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Thread: R1200GS Electrical Issue

  1. #1
    Registered User Pahl's Avatar
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    R1200GS Electrical Issue

    Hi,

    I live in Ukiah, CA and it was around a 104 degrees the other day so I dicided to take my 10 year old son out for a ride through the redwoods to the coast to cool off.

    About an hour into the ride and 3 miles from the nearest town, the bike sputtered a little and suddenly died. The starter turned over a few times when I tried to start it again. Eventually, all I got was a click. The symptoms were consistent with that of a dead battery. However, I had replaced the battery about six months ago. Fortunately, a good Samaritan named bob was kind enough provide jump. The bike fired right up when connected to his car. I turned the bike off and left it connected for about 10 minutes and we were on our way again. Just as I got into town (4 miles), the bike did the same thing. This time, I noticed the sputtering got worse as I gave it more throttle. Thinking that this might be because of the fuel pump drawing more juice, I up-shifted to lower the RPMs and that bought me an extra quarter mile before the bike died. I ended up pushing it about three blocks to a dirt bike repair shop. Dirt bike mechanic checked the battery voltage. He said it read over 14 volts. I didn't even get a click when I tried to start it then. He said he thought the problem might be in the charging system or the computer. In speaking with the mechanic, I discovered he didn't go to service school or have any formal training in bike repair.

    Anyway, long story short, I had my wife come get us with the pickup. The next day, the bike started right up. I ran it for 10 minutes both at idle and rev. I am not a mechanic, but I have some experience with electronics. I am wondering if the problem has something to do with temperature. I have heard of similar problems with cracked microchips. They might work fine when they are cool, but as the temp goes up the crack expanse and it fails...only to work later after it has cooled down. I talked to me dad (retired electrician). He said the had a cracked coil in the alternator on his old R90 once that did the same thing.

    Does anyone have any ideas? If so, what kind of a job is it to fix?

    Sorry for the long story.
    Matt #7105
    R1200GS

  2. #2
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    dunno, but...

    ...its either fuel, air or spark.

    probably not air, probably not fuel.
    "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

  3. #3
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Totally consistent with battery voltage dropping below that needed to run the bike. The jump, and short recharge bought you a little more before it did it again.

    So, either the charging system is not charging the battery, or the battery is bad. But the bike should run on the charging system unless it is so overloaded trying to charge the battery that there isn't anything left to run the bike.

    Start by taking the battery out, fully charging it and having it load tested. If the battery proves to be good, attack the charging system.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 08-18-2012 at 11:44 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  4. #4
    Registered User Pahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    TTotally consistent with battery voltage dropping below that needed to run the bike. The jump, and short recharge bought you a little more before it did it again.

    So, either the charging system is not charging the battery, or the battery is bad. But the bike should run on the charging system unless it is so overloaded trying to charge the battery that there isn't anything left to run the bike.

    Start by taking the battery out, fully charging it and having it load tested. If the battery proves to be good, attack the charging system.
    Thanks. What I failed to mention was the mechanic tried connecting the shop battery and the bike still wouldn't even try to start.
    Matt #7105
    R1200GS

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    Just another thought if the battery checks
    Out under load I'd check the ground
    Cable for corrosion or loose connection
    I would not be so quick to suspect warm
    Ambient tempatures 104 degrees is
    Uncomfortable for humans but not so hot
    For machines. Happy hunting.

    Joe,
    R1200RT

  6. #6
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    When an electrical system powers a running bike OK but won't crank it a bad battery is suspect. When an electrical system won't even keep a running bike running it is even more feeble.

    It is possible a bad connection - battery, ground, alternator, etc. is causing the problem. But you will not find the problem unless and until you get a reasonably fully charged sound battery in the system. (Preacher mode off)
    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
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  7. #7
    Registered User Pahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    When an electrical system powers a running bike OK but won't crank it a bad battery is suspect. When an electrical system won't even keep a running bike running it is even more feeble.

    It is possible a bad connection - battery, ground, alternator, etc. is causing the problem. But you will not find the problem unless and until you get a reasonably fully charged sound battery in the system. (Preacher mode off)
    The charged battery reads 12.7 Volts on the meter with no load and it is fluctuates between 14.3 and 14.5 at load depending on what is running.
    Matt #7105
    R1200GS

  8. #8
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Fuel system relay/top of tank?

    These were recalled by BMW and replaced. You sputtered to a stop? Gas supply is suspect and a likely looksee there is at hand too. I would certainly check and see IF your bike had this part replaced/recalled by BMW. It will do as you spoke, when failing. Water got into these parts and therefore the recall! Randy

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    Randy,
    If the op's description is accurate this is not an fpc. He's saying he gets nada when hits the button and while a bad fpc may cause the bike to sputter to a stop and then allow a restart, it would crank normally whether or not it fired up.

    Battery needs to be verified then move on from there if needed. The voltage testing described in the thread is a worthless activity and shows only that the folks looking at it don't understand how to troubleshoot - its a load test that is needed or at least some decent simulation of one. If it tests OK move on from that by checking the starter/charger system functions. This is not a terribly difficult job but does require a thorough understanding of how the bike works- not some hit and miss poking around. It might be helped by a quick look with a dealership computer or a GS-911 though such checks might still only show what it is not....

    If the description is wrong and the bike does crank but fail to start then a different approach would be appropriate and the fpc would be on the suspect list but so would other things.

    The fact that the battery is only 6 mths old is irrelevant- quality control on many modern batteries is very poor and more than a few owners don't know how to maintain a bike battery correctly.

  10. #10
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    2006 gsa

    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    These were recalled by BMW and replaced. You sputtered to a stop? Gas supply is suspect and a likely looksee there is at hand too. I would certainly check and see IF your bike had this part replaced/recalled by BMW. It will do as you spoke, when failing. Water got into these parts and therefore the recall! Randy
    Does this recall include the 2006 GSA? Is there a place online to check BMW MC recalls?
    Thanks in advance!

  11. #11
    Registered User Paladinwest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pahl View Post
    The charged battery reads 12.7 Volts on the meter with no load and it is fluctuates between 14.3 and 14.5 at load depending on what is running.
    I had a battery die on the road a few weeks ago. I had stopped and started the bike about a dozen times over a 400 mile ride when I decided to stop on an exit ramp to take the liners out of my suit. When I tried to start the bike the battery was dead (click - no crank). I was 200 miles from home and the new battery that I had purchased in the spring. After a bit of playing around (if the battery voltage is too low the EWS check won't work and the bike won't bump start) I managed to get the bike bump started and rode home without stopping. When I tried a restart in the driveway the starter wouldn't even click. I filled and charged the new battery and everything was good. The interesting point was that the static voltage of the old battery was 12.8 volts as compared to the new battery's 12.7 volts so as was pointed out earlier the only way to tell is with a load test. Checking the error codes with a GS911 there are a large number of codes on almost all the controllers the most interesting being on the ABS controller 24051: Long-term Electrical System under-voltage
    2008 HP2 Sport 10,000, 2008 R1200GSA 100,000, 1990 R100GSPD 100,000, 1986 K100RS 152,000

  12. #12
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    Similar problem on a vacation trip after killing an antelope. turns out the 'lope killed my alternator. I have since installed a voltage meter in line with the hot lead to my parking lamp which monitors the entire charging system as I ride. Not good at preventing trouble but is very reassuring on long trips.
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  13. #13
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    i thought a low batt voltage would not have much effect

    as long as the alt/gen could generate at least 13.0 vdc. i mean if you jump start a car or bike the batt volts is still low for a while but the machine runs (ya just can't shut it down right away).



    Sign on on the side of the electrician’s van – “Let Us Get Rid of Your Shorts”.

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    "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

  14. #14
    Registered User Pahl's Avatar
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    Thanks Marty,

    I had a voltage meter on my old R90 and ,yes, it was very reassuring...it even saved my bacon a few times. I may install one soon. Sometimes I miss that old bike. At least, I could repair most issues on it myself.

    I went for a short 8 mile ride last night and had no issues. I frequently ride on roads full of hills, twists, and turns....most of which are out of cell phone range. As a couple of you stated, my best option is to take it to the dealer and get a diagnostics done. My worry is that they will find nothing and the issue will still be looming. Does my bike have a voltage regulator or is that controlled by the computer?
    Matt #7105
    R1200GS

  15. #15
    Registered User f14rio's Avatar
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    i'm thinking that in 10 or 15 years a 10 or 15 year old bmw

    will be worth less than a 30 or 35 year old bmw.

    just sayin'
    "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

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