Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wonky starter button wonks out completely

The starter button on my 2003 BMW K1200GT has an intermittent malfunction that goes back more than five years to the summer of 2010. I took the bike up to Grass Roots BMW Motorcycles in Cape Girardeau, Mo. on July 8, 2010 and they replaced the right combo switch for about $500 in parts and labor. Less than two weeks later, the problem reared its ugly head again when I tried to start the bike after a night in Steve's hot Las Vegas garage.

The turn signal cancelling button, also part of the right combo switch assembly, went wonky on the ride home from Vegas, but has behaved itself since after getting some attention at Grass Roots.

But despite the replacement of the switch, the starter button problem as continued off and on for the past five years. (I made this video in August, 2014 to document it and solicit diagnoses from the BMW motorcycle community.)

Early on, it manifested itself when the bike sat for an extended period or overnight in a hot place. But in recent months, it showed up after the bike was parked overnight in a cold garage. So much for my heat thesis.

The last time I rode the bike was about a week ago for a quick run down to the post office and it took about 35 presses of the starter button before the engine fired. Today, I can't get the engine to start even after more than 150 presses of the button.

Recalling some of the suggestions I've received - that it had to do with a defective sidestand shutoff switch - I went down to the garage a few minutes ago and tried to start the engine with the sidestand up, but it remains inert.

I'm hopeful that it remains inert, so the technicians at Grass Roots. can more effectively troubleshoot the problem that eluded them in the past due to its intermittent nature.

I had an encouraging text message exchange with my local BMW friend Charlie about hauling the bike up to Grass Roots and he said he thinks his schedule will allow for a trip in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the '94 K75S is my ride on pleasant days.

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