One indicator bulb in the instrument housing was not lighting. I pulled the instrument cluster out and tested the bulb which was good. However the foil trace that goes on the tab inside the hole in the circuit board the bulb holder plugs into had broken.
The Tab The Bulb Holder Lead Touches-Copper Foil Is Missing
I used some copper foil to make a repair and I documented how I did it here.
The same technique can be used to repair any of these boards when a cracked or broken foil trace causes intermittent or complete bulb failure bulb. But sometimes the circuit board is broken, badly corroded and it isn’t salvageable.
BMW no longer sells the circuit board but you can find used ones for sale on eBay and some are in good condition. However someone took the time and effort to design a replacement light housing and circuit board that uses LED lights instead of the original incandescent bulbs. For a badly damaged circuit board where the simple fix I made is insufficient, these replacement boards will likely do the trick. I’ve not had occasion to install one of these, but you will find information about them here:
Since I got this bike running a month ago, I’ve been taking short trips with it so I can have some confidence it is reliable. I was riding along at about 50-60 MPH on a 93 F day when all of a sudden, the red oil pressure warning light came on just as I turned on to the road to my house. I immediately hit the kill switch, pulled the clutch and pulled over to the side of the road. I waited for a minute and then started the bike again. The oil pressure light went out immediately. Hmm. I started riding and about two minutes later, the warning light came on again. So, I went through the same drill of immediately stopping the engine and waiting for a bit. On start up, the oil light went out immediately. This time I made it home just as the light came back on. Not a good sign.
So, I’ve been on a journey to isolate why the low oil pressure light comes on intermittently. I found several problems in the oil system of this bike and corrected them. You can read about what I did here:
I took apart the oil filter and inspected the paper, but the consensus of folks on the Micapeak Airhead forum was there wasn’t anything to worry about in the filter. Big sigh of relief.
As I continued my investigation I diagnosed and fixed a couple problems in the engine oil system. But I’m not absolutely certain I have found the problem causing the low oil pressure light to come on. I’ve ruled out failures in the engine oil system and am convinced the oil pump is working properly, the engine oil passages are not blocked, the oil seals are not leaking, the oil pickup and screen are okay and the oil level is correct.
The electrical circuit is now the most likely reason for the intermittent low oil pressure light coming on. The last thing I replaced is the oil pressure sender switch even though when I originally tested it, it worked. But, it’s the next most likely component to have a problem due to its mechanical action. Here’s a short video of the insides of that switch.
I’m hoping the next hundred miles or so I don’t see that oil light on the dash anymore, but time will tell.
Here are a couple pictures from the detailed write-up.
Distance to Measure From Edge of Filter Can to Top of Engine Block
Vernier Caliper Reading 3.82 mm Canister Depth-Much More than 3 mm Specification
Cutting Filter Paper Cylinder From Metal End
Bright Metal Particles
High Pressure By-pass Valve Parts-Mangled and Bent
Fishing Ball Bearing Into Hole
White ($2,000 O-ring) Installed in Filter Cover
Attaching Oil Test Gauge to Instrument Cluster For Test Ride
When I bought the bike, the forks had both rubber fork gaiters and torn rubber fairing boots. But, I can’t turn the forks lock-to-lock as the gaiters interfere with the fairing boots. I think this is dangerous so I’m going to remove the gaiters and the fairing boots and install the black rubber cups on the fork sliders. I will wait for when I do the complete tear down of the bike to replace the fairing boots. I also replace the fork seals since I have to do all the work needed to get to them and I don’t know their condition.
The fork oil was about the color of the Mississippi river and there was a bunch of it captured by the fork gaiters, so it was well past time to replace the seals and add fresh fork oil.
Fork Seals Leaking Fork Fluid
I decided to leave installation of the fairing boots for when I rebuild the bike. They are very difficult to attach to the fairing holes with the fork tubes installed. I think this will go a lot easier when I have the front fairing panel off the bike and can get clear access to mount the rubber boots.
Old Fairing Fork Boot
New Fairing Fork Boot-I’ll Install it Later
I had a very difficult time removing the fork top nuts. Someone likely used an air impact wrench to put them in. I had to get an 800 Ft-Lb wrench to break them loose. Why do people overly tighten things!!!!!
When It’s Stuck, Get a Bigger Hammer: Impact Driver (800 Ft-Ibs) Needed To Remove Top Bolts
I installed the black rubber dust seal caps with the felt dust wiper on the inside. I learned you have to keep pushing the felt and packing it into the groove until the diagonal cut ends meet. That way it keeps itself tight against the fork tube. And DON’T OIL IT. That just traps grit and dirt in the felt wiper gumming it up.
Fitting Felt Wiper Into Fork Slider Boot
Felt Wiper Installed in Fork Slider Boot
After this work was done, I rode the bike for a couple of shake down rides. It runs pretty well. There are some burned out bulbs in the clock and volt meter and the odometer isn’t working, so I will get those sorted out next. Unfortunately my attempt to fix the odometer only broke it further, so I sent it to Palo Alto Speedometer to repair my clumsy attempt. Sometimes I have to have the pros clean up my mess. Oh well, live and learn.
After I got the bike running, I noticed that the volt meter showed low voltage (under 12 volts) when I was riding the bike with the headlight on. Something in the charging system was not working correctly. I read in Bob Fleischer’s material that a failed diode in the diode board would have this symptom and dirty electrical connections and/or alternator brushes that had gotten worn down could also cause low charging current to the battery. He also talked about BMW using rubber diode board mounts at this time. These mounts can break and allow the diode board to fall enough to short against the front engine cover and also contribute to weak or intermittent grounding.
So, I decided to dig into the diode board and test the diodes, replace the rubber diode board mounts and clean up all the electrical contacts. While I am in there, I also cleaned up all the alternator electrical contacts and replaced the alternator brushes. And, I cleaned up the starter relay and voltage regulator contacts. Last, I installed a new Westco AGM battery so I have a known good battery and date of installation.
I found that all the diodes were good on the diode board. It maybe worth replacing it due to it’s age and as insurance from an unexpected failure, but I’ll hold off on that until I do the full rebuild. Replacing the rubber mounts is not a fun or easy job. I got very frustrated more than once and had to take a couple coffee breaks to get my attitude adjusted. 🙂 But I did get them installed, so with perseverance and patience, it can be done.
After I replaced the alternator brushes and cleaned up all the electrical contacts, I now get 14.5 volts between the battery (+) terminal cable from the diode board and ground with a momentary rise to 15 volts when the voltage relay does it job. I suspect the brushes were the main reason for the low charging current to the battery.
A couple of pictures follow.
Check Diode Board, Replace Rubber Mounts.
Diode Board-Left Alternator Center Tap Wire, Right Battery (+) Wire
Diode Board Back Side Showing Two Connectors
Left Side Diode Board Mount Nuts
Right Side Diode Board Mount Nuts-Note Solenoid Wires Removed & Oil Breather Hose Clamp Moved
Rubber Mounts-One Broken
Location of Large and Small Diodes
Solid Diode Board Mount Kit From Euro Motoelectrics
Alternator with Wiring
Removing Brush Terminal Lugs
Removing (3) Stator Housing Bolts
Alternator Stator Assembly
New Brush (Top) and Shorter Old Brush
New Brushes Soldered To Metal Tabs of Brush Holder
When I bought the bike in January 2015, the neutral bulb didn’t light and the starter motor wouldn’t work unless I pulled the clutch. I need to figure out what is going wrong in the starter circuit and the neutral switch. I wrote up the work I did here including how I diagnosed that the neutral switch failed and how to replace it:
This write-up makes use of some short videos to show what I do. I’m experimenting with how to use video clips to explain things better than just pictures and text can.
There is a longer video at the beginning in which I explain how I use the Haynes wiring diagram and Bob Fleischer’s material to figure out how the neutral and clutch switches work in the starter switch circuit.
I’ve heard fellow Airheads tell me electricity is confusing and a mystery. So I thought maybe showing how I try and figure out how components work from the wiring diagram when I have a problem may be of some value. Here is a direct link to that video.