Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Southern California
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.