Saturday, May 19, 2007
Odometer at beginning of the day = 38560
We had a leisurely morning with plenty of time to kill, so we called Chicago BMW to see if and when they could work on the bike. They were pretty booked because it was the beginning of the riding season and a lot of folks had already scheduled their pre-season servicing and tune-ups. They said we could drop the bike off and they would try to work on it between jobs, but they couldn't make any promises. We decided to drop the bike off today, go back to work on Monday and see how long it would take to repair. If it gets repaired quickly, we might still be able to do a short trip; if not, we could re-plan this ride for the Fall or for next year.
Andy arrived at 1:30 p.m. local time and we drove to the dealership. A couple of service guys helped us load the bike on the trailer and then we thanked George and Charlie for all they had done. I can't adequately describe how friendly and helpful George and Charlie were, even to people riding a different brand of bike than their dealership carries. They went out of their way, way above and beyond what we would have ever imagined and our goodbyes were warm and heartfelt like we had known each other for years. We had, in fact, made some new friends and when we ride through Warsaw again, we'll definitely stop to visit them.
We drove back home, obviously disappointed that our BMW had let us down. To its credit though, this was the first time in over 50,000 miles that it had not been a reliable performer.
On our way back home we had a lot of time to think about our options and the probable timeframes for getting the bike repaired. We wouldn't be able to get the bike to the dealer until late afternoon, so it was pretty certain they wouldn't look at it today. Tomorrow is Sunday and the dealer is closed, so it might be Monday or Tuesday before they can start to figure out what is wrong. It's likely they will have to order parts and wait for them to arrive before they could complete the repair. It could easily be the end of the week before we get the bike back and that would leave only about half of our vacation days available to do something else.
It occurred to us that we might be able to troubleshoot the problem ourselves and save the few days that the bike would be sitting there waiting for the dealer to look at it. We have maintenance manuals, electrical schematics, and the internet to assist us. We might even be able to repair it ourselves, or at least figure out what parts need to be ordered. At worst, we would trailer it to the dealer on Monday and be none the worse, timewise, for having tried. So, now we have a Plan C.
We got home and unloaded the bike about 4:00pm. Samantha and Andy invited us to a barbecue at one of their friends. We are still on vacation and it would be nice to do something fun, but we want to look at the bike first and we tell them we will go if we can.
We started tearing down the bike to test the electronic parts. The electrical schematics was written in German (go figure), but did have some information that could be used to translate the cryptic codes; even the names of the colors of the wires needed to be translated. We had to flip back and forth through several sections to be able to tell what wire went where, but we slowly sorted it out.
The first test was on the Hall Effect sensor and the internet turned up a simple way to make a tester out of an LED. Wouldn't you know it, the Hall Effect sensor tested good. We started looking at the other safety switches and at about 6:00p.m. discovered our kickstand switch was bad. We looked at the three wires going to the switch and, following the information in the schematics, shorted two of them together. The bike started like usual. HOORAY!! We will be able to salvage our trip after all. We will be a couple of days behind schedule, but we can catch up with one hard day of riding. Yippee!!! This plan, Plan D is the best one we have had for a while.
We were going to be able to make the cookout if we hurried up and put the bike together quickly. At 7:00pm we went to the cookout and had a great time, except that a couple of folks there couldn't help but make fun of the BMW breaking down. It's all fair though, because we frequently teased them about their Harley Davidsons breaking down.
We went to bed planning to get an early start to ride to West Virginia by that afternoon. That would put us back on schedule because we had originally planned to be in West Virginia on Sunday anyway.
Odometer at end of the day = 38560
Miles ridden today = 0