Dying Fuel Pump(?) - BMW K1600 Forum : BMW K1600 GT and GTL Forums
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-20-2019, 11:08 PM Thread Starter
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Dying Fuel Pump(?)

When winter finally relented enough to do some riding, I noticed that the Nightowl was a bitch to start and would occasionally turn on the check engine light. Still, with repeated pressing of the starter switch, the bike eventually would start and run, but not very well. I sounded like it was missing (at least one cylinder not firing) a lot, even on idle but the behavior was not consistent.

I chalked it up to the near full tank of gas (albeit treated) sitting in the tank over the long winter and gumming things up. On a ride to get the parts moving before an 18k service (38k total) the missing problem continued but remained inconsistent. I got it back to the garage and started the 18k service.

During the 18k service, I drained the gas and pulled the fuel pump/sender module out of the tank because I needed to fix a problem with a flakey fuel gauge that would go empty for a moment and reset to the original level (thread on that subject here). During the fuel sender refurb, I didn't notice any gummy residue at the bottom of the tank or on the fuel pump strainer. I reasoned that the gas was just skunky and the problem would go away when I put a full tank of fresh gas in the tank.

Then the plot thickened. My pre-18k service GS911 auto scan showed the following harbinger of doom:

Code:
21F5E2 : Fuse activated for Electric fuel pump, overload
Currently present : NO
Engine warning light (MIL) : NO
Frequency count : 5
Logistic(Healing) count : 40
..Fault Code History : 
....Record number : 1
....Odometer : 38546.7 mls
....ABS time : 7049529
....Electric fuel pump voltage : 1.95 V
....Engine speed : 255.0 rpm
....Battery voltage : 10.22 V
....Time since engine start : 0.00 
....Record number : 2
....Odometer : 38546.7 mls
....ABS time : 7049594
....Electric fuel pump voltage : 1.93 V
....Engine speed : 159.5 rpm
....Battery voltage : 10.22 V
....Time since engine start : 0.00 
....Record number : 3
....Odometer : 38546.7 mls
....ABS time : 7052623
....Electric fuel pump voltage : 1.96 V
....Engine speed : 988.0 rpm
....Battery voltage : 11.47 V
....Time since engine start : 0.10
This led me to believe that the hard starting was probably due to the fuel pump sticking at startup and drawing too much current. All the recorded errors were right in a row (time-wise) and all were before the engine was running. I figured (hoped) that fresh gas and more riding would free up the pump and solve the problem.

Nope.

I just finished my first day's ride down to the Fontana Getaway (a week early, but I'm attending a conference this week on the way) and the bike, even after a fresh tank of premium gas, continues to run like crap. Here's the pattern of behavior that I noticed during ~300 miles of riding:
  • It starts really hard cold and starts a little easier warm, but still requires multiple start attempts to get running.
  • It will miss a bit on idle with the miss persisting for 10-15 seconds before going away. The interval is not constant and is exacerbated by high electrical loads like heated grips/seat/clothing.
  • In casual riding, the engine runs OK, but you can feel when it starts missing. The length of the missing varies.
  • It will cruise at highway speeds OK, but the miss still comes and goes.
  • When the tank was down it its last gallon or two, the miss condition got much worse.
  • When you attempt more spirited riding, leaning on the throttle almost always brings the miss condition. If you lean on the throttle for too long or open it roo abrubtly, the engine dies until you close the throttle and open it again. Even babying it during passes on a two-lane road was a serious challenge. Accelerating up hills? Forget about it. It's worth noting that I never experienced a backfire when the engine resumed after these temporary "die" conditions.

OK, so I'm thinking fuel starvation. Perhaps the pump is running, but not at full pressure. Perhaps the pump only runs in start/stop cycles. If it were a coil, I would expect the unburned gas to backfire in the exhaust when the engine came back to life after temporarily dying on hard acceleration. I happen to have my laptop with me (for the aforementioned conference) and I pulled up the fuel pressure test procedure in RSD, which indicates a desired fuel pressure of 3.5 bar +/- 0.5 bar, so anywhere between 3-4 bar. When I had the GS911 monitoring the bike in my garage after the 18k service, I think I remember seeing a reported fuel pressure of 12-15 psi, which is nowhere near the expected 43-58psi (converted from 3-4 bar). Having said that, the fuel pressure test procedure uses an actual pressure gauge as opposed to reading the output of the pressure sensor on the bike; perhaps the on-board fuel pressure sensor isn't very accurate(?).

So I guess I need a fuel pump... and tomorrow is Sunday... Easter Sunday... so nothing will be open.

Wonderful.

Tomorrow morning I'll hook up the GS911 before the day's ride and get a firm reading on the fuel pressure from the on-bike sensor. After today, I'm fairly confident that I can coax it another 300 miles to Charlottesville, VA for the conference.

So, how to fix this? It appears that I have two options:

#1 - The closest BMW dealer is down in Roanoke, VA so I can't get work done for the four days I'm in Charlottesville. Also, it doesn't look like BMW sells the fuel pump by itself, just the entire flange and fixture (but without the fuel sender; that would have to be transplanted). Assuming that the dealer has the part in stock, it's not a very complex job to switch it (I could do it in the parking lot if they didn't have time, assuming a near-empty tank). Even if they don't have it in stock, they may be able to get it by Friday. There are also dealers in Ashville, NC and Knoxville, TN, both (sorta) on the way to Fontana.

#2 - According to the EME site for the K1600 fuel system, there are compatible pumps from EnDuraLast and Bosch that I could, conceivably, two-day ship to my hotel (probably along with a new strainer and rubber mount bushings) and swap it out one evening during the conference. A search around the forum found at least one other forum member who replaced their fuel pump via this method.

I'm going to try option #2, hoping that EME (or some other supplier) has the required pump in stock and can get it to me in time. That would be the most direct, and coincidentally least expensive, solution.

The good news is that the refurbished fuel level sender didn't flake out at all today. I took some photos of that refurb effort and will post a link to that story when I get a chance.

Questions:
  • Based on the behavior and observations, does anybody have other possible culprits that I need to check?
  • Anybody in Charlottesville, VA (or nearby) that wants to help me with the swap? I have the tools to get to and remove the fuel pump, but the Bosch pump apparently needs to have a standoff boss cut off before installation; I don't pack a Dremel tool on trips.
  • Can somebody with a healthy bike hook up their GS911 and get a reading on the fuel pressure from the engine module? I'd like to see if a healthy bike reads significantly higher that what I'm seeing.

Alas, life is an adventure.

Ghost

Nightowl - 2015 K1600GTL
Cruiser - 1992 HD FLSTC
Vector - 2006 HD VRSCR
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 05:39 AM
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Sounds like you have the essence of the problem; sorry I can't help with fuel pressure readings, but the usual clue is just to listen in to the fuel main charging up when you switch on. If it runs on incessantly, or fails to even commence, then you have confirmation.

However, after a winter lay-up I would always want to consider battery condition too. Higher than normal voltage drops at start-up can create issues with any modern bike, especially those with canbus systems.
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 05:50 AM
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I brought one of these pumps from ebay > https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/FOR-BMW-K...8AAOSwgQ9Vwhw0.


Things to note
The diameter of the supplied pump was slightly bigger than the original. I split the length of the holder with a junior hack saw and then used cable ties to tighten in place


The rubber seal has to be installed in the tank before refitting, mine pulled through as i removed the pump, and caused protracted thinking before i realised what was causoing a problem reinstalling


The strainer is a bugger to remove, it is a push fit but no information in the supplied kit and the retaining circlip

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post #4 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 06:57 AM
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The GS911wifi showed no bad codes? If your bike threw an engine light there should be a trouble code...

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post #5 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 08:17 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnert View Post
The GS911wifi showed no bad codes? If your bike threw an engine light there should be a trouble code...
The only related code is:
21F5E2 : Fuse activated for Electric fuel pump, overload

The other unreleated/historical/fixed codes from the pre-service reading were:

B7F819 : Sirius aerial, short circuit
I get these from time to time. This one was historical. The Sat radio works fine anyway.

80401D : Tank switch error
This was a historical code related to the keyless opening of gas cap, usually due to me opening the latch too quickly.

800E83 : Horn, open circuit
I have an aftermarket horn wired through a PDM60. The only load on the original horn circuit a trigger circuit into the PDM60, which draws only a tiny amount of current. Consequently, this one is expected every time I use the horn.

800EA9 : Fuel level sensor, open circuit or short circuit to battery positive
This is the flakey fuel sender problem, which I fixed during the recent 18k service (write-up to follow when I get the time).

I'll do another read this morning before I start my ride and will report on those too. Need to eat breakfast first.

Ghost

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Cruiser - 1992 HD FLSTC
Vector - 2006 HD VRSCR
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by squibb View Post
However, after a winter lay-up I would always want to consider battery condition too. Higher than normal voltage drops at start-up can create issues with any modern bike, especially those with canbus systems.
If the starter wasn't spinning strongly, I'd definitely consider the battery as an option. The problem persists during the running condition, with good voltage even with all the lights on and electrics (grips/seat/clothing) all running. I don't think the battery is the culprit.

Ghost

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post #7 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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I did a fresh scan and monitor this morning with the GS911. We now have additional evidence that the fuel pump is toast.

I hooked up the GS911, and attempted to start the bike. It catches momentarily and dies, lighting the check engine light. I attempt to start it again and this time it runs with the check engine light still lit.

I do a scan and the only code is the oh-to-familiar:
21F5E2 : Fuse activated for Electric fuel pump, overload

This time I notice that the MIL light for this code is ON and the coded condition is currently active.

I do a live monitor of the engine controller and noted two interesting pieces of information:
Fuel pressure: 12.85 PSI
Fuel pump: OFF

That fuel pressure is below normal atmospheric pressure (14.7 PSI), which makes sense if the fuel pump is dead since the fuel rail only sees the weight of the gas in the tank above it and the injectors are subtracting from that when theyíre open. It also follows that the problem gets worse as the tank gets closer to empty and thereís less pressure exerted by the fuel in the tank.

I shut off the bike, cycled the ignition, and restarted it. This time thereís no check engine light. The fuel pump shows as ON but the pressure is still below 13 PSI.

Conclusion? The bike can run with a dead fuel pump, just not very well and only if you have at least a couple of gallons in the tank (the more the better). Iíll proceed to requisition a replacement fuel pump and try to swap it out in Charlottesville, VA this week.

If you live in/near Charlottesville and want to help out, let me know. I could use some help siphoning and storing the gas in the tank during the swap and the replacement pump needs a small boss cut off before installation (I donít pack a Dremel on trips).

Ghost

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post #8 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 10:10 AM
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Can't help you.

But I think I have a fuel pump issue as well. I seem to only have this problem on starting or idling. It'll just die in traffic, then re-start with this issue. Can usually shut down and re-start and it runs fine for a while. On the highway it runs like a top. Was in the shop and they thought it was a "throttle valve." Fixed that and still having the same problem. Now they're talking about the fuel pump. We'll see.

I've only had the bike since December (albeit almost 8000 miles), but in the shop about once a month is starting to confirm my worst fears about BMW. Hopefully they get this sorted out.

...and hopefully OP will get his issue sorted as well.

Houston, Texas
Formerly 2018 K1600 Grand America
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 10:27 AM
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open the fuel filer and listen for air intake when stopped, can be a trapped vent

R80/7RT / K75RT / R1200RT / K1600 GTL - in the U.K.
Also Rans ( Honda C90 & CD175 & CX500 & ST1100, Suzuki GT250 (J) & X7, Puch Maxi), Coveted Honda CBX, Yamaha Martini XS 1300 & FS1E, Kawasaki Z900, Z1000 & Z650, Quasar, Suzuki GT750
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-21-2019, 12:57 PM
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It would be useful to see what the return volume is just as a means to verify an issue with the pump. Although being on the road that's probably not possible.

Good luck with the fix.

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