Another BMW on fire! There is a problem. - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 23 Unread Aug 11th, 2019, 7:29 pm Thread Starter
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Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

Yes, there was another BMW K bike that has spontaneously caught fire. Except this time it was not caused by leaking fuel hoses, as has been speculated in previous threads. While idling in my garage, just moments from riding off on a day ride with friends, smoke began to flow from the left side of my bike's heat exhaust vent. I shut it down and jumped off to look into the engine bay. It was engulfed with fire! I grabbed my nearby garden hose and did my best to put the fire out. I had to decide in seconds to scuttle my bike down the driveway to get it away from the house or try to put it out. I managed to put it out quickly, but the unseen damage was already done.

I called my insurance company to come out and they totaled my bike and wrote me a generous check. I decided that I could restore my bike so, I bought it back and used the balance to buy all of the necessary factory parts. I don't recommend putting this much work into your BMW unless you have mountains of patience and a strong desire to work through all of the issues. After painstakingly grafting in the new engine side of the main wiring harness, hydraulic lines, cables, fuel rail, fuel lines, clamps and various other smaller parts, I was able to restore my K1200 LTC back to road worthy condition. I rode it to Eagle, Idaho and back to Southern California after some shorter test rides. I will NEVER trust this bike the same again. This could have caused loss of property, great injury or worse!

What I found during the disassembly of the damaged parts was a T shaped crack in the fuel rail on the high pressure side near the inlet trusses. There were several other fractures around the circumference of the tube on the same end. I believe that this plastic fuel rail, at approximately 60,000 miles developed a significant crack on the high pressure side of the fuel rail, then sprayed raw fuel down onto the hot exhaust headers just below causing the fire.

I contacted BMW Corporate to determine if they were aware of a patterned failure of this part. They denied any knowledge of this part failure. Currently there are no NHTSA recalls for this issue other than the report that I filed with them a short time ago. If you would like to make your voice heard by BMW, please file a report with NHTSA with the story of your bike spontaneously catching on fire, potentially for the same reasons. The representative from NHTSA told me that if enough of us report this event, no matter how long ago that it occurred, they will investigate the matter and issue a recall if warranted. A redesign of this fuel rail would be the remedy.
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post #2 of 23 Unread Aug 11th, 2019, 9:10 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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Originally Posted by Beemerboy2002 View Post
Yes, there was another BMW K bike that has spontaneously caught fire. Except this time it was not caused by leaking fuel hoses, as has been speculated in previous threads. While idling in my garage, just moments from riding off on a day ride with friends, smoke began to flow from the left side of my bike's heat exhaust vent. I shut it down and jumped off to look into the engine bay. It was engulfed with fire! I grabbed my nearby garden hose and did my best to put the fire out. I had to decide in seconds to scuttle my bike down the driveway to get it away from the house or try to put it out. I managed to put it out quickly, but the unseen damage was already done.

I called my insurance company to come out and they totaled my bike and wrote me a generous check. I decided that I could restore my bike so, I bought it back and used the balance to buy all of the necessary factory parts. I don't recommend putting this much work into your BMW unless you have mountains of patience and a strong desire to work through all of the issues. After painstakingly grafting in the new engine side of the main wiring harness, hydraulic lines, cables, fuel rail, fuel lines, clamps and various other smaller parts, I was able to restore my K1200 LTC back to road worthy condition. I rode it to Eagle, Idaho and back to Southern California after some shorter test rides. I will NEVER trust this bike the same again. This could have caused loss of property, great injury or worse!

What I found during the disassembly of the damaged parts was a T shaped crack in the fuel rail on the high pressure side near the inlet trusses. There were several other fractures around the circumference of the tube on the same end. I believe that this plastic fuel rail, at approximately 60,000 miles developed a significant crack on the high pressure side of the fuel rail, then sprayed raw fuel down onto the hot exhaust headers just below causing the fire.

I contacted BMW Corporate to determine if they were aware of a patterned failure of this part. They denied any knowledge of this part failure. Currently there are no NHTSA recalls for this issue other than the report that I filed with them a short time ago. If you would like to make your voice heard by BMW, please file a report with NHTSA with the story of your bike spontaneously catching on fire, potentially for the same reasons. The representative from NHTSA told me that if enough of us report this event, no matter how long ago that it occurred, they will investigate the matter and issue a recall if warranted. A redesign of this fuel rail would be the remedy.
Bruce, this would be the first instance I have heard of for the fuel rail developing cracks but then again, I haven't been here forever like some others. What I do see a lot of is the breather vent tube developing cracks and condensed oil vapor running down on top of the engine. This is not usually profuse enough to make it to the exhaust manifold but may eventually cause some drips off the front or back of the engine. I am not sure if I have heard of a fire caused by that oil yet either. I would love to see any pictures you have of the condition of your fuel rail and the cracks as well as the year of your LT. If this is something new we need to watch out for on the LT, as much information as possible will help prevent future occurrences.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Ė Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Ė Never should have sold it
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post #3 of 23 Unread Aug 12th, 2019, 6:24 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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Originally Posted by Beemerboy2002 View Post
Yes, there was another BMW K bike that has spontaneously caught fire. Except this time it was not caused by leaking fuel hoses, as has been speculated in previous threads. While idling in my garage, just moments from riding off on a day ride with friends, smoke began to flow from the left side of my bike's heat exhaust vent. I shut it down and jumped off to look into the engine bay. It was engulfed with fire! I grabbed my nearby garden hose and did my best to put the fire out. I had to decide in seconds to scuttle my bike down the driveway to get it away from the house or try to put it out. I managed to put it out quickly, but the unseen damage was already done.

I called my insurance company to come out and they totaled my bike and wrote me a generous check. I decided that I could restore my bike so, I bought it back and used the balance to buy all of the necessary factory parts. I don't recommend putting this much work into your BMW unless you have mountains of patience and a strong desire to work through all of the issues. After painstakingly grafting in the new engine side of the main wiring harness, hydraulic lines, cables, fuel rail, fuel lines, clamps and various other smaller parts, I was able to restore my K1200 LTC back to road worthy condition. I rode it to Eagle, Idaho and back to Southern California after some shorter test rides. I will NEVER trust this bike the same again. This could have caused loss of property, great injury or worse!

What I found during the disassembly of the damaged parts was a T shaped crack in the fuel rail on the high pressure side near the inlet trusses. There were several other fractures around the circumference of the tube on the same end. I believe that this plastic fuel rail, at approximately 60,000 miles developed a significant crack on the high pressure side of the fuel rail, then sprayed raw fuel down onto the hot exhaust headers just below causing the fire.

I contacted BMW Corporate to determine if they were aware of a patterned failure of this part. They denied any knowledge of this part failure. Currently there are no NHTSA recalls for this issue other than the report that I filed with them a short time ago. If you would like to make your voice heard by BMW, please file a report with NHTSA with the story of your bike spontaneously catching on fire, potentially for the same reasons. The representative from NHTSA told me that if enough of us report this event, no matter how long ago that it occurred, they will investigate the matter and issue a recall if warranted. A redesign of this fuel rail would be the remedy.
This is the first I have heard of a fuel rail failure, but I agree 100% that all vehicle failures that pose a threat to human health should be reported to the NHTSA. That is the only way that a recall will get initiated outside of voluntary recalls by the manufacturer, and BMW is one manufacturer that seems to never do a recall voluntarily.

Glad you got the fire out and didnít burn your garage or house down.

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post #4 of 23 Unread Aug 12th, 2019, 6:31 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

Interesting comment about trusting the bike as I feel much the same way about mine. Every time I ride it, I pretty much expect it to fail. I was fully prepared to junk it on my trip to Alaska and complete the trip in a rental car or an airliner. It has thankfully never left me stranded, but I almost never have a ride on it that something doesnít go wrong.

I feel quite differently about my three past and one present Kawasaki. I never rode them expecting them to break as they just never did. I am fully confident taking my KLR into the wilds of PA as, unless I run it out of gas or crash it, I am pretty much 100% confident it will get me home.

That is one reason I am very hesitant to buy a new BMW to replace my LT. I like their performance the best, but I just donít have confidence in BMWs like I do in Kawasaki for example, or pretty much any other Japanese brand. Even the two different rental K1600s I had in Europe both overheated at some point during two of my three trips. The only one that didnít have an overheat was in Scotland, but then it rarely got above 65 degrees on that trip.

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post #5 of 23 Unread Aug 12th, 2019, 10:21 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

It's difficult at best to listen to anything the NHTSA says concerning the LT IMHO. How many final drives have failed ? and no NHTSA recall. How many integral ABS brake modules have failed? Some having been at freeway speeds with only residual brakes?? YIKES! Plus the KLT's that caught fire due to quick disconnects. So I no faith in the NHTSA . Hate to tell you. But.They will do nothing.

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post #6 of 23 Unread Aug 12th, 2019, 10:45 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

I also have never been stranded on the LT. But my Final drive failed on a ride. Thankfully I was close to home. The radio fried the amp. But a non operational inconvenience .I did most of the preventive stuff to avoid the known LT issues. And I really do think it's a amazing tourer for all it's capable of. And you and I have discussed the replacement options for replacement. YEA NONE... The closest we said was the R1200RT. And still think that's what i'll be on it's as close as possible to replacing the LT.
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post #7 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 6:09 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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It's difficult at best to listen to anything the NHTSA says concerning the LT IMHO. How many final drives have failed ? and no NHTSA recall. How many integral ABS brake modules have failed? Some having been at freeway speeds with only residual brakes?? YIKES! Plus the KLT's that caught fire due to quick disconnects. So I no faith in the NHTSA . Hate to tell you. But.They will do nothing.
What I donít know is how many of these incidents were reported to the NHTSA?

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post #8 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 6:59 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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I also have never been stranded on the LT. But my Final drive failed on a ride. Thankfully I was close to home. The radio fried the amp. But a non operational inconvenience .I did most of the preventive stuff to avoid the known LT issues. And I really do think it's a amazing tourer for all it's capable of. And you and I have discussed the replacement options for replacement. YEA NONE... The closest we said was the R1200RT. And still think that's what i'll be on it's as close as possible to replacing the LT.
You mean the R1250RT.

Yes, I suspect that is what I will be riding in a couple of years unless something truly new to the luxury touring market is released soon and I really donít expect that. Honda and Yamaha have just released their new bikes so I donít expect anything major within 5 years. Suzuki and Kawasaki have abandoned that market segment pretty much entirely. I donít see Triumph or Harley doing anything different. So, I think the choices we have now will also be the choices we have 4-5 years from now. It is a matter of finding the best fit and then accessorizing as much as possible to tailor to your mission.

Iím actually even toying with the idea (gasp) of stopping long distance touring on a motorcycle and buying a Miata for long trips. I have the KLR now which is great fun for local rides. I might pick up something like an FJR1300 for a few weekend trips and then use a Miata for the cross country stuff. I also placed a deposit on a RANS S-21 Outbound kit back in July. It should arrive mid next year and I am figuring at least 2-3 years to build it. That would make a fun long distance touring option also.

Just kicking around ideas in my mind.
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post #9 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 8:51 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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You mean the R1250RT.

Yes, I suspect that is what I will be riding in a couple of years unless something truly new to the luxury touring market is released soon and I really donít expect that. Honda and Yamaha have just released their new bikes so I donít expect anything major within 5 years. Suzuki and Kawasaki have abandoned that market segment pretty much entirely. I donít see Triumph or Harley doing anything different. So, I think the choices we have now will also be the choices we have 4-5 years from now. It is a matter of finding the best fit and then accessorizing as much as possible to tailor to your mission.

Iím actually even toying with the idea (gasp) of stopping long distance touring on a motorcycle and buying a Miata for long trips. I have the KLR now which is great fun for local rides. I might pick up something like an FJR1300 for a few weekend trips and then use a Miata for the cross country stuff. I also placed a deposit on a RANS S-21 Outbound kit back in July. It should arrive mid next year and I am figuring at least 2-3 years to build it. That would make a fun long distance touring option also.

Just kicking around ideas in my mind.
Yea. The 1250RT. It or a gently used 1200RT. But in the back of my mind. I like you am thinking. Do I really want another BMW and the issues that come with it? Although with the RT. I do believe it is nowhere near the LT's problems or maintenance issues. But. It's still a BMW. And we know they do not like to admit fault. So I'm still am a little Leary. Saying that. I'll still most likely go with it. Just because as you stated. There is nothing else to fit the bill. The Triumph Trophy was a candidate. But it went out as a known problem machine.
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post #10 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 3:49 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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You mean the R1250RT.

Yes, I suspect that is what I will be riding in a couple of years unless something truly new to the luxury touring market is released soon and I really donít expect that. Honda and Yamaha have just released their new bikes so I donít expect anything major within 5 years. Suzuki and Kawasaki have abandoned that market segment pretty much entirely. I donít see Triumph or Harley doing anything different. So, I think the choices we have now will also be the choices we have 4-5 years from now. It is a matter of finding the best fit and then accessorizing as much as possible to tailor to your mission.

Iím actually even toying with the idea (gasp) of stopping long distance touring on a motorcycle and buying a Miata for long trips. I have the KLR now which is great fun for local rides. I might pick up something like an FJR1300 for a few weekend trips and then use a Miata for the cross country stuff. I also placed a deposit on a RANS S-21 Outbound kit back in July. It should arrive mid next year and I am figuring at least 2-3 years to build it. That would make a fun long distance touring option also.

Just kicking around ideas in my mind.
I am pretty sure I am on my last BMW. I don't have the time(well I do but I have better things to do) to maintain it like I should nor want to. Mine needs a brake fluid flush right now. Plus some more assorted things. Wife mentioned one of the new 3 wheelers......told her HELL no. I will get a rag top of some type before that.
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post #11 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 4:16 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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I am pretty sure I am on my last BMW. I don't have the time(well I do but I have better things to do) to maintain it like I should nor want to. Mine needs a brake fluid flush right now. Plus some more assorted things. Wife mentioned one of the new 3 wheelers......told her HELL no. I will get a rag top of some type before that.
Funny you should mention that. I have long figured I would try a Spyder when I got to the point that I could not reliably manage a two-wheeler. However, if I decided to forgo long distance touring for lack of an acceptable two-wheeler, I probably will just go full comfort and get a rag top. Easier to deploy the top than put on rain gear. And a Miata has about the same luggage capacity as an LT and a fair bit more than a new Wing. LOL.
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post #12 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 9:12 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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post #13 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 9:12 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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Funny you should mention that. I have long figured I would try a Spyder when I got to the point that I could not reliably manage a two-wheeler. However, if I decided to forgo long distance touring for lack of an acceptable two-wheeler, I probably will just go full comfort and get a rag top. Easier to deploy the top than put on rain gear. And a Miata has about the same luggage capacity as an LT and a fair bit more than a new Wing. LOL.
Dang... just when I was thinking of selling my 450 SL... it is perfect for me when I no longer ride, again. Health issues forced me to give up for a few years which turned into 20... way back when after my wife suggested getting a convertible. Now, it usually sits in the garage with a car cover on it in between smog checks and oil changes!
I am glad I can still ride and my 2000 LT is ready to roll, though feeling a bit long in the tooth compared to the new R1250RS and R1250RT bikes. I am waiting to see how they roll for a bit before I do anything stupid.
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post #14 of 23 Unread Aug 13th, 2019, 9:17 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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K1600B
???

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post #15 of 23 Unread Aug 16th, 2019, 5:37 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

My 2012 K1600GTL developed a crack in the plastic fuel quick disconnect about a year or so ago. Over several weeks, I would smell gas after I shut her down in the garage. It wasn't a strong smell and at first I was in denial. Over time I decided to get her checked out and the first diagnosis by my local shop was a bad fuel pump and "old" rubber o-ring at the gas tank lid. Mother BMW paid the ~$1,300 bill under some secret warranty. Several days later, I still smelled fuel and took her back. The new diagnosis was a cracked disconnect, that fell apart when it was removed. It was more than cracked. I was charged with this repair and the problem was solved.

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post #16 of 23 Unread Aug 16th, 2019, 6:21 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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My 2012 K1600GTL developed a crack in the plastic fuel quick disconnect about a year or so ago. Over several weeks, I would smell gas after I shut her down in the garage. It wasn't a strong smell and at first I was in denial. Over time I decided to get her checked out and the first diagnosis by my local shop was a bad fuel pump and "old" rubber o-ring at the gas tank lid. Mother BMW paid the ~$1,300 bill under some secret warranty. Several days later, I still smelled fuel and took her back. The new diagnosis was a cracked disconnect, that fell apart when it was removed. It was more than cracked. I was charged with this repair and the problem was solved.
I would have thought the folks at BMW would have learned their lesson with plastic QDs on the LT. Apparently not.

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post #17 of 23 Unread Aug 16th, 2019, 8:58 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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???
I should have changed the title...lol. Was my response to what to get next. My decision is made. In 5-10 years, I will get a 2019 K1600B.

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post #18 of 23 Unread Aug 17th, 2019, 7:08 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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I should have changed the title...lol. Was my response to what to get next. My decision is made. In 5-10 years, I will get a 2019 K1600B.
Got it. I wasnít sure if you were saying that the K1600B also had a problem with spontaneous combustion.

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post #19 of 23 Unread Aug 18th, 2019, 10:05 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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I would have thought the folks at BMW would have learned their lesson with plastic QDs on the LT. Apparently not.
And i don't know if it's Ignorance, Arrogance, Or is it just Greed to save a buck? Or all 3? You'd think they would have learned.
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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And i don't know if it's Ignorance, Arrogance, Or is it just Greed to save a buck? Or all 3? You'd think they would have learned.
I am guessing economics. Probably calculated they can save enough by using plastic parts to pay a lawsuit or two and still come out ahead.

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post #21 of 23 Unread Yesterday, 11:41 pm
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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I am guessing economics. Probably calculated they can save enough by using plastic parts to pay a lawsuit or two and still come out ahead.
Well. Possible. Just Seems like backward thinking.
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post #22 of 23 Unread Today, 6:41 am
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Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

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Well. Possible. Just Seems like backward thinking.
I agree. Baffles me.

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1973 Kawasaki 100 G5
1970 Rockford Chibi (the orange one)

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post #23 of 23 Unread Today, 11:57 am
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Bend, OR, United States
Posts: 1,413
Re: Another BMW on fire! There is a problem.

The irony is, the guy who came up with the idea of using plastic because it saved .78 per part, got a promotion and an "atta boy" from the value engineering committee.

Life happens...you control your reaction.

2018 Honda CRF250L Rally (fun in the woods)
2015 R1200 RT (holy cowÖwhat a bike)
2007 K1200 LT (sold)
2005 DR 650 (sold)
2002 Harley Ultra (sold)
1999 Harley Road King (sold)
1996 K1100 LT (sold)
1990 Honda Shadow (sold)
1978-1993 Raising Kids; Paying Mortgages
1975 Honda CB550 (sold but wish I still had)
Homemade Motor Bike (mounted a 3.5 HP Briggs & Stratton on my bicycle at age 12)
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