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1150 GS - Indicator not flashing...but not a blown bulb

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by tomm1666, Apr 21, 2019.

  1. tomm1666

    tomm1666 n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    London
    Hello,
    First time poster here. Hopefully this is the right place to post for a technical fault/query. I'm new to GSs and have been searching forums for a similar issue being discussed. I can't find one so hoping that somebody has some advice here. Help would be much appreciated.

    I recently bought an old 1150 GS for a bit of weekend fun and maybe some longer trips in the summer. It's a 2002 bike with 60k miles, all standard, looks a bit scruffy but lots of history and (so far) seemingly mechanically solid.

    Last week I noticed the rear right hand indicator was not working. Front right indicator is fine (but obviously fast blinking as the rear is out), and both the left side indicators are working as normal. I picked up a replacement bulb from my local BMW dealer and got around to switching it today.

    Taking out the old bulb, the filament didn't look blown but I fit the new one anyway just in case.
    It didn't work! Based on my diligent diagnostic approach I conclude it's not the bulb.
    So...before I ride to the garage, I wondered if anyone has any advice or had a similar fault on the 1150?
    As my DIY electrical fault skills are 'Beginner', I'd hoped this might be a fuse issue although I don't know where to start with the 1150 GS fuse box...apart from what I have read in the workshop manual.

    Anyway, I'll leave it there but would be grateful for any advice!
    Cheers,
    Tom
    #1
  2. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6,277
    Location:
    Phoenix
    the is a short somewhere, or a loose connection
    trace the wires
    dont take it to the shop
    #2
  3. usgser

    usgser Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,580
    Location:
    Westside WA
    Nothing serious or BMW specific. Just a bad/corroded/broken 12vdc connection. Either at the nubs to the bulb, the bulb to socket ground connection or bad pigtail feeding the socket. Take it apart and inspect/clean everything to shiny spec. Easy to do and cheaper than paying a shop $100/hr to clean up.
    #3
    SmittyBlackstone likes this.
  4. tomm1666

    tomm1666 n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    London
    Thanks both for your swift replies.
    Ok, I’ll go ahead and inspect/clean as suggested.
    One more question though, before I start disconnecting more parts would you recommend disconnecting the earth from battery to avoid shocks? The manual talks about doing this for apparently any disconnecting of lights.
    Thanks,
    Tom
    #4
  5. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5,952
    Location:
    Hiding off Hwy 6, B.C.
    I have the same rear turn signals on my K.Do the simple thing first.Test light at the bulb socket to confirm that both + or - gets there.If not find the connector down the line and test again.

    Not flashing? Happened to me a few times.Always lack of contact between the bulb and springy socket terminals.I just spring/pull them out with the hook tool/scribe and reinstall the bulb.
    #5
  6. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2004
    Oddometer:
    9,993
    Location:
    Anchorage, formerly Spenard (hub of the universe)
    a volt meter will still read 12 v at the socket even when the connectors have too much resistance to pass enough current to light the bulb. that is because of the meter's high resistance (by design). my bet is the connectors have corrosion.... not a short. pull connectors & clean

    the BMWs around Y2K had a batch od brake lines that failed in several ways. one of mine lost brake in the rear and then had front brakes that would lock and not release. both due to faulty lines. it was a common problem & I saw several others with same. it also caused the ABS to die... long story. much money. long/shot... change lines if they are old
    #6
  7. tomm1666

    tomm1666 n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2019
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    London
    Thanks all for your replies, much appreciated.

    In the end I have the indicator working again, after cleaning up the connections inside the bulb housing, and playing around with the spring mount to make sure both parts are pressing against the terminals on the bulb.
    It seems to have worked...

    Cheers
    #7
  8. vfxdog

    vfxdog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    805
    Location:
    Santa Monica or London, depending on work.
    And to answer your other question, no, you won't get a shock working on the bike's electrical system while connected unless you start delving into the world of ignition issues, specifically the high tension side of things that causes spark plugs to be so named.

    The main system is 12 volts and pretty harmless. If you start disconnecting a lot of things then it does become wise to isolate the ground terminal, in case of inadvertent short circuits.

    For UK riding I'd suggest a tiny spray of something like ACF50 (not WD40) into the bulb holder or onto the bulb base itself. Will help avoid corrosion of all kinds.
    #8
    JimVonBaden likes this.
  9. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6,277
    Location:
    Phoenix
    or some dielectric grease
    #9
  10. (I^2)R/746

    (I^2)R/746 Rider

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Oddometer:
    539
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
    I had a problem like this once on an '02 R1150GS. GS-911 said it was a lamp fault. For the life of me I could not track it in the harness, under the tank, at the socket, etc.. It gave me intermittent faults and then went out. After that the ABS light (upper one IIRC) just stopped working. I knew the actual ABS worked because it clanked, whirred and actuated when I tested it. So I shined it. Then one day I wiggled the ABS relay and it had worked loose. Good as new :doh
    #10