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Hello All,
I had an incident this week that I wanted to share with other bike owners and perhaps you can benefit from my experience. My 01 LT, with 25,000 pampered miles, just quit in the middle of a busy intersection after about a 30 minute ride on a hot San Antonio evening. Stumbled and died, no electrics whatsoever. With the help of a very gracious bike rider, we pushed it uphill into a parking lot. I checked all connections and fuses, etc, for over two hours and could find nothing. Battery (BMW) is about 2 1/2 years old and never gave me any problems, always reliable. After an expensive and nerve racking tow to the local dealer in the middle of the night, bike still would not start. Next morning, dealer called me and asked what the problem was, bike started right up for him. :eek: I asked him to do a thorough diagnostics since I was not comfortable taking it anywhere on the road acting this way, especially with momma on the back. 3 days later, he calls and tells me she is ready to go, all electrics check out just fine. Battery had a cell intermittently opening up and losing ground. When it cools down, it would close ground and work just fine until it heated up and the short would then open up and kill everything. First time I have personally experienced this type of battery death in some 40 years of riding, so thought I would share the symptoms in case any of my fellow riders (no matter what you ride) experience a similar problem.

Undrtkr
 

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I had a Wing do that. It turned out to be the electrical piece that sent power to the plugs, darned if I can remember the name of the part. Ignition module of some sort.

Anyway Bike (Wing) turned off while I was riding on I95 doing 65 in far left lane. It just shut down. Between Washington DC and Baltimore. Luckily I was able to get (coast) over to the right shoulder. After about 20 min with the bike cooling down it restarted. I rode directly to the Honda dealer. It shut down while waiting at the light right in front of the dealer. I pushed it in. New ignition module and it ran fine after that. Something about an air gap and heat caused the failure. Heat and electrics not good together.

HDusenbery
 

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I will never, ever buy another BMW Gel battery again.

I bought a replacement BMW Gel cell to put in my 1150 GS. I was of the belief that the battery was at the end of its lifecycle. So, I replaced it. I bought the battery from a reputable dealer. Unfortunately, because of my work schedule I was not able to install it for 2 months. Yes, I maintained the charge with a battery tender.

I installed the battery, no problem. I rode the 1150GS that day. Once again because of my work schedule I didn't get on the bikes for another 2 months. Well, when I went to start the 1150 GS, no joy, just a clicking of the starter relay. WTF?

I wound up replacing the starter only to find out the battery was bad. I will now replace my batteries with Odysseys.
 

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HDusenbery said:
I had a Wing do that.
My Wing did that a few times as well. The connector on the end of the harness, where it meets the key switch, had the retaining tab break off. So, instead of mirrors falling off when I hit the big pot hole, the key switch got disconnected, turning the engine and lights off. 11:30PM, blind curve going uphill, no shoulder--just a metal guard rail, me, a stalled GL1000 with no lights and that pot hole.
 

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Yeah, Undrtkr... that's how my LT did me with only a YEAR on the Battery...

BTW.. carrying a simple thing like a "trouble light" that you can connect to the battery terminals would probably have shown the battery was DOA.... just connect the lamp, turn on the ignition switch... light should stay lit fairly bright under full system load, engine NOT running... yeah, it's an old "HD" trick, but electricity doesn't care...
 

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This BMW battery question and bikes quitting just keeps coming up and I'm a bit confused. As far as I was aware the battery holds power the main use of which is to start the engine. Once that's done the alternator takes over , supplies all necessary power and recharges the battery. In fact, once the engine is running it would keep going as long as there's fuel - even on a totally flat battery because all the battery is doing then is completing the circuit. Hence it's possible to bump start or use jump leads to get an engine going then drive for as long as you keep it running.

Now I'm getting the impression that some of you are saying that your bikes are dying while on the move and that it's the fault of the battery.

Is this really the case? How many of you have had running engines stop and it has catagorically been due to a dead or faulty battery and nothing else?

If this is the case, maybe someone has an explanation. I'm always willing to learn!

Kevin.
 

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For the most party you are correct, but you need a battery to complete the electrical circuit. If there's a fault in the battery that prevents this then you don't have the circuit and things will stop. As others have said, if the battery decides to die while you're going 65+ down the road it can get interesting. :D


highroamer said:
This BMW battery question and bikes quitting just keeps coming up and I'm a bit confused. As far as I was aware the battery holds power the main use of which is to start the engine. Once that's done the alternator takes over , supplies all necessary power and recharges the battery. In fact, once the engine is running it would keep going as long as there's fuel - even on a totally flat battery because all the battery is doing then is completing the circuit. Hence it's possible to bump start or use jump leads to get an engine going then drive for as long as you keep it running.

Now I'm getting the impression that some of you are saying that your bikes are dying while on the move and that it's the fault of the battery.

Is this really the case? How many of you have had running engines stop and it has catagorically been due to a dead or faulty battery and nothing else?

If this is the case, maybe someone has an explanation. I'm always willing to learn!

Kevin.
 

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Thanks Bob,

>>For the most party you are correct, but you need a battery to complete the electrical circuit.<<

I said that.

>> If there's a fault in the battery that prevents this then you don't have the circuit and things will stop. <<

Now we're getting to the bones of it. Someone who has had it happen please explain how a fault in a battery that started the day alive and well breaks the circuit.

>>As others have said, if the battery decides to die while you're going 65+ down the road it can get interesting. <<

Yes they have, but did the battery die OR did the engine die for some other reason???

Kevin.
 

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That's what I get for reading too fast, I miss things. :eek:
 

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Not sure about newer computer controlled engines, but "back in the day" to check an alternator vs dead battery problem, we'd start the engine and disconnect the ground from the battery. If vehicle kept running, the alternator was fine; if it died or changed the alternator was bad. I would think that once the bike starts, it goes to alternator power and battery is just there to store charge till next time starter is used.

Coincidentally, my riding mower is doing the same thing. It runs for a while and stops like it's out of gas, over 1/2 way thru the mowing. No spark at plugs. Temps in high 80s to low 90's with hills in every direction and I'm a big boy. let it set a few hours and she starts and runs like a champ. I still have other electrical though. Mot likely a bad coil on the mower.

So when I read the original post, I first thought, could be fuel-related, until it said that all electrics are dead. Could be a deadish battery, that ran out of juice then had enough charge to enough to start cool bike again, but more likely is a heat-triggered issue. Something is getting hot enough to change the current path and shutting down somewhere. That is my technical explanation. Sorry I don;t know more about the electrics on an LT yet.

Good luck sorting it out. Im not sure I buy the battery as the weak link explanation just yet.

Randy
 

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Ever see those blinking lights on a holiday lighting display (Christmas tree perhaps)? The blinking is controlled by one of the bulbs. It lights, gets hot, and a piece of metal inside the glass bends from the heat, causing that bulb, and the ones it connects to, to turn off. As the metal cools, it bends back, and makes the connection again, causing the lights to turn on. *Everything* bends/expands/contracts from changes in temperature. Some materials more than others. Inside the battery you'll find such things as lead, acid/gel, wires, and plastic. A little heat from the engine, or heat from charging/discharging may cause these parts to bend/expand/contract more than expected, disrupting the flow of electricity. Either causing an open circuit (as if removing battery would) or a short circuit (claiming all of the electricity produced by the charging system, leaving none available for rest of bike)

A shorted cell in the battery would certainly be expected to get hot, causing the problem to show up after running for some time, go away when it cooled.
 

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Happened to me, while passing another vehicle on a twisty highway. Just died; coasted to the shoulder (gravel). Turned out it was a gross Corpus Collosum failure. The only LT component that failed was the cup-holder. Didn't have one at the time.
In a nutshell: (isn't there a Stupid Moment forum somewhere?) no cupholder. Tucked a bottle (of water, thank you very much) under the shield. Started passing fast as it was a short zone. Bottle bounced off to the rights side. Quicker than any idiot I reached for it, caught it, bike dies. Pulled over on the left shoulder and realised that I'd hit the kill-switch when catching my 17 cents worth of water.
Darwin Awards 101. I can't believe I just confessed this publicly.
 

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Well, a couple of things..

The Motronic monitors voltages.. adequate power is necessary for bike to run fuel pump, plugs, injectors, lighting.. and the beat goes on....

Now, the alternator, (not generator) needs electricity to excite the "fields" and generate AC power. Not my illusion (everyone here probably knows I believe in the unbelievable).. .. here's a link to an explanation.. http://www.misterfixit.com/alterntr.htm
 

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rando said:
Not sure about newer computer controlled engines, but "back in the day" to check an alternator vs dead battery problem, we'd start the engine and disconnect the ground from the battery. If vehicle kept running, the alternator was fine; if it died or changed the alternator was bad. I would think that once the bike starts, it goes to alternator power and battery is just there to store charge till next time starter is used.
Nope. Modern computer controlled engines will/should die if you disconnect the battery. You should never do the "battery disconnect" check on a computer controlled vehicle either, it could damage the ECM.
 

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Thanks Morley, I know I have read/heard that somewhere. Last time I had to actually do it was on a 71 Dart. Not mch in the way of a computer there. But there is another verification and I will not reommend anyone to do that again. It does make sense.

Randy
 
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