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Can't adjust ESA preload 2006 RT


RedMac

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I was on a trip out to Vermont this week and noticed the ESA preload was at 1 rider (I always have it set on 1 Rider and Luggage). Tried to adjust it back to 1 rider and luggage and no joy. Bike running, in neutral. Tap the ESA to bring it up. Hold the ESA button to get to preload setting. Nothing... stays at one helmet, doesn't change or flash.

 

I admit it's been a long time since I adjusted it, but I thought that was the process. Pulled the manual out when I got back to confirm.. yes, Hold ESA for 2 seconds and preload will flash.

 

Nothing.. not even sure where to begin troubleshooting this. Poked around here and MOA for a bit and not sure where to go.

 

Anyone had this issue? Is if fixable without replacing the entire shock?

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Evening Mike

 

Very difficult to tell you much that you don't know already (it doesn't work)

 

With the dash not showing a change or flash then that (sort of) points to the switch signal not reaching the ZFE (computer that controls the rear shock). This is not a definite though as those early rear struts had a habit of losing communication with the ZFE.

 

About all you can try at home is to verify the rear strut control wire is plugged in & not broken.

 

If that is OK then disconnect the bike's battery for about 1/2 hour then reconnect & see if the strut control works. (don't forget to do a TPS relearn after battery disconnect/reconnect)

 

If it still won't function then you will probably need to get a GS-911 or dealer computer on the bike to see if anything shows up.

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I've the same problem with my '06 RT. There is another thread here that talks about the ESA. I'll be taking mine in next week or two. What was described to you is new to me, but makes sense. It might work. I can disconnect easy enough, but will have to brush up on the TPS. I think I'll let Battely do the work, rather than myself. My bike is close to the time BMW made production changes for the new model year '07.

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Mine was cycling through all modes but the strut wouldn't move. While they were trying to reprogram the ZFE in the shop , the display froze at one helmet and wouldn't change.I had to replace the whole rear strut and they had to reprogram the ZFE to get it going again.

 

I found a used one and replaced it myself and the dealer reprogrammed the ZFE.

 

You can also check if the strut is working by manually connect 12v to the strut connector. Reversing the current will activate the strut up or down. That can at least tell you if the strut itself is defective or not

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Dirtrider,

 

Thanks, saw an earlier post where you recommended this and I tried that. Battery disconnected for a while (20-30 minutes0. Reconnect and TSP relearn. No dice.

 

Dan,

I assume it's the strut connector at the top of the shock? I have not pulled it apart yet, so I'm not sure what the connectors look like. Just got back from a long trip and have not been in the mood to tear into the bike. The funny thing was is I was inches away from pulling the trigger on a new RT before I left and decided to wait til next season to buy a new one (mine only has 54K on it).

 

I'll tear into it once I get into the mood. Part of what was pushing me towards a new bike is the fact that it needs new shocks anyway and I was trying to decide if I wanted to replace them with an ESA compatible shock or go to a new bike. I'm NOT going to spend tons of money on a new BMW shock for sure. Now I just made trade it in and let the dealer deal with the bad shock.

 

If I buy some Ohlins or something, I'll keep the bike a few more years then...

 

Does the 2006 have the hall effect shock or the shock with the pot in in? Or did they change in mid 2006 and then I have to guess... ;)

 

I don't have a GS-911. Anyone in the area of West Bend/Milwaukee have one they want to hook up to my bike for 10 minutes? :).

 

 

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Morning RedMac

 

Have you tried changing the rear preload with the bike on the center stand? If not try that next as it takes some load off of the height adjuster & can allow an early ZFE to operate a sticky rear strut adjuster.

 

There is LOT to diagnosing your rear strut issue. (even most dealers had issues doing it correctly)

 

The first being-- it MIGHT not be strut related but more related to the switch input to the ZFE, or ZFE power output.

 

If it is in the rear strut then in might be the tight spring seat issue that BMW addressed by upping the current out of the ZFE to overcome the seat resistance.

 

There was a BMW service bulletin on diagnosing that rear strut height adjustment but it revolves around using the BMW computer.

 

There is a subsection on powering the rear strut with direct battery power to get it moving THEN seeing if the ZFE can control it from then on.

 

There is also a new ZFE programming to 24th I-level, if it isn't there now then the next step is to program the ZFE to this

level with /CIP CD. (this raises the ZFE current output)

 

Check your PM later as I will send you some more info by PM later on strut height control diagnosis.

 

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Thanks DR.

I did try it on the center stand... no joy,

 

Question, -if the switch was bad, wouldn't the damper adjustment fail as well since it uses the same switch? That works fine, when I change the damper, it shifts from sport to normal to comfort and I can feel the difference in the ride on the bike.

 

Just to verify, to adjust the preload you use the same ESA switch but the bike needs to be running, in neutral. You push the ESA switch once, the ESA comes up on the LCD and then you hold the switch down for 2 seconds to shift from damper to preload setttings. Correct?

 

When I do this, nothing changes on the ESA preload menu. It stays at one helmet. The interesting thing to all this is it was always at one helmet and luggage. I never changed it. (I did have into the dealer recently for the flange recall. No reason I can think of for them to change it...)

 

I'll probably pull the side panels off it today and have a look at the connections. I had read somewhere that the hall effect shocks use 7 pins and the pot shocks use fewer.

 

It may be worth taking into the dealer and seeing what the error code is throwing, but I'm not going to put out 2K for a BMW shock. I may pick up a used one if I can find one and verify which shock I actually have.

 

Thanks for the PM. Got it. I'll see what the dealer will do (in terms of a print out)

 

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Morning RedMac

 

On the 1200Rt the rear strut adjuster power plug should be on left, underneath the rear panel at about the middle of the seat (blue 2 pin connector)

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Guest Kakugo

I don't know if this can help you, but in the past I spoke with the head of maintenance at my dealer and he told me early ESA shocks (identifiable by the grey spring) are prone to "preload freezing".

This can happen either due to the preload adjuster freezing in place (chiefly due to corrosion/rust) or the other electronic bits inside the shock (I seem to remember potentiometers mentioned, but I could be wrong) failing. Either way it's a shock replacement in 80% of the cases.

A savvy BMW mechanic armed with the factory diagnostic system can try a few things, but don't expect miracles.

 

Another thing: I've also been told older and newer ESA shocks are not exactly compatible due to the electronic upgrades later models got. They could work, but it's not sure.

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Afternoon RedMac

 

I'm not sure about using spring color to tell strut vintage as I have seen white springs on early bikes & gray springs on late bikes.

 

The best way to tell is by number of wires coming off of the position sensor on the strut.

 

Later strut has 2 wires & early strut has 3 wires.

 

Also keep in mind a number of early bikes have had the rear strut replaced with the later units then the ZFE updated to run them.

 

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I've had it happen twice. The dealer has reflashed the software and it has worked again. The last time, he didn't believe it would work... but it did. Just clearing the code fault may do it but I'm not sure on that one.

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Seems like it's at least worth a trip to the dealer. Bike is all cleaned up after the trip so I can pull the panels this week and at least try to cycle the shock up and down and see what happens. If it won't even move then I'll have to make a decision on whether or not to go to Ohlins. I won't pay for a stock shock and if I replace the shock with another stock one, it sounds like it may need to go in to have the ZFE reset anyway??? (If it's an older pot shock, finding a used one may be problematic anyway...)

 

Changing the damping on the fly has been nice, but I never ride two up and left the shock in one rider plus luggage all the time. So I'm baffled as how it ended up as setup to one rider (unless the dealer changed it when I was in to have the flange recall done, but can't figure out why they would do that). Lately the shocks are poor enough that I never use comfort and leave it set in sport mode 90% of the time (normal is now the new "comfort" as the shocks are pretty worn).

 

I was tentatively planning on selling the bike and going to a new bike in the next year, but if I change the shocks I'll probably keep the bike a few more years then.....

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Afternoon RedMac

 

I'm not sure about using spring color to tell strut vintage as I have seen white springs on early bikes & gray springs on late bikes.

 

The best way to tell is by number of wires coming off of the position sensor on the strut.

 

Later strut has 2 wires & early strut has 3 wires.

 

Also keep in mind a number of early bikes have had the rear strut replaced with the later units then the ZFE updated to run them.

 

I replaced my 07 OEM (Potentiometer / 3 wires ) with an OEM one that came from a 08 (hall sensor / 3 wires)

 

They both look exactly the same even the color (white)

 

I had the dealer reprogram the ZFE and everything works fine.

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Thanks Dan,

I still have not dug into it yet. This weekends project. Been too busy with house stuff.

 

At least I know I can use another year's shock

Mike

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This thread is great. Where can I feast my eyes on a wiring diagram? I've been slow in pursuing this fix. Life has a way of turning your head away from riding. Is there anyone in the US or Germany who can tell what production parts went on the bike by production date or number? I like the idea that there could be some upgraded parts (interchange) with earlier bikes. Where the heck is the ZFE? Where is the potentiometer located?

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This thread is great. Where can I feast my eyes on a wiring diagram? I've been slow in pursuing this fix. Life has a way of turning your head away from riding. Is there anyone in the US or Germany who can tell what production parts went on the bike by production date or number? I like the idea that there could be some upgraded parts (interchange) with earlier bikes. Where the heck is the ZFE? Where is the potentiometer located?

 

 

Morning Tom

 

This is RedMacs thread about his bike so you need to start your own thread on YOUR bike so we don't give confusing info.

 

I will answer your basic questions in this thread as they apply to both your bike & RedMacs bike.

 

Where the heck is the ZFE? --The ZFE is a body computer that controls a LOTs of things on the BMW 1200, like horn, power sockets, etc. It also controls the front & rear shock dampening & rear shock preload.

 

Where is the potentiometer located?-- That is the shock preload feedback to the ZFE so it is located on the rear shock.

 

Here is a thread from another web site that might help you also-

 

http://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread.php?36508-ESA-Bulletin-and-warning

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Thank you Redmac and D.R for the thread. The issue Redmac started hit my 06 right on point. Up until the last couple of days I didn't think there was an alternative source for garage lore. I have several major items coming up today so I'll have to check the bmwmoa site thread when there is more time available. This thread has given me more than enough for putting it on the dolly and taking off some panels. Need to eat, visit, and travel (cage). Thanks guys.

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I encountered this problem on my '06 a couple years ago. The fault code shown on my GS-911 and the dealer diagnostic was 41768. An ohmmeter should read between 2000-2400 ohms between pins 1 and 3 of the three pin connector; mine read 2435 ohms. I decided that replacing the shock and the ZFE because a single potentiometer was faulty was financial insanity.

 

For a while I had a switch wired to the motor to change preload. After a while the motor quit working. Now I've removed the preload motor from the shock so I can change preload using a small socket wrench. This required making a tool to compress and remove the spring. The long term plan is to replace both shocks with non-ESA Wilbers once the damping starts to fade.

 

The wiring connectors to the shock are easily seen but are difficult to disconnect. The first time, I removed the panel under the seat, which required way too much work, including removing the luggage rack. I learned it is easier to unfasten the mounting bracket that holds the two connectors and snip the cable ties holding the wires to the frame. It's still difficult to get your hands on the plugs, but less work overall.

 

While researching my problem I found this Service Bulletin. (I think this is the one DR mentioned.) It refers to error code 14007, which is different, but does give useful background information on testing and calibrating ESA.

 

Good luck!

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thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been looking for others experiences. I trying to educate myself before I try any deconstruction. In some cases for me its been destruction. Your right the price is insane. I have talked to Wilbur. I think I'd try what they have to offer. He mentioned that they simply reinstall whatever is attached to the shock they receive. That scared me. I'm not ignorant anymore but just dangerous.

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thank you, thank you, thank you. I've been looking for others experiences. I trying to educate myself before I try any deconstruction. In some cases for me its been destruction. Your right the price is insane. I have talked to Wilbur. I think I'd try what they have to offer. He mentioned that they simply reinstall whatever is attached to the shock they receive. That scared me. I'm not ignorant anymore but just dangerous.

 

Jay Jay who's another member on this board did the conversion to Wilbur WESA shocks and had a great writ-up on his experience.

 

Maybe you could send him a PM

 

Here's the link to his project report on BMWLT

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/rt-series/72602-project-report-esa-strut-replacement.html

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Excellent write up. Thanks. I still have not torn into it yet. I'm still thinking of running it to the dealer to see if a firmware upgrade will fix it. The real issue with me is I was on the fence for a new bike or not. If I replace the shocks (I'll probably go with Ohlins non-esa) I'll keep the bike a few more years.

 

Thanks for the link to that!!!

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