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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just picked up this bike and it's the first ABS bike I've owned, in addition to being the first European bike I've owned in 40 years of riding. While waiting on the Clymer manual, I'm riding it a little locally. The previous owner lost the Riders Manual, so I don't have that resource either.

The ABS light stops flashing as soon as the bike is moving, after the engine is started, and stays off until the next time I start the bike, so I assume the system isn't detecting any faults. However, when braking, the front end is pounding no matter how gently I apply the front brake. I feel it in the handlebars and frame, but not in the brake lever. The pounding does not change speed with wheel rotation although it does get stronger if I use the brakes harder. I've never felt anything like this on a bike before, which is why I assume it's the ABS.

The nearest BMW shop is over 250 miles away, so letting them look at it is probably never going to happen. Any suggestions, while I'm waiting for the manual to come in the mail?

regards,
Joe
 

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Can't answer the pounding question, but this might help dealing with what you have. The front lever applys the brakes, front and rear. The pedal just applies the rear brake. The front lever doesn't apply brake fluid directly to the front brake calipers, but to the brake module (next to the battery under the seat). The brake module (which also serves as the ABS module) is actually powered. So, you use the front lever, it sends pressure to the brake module, and the brake module applies pressure to the front calipers.
The front brake reservoir just feeds the line from lever to the brake module. There's another reservoir on the right side close to where you can see the shock. It's a dual-chamber reservoir, one for the front caliper brake lines and one for the rear. All three, front and the dual-chamber one, need to have fluid.
The other "quirk" is that if the brake module doesn't have power, you still have residual braking available. You'll note how much braking you don't have when you move the bike with the power off and apply the brakes to stop the movement.

All this may or may not help. I can't help but wonder if there's not some issue with the fluid in the lines. For instance, if there's air in the line going from the front lever to the brake module, how would that make the bike behave? Any issue when just applying the rear pedal? Oh, and bleeding the system is a nice task, should you be thinking about it. Takes about 3-4 hours to do and that's when you're familiar with all the bleed points. Here's a discussion on how to do it. Bleeding the system may take care of the pounding, but I'm guessing. I've not heard of that before.

The ABS light flashes fast at first until the diagnostics are finished. If you apply the brakes (either one) before it stops flashing fast, it will keep flashing rapidly, and the power-assist is not available. That's because the switch is active from either of the brake controls. Can make starting the bike when it's on a slope some sort fun, but what you end up doing is turning the key on, wait 'till the slow-flash, then apply the brakes and raise it off the kickstand. The slow flash you see until you move is the last check, and that's to see if the sensor is picking up the wheel movement. You'll also get the flashing situation and it won't stop if the tail lamp is burned out. It may be a tad difficult to determine this, as the system applies reduced power to the brake element to similate the tail lamp function. So, you replace what looks to be a working tail lamp and magically, the flashing on the dash ceases.



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Further to Ray's notes:

There are two brake warning lights, they will both come when the bike is switched to on. After completing start-up self tests, one light will go out, and the other will remain until the wheels complete a rotation or two so that the ABS sensor can be checked.

The brake warning lights are also a good indicator impending battery or charging system issues. The brake system uses a lot of power, and will drain a weak battery. Once the voltage drops, the servo-assist is disabled, the dash light comes on, and you are left with residual braking only.

The pounding can be caused by loose front end bits. Carefully check the lower fork bridge attachments and ball joint on the telelever. Pounding might also be brake judder, a malady I'm trying to sort out myself at the moment. Judder does vary with speed, however, and so doesn't sound like your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
My local BMW Mentor (he's only 120 miles away) had told me about letting the self checks finish before starting the bike and the flash rate changes, so that didn't throw me.

I didn't notice pounding from rear brake use, but I may not have even applied the rear brake alone. I've always replaced the front brake pads three or four times before having to replace the rear pads on any bike I've owned in the past. I'll be more deliberate in my testing the next time I take the bike out.

I hadn't considered the possibility of air in the line causing this kind of problem. I would expect any air to weaken the braking efect, when moving the bike around while it's shut off, but the front brake seems to work just fine for me then. When my BMW Mentor test rode the bike for me, he commented that the front brake was much more sensitive than on his '07GT, but it feels pretty much like every other dual rotor brake I've previously had, with the exception of the pounding. That makes me wonder if he has a brake problem and doesn't even know it.

>Judder does vary with speed, however, and so doesn't sound like
>your problem.

Right, the frequency of the pounding stays the same all the way from 70 mph down to 0 mph as I stop. That's what steered me away from thinking about the rotors or calipers, but your comment about something in the suspension being loose will get checked. I'm not noticing any movement when it's pounding, but I realize that movements too small to feel could still allow a feedback system to oscillate.

Once I initially get the bike moving, the only dash lights I see are the high beam indicator, the turn signals and the neutral light when I take it out of gear. All other indicator lights are dark all the time I'm riding.

Thanks,
Joe
 

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High beam indicator? Just curious, but are you riding with the high beam switch turned on? Reason I ask is that you'll get the high-beam indicator lighting up if the ground wire on the headlamp assembly breaks and you're only expecting to use the low-beam. With the missing ground, the power to the low-beam feeds through the low-beam, to the broken ground connection that's tied to the high-beam element's ground side. In turn, the current flows through the highbeam element, which is tied to the lead that goes to the high-beam indicator and then to the ground for the high-beam indicator. Turn on your high beam, in this scenario, and the headlights go out. Indicator, though, will still be lit.

Normally it breaks at the crimp-connector on the back of the assembly. Ground wire is just a tad to small to handle both high and low beam currents, especially if someone installed higher wattage bulbs. Germans engineer everything, and that includes the wire size to handle 110 watts (both high and low beams are generally 55 watts). Put in a 65 watt high beam, and you've gone past the wire specs. :teeth



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Discussion Starter #6
>High beam indicator? Just curious, but are you riding with the high
>beam switch turned on?

Yes, I always run my high beam for daylight riding.

regards,
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've been doing a lot of reading while waiting for the clymer manual. It appears that while most Integrated ABS systems work smoothly, some of them pound while otherwise working just fine to eliminate wheel lock. As one person put it, "It's like a machine gun firing."

That's probably a major part of why this 6 year old bike was sold to it's 4th owner (me) with only 7,600 miles on it.

regards,
Joe
 

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sloowpoke said:
I've been doing a lot of reading while waiting for the clymer manual. It appears that while most Integrated ABS systems work smoothly, some of them pound while otherwise working just fine to eliminate wheel lock. As one person put it, "It's like a machine gun firing."

That's probably a major part of why this 6 year old bike was sold to it's 4th owner (me) with only 7,600 miles on it.

regards,
Joe
I agree with that, but riding conditions also apply here, my bike does not pound, more like tapping, and not very noticeable while loaded with camping gear, however without a load and the suspension set for more agressive riding then I notice it. If you really want to see what the ABS does, try it on gravel.....you should anyway, too many riders out there who do not have any idea of the limits and capacities of their braking systems.

You like reading and researching, that is a very good thing, just do not let any of it scare you, they are very good bikes! Do yourself a favor, and test the "Residual Braking Action", just in case it does happen to you: 60 MPH with plenty of room in front, turn off the ignition and slam on the brakes...... :yeow:

You may be able to alleviate that pounding by cleaning the pads,calipers and rotors, at 7,600 miles the pads are probably still the OEM BMW, and they are good pads, but after 6 years who knows what kind of oily crud may have built up on them interfering with the ABS function.You should also do a full Bleed on the braking system, at such low milleage it probably was never done, and those systems apparently do not like sitting around without some regular "Exercise". You may have seen some posts on how much they cost to replace..... :yeow: Make sure the rear pads are good too, 8,000 miles seems to be their limit.

If you get tired of waiting for your Clymer manual, you can download the BMW one here,that will give you lots of reading.....that is for the K1200RS, but same bike anyhow, just different Tupperware. :thumb:
http://www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/6351286-01-05-bmw-k1200rs-k1200-rs-motorcycle-service
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I downloaded a BMW K1200RS repair manual a week ago. It has the wrong ABS system, but was good for the other things I wanted to know about.

The Clymer manual came in the mail today. It appears to have an adequate amount of detail for the RS ABS II, but the information on the GT Integrated ABS is grossly inadequate for troubleshooting. Basically, it just lists the indicator light codes, then tells you to take the bike to a BMW dealer for troubleshooting and repair.

It looks like I'm going to have to buy BMW's repair manual for the 2003 K1200GT. I haven't been able to find one to download and I'd really rather have a book.

regards,
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #11
>You like reading and researching, that is a very good thing...

I won't go so far as to say I like it... but it was always part of my job, not so much when I was working on vacuum tube equipment in the 50's, but as transistors replaced them in the 60's, followed by IC's in the 70's and I moved on to being MILspec certified for mini/micro repair in the 80's... I learned how to dig out practical information from a wide variety of manuals. I haven't really had to do that since retiring though, 18 years ago :)

regards,
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #12
>You should also do a full Bleed on the braking system, at such low
>milleage it probably was never done, and those systems apparently do
>not like sitting around without some regular "Exercise".

Since I'm having a problem, that will be one of the things I try if I can't find a mechanical problem. The Maintenance Instructions booklet says an Annual Check was done by the BMW dealer in Daytona, back in April 2009, which included replacing and bleeding both the caliper and control hydraulics. I assume that was the 2nd owner trying to solve the problem before giving up and selling the bike.

regards,
Joe
 

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That link I sent you is the BMW Repair Manual....! Quote from page 1......but not much on troubleshooting the Brake system, however does have the ABS bleed procedure. :thumb: I do not trust most of them mechanics......theorical Yes......Empirical....Oh NO! :dunno: Long story that one but I proved one of them wrong big time, BMW Canada got involved and someone got their pp slapped. :clap:

Quote:Introduction
This Repair Manual will help you to perform all the main maintenance and repair work correctly and efficiently.
If it is consulted regularly by workshop personnel it will form a useful addition to the theoretical and
practical knowledge acquired at the BMW Training Centre. It is a contribution towards achieving even higher
Service quality.
A new issue of this repair manual will be published if amendments or additions (supplements) are needed.
All information in both text and illustrations refers to motorcycles in standard condition or with genuine
BMW accessories installed, and not to motorcycles which have been modified in any way to depart from
the manufacturer’s specification.) end quote
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I had the bike out for a couple hours today and deliberately used the rear brake only, several times. There was no pounding at all, no matter how hard I applied the brake, as long as I didn't use the hand brake.

regards,
Joe
 

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I had a couple toughts about your problem......they may help you. I have read just about everything I could on those brake systems over the last few months, but do not remember such symptoms mentioned anywhere, however brake line failures were there somewhere, which made me think about a problem I had a few years back with my van.One of my front brake lines somehow got plugged, and using the brakes would send the van into a terrible vibration. What happens is the inside lining of the hose collapses and then acts as a one way valve preventing the return of the brake fluid. On an ABS equipped vehicle it would certainly interfere with the ABS function, possibly showing the symptoms you describe. :dunno:

Also a way to see if your symptoms are related to the ABS or something else such as steering or suspension would be to test the braking system with the ABS disabled. That is, testing it only on the residual braking action.......There is a couple ways to do this, one I described earlier, but not right, forgot an important step: 60 MPH+, plenty of room in front, PULL the CLUTCH, SWITCH OFF the IGNITION, then SLAM ON THE BRAKES.Do not be afraid to slam, there won't be much there......! :yeow:

You can also hold the brake lever while starting up the bike, the ABS won't be able to do the Self Tests and will stay disabled until you switch off again and restart the bike. The ABS light should stay on then start blinking as you move(?). My bike is not on the road otherwise I would doublecheck that last procedure for you, but out here I have to take a ferry that is at the bottom of a very steep hill, and if I forget to start up properly it makes for a very interesting boarding with only the residual braking action. :yeow:

Good luck :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #16
>You can also hold the brake lever while starting up the bike, the ABS
>won't be able to do the Self Tests and will stay disabled until you
>switch off again and restart the bike.

That sounds much easier than figuring out which wire to disconnect, to disable the presure modulator.

thanks,
Joe
 

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I myself would not disconnect anything in there......might throw some weird fault codes in the memory and then the ABS may have to be reset by a "Factory Trained Technician"....! :teeth I think there is a way to do that yourself also, but it may take some digging to find out for sure. :dunno:
It is certainly OK however to disconnect all the connectors you can see and check for corrosion on the terminals (but disconnect the battery first) my bike did have some corrosion here and there.You are probably familiar with electrical contact cleaner and dielectric lubes :(
Just be real careful if you ride on only the Residual Braking Function, not much there.....! :yeow:
BTW I am also having braking problems with my new (7,000 Miles) made in Georgia Pontiac......the rotors are shot from rust....brakes are now jumpy.....I stopped at the dealer last week and the "Factory Trained Service Manager" started arguing with me that it is only surface rust.....Blah Blah Blah! That is without even looking at it.......I shut him up by telling him the truth: My father and grandfather were Chevy dealers going back to the 50's and that I had done enough brake jobs in my youth(and later) to know what I was talking about. :rant

The morale here: Unless you have the actual invoice for the work done previously on your bike, with time spent on it, I would certainly question what is stamped in your maintenance record booklet.I certainly questioned mine as soon as I was told that my bike was originaly owned by a "Mechanic" at the dealership. It should however have the date on it,so you can probably get them to dig out a copy of the invoice, I have done that before. Or even with only the serial number you should be able to get a service and repair history from any dealer :bmw:
 

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Discussion Starter #18
h96669 said:
Interesting......but to turn this around a bit, how did you make out with your ABS?
Maybe there is something foreign like beads in your tires interfering with the ABS function.....????? :thumb:
I noticed after two weeks, a little over a thousand miles, that the pounding was getting milder, so I have just been riding it and waiting to see if maybe the pump will smooth out by itself over time. Since the brakes work, I'll hold off on anything other than simple maintenance, waiting for warmer weather to take it apart. The only thing I'm planning on doing before March is replace the fuel line QDs and another oil/filter change.

regards,
Joe
 

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Looks like contaminated Brake Pads to me.....I know the new ones I bought for the back , EBC's, had LOTS of paint around the edges, even some on the pads, I removed it all before installing them. :thumb:
 

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Sometimes when you reach the end of the road on all the obvious things and particularly brakes, it's worth making that trip to the dealer.

They have other bikes you could try out and their diagnostics might show something you could take ages looking for and never find. Even if the diags say the system is normal, an experienced tech. test riding your bike should be able to tell you if he feels your complaint is valid, or just normal for the bike.



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