My F800GS concerns addressed.

Discussion in 'Parallel Universe' started by The Griz, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. The Griz

    The Griz Long timer

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    Just had my bike at the dealer for my BMW Field Service Engineer appointment to address a few concerns of mine. Here were my concerns and the BMW FSE's responses:

    1) Clunk/clack sound from front end?

    FSE: Rode my bike for 50 miles. Heard only one sound from the front end. Said the sound was normal. The floating brake rotors.

    2) Onboard computer fuel calculation error?

    FSE: Looked at PUMA Measure. Tested sensor and did manual fuel calculations. His manual calculations matched the OBC. No problem.

    3) Riding in rain - water getting in airbox?

    FSE: He's heard of a few cases of this. But only in torrential downpours. And even in those cases, there was only a little bit of water in the airbox. Not enough to stall the bike. He said it would take a much larger volume of water in the engine (not just in the airbox) to stall the engine, as in a river crossing gone too deep. He said if your bike is stalling, it's from something other than rain. Like an electrical issue that the rain is exagerating or something. He also said you shouldn't be riding your bike in torrential downpours in the first place for safety reasons! I agreed with him.

    4) Recalls for my VIN?

    FSE: Only one. Upper coolant hose. Done.

    5) Latest software/firmware for bike?

    FSE: The computer on these bikes can only take so many firmware flashes before the computer itself has to be replaced. So he only recommended doing a firmware update if it's to fix a problem. Then I told him there is a problem: snatchy throttle. He said that after riding my bike for 50 miles, the throttle response felt completely normal.

    Now I know the peanut gallery will chime in here and contradict everything the FSE said in response to my concerns. Bear in mind, however, that this BMW Field Service Engineer has ridden hundreds of F800GS's, and worked on hundreds of F800GS's. He knows this bike inside and out. It's his job. This guys got more experience and knowhow with this bike than any 20 or 30 of us put together. He is one of five BMW FSE's that cover the entire United States. So he travels all around the Midwest dealing specifiaclly with this bike. Let's try to trust that a bit. Thanks in advance.
    #1
  2. Ballbearing

    Ballbearing Adventurer

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    I have no first hand knowledge on the other items, but, I have heard the same clunk from my front end and traced it back the rotors.
    #2
  3. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    <o:p></o:p>

    Why? Just because they haven't acknowledged a problem doesn't mean a problem does not exist. <o:p></o:p>
    <o:p></o:p>
    IMHO, the stalling in the rain excuse is BS. I don't care if it comes straight from the head of Motorrad himself, I don't buy it. I wasn't riding in a "torrential" downpour when my bike stalled, and it certainly wasn't anywhere near unsafe conditions. Multiple 800GS have had this problem where few--if any?--other makes or models have. ...Including a litany of race-reps with purpose-designed ram air systems that are far more efficient at cramming ‘stuff’ into the airbox than the decorative ducts on our 800s.

    Of course, for the most part, all of us idiots on ADV agree with what the Field Engineer had to say. The fuel thing? You either have a problem or you don't. You would have known than before even going in for service. Snatchy throttle? IMHO it was pretty clear from day 1 that it was just a characteristic of the bike.
    #3
  4. The Griz

    The Griz Long timer

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    I knew you would.... and I'm not going there. I trust the FSE. Not you. The only reason I posted this is for other owners of the bike to see. Take it or leave it.
    #4
  5. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    If he really said that, then that's got to be the most fatuous piece of advice I've heard in a long time. What, I wonder, would this FSE have me do if I find myself in a sudden, torrential downpour out on Highway 50 in Nevada some afternoon? It's happened a number of times to me in the late summer monsoon season out here. I can't exactly duck into a Starbucks, and pulling over and sheltering under the nearest creosote bush isn't going to do much good either. Riding a motorcycle means riding in the rain from time to time, and yes, sometimes in torrential downpours. It's not unsafe if you slow to a reasonable speed, and it's certainly not anything that should cause an engine to stall. If that's his only suggested option, then I question how much weight we should give the rest of his spiel.

    David
    #5
  6. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    I'm sorry you're satisfied with being duped. No reason to take it out on me though.

    Ehhh...that's not the only reason, but you know that already. :deal

    Regardless, I'm glad you posted your experience, because it [once again] illustrates the disconnect between a manufacturer and the enthusiasts. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand why they don't want to amit there's a problem, and honestly, I don't even fault them for the tight lip. The problem really only affects a small percentage of the 800GS population, and it would require considerable resources and finances to design and implement a solution. So it really makese sense for them to say "its supposed to be like that". But for someone in the real world to actually believe there's not an inherent problem? :huh

    Thats like saying if my car loses power at 90mph, I should accept the answer that "well, you shouldn't be driving that fast anyway". :eek1
    #6
  7. Singletrack_mind

    Singletrack_mind Cave Man

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    I know the clunk thread drove several people to distraction, but I will risk re-opening it here: There is no way the knocking/clunking sound I hear from my front forks is coming from my brake rotors. I have owned several race bikes with floating rotors that did make serious, loud noises in the pits when being wheeled around, so I know what loose floating rotors can sound like. I was never aware of it in a riding situation though. Further, if the brake rotors are making the noise, it's because they are free to move and knock about. The rotors on my bike can not be moved much at all by hand. Try this little test:

    Coast down a bumpy dirt road, controlling your speed with smooth, steady front brake application. If you still hear the noise, it can not be your brakes. I am pretty sure you will still hear the noise, because that scenario perfectly describes the last 1/4 mile to my house and my forks rattle all the way down the hill, every day.

    Having said all this, let me also say that I don't think "THE CLUNK" is a terminal problem. I think it's an unfortunate byproduct of normal fork action with these forks.
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  8. Lost Roadie

    Lost Roadie Rider

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    Thanks for posting Griz.
    Glad you got to the bottom of things on your bike and are pleased.

    But, I also have to say that the comment by the FSE about not riding in heavy rain for safety reasons is offensive to say the least. It's easy for fair weather poser riders to say that, but that's not the real world. Should I stop in the middle of nowhere because BMW said it safer than to ride in heavy rain? stopping instead of riding to find cover from real threats like lighting or tornado's... maybe that guy who's job it is to know this bike inside and out should take it on real adventure ride to gain some REAL WORLD EXPERIENCE....
    I have personally watched my bike die from riding in rain more than once, and for BMW to tell me not to ride it in heavy rain is ridiculous.
    Sitting on the side of the road in a cold, severe storm trying to get your bike going and winding the engine out to clear it out isn't cool.

    My 12R has a ram air intake and doesn't die in any rain, and the 8GS's is marketed as an ADVENTURE bike... at the very least it should be able to ride in the rain without stalling. :huh

    The other "issues" you had I thought were just part of the personality of this bike, the stalling thing is a design flaw.

    I would imagine as more 8GS's are sold and the more apparent this problems is the sooner BMW will have to do something about it...
    Once you have had your bike die from rain, be sure to complain to BMW NA in writing....
    #8
  9. marty hill

    marty hill The Energizer Bunny

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    I've gone thousands of miles on my 12GS in very heavy rain. Never a problem. If the 800 can't do the same...it's not worth having. The guy who told you that is a moron. You seem to buy into anything you hear from BMW...not a good idea. I've owned 14 new BMW's since 2001 and none had this problem and it proves I'm not anti BMW. By the way, congrats on replacing your panniers with touratech bags/at least that's what the stickers seem to imply.
    #9
  10. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    I don't know that I'd go that far, but I would like to figure out a solution that's a *little* less rudimentary (and unsightly) than blocking off the ducts. I've got some ideas...but I don't have quite the boredom level yet.

    That and its not going to rain until October. :clap
    #10
  11. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    I'm going to hold off on buying an F800 till this rain issue is resolved. If indeed the bike stalls because of the rain, then I would say this is a major issue that may be solved with a minor redesign of the air ducts. :dunno
    #11
  12. Deuce

    Deuce Crazy Canuck

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    That is about as dumb and stupid as what the dealer in Vancouver, John (Asshole) Valk, told us when my wife's F650CS was having cold start probems (would not start once temp was below 40f). He suggested we keep the bike in a garage!! We were renting at the time and had no access to a garage. The local dealer, Island BMW, diagnosed a crappy battery and the bike was fine after that.
    #12
  13. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    In Oregon, where it rains all the f**cking time, I have not been affected with this stalling issue (yet). And our cousins across the pond, where they spend much of their time riding in the rain, haven't been complaining en masse either. So I think it's safe to assume that it doesn't affect ALL F800GSs, or even the majority. But like the fuel sensor issue, it certainly affects some. Whether those things should keep you from considering the bike is up to you. But it looks like BMW's gotten a handle on the fuel sensor problem (Inshallah), and I bet they'll come up with some fix for those of you with the rain/stalling problem too.

    David
    #13
  14. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>

    <o:p></o:p>
    I'm not so sure. As you note, it hasn't affected many people so there's not enough data out there to definitively claim The Smoking Gun. That's one of the reasons BMW is so tight lipped. Not good to amit a problem without having a solution. You think the front axle or coolant hose issues left the walls of Motorrad before they had a solution ready for immediate implementation? Hell no.

    Also, as I note, the water-stalling could very well require a fairly major redesign. If it ends up that only small percentage of riders actually experience the issue, and it doesn't affect safety or reliability, why waste the resources at BMW? Quietly engineer a solution into the next generation of 800s and call it done.
    #14
  15. The Griz

    The Griz Long timer

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    I ride in the rain too. Even in heavier rain. And the engine on my F800GS has never stalled on me, even at highway speeds. However, riding in a serious torrential downpour is not the safest thing to do in my opinion. Even in a car. I think you guys are underestimating what I and the FSE meant when we say torrential. When the FSE said torrrential, he meant torrential. Not just a shower or even a heavier shower. Way to overreact and take it the wrong way guys! To each his own of course.:ricky

    I do agree with this part of the FSE's statement though: "He's heard of a few cases of this. But only in torrential downpours. And even in those cases, there was only a little bit of water in the airbox. Not enough to stall the bike. He said it would take a much larger volume of water in the engine (not just in the airbox) to stall the engine, as in a river crossing gone too deep. He said if your bike is stalling, it's from something other than rain. Like an electrical issue that the rain is exagerating or something."

    All in all. This is kind of case closed for me. The bike's been great in its first 600 miles and counting.
    #15
  16. ROYAL COACHMAN

    ROYAL COACHMAN Long timer

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    My experience thus far with over a dozen stalling incidents in moderate to heavy rain leads me to believe that there is a genuine problem.

    Having owned over 15 bikes, I had never experienced a problem like this before.
    Had I not been able to fix the stalling problem on my bike, I would have considered selling it.
    IMO even a one off kind of a problem should be given immediate attention by BMW, considering the premium price you pay for admission.
    #16
  17. bxr140

    bxr140 Flame Bait

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    :huh
    You realize that's about one shade away from calling many of us flat out liars.

    My bike lost a significant amount of power, more than once, in the rain. During those periods of power loss, when brough to idle, it stalled more than once. Torrential? Sure, I guess. Heavy rain? I don't know. Rideable? Absolutely. Does it matter what you call it? I find it rather odd for you hide behind semantics given your borderline obsessive approach to certain other relatively minor issues, but I find it quite dissapointing that the engineer would do the same...assuming you're conveying his point accurately.

    In my case, I was absolutely not riding in unsafe conditions. I've been in unsafe rain. I've pulled over before. I've been in unquestionably torrential rain in Florida and the Carribbean and equitorial South America, and the conditions I was experiencing on the GS in California were a far cry from any of those tropical squalls.

    I completely agree with that logic leading to a potential cause, but until BMW (or, more likely, some inmate) finds the smoking gun, I think its a bit presumptuous to call it a "closed case. Unfortunately, the only real data point I've seen (and granted, I haven't looked that much) is in the stalling thread where one dude blocked off his intake ducts and couldn't replicate the stalling.

    So, by default, the score on my whiteboard is 1-0 in favor of water in the airbox.
    #17
  18. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks House Ape

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    It may not be such a drastic fix, bxr140. I don't know if you've had a chance to peruse this thread over at F800Riders.org, but this guy's working theory is that it may be a gas tank venting problem that gets caused by heavy rain. If that's the case, the fix may be as simple as unkinking a vent line that got installed wrong at the factory, and not require any redesign of the air intakes or filter housing. This would explain not only the fact that not everyone is affected by the problem, but also the PUMA bulletin about gas tank venting problems. Who knows? I certainly don't. But it would certainly put to rest any inane nonsense about not riding in the rain, torrential or not. :rolleyes

    David
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  19. ROYAL COACHMAN

    ROYAL COACHMAN Long timer

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    Well said !
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  20. AbeFroman

    AbeFroman Adventurer

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    Mine has stalled numerous times during extended trips in heavy rain, not necessarily torrential, but after a couple hours it will quit while decelerating to a stop light or something. I've experienced similar problems after riding around in creeks and rivers, nowhere deep enough to be affecting the air ducts. So I don't know, but there's something wrong. That and the poor seat are the only diminishing characteristics I've found with the bike in 8,000 miles. I haven't experienced these clunks I keep hearing about.
    I do have to wonder why this engineer would be checking the water levels in an airbox if it wasn't stalling the engines.
    #20