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Fuel strip problem??


Dundee387

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I've read some posts about the fuel strip problems on the RT, and how unreliable it can be. Never really paid much attention because it was never a problem for me, until..

 

I was out on a nice 150 mile ride the other day, and noticed my fuel indication level went to no bars, and the yellow triangle lit up, and a flashing gas pump. It gave me this indication for about 10 to 15 seconds, and then returned to normal.

 

It did this several times thought the ride, and it was beginning to occur frequently. Is this a fuel strip problem?? Any similar experiences?

 

Thanks

 

06 RT

 

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Yeah, sounds like the fuel strip. Sometimes the strip will cause transient faulty readings due to hot fuel or some such, but that should correct on its own. You might want to try disconnecting the battery briefly then hook it back up to see if that resets something. Otherwise, you'll have to see the dealer for a new strip.

 

Jay

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aggieengineer

Mine did pretty much the same thing when the bike was only a couple of weeks old. The dealer installed and calibrated a new one, and it's been reliable and quite accurate ever since.

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Welcome to the fuel strip replacement club. Almost as much fun as the final drive replacement club :) (I'm a member of both clubs...)

 

Me too for both, neither under warranty. Paid more then $1100 for these two and the list is a lot longer.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

If my fuel strip craps out, my understanding is that a new one has to be calibrated by the dealer.

 

I still have one more year of wraranty, and I am not experiencing fuel-strip problems here (yet), just thinking ahead.

 

Suppose my fuel strip goes bad. Can I save significant $$$ by doing the replacement myself, and then taking the bike in to let them do just the calibration? Or is most of the expense of replacement incurred by the calibration process?

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My understanding is that the calibration is now done dry (not sure how that works) so you can't have it in the tank when they do that. Which means except for the labor of pulling the plastic it doesn't seem like you can bring it in & have them do just the calibration to save much. I just had mine done last month (under warranty) and the strip itself was about $170 if I recall with a corresponding amount for labor - was $350 I think (don't have the paperwork here at work) in CT. They might charge more for non-warranty 'cause BMW isn't telling them what the price is.

 

Jim

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Morning Mitch

 

Not really, that darn new replacement fuel strip needs to be plugged in and hung OUTSIDE the fuel tank during the calibration process. The bike needs to be hooked to the dealer computer during the calibration process with a battery charger hooked to the bike.

 

Once the plastic is off it is only a couple of minutes to remove the fuel pump and filler door to snap the new fuel strip in (it sits in a slot molded into the plastic at the bottom and snaps over a hook at the top). You really need to remove the fuel pump assembly to be able to reach in and seat the strip correctly on the bottom.

 

You can save some by removing the Tupperware yourself before taking it to the dealer.

 

I haven’t given it much thought but you m-i-g-h-t be able to take the plastic off, then ride to the dealer, then remove the old strip in the parking lot, then plug the new strip into the wiring, then push the bike into the shop to do the calibration, then push the bike back out and reassemble in the parking lot. If you decide to do this please let me know when as I would like to see the look on Mike’s face when you suggest this.

 

One thing to do is hope it fails (hint hint) just prior to the warranty running out as you then have a 2 year warranty on that new strip even if the bike itself runs out of warranty.

 

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Missouri Bob

The fuel "gauge", although possibly convenient, really is not necessary. I'm happy to ignore it.

 

BUT, if the faulty fuel strip trips the low fuel indicator (and yellow triangle), I'll want to do something. Is there a way to disable the low fuel warning?

 

Thanks.

 

Bob

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BUT, if the faulty fuel strip trips the low fuel indicator (and yellow triangle), I'll want to do something. Is there a way to disable the low fuel warning?

 

 

Morning Bob

 

While I haven’t tried it I would imagine you could leave the failed strip in place to keep the strip heater side circuit active then disconnect the fuel level resistance wires and add a fixed resistance (TBD with some trial) resistor across the level resistance side to fool the system into thinking there is some amount of fuel in the tank above the yellow light trigger level.

 

 

 

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I was talking to the BMW service tech and he said they are not seeing anywhere near the number of fuel strip replacements they were.

He heard there was a change in either the strip or the procedure, but he always did the installation the way D.R. described it.

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I was talking to the BMW service tech and he said they are not seeing anywhere near the number of fuel strip replacements they were.

He heard there was a change in either the strip or the procedure, but he always did the installation the way D.R. described it.

 

I have the same info as well... my fuel strip was replaced this past Saturday and was told that while the same part number, there have been changes to the fuel strip over the years, made in line while the RT has been produced these past 7 years. They said that there have been fewer problems with the newer RTs.

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Something doesn’t ring right with keeping the same part number if the part has been changed or updated. How in the world would they keep from installing old parts (pre change).

As a general rule on an updated part the part number gets changed or at least a suffix letter added so the (old) suspect parts can be purged from the system. If BMW kept the same part number on a new part then they are dumber than an earth worm as they will be replacing some of the parts a 2nd time costing more money and customer time for no good reason.

Well unless BMW bean counters think it would be cheaper for them to install the old defective strips and eat the warranty labor and customer discontent as definitely a new part number would drive a rush to get the latest updated one before their warranty runs out.

 

There was a change in calibration procedure back a ways something like 08 to 09 period as the early calibration process was taking way too much time to do. The new procedure no longer allows setting the reserve size.

 

For what it’s worth I am on my 5th fuel strip and it actually needs a 6th as the current one is not accurate above ¾ tank. On every new one installed I was told the one they were installing was the latest and greatest new and improved.

 

I guess I will believe the problem is REALLY fixed when I quit having BMW riders tell me theirs was just replaced cause it was not working.

 

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Little_Brit

My fuel strip just failed yesterday on my 09 GS. Going in to dealer next week for a warranty fix.

 

I'd happily live without it if there was a way of fooling the warning circuit into believing the tank was still full.

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terryofperry

Just go back from the dealer for the brake line recall and the the third fuel strip replacement. We will see how that goes but talking to techs I am not expecting a different result.

 

Terry

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I'll add a positive note to this thread. On my 05 R1200RT, the only failures I've had in 25,000 miles are 4 headlight bulbs, one taillight bulb, and the factory battery finally bit the dust.

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Thining about the fuel strip failure problem, and without actually seeing one in person, I wonder:

1- could it suffer from thermal shock when you dump cold gasoline from the gas station pump onto the heated strip?

2- could is be physically damaged by the in-rushing fuel from the gas station nozzle?

3- could it be hit by the nozzle while refueling?

4- does the use of fuel system cleaner (Techron, etc.) have a positive or negative effect?

 

On a related note, a look at the parts fiche shows that a fuel strip is no longer used on 2010+ GS models. They seem to have a float system. Hmmm.

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Afternoon na1g

 

I have 3 failed strips hanging on my shop wall. By looking at them you can’t tell a new one from an old one.

 

 

1-could it suffer from thermal shock when you dump cold gasoline from the gas station pump onto the heated strip? – ----

 

This seems a little unlikely as the heating stops as soon as the ignition switch is turned off. Plus You would think that would leave a viewable issue on the strip or an open or short. I see no signs of that by comparing a new strip to the old ones.

 

 

 

2-could is be physically damaged by the in-rushing fuel from the gas station nozzle?------

 

This has been a common thought since the first strip failures, even seems to have a little merit as some of the strip failures occurred shortly after fueling from the right side of the bike (I failed one myself right after a right side fill up). But there have also been a number of failures after the bike has been parked a couple of weeks or after normal left side re-fueling. I have failed 2 more strips since I quit fueling from the off side.

 

 

3- could it be hit by the nozzle while refueling?----

 

Not likely but anything is possible, I have failed a bunch of strips on my RT and I haven’t ever poked the nozzle in that far or at that kind of angle.

 

 

4- does the use of fuel system cleaner (Techron, etc.) have a positive or negative effect?----

 

Again difficult to say. On my 5 failures (6th pending) I don’t use a Techron additive but I did have a failure shortly after a winter’s storage and I did have a little Stabil in the gas for winter storage. Now some pump gasoline’s have a little Techron in them.

BUT-On my second strip failure I tried a very strong dose of concentrated Techron to see if the strip would start working again (per my BMW dealer) and it didn’t help a bit to get the strip operational again (this was only a single case test though)

 

 

 

There is something going on with those strips as wet measurements seem to show a fairy big discrepancy in wet resistance between good and failed strips but dry the resistance seems to be fairly close. The heater circuits all seem to be about the same so in my limited testing the problem side seems to be on the level sensing side not the heater side. I haven’t even ruled out wire harness t o strip connections inside the tank or power bridging over from the heater side as that harness to strip connection is exposed to fuel additives, alcohol, and other fuel contaminants due to the unsealed nature of the in-tank connector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I'll add a positive note to this thread. On my 05 R1200RT, the only failures I've had in 25,000 miles are 4 headlight bulbs, one taillight bulb, and the factory battery finally bit the dust.

+1

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Steve Kolenda

A little puzzled by the large number of failures occurring on the same bike yet others with no failures. Is it possible that there is another element in the system which is causing the strip to fail? The probability of getting five in a row that are bad and yet others have no failures seems unlikely. Especially where the five that you have had are a random sample. Just my 2 cents.

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Afternoon Steve

 

Yes, that sure is possible but I have failed a couple on my GS as well as some of my riding friends have failed 2 or 3 on their bikes as well.

 

For some reason the earlier hexhead BMW’s don’t seem to fail as many. Not sure if the strip quality was better back then, or their onboard computers still have the early firmware, or the fact that the cal procedure was different back then, or different fuel blends now, or just the moon position. The later tank filler is different so it’s easier to overfill the tanks now.

 

I live not too far from a designated smog area so gasoline sold in the area is definitely formulated for tighter emissions with some strange additives and oxygenators.

 

It might just be as simple as the hazardous waste that seems to find it’s way into gasoline and diesel supplies in some areas with lots of industry. I’m not sure it is still a problem but at one time some (connected) waste haulers would charge big money to PROPERLY dispose of hazardous waste and then it would mysteriously find it’s way into gasoline and diesel supplies.

 

It might also be related to fuel phase-separation due to alcohol and winter storage. I didn’t fail a single strip until after the first winter storage. I’m not sure if that stuff can etch a strip or not (I sure can’t see it even under microscope if it did)

 

It might even be me as am a chronic overfiller, I hate stopping for gasoline so when I do I fill the tank until the last bubble floats to the top and I have to shake the bike to get the cap closed. That definitely covers the harness to strip connector with gasoline and all those strange additives. Maybe something in the fuel is a bit conductive and bleeds heater power over into the resistance side.

 

 

Obviously whatever is causing it isn’t easy to find or fix or BMW would have it under control by now. This has to be costing BMW big bucks with most of these failures occurring under warranty.

 

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I'll add a positive note to this thread. On my 05 R1200RT, the only failures I've had in 25,000 miles are 4 headlight bulbs, one taillight bulb, and the factory battery finally bit the dust.

+1

 

+2; I have an '06 RT (Feb 2006 build) and other than having it re-calibrated early in its life (low fuel warning was coming on much too early), everything has been fine since. I always fill my tank from the right side, by the way. I don't know if the system, or strip, have changed since my bike was built. As I understood it at the time (2006), re-calibrating it involved emptying the tank, letting it dry out, adding a measured quantity of fuel back in (equal to the "reserve", e.g., 4L), then doing some magic with the dealer's GT-1 computer.

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terryofperry

These are my opinions:

 

I cannot believe it is ethanol related or most of them would fail.

 

I do not believe it is possible to get remotely close to it with a fuel nozzle.

 

I do not believe the techs take enough time to calibrate it properly.

 

I would be happy with the following:

 

1. drain tank, have it read 0 miles to go and the low fuel light will be on.

 

2. add 1 gallon of fuel, have it read 40 miles to go and at this point trigger the low fuel light.

 

3. add 2.5 gallons more of fuel have it read 150 miles to empty.

 

4. fill the tank full, have it read 300 miles to go.

 

What it reads in between there I do not care.

 

If it is any more complicated than that, BMW needs to reasses the software.

 

I am now on my 3rd strip with the miles climbing on the gauge again.

 

Terry

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For some reason the earlier hexhead BMW’s don’t seem to fail as many. Not sure if the strip quality was better back then, or their onboard computers still have the early firmware, or the fact that the cal procedure was different back then, or different fuel blends now, or just the moon position.

Yeah, we have one of the very earliest ’05 R1200GS and no issues with the fuel strip to date. (85K km on the bike.) And it’s got every firmware update issued to date on it too.

 

Can’t imagine it all has much to do with filled level though. Submerged is submerged.

 

Have you ever had a bike come in and instead of replacing the strip, just do the recalibration procedure only with the GT-1? I’ve often wondered if the strip are really bad or the system is just loosing calibration?

 

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Afternoon Ken

 

Yes, I have asked but the procedure for drying the strip (twice) before it can be re-calibrated is w-a-y time/labor intensive so the dealer will only replace it with another new one.

 

About all they will do anymore is measure the heater resistance and level resistance on a full tank then if it doesn’t fall between certain resistance specs just replace it.

 

So far the ones that are not working correctly seem to be way out of spec but that isn’t saying if the resistance is on the strip itself or the connection to the strip or something else.

 

My bad ones seem to match a new one on DRY resistance but the (just prior to being removed) wet resistance was different.

 

I have 3 (old strips) at home all dried and ready to go so if the GS-911 ever adds the fuel strip cal to their menu I will surly address if a fully dried out strip can be re-calibrated then work OK.

 

The other thing is; my failure modes are not all the same as a couple have failed stuck on empty with yellow light on, one on each bike has failed showing a full tank all the time, the one I have in the RT now works just peachy from about ½ tank down but is erratic from ½ tank to a little over ¾ and will never show full unless I fill it then let it sit full for 2-3 days. A couple have failed working one day then not the next then working somewhat after a fuel fill up again. I had one that didn’t work and I didn’t catch it as it showed a little over ¾ tank until I ran out of gas on the freeway (that was the one that prompted me to always reset one of the trip sets at fill up)

 

I’m just guessing here but these things seem to operate at such high resistance that they have problems staying in range. That also means that even a little connector terminal connection resistance or a cross talk issue can really skew the darn things.

 

You would think that if this fuel strip thing was onboard electronics related or a simple connection issue that BMW would have a handle on it by now as it is costing them a bunch. On the other hand if it is a failing fuel strip issue they might all test good as built then fail for some reason in use. Whatever the issue is BMW doesn’t even want the old strips returned to them (been like that for a long time now) so they must have a good reason to not need them for follow up testing.

 

There was talk from a fuel system engineer friend of mine that he heard they might be looking at some sort of automatic re-cal to allow self adjustment (supposedly some automobile systems use some sort of derivative of this now).

 

It wouldn’t be quite so bad if the darn things had a (mechanical) reserve on them, or even a 2nd sender for the reserve light, but an electronic reserve using the same fuel strip as the main gauge is pure asinine.

 

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I thought I had joined the club, thankfully no.

 

I had my 06 R12RT in the shop today for some brake work, I don't trust myself with the ABS unit and all the tech. days are too far away.

 

Leaving the shop I see my fuel reading is zero even though I had just filled the tank 80 miles prior. My first thought was the shop had drained off some gas to make tank removal easier but that was not the case. Arriving home, some fifty miles later, I pull off the left outer cover to check that all the connections to the tank are fully pressed in, they are. All was well before my trip to the shop and these connections had to be removed to remove the tank, so I decide to pull them out and have a look. The inboard connector looks fine, no bent pins, corrosion or moisture. The outboard connector is wet and there is quite a bit of moisture in the bottom of the housing surrounding the pins. WD40 and q-tips make short work of the moisture, snap the connector back in turn the key and nada for a few moments, then bingo dash registers a full tank.

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  • 2 weeks later...
terryofperry

Yesterday the bike started manufacturing fuel again and stopped making fuel at 492 miles to empty.

I had gone 127 miles on this tank.

Today it reads completely empty, low fuel symbol flashing, yellow triangle looking at me, miles to go read 237.

I have a half a tank by my mileage calculations.

 

The strip was replaced on March 30th, three (3) weeks ago.

 

I am beyond frustrated.

 

Terry

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DaveTheAffable

Add me to the "Club". :(

 

2010RT, less than 3000 miles. Yellow triangle, full tank. Guage reads empty.

 

I will wait until close to end of warranty to see if they have a fix. 2 dealers near me have said, "There's no fix. We keep replacement strips in dozens".

 

The dealer has no incentive to pressure BMW to fix this. The dealer gets paid for warranty work.

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DaveTheAffable
Does anyone know the contact info for BMW Mottorrad USA?

 

Thanks

 

Terry

Never mind, found it.

 

Good luck. Seriously. Let us know how you fair...

 

 

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Does anyone know the contact info for BMW Mottorrad USA?

 

Thanks

 

Terry

Never mind, found it.

 

Good luck. Seriously. Let us know how you fair...

 

 

Yea, good luck with that. DAMHIK

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So my local BMW dealer tells me that while I can install the new fuel strip in my 06RT it wont work. I will have to pay them for 3 hrs. of labor to install and reprogram the computer. Is this correct? Has anyone just installed a new one and had it work? I do my own maintenance or I have a friend who is a Bike pro help if i get in over my head. Neither of us can believe how much BMW is screwing it's customers on this fuel strip issue. A $20k Bike should not be prone to these simple little issues or at least a co. as proud as BMW should stand behind it's product!

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Morning SoulBait

 

You can install your own but it needs to be calibrated BEFORE it sees fuel. The calibration process is done with the new strip hanging outside the tank in the dry air. Then it is installed in the tank.

 

3 hours labor seems like a lot for the dealer calibration process but they are probably covering their time in case your bike needs more computer updates (or they are including the strip dry out process) . Once it is hooked to the dealer computer it will force ALL the current updates and the dealer doesn’t get paid for that time if his equipment or floor space is tied up for a long time.

 

I haven’t ever tried to just install a strip un-calibrated— I would imagine it would work somewhat but the accuracy would probably be way off. Then if it needs to be calibrated it is a bigger job as it (the fuel strip) needs to be removed and totally dried out before it can be calibrated correctly.

 

 

You can probably save some dealer time by taking it in with the Tupperware removed. Just installing the strip is pretty straight forward and quick, it’s the calibration that takes the time.

 

If I was paying for the repair myself I would first remove tank filler and pump assembly then clean ALL the wire connection in the fuel strip heater circuit and sensor side circuit, then use some Techron to clean the strip itself. Then re-snap the strip in and see if it works again. I have a few failed strips hanging on the wall in my shop here and for the life of me can’t see any resistance difference in either the heater or sensor side between a new strip and failed strip.

 

In fact maybe start by just unplugging the fuel strip sensor wire plug on top of the pump assembly and measuring the heater resistance and (full tank) sensor resistance at the connector on top of the pump assembly (BMW now has published specs on the heater and (full tank) circuit resistances). I am away from my shop for a while so don’t have those resistances handy with me here but your local BMW can probably supply them to you. On the few I have tested they are W-A-Y off on a failed strip.

 

 

Added: I (t-h-i-n-k) the full tank resistance is (2.2K to 2.8K) and the heater is about 30 ohms but this is from memory so as mentioned above call BMW to see if they will verify this.

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Nice n Easy Rider

My first fuel strip replacement did take about 3 hours but the dealer had to do a computer upgrade and the download was extremely slow. My second fuel strip replacement took 45 minutes or less. Both of these were under warranty and that last replacement is still working after about 2 1/2 years (knock on wood).

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BeemerLover

I've got a 2007 RT and, luckily, have had no problems with the strip 1n 15,000 miles. Don't know if it is because of this but I have never put my bike away unless it had a full tank of gas. This means the strip never dries out.

 

Interesting... I have a 55 Olds that has the original float type gas level sensor. Still works perfectly.

 

 

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Thanks guys. I have done the Techron, and checked the connections already. I was just hoping there was a alternative to spending a day off in Barrington while waiting for my bike. I just wrapped up doing the 12k inspection/adjustment and was pleased that things were still in speck other than 2 valves but I would have never know they were out, biased on performance. Also put in a new battery and tires. Took her out to stretch her legs and was a bit surprised that she isn't running smooth when i get on the throttle. Thought it was cause of the dead battery but even with the new one in she isn't "like new" Yet guess it's time to remove the tupperware again and see if I missed something. Any Thoughts?

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----Took her out to stretch her legs and was a bit surprised that she isn't running smooth when i get on the throttle. ---Any Thoughts? ---

 

Morning SoulBait

 

Suggestions,--- that depends on what you are referring to when you say “isn't running smooth when i get on the throttle”. What EXACTLY is your complaint? What engine RPM, What gear(s).

 

Added: did you do the TPS (throttle position sensor) relearn after installing the new battery. If not start with that.

 

 

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Thanks Dirtrider,

Can't believe I didn't think about TPS. Will do when I get home tonight. You may have saved me quite a bit of time. :dopeslap:

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Steve Kolenda

Not to hijack the thread but I have had the battery disconnected on my 2011 1200RT. Do I need to do the TPS relearn and if so how is this done.

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Afternoon Steve

 

You don’t ALWAYS have to do it but it is always a good idea after any battery disconnect is done. (especially any disconnect over a few seconds)

 

They will eventually relearn but that assumes it sees WOT after an idle period.

 

The re-learn procedure should be in your riders manual.

 

In any case to re-teach the TPS min/max parameters.

 

Disconnect battery for about 30 seconds, then re-connect battery, then turn key on (do not start engine), then (completely) open and close throttle twice. That’s it.

 

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Does anyone know the contact info for BMW Mottorrad USA?

 

Thanks

 

Terry

Your are dreaming in color if you think BMWNA will be of any help on this issue. If you enjoy getting frustrated and PO'd give it a go. This view is based on personal experience. Good luck.
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