Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: West Milford, NJ, USA
Re: engine not starting
Slammer, here is a bit of tech background - it should let you figure out what is screwing you up. I edited this out of a write-up I did for the R12GS, but the starting logic is the same for most of BMW bikes.
Here it goes - read it through and see where your symptoms fit.
- - - - - -
The clutch switch is a part of the safety interlock system, utilizing transmission gear sensor, side stand switch and clutch switch. On the R12GS, it follows principles that are very much like those of most other bikes. Most problem causes can be deduced by observing behavior of the bike in situations described below.
Side stand down:
When the sidestand is deployed and transmission is in gear, the ignition is cut off and start inhibited (regardless of clutch position). This is to prevent riding with stand down.
Moving transmission into neutral will enable ignition and starter, regardless of sidestand position.
Side stand up (retracted):
When the transmission is in gear, starter is disabled - unless clutch lever is depressed. Depressing the clutch lever allows starting in gear. This is to prevent cranking while the engine is connected to the drivetrain.
Moving transmission into neutral enables starter, regardless of clutch position and of sidestand position.
TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR SYMPTOMS.
- Gear indicator / neutral light OK? If not, the gear-position switch is your culprit. By the way, if it is, check the connector for the gear-position switch. It is exposed to water spray from rear wheel and could develop bad contact. If you are lucky, just tugging on the connector or disconnecting/reconnecting may work enough to clean it - it worked for me earlier this year. The position switch and connector are located at the back of transmission case, immediately ahead of the bottom mount of the rear shock.
- Once started, does the engine run in gear? If the motor turns off the moment you drop in gear, you have problem with side-stand switch, not with clutch.
- You can crank in Neutral, but cannot crank in gear, even though you are pulling the clutch in. However, once it fires up, you can put it in gear and drive away. If so, it is related to clutch safety interlock. Go to next question.
- Did you recently drop the bike? If so, you may have "tweaked" the hand-guard and now it is preventing the clutch lever from retracting fully. Check that you can fully release the clutch lever without it hitting the guard. If the guard interferes, twist it until it aligns with the lever and allows it to release.
- Last check: listen for the click of the microswitch in the clutch lever. You should hear it about half-way through movement of lever. Turn engine off - it is quite faint. For comparison, you should hear a similar click from the handbrake lever.
Did it click? If so, either the microswitch failed or the wiring back to the ECU is damaged. You may have to whip out your ohm-meter and electrical schematics and start chasing that down.
It did not click? Assuming the lever moves freely all the way to release, the microswitch is either packed with dirt (stop dropping that bike, already...) or out of adjustment.
I hope this helps.
Robert in Northern NJ
'09 R12GS, '08 R12RT, '03 R1150RT, '01 F650GS - time to thin the herd?
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Last edited by rdwalker; Nov 3rd, 2010 at 9:42 am.