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Thread: 2007 R1200GS Cold Start Rattle

  1. #1
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    2007 R1200GS Cold Start Rattle

    Greetings,

    My 2007 GS with 108,000 miles has this cold start rattle I can't figure out.
    When starting after it stayed overnight or many hours (engine temp gauge less than 1 bar) it has an annoying random rattle which transmits to the whole gearbox and makes it worse.
    Pulling clutch lever alleviates the noise, but the random rattle and mildly disturbed cold idle seems to remain with the engine.
    If I rev the engine it is smooth and without any interruptions. Riding, the engine pulls strong and gearbox shifts easy as ever. Once I ride it and it warms up well, idle becomes smooth and the noise is gone while stationary. I am just trying to determine if it's something I should plan splitting the bike and transmission to inspect (it was never done) and if this may be electrical/fuel related when cold, rather than mechanical. And how to go about it. All usual maintenance is up to date including gearbox and motor oil change, valve adjustment and TB sync. I even replaced left cam chain tensioner in hoping it was worn out, but did not help with this cold idle/rattle issue. I know there are two more tensioners, one on left cylinder and one on the front timing chain, under alternator. The noise seems to come from left side but this maybe influenced by transmission being closer there.. I researched many forums and maybe I just didn't do it right, but could not find any information to help me diagnose this symptom.
    I recorded a video, by 1/2 way the rattle and random jumps in idle are more evident.

    http://youtu.be/-o29Kl4TXxs

    Thank you for your time and thanks in advance for any input with ideas to fix.

  2. #2
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Before disassembling anything.. do the following:

    1. An anal-compulsive valve adjustment. Get them JUST right. See the DIY subforum for how.

    2. Check the throttle-body balance - although this is less critical on a hexhead due to the steppers that automatically adjust the idle speed independently. It might be worth removing and lubricating the steppers (I don't think I ever wrote it up here, but it can probably be found out on the R1150R.net website under the R1200R subforum.)

    3. Get a GS-911 on the bike and observe the action of the O2 sensors.

    The rattle can just be normal gear rattle caused by an engine firing slightly "off" - especially at idle. There is enough slop in the transmission (and driveline) that with the clutch engaged (ie - connected and the input shaft on the transmission spinning) if the idle speed fluctuates - the gears accelerate and deaccelerate - causing a clatter.

    This can be particularly noticeable if your O2 sensors aren't behaving. I've replaced both on my '07 R1200R - which would do this intermittently as the sensors got older. You're at the mileage where it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see very slow (or not responding at all) O2 sensors. You can plot the O2 sensors with the real-time readout from the GS-911, and they should start switching over "0" about 10-15 seconds after the bike starts (they are heated sensors, and located where exhaust heat gets there fast.)
    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

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    Just wondering what fluids you use...? Do you use Castrol SAF-XO in the gear case? What weight engine oil are you using?

    Good luck.

    Dave McDougall

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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Before disassembling anything.. do the following:

    1. An anal-compulsive valve adjustment. Get them JUST right. See the DIY subforum for how.

    2. Check the throttle-body balance - although this is less critical on a hexhead due to the steppers that automatically adjust the idle speed independently. It might be worth removing and lubricating the steppers (I don't think I ever wrote it up here, but it can probably be found out on the R1150R.net website under the R1200R subforum.)

    3. Get a GS-911 on the bike and observe the action of the O2 sensors.

    The rattle can just be normal gear rattle caused by an engine firing slightly "off" - especially at idle. There is enough slop in the transmission (and driveline) that with the clutch engaged (ie - connected and the input shaft on the transmission spinning) if the idle speed fluctuates - the gears accelerate and deaccelerate - causing a clatter.

    This can be particularly noticeable if your O2 sensors aren't behaving. I've replaced both on my '07 R1200R - which would do this intermittently as the sensors got older. You're at the mileage where it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see very slow (or not responding at all) O2 sensors. You can plot the O2 sensors with the real-time readout from the GS-911, and they should start switching over "0" about 10-15 seconds after the bike starts (they are heated sensors, and located where exhaust heat gets there fast.)
    Don,

    1. will redo it soon, seems at this mileage my bike wants a valve check every 10,000. I usually find some of them slightly tight. The TB sync on my GS seems never gets out of balance, I check it anyway but I find no need to touch the cable's adjustment. Will do that too at next service.

    2. I never knew it's possible to lubricate the steppers, thought of them as little encapsulated units. I will look for that thread.

    3. I do have the GS 911 but not necessarily the understanding what I am looking for from the O2 sensors. My graph shows both sensors signal moving up and down, however one has slightly different readings, with a bit more signal than the other, following same exact waveform more or less. Seems as engine warms up, the O2 sensors signals tend to become the same.
    Below is a graph with O2 sensors, where I started the engine and let it run until it warmed up about 9 minutes (to 3 bars I believe) I logged it to CSV and used Excel to create this.


    O2graph.8.5.2014.jpg

    Really appreciate the advice and will report back with more findings/details as I go along.
    Victor

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    Quote Originally Posted by 141987 View Post
    Just wondering what fluids you use...? Do you use Castrol SAF-XO in the gear case? What weight engine oil are you using?

    Good luck.

    Dave McDougall
    I currently use Mobil 1 V Twin 20 W 50 synthetic, since about a year ago, so about last 20,000 miles, when I switched from BMW branded 20 W 50 synthetic.
    The gearbox has relatively fresh (few thousand miles) BMW Synthetic gear oil - so yes the SAF-XO 75 W 90 ordered from Max BMW online. Prior, when I was in NY I used to buy at dealer and it looked different - although still BMW branded - definitely not the SAF-XO - was more like the red Spectro - variation.
    If anything I can tell by the seat of the pants that Mobil 1 seems to run cooler for the engine, but no other remarkable influence. The rattle was there since few years ago, just seems it got a bit more annoying and not so healthy sounding, hopefully the video depicts it, it starts about 1 minute when I show the right side of the bike. It's actually not the rattle that bothers me so much as it is the jumps in idle or skipping kind of noise that to my mind isn't healthy.

  6. #6
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by v1ct0r View Post
    Don,

    1. will redo it soon, seems at this mileage my bike wants a valve check every 10,000. I usually find some of them slightly tight. The TB sync on my GS seems never gets out of balance, I check it anyway but I find no need to touch the cable's adjustment. Will do that too at next service.
    My R1200R at 82k - valve clearances don't seem to change at all now. I check them every other oil change (12k intervals) and they're just like they were last time I checked. And like you - I've never had a real reason to balance the TB's.. once I thought I had a TINY imbalance, but I suspect that was just me being anal.

    2. I never knew it's possible to lubricate the steppers, thought of them as little encapsulated units. I will look for that thread.
    The "pintile" in them that moves in and out is on a threaded shaft that the stepper motor screws in and out. When you look at the stepper assembly - the threaded shaft isn't visible. That's because there is a spring loaded sleeve over it. If you push the sleeve back toward the actual motor the threads will be revealed. You want to make sure the grease in there is still mushy/soft. Mine had hardened up a bit.. so I used a Q-tip to remove as much as I could, then put a nice schmear (tech-term) of fresh grease on the threads. DO NOT hook up the stepper when it's removed. It will try to find the 0 position if you turn on the ignition, and since it's got nothing to stop it, it will happily unscrew the pintile. I haven't done it thanks to someone warning about this on a forum somewhere.

    A photo should make this clearer:


    3. I do have the GS 911 but not necessarily the understanding what I am looking for from the O2 sensors. My graph shows both sensors signal moving up and down, however one has slightly different readings, with a bit more signal than the other, following same exact waveform more or less. Seems as engine warms up, the O2 sensors signals tend to become the same.
    Below is a graph with O2 sensors, where I started the engine and let it run until it warmed up about 9 minutes (to 3 bars I believe) I logged it to CSV and used Excel to create this.

    Really appreciate the advice and will report back with more findings/details as I go along.
    Victor
    Hard to say what we're seeing with this plot. What you want to do is use the plotting that is built into the GS-911 PC software and select O2 sensor outputs. Then do a screen capture of the plot. This plot is about 30 seconds long, and it scrolls as it plots.. so it never looks compressed.


    The plot should look something like this (reasonably good O2 sensors) - with the points (crossovers) occurring about 1 per second on each channel. On the plot above - you can see the effect of the sensors warming up. Within a short period of time after the engine is started (30 seconds or so..) they fall into a regular switching cycle - as seen by the right side of the plotted data. The fact that yours in the Excel plot are showing long term offsets makes me think something is wrong.
    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

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    Don,

    Thank you for the stepper's picture it is worth a thousand words along with the instructions. Was wondering what lube to use there.
    Well today I had a little time, started the bike from overnight cold engine - and screenshot is below. Most interestingly the rattle or skipping noise didn't occur for a long maybe 3 minutes, until it did again. And since it's random and hit/miss (as it hopefully can be heard in the video above) hard to say if it's caused by engine hesitation or vice versa, some mechanical chatter actually causing this symptom. Once I came back after a 40 min ride everything was smooth at idle and pretty much sewing machine like it is usual.

    o2graph.aUg.26.png

    Kind regards,
    Victor

  8. #8
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Victor - your O2 plots look perfect. Is there any change in the plots when it starts running rough? My first O2 failure was intermittent (a damaged wire) and it would look perfect, until it didn't, which coincided with the rough idle and noisy driveline rattle.

    As far as lube - I used a light synthetic from RedLine.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Victor - your O2 plots look perfect. Is there any change in the plots when it starts running rough? My first O2 failure was intermittent (a damaged wire) and it would look perfect, until it didn't, which coincided with the rough idle and noisy driveline rattle.

    As far as lube - I used a light synthetic from RedLine.
    Don,

    I decided to leave it alone and just rode it another thousand miles or so.. engine runs so well and I get such a good gas mileage (near 45 or better) that this cold rattle seems insignificant. Oil change and valve adjustment coming up, I will post an update once all done. As side note, I got my fuel strip to fail only after days receiving the notice in the mail.. I can post in that thread if it helps anyone.

    Best,
    Victor

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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Victor - your O2 plots look perfect. Is there any change in the plots when it starts running rough? My first O2 failure was intermittent (a damaged wire) and it would look perfect, until it didn't, which coincided with the rough idle and noisy driveline rattle.

    As far as lube - I used a light synthetic from RedLine.
    Hi Don,

    I completed a full valve adjustment, including rocker arms end play. The valves were not off but some pairs had slight feeler gauge drag differences and were a bit too loose (still feeler gauge wasn't falling out on it's own weight). The rocker arms end play was 0.2 mm on all, so I made it closer to 0.05 mm. New air filter, new spark plugs, oil changed with Mobil 1 synthetic 15W50.
    Started the bike. I can tell the motor is nice and tight as I hear no valve train clatter. But the random symptom when cold is still there. It's like stuttering from time to time, or missing some electrical connection. I paid more attention and seems even after riding for 100 miles with the motor properly warmed it *may* still be noticed at stop lights, very faint to almost non existing and brief break in the otherwise smooth flow of the idle. At this point I am tempted to pull the idle motors and perform your recommended clean and lube. Not sure if any o-rings need replacing to order them beforehand. Another suggestion I got was to try replacing ignition coil(s). This is going to start getting expensive if I go that route. Of course I have just been riding the bike as is and have no issues with engine power, misfiring or anything else on the road, which make me think coils should be all OK.

    Thank you for the advice so far, I just wanted to update the thread with my experience on this.
    Victor

    edit: I will hook up GS911 again and see if I can catch any change in O2 graphs. Will report/share later what I find.

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