Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

1998 BMW R1100R has no spark

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by karingaa, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. My bike is a 1998 BMW R1100R 75 year anniversary edition with ABS breaks and about 38,000 miles on it. This is my first BMW and I love the ride, but I have had one issue after another since I bought it about 8 months ago. My latest issue is that after riding to a store the bike would not start. I had no spark and had to get it towed home. Following are all the things I have either checked or fixed so far:

    1. Battery is good
    2. Fuses are good (Visually checked)
    3. Kill switch works
    4. Kickstand switch works
    5. Clutch sensor switch doesn't work, but when I connect the two wires in the connector plug, it doesn't make a difference, so it sin't the issue.

    6. I have power leading up to the ignition coil, but nothing after it is fed into the ignition coil. Interesting thing is that one of the wires in the plug coming from the harness to the ignition coil is always running a current. Is this normal or should it be only coming on when I press the start button. I tested the primary winding (0.5 ohms) and secondary winding (7.5 k-ohms). According to my Haynes manual the secondary winding should be 13 k-ohms for the 1100 series, so I bought a used ignition coil, but the readings are exactly the same. Turn out that later models of the ignition coil had the same exact serial number, but the secondary winding is supposed to be 7.5 k-ohms. Oh well, at least I have a spare.

    7. My brother suggested that I test the plug running from the harness to the ignition coil to see if the current comes on intermittently since the hall sensor should be tuning it on and off, but that is not happening. The light on my tester dims and flickers, but never fully turn off. I think its just the draw down from the battery when I press the start button.

    8. Decided it's the dreaded hall-sensor, so I took it off and sure enough the wires are completely bare and in real bad shape. I ordered a new sensor and replaced it, but still no spark. :(

    9. Ran a temporary ground from battery ground to the frame to make sure it wasn't aground fault, but no dice.

    I am starting to lose my mind at this point. I love working on bikes, but I would like to actually get to ride this bike once in a while. Any advice at this point would be greatly appreciated. Could it be the relays or the motronic control unit?

    Thank you for our time and advice,

  2. My only comment is to check the fuses with a multimeter, don't rely on visual inspection.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Or push it off a cliff.
  4. Perhaps somebody from your local BMW club could be of help.Which state do you live in?
  5. Are you getting tach readings when cranking? Tach is taken directly from the Low Tension side of the coils.

    Possible areas to check.
    • The Hall effect may not be triggering the Motronic Control unit.
    • Power is not getting to the Ignition coil from the Stop switch shown here as the Green wire.
    • Earth on the ignition coil is poor.
    • The Motronic Relay which provides power to the Motronic is not closing. (Fuel pump will not start if this is the case, Do you hear fuel pump?)
    • Motronic is not switching negative, Black wire to terminal Z1 on the motronic. If the Tacho is indicating on crank this is probably not the case.

    • Informative Informative x 3
  6. Thank you for your detailed response.

    1. So far I have checked the green wire running to the ignition switch and its good.
    2. Earth on ignition coil is good. Checked it at tachometer and terminal Z1
    3. How do you check earth on ignition coil? There is only a plug for negative (black wire and positive green wire)
    4. I do hear the fuel pump
    5. I do not see any movement on the tachometer when I am cranking

    There is no reading on the low tension side of the coils when cranking (spark plug side of the ignition coil. Is it normal to always have power to the green wire going into the ignition coil? Should I be seeing power go on and off as the hall sensor triggers on and off?

    Thank you again for your help.
  7. I live in Hawaii and I am not sure about any of the clubs out here. So far I ave only ridden by myself.
  8. Checked fuses with multi-meter and all fuses are good. thank you for the suggestions though.
  9. Forgot to ask if there is a way to check if hall sensor is triggering the motronic unit or not?
  10. Are you sure the Hall transducer is applying an induction force?
    Have you got a cheap magnetic compass handy?
  11. I can defiantly get one. What are you suggesting?
  12. You can easily test if the induction is working by the compass needle swing.
    Done and done.

    Least then you know if it is an induction/relay issue on the input or output side.....
  13. The Green wire is always on when ignition and Kill switch are in the run position. The system is a switched negative through the black wire that runs to the Z1 terminal on the Motronic unit. You should see changes on that side but it may be too quick to pick up on a multimeter.

    I was hoping that tacho movement would tell us that but it may not come to life at the relatively slow cranks speed. Do you have any friends that are in Electronics, an Oscilloscope would see activity on the Z1 Motronic terminal and the Hall effect inputs to the Motronic.

    If you don't have that option see if you can disconnect the black Z1 wire from the coils. Unscrew one of the spark plugs and leaving it connected rest it on the metal of the engine. Then get another wire and touch it to the coil where the Z1 wire had been connected. Touch it to the frame off the bike, on and off over and over with the ignition and kill switch in the run position. Do this in a relatively darker area. You should see spark on the plug you have removed.

    If you do then the coils and plugs are all OK and it comes back to Hall Effect or possibly the Motronic unit itself. ECUs are fairly tough and are built to survive so it's unlikely to be it but they do fail occasionally.

    You could see if the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America club has an Hawaiian branch I am sure they probably would. You may find someone locally that knows the model better that us.
  14. I'll give it a try when I have a chance. Thank you. I did find an article that spells out how do do I diagnostic test using and LED light and will try that as well. I will update my results.
  15. Sorry but where exactly do I place the compass while I do the test?
  16. I've not bothered reading through all this, but it is a common point of failure for either the Hall effect Sensor or Primary coil to fail on these models. I have replaced both primary coils on my R1150RT (these have twin spark unlike the 1100).
  17. I ran the diagnostic using an LCD light the and I get code 1133 No signal from Hall Sensor #2 (Lower or 180° Sensor, Coil 2/3). I tested both upper and lower sensor through the hall sensor plug using an LED light and both sensors are triggering as expected. Also tested continuity for all wires from hall sensor plug to the motronic control unit plug and all wires are good. Also cranked engine to make sure it was not a faulty code and still 1133. Any idea what the Coil 2/3 stands for in the error code?
  18. The same error codes will be used for multiple different BMW models. I would say the Coil 2/3 refers to a 4 cylinder bike. For example the 1122 error is No signal from Hall Sensor #1 (Upper or TDC Sensor, Coil 1/4)

    The critical information I would say is that the 180degree sensor is not detecting. I believe there are two sensors, although the drawing above seems to show them both in the same package, one senses 0 degrees or Top Dead Centre the second senses 180 degrees. The drawing above shows this as 5 wires.

    Did the Hall effect sensor you replaced have 5 wires or 3 wires?
  19. The hall sensor that I have has 5 wires. What makes me nervous about this code is that it might mean nothing at all and is just popping up because the bike is not running, from my understanding. You are correct that the TDC is upper sensor and 180 degrees is bottom sensor.
  20. Tested both of the coils that I have by replacing black Z1 wire as you suggested and neither gave a spark through the spark plug. I guess I happen to have two broken ignition coils that read out around 7.5 k-ohms. BMW sure made it difficult to diagnose the coil by making two specifications for the same serial number ignition coil. I assumed it was too big of a coincident that both coils would have the same fault and close to the same k-ohms reading, but I guess it's true. I am going to see if i can get my hands on a ignition coil from any other bike just to test one more time, but otherwise I think it's time to buy a new ignition coil. I will post my results when I get to that point.