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Houston to North Iowa - Shocking!

Fred C.

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Greeting; The Glacier Green 1996 RT arrived in Iowa Sunday morning, and I have a question or three.


First, the musheen is very stiff to push. I thought it was because the gear lube in the final drive was congealed due to the 8 degree F temp but when I emailed the PO he said it has always been difficult to push. He said he can hardly move it without disengaging the clutch. By the time that message was received the motor was in the back of the garage with a car parked in front of it so I'm not going to experiment much with rolling it back and forth right now. Are R Series motors considered difficult to roll?


Next, the Neutral Light was on when we took the motor off the truck but I managed to bump the selector and knock it into first gear. After several minutes of fiddling I got it back into neutral but the light did not illuminate until Monday afternoon. I am not acquainted yet with the gear lube BMW uses. Is it such exceptionally stiff stuff that even the neutral indicator has a hard time slithering around in it?


Last, (For right now): Even after the Neutral Light came on, the fuel pump and starter did not rejoin the living until this evening. I suppose either the clutch or sidestand safety switch is so delicately adjusted that in the cold weather it does not receive enough push from its actuator to transfer. Both were wiggled several times before the pump cycled, then some more before the starter awoke. The first couple of times the starter engaged it dropped out after half a second or so. Then it turned and started the engine like it was fully on the job. I read Brian's thread about the RT starting problem he had. Is the starter relay circuitry problematic in BMWs?


<a href=http://i1321.photobucket.com/albums/u554/1Sourdoh/1996%20BMW%20R1100RT/1996R1100RTRtFrt-OnIowaGround_zps35298629.jpg' alt='1996R1100RTRtFrt-OnIowaGround_zps35298629.jpg'>


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I have exactly the same bike - color and everything - and the only thing that makes it hard to push is the weight! It's no more work to move it with the bike in neutral than it is if you have it in gear with the clutch held in. If your bike is harder to push in one of those cases than the other, I'm not smart enough to know what's causing that.


For the starter button to do its job, you should have the key on, kill switch set to run, the bike in neutral and the sidestand up. IF your clutch switch is working you can also have the bike in gear with the clutch pulled. If your neutral light won't light, even if the bike is in neutral and all the above is as it should be, you won't be able to start it without pulling in the clutch lever.


If you search on here you can find directions on how to bypass/jumper the clutch and sidestand switches - you can find out how to fix the neutral switch too, but that apparently involves having the transmission out or small and hands and the skills of a proctologist.


I believe that even if you aren't in neutral you should hear the fuel pump spool up a few seconds when you turn the key on/flip the switch to run - if that's not happening, you may have issues other than the neutral/clutch/sidestand switches (I believe those only affect the starter circuit - not the fuel pump). Perhaps you have either a bad or just really, really cold battery.


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Aha; We received a warm front this morning from you folks down south... Thanks! When I got home this evening it was still in the low 30s so after supper I decided to play for a few minutes. Moved the car and rolled the Green One outside. Wonder of wonders, it rolled like a very polite and well mannered motorcycle, not hard to push at all. Punched the starter and after cranking for five seconds or so it started. Our driveway is about 180-200 feet long, and I rode out to the street a couple of times. The drive was dry but the street was wet, and seeing some slush patches, I just U-turned and went back up.


The starter and all systems seem to work normally, the machine handled well. ABS stopped flashing as soon as the machine went in motion, so that's OK. The quiet exhaust was one of the things I first noticed about BMWs as a teen and I still killed it once by my lack of skill with the clutch and throttle. Now to let it sit for four months or so!

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Congratulations Fred. It is a great bike and I am sure it will serve you well. No doubt there is a learning cure on (any) new bike.


Glad to hear it started and worked for you. I have an R100S model from '99 as well as an '05 R1200RT. both bikes at about 31 or 32k miles so if you have any other questions please post them.


Keep a little charge on the battery and by Springtime you will be good to go.

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Hey, Fred, good luck with the "musheen". You'll love it - it's is a wonderful long-distance tourer that is also a great fun when the roads turn to hills and twisties.


For storage, just remember to keep the battery on a maintenance charger. Actually, if you are not sure about the battery's history, use the winter hiatus to replace it. An ounce of prevention...


I do not know if it is true for the 1100, but the 1150RT battery is not of a common size (narrow shape) and a replacement cannot be found in a neighborhood Wallymart or an auto parts store, should you get in trouble while on the road.


I learned this the hard way, during last long ride of the season a few weeks ago: system voltages did not look right and I did not want to risk a problem while crossing snow-capped NH and VT at night, reliant on headlights and heated gear. After unsuccessful search for an alternate, I high-tailed to the Montreal dealer to pick up the OEM part for a mere CDN$300. Ouch.


Using an aftermarket replacement, I could be changing it twice as often as the OEM and still be ahead of the game... So, new battery is a cheap insurance, even if the existing one seems OK but is unknown.


By the way: it appears that this is your introduction to the R-bikes. Use the off-season to take the bike apart, explore it and do maintenance. I can heartily recommend Beemer Boneyard for oils, filters, gaskets, spark plugs - even those batteries.


So, have fun! And a great 2014 season!

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Thanks for the good ideas. The existing battery is a BMW, installed year before last, as I remember. I have a maintenance charger and timer into which to plug it so it can charge for a few minutes each day. According to what I have been reading about batteries and RID that ought to be good for it.


Some hands on time this winter should be helpful. My garage is unheated but my workplace has a heated shop about 3/4 mile from home. I'll try to sneak the R over there one of these days when the roads are dry, and get get to know it a little!

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Hi Fred,


Nice ride.


Lazy nutural switch info here


Lots of good info in that thread.


I have two 99's in the garage right now. Both display the symptom you describe. Jumper wire to ground the relay will fix the problem.


Clutch switch, side stand switch and switch in the gear box. Redundancy to say the least.


Good luck wrenching and getting to know your new bike.

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  • 1 month later...

It's a pretty bike ya got there Fred. They have their issues but if you have a little mechanical ability you can iron them out and you'll have a fine touring machine. I have one just like it a year newer. Same color and everything. Replaced a lot of parts from ebay. You'll find ebay is your best friend. I got many parts (starter etc) from ebay for a good low price. Be patient and look for the right deals and they're out there. Enjoy!

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