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Thread: Intermittent Ignition Fault

  1. #1
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Intermittent Ignition Fault

    2007 R1200R, 47K miles. The EWS ring antenna was replaced under warranty by the original owner in 2008. I've had the bike since 2009. The issue I describe below has never previously appeared.

    When I insert the key and turn it, sometimes the dash doesn't light up and the diagnostics don't begin. Wiggling the key doesn't help. Turning the key to "Off" and then again to "On" (maybe twice) rectifies the problem. This happens perhaps one start in ten. The physical movement and feeling of the key is unchanged since I've had the bike.

    There was a lot of agony on the MOA Forum in 2007-2010 about sudden antenna ring failure, but nothing since and no mention of a replacement ring failure or ring intermittency.

    I just connected the GS-911, which returns no faults; the bike's switch positions (kill, starter, and the three BMS-K safeties) are correct.

    Seems to me this is likely either a dirty or failing ignition switch (helpfully located underneath the ignition lock, and secured with special anti-theft bolts that must be drilled out) or the EWS antenna ring...even though I've never heard of an intermittent one.

    What do you think?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by dbrick; 10-25-2017 at 11:02 PM.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  2. #2
    Registered User Dann's Avatar
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    Could it be the key itself that is somehow faulty and is not always recognized by the EWS?

    Did you try with the second key?
    Daniel
    If you can park it, and not turn around to admire it before walking away, you bought the wrong one.
    R1200RT 2007 - IBA # 56396

  3. #3
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Hi Daniel,

    I didn't try the second hidden-in-the-ridiing-jacket key today, but the last time this happened (last week, I think) I was using the jacket key. Seems more likely that the problem would be in the EWS ring, or the ignition switch, rather than in both keys.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  4. #4
    Registered User lkraus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    Hi Daniel,

    I didn't try the second hidden-in-the-ridiing-jacket key today, but the last time this happened (last week, I think) I was using the jacket key. Seems more likely that the problem would be in the EWS ring, or the ignition switch, rather than in both keys.
    Sounds like you usually carry both keys? Working from a sometimes faulty memory here, but I think having two keys in close proximity to the EWS ring can confuse the system. You might try keeping the spare key further away.
    Larry
    2006 R1200RT

  5. #5
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkraus View Post
    Sounds like you usually carry both keys? Working from a sometimes faulty memory here, but I think having two keys in close proximity to the EWS ring can confuse the system. You might try keeping the spare key further away.
    Thanks, Larry. You're right about two keys in proximity. What I remember is that one shouldn't have a second key on the same keyring with the key that's in the ignition. My spare is in a chest pocket of my Darien jacket, and the bike's ignition has operated correctly up 'til now with the spare key in that pocket.

    Still, I'll move the spare key further aft. If the ignition fails again, it won't be second key proximity that's causing it.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  6. #6
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    FWIW - I have carried mine in the top zippered pocket of my tank bag without any issue yet.

  7. #7
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Hey David,

    If you're lucky - when they replaced the EWS antenna - perhaps they didn't use the anti-theft bolts (where the head sheers off..) I purposely asked the mechanic who did mine on the '07 to use regular bolts. If that's the case, it shouldn't be a big deal to get the switch off the key assembly. Or to replace the EWS antenna (if you need one, ping me.. I have a brand new spare from back in the bad old days..) IIRC - when there was an EWS antenna problem there was a message on the dash indicating EWS wasn't working.

    One other possibility - check where the wiring from the switch assembly is tie-wrapped off. BMW has been known to put on tie-wraps WAY too tight, which eventually causes wire failure under the tie-wrap. Usually can be identified by removing the tie-wrap and wiggling the wire in that area. Watch for any change.

    BTW - what does the GS-911 say about the "state" of the ignition switch when it fails to do anything?
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  8. #8
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    Hey David,

    If you're lucky - when they replaced the EWS antenna - perhaps they didn't use the anti-theft bolts (where the head sheers off..) I purposely asked the mechanic who did mine on the '07 to use regular bolts. If that's the case, it shouldn't be a big deal to get the switch off the key assembly. Or to replace the EWS antenna (if you need one, ping me.. I have a brand new spare from back in the bad old days..) IIRC - when there was an EWS antenna problem there was a message on the dash indicating EWS wasn't working.
    Hi Don,

    I haven't looked yet, being still stuck in denial. But I will pull the fairing off and see what I can see. The previous owner was not mechanically apt, and wouldn't have asked for that non-standard mounting. I'd be surprised if the big city dealer used regular bolts. (Pause to find RO for that work. Parts listed include "bolt shear lock ring," quantity 2. I think I'm out of luck on that score.)

    There was no EWS message on the dash during either previous failure. That suggests the problem isn't the antenna.

    One other possibility - check where the wiring from the switch assembly is tie-wrapped off. BMW has been known to put on tie-wraps WAY too tight, which eventually causes wire failure under the tie-wrap. Usually can be identified by removing the tie-wrap and wiggling the wire in that area. Watch for any change.
    Good suggestion. I'll look at that too.

    BTW - what does the GS-911 say about the "state" of the ignition switch when it fails to do anything?
    When I connected the GS-911 yesterday afternoon, the bike was warm (it had been ridden earlier) and the ignition switch operated correctly: turned the key, Skene LEDs illuminated and speedo/tach needles cycled. There were no stored electrical faults.

    Doesn't the ignition switch have to be "on" for the GS-911 to be active?
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  9. #9
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    Doesn't the ignition switch have to be "on" for the GS-911 to be active?
    Duh on me.. you're right. No way to check the ignition switch status..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  10. #10
    R1200RT Artiee's Avatar
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    My 2005 R1200RT had the same problem, exactly as you're describing. Short answer; the ignition switch was wearing out, pure and simple. After replacement, I've not had the problem since.
    Experience IS NOT the best teacher! Someone else's experience is the best teacher.

  11. #11
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Thanks, Artiee.

    Hasn't happened since I wrote I'm like the guy with the leaky roof when it isn't raining.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  12. #12
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    I moved the spare key further away.

    Happened again this morning. Leaving the key on and wiggling made no difference. Turning the key off and on again immediately restored power to the system.

    Considering Artiee's comment, I'm still thinking it's the ignition switch.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbrick View Post
    I moved the spare key further away.

    Happened again this morning. Leaving the key on and wiggling made no difference. Turning the key off and on again immediately restored power to the system.

    Considering Artiee's comment, I'm still thinking it's the ignition switch.
    David, I'll be out that way in December w/SWMBO (via Porsche not bike..) if you want some help, let me know.. I'll just need to test ride the R12R when I'm done for a few days (is CA1 open again?)
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  14. #14
    rabid reader dbrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    David, I'll be out that way in December w/SWMBO (via Porsche not bike..) if you want some help, let me know.. I'll just need to test ride the R12R when I'm done for a few days (is CA1 open again?)
    The north blockage at Pfeiffer Creek is repaired with a new bridge, and now open. The south blockage (just south of Gorda) won't open for another year or so, as a whole new roadway has to be built over the slide. One can get to CA1 from US101 via Jolon Road and Nacimiento-Fergusson Road over the military reservation at Fort Hunter Liggett; N-F is technical and has poor pavement, no centerline, and no guardrails, but fabulous views on the coast side.

    The bike's going in for service soon. Given the shear-head bolts, I'm likely to just tell them to R&R the switch. Will pass on new security bolts, 'tho.

    Lemme know when you're out here, we can go out for a beer.
    David Brick
    Santa Cruz CA
    2007 R1200R

  15. #15

    EWS warning, becuase of were I parked

    I have a 2005 R1200RT with fairly low miles. I came out of work on a Friday, ready for a nice ride home. Put in the key and turned it, and the dreaded EWS warning popped up. This has never happened before, and at the time I wasn't sure what was happening. I rolled the bike back pulled the key out and back in, tried again and everything worked as it should. It hasn't happened since.

    The only thing I can think of is that I parked right next to the big transformer that feeds the building where I work. I suspect that there is a bit of induction going on close to the transformer that interfered with the reading of the key. I'm pretty sure that the antenna is a coil and the bike was sitting next the transformer all day.

    I just wanted to share the experience because it was so strange. I was wondering if anyone else has had an experience like this.

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