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Discussion Starter #1
Bought a 2003 K 1200 RS with 40,000 miles last year. Love the bike, but I have noticed that it overheats in City traffic here in Denver. Is that a common issue with this bike, and if so is there a solution to the problem? Thanks, Mark
 

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Not immediately familiar with your bike, but note that you're in the "Mile-High City" altitude 5.000 feet so air is less dense and thus less able to carry away heat from the radiator. You've not posted your mechanical experience or aptitude so everything is negotiable, as it were.

Start simple: if the rad was drained, ensure it's refilled properly and no bubbles are trapped in the cooling system. You may have to do coolant system bleeding a couple times to get it right. Make sure there's coolant in there. Dumb things, but mission-critical.

There are the usual suspects to interrogate: if the bike overheats at a standstill, suspect the fan or clogging in the radiator. Does the fan come on when it should, and spin freely? Are the cooling fins of the radiator clean and not clogged with bugs or whatever?

If overheating occurs at speed, suspect the radiator. Can you remove and run water through the rad easily?

Possibly (unlikely, methinks) the thermostat is faulty. I doubt that.

HTH.
 

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Mine did the same a 2002 RS with a bit over 138,000 K's on it was a bug collection in the radiators it got so hot the overflow tank puked i replaced the lost coolant with straight coolant no water just straight concentrate i took the Tupperware off and cleaned the cores out it's amazing how much flora and fauna gets trapped in there while the fairing was off i removed the loose rattling grills for more air flow and i can actually see if the fan is spinning without having to find my glasses thats a bonus she definately runs cooler all round but can still get quite hot stuck at traffic lights I'm at Sea level and in a tropical zone so it's always hot even in winter and the humidity wooo some days are unbearable even on the bike.
 

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Mine is a 2003 K1200GT and it runs hot. Purchased last Fall. I am told it is considered normal for the K1200s temp arrow to be small amount above the center line. Mine is not boiling over or all the way into the danger zone. It did disturb me originally but not causing trouble. The fan kicks in around the center of the temp gauge. I am also told it is hot on your leg.

I had the radiator fluids changed, grill clean, air filter new. Same temp range. Location for me is Chicago, riding in 80 degrees down to 40s. Highway speeds has the temp in the middle. Sitting in traffic, stop-go, temp up a little.

Hope this helps you.

This link was on my particular case. Shows picture of my temp gauge.

https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.php?93123-2003-k1200gt-temperature-gauge&highlight=temp+running+hot
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Honolulu,
I'm just a shade tree mechanic, but when given detailed instructions I have been able to do some things I've never done before.
Anyway because of the overheating I had an independent BMW mechanic replace the antifreeze with engine ice at the end of last season while he was doing some other things for me. Of course when I rode in the cold weather it was fine. But now this spring when it's only 70 degrees outside I'm having the same problem. At highway speeds have never had a problem. And actually if I'm doing 35 miles an hour steady it's also okay if I don't have a lot of stop signs but as soon as I hit stop and go the temperature escalates very quickly, and I have to keep a close eye on the needle and stop if it gets in the red, because I don't want to overheat that engine again. So it seems that sitting at idle and for any amount of time causes the temperature to go way up.
As per your suggestions I will check to see if the fan comes on when it is supposed to and also if it spins freely I will also check as well 4 bugs in the radiator. Thanks a lot for your input, Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Clunk, thanks for your reply I will do what you did and pull the tupperware and clean The cores out and I also may do what you did and remove the grills so there is more airflow it certainly makes sense- I also like the idea that when you do that you can see the fan more easily and tell whether or not it's on or not when it ought to be. Thanks again, Mark. By the way where do you live?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
jrmull,
My gauge stays in the middle when I'm on the highway, but it consistently runs right up to the red line in stop and go traffic. Last summer before I had the engine ice put in it went half way past the first red line and the red Idiot light went on and it overheated. Now I keep a close eye on it and pull over and shut it off when it hits the red line. Thanks for your input, I'll report back once I've tried the suggestions from all of you guys.
 

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I didn't hear about thermostat changes (like the old cars with the flow restrictor inside). Not sure if this bike has one. Anyway, RED line can't be good. Keep hunting and report back. Mine runs hot too. I will check to see when my fan turns on. I think it is 1/4 the way up. My traffic is 90% stop-go or 45mph.

From Jeff's comment on the link was of interest regarding the gauge and engineer thinking.

"My 03 K12RS runs with its coolant gage just below the half-way mark as its normal position. On an open road it holds that position regardless of outside temperature. Any amount of traffic in front of me and the gage will climb up to where yours is. A bit higher than that and the fans come on.

Keep in mind that modern cars , if they have a temp gage at all, use multiple methods to maintain a steadier reading. First, many use electric thermostats that are more responsive, and modern engines are designed for steadier temperatures as a means to control emissions.
Secondly, they play games with the gage itself. We assume that a 20% rise in gage reading means the coolant temp went up something close to 20%. Not so. Engineers determined at some point that so long as the engine temps were within the normal operating range there was no need to alarm the driver by moving the gage. So while a lot of modern car/bike temp gauges appear to hold steady at mid-temps, that doesn't mean the fluid temps aren't fluctuating. They just aren't increasing enough that you are supposed to worry about it, or be told about it.
I believe our Ks predate these trends as our gages are quite active."


Regards John
 

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Update, my K1200GT 2003 with 26k miles has the fans turn on at about half way between normal and red zone. Holds steady with the fan going. So about 3/4 way on the temp gauge. Regards John
 

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Check your fan

I'd be making sure the cooling fan is coming on. The K Bikes will behave exactly as you're describing when the fan stops working. The only time my temps would climb would be in traffic in hot temps. Having a manual switch makes knowing if it's working a lot of a mystery and ensures it's only on when you want it.

Let us know how you make out with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, this morning is the first time I have had a chance to ride the bike again because I work Wednesday Thursday and Friday night 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Just picked up the bike from the shop after they installed brand new tires and it did the same thing it's only 70 degrees out this morning. Because of your suggestions this was the first time I looked at the fans dummy that I am. The fan on the right hand side was working the one on the left side is not, so I'm probably going to sleep now and when I have a chance either late this afternoon or tomorrow I will pull off the Tupperware on the left hand side and try to diagnose the problem. Since I'm not a mechanic or an electrical guy the only thing I know how to do is to look for a loose or shorted wire which is what I will do. I'll keep you updated once I have had a chance to look at it. Later!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Had a chance to pull all the fairings off and got down to the left radiator this evening, but I was not able to see anything apparently wrong no loose wires or anything like that so my next step is to take it for a test drive tomorrow when it's warm. With all the plastic out of the way then I will be able to see when the fans go on and to confirm whether or not that left fan is indeed not coming on.
If anyone has any advice on how to test the fan to see if it's defective, let me know because I'm clueless. Obviously if I could test the fan and find out if it's working then I don't need to replace the fan but I have to probably take it into a shop and have them find the problem in the wiring. Any help will be appreciated thank you, Mark.
 

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Unplug the connector, connect test light to the fan harness going into the main. Start bike and let it idle til the other fan comes on. Test light comes on? Then no electrical problem.


Spin fan by hand? Stiff or seized? You should be able to push the pin holding the fan on the shaft out.Then pull the fan. Then the circlip holding the graphite and metal shims. Dribble lube in there while pushing/pulling the shaft. That shaft should move in/out by a millimeter or so.Had to fix my R/H fan like that last year. And did the other preventively. +20,000 miles later, all good.:glasses
 

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Mark, looks like you are on the right track.

Both my fans come on at the same time when it reaches above the center normal mark. Without knowing the engineering, I am guessing the heat sensor triggers both. Both on the same fuse too. Maybe they are independent, but if you figured out how to strip down the bike panels, you already have proven to be a decent home mechanic. Keep plugging away.

Boneyard has a fan for $90 instead of the typical $370 new. Probably many eBay items out there from bikes being parted out.

https://www.beemerboneyard.com/17117677378.html
 

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Discussion Starter #15
H96669,
Yes, test light comes on so it's not an electrical problem. Fan IS seized-cannot budge it by hand.
Question: in order to do your next steps do I have to drain the cooling system and remove the hoses so I can move the radiator enough to get the fan off the radiator? Looking at my Clymer manual that seems to be the case. Thanks
 

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John, thanks for the heads up on the Beemer Boneyard parts, much more affordable! I checked and they're actually out of stock for the 2003; that one that you had a link to is for the Next Generation K 1200 /1300 , but they will email me when they get one in stock. Mark
 

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H96669,
Yes, test light comes on so it's not an electrical problem. Fan IS seized-cannot budge it by hand.
Question: in order to do your next steps do I have to drain the cooling system and remove the hoses so I can move the radiator enough to get the fan off the radiator? Looking at my Clymer manual that seems to be the case. Thanks
There are only 2 screws holding the fan assembly to the radiator and the upper mounts are just a slide in. I think once the triangular piece of plastic attached to the oil cooler hoses and radiator is removed the L/H screw is visible.R/H is visible from inside.


The rear deflector attached to the fan assembly has to come out first. Tight clearances that one so unclip the upper radiator mounts and push rad forward, that helps.


Will the fan come out then? That I don't know for sure, I remove the rads every year. My bike ran at midmark temp when I bought it. Cleaned (and screened) the rads the following winter as there was a surprising amount of crap in them for such a low mileage bike so airflow was blocked by about 15-20%. Ever since then it runs 1/8" below the midmark at external temps of up to 90F on the highway at speeds of 80mph. Normal for them bikes running below the midmark so I keep it that way and clean the rads every year or +20,000 miles. No more bug crap or road tar from the screens but sand still gets in.

My suggestion would be to remove both radiators for an inspection. And cleaning.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
H96669,
I applied a little penetrating oil to it yesterday and let it sit a little while and was able to get it to at least move but when I did, I noticed one of the fan blades is completely broken off and it never did completely free up it always had a couple places that it wanted to bind so I am going to purchase a "new" fan. Since that is the case I will be draining coolant and removing both radiators since I have to remove the one anyway to replace the fan, once I am able to locate one used on the internet. I will probably follow your advice in the future as well removing the radiators every year and cleaning them.
Can't tell you how much I appreciate your expert advice being a newbie at most things mechanical. Thanks again, Mark.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
H96669, thanks for the heads up on that fan at eBay I ended up finding one yesterday for 22 bucks that'll arrive in three days which made me pretty happy. So I guess I'll get to it on the weekend.
 
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