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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 14th, 2014, 4:26 pm Thread Starter
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starter / electrical gremlins question

i've been dealing with some electrical gremlins and have a quick question.

i was having odd electrical issues with blinkers going bonkers, headlight going out sporadically, and occasional "buzz" when pushing starter button.

- the battery is under a year old
- I lived with it a few months b/c sometimes it would "fix itself" (turn bike off, restart), sometimes rocking bike back & forth in gear would remedy it, and sometimes tapping the starter relay would fix things. I'm honestly not sure which was a fix b/c if doing nothing could fix it you could be fooled by tapping or rocking

In any event, last week after losing all lights again while riding I took the starter out, replaced brushes and cleaned it up a bit. Put starter back in and everything seemed fine ..for a day.

Post op day #2 I get just the fuel pump buzz. I then removed starter relay, pried it open and lightly sanded the contacts, which looked pretty good at the time and were not fused together.

I replace starter relay but no luck. Still just a buzz when hitting starter. I also notice the headlight doesn't dim when pushing starter button.

I should mention I hear something clicking when pushing the start button. I feel it is the starter relay but am not certain.

I noticed my horn relay and shed relay have identical part #s. I swapped them hoping to find the problem and have a bike which starts but has no horn. That didn't work. Horn works with either relay in place.

Today I took a bit of a gamble after looking at the schematic. What I did was turn the key and jump the terminals of the starter relay. Voila, the bike fires right up. The headlight dimmed during the split second it took to start.

So my questions are:

Can I be sure the starter relay is the problem? It seems to be but I don't want to overlook anything and then fry a new one. I'm asking b/c I did change the brush plate and maybe something is wrong in that. However when jumping starter relay the starter seemed to work normally.

If I jump the relay to start the bike, is the bike now running normally? Will a bad starter relay create any potential disasters?

You can probably guess my final question.

Until I find a relay is it "crazy" to wire a heavy duty pushbutton between the starter relay terminals and use that button instead of the starter button?

thank you very much for any insight.

Sorry, I am an abject liar and this was not a quick question.

p/s
If anyone has a relay they'd like to sell, feel free to send me a message. I believe they are $65 at beemerboneyard but i'd pay $30+/- or so for a used one.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 2014, 4:38 am
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When you jumped to the starter, did you jump both battery positive and negative or just the positive?

Your answer tells me if you have not got the second black ground (frame) connected to the battery.

Did you jump on the starter itself or across the relay contacts? If across the relay contacts it looks like the relay is faulty. You shouldn't clean relay contacts with an abrasive.They are plated to take the high current (which you remove!) and you leave behind particles of glass if sand paper or oxide if emery which insulate. The starter relay is already on the small side for the job it does. If you want to do a decent mod. rather than a push button switch, find a larger car starter solenoid and space on the bike to fit it. They are usually good for 400 amps

I wouldn't swap relays about unless they have exactly the same oem part number. The starter relay may have the same base, but has to handle current over 250 Amps.

You could try a high current push switch rated for at least 250 Amp - that is a big switch!

If you are losing lights whilst riding that is either a battery or lead problem or the load shed relay. If you have been swapping relays about which are not designed to handle starter current, then you could have damaged them.

Bad starter brushes can cause loads of problems. The load shed relay for lights gets its ground connection through the starter positive and the brushes to ground. If you have bad brushes then the lights will go out! If you whack the starter and the lights come on, you have bad starter brushes.



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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 2014, 8:28 am
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Sounds like an early bike if the starter is easy to remove.

I think the starter relay is at fault. Sorry can't help you with that. Could help you with the load shed or horn relay...I just picked a few at the "Pick & Pull" auto parts in the electrical box of some early 90s BMW car. Cheap....$1.00 ea.

But because it sounds like an early bike....the early load shed/horn relays were poor quality. If I recall they have a metal cover and weren't sealed too good. Later ones are plastic and well sealed. Orange and Bosch if I judge from the NOS I have here and the ones I picked at "Pick & Pull". But then...BMW went from Bosch to Tyco as a relay supplier yeras ago so all bets are off on colors.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 2014, 12:31 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Bad starter brushes can cause loads of problems. The load shed relay for lights gets its ground connection through the starter positive and the brushes to ground. If you have bad brushes then the lights will go out! If you whack the starter and the lights come on, you have bad starter brushes.
While researching issues/maintenance on my K75 I found this series of articles -> IBMW K-Bike Tech causing me to add starter cleaning to the "things to do" list when I bought my K75.

If you've never done it it's worth a check, mine was very dirty at 42K and 20K later I've never had any starting issues.

Nick
1993 K75S
1991 R100RT
1982 Yamaha XJ650RJ Seca
1978 R100S
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 2014, 2:11 am Thread Starter
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thanks. Sorry, i forgot to mention it's a '92 K75S.

I changed out the brushes (brush plate) and cleaned up the starter. The plastic thing which is part of the brush set bolt and sits on the inside of the starter was cracked up. Also dirty in there.

The horn & load shed relays are blue plastic. I believe mine are both fine. When I jumped the two starter relay terminals the bike started right up. So i ordered a relay from texas industrial website. Nice people.

I learned a bit about the different relay options. The person on the phone seemed to know what he was talking about. I hope so, b/c I just got my 332 002 150 bosch in the mail ($42 +$5 shipping). He said it was the best option as a replacement for the original 332 002 161. The current "OEM" is the tyco, which has a couple diodes added. It's equivalent to the bosch 332 002 156 but he still recommended the 150, even though they sold the 156 for a few dollars more.

It seems that the original 161, plus the 150 and 156 are all viable starter relays, along with the tyco/bosch. Good to know in case you come across one and want to keep as a spare.

Hopefully by tomorrow morning I am up and running again. And not frying this new relay due to something I am overlooking.

Last edited by zampano; Jan 19th, 2014 at 2:16 am.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 2014, 10:06 am
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I have been thinking over your problem a little more. Did you check the commutators on the starter armature? That's the brass rectangles the brushes contact.

They should all show continuity to the armature body. We used to check them with the Ohmeter, each commutator has to show continuity otherwise if the starter stops at a bad one it may not spin again when you hit the starter button.And considering the BMW starter interaction with the load shed relay/grounding may cause gremlins.

That used to be a very common problem on car starters/electric motors etc...And still is, my friend is an electrician and we were talking about that a few months ago as he was rebuilding some pretty big starters.

I'll put them relay numbers in my black book.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 2014, 10:50 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zampano
thanks. Sorry, i forgot to mention it's a '92 K75S.

The horn & load shed relays are blue plastic. I believe mine are both fine. When I jumped the two starter relay terminals the bike started right up. So i ordered a relay from texas industrial website. Nice people.

I learned a bit about the different relay options. The person on the phone seemed to know what he was talking about. I hope so, b/c I just got my 332 002 150 bosch in the mail ($42 +$5 shipping). He said it was the best option as a replacement for the original 332 002 161. The current "OEM" is the tyco, which has a couple diodes added. It's equivalent to the bosch 332 002 156 but he still recommended the 150, even though they sold the 156 for a few dollars more.

It seems that the original 161, plus the 150 and 156 are all viable starter relays, along with the tyco/bosch. Good to know in case you come across one and want to keep as a spare.
All good info, thanks for sharing the relay numbers. Only slight differences ->Bosch Relay Specs

Is that Texas Industrial Electric ?

Nick
1993 K75S
1991 R100RT
1982 Yamaha XJ650RJ Seca
1978 R100S

Last edited by stokester; Jan 19th, 2014 at 11:02 am. Reason: added info...
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 19th, 2014, 3:53 pm
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............They should all show continuity to the armature body. We used to check them with the Ohmeter, each commutator has to show continuity otherwise if the starter stops at a bad one it may not spin again when you hit the starter button.

I do that, but I also use the 'Growler' method which is what they teach you at technical school.

In modern speak, you hang a small loudspeaker amplifer across the motor and rotate it. The motor acts as a voltage generator and by listening to the sound (the growl), you can tell if the brush contact is poor, intermittent or there's a commutator problem. It's a good method for those intermittent type comm. segment or wire problems.



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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2014, 9:06 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
............They should all show continuity to the armature body. We used to check them with the Ohmeter, each commutator has to show continuity otherwise if the starter stops at a bad one it may not spin again when you hit the starter button.

I do that, but I also use the 'Growler' method which is what they teach you at technical school.

In modern speak, you hang a small loudspeaker amplifer across the motor and rotate it. The motor acts as a voltage generator and by listening to the sound (the growl), you can tell if the brush contact is poor, intermittent or there's a commutator problem. It's a good method for those intermittent type comm. segment or wire problems.
The "growler"..... Always had fun with that one, tell a friend to hold some tool over it and then turn it on.....

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old Jan 21st, 2014, 7:41 pm Thread Starter
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Unfortunately did not try the growler. I did drink a growler of IPA during the process though

Cleaned the commutators when changing the brush plate. They may have been part of the problem b/c I would sometimes rock the bike in gear a bit and then it would start.

Received the relay from texas industrial and everything has been working fine since. I ordered the Bosch 0 332 002 150. $42 and no tax in the great state of Texas. $5 shipping and it was at my door 2 days after I ordered. Nice people.

Hopefully no more electrical problems. This way I can concentrate on one of the myriad others.

btw, do they sell rebuild kits for the master cylinders? My rear is weeping some brake fluid. The master cylinder looks very similar to the hydraulic clutch cylinder on my old saab. That was relatively simple to rebuild.

thanks for the help.
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