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Thread: 2011 R1200RT Left Hand Combination Switch Failure; Options?

  1. #1
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    2011 R1200RT Left Hand Combination Switch Failure; Options?

    I bought my RT in July of 2011. No significant problems except..... In June of 2012 the local shop replaced the left combination switch because cruise control would cancel for no reason. In August of this year AND right when it turns over 36,000 miles the windshield raise/lower stops working. It intermittently comes back but also the other day the "info" scroll button stops working and as of today cruise control no longer functions.

    This last week I was at the dealer and after hooking it up to the diagnostics it was confirmed that the switches are not working. Cost of replacement? $400. After much internet searching it appears as if this is not an isolated problem. Many owners of now only the R1200RT, but the K1600 and other models appear to have had similar problems basically from 2009 when BMW went to this new style of switch. Evidently the switches use a copper trace on plastic that is sealed in some clear polycarbonate (or such) resin. Repeated heat cycles weakens and cracks the copper trace and the connections to the switches. There are no service solutions accepted by the factory other than replacement. My local dealer would love to help me but the ultimate decision on whether or not to cover this switch as a warranty item depends on the BMW factory.

    1) Anybody want to help me raise a stink with BMW as to providing me with info concerning the acute failure rates of these switches? There sure is a lot of people complaining about these things. Why haven't they issued a recall?

    2) This is my "forever bike." Anybody know of a good technical way to reliably fix this problem using another switching method, i.e. cheaper, more reliable switches? I don't mind a little cobbling together in order to offset what appears to be a bad manufacturing design.

  2. #2
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    2012 R1200RT Switches

    I have been mentioning this to my dealer since last summer. They said at a first they had never heard of this, but did make a note in the system. The horn and windshield switches would fail in hot weather. 85F +

    After several more complaints from me, this month the dealer replaced the left & right switches. When I picked up the bike it was obvious they were different. The high beam is much easier to turn on and the horn switch is easier to get at and they all seem to have a better quality feel. They look and work great.

    They also had no paper work for me to sign off on, which seemed odd.

    I'd make sure you start a "case file" and keep on the the dealer.

  3. #3
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    Crap. I thought you were going to tell me that it uses the same switches found on a 2004 Honda Helix and they can be bought on E-Bay for $19.99 shipped.

    There is quite a bit of rumblings on various message boards like this one about this these types of switches. They started using them in 2009 and it sounds like they've have to replace quite a few of them under warranty. I was actually able to scroll through my info by bridging the nodes with small leads. In fact, today I went out for a while......windshield and cruise control worked fine. After an hour in modest daytime heat, zilch.

    I plan on having a discussion with my dealer when I return from a trip a week from now. I am NOT going to try and work them over and give them a hard time. Their hands are tied. However I wouldn't mind trying to make them a clandestine ally in trying to take the factory to task. I would sure like to know what they know.

  4. #4
    Registered User frenchnew's Avatar
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    Had the issue that the info switch would not work anymore within 2 years of taking delivery of my brand new 2011RT last spring. The dealer did replace the switch assembly under warranty.
    2016 K1600GT Cosmic Blue , ABS, ASC, ESAII, TPMS & Alarm, Radio, Sat, GPS Nav V
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  5. #5
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banzaibob View Post
    I bought my RT in July of 2011. No significant problems except..... In June of 2012 the local shop replaced the left combination switch because cruise control would cancel for no reason. In August of this year AND right when it turns over 36,000 miles the windshield raise/lower stops working.
    You are only 4-8 weeks out of the two year parts warranty for that replacement switch. I'd put some pressure on the dealer to get BMW to cover the new switch. BMW knows the original design had problems, that's why they changed it.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  6. #6
    Rally Rat
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    This is a known problem. Many switches have failed and have been replaced. The new switch will have a 2 year warranty and has a different part number than the original.

    I am waiting for the part to come in as my left side controller is doing the same thing. My right side switch was replaced last year.

    If your dealer is claiming they haven't seen this, find another dealer.

  7. #7

    left hand switch replacement -- 2010 R1200 RT

    Tuesday, Sept. 2, I go back to my local dealer, Grand Rapids BMW, to have my 3rd switch installed. I paid for #1 replacement in June of this summer, was told the part had a 2 yr parts and labor warranty. the problem in my switch is keeping the cruise control operational. the service mgr. knows there is a problem with these switches and has been very good about ordering the next replacement and getting me in quickly. My only complaint is that this part continues to malfunction.

    I'm hopeful this next replacement will do the trick

    Steve W
    Holland, MI

  8. #8
    I have seen a thread showing the inside of these switches. Apparently one theory is the copper traces get cracked and lose continuity. The cause maybe heat causing the issue. I have insulated my switches some to prevent the sun heating the black plastic. I tried reflective tape but it looked like crap. So now use black cloth.
    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT,
    2011 R1200GSA
    2014 Kawasaki DTracker; 2016 Honda NC700 DCT

  9. #9
    Registered User liv2ride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roamingbeemer View Post
    I have seen a thread showing the inside of these switches. Apparently one theory is the copper traces get cracked and lose continuity. The cause maybe heat causing the issue. I have insulated my switches some to prevent the sun heating the black plastic. I tried reflective tape but it looked like crap. So now use black cloth.
    Do you have a pic of how you insulated them?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by liv2ride View Post
    Do you have a pic of how you insulated them?
    Not at home unil 6 Sept. It is nothing fancy... just some velcro stuck to open area of switch with black cloth attached. Makes an air barrier preventing some of the heat being absorbed. Read about doing that on a K1600 thread somewhere. They have had same issue. Aluminum tape would have looked terrible.
    Seek Fun. "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain--and most fools do" BF
    2009 K1300GT,
    2011 R1200GSA
    2014 Kawasaki DTracker; 2016 Honda NC700 DCT

  11. #11
    Registered User Tewster2's Avatar
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    A buddy of mine has a GTL. Been in the shop 5 times for the same stuff. Easiest thing to do would be to replace the switch with a FJR or KLR. I believe the quality control on those are a bit better than the new BMWs.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    You are only 4-8 weeks out of the two year parts warranty for that replacement switch. I'd put some pressure on the dealer to get BMW to cover the new switch. BMW knows the original design had problems, that's why they changed it.
    Exactly. At worst BMW picks up the cost of the part and you pay labor - then your 2 year warranty starts over.

    JayJay
    ******
    '09 R1200 RT, '73 R75/5 Toaster (under rehabilitation)
    Lots of rice burners in the past ...

  13. #13
    BMW is Boxer-Boxer is BMW GregoryT's Avatar
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    Same problem recurring after 11 months

    My 2013 RT is acting up again.
    Recently, I lost R/S turn signal (it works intermittently) and on top of that my starter switch is doing the same thing. Some times it takes several tries and finally it works (is not related to moisture or high temperature).
    Since BMW is well aware of these problems for so many years on different models and still can't find a pernament fix, maybe is time to part away and give a new manufacturer a try.
    It's a shame because I trully like BMWs.
    G.T.
    BMW MOA # 71371
    Everett, WA

    2013 R1200RT

  14. #14
    Registered User drrider's Avatar
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    you are not at all encouraging. my cruise failed a couple months ago, dealer good willed a new left switch, new one came out of the box bad, so they replaced that one................no cruise does not work.
    BMWMOA, BMWRA IBA
    99r11rt 206,K miles: no final drive or clutch spline failures moved on
    96 Ural turist (too much fun)
    11 R12rt (love at first ride)

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