A couple months later, the fuel neck drain line started leaking by the right peg. It turned out that the filler neck was rotated 60 degrees counterclockwise, the two hoses were reversed, and the filler neck o-ring was swollen and not seated to seal the tank--all of which I repaired myself.

    At this point I should have questioned the quality of the fuel filter replacement, right? I didn't though and ended up with a dead engine, coasting at 75 mph, in the left hand lane of I-93 south of Boston in heavy traffic.
    -
    This afternoon I pulled the tank. The first thing I noticed was that the high-pressure hose to the fuel pressure regulator/distributor is an inch or two short and under stress. I'll need to lengthen it.


    After pulling the fuel pump plate I found that vent hoses were triple-oetiker-clamped at the plate and damaged. Just waiting to leak.

    Below is a photo of the fuel pump, filter, screen and hoses. The high pressure hose from the pump to the plate is original, brittle, eroded, still intact but ready to fail. It should have been replaced at the filter change. The hoses to and from the fuel filter were replaced with the filter and made from hose not rated for submersion. Both of them are so porous that fuel from the filter was weeping out while I took the photo. This is the source of pressure loss. The rounded hose has numerous cracks.


    Looking at the other side of the fuel pump your can see that somehow 1/3 of the black plastic cap that holds the strainer is broken off. You can see the fuel weeping through the U-shapes hose, and also see the stress on the external fuel hose..


    Here's a shot of the o-ring. It is old and cracked around its entire perimeter, hard as a rock and flat on one side. It was not replaced at the filter change.Also there's the piece of the internal vent line that was cut by one of the three clamps.


    For anyone with an eight year old (or older) R1150RT that isn't certain of the condition of the fuel pump, filter, gaskets and hoses, I hope my experience serves as an early warning. Until it fails, there's no way to know that your fuel system is on the verge of collapse. I'll be ordering all the parts on Monday.

  3. #3
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about this trouble you've been having Roger. I can empathize with your frustration. I once took my new to me 96 RT to a dealer for a diagnostic plug check for faults and while it was in the shop I decided to ask them to change the fuel filter which they did. Two weeks later my pump burned out due to debris in the tank. When I diagnosed the problem at home and removed the pump assembly I found the filter sock on the pump totally deteriorated and with a gaping hole with bits of thread hanging off the end of it. A small chunk of some hard gasket sealer, which a secure pump filter would have easily stopped was lodged in the pump inlet and some more of the same had jammed it up inside so the motor burned out.

    How a trained mechanic could have replaced the filter and not mentioned the condition of the pump filter sock while he was in there is beyond me. When I asked the dealer about this they denied any knowledge of the issue despite the obvious evidence in front of them. Needless to say they will never see any service business from me!

    It was a turning point for me though and I resolved to learn how to service the bike myself. I just don't go to service shops any longer unless I am far from home and need a tire or something of the sort that I cannot do myself under the circumstances.

    I am sure you probably have done so already but in my case, I decided to soak up every ounce of gas in the tank and make dead sure there was no other debris in there before I replaced the pump and filter. Judging from what you have found already a thorough clean out is definitely in order. Good job finding the problem so quickly.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  4. #4
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Do it yourself

    Just another of thousands of stories about "technicians" doing incomplete/shoddy/stupid things.

    I do most of my own work on my bikes. This habit started when I was 13 and my Dad hated motorcycles; thus no money from him for maintenance or repairs. When I became an adult with a good-paying job, I let a Volvo "technician" work on my new vehicle. That lapse in my judgment led me back to doing my own wrenching.

    I have been fortunate with my BMWs. The first wrench on my BMW was a Moroccan we all called Jimmy. His English was not good, but we both understood enough French for him to show me some things about my /2.

    My first new BMW was bought from Brown-Austell BMW in Columbia, SC [1973 R75/5] and Clanton Austell is still the mechanic I call when I am in over my head. In most instances he can get me through my problem with a phone call; but once I had to trailer my bike to his shop in Columbia, SC.

    Two years ago, I bought a 1996 R1100RT to replace my 81 R100RT. I have been completely through it and the only thing that has ever had me stumped was here;

    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?t=60007

    My advice is to find a good source for the task you want to complete and a buddy who has some experience. Trust me, you care more about doing it correctly than the person who is on "flat rate" and trying to finish in record time.
    Jerry Dockery
    309 N. 3rd. Ave.
    Kure Beach, NC 28449
    1996 R1100RT main bike & 1985 K100RS...too fast to believe.

  5. #5
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    I'm considering the Beemer Boneyard replacement fuel pump/filter/strainer/damper kit. Has anyone here had experience with this

  6. #6
    Registered User NavyDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    I'm considering the Beemer Boneyard replacement fuel pump/filter/strainer/damper kit. Has anyone here had experience with this
    Yep, installed the kit in a buddies 04 chromehead about a month ago all of the needed O-rings, clamps etc. were there. It's the one I will put in my RT this winter. The only reason I set foot in a dealership is to look at the new bikes every spring. Not going to replace my 04 RT anytime soon, but I like to look.

  7. #7
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    I'm considering the Beemer Boneyard replacement fuel pump/filter/strainer/damper kit. Has anyone here had experience with this
    Several kits from them, great results
    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

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