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Thread: Non-Starting RTs

  1. #1

    Non-Starting RTs

    Just posted this on another board... thought I'd share it here....


    Been looking for an opportunity to share my experience with my 2 non-starting RTs.

    My 2003 acted up on a cool morning in the Smokies. All lights and indicators normal, would crank but would not fire. Jumped off another bike and it started. Worked fine the rest of the trip. Acted up again after I got home, intermittent crank but no start. A buddy present at a no start event asked if the starter always sounded so "rough". It started me thinking so I pulled the starter apart and found the shield sealing the reduction gearbox dislodged and was shorting out the windings on the armature. Fixed that with some JB weld, reassembled and the problem and noise went away.

    The starter shield problem is documented elsewhere on this site.

    Next bike was a 2004RT which I bought non-running, was told the HES sensor was bad. While waiting for a new sensor to be delivered I swapped various parts including the HES and starter (fewer miles) from the 2003. The bike fired right up. Once delivered I installed the new HES in the 2004 and all was good.

    I reinstalled the 2003's original HES along with the starter from the 2004 and suddenly it would not start reliably. Figuring I damaged the wiring on the HES I ordered another one, installed it and it still wouldn't start reliably. Many hours of hair pulling later I yanked the starter for lack of another idea and found the same dislodged shield as I found on the 2003 while in the Smokies. Removed the shield completely and all was good.

    So... the shield shorting out the armature windings pulled enough voltage while cranking that the ECU was not getting what it needed to fire the ignition or fuel injection. I bought $500 worth of HES's that I didn't need and spent untold hours troubleshooting due to a starter problem I had experienced before. My advice... pull your starter apart and inspect.

  2. #2

    Thanks for the Memories

    GIARCG

    Thank you for sharing the experiences. Troubleshooting is so much fun; any insights are helpful.

  3. #3
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    You've hit one of the nails right on the head. Many Oilheads will start much better after installing a new starter. When everything was made right, my 2004 R1150RT will start with less than 1 second of cranking at any temperature.

    Here is my summary of a twelve page thread: http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread....=1#post1009408.

    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    August 24, 2015
    Two years later, my '04 R1150RT (dual spark) now starts in about 1 second after sitting overnight and in about half to three-quarters of a second once the engine has warmed up (>40C). The final pieces of the puzzle were wiring the stick coils through a relay, directly to the battery (last month); and replacing the starter (last week). I’ve made it to Er, Er, Vroom!

    Since it seems I'm at the end of this project finally and have learned a lot about what it takes to get the dual-spark 1150 to start quickly, I want to summarize the various improvements and repairs that I’ve made to reach the present state.

    1) The Motronic, injectors and stick coils are voltage sensitive and the Motronic MA 2.4 doesn't fully compensate for low voltage. I experimented a lot by powering the electronics separately and the bike always started well when I did. A good battery, good starter and properly powered stick coils are all key.

    --Odyssey PC-680: My battery had been chronically undercharged due to short trips, the 1150RT's alternator being a lower voltage than the PC680's spec, and my use of a Battery Tender Jr. with low voltage output. The battery was successfully rejuvenated by discharging and recharging 5 times, the BT Jr. was replaced with an AGM charger and I boosted the alternator output with the addition of an internal diode. I also modified the Kisan Signal Minder Flasher so that there was no key-off current drain on the battery.

    --The stick coils were powered from the key switch and its contact resistance seems to have increased over the years. Later model dual-spark bikes power the stick coils with their own relay, called Load Relay II. Recently I added a relay and rewired the stick-coils (and while I was at it the secondary coil too) directly to +12V through the relay. It improved starting, idling quality and (surprisingly) top-end smoothness.

    --The planetary gear cover inside my starter had fallen onto the armature a couple times causing serious internal arcing. I replaced the cover and the starter seemed fine but after fixing everything else in this summary, I got to the point where some starts were still slow and I knew it was related to the starting dip in the +12V. It seemed there must be excessive draw from the starter some of the time, causing the voltage dip and upsetting the Motronic, injectors and coils. After replacing it the motor spins faster, and quieter during starting and the bike starts very quickly whether cold or hot.

    —To idle well in cold weather immediately after starting, the alternator needs to start charging the battery ASAP. I noticed from GS-911 logs that the alternator sometimes would take up to half a minute to start charging the battery. During that time, voltage at the injectors could be less than 12 volts, resulting in a lean, rough idle. This is caused by a much slower injector turn-on time at the lower voltage. The alternator starting current is supplied by the Batt/Alt bulb. By replacing the stock 1.7W annunciator bulb in Batt/Alt with the 3W bulb from the High Beam annunciator, the alternator always starts immediately and cold-idle is smoother.

    2) All 4 spark plugs need to fire well for a quick start.

    --Both stick coils were found to be sub-par and although the bike ran well, replacing them improved starting and idling quality, as well as top-end smoothness.

    --The lower plugs seem to foul easily and although I didn't notice it while riding, fresh lower plugs made a difference to starting and cold idling. I've gone up in the heat range on the lower plugs to try and keep them cleaner.

    3) The Hot Idle Speed, TPS and Fast Idle Lever need to be adjusted correctly for best starting.

    —The BMW procedure for setting the Fast Idle Lever results in the throttle being opened about 4 degrees when the Fast Idle Lever is in the mid-detent position. Mine was at about 1.92 degrees, and many I’ve seen in GS-911 logs are lower, some as low as 0.64 degrees. Although the bike will start with that little throttle, 3-4 degrees open leads to faster starting. The adjuster for the fast idle lever ran to the end of the threads at a little over 2 degrees so a spacer was manufactured to sit in the bottom of the ferrule & adjuster to add adjustment range. After trial and error, 3-3.5 degrees when the Lever is in the mid-dent leads to a fast start but not too high a warm-up idle speed.

    —Oddly, but confirmed on several bikes, if the Hot Idle Speed is set above 1100 RPM, the cold-start enrichment with the Fast Idle Lever OFF is too lean. This is because there is more air entering than expected at closed throttle while Open Loop. By reducing Hot Idle to 1100 RPM, the bike’s Cold Start AFR is slightly richer.

    —TPS: Although a longer topic, I realized along the way that the closed throttle voltage expected by the Motronic is 340 mV. It was also discovered that the infamous zero=zero procedure results in the throttle being opened too far. The correct zero degree voltage is 250 mV.

    Summary
    Although everything on the list above contributed improvement, I found the most important were: 1) a fully charged, properly conditioned battery; 2) a starter that didn’t glitch the battery voltage badly, 3) separately powered stick coils and 4) good spark plugs. Although many in the forum helped I want to especially thank DR, GS Addict and terryofperry who provided valuable advice on debugging, starters and AGM batteries.

  4. #4
    Left Coast Rider
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    Gee Roger, I wish you'd be a little bit more comprehensive.

    But seriously, great info!

  5. #5
    JohnWC
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Gee Roger, I wish you'd be a little bit more comprehensive.
    That was good!

  6. #6
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Gee Roger, I wish you'd be a little bit more comprehensive.

    But seriously, great info!
    I do go overboard at times. ;-)

  7. #7
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    I do go overboard at times. ;-)
    Overboard is good Roger. Keep It up, it is much appreciated by all of us.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  8. #8
    DBLUPPR snookers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roger 04 rt View Post
    I do go overboard at times. ;-)


    Yessir........I know I've learned a great deal from the posters of #6 & #7 and a few others as well
    2000 R1100RT
    Niagara BMW Riders #298

    BMWMCO #45

  9. #9
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSAddict View Post
    Overboard is good Roger. Keep It up, it is much appreciated by all of us.
    There are a few "gurus" on this board. GSAddict and roger 04 rt are two of them.

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