BMW G450X - problems starting


180 replies to this topic
  • leblancs

Posted May 04, 2009 - 11:25 AM

#1

Had my bike almost a month now and it seems to have developed an attitude while trying to start it from cold. So much so, that I've run the battery down 5 different times and it can only be resurrected by a battery charger’s CRANK setting or jumping it from a car’s battery. In all cases, it’s either really hard to start or won’t start at all (unless via jumper cables). :excuseme:

Once the bike has started, it can easily be restarted anytime through a day’s riding….no problem at all. I’ve asked BMW Canada about this starting problem…..no reply from them yet.

The bike is now back in the shop for the second time in 4 days. First time, the tech checked spark plug, fuel line pressure, gas level, etc. Put everything back together and said it must have been a vapor lock and sent me on my way. Very next day the bike wouldn’t start without supplementing. :smirk:

Now the tech has suggested changing the engine oil to 0W30 as he thinks the oil may be too heavy for the current low temps around here (-5C to 7C). I can’t quite figure that kind of thinking out as the bike will turnover fine, it just doesn’t seem to spark to life. This kind of trial-and-error approach to diagnosing problems sure doesn’t leave me with the warm fuzzies for the local knowlege of this machine!

Anyone have similar problems and a resolution I can inform the tech of?

  • ibdad

Posted May 04, 2009 - 11:36 AM

#2

I started reading your post thinking it was similar to my issue but now I don't think they are related.

Sometimes when I hit the start button there is absolutely no response. I traced it down to a connector behind the headlight assembly (the one that comes from the start switch assembly). Whiggle this and it works. This has happened on my buddies G450X as well.

Like I said, probably not related to what you are seeing but it's a heads up in case you see it in the future.

Good luck!

  • rc46

Posted May 04, 2009 - 01:44 PM

#3

I have never had the problem you describe but I am pretty good at trouble shooting. The problem is that to trouble shoot, you need a lot more info or better yet need to see the bike. Never the less I will give it a shot.

If the problem only occurs when the bike is cold and you have ruled out a spark issue then its has got to be a fuel injection issue. If you have not ruled out spark then it would be easy to do so. Just pull the plug and plug it in the stick coil (cap) and hold it against the side of the cylinder head while pushing the start button. If you see spark you have ruled it out. If you dont see spark then you have an engine management issue and need to read the fault codes.

The G450x has 2 Throttle Body potentiometers. The second one controls the fast idle (like a choke) for cold starting. My guess is that one is out of adjustment. Did the tech read the fault codes using the GT1 computer? There is a special adapter for the GT1 you need to read the codes from the G450x that some dealers are too cheap to buy. The fault codes will tell you if either potentiomenters are out of spec and the GT1 will guide the tech on making the adjustments.

If you want to read your own fault codes there is a company in South Africa that produces a device that will hook up to your computer and allow you to do most of what the dealer can do. That is what I use.
http://www.hex.co.za/gs911/index.html

Bottom line is that if the tech is not reading the fault codes then he / she is just grasping at straws.

  • Ninja 1

Posted May 04, 2009 - 03:13 PM

#4

Coincidently, my G450X starter motor went on me on Friday, it turns but doesn't crank the engine. Bike's at the dealer for the work as i type. Will keep all up to date on this issue.

i also had some starting issues every so often aswell, more so when the bike was in gear and the clutch engaged than in neutral. Sometimes the starter motor not even cranking.

  • leblancs

Posted May 04, 2009 - 06:34 PM

#5

Thanks for all the replies. At least I now have something to go back to the tech with as I truly think he is just guessing. Plus, I looked into the GS911 hardware/software and I'll be ordering one for sure.

I'll post the outcome of this event when I get the bike back.

Thanks again all.

  • _dangeruss_

Posted May 04, 2009 - 06:52 PM

#6

Sounds like you battery isn't holding a charge, your strator may be gone, or faulty, if it's hard to start the first time, but then throughout the day of riding it starts no problem, could also be a shitty battery. Same thing happened to me i got a new battery and haven't had a problem so far.

  • diegox450

Posted May 04, 2009 - 06:59 PM

#7

Maybe your water temp sensor is failing to provide the ECU with the correct low temp readings. When hot it starts fine, but when cold, it doesn't have the correct air-fuel mix.

Good Luck

  • leblancs

Posted May 05, 2009 - 04:57 PM

#8

Well, the trajic saga of the dealer not being able to diagnose the condition continues.....

I dropped the bike off Monday morning (again) with great hopes of getting the starting issue solved. My hopes were later crushed as the service dept requested approval to change the oil to a lighter weight (as previously reported). I agreed....like a fool thinking that they actually knew what they were doing.

They kept the bike overnight wanting to make sure it would start in the morning (approx 6C this morning). I got a call earlier today saying the bike was ready for pickup. Great....I'm back in business I thought!

On the phone I voiced my concern in that if they had only changed the oil, they really didn't diagnose any condition as they would not have been able to determine if it was a fuel, spark, or other sensor that was causing the problem. I even passed along the information you guys supplied here, hoping that it would somehow make its way to the tech performing the work.

So, I show up at the dealer and ask the service dept if the tech has run the BMW diagnostic software. 15-20 minutes later (after asking the tech), the service fellow returns and confirms that no diagnostic s/w has been run. He says he was able to start the bike after a bit of prodding though.

Now I'm really pissed as it's the 3rd time I've had to come down to the dealership to address the same problem.

Mr. serviceguy then states that they now have the 2009 diagnostic s/w, but it sure didn't seem like they have a clue with what to do with it. I insist they run the s/w on the bike and refuse to accept it until I see the diagnostics report.

Mr. serviceguy is okay with that as they want to keep the bike until Friday anyways just to make sure everything is okay. He then tries to convince me that 'dirt bikes' are generally harder to start. I basically tell him he's full of sh_t as the 450 is EFI and it sure didn't have any problems starting the first couple of weeks that I had it.

Anyways....we're in violent disagreement, but unfortunately they are the only BMW dealer in town. I then insisted we call BMW Canada to resolve the issue and get the tech some sorely needed assistance. Lukewarm Yup, Yup, Yup was all I got from Mr. Service.

So, if anyone has any contact #'s for BMW, throw them at me because this lack of service and product knowledge is a f_cking disgrace to BMW. I love the bike....just hate the crap service.

Thanks

  • diegox450

Posted May 06, 2009 - 07:14 AM

#9

Here we have one G450X... she starts fine with temps below zero, the only problem I see is stalling when whipping the throttle off-idle, but no other. Have you tried keeping him in a warm place for the night and then see how starts?
If the starter can turn the engine with enough speed, it isn't an oil weight problem.
Also, if the problem is a failing temp sensor, is very difficult that a newbie tech with a new diagnosis software could detect it. You have to measure the sensor impedance with a multimeter across differents temps to see its readings, but for that you'll need the service manual, where it says the normal impedances of the sensors.

  • leblancs

Posted May 06, 2009 - 09:06 AM

#10

When I first got the bike (around Easter), it started fine with very little hesitation. When temps are a bit warmer (+10C), the bike will start but it still takes a few minutes.....yes, minutes...and there's no guarantee that it will start.

Once it starts, it will start all day long as long as it hasn't sat for too long (although I'm not sure how long that actually is).

I've just logged a call with BMW Canada (1-800-567-2691) Customer Service. VERY professional people and excellent service. They did not try to debate any of my comments or concerns, but just listened and suggested that I first call the service manager at the local dealership. If I cannot resolve the problem with him, I am to call BMW back and they will assist.

BMW prefers to give the dealers first chance to resolve issues. If this does not happen, they will take over the case and involve BMW Motorrad for technical support assistance.

My understanding was that all BMW service was to be performed with the BMW diagnostics software as it logs all service in the bike's memory. When I informed BMW that the tech had not even plugged it in yet, they were quite concerned.

BMW also stated that if a tech cannot resolve an issue, they are to log a case for BMW Motorrad to provide assistance. The tech has not done this either.

So, it's up to the dealer now. I'll keep y'all posted.

  • diegox450

Posted May 06, 2009 - 09:57 AM

#11

Keep us informed... I'm very interested at your problem, good luck !!

  • rc46

Posted May 06, 2009 - 01:22 PM

#12

Maybe your water temp sensor is failing to provide the ECU with the correct low temp readings. When hot it starts fine, but when cold, it doesn't have the correct air-fuel mix.

Good Luck


This sounds very probable to me. Good call!

  • ibdad

Posted May 06, 2009 - 06:04 PM

#13

There is a recall on the temperature sensor. I'm not sure if it is the wiring or the sensor itself. I hope your dealer looked up the recalls for your bike. If not, you may also be looking at new plastics. Some bikes have plastics that BMW feels are too brittle at low temperatures.

  • leblancs

Posted May 06, 2009 - 07:25 PM

#14

I finally had the opportunity of speaking with the service manager (after leaving 3 messages for him, and one for one of the dealership owners). Although he seemed like he wanted to help, he was very defensive regarding the serivce his techs performed.

He explained that for our location, BMW Motorrad had suggested changing to a lighter weight oil. The dealership put in 0W30, yet the minimum viscosity recommended in the manual states 5W40 for anything greater than -30C....I guess they didn't look at the manual.

The service manager further explained that these kind of bikes have very, very small batteries and it is easy to completely drain the battery during cold weather starts. He suggested I use the kick-start to start the bike in cold weather instead of the battery. I would have loved to see his face when I told him that the g450 doesn't have a kick-start!

We then quickly changed topic and focused on hooking the bike up to the BMW diagnostics system. He asked why I thought all the troubleshooting they had done so far hadn't been conducted with the assistance of the diagnotics s/w. I replied that I had asked one of his service people to check with the tech to see if the bike had been hooked up......which it had not been. I'm sure when he checks about the kick-starter, he'll also find out that the bike has not been hooked up!

I suggested that his tech work with BMW Motorrad to solve the problem as it has been 4 days and they still are no closer to any resolution. He said he would check with the tech again; then have the tech hook up the bike to the s/w again.....blah, blah, blah...

He also advised that it was quite reasonable for he and his people to respond the 'next day' given the time of year and how busy they were, and not expect immediate service.

I suggested that given the bike was only 3 weeks old; was in the shop for the second time in less than 3 days for the same issue; that his service people contacted me to pick the bike up when it had not been fixed; and that they have had the bike for 4 days.....he might want to make this a priority.

As far as getting these guys to check into factory recalls....I think that might confuse the hell out of them and I'd be out of action for even longer!

Oh, one other thing...I advised that I'd be carrying out most of the service myself once I get the GS911 software that had been mentioned here. He stated that I'd void my warranty and I'd have no way to actually prove the work was done, and at what hour interval. I suggested otherwise which will prompt him to check with BMW.

So, here ends another blissful day with the local BMW dealership. More to come....

  • diegox450

Posted May 07, 2009 - 06:44 AM

#15

There is a recall on the temperature sensor. I'm not sure if it is the wiring or the sensor itself. I hope your dealer looked up the recalls for your bike. If not, you may also be looking at new plastics. Some bikes have plastics that BMW feels are too brittle at low temperatures.


Yes !! The one wich is here, in Southern Patagonia got all his plastics swapped for free, by the dealer, because as you say, breaks easily at low temps. You should ask for it, too, you're at a low temp zone...

Greetings, Diego

  • leblancs

Posted May 07, 2009 - 07:26 AM

#16

Got a call back from the service manager at the dealership last night with a limp update. He said that their BMW Master Technician (pretty catchy handle) was going to have another look at the bike, and he had worked on the G450X's before.

Interesting comment as there was only one other G450 that had been sold in our city at the time I bought my bike.

The service manager finally admitted that they did not know what the problem was, but he needed a few days to get to the bottom of it.

I just left a message for the dealership and suggested they check the recall on the temp sensor and plastics as you guys have suggested. I'm sure they're just loving me :excuseme: More to come I'm sure!

  • mulgathumper

Posted May 07, 2009 - 01:54 PM

#17

Does the bike crank over fast when it won't start?
If not, I wonder why they don't just put a new battery in it!
If it cranks over fast, and won't start, well there must be some sort of problem in the EFI
I have nearly 70 hours and 2600km on my G450X and yet to have a flat battery. It starts instantly when cold (our temp range is 4 to 40 degrees Celcius). It sometimes takes about 1 second to start when very hot, and not in neutral, but starts easily none the less.
I did the headlight switch mod (so you can turn the headlight off) as soon as I got the bike, and this saves the battery a lot.
As someone posted above, all enduro race bikes have a tiny battery, and you will only get about 10-15 seconds of cranking before they are flat.
As a comparison, my wife has flattened the battery on her 6 week old WR250F 3 times now, when trying to start it hot without using the hot start lever.
Good luck with getting your problem solved. I'd be pissed off BIG time if a new bike played-up on me.
I don't know what happens in Canada, but over here any brand other than BMW and Husky HAVE ZERO warranty after you wheel it out of the dealer.
It's a pity that your dealer isn't up to speed with the G450X. The guy I bought mine from is excellent. They have sold a lot of these bikes, and some of the salesman actually own one themselves, and organize ride days etc.

  • leblancs

Posted May 07, 2009 - 02:19 PM

#18

In Canada, the g450 comes with a 3 year, unlimited kilometers warranty like another other BMW bike I guess.

The bike will crank over fast when trying to start, at least until the battery dies. The battery will easily last for at least 60 or more seconds of 15 second burts of starting. It might even last longer but eventually gives up.

One of the guys I ride with has a KTM 450 and he can flatten his battery after only a few seconds using his electric start.

I've found that once I've started the G450 and ran it for a bit, it will start right up with no problems, although it may still take a few seconds.

No further word from the dealer today.....stay tuned!

  • mulgathumper

Posted May 07, 2009 - 05:19 PM

#19

In Canada, the g450 comes with a 3 year, unlimited kilometers warranty like another other BMW bike I guess.

The bike will crank over fast when trying to start, at least until the battery dies. The battery will easily last for at least 60 or more seconds of 15 second burts of starting. It might even last longer but eventually gives up.

One of the guys I ride with has a KTM 450 and he can flatten his battery after only a few seconds using his electric start.

I've found that once I've started the G450 and ran it for a bit, it will start right up with no problems, although it may still take a few seconds.

No further word from the dealer today.....stay tuned!


WOW... you are cranking for 15 seconds and it doesn't start?
Man, something is very wrong there!!
I assume you are NOT giving it any throttle when you crank it. Don't touch the throttle at all, just crank it until it starts and idles. If you roll on any throttle at all, it will be hard to (or won't) start

  • leblancs

Posted May 07, 2009 - 06:28 PM

#20

WOW... you are cranking for 15 seconds and it doesn't start?
Man, something is very wrong there!!
I assume you are NOT giving it any throttle when you crank it. Don't touch the throttle at all, just crank it until it starts and idles. If you roll on any throttle at all, it will be hard to (or won't) start


I've tried both no throttle, and a small bit of throttle, both to no avail. I can't try anything right now though as I still haven't got my bike back. :excuseme:

Time to pay the dealer a visit tomorrow and raise some more hell. :smirk:





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