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Thread: 2006 RT - All Headlights Went Out - All at once...

  1. #1
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    2006 RT - All Headlights Went Out - All at once...

    This morning started like any other, but I made a 20 minute stop on my way to work this morning. When I fired the bike back up I noticed that the Front Headlight Indicator Warning light was on. Thinking that this wasn't a critical issue I continued on and made it to work, knowing I had a few H7's available at home and could do a swap in a couple of minutes tonight. In the parking lot at work I dismounted and visually inspected the front headlight assembly. The bike was still idling and all of the lights were working properly (both Low beams, High beam and PIAA's mounted under grill), yet the Front Headlight Indicator Warning was present. Perplexed, I turned the bike off and figured\hoped some rest would be good for the situation.

    I left work rather late tonight and had forgotten about the issue. I never start the bike with the High Beam's on (PIAA's are switched off the High Beams - so they are off as well). Upon start-up I immediately noticed the Front Headlight Indicator warning on the dash and stepped in front of the bike to look at the headlights again. At this point I have no low beam headlights lights, but my PIAA's were on and yet the High Beam button was toggled to the off position. This should not be possible. The PIAA's only come on when the High Beam Switch is toggled to the on position and the PIAA's have their own on\off switch also has to be set to on (which is it's default position). I toggled on the High Beam switch to on and still no Low or High beam illumination - and the PIAA's remained on. I switched the High Beam switch off (to low beam) and the PIAA's remained on? The independent PIAA control switch was responsive to on\off power.

    I've never had an electrical problem with the bike and the PIAA's have been on the bike over 3+ years - not something I added last weekend. Tonight I disconnected the battery on the bike - just to see if there was some sort of reset to the system that would occur - no such luck. I decided to pull one of the Low Beam bulbs, just to visually inspect a bulb - could it be that all the bulbs went bad at once? The bulb was was fine. The plastic connector assembly was brittle - but it was reinstalled. I'm not sure what next steps are? I'm not very strong at electrical issues, but any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    This is one where using a GS-911 might be helpful. It sounds like a short circuit somewhere that is causing the ZFE to turn off the headlight circuits. The GS-911 should tell you this. As with any add-on wiring - that's where I'd look first.. the behavior of the PIAA lights seems inexplicable - so to me - that points to something going bad with them - perhaps the controller that is fed off the high-beam circuit. I'd disconnect the entire PIAA circuit from the headlight circuit and see if the fault clears.

    The ZFE will turn the circuit back on once a short is removed. You do have to cycle the ignition for this to happen.

    Disconnecting the battery has no effect at all on most modern auto/car electronics - BMW bikes included. That goes back to Motronic 1.1 systems on cars that had the first "learning" capability - disconnecting it would erase learned behavior. Not so with modern auto/bike stuff. About all that's forgotten by disconnecting the battery is the clock setting and the MPG display.

    Good luck - didn't notice where you're from - but there might be someone in your area who would be willing to hook their GS-911 up to your bike. If you use the VIN limited edition with the Android app - it doesn't count against the VINs registered to the GS-911.. (used mine in Birmingham last month for two bikes having problems..)
    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

  3. #3
    ExMaTprinLowerAlabama
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    If its ALL front lights I'd suspect the connector plug first...

    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    This is one where using a GS-911 might be helpful. It sounds like a short circuit somewhere that is causing the ZFE to turn off the headlight circuits. The GS-911 should tell you this. As with any add-on wiring - that's where I'd look first.. the behavior of the PIAA lights seems inexplicable - so to me - that points to something going bad with them - perhaps the controller that is fed off the high-beam circuit. I'd disconnect the entire PIAA circuit from the headlight circuit and see if the fault clears.

    The ZFE will turn the circuit back on once a short is removed. You do have to cycle the ignition for this to happen.

    Disconnecting the battery has no effect at all on most modern auto/car electronics - BMW bikes included. That goes back to Motronic 1.1 systems on cars that had the first "learning" capability - disconnecting it would erase learned behavior. Not so with modern auto/bike stuff. About all that's forgotten by disconnecting the battery is the clock setting and the MPG display.

    Good luck - didn't notice where you're from - but there might be someone in your area who would be willing to hook their GS-911 up to your bike. If you use the VIN limited edition with the Android app - it doesn't count against the VINs registered to the GS-911.. (used mine in Birmingham last month for two bikes having problems..)

  4. #4
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    If your trigger to the PIAAs stays hot with the 6 wire connector off the lamp housing, and their bulb power is from battery as normally installed, they will indeed operate with the 6 wire connector loose.

    That 6 wire connector doesn't reseat well when off- it usually needs some pressure form the back side to click home- be sure it is tight- not just visual check.

    The ZFE resets at key off. If the problem happens after key off, you haven't found and fixed it (assuming the bulbs are still good). Get out the VOM and have at it. The circuits are simple.

    If you have a Kisan modulator (probably not, I'd suspect), suspect it connectors which are only an approximation of mating factory connector rather than an exact match

  5. #5
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    Issue Identified...

    Thank you all three of you for helping me identify the issue and not feel completely stupid - hahaha! As you astutely recognized I haven't done any major wrenching, at least not since a '69 Firebird restoration over 20 years ago. Now I have to set a clock - LOL!

    The PIAA's are wired "normally" as you suspected. The root cause was the 6 wire connector coming loose. The connection doesn't feel secure as I would expect and as a result the connection has come loose once since identifying the issue. I will figure out why it's not staying connected tomorrow morning over a cup of coffee and take care of it. Worst case is that I have the dealership (50 miles away) install a new connector when it's in the shop for new RP4 GT's and a clutch on the 15th.

    Thanks again,

    Brian
    Littlerock, WA

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2brian View Post
    Worst case is that I have the dealership (50 miles away) install a new connector when it's in the shop for new RP4 GT's and a clutch on the 15th.

    Thanks again,

    Brian
    Littlerock, WA
    Brian - make sure you verify that the dealer actually has the PR4 GTs in stock before you head in. Rears especially have been in really short supply, I finally had to order mine from Texas and have them shipped to California. PR4 non-GT, not so much.

    JayJay
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    '09 R1200 RT
    Lots of rice burners in the past ...

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the insight JayJay! I called the dealer today and they have the front reserved for me, but they won't have any more rear GT's until sometime after August 8th. So I jumped online and after about an hour of searching and calling (to your credit most vendors were OUT OF STOCK) I was able to find a rear GT and now it's on it's way.

    Take care,

    - Brian

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2brian View Post
    Thanks for the insight JayJay! I called the dealer today and they have the front reserved for me, but they won't have any more rear GT's until sometime after August 8th. So I jumped online and after about an hour of searching and calling (to your credit most vendors were OUT OF STOCK) I was able to find a rear GT and now it's on it's way.

    Take care,

    - Brian
    Yup, that's what I found. Finally found them at Central Texas Powersports, good price even with shipping.

    JayJay
    ******
    '09 R1200 RT
    Lots of rice burners in the past ...

  9. #9
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2brian View Post
    The root cause was the 6 wire connector coming loose. The connection doesn't feel secure as I would expect and as a result the connection has come loose once since identifying the issue. I will figure out why it's not staying connected tomorrow morning over a cup of coffee and take care of it.
    I've had an issue with the fixed portion of that connector slipping into the headlight housing, preventing a solid electrical connection. The two small plastic tabs on the sides were not strong enough, so it would slip into the housing as the wiring connector pushed it. I jammed a very small bit of wooden matchstick behind each tab to prevent them from unlocking as the wiring harness connector is pushed into place. No further trouble.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

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