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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All!

Enough lurking, here is my first post.
Help my K1200LTC wont start

I am pulling the Tupperware off tomorrow in search of this problem.
I sure could use some ideas on where to look and was hoping someone here has experienced this, or something like this.

Last year I bought my first BMW, a used 2003 K1200LTC.
I instantly fell in love with this bikes' power, handling, great looks and comfort!

The first problem I ever had was when It stranded me at a gas station 4 months ago. After refueling, it refused to start. The starter turned over once and that was it. I was close to home so I walked to get my truck and jump start it. When I returned 2 hours later (that’s another story) I tried once again & managed to get her started without jumper cable assistance. The starter, reluctantly turned the engine over although very slowly, kinda like one might expect from a nearly dead battery..
From then on I always kept the Battery Tender Jr. charger attached whenever it was parked.

Problem solved, Right?
Since 1 month ago I haven’t been able to get her started.
The headlights will come on intermittently with the ignition switch.
When they do light, pressing the start button causes a "click" and the lights go out.
When the headlights don’t work, pressing the start button again just causes the audible relay "click".
I pull the 6 months new, BMW Exide-Gel, battery to give it a charge after reading about the LTs' parasitic amperage draw.
I left in on the Battery Tender Jr. charger for a weekend after which it showed as holding a 95% charge (12.8 volts) even 24 hours off the charger.
I reinstalled the battery, turn the ignition switch and... the same problem occurs.
The headlights will come on intermittently with the ignition switch and pressing the start button just causes a click with or without headlights.

I then tried to start it with jumper cables attached directly from my trucks battery, same problem!

When all else fails..
I read here about an LT owner who jump started his bike.
Wait, I thought that was impossible!
I had to try this to see if the ignition was working!
So as I rocked her off the center stand the lights flickered on for a moment!
Wait, I'm onto something here.. Is this as simple as loose wire or plug somewhere? Thats what I'm hoping!
I found that if I tapped around the faring with my hand the headlights would sometimes "pop" back on.
I tried getting her back on the center stand to see if I could replicate the on-off lighting and was successful at getting them to come on by rocking the bike side to side on the center stand.
Still, pressing the start button just causes a "click" and the lights again go off.

Try the bump start!
Ignition on, alarm off.
I duck paddled her to a walking speed in second gear, it fired right up!
The headlights came on and stayed lit!
I revved the engine at 1200 rpm and above for a good 5 minutes.
After which I shut her down and tried to re-start it but pressing the start button just causes the relay click

I've eliminated the usual suspects..
Neutral
Kick Stand
Kill Switch

Any suggestions? Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

Thanks All!

Sorry for the long post!

Chris
 

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I would start with checking the battery cables. There just seems to be a loose one somewhere. Follow the cables to their ends and check to see if they are tight. If they are all tight, loosen them up about one turn and retighten. This may temporarily clean the connection. Do one at a time, then try it. This way you will know which one is causing the problem. If my memory is working, the engine ground is through the starter. If the starter comes loose you will loose your ground. I think there are a few cases of this happening.
 

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1999 LTC
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Hi, Chris - some FYI notes.

Your battery should *not* be the culprit, based on it's age and the voltage reading you are getting. If you're positive (pun) that it isn't the battery (I'd either swap the current (pun) one for a known good one from a friend, maybe?), then I'd begin looking at the starter situation. Recently happened to ole Toad, and the symptoms you explained are identical. Would not start - intermittent lights - wouldn't jump from a cage's battery - etc., etc.

I had ole Toad stripped down to near complete nekkidness, so don't know how far you have to go to be able to see and access the starter where it bolts up to the gearbox. A portion of it is visible, and you can see a cable attached to it by a large casing bolt. IIRC, Randy Prade was one of the first to explain that a loose cable connection here can be the cause of not starting - allows the starter relay to click, which you can hear - but no start. Lights act weird, cuz the load shed relay depends on several functions to occur in sequence and the starter connection interrupts that sequence (I think). Anyway, lemme do some site searching for some related info and if I find it, I'll send it to you. In the meantime, if you can remove the upper fairing pieces; the stingray; and I believe the fuel tank (not positive on that, cuz we were nekkid anyway); you should be able to see that case bolt on the starter by looking down over the left side of the battery and under the electronics box - the cable attaches to the starter on the starter's upper left. Use a long, long pair of needle nose pliers, or a hemostat, and see if you can turn the nut and tighten the connection. If it's loose, and you can tighten it, then you may be good to go. If not, an electrician can diagnose whether the starter is the culprit by chasing the current path thru the relay and beyond the starter.

BTW - it turns out that ole Toad's problem wuzn't the cable connection on the starter case - it wuz an internal ground short in the starter. 1100 bones later, we were ginnin' - ginnin' enough to find out now that we may have our second FD bearing going south!! :(
 

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I had similar issues a couple years ago.
My voltage was good on the meter.
Apparently, I had volts, but not amps.

My dealer also said "It didn't sound like the battery"

It was the battery.
The bad battery showed about 12.7 volts...
(If you check the volts then try to start it and re-check your volts. If the volts are down it is the battery)

The new replacement battery showed over 13 volts.
I replaced it and that was the end of that problem.

When you push it and jump on... it starts.
You can jump start it it...
I am betting it's your battery.
 

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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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14,170 Posts
Another possibility is the starter relay itself. I had an experience with a weak battery start attempt that actually melted wires leading to the starter relay, but once that was fixed a click and no start happened.

Took the relay apart and plastic had melted and oozed enough that the armature would drop down but not far enough to make contact. A little shaving of the plastic and gentle bending of the armature restored proper operation.

You have to cut open the relay housing to do this. Oh and the starter relay is in the electrics box under the fuel tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update - New Odyssey PC680 Installed

Well, I second guessed the battery being the culprit after finding no loose cables at the starter motor and-or the ground terminal locations.
I did find a clogged fuel filler drain line and alot of dirt beneath the body panels..

So I ordered a new Odyssey battery off the web from a vendor I found on this fourum - http://www.portablepower.com - they had 20 in stock ready to ship and at a reasonable price compared to local stores that had them
(FYI these Odyssey batterys are really hard to find right now!)
After the installation, the ol' beast still wouldn't light.
So I have decided to throw in the towel and take it to the local dealer on Monday.
I am believing the culprit to be either the starter or starter relay as you guys stated earlier in this post. Thanks for the help.
I'll be sure to post the results from the dealers findings.

Thanks all!
Chris
 

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Wrencher Extraordinaire
2005 K1200LT
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One more quick check. There is a heavy wire junction just behind the battery with a plastic cap on it. That is where the starter gets it's feed. Check to make sure it is tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
John,

I checked that junction block you mentioned, those connections were certainly tight as well..

Clue: I also bump started it and rode around the block a few times, (I really miss riding it!) & noticed my charging system couldn't keep the voltage up, bike ended up dying out. So I didn't have a chance to put my multi-meter to the terminals while it was running. Could be a sign for alternator or voltage regulator malfunction?

Chris
 

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2011 R1200RT
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8,175 Posts
knlkern said:
Clue: I also bump started it and rode around the block a few times, (I really miss riding it!) & noticed my charging system couldn't keep the voltage up, bike ended up dying out.
Chris, it is possible that your engine kept dying because it would not idle properly. This happens after the battery has been disconnected and the throttle position sensor needs to be reset. Do so by turning the ignition ON but do not start the engine. Turn the throttle all the way open and then shut twice. Turn the ignition OFF, then back ON and start the engine. From there the bike will "re-learn" the proper idle etc...
Riding a few times around the block would not be enough to fully recharge a battery.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Resolved

I took her to the dealership - hollywood honda, kawi, suzuki, can-am, sea-doo & bmw.
where, of course, It would not demonstrate the same symptoms I described, that is, until they took it off the worklift..
aparently when strapped onto the lift they use the footpegs to do so, under which a grounding wire for the main harness had been intermittently connecting.
The main wiring loom had been previously replaced under factory warranty before I purchased the bike so this work was covered by bmw. :)

They explained that the ground wire was installed in the wrong location.

So, I now have 2 good batteries.
Does anyone need an almost new BMW Excide-Gel?
I'm keeping the new Odessey cell.

Oh and, sorry for the delay to this update but since I got her back, I've been busy actually riding this bike!

P.S. though this dealer fixed my problem I think I'll go to Long Beach for service from now on. I just didn't get the warm and fuzzy from thier service dept.


Chris
 

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davek1 said:
I had similar issues a couple years ago.
My voltage was good on the meter.
Apparently, I had volts, but not amps.

My dealer also said "It didn't sound like the battery"

It was the battery.
The bad battery showed about 12.7 volts...
(If you check the volts then try to start it and re-check your volts. If the volts are down it is the battery)

The new replacement battery showed over 13 volts.
I replaced it and that was the end of that problem.

When you push it and jump on... it starts.
You can jump start it it...
I am betting it's your battery.

I agree with Dave, it's most likely the battery-I tried all kinds of things to bring mine back to life, the LT killed it, same problems... replace battery and I bet all be well.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Resolved!!

Read on my friend!..
It wasn't the battery as I thought too, but a bad grounding wire in fact!

Thanks!

Chris
 
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