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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Jun 8th, 2018, 8:55 am Thread Starter
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Am I the only one?

Hi all,

New to the forum but not new to the 'K' - an '04 K1200GT in navy blue bought for the princely sum of €3600 from (as it happens) my former gym teacher in June 2016, pictured: here.

Obviously, love the bike - as does the wife. Effortless speed achieved through stately, mature, panic-free acceleration - and comfort as long as you have arms that are 2 inches longer than average (I do not) and a neck shorter by the same.

However, as is I suppose normal for a bike that was new when I was still being forced to run laps by the aforementioned gym teacher, it has a few technical quirks.

I wanted to ask, "am I the only one"?

1) My digital dash - ie the clock and the gear position indicator - doesn't really work. It's not that it's blank, it's that it only shows parts of whatever it is it should be displaying: only the bottom of the 2 - the top of the 6 - the side of the 9 - this sort of thing. The blank bits change over time. Am I the only one?

2) The indicator lights indicator - ie the bit you can see when you're on the bike - have a rather uneven rhythm. By this I mean they don't go "- - - -" - they'll go - ... - .. - - - . - ... - -" (deploying my finest Morse code, there). Am I the only one?

3) When cold the engine will, 80% of the time, cut out if you give it anything other than the softest turn of throttle. I understand this was a common bug on these bikes but for the first 5-10 minutes of any ride, the bike will stall if you even think the word "beans" (as in, "give it the..."). Am I the only one?

4) The range - seriously - even on the motorway I'd be lucky to see 220km before the yellow light of doom comes on. In the city you can count yourself blessed if you get to 180km. Industrial and military vehicles get better mileage. Am I the only one?

5) The battery goes flat over time as the bike is used. Now admittedly I'm only doing 5 kms to work and then 5kms back and perhaps that's not enough to recharge the battery AND I have a spyball alarm fitted that, while I never use it because the bike is parked in a locked garage at home and at work, is still "on" - but, over time the bike will get harder and hard to start and also more likely to stall. Am I the only one?

5 bis) Sometimes when I turn the key the lights all come on but then if you press the button nothing happens. You need to press and hold the clutch or the brake and it'll turn over. Other times it'll start with just the press of the ignition. Am I the only one?

6) When the bike gets really hot - or, strangely, if you have revved the engine a lot - coolant sometimes sprays out of the reservoir under the seat - the coolant levels are between the lines and it's all been set up by a BMW garage (I go there because it's close by, not because I somehow feel that a 14 year old bike requires €75-an-hour levels of care). Am I the only one?

7) The heated grips only seem to work on the right hand side. Am I the only one?

Looking forward to hearing from the forum.

Last edited by Chazmania; Jun 8th, 2018 at 9:06 am.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Jun 10th, 2018, 4:05 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
Hi all,

New to the forum but not new to the 'K' - an '04 K1200GT in navy blue bought for the princely sum of 3600 from (as it happens) my former gym teacher in June 2016, pictured: here.

Obviously, love the bike - as does the wife. Effortless speed achieved through stately, mature, panic-free acceleration - and comfort as long as you have arms that are 2 inches longer than average (I do not) and a neck shorter by the same.

However, as is I suppose normal for a bike that was new when I was still being forced to run laps by the aforementioned gym teacher, it has a few technical quirks.

I wanted to ask, "am I the only one"?
I have a K1200RS so older version but I'll answer your questions with regard to mine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
1) My digital dash - ie the clock and the gear position indicator - doesn't really work. It's not that it's blank, it's that it only shows parts of whatever it is it should be displaying: only the bottom of the 2 - the top of the 6 - the side of the 9 - this sort of thing. The blank bits change over time. Am I the only one?
Mine works fine - only issue is the display is a bit small for easy viewing but as I'm not used to having one I tend to ignore it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
2) The indicator lights indicator - ie the bit you can see when you're on the bike - have a rather uneven rhythm. By this I mean they don't go "- - - -" - they'll go - ... - .. - - - . - ... - -" (deploying my finest Morse code, there). Am I the only one?
mine flash normally - I don't use them that much right now because the BMW cancel system takes a bit of getting used to

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
3) When cold the engine will, 80% of the time, cut out if you give it anything other than the softest turn of throttle. I understand this was a common bug on these bikes but for the first 5-10 minutes of any ride, the bike will stall if you even think the word "beans" (as in, "give it the..."). Am I the only one?
Mine sounds like a box of rocks being shaken but it doesn't seem to stall

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Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
4) The range - seriously - even on the motorway I'd be lucky to see 220km before the yellow light of doom comes on. In the city you can count yourself blessed if you get to 180km. Industrial and military vehicles get better mileage. Am I the only one?
In the UK we are miles not KM's but google tells me I fill up every 240 kms (150 miles) with some still left in the tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
5) The battery goes flat over time as the bike is used. Now admittedly I'm only doing 5 kms to work and then 5kms back and perhaps that's not enough to recharge the battery AND I have a spyball alarm fitted that, while I never use it because the bike is parked in a locked garage at home and at work, is still "on" - but, over time the bike will get harder and hard to start and also more likely to stall. Am I the only one?
Mine is left outside under a cover but I use a solar charger to keep a trickle feed to the battery - your commute may be the reason for poor fuel consumption

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
5 bis) Sometimes when I turn the key the lights all come on but then if you press the button nothing happens. You need to press and hold the clutch or the brake and it'll turn over. Other times it'll start with just the press of the ignition. Am I the only one?
I always start mine parked on the centre stand and in neutral not sure if it has any sidestand cut outs or in gear limiters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
6) When the bike gets really hot - or, strangely, if you have revved the engine a lot - coolant sometimes sprays out of the reservoir under the seat - the coolant levels are between the lines and it's all been set up by a BMW garage (I go there because it's close by, not because I somehow feel that a 14 year old bike requires 75-an-hour levels of care). Am I the only one?
I don't lose any coolant and now the weather has improved here I am noticing the fans kicking in when it's hot but no coolant loss
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
7) The heated grips only seem to work on the right hand side. Am I the only one?

Looking forward to hearing from the forum.
I love the heated grips - heated seat not so much as it does make me feel like I've had an accident

Cheers

Ian

97 K1200RS "Fixer Upper"
85 GPZ1000RX
85 GPZ600R
89 RG250 Gamma (heart transplant - 350 YPVS Blue smoke std)
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Jun 13th, 2018, 9:55 pm
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Hi Chaz. I have essentially the same bike, but none of the "problems" you allude to.
Only similar one is the mileage on a fuel tank.... around 220-240km would probably be about right, but I only use mine for work commute so never really test it.

Chris
Sydney, NSW
2005 Dark Graphite Metallic K1200LT
2005 Orient Blue Metallic K1200GT SE
Ulysses #45310
GS911

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 2nd, 2018, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by bstardchild View Post
I love the heated grips - heated seat not so much as it does make me feel like I've had an accident
I have a rs as well, and I THINK the heated seat is aftermarket on mine (no separate switch .. its wired into my heated grips)

while I can barely feel the grips come on until they're on 2.. that heated seat.. well that was a rather warm surprise.

Chaz - I cannot say my 98 rs experiences any of those issues.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 5th, 2018, 1:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Chazmania View Post
Hi all,

New to the forum but not new to the 'K' - an '04 K1200GT in navy blue bought for the princely sum of 3600 from (as it happens) my former gym teacher in June 2016, pictured: here.

The pic didn't open for me. Sure would like to see it, tho.


Obviously, love the bike - as does the wife. Effortless speed achieved through stately, mature, panic-free acceleration - and comfort as long as you have arms that are 2 inches longer than average (I do not) and a neck shorter by the same.

I have some "bar backs" that are very simple but effective for reducing the gap between you and the controls.

However, as is I suppose normal for a bike that was new when I was still being forced to run laps by the aforementioned gym teacher, it has a few technical quirks.

I wanted to ask, "am I the only one"? No, Chasmania, you aren't the only "technical quirk" here. You are not alone. There are plenty of us here.

1) My digital dash - ie the clock and the gear position indicator - doesn't really work. It's not that it's blank, it's that it only shows parts of whatever it is it should be displaying: only the bottom of the 2 - the top of the 6 - the side of the 9 - this sort of thing. The blank bits change over time. Am I the only one?

Sounds like your display may be going away. Do you have a source for used parts ??

2) The indicator lights indicator - ie the bit you can see when you're on the bike - have a rather uneven rhythm. By this I mean they don't go "- - - -" - they'll go - ... - .. - - - . - ... - -" (deploying my finest Morse code, there). Am I the only one?

Some of the indicator (idiot) lights blink independently to indicate problems or initializing sequence. Most of the time they are steady on or off. You may have a loose or bad ground or something similar going on with your dash.

3) When cold the engine will, 80% of the time, cut out if you give it anything other than the softest turn of throttle. I understand this was a common bug on these bikes but for the first 5-10 minutes of any ride, the bike will stall if you even think the word "beans" (as in, "give it the..."). Am I the only one?

See #5 below. The Motorad ECU really prefers a 100% charged battery.

4) The range - seriously - even on the motorway I'd be lucky to see 220km before the yellow light of doom comes on. In the city you can count yourself blessed if you get to 180km. Industrial and military vehicles get better mileage. Am I the only one?

Check the last three numbers on your ECU (under the tank., or with a GS911). THE BEST ECU is a "296". It was the final ECU from BMW for the K12RS. I just changed my chip to a copy of the 296 chip in the ECU and several throttle issues disappeared along with a very nice MPG increase.

5) The battery goes flat over time as the bike is used. Now admittedly I'm only doing 5 kms to work and then 5kms back and perhaps that's not enough to recharge the battery AND I have a spyball alarm fitted that, while I never use it because the bike is parked in a locked garage at home and at work, is still "on" - but, over time the bike will get harder and hard to start and also more likely to stall. Am I the only one?

This is an issue that POSSIBLY relates to several of your other items. IF you are currently using an AGM type battery and your voltage regulator is OEM, you are not getting a full charge in the battery. AGM batts (Absorptive Glass Matt) are newer tech than these bikes and require a slightly higher voltage (14.5-7 Volts) to properly charge. Also, your "wall charger" should be AGM rated, too. Can you provide the make and type battery you have and do a load test on your battery and a charging voltage test??

5 bis) Sometimes when I turn the key the lights all come on but then if you press the button nothing happens. You need to press and hold the clutch or the brake and it'll turn over. Other times it'll start with just the press of the ignition. Am I the only one?

Sounds like a bad elec connection somewhere. It could be in the ignition switch itself, the handlebar controls, a relay, any of the safety switches, or a bad ground.

6) When the bike gets really hot - or, strangely, if you have revved the engine a lot - coolant sometimes sprays out of the reservoir under the seat - the coolant levels are between the lines and it's all been set up by a BMW garage (I go there because it's close by, not because I somehow feel that a 14 year old bike requires 75-an-hour levels of care). Am I the only one?

Uh-oh. Sounds like a possible head gasket leak. Are your radiator fans coming on when it gets hot, maybe when the dial is halfway between normal and "H"?? Let's hope not as that is easier to fix. You might also try back-flushing the radiators with a garden hose jet, NOT a pressure washer. Mine were full of crud, sand, bug and leaf particles at 40K. I'd guess and hope your fans are the problem.

7) The heated grips only seem to work on the right-hand side. Am I the only one?

Follow the power OR do an Ohm test of just that left side heating element.

Looking forward to hearing from the forum.
Sounds like you are discovering the reasons why teacher sold the bike. But wait, there may be more!!

Seriously, there could conceivably be one problem causing the majority of these issues, like a bad ground or a broken wire in the wiring harness and these can be very frustrating to track down. Always look for the simple, easy, and obvious stuff first. But, on the bright side you certainly fave a very fine collection of quirks!!

One of the good things about an older anything is the issues have mostly been sorted and you don't have look far for help. Remember, even new things have issues; nothing is perfect.

If you don't have a CLYMER manual (M501-3 or later), GET ONE. It will pay for itself.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 11th, 2018, 8:47 am Thread Starter
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Sounds like you are discovering the reasons why teacher sold the bike. But wait, there may be more!!

Seriously, there could conceivably be one problem causing the majority of these issues, like a bad ground or a broken wire in the wiring harness and these can be very frustrating to track down. Always look for the simple, easy, and obvious stuff first. But, on the bright side you certainly fave a very fine collection of quirks!!

One of the good things about an older anything is the issues have mostly been sorted and you don't have look far for help. Remember, even new things have issues; nothing is perfect.

If you don't have a CLYMER manual (M501-3 or later), GET ONE. It will pay for itself.

Hey Lowndesw - thanks so much for going line by line!

I'll definitely go out and get the Clymer manual for starters. It's true that re-reading the list many of the issues could be related wiring points. The bike itself runs very well once warmed up - though on your point about the head gasket/radiator - the fan only really comes on when it gets right to the red, so that would seem "normal" to me. Re point 5 bis, that seems to have been resolved by more firmly reconnecting the battery (the wiring point I'd put in to make it easier to charge the battery had loosened the screws).

I'll check the ECU number under the tank and report back. On the issue of the clock, I had seen elsewhere that the clock/gear indicator could conceivably be a corroded connector (especially as the clock went first and the gear indicator went some months afterwards) - however, while what I've seen on the forum suggests "it's in the electrical box near the right hand fan cowling" - but I'm too much of a n00b to actually know where to start on that (or even where to find it)...

Anyway - i'll have a look at the other things and see if I can come back with more info.

Thanks again and to the others on here!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Jul 12th, 2018, 10:28 pm
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Chaz.. re your point 3.... another thing that I found can upset the bike off the line (well, it did with my LT anyway) was using e10 fuel... avoiding ethanol mix fuel fixed that real quick.
I've never run e10 in the GT, but did in the LT for a couple of years. Bike tended to choke off the line and needed a real gently hand to move away, before gassing it hard. Neither bike does it with normal unleaded 95RON fuel.

Chris
Sydney, NSW
2005 Dark Graphite Metallic K1200LT
2005 Orient Blue Metallic K1200GT SE
Ulysses #45310
GS911

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