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Thread: R1100GS Starter Failure?

  1. #1
    wvrocks
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    R1100GS Starter Failure?

    Rolled my 95 GS out to go to work this morning, turned the key, kickstand up, in neutral, enricher on, headlight turned off via euro switch, kill switch on, fuel pump cycled. I thumbed the starter and it cranked a few times and almost caught. Hit it again and there was a loud clank and the lights on the dash dimmed. Repeated that once more with the same results. Rolled it into the garage and put it up on the centerstand. Hit the starter one last time and got the same thing plus an electrical sound and a puff of smoke from under the front left of the seat. ****! Now all the dash lights are out too. GPS that is direct wired to the battery has power.

    The bike had been starting slow all week, seemed to be getting worse as the days went on. Its been much cooler than normal this week so I though that might be part of the slow starting. Battery is 6 months old and has been kept on a tender. I had the starter off last month when I replaced my front timing chain guides and a leaking front crankshaft seal. Didn't do any starter maintenance while I had it off. I installed a new Hall Sensor then too. Any ideas on what I burned up?

    May not be related but a week ago, I hit a hard bump on a dirt road and the bike shut off. All lights were still working and it started right back up. It did the same once about 8 months ago too.

  2. #2
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    It sounds like the original starter problem is that one or more of the glued magnets in the starter has come loose, or a bushing is worn providing a lot of starter drag. Most likely the magnets which means a new starter is needed.

    The smoke came from insulation burning on a wire. Probably the big hot lead to the starter solenoid. It goes under the battery box and down the left side to attach to the starter. If you are lucky it didn't fail in the harness where it is running with other wires but it might have.

    It is also possible that over time the connection of the main ground wire (also under the battery box) has loosened or become corroded, causing the stall when you hit a bump.

    I think that to fix things you are going to need to remove, inspect, and probably replace the starter. You are also going to need to remove the battery tray - which I think means removing the ABS module, the engine computer, and of course the battery on that model.

    I would disconnect the battery immediately so if an uninsulated wire is jostled it won't short to ground and burn even more things.
    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

  3. #3
    wvrocks
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    Thanks Paul. I have this posted over at ADVrider as well and got similar thoughts. I looked at beemerboneyard for starters, any recommendation on Valeo vs Enduralast starters? They are about $60 difference. Valeo is rebuildable.

    I suspect you are correct about the main ground being bad. Looks like I'm going to get to see some previously unvisited parts of the bike.

  4. #4
    wvrocks
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    Dug into things a bit more last night. Battery is shot. Negative post was partially melted.



    I hooked up an old battery and got most of my dash lights back. No headlight, tail light, signals, tach/speedo backlight, high beam indicator, or driving lights.
    Driving lights are trigger off the tail light. The brake light does still work.

    I took the starter off and tore it down. The magnets moved and locked things up.
    EME has a new style magnet case that retains the magnets better so I think I'm going to try to clean and rebuild the starter instead of replacing it.



    Now I'm off to locate the burned wiring that killed my lights. Probably going to add a couple of fuses to the headlight circuit once I get it repaired. Hopefully I won't have to replace a big chunk of wiring harness.

    I see BeemerBoneyard has wiring harnesses. Do I have to use a GS harness or will any R1100 ABS harness work?

  5. #5
    wvrocks
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    So far I've only found one wire where a short could have occured. The brown ground wire for the fuel tank was rubbed through where it went under the metal battery tray. No scorching on the wire though.

    It was a serious pain to get to the main ground by the way. Tank, battery, motronic, and abs all had to come out to remove the battery tray. Never thought an electrical short would lead to bleeding my brakes! Also pulled the rear wheel to get at the fuse box wiring.

    Parts are on the way to rebuild the starter so that's one positive. Unless of course something other than the magnets failed...

    Quick question, does the starter/associated wiring need to be in place to allow the light circuits to function? If not, where might be the most logical place to look for damage to the light circuit? I'd really rather not cut apart the entire wiring harness for inspection if I can avoid it.

  6. #6
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    starter

    Shade tree mechanic tips:

    sometimes you can smell the shorts especially if they are fresh.

    sometimes you can feel bubbled -shorted- wires

    Before you pitch the battery take it to a an after market parts store like auto zone and have them check it.

    put a good battery in your bike and with (a) jumper cable check to see if you have a good battery cables, especially the negative cable.

    Jon

    I have a used starter and rebuild kit if you are interested. Jon

  7. #7
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Go back and look carefully at the main ground wire and the main hot lead from the battery. Those are the two that are most likely to have cooked from the high current draw of the starter. Trace the ground all the way from the battery to the attachment point. Trace the hot lead all the way from the battery to the starter solenoid. Look for any sign of heat or blistering or anything else that looks abnormal.

    Look for any smaller wires that may have been in close proximity to either of these wires too.
    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

  8. #8
    wvrocks
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    Switched out the load shed relay with another good relay. Still nothing. If I turn the key to Park, I do get the running light up front and the tail light so thats good. I haven't had time to tear into the wiring harness yet but its all accessible now. Six month old babies really cut into the wrenching time.

    More bad news, I took armature out and its pretty torn up. The magnets fractured and cut 2 sections out of the armature. So now it needs replaced too. Wondering at this point if I shouldn't just buy a new starter and forget rebuilding the old one? I haven't tested any other starter parts to see if they are damaged.

    I have the new style field magnets in hand. I'd have to order a new armature for about $50. That puts me at around $90 if all the other starter parts are good.
    New Endurolast is about $125, new Valeo is about $$200. Other option is a used starter from Beemerboneyard for $80 and replace the field magnets with the new style if needed.




  9. #9
    wvrocks
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    Potentially stupid electrical question time... Does the starter wiring have to be hooked up the the starter in order
    for other systems (like the head light) to work? I ask because my new starter came today and I hooked
    it and an older battery up and now all my lights are functional again. It doesn't appear that way in the wiring
    diagram but I didn't really do that well in Electrical Engineering class. I went through most of the wiring with a
    multimeter checking continuity and everything I checked seemed correct. No positive wires grounding out best
    I could tell.

  10. #10
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvrocks View Post
    Potentially stupid electrical question time... Does the starter wiring have to be hooked up the the starter in order
    for other systems (like the head light) to work? I ask because my new starter came today and I hooked
    it and an older battery up and now all my lights are functional again. It doesn't appear that way in the wiring
    diagram but I didn't really do that well in Electrical Engineering class. I went through most of the wiring with a
    multimeter checking continuity and everything I checked seemed correct. No positive wires grounding out best
    I could tell.
    The ground wire for the load relief relay gets its ground completed through the starter solenoid. Therefore if that wire is disconnected from the starter, none of the circuits controlled by the LR relay will come on--includes headlights, flashers, horn, windshield and radio.

    http://www.mac-pac.org/wp-content/up...ec_Diagram.pdf

  11. #11
    wvrocks
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    The ground wire for the load relief relay gets its ground completed through the starter solenoid. Therefore if that wire is disconnected from the starter, none of the circuits controlled by the LR relay will come on--includes headlights, flashers, horn, windshield and radio.

    http://www.mac-pac.org/wp-content/up...ec_Diagram.pdf
    Well then, problem solved... I see what you mean not that I look at the diagram again. Cool.

  12. #12
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wvrocks View Post
    Well then, problem solved... I see what you mean not that I look at the diagram again. Cool.
    It's a sneaky-clever design. Push the starter button and the LR drops out because you have 12V on both sides of its coil. Let go of the starter button and the LR relay is grounded.

    The sneaky part is who would ever guess you need the starter installed to get the lights and horn to work ... or the windshield to go up and down ...
    Last edited by Roger 04 RT; 09-26-2012 at 10:59 AM.

  13. #13
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    It's a sneaky-clever design. Push the starter button and the LR drops out because you have 12V on both sides of its coil. Let go of the starter button and the LR relay is grounded.

    The sneaky part is who would ever guess you need the starter installed to get the lights and horn to work ... or the windshield to go up and down ...
    I love simple designs/circuits like that!
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    It's all about the details.

  14. #14
    wvrocks
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    Well, after a month I finally got the ol' girl back up and running. Fire's up way quicker than before with the new starter. Turns out the battery wasn't damaged when the starter fried so that saved some money. I took the oppurtunity to do continuity checks on all with wiring, clean all the grounds, rewrap some crumbling harness tape, fix some chafed ground wires and generally tidy up the wiring. Also pulled the handlebar switches apart and cleaned them up as the high beam was slow coming on. I added in a direct wiring harness with relays to the headlight circuit and I'm happy with the brighter light. The relays take a lot of the load off the handlebar switches as well.

    Since I had the battery tray out, I had to remove the ABS unit. Of course that meant bleeding the brakes again. Got that all back together and got a good bleed and great lever feel.

    Seems like this took forever to repair. Our 7 month old makes free time in the garage a rare commodity. I'm glad I took the time to do things right though. I'm much more confident in the bike now.

  15. #15
    Registered User devauxb's Avatar
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    Congratulations (on your baby and mechanical stick-to-it-ness)! So what starter did you end up getting?
    Bruno
    2002 R1150RS (Pacific Blue)

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