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Fuel Pump Controller Catch 22


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Last Friday, after a rest stop on a day-long ride with a few friends, my 2007 R1200ST wouldn't start. Since I didn't hear the fuel pump run for a few seconds when I turned on the ignition key, I suspected a failed fuel pump controller. I had the bike taken to my local dealer, but they couldn't look at it until yesterday due to the holiday weekend and their normal Monday closure.

 

Yesterday the service manager called and said I wasn't getting any spark. I told him that didn't sound right, and that the fuel pump didn't run when the ignition key was turned on. He said they still had some more troubleshooting to do and he would get back to me.

 

Today he called again and told me my bike was fixed and it was indeed the fuel pump controller. But here's the catch. When the controller failed and the ECU didn't detect current to the pump, the ECU shut down the pump circuit. This is similar to how the ZFE shuts down a malfunctioning light circuit. But where the ZFE will attempt to reset the failed circuit when the ignition key is cycled off and back on, the ECU apparently doesn't. The service manager told me the ECU could only be reset by starting the bike, but of course it won't start without an operating fuel pump. Catch 22! The service techs had to rig up an auxiliary fuel tank and run separate hoses to the fuel injectors, get the bike started (which reset the ECU), and put everything back to normal. What a circus.

 

I asked the service manager to contact BMW and discuss the incident. I can't believe the ECU software is so screwed up (or maybe I can, given five recalls, a rebuilt final drive and fuel strips that can't be fixed). Has anyone experienced similar problems with the ECU?

 

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Afternoon Karl

 

I smell the faint aroma of dealer talk BS & a whiff of smoke screen.

 

I have YET to see a 1200 hexhead not re-start after installing a new FPC then keying on then cranking.

 

It just goes to show that, as a rule, BS talk with a straight face can usually cover up a diagnostic screw up.

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I suspected as much, given what I've read on this and other forums about fuel pump controller failures. That being said, this dealership has always treated me fairly and they did not overcharge me on labor for the diagnosis and repair.

 

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This is exactly why I have a policy of NEVER going to the dealer.

I diagnosed my failed fpc on the side of a mountain in Mexico with the HexCode GS911 (and dirtriders posts) and changed it in a motel parking lot.

The bike was so eager to start it almost started before I hit the switch.

... (pause) ...

Oh man, laughing. No spark! Auxiliary fuel tank! The only thing they forgot to do was charge you $500.00 for putting in a new 'thrombulator'.

dc

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This is exactly why I have a policy of NEVER going to the dealer.

I diagnosed my failed fpc on the side of a mountain in Mexico with the HexCode GS911 (and dirtriders posts) and changed it in a motel parking lot.

The bike was so eager to start it almost started before I hit the switch.

... (pause) ...

Oh man, laughing. No spark! Auxiliary fuel tank! The only thing they forgot to do was charge you $500.00 for putting in a new 'thrombulator'.

dc

Sounds like this should have also required adjustments of the framus compensator and the totalizer backflush valve.

 

JayJay

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Now that everyone has their wiseass comments out of their systems, here are a few words in defense of my dealer, just to keep things balanced. I've dealt with these folks since they opened, and as I stated before, have always been treated fairly. Changing a fuel pump controller isn't brain surgery, so I have little reason to suspect they screwed up the procedure.

 

As for the possibility that the software in my ST's ECU behaves differently that the software in other hexhead models, this wouldn't be the first time. With so few STs produced compared to RTs, GSs, etc., BMW may be slow to update the software to fix glitches. Has anyone else with at ST had a fuel pump controller fail? If so, I would like to hear your experience.

 

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Afternoon Karl

 

I know of (3) ST FPC replacements (I replaced one on a friends bike myself).

 

One ST failed on the road & I replaced it with an (FPC) jumper harness I carry on my own bike (bike started & ran fine). That jumper was then replaced with a new (updated) FPC & again the bike started & ran fine. (only ST of the 3 I did the work on)

 

Second ST failed after breakfast at a local restaurant (was recovered to dealer & again new FPC installed & bike had no problem starting.

 

Third, wasn't a no-start failure but owner replaced FPC just to be sure he didn't have an on-road failure (again no problem starting afterwards)

 

I have no idea what your dealer did but I would bet you a years worth of donuts that he isn't telling you the WHOLE truth about the incident.

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Dirtrider, I'm riding a 07 RT with 38k miles, that has the original silver FPC. I bought the new black replacement to carry when traveling. My question is should I go ahead and just change it, instead of waiting for the inevitable? I did remove and inspect it, saw no signs of water or corrosion.

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I replaced mine on a pre-emtive basis (figured it was cheap insurance before a multi-week ride). Why not swap it out now, since you have the part, rather than on the road somewhere?

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I'm no mechanical expert, but I have the older fuel pump controller and carry the new one as a spare on long trips.

 

I put a sealant around my old one when I first heard about this problem. It's been fine ever since. Been a couple of years now. I don't ride a lot in rain, and don't flood that area when washing the bike,

 

Original 06 rt.

 

Now the main bearing, that's a different story :(

 

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I'm picking the bike up tomorrow, and I'll see if I can get a better explanation.

 

I picked up the bike and also got the failed controller. I did a little bench testing and found that the power and ground pins on the 3-pin connector on the top of the controller are shorted together. Does anyone have any information on the failure mode of other controllers?

 

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Evening Karl

 

Did you test both directions? Possibly a diode or resistor in a circuit between them.

 

On the bad ones I have in my junk pile the bottom is usually puckered either from moisture or possibly overheating with smoked internal electronics.

 

 

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Hello fellow riders,

 

Sorry for the slight thread hijack just thought my story might be of interest to some of you.

I was in the Adirondacks vacationing with my wife for the past past week and we had a FPC failure in the middle of "nowhere" on our way to a hiking trail.

When I took the fairing and unit apart- sure enough it was swimming in pool of water. After slowly drying it and applying some dielectric grease the RT seems to be happy again and we were fine riding again and back to NYC.

Ironically, the dealer apparently did the recall this past winter, although the unit seemed rusty and several years old.

I am now however, a little concerned that the unit might be defective. I just really don't want to get stranded like this again. Is there a way to tell if the unit was actually replaced under the recall?

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Yes. Very easy. It was not replaced under recall. Because the recall does not apply to your bike.

It only was on GS models, and only for certain years.

Buy a new one and put it in. Keep the old one as a spare.

Keep it on the bike.

dc

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Hello fellow riders,

 

Sorry for the slight thread hijack just thought my story might be of interest to some of you.

I was in the Adirondacks vacationing with my wife for the past past week and we had a FPC failure in the middle of "nowhere" on our way to a hiking trail.

When I took the fairing and unit apart- sure enough it was swimming in pool of water. After slowly drying it and applying some dielectric grease the RT seems to be happy again and we were fine riding again and back to NYC.

Ironically, the dealer apparently did the recall this past winter, although the unit seemed rusty and several years old.

I am now however, a little concerned that the unit might be defective. I just really don't want to get stranded like this again. Is there a way to tell if the unit was actually replaced under the recall?

 

 

Morning dirtyroad

 

That recall was for the fuel pump assembly NOT the FPC (they transfer the old FPC over to the new fuel pump assembly.

 

As for telling what you have-- MAYBE, If the FPC is powder coated black with higher fins then it WAS replaced at some time in the bike's life.

 

Your bike came with the low-fin raw aluminum FPC-- if that is still in the bike then it probably wasn't replaced.

 

In any case-- if your FPC is raw aluminum colored (especially low fin) then you really should replace it. If it is the later black FPC then maybe replace it.

 

If you got enough water inside the pump pass-through well to effect engine starting then a good chance your FPC seal leaked as well as possibly getting moisture inside the FPC itself.

 

If you don't replace the FPC at least remove it & verify it's perimeter seal is not nicked or faulty then clean the perimeter seal & re-install with a good silicone waterproof grease to improve water exclusion (there should never be any water under the FPC NEVER).

 

You might also look into carrying an FPC jumper- harness- if your FPC got wet underneath then there will always be the chance it could quit at some time (usually late at nigh, in the rain, with no road shoulder available, & far/far from home)

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Evening Karl

 

Did you test both directions? Possibly a diode or resistor in a circuit between them.

 

On the bad ones I have in my junk pile the bottom is usually puckered either from moisture or possibly overheating with smoked internal electronics.

 

 

DR,

 

I went back and tested in both directions and got a short both times.

 

My failed controller doesn't show any external sign of damage. The metal fins are not corroded, and the black sealant around the sides and bottom is not cracked, split or deformed. Except for a little dirt the controller looks almost new.

 

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