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Thread: BMW multifunction switch 2013 R1200RT

  1. #1
    BMW is Boxer-Boxer is BMW GregoryT's Avatar
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    BMW multifunction switch 2013 R1200RT

    Hello everybody, we all love our bikes (this is my 9th BMW that I've purchased brand new) and I know that there is no better brand for us - saying this, I have a question.

    Why after all of these years, BMW is not issuing an international recall for the multifunction switch?
    All K, F, G and recently, RT bikes use the same (or similar) type of multifunction switch. This is dangerous for us and the people that we share the road with.

    Currently, I own 2013 R1200RT and I truly love the bike, but after 1200 miles the L/S multifunction switch started to act up...
    First the turn signal indicater was inoperable, then the cruise control, high/low beam light and on board computer info system became useless.
    After reading a bunch of other posts regarding these experiences I've came to the conclusion that BMW MUST ISSUE an international recall for this problem.

    Today my motorcycle was repaired by Ride West BMW in Seattle, and I just hope that this will be a permanent fix.
    If not, then I feel that this is a continuous problem that BMW is not capable of fixing for a number of years.
    This is a safety related problem and needs to be adressed. It's quite dangerous to ride your bike with stuck cruise control system and inoperable head lights and/or turn signal lights that are completely useless.
    In my opinion, for a motorcycle that someone may pay over $20,000 for, this problem is unacceptable.
    Redesign the switch, change the vendor, put your engineers to work. Do something.

    As stated, BMW repaired my bike for now. But, if this problem will resurface I want to have a permanent solution.
    I know that the company has tried to work this out and they have changed the part number of the switch several times but THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR US - failing to find a successful solution is putting the lives of riders at risk.
    Last edited by deilenberger; 09-25-2013 at 09:56 PM. Reason: added year/model to title
    G.T.
    BMW MOA # 71371
    Everett, WA

    2013 R1200RT

  2. #2
    Missin' my Dog vegasgsa's Avatar
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    Common GS problem as well..much documented on ADV Rider..it seems though..the replacement switches are holding up...Of course...no dealer has ever heard of the problem and it's the first one they've seen..typical BMW dealer speak..one guys horn stuck on for an hour or so..

    Water Pumps are starting to show signs of leakage too..many with less than 10,000 miles..

  3. #3
    Registered User Firenailer's Avatar
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    I just had the right side multi function / starter switch go bad on my 2012 RT at 8000 miles. My dealership (MAX BMW) was great about it. They were aware of the problem, ordered a replacement (as they were out at the time) and replaced it under warranty when the part arrived.

    The good news is that the new multi function switch is warrantied for 24 months from the date of install, so I've got a pretty good window to see if it will be a keeper.

    The starter switches seem to fail in the heat. Should this happen to you, before calling for a tow get the bike into the shade and / or cover the switch with a coat to get it out of the sun which will allow the contacts to cool enough to again make contact and start the bike when you press the starter.

    I've heard pouring cool water will work as well. Didn't try that.

    It does shake your confidence a bit and makes me wonder what other switches or electronics might be questionable, but it is what it is. In this case the Dealer stepped up and did everything they could to fix the problem and I'm happy and satisfied with that, and their performance.
    Ride Safe,
    Bob
    '12 R1200RT

  4. #4
    Missin' my Dog vegasgsa's Avatar
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    Yep..the "contact" material is embedded in the plastic..then machined to tolerance...if the ambient air temps get to far out of the design parameters..the contacts..mo longer do. cooling the set up, will get everything back in geosynchronous orbit..Oddly..it seems it works to the cold side as well..and you need to warm it all up..(from what I've read about the problem anyway..just one more reason not to buy a first year anything..or, in BMW's case..first five years)

    Not sure yet how this is an "improvement" over the paddles that always worked..?? I guess it keeps you in the dealership, milling about with a wallet in your pocket.
    Insert Witty Sig Line Here..
    '08 GSA..two tranny's, two driveshafts, too many headlights to mention..frame is broke..
    '10 798 GS

  5. #5
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Greg - please review: http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthread.php?46055

    Since your bike has the "new" (and troublesome I've heard) switches - this info IS important, and having it in the title just might get someone to open the thread who has experience or can help. It also will help others seeking the same info later on.

    I'm adding year/model to your thread title.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  6. #6
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    I rather doubt that "stuck cruise control" is a likely problem.

    That since there are several methods to turn off an activated cruise control that aren't involved with the combination switch. Tap one or the other brake control, declutch, for example. (Can you name two more?) Nothing unsafe about not being able to activate it in the first place, of course.

    OP is a bit too hysteric about all this. Bit uninformed, too.

    Failure modes haven't really been documented thoroughly. For example, usually the circuitry involved in high-beam flashing is separate from that for permanently switched on high beam and it's not really documented they would both fail simultaneously. You may still have a high beam if you hold in flash postion, for example.

    As for turn signals, you don't really have to roll down a window to make hand signals on a motorcycle, and they are quite legal substitutes for flashing lights. If the possibility of electrical failure of a turn signal were a signficant safety problem, they'd have to make bulbs that never burned out, wouldn't they?

    "Changed part numbers" means newly-designed parts, of course, and that's what you (should) get when you get a warranty replacement. In the real world, then, BMW is clearly on top of the problem since there are indeed improved parts. If you're sure they're not improved, there wouldn't be much point in a recall anyway, would there?

    There is for sure a difference between "possibility" and "certainty," and no negative safety certainty is demonstrable as regards these switches. >50% liklihood not demonstrated either, I'd suggest. Hence warranty replacement of random failures as opposed to proactive recall. Standard operating procedure throughout the industry.

    And, making a connection between cost of the vehicle and expected reliablity may exist in somebody's way of thinking, but it sure doesn't in the real world.

    As Sgt. Hulka said, suggest "backing off" a bit from the hysteria.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  7. #7
    BMW is Boxer-Boxer is BMW GregoryT's Avatar
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    Uninformed hysteria.

    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    I rather doubt that "stuck cruise control" is a likely problem.

    That since there are several methods to turn off an activated cruise control that aren't involved with the combination switch. Tap one or the other brake control, declutch, for example. (Can you name two more?) Nothing unsafe about not being able to activate it in the first place, of course.

    OP is a bit too hysteric about all this. Bit uninformed, too.

    Failure modes haven't really been documented thoroughly. For example, usually the circuitry involved in high-beam flashing is separate from that for permanently switched on high beam and it's not really documented they would both fail simultaneously. You may still have a high beam if you hold in flash postion, for example.

    As for turn signals, you don't really have to roll down a window to make hand signals on a motorcycle, and they are quite legal substitutes for flashing lights. If the possibility of electrical failure of a turn signal were a signficant safety problem, they'd have to make bulbs that never burned out, wouldn't they?

    "Changed part numbers" means newly-designed parts, of course, and that's what you (should) get when you get a warranty replacement. In the real world, then, BMW is clearly on top of the problem since there are indeed improved parts. If you're sure they're not improved, there wouldn't be much point in a recall anyway, would there?

    There is for sure a difference between "possibility" and "certainty," and no negative safety certainty is demonstrable as regards these switches. >50% liklihood not demonstrated either, I'd suggest. Hence warranty replacement of random failures as opposed to proactive recall. Standard operating procedure throughout the industry.

    And, making a connection between cost of the vehicle and expected reliablity may exist in somebody's way of thinking, but it sure doesn't in the real world.

    As Sgt. Hulka said, suggest "backing off" a bit from the hysteria.
    You're right, my lights were stuck on high beam. After trying to change from high to low beams I was left with ONLY parking lights riding in the dark on a busy freeway just north of Seattle at 6:00am. Yes, I would consider this extremely dangerous, but maybe I'm just paranoid.
    When I brought my bike in for service at the dealer the service advisor and a couple of mechanics were caught off guard by my parking lights remaining stuck on even with the keys removed from the ignition and not being set to the parking lights position.

    This experience with the lights was enough for me.
    So, after that I did not try to play around with the issues regarding cruise control. Even though I do obviously know the other means of turning it off...

    My turn signal switch was stuck blinking in R/S mode. Any of my attempts to turn on L/S signal or shut it off would then turn four ways which I was unable to manually turn off. The bike's electronic timer would eventually cancel it out.

    The fact that BMW changed several switches in attempt to fix this proves of their awareness of these issues. But unfortunately, even my case shows that the problem is still unsolved.

    In my opinion, a formal recall of this failing switch would force them to develop a permanent solution instead of just continuously patching it up.

    I don't know about you, but I sure expect a lot more from an RT than a KLR.
    G.T.
    BMW MOA # 71371
    Everett, WA

    2013 R1200RT

  8. #8
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Greg,

    One suggestion. If you want BMW to issue a "recall" - chances are you'll be waiting a long long time. Recalls are typically forced on manufacturers by the NHTSA to fix what the NHTSA deem significant safety hazards. On occasion the manufacturer will point the finger at themselves and do a voluntary "recall" - more often it's the result of an investigation by NHTSA prompted by repeated reports of failures to them by owners of the vehicles.

    The way to make it happen is to visit their website and file a report.

    There are some directions on how to do this in another thread on our failing fuel-strips:
    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...l=1#post858929

    I'd suggest following that advice - but select the correct "part" category for the switches - perhaps "Electrical" then publicize the steps needed to report this failure among venues where the failure is being talked about (ADVRider, here, there..) Stress that the report should include what risks these failures present to safe operation of the motorcycle, and that everyone reporting uses the same "part" category, and if possible - narrow down the range of models/years.

    That said - I know there was a decent response to the fuel-strip failure reports, and to date I know of no action being taken on it (despite identical failures being deemed safety hazards requiring a recall on other vehicles, including other motorcycles.) One series of reported failures that IS being investigated due to multiple reports of failure on BMW motorcycles is leaking fuel systems - mostly due to the poor flange design on the fuel pump mounts. So far no recall has been issued (I subscribe to all the motorcycle recalls) but it has progressed to where NHTSA is asking BMW questions.

    Taking this action has a chance of a productive outcome. Simply posting your disappointment to this forum is very unlikely to have any positive effect on the outcome. The complaints might be read/noted by BMW, but as long as it isn't hitting their bottom line, chances of it being productive are slim.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  9. #9
    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Greg,

    One suggestion. If you want BMW to issue a "recall" - chances are you'll be waiting a long long time. Recalls are typically forced on manufacturers by the NHTSA to fix what the NHTSA deem significant safety hazards. On occasion the manufacturer will point the finger at themselves and do a voluntary "recall" - more often it's the result of an investigation by NHTSA prompted by repeated reports of failures to them by owners of the vehicles.

    The way to make it happen is to visit their website and file a report.

    There are some directions on how to do this in another thread on our failing fuel-strips:
    http://www.bmwmoa.org/forum/showthre...l=1#post858929

    I'd suggest following that advice - but select the correct "part" category for the switches - perhaps "Electrical" then publicize the steps needed to report this failure among venues where the failure is being talked about (ADVRider, here, there..) Stress that the report should include what risks these failures present to safe operation of the motorcycle, and that everyone reporting uses the same "part" category, and if possible - narrow down the range of models/years.

    That said - I know there was a decent response to the fuel-strip failure reports, and to date I know of no action being taken on it (despite identical failures being deemed safety hazards requiring a recall on other vehicles, including other motorcycles.) One series of reported failures that IS being investigated due to multiple reports of failure on BMW motorcycles is leaking fuel systems - mostly due to the poor flange design on the fuel pump mounts. So far no recall has been issued (I subscribe to all the motorcycle recalls) but it has progressed to where NHTSA is asking BMW questions.

    Taking this action has a chance of a productive outcome. Simply posting your disappointment to this forum is very unlikely to have any positive effect on the outcome. The complaints might be read/noted by BMW, but as long as it isn't hitting their bottom line, chances of it being productive are slim.
    Remember Eilenberger's Axiom:



    ...BMW's usual reactions to these sort of things:

    1. What problem?
    2. Oh, that problem. First we've heard of it.
    3. You caused it
    4. Your environment caused it (fuel properties usually)
    5. We have no problem
    My Motorrad
    BMWMOA 162849 | BMWRA 41335 | VROC 8109-R | VBA 19

  10. #10
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    My dealer did hear of the start switch problem. Mine failed twice this season, but worked when it cooled off, so I was in no hurry to bring it in since it worked 99% of the time I needed it to. Then one day, a seemingly different non-start problem- no start and a CHECK EWS in the display. That error display is the EWS ring in the ignition switch that reads your key and recognizes it's a good BMW key (or not). Towed to dealer, and they said it was all due to the Start switch (which I kinda doubted). But it's been fine since.

    I wouldn't drown any switch that's already acting up in water. You can cool it fast with a few ice cubes in a baggie, or, like the dealer advised- A can of compressed air will cool it enough. He also said NO to WD-40 in case anyone is wondering.

  11. #11
    Missin' my Dog vegasgsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ponch1 View Post
    Remember Eilenberger's Axiom:



    ...BMW's usual reactions to these sort of things:

    1. What problem?
    2. Oh, that problem. First we've heard of it.
    3. You caused it
    4. Your environment caused it (fuel properties usually)
    5. We have no problem
    You forgot "Rider caused"

    Blame the customer...!!!
    Insert Witty Sig Line Here..
    '08 GSA..two tranny's, two driveshafts, too many headlights to mention..frame is broke..
    '10 798 GS

  12. #12
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vegasgsa View Post
    You forgot "Rider caused"

    Blame the customer...!!!
    No - see #3..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  13. #13
    Ponch
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    No - see #3..
    The master speaks.
    My Motorrad
    BMWMOA 162849 | BMWRA 41335 | VROC 8109-R | VBA 19

  14. #14
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Can we change the topic to multimalfunction switch>
    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

  15. #15
    JoeDabbs
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    I just had the mf switch (left) on my '11 RT. They must have redesigned it, because now when I push to cancel the turnsignal, I can definitely feel a "click". On my '10 RT, havng gone through 3 switches, none had the "click". My '11, didn't have the "click" either.
    Joe Dabbs
    2011 RT
    1975 R60/6

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