1988 BWM twin something won't run for long - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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1988 BWM twin something won't run for long

Bike was sitting for a year. Battery was low. We tricklecharged it, but it didn't get high enough to turn the starter. Didn't change gas or plugs. The battery had been disconnected and the fuel set to off, so at least some effort had been put into long-term storage.

So we push-started the bike. It came to life, sounded fine, and ran around the block, and died. My friend had left the choke open, but it seemed soon to die even on an open choke. We couldn't restart it, and smelled gas.

We put a volt meter on the battery, and watched it under starter load. It dropped from 12.x to 5.x. So we figured it was toast, and got a new battery.

The new battery started the bike right up. It ran for two minutes, and then quit. I wasn't there for that, so I don't know what the battery is doing volt-wise, but I presume it's good. I also don't know if the choke was closed.

I don't know the model; it's a flat twin with carbs.

What causes a bike to quit after a minute or two?
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 01:26 PM
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Good Afternoon Beejjorgensen,

I am not a skilled mechanic but here is my input. I am sure that the gasoline has degraded over that year period of sitting. You can try some gas additive or simply drain the carb and the tank of the old gas and try using new. The points or the spark plug could also be fouled by using the old gas. It is a cheap solution and could work.

Let me know what happens. I am sure the more skilled members can give you a much better fix.

Snakeboy66

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post #3 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Snakeboy66 View Post
I am not a skilled mechanic but here is my input. I am sure that the gasoline has degraded over that year period of sitting. You can try some gas additive or simply drain the carb and the tank of the old gas and try using new. The points or the spark plug could also be fouled by using the old gas. It is a cheap solution and could work.
Yeah, that's probably going to be what has to happen next, but we're skeptical that it will help since the bike has managed to run for those short stints.

But I freely admit my mental model of old gasoline is poor, and maybe this is just how it behaves...?
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 01:42 PM
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beej -

Snakeboy66 is on point.

I would suggest that you drain the gas and the carbs, remove and at least clean the plugs, drain the oil, fill with fresh gas and try again.

Sitting for a year did nothing good for the oil and gas; there is the potential for water condensation especially from those miserable winters in your area.

The old Beemers are tough; it will probably start and run OK after fresh gas and a check of the plugs. Once it's running a bit of SeaFoam might be a good idea.

Long term, you should be considering another oil change once the oil has gotten hot a couple of times, a check of the ignition components, and some work refreshing the carbs. You'll also want to refresh the final drive and transmission oils.

Curious about the model - what badging can you see on it? If it's out of sight, is it a dual sport (GS), a sporty bike with a small fairing fairing (RS), or is it a touring bike with big fairing and possibly bags (RT)?

T

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Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 11-05-2012 at 01:47 PM.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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I would suggest that you drain the gas and the carbs, remove and at least clean the plugs, drain the oil, fill with fresh gas and try again.
I'll take a couple gas cans over there when I meet him for lunch. I'll also bring my other spark plug sockets (ye olde KLR socket doesn't fit.)

Quote:
Sitting for a year did nothing good for the oil and gas; there is the potential for water condensation especially from those miserable winters in your area.
It was in a shed in Berkeley, so at least there was some protection from the elements and it's not as bad as parts of SF, but still, yeah.

Quote:
Once it's running a bit of SeaFoam might be a good idea.
I'll bring him a can of that, too.

Quote:
Long term, you should be considering another oil change once the oil has gotten hot a couple of times, a check of the ignition components, and some work refreshing the carbs. You'll also want to refresh the final drive and transmission oils.
I'll pass that on. He wanted to take it to a shop, but no one local could look at it for over a week, and he was hoping to get it going before the (he's borrowing it, and is only in the area a short time).

Quote:
Curious about the model - what badging can you see on it?
I'll get the model. It's not hidden; I've just forgotten.

Thanks for your feedback, guys!
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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So, another curiosity. My friend noticed the panel lights went off when the key was on. Battery is 12.x V. He said he gave it another go, and it started, and when he dropped it off the center stand, it died. So gas aside, there's looking like there's some electrical gremlin, as well. I'm headed over there now to check it out; I'll keep you posted from the phone.
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 02:44 PM
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An electrical gremlin is possible, but when you hear hoof beats think horse, not zebra.

Shop rates at a BMW dealer will be ~$100/hour. An independent will be a big fraction of that.

I'm betting you can get it going for less than $50.

T

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post #8 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Schmitz View Post
An electrical gremlin is possible, but when you hear hoof beats think horse, not zebra.

Shop rates at a BMW dealer will be ~$100/hour. An independent will be a big fraction of that.

I'm betting you can get it going for less than $50.

T
Well we're not hearing anything now. bike needs to be jiggled to get the electricity working on the panel and hitting start has no effect.

Tanks off, but nothing obvious .I'm sure there are no animals in there.

Its an R100GS.

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post #9 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 03:15 PM
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My best recommendation, unless Paper comes along soon, is to go over to BMWSportTouring.com and see if you can get a guy named dirtrider to help you.

I recognize time is of the essence as your buddy is on a short time schedule. I'll PM him and see if I he can help.

T

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“'Why' and 'How' are words so important they cannot be too often used.” -Napoleon Bonaparte


Sting like a butterfly.

Last edited by Tom Schmitz; 11-05-2012 at 03:21 PM.
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-05-2012, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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OK...so no further dice.

Clock runs until the ignition is turned on, then it stops. Sometimes the instrument lights then come on. If the starter is hit, nothing happens and the lights turn off as if power has been drained from them.

When ignition is turned off, clock starts running again.

Battery shows 12.6 unwaveringly while all this is happening .

We're both useless with electrical stuff, too, which doesn't help.

Local bike shop opens tomorrow.

As a last-ditch effort, we went to the pub for drinks. I have high hopes for this tactic.

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