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Thread: diagnostic help requested - non running '08 R1200RT

  1. #1
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    diagnostic help requested - non running '08 R1200RT

    Hello all,
    I've got a new to me 2008 R1200RT which I bought from the original owner 10 days ago, 10K miles. Took a wonderful trip with my wife exploring parts of the Blue Ridge Parkway without incident, adding 466 miles to the odometer. Then, a couple days later we decided to run an errand, made it 3 miles from home when the engine suddenly died under gentle acceleration up a grade. Just like it ran out of gas. I hit the starter while coasting and it immediately restarted but instantly died again with a little twist of the wrist. Once stopped, I think I got it to "start" for one second, but after that, it wouldn't even pretend to start. Of course, I checked the tank and could see the fuel level in the bottom, so I added extra anyway and it made no difference.

    After researching here and elsewhere on the web, I was pretty sure it was the fuel pump controller (fuel pump electronic according to BMW) so I bypassed that, and still hear no fuel pump sound and it still won't start. Just like it is out of gas.

    When I turn on the key, I do hear a few seconds of noises which don't sound like a fuel pump, more like a motor operating a flap door or something, and something opposite when I turn off the key.

    I don't have a GS911 and was thinking of buying one, but if this is the fuel pump, I just ran out of the "extra" $$ I had for that nice tool.
    Can anyone advise me on how to verify whether this is the fuel pump which has failed?
    FWIW, the PO went through 3 fuel strips, all under warranty. And a few gel batteries, too. All services were done at BMW dealerships in Tampa or Asheville.

    Thanks in advance,
    Jim
    Last edited by 2fast2; 10-21-2013 at 07:53 PM. Reason: added year/model to title

  2. #2
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    RE: http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.php?46055 - I'm adding that info to your thread title. Generally you'll get a better response to your problem if you (1) give year/model of the bike in the thread title (2) add some description of what the problem is in your thread title. I'll add both to your thread title. Hopefully someone will open it who has something useful to offer. Please do this yourself in the future.

    A comment on your problem.. the GS-911 allows activating things like the fuel pump via the bikes normal electronics. As such, it's quite useful in cases like this where you aren't certain if the pump is good or not. It also allows monitoring things like the camshaft sensors that tell the BMS-K that the engine is running and to keep the fuel pump going. If you don't have one - you might go to the regional forum for where you are and ask if someone does, or if someone knows of an independent mechanic who has one (with unlimited VIN capability..) It really is an essential tool if you're thinking of DIY work on a modern BMW.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  3. #3
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    Thanks.

    I'm hoping someone nearby will see this thread and offer to help with a GS911.

  4. #4
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Sounds like the FPC - not the fuel pump. By-pass it and see.
    Nom de Plume:
    Steve Aikens, Clovis, NM
    BMW MOA #6218
    IBA# 442

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    I did, Steve. No difference.

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    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Yeah, missed that in your OP. Bummer. Cost of living just went up.

    My thought is to do what Don suggested and put the work out that you would like someone to bring a GS-911 over. I don't have an unlimited one but would be happy to help if I were close enough.
    Nom de Plume:
    Steve Aikens, Clovis, NM
    BMW MOA #6218
    IBA# 442

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    I just ran Google Maps, it is about 1500 miles and 22 hours.

    I'll buy you breakfast! Or dinner. Or both!

    Just let me know what time to expect you, haha.

  8. #8
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    If I didn't have to work - I'd head that way. I'm taking off the 31st - the 5th so I can't get out before that. But thanks for the offer for breakfast. I could use a cruise to the east coast right about now...
    Nom de Plume:
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    BMW MOA #6218
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  9. #9
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I'm in Raleigh. I have a GS911 and I own and understand the RT well. I'm in California on biz until Nov. 2. If you are still having issues I'll try and help. (I also have a spare Fuel Pump Controller -- but I see you bypassed it.)

    Here's one simple test you can do though in the mean time. An engine needs fuel, spark, compression, and timing to work.

    Get a can of starting fluid. Spray the starting fluid into the intake snout under the right side fairing. Then crank the engine. If your problem is no fuel (for whatever reason), the bike will start and run or stutter momentarily on the starting fluid. If this is the case, then you know 100% it is a fuel problem.

    If this is not the case, we can look at spark next.

    Compression and timing are assumed to be ok. These two failures are severe and obvious. It's either spark or fuel.

    Best,
    Rob
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  10. #10
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    Actual fuel pump failures are not at all common though they are known. Be sure you've done the bypass correctly and have good contacts/power at the pump connection (VOM or test light). FPC would have been my first thought too based on your description which classic typical for that failure. Often when an fpc dies in this climate, there is water in the fuel pump well (from rain riding or washing) and visible corrosion at the blue connector in the lower part of the well from water penetration- though sometimes they fail dry- how did your fpc and well look?

    How, exactly, did you do the bypass? For example, using a commercial cable to plug into the outlet, or what? You had to get the blue connector somehow because it is the only thing that works on those stubs- did you buy a commercial product or cut if off your existing fpc? If commercial, what product and how connected? Did you verify voltage at the blue connector or not?

    Looking elsewhere if the bypass is proven good and the pump runs (if you can't hear the pump on a proven good bypass it is dead or jammed- time to remove and inspect)-
    There are a lot of known things that cause partial ignition issues (eg stick coils) but stuff that kills all spark is less common- think kill switch or kickstand switch, fragged common wiring/connections, etc.

    Make sure you check the basics like all wires attached securely at the battery and be sure it has a good battery and plenty of cranking power- your bike hates low voltage and will not start if voltage drop too low when cranking. BMW stock batts are notorious for this sort of problem but it can happen to any so know for sure it is good (the best battery for your bike is a pc680)

    There is no filter to plug on your bike- only a big screen over the intake which is near impossible to plug.

    Replacing fuel strips and batts doesn't require fuel tank removal but your bike might have had the brake line recall which can. Loose or damaged connector under the tank is unlikely but not impossible. Anyway, the idea is to think about what might have been messed with or disturbed lately by someone working on the bike.

    Does your bike have some badly done farkle wiring that screwed up stock wiring somehow?? Its amazing how some hack into factory wiring..

    I agree a GS-911 or dealer computer may well show something that will quickly lead you to a cause but it is only a shortcut- traditional troubleshooting can do much of the same though is more work. And not everything throws codes when it quits..
    Robo is on target- this is either spark or fuel. Compression and timing issues are obvious and also virtually unknown on low mileage BMWs.
    Last edited by racer7; 10-22-2013 at 03:12 PM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the last two replies. I've been busy at work and I probably won't have more time to troubleshoot before this weekend at the earliest, but by then my new GS911 will be here. (I bit the bullet, figuring I would spend more than that in BMW tech labor costs in short order.)

    I appreciate the offers of help, and the specifics listed to consider.

    To address some of the questions, the FPC was dry, with some oxidation but not bad like I've seen in pictures on the web. Underneath was also dry.
    I created a bypass using the existing blue socket to which I slid stripped copper wires down alongside the bare contacts within the connector. The other end connected to a powerlet jack which I tested with a test light to confirm which lead was positive and which was ground, and to make sure I had power. I manipulated the connections (which were firm, but temporary) and had no result.

    This bike did have the brake line recall recently, and not too long after that, the ABS unit went out and was replaced. These services were all done at Asheville BMW, along with the gel battery replacements. I'm not sure whether the fuel strips were replaced there or when the bike lived in Tampa.

    I have zero personal experience with Asheville BMW but I must admit that the cynic in me can't help but wonder how the brake lines got replaced and then the ABS unit failed, and whether the system was truly bled properly. Nevertheless, when I bought the bike, it ran perfectly and I would not suggest any funny business with Asheville BMW or the PO.

    You asked about farkles. It only has the Zumo 550 which the PO had installed by Tampa BMW. They didn't add a fuse block, but I don't know how they stole power because I haven't disassembled the bike to try to figure that out.

    Are there gas line quick disconnects on this bike like on my K12RS? Just wondering whether that is an issue to address like on those bikes.

    This is just something that happened and will need to get sorted out. I was hoping on more riding and less wrenching, especially since I don't own a service manual on this model and I usually make that one of my first purchases with my used vehicles. I have Clymer's manuals for the K1200RS and the R1150R. Unfortunately, one does not exist for the R12RT.

    The GS911 should be here by Friday, so I'll get the software downloaded and try to learn how to use it and see what assistance this provides in troubleshooting. I'll try the starting fluid trick, which is easy and will help delineate which system is faulty.

    I have a question: What noise is normally made when I turn on the key (that sounds like an air damper moving?) I think I know the whirring sound of a fuel pump and that isn't what I'm hearing. When I turn off the key, it sounds like whatever it was is returning to the previous position.

  12. #12
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    I need to pay attention to the starting noises on mine and then I'll tell you what that sound is- likely a relay but might be something else.

    Sounds like you did a good bypass but if you description is correct you possibly killed a working fpc. Might not be much of a loss if it was the silver one- the replacement new design is powder coated black and seems to be more reliable and should probably be installed anyway ($150 approx).

    If you did not hear the pump when feeding it 12V direct (it takes 7A for current so needs to be on a source that can carry the load- the accessory outlet on your 08 can do that) then the pump is jammed or dead and needs to come out for inspection and probably replacement unless it has somehow ingested something and is jammed so can be freed. The pump is pretty quiet but you can hear it on the bypass easily- no sound equals dead or jammed pump and you have found your cause. Becasue of the cost of the pump you need to absolutely certain that bypass was correct and providing 12V, 7A capable- test voltage after use as well as before and do it at the blue plug itself.

    Not very good news though- pump comes with the flange etc and is about $500 IIRC. Install is straightforward. That's bad luck for you though- they fail very infrequently.
    Be sure the assembly you get has the metal reinforcing band around the female fitting in the flange (that's the current part- don't accept the old one)- it prevents cracking common on the older part without it (there is an aftermarket part from Beemer Boneyard to address it on your original part but BMW has so far done nothing about the older models). Yes your bike has plastic male QD fittings from the factory. There is a kit from Beemer Boneyard that has metal ones and the BMW also offers metal ones. You can replace only the male side. You can change the single use clamps BMW uses to reusable screw clamps (get the right type from BB) at the same time. And use a proper sealer and don't overtorque at that reinforced female fitting.....

    I doubt the brake line change killed the ABS unit- bleeding the 08 (no whizzies) is pretty simple- about like any cage, unlike the whizzie systems. The recall change of those two brake lines (the replacements have steel reinforcement sleeves at the ends to prevent vibration failures) takes a good mechanic only an hour and does not need to involve much disassembly beyond lifting the tank. The guys at the shop that did mine gravity bleed whenever possible. I had considered doing the recall myself but if ones does that, the owner has to buy the parts ($70 approx IIRC) while if you let the dealer do it the parts and labor are free- so I did the ride to the dealership, drank their coffee and rode a couple demos of new models.

    If you intend to work on your bike regularly the factory RepROM (service manual on DVD) has no equal for completeness but is written for a pro- it gives all the steps (including cross references and any special tools) but does not go into a lot of detail about how to do each step- it assumes you are fully trained at basic mechanics. A bit over $100 and does not play on any Apple OS. The factory manual is organized along the same numbering as the parts fiche- a convenience if you know how to use them.

    There is also a Haynes manual for your bike.

    The 550 Zumo is typically wired into the factory plug up by the steering head by adding a compatible plug from BMW to the GPS power cord. BMW also sells the bike side plug as a service item- I put one on my Honda and it allows me to move GPS units from one bike to the next as plug and play. BMW sold in 2008/09 a GPS identical to the 550 except for minor software differences which were eliminated later by software updates (eg early BMW models didn't support satellite radio but the software updates for it from Garmin do)

  13. #13
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    If you want to fix it yourself, and you need help, I will help you. I would be surprised it there is anything on your bike I can't figure out. I can also teach you how to do a complete service if/when you are interested.

    My guess is that when you try the starting fluid, the bike will fire up and die. I think the problem is fuel, but of course that's an internet guess.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

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    I've had this thread posted for just over 2 whole days now and I've already received really good tutoring and advice and sincere offers of help. That is pretty impressive, and makes me feel good about mankind in general, and BMW owners specifically. (At least some of the members of this forum!)
    Rob, I appreciate your offer and will PM you if I need help. I would rather not impose, but I also believe you wouldn't offer if you didn't mean it. Thanks.

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    racer 7, looking at the parts online, it looks like I could buy just the pump for around $350 from Max, yet you suggest I must buy the whole assembly. Is there something I'm missing?
    Jim

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