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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everybody - my 1998 K1200RS (60,000 miles) is having an electrical problem. I put the bike on the charger (battery tender with a pig tail) the same way i've been charging the bike all winter. The next day the headlight is on, I thought I left the key in the on position but I didn't. The bike was switched off but everything was as if the key was in the on position. Headlight on, ABS flashing lights on, low oil pressure light on, the fuel pump primed, etc. I disconnected the battery and tried it again but the everything is still on.

Now if I press the start button while the bike is off (but everything is powered up) the bike will crank but it won't start. If I put the key in the on position and press the start button then it will start up. So the bike still works.

I took apart the ignition switch, so much so that the springs have all flown out. The problem keeps happening even with the ignition switch in separate pieces so I don't think its that. I ordered a used ignition switch on ebay.

So far I've pulled all the fuses but this problem still happens with the fuses out. I pulled out most of the relays and this still happens with the relays out. Does anyone know of a big main fuse or relay that could be causing this problem? I have the book and electrical diagram but I don't really know what I'm looking at.

Any thoughts?Thanks for reading and trying to help.
 

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High beam, low beam or parking lamp? Possibly the load relief relay ( or some other relay) has fused closed? Located in the e-box with most of the others.
 

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It's almost as if the key is in the bike and turned to the on position. Except the key isn't in the bike.

The low beam is the one that comes on with the dash lights. Unless if you press the high beam button, then its the high beam.

I took all the relays out one by one (including the load relief relay) but the bike still comes on (without the key) when i reconnect the negative battery cable. I was looking for a relay that may have fused/welded it self open accidently. but I didn't find any. All the relays look very clean and the wires in the electric box seem good.

Thanks
 

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It's almost as if the key is in the bike and turned to the on position. Except the key isn't in the bike.

The low beam is the one that comes on with the dash lights. Unless if you press the high beam button, then its the high beam.

I took all the relays out one by one (including the load relief relay) but the bike still comes on (without the key) when i reconnect the negative battery cable. I was looking for a relay that may have fused/welded it self open accidently. but I didn't find any. All the relays look very clean and the wires in the electric box seem good.

Thanks
I am surprised you have not found existing solution already posted here (in older post) and also on the K1200LT forums (https://www.bmwlt.com/forums/k1200lt/)

This is a well known issues on all "brick-engine" (including older K100 and K1100 models) when attempt to start with a weak battery. The Starter Relay contacts will weld together - until Starter Relay is fixed or replaced it will continue to behave like this. Like many motorcycles, the main Battery Positive wire becomes direct to starter once the Relay is activated (even with ignition key OFF , the contacts are welded in your case).

Early K1200RS have the 1st generation BLACK starter-relay. Later, BMW changed to a newer fancy version that is BLUE (with electronics added inside relay) that will NOT attempt a start on a low-battery condition - basically a work-around the original problem of welded contacts.

Only K1200RS produced after January-2001 have the newer type BLUE relay installed at factory, including a slightly different main wiring harness. All other K1200RS owners can install the fairly expensive retrofit starter kit. See this link on parts fiche of MAX-BMW for the retrofit kit - item number 1:
https://shop.maxbmw.com/fiche/DiagramsMain.aspx?vid=51719&diagram=61_1350&partnumber=61357663945

The OLD design starter relay (black unit) is NOT visible anymore on BMW parts fiche for K1200RS. However, because it was also used on K100 and K1100 AND was made by BOSCH, it is still available for a good price from a few 3rd party suppliers like Euro-MotoElectrics:
BOSCH OEM: https://www.euromotoelectrics.com/product-p/rel-k008oe.htm
Replacement equivalent: https://www.euromotoelectrics.com/Starter-Relay-BMW-K-61-31-1-459-008-p/rel-k008.htm

The Starter relay is located in top electrical junction box - separate and below all other small relays (see attache photo).
Some "cheap" owners have opened the Starter Relay to file / clean the contacts so that they can re-use the old one. This may work for a short time, but is another problem waiting to happen. In addition, unless you ALWAYS have a very good / strong / recent battery, the older type BLACK Relay is always a risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That's good information Sailor, thank you. I removed the starter relay completely off the bike and the bike stills powers up when i connect the negative cable to the battery. If the problem was a fused together starter relay letting electricity flow then wouldn't the bike be completely off when i remove the relay? Maybe I'll just try a few new relays just for fun.

Thank you for pointing me to the LT forum. I've found many people with similar problems.
 

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Sailor,

Your "fix" for Jumar360's problem describes what happens when the starter relay contacts weld.... namely, the starter continually runs and the only way to stop it is to disconnect the battery.

But his starter relay contacts are clearly not welded because when he inserts the key and switches the ignition ON, the starter behaves normally.

Bob.
 

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That's good information Sailor, thank you. I removed the starter relay completely off the bike and the bike stills powers up when i connect the negative cable to the battery. If the problem was a fused together starter relay letting electricity flow then wouldn't the bike be completely off when i remove the relay? Maybe I'll just try a few new relays just for fun.

Thank you for pointing me to the LT forum. I've found many people with similar problems.
OK... I just re-read your 1st post where you described the problem AND realized I missed the part about the headlights and dash also being always ON also. Of course, in such case there is more than the "Starter Relay stuck welded" as the cause.

Also saw you posted a request into the K1200LT forum to John Zeiler (jzeiler) into a similar problem thread:
https://www.bmwlt.com/forums/k1200lt/34329-k1200lt-key-will-not-shut-off-lights-staying.html
John Zeiler is a very good and helpful guy - in addition he is very familiar with the K1200LT complex electrical system. When you remove all the gadgets (heated seats , electrical windshield , reverser, radios) the base of the electrical system of the K1200RS is very similar to the K1200LT.

Given previous troubleshooting done by him on similar problem above, my best guess at this point is you also have damaged (burned inside) main wiring coming out of the Positive battery post (toward main relay junction box). Could also be a badly modified main harness, but I am assuming your bike ran well the days / week before AND no recent electrical mods were done.

As you saw in post above, John had to go to see the problematic K1200LT himself to pinpoint / confirm exact cause. Troubleshooting these type of problems at a distance is very difficult....
 

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OK... I just re-read your 1st post where you described the problem AND realized I missed the part about the headlights and dash also being always ON also. Of course, in such case there is more than the "Starter Relay stuck welded" as the cause.

Also saw you posted a request into the K1200LT forum to John Zeiler (jzeiler) into a similar problem thread:
https://www.bmwlt.com/forums/k1200lt/34329-k1200lt-key-will-not-shut-off-lights-staying.html
John Zeiler is a very good and helpful guy - in addition he is very familiar with the K1200LT complex electrical system. When you remove all the gadgets (heated seats , electrical windshield , reverser, radios) the base of the electrical system of the K1200RS is very similar to the K1200LT.

Given previous troubleshooting done by him on similar problem above, my best guess at this point is you also have damaged (burned inside) main wiring coming out of the Positive battery post (toward main relay junction box). Could also be a badly modified main harness, but I am assuming your bike ran well the days / week before AND no recent electrical mods were done.

As you saw in post above, John had to go to see the problematic K1200LT himself to pinpoint / confirm exact cause. Troubleshooting these type of problems at a distance is very difficult....

That's what I tought the cooked wiring.Similar issues have happened to the GSs and their wiring is similar. I just read the LTs link, there is enough there to help further investigations.


Lights on with key off. Does the headlight go off when you hit the start button with the key in the On position?


And I'd have to ask......are both ground wires connected to the battery? K1200RSs have TWO grounds. One is main frame ground cable. The other is a bunch of brown ground wires 6-7-8(?) of them depending on year and equipment but pretty well all the grounded electricals are brought back to the battery via them wires.Not connecting either one the electricals should still work for a while but eventually something will overheat and bring about the dreaded electrical gremlins.
 

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That's good information Sailor, thank you. I removed the starter relay completely off the bike and the bike stills powers up when i connect the negative cable to the battery. If the problem was a fused together starter relay letting electricity flow then wouldn't the bike be completely off when i remove the relay? Maybe I'll just try a few new relays just for fun.

Thank you for pointing me to the LT forum. I've found many people with similar problems.

Hum.....!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Good questions! The headlight does go off when i press the starter button, so its not the load relief relay.

I have 2 cables that connect to the negative side of the battery and a battery tender pigtail. They are linked with one bolt (that goes through the battery) so I refer to all three as one.
 

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I took apart the ignition switch, so much so that the springs have all flown out. The problem keeps happening even with the ignition switch in separate pieces so I don't think its that.
Did you unplug the ignition switch electrical connector in the relay box?

Update: I just remembered that earlier this year I experienced a similar problem. Something happened to my starter motor so I yanked it out and replaced it. After everything was all buttoned up, I took the bike for a ride and all seemed well until I returned home, parked it, and switched off the ignition. The engine stopped but the headlight and dash lights stayed on! After about a minute, they finally went out. I turned the ignition to on, started it up and let it run for about fifteen seconds, then switched it off and it happened again, but the lights-on interval was brief; five seconds or so. When I did the on-off exercise a third time, the lights stayed on again but longer, so I sat down close to the right side and put my ear near the side panel opening where the fan sits. After about a minute and a half the lights went out, and as they did I heard a distinct click. As it turns out it was the load relief relay. Unfortunately, I don't remember if the headlight on my bike stayed on or not when I started it up during that little episode.

To date, the bike is back to it's old self, more or less.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Did you unplug the ignition switch electrical connector in the relay box?

Update: I just remembered that earlier this year I experienced a similar problem. Something happened to my starter motor so I yanked it out and replaced it. After everything was all buttoned up, I took the bike for a ride and all seemed well until I returned home, parked it, and switched off the ignition. The engine stopped but the headlight and dash lights stayed on! After about a minute, they finally went out. I turned the ignition to on, started it up and let it run for about fifteen seconds, then switched it off and it happened again, but the lights-on interval was brief; five seconds or so. When I did the on-off exercise a third time, the lights stayed on again but longer, so I sat down close to the right side and put my ear near the side panel opening where the fan sits. After about a minute and a half the lights went out, and as they did I heard a distinct click. As it turns out it was the load relief relay. Unfortunately, I don't remember if the headlight on my bike stayed on or not when I started it up during that little episode.

To date, the bike is back to it's old self, more or less.
My bike seems to be acting just like yours. I took the bike for a ride and when i shut it off the lights stayed on for a few moments and then shut off. The bike is currently sitting in the service dept at the dealers not showing the problem of staying on, they say they cant fix it until they see the problem. This isn't a problem I want to live with, wondering if the bike may or may not power down anytime it's left alone.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
update - the bike is fixed!

Update:

MaxBMW mechanics figured out the ABS computer was allowing electricity to flow through it while the key was out of the bike. They sent the abs module to module masters to get the computer rebuilt. Module masters is giving me a 5 year warranty on the rebuild. My bike is back to normal! thanks everyone for your help!
 
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