Surging and Stalling Basics
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Make: BMW MOTORCYCLE Model: F650GS DAKAR
Service Bulletin Number: 1300101006 Bulletin Sequence Number: 200 Date of Bulletin: 02/01
NHTSA Item Number: SB620019
Summary: THIS SERVICE BULLETIN HAS BEEN ISSUED TO GIVE DIAGNOSTIC INFORMATION RELATING TO VARIOUS DRIVEABILITY ISSUES. CUSTOMERS MAY COMPLAIN ABOUT HESITATION, SURGING AND STALLING WHEN THE ENGINE IS OPERATED AT LOW TO MEDIUM RPM. *TT
by Flash #412
The 2001 F650, GS or Dakar can be a great bike. There are those who love theirs and never had any problems. But individual units, BMW claims the number is one in six, can be a nightmare of surging and stalling. Before you buy from a dealer, it is suggested that you investigate the lemon laws in the relevant state for 650cc motorcycles. These laws vary widely and you would be best served to understand your rights and responsibilities before you get involved. Before you buy from anyone (new or used), you should arrange to ride the EXACT BIKE you will be purchasing. If it surges and/or stalls, RUN away. The dealer will likely tell you that it will break in by the 600 mile check-up (~US$350 additional out of your pocket). Get him to put that in writing with a clause that you can return it for another example if YOU find it misbehaves. (The dealer will tell you the surging and stalling is operator error.) Better yet, find an example that does not behave that way. Post-January 2001 date of manufacture units (see sticker on steering head) seem to be less affected. BMW fuel injection programming has passed version 3.0, installed using programmer software v.9.x. Some folks have had good luck changing to an R1150 injector (~$110) and drilling a couple of holes in the air intake snorkel. This may or may not be covered under warranty, depending on how informed/intelligent your dealer is and how generous BMW is feeling the day your claim arrives. Caveat emptor. BMW has not figured out this fuel injection thing 100%, yet.
What does it Feel Like.?
"a mild pulsing of the power delivery at a constant rpm somewhere in the 3-4k rpm range."
One item of note about this surging. I have used the term surging for what I would have normally described as a "stumble" since it seems that this is the preferred term. The engine momentarily cuts out and it can be severe enough to create a driveline backlash that some would call "bucking". Most of it was removed during the FI programming updates that were completed (thru 10.1) but it still remained noticeable even in it's lessened state. Having ridden most of my life I find that that behaviour was un-acceptable and always wanted to go in and fix it. Unfortunately I am not up to date on the electronics that current bikes have and I am now at the mercy of a good dealer. This is my 1st BMW with fuel injection but my Harley has always run perfectly (1st year of twin-cam motor with fuel injection) and expected nothing less from BMW. I have a few bikes and now they all run just fine. I think that the F650GS is now possibly the most fun "all around" bike that I have. There seems to be something of a "stigma" attached to the 650's as though they should only be ridden by beginners. I completely disagree with this mentality. I could have gotten a R1150GS but then it wouldn't have been as much fun on all of the fire trails we have around here (of course, I haven't done much of this riding yet). It's a hoot! Chonk#821
Refer the FAQs on the GS Stalling/Surging issue, accessible from the GS Fuel Preparation System Index Page, for more detailed information.
and Stalling Fix
by Joe M.
Early F650GSs (both the regular GS and Dakar version) were plagued with stalling and surging problems. The stalling typically occurred at idle or upon deceleration. The surging would generally occur between 3,500 and 4,000 RPMs. The US-spec bikes, which had more stringent emissions controls, were most prone to these problems, although ROW (rest of world) owners have reported similar problems.
BMW has responded relatively promptly to customer complaints. First, all bikes produced after the 4th week in January, 2001, were fitted with a different fuel injector (the one that is standard of the R1200C and other models), and the BMS Compact (the engine computer) was updated with new software to work with the new injector. There have been very few reports of surging and stalling from owners of this "new production." Individuals considering the purchase of a GS should endeavor to ascertain the production date (stamped on a plate on the steering head), and buy a post January 2001 model.
Insofar as earlier bikes are concerned, BMW has offered to update the computer under warranty, WITHOUT changing the injector. This has resulted in significant improvement for some, marginal (and nonexistent) improvement for others. Although BMW has not offered to provide all older production bikes with the new injector under warranty, many individual owners have reported that their dealers have covered such parts and labor under warranty. In any event, warranty or not, many owners have reported a dramatic improvement with the new injector and software, resulting in elimination of all surging and stalling, and a smooth running engine at all RPMs.
BEFORE YOU PANIC, refer the FAQs on the GS Stalling/Surging issue, accessible from the GS Fuel Preparation System Index Page, for more detailed information. It might be something very simple, so check those things FIRST.!