The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced a recall for 2,475 units of the 2012 BMW K1600GT and K1600GTL in the U.S. because of a software problem causing engines to stall. A similar recall was previously announced in Canada but we now have more information about the problem.
According to documents released by NHTSA, the calibration threshold for the throttle valve control software is overly sensitive. In certain conditions, the engine control unit may receive an incorrect signal, causing the ECU to enter a fail safe mode which limits engine speed to about 2000 rpm, which may cause some engines to stall.
BMW first received reports of a stalling K1600GT in August 2011 in Europe. Later that year, BMW obtained that K1600GT to investigate the cause for the engine stalling. By the end of 2011, BMW had received six more similar complaints from Europe and one from the U.S. In January 2012, BMW received a report of a customer injuring his knee after his motorcycle stalled while attempting a U-turn.
While investigating these stalling issues, BMW initiated an unrelated review of its K1600GT and GTL because of engines entering fail safe mode. BMW learned the throttle valve software was identical to that used in a different model, though it uses a different throttle valve design than the K1600 models. This led to the conclusion the calibration was overly sensitive for the K1600’s valves.
At the time, BMW did not make a connection between the fail safe mode and the engine stalling reports. In March 2012, BMW released a software update to new production models to correct his issue. Meanwhile, more reports came in from previously produced models. By May, BMW had received a total of 13 complaints from Europe, one in Australia and three from the U.S.
It wasn’t until October 2013 that BMW engineers were able to confirm the fail safe model and stalling issues were one and the same, leading to the recall.
BMW dealers will notify owners and provide a free throttle control software update.