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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old May 16th, 2014, 4:14 pm Thread Starter
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Hot!

Since I've been off the bike for five years, I guess I forgot how miserable it can be on SoCal freeways, mid day at 90+F!

Decided to go to the shop (Chapparal in San Bernardino) to get "few things", and didn't stay long. On the way there, I noticed my temp gauge going to about 3/4 of the gauge, and the fan was coming on at the stop lights. Not good.

On the way out of the shop,......starting problem! No crank. Felt like dead battery (it's new!). Waited few minutes, and thankfully, she turned over. Rode straight home, hooked up the battery on the charger, and it shows fully charged! Then I searched this site, and saw some riders posting issues with "hot starts". Does K12RS have the same issue? Do I need stronger battery, or I need to update the cable (heavier gauge)?

And what's up with the temp? I vaguely remember this bike having the hand on the gauge slightly above the middle mark at all times, but it was showing hotter today.

Also,.....do I need to know anything special to purge the cooling system, or is it "normal". I think I'll flush the system, and change the coolant (which one is recommended?).

Looks like she needs few more things done, before I can take her to Monterey.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 5:17 am
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The temp gauge does run high in hot weather and in traffic just shy of the red band....as long as the fans are kicking on its all normal...As far as the "no crank" issue it could have been a sticky safety switch...Did you move the bike around when you had the "no crank"?...if you did than you may have unstuck a safety switch and then it started? or possibly a loose battery cable that is giving you problems. I don't think these bikes had any issues with ground or pos. wire gauge causing any no crank issues. There is nothing special in changing the coolant...Do a search in here..there is a pdf from the manual that explains how.

Last edited by BAK04GT; May 17th, 2014 at 5:40 am.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 7:43 am
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I'll ask first...are both the ground cables connected???Everytime someone comes up with some hotstart issue they seem to have missed connecting one of them cables.

As for the overheating, them bikes should run at 1/8" below the middle mark in normal highway conditions and that includes temps in/around 100F. Anything above that and suspect plugged radiators. Mine was running at the middle mark the first summer, rads were 20% plugged with road tar, bug crap and sand.

Fluhsing in place may help but in my case I had to remove the rads for a good cleaning.

Benelli 50cc at 14
Yamaha RD 200 at 16
Yamaha RD 350 at 17
Honda CB 750 F at 18
Honda V45 Sabre at 24
BMW K100RS at 27
BMW R100GS at 34
BMW K1200RS at 53
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 8:54 am Thread Starter
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Thank you gents. I just checked, and one ground WAS not connected! Hope this takes care of it.

As far as running hot,.......fans ARE coming on with no issue, but I've been watching that gauge like a hawk. I'd rather keep my eye on the cage drivers. So I will flush the system, and pressure wash the rads in place.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 8:59 am
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The temperature swing is normal. Do a coolant flush if you haven't done one recently, but past that, don't worry, be happy.

On the battery, agreed that you should look for loose wires. On the meter saying fully charged, "maybe yes, maybe no". The real test is to pull all the wiring off the battery and let it sit overnight. If the rest voltage is 12.5V or better, life is good. 12.5 - 12.2 is not good news, and under 12.2 is "dead battery, never to revive". If the bike is going to stand idle for many weeks or months, look for an AGM battery, otherwise a sealed wet cell battery will do you just fine. AGM's have less internal resistance, so they'll hold a charge while idle. A "wet" battery, because of higher internal resistance, won't hold its charge well of long periods. Of course, you can connect a trickle charger to get around that.

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

Red Flash - '03 K1200RS, lightly farkled
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 9:03 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H96669
I'll ask first...are both the ground cables connected???Everytime someone comes up with some hotstart issue they seem to have missed connecting one of them cables.

As for the overheating, them bikes should run at 1/8" below the middle mark in normal highway conditions and that includes temps in/around 100F. Anything above that and suspect plugged radiators. Mine was running at the middle mark the first summer, rads were 20% plugged with road tar, bug crap and sand.

Fluhsing in place may help but in my case I had to remove the rads for a good cleaning.
In addition to these good tips from Pierre:
(1) By design, the K1200 is running a medium-high pressure radiator cap (1.5) in order to increase boiling point and efficiency.

(2) Above point implies that to function properly, no air should be present and circuit (both rad) must be completely full when cold. You will never achieve higher pressure inside with too much air in system.

(3) In order to reach full level on both rad, you need to have bike parked level on center-stand, engine completely cold, and fill from cap on left rad. In many cases, you may get better results by having the bike leaned slightly to the right to force fluid to go to TOP of the opposite rad.

Flushing and filling does not NEED a special tool on these engine (not like the new slant-4 K bikes from 2005). But you may need to do 1 ride (or warm up until fans starts) without left fairing - then let it cool down and add some more if needed (trapped air).

After many tests, I do NOT believe in just adding to expansion tank (under seat) and assume that the radiator level will adjust itself from that fluid. Also, once you are done (including 1 heat cycle), do not fill expansion tank on MAX level when cold as it may overflow when hot. Leave it between MIN and MAX when engine is cold.

*** Get a CLYMER shop manual and you will have a lot of info on the K1200. Very cheap (about $40 on Amazon) for everything you will learn. For 95% of repair and maintenance, the CLYMER is better with more pictures than the BMW shop manual (I have both).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
John (Montreal, CANADA)
K1200RS (2002 IceBlue/Red - 96,000 miles)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 4:29 pm Thread Starter
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Thank you gentlemen.

Since I removed the dead battery about two years ago (and shoved the cables out of the way), I simply forgot how many wires are there (there are TWO negs + the neg for the trickle charger connection), and one pos + the pos for the trickle charger). All I had connected was one neg and one pos. In the excitement of getting the bike running, I simply forgot! (getting old).

Everything is hooked up now, and there are NO issues with starting.

As far as the coolant,......I'll wash the rads in place (they look reasonably clean), drain, flush, and replace the coolant. It has the blue stuff in it now, and I have the blue and the orange in my garage at all times (my Jaguars and Range Rovers use the orange, and the Benz uses blue!). So which one should I put in the K? I guess blue, because that's the color of the stuff that's in now.

I would LIKE this thing to run a "little cooler". On the Range Rovers, there is a "simple" fix that is recommended, and I wonder if any of you ever heard something like that on the K. You take the thermostat out, and drill 1mm hole in the thermostat housing. Reinstall, and monitor the gauge. IF the gauge still goes over the middle,.....drill another hole on the opposite side! I drilled two holes in my wife's Disco2, and she is running nice.

The engine still reaches the operating temperature (unlike if one would remove the thermostat altogether).

Just wondering.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old May 17th, 2014, 10:12 pm
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Any modern antifreeze is fine (no-name stuff is always a gamble, of course). Some older formulations were not very good to some metals - don't use them. Use the expansion tank to fill the system. It may (probably will?) take a couple of rounds of bringing the engine temperature up to the point that the thermostat opens (and air bubbles move around) to get the expansion tank level right (MIN with a cold engine - no more than MAX with a really hot engine).

Leave the thermostat alone unless it's defective.

In general, what you've described is normal behavior for the K1200's. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Not all who wander are lost. Which still leaves room for more than a few lost wanderers...

Red Flash - '03 K1200RS, lightly farkled
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2014, 8:08 am
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The pressure washing in place, that doesn't work for me.Not a lot of access to the rads unless you remove the fans and hit them from behind and by then the plastics have to be off the bike, extra few minutes work and the rads are on the bench.

May have to do with my riding conditions I do a fair amount of backroading on gravel so them tiny rocks find their way into the fins and can't be removed without pushing them out with a little "special tool".

The fins aren't all that sturdy so pressure washing may bend them and that will impede the airflow/cooling.

All my rads are screened so they don't get plugged or the fins damaged if I hit that area with the pressure washer.But still every couple years I take them out and still find sand/gravel in the fins. Didn't take them out this year but my bike was so dirty from last summer that I had to wash it three times before I put it in the shop and that sure included a good flush of the radiators.

And still I pushed a lot of dust out of the rads with the air hose during my winter maintenance.

I/8" below the mid-mark and I sure checked that one with other riders seems to be the norm for normal operating temperature in the airflow on the road. The rest of the specs for fans coming on or going off are where they should be, I doublechecked that with the engine/coolant temp gauge on the GS911. And removed the instruments cover and added a red line to the temp gauge. Tells me that the fans come on at that temp. Needle doesn't go passed that mark even in traffic so operating normally.

Glad you found the other ground wire, bad things may happen to them electrical systems when the ground paths aren't where they should be.

Benelli 50cc at 14
Yamaha RD 200 at 16
Yamaha RD 350 at 17
Honda CB 750 F at 18
Honda V45 Sabre at 24
BMW K100RS at 27
BMW R100GS at 34
BMW K1200RS at 53

Last edited by H96669; May 18th, 2014 at 8:14 am.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old May 18th, 2014, 9:45 am Thread Starter
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Yes, that tip (second ground wire) was VERY MUCH appreciated. I work on all our vehicles, and we have total of six cars, and three bikes. Then there are horses, dogs, guns, other machinery,.......a lot of upkeep. Like I said, two years went by since the battery was removed, and too many things got disassembled, and reassebled since.

I took the wife on some back roads yesterday (Oak Glen), on the 4K+ elevation in the mountains (much cooler air). Temp gauge was a "notch" above middle at all times, except when we came back down, and went through the lights and stop signs. Fans didn't come on until we were at the ranch in first gear.

My vehicles are PRISTINE at all times. VERY, very clean. And I didn't ride much since I bought this bike. I owned two gas stations with full service car washes (80+ employees), and I was BUSY. I managed to put 19K miles on the K12 since new (in TEN years!). I also put about 15K on the ZX11, and 3500 on the KTM (that's all it has now). Riding mostly CA freeways (to the beaches, Phoenix, and to Las Vegas). There are not many bugs on CA freeways, and my employees cleaned this bike like it was a museum piece.

I looked at the rads carefully, and they don't seem to be "dirty". Dusty maybe, but no bugs, or obstructions. I think a flush of the system, and a "normal" cleaning might do.

I'm pretty beat up today. Yesterday we took the horses up the mountain in the morning, came back, had a lunch, and hopped on the K for the afternoon ride. A LOT of riding for one day!
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