It's dead Jim!
[ Sunday - January 17, 2010 ]
It's been a little over a week since I've seen my 8GS let alone being
on two wheels. Why? Because the bike is having some
problems. However, it's alright because everything is coming to a
final resolution. For that fact, I'm thankful to the hard working
people at Brown Motor Works (Brown BMW) and BMW NA. They're doing
everything that they can to get my baby back up and
running. All done with extreme civility and
professionalism. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Am
I kissing ass? No, just extremely appreciative.
- January 6, 2010 ]
I had just finished pulling a long day's worth of work and I'm ready to
head home. All suited up I
head out the door. I hope the bike cranks
over. It started doing the hard to start and idle sputtering
again this morning. I have about
10,300 miles on the bike and it's been doing this bit on and off now
and again. The bike is almost 1 year old and have been on several
Attempt 1, attempt 2, attempt 3, ... the bike refuses
to fire. I can hear the starter motor cranking and the engine
but it doesn't fire up. It's pitch black and I'm sitting
here making all kinds of wonderful noises with my starter. A
fellow biker walks to her bike and asked whether I needed help
mentioning potential battery problems. No, it can't be the
because the bike has been running almost constantly. I try
again. At this point I'm sure I'm doing a good job running
the battery down. After countless tries, I give up. Baby is
going anywhere. I call my wife to let her know my
plight and proceeded to call BMW Roadside
Assistance. The dispatcher tries to diagnose the problem over the
phone. He said he'll send a truck out to assist in jumping the
bike. He thinks it's a battery problem. I don't agree,
but OK. It's worth a try. I might be wrong. I'm no
mechanic that's for sure.
The truck shows up and the driver hooks up a battery to the
battery. Nope, no joy. He then kooks up the car
battery to the battery. Still, no joy. He then checks to
see if I have
gas. The bike appears to be empty because I'm down half tank, but
I have gas. The computer show I still have at least half
tank. We leave the gas cap open and guess what, it tries to
start. I try it a second time and there you have it.
Strange. Is it negative pressure in the gas tank? Then
again, this is an
EFI bike. The fuel pump is suppose to pressurize the fuel to the
injectors. Whatever, at least it's running. So long as it
runs, I'll head home. On the way, I might as well fuel up.
I stop at a Shell gas station and top off the bike. It took just
1.6 gallons. Proof that I had plenty of fuel as this bike takes 4
gallons before reserve. I start the bike up and it turns
over. There is a bit of idle hesitation but I've become accustom
to this behavior after fueling up. Sure enough I made it home in
Just as a possibility that I've drained the battery to nearly nothing,
I put the battery tender on the bike. After two hours, before I
turn in for the night, I checking the charger. Look at that, the
battery is already full. This is an indication that the battery
is fine. I leave the tender on the bike over night just to make
sure the battery is happy the next morning.
[ Thursday - January 7, 2010 ]
It's the next morning. I suit up once more to head to work.
Attempt 1, attempt 2, attempt 3 ... Uh oh! Here we go
again. I don't think it's going to start this morning also.
I try and try until I give up. I call Brown Motor Works (Pomona)
to let the service adviser (Kyle) know that I'm going to drop the bike
off if I ever get it started. Well, it never started. I
guess I get a second chance to calling BMW RA. The dispatcher
asked, "Do you want us to assist in jump-starting the bike
again?" I answered, "No, it's not the battery. Please go
ahead and send out a tow truck." 20 minutes later, the bike is
loaded onto a flat bed truck and being hauled to Brown BMW. The
bike gets unloaded from the flat bed and Kyle and Eddie had a quick
look at the bike. The first thing they checked is to see if my
tank has gas in it. Funny. It turns out there were several
incidences of people getting their bike hauled in only to find out it
ran out of gas. In my case, it wasn't so simple. Then Kyle
attempted to start the bike, it doesn't fire even when the throttle is
opened. Oh well, it is what it is. In this case I'm glad to
hand the bike over as it is at its worst. Plus it does me no good
to leave this 400+ lbs dead weight in my garage when it needs
service. It looks like I'll be on four wheels for a while.
That sucks but it can't be helped.
[ Saturday - January 9, 2010 ]
Unfortunately for me, I've been in a queue for a while. Only on
late Friday did the tech get to my bike. Surprisingly and not
surprisingly, the diagnostic computer says there is nothing wrong with
my bike. According to the bike computer my bike checks out with a
clean bill of health. The only minor problem is... it won't
start. The tech is at a loss. Brown BMW is going to contact
BMW NA to see if they can assist in troubleshooting the problem.
As Kyle read all this information to me, I recall that the bike never
threw a fault in all the instances where there is starting
problem. Could it be the fuel pump or the charcoal canister
vacuum issue that so many people have been talking about? I can't
begin to guess. After all, these are complicated machines.
I guess I have to wait and see what BMW NA comes up with.
[ Wednesday - January 13,
Eddie tells me that it appears BMW NA know where the problem
lies. In fact, they might have seen this before. They are
directing the tech to look at the fuel injector. I was glad to
hear that BMW NA knows the problem and can assist.
I get a call back from Eddie later in the day saying that it is the
fuel injector. I don't quite know what Eddie means by "Tapping
the injector" but when they tapped the injector, the bike fires right
up. It's possible that the fuel injector is clogged. So
they're going to wait for word from BMW NA how to proceed with the fix
and maybe clean the injectors.
[ Friday - January 15, 2010 ]
I get a call from Eddie asking me if it's OK to put miles on the
bike. Oh heck yeah! Eddie mentioned 10-15 miles. I
said, "put 50 miles on it and enjoy it for me as I can't enjoy it
yet." Sure enough, after the fuel injector cleaning and 60 miles
worth of testing, the bike is running fine. Eddie asked whether I
wanted to pickup the bike or wait until BMW NA declares this as a
fix. I gladly said to hold onto the bike until BMW NA gives the
green light. Of course it's late in the day so BMW NA might not
respond by the end of today.
[ Saturday - January 16, 2010
Eager to get baby back, I call Brown BMW to see if BMW NA has given the
green light. I talk to Eddie once more and he said that BMW NA
hasn't called back. This means I'll be without baby for another
weekend and possibly into the middle of next week. That's
OK. I rather get the blessing instead of being impatient and
finding out I have to take the bike back in again in the near
future. As we talked more about this, that, and the other thing,
Eddie mentioned and interesting event to me. It looks like a
F650GS twin with only 300 miles is experiencing the same behavior that
is occurring to my bike. Wow! That's even more of a bummer
than what I have to experience. I at least got 10K+ miles on my
bike before it did the "It's dead Jim" thing. Like my 8GS, when
the tech taps the injector for the 650GS twin, the bike starts right
up. Hmm... it looks like there is a pattern developing
here. Is it possible that all these stalls associated with the
8GS is related with the fuel injector/fuel mapping and not the charcoal
canister? In my case, it's definitely the fuel injector.
The other thing I learned from Eddie is that not all fuel
manufacturers' claims are true when it come to the 10% alcohol in the
fuel. In some instances the alcohol concentrations are much
higher than 10%. However, Shell seems to be the only manufacturer
that comes closest to that 10% the majority of the time.
Interesting, I've been using Shell gas 80-90% of the time as there is
Shell station next to my house.
At this point I'm eager for the return of my 8GS for a good ride in a
heavy down pour.
[ Thursday - January 28, 2010
I've gotten my bike back for over a week now. In fact, baby was
back in my hands as of Wednesday the 20th. What was the first
thing I did? Ride in the rain. I mean serious rain.
None of this drizzle or "Is that a droplet of water on your suit?" type
of rain. I'm talking a major down pour. 1 inche of water
within a couple of hours type of rain. Oh yeah! Just the
way I like it. In fact, it literally hurts. Big drops at
fast speeds means big ouches on the mandible, but it is
refreshing. I was a bit concerned about coming back from a week
long mandatory riding vacation and heading right into the rain.
Fortunately, the concern wasn't founded. In fact, the 8GS makes
the process so easy that it was confidence inspiring to be on the
wet. Am I still having any problems with the bike?
No. I did stall the bike a couple times on the second day when
riding in the damp no rain setting, but I attribute that to not having
proper engine idle levels. I notice the throttle cable being a
tad loose and gave it a quick adjustment. The bike hasn't stalled
since. I'm very pleased with the FI cleaning fix. It might
not be the ultimate answer but at least it's allowing me to continue my
riding adventures. Basically that translates to commuting to
work. For now.
Some folks on the forums recommend running the bike with fuel
stabilizer in every tank of fuel to prevent the possibility of fuel
contamination and FI clogging. I'm not sure I'm ready for such
drastic a measure.
[ Saturday - January 30, 2010
I thought I was finished with this topic, but it appears that I'm
not. At long last, I've decided to go ahead and start using fuel
stabilizer (Seafoam) to eliminate moisture in my gas. Considering
the price of gas these days, a 16 oz bottle of Seafoam is really not
that expensive because I'm using at best one quarter of the 16 oz
bottle to stabilize a full tank. It's actually cheaper than
purchasing an extra gallon of gasoline. Will I be using Seafoam
for the rest of the bike's life? Perhaps. Now it's a
question of how often I use Seafoam. I don't think it will be
every tank of fuel, but it will be more often than before. I've
never had to stabilize fuel before. Perhaps it will be every
other tank of gas. We'll see.
[ Monday - February 1, 2010 ]
After two days worth of sitting around in the tank collecting moisture
from the fuel, the bike is running great with the fuel stabilizer
applied. It might just be my subjectivity, but I'm almost sure
the bike runs smoother. So much for a GS being able to run any
type of fuel. If the 8GS is this sensitive to E85 fuel, I can
only wonder how the bike would do out in the middle of Mongolia.
I can only surmize that Mongolian fuel might be better because there is
no alcohol in it. Who knows. Of course I'll never be the
one testing that theory as I don't have the freedom to wonder the Earth
looking for those far out gas stations. For now I have a good
temporary fix. Seafoam should prevent another FI clogging
incident. It's kind of pathetic to implement this type of a fix,
but I'll do whatever I need to keep the 8GS running. After all,
it the only bike I have.
Written on: January 17, 2010
Last modified: February 1, 2010