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I have two electrical problems that MAY be related. First of all when starting expecially when not started in a few hours, when I push the starter button...Nothing at all...then I wiggle the kill switch and make sure its in nutural...and turn the key back and forth it gets juise and starts! Lately getting worse like next problem.

Second problem is Headlight switch is fickal have to wiggle back and forth and now only works when I hold my thumb on High beam....For the record last owner wired it so it only has High Beam.

Thanks for any and ALL responces!

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Afternoon cowboytim


On the starting issue? you COULD have one or more of a few issues.


You are either going to have to do ONLY ONE thing at a time so you can tell which one of the things you are doing is the thing that gets it to start, or replace the ign switch, the side stand switch, the kill switch & starter button. Even then it could still be in the starter or wiring, or starter relay, or trans/clutch switches.



Otherwise you are going to have to trouble shoot the starting system with a test light or voltmeter right when the non starting occurs. This is probably the most productive & with a little testing at the starter relay, & possibly at the starter solenoid you should be able to isolate what part of the starting system your issue is in.


If you want to do the testing let us know so we can write up a test sequence & where to test. Not rocket science but a bit on the electrical side so you need to know basic circuit testing.


On your headlight. Again we really can't tell much over the internet but it sounds like a bad hi beam switch. You really need to get it wired back to stock then use a test light or voltmeter & check the lighting circuits for proper power at the proper places. Again not rocket science but a bit of electrical knowledge is needed. You can also take the hi beam switch apart & check it out inside but that is a bit of task as a first time project.


Give us a little back ground on your electrical knowledge & mechanical ability so we can suggest some helpful tests within your ability range.


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Thanks for the reply...I do have a tester and I'm a good Hot Rod car wrench. Carpenter/Contractor by trade. 1st BMW Bike. I have Cheap R1100 BMW Machanics book and owners manual. Don't use tester allot so I need To know what settings to put it on and where to start as you say....as it and when it is acting up.

I would like to get to know this bike and do these kind of things as part of the hobby.

Thank you Dirtrider!

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Do [break] only one thing at a time is timeless advice, and as you are new here, I suggest that you take any advice from DR as gospel.


The headlight switch on my 1999 RT was acting up last year. I disassembled it, cleaned all the contacts, and fixed a bit of melted plastic with some super glue (epoxy would have been better, but I was impatient). Disassembling the switch isn't all that difficult as long as you are careful and watch for tiny springs and other parts flying about.


I've become an evangelist for this stuff, which is probably mandatory for cleaning all the electrical connections on any old piece of equipment:




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I have two electrical problems that MAY be related. First of all when starting expecially when not started in a few hours, when I push the starter button...Nothing at all...then I wiggle the kill switch and make sure its in nutural...and turn the key back and forth it gets juise and starts! Lately getting worse like next problem.


Some simple things to check. First, with the sidestand up and the kill switch in the RUN position the RID should light up and you should hear the fuel pump cycle for a second or so when you turn on the key. With the key on, lowering and raising the sidestand OR moving the kill switch back and forth should cause the fuel pump to cycle and the RID to come on and off.


If all that works OK, your sidestand swtich and kill switch are probably good-to-go.


The bike also has a neutral switch and a clutch swwitch. The starter should turn with the bike in neutral or with the clutch pulled in. "In neutral" means the green light must be on. No green light (even with a 0 in the RID) means the neutral switch has gone bad and the bike isn't recognizing neutral. You should still be able to get the starter to turn by pulling in the clutch. Unless ... wait for it ... the clutch switch is also bad! You may well be experiencing those exact problems, because both of those switches are notoriously unreliable.


Most people who have the dreaded double failure replace only the clutch switch. It's pretty easy, and the nuetral switch is a pita. Some folks (like me) simply cut the wires to the clutch switch and wire them together. If you're stranded another trick is to pull the starter relay (in the fuse box under the seat) and jump hole 2 to hole 6 with a thin piece of wire (key on). Vrooom! Off you go.


Good luck,

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Morning cowboytim


Under the seat is your fuse box, in that fuse box is a row of relays across the front. On the far left (shifter) side is a yellow relay &

that is the starter relay.


Next time it won't start remove the seat then CAREFULLY remove that yellow relay. You might carry a 2nd key with you so you don't need to turn the ignition switch off to use your regular key to remove the seat. (the less you change during the starting tests the better).


Then, CAREFULLY put that starter relay back in & push the starter button ONLY (the ignition switch key should have been left on & not moved or rotated). Does it start now-----

If (yes) then possibly a bad starter relay or corroded contacts in the relay socket.


If (no) then turn the relay over & identify the numbers next to the relay terminals. You need to identify the matching terminals in the relay socket.


Now, put your voltmeter on the 20 volt DC setting or use your 12volt test light (test light is probably better for these tests). I will give you the testing using a test light but if using a volt meter 12 volts on the meter equals same as a lit test light.


OK- with the ign key still on & NOTHING else touched or moved except removing the starter relay--


_Ground your test light to a clean chassis grounding point---


Then, probe the #30 terminal in the relay socket, that 30 terminal needs to have 12 volts on it (all the time) --Does it?-- If (no) check for loose wires at battery. Now (key on) test for 12v at fuse #1 does it have 12v power? You need power at BOTH terminal #30 & fuse #1.


_Next, move the test light stinger to the #85 terminal in the relay socket. Now push the starter button. Does the test light come on every time you push the starter button? If (NO) then you probably have a bad side stand switch, or bad starter button switch, or bad kill switch. SO, next use a piece of tape & small stone or small nut or anything that will work to tape the starter button in the fully depressed position. (make sure it is held ALL the way in). Now with the test light stinger in the #85 terminal of the relay socket move the side stand up & down (first slowly then vigorously)-- Does the test light come on? If the test light starts coming on while moving the side stand that says you probably have a bad side stand switch. If it passes the above test then put the side stand back up (must be up to continue tests).


_Next with the test light still in the #85 terminal & the starter button still taped in the depressed position work the kill switch off & on a few times. Does the test light come on now? If so you might have a bad kill switch.


If still no test light on from ground to #85 terminal test for power at fuse #1 if no power at fuse 1 move the test light stinger back to the #85 terminal the cycle the ignition switch off & on a few times.(does the test light come on now?) If yes then you might have a bad ignition switch or something wrong in the ign switch connector below the switch.


If you pass all the above tests then insert something (metal) into the #30 terminal in the relay socket. Then hook the ground clamp of your test light to that #30 terminal (careful it's powered all the time). Now place the test light stinger into the 86B terminal of the relay socket. With the trans in neutral does the test light light? If not wiggle the trans shift lever to see if the light comes on. No test light on in neutral means the trans neutral switch is not working correctly.


_Next with test light still clamped to the #30 terminal put the stinger into the # 86 terminal. Now pull the clutch lever in. Does the test light light when you pull the clutch lever in? If no then you have a bad clutch safety switch.


**If BOTH the trans neutral switch & clutch safety switchs are not working then it won't start. If either one works it should start as long as the clutch lever is held in.


_Next, as a final test- WITH THE TRANS IN NEUTRAL (check it) use a jumper wire & jump terminal #30 to terminal #87, that should make the starter crank the engine over (does it?) If not then you probably have a starter solenoid or starter issue.


If at any time during the above tests the thing starts acting normal again you probably won't learn much until it acts up again.


Print this & carry it with you as well as a spare key, 12v test light, some tape, a small nut or stone, & something to jump terminal #30 to #87 (you can use that jumpier wire to hook your test light clamp to the #30 terminal for that test).


It might take a few tries but eventually you will find the problem. Just keep in mind that if it is starting normally you probably won't find much.





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Hey Guys,

THANKS for all the input....It's Great. I'm going to get time tomorrow morning to work on my bike....I really appreciate all your Help. I'll let you know the outcome.


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