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Buck saves the MAYhem....Parking lot HES replacement


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MAYhem Parking lot HES replacement 101

 

First off. The biggest thank you I can give to Gregg and Candi (I believe he used to be known around here as Buck). Without their help I would have been riding home from Winchester, VA in a tow truck. They went SO far out of their way to help a complete stranger (me) that I can't even put it into words. Now for the story.

 

Saturday morning at the MAYhem. The guys plan out a 300 mile route and take off. Danielle and I had planned to take a nice relaxing ride down Skyline drive by ourselves instead of riding with the group. We got all packed up, pulled out of the parking lot, and made it about 100yds. I down shifted from 3rd to 2nd in order to pull into Sheetz so I could top off the tank. The bike just flat out died. I tried to restart it, but it was no use. I pushed it around the building and back up the hill to the hotel. The HES was the first thing on my mind, but I have never even had the tuperware off of my bike before, and my tear down manual was properly placed on its shelf in my garage 120 miles away. I'm VERY familiar with early Motronics systems that BMW used on the E30 325i cars from the '80s so I figured I would at least start investigating.

 

I had the left side fairing off when Greg and Candi came walking out of the hotel to head home to Ohio. He asked what happend. I explained the bike just shut off on the way to the gas station. He right away said about the HES. He pulled the spark plug wire, shoved a screw driver handle down the boot, and held the other end of the screwdriver near the frame. He then told me to crank the motor. Sure enough......No spark. He right away took control and made a plan to

1. make sure we could remove the old one

2. find a dealership with one in stock

3. some how get the part to me

 

We right away went to work removing the rest of the fairing and unbolting the gas tank. Then we pulled the alternator cover, removed the crank pully, loosened the alternator, and disconnected the HES from under the gas tank.

 

One of the main worrys of doing a repair like this is that if everything isn't lined up properly, then the timing will be off and the bike will not run properly (or at all). We were concerned about this so I ran in the hotel and jumped on the internet to use our trusty board search engine. After a quick search I came up with the solution of scratching the old HES and new HES with marks at the same location........then reinstalling the new one hopeing that it would be good enough to at least get me home.

 

We marked the engine case and the old HES at the same place. Then Greg started calling dealerships. Battley was helpful, but didn't have the part. Bob's directed us to a voice mail box for their parts department (we hung up). Third try was the charm. Mortin's BMW in Fredricksburg had the right HES and a new alternator belt (because mine didn't look to good) in stock. He even managed to negotiate a discount on the part for me (I'm telling you I was just amazed at how far he was going for a complete stranger). After a short discussion, it was decided that Greg would lead me via GPS the 75 miles to the dealership and I would follow riding Candi's F650GS. Mind you the whole time this is going on.......poor Candi is sitting (fully geared up for the ride home to Ohio) on the curb by our bikes. I turned to her to see if she was really OK with me riding her bike and she said the key is already in it. So, Greg and I headed south for the dealership, and Danielle and Candi walked across the street for lunch.

 

We rode down, picked up the parts, had a quick lunch (on me of course, it was the least I could do) and headed back. We got back, marked the new HES at the same place as the old one, and began putting everything back together. We put in the HES, installed and tightend up the new alternator belt, crossed our fingers, turned the key and hit the starter button. It fired right back up and ran smooth as could be. Greg then quickly organized my random bolts on the ground telling me where each one went. Then advised me to tear it all apart again when I got home to properly torque all of the important bolts. He ran in to wash his hands, double checked with me that I was going to be OK getting it all back together (which I was), and he and Candi wished us luck and disappeared into the distance. They did come back a few minutes later after Candi realized that she had lost the cord for her heated liner. Turns out that she dropped it in our hotel room when her and Danielle were watching movies to pass the time while we traveled the countryside in the search for parts. So after a few more thank you(s) and hand shakes they departed a second time........a good 6 hours after their inital intended departure time. All because they couldn't stand to see someone stranded.

 

I got the bike back together, took Danielle out to dinner, and enjoyed the rest of the evening. Today, we hopped on the bike, made it all the way to the gas station around the block, and then proceeded to take the long way home via Skyline Drive and other numerous backroads of VA and MD. 300 miles later, we are home safe and sound, all is well.......except those pesky belts and cords sticking out of my rear tire, but thats another post grin.gif

 

Thanks again to Greg and Candi. I hope to see you both up in Galeton. I won't make any promises, but I'll see what I can do

 

BTW.....I think I just found a good name for my pet chicken........I think "Buck" is a good name for a rubber chicken. how bout it? thumbsup.gif

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Sounds like you met a couple of angels on BMWs! clap.gif

 

Thanks, Gregg and Candi for being such caring people. thumbsup.gif

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Glad you got your bike on the road instead of on a truck thumbsup.gif

 

Yes, the people on this forum are the greatest clap.gif

 

 

 

...but, not unique to this forum. I had a radiator the puking out anti-freeze at a Tiger Ride-In [think EL Paseo, but smaller], at Hiawassee, Ga. Complete stranger followed me back to the hotel where he removed my fairing sumized the problem [broken fitting] and went to auto parts store to get the part I needed. Then, he put all the parts back together again. All on the prime riding day of Saturday [he was from Lincoln, NE].

 

NOoooo way I could repay his and others' kidnesses on that weekend, but I did buy him lunch lmao.gif

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Great story thumbsup.gif

 

Glad to hear that you were able to get everything fixed and were able to ride it home.

 

You better get that tire replaced!

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What nice, and generous people. We all are fortunate to encounter people like that.

 

Now, for the benefit of us new guys what is a HES?

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I have never met Greg (Buck), but I did have the pleasure of Emailing him back and forth a few years ago on an issue, and I can vouch that his actions are consistent with his Emails. Greg made such a positive impression on me so many years ago that I shall never forget it. The true test in life and the essence of who we are boils down to our willingness to go the extra mile to COMPLETELY resolve a problem when we don’t have to. My personal thanks to Greg and Candi for sharing their time, talents, and doing whatever it took to ensure the job got done. I hope to meet them in person some day and shake their hand so some goodness rubs off on me. Mom taught me that we become like those who we associate with, so the key in life is finding ways to associate with the best.

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You better get that tire replaced!

 

I had a set of Avon Storms delivered from SouthWest Moto on Friday thumbsup.gif

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Now, for the benefit of us new guys what is a HES?

 

HES is the hall-effect sensor which determines the position of the crankshaft for ignition timing. I know on the older R1100's that the the HES wiring harness is subject to failure. I don't think it is that prevalent on the newer 1150's- I am sure someone will chime in on that. An old .pdf file that someone sent me states:"It appears that BMW used the improper wire insulation for this application. The Hall effect sensor itself uses silicone insulated wire but the harness which BMW attached to the sensor was obviously not up to the task."

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What nice, and generous people. We all are fortunate to encounter people like that.

 

Now, for the benefit of us new guys what is a HES?

 

As quoted by GREEN RT in another thread

 

"HES = Hall Effect Sensors.

 

Two magnetic switches located on each side of the front end of the crankshaft. They open when near a piece of metal and close when not (or visa versa). They sense the rotation angle of the crankshaft and transmit that info to the computer which then decides when to fire the plugs."

 

It is the equivilant to the crank positioning sensor on a normal automotive engine. They tend not to give any warning when they decide to die. They just short out or stop working. Either way, they leave your bike completely dead.

 

For what its worth......my bike ran better today than I think it ever has. It makes me think the old HES was going bad or the timing was off. I have been fighting a pinging problem when accelerating on the highway in higher gears. Today I noticed it felt a little better, and was definitly idling smoother, but the biggest difference was when I cracked the throttle wide open (to pass or merge on the highway). It used to crack and pop like crazy, but not today.......today it just squatted and took off like a shot.

 

Regardless, I'm going to go back and double check the timing properly, but the seat of the pants diagnostic plug I have tells me that its right on the money

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Gregg was/is one of the best. Always very helpful and a wonderful mech. thumbsup.gif

 

Sadly he was ban from this site. I have seen him over the years, miss his storys and helpful advice. Denfinitly has the gift of gab.

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You better get that tire replaced!

 

I had a set of Avon Storms delivered from SouthWest Moto on Friday thumbsup.gif

 

You are gonna love 'em wink.gif

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Joe Frickin' Friday
MAYhem Parking lot HES replacement 101

 

Gadzukes, it's an epidemic! Seems like there's about one report per week on this site.

 

Shawn's HES crapped out last Wednesday, 5/16, just a few miles east of Norwood, Colorado. In a lightning storm. On an uphill, twisty, two-lane mountain road.

 

Back in '05, he was in Michigan when his HES died. He got the bike to my house, and we took the HES out of my bike to get him back on the road. So this was now MY old HES that died on him. crazy.gif

 

Thankfully, he had had his old one rebuilt and stashed it under the seat as a spare. We got his bike towed into town (for a mere $65! thumbsup.gif) and spent a couple of hours swapping it out. thumbsup.gif

 

After a quick search I came up with the solution of scratching the old HES and new HES with marks at the same location........then reinstalling the new one hopeing that it would be good enough to at least get me home.

 

We just went with the dust/crud accumulation on the front of the crankcase for lining up the new HES. Seemed to work OK. If you were truly fastidious, you'd watch the flywheel "OT" mark go by the window as you slowly crank the engine by hand: the fuel pump should trigger right when the "OT" mark goes by (may have to spin the engine backwards through this trigger point).

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Thankfully, he had had his old one rebuilt and stashed it under the seat as a spare.

 

Thats what I plan to do this weekend hopefully. I'm real interested to see what the wiring looks like under the sleeving. I'll make sure to take some pictures of whatever I find.

 

Mine died first thing in the morning on a sunny day, but the previous day, we had done about 100 miles in the pouring down rain

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Thankfully, he had had his old one rebuilt and stashed it under the seat as a spare.
FWIW once the insulation problem is attended to the HES unit is probably good forever so after the upgrade I wouldn't see any need to carry a spare for one's own use. But as you note it might help someone else who hasn't heeded the warnings... wink.gif
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Gadzukes, it's an epidemic! Seems like there's about one report per week on this site

Jeez, is this HES another thing that should be changed (PM).

 

I have a 99 with a lot of miles. After several tasks of equalizing fork pressure I decided it's probably time to replace seals, yaada,yaada, if I include this HES to the PM list, I'll be over $600 for parts.

 

Do you guys "strongly suggest" HES replacement PM or can this thing be refreshed with a Bit O' Luv.

 

I was hoping that after the new tranny in 06, things $$$ would get easier.

 

What do You think, thanks.

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I don't think its necessary as PM. On the other hand......considering what happened to me. If that would have happened in the middle of nowhere, and Greg & Kandi wouldn't have been there........things would have been a royal PITA.

 

I know that I have a plan to try and repair my old one, and then carry it with me as a spare. Considering what fails on them (general consensus is that it is the wiring harness), I think it could be repaired on the road if someone was in a pinch. I'm thinking that all you would have to do is split the heat shrink on the harness, separate the wires, and use electrical tape to individually wrap them. I'm thinking that would get you back on the road if you were stranded.

 

You could actually do that without removing the HES from the motorcycle. Then you wouldn't have to worry about messing with the timing either. I plan to tear all the plastic off my bike this weekend anyway, so I think I'm going to try and get my old HES fixed, and I'll try out my theory.

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GregsARed said Do you guys "strongly suggest" HES replacement PM or can this thing be refreshed with a Bit O' Luv.

 

I've got a '99 RT with 53k, and I just ordered a new HES that I'll install soon. I'll rebuild the original with upgraded wires (or have Bmwmick do it!), and then keep that on the bike.

 

I'm not sure if it's merely annecdotal, but seems like the HES breakdowns are often accompanied by a ride in the rain the day before, or the day of the breakdown. I do ride in the rain so I'm going to be preemptive and swap it out in a dry garage with all the right tools!

 

------------------

Chris (aka Tender Vittles )

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as ...

310287-mar2004.gif

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I'm not sure if it's merely annecdotal, but seems like the HES breakdowns are often accompanied by a ride in the rain the day before, or the day of the breakdown. I do ride in the rain so I'm going to be preemptive and swap it out in a dry garage with all the right tools!

 

I keep thinking how bad it would have been if it died the day before on our little rainy ride through the WV mountains. That would not have been fun.

 

for what its worth, my bike also gets ridden in the rain.......and other equally crappy conditions on a pretty regular basis. So it very well could have a lot to do with the moisture and random particles that get up into the harness that gets the problem started. I've even had it swamped up to the pegs in mud already (I got stuck in a random construction site in the MT/WY area).

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Thankfully, he had had his old one rebuilt and stashed it under the seat as a spare.
FWIW once the insulation problem is attended to the HES unit is probably good forever so after the upgrade I wouldn't see any need to carry a spare for one's own use. But as you note it might help someone else who hasn't heeded the warnings... wink.gif
What Seth said. If you have a '99 with the original wiring (when was the change/upgrade--2001?), it is a ticking time-bomb. Do it once as PM in the comfort of your warm and dry garage and use the proper wire and insulation and you'll likely not have to worry about it ever again.

 

BMW, while never acknowledging that the original design was crappy (and being liable to warranty/replace all those that failed on the road in the rain in the middle of nowhere), "fixed" it themselves in later iterations. Hmmmmm, it kind of reminds me of all the failed final drives with the old 19-ball ball bearings that now come with 17-ball bearings from a different manufacturer . . . though everyone at the nearest BMW shop will tell you straight-faced that yours is the first they've heard of a final drive failing . . . on a grassy knoll. smirk.gif

 

I guess word is finally getting out and harder to ignore . . . like when I called about Scott's FD bearing that cratered at Torrey recently--the guy at BMW of Las Vegas told me of a guy who tried to ride his "crunchy" final drive to the nearest dealer and ended up catching the rear of the bike on fire and burning its tail off! blush.gif

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I guess word is finally getting out and harder to ignore . . . like when I called about Scott's FD bearing that cratered at Torrey recently--the guy at BMW of Las Vegas told me of a guy who tried to ride his "crunchy" final drive to the nearest dealer and ended up catching the rear of the bike on fire and burning its tail off! blush.gif

 

eek.gif I drove my bike home from NJ to PA in the middle of the night with a crunched final drive. Granted, I didn't know thats what it was until the next day, but that wouldn't have been good....LOL. My rear brakes were shot, and I figured I was just out of pad. I blame all these things on Danielle........

 

So far I've punctured a rear tire, crunched my final drive, broke my speedometer drive unit, and had a HES fail.......all of them while she was on the back of the bike. I've NEVER had ANY sort of failures when riding by myself (knock on wood). I'm leaving her at home for the Unrally grin.gif

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I wonder,,,, if a good shot of silicon on this harness might be a cheap PM worth trying.

I don't ride in a lot of heavy rains, at least not for long periods. Hmmm?

 

Thanks.

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GregsARed said I wonder,,,, if a good shot of silicon on this harness might be a cheap PM worth trying.

 

From what I've read, I get the impression that *heat* from the engine compartment is the big culprit, so I can't figure out how the rain fits into the scenario. My own thought was that maybe some heat-shielding/tubing around the whole harness might be of some value. Pure speculation on my part, and I don't see myself trying that fix because I'm going to use the upgraded wiring harness anyway (bmwmick's) ...

 

------------------

Chris (aka Tender Vittles )

Little '77 KZ400 in the Big Apple

Black '99 RT for Everywhere Else, such as ...

310287-mar2004.gif

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Wow, I just came across this.

 

A week ago I got the 54,000 mi service done on my 2000 R1100RT. On the way home Saturday, the engine died on me completely and suddenly just north of Stone Valley Rd on 680 (about 3 miles - halfway). Electricals were good (lights, etc.) but no spark to the engine. They (WC BMW) came picked up the bike and took it back to the shop. So far they suspect the "Hall-Effect Sensor", but haven't been able to get another failure!eek.gif So we don't know, for a fact, that that's what's failing. I don't want to take it back and risk being stranded somewhere farther away (good thing it didn't happen on my trip to Torrey). Does it make sense that the HES would start working again?

 

They couldn't get the part until next Wednesday, anyway, and a week from today I need to go out of town, so I told them to keep trying for now to see if they get another solid failure.

 

Any thoughts? Thnx.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
From what I've read, I get the impression that *heat* from the engine compartment is the big culprit, so I can't figure out how the rain fits into the scenario.

 

But it definitely does; these things are notorious for exhibiting their symptoms in wet weather (tho not exclusively).

 

I think the heat weathers and cracks the insulation, and then the rain gets in and shorts it out. There may not be a lot of power in the signal from the HES, so the presence of rainwater may be enough to prevent a good signal from reaching the Motronic.

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From what I've read, I get the impression that *heat* from the engine compartment is the big culprit, so I can't figure out how the rain fits into the scenario. My own thought was that maybe some heat-shielding/tubing around the whole harness might be of some value. Pure speculation on my part, and I don't see myself trying that fix because I'm going to use the upgraded wiring harness anyway (bmwmick's) ...
The problem is caused by the exposure of the HES wiring harness to high levels of heat where it is clamped to the HES plate (which is bolted directly to the engine block.) This causes a gradual degradation of the wire insulation, sometimes to the point where the insulation is virtually gone. When in this state moisture will cause conduction between the wires, shorting out the HES leads. This is why the fault is often first noticed in the rain.

 

A complete preventative cure is available simply by replacing the HES harness wires with some high-temperature rated wiring (Teflon-insulated wire is commonly available and often used, and is virtually indestructible in this application.) Once the new wiring is installed the problem should never recur. For obvious reasons upgrade of the HES harness is a wise preventative maintenance measure on any 1100-model bike (problems have not been seen as yet with the 1150s.)

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Wow, I just came across this.

 

A week ago I got the 54,000 mi service done on my 2000 R1100RT. On the way home Saturday, the engine died on me completely and suddenly just north of Stone Valley Rd on 680 (about 3 miles - halfway). Electricals were good (lights, etc.) but no spark to the engine. They (WC BMW) came picked up the bike and took it back to the shop. So far they suspect the "Hall-Effect Sensor", but haven't been able to get another failure!eek.gif So we don't know, for a fact, that that's what's failing. I don't want to take it back and risk being stranded somewhere farther away (good thing it didn't happen on my trip to Torrey). Does it make sense that the HES would start working again?

 

They couldn't get the part until next Wednesday, anyway, and a week from today I need to go out of town, so I told them to keep trying for now to see if they get another solid failure.

 

Any thoughts? Thnx.

 

I'm sure it is an expensive repair, but if I was in your boat.......I would definitly have it replaced. It wouldn't surprise me if a HES started working intermitantly. After all, its just 2 sensors and a couple of wires. The wires could very easily be OK until they (for instance) get wet, get hot, get hot and wet........or just manage to rub the same way again. There are too manyt variables to be 100% right, but I would swap it out for piece of mind. Its one less thing to worry about.

 

If nothing else, I would at least buy one and tuck it the bottom of my glovebox grin.gif.

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Thanks, Keith. I'll go ahead and have it swapped out. I did wash the bike, to scrape the bugs off, after Torrey, but that was a few days before taking the bike in for service and the failure. No rain or heat to speak of, so I'm hoping that is really it. confused.gif

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Note that if you swap out the entire HES with a new one in addition to buying an expensive part you may or may not be getting wiring with high-temp insulation... no one has yet verified that the replacements are any better than the original parts in this respect. If you upgrade the harness of your existing unit you will both positively cure the problem and save a lot of money.

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Note that if you swap out the entire HES with a new one in addition to buying an expensive part you may or may not be getting wiring with high-temp insulation... no one has yet verified that the replacements are any better than the original parts in this respect. If you upgrade the harness of your existing unit you will both positively cure the problem and save a lot of money.
Doesn't bmwmick sell refurbed units (with a core-return charge) so you don't have to be without one for any length of time?
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Doesn't bmwmick sell refurbed units (with a core-return charge) so you don't have to be without one for any length of time?
Yes, I believe that Mick has harnesses for sale and would suggest that anyone doing an HES fix (or a precautionary replacement) send him a PM to check. As noted above a unit rebuilt with known-quality wiring is the way to go here.
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Thanks for the recommendation, Seth. However, I am not mechanically inclined - I wouldn't even know where in the engine I'd find the HES, so will have to rely on the guys at the BMW dealer, and, I'm sure, they're required to use BMW parts. I'll see if I can get the old part.

 

Thanks all for your help. thumbsup.gif

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