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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had it a week. 87k miles on the clock. The engine turns over and sounds normal doing so, but there's no ignition.

FWIW, the day before it didn't start I fitted a Booster Plug, and also ran the bike dry of fuel (as I say, new to the bike, and didn't know the fuel gauge wasn't working correctly)

However I did ride it a 50 mile trip home that day after both of these things had happened, and it seemed fine. Parked up that evening, but come the morning it wouldn't start.

Had been a bit sluggish turning over when starting before, so I suspected it needed a new battery. But I've replaced that now, and it's much more vigorous on the starter motor, but still no ignition.

Could my having run it dry caused the problem? Anyone experienced anything like this?

Grateful for any troubleshooting suggestions before I pay for it to be picked up and taken to a mechanic.

Thanks
David
 

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Hi David,

Unsure if this may help but good luck. Also, in years gone by I had a battery earthing problem which BMW tried to attribute to my running light wiring. Try again guys, turned out to be corrosion on the block end of the lead from the negative terminal.

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok, got it started.

So here's what I know so far:
- it's very lazy on the starter motor, even with the clutch held in - When I push the starter button, the engine half turns over then there's about 0.5-1 sec pause, and then it turns over the rest of the way, and continues to turn over, slowly accelerating it's turnover rate.
- it won't fire this first attempt. Each time I try the starter button, the engine turns over a bit easier - always with a pause the first time, and then getting easier as it continues. But each time I try the starter the initial pause is slightly shorter.
- the engine fires on the 3rd or 4th attempt
- the battery is a brand new and fully charged LiPo with 240 CCA, so should be turning over the engine easier than the OEM gel battery.
- oil level is good
- once the engine does get started, it's fine. However, even when the engine is warmed up, if I stop it long enough to fill the tank and pay, it will exhibit the same behaviour when I try to start it again.

I'm planning to do a compression test on the cylinders, but I'd have thought if it wasn't generating sufficient compression due to a leak the engine should turn over more easily than normal. I also plan to check the state of the spark plugs when I take them out for the compression test.

The next port of call will be to take the starter motor out and have a look at it, though I don't know what I'd see that I'd be able to recognise as wrong and correct! I could just put in a new starter motor, but I'd rather have some confirmation that this might be the issue before spending the money on a new motor (or mechanic).

Does anyone know if this sounds like a starter motor problem? Or could you suggest any other tests I could do to narrow down what the problem might be?

I'm not a seasoned DIY mechanic, so I'm learning all this as I go. So any suggestions are helpful - no matter how obvious they might be for a seasoned mechanic! :)

Thanks

PS - not sure if this is the right forum to post this thread in - do let me know if I should have it somewhere else!
 

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What is the ambient temp when you are trying to start the bike? Lithium batteries do not like cold.

They will work in the cold down to around freezing temps; but their chemistry requires that they be warmed up before use, which can be done by cranking them several times or running the headlights for a few minutes. They actually get stronger with each crank as the battery “wakes up.”
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for suggestions.

You're all right about the lithium battery. I've put in a new Yuasa AGM, and the bike now starts first time, the first time. However if I try to start it again within 5-10 mins, it won't start (and the battery's clearly behaving like it's run down). I'm trying to work out whether I've got a charge system problem, or an abnormal battery drain. I've measured current draw with the bike off, and it's less than 5mA, so I'm guessing that's not it.

I've no idea what a kind of drain a 'normal' (ie 3-4 cranks before firing) start puts on the battery. But it seems unusual that I can't start the bike twice without recharging the battery between starts.
 

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What I would do just to narrow down the problem sources: with ignition key OFF disconnect all the connectors one by one checking the corrosion and water in connectors reconnect them applying a bit of dielectric grease to connector seals(not into the connector terminals).Next I would remove the starter itself,the gear should turn easely-if not-disassemble the starter se the bushings(bearings)condition-they might be dry and sticking ie.resistance to turning.Apply some moly grease onto bushings-bearings.While there check the overall condition of the starter parts-wears-assembly the starter making sure parts fitting nice and tight,mount it back to the engine,install wires onto starter.The starter should work easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks. Yes, I ended up taking the starter off, and disassembling it. It was a bit grimy and sticky, but not damaged, so I cleaned it all out, regreased, and it's now starting much better - much quicker first crank, and usually fires on the 3rd or 4th crank, first time.

Now I just need to solve the instrument lights problem...
 

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And an update. It wouldn't start again on Friday after filling the tank. Despite a new battery, I had to push it round the corner, borrow an electrical socket off the valet service lads, and allow it to trickle charge for 30 mins. (The battery was flat after about five presses of the starter button). Again the motor, after a slight delay, coughed lazily, but wouldn't fire.
I have now taken to carrying a mobile starter battery kit which starts it as needed.
It went back to the mechanic yesterday.
He completely stripped it out, (along with a bike electrician). He said it was starting perfectly. He left the bike at the gate for me as I was late.
Went to start it, and it wouldn't.
Had to borrow a jump starter from the next door business which fortunately was still open.
I can only think it's the solenoid in the starter motor, but it's just bizarre.
 

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Another update. Was having a chat with a pal who restores classic cars about something else. He's a biker and does all his own stuff. Told him what had been going on.
"That'll be the regulator rectifier" he said, without missing a beat. It's a regular problem on that bike
Ordered.
 

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Mark – Moderator 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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That would be easy to determine simply by looking at the bike’s voltage with the engine running. Should be around 14.3V.
 
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