Monday, September 05, 2005

26,550 miles

Matamoros, Mexico

South of Matamoros, Mexico

Failure to start - fuel pump regulator (electronics) failure

Required towing the bike about 20 miles to near U.S.-Mexico border (for which I paid $50), then pushing loaded bike another 3 miles across to U.S. Customs.

From the U.S. side, called BMW "Roadside Assistance". They reported no towing companies that could tow motorcycles in the Brownsville area. The nearest is San Antonio. I would be responsible for towing charges to the Austin BMW shop, above the policy's $100 coverage. (The towing cost quoted: $1,000!)

Had to push the bike another 5 miles, to a relatively safe location at a hotel.

Lester at "Frank's" says this failure is due to a design flaw. He has seen this problem numerous times: water accumulates under the fuel pump electronics module and eventually short-circuits the unit. He has resorted to modifying the assemblies on his customers' bikes to eliminate the problem. Lester said he has repeatedly brought this to the attention of BMW engineers.

Electronics module covered under warranty. (Shipping and handling were not.) Parts sent via Fed Ex from "Frank's" in Vermont. Replaced fuel pump regulator (self-service).

Read more about it at

Fuel pump regulator #16147676324 No charge (warranty)
O-ring #16147687166 $0.45

Special handling charge: $25.00
FedEx shipping: $78.50
Towing: $50.00
Taxi: $25.00

Total: $178.95 (plus two days' extra hotel charges - all because of a bad 45-cent o-ring!)

Pushing the bike back to Brownsville, Texas

The fuel pump electronics that failed soon after crossing into Mexico

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