It ain't a broken wire in the cable - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 23 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 6:00 pm Thread Starter
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It ain't a broken wire in the cable

Howdy Folks. I need to consult the expert wisdom around here. As you may know, 2 days after getting back from CCR with no problems, I took the LT out for a ride and the slow blink abs warning light did not go out. When I applied the brakes, the general warning light came on steady with the ABS light blinking slowly. During the ride, the speedometer suddenly flopped and died. I immediately thought of the rear wheel sensor cable and was greatly surprised when the speedometer was working when I next looked at it a few miles down the road. The abs warning and general warning lights had not changed. According to a chart I saw in a post here, that combination indicates that one or the other wheel speed sensor circuit is not working.

So, at great risk to the earth continuing to revolve, I resolved to troubleshoot the rear wheel sensor. I took the cable out from the connector up by the rear brake reservoir. That connector gave every appearance of being tight. Since the cable back to the rear wheel speed sensor didn't look to readily come out of the sensor, I took the sensor off its mount.

Measuring continuity from one wire inside the cable sheath to the other at the plug connector, I see 26.6~ M Ohms. I carefully removed a bit of the outer sheath about half way along the cable, and then carefully stripped a bit of insulation of each wire. I measured continuity of each wire back to the harness plug. I get continuity on each wire there. So, I did the same thing about 1.5 inches back from the sensor housing on the cable and get continuity there! Then for good measure, I checked continuity from the harness plug down to where the 2 wires are laid bare next to the sensor housing and get continuity there. Veddy Interesting!

Oh, I should mention that I wiped away a very small accumulation of metallic filings (for lack of a better term), particles? from the center of the sensor. I'm estimating the amount to be less than a grain on the old loading bench scale. Very, very small.

So, Since the bike road back from CCR with no warnings or blinking lights, and it went on the Battery Tender when I put it away in the garage, and the battery was topped off and the brake fluid was topped up by the shop prior to leaving for CCR, and there is continuity in the wires in the rear wheel sensor, anybody got any idea of what's going on other than my usual Negative Mechanical Karma? I really expected to see a continuity failure due to a broken wire in the cable, but apparently, that's not the problem.

Take a risk, give some how-to advice and see if negative mechanical karma really can be contagious through the Internet. Mark Neblett's been down this kind of a road with me before, he lived through it. You did live through it, didn't you Mark?

Ponderin' the Fates, Karl

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post #2 of 23 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 6:58 pm
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Okay, so you checked the fluid level and checked it gain? I take it you're talking about that 02 LT and if so then you need to check the fluid level in the front reservoir under the rear seat. I can say that cause I just went through an Integral pump repair where I pulled the pump, repaired it and bleed the complete system on an 03 LT. It you have air in the system it's easily removed by working the front lever while the bike is off. That goes for a complete brake bleed too. That integral pump system is an open system and if you pull the side panel, right side that covers the reservoir and have air in the system you'll see the fluid go down and the air returning back to the reservoir. It's worth a check or looking into.
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post #3 of 23 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 8:11 pm Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A_Hermes
Okay, so you checked the fluid level and checked it gain? I take it you're talking about that 02 LT and if so then you need to check the fluid level in the front reservoir under the rear seat. I can say that cause I just went through an Integral pump repair where I pulled the pump, repaired it and bleed the complete system on an 03 LT. It you have air in the system it's easily removed by working the front lever while the bike is off. That goes for a complete brake bleed too. That integral pump system is an open system and if you pull the side panel, right side that covers the reservoir and have air in the system you'll see the fluid go down and the air returning back to the reservoir. It's worth a check or looking into.
Yeppir. Plus, low brake fluid doesn't explain the speedometer flop. I will look again and it's always possible I misread it the first time.

Thanks,

Recheckin' Karl

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post #4 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 12:10 am
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It's not usually a clean break. Sometimes it only drops the connection when the wire flexes, then it works fine afterwards (hence the speedo working again). Just a thought.

Ken
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post #5 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 8:09 am
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Ditto what Ken said. Best to clip the cable tie and inspect the internal wires at that spot to be sure.

The area in question where 99.9% of failures occur is at the cable tie right where the rigid line goes to rubber up on the swing arm.

John
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Last edited by jzeiler; Sep 12th, 2006 at 8:15 am. Reason: added detail
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post #6 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 10:53 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
Ditto what Ken said. Best to clip the cable tie and inspect the internal wires at that spot to be sure.

The area in question where 99.9% of failures occur is at the cable tie right where the rigid line goes to rubber up on the swing arm.
Hi, John.

Yeah, I thought it could be a cable flexing thing. I clipped all the zip ties and took the sensor and cable off the bike so I could test it inside instead of on my knees on the garage floor. I'll go ahead and check each spot where there was a zip tie. That cable is starting to like it has a bad skin disease.

I wonder, would you know if when the fault is corrected the brake warnings will cease? Or does the moronic have to be reset?

Thanks for the help.

Wire Stippin' Karl

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post #7 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 10:58 am Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
It's not usually a clean break. Sometimes it only drops the connection when the wire flexes, then it works fine afterwards (hence the speedo working again). Just a thought.
Hi, Ken. I thought of that. I only have the VOM probes and that takes both hands and then a third hand to flex the cable, hmmm, where did I put that extra set of hands? I told John I'm going to have to strip the cable where each zip tie was to check the wires. Making the cable weather proof again will be a challenge without cutting the wires if no break is found.

Do you or anyone else have an idea of how likely it is for the sensor itself to go bad?

Thanks, Ken. And congratulations on your experiments in cloning at CCR recently.

Appreciatin' Karl

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post #8 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 10:59 am
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IF it was causing it - yes. I would still check the reservoir sensors as they are very sensitive to fluid level. The older ABS II system would not self clear and had to be reset at the dealer.

John
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post #9 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 3:02 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzeiler
IF it was causing it - yes. I would still check the reservoir sensors as they are very sensitive to fluid level. The older ABS II system would not self clear and had to be reset at the dealer.
That brings up an interesting question.

Is disconnecting the battery the same as resetting the Motronic?

Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?

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post #10 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 3:26 pm Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jzeiler
IF it was causing it - yes. I would still check the reservoir sensors as they are very sensitive to fluid level. The older ABS II system would not self clear and had to be reset at the dealer.
Hi, John. Hmmm, I can see the level thing, I've kept up with the posts on that and it will be the next thing I check. Right now the level is right in the middle between high and low with the bike on the center stand. I do recall that some folks have had to put the level right close to max. If it turns out not to be the cable, then increasing the reservoir level (bike on the center stand, of course) will be a next step. I just can't understand how it could go from good to bad over night.

Thanks for your imput, means a lot.

Head Scratchin' Karl

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post #11 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 3:40 pm
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Just to satisfy my curiosity, has the weather cooled off in Northern Colorado recently?

My level sensor seems to activate as soon as the weather cools down.

Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?

Alan Stuber
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post #12 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 4:30 pm
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Another thought is to check the measurement at the ABS



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post #13 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 4:46 pm
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Originally Posted by kmurphy165
Hi, Ken. I thought of that. I only have the VOM probes and that takes both hands and then a third hand to flex the cable, hmmm, where did I put that extra set of hands? I told John I'm going to have to strip the cable where each zip tie was to check the wires. Making the cable weather proof again will be a challenge without cutting the wires if no break is found.

Do you or anyone else have an idea of how likely it is for the sensor itself to go bad?

Thanks, Ken. And congratulations on your experiments in cloning at CCR recently.

Appreciatin' Karl
Karl - where you wanna look real close for a break or wire cut is in the sensor loom (2 wires inside on Toad - not sure about the '02 bikes) JUST AT THE BRAKE LINE METAL FERRULE where all are tied to the frame member. That metal brake line ferrule wears and wears on the speedo sensor loom until it cuts throught the insulation and eventually abrades the speedo sensor wire in two. I would have never found Toad's had Shealey not told me where that ferrule is, cuz the speedo sensor wire laid ontop of the ferrule, so that the ferrule cut thru the insulation 'underneath'. Dang, is this makin' sense. I took pictures and darn if I can find 'em at the moment. I'll keep looking.
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post #14 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:12 pm Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by astuber
Just to satisfy my curiosity, has the weather cooled off in Northern Colorado recently?

My level sensor seems to activate as soon as the weather cools down.
Hi, Alan. Well, now that you mention it, yes, it did cool by 15 degrees or so the past week. Temperature never affected it before.

It seems to me that I need to get the bike up on the center stand and fill the rear reservoir up to the max mark.

Thanks,

Kool Karl

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post #15 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:14 pm Thread Starter
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Another thought is to check the measurement at the ABS
Hi, Grif. Ok, I sense a set up here, just what should that measurement be?


Anticipatin' Karl

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post #16 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:27 pm Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dick
Karl - where you wanna look real close for a break or wire cut is in the sensor loom (2 wires inside on Toad - not sure about the '02 bikes) JUST AT THE BRAKE LINE METAL FERRULE where all are tied to the frame member. That metal brake line ferrule wears and wears on the speedo sensor loom until it cuts throught the insulation and eventually abrades the speedo sensor wire in two. I would have never found Toad's had Shealey not told me where that ferrule is, cuz the speedo sensor wire laid ontop of the ferrule, so that the ferrule cut thru the insulation 'underneath'. Dang, is this makin' sense. I took pictures and darn if I can find 'em at the moment. I'll keep looking.
Hi, Dick. Yeah, I got that. I've been over the outer sheath from one end to the other with a fine tooth comb. No chafing, no wear anywhere. The only thing I've seen is the zip ties have left impressions of the sheath to one degree or another. I just removed the outer sheath at the zip tie from there at that ferule and no sign of abrasion such as you mention.

If I remove the outer sheath at every zip tie point, that cable is going to be chopped up like hamburger. I would have real doubt about being able to weather proof the cable again. I need to come up with a means to attach the VOM to the plug ends while flexing the cable to see if a break shows up. I really appreciate everyone's suggestions and help, but it's getting rather frustrating. Ah well, who am I to expect anything to go easy.

Thanks, Dick. Keep the ideas coming.

Kornfused Karl

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post #17 of 23 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:43 pm
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Originally Posted by kmurphy165
Hi, Grif. Ok, I sense a set up here, just what should that measurement be?


Anticipatin' Karl
Nah, he's not doin' a setup! In your tool kit, is a swivel blade thangie that looks like two straight razors hooked up - that's the ABS sensor gap gauge. Just slide the marked ends into the gap where the paint mark is on the toothed ring. The gap should be: MIN blade: blade enters the gap. MAX blade: gauge fits into the gap with no slack. Confusing? If you have the leetle service and technical booklet, check out page 40 or so.

Grif'll be back in a sec to further this - I gotta run, help Turner put on a new tire. Check with ya later, Karl, to see how you're doin'. Ain't it fun???
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post #18 of 23 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 12:06 am
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Fill the brake fluid reservoir all the way to MAX. If you're just at the trip point for the level sensor, then sometimes it will flash on one ride but not the next. And colder temps will speed this up, which may account for your "sudden" problem.

FWIW, my speedo occasionally goes wacky but I've been unable to find any sort of break in the wire. It's usually worse in hard rain, but then is fine for months. No biggie.

Ken
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post #19 of 23 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 10:40 am Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dick
Nah, he's not doin' a setup! In your tool kit, is a swivel blade thangie that looks like two straight razors hooked up - that's the ABS sensor gap gauge. Just slide the marked ends into the gap where the paint mark is on the toothed ring. The gap should be: MIN blade: blade enters the gap. MAX blade: gauge fits into the gap with no slack. Confusing? If you have the leetle service and technical booklet, check out page 40 or so.

Grif'll be back in a sec to further this - I gotta run, help Turner put on a new tire. Check with ya later, Karl, to see how you're doin'. Ain't it fun???
"two straight razors"????? I'm gonna have to look again, but I don't think my '02 tool kit came with one of them. I've got the service and technical booklet, so I'll look at that.

By the way, I got Lynn to help and we tested the sensor cable by reading the wire continuity as the cable is bent and twisted. No break in continuity was noticed.

BTW, everyone should note this: When you ask your SO to help with this test, be very careful how you ask for help. Asking her wiggle your cable while you insert the probe might result in unintended results. In my case, the last thing I remember before a memory gap of about 5 mintes is a glimpse of a fist coming at me at high speed.

Blinkin' Karl

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'02 LTC Mauve -- RIP
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post #20 of 23 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 10:51 am Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by meese
Fill the brake fluid reservoir all the way to MAX. If you're just at the trip point for the level sensor, then sometimes it will flash on one ride but not the next. And colder temps will speed this up, which may account for your "sudden" problem.

FWIW, my speedo occasionally goes wacky but I've been unable to find any sort of break in the wire. It's usually worse in hard rain, but then is fine for months. No biggie.
Hi, Ken. Yeah, I'm really starting to think that's the problem. As I said to Dick, I can't find any fault in the rear wheel sensor cable. That leaves the reservoir or the sensor itself or the sensor gap. I doubt the sensor gap could have changed or the sensor since it's showing a resistance value -- not an open circuit.

Presuming it's the reservoir level, A) I feel rather sillier since I've read a almost every post about the rear reservoir level and B) The cable has now been carved up pretty well and I'll have to cut it to get shrink wrap over the cable. Oh, well. Part of the price for a trouble free ride to and from CCR. No complaints.

Learnin' Karl

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post #21 of 23 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 1:51 pm
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The sensor gap isn't that critical. I checked at a service and found the rear gap was too big. I took the sensor off and found two shims. Using one shim was too small. So I went online and pulled up a parts website to figure out which shim I needed (they come in a range of thicknesses). I called my local dealer who needed to order them in. So I put the bike back together with one shim. It's been just fine for the next 12K miles. Come to think of it, my speedo hasn't gone jumpy again in that time either, so maybe slightly tight is better than too loose.

As for the brake fluid level, always check the easy stuff first.

Ken
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'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 63K miles
'03 Anthracite Metallic K12LTC, 66K miles
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
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post #22 of 23 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 3:24 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
The sensor gap isn't that critical. I checked at a service and found the rear gap was too big. I took the sensor off and found two shims. Using one shim was too small. So I went online and pulled up a parts website to figure out which shim I needed (they come in a range of thicknesses). I called my local dealer who needed to order them in. So I put the bike back together with one shim. It's been just fine for the next 12K miles. Come to think of it, my speedo hasn't gone jumpy again in that time either, so maybe slightly tight is better than too loose.

As for the brake fluid level, always check the easy stuff first.
Ah, So. But that is for the ordinary people. For us nerd, computer geeks and intellectuals, one has to fixate on a problem and an unlikely, but plausible solution and pursue it into the ground. So in my case: I had it in the shop the week before CCR for all fluids to be checked, changed and filled. Rode to and back from CCR without a hitch, and then there was the speedometer flip flop. Ergo, it just has, just has to be the sensor cable. Besides, the warning flashes between the abs and general fault lights did not concur with the chart in the posts I found. So, what was a nerd, computer geek, intellectual and monomaniac like me to do? Answer! Remove the sensor, cable and hack the cable into short sections looking for the nefarious broken wire. (Lynn suggests the only broken wire around here is the one between my ears that runs behind my eyeballs)

Compulsive Karl

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'02 LTE Silver -- Retired
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post #23 of 23 Old Sep 15th, 2006, 8:12 am
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Iffen you remembers where that place is at or find the pictures. Old Rover's in the same predicament and I'm tired of them blinkin' red lights and no ABS.

On His Ride,
Steve
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'00 Unigo - Dragon's Egg
'01 LTC - Flying Purple People Eater (Ya gotta be old enough to understand)(RIP)
'00 LTC - Canyon Red Rover (RIP)

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