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Thread: Very reluctant starting of RT

  1. #1
    Hammam
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    Very reluctant starting of RT

    I have put away my R1200 RT (2012) for the winter just three weeks ago. I have filled her up, added fuel stabiliser, and put her on the battery charger. Yesterday, I wanted to check some connections for my heating jacket, so I started the bike. Rather, I tried to start it. It wouldn't. The battery was absolutey topped, and it cranked all righ, but it took me about 10-15 minutes of cranking, shutting down, waiting, cranking again before the bike finally started to cough and spit and start wheezing and shaking away, with an awful sound. And I really had to hold the starter running a long time, otherwise the engine would choke and die. Then I had to wait a good 5 minutes before I could give it a little gas without the engine choking again.

    This bike has 13,500 kms on the clock, and had its 10,00 kms (5,000 miles) service just a few weeks ago. And it always started instantly, and ran nice and smooth.

    What do you make of that? Humidity? Bad fuel? Plugs? Only 3 weeks of storage.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Registered User lbarbee's Avatar
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    Very reluctant starting of RT

    Was it stored on the center stand or side stand? Mine will do that every time if left on side stand for a few days. Dealer says oil collecting in left cylinder soaking plug. Can't validate that, but it never happens on center stand.
    Lynn
    2008 BMW R1200RT (most fun you can legally have)
    2002 BMW R1150RT
    2008 Kawasaki Versys

  3. #3
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbarbee View Post
    Was it stored on the center stand or side stand? Mine will do that every time if left on side stand for a few days. Dealer says oil collecting in left cylinder soaking plug. Can't validate that, but it never happens on center stand.
    It's on the centerstand. I'm a bit baffled by your dealer's remark. I am not very mechanically inclined, but how on earth can oil go INTO AND UP (or maybe down) the STILL cylinder, past the rings and all the way up the the combustion chamber and foul the plug? If that is possible, then there is a leak in the pistons' tightness, and many different symptoms would appear before a foul plug.

  4. #4
    Registered User lbarbee's Avatar
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    Very reluctant starting of RT

    Sorry I can't explain. He seemed to understand, he described it precisely, I just can't remember his answer. All I can say for sure is storing on the side stand was the cause. Once I stopped, it stopped. It was scary the first time, hard to start, awful noise, entire bike shook, stalled several times. I thought I had a serious mechanical failure. That was 30,000 miles ago, no problems since.
    Bike always maintained at regular service intervals.

    I called the dealer tech from my driveway, he immediately said "did you have it stored on the side stand". Which I did.

    He said run it up the road an in 2 miles it'll be fine. He was right.

    I wish I had a more technical answer. Maybe oil draining down from the oil cooler?
    I am sure someone more intimate will have answer.
    Lynn
    2008 BMW R1200RT (most fun you can legally have)
    2002 BMW R1150RT
    2008 Kawasaki Versys

  5. #5
    Registered User lbarbee's Avatar
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    Very reluctant starting of RT

    A quick search shows this debate in almost every major forum.
    I offer my answer as completely anecdotal. Two things I was told to do, store on center stand and full of fuel (or empty) due to fuel strip failures.

    I am just dumb enough to listen.

    Haven't had either problem since. Of course this proves little.
    Lynn
    2008 BMW R1200RT (most fun you can legally have)
    2002 BMW R1150RT
    2008 Kawasaki Versys

  6. #6
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    It's on the centerstand.
    How cold was it in your garage? If on the cool side did you give it a bit of throttle when trying to start?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    I'm a bit baffled by your dealer's remark. I am not very mechanically inclined, but how on earth can oil go INTO AND UP (or maybe down) the STILL cylinder, past the rings and all the way up the the combustion chamber and foul the plug? If that is possible, then there is a leak in the pistons' tightness, and many different symptoms would appear before a foul plug.
    Oil is splashed onto the cylinder walls "below" (the crank side) of the piston It is the job of the oil scraper ring to remove excess oil as the piston moves toward the crank on intake and power strokes. Imagine the engine stops with the piston closer to TDC than BDC. Any oil on the cylinder walls in the crank side of the piston will congregate at the bottom of the cylinder. If the bike is on the side stand the cylinders are not parallel to the ground. The small amount of oil on the left cylinder will pool toward the piston. Piston rings move. If the ring gap happens to be near the bottom of the piston the oil can migrate through the rings into the head. If this set of events happens on a dual plugged bikes the bottom plug is likely to become oil fouled.

  7. #7
    Rally Rat
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    At the risk of being CRUDE, RTFM. (read the manual)

    It says turn the throttle a little for cold start.

    Try it.

    Its what my 2112 needs.

    David

  8. #8
    jeepinbanditrider
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    Drain the fuel and refill with fresh stuff. Ethanol fuel is total garbage and can still go bad even with stabalizers in it. To me this sounds like your most likely culprit.

    Remeber fuel, air, spark. If you have all three the bike will fire. If one is bad or intermittent you will have issues.

    You're getting spark because the bike will run (albiet reluctantly) and short of a mouse or rat building a nest in your airbox (been known to happen), you have air.

    Edit- I'd pull the plugs also just to check them. They aren't hard to get to so should be a quick job. Just make sure they aren't fouled or oil soaked or anything weird like that.

  9. #9
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbarbee View Post
    A quick search shows this debate in almost every major forum.
    I offer my answer as completely anecdotal. Two things I was told to do, store on center stand and full of fuel (or empty) due to fuel strip failures.

    I am just dumb enough to listen.

    Haven't had either problem since. Of course this proves little.
    I don't think you're dumb, because, of course, your mechanic could be right. But I'd love to understand the details of it. That being said, my bike is on the center stand.

  10. #10
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by DROOT153718 View Post
    At the risk of being CRUDE, RTFM. (read the manual)

    It says turn the throttle a little for cold start.

    Try it.

    Its what my 2112 needs.

    David
    Like you said, crude. Maybe the F was one letter too many. That being said, I READ the manuel, though I failed to learn it by heart to be able to recite it from memory in all circumstances. And I did crank the throttle, at the second attempt.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Hammam; 01-02-2013 at 01:45 PM.

  11. #11
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by Downs View Post
    Drain the fuel and refill with fresh stuff. Ethanol fuel is total garbage and can still go bad even with stabalizers in it. To me this sounds like your most likely culprit.

    Remeber fuel, air, spark. If you have all three the bike will fire. If one is bad or intermittent you will have issues.

    You're getting spark because the bike will run (albiet reluctantly) and short of a mouse or rat building a nest in your airbox (been known to happen), you have air.

    Edit- I'd pull the plugs also just to check them. They aren't hard to get to so should be a quick job. Just make sure they aren't fouled or oil soaked or anything weird like that.
    Could be the problem. Unfortunately, what you suggest is not feasible. One, not being very clever, I would probably make a total mess trying to drain the fuel tank. Two, I can't ride the bike until the end of March, because of winter, with a huge blanket of snow everywhere, serious cold (right now, it's 14 F) and no winter tires. Our riding season lasts 8 to 9 months top.

    It's not easy here in Canada to get ethanol-free high octane (91) fuel.

    Thank you for your help.

  12. #12
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    How cold was it in your garage? If on the cool side did you give it a bit of throttle when trying to start?

    ...
    It's at a constant 55-60 F. Yes, I did give it a little throttle. At the second attempt. But then, I dit it again several more times, which may have compounded the problem. In my 6 years since I took up riding again, I've never had a bike (all BMWs) that wouldn't start readily, even on days around 35 F.

    Thank you.

  13. #13
    Hammam
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    Oil is splashed onto the cylinder walls "below" (the crank side) of the piston It is the job of the oil scraper ring to remove excess oil as the piston moves toward the crank on intake and power strokes. Imagine the engine stops with the piston closer to TDC than BDC. Any oil on the cylinder walls in the crank side of the piston will congregate at the bottom of the cylinder. If the bike is on the side stand the cylinders are not parallel to the ground. The small amount of oil on the left cylinder will pool toward the piston. Piston rings move. If the ring gap happens to be near the bottom of the piston the oil can migrate through the rings into the head. If this set of events happens on a dual plugged bikes the bottom plug is likely to become oil fouled.
    Very interesting and informative. Thank you.

  14. #14
    jeepinbanditrider
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammam View Post
    Could be the problem. Unfortunately, what you suggest is not feasible. One, not being very clever, I would probably make a total mess trying to drain the fuel tank. Two, I can't ride the bike until the end of March, because of winter, with a huge blanket of snow everywhere, serious cold (right now, it's 14 F) and no winter tires. Our riding season lasts 8 to 9 months top.

    It's not easy here in Canada to get ethanol-free high octane (91) fuel.

    Thank you for your help.

    Just keep an eye on the interior of the tank. Ethanol is hydroscopic like brakefluid. It has a tendency to draw in moisture and can lead to a rusty tank in higher concentrations. This is also why I'm thinking the fuel is your problem, I think it might have been contaminated by moisture.

    Draining would be as easy as siphoning as much as you can from the tank. It doesn't have to be every single drop just get as much as you can out. Then refill with fresh and see if she'll crank.

  15. #15
    Rally Rat
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    Sorry

    I apologize for the F.

    I had the same problem in Lake Placid this fall. It had gone down to 35*f. I hit the starter as usual. After 3 or 4 tries, I turned the throttle and it fired right up. I then RE read the manual and sure as can be it said if its cold turn the throttle.

    Zero problems starting in the cold since.l

    This where we were. 2 R1200R and an 800GS. I could see whiteface from the hotel.

    011-L.jpg

    For the side stand thing it goes back to the airheads.

    If you put the bike on the side stand and shut it off, there was still oil in the cylinder. It would smoke upon startup if left over night or longer.

    After that I learned to shut the bike off, lean to the right so oil drains out of the left cylinder then park it as I pleased.

    I think its still a habit.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with your bike, or fuel. Just make more cold start attempts until you get to know it better

    David

    IN the picture, my R1200R is the one with the barn door windshield. That is not me in the pic, he owns the F800GS.

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