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Thread: '12 RT intermittent no start

  1. #1
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    '12 RT intermittent no start

    I have a 2012 R1200RT, never a problem for the couple months I've had it, then last weekend a couple times when I punched the starter button nothing happened, starter didn't budge. Each time, I did some motorcycle equivalent of ctrl-alt-delete, e.g. flip the ignition switch off and then back on again, and then on the second try the starter worked fine.

    When it failed, I know the side stand was up, I was in neutral, ignition switch was on, engine cutoff switch was on (has to be to engage starter), clutch was in. On one of the failures, I got a red warning light. I don't think I ever got an EWS indication, at least I never noticed it.

    I notice in the manual it lists as a possible cause of not starting: "clutch pulled before ignition was switched on". It's very possible I did this, I always start with the clutch in, and I tend to "flow" from left to right when starting. I tried an isolated test afterward, pulling in the clutch before turning on the ignition, and the bike started fine, so if this is a problem, it doesn't appear to be a problem every time.

    Pardon my ignorance, but why is pulling in the clutch before turning on the ignition a problem?

    I'm just trying to figure out whether something's breaking/broken or if my starting sequence is making this diva bike mad...
    -harry

  2. #2
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    There is a clutch switch. The system apparently wants to see the switch off or a transition from off to on to know the switch isn't stuck in the "on" position. Guess: it's a safety feature so you can't accidentally engage the starter in gear if the switch is broken.

    Because I'm curious I'd try this:

    • pull in clutch lever
    • turn on ignition
    • verify the manual is correct and the bike wont start
    • release clutch lever
    • pull in clutch lever


    Will the bike start?

  3. #3
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    When I first bought my 11 RT My bike somwtimes wouldn't engage the starter when I pressed the red button . After a while I realized that with my gloves on and not paying attention I wasn't depressing the bottom portion of the switch,but was instead pressing the top, thus killing the motor . Since that revelation she has fired up every time.
    I have met the enemy, and he is us
    2011 R 1200 RT
    1992R100RT
    2007 Roadstar Midnight Silverado

  4. #4
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    When you turn the key to the on position
    You should see the "Brake failure" indicator
    And also on the LCD screen the fuel indicator
    Should show the amount if these two
    Things are absent I would suspect your
    Super robust kill switch is at fault. I know some
    Will think it iffy to rely on the fuel indicator
    But when all conditions are correct the fuel
    Level indication should be present.

    Joe,
    2010 R1200RT

  5. #5
    Registered User jkbales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mantakos View Post
    I have a 2012 R1200RT, never a problem for the couple months I've had it, then last weekend a couple times when I punched the starter button nothing happened, starter didn't budge. Each time, I did some motorcycle equivalent of ctrl-alt-delete, e.g. flip the ignition switch off and then back on again, and then on the second try the starter worked fine.
    I had a similar failure. Wouldn't start, no EWS! message, no errors or warnings, computer failed to do its self check. The problem was traced to a faulty starter switch. When it got hot from sitting in the sun, no start. When it cooled down, it started. The computer thinks the switch is off, hence the failure to do a self check. The tech was able to duplicate the problem in the shop with a heat gun. The day it failed was only in the low 80s, not the 100+ we've had all summer. Go figure.

    This is apparently a known problem on K bikes, from when they went to the new style switches about three years ago. Now seen on RTs with the same switchgear. BMW will replace it under warranty. Until then, I cover the switch with a glove when parked.

    John
    John
    Current: '10 R1200RT Thunder Gray, '90 K75S Titan Blue

    Past: '09 R1200RT, '04 R1150RT, numerous Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, & Harleys

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    To follow up on a few of the responses...

    A couple days after first experiencing the problem, I did do a test where I tried to pull in the clutch, then turn on the ignition, and the bike started fine both times I tried it. The manual lists this as a possible cause for not starting, but it doesn't appear to be something that prevents starting every single time.

    It's possible that the kill switch wasn't working properly. I do believe I cycled the kill switch when the problem occurred and both times the bike started on the second try.

    As Joe mentioned, when the kill switch is put in the on position, the "brake failure" light starts blinking and the fuel gauge turns on, so this gives you an indication that it's "on". I didn't notice whether or not I had those indications when the problem was occurring, but this is a good thing to check if it happens again. One thing I noticed is that I can get these "on" indications by just "leaning" a little on the kill switch without actually clicking it out of the off position, which is a little cheesy.

    The two times the problem occurred were both on the same day, a hot day in the mid 90s, after the bike had been sitting in the sun.
    -harry

  7. #7
    Registered User mneblett's Avatar
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    FWIW, I also believe it likely to be the switch. My 2012 RT's starter switch feels like it is **barely** making contact, i.e., you can push the switch in "normally" until it stops, and nothing happens, until you push the switch in *hard* to get the bike to respond. Given the history of the new switch gear, I'm expecting a replacement will be needed in the future.
    Mark Neblett
    Fairfax, VA
    #32806

  8. #8
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    sometimes mine starts just when i turn on the ignition

    (assuming all other interlocks are in place) its the starter switch that sticks. will get it replaced at the 6k service.

    2010 r1200r
    "Enemy fighters at 2 o'clock!...Roger, What should i do until then?"

    2010 r1200r, 2009 harley crossbones, 2008 triumph/sidecar, 1970 norton commando 750

  9. #9
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    I have a 2006 R1200RT that has similar symptoms with the starter switch. I've never given attention as to the sequence of clutch, on/off switch etc. it only happens occasionally but can be embarrassing when riding with all H-D guys . I usually just press the start switch again & sometimes on the side of the button instead of straight down from the top. I've just thought it might be the starter switch on the handlebar not making good contact & have been attempted to squirt some Electra-Motive electronic parts cleaner into the button but have not done it yet, thinking I might mess something up. Thoughts?
    Last edited by ndrhsr; 08-18-2012 at 06:12 PM. Reason: add comma

  10. #10
    Registered User jkbales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndrhsr View Post
    I have a 2006 R1200RT that has similar symptoms with the starter switch. I've never given attention as to the sequence of clutch, on/off switch etc. it only happens occasionally but can be embarrassing when riding with all H-D guys . I usually just press the start switch again & sometimes on the side of the button instead of straight down from the top. I've just thought it might be the starter switch on the handlebar not making good contact & have been attempted to squirt some Electra-Motive electronic parts cleaner into the button but have not done it yet, thinking I might mess something up. Thoughts?
    Your switch should have conventional contacts that could benefit from contact cleaner. Contact cleaner shouldn't hurt it. 2010+ switches use foil contacts that fail. According to my tech, that is. I'll take my old one apart when it's replaced and see.
    John
    Current: '10 R1200RT Thunder Gray, '90 K75S Titan Blue

    Past: '09 R1200RT, '04 R1150RT, numerous Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, & Harleys

  11. #11
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    Jump it!!

    Same thing happened to me. Hot day no nothing from ignition switch but obviously all electrical systems working. My RT was only 3 months old and I was really pissed off. My buddy on a Kawi Concours suggested the obvious, since my high priced Teutonic technology had failed. Aimed her down hill, put it to 3rd and wham started right up. Happened twice since then even though it's been back to the dealer. Keep it cool, cover ignition/ throttle covered with white towel, park with a slope somewhere and carry a tow strap. Dealers know there's a problem with the RT n especially the new big K's but as usual the Germans don't admit the problem. Wish that new Triumph Trophy was out last year. Would have love to have a competitor for the RT.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkbales View Post
    Your switch should have conventional contacts that could benefit from contact cleaner. Contact cleaner shouldn't hurt it. 2010+ switches use foil contacts that fail. According to my tech, that is. I'll take my old one apart when it's replaced and see.
    Please let us know.
    Dan

    2010 R1200GSA

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    I'm honest now!

    Am complaining about my new RT but I Forgot to mention that I'd ridden a KTM 950 for bout 50k of which 40k were two up. Thank God for advrider.com as that sucker was always breaking down. But usually all mechanical not electronic. I learned to field strip that puppy like a 1911 ACP. Not much one can do with the computer chips.

  14. #14
    Registered User jkbales's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwmarty1 View Post
    Keep it cool, cover ignition/ throttle covered with white towel, park with a slope somewhere and carry a tow strap.
    It's a shame to have to plan like that on an expensive marvel of Teutonic engineering prowess.

    Dealers know there's a problem with the RT n especially the new big K's but as usual the Germans don't admit the problem.
    Yeah, officially there is no fuel strip materials problem, either.
    John
    Current: '10 R1200RT Thunder Gray, '90 K75S Titan Blue

    Past: '09 R1200RT, '04 R1150RT, numerous Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, & Harleys

  15. #15
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    Jkbales answer

    You couldn't have said it better brother. Lessens the enjoyment of any ride when you think something might go wrong. Even than you know how to fix, It's always kinda on your mind.

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