06 12GS gear indicator problems solved!

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by roadapple, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. roadapple

    roadapple Curve carver

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    146
    Location:
    Central Ohio
    It's been quite awhile since I've been active on the forum but this summer my 06 GS began to have intermittent gear indicator problems -- no gear showing, wrong gear showing, no neutral "0" or big green N which prevented starting the bike unless the side stand was up and the clutch pulled in. Recently the problem has become full-time. I visited my local dealer and talked to the counter guy and the BMW mechanic. The counter guy looked it up and showed that the potentiometer replacement took 1/2 hr plus parts of around $200. The mechanic said no way 1/2 hour, it's necessary to pull the swing arm to get to the pot.. Potential cost of $500. I came home and did some digging in the archives and it seems that the problem isn't that unusual and that at least half the time the problem is simply with the connector and not the pot itself. The recommended fix is to pull the connector to the pot. off, clean with contact cleaner, load with dielectric grease and plug back in. The connector is behind the transmission in a difficult to reach position, and has a clip lock that needs to be released. Difficult, but not impossible! On my back, flashlight in teeth, micro screwdriver to release lock clip in one hand, other hand coming in from the bottom, I was able to separate the connector, perform cleaning and application of dielectric grease and plug back in. I did it during half time of the OSU/CFU game today. 90 minutes of test riding without a glitch and all is good! What a great resource this forum is -- many thanks!
    #1
  2. waddyp

    waddyp Quite Content

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    505
    Location:
    Ann Arbor and Hoxeyville, Michigan
    Excellent! Your attitude and initiative are typical of what feeds this forum. Thank you.
    #2
  3. jdub

    jdub Dawg bytes reel gud Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,264
    Location:
    S. Central PA
    Haven't seen this subject discussed in quite a while, thanks for resurrecting. My bike had the same gear indicator problem years ago after a few rides in hard rain; I followed exactly the same steps you outlined regarding the connector and the issue hasn't come back since. I've totally forgotten about it so hopefully others can read this and use the fix if necessary.
    #3
  4. DaveCR

    DaveCR Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Costa Rica -
    Hasnt happened to me but now I know what to do if anything :norton

    Thanks! :freaky
    #4
  5. B-Nice

    B-Nice Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    23
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    I have the same problem after driving home in very hard rain. The gear indicator shows multiple gears as I accelerate.

    What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
    #5
  6. jd2577

    jd2577 The Boy Ruger

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    As mentioned above, I would suggest first trying to clean the connect and put some dielectric grease on the plugs before re-connecting them. I purchased an 05 GS last year with the same symptoms. It was an out-of-state purchase, and being my first BMW, I just had the dealer fix the problem - they replaced the potentiometer. I can't recall the total cost but I know they DID NOT have to remove the swing arm as mentioned above. I could look back at my records to be certain, but I want to say it took the tech an hour or less to fix.
    #6
  7. cjack

    cjack Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    865
    Location:
    Illinois
    Seems like I bought a new car a couple of decades ago and all the connectors under the hood and elsewhere were loaded with dielectric grease. One would think this preventative measure would be the norm for motorcycles which have an even worse exposure to weather.
    #7
  8. BruceBerry

    BruceBerry n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6
    I recently replaced the potentiometer on a 2010 GSA. Lowering the swing arm was not necessary and the entire procedure took no more than 30 minutes. I couldn't find a torx box end wrench short enough to do the job so I used a box end wrench from a Crafstman Metric Ignition Wrench Set.
    #8
  9. Daz the Aussie

    Daz the Aussie Mistrusts Squirrels

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,283
    Location:
    Californicator
    Phew! Once again the wisdom of you guys that have gone before, have helped me out of a pickle. I have potential buyers wanting to look at my bike this week and the gear selector issue reared it's ugly head on my bike a couple of weeks ago and I was getting concerned about the cause. Thanks to the help here, after a few skinned knuckles and language to make a sailor blush I have it all greased, back together and working correctly. Cheers you blokes! :clap
    #9
  10. fonzie56

    fonzie56 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    44
    Location:
    Lebanon, IN
    Anytime I part any electrical connector on my motorbikes, I use dielectric grease when re-installing.

    I got a large tube, (silicone grease), from Ace hardware a few years ago. Enough to last the rest of my life and beyond. Good stuff.
    #10
  11. Desert Skies

    Desert Skies One brick shy...

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,473
    Location:
    Tejas
    My 05 indicator started acting goofy. Had it on the table to switch to knobbies for a winter desert ride so I pulled the pot (BTW the wrench that said you need to pull the swing arm is one crooked POS) which took me about 1 minute to remove the two bolts and unplug it. What I found was the little snap ring that holds the plastic pot shaft tight on the 'D' shaft out of the tranny had broke. This allowed slop in the interface which resulted wallowing out the plastic and let the shaft slip in the connection.

    After pricing a new pot at $175, I figured I don't look at what gear I'm in anyway, so I have been living without gear indication for the last 50K miles. I just have to have the sidestand up before I start it which coming from the bikes I learned to ride on you had to do that if you didn't want to high side first left hander anyway, no big deal. :1drink
    #11