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  #1  
Old 24 May 2012
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american stranded in Bologna, Italy on F800ST

Hi all,

I am about half way through my European tour and have run into a mechanical problem in Bologna, Italy. It was not easy getting the bike to a shop given I speak zero Italian (or French for that matter). I rented the bike in Spain and they have been zero help despite the claim they'd take care of anything that happened. No point in focusing on that though.

I searched the forum and this does not appear to be an isolated case. I am fearful it is going to require a fuel pump or something that will require ordering. I have a flight leaving for the states in Valencia in a week and a half and need to drop my bike off a few days prior where I picked it up.

It started yesterday morning. Slowing down in 2nd gear on a little country road in rural italy it just died. I knew it wasn't user error but it started back up and I kept going. Fast forward to about 400km's later and it starts doing it at every* stop. It was extremely dangerous driving it to the nearest shop (which turned out to be a bmw car dealer but that is another story) as it required me pegging the revs at 2-3k at all times. I stalled out at least a dozen times.

The bike is a 2012 with 20k km's. BMW has taken care of me so far but this morning they reported the bike has no problem, they cannot duplicate it. I think it only happens once the bike warms up. Their previous sense of urgency has dissipated. Is this a known issue? Mechanics hate it when you try to give them advice, and justly so, but maybe I can help. Any advice is immensely appreciated.. after a "minor" crash in France this trip is getting tough.
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  #2  
Old 24 May 2012
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Check out fuel pump and or controller failures??? Although apparently its rare on the F800, but lots on the R1200. If its controller you can get a bypass cable. If it's the pump you can get a similar generic pump off a car. There is one on eBay if I recall.

Obvious things I would check is that the fan comes on when up to temp and that coolant is topped up. I had a similar problem on my GS: loss of power, but nothing came up on the diagnostic. I had been riding it hard and it was quite a hot day, it was kicking out some heat (didn't think to check oil temp) but I did notice later that the coolant was low. Could just be a shit batch of fuel... I've been told that the F800 runs a bit rich. Mines been perfectly reliable other than that one hiccup.

Goodluck.
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  #3  
Old 24 May 2012
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I would take a completely different approach to sort out the issues of:-
1. A hire bike that you don't own
2. A 2012 model

For 1, does the hire company in Spain hold a deposit? In any case, depending on the small print of your contract with them, I would be placing the responsibility on them to sort out your bike - break down cover basically.

For 2, BMW have a comprehensive 2 year warranty on all of their bikes; the problem in this case is that you don't own the bike - nevertheless, get the BMW authorised dealership staff to take responsibility for the warranty issue, in conjunction with the actual owner.

"Threaten" to bring a lot of poor publicity down on the heads of both of them. After all, you are on vacation, and between them those two are responsible (subject to your actual hire contract).

Hope this is at least food for thought!

ps At the very worst, the break down cover of the hire company collects the bike on trailer and returns it to Spain while you finish your vacation with a hire car - lots of UK based break down cover provides this level of service.
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Old 24 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
I would take a completely different approach to sort out the issues of:-
1. A hire bike that you don't own
2. A 2012 model

For 1, does the hire company in Spain hold a deposit? In any case, depending on the small print of your contract with them, I would be placing the responsibility on them to sort out your bike - break down cover basically.

For 2, BMW have a comprehensive 2 year warranty on all of their bikes; the problem in this case is that you don't own the bike - nevertheless, get the BMW authorised dealership staff to take responsibility for the warranty issue, in conjunction with the actual owner.

"Threaten" to bring a lot of poor publicity down on the heads of both of them. After all, you are on vacation, and between them those two are responsible (subject to your actual hire contract).

Hope this is at least food for thought!

ps At the very worst, the break down cover of the hire company collects the bike on trailer and returns it to Spain while you finish your vacation with a hire car - lots of UK based break down cover provides this level of service.

Walkabout - wise advice and generally what I thought at first as well. The firm is IMTbike which didn't have many reviews but they ones I read prior to renting from them (almost 2k USD with the best insurance mind you) were positive. The max i am liable for is 300 Euro, even if the bike is simply stolen and vanishes. The kit I received with the rental had no less than 8 contact numbers.

I went through the entire list and got absolutely no where. I speak okay spanish (by no mean great but enough to have a conversation) and each of the numbers was supposed to be in spanish or english - for two of them an italian picked up! Some were disconnected. To be honest, I started getting light headed when I realized none of the numbers got me anywhere. BMW put me up in a nice hotel down the street from the shop - they were a pain in the ass to get on the phone in English but BMW had more than held up their end of the bargain. I emailed IMTbike so we'll see where that gets me if anywhere. I appreciate the advice friends - stark reminder why I have only used japanese bikes prior to this.
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Old 24 May 2012
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My positive thought is that there are "communities" in here.
I have looked and there is not one listed for Bologna, but there are quite a few for Spain; please take a look, you don't say where IMT are based:-

Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' Community - Contact a Community!

It could be worth a shot to ask for someone local to assist and to put the issue to the hirer in person.

Also, surely BMW can take that bike on a long test ride to replicate the fault??
(By the way, the hotel aspect is quite usual for BMW I am told - never personally experienced that!)

My less positive thought is that I could easily get very bad in your position; with just 300 euros "in the balance" Vs the value, to them, of a new bike I could easily walk away from their contract and leave them with the issue of recovering the bike from Italy, when it has crashed and burnt after yet another test ride by you for fault finding purposes.

Going back to being positive, how far is it to the next BMW workshop??

I've found them, and Madrid is listed in the communities page.
http://www.imtbike.com/
I see they are part of the "official BMW travel partnership" - that has to be another point to put to the BMW repair people.
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Last edited by Walkabout; 24 May 2012 at 21:32. Reason: IMT web link added
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  #6  
Old 24 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
My positive thought is that there are "communities" in here.
I have looked and there is not one listed for Bologna, but there are quite a few for Spain; please take a look, you don't say where IMT are based:-

Horizons Unlimited Motorcycle Travellers' Community - Contact a Community!

It could be worth a shot to ask for someone local to assist and to put the issue to the hirer in person.

Also, surely BMW can take that bike on a long test ride to replicate the fault??
(By the way, the hotel aspect is quite usual for BMW I am told - never personally experienced that!)

My less positive thought is that I could easily get very bad in your position; with just 300 euros "in the balance" Vs the value, to them, of a new bike I could easily walk away from their contract and leave them with the issue of recovering the bike from Italy, when it has crashed and burnt after yet another test ride by you for fault finding purposes.

Going back to being positive, how far is it to the next BMW workshop??

I've found them, and Madrid is listed in the communities page.
IMTBike - Motorcycle Tours Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, France) and Morocco
I see they are part of the "official BMW travel partnership" - that has to be another point to put to the BMW repair people.
Thanks for continueing to think about my situation Dave. I believe IMTbike simply relies on BMW since all the bikes are 2012 models; not a bad business model.

I cannot blame the local shop here in Bologna. They took it out on a 20 minute test ride and the problem didn't appear. I came at about 4pm and took it on a 20 minute ride myself and the problem didn't appear. Based on my several hours of research this is quite common; the issue usually appears after a long ride. My problem is all I do are long rides. I easily push 750km/day when on the autostrada/autobahn/etc. I am going to dread approaching every toll booth and exit from the highway. I am hesitating visiting anywhere in eastern europe since my problems will be compounded. The entire purpose of this trip was really to visit eastern europe and turkey, neither of which are possible due to time constraints now; maybe Croatia tomorrow if I am brave (extremely stupid?).
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Old 24 May 2012
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I would still swing by another BMW dealer for a second opinion.
It can't be too much - the 800ST has been around for years and, broadly, it has a good reputation.

Anyway, you are being positive and that will "communicate" itself to the bike which then knows that you really do love it - seriously, the bike will feel the good karma.
In any case, keep the revs up at obstacles to making progress and slip the clutch as needed!!
Get some new fuel as well; you never know

Enjoy the vacation!!
(I rode around Europe for a month with a broken starter motor a while back, and I got used to it).
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  #8  
Old 24 May 2012
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[QUOTE=sahtt;
[COLOR=black] I think it only happens once the bike warms up. [[/COLOR]/QUOTE]

A faulty reg/rectifier possibly?
I've had similar symptoms with an old Brit bike - it only cut out when the R/R got hot, but that did not take many miles to get hot.
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Old 24 May 2012
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I hear that you're coming my way, my local BWM dealer is extremely competent and helpful , if need be, I can also offer to help calling in Italian or Spanish to whoever (I'm native in both) shoot me a PM if necessary. Ciao
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Old 24 May 2012
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Giacomo - I sent you a PM.

Walkabout - I will enjoy this trip no matter what (admittedly it has been tough lately). My trip along the coast from spain to italy is more than most get to experience. I am fortunate despite these challenges.

I reset the idle and will put new gas in it. The probability this will solve my issues are low but certainly not zero. If I wanted a normal vacation I could have taken a cruise ship and sat in a lounge chair drinking cocktails (and saved a substantial amount of $$ to boot!).

I did a texas to alaska round trip a couple years ago. I broke down in the desert and barely made it out of there. A 4 star hotel thanks to BMW is much better than on the side of the road in Arizona in full leathers, 110 degree heat, no shade, and no cell service.
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Old 25 May 2012
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Bought a skype subscription while i get my phone sorted out. Spoke with IMTbike; they didn't get any of my calls. I have a few numbers now. He was well versed in the problem but said issues with the 2012's are very rare but not unheard of. He gave me a few suggestions to give to the BMW dealer if it happens again. Croatia awaits.

arrevederci italia
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Old 28 May 2012
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Currently in switzerland. Visited the BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche museum's in southern germany yesterday. I have installed a "manual" idling system known as my right wrist. pita but it is working. To the Swiss Alps..
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Old 30 May 2012
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idle actuator

Sounds very much like the idle actuator is sticking closed. Im a BMW Motorrad tech here in the uk. have never seen this fault on F series bikes but on K1200/early 1300s this was a comon problem. The fix for it was to fit the american spec idle actuator. I dont think there is an 'American spec' idle actuator available for the F series. A new idle actautor will be needed, or for a quick fix remove the actuator and cleaning with fine sandpaper (the problem is the piston is expanding and sticking) and then greasing lightly
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Old 1 Jun 2012
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I road it as is across 7 countries. I like to claim I had the first hybrid BMW motorbike, it turns off at every stop just like a Prius..

It wasn't fun dealing with the issue constantly but I made it back to Valencia and road some incredible terrain in the process. Went deep into the french and swiss alps. Not my problem anymore and overall I liked the bike. I am going to seriously miss 50mpg+ when I am back home on my 28mpg Honda RC51 (albeit 85hp vs 155hp).
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