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Thread: 2017 R1200GS Rough Idle?

  1. #1
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    2017 R1200GS Rough Idle?

    I bought the bike with 9600 miles earlier this year. Currently it has 10500 miles, a little ways from the 12k service. I have a 2013 F800GS for comparison so maybe it's my imagination. This is my first boxer. The idle on this bike is a bit rough it seems, not quite a Harley rough but more than I thought it would. My F800GS idle is smooth as silk. I am getting very paranoid that it could be the dreaded rocker/cam issue and I haven't yet opened the valve covers to check. The bike starts great, no hesitation. It's power and cruising on the road is perfect and mileage is what I expect it should be. I don't hear any loud clicking sounds like the YT videos of people who had the cam issue. No fault codes come up when scanning it with Motoscan. Any suggestions would be helpful, except taking it to the dealer is a pain since it's way out of the way and it's well out of warranty. I do like working on bikes but need some guidance on what else to check besides the cams. I was hoping to just wait until the 12k valve clearance check to open it up. Then again maybe it's just the nature of this engine? That's OK as it's not really that bad (I had a Harley some years back).

  2. #2
    SlaveToCurves/Wind/Motion jono's Avatar
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    Could you be more specific about "a bit rough"? An opposed twin will idle differently than a parallel twin. A boxer will "lope" while a parallel twin will usually idle very smooth due to the alternating strokes.
    jono 22 BMW R1250RT / 16 C650GT / 16 K1600GT / 14 R1200RT / 08 R1200GS / 04 R1150RS / 90 K75RT / 84 R100RT / 77 Yamaha RD400 / 78 Honda CB550K /
    75 Norton Commando / 92 R100GS / 85 K100RS / 86 Honda VT700C / 76 Honda CB750F / 74 Yamaha RD350 / 73 HD SS350 / 63 HD FLH / 60 Honda Cub

  3. #3
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    ...Not just "differently", but very much so. It is extremely important that any tuneup is done correctly, so that both sides are producing equal power, otherwise any imbalance will cause that rockin' back and forth.
    And, do Not set the idle speed too low (is this even controllable on the '17s?), the engine was never designed to run like a Harley. It may be that you only need to re-synch the throttle bodies at idle; this requires a GS-911 or equivalent.

  4. #4
    Registered User 88bmwjeff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pauls1150 View Post
    ...It may be that you only need to re-synch the throttle bodies at idle; this requires a GS-911 or equivalent.
    While I don't know anything about maintaining these newer machines, I do know that these bikes are throttle by wire. Wouldn't the computer control these? So, I'm not how one would or could balance them, but that could just show that I know nothing as I previously mentioned.
    Jeff
    1988 R100 RT (the other woman)
    2018 R1200 GS
    "I got my motorcycle jacket but I'm walking all the time." Joe Strummer

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    I was under the impression that the balance is handled by the firmware, as the throttles are both operated by the computer (balancing air flow readings). If there is a cam problem wouldn't it also show up while under load, not just idle?

  6. #6
    Registered User LFarling's Avatar
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    A GS-911 will reset and sync the throttel.

    A cam issue is hard to feel as a lot of reported cam failures people did not notice it for some time.

    It could be just a bad plug? Maybe some bad gas as that will cause some idle issues.

    And maybe your just not used to the clatter and sounds of a boxer motor. It is a very busy sound machine.

    If your really worried pull the covers and go ahead and look at your cams and do you valve check. At least then you can put this to bed as a cam or valve issue.

    I checked valves and cams at every service due to the cam issues. At 60 miles, 600 miles and 6000 my exhaust valves were tight, at 12,000 I changed them out. No noise or anything associated with all four exhaust valves tight but I wanted them looser. I just did my 24K a few months ago and all was well.

    Worth the time for piece of mind to check them and be sure. I would pull the covers and check your valves and cams. And if you have or can borrow the tools check your cam timing and cam position sensor on the left cam. While the cam position sensor is a cause for hard first starts, overall running is greatly improved by correct cam timing.
    The above is worth what you paid for it..........
    Lee 2017.5 R 1200 GSW

  7. #7
    Registered User alegerlotz's Avatar
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    Putting your mind at ease about the camshafts is a half hour job total... Put the bike on the center stand and pull one of the valve covers to take a look. If the cams look good on that side, wipe/dry the gasket and mating surfaces well and re-install it, then the pull the other side and look there. [Don't overtighten those valve cover bolts - when they seat against the cover, they are tight enough.] Chances are incredibly high that they're absolutely fine. There are cases of bad cams, but percentage wise the odds are very much in your favor. Changes are also very high that your valves are well within lash spec at that mileage as well.

    If its not just a case of you not being used to the boxer engine/idle, the likely causes IMO are spark plugs or that the fuel you bought it with was old and there's still some of that in the tank now.

    I've noticed that used (12k old) spark plugs have electrodes that are now a bit flat on the sides rather than round, increasing the gap. My bike always starts and idles better with new plugs. You could pull those and check them, but if the bike runs fine otherwise, I'd just wait until the 12K service to replace them as a matter of course. For fuel, use the existing fuel down to when the reserve light comes on, then refill with fresh 91+ (93 if you can get it) top tier gas and ride the bike. Run it through the gears, get on the highway for a while, don't baby it. My bike always runs best when its been ridden hard.
    Current: 2021 R NineT, 2016 R1200RT
    Past: 2005 R1200RT (2/2015 - 12/2016), 1987 K100RS (12/2015 - 12/2016), 2007 KTM 450 XC-W (10/17 - 5/18), 1985 Yamaha XJ 700 Maxim (7/1989 - 9/1991)

  8. #8
    Old Rider - OK Mechanic 105258's Avatar
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    Rough idle

    I agree with the last post. I have 2017 1200 gs and a 2022 1250 gsa. I do all my own maintenance on both and on some of my friends bikes. I always at 10,000km do full service, including valve and timing checks. My experience is that it is not uncommon for timing,valve spacing, cam position sensor to be out of spec. Once adjusted the engine is much smoother. A few tools and time is all it takes. As well if you record the valve spacing you have a good baseline to determine valve drift in the future.

    Don't be afraid to do this. Plenty of great videos, like BoxFlyer to help. The specialty tools are not cheap, but compared to the cost of service and the peace of mind that you understand how your bike works, the tool cost is cheap.
    David Nicholls
    Teulon Manitoba - Canada

    2015 R1200GSA-LC

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by 105258 View Post
    The specialty tools are not cheap, but compared to the cost of service and the peace of mind that you understand how your bike works, the tool cost is cheap.
    I ordered the whole set of tools (and paid for them of course) in April. You are correct, they are not cheap but far less than the dealer charges for just one service. Still waiting on the tools, other forums indicate the tools can sometimes take a year to get but eventually they did get them. Dealer told me to expect a long wait and said late summer at the soonest.

  10. #10
    Old Rider - OK Mechanic 105258's Avatar
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    Tools

    Box flyer makes most of the tools you need, yo would have contact him to see if he has any. The other option is to ask if anyone in you area has the tools and maybe you could borrow them
    David Nicholls
    Teulon Manitoba - Canada

    2015 R1200GSA-LC

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