BMW 1200 GSA Battery life (in French.... C'est de la Merde !)

Discussion in 'BMW Bikes In Thailand' started by Azoulay, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. Hi Friends,

    Just coming back to LOS and despites taking care of having an Optimate electronic Battery Charger connected to the bike during my absence, I had the very unpleasant surprise to find my battery down after 18 month of purchase.

    I use the bike every 6 month for a period between 15 days and 3 month and care about charging it, however the battery was dead and it seems to be an accepted fact by BMW (at least BMW Thailand Barcelona)...

    This cost me some 7800 TBH and the bike started again as before.

    BMW Thailand gave me the "trick" of a connection procedure:

    -1°) Connect the positive pole (+)
    -2°) Connect the negative pole (-)
    -3°) Turn on the power
    -4°) Open and release fully 3 times the throttle
    -5°) Start the engine

    I did not catch so much the utility of such procedure but I should say, it worked...

    On a customer point of view, I think 18 month for a battery life is much too short specially having the experiences with my other bikes (Ducati and Suzuki) I keep in the same condition and for which the battery last a least for 3 years.

    I am more and more wondering of the BMW quality which was the main pillar of BMW reputation...
  2. Hi Friends, hi Captain,

    For sure you are right but I am sure you would understand my frustration on a bike I paid some 1 mio plus TBH...

    I thought I was buying the famous German quality at this stage but crap, crap and double crap !
  3. Hi
    You can buy a battery without a BMW "logo" from Japan YUASA or something like that for thb 3.000 and it will do same life time as original
  4. Re; Battery's for BMW .. I just fitted a new one to my K1200LT ... cost 1,750 baht.. Retail price 1,850..
    I bought 2 for 3,500 baht. (small discount) at that price one for spare ... sent from Bkk to my home by EMS 2-300 baht.
    Contact No...026824445-8 .. Email : [email protected] Battery No YT20L-KS (18amp) same for g/wing 1800 ....... P.S. MF ...maintenance free battery :
  5. My first consideration bikewise before I moved here was to buy a BMW R1200RS. Had a look in what I think was then called VVP(?) in April 2006. Thought the price was ridiculous & to be honest, I was not that impressed with either the sales or service side of this company - it may have changed for the better since. Test rode one back in the UK & got the feeling it was just too big & heavy for my needs in Thailand. In the meantime, before I moved here in February 2007, Triumph became available & I bought a Bonneville T100. It would not have been a choice in the UK but I find it quite adequate for Thailand & its been OK so far! Reading the above comments makes me thankful I did not buy a BMW! 90 day warranty on a brand new battery on a brand new bike is a joke.
  6. I bought my K1200LT from a "authorized" dealer .. same me .. never again . There only interest is selling ... customer relations ... zero .
  7. Hi Friends,

    Thanks for your comments on the post this topic, I completly share with you all your comments and will be "armoured" for the future ....

    I noted the advise of Pascal Laigle and will have for sure the use of Teddie the Eagle address as this is a yearly problem for me with the number of bikes I own.

    However, not talking about service, service in LOS and other characteristics of the local bike dealers, I was surprise by the so short life of this battery that I think I was maintening good with the help of the Optimate battery charged pluged in the whole inactivity period.....
  8. Hi, Sometimes it pays too mark certain items before getting your bike serviced .... TiT :)
  9. Cant help to notice what Eddie said about marking certain items prior to service and there is certain truth from my experience. Having owned 2 GSs 1100 (97 model) & 1200gsa (08 model) and clocked over 200k kms on GS bikes, it is true that manufacturing quality of certain parts is deteriorating over the years. The battery on my 1200gsa lasted approximately 18 months as well eventhough the bike was used almost everyday. Even when it was new, I noticed the battery wasnt very strong because it was starting to choke the starter after the 3rd time I start/off the engine. Odyssey battery is much better as it easily fires up the engine in the same manner up to the ninth time (brand new) but it is costly in Malaysia-about 8500 baht. Malaysia made yuasa battery which costs about 2500 baht is ok but isnt very good and quite similar to oem battery.

    Other than the battery problem, most rubber parts tend to crack after the 3rd year. Headlight bulbs usually last up to 35-40k kms mileage and the drive shaft evo paralever (04 model onwards) is quite problematic to maintain unlike the 1100 & 1150 gs series. There are 3 seals in the final drive hub and there were many reported failure of the outer and middle seals though I have not heard any problems relating to the 3rd (final) big ring seal. While the outer seal is easily replaceable, the middle seal is a pain and a special tool from BMW is needed. Wrench torque is 200nm. For those who can afford it, the process is quite easy using Beemer's service machine (which I dont know the name, sorry) made specially for this job but comes with throat cutting charges. It is important too to do a periodic inspection and servicing to the shaft joints, splines and bearing. A 40k kms interval is quite fine IMO.

    Then for the 08-10 models, the tyre pressure sensors located at the wheels' valve stem fail easily due to weak battery life span (about 2 yrs). That battery is not replaceable according to manufacturer's printed caution and new units (2) cost about 12000++ bahts. There is a way to replace the battery but it is time consuming. Next is the ESA...and I'd seriously hope I didnt get one such unit myself as the performance is mediocre, costly and it breaks easily.

    Also important to note is the fuel pump sensor (fpc) located at the left hand side of the fuel tank...the usual cause of problem is water ponding in the "cup" look alike area & if not taken care of can cause the fpc to fry unexpectedly. I usually make sure that cupping area is dry whenever it rains or after a wash. The 09-10 GS1200 model had done some adjustment to that cupping and got rid of water ponding problem but GSA model remains the same.

    Then the final thing which until today still bugs me is the antenna ring sensor located underneath the ignition chamber. A faulty ring will results (04-10 models) in a EWS fault reading in the odometer. It may goes off at times after a few attempts to restart the bike and appear to be a non issue BUT do not be fooled and make sure you have it replaced (6000++ bahts) coz if it does come back again and finally fail, there is no way on earth the bike can fire again. As I know it, the antenna ring cannot be bypassed as it is an integral part of the canbus system. It serves as a theft prevention item matching the chip sensor in the key. And sometimes it is the sensor in the key that goes wrong. I'd really hope it can be bypassed as theft of a giant trailie like a GSA is hardly heard of in Malaysia/Spore. Anyone with great info here on how to solve this problem? I cant seem to find one in ADV.Rider or UKGSer.

    Other than that, GS bikes are a joy to ride and no matter how many types of bike I have owned & replaced over the years, there is always one flat twin GS for me. Good luck
  10. Hi Friends, Hi GSForLife,

    Thanks for this exhaustive and very detailed answer, today I had an other (bad) surprise with the GSA; the fuel gauge seems not to work anymore, my tank is full capacity filled and the display odometer indicates that there is no fuel The warning triangle stays lighted and the gauge indicate an empty tank.

    I phone to BMW Barcelona who immediatly tried to escape to their guarantee obligation asking me the date of purchase of the bike 22 of June 2009 and told me that the warrantee date has expired (only few days); just .imagine the kind of Service we could expect from them.

    According to them this is due to a deffective fuel gauge and this will cost me round 7500 TBH...

    You can easily understand my happyness around that. Even in Fraqnce, where, I think we have one of the worth service of the World, no one would dare to act so....

    This is it, the sad story of an unhappy BMW rider.
  11. My Sydney bike is an 08 GSA. The problem with the fuel guage is a thing called a fuel strip. It is an epidemic problem that is of course covered under warranty but not a recall issue. Also had the dreaded EWS issue caused by the antenna failure. Mine was within warranty so did not need to test the out of warranty handling process.
    Dealer called me yesterday regarding a recall on both front brake and clutch cables which although out of warranty are to be replaced FOC under a recall process.
    Other than it being a big cumbersome bugger, it is a joy to tour on and its suspension geometry blows sports bikes on twisty uneven roads.
  12. Sorry to hear of your fuel gauge. May I know if your GSA1200 was year 06/07 model? Those years' model had many complaints on faulty fuel gauge. Somehow the bugs were removed for 08 model onward. But I heard of a few cases (08 & 09 models) where the fuel gauge failed after the bike was left unused for a prolonged period with half tank full of fuel or more. I also read from various reports (I havent experienced it myself) that whenever the bike is parked unused for a period more than 30 days, it would be prudent to leave only minimal fuel in it. There were also reports in ADV.Rider where the owner after leaving the bike unused for more than 6 days couldnt start the engine due to bad fuel quality (ethanol) causing certain gummy residue blocking the injector heads. Lucky for the owner he got the FI replaced under warranty otherwise it would be a costly mistake.

    Usually BMW ought to consider your warranty claim for the fuel gauge under goodwill basis as yours expired only a few days outside the 2 yrs period. That is quite a shame honestly. But this is a small issue as the fuel gauge isnt accurate and neither is the information on liter/mileage ratio too. From my experience, air cooled flat twin ecu programming has a very lean fuel/air ratio and if you ride it not above 4.5k rpm (approximately 130km/hr), it can give you almost 22 kms/liter. Remember to add good fuel cleaner additives at least once a year or in your case whenever you start reusing it after a long storage.

    Coming from motox, motard, dualsports & sportbikes backgrounds for more than 20 yrs and having owned & replaced more than 10 bikes of various made, somehow if I am given only a choice of a single bike, it will be the GS. It is not a perfect bike, but it is one bike that can do almost all types of riding well, not excellent but overall well. And in this adventure dual sport bike category, I think nothing beat the GS in terms of comfort. It is the only bike which I can managed from Kuala Lumpur to Kanchanaburi in one day's time (1600kms). But it has weaknesses, so learn to know your bike better, do preventive maintenance and it will give your many happy returns.
  13. Re Gasohol, although the GS/GSA will run on 91 RON it requires 95 which in OZ has no ethanol so ethanol cannot be blamed for the failure. It's just a sh1t design. The problems did not stop with the 08 model.

    On the fuel strip failure, I would suggest you write to BMW Motorrad corporate and put your case to cover it under warranty given the global failures noted on many forums and the Thai reluctance to understand the concept of goodwill.
  14. That is most likely true Capt. I cant say for Thailand but in Malaysia, goodwill practices by BMW dealer is a selective process. The way I see it, it has much to do with lack of dealership competition. My unit came under worldwide recall for faulty brake hose but because my 2 years warranty period had expired 3 months prior to the announcement, I never got any calls from them despite earlier verbal assurances that I will be contacted for replacement. Anyway, I went to them for periodic services during the warranty period and thereafter almost everything I diy at home simply because the prices they charged for wear & tear parts are ridiculously high. Just as a comparison, recently my handle grips (non-heater type) cracked. BMW malaysia quoted me 6000 bahts for 2 rubber grips! I called Chan of M Teknik-Singapore and got a pair original BMW part as well in 3 days' time for 850 bahts and replaced them myself. I saved 5150 bahts!
  15. I think most of the inmates here at GT Rider have given very insightful views on their experiences with gasohol on bikes of various made. Some like Capt Slash has reported no issue at all with gasohol (ethanol) on his phantom but others have different experiences. I only ride up to the north of Thailand once a year for the past 6 years and cant really tell conclusively how gasohol will affect GS bikes, but from my limited experiences, gs1100 & 1200 dislike gasohol. The engine vibration is more intense, louder knocking, choking revs and causing higher temperature. That is why I resorted to benzine 91 (I think it's Ron 91 leaded gasoline) whenever in Thailand.

    In malaysia, we are lucky to have premium unleaded gasoline (ron 95 & 97) and no gasohol. So we never heard of any fuel related issues with GS bikes. But I am inclined to agree with you that the fuel gauge system is a rather substandard design.
  16. Hi Azoulay! You have my sympathy! If you remember my black 1150GS which you were thinking of buying - well after you checked it out the battery died on me. I replaced it with a new BMW battery costing 7,000 baht and then returned to the Philippines. When I got back a couple of months later the new battery was also dead despite the bike having been having been started in my absence to maintain it. When I took it back to Barcelona they simply said it was my fault and would not replace it. Fortunately, one of the mechanics there must have felt sorry for me and approached me as I was leaving and handed me an address written in thai, telling me I could get a better deal there for 1,600 baht. I took a taxi to the address, and sure enough the guy sold me a battery at that price which is still going strong today, I believe, some 4 years later!!! The mechanic told me that he personally would never consider a BMW battery. So much for BMW quality and service. Bon chance - Barry
  17. The bike needs to be ridden for the alternator to kick in to initiate the recharging effect on the battery. Merely starting the engine isnt sufficient. But then again, OEM battery from BMW, seriously not worth buying these days.
  18. BMW, Mercedes and VW, 3 german makes that trade on perceived super quality , but that was 20 years ago now no better than Japanese , italien ,korean ,british etc and the Service and quality statistics back that up Mercedes benz were recently found to have the 3 most unreliable cars in EU service and warranty records by dealer survey ,,,
  19. The problem with the batteries is that they are just shit (by monopoly of a Thai clan who owns the only factories in Thailand AND is the sole importeur of batteries in Thailand). All legalized by your national maffia. And as there is no customer protection by law here, they can get away with 90days warranty. Same goes for cars, although the warranty is 1 year and they say "O it is normal that your battery dies in 1 year, just buy new". For my car I did buy the most heavy battery I could buy (grey import from Japan) with 5 years written warranty (from the shop selling it).

    So next time you buy something ... check all the warranties and if you do not like it do not buy it. Or ask for better written warranty although I am afraid that BMW (and example Toyota or Ford) will not do that.

    Chang Noi
  20. Sorry to hear about your dead battery, Azoulay, that is real poor performance for any battery under any condition!
    I remember leaving my almost ten year old XS650 in a garage under cover for fifteen months. I didn't plan to leave it that long so I didn't disconnect the battery and left the gas in the tank. Upon return, I switched the ignition on just for fun and was very surprised to get a green light! I even pressed the starter button and the engine made one crank; I then kicked it and it started on the second kick! I couldn't believe it. I filled in 5L of gas I brought, the tires were half flat, but good enough to make it to the next gas station. Pumped up the tires and off I went! Did an extended highway trip that day and the battery recharged itself, the bike started every day after that. Maybe they don't make things that way anymore!
    Bad thing was I got stopped by the cops, my driver's license was expired, the tax was expired and I had no insurance. Total amount 550 $ US fine - in 1990!

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