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Bike will not start b/c too cold?


Dejavu

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Hi all,

 

For the last 2 days my bike will not start up. It goes thru the motions but it will not turn over. I then hear clicking sounds when I press the ignition. I live in NJ and the weather has been moderately cold. However, when I get home from work, the bike will start up just fine. I am just frustrated that I am not able to start it up in the morning to take it to work. I have an 07 1200rt with 37k. Is this something I should be worried about? Should I have it checked out? Is it just too cold for the bike in the morning? It's about 20F in the mornings. Note: I have been leaking oil b/c I didn't tighten the oil filter tightly enough and never put oil in until now. I didn't get any warning that the oil is low.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

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Hi all,

 

For the last 2 days my bike will not start up. It goes thru the motions but it will not turn over. I then hear clicking sounds when I press the ignition. I live in NJ and the weather has been moderately cold. However, when I get home from work, the bike will start up just fine. I am just frustrated that I am not able to start it up in the morning to take it to work. I have an 07 1200rt with 37k. Is this something I should be worried about? Should I have it checked out? Is it just too cold for the bike in the morning? It's about 20F in the mornings. Note: I have been leaking oil b/c I didn't tighten the oil filter tightly enough and never put oil in until now. I didn't get any warning that the oil is low.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

 

 

What is meant by going through the motions? If it does turn open (crank ) then just give it a throttle & it should start right up (just crack the throttle a little,, it might take a few tries to get the throttle held in the correct open position but that really helps cold starting on the 1200)

 

If it won’t even crank over then look at your battery’s health or state of charge (maybe your battery is low on cold cranking amps due to bubbles in the GEL electrolyte, or just low on charge..

 

Twisty

 

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Sounds also like a possible antenna failure if it doesnt cranck at all when cold.

There should be TSB about ignition lock antenna failures which cause starting problems.

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I meant it sounds as if it's about to turn open but then it dies and then I'm stuck. It doesn't turn open enough for me to even try using the throttle. On a second attempt to start the bike, I'll just get some clicking. I'm beginning to think that it could be the battery. Do you suggest a battery charger or can I just jump start it with my suzuki sv650 (which starts up right away btw)?

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Dejavu, that does sound battery related.. If you had an antenna ring failure it wouldn’t even attempt to crank over..

 

You can try jumping it but be careful as your electrical system doesn’t like voltage spikes..

 

You might try a battery tender but MAKE SURE it is designed for your GEL battery as the wrong charger can ruin your battery..

 

Probably a good idea to have your battery load tested as it could easily be low on CCA due to internal damage,, old age,, or who knows.. At least then you will have an idea if your problem is your battery or you should look someplace else..

 

Twisty

 

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Wow, how ironic! Went out this morning and my '09 RT with 300 miles simply gave me the clicking sound... :-(

 

So, out came old reliable (AKA the Buell) and it cranked right up. I stopped by the BMW shop since it's right down the street from where I work. They loaned me a charger and I have the battery on it now. They think I may simply have gotten a bad battery since the bike has under 400 miles on it. Don't know... If I can get it started in the morning, I'm going to take it to the shop and see what they think of it under a load. I knew immediately it was the battery this morning though. Real shame too.

 

(update: after 2 hours on the charger, the bike kicked right over. I'll see what they think tomorrow when I bring it in).

 

Wayne

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My '07 RT was doing some strange starting a month ago, before I put it away for cold storage. The sub-freezing mornings it would crank and the engine would catch a cycle, but then it would imediately die. Over and over this would happen til I felt like it just wasn't gonna go. I then found a slight crack of the throttle and she started right up and idled fine. Weird stuff. . .

 

Your issue, if not even cranking may be quite different.

I'm interested in the fix !

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I think it is most likely a battery. The bike has higher mileage and I think it is a reasonable guess that some previous owner put in a replacement battery- maybe one that is not BMW or equivalent, but cheaper.

 

I would like to follow up on Twisty1's comment on cracking the throttle on cold start... I always assumed that the computer knew best how to start a cold engine. This is not a challenge, but why does opening the throttle a little help the start?

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I think it is most likely a battery. The bike has higher mileage and I think it is a reasonable guess that some previous owner put in a replacement battery- maybe one that is not BMW or equivalent, but cheaper.

 

I would like to follow up on Twisty1's comment on cracking the throttle on cold start... I always assumed that the computer knew best how to start a cold engine. This is not a challenge, but why does opening the throttle a little help the start?

 

 

hopz, all the computer can do is open the idle stepper motors to what it thinks is adequate for the ambient air temp,, oil temp,, altitude,, battery voltage.. What it can’t do is give the engine more air than the idle stepper motors will allow so the cranking throttle opening & fast idle once fired is limited to max stepper motor air flow.. That doesn’t seem to be quite enough in real cold weather,, or with thick engine oil in cold weather,, or on new tight engines..

 

If you have poor cold starting 1200 hexhead or a start/stall in cool/cold weather try cracking the throttle slightly.. My guess is you will think you found the Holey Grail of cold starting a hexhead..

 

Using the throttle twist grip (that is BMW’s words not mine) to assist cold starting is also on page 81 of the new 1200RT owners manual..

 

 

Twisty

 

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hexairheadbeemerguy

Cold weather is a fact of life here, my '07RT is not fussy about starting at or below 0C(32F or lower). I open the throttle about 1/8 turn, it will start but knocks for several moments until oil pressure comes up. Have read the OBC is programmed to protect the engine by not starting in the cold. 20W50 gets pretty thick at cooler temps, I run 0W20 in the car during winter. Refer to the owners manual pg 114, 5W30 and/or 10W40 is recommended for cold temps; in the spring I run 10W40 synthetic until early June. Fwiw, ading buddy uses an oil pan heater on his newer Harley for several hours before starting it for the same reasons.

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Cold weather is a fact of life here, my '07RT is not fussy about starting at or below 0C(32F or lower). I open the throttle about 1/8 turn, it will start but knocks for several moments until oil pressure comes up. Have read the OBC is programmed to protect the engine by not starting in the cold. 20W50 gets pretty thick at cooler temps, I run 0W20 in the car during winter. Refer to the owners manual pg 114, 5W30 and/or 10W40 is recommended for cold temps; in the spring I run 10W40 synthetic until early June. Fwiw, ading buddy uses an oil pan heater on his newer Harley for several hours before starting it for the same reasons.

 

 

hexairheadbeemerguy, now why in the world would any vehicle manufacturer purposely program their vehicle to not start in cold weather? Someone’s feeding you a line with a hook on it there..

 

My 1200RT always starts even down to 10°f (that is as cold as I have started it since I bought it).. Have a friend with a 1200GS & his has started at well below 0°f on more than one occasion.. I guess even BMW figured some of us might try to start them at cold temps as they tell you in the owners manual to twist the grip to start the engine in below 32°f temps..

 

Nobody in my area here would buy anything that didn’t start below 32°f.. We ride these things at well below that.. We also ride & camp in very cold weather.. Can’t imagine parking my motorcycle in a northern campground knowing it was programmed to not start the next morning if it got cold at night..

 

On the oil viscosity you are correct in that for winter operation at extreme cold conditions you should probably choose a thinner viscosity like a 5Wxx or 10Wxx engine oil but for a lot of us we ride through a large temperature swing in the spring & fall with sometimes morning temps at 15-20°f with afternoon highs hitting sometimes 85°+ in afternoon heavy traffic..

 

 

Twisty

 

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hexairheadbeemerguy

Just relaying what I've read, did not say it was the gospel truth and feel free to form your own opinion. The gist of what I read was it is meant to protect the starter and battery from excessive wear, or a dead battery, in trying to turn over an engine in cold, thick oil. I do not know the validity of this claim. I do know that some diesel truck engines have a coolant temp sensor that prevents release of the air brakes until the engine is warm enough to help reduce cold running pollutants. So such ideas are not unheard of. It is a reason we use engine block heaters to actually start up and help starters and batteries survive winters here. Also why some riders use an oil pan heater for the rare winter day one might get out for an hour ride. If someone was feeding me a line with a hook I did not bite as I own an '07RT.

I've ridden my RT at temps of -10C atlhough road conditions and black ice are more a concern than oil viscosity. The manual states 5W30 is good to -20C, if you want to ride then dress warm. It also states 10W40 is good for temp ranges from -10C to +30C which is nearly 90F. We wouldn't buy anything either for all season use that would not start below 32F. I will be curious to learn the reason for the OP bike starting issue to perhaps learn from his experience.

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hexairheadbeemerguy, I sure would like to have you tell where there is published data on the BMW cold no-start programming.. BTW what is the temp that they are programmed to not start at?

 

I don’t see that published in the owners manual anywhere so would presume most of the electronic programmed cold no-starts would be dealer tow in’s costing BMW lots of money in towing & related dealer costs as well as customer bad will..

 

 

Twisty

 

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Just relaying what I've read, did not say it was the gospel truth and feel free to form your own opinion...

 

One's opinion has nothing to do with whether or not BMW programmed the bike to not start below a certain temperature. Either it's true or not. I've certainly never heard of this on any engine.

 

Jay

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they all start if they are in condition to do so. Cold weather means the oil needs to be thinner, a 5W for instance. Then you get it to crank at high enough rpm and it will start. The engine is in principle no different to a car engine, and guess what they start in even -40F (I have experience with that too)

 

Get a new battery or charge it and see that you have witner oil if you live in cold country.

Here in GA we can get by with summer oil even down to 12F (I don't ride but the bike for sure starts)

 

AND, there is no coolant in the RT so winterizing it otherwise is not even thought of.

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Dave_zoom_zoom

Dear DEJAVU

 

Your frustration is you are "not able to start it up in the morning".

 

You have already been given some very good advice from others here!

 

It's taken me 4BMW's Boxers and MANY years to form my cold start list. I hope you may find it helpful Please forgive my repeats of advise from others.

 

COLD WEATHER STARTING FACTORS----Per Dave Zoom Zoom! Ha Ha Ha!!!!

 

ENGINE BREAK-IN

Yes, engines that have gone through break-in will "cold start" more easier than a brand new tight engine. You should be more than good at 37K miles.

 

AMBIENT TEMP.

Of course, the colder it gets & the longer your bike sees that "cold soak" (to a point) the harder it can be to start.

 

"FULL SYNTHETIC" OIL

I use Amsoil 10w-40 Full Synthetic MOTOR CYCLE OIL in the winter and 20w-50 in the summer. Yes, I know! There are other very good oils other than the above.

- Synthetic oil has a much lower pour point than Dino oil. Better for cold starts!

-A "Synthetic Blend often referred to as synthetic oil, can have a very low percentage of synthetic oil in it. I can't remember the lowest percentage, but it seems to me it may be as low as 20%.(not an exact number) Go with the "Full Synthetic".

-Yes, I know many with dry clutches use an automotive oil with great success. I believe the additional additives in the Motor Cycle oil to be worth the extra cost. (no cold start benefits)

-BATTERY STRENGTH & MAINTENANCE

It is helpful to have your batt. at "full charge" when you hit that starter button. For reasons I won't get into the "tender" sold by BMW did not do the best job. I found a Batt. Tender Plus from Deltran did much better.

-ENGINE / BATT. TEMP.

I set a 300w bulb very close to the underside of the oil sump overnight. (I'm interested in a better way to get the same results) This adds some heat to the oil, eng. & a bit to the batt. All helpful! Note: My bike is kept in unheated but wind free garage. ( not connected to house)

-Use a small throttle application prior to hitting the starter button. Yes, hold it there during cranking.

 

When my batt. starts getting weak (about 4 yr's, I replace it with the best batt. I can find. I don't wait for a "no-start" problem. I don't try to buy cheap!

 

With my current Gerbing Clothing set-up, I can comfortably ride down to -17*C or 0*F. More often it's 10*F and up.

 

 

.

Hi all,

 

For the last 2 days my bike will not start up. It goes thru the motions but it will not turn over. I then hear clicking sounds when I press the ignition. I live in NJ and the weather has been moderately cold. However, when I get home from work, the bike will start up just fine. I am just frustrated that I am not able to start it up in the morning to take it to work. I have an 07 1200rt with 37k. Is this something I should be worried about? Should I have it checked out? Is it just too cold for the bike in the morning? It's about 20F in the mornings. Note: I have been leaking oil b/c I didn't tighten the oil filter tightly enough and never put oil in until now. I didn't get any warning that the oil is low.

 

Any advice is appreciated.

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Dave_zoom_zoom

Many Thanks Twisty1

 

And many thanks for all you do to help all of us here on the board!

 

Dave

Sorry for the typos but my "edit time" ran out!

 

Dave, is that closer to what you wanted to say?

 

Twisty

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Dave zoom zoom,

 

Thank you for your words of wisdom :o)

 

Just to give you a little brief history, I bought the bike new and ride it year round. I have never had a problem starting it in the winter til now. It only just happened. I decided rather than get a battery tender I ordered a new battery. I didn't want to chance leaving work and not being able to start up the bike. I do appreciate all the advice I've gotten here and hopefully buying a new battery will be the answer.

 

 

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Dave_zoom_zoom

Dejavu--You are welcome.

 

Good to see you ride year round. I know how you feel. If you have the passion and a great bike (mine is a 06 R1200RT)it's very hard to leave it alone for very long.

 

You may be interested---I start using my Battery Tender Plus when the battery is new.

I leave it on when ever the bike is in the garage.

 

It seems to "almost" double battery life. At least 50% or more.

 

This helps me to be able to use the bike when ever I want it and the extended life pays for the Battery Tender Plus.

 

Happy Trails Dejavu!!!

 

Dave

Dave zoom zoom,

 

Thank you for your words of wisdom :o)

 

Just to give you a little brief history, I bought the bike new and ride it year round. I have never had a problem starting it in the winter til now. It only just happened. I decided rather than get a battery tender I ordered a new battery. I didn't want to chance leaving work and not being able to start up the bike. I do appreciate all the advice I've gotten here and hopefully buying a new battery will be the answer.

 

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I agree that a good battery tender is "good" for the battery. Also, I've seen a couple of suggestions to blip the throttle when the motor's cranking, but on an '07, you shouldn't have to touch the throttle to start the bike, cold or hot, if the battery is strong and all else is ok. It should just start and idle with no throttle. Mine does at 20F or 95F.

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