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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is getting rediculous. Three times now in 11 months on startup a headlight fails. First the right, then left, now the right again. My knuckles barely healed from the last one. I also replaced both the first time. Between this and needing a second a fuel strip in 18 months, I'm a little annoyed to say the least.

Any idea on the lights? Or this just some BMW pos engineering I get to deal with long term.
 

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Sean,
I do not know if you have a POS BMW or not, but I can tell you several things about my experience.

I went through several bulbs in what seemed like a very short period of time. I do not know why, but over the last time period... call it years... I have not had a bulb go out.

I had a suspicion that when my bulbs blew, each occurrence was accompanied by some anomaly. Sometimes I hit the start button too soon. Sometimes I hit it sort of a short stroke... meaning it hit and I stopped before the bike had a chance to get going, then I hit it again... sort of a stutter step.

It may be bad or superstitious thinking but I am now pretty careful to let the bike go through its self-check start up routine... before hitting the Start button. Yup, it takes a about two seconds more, but that is the way I do it.
 

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I don't think it has to do with the bike starting at all. It has to do with the fact that that's when bulbs fail- when they are turned on. Ever seen one go out after it's been on for any length of time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
hopz said:
Sean,
I do not know if you have a POS BMW or not, but I can tell you several things about my experience.

I went through several bulbs in what seemed like a very short period of time. I do not know why, but over the last time period... call it years... I have not had a bulb go out.

I had a suspicion that when my bulbs blew, each occurrence was accompanied by some anomaly. Sometimes I hit the start button too soon. Sometimes I hit it sort of a short stroke... meaning it hit and I stopped before the bike had a chance to get going, then I hit it again... sort of a stutter step.

It may be bad or superstitious thinking but I am now pretty careful to let the bike go through its self-check start up routine... before hitting the Start button. Yup, it takes a about two seconds more, but that is the way I do it.
I don't know. Been waiting till everything cycles and red and yellow warnings go away prior to start. Who knows. Like any German made vehicle I've owned. When everything works they're a joy to own. That being said frequently something doesn't work it seems. Still really enjoy the bike, but this bloody knuckle bulb change I could do without.
 

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I can't imagine that not completing the self check can shorten the life of headlight bulb. The headlight doesn't even turn on until after the engine starts, on my Honda it came on with the turn of key, then turn off when the starter was engaged and turn on again when the starter was released. I would think the on off cycle of the Honda would be more plausible to shorten the lightbulb life but they lasted almost 13 years.

Gerhard
 

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gerhard... I was kinda busy so I didn't 'splain my complete thinking on the start-up thing.

My thinking is not that the pre start check does it, but that there might be some voltage spikes passing around when I prematurely hit the Go button. I know for a fact that at least one of my bulb-out happened then. I saw it.

It is all folklore anyway until someone proves something one way or another.
 

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I think Hopz may be onto something. Remember that the headlight is tied in to engine run status (it won't go on until the engine is running) so anything having to do with that part of the circuit could introduce some sort of transient.

Xdriver: - seems like a silly question, but by any chance did you touch the bulbs with your fingers while you were removing them from the package or while putting them in? If you get any fingerprints or oils on the bulb during installation then they act to concentrate the heat of the bulb and create a point hot spot. You should always handle halogen bulbs using paper towels, toilet paper (not tissue, unless you're sure there isn't any aloe or other stuff impregnated in it) or clean cotton gloves.

On the other hand, sounds like the second and third failure were from the pair you installed after the first failure. Were they standard bulbs or some of these "high efficiency" bulbs that burn hotter and have inherently shorter lives? Maybe you just got a bad batch ...

JayJay
 

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Some RTs have had an issue where the headlamp hot lead is tied against the frame too tight and rubs through the insulation. This causes voltage spikes and blown bulbs. Trace the wiring harness and you will probably find a worn spot under one of the frame ties.
 

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Could the issue be the replacement bulbs that you are purchasing? Is there a reference on the packaging as to where the replacement bulbs were manufactured? There seems to be a proliferation of poor quality lighting products on the market these days, especially from China. Even if they work, many seem to have avery limited life span. I have had good luck with Osram H7 65W Rallye bulbs made in Europe in both my RT and my 3 series Bimmer.
 

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My 05 RT used to eat headlight bulbs like popcorn. I went through so many that I always bought them in pairs, and a couple of times 4 in a package. I learned the hard way that the more expensive the bulbs, the faster they blew. And 100% of the time they blew at startup.

At some point in time (I've forgotten the specifics now) the blowing of bulbs stopped for about 10k miles. Then, they started blowing again. I sold the bike soon thereafter.

M current 09 RT blew no bulbs for the first 45k miles. Then, within about 2k miles, all 3 blew in very short order. Now, some 5k miles, I've replaced both low beam bulbs. I guess I'll be buying them in bulk again...

I wish someone could find the reason for this bad behavior. It gets a bit expensive and is hard on the hands.
 

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hopz said:
I went through several bulbs in what seemed like a very short period of time. I do not know why, but over the last time period... call it years... I have not had a bulb go out.

I had a suspicion that when my bulbs blew, each occurrence was accompanied by some anomaly. Sometimes I hit the start button too soon. Sometimes I hit it sort of a short stroke... meaning it hit and I stopped before the bike had a chance to get going, then I hit it again... sort of a stutter step.

It may be bad or superstitious thinking but I am now pretty careful to let the bike go through its self-check start up routine... before hitting the Start button. Yup, it takes a about two seconds more, but that is the way I do it.
Same here.
Mine used to eat bulbs, then at about 30,000 miles if I recall they stopped blowing. Bikes now on 68,000 miles the 65w bulbs have been in on the left for what must be two years and nearly 35,000 miles. I did replace the RH side a few months back.
I've always waited still chec kroutine has completed.
\v/
 

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If you don't wait for the bike to go through the diagnostic before hitting the starter button, there is no way for the Flux-Capacitor to generate the 1.21 Gigawatts needed for a proper start. :D
 

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FWIW -----

I've found that replacing one bulb at a time doesn't work for me. My last bulb change I replaced both low's. That was 30,000 miles ago. I carry a pair of spares. Might need them next startup - or in two years. Who knows. To me, this is not a big deal. Just part of riding.

Don't know if it has anything to do with it but I NEVER just turn on the key and press the starter. I turn on the key, wait until the bike understands I want to start it, usually about 30-45 seconds - doesn't take long - and then deliberately press the starter button. What I mean by that is, I press the start button firmly - every time. No accidental or light presses and then represses.

Bike starts, I wait for it to get happy again before I ride off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So far, my knuckles are healing nicely and the new bulb has lasted a day....so, I've got that going for me. Which is nice. The bulbs I purchased are made in Germany. They are the Sylvania Silverstar H7's. I used the same on a GS I had previously without issue. I'll look into the grounding issue next time I have all the plastic off at 24K.

Thanks for all the input. Let me know if this is a poor choice in bulb.
 

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I usually buy brand name bulbs such as Wagner. A lot of the auto parts stores keep them in the back and not on the shelves. The shelf bulbs are normally Korean or Chinese. As a rule of thumb, any halogen bulb which offers additional brightness does so by using a hotter element ( heat = light in incandescent bulbs). Therefore, you get a more fragile element and a shorter bulb life.
 

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Obviously talking RT here .... But is it not possible to install HID lighting in the place of the OEM incandescent bulbs ?

Had HID on the LT for 6 years now and 40K+ miles without issue ... Bright as heck too !!
 

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motorhead said:
Obviously talking RT here .... But is it not possible to install HID lighting in the place of the OEM incandescent bulbs ?

Had HID on the LT for 6 years now and 40K+ miles without issue ... Bright as heck too !!
It is possible. There are several good sources for HID kits. I have one from 1Off Motorsports. It's no longer available but mine works perfectly.
 

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Yes, HID's are very bright, certainly so for oncoming traffic. This is "enhanced" if only the bulbs are replaced and the
reflector and lens are kept. The scattering of light might blind others and the question arises if your safety will benefit or suffer...
I find it hard to imagine that the RT's lights are not sufficient, at least when the eyes of the rider are ok and speed limits are observed.
Some info: http://www.danielsternlighting.com/tech/bulbs/Hid/conversions/conversions.html
 
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