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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I've noticed something strange. When I'm under load, giving it throttle (being at high speed on motorways, uphill, and with passenger and cases worsens the problem), I get some clinky rattling noises that come up and are clearly audible (probably transmitted through the front of the bike/windshield - that bike does that, hence the noisy front tyre). It sounds like rattling screws in the engine. Needless to say it is not reassuring!
All works superbly otherwise, but it just sounds wrong. Service has been 3000km ago, valve clearance ever so slightly ajusted, and all the rest was fine and done properly. It doesn't seem like there is a screw lose (other than mine!), but that's the closest description I can get to.

Has anyone already encountered that problem? Any clue?

Bike is a 2014, 25000km, and otherwise in superb condition.

I need to find some sort of way of recording it ideally.

Thanks,

Tony
 

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Senile Member on 2006 GS
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Everything you describe here sounds like pre-ignition (aka "spark rattle"), which could come from running in too low a gear (not necessarily lugging the engine, but running it too slowly for the combination of load and throttle), or running low octane gas. Of course the GS's electronics are supposed to compensate for such things, so if it's not throwing a fault code you might have a failing sensor (not yet failed enough to fail a self-test).

Or, you might just be hearing a perfectly normal sound. "Spark rattle" is not necessarily the same thing as detonation. The old Evolution Harleys had a very pronounced rattle at mid-throttle under load, and it was perfectly normal--I had a couple of them that did this and ran well over 100K miles without the slightest problems. The BMW engine management system is far more sophisticated than the old "V-fire III," tries to run the engine at its most efficient timing, and that's usually advanced to a point just shy of pre-ignition. Have you had a tech listen to it? Is it a new development?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Everything you describe here sounds like pre-ignition (aka "spark rattle"), which could come from running in too low a gear (not necessarily lugging the engine, but running it too slowly for the combination of load and throttle), or running low octane gas. Of course the GS's electronics are supposed to compensate for such things, so if it's not throwing a fault code you might have a failing sensor (not yet failed enough to fail a self-test).

Or, you might just be hearing a perfectly normal sound. "Spark rattle" is not necessarily the same thing as detonation. The old Evolution Harleys had a very pronounced rattle at mid-throttle under load, and it was perfectly normal--I had a couple of them that did this and ran well over 100K miles without the slightest problems. The BMW engine management system is far more sophisticated than the old "V-fire III," tries to run the engine at its most efficient timing, and that's usually advanced to a point just shy of pre-ignition. Have you had a tech listen to it? Is it a new development?
Thanks for the feedback. I haven't yet had a tech listen to it, I fear I may have to soon. I noticed it a few months ago, then more on the last long trip early May, but yesterday it had clearly gotten worse. It doesn't sound right and it seems to be degrading.
Fuel is European unleaded 95, which is the octane recommended by the manufacturer in their book of words. I'll give it some higher octane, but it should be fine running on lower octane still.
Indeed I've noticed it doesn't like being under load at low revs, but yesterday that was happening when I was at a stable 130kmh and then suddenly giving it full throttle. Don't remember exactly but that's at least 4000RPM I seem to recall, which really shouldn't be an issue for that (or any other) twin! And strangely things seemed worse on the motorway, i.e. at relatively high speeds.

What could this possibly be!
 

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Twisting the throttle to full load at 4K RPM will, IMHO, put a load on the engine large enough to cause pinging/pre-ignition. At least it will on my '13 wethead. In that situation I'd downshift to 5th before cranking to full throttle.

Also: I don't think the wethead has the ping sensors found on earlier models.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. Bolts are tight, and I can't see anything that is visibly lose.
As for the noise, it does it even if I don't give it full throttle, and at 130kmh I'm mistaken I'm more likely to be around 5000RPM. It sounds a vaguely like the dreaded right cylinder camshaft clicking that some have had, only the sounds are not as constant, more variable, and not to one side of the engine. The noises come from the front end.
I'll try to duck-tape my cellphone somewhere shielded from the wind and attempt a recording.

As for fuel, I'd be surprised if that is related, as it's the recommended octane! Will try higher octane anyhow, but that doesn't exist in most countries where the GS is sold. If it is pinging, then could something else than fuel be triggering it?

I'll take it for a spin this weekend, try to get some recordings, and bring it to the dealership. But I'm not sure if the noises will be obvious, they are exacerbated with a passenger, speed, and general load.
 

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Twisting the throttle to full load at 4K RPM will, IMHO, put a load on the engine large enough to cause pinging/pre-ignition. At least it will on my '13 wethead. In that situation I'd downshift to 5th before cranking to full throttle.

Also: I don't think the wethead has the ping sensors found on earlier models.
Really? Wonder why they'd take them off. I can think of plenty of places where it's hard, if not impossible, to get high octane gas. And I'm not talking about the middle of Asia or Africa; I'm talking about large swathes of Iowa and Nebraska corn country where the pumps offer four different "grades" of gas, all 87 AKI and varying only by the amount of ethanol that's adulterating them.


As for the noise.. coming from the front of the engine and getting louder under load? OK, let's not say the "B" word... Also note that the clutch is on the front of the LC engine, so if something's starting to go there it could be getting noisy. This one's a head-scratcher...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi all,

I haven't ridden the bike since that last worrying occurrence, struggling to find the time! The plan is to have a go this weekend though, has to be done before à long tour of the alps. I've done a lot of reading on the matter, and thinking, and I've been wondering if this couldn't just be a bad batch of fuel. Not sure how often that happens, but pinging does sound like the most likely cause, especially as the sound is under load, that seem to be a typical symptom.

So the plan is to ride a bit, try to record the sound on the onboard cam, and swiftly fill her up with some high octane SP98 and see if the noises stop. Will be riding solo, so should get less "load" and therefore noises, but that should hopefully be enough to give me an idea.

Will keep you posted!

Tony
 

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I get all sorts of windshield rattles that could be construed as engine noises. I just ordered new mount assemblies from China. My rubbers and plastics have blown away onto some dusty trail along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hi all,

Been for a ride solo last weekend, and tried provoking the noises. I could, but not nearly as much as whilst riding two up with luggage. I gave the camera recording a try, it is hard to spot the noises, they come out quite faint on the recording. Will give a go at uploading it though, at some point (time is a real issue at the moment).
However, once I refuelled with SP98, after emptying the tank, the only time I'd get a weird noise would be when I would brutally wack open the throttle, and just in the initial surge. Hardly the usual, nor the recommended, driving style. Under load, no problems and normal / sporty driving.

The real test comes soon, with the bike fully loaded, but I'm optimistic and hoping that this was indeed just a bad batch of fuel. Also hope the pinging, if that was it, didn't damage anything on the long run. In the future I'll stick to SP98 while it exists...

Thanks for your replies, will keep you posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well, not good news here. On vacation and problem is definitely still there, just hardly noticeable whilst riding solo. It seems to occur in the following conditions :
- bike is warm (in fact, it possibly heats up more than it used to - but that remains to e checked)
- fully loaded with passenger triggers the problem
- it actually happens around 4000rpm,not before.
- it happens especially during hill climbing (ie, with passenger, under load)
It sounds like a chain rattling against something or something similar.
What an earth could this be ?
No other abnormal symptoms. Oil level is fine, and fuel has been changed many times to sp98 high octane stuff. Pinging is not the issue. Also the sound doesn't match.
What could be slack or loose ? The bike only has 25000km but of course out of warranty and the local dealership is just awful.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi all,

Here goes with the video :

https://vimeo.com/285977149
Password is the bike brand in upper case.

You can hear the weird clangy noises at 20 seconds, and at another occurrences, every time around 4000RPM.

Any ideas before I take to the dreaded garage?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well this one seems to have everyone baffled! The mechanics too. Called a good mechanic, says he has no clue. He had worked on the bike and there was no camshaft wear or anything that could explain the noise. All there is at the front is the water pump and clutch so he is somewhat baffled.
Then went to the dealership. First thing they asked was if it sounded like metal being fatigued/stretched, which is a sign of a clutch problem, but that doesn't sound like it to me. They tried the bike, albeit on a short ride, couldn't reproduce the noise. They didn't hear anything abnormal. There again, I think the sound comes when the engine is nice and warm, possibly wasn't sufficient. Anyhow their conclusion was "drive and don't worry about it".
Time will tell, will let you know if this evolves in anyway. Thanks for your help.
Tony
 

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Hi, I'm interested in knowing what it takes to resolve your issue. I have a 2017 GS that sounds like it it coming apart after it gets warmed up. Kind of sounds like marbles bouncing around a box. I have been told that these boxer engines tend to make noises that are not prominent in other type engine configurations. It could be that what the dealer told you was completely "normal" for this engine, don't know.

One thought...

Have you noticed any metallic shavings or sliver in your oil when you change it?

Also, it is strange that the noise is more prominent when riding two up than when solo. I see why you are confused.

Please keep us informed as to your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi, I'm interested in knowing what it takes to resolve your issue. I have a 2017 GS that sounds like it it coming apart after it gets warmed up. Kind of sounds like marbles bouncing around a box. I have been told that these boxer engines tend to make noises that are not prominent in other type engine configurations. It could be that what the dealer told you was completely "normal" for this engine, don't know.

One thought...

Have you noticed any metallic shavings or sliver in your oil when you change it?

Also, it is strange that the noise is more prominent when riding two up than when solo. I see why you are confused.

Please keep us informed as to your progress.
Hi,

Yes will keep the forum updated with any news. Haven't the ridden the bike much lately, and generally don't ride that much, hence the slow progress on that issue :smile2: My best guess is that the noise comes up behind the windshield. Doesn't seem to be from the cylinders. But there again it's hard to judge those things, and it's hard to stick your ear to the engine whilst driving. At the front are two main elements I can think of : water pump and clutch. But no idea how those would sound like a slack chain bouncing about.

Thanks for the idea it's a good thing to keep in mind. For the next service I'll take it to my favourite mechanic and ask him to check the oil for metallic shavings. Unlikely, but best check.

I know this engine sounds weird at best of times, but that noise seems particularly odd. The earplugs will fix it :grin2:
 

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Body Noise

Hi,
I get a lot of noises from the front of the bike (2017 Exclusive); some of it is tyre noise, but I think that there is also buzz from the plastic bits around the front of the bike. I need to do more research.
 

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Did anyone ever figure this out ?
my bike has the exact same noise from the front of the engine, coming up between the forks ! it sounds horrible.
 

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Likewise, keen to know if anyone’s hacked a solution to reduce the racket coming up the steering well.
Took a 2019 African Twin DCT for a test ride, today. The same Bridgestone A41’s although 21” and no where near the front end noise of the 1250GS. Tires alone are not the cause.
I reckon it is the type of plastic BMW uses, the concave design of the fairing and fender that funnels the sound to the riders’ helmet and all the nooks and crannies of plastic that amplify the sound.
In the old days, we used to bog holes with foam to stop mud from building up. Worth considering...or maybe just switch alliances.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hi all,

7000km later, and the problem is still there really.
The symptoms : something is rattling, sounds like something clinging in the engine. It has gotten louder and louder. It happens only on load, especially uphill fully loaded. It is not a regular noise. And interestingly, now it doesn't do it all of the time. At times, it doesn't happen at all.

I have no clue would could possibly be causing that. last weekend I rode 400km without a single occurrence in the day, and then, it started up again. I've tried fuel changes, oil change, valve ajustment is correct... And it's more or less loud.

I've checked screws, all sorts of things. Really, I'm baffled. I just keep on riding... Hopefully the noise will just end up disappearing (I thought it had this weekend, then it came back, but less pronounced).

Will keep you posted... But I'd love to know : what possibly could it be? I've ruled out small-end, big end, piston slap, pinging... Although I'm no expert none of those seem to coincide. Would the lose clutch noise coincide with the symptom? On load? Surely can't be a cam chain tensioner? Or could it? Does this thing has push rods that can come lose? Again, would that make sense? I'm open to any suggestions.

Apart from the odd noise I try to avoid (I go easy on her when the noise appears), it runs a fanstactically well...
 
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