Overheating issue - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1

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    Jan Joinerr
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    I recently completed the 4 Corners Ride with my husband and son. The distance of the official ride was 9500 miles, and we covered it in 20 days. We logged another 1500 miles between Blaine, Wa. and San Ysidro, so the total mileage was just over 11,000. My 2013 F700 worked perfectly except for two issues. The first is that the original chain was completely shot after 16,000 miles, the last 6,000 were with a chain oiler installed. The second problem is that the bike overheated twice, with the warning light coming on, and would spit up radiator fluid from the small hole in the overflow bottle's top. It got warm and spit fluid on a couple of other occasions, but did not get hot enough for the warning light to come on. In all of the cases, the overheating occurred after extended freeway rides at 70-75 mph and we then had to slow for either accidents and/or traffic congestion. The radiator fluid level is right where it should be, and the bike had been serviced just before we left on the trip. We have an appointment to have the bike checked out in a couple of weeks (soonest they could get it in), but I'm wondering if others have ever had this problem. In that this motor is certainly designed for much more difficult riding conditions, such as slogging through mud, etc., I was more that a little surprised by it ever getting too warm in regular highway usage. Thoughts?

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  3. #2
    danham's Avatar
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    Check for crud or a broken housing that might interfere with the cooling fan.

    I haven't owned a chain bike in years, but used to throw a party if I got 6000 miles out of a chain on my 1974 Honda CB750 K4. And that was a quality aftermarket chain that I lubed at every fuel stop.

    -dan
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  4. #3
    Richard230's Avatar
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    Your chain life is pretty good for the cheap stock chain. I only got 13K miles out of my chain and I ride easily in moderate weather, stay off dirt roads and oil the chain well every 250 miles and clean it every 1000 miles. The real problem is that BMW sources a low-bidder chain. Quality chains like a DID will last much longer, given proper care and chain slack adjustments.

    My bike has never come close to overheating. You might want to verify that your fan is working properly. It is also possible that the coolant expansion tank was overfilled.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2020 KTM 390 Duke, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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  6. #4
    FrankV's Avatar
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    My idea regarding the overheating issue: the fan should have been working when you noticed the warning light. If not: check fan and sensor.

    2013 F800GT Valencia Orange 

  7. #5

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    The fan does come on, so that is not the source of the problem. Even with the fan running, however, the bike's temperatures continue to climb. I had to pull over and wait for a few minutes and then resume riding. Fortunately on the 3 (not 2 as I initially stated) times it happened, traffic speed began picking up and the temperature returned to three bars. It would have been a real problem in a lengthy traffic jam. My initial thoughts are a thermostat that doesn't open fully enough to flow sufficient coolant, or perhaps a water pump that isn't functioning at full capacity.

  8. #6
    FrankV's Avatar
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    It's a 2013 bike, so let the dealer fix it! This overheating is not a normal behaviour of the BMW F engines.

    2013 F800GT Valencia Orange 

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  10. #7
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    Not that it would matter much for the overheating issue you're having, but I'm just curious: what engine oil grade are you using?

    And I agree - have dealer sort it out. This should not be happening. Hopefully the ECU has stored some fault codes that will clue the dealer in on what to do.

    BTW, I recently took a 200+ mile trip, mostly hwy at around 65-80 mph with some slow downs here and there due to construction. The temp gauge never budged from the 3-bars that it always shows.

  11. #8

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    I've been using the standard BMW 10-40 wt oil. I'm taking it to the shop tomorrow to get it fixed (couldn't get it done sooner because the shop was completely booked up). I'll post whatever the problem is/was once they determine the origin. I'm guessing either the thermostat or water pump, since the fan does function properly.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanJ View Post
    I've been using the standard BMW 10-40 wt oil.
    Just for the record, your bike's owner manual calls for 15w-50 oil.

  13. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by JanJ View Post
    I've been using the standard BMW 10-40 wt oil. I'm taking it to the shop tomorrow to get it fixed (couldn't get it done sooner because the shop was completely booked up). I'll post whatever the problem is/was once they determine the origin. I'm guessing either the thermostat or water pump, since the fan does function properly.
    Hey: Sorry to read about your problem. New to the forum and new to the F700GS (had 3 oil head boxers previously, last one a 1200 RT). I'm very familiar with the engine behaviors of the boxers but the liquid cooled F series, parallel twin engine is totally new to me. SO, I hope they find and fix your problem but please keep us posted on what they find and what they tell you. I did long, high mileage trips on my RS and RT and hope to do the same (maybe a little slower with more frequent stops) on the F700GS, so I'm hoping to hear that something uncommon (and easily fixable) is "outa whack" (to be technical) with your bike. Good luck!!!

  14. #11

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    PS: I just noticed that these posts were from July (Oops). So what did they find with your bike?

  15. #12

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    Took a while to get it in because of the typical summer backlog. It was due for the 12k service so I had that done as well. They checked the system and said that the radiator fluid level was down a bit so they filled it. Other than that they said the system seemed to be fine, though they did purge it. I had checked the radiator overflow bottle several times and it was always at the proper level (including when I brought it to them). They said that the only way to check the radiator fluid level itself was to take off the radiator cap (after pinching the line) and check visually. Some kind of BMW thing, I guess. With every other radiator system I am familiar with you can check the level in the overflow bottle. So I am concerned that the root of the problem has not been fixed - why would the radiator level be low when the overflow bottle level is right where it should be, and why was the radiator level low in the first place? - but my only choice is to continue to ride the bike and see if it overheats again. It seems fine now, but then it was fine for the first 7,000 miles of our 11,000 mile trip. If it does overheat again, I will not be satisfied unless they can find the specific cause and fix it. Good to have a 3 year warranty!

  16. #13

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    Hmmm. So, did they say that the "radiator fluid level being down a bit" could realistically account for the problems you had? Anyway, I hope you have no further overheating. And, I agree with you, re: checking coolant level by looking in the overflow bottle. That's all I've ever done on liquid cooled bikes I've owned and that's all I recall seeing in the owner's manual. Good luck!

  17. #14
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    If the rad cap works as designed the proper place to check coolant level is the overflow bottle...methinks
    Last edited by anjelli; 07-19-15 at 12:53 AM.

  18. #15
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    The shop CD has a section on bleeding the coolant system. I suppose it is possible for a new bike to have air in it. Radiator fluid also runs through the oil cooler.

    The instructions say to clamp the hose to the overfill bottle. Fill the radiator and bleed air out using the top bolt on the water pump. Fill the radiator and the overfill bottle to the top.

  19. #16

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    I have a GS 700, it is about 4 months old and has done about 4,000 kms (2,500 miles). Ever since I bought it it felt like it was running hot compared to my Triumph Street Triple. Finally a couple of days ago, after only traveling 10 kms (6 miles) through virtually no traffic it completely overheated. The red warning light was flashing and the temperature reading was at maximum and also flashing. The radiator was full, as was the water reservoir. It wasn't a computer glitch because the bike continued to emit a lot of heat for the next two hours!!!

    I had it towed to my BMW dealer and he repaired it under warranty - apparently the thermostat had 'twisted and popped'. I suspect that this was the problem from the start and it just got worse with time and finally went completely. It apparently 'doesn't normally happen in the GS range' but obviously does on rare occasions. Perhaps you could mention this to your mechanic and ask them to check the thermostat.

    I am glad it happened at work and not in a month's time when we head off on a road trip!!! Good luck with your bike. Cheers

  20. #17
    LoffKat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanJ View Post
    I recently completed the 4 Corners Ride with my husband and son. The distance of the official ride was 9500 miles, and we covered it in 20 days. We logged another 1500 miles between Blaine, Wa. and San Ysidro, so the total mileage was just over 11,000. My 2013 F700 worked perfectly except for two issues. The first is that the original chain was completely shot after 16,000 miles, the last 6,000 were with a chain oiler installed. The second problem is that the bike overheated twice, with the warning light coming on, and would spit up radiator fluid from the small hole in the overflow bottle's top. It got warm and spit fluid on a couple of other occasions, but did not get hot enough for the warning light to come on. In all of the cases, the overheating occurred after extended freeway rides at 70-75 mph and we then had to slow for either accidents and/or traffic congestion. The radiator fluid level is right where it should be, and the bike had been serviced just before we left on the trip. We have an appointment to have the bike checked out in a couple of weeks (soonest they could get it in), but I'm wondering if others have ever had this problem. In that this motor is certainly designed for much more difficult riding conditions, such as slogging through mud, etc., I was more that a little surprised by it ever getting too warm in regular highway usage. Thoughts?
    I have the same overheating problem during nearly the same conditions. Extended highway time and when coming to a sudden stop, overheats and peforms an old faithful.... Did you fix the issue? I'm on a trip and trying to make it to my presentation but don't know if i'll be able to.
    My Gear: Shoei Neotec & RF1100, Olympia Moto Sports Airglide & AST2 Touring Coats & pants; Sidi Livia Boots, Mojo
    My Ride: 2010 F800ST Midnight Blue, Zumo 665 and Nuvi 765T, OEM Panniers, Spot2 

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  22. #18
    5ft2's Avatar
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    There must be something off with your bike. I just finished a 8500 km ride this week and have 16,000 km on the engine of my 2014 F700GS. Original chain, still looks good and no overheating problems with recommended 15w50 oil. This trip included a ride through Death Valley at 43 deg C (109 F) and a cruise through the strip in Vegas all in the same day. Vegas was actually hotter at 50 deg C (122 F) as indicated by my handlebar thermometer. It was hot enough on the strip that my iPhone overheated and shut down (I use it for the TomTom GPS).

    The start of the trip was a lot of highway riding at 120 km/hr (75 mph) in high temps of around 32 C (90 F) of around 500 km (310 miles) per day and again no heating issues.

    I kept an eye on my instruments and they never gave any indication of the engine overheating.




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  23. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanJ View Post
    ... They checked the system and said that the radiator fluid level was down a bit so they filled it. Other than that they said the system seemed to be fine, though they did purge it. I had checked the radiator overflow bottle several times and it was always at the proper level (including when I brought it to them). They said that the only way to check the radiator fluid level itself was to take off the radiator cap (after pinching the line) and check visually. ... So I am concerned that the root of the problem has not been fixed - why would the radiator level be low when the overflow bottle level is right where it should be, and why was the radiator level low in the first place? - but my only choice is to continue to ride the bike and see if it overheats again. It seems fine now, but then it was fine for the first 7,000 miles of our 11,000 mile trip. If it does overheat again, I will not be satisfied unless they can find the specific cause and fix it. Good to have a 3 year warranty!
    Jan, did your overheating issue go away?
    I'm curious if your overheating issue mysteriously went away (after the dealer effectively did nothing). Or, was the coolant burping/topping off actually a fix for you?

    I have a friend with a very similar problem; new'ish gs800 trophy, low miles, still under warranty, overheated* several times on rides this weekend.

    Overheating experience: coolant spurting from overflow reservoir area, between front frame and right-hand fork tube. Coolant level was not visually over-limit, and has never been added to by owner. After one cool-down-break, the engine temp fell to 205-210° F under normal easy riding. Fan(s) can be heard working/whirling when expected to be spun (hot or stationary).

  24. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoffKat View Post
    ... the same overheating problem during nearly the same conditions. Extended highway time and when coming to a sudden stop, overheats and peforms an old faithful.... Did you fix the issue? I'm on a trip and trying to make it to my presentation but don't know if i'll be able to.
    What resolved your overheating issue? Asking for a riding buddy who's low-miles F800GS Trophy started spurting coolant several times over a moto-camp weekend. Still under warranty, so it's going to dealer. I'll post his resolution experience when I/we know more.

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