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Thread: Electrical problem (need guidance)

  1. #1

    Electrical problem (need guidance)

    Hi All, I recently bought a 2003 BMW R1150 GSA which I immediately took out for a day ride. Everything was working great then I parked it for about on hour, hopped on and left my buddies place and it started making a high pitched squealing sound, originally I thought it was the clutch plate because it seemed to make the loudest noise at idle but when the revs increased the noise went away.

    I got to about 4 blocks away from home when my dash blinked and the power cut out completely. I could not get power on the dash and with the ignition turned to on nothing happened, the bike would not start, dash did not look like any power was going to it. When home I did some research and see that the alternator or belt are common failures so I started to think it was most likely this that caused the problem.

    I took off the alternator cover and the belt is in good condition, the alternator did not look darkened or burned like it had a short circuit, I smelt no burnt electrical wiring.

    I removed the fuse box cover to see if I had blown any fuses and sure enough the 15AMP fuse for the control dash was blown, I replaced it with a new one and turned on ignition but nothing happened, did not blow the new fuse, no power to the dash, unable to turn over.

    My next step is going to be to remove the fuse box and look at the wiring on the bottom side of the fuse box as the wire where the 15AMP fuse sits looks to be split.

    Can any of you suggest a methodical trace route to start looking at electrical wiring for common failures, bad grounds and general trouble shooting of battery, alternator, starter, grounds and wiring looms.

    Any and all help is much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    Sounds like a lot of work skipping the basics and a ton of guessing.

    Start with the fuses, actually pull them out, look at them for blown/corrosion. Look for anything green in the fuse box.

    Grab the connections to the battery and give 'em a twist. Look for "bloom" at the connections.

    Look at grounds, lately my favorite source of being overlooked by mechanics that have significant credentials.

    You can always pull every relay, put it back in and see what happens.

    Should cost you 30-60 min time and $0.00 parts.

    Then, you can start on the next set of basics that will cost you time and $0.00 parts.

    No wonder my boss is always on my back for service profit margin. Can't run a successful service department unless parts are cost +50% and labour getting charged out at $140.00/hr and billable time is 110%.
    1997 R1100RT, 1981 KZ 440 LTD, R80RT, R90/6 sidecar, K1100RS,1983 K100RS (Cafe now)

    “The major civilizing force in the world is not religion, it is sex.”

  3. #3
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    1) What is the battery voltage presently?
    2) Many bikes of this vintage had the ignition switch harness zip tied to tight. This eventually led to the wires breaking and the entire bike to shut off.

    I'd start there.

    Note that the Ignition switch feed circuit is unfused.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by dieselyoda View Post
    Sounds like a lot of work skipping the basics and a ton of guessing.

    Start with the fuses, actually pull them out, look at them for blown/corrosion. Look for anything green in the fuse box.

    Grab the connections to the battery and give 'em a twist. Look for "bloom" at the connections.

    Look at grounds, lately my favorite source of being overlooked by mechanics that have significant credentials.

    You can always pull every relay, put it back in and see what happens.

    Should cost you 30-60 min time and $0.00 parts.

    Then, you can start on the next set of basics that will cost you time and $0.00 parts.

    No wonder my boss is always on my back for service profit margin. Can't run a successful service department unless parts are cost +50% and labour getting charged out at $140.00/hr and billable time is 110%.
    Thank you Dieselyoda. I should of mentioned that I already pulled all relays and fuses to look for any damage, found nothing. Also looked at the battery connection and wires and found nothing. I will start taking the bike apart and looking at the wiring and ground connections. Currently waiting on my Clymer manual with electric schematics to arrive.

  5. #5
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Instead of waiting for a schematic, try https://www.mac-pac.org/tech/electrical-diagrams/
    They're for the RTs, but a GS won't be all that different.

    Expanding on GSAddict's comment, scrutinize the fat harnesses that go up to the handlebars (especially the right side) and up to and under the ignition switch.

  6. #6
    Registered User sweatmark's Avatar
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    If it was me, I would consider new battery for new-to-you bike. Eliminate one potential cause of electrical issues, with peace of mind from full knowledge of usage and maintenance history.
    Now: Rockster2, S1000R, K1300S
    Then: R850R, R1100R, R1150R, Rockster1, R1200C, F800S, etc

  7. #7
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    Both dieselyoda and GSaddict make very valid points. In addition, I would check the alternator belt for proper tension by twisting the belt 90 degrees. If it takes a lot of effort to get past this point the tension is good. If you easily get past 90 than you need to tension the belt a bit. 90 degrees provides the proper torque setting for the belt.
    Good luck!
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2018 R1200 GSA Triple Black
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA, ‘17 R1200RT

  8. #8
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    Conor,
    To debug this problem you need a DVM. Do you have one? What’s the battery voltage?
    RBI

  9. #9

    Ignition Switch

    I would also be looking at the ignition switch harness AFTER reporting back what the battery voltage is.

    "2) Many bikes of this vintage had the ignition switch harness zip tied to tight. This eventually led to the wires breaking and the entire bike to shut off."

    I had this happen on my '04RT around the 60k mark. Symptoms were ignition cut out intermittently as the handlebar was turned. Upon inspection of the wiring, only about 3 strands of the RED wire (Battery +) was remaining.

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