My Williams 200 (non ABS) had some problems whilst on the German trip so I thought I’d describe the problems and eventual fixes to help anyone who experiences similar problems.
At the start of the trip whilst on my way to Harwich, I encountered some heavy, thundery rain. My speedo stopped working and the windscreen wipers would only operate on ‘intermittent’ and a slower intermittent than normal intermittent mode. I had had this problem a year or so previously but when everything dried out it all had returned to normal – and so it did this time as by the time I reached Harwich everything was working normally. However, on my journey the bike stalled a couple of time whilst coming to junctions/traffic lights etc, and although it started straight away but was annoying.
In Holland, Paul and I encountered a huge rainstorm, so much so that we had to pull over to the hard shoulder and sit it out. My wipers and speedo stopped working again. Stalling at junctions and lights was also a problem, although, when on the motorway, the bike ran fine. We got to the hotel and I asked Detlef, a German mechanic friend, to look at my bike. He suspected air was leaking past the injector causing the bike to stall. He sprayed brake cleaner on the injector to test for an air leak – the engine note and idle speed would change if a leak was present. It was. It was not faulty injector ‘O’ rings but the large rubber ring at the base of the injector which you can’t buy separately. Detlef used a petrol/heat resistant black silicone to smear round the rubber to make an airtight seal. I tested the bike – no stalling, the idling was even and as it was now dry, the speedo and wipers were working again.
That night we had a huge thunderstorm with very heavy rain. The organisers postponed the start of the tours to give the weather a chance to improve. I began my tour and the bike was fine but as the roads were very wet and there was much spray the speedo stopped working again and the wipers only worked on intermittent. On a series of very tight hairpin bends my bike stalled at each bend (4 times in quick succession) – it was so dangerous that I decided to abandon the ride and went back to the hotel.
I sent a text to Bob (Variobob), and asked for his help. He said he would help to sort it in the afternoon. In the meantime Paul’s tour finished and we decided to do some obvious checks on my bike such as battery connections, earth connection and such like – all seemed fine. Whilst we were making these checks along came Kurt, a C1 rider and a BMW engineer who had worked on C1s for 10 years. After a couple of minutes he went to get his Cmon tool to see if there were any recorded faults. There were some faults showing including a faulty speed sensor (no ABS so front wheel only). I told him that when wet, my speedo stops working and the wipers won’t work properly and that I had suspected the speed sensor. Then he told Paul and I that the speed sensor also sends a signal to the ECU to help stabilise the idling so if the speed sensor is faulty it can cause stalling problems. He also told me that my ECU software needs updating but more of that later. We informed Bob of Kurt’s findings and Bob has not heard of the link between the speed sensor and idling but as Kurt ‘knows his stuff’, Bob said lets check it out.
Bob checked for an air leak at the injector but that was fine and as the speed sensor had dried out, the bike was running smoothly. Bob then disconnected my speed sensor and asked me to ride it round the block. I immediately felt that the idling was not quite right and sure enough, it stalled. Bob took the speed sensor off his bike and put it on mine and hey presto, all was normal again. The following day I went for a 100 km ride with no problems at all. I kept Bob’s speed sensor and rode all the way home with no stalling problems at all.
It turns out that I had two problems – air past the injector and a speed sensor that failed but only in the wet. If it had not been for Kurt telling us the link between the speed sensor and the ECU, we would still be in the dark.
Finally, Kurt told me that my software version is 7002, but the most up to date software is 8000. The 8000 software fixed an idling problem where some bikes had very uneven idling – it made adjustments to the air/fuel mix to make idling more stable and fixed a stalling whilst idling problem. He recommended that I get the software update. I have been in touch with BMW Motorrad, Chester who say they can ‘probably’ do it for £47.00.
Apologies for the lengthy post but I hope it may be of use.
Thanks for that Pat, very interesting. In the past I had a fault where the speedo wire was chafing against a front brake pipe. In the dry things were OK, but as soon as the roads were wet the water sprayed up onto the chafing area and helped make a connection with the brake pipe. The speedo would then fail, the ABS lights came on, the wiper went to intermittent and the revs would rise at idle and make the bike creep forward. A bit of insulating tape and rerouting the cable fixed that. Pity it took several infuriating weeks to track down the fault though!
The C1 I’m working on has a slight idle problem, but it’s been off the road for years, so I’m going to see if it improves with riding it round after the MOT on Monday. If not, I would be interested to hear how you get on with the software update. If you have problems at Chester try Williams Manchester. I’ve put a new sealing ring on the injector, but I didn’t realise the larger black collar also helped to seal it, I assumed that’s a dust protector. It has a new front wheel sensor, that had failed before I got the bike.
Hi Andrew - interesting that you had a similar speed sensor fault, and that it only happened when wet .... very irritating.
Re the injector - according to Detlef (mechanic), the rubber collar shrinks with age and allows air into the injector area. Also, you can't buy the rubber collar separately - have to buy the whole fitting in which it sits. As you know, the 'O' rings can cause problems as well.
Re the software update - Williams, Manchester was my first choice but they wanted to book the bike in for an hour costing £99! A bit much just to plug in a computer so I went for Chester who quoted £47 - will let you know how I get on.
I think I’ve fixed the uneven idle by wrapping a small amount of amalgamating tape round the large collar on the injector. It seals the gap nicely and the idle has improved a lot. I’ve already replaced the o ring, so overall a good seal now.
Finally got it MOTd and on the road again, so I can start checking for any other problems. Variator feels a bit sticky, so I’ll get that off and have a look at the rollers and clean it out. Apart from that nothing obvious yet. Might not need that software update after all.
That sounds like an excellent way to fix that problem. Mine probably doesn't really need the software update but I do have a 'thing' about having the (hopefully) best version of software. As a computer geek friend of mine used to say - "if it ain't broke, fix it until it is!"
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