Brake failure lights keep flashing - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 14 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 3:28 pm Thread Starter
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Question Brake failure lights keep flashing

I have a 2002 LTC which I bought last summer. Recently, after starting the bike and riding, the brake failure light and the triangular warning light to the right of this will flash alternately as long as the bike is running. This seems to happen only while the engine is cold because after the bike has warmed up, I can shut it down and start it up again and the lights will remain unlit (after the normal start up sequence of flashing lights). Brakes work just fine and I ran it into the dealer who suggested I disconnect/reconnect the battery and see if this reset the ABS computer but it hasn't made any difference. The brake fluid is showing right at the add mark on the sight glass but the dealer didn't seem to think this was the problem.

Any ideas as to what may be causing this?

Dave B
Calgary, Alberta
08 R1200RT
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post #2 of 14 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 3:30 pm
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It's the fluid level.

BTW, how come your dealer didn't hook it up to their computer to tell you exactly what the problem fault code was?


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post #3 of 14 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 3:36 pm Thread Starter
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Thumbs up ABS lights

Actually I wanted to get some free advice before I paid for a diagnostics test. Something else I should have covered, I charged the battery while I had it disconnected.

I've been reading some other similar posts and it sounds like you may be right and it's the fluid level. Where is the rear reservoir sight glass located?

Dave B
Calgary, Alberta
08 R1200RT
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post #4 of 14 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 5:00 pm
 
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@ Dave - Mine does the same, 2002 (uk) fluids are ok, and I find it only does it after using the reverse for a while before shutting it off. Even with a battery tender, the lights will flash the next morning. I personally think that the reverse feature knocks lumps out of the battery if you use it at the end of a days riding, leaving your battery just that little bit low next time you go out. If the lights flash on mine, I stop, turn it off, then start again and it's fine for the rest of the day.
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post #5 of 14 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 6:31 pm Thread Starter
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ABS light flashing

Thanks guys for all of your input. I will try to access the rear reservoir in the next couple of days and let everyone know how it turns out.

Dave B
Calgary, Alberta
08 R1200RT
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post #6 of 14 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 7:19 pm
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Cool

Hi Dave , my 2002 did that this last spring . I ended up putting in a new battery in it to take care of the problem . The old battery is in my garden tractor now and still works great . It just didn't have the volts to keep the ABS up to snuff . ...Patric ...(;-)

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post #7 of 14 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 9:44 am
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Don't take this lightly

The alternating lights indicate low fluid as El Jeffe pointed out.

I had this problem starting at 7000 miles.

At 25,000 miles I had to have the ABS unit replaced. List price for the part: $1700. Labor: 4.5 hours.

I was told over an over that nothing was wrong with the brake system. That was wrong.

I was told I had a low battery charge. That was wrong.

I asked where the fluid went, since my pads were not badly worn and it is a sealed system. I don't even want to go into the answer to that question, but it was along the line that the system must not have been properly bled initially.

The first time it happened, BMW Daytona didn't have a good answer and the lights were making me nuts, so I just replaced the rear pads even though they were only half worn. I figured that the reservoir sensor was just set wrong.

The second time, the dealer in Orlando added fluid and told me not to worry.

Finally, 10 days before CCR by the way, there was brake fluid on my garage floor. The ABS modulator was leaking.

I believe it was leaking slowly for a very long time. The problem is, if it is only leaking a drop at a time, the fluid burns up on top of the exhaust and you will never see it unless you take the left side body work off an carefully inspect. You might occassionally get a whif of burning oil, but if you are like me, you will assume it came from a passing car when you can't find any indication.

Eventually, the leak got bad enough that I found it.

BMW did offer assistance, to the tune of 50% of the part. They claimed they would have covered it completely if I had always done the 1 year brake fluid flush that the mechanics kept telling me wasn't necessary. They also said if I had brought it to them even 6 months earlier, they would have helped more. Well, I did, at a regular service, they added fluid and sent me on my way and it wasn't documented.

Do I feel abused? You betcha. But I wanted that bike ready for CCR and took the best deal I could get.

Make sure you don't take this issue lightly. Take off your left side battery cover and shine a bright light in there.

Better luck to you than I had.

Jeff
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post #8 of 14 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 1:38 pm
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I guess that I have been lucky so far.

I have seen the alternating flashing lights several times now and each time it has been due to a low brake fluid level. The fluid level needs to be at the max line on my LT.

It seems to be related to the weather cooling down, though I did find that one of the front brake pads had been dragging as was nearly worn out.

I have topped off the fluid and the problem has cleared each time. I haven't noticed any fluid leakage.

Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?

Alan Stuber
2003 K1200 LTC Titan Silver
Austin, Texas



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post #9 of 14 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 2:13 pm
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Alan,

I hope your luck continues.

But the only reason your fluid level should drop is brake pad wear and that shouldn't cause you to add fluid often.

Otherwise there must be a leak. I had a leak that was hidden.

I believe I had a leak from my brake modulator for a long time, but that the leak was slow and the fluid was burning/evaporating on the top of the exhaust pipe.

Once the leak was bad enough, I saw fluid on the floor. As I investigated, I saw stains and fresh fluid on the top of the exhaust pipe below the modulator.

This location is not visible unless you remove the left battery cover.

Please don't make the mistake I made by ignoring the need to add fluid on a regular basis. Once the warranty expires, you will be at the mercy of BMW and your local shop.

I also recommend doing the scheduled brake service, even if your mechanic tells you, as mine told me, that it is a waste of money. It is in fact insurance against a $2200 repair bill.

I don't mean to sound like a harpy, but I have this pain in my back pocket that insists.

Jeff
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post #10 of 14 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 2:50 pm
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I have added fluid twice in the almost 3 years that I have had the LT. Each time was when the temperature dropped down into to the 40's (these Austin winters are brutal).

I have an appointment with the dealer next week to get them to fix/replace the top case latch mechanism before the warranty expires. I am going to get them to give the bike a thorough going over before the warranty runs out.

Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?

Alan Stuber
2003 K1200 LTC Titan Silver
Austin, Texas



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post #11 of 14 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 8:52 am
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Have not had this problem as of yet with the LT, but I have on both my K75SA and my R1100GSA. In both cases, a fault had been triggered regarding ABS failure. Fortunately, ABS actual failure was not the true problem in either case. In one, the sensor at the wheel was dirty and simply needed to be cleaned. In the other, my battery level was poor due to need for new battery. Hope your symptoms are regarding something simple and inexpensive.

Tom

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post #12 of 14 Old Sep 17th, 2015, 11:04 am
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Re: Brake failure lights keep flashing

Man! Am I glad you guys are still here! I ran over a fallen tree last year with my 01 and picked up a used/abused 02 this year. I had no idea the ABS system was upgraded with all these new fan-dang-o sensors. I can't believe those two tiny openings on the rear reservoir are used for adding fluid. My big question is which bleed point flushes the front reservoir? It seemed that the only reservoir that was empting during the calipers being flushed was the rear one. As always Thanks for sharing the knowledge
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post #13 of 14 Old Sep 17th, 2015, 11:38 am
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Re: Brake failure lights keep flashing

Quote:
Originally Posted by donnaiwanna View Post
Man! Am I glad you guys are still here! I ran over a fallen tree last year with my 01 and picked up a used/abused 02 this year. I had no idea the ABS system was upgraded with all these new fan-dang-o sensors. I can't believe those two tiny openings on the rear reservoir are used for adding fluid. My big question is which bleed point flushes the front reservoir? It seemed that the only reservoir that was empting during the calipers being flushed was the rear one. As always Thanks for sharing the knowledge
I see that you just bough a 2002 model. In such case the full bleeding procedure with a few photos / diagram is here in the files section as an MSWord document:
http://www.bmwlt.com/files/displayimage.php?pid=194

This is a complex system and "residual braking mode" is not fun when something goes wrong. I would suggest, you read the procedure a few times looking around the bike and ABS unit to make sure you fully understand everything. You may want to ask John Zeiler (jzeiler) for a video tutorial he did - however I am not sure if video is for 2001-2004 models like yours.

Be careful with some other posts on IABS (Integral ABS with servos) as the 2005-2009 have a slightly different procedure because the 2 sections reservoir is on top of ABS unit. For 2001-2004, the reservoir is on right side behind side case (under seat).

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K1200RS (2002 IceBlue/Red - 96,000 miles)
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post #14 of 14 Old Sep 17th, 2015, 7:04 pm
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Re: Brake failure lights keep flashing

The rear half is for the front wheel circuit. The front half is shared between the rear wheel circuit and the rear control circuit. The front (handlebar) reservoir is flushed through ports on the ABS unit as that is as far as that fluid goes. You only need to pull fluid for a flush from the tall bleed port on the ABS. Outboard is for the front (F3) and inboard is for the rear (R3).
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