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Discussion Starter #1
Noticed both Hi/Lo bulbs out and the switch indicates a constant Hi-Beam. Replaced bulbs, checked fuse and discovered there is no specific relay. All other electrics are fine. I'm a horrible automotive electrician, but I suspect I'll need to check the headlamp switch and thereafter wiring.

Am I missing something embarrassingly obvious?

The bike is currently naked (sans fairing and fuel tank) and is awaiting me changing the oil, air filter and general PMCS. I have also removed the battery given its unknown age. The bike was purchased used, last year at 34,000 miles and now has about 39,000.

As an aside, my primary bike (Victory XR) is in the shop for two new fork seals, so I'm burning up good fall weather!

Regards,

Mike
 

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Pull headlight out and check the brown ground wire.There was a time when the RS/GTs were burning up the ground wire.That wire grounds both Hi/Lo and wire gauge is rather small so resistance increases,wire heats up then poof.....lights out!

Probably one of the first mod I did to my 03RS was beefing up the ground.Temporarily for one season until I bypassed all that with a relay setup.
 
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Noticed both Hi/Lo bulbs out and the switch indicates a constant Hi-Beam. Replaced bulbs, checked fuse and discovered there is no specific relay. All other electrics are fine. I'm a horrible automotive electrician, but I suspect I'll need to check the headlamp switch and thereafter wiring.

Am I missing something embarrassingly obvious?

The bike is currently naked (sans fairing and fuel tank) and is awaiting me changing the oil, air filter and general PMCS. I have also removed the battery given its unknown age. The bike was purchased used, last year at 34,000 miles and now has about 39,000.
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You already got the hint where to look from H96669 post.

This is a fairly common problem and a design weakness (in my opinion) of the headlamp assy for K1200RS and K1200GT of 2003-2005 (given your symptoms: both bulbs "appear" to be out with constant high beam indicator on dash)

Very difficult to repair the wiring inside with lamp assy on bike - not much room to view and work. At the end of each Brown wires (ground) there is as a Spade connector. You should be able to pull the connector using a long-nose pliers. At the end of one of the 2 brown Ground wires, near the connector, will be damaged (burned) and the connector will look a bit damaged too.

BMW does not sell parts - only a unit. You will have to do some wiring and welding (been there, done that...). Some have welded both Brown wires together in the middle so as to have only one spade connector going to copper part (basically 2-into-1).

The problem seems to be most common under either OR both conditions:
- A higher wattage bulb than specified has been installed (Low H7 or High beam H3 should be 55 watts max each ),
- The bike is ridden for LONG PERIOD with the high-beam active in fairly hot weather (too much heat generated inside the headlight casing)

The most accepted theory is: a combination of a few weak items (minimum gauge brown wire - thin connector) and too much heat inside, causes the connector to expand and contract (heat followed by cooling cycle when you park). As this happens, the connector gets a bit loose, resistance increases, cause arcing. This arcing is easily confirmed by the condition of the old connector.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
In checking, in the area where I can trace said brown wire, it looks intact. Does the fact that the hi-beam indicator light being on, regardless of the switch position, mean anything?
 

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Roger on your post and I will reinspect the wire AND ends tomorrow. You've also answered my follow-up question regarding the hi-beam light.
"- The bike is ridden for LONG PERIOD with the high-beam active in fairly hot weather (too much heat generated inside the headlight casing)"
Yup, most of my riding is during the daylight hours and I tend to keep the hi-beam on.

Regards,

Mike
 

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In checking, in the area where I can trace said brown wire, it looks intact. Does the fact that the hi-beam indicator light being on, regardless of the switch position, mean anything?
Look deeply with a flashlight in area shown as there are in fact TWO (2) BROWN WIRES with spade connectors down there - one of them will be damaged. In most cases, you will need thin long nose pliers to pull it out of this holding (this larger copper piece holding H3 bulb).

We had many such case on another BMW forum during last 15 years - your symptoms are a tell of such damage to the ground wiring inside.

You can minimize risk in future by:
- making sure you are NOT using bulbs of more than 55 Watts (either LOW or HIGH beam)
- combine / weld both BROWN wires together (higher in non damaged section) then have only 1 Brown Ground wire going down to copper piece. Use a new Strong Spade connector.
- avoid keeping high beam on for long period in slow moving speed (less airflow for cooling headlamp assy)

Some have gone as far as modify the wiring completely to feed from outside via a Relay (bigger / better wires entering thru lower part of black cover). The headlamp cannot be separated from glass: you can try but you will break it ;-)
 
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Discussion Starter #7
ALCON
I rechecked the brown/ground wires. Wires are good as are the "spade connecters." I again checked the fuse and the fuse circuit, all good. Still no power to either the Hi/Lo beams at the headlamp housing, but the Hi/Lo beam indictor (on panel) now goes off when I switch to low beam at the switch (constant on indicator before).

Thinking (before researching) that I might be able to test the switch, I took apart the left side switch assembly, only to fine it's a module!

That's my progress (?) thus far.

Mike
 

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ALCON
I rechecked the brown/ground wires. Wires are good as are the "spade connecters." I again checked the fuse and the fuse circuit, all good. Still no power to either the Hi/Lo beams at the headlamp housing, but the Hi/Lo beam indictor (on panel) now goes off when I switch to low beam at the switch (constant on indicator before).

Thinking (before researching) that I might be able to test the switch, I took apart the left side switch assembly, only to fine it's a module!

That's my progress (?) thus far.

Mike
At this point, you are bringing NEW INFO: if the dash Blue High beam indicator is now working properly, then your problem is something else (and my original assumptions does not hold anymore). Not impossible for the left handlebar switch to go bad, but these have been very reliable - very few failure on 3 forums during 15 years.

What do yo mean by "...took apart the left side switch assembly, only to fine it's a module!" There is no such module on K1200RS or K1200GT of 2003-2005 (unlike later models) I think we need a photo of your bike ..OR.. the switch to confirm what you are dealing with - otherwise we are running in circles making assumption on wrong bike. Later K1200GT starting in 2006 are VERY DIFFERENT and have CANBUS electronics.

On 2003-2005 models of K1200RS and K1200GT, the fuse boxes are different then previous K1200RS. Are you sure you have checked proper fuses for
both High and Low beam (2 separate fuses) ? See attached fuses diagram taken from owner's manual....
 

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Switch? Not a module so one can pull the OEM silver label which should still be present?

Behind the label are two tiny Torx screws.Remove them,rear switch cover should stay in place as it is also held by tabs.Releasing the tabs will expose the innards of the switch and enough of the wiring to test if current is going in.

I suggest one works over a dishpan or something to hold the parts.Little spring and post "latch" for the button may fly out.Very touchy opening them up and re-assembly is also touchy.

Btw last one I opened was defective.Temporary Hi or flash to pass didn't work.For some reason the separate wire for that switch function was melted and broken close to the electrical box.

Easier would be to first spray contact cleaner from the back.Not all that weatherproof them switches and after that many years the fine brass contacts are probably greening up from corrosion.Good electrical cleaner should take care of that.

Lets see....been 2-3 years since I cleaned and protected my switches.On the road all summer....under the thunderstorms/torrential rain,never covered and then riding salty gravel roads.Must be time for some switch maintenance.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Inner switch assembly. Since the individual switches are not exposed, I referred to same as a module. I also did check both 7.5 fuses, and both are good. I also checked the fuses with a circuit tester, while in place. I will not attempt to peal the silver label back......
 

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Carefully unsnap the switch actuator....button or whatever the grey thing is called.I can see the pivots on the black part of the switch and the Vshaped or round?slots on the button.Only snaps in there but could require some prying out with a small screwdriver.

Spring and pointy holding post are behind that so be very careful as they hold the switch position.If they get lost switch is now useless,won't hold in position.

If corroded as I'd suspect first I'd give it a cleaning before any further dismantling.LPS or similar product will clean the corrosion on most electrical parts and connectors and protect from further damage.Not much grease in there even new from the factory.If any left after 15yrs?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great and clear advise for a non-electrical klutz. As advised, the contacts were dirty. I cleaned both switch and rocker and even managed to get them back together properly, after getting a positive reading with the circuit tester. With bagpipes playing and drums a drumming, I turned the ignition key and the hi/lo beams were still a no-go! As a last resort, I even took the electrical cleaner and gave a shot to the headlamp housing plug, still nothing.

I appreciate all of your help and I admit I have learned a great deal.

Regards,

Mike
 

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I think you'll have to follow the switch harness down into the electrical box.Some of them harnesses were ziptied too tight along the rail and that would crack the casing.Cracked casing may let water run down to the connector in the electrical box.Or the unsupported wires may break.

Had to tend to that on my 03 back then.

My spare used switch I got with the "flash to pass" wire melted,I don't know the cause but once fixed I checked all the wires for continuity between switch and connector with the Ohmeter.

And check all the brown grounds.BMW grounds are always brown.Test light or meter between the headlight ground and battery+.Confirm that the headlight is grounded.

All the grounds are brought back to the battery on an RS/GT.One of the two ground cables at the battery is 6-7-8 (depending on model/yr/equipment) brown wires under the casing.That casing on my bike was split and wires could have broken down the road.
 
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I think you'll have to follow the switch harness down into the electrical box.Some of them harnesses were ziptied too tight along the rail and that would crack the casing.Cracked casing may let water run down to the connector in the electrical box.Or the unsupported wires may break.

Had to tend to that on my 03 back then.

My spare used switch I got with the "flash to pass" wire melted,I don't know the cause but once fixed I checked all the wires for continuity between switch and connector with the Ohmeter.

And check all the brown grounds.BMW grounds are always brown.Test light or meter between the headlight ground and battery+.Confirm that the headlight is grounded.

All the grounds are brought back to the battery on an RS/GT.One of the two ground cables at the battery is 6-7-8 (depending on model/yr/equipment) brown wires under the casing.That casing on my bike was split and wires could have broken down the road.

Pierre,
As you know very well ;-) remote troubleshooting without being on-site can be a nightmare sometimes.
From the moment he posted a change of behavior a few days ago (dash light OK now, but still no HI or Low beam, fuses are OK) something has been bugging me with this problem:
- because it is a US specs K1200RS/GT , low beam always ON by default as soon as the ignition is turned ON. Furthermore, even for Eurospecs , the K1200GT does NOT have the optional ON-OFF for headlamp as it is taken by seat heater switch (on right combo at handlebar).

- all US pecs models (or any without headlamp ON-OFF) have a jumper wire from factory at end of the right handlebar switch in lower Relay junction box (under fuel tank). The design is such that this jumper will provide a constant Low Beam headlamp ON contact (to replace the Euro switch).

So... assuming these facts - we are not on-site to check ourselves - but just to troubleshoot further let's assume they are correct:
1) he said he has checked both Brown ground wires inside headlamp
2) he said he now sees that the blue Hi beam dash indicator is not always ON anymore (so different problem that I taught)
3) he said both FUSES are OK
4) he said both BULBS are OK
5) For the moment, I will ALSO assume he has checked the 3 pins connector entering rear of Headlamp to be correctly pushed in AND no pins are damaged.

GIVEN all the above, MY UNDERSTANDING of the design is that for a US SPECS K1200, his headlamp should be ON at low beam EVEN IF THE RIGHT HANDLEBAR Hi-LOW toggle is defective. A broken wire or a broken toggle should affect only the high beam OR the switch to pass (spring loaded Hi beam signal).

SO basically at this point I am convinced it is either:
- problem is quite probably a ground feed problem outside of the headlamp assy
- a power source problem for both HI and LOW beam wiring (NOT very likely UNLESS problem is at Load-Relief Relay)
- the problem is NOT with the left handlebar switch (unless only the HI beam is defective)

Do you agree with my statements above. You know me... so you can tell me I am a fool if you want ;-)
 
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Yes Jean of course I agree.

Ground is suspect and should be confirmed at the headlight connector.I remember someone who hacked into his heated grips.If I remember the + was confirmed but he didn't check the ground which was most probably the problem and could have saved him from hacking.

If ground is confirmed then time to go into the electrical box and check feeds.And integrity of the harnesses on the way down.

Grounds? OP has removed the battery.There are 2 ground cables at the battery on a K1200RS.One missing and from what I saw years ago everything may function with only one cable but not far dowm the road electrical gremlins will appear.

Both HI/LO are fed via the loadshed relay but so are turn signals/horn(?)/speedometer and first signs of them dirty starters affecting the groundpath to the loadshed relay usually are wonky turn signals and speedo needle drop?
 
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