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Old 01-05-2012, 03:15 AM   #1
AndyCap OP
Mineral Oil Anyone?
 
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R1150GS cold weather starting

Last year I replaced my battery because my 2000 R1150GS was sluggish to start when it was cold, and the ABS light wouldn't stop blinking. I am sure the battery truly needed replacing. I bought a brandy new Odyssey, and rode throughout the spring, summer, fall. When I park the bike for more than a few days, I plug it in to the Optimate for trickle charging and battery monitoring.

In weather of 40 degrees or higher the bike starts with no complaints, but I find down around 30 or lower, it turns over very slowly, and leaves me wondering if it will just leave me stranded one of these days if I take it out in to the cold.

I have been wondering if this is because the oil has thickened in the cold, and the bike is harder to turn over, or if the battery is possibly just that finicky about temps.


Any thoughts ideas? I would love to keep riding thorough the cold weather, but as I mentioned, I don't want to get stranded.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:09 AM   #2
Schlug
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I have the same issues:

-The engine is slow to turn over; it is worryingly slow.
-Oftentimes my ABS lights will flash a failure.
-My clutch is often very sluggish, and when it's around 25f/-4c I have to let the clutch nearly all the way out before it grabs-- if it grabs.

However:

-The motor always does start. It has never left me stranded although, like you, I wonder sometimes.
-Try this trick with the ABS fault. Once the bike is up and running strong but still on high idle, switch it off. Now restart the bike with a warmer battery which has just has a small burst of current. I bet, like mine, your ABS will not fault again. The fault happens when the initial charge of the battery falls short of what is needed to successfully manage the ABS. Once you've started and warmed up the bike for a minute or so, this issue always resolves itself with a restart, on my bike at least.
-Once the bike has run for a couple minutes, the clutch returns to normal. I suspect its simply a matter of the fluid warming a bit.

Here's something to remember. We are turning around a lot of mass down the bottom end. With the heavy oil we typically use, it does take some serious jam to get it all spinning in the cold.

It always hit full five bars even at -4 within my 15 minute commute. The nice thing about an air cooled bike, I suppose.

Carry a pair of jumper cables and remember: never have the donor car running when jumping off its battery. The auto battery has enough electrons with the motor stopped.

I have never had the bike fail to start [touch wood] and I'm considering riding it today (28f/-2c)
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:20 AM   #3
Terry
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I have much the same issue with my '02 R1150GS. I switch over to 10W40 oil in the winter months (from 20W50) and that seems to help a lot. It still isn't very confidence inspiring on really cold (less than 32F) mornings.
I often get the ABS fault issue. There is a modification some have done to change how the ABS unit is powered. It doesn't try to power up while the bike is starting if you make the mod. I just live with it. Sometimes I do what BobbySands suggested and just restart it after a couple of minutes. But in really cold weather (I ride down as low as about 15F), even that sometimes doesn't work. So while riding, I pull in the clutch, turn the key off for a second and then back on, and then restart the bike by slowly releasing the clutch instead of using the starter motor. The lights should flash in unison. Then you have to come to a stop and then start rolling again to get the self test to complete and the lights will go out. Sometimes I just say "screw it" and ride all the way to work with the lights flashing.

Bobby,
I have never experience the clutch issue you mention. Sounds to me like something is wrong. Maybe the clutch fluid needs changed? I do mine yearly. Or maybe it is something to do with the newer clutches that use the mineral oil or whatever they use. My older one uses brake fluid.

Terry
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Old 01-05-2012, 12:04 PM   #4
Beezer
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The odyssey is a great battery & should give reliable starts for many years. My experience with them is that they have a lot of cranking power for the size. I'm sure lighter oil will help, but it should start unless there are other problems.

Are you still getting the ABS fail on start up with the Odyssey? I haven't put one in my GS yet, but prolly will this summer. When I got this bike 3 years ago it came with a new BMW battery in it. Within 6 months I started getting a lot of ABS fail on starts. It was only the first start, but was a pita, so I did the bypass. Below is the "how to" link. You do not need the relay... you can just patch the idiot light wire to the ABS startup wire.

http://advwisdom.hogranch.com/Wisdom...oltage_Fix.htm

Jumping with a running vehicle should not be a problem, especially with the type of voltage regulator these bikes have, which are the same as a car type (not MOSFET/SCR shunting type). Still, if you are a worrier... better safe than sorry. In any case be careful making the connections, observe polarity.

BobbySands... the slow clutch. very curious. Two years ago, on my Y2K 1150, the rubber brake lines deteriorated inside. They got to where the front brakes were very slow to release. Just a thought. Could be something in the slave cylinder too. As you may or may not know, there are no parts available to repair the slave. They are a replace item for about $100.

P.S the rubber lines puked chunks into my ABS module too
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:24 PM   #5
AndyCap OP
Mineral Oil Anyone?
 
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Thanks for the replies.

Once I put in the new Odyssey, the ABS lights problem went away. Even when it is cold, I don't get the ABS lights now.

I haven't had the clutch issue either. I believe it is a dry mechanical clutch, so temperature really shouldn't have too much impact.

I considered the 10W/40 motor oil idea, but I imagine the bike does eventually reach temperature, and wonder if the lighter oil would then cause issues.
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:28 PM   #6
Terry
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I definitely don't want to start a motor oil thread, but my users manual shows that 10W40 is prefered in the winter months and 20W50 in the summer.

Terry
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Old 01-05-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
def
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You might try 15w-40 Rotella, A HDEO that works well in boxer engines at lower temperatures.

Available most anywhere and it is cheap. Diesel owners swear by it.
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Old 01-05-2012, 02:58 PM   #8
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The 5W40 Rotella synthetic is the best thing in the winter. Just start, count to 30 and ride off just like it was summer with 20W50. If you get stuck in traffic and it gets to 6 bars it makes more rattles until it cools off again.

Rod
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:04 PM   #9
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the clutch is dry but the actuation mechanism is hydraulic. The pressure plate force is not going to change with temp.... the only thing I can think of is something in the fluid side. Either that or the push rod is binding.
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Old 01-06-2012, 03:15 AM   #10
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Also pulling the clutch lever in before a cold start will help a little!
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:20 PM   #11
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Could be the clutch hose is bad on the inside.
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Old 01-07-2012, 02:14 AM   #12
Dan Căta
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I found out that syncing the bike more often (I do it at 10k km's, along with valve adjustment) makes the bike start more easily.

Dan.
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Old 01-07-2012, 07:45 AM   #13
eap
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beezer View Post
the clutch is dry but the actuation mechanism is hydraulic. The pressure plate force is not going to change with temp.... the only thing I can think of is something in the fluid side. Either that or the push rod is binding.
Clutch slippage: How many miles on the bike? I had to replace the slave cylinder at around 85K miles - but when it went sluggish, it went all the way to no clutch very fast...

Battery - I frequently get the ABS failure lights, and always have since day 1, a little less with the Odyssey but it is getting close to 5 yrs old and it is getting cold so I'm seeing them again. I just have to ride about 1 block, turn the engine off and restart... After 85K and 10+ yrs, it is just a minor annoyance...

Now today I may have to go get a new battery, I stupidly left my heated jacket plugged in and on the night before last DAMH @$#!$!$@$..its been on the trickle charger all night and still is not on full charge ...
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
def
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eap View Post

Now today I may have to go get a new battery, I stupidly left my heated jacket plugged in and on the night before last DAMH @$#!$!$@$..its been on the trickle charger all night and still is not on full charge ...
Be patient...your battery will recharge to a level that will start the bike.
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Old 01-07-2012, 05:45 PM   #15
eap
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Be patient...your battery will recharge to a level that will start the bike.
It did, started it up and road the 60 miles round trip to the shop and picked up a new Odyssey. The WESTCO still may have some life, but I've been getting lots of fault codes and clock resets.
For the Record:
-OEM BMW battery lasted almost 6yrs and 51K miles
-WESTCO sealed getl lasted 4.75 yrs and 37k miles (~ $100)
-I'll put the ODYSSEY in tonight (~ $160)

The WESTCO might could probably get by for a while longer since my winter riding is mostly weekend day trips and she sleeps in the garage with the tender, but then again maybe not.. .
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