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Dave P

96 RT electrical failure

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Dave P

96 R1100RT, 120k miles. so tonight I rode about 25 miles in the light / medium rain, and while on the NY Thruway she briefly lost all electric, recovered, rode maybe another 1/2 mile did it again and quit. Rolled to the side of the road and could not get her restarted. I've owned it 6 years and the PO said he had replaced the HES. ( I can't really confirm that). Was unable to get her restarted and got flatbed towed home. Everyone home safe and sound.

 

Guess I need some advice on where to proceed on this old girl. If the HES was replaced could it be a coil problem? Battery seemed good- she cranked and cranked and cranked...dash lights were lighting / flashing correctly...

 

Thanks, Dave  

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Jim Moore

That sounds like a classic HES failure, especially if the PO replaced it with another OEM HES. What you really need to do is send your HES to GS Addict over on Advrider. He'll redo the wiring with some better stuff and solve your problem for good. 

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dirtrider
6 hours ago, Dave P said:

96 R1100RT, 120k miles. so tonight I rode about 25 miles in the light / medium rain, and while on the NY Thruway she briefly lost all electric, recovered, rode maybe another 1/2 mile did it again and quit. Rolled to the side of the road and could not get her restarted. I've owned it 6 years and the PO said he had replaced the HES. ( I can't really confirm that). Was unable to get her restarted and got flatbed towed home. Everyone home safe and sound.

 

Guess I need some advice on where to proceed on this old girl. If the HES was replaced could it be a coil problem? Battery seemed good- she cranked and cranked and cranked...dash lights were lighting / flashing correctly...

 

Thanks, Dave  

 

Mornings Dave

 

Rain + quit + 1100  usually = HES problem.

 

You can check for proper spark & proper fuel spray then dry the HES wiring out to see if it will then start OK.

 

Or just cut to the chase & remove the HES to see if the wiring is degraded & with the HES wire insulation  cracked & degraded.

 

 

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BF204

Hi Dave,

 

I have a '99 R1100R 100K km,  and the previous owner had told me that just before listing for sale, he had a HES failure that he had just dealt with (repaired), but was kind of cagey about what was actually done. So pulling it to see, and/or replacing it was on my "to do" list since I've owned the bike (2 years) ... Well, life gets busy and it was one of the things that I just didn't get around to. :dopeslap: Sure enough, I had what felt like a classic HES failure 2 weeks ago. I had washed the bike (with a garden hose) the night before, and the next morning after 10 km, it bucked a few times, surged and quit. It felt like the timing was wildly off. It briefly re-started, but died after a second, and would not fire again.  With engine off and key on, the tach needle was jumping around.  It had never done that before.

 

So after trailering it home, I pulled the HES and saw the previous owner had repaired the wiring near the sensor end, and his fix was wrapped with electrical tape.  There was no obvious damage, but I figured either his repair failed, or the wiring had just failed somewhere else. I sent a personal message to "GS Addict" (on this forum.. he has a user ID here too) and he responded right away with instructions... I mailed him my sensor (took a few days to get there), and he did a super quick turnaround for me and put it back in expedited mail back to me in a day. I got it back last friday, and installed it on Sat... Bike fired right up and ran great for 500 km over the last couple days. So a few points...

  1. GS Addict did great work. The  repair looked nice and tidy, definitely was more pro looking than if I had done it myself.
  2. He relayed that my sensor tested OK when he received it, which made me concerned that maybe I had something else going on. When I relayed that back to him, he went back and pulled my old wiring from his garbage and inspected it, but could see no signs of small breaks or something that might have been changed by me coiling up the wiring to fit in the packaging etc... (which I really appreciated him doing). He said he had seen an intermittent failure before, but thought it wasn't that common. He also suggested a couple other things (e.g. inspecting ignition wiring up under switch...  broken/cracked due to steering torque and tight zip tie ?)  I checked those out while waiting for my sensor to come back. Didn't see anything notable.
  3. But after re-installing it,  I'm pretty confident the HES was the issue. This is even though my old sensor looked OK outwardly, and even tested OK a few days later.  The whacky tach thing when bike was no-start, and the fact that with the re-wired sensor it fired up instantly makes me pretty sure it was the cause.  I mention this because I would caution you about presuming your HES is OK, if you pull it and there is not obvious damage to the wiring.

I'd highly recommend contacting GS Addict.  Around here (I'm in Winnipeg, Canada) the riding season is so short that I really appreciated his quick turnaround... and I also really appreciated him taking the time to followup to go back and try to find a fault in my old HES wiring, and his suggestions about other possible things (ignition wire shorts etc) that I checked out while I was waiting to get the re-wired HES back...  He's a stand up guy.

 

So that's my $.02... actually maybe that's a nickel's worth (?).

 

Good luck!!

 

 

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Dave P

OK, sounds like I might have some HES issues. BF- do you have a link to GS Addict? I think I'll contact him first and see how to proceed. Does the HES need to be position marked prior to removal (so ignition timing doesn't change)? Thanks, Dave

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Michaelr11
1 hour ago, Dave P said:

 Does the HES need to be position marked prior to removal (so ignition timing doesn't change)? Thanks, Dave

 

Yes. Put a couple of scribe marks on the HES so you can install it in the same placement.

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BF204

Hi again, yes avu3 pointed you to his profile... Yes, I scribed/marked the position of the plate before I took it off and put it back there after. Bike ran well, so I thought timing must be close to right. I didn't have my timing light at my garage around when I was installing the plate, but I tracked it down and tonight checked the max advance... I think it's advanced just a tad too much. The "Z" drops below the bottom edge of the sight window as I advance rpms to ~5K... I think Z should be centered in the view window at max advance...  I haven't noticed any pinging or anything, but I always run premium, so maybe that's why. Anyway when I get a chance I'll pop the cover off and retard it until Z stays in view. Probably better for the engine long term...  I hadn't checked the timing previously, so I can't tell you if it's always been a bit advanced, or if maybe I was a bit sloppy when I installed it and thought I had matched the scribe marks.  Anyway, checking the timing afterwards is easy enough.

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Dave P

Original poster here, i just removed the HES and was expecting and hoping to see degraded insulation at the plug, but while it looks hard and not supple, it is not broken, no wires exposed. Havent cut the sheathing, but visually the wires look to be intact. So im wondering if this HES is ok. Dave

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BF204

Hi again Dave...   re-read points #2 & 3 in my post above....   Was your tach bouncing around with key on, engine off?  That seems to be a very good indicator of HES failure.

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Jim Moore

If it's not the HES this time you need a new one anyway at 120K miles and 23 years.

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Dave P

BF, well when it cut off on the Thruway ( I guess that would qualify as key on engine off) that bouncy tach needle was the first peculiar thing I noticed. Dave

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avu3

I was initially disappointed when I removed my HES to rewire it and found the wiring seemed fine.  But handling it for a few min and I had a pile of confetti at my feet.  Rewiring it did solve my problem.

 

-Scott

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Dave P

Yeah, I think I'm gonna pack it up and send to the GS Addict. He mentioned to me that the hot spot (where the insulation fails) is up behind the plate, so unless you carefully strip all of the sheathing, you wont really see the problem. I assumed it was up at the big plastic connector, where you can see the wires. Mine look fine up there. Dave

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JB Beemers

Hello all, long time lurker, finally joined up. Anyways, was reading over some of the posts, and had to reply to this one, as the very same symptoms happened to me last week to my '96 R1100rs, with 140,000 miles. Had intermittent complete power failure, would run, die, restart. die again. Fortunately, this occurred in my driveway as I was trying to leave. I had been in the fuse box previously, so figured it was something I screwed up (not unheard of you know). Well that wasn't the problem. So I immediately went to the 'wiggle test' under the dash.  As I wiggled the wires, sure enough, the bike restarted. The outer sheath of the wires to the ignition switch had worn away, exposing the individual wires. The red wire had completely broken in two. I spliced it back together, wrapped things up properly, and all is well. I guess after 23 years and 140k miles of twisting and exposure, not surprising at all. Hope that helps, maybe. BTW, I had replaced the HES awhile ago, and my original was perfect, just sayin'. Check the simple things first.

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dirtrider
2 hours ago, JB Beemers said:

Hello all, long time lurker, finally joined up. Anyways, was reading over some of the posts, and had to reply to this one, as the very same symptoms happened to me last week to my '96 R1100rs, with 140,000 miles. Had intermittent complete power failure, would run, die, restart. die again. Fortunately, this occurred in my driveway as I was trying to leave. I had been in the fuse box previously, so figured it was something I screwed up (not unheard of you know). Well that wasn't the problem. So I immediately went to the 'wiggle test' under the dash.  As I wiggled the wires, sure enough, the bike restarted. The outer sheath of the wires to the ignition switch had worn away, exposing the individual wires. The red wire had completely broken in two. I spliced it back together, wrapped things up properly, and all is well. I guess after 23 years and 140k miles of twisting and exposure, not surprising at all. Hope that helps, maybe. BTW, I had replaced the HES awhile ago, and my original was perfect, just sayin'. Check the simple things first.

 

 

Morning  JB Beemers

 

If you JUST made a simple splice it will fail again in the future  with the new break right beside the splice.

 

Those broken wires at the steering neck are a fairly common thing on older BMW 1100/1150 bikes.

 

The best way to make a LASTING repair is to splice in longer piece of wire in the failure area with the splices being made a fair distance from the flex point.

 

 

If the red wire was broken then the green wire is probably near failure also so you might check that.  

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JB Beemers

Good advice. I used a crimp on connector for the splice. I think the way the wires were zip tied near the ignition switch, contributes to the problem.  I made sure the wiring harness was free to move, but not get caught in anything.  Another bike of mine, a "Funduro', has much the same problem. General wisdom is to cut the zip ties, and relieve the stress to the harness.  Has worked many years so far. And you are right about the other wires. Another was about to break as well, don't remember the color, but repaired that too.

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