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Odd set of electrical failures


grant8la

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My 1999 r1100rt has about 85k miles on it so I expect just about anything. But the CHP pulled me over a couple of days ago on the Angeles crest here in LA and said, "you've got no headlight!"

 

We looked at the bike while it ran. No indicators. No headlamp. No console lights. No horn Brake light was fine. Fuel and clock console was fine. I told him I was headed home and that if I turned the bike off I was afraid it wouldn't start. He agreed and let me go. I got home, turned the bike off and it wouldn't turn over.

 

I looked at the fuses. all is well. I charged the battery on my tender. when I put the key in and turn it I see a red light on the battery, oil lamp, and the abs blinks as it should. The fuel pump powers up as normal. Brake lights work, but it wont turn "on" when I turn the starter button to the on position. It acts like the battery is dead except that various lthings, like the fuel pump, do turn on.

 

The battery is at two years old and all has been well with this bike for a year or more.

 

Thanks for any help you might lend.

 

Grant

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Afternoon Grant

 

The no headlight, no horn, etc kind of points to the load relief relay (or it's power or trigger circuits). But that doesn't totally explain the no start condition as that should have no effect on starting.

 

It sounds like your side stand switch is working as you have fuel pump operation.

 

If you have a loss of connection between the starter relay & starter solenoid that COULD cause both the lack of headlight & horn as well as the no start condition.

 

We can sit here & guess at this problem all night or maybe get you real close (IF) you can run a few quick tests then get back with us.

 

If you can turn the key on with trans in neutral & side stand DOWN then use a voltmeter or test light & tell us what fuses have power & what ones don't that will help.

 

Next- if possible do the tests pointed out in the below & get back to us.

 

 

In the 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.

 

 

Carefully remove that relay 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 on & starter relay removed--

 

_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.

 

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Michaelr11
My 1999 r1100rt has about 85k miles on it so I expect just about anything. But the CHP pulled me over a couple of days ago on the Angeles crest here in LA and said, "you've got no headlight!"

 

We looked at the bike while it ran. No indicators. No headlamp. No console lights. No horn Brake light was fine. Fuel and clock console was fine. I told him I was headed home and that if I turned the bike off I was afraid it wouldn't start. He agreed and let me go. I got home, turned the bike off and it wouldn't turn over. The battery is at two years old and all has been well with this bike for a year or more.

 

Thanks for any help you might lend. Grant

This just happened to my riding friend with an R1100RS. Same deal, lights went out, fuses okay, wouldn't restart. Turned out it was a loose negative cable. I believe it was loose at the end where it connects to the starter, not at the battery. Check both.

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Evening Michael

 

Wouldn't be the starter end loose as the negative cable doesn't hook to the starter.

 

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So I completed the first test. There is no voltage at terminal 30, no voltage at fuse #1. The cables are securely on the battery. The battery is still powering up the fuel pump, but just to make sure it isn't a battery problem I plugged in the tender. Still no 12 volts at 30 or fuse #1.

 

I can continue on but I believe the rest of the tests followed a positive result with test one, no?

 

Thanks

Grant

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Morning Grant

 

First thing is to verify that your test light (or voltmeter) is working correctly. Test it on your car or truck. ABSOLUTELY make sure your testing device is working properly as that will save you a lot of false leads.

 

If your testing device is working correctly & you have no power to terminal #30 on the starter relay then more than likely have a problem in the large red wire between the starter relay (terminal 30) & the battery or a bad battery ground . That red wire also goes to the ign switch.

 

The most common place for it to have a problem is right at the battery (+) post where that red wire attaches to the battery post along with the large cable going to the starter. So start right there.

 

Next, check the test light from the battery (+) post to the battery (-) post (right across the battery). This will show if the battery can light the light & that the battery power is getting to the battery posts.

 

Next, move the test light ground clamp directly to the battery (-) post then re-test the starter relay #30 terminal for 12vpower. If it now shows power at the 30 terminal then suspect a ground issue between the battery (-) post & the frame.

 

If the battery tests good per above & the ground tests good per above then you probably have an open in that red wire (somewhere).

 

Maybe test next at the big post on the back of the alternator for 12vpower if power there that might narrow down where the problem is.

 

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Sorry this is taking so long, I have few hours to tend to this. Here's the latest...

 

Tested the meter on other batteries, it is working

 

Got 12 volts when when I measured the battery + pole to - pole.

 

I didn't get any juice when I tried the #30 slot and the - pole of the battery.

 

So my next step is to start working my way down the red wire looking for the break, including that alternator point you mentioned.

 

Thanks

Grant

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Morning Grant

 

One more thing before attacking that red wire. (my fault for not mentioning this in last post)

 

Check for power between the battery (+) post & a clean ground on the frame or engine somewhere. If that shows continuity then go after that red wire (look at the it's connections at the battery (+) post).

 

 

If battery (+) to frame, or battery (+) to engine shows an open then look for a ground issue between the battery (-) post & the frame connection. (poor connection in ground cable or ground wire).

 

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So, I've looked up and down the chain of the negative wire and cannot find the break with ground.

 

Looks like I need to take it to a pro. At this point, with a 13 year old bike, I wonder what is a more prudent move - replacing the entire wiring kit, or paying a man to troubleshoot the entire thing and just fix the issue. Do u have any thoughts on this.

 

Thanks

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Evening grant8la

 

Are you saying you have determined that your problem is on the ground wire side? (let us know what you found)

 

If so look CLOSELY at the negative cable & smaller ground wire where they attach to the battery (-) post. That can fail internally & not really show to a casual inspection.

 

As far as replacing the entire wire system???. That is very expensive & probably overkill.

 

First, IDENTIFY where the problem is & what is causing it. If just a wire connection then repair that connection. If some other wire then replace that wire or sub harness.

 

BOTTOM LINE-- you need to find & identify the problem while it's acting up. Until you know for sure what & where your ROOT problem is you will never know if it is repaired permanently.

 

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Hi

 

So this part of UR recommended test:

 

"If battery (+) to frame, or battery (+) to engine shows an open then look for a ground issue between the battery (-) post & the frame connection. (poor connection in ground cable or ground wire)."

 

:did indeed show an open circuit between the battery + and the frame. So I took that to mean an issue between the battery - post and the frame connection.

 

I cannot lay my hand on the part of this wire that connects to the frame. Is that near the battery connection?

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How about using a jumper cable fro the negative battery post to the frame, ensuring a good ground and then recheck the relay terminals and fuse. It would be a quick way to determine if it is a faulty ground.

 

Bob Morris

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Evening grant8la

 

 

Yep, sure sounds like a bad connection between the battery (-) post & frame. The frame connection is way under the plastic so that will probably have to come off. Then just follow the ground wire to it's termination & connection.

 

Again look closely at the connection at the battery (-) post as that is the usual failure point. Not guaranteed but the place to start looking anyhow.

 

Before chasing that ground cable definitely use a jumper wire to hook the battery (-) to frame or engine then test for operational head light. If using a small ground wire don't try the starter or that small ground wire will turn red hot.

 

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Hi all

 

It's a boy! My wife had our second child yesterday and that explains my slow turn around on these tests. But something interesting just happened.

 

I removed the battery and set it up next to the bike then reconnected the poles very securely. I retested the battery, 12 strong volts. then I tested the number one fuse, which has been dead. This time I got 12 volts.

 

I tested the #30 relay socket and got nothing. I tested the #85 relay socket and got 12 volts.

 

Then I hooked up a ground jumper wire and redid the tests. No change.

 

I also tested the other sockets/fuses with these results

 

Fuse 2 - 4 volts

Fuse 3 - 12 volts

Fuse 4 - 4 volts

Fuse 5 - nothing

Fuse 6 - nothing

Fuse 7 - 12 volts

Fuse 8 - 12 volts

Fuse 9 - slot is empty

Fuse 10 - has a 15 amp fuse that is in very Loosley, nothing on that

 

Relay socket 30 - nothing

Socket 85 - 12 volts

Socket 87 - 4.53 volts

Socket 86 - nothing

Socket 866 ( the middle one) 5.2 volts

 

Ok, I hope this gives us some progress

 

Thanks again

Grant

 

 

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Evening grant8la

 

You new info might help but something doesn't make sense here. Terminal 85 at the starter relay shouldn't have 12 volts UNTIL you hold the starter button down. (is the starter button still depressed?)

 

Also fuse 3 & terminal 30 at the starter relay are on the same circuit so if one has power then the other should have power also. But fuse 5 & 6 are also powered from the same source as fuse 3.

 

Are you checking for power at starter relay 30 terminal from GROUND to the 30 terminal?

 

So far it is sort of pointing to a break in (or near) the splice of the big red wires going from the battery (+) to the #3 fuse, #5 fuse, #6 fuse & starter relay terminal 30.

 

As a test you might try jumping battery 12 volts to the #5 fuse then try jumping to the #6 fuse while looking for power at the # 30 terminal of the starter relay socket. If that gets you power to the #30 terminal then that again says a beak in the red wires splice (or close to it)

 

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Here is what you are working with just follow the red wire path from the battery (B+) to what you are testing.

1100wire.jpg

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Yes, Grant, congratulations on the little fellow. It's just a matter of time until the grand children. That's what life is all about. :)

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Hi

 

Ok, I rechecked everything and I did make an error. I had my relay socket drawing upside down!

 

Socket 30 gets 12 volts

And socket 85 only gets 12 volts when the starter is pushed.

 

SO...I'm going to go back to your original post and see what this all means.

 

Thanks

Grant

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Ok, I went back to the original series of tests. The bike passed each one until the last one

 

With the bike in neutral, Use a jumper wire to connect sockets 30 and 87. This should turn the motor over...

 

In my test nothing happened. Which you say is a starter or solenoid issue. Now that we've narrowed it down to that a) is there any way to test for which one the problem is and b) could a starter issue cause the weird series of electrical problems I experienced?

 

I really can't thank you enough for this help

 

Best

Grant

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roger 04 rt
Ok, I went back to the original series of tests. The bike passed each one until the last one

 

With the bike in neutral, Use a jumper wire to connect sockets 30 and 87. This should turn the motor over...

 

In my test nothing happened. Which you say is a starter or solenoid issue. Now that we've narrowed it down to that a) is there any way to test for which one the problem is and b) could a starter issue cause the weird series of electrical problems I experienced?

 

I really can't thank you enough for this help

 

Best

Grant

 

As you know, the starter and solenoid are a single device. This may be a dumb question but have you checked that you have +12V on the large lug on the starter motor? It is a large unfused cable and there will always be +12V. If not that is the problem.

 

If there is, then measure the other wire on the starter and see if +12V appears when you jumper 30 to 87, it should.

 

If +12 V arrives at the starter on the smaller wire and there is no clicking at the starter motor then you most likely have a bad starter.

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Morning Grant

 

OK, sounds like we (you) are getting somewhere.

 

First off- are you getting any sparking when jumping 30 to 87? My guess is (NO) as your lights are also not working.

 

Some info on that circuit-----The Load Relief relay (that is what powers your lights) uses the 87 circuit & the low (ground) load from the starter solenoid to keep the load relief relay engaged. When the starter is powered by the 30 circuit that low (or ground) goes high (powered) therefore shutting off the load relief relay & shutting the lights off during engine cranking.

 

To try to see what is wrong at the starter--

 

FIRST- make DARN SURE the trans is in neutral (you don't want the rear wheel spinning while testing) as that is a safety issue.

 

Next- assess the starter (hopefully the plastic tuppperware is already removed. Once access to the starter then find the LARGE cable going to the starter (should be the top large stud on the starter). Next find the small wire going to the starter (probably a push on type connecter on a spade terminal).

 

Is that spade (smaller wire) pushed on the spade & not corroded?

 

If unplugged or if corroded either plug-it-in or clean the connection then re-try the 30 to 87 up at the starter rely socket (does it crank now???) If yes, then re-install the starter relay & try starting the engine & make sure your lights come on.

 

If NO--

 

Next- If the small wire (is) plugged in to the starter solenoid & not corroded but it still doesn't pass the 30 to 87 test-- next unplug it, then use something metal (like a small screwdriver) or wire & jump that spade terminal on the solenoid to the solenoid large stud (the one with the cable bolted to it). (Does the starter crank the engine now???)

 

If NO can you hear the solenoid clunk???

 

IF the starter works when you jump it (spade terminal to large cable stud) then look for an open in the wire between starter solenoid's spade terminal & the #87 terminal in the starter relay socket.

 

Another test you can do is to re-install the starter relay (up in the fuse box), then turn the key on, then unplug that smaller wire at the starter, then use a jumper wire to ground that smaller wire at the starter to the engine or to the battery (-) post. If the headlight (then) comes on that means that small wire is good & has continuity & your problem is in the starter or starter solenoid.

 

(IF) you find a bad starter or starter solenoid (it sounds like you might) then you have a few choices. You can remove the starter & take it apart, then test the solenoid off the starter, or take the starter with solenoid to a starter shop for repair, or just buy a new or used starter.

 

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Holy shit. (Pardon my French)

 

The wire that connects to the spade terminal on the starter was just hanging there.

 

I reconnected it. Jumped socket 30 to 87 and the bike turned over. I put the relay back and it all works fine.

 

I'm a little surprised that connector doesn't somehow lock into place. It just slips on. I may put a tie on it so it doesnt come off somewhere a thousand miles from home.

 

Thanks for your patience and assistance. Happy riding!

 

Best,

Grant

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Afternoon Grant

 

That small wire terminal (IS) just a push on, but it should be a fairly tight push on.

If it doesn't fit snugly & tightly it-

(A) won't stay on

&

(B) will probably burn dark brown or black due to increased resistance in the connection then eventually fail.

 

Bottom line here-- it must push on fairly tightly or it will cause you issues in the future.

 

If loose you might want to think about cutting the old terminal off & crimping on a new one.

 

BTW- glad we (you) found the problem.

 

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Hi

 

I think replacing the old terminal is a good idea. Do you know the official name of the part so I can sta looking for a replacement?

 

G

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Afternoon Grant

 

You have some choices. You can visit your BMW dealer & they probably have a BMW OEM type terminal. (probably quite expensive for what you get). Even a BMW car dealer should have what you need but you will probably have to take your old one in & match it up.

 

Or cut the old one off then go to your local auto parts store & match it up (most have a large variety of spade terminals).

 

Or measure the terminal width on the starter, then stop by your local auto part store. Match the width that you measured on your starter to a new male terminal of the same width then buy the female terminal that goes on that male terminal. They probably have a matching plastic connector cover to go with the female terminal you choose. If not you can just cover the new bare terminal with high temp heat shrink tubing.

 

I don't have any numbers to give you as I have a large drawer of assorted wire terminals so just grab one that fits & works when I need one.

 

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