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Thread: Why am I getting only 25mpg?

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  1. #1
    WineGuyD wineguyd's Avatar
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    Why am I getting only 25mpg?

    I have a 1996 R1100R that I recently purchased with 17,000 miles on it. Took it to the nearest BMW service shop and had them do a combined 16/24k maintenance that included replacing all fluids, all filters, the plugs, the ribbed V-belt. They synced the TB and tuned and adjusted everything and anything possible. Conti Road Attacks are new with about 1k miles on them, wheels are balanced and true. Brakes in great shape with lots of life left on pads. I've been using 91-93 octane gas. And finally the bike has the stock OEM windscreen.

    In theory the bike should be running in top form now, the specs say I should get an average of 45mpg. When I first got it I went through three tanks of gas and averaged low 30's per gallon, Fuelly.com shows people getting no less than 35mpg and as much as 50mpg. With the bike back and tuned I've done two tanks and averaged 25mpg per tank.

    Any ideas as to why such low numbers? I commute on the bike so it gets mixed highway and city riding and I'm not a racer, nor do I gun it or rev it high. I plan to take it back to the shop but I'd like to be as informed as possible beforehand so if they try to blow it off I can respond to them.
    Purveyor of fine wines & spirits
    Rides a 1996 R1100R

  2. #2
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    That's really low.

    What coding plug is installed?
    Do you have any add-ons like a Power Commander or Techlusion?
    RB

  3. #3
    WineGuyD wineguyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    That's really low.

    What coding plug is installed?
    Do you have any add-ons like a Power Commander or Techlusion?
    RB
    By "Coding plug" do you mean spark plugs? BMW installed what ever they considered OEM stock.

    No add-ons.

    The bike seems to runs smooth, no missing or stalling. Starts up easy. I'm clueless as how this bike should feel and run since I've only owned Honda 4's previously. My first boxer.
    Purveyor of fine wines & spirits
    Rides a 1996 R1100R

  4. #4
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    Here we go, this will be an awesome thread to follow. With all the "experts" to way in, I can't wait to see how far astray they will take you.
    1997 R1100RT (Restored Basket Case) , 1981 KZ 440 LTD (Restored Basket Case)
    1986 K75S(the beutch), 1993 K1100RS (blown engine), 1997 Chev Short Box (4x4 with an LT1)
    "You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him."

  5. #5
    WineGuyD wineguyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dieselyoda View Post
    Here we go, this will be an awesome thread to follow. With all the "experts" to way in, I can't wait to see how far astray they will take you.

    I'll take it!
    Purveyor of fine wines & spirits
    Rides a 1996 R1100R

  6. #6
    Moondog
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    Can you say 90 mph all day?

    (I jest)

  7. #7
    All-round Motorcyclist MarkM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wineguyd View Post
    By "Coding plug" do you mean spark plugs? BMW installed what ever they considered OEM stock.
    Not spark plugs. He's referring to the Cat Code Plug. You can Google that and find some info about where it is located and that if removed, it can cause significantly lower gas mileage. I don't have any personal experience with it so I'll leave it at that. Maybe someone more knowledgeable will come along and provide more info specific to your bike.

    By the way, you'll find some good technical info about oilheads on IBMWR's Oilhead Tech Articles page. My favorite resource there is the R11xx Tune Up Manual.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride!
    Mark M, St. Louis, '95 R1100RS, '01 Super Sherpa
    There are two roads in life; the twisty one is vastly more fun.

  8. #8
    WineGuyD wineguyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    That's really low.

    What coding plug is installed?
    Do you have any add-ons like a Power Commander or Techlusion?
    RB
    This is a shot from this morning, does the code plug pink color mean anything? Are these plugs prone to failure?
    Purveyor of fine wines & spirits
    Rides a 1996 R1100R

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wineguyd View Post
    This is a shot from this morning, does the code plug pink color mean anything? Are these plugs prone to failure?
    No, no more prone to failure than any other piece of wire.
    (dives into a pile of papers, comes up with single sheet, reads...)

    I may have to beg for help here for a 100% righteous answer but you will probably be satisfied that pink is the oem plug for the R bike.

    I believe that Pink takes both 87 and 87a to ground (30) which tells the Motronic that (87) there is a catalytic converter or in other words to expect an O2 sensor providing closed loop, and (87a) you have "R/GS" intake tubes or cam timing - probably provides a different spark advance curve or possibly an accellerator pump function. The longer and smaller diameter intakes supposedly improve the responsiveness of the engine at the expense (possibly) of top end output.

    So yellow for S/RS/RT and pink for R/GS.
    ...in the US.

  10. #10
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    Might check your owner's manual too, I think at least one of the mini fuses is not supposed to be blue.

  11. #11
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wineguyd View Post





    This is a shot from this morning, does the code plug pink color mean anything? Are these plugs prone to failure?
    As others have said, you have the correct coding plug for your motorcycle. So before jumping to an O2 sensor, which is looking like the problem, you could pull fuse 5 for 15 minutes to reset the Motronic and then check your mileage again.

    You could also remove the coding plug and put in a jumper from 30-87a, causing it to ignore the O2, reset and check mileage.

    If the O2 sensor is bad causing your bike to run rich, you might find that with the pink plug and a working O2 sensor, that you don't like the performance as well, since the engine will then be running a lot leaner.

    Take a step at a time and you'll get a good compromise.

  12. #12
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Why am I getting only 25mpg?

    WOW!!!

    First off, glad you are ok - second - that dealership sounds like it is staffed with hacks.

    It the caliper fell off and was dangling, I'd hesitate to trust the new braided line that was just installed.

    I think this is about the time I'd be demanding most of my money back and considering small claims court if they don't make this right. I'd probably skip the service writer and head straight for the owner.

    If you are a member of your local club, you might ask around to see who they use or if one of them is competent with a wrench.

  13. #13
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    Were the bolts just loose?

    Assuming they just didn't properly reattach the caliper, that's staggering negligence.
    2000 R1100RT / 1987 K75C (RIP) / Santa Clarita, CA

  14. #14
    WineGuyD wineguyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesInCA View Post
    Were the bolts just loose?

    Assuming they just didn't properly reattach the caliper, that's staggering negligence.
    Both bolts were gone when I pulled over to inspect so I don't know if I was riding with loose bolts or no bolts. I'd have to think that the bolts were there but never tightened because I rode 20miles before I lost the front brake.
    Purveyor of fine wines & spirits
    Rides a 1996 R1100R

  15. #15
    Registered User rxcrider's Avatar
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    Diesel - wish I shared your optimism - what I've seen too many times is dealerships who's first measure of a successful service department is profit. This leads to a lack of diagnostic time and hiring the cheapest part changers you can. Who wants to bet they diagnosed the brake hoses without removing or inspecting them. It happens at dealerships and independents and the result is a lack of quality work. Best bet is finding a shop where the mechanic is the owner or one where the customers are on a first name basis with the mechanics.

    Glad I wrench on my own stuff! Wish you were closer so I could give you a hand.

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