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Thread: ABS gremlins?

  1. #1
    Bmuused 182242's Avatar
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    ABS gremlins?

    The abs lights did not go off as I started out for a morning ride on my 1997 r1100rt. Normally, the abs lights flash alternately until I roll forward a few feet and the abs audibly sets. Since I still had normal brakes, and it was dry sunny day, I continued riding, thinking i would figure it out when I got back. Along the way, I tried switching off the bike at stoplights and restarting, pumping the brake pedal and lever, etc., to no avail. About an hour later, after a rest stop, everything returned to normal. The bike had been sitting unused for two weeks (due to a busy work schedule). It was colder than usual when I set out and I was using my heated vest, although I don't see how that would affect anything. I'm thinking maybe a dirty contact or something. Any ideas, or should I just chalk it up to one of the quirks of a 15 year old motorcycle.
    Good judgment comes from experience, but experience often comes from bad judgment.

  2. #2
    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 182242 View Post
    The abs lights did not go off as I started out for a morning ride on my 1997 r1100rt. Normally, the abs lights flash alternately until I roll forward a few feet and the abs audibly sets. Since I still had normal brakes, and it was dry sunny day, I continued riding, thinking i would figure it out when I got back. Along the way, I tried switching off the bike at stoplights and restarting, pumping the brake pedal and lever, etc., to no avail. About an hour later, after a rest stop, everything returned to normal. The bike had been sitting unused for two weeks (due to a busy work schedule). It was colder than usual when I set out and I was using my heated vest, although I don't see how that would affect anything. I'm thinking maybe a dirty contact or something. Any ideas, or should I just chalk it up to one of the quirks of a 15 year old motorcycle.
    Check the big connector to the ABS controller. It might need some contact cleaner.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

  3. #3
    Bmuused 182242's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll give that a look.
    Good judgment comes from experience, but experience often comes from bad judgment.

  4. #4
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
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    Sounds like the ABS low-voltage fault. Once you rode the bike enough the battery got charged up by the alternator and the engine oil was hot so the restart after your rest stop didn't pull battery voltage down to fault level.

    How old is your battery and are the cable connections clean and tight?
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

  5. #5
    Nickname: Droid
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    Three things here describe it, especially on an older bike:
    1. Bike sat unused for two weeks, so the battery does drain down.
    2. Colder than usual, so cracking requires more voltage.
    3. ABS on those older Oilheads are more sensitive to low-voltage starts.

    Ride more often if possible (on highway for a solid 1/2 hour), keeps the battery active and charged. If not that, get a battery tender and leave the bike plugged in whenever you're not riding it. This will keep the battery active, no more ABS low voltage start faults, and the battery will last longer.

    I really doubt it is dirty contacts on the ABS connector. and its a lot of work to get to it, fuel tank and plastic has to come off to get to the ABS connector. Get a Deltran or Shumacher battery tender and your issues will go away and you'll replace the battery less often.

  6. #6
    Registered User PAS's Avatar
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    I just replaced the battery in my 03 R1150RT this weekend. The clock would re set each start up and it cranked real slow but it never set the ABS light on.

    Perhaps the whizzy brake system is different??

  7. #7
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ANDYVH View Post
    Three things here describe it, especially on an older bike:
    1. Bike sat unused for two weeks, so the battery does drain down.
    2. Colder than usual, so cracking requires more voltage.
    3. ABS on those older Oilheads are more sensitive to low-voltage starts.

    Ride more often if possible (on highway for a solid 1/2 hour), keeps the battery active and charged. If not that, get a battery tender and leave the bike plugged in whenever you're not riding it. This will keep the battery active, no more ABS low voltage start faults, and the battery will last longer.

    I really doubt it is dirty contacts on the ABS connector. and its a lot of work to get to it, fuel tank and plastic has to come off to get to the ABS connector. Get a Deltran or Shumacher battery tender and your issues will go away and you'll replace the battery less often.
    'Tis the season for battery failures. I've only had batteries fail in the fall. We just had to replace the original battery on the wife's 2003 VW Jetta. After 10 years and 100,000 miles, it was long-past it's "pull date". Same thing a couple years back with my Toyota Tundra. With the cold mornings, weak batteries are revealed on a daily basis this time of year. Put that battery in a motorcycle that isn't used on a daily basis, and that battery will demand a transfer to Phoenix for the winter.

    Use a tender - that will keep your battery topped off and happy through periods of little or no use. My RTP has two batteries, so I have to remember to switch the tender from the main battery to the auxiliary battery and then back to ensure both are charged up.

    I recommend the BMW brand tender. Mine has worked perfectly for approximately five years now. IIRC, the BMW brand tender is the only one recommended for the newer CANbus systems.
    Seattle, WA
    2012 R1200GSA
    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  8. #8
    Bmuused 182242's Avatar
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    I bought the bike this past spring. I seem to recall the previous owner saying the battery was a couple of years old at the time. I have a battery tender with a bmw plug, but i haven't used it yet. Now that the weather is turning cooler here, I may have to start plugging it in.
    Good judgment comes from experience, but experience often comes from bad judgment.

  9. #9
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    As far as I know the only ABS fault that will reset itself is the low voltage fault. The others need to be reset. So, it seems to me that the battery is the problem, or starter drag could be the problem.
    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

  10. #10
    Nickname: Droid
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    A battery tender is not just for cold weather use. If the bike sits more than a week unridden, leave it plugged in to the tender. It does no harm at all and it keeps th battery active. I've been doing this for years. From the end of Nov ti the middle of March I leave the battery in the bike and just plug in the tender.

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