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"K12S/KR" Technical Q&A K1200S/R Technical Questions/Answers

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  #1  
Old 12-04-2016, 04:39 PM
Mason Mason is offline
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Poor running - Ignition Coil replacement - Solved!

Bike: 2006 K1200S

Symptoms: Started running poorly out of the blue one day. Feels like engine running out out of fuel, lurches, backfiring and "fluttering" sound from the exhaust, every so often or at certain steady throttle hits the "sweet spot" but then starts running poorly again.

Solution:
1. Ran the CPU analyzer at local shop - NO faults. This rules out any identifiable issues so now onto the ignition coils which seems to be the predominant issue with these models for these symptoms.
2. I bought 2 new Beru coils from EME - $119 each - much better pricing than I found anywhere else. My understanding is that these are the exact same coils used by BMW.

Methodology: Since I couldn't identify which coil or coils might be bad I decided to try 2 at a time. I would install the new coils in #1 and #3 and try it. If that didn't work I would install the coils in #2 and #4 based on the results - might move over the new coils or simply replace the old coils in #2 and #4 with the old ones from #1 and #3.

Note: I have read one can determine which cylinder(s) is not firing by using an infrared temp tool on the exhaust header to see which one(s) are running cool - but I do not have this tool and didn't really want to buy it. My way probably took a bit longer but I enjoy wrenching and figuring stuff out so it was not an issue.

Install: Need to get at the ignition coils at the valve cover. NO need to remove the radiator completely.
1. Remove the side panels.
2. Remove the belly pan.
3. Remove the radiator cowl and the screen - 4 torx screws at each corner from the front.
4. Cover the back of the front fender with a rag to prevent scratching it as you do the following steps.
4. Drain the coolant by removing the radiator and reserve tank caps. Place a good sized drain pan under the drain cock at the left lower corner of the radiator. Unscrew the cock. Use a clean container if you want to reuse the coolant. Drain with the bike on the center stand or rear stand (bike straight up) and then drain again with the bike on the side stand - more coolant will come out.
5. Remove the small rubber hose at the rear of the radiator cap - secured with a screw clamp. Put that screw clamp aside so that it doesn't fall down where you can't find it.
6. Remove the lower hose from the bottom right of the radiator that goes back to the engine block - use a pliers to remove the clamp at the engine block only. Leave it in place on the radiator.
7. NO need to disconnect the small wires on the right side back of the radiator.
8. Now go to the left side and remove the 3 screws holding on the flange at the water pump.
9. Using the pliers undo the clamp from the hose running from the flange that attaches to the radiator. Remove this one at the radiator - just squeeze it and move it back on the hose to allow it to come free.
10. Gently work the flange out of the water pump and pull the hose off the radiator - set it aside.
11. Remove the 2 screws the secure the radiator - 2 torx screws at the top of the radiator - we will NOT be removing those clips to slide the radiator off - we need to remove the entire screw - and catch the small washers and put then aside. NO need to remove the bottom clip from the stay that runs back to the engine block.
12. Now the radiator will drop down enough to provide access to the top of the engine - you have protected the fender with a rag and you gently pull down the radiator - it will hang there okay or you can prop it up off the floor with something.
13. Now remove the flat black plastic cover above the valve cover - you need to work it off over the "X" bleeder screw that comes thru the hole on the left side - but it should come out easily working it to the right.
14. Now the valve cover is exposed - remove that breather tube thing that is pressed into 3 holes right near the ignition coils - put your fingers under the bar and use the frame as a lever with your hands - gently pull it out. If you need to you can gently pry with a long screwdriver or similar. Let it hang there but just pull it down out of the way.
15. You now have access to the ignition coils - remove the small connector by either pushing down on the small hole gently with a screw driver and pushing the connector up and back off the coil - or gently hold up the small tab while gently pulling off the connector. Key word: GENTLY.
16. Use the coil puller tool - I bought a great one from EME - it fits over the slots in the side of the coil and you can either muscle the coil out by pulling up or it also has a small hole to insert a screwdriver and get more leverage. I had one or 2 coils in which the grooves were buggered and could not get a grip with the tool. For these I used a vise grips with duct tape on the jaws - carefully adjust them to just squeeze on the sides the coil top - you don't want to crush it - now wedge them up by leveraging the vice grips against something placed on the valve cover - be gentle and go slow - they will come off eventually. At this time you can also pull the spark plugs if required.

Results:
1. As I wrote above - I used a "hit and miss" method and chose cylinders #1 and #3 to try the new coils first.
2. I installed the new coils - EME included a little packet of lubricant to smear a small dab inside the spark plug rubber portion and I also used just a little bit on the top grommet to give ease of insertion and later removal.
3. After ignition coils are installed reinsert that breather bar into the 3 hold in the valve cover - it should press fit - just work it in evenly until all the way seated.
4. Now reverse the steps above - be sure to connect all the hoses and clamps. In my case I left off the belly pan and the radiator cowling because I was going to take it for a test ride.
5. I refilled the coolant and bled the system using manual method (as posted elsewhere) - I found this method very straightforward and easy to do once I got the hang of it. But one can always use the vacuum method and tool if desired.
6. As I was bleeding the radiator I could already tell that the problem was NOT fixed - due to "fluttering" and uneven running and an occasional backfire. But I took the bike for a test ride anyway - sure enough, no luck - ran exactly as before.
7. Okay - one more time - all of the above - this time it only took me about 20 minutes to get back in there.
8. Because I had eliminated #1 and #3 as the problem I decided to use the old coils from #1 and #3 and put them into #2 and #4.
9. This time I could tell immediately that the problem was fixed! Smooth running, no backfires or fluttering - totally different! Finished bleeding the radiator - took her out for a ride and total success! Runs smooth as a baby's bottom.
10. Now to clean up and replace radiator screen and cowling, belly pan, and side panels.
11. Got my baby back and running sweet!

I hope this will help other K12 owners do this job quickly and efficiently.
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2016, 06:16 PM
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Beech Beech is online now
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Re: Poor running - Ignition Coil replacement - Solved!

Glad you got it running. Would have been an expensive job at the dealer. Please follow up if your bleed technique held up. I hesitate recommending anything other that factory technique to people in fear of problems. Do the EME pencil coils look the same as OEM. I do know they work and are a fine replacement.
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  #3  
Old 12-07-2016, 01:20 AM
Mason Mason is offline
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Re: Poor running - Ignition Coil replacement - Solved!

Hi beech - the Beru coils have a silver body and came with the grommet already attached. I have also used Beru coils from EME with great success on my 2004 R1150RT - on those it was necessary to switch over grommets from the old ones but it is easy to do.

I don't know if its taboo to mention EME but they have great stuff at great prices and they ship fast. I get all my tune-up stuff there and have also bought some great electronic components for the charging system for my Guzzi.

As for the radiator coolant and manual bleeding - I ran the bike through town in stop and go traffic when I took it to the shop and it ran at 4 bars showing on the temp gauge - same as before I worked on it when I rode it for the past year - never even a hint of overheating.

Once I got the hang of it - it is very simple to do it that way. I have now done it 3 times - the main thing is just watching the temp gauge and monitoring things as the bike warms up and you proceed with bleeding - eventually you see all coolant running thru the drain hose you have attached to the bleed nipple. 2nd time I noticed the temp gauge going up fast during the warm-up. I shut it down and checked the radiator and it was low - so I simply topped it up and then it all went fine. Be sure the reserve tank is also at the proper level. Both caps on the radiator and the reserve tank should be snug during the bleeding. I also let it sit overnight (afterwards) on the side stand and check again the next morning. I won't blame anybody who doesn't want to trust it but I feel fine with it - and I agree with the comments posted by DOA on this topic.

Cheers!
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:19 AM
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Re: Poor running - Ignition Coil replacement - Solved!

Thanks for the detailed information. Everyone needs alternatives. I also like EME, thay do a great service for the riding world keeping parts reasonable. I once called them to discuss an airhead alternator rotor. I called back the next day to order one. The guy said it was already in the mail as he knew I needed one! I gave him my credit card number then. I'll always remember that.
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Old 10-06-2017, 02:33 PM
chilleary chilleary is offline
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Re: Poor running - Ignition Coil replacement - Solved!

I have the exact same problem and symptoms. Thanks for the awesome write-up. Just ordered 4 coils from EME. I can do the work myself. WOW! I am continually amazed at the people and help on this site. Hands-down the best BMW support site I have seen.
I can only hope I can help someone like all of you have helped me so far. (I have a 2005 K1200S so I NEED alot of help! )
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