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Louie, Technician
Category: Motorcycle
Satisfied Customers: 13785
Experience:  25+ yrs. experience
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My bmw r1150gs cranks but doesn’t start. Bike sat about 18

Customer Question

My bmw r1150gs cranks but doesn’t start. Bike sat about 18 months so suspicious of fuel. I replaced fuel Best I could. Put it new battery and cleaned injectors and put new O rings on them. Makes the usual whirring sounds for ABS and flashing dash lights but doesn’t fire up. Last year removed the catalytic can and replaced it with a Y pipe and new lambda sensor. Check fuses, fuel relays?
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Motorcycle
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Checked fuses and swapped fuel relay with horn, all good. Fustrating!!!
Expert:  Louie replied 11 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JustAnswer, I’m Louie. Sorry you had to wait awhile but I’ll do my best to help.

Initially, let's try check and review the basics. Proposed preliminary tries (if have not been done):

  • • attempt to start again;
  • • remove the spark plugs;
  • • and check if the tips did get wet with fuel;
  • • cautiously perform a spark test.

This would help determine if this is a no-spark/ignition issue or a fuel starvation concern.

This is an independent site and members of this online community provide information, repair tips, technical assistance as a form of paid Q & A service.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I had the tank lifted up several times. Since battery sits somewhat under tank. Pain to remove and change battery. In doing so there’s a possibility I may have yanked something loose under there. The ignition coils, Motronics ECU, ABS and fuel lines, breather tubes sit in front of battery under the tank also. The fuel tank is massive on these GS beemers. 7 gallons! Fuel pump is inside the tank. Do you know these beasts?...,I’ll recheck the spark and plugs on weekend. Possibly foul or wet. Only 94,000 miles on her!!!... got clutch and serviced at 87,000. Of course the dealer can plug in their fancy diagnostic into the computer but you know that outcome! $$$.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Originally intended to get the catalytic off and lower that cooking heat under the engine and save 15 pounds of weight. Improve the engine breathing some. Added a engine management box to adjust fuel ratio if needed once removing the cat can but removed it and replaced the stock exhaust when it didn’t seem to benefit the bikes operation. Possibly the old fuel clouded the results. Bike needed either a little choke or throttle to keep an idle. Perhaps clogged injectors? That’s why I cleaned them last week. So as last Winter approached I didn’t fool with it all year being irritated about it. Local Harley or Jap bike shops don’t understand these German machines. I don’t know what experience you have on these but the bikes came before the cars. The Bosch electronics, anti lock brakes, fuel system, ignition system became the cars foundation. The “ultimate driving machine”, was the bikes moniker long before the cars. The problem should be stupid simple except most tasks are work intensive on BMW’s including yanking the plugs since I have to remove the engine guards and the plugs sit deep into the cylinder head. Also this is a dual plug version head with secondary spark plugs too so got to wonder what is bad?
Expert:  Louie replied 11 months ago.

I understand and yes please when conveniently able as the spark test would allow us to see if the tips of the spark plugs did get wet with fuel and eventually ignition with the spark test.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Will do. Also from watching YouTube it seems two other failures are common. The spark plug cap is called a stick coil. They apparently fail then it runs rough. Not as likely for my problem but also the Hall effect sensors typically fail on older bikes from old insulation and heat. If both sides of plugs have no spark then maybe it died. Of course I probably should get some new plugs anyway and check that first?
Expert:  Louie replied 11 months ago.

Yes, these stick coils would be the ignition coil less the spark plug wire and directly plugs into the spark plug less the caps.

And I apologize for delays in replies as fieldwork with no Internet or sluggish if at all.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I checked just now. I have spark and plugs normal toast brown color, not wet.
Expert:  Louie replied 11 months ago.

When able, please spray starter fluid or even pour a bit raw fuel into the spark plug holes and attempt to start.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Gonna hunt for my starter fluid...
So far does seem to be pointing to fuel. We’ll see tomorrow.....
Expert:  Louie replied 11 months ago.

Appreciate the postback and would look forward to an update tomorrow or when able.