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Idle and Feel, Part two


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Some of you responded to my previous post

"I have a 2002 R1150RT that I just purchased a few weeks ago. I'm wondering about the idle feel and speed that it should have. The 18000 mile service was performed on time (as were all the other services) but I just wanted to make sure that everything works like it should. It seems to idle somewhat like a Harley, chug-chug-kchug-kchug-chug. Idle speed is approximately 1000RPM.


Michael "


Well, I took it to the dealer North County BMW in San Diego) after deciding that any maintenance I did might void the extended warranty. I was advised by some of you (and the dealer) that this was most likely a throttle sync issue. Nope. NC BMW adjusted the sync, adjusted valves, replaced the fuel filter, checked fuel pump, checked spark plugs and some other assorted tidbits. I dropped the bike off on Tuesday morning, and was expecting to be done that afternoon. Obviously that hasn't happened, NC BMW has spent 3 days trying to resolve the issue.


To their credit, I'm not complaining. The NC BMW has a great staff, they're curteous and concerned about my issues. Their customer service has been exemplary so far, even going so far as to give me a loaner bike to use while they wrenched on mine. (nice touch on their part, I’m not inconvenienced at all other than not having my own bike) I have been kept up to date by their technicians, and I believe that they are doing everything possible to fix the bike. I believe that their technicians are competent, but being a tech myself, I realize that noone can know everything. I'm confident that they'll find the problem, I'm worried about racking up a huge bill for this. Because the items that they replaced are normal maintenance items, I'm going to get charged for them.


I have two questions.


1. Anyone else had a similar problem that was fixed by something other than the previously mentioned items? I would like to suggest it to them to see if there is something oddball that may have caused this issue on anyone else’s RT

2. If this turns out to be a warranty fix, should I have to pay for the other maintenance completed on the bike? It's not due for its 24K service for 4K miles, but almost the entire service has been done while trying to fix the problem.


Just curious on other’s opinions.


Best regards,

Michael confused.gif

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Just an update:


NC BMW told me that they have now eliminated:

1. the throttle bodies

2. Computer

3. Fuel pressure

4. Spark plugs

5. Valve adjustment


Today they pulled off the heads and said that they were going to "de-carbonize" the pistons. I haven't heard the results of that yet. It's now been a week, and I'm missing my bike more than I thought I would. I've put almost 800 miles on the loaner already. Any thoughts? BTW, noone responded to my orgininal questions, any input?


Michael clap.gif

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Yep, they have checked both the O2 sensor and the throttle position sensor. I just got off the phone with them, and they said that the only strange issue with the bike so far is that it has about 190PSI of compression. The average is supposed to be about 150-160PSI.

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Is the problem mostly noise related rather than an engine performance issue? If so the left-side cam chain tensioner has been a long-time known issue that affects some bikes and causes a knocking noise at idle (sometimes confused with piston slap or a bad bearing), usually more noticeable when the engine is warm. Does this sound at all like your problem?

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My issue is actual rough running more than anything else. The surge that I get is much more pronounced than on other 1150s I have tried. It feels like the bike is running out of gas. The idle is also much rougher. I feel foolish now, I assumed when I bought the bike that a simple tune up would cure the problem. doh!


I know that its going to end up being something simple that everyone has missed, such as a bad Cat or vacuum leak. NC BMW has checked those already (I think they checked the Cat) but no dice.

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Update #4. Things WERE looking up. Stopped by the dealership with my friend to pick up some parts for his GS. Happened to look in the service area and my bike was all dressed again. (bodywork, etc back together) Service manager was with another customer, but said that it was working better now, and he would call me later that afternoon. Wanted to make sure that I could pick it up this afternoon before closing.


Speak to Brian (service manager) at 4:30, just getting ready to leave to finally get my bike back. Brian sounds very depressed. Apparently, the bike was working well earlier, but now the surging and sputtering has come back.


ARGHH. Well, at least I still have the loaner. I now have almost 1000 miles put on this poor '86 K100RT loaner that they graciously lent me. It sure will be nice to get back on a bike that actually stops and turns again, but I must say that the K100 still has some pretty good juice left wink.gif in the engine!




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Have them quit messin' with the messin' and address the source of the problem... Install the Techlusion. Make them do it, and if it doesn't work, they can pull it off an keep it. 10 min install, $200 or so. My bet is it will solve your problems, plus give you easy adjustability of your fuel injection you can play with and tweak. Oh what fun!! Made a big difference in my '96 R850R. That, along with D&D pipes, I can do 2nd gear roll on wheelies..

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Hmm. Brian mentioned the Techlusion as a work around for less severe hesitation and surging, but he told me that mine is not the same minor surging that other RTs get. BTW, the replaced the injectors today and tried using some VP racing fuel to no avail.


Also, I spoke to the original owner of the bike who said he never really noticed the problem.

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Plugged or poisoned catalytic converter.


Spray some starter fluid around the joints between the throttle bodies and the cylinder head. Any change in engine speed will indicate a leak. It would be unusual for an '02 to suffer much deterioration but, it could happen.


With compression that high, I would tend to doubt valve issues but, a good leak down test might not hurt. What was the compression pressure after they decarbonized the pistons and combustion chambers?


Prime suspects for this kind of thing are ignition coils and fuel pressure. Either regulator of filter.


Another thing that could cause this is cam timing but that's really reaching. Doesn't hurt to check though, also checking that valve lift is correct. Somebody over on the Pelican board suffered a cracked cam lobe which shifted on the shaft and whacked out the valve timing. If I remember right, the symptoms were similar to what you describe. Degreeing the cams is not all that difficult on these motors and would reveal any problem in about an hour or so.

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Hey CJ,


my suggestion of the Techlusion is based on a couple of things:


1. It is simple. Easy install. "relatively" cheap.. you could burn hundreds in cam timing, valve and revalve, but you have done that to no avail...


2. Even it it isn't the problem, it WILL help, and you WILL want to keep it!! I'm serious. it will help your performance, and give you carb type tuning capabilities that is REALLY simple, and a total blast! But again, I bet it will solve your issue. And again, even if it doesn't, and you find it is something else, you will keep it because it helps and it's cool to have your own tuning ability..


BUT, it's not my money, so your call...


All I can say is that it's the best $200 I've spent on my R850, next to the hundred I spent for the used but never used D&D pipes!!!

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Would you also recommend a band aid on a severed artery.


You don't patch, you fix what is wrong. The Teclusion will not fix anything. It won't help in any of the cases I mentioned except the air leak and its not anything like a proper fix for that.

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I agree with ED - i am a big proponant of using the Techlusion in some cases of a more traditional surge that cannot be eliminated, but what you have going is different in some basic way and needs to be addressed directly. I suppose you could try the techlusion as a problem solving step, but you do need to find out what the problem is. Normal surge can be bothersome, but even with the lean maps BMW uses, it should be minor. Check what Ed says.

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I apologize for not makeing my point better, I'll try again...and not be caustic. (oops, blew it already..)


Many big $$ suggestions have been offered for our poor friend. Prudent troubleshooting calls for simple solutions first, and sorry, but plugged cat, etc are not simple solutions.. well actually, they might be... mine was easy to remove..


My point was this. The BMW fuel mapping sucks. Subject beat to death. The techulusion, or any other chippie thingy, will work great at addressing that issue, and the Tech allow for really easy personal tweaking. So,it does "fix" something, that for which it was specifically designed. So, for me anyway, this would be an upgrade I would do REGARDLESS of whatever else is found. So, do it. If it fixes things, great, you are done. Simple first. If not, you're not out anything because you would have done it anyway, and when you DO fix it, then you have an even BETTER machine.


I have not ridden his bike, maybe you have. So this is ALL IMHO, but then again, isn't that what these boards are all about, unless for you it is not so H. dang, blew it again.


That's it...



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The mapping can't suck that bad. The 4 oilheads and 2 K bikes I have owned in the last 10 years have all run fine with an aggregate milage approaching 200K. No surge, no hesitation, fuel consumption at or better than 40 mph at some pretty agressive speeds.


None have ever needed any patches to the fuel injection just simple tuning and maintenance to keep running well. I suspect that is the case for the majority of the bikes out there. Those who have had to resort to things like the Teclusion just have not found what thing, or combination of things, was causing their problem in the first place.


Now, given that BMW is not what anyone would call generous with technical data in regards their injection system and what mapping or what the modifiers such as air temperature, barometric pressure and rate of change of throttle position do, some can make a band aid work for them.


I just don't happen to agree.

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I disagree with your assessment. Given that BMW was trying to meet emissions regulations for the world, I don't think they did that badly.


They could have considered testing with engines slightly off optimal tune, which (as SSEd says) is the cause of (let's say) 95+% of surging. I know mine needs valves and TB attention, when the surge and the vibration appear.

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Here's the positive side of the equation; cost isn't an issue, the bike is still under warranty. Ed, I'm going to forward your suggestions to Brian the service manager and see what he thinks.


Thanks all, I'll keep you posted. frown.gif

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mk, I forgot that I wanted to reply to you again. The main reason that I think that using the Techlusion to fix the problem is a bad idea is that it won't fix the problem. It may mask the issue, but this is not an inherrent BMW RT issue, it is unique to this bike. I've ridden two other stock RTs now and they feel nothing like my bike. I don't feel that I should have to throw money and parts at a motorcycle that's under warranty just to make it run smoothly. For the price of these bikes, they should run at least as good as a comparable Japanese bike that costs 2/3 the price or less.



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Yep, you got me on that one dopeslap.gif!! If this is unique to one of three you have experience with, then yes, prudent troubleshooting would tend to say that it is NOT any sort of systemic issue with design.... Just offering my experience with my bike, which admittedly is a TOTALLY differend situation. Still... I love my little Tech, and being an old RZ' (hobbyist) tuner, I really like the capability of tweaking. And the BMW fuel mapping is really pretty good for what it does, and is probably much better now than before... just for my bike, 9 yrs old, and me wanting performance, it needed a little "help".


Good luck in your endeavor and I trust you have your "issue" solved by the time I post this!!



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I'll pass along my experiences as they are similiar. I bought a used 02 RT last fall. I thought it idled rough and asked the salesman about it after the test ride, he said "they all do that." Two days later I left for a 4000 mile trip. During the trip, at times the idle would be so rough the engine would die. I thought that it was worse under hot ambient conditions. That is unacceptable and they had better not all do that.


I did a search on the surging issue discussed here as I felt that these issues may be related. The service manager tried all the things the wise ones within this forum had discribed. The only thing found to be out of spec was the ignition timing, which helped. It no longer stalled but was still rough with a 250 RPM variation. They contacted the original owner who claimed that it idled rough from day one. On my third visit they put a "donor" bike next to it and swapped every concievable part that could cause this. (I wouldn't want my bike to be a donor bike). Nothing helped.


The service manager suggested the Techlusion and that if I paid the wholesale price, they would eat the labor. I think they charged all the labor under a warranty claim to BMWNA. The day they installed the Techlusion I took a dual spark 04 R as a loaner, it had a idle variation of 150-200 RPM! I wondered if I was bitching about nothing. The Techlusion has worked well, it holds the idle much smoother. There are recommened settings, the pot. for idle is recommened at 0.7 volts. To get a smooth idle on mine it required 2.2 volts.


For me it was down to the Techlusion or selling the bike. It bugged me that much. Thankfully the Techlusion worked. For comparision, a friend's R1200RT idles as smooth as one could want.


Regarding your other question, the service manager suggested that I perform the recommened 18K maintenance as they could eliminate many things and it would drive any other costs into a warranty catagory, but this maintenance was near due for me.


Good luck

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I'm getting the entire 24k service done now and the bike has only 19k miles. To be honest, at this point I'm so disenchanted with the bike, there is a possibility that I may sell it when I get it back. Tomorrow is day 14 tongue.gif in the shop, and who knows whats coming next. Anyone interested in a 2002 RT that eventually will run smoother than any other RT on the planet? BTW, the ironic thing is that one of the main reasons I purchased this particular bike is that the original owner purchased the extended warranty, so the bike is actually under full warranty till 2009!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Day 23 and still nothing. I'm beginning to seriously question their ability to get my bike fixed. Supposedly, they're replacing the fuel pump now, but I was told that they had already done this? Does anyone know if I have some sort of recourse, not against the dealership, but with BMW providing a replacement or something like that? The bike is still under factory warranty, and I don't believe that it's ever going to get fixed.


Also, I would still like some opinions on whether I should have to pay for this. If it was some kind of maintenance issue, or something to that extent, I would feel obligated to do so. However, they're now saying it's a fuel related issue that the new fuel pump should fix. If that's the case, should I be obligated to pay for the other work that they did trying to find the issue? Remember, I brought the bike in on a warranty claim of it not running smoothly, not because I wanted to do a 24K service five thousand miles early. doh!


My buddy says I'm a puss for not going to the owner and starting to rant and rave, but I'm trying to stay on good terms with them.


Michael aka cjwheeling

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althought i do not think you should use the techlusion for what is obviously another problem, it is possible that a combination of normal varience items which just happen to cause this is the culprit, and you may never be able to fix it. If the only alternative is selling it, you could try the techlusion - I believe they have a money back policy - talk to them. I would make the dealership do the install for free however.

So they knowingly sold you a bike running badly, which the previous owner says always ran badly? Had the previous owner taken it in to this dealer with that complaint? If so, I think they might be liable for a full refund to you based on their knowingly selling a lemon. Even if they did not know of the history, if a bike cannot be fixed to run as per the implied warranty, then you do have recourse. Many states have lemon laws stating the dealer has perhaps 3 attempts to fix it, and if unsuccessful, they must refund your money. Perhaps you are getting close to needing legal advise?


As to your dealer, it does sound like they're nice people in a way. Personally, I am learning to judge non-friends in a strict way based only on their actions as I observe them. Ask yourself - based solely on what they have actually accomplished, what is your opinion of the dealer? Perhaps your opinion would not be so good if you looked at exactly what they have accomplished - no fix and wasting a lot of your money. Maybe you should just inform them you have no intention of paying for fixing a pre-existing problem they knew about and cannot fix? See a lawyer. frown.gif

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Hi Toby, I appreciate your input. Unfortunately, I purchased the bike private party, North County BMW had no part in the purchase of the bike. If that were the case, I'd have already pushed them to buy the bike back. My question points more to BMW than the dealership regarding buying it back from me.


BTW, I just spoke to Brian (service manager) and the fuel pump (the second one) did not fix the issue.

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I'm interested in your progress.

I've got a 04 RT with now just over 8,000 miles since Dec 04. In retrospect, I had some hesitation as the throttle was cracked and a roughness in the 3,000-4,000 rpm range, particularly in 4th and 5th. (more so than 6th)

After BMW of Okla in OKC did the 6,000 mile service, the bike was much smoother as the throttle was opened, and quieter and happier in 4th and 5th. The tech at OKC BMW said he had adjusted the throttle cables and whatever it is, it is just spot on.

So keep the world posted on progress. We're all hoping you'll get it right and get to enjoy a fabulous bike.

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Thanks for the wishes, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that I'm going to sell the bike when they figure out what the problem is.


Funny, I bought the bike with the intention of having a full time commuter bike, expecting to put on about 24K miles a year. I no longer have faith in the idea that BMWs are the most reliable, long lasting bikes. While it appears that my bike is an anomaly in a crowd of bikes that have gained such a fevered love affair from their owners, I don't know that I'd ever feel that way. At this point, I hope to just sell the bike for what I have into it.


Please don't take this as a shot at BMW bikes, it's not. It's my belief that for the most part, the RTs are fabulous bikes, but I just haven't experienced that. Anyone interested in a soon to be perfectly running '02 RT with 19K miles? Extended warranty till 2009. frown.gif

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Day 30 and I got the RT back today. Seems to be pretty smooth so far, I'm witholding judgement on whether the surging is totally gone until tomorrow when I have to ride in the morning rush hour.


What's the fix? Hmmm, wish I could tell you, but the input I got from NC BMW is that it may have been a combination of things; decarboning the pistons, oxygen sensor, adjusting valves, synching throttle bodies, etc. It still seems to idle rough, but maybe that's just a characteristic of the bike?


I think that NC BMW was happier to get rid of the bike than I was to get it back. There are some issues that I want to discuss with them, but I'm not going to air dirty laundry without giving them a chance to fix it. They have been accomodating so far, so....


Anyway, I'll be riding her to work tomorrow, I'll let you know how it goes. BTW, Emery, the owner / GM? is one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to work with to get something resolved.


cjwheeling thumbsup.gif

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Hmm, I know they haven't touched it. I read through those posts and it definately sounds like it could be a possible fix for the rough idle. They have mine set to about 1200 RPM, which seems awful high for a twin.


I'll bring it up on Tuesday when I bring the bike in.



cjwheeling cool.gif

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They have mine set to about 1200 RPM, which seems awful high for a twin.



Per the BMW R1150RT mtc manual the idle speed is 1100 RPM plus/minus 50.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, its done. The surging is almost completely gone and the bike runs fine. Sooooo, what's my response to that? I'm going to sell it. I decided that I needed to back to my Harley roots. I'll be posting a classified of it next week when I take some pics. dopeslap.gif

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