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Thread: Wethead High Altitude Fail

  1. #1
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Wethead High Altitude Fail

    I just returned from a 3500 mile trip through OR, ID, CO, WY and MT. I experienced something new while riding the road to the top of Mt. Evans and wanted some input from the experts on this site.

    We road to the top of Mt. Evans (14,265') with no issues. On the way back down, my 2015 R1200RT went into shut down mode twice. During this mode, the bike won't make any power and just runs at a fast idle. To reset it, you have to stop, turn off the bike, then restart it.

    I'm assuming this was caused by a confusion with the MAP sensor caused by the altitude, but I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this? I have an 18K service appointment scheduled for Thursday and plan to bring up this issue as there may be a software update.

    Thanks for any input.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  2. #2
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    Larry, I'd be more inclined to consider a sensor issue first rather then jumping to suspecting the mapping.

    Not saying it isn't possible that it is mapping, just that didn't read anything that would move to bypass checking sensor functionality before investigating the less likely source of a mapping issue.

    The dealership code scan will likely/hopefully shed some light on the culprit.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  3. #3
    My 2015 just started this behavior yesterday. I just had the 12K service done last week. I was preparing to fuel up and idling at the pump when it first happened. The engine light was lit solid during the high idle. At home, I let it idle in the driveway and it happened twice more. I’m taking it back to the dealer tomorrow. I am supposed to start my 4-day trip to a Rally in the mountains on Thursday. I’ve had the bike since 9K miles without a single issue.

    Paul

  4. #4
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Annie had a very similar experience with her 17 R12GS. Turned out that there is a service bulletin on the TPS that solved her problem. The service bulletin concerns only bikes that present with certain TPS related fault codes and requires resetting the acceptable variances in the signal the TPS sends to the ECU. As the mechanic told us, it is a case of German hubris that the tolerences were set unnecessarily close. Took less than 15 minutes for him to correct the problem. She has over 20,000 trouble free miles on her bike since it was seen. By the way, one shop missed the service bulletin and wanted us to wait 5-7 days in Seattle for a new TPS. We made it back to MT and our shop knew about the service bulletin The mechanic said this particular SB did not show up as they normally do when the the bike is hooked up to their computer. He remembered reading the SB when it was issued and had to hunt around to find it in the system.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  5. #5
    Larry, I am not an expert but I too ride a 2015 RT, currently 78000 miles on it. Two summers ago I had mine to the top of Mt. Evans with no ill effects except for the expected power reduction. Hopefully a scan at the dealer or with a GS911 will point you in the right direction. Likely a sensor or calibration issue.
    '15 1200RT

  6. #6
    Registered User ksb245's Avatar
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    Service Bulletins

    This brought to mind a question: where can I find a list of service bulletins for my bike? Wouldn't want to go to a shop that forgot about one that could be ruining a trip.
    Karl
    2016 R1200RT-LC San Marino Blue (The Alien)
    2008 R1200RT Sand Beige Metallic (Wife's)
    2014 1600 GTL Gray-Traded; 2011 R1200RT Black/Silver-Traded

  7. #7
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Annie had a very similar experience with her 17 R12GS. Turned out that there is a service bulletin on the TPS that solved her problem. The service bulletin concerns only bikes that present with certain TPS related fault codes and requires resetting the acceptable variances in the signal the TPS sends to the ECU. As the mechanic told us, it is a case of German hubris that the tolerences were set unnecessarily close. Took less than 15 minutes for him to correct the problem. She has over 20,000 trouble free miles on her bike since it was seen. By the way, one shop missed the service bulletin and wanted us to wait 5-7 days in Seattle for a new TPS. We made it back to MT and our shop knew about the service bulletin The mechanic said this particular SB did not show up as they normally do when the the bike is hooked up to their computer. He remembered reading the SB when it was issued and had to hunt around to find it in the system.
    Thanks, Kevin. The service bulletin is great information that I'll bring up to the dealer on Thursday.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ksb245 View Post
    This brought to mind a question: where can I find a list of service bulletins for my bike? Wouldn't want to go to a shop that forgot about one that could be ruining a trip.
    Short answer - you can't. It is not published.

    Some dealers will share information. Some won't.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    As far as I'm concerned, TSBs should be required to be available, free of cost, to the public from the manufacturer website. Unfortunately, such is not the case.

    You however can get some info from NHTSA in the form of Manufacturer Communications. Here's a link to the 17 Bulletins for the 2015 R1200RT. If you put your full VIN in the top of the page it will provide info specific to your bike.
    https://www.nhtsa.gov/vehicle/2015/B...Communications
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: 2019 R1250RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '14 R1200RT / '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  10. #10
    I took my bike back to the shop this morning for evaluation of the “limp mode” issue. I made it there without issue but it immediately went into “limp mode” when I stopped. I described all of the symptoms to the mechanic and he put in on the computer right away. There was an issue with the right cylinder. It turned out to be a vacuum hose that had come loose from the top of the cylinder. I couldn’t see it myself because it was behind the fairing. I also replaced the 4 year old battery for good measure. They had to start it a few times and let it run for periods in between for the onboard computer to realign all of the correct values from the sensors since I had driven it so much in the compromised condition. All seems perfect now and she purrs like a kitten as before the 12K service. I’ll put some miles on her before I hit the road on Thursday to the Twin Valley Rally in Meadows of Dan, VA. It couldn’t be determined how the vacuum hose came off. They asked me if it had backfired at any time on my way home just after pickup last week but I’m pretty sure it never did. I don’t know if it was something that had been disconnected during the 12K service or not. Either way, it seems perfectly fine now. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  11. #11
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Good to hear it was something fairly minor. It could be worse. A friend's Spyder was running awful. Turned out to be a disintegrated vacuum hose buried deep in the bowels of the engine. The amount of crap he had to take off to get to that hose was unbelievable. It seems most repairs on the Spyder necessitate significant disassembly. That is a big plus on the boxer R and GS models. Easy acess to most maintenance and repair work.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  12. #12
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cadmanpilot View Post
    I took my bike back to the shop this morning for evaluation of the “limp mode” issue. I made it there without issue but it immediately went into “limp mode” when I stopped. I described all of the symptoms to the mechanic and he put in on the computer right away. There was an issue with the right cylinder. It turned out to be a vacuum hose that had come loose from the top of the cylinder. I couldn’t see it myself because it was behind the fairing. I also replaced the 4 year old battery for good measure. They had to start it a few times and let it run for periods in between for the onboard computer to realign all of the correct values from the sensors since I had driven it so much in the compromised condition. All seems perfect now and she purrs like a kitten as before the 12K service. I’ll put some miles on her before I hit the road on Thursday to the Twin Valley Rally in Meadows of Dan, VA. It couldn’t be determined how the vacuum hose came off. They asked me if it had backfired at any time on my way home just after pickup last week but I’m pretty sure it never did. I don’t know if it was something that had been disconnected during the 12K service or not. Either way, it seems perfectly fine now. Keeping my fingers crossed.
    Thanks for finishing the thread. The info is sure to help others.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  13. #13
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Thank you to everyone for your input. I'll report back to this thread after my service appointment on Thursday.
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  14. #14
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Just to close out this thread, I had a service appointment with BMW of Western Oregon in Eugene, OR on Thursday. Here are the comments from the service technician regarding his diagnosis of the problem:

    "Checked for faults during the service and found one for gearshift position sensor. Checked wiring and plugs during the service and did not find any damage or loose wires. Took the bike on test ride starting mileage 18517 ending mileage 18535 and tried shifting up and down while going up and down hills. Unable to get bike to go into limp mode. It is possible that while descending Mount Evans and downshifting that the potentiometer did not get shifted all the way in place and caused the fault code".

    There weren't any outstanding tech service bulletins, so at this point it's a one time event. I'm not likely to be riding over 14,000 feet anytime in the near (or distant) future, so at this point I'm not worried about it. Other than that event, the bike has run flawlessly since purchase new.

    Thanks again to everyone who responded. The best part about the service appointment was two trips over MacKenzie Pass on a spectacularly beautiful PNW day!
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

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