O2 Sensor on a K12RS - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 7:27 am Thread Starter
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Question O2 Sensor on a K12RS

What is the average life of an Oxy sensor before one would expect problems?
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 7:35 am
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Life of 02 sensor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aa3jy
What is the average life of an Oxy sensor before one would expect problems?
Depends on driving style, would guess ballpark of about 75K mi. on average (mixed city\hwy), maybe higher if mostly touring miles at higher speeds using normal quality gas.

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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 8:29 am
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After getting some strange readings on the GT1, my dealer swapped out my o2 sensor on my K1200LT at the 72,000 mile service. It was the first time it was changed. The mechanic did tell me that if you are running an after-market pipe (like a staintune that I had on my '02 RS), chip (like the RW chip on my '02), or device like a powercommander, it might foul up the o2 sensor sooner.

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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 2:18 pm
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The only thing that might cause early failure, is if the cat was removed, which is why this particular sensor is fitted post CAT. There are special sensors made for pre-cat fitting but not for our simple ECU's. 75K miles is the claimed life for current replacements, but if you're doing regular short commutes and cold starts, that comes down as the cat is not effective until hot.

For the important job they do, I think I'd change a sensor at 30-40K, for piece of mind and just to make sure it's not siezed in the muffler. They aren't expensive when considering gas mileage costs and a small gas tank.



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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 3:45 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aa3jy
What is the average life of an Oxy sensor before one would expect problems?
On a car, you can expect at least 100,000 miles before it degrades to a point where the engine management system cannot "read" it. Of course, they tell you to replace it much sooner than that, but that is just a blanket statement.

The most common type of O2 sensor (the Zirconium Oxide type) can easily be tested using a standard digital voltmeter.

First, you need to know whether the sensor is a simple type with a single wire, or a "3-wire" type with an integrated heated. If the latter, you need you determine which wire is the one leading to the actual sensor (not the heater). Tap off the signal wire so it is externally available (e.g. stick a pin through the insulation and into the copper wire), then plug the sensor back into the system.

Start the vehicle, and drive it until it is thoroughly warmed up. Connect the (+) lead of the digital Voltmeter (DVM) to the sensor's signal wire "tap" as above, and the (-) lead to a solid engine ground.

Now, watch the meter. What you SHOULD see at idle is the digits jumping around with a low number occasionally reading near zero (less than 0.2V), and a high number above 0.5V (preferably occasionally reaching 0.8 to 0.9V).

This means that it is working acceptably well.

This type of sensor is in effect a miniature fuel cell. It is exposed (on one side) to the atmosphere, and (on the other side) to the exhaust. When there is O2 present on one side and not the other (i.e. when the exhaust contains no residual O2), a new sensor generates about 0.9 Volts. When there is even a small amount of O2 in the exhaust (and therefore the senor "sees" O2 on BOTH side), it generates NO voltage at all.

In operation, the system is constantly dithering between slightly lean (a little residual O2 in the exhaust) and slightly rich (no O2). As soon as the sensor detects a slightly rich condition, it commands the system to make it slightly more lean, which then results in the system detecting a alightly lean condition and commanding the system to make it a little richer.... and so on. The system constantly dithers between very slightly lean and very slightly rich.

Note that the actual VALUE of the voltage generates is irrelivant. All that matters is that the system can detect a voltage has been generated (meaning a rich condition is detected) OR no voltage has been generated (meaning a lean condition has been detected).

As the sensor wears out, it generates less and less output voltage when the exhaust contains no residual O2 the "high" number will get less and less. Eventually, as the thing wears out, the voltage generated as a result of a rich condition is not high enough to be able to be interpreted properly, and at that point the sensor is useless.

By actually testing the sensor like this, you only need to replace it when it ACTUALLY NEEDS REPLACEMENT, which can be as much as 2 to 3 times less often than what the manufacurer states.

Bob.
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 9:58 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
The only thing that might cause early failure, is if the cat was removed, which is why this particular sensor is fitted post CAT. There are special sensors made for pre-cat fitting but not for our simple ECU's. 75K miles is the claimed life for current replacements, but if you're doing regular short commutes and cold starts, that comes down as the cat is not effective until hot.
Actually, the original Zirconium Oxide type sensor invented by Bosch which was first used before 1980, and is still in use on many car models, was placed before the cat in nearly every car with one, for years and years. My old BMW 320i (with 3-way cat) had such a sensor placed before the cat. Both my 1988 and 1990 Jettas have the same. It wasn't until relatively recently that sensors began to be placed after the cat. Certainly, there is nothing special about a sensor placed between the engine and the cat.

Bob.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 2nd, 2006, 10:21 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RFWILSON
Actually, the original Zirconium Oxide type sensor invented by Bosch which was first used before 1980, and is still in use on many car models, was placed before the cat in nearly every car with one, for years and years. My old BMW 320i (with 3-way cat) had such a sensor placed before the cat. Both my 1988 and 1990 Jettas have the same. It wasn't until relatively recently that sensors began to be placed after the cat. Certainly, there is nothing special about a sensor placed between the engine and the cat.

Bob.


Roger that!

and the write up on testing is valuable info, thanks.

BTW, the O2 sensor on a K1200RS is located just ahead of the (2)cat. cans in the chamber under gearbox.

Mike Kelly

Triple M Engineering

K12RS

Stanley, NC
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 11:52 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeK
Roger that!

and the write up on testing is valuable info, thanks.

BTW, the O2 sensor on a K1200RS is located just ahead of the (2)cat. cans in the chamber under gearbox.
Glad it was of interest. Also, the verification that the O2 sensor in the K1200S is placed before the cat(s) makes sense. In every car I am aware of (which is not to say I have seen every car!) that has a sensor after the cat, there is also a "primary" sensor ahead of the cat. The sensor after the cat is sort of an "auxiliary" sensor that is just used to fine tune the mixture.

Bob.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2006, 7:27 am
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A replacement O2 sensor is $109 here . Is that a good price? I've bought plugs there before at $4.95 ea.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old Feb 5th, 2006, 9:01 am
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Brent,

I don't have any experience with that source for an o2 sensor, but Chicago BMW has the OEM part for $148.

I went to http://www.realoem.com and took a shot at looking up part numbers. You can get a more definitive shot at the part number if you provide RealOEM with the last 7 digits of your VIN to pin down the exact part number you need.

11781341022 - listed as the OEM part on the 1998-2001 K1200RS (doesn't come up on BMW of Chicago's website)
11787671756 - listed as the OEM part on the 2002-2004 K1200RS/GT (shows up for $146)

It appears that the new part superceded the old part.

http://www.chicagobmwmotorcycles.com/

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