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Discussion Starter #1
Lights worked great on the 1700 mile trip through the ozarks. Went for a short ride and noted the bright light indicator was on. Switch didn't change anything. Getting back to the garage it appears that only the parking light is lit, no low beam, no high beam.

I have the gps wired to the parking light and the connection may have touched metal when not connected to the unit, my fault. Would that have burned out both bulbs? Could it be a fuse?

It's an '04 k12gt.

Thanks,

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Will ride for picts
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This failure has been reported before on this site, and has happened to me. It is almost certainly a burned out ground wire. The headlamp assembly uses a common ground wire for both the high and low beams, which is known to burn out on some bikes. When the wire burns out, you lose both high and low beams, and the blue high-beam light is illuminated on the dash.

This exact thing happened to me last year on a trip 1,000 miles from home. Thank goodness I had PIAA's on a separate circuit. When I got back home, the dealer replaced the entire headlamp assembly with a new one under warranty.
 

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Why, you didn't ask?
Because, when you lose that ground wire connection at the head light, the bulb elements no longer appear to light. However, power is applied to the lowbeam constantly. Since the bulbs have a common ground point, the electrons go through the low beam element to the highbeam element, and then back to the highbeam switch. There, on the output side of the highbeam switch is another connection, that goes to the blue indicator that normally lights when you turn on the high beam. However, since there's now power from the highbeam (being fed by the low beam), and since there's a good ground on the other side of the blue highbeam indicator, the electrons flow through the indicator to get to that coveted place called ground.
If you get into a dark area, you can see that the highbeam is slightly glowing. Won't be able to see the low-beam glowing, as it's hiding behind the highbeam reflector.



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Will ride for picts
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Jeez, I'm an ME, not a dang Sparky. All I know is that you've got to keep the magic smoke on the inside of the wires.

Seriously, do you have a wiring diagram, or did you just ask someone intelligent?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Very helpful!!

I guess there's no way to DIY? I have my regularly scheduled service on September 8th, the first possible day they could fit me in for the 12k. I think I'll call them and see if they'll fix this sooner. I like to be seen on the road.

No one is smarter than all of us. :)

Thanks,

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There is a screw on the left side of the frame near the top of the radiator where I put a ground for my PIAA's. You might access it and run a seperate ground to your headlight. I would check for other damage (due to heat) to other wires in the harness.
 

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Gravity said:
I guess there's no way to DIY? I have my regularly scheduled service on September 8th, the first possible day they could fit me in for the 12k. I think I'll call them and see if they'll fix this sooner. I like to be seen on the road.
I recall a member fixing it himself with a large gauge wire. IIRC, there were some issues with the way the wire is attached to the headlamp assembly, making it difficult to do. I think this is why my dealer replaced the entire headlamp assembly, a $400+ part!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hmm

I upgraded the bulbs about 3 months ago. Do you think this has anything to do with it?

I called the dealer and they haven't ever heard of this. They suggested I replace the bulbs.

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I upgraded the bulbs about 3 months ago. Do you think this has anything to do with it?

I called the dealer and they haven't ever heard of this. They suggested I replace the bulbs.

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Get a new dealer. They are already indicating that they are idiots. The bulbs are not likely the problem.

Think about the problem: both lights were working, then they both failed simultaneously. The ground wire is common to both lights. You have anecdotal evidence (from me, and I submit the following thread for further evidence) that the ground wire has failed on other bikes. Where would you look first if you were troubleshooting the problem? That said, I would double check the light bulbs, just because it won't cost you a dime and to rule them out.

A thread from the archives from a year ago shows that this has happened to others. My dealer, BMW of Denver, seemed to know right away what was wrong when I took it in. They didn't try the "never heard of it" or "change the bulbs" crap. And yes, I had swapped out the low-beam bulb and had installed PIAA's, but they didn't try to blame it on me. The did the professional thing: listen to the customer's description of the symptoms, and then troubleshoot the problem.

http://www.k-bikes.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Board=technical&Number=127631&page=&view=&sb=&o=
 

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Yes, if you're new headlights are higher wattage they definitely contributed to the failure.
A real good opportunity to install relays now before the switch fries. The stock (common) ground wire is tiny; maybe 20 gauge or less. Typical failure occurrs at the bulkhead connector. I grounded the bulbs directly to the frame after mine went out.

Of course if its under warranty have the dealer fix it
 

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IF you put in higher wattage bulbs (plural) and had the high-beam on, both bulbs would be overpowering the ground. The BMW folks are pretty good at figuring out the optimum wire size for the expected load (slim margin for any extra)...so the wiring would be undersized for, say, 85 watt bulbs (I think 130 watt ones are available, too). The other gotcha is the heat they put out can make life difficult for the plastic reflectors.

Standard-wattage bulbs should get you a warranty replacement. And, since the bike is unsafe to drive, it shouldn't be a "scheduled" appointment to have the bike fixed. However, they may have to order a replacement headlamp assembly, and as the unexplained does occur at times, it may not arrive until Sept. 6th or thereabouts.

If you're looking for improvement, two things you might consider. HID for the low beam, and adjust the beam up with the adjustor. The adjustment makes for a good improvement, just avoid making it up too high. HID generally uses 35 watts, which is about 20 less than the stock bulb, so if you're not interested in larger gauge wire and relays, you should be fine with the stock wiring. HID for the high-beam has been discussed from time to time, and the consensus is pretty much against it, as it takes a short bit of time for the light to come on to a reasonable intensity, and that makes flashing your high-beam unproductive when trying to signal someone ahead of you.



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Lights out everybody!!

04 K1200 GT.
I have the exact same problem. My local dealer said the same thing:Never heard of that before.Buy new bulbs.

Which I did,but did not replace them.

Going into the shop on Tuesday for this problem and the 20,000 km service.
I will let the board know.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
thanks...

I called the dealer back and told him the new bulbs didn't work. He told me he may still not be able to fit me in until September 8th.

That sucks. The nearest other dealer is 250 miles away. :mad:

Keep me posted,

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just a thought

Don't have a GT so this is just a thought.

If you can replace the bulbs - do you take off a wiring socket off of the bulb? then unscrew the bulb from the headlight assembly?

If there are two wires (hot and ground) or one wire (hot) check to see if the hot is powered using a voltmeter. If it is, then check the continuity of the other wire to ground. If no continunity then the ground is broken between the socket and the frame. Splice into the socket ground wire and ground it with another wire then see if the bulb lights.

If only one wire is hot and the bulb doesn't work then the ground from the metal plate you screw the bulb into is broken. Take a wire with spring clips on each end and ground the plate to the frame and see if this works. If it does you have a temporary fix until you can get it to the dealer.

It would be nice if BMW would supply wiring diagrams for these emergency situations.
 

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Clickr

Both the GT&RS use a common ground for both headlamps. This is of a small gauge and is a common ( and never factory fixed) problem.

There were some wiring diagrams( 10, I believe) on www.whitepond.org or .com) but they were in German and hard to follow.

Bruce C
 

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They're not there now. The only wiring diagrams I've seen (I have the book) are in German. Once you get into the quirky German mindset for creating a multi-language document, they can be followed.

But you don't really need a wiring diagram if you find the 2 ground wires for each lamp and run in a new thicker wire from battery negative to the headlamp area. If you can't do this then the wiring diagram won't make much sense to you. Once you have this added ground wire, you can use it for all your accessories including horns and have no fear of a loom burnout. I'd recomend removing the plastic, screen and headshell. Then you can get to the rear cover easily, check for damage and see the lamp grounds.

If the ground wire has burned inside the loom, and hopefully nothing else, you are best to abandon that faulty wire and disconnect it anyway. When we say we 'upgraded' bulbs that can mean same wattage, bluer light (OK) or bigger wattage more light and wiring burnout unless relays are fitted, possibly plastic headshell damage. In the case of the stock high beam, it has a plastic adapter for the H lamp base, and I can imagine that melting.



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Discussion Starter #20
No melting...

:) I changed the bulbs back to stock for the trip to the dealer. I didn't notice any melting anywhere.

I'm confused as to where the ground wire is located? Is it in the loom that plugs to the assembly or in the assembly itself?

I have thought about rooting around in the assembly for the wire but figured I'd get it to the dealer this week, they said they could see me whenever I can get there.

If I have to run a seperate wire from the battery I think I can do that. Although, I've never SEEN the battery before, I'm sure it's in there somewhere!! :)

I think I'm going to stay with the stock bulbs and go with a set of PiAAs. That seems to be the best ROI so far. I had considered HID but I'm not sure how to go about that install and it seems pretty complex.

I've seen guies for the RS, is the install the same for the GT?

Thanks for all the replies, I'll keep you posted,


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