Another alternator hits the dust and not under warranty

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by C5!, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Ok folks I've started a poll here:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=788285

    All owners please vote ... regardless of how well your stator has been performing (or ... not performing) :deal
    As WayneC1 suggests, if you have had a failure(s) please file with the NHTSA!
  2. Tessitori

    Tessitori Been here awhile

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    it would be great if the poll could actually be a sticky so it is easy to find and right at the top where it should be! :wink:
  3. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    I agree!
    I think there are only a few "weak links" on this bike:

    Stator
    Cam Chain
    and ummmmmmmmmmm....
    I don't know maybe headlight reflector....
    So I think a sticky would be appropriate, for the stator poll and possibly the cam chain thread:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=727687

    Is there a moderator in the room? :D
  4. Cesar Serpa

    Cesar Serpa Adventurer

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    I put this voltmeter that read the voltage in real time, but I should have ordered one with red LEDs. For now shows that the stator rewind is working well.
    [​IMG]
  5. TAMPAJIM

    TAMPAJIM Been here awhile

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    ummmmmmmmm.....cracks in the fuel tank covers, fuel system problems (injectors and fuel pumps)
  6. Olvi

    Olvi Ice Butt

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    It is a safety issues - may not be at interstate but in a city. For me this "phenomena" gave some horror situations at crossroads (or is it junction).

    When approaching one and engine braking, bike suddenly stalled and rear wheel locked. Bike goes here and there before pulling the clutch. Then I had to find a place to pull over because bike wasn't starting even clutch pulled.

    Another situation type was after pulling the clutch the engine dropped to idle and suddenly stalled. Not starting even clutch pulled. Luckily there was enough room to pull over.

    Yet another type was when about to cross the junction you start to move and change gear from 1st to 2nd and bike stalls. Not very nice behavior in the middle of junction!

    And the battery was new and fully charged!

    Bike can behave very unexpectedly when stator dies and battery is full. It is not so straightforward that when the battery is full, everything goes normally before battery is discharged enough to stall the bike.
  7. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    I believe the stator failure is indicated buy the battery not being charged. The bike will only run for a while on the battery's charge. You will get, I believe a couple of indications on your dash....which should give you ample warning. The most common indication is when you stop the bike for some reason it will not restart...dead/weak battery.

    I expect there is some pre planed sequence of low voltage/ failed battery programed in the ECU....precisely for safety reasons.

    Battery failure is quite common. Most of us have experienced it. Is that also a safety issue?

    I know I'm running against the tide here. Most of us are disappointed that we have this potential flaw. May be we are over stating the issue.

    I think the pole is a excellent idea. This will tell us and BMW how big the problem is.

    However, I think BMW know exactly how many stators they have replaced under warrantee and how many they have sold.
    The fact that they have an fix out, likely means the start working the problem several months ago...before most of us on blogs knew about the problem.
  8. vtbob

    vtbob wanderer

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    I believe the stator failure is indicated buy the battery not being charged. The bike will only run for a while on the battery's charge. You will get, I believe a couple of indications on your dash....which should give you ample warning.
    A running sequence maybe, low battery voltage, (warning Ligh) ABS turns itself off (another warning light) head light gets dim, finally the ECU turns foes into soft shut down...likely one cylinder first or intermittent spark (for safety).

    The most common indication is when you stop the bike for some reason it will not restart...dead/weak battery.

    Per above, I expect there is some pre planed sequence of low voltage/ failed battery programed in the ECU....precisely for safety reasons.

    Battery failure is quite common. Most of us have experienced it. Is that also a safety issue?

    I know I'm running against the tide here. Most of us are disappointed that we have this potential flaw. Still, may be we are over stating the issue.

    I think the pole is a excellent idea. This will tell us and BMW how big the problem is.

    However, I think BMW know exactly how many stators they have replaced under warrantee and how many they have sold.
    The fact that they have an fix out, likely means the start working the problem several months ago...before most of us on blogs knew about the problem.
  9. 'Flagger

    'Flagger ..this space for rent..

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    Maybe someone else posted it, and I apologize if this is a repeat, but Max BMW's fiche now shows the new part number.

    I'll delete this post if this is indeed a dupe.
  10. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    Yep, new part number is for a redesigned stator and flywheel that is supposed to last longer. Last I checked there were none in the USA but the new part IS shipping in Europe, so probably will be available in the USA shortly.

    The voltage regulator has also been improved as it is now set for ideal voltage for an AGM battery instead of for a gel battery like it was. The part number of the R/R hasnt changed, but new regulators have a blue/green dot near the part#


    It can be argued that virtually any kind of breakage is a "safety issue". I personally reserve that statement for more significant things such as forks cracking, fuel hose couplings breaking ect.


    For years, rain or shine, I have ridden multiple bikes per week that have a stalling issue for the purpose of getting them to stall while diagnostic equipment is attached.

    There are a huge variety of things that cause stalls under unlimited variables so I ride these bikes when it is cold, hot, dry, raining, fast, slow, and all on metropolitan streets and freeways.

    I have also driven cars and bikes in traffic trying to duplicate an "un-commanded full throttle acceleration". I never did find a car that would do this but DID find 2 bikes that would no-shit, go from light throttle to full throttle with ZERO rider input and pop an undesired wheelie even though I was applying about 100 ft lbs of throttle closing torque.

    I leave it to NHTSA and the courts to decide what is legally a "safety issue", but from my perspective, if stalling or even un-commanded acceleration endangers a rider, said rider would be well served by becoming a better rider.
  11. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Bob:
    Swimming against the current is good exercise and should be encouraged! :D
    I do know for a fact that at some point on the voltage curve the stator is locked out by the computer.

    Having witnessed several other system failures, It is not clear to me that there would be any indication of impending failure, if you were riding during the day (and not seeing the dimming headlight) and not being in a stop-start situation.

    I will admit that I am biased by my desire for BMW to give me a properly designed charging system at no cost (or modest cost),
    which is what I thought I bought to begin with...


    I'll be very interested to review the poll numbers in a week or so and see if we can tell how wide-spread this problem is ....
    As Joel and many others have stated ... a very few unhappy folks can make it look like the world is ending as happy owners are far less likely to be posting.
  12. guzzimike

    guzzimike Long timer

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    Joel, from where in Europe is this part shipping?
    Could you maybe PM me a link?
    Going by past experience we in Oz will be waiting a long time for the new part.
  13. WayneC

    WayneC Long timer

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    I agree with Joel re surging & stalling but in the process of dealing with the F650GS single fork lug problems I discovered to my surprise surging and stalling was of particular concern to NHTSA, so there is the pressure point to get their attention
  14. JoelWisman

    JoelWisman Long timer

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    WayneC1: I am told that in the USA, the NHTSA has never forced a compulsory recall on BMW Motorrad in the history of the agency because they consider motorcycles inherently dangerous.

    BMW regularly solicits a recall in "cooperation" with the NHTSA because it immediately protects them from litigation, and also forces Germany's hand when NA wants a redesign of something but Germany does not.

    I think energy is best spent complaining to BMW as assuming it is true that the NHTSA has never forced a recall on BMW Motorrad, well, there have been FAR more frightening defects on BMW motorcycles then the stator which by comparison is nothing.

    The car side is opposite. All car manufactures that are not paying Ralph Nader off live in fear of the NHTSA.


    guzzimike: I got the info on the real deal with stator and voltage regulator from a German speaking friend employed high up in a certain privately held company that makes vehicles with questionable charging systems :D I don't know which specific countries are shipping the new stator, just that some are and once the old inventory is used up, the new part will be everywhere. Typically the USA ends up selling the world supply of old design parts, so I would expect Australia to have the redesigned part in short order. Also this has been secretly in the works for a year as stocking levels ran down and contracts expired, there isn't much old inventory left in the world period.


    JRWooden: as I said above to WayneC1... I have heard from BMW corporate, Piaggio corporate, and an NHTSA inspector that I dealt with when Volvo was burning down garages and houses with a heat shield that screwed into electro-welded bosses on the side of a plastic fuel tank, the NHTSA pretty much never forces involuntary recalls on the motorcycle industry regardless of how many people complain but rather waits until deaths are at least in the dozens.

    That said, the data is word of mouth, though pretty direct. Call the NHTSA and see if they can provide you with a list of involuntary non-cooperative recalls they have forced on BMW Motorrad. Although civil servants forget the serve and civil parts now and then, we pay for them.....

    If the answer is as I am told, zero in recorded history, online drives to get people to report things to the NHTSA RE motorcycles are at best a waste of time.

    But..... If everyone complains to their dealer and calls BMW's customer service line, perhaps BMW will listen. At the least it is possible they might listen LOL.


    NOW, on the dealer front, there are an extraordinary number of STUPID BMW dealerships, so you need to find one of the few ones that have good enough business skills to perform basic arithmetic.

    ALL USA BMW motorcycle dealerships are paid the prevailing labor rate and the cost of the part marked up 40% for all warranty and good-will.

    The stator list is marked up less then 40%, so when a dealer fights for and gets good-will or warranty to replace the stator, they make more then when the customer pays. Further they get the customer to feel warm and fuzzy and leave a grand in his pocket that they have a shot at extracting with accessory sales that are marked up more then 40%.


    This is a no-brainer. When you can get corporate to pay, get them to pay and you will make more money AND your customer will be happier AND they will have more money they can spend on motorcycle crap so that you make even more money.


    When I was amongst other things warranty clerk with the BMW store I was previously I fought like a cat to get things covered under warranty and was not at all averse to blowing up voice and email boxes or stroking egos if it got corporate to pay for things.

    Unfortunately that dealers SM liked to refuse warranty for the things that he didn't feel should be warranty by his judgement or for people that didn't own the bikes or ride in a way he thought they should. He also didn't cover things when he didn't like the personality of the customer.

    The above, more then with any other brand I have worked on is true of BMW dealers. Most are on power trips and like the feeling of authority when they refuse warranty or good-will while blaming it on corporate to make them seem like they aren't the bad guy.

    If your stator fails in or out of warranty, it is worth searching the four corners for a dealer that effectively advocates for the customer which is a rare thing with BMW even though many BMW dealerships talk a good talk.

    Slightly paraphrased because the document is not in front of me, good will is:

    "A one time courtesy to a customer who is an ambassador to the brand" (this rule is broken often and customers can get more then one good-will coverage when the dealership effectively advocates)

    "To be used when it will make a difference" (i.e. if the customer is a sour grape and will remain a sour grape regardless, why waste money? But if a hardship has befallen them and covering the failure through good-will is likely to make them advertise for BMW with flowery words, cover the part."

    "to be used for expensive breakages, not cheapies" (Well, the stator is expensive!)

    "not to be used when breakages are caused by abuse" (A dealership which is soft on technical knowledge may conclude that aftermarket accessories are abusive to the stator, which they are not as it is a shunt regulator)

    So, to those out of warranty that need a stator..... You are displeased but will become most pleased if BMW covers your busted ass stator. You are an ambassador to the brand and talk it up everywhere you go. (the good things, you don't talk about how often the injectors stick or wheel bearings fail :p ). And as said before, find a dealer that will effectively advocate for you.

    These dealers are easy to recognize. They say things like "yes, we will cover that" and "yes we have seen a lot of stator failures, we should be able to get good-will coverage of at least the part cost".

    Bad dealers habitually say "BMW isn't going to cover that" and "I have never heard of that problem" and "BMW said no" less then 3 days after you bring your bike in for warranty consideration or good-will. It takes 3 days to fire off an effectively worded PuMA, call your FSE, get replies and then contact your ACM. When the word is no before that it means the dealership didn't actually try.

    There, my complete treatise on warranty and good-will because I firmly believe the stator in the K7 is substandard and should be covered at any point below 50,000 miles.

    BMW does have a corporate wank that reads this shit from time to time and probably has me friended so if he's doing his job right, a "DO NOT HIRE" just went in a file somewhere with my name on it :rofl

    This should work for me if I ever want another job at a BMW dealership but only the 10% that put making money AND good customer service ahead of petty politics and getting drunk on power. Unfortunately thats probably at best only 10% of the BMW dealer network that likes money AND customer service which absolutely DO go together.

    In the mean time, another shameless plug for Piaggio group as I am MOST happy working for them: Anyone seen the new Moto Guzzi Stelvio NXT or the new Caponord that should be to market in the states next year??? :rofl
  15. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    Thanks Joel!

    The poll only has about 50 votes, but of those 50, the failure rate on bikes with greater than 20K miles is about 20%.
    The new stator looks better (maybe it is or is not a better part), the new flywheel clearly will keep the stator cooler.
    Long story that I'll leave out, but I'm personally not optimistic about receiving a goodwill-ed generator set.

    I'll try to call NHTSA later in the week and see what they say ... I'll post the answer, but I'm sure you're right......... :cry

    I had a dream last night where-in I got stranded with a blown stator and rigged four bicycle wheel-mount generators to my bike and limped home..... I see a RTW-emergency-gen-kit in the making ... :lol3

    Caponord ... looks very nice ... has anyone tossed any rough prices around?
  16. WayneC

    WayneC Long timer

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    Again Joel I agree with you

    The dealer and BMW should be the first port of call for any owner who has suffered a failure, not giving the manufacturer the chance to put something right & understand the grievance is poor form to say the least

    As for dealers, same here in Oz, I was extremely loyal to an Oz dealership as they did the right thing by me for over 20 years & I recommended them to all and sundry. Sadly no more, the business was sold and the service degenerated.

    In the case of the F650GS axle lug failures, BMW staff lied to myself and others round the world, The UK Service Manager put in writing to UK owners that I had overloaded the machine and knowingly rode a defective machine (after owning it for 24 hours)

    That experience made me realise that making BMW and the dealer know of the problem had to be backed up by a report to the relevant safety/defect body.

    On the US recall situation, I bow to your knowledge but quite often these things are agreed between the regulator & manufacturer & the manufacturer puts out a voluntary recall/Campaign for rectification so it is not recorded as a forced recall.

    Also good to hear on your new job, hope it goes well for you, my hat is off to you on the the assistance you have given the guys here with the stator problems
  17. JRWooden

    JRWooden Long timer

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    MonsterJ:

    Sorry, another question did you get the new flywheel design as shown in post 399 ?
  18. Olvi

    Olvi Ice Butt

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    OK. BMW has taken actions to cooling issue. I'm still wondering, does stator have too much epoxy (or whatever is the material) they put to hold winding in place. Does it need those extra couple millimeters? I have seen few other stators and they haven't had that "extra" layer that this stator has. There has been just enough to bind winding together and keep them immobilized.

    What I'm going after is that can this "extra" layer act like a thermal insulation? Heat can't escape properly and/or oil can't cool the windings enough and the winding insulation melts?
  19. Indy Unlimited

    Indy Unlimited Long timer

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    I think we need the epoxy coating to keep the wires from vibrating and thus breaking at the bends.
    Many manufactures make thermally conductive but electrically insulative epoxies that are rated to 500F for potting and dipping.
    The aftermarket stators get away without the epoxy but fail a lot sooner than the stock unit. Most people epoxy coat the aftermarket stators for long term reliability.
    It is difficult to evaluate the reason for stator failure but most are due to the copper wire breaking and raising the resistance to the point of frying. I would not put a stator in there without the binding force of an epoxy resin.
  20. ebrabaek

    ebrabaek Long timer

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    I have some potting epoxy good for 500-600 deg. F.... I'm not sure as of how to go about the dipping though.....:thumb:thumb

    Erling