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Thread: Oil Temperature Display Intermitent Failure

  1. #1
    JohnWC
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    Oil Temperature Display Intermitent Failure

    I never thought anything would ever go wrong with my 96 R1100RT. It's pretty dependable. But......unfortunately, something has. The oil temperature part of my RID will suddenly go blank. Everything else is showing the way it should, clock, fuel level, etc. After I let the bike sit overnight or so, when I start it up, it is working again. But then I'll be riding and look down, and the bars are gone for oil temp. I have tried fiddling with the wires from behind the panel to see if it would start up again, but no luck. I have also looked in all my manuals for the location of the oil temperature sensor, and I can't find where it is either. Any suggestions on how to trouble shoot this problem, and also, could someone tell me where the oil temperature sensor is located on the engine? I assume they can be replaced if that is the problem. Anyone had this issue? Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    JohnWC
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    Just an addition to my earlier post. One, I found that the display would register the correct oil temperature even after letting the bike sit for just a short time. Secondly, if it is actual sensor that is going bad, it is going to cost me a rather startling $ 91.59 plus shipping to replace it. About $100 for a part that BMW is probably producing for around $10.00, tops. Yep. That is one pricey sensor. I just called my local Honda dealer. The price for a temp sensor for a Goldwing is $42.51.

    I'm shocked,.... shocked, I say!

  3. #3
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    The sensor on my bike is in the thermostat block, behind the alternator, nearer the right side, on top of the engine.
    Not sure what to say about the price, BMW is willing to stock support parts for older bikes, there are a bunch of costs associated with that.

    You might get a used one from BeemerBoneyard.

    Best make sure that's actually the problem first.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  4. #4
    JohnWC
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    Thanks for the reply, Mike. I too will skip over the cost factor at this point. But am I to assume that to reach this sensor I will need to remove the tupperware off one or both sides of the bike, and/ or remove the gas tank to find it? I'll check my manuals again. Bob's BMW tells me it is not an "oil temp sensor" per say, but rather a "coolant temperature sensor". Perhaps that is why I can't seem to locate it. Here I thought it is measuring the temp of the oil, like the RID says. Confusing.

    The only way I can think to test it is, once I locate it, to: 1) remove the wires and short them to ground to see if the RID bars go all the way up. 2) pull the RID out and check that all the contacts are clean, etc, 3) check for continuity/ breakage of the wires in the harness going from the sensor to the, whatever, to the RID. I can see it is going to involve some time and complexity. I'm open to any suggestions.

  5. #5
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    The right-side body panel (and the bottom cowling) have to come off; I don't recall if it's necessary to pull the tank but I don't think so, the sensor is on the side (where Mike says).

    If you want to actually "test" it (without a GS911), measure the resistance while moving it between a bowl of cold water and a bowl of very hot water.

    Often if the sensor is faulty, it affects the computer (since it's one of the sensory inputs), and can cause the bike to run poorly. And just to confuse the issue, when you cycle power, everything is reset.

  6. #6
    Cal
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    Let's see $100 / 18 years comes out to around $5.55 / year.
    Cal Garcia
    Suches, GA

  7. #7
    JohnWC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cal View Post
    Let's see $100 / 18 years comes out to around $5.55 / year.
    BMW temp sensor: $91
    Honda temp sensor: $41

    If they both last the same amount of time, my calculations still show that the Goldwing sensor costs 55% less than BMWs. Where am I wrong there? Anyone here believe that it costs anywhere near $91 to produce a temperature sensor? And this assumes it may be the sensor. I seem to be seeing some moisture on the RID screen on the edge near the oil temp bars. I haven't checked, but I thought I heard those little LED boxes were around $300 each. After spending $3000+ on various BMW parts over the last four years, I believe I can say with conviction, they are not cheap machines to maintain.

    But, anyone else can feel free to defend BMW's parts pricing. How much are those final drives going for?

  8. #8
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    The Honda sensor appears to be a much better deal.
    I'd get that one.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  9. #9
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Considering that the problem appears to be intermittent, and JC hasn't mentioned anything about the bike running poorly (as a bad sensor input to the computer could cause), I'd go for troubleshooting an electrical issue before dropping the coin for a new sensor. There is a violet wire from the sensor to the computer (pin 7) and also up to the display...
    Question: Does the display die at random times, or when the bars reach a certain level? That could be a clue, but I don't yet see it narrowing the choice of culprit. Or does the bike's running character change at all when the display dies?

  10. #10
    Cal
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    If you want Honda pricing should have bought a Honda
    Cal Garcia
    Suches, GA

  11. #11
    JohnWC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls1150 View Post
    Considering that the problem appears to be intermittent, and JC hasn't mentioned anything about the bike running poorly (as a bad sensor input to the computer could cause), I'd go for troubleshooting an electrical issue before dropping the coin for a new sensor. There is a violet wire from the sensor to the computer (pin 7) and also up to the display...
    Question: Does the display die at random times, or when the bars reach a certain level? That could be a clue, but I don't yet see it narrowing the choice of culprit. Or does the bike's running character change at all when the display dies?
    The display progresses steadily upward as the bike warms up. It only cancels out after it gets to the five bars, I'm not sure it's always after the same time. Now yesterday I tried to watch both the display and the road ahead for about 15 miles. It's not something I want to do a lot of. When the RID display goes it drops down quickly from top to bottom a bar at a time, then it actually cycled up and down a few times before going blank. I am going to follow the advice here, strip off the plastic from the right side and check the wiring connections to the computer. Because of the fact that it seems to work okay at times, I think/hope that the RID display and the sensor may be okay. Your right, Paul, the bike seems unaffected by the lack of display. Thanks for the input on the wire color.

    Here is another angle to this situation. It appears I must eat crow on the price. I had originally called Bob's BMW for the availability and price of the sensor. They were the ones that quoted me a price of $91.00. I just got off the phone with MAX BMW and they tell me their cost is $58.00, which I regard as a reasonable figure for the unit. I have used Bobs many times for parts, but I guess that is coming to an end. At the $58 cost, it is pretty close to the Honda figure. I can live with that.
    Last edited by jconway607; 08-20-2014 at 05:54 PM.

  12. #12
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    If the displayed bars actually change up & down, that sounds like the sensor itself to me. But poor contact and/or resistance at any connection in the associated harness section could do that too...
    And the computer connection, if memory serves (sometimes it doesn't...) would be accessed from the left side.
    Just more screws...

  13. #13
    JohnWC
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    Well, this is proving to be as interesting as I thought it might. I have called several dealers. Some tell me it is the unit on the left side of the engine block with a single violet colored wire. Others tell me it is the unit that appears to be up on top of the engine, behind the alternator. That is the unit with two wires coming out and going to a block somewhere, and which does indeed cost around $100. My own guess is that the lower unit with a single wire is simply the oil pressure switch, and that the top one, which seems to be placed near the oil flow to the radiator, is the actual temperature sensor for the oil temp. Does anyone know if that is true? Anyone actually had to replace the temp sensor, or do they usually last practically forever. At $100, I would rather not just start replacing parts and hoping I get one that fixes it. If the top one is the problem, anyone have any suggestions on how you get to it? How much of the bike do you have to disassemble to replace that little gismo? Thanks.

  14. #14
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Two wires: violet and black/yellow.

    PN 12611341602 I believe.

    http://www.beemerboneyard.com/11411342761.html $30 at Beemerboneyard.

    It is located on the block below the O2 sensor connector. The sensor has a cable and connector. The connector plugs into the wiring harness under the fuel tank. From there the wiring runs to the Motronic and to the RID connector.

    It sounds as if the sensor is intermittent and needs to be replaced but the only way to be sure is to probe its violet wire at various spots. When cold, the voltage will be above 2.5 v. When very hot, lower voltage. Someone mapped it but I can't recall where I saw it.

    You could remove it, put it in a bath of ice water, and measure its resistance as you bring it to a boil. See if it "opens" at some temperature.

    Seems like a bear of a problem to debug.
    Last edited by roger 04 rt; 08-26-2014 at 08:28 PM.

  15. #15
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jconway607 View Post
    Well, this is proving to be as interesting as I thought it might. I have called several dealers. Some tell me it is the unit on the left side of the engine block with a single violet colored wire. Others tell me it is the unit that appears to be up on top of the engine, behind the alternator. That is the unit with two wires coming out and going to a block somewhere, and which does indeed cost around $100. My own guess is that the lower unit with a single wire is simply the oil pressure switch, and that the top one, which seems to be placed near the oil flow to the radiator, is the actual temperature sensor for the oil temp. Does anyone know if that is true? Anyone actually had to replace the temp sensor, or do they usually last practically forever. At $100, I would rather not just start replacing parts and hoping I get one that fixes it. If the top one is the problem, anyone have any suggestions on how you get to it? How much of the bike do you have to disassemble to replace that little gismo? Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    Seems like a bear of a problem to debug.
    The sensor on the left side bottom is oil pressure.
    I've not worked on an RT but I've heard the tupperware gets in the way.

    Looks like Roger has all but solved this for you. Don't bother debugging - just give BBY $30 and let us know how it works out.
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

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