Thursday, Apr 21, 2011
I may have replaced the battery in my R1200GS much too early. And what does that have to do with the title of this entry? Keep reading.
Last August on a trip my bike sometimes hesitated when starting. It acted exactly like the battery didn’t have enough juice to spin the starter. Some times. Maybe I was thinking battery due to Tom’s battery issues on that same trip. In any case when I got back home I ordered a replacement battery and installed it in the bike. So far so good.
Last weekend in Death Valley the bike gave me the same sometimes can, sometimes can’t spin-the-starter problem I experienced last year. This time I thought beyond battery and started paying attention. The problem only occurred when in gear. OK, the bike knows the difference between in gear and in neutral and the console shows the proper gear… the transmission gear position switch is OK. That leaves the side stand switch or the clutch switch. After a few more occurrences of the issue the side stand switch was ruled out. Thinking I’ve a bad clutch switch I continued the Death Valley trip by always starting the bike in neutral.
Today I hooked the GS-911 up to the bike with a laptop and checked out the real time reading of the clutch switch. At first I thought the switch was not working, but that didn’t explain the sometimes I could start the bike, sometimes not symptoms. I was checking the switch at the first half of lever movement. When I pulled the clutch all the way back to the bar the GS-911 reported the switch activated. Sure enough, at about 2 mm before the lever hit the grip I could hear a slight clicking sound made by the switch.
This explained the symptoms. If I held the lever all the way to the bars the switch would activate and the bike would start. If I merely pulled the lever most of the way to the bar the switch might activate or might not. At the transition point the bike acted exactly like a weak battery, with the starter starting and stopping. This is good news: no parts to buy. The switch moves on a pivot to adjust where it activates. I think the only tool I’ll need is a 2mm hex key.
The last image shows how far the clutch lever now needs to be depressed to activate the switch. I set the location by ear, listening for the click, then checked using the GS-911.
I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t recycle the battery I removed last August, instead keeping it for bench duty. Looks like I can now use it as a hot spare should anything happen to the battery currently in the bike.