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#985090 - 04/18/17 02:30 PM Interchangeability of used ZFE units  
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I'm starting a separate thread seeing as this is a separate subject from my original post that seems to point to a fried ZFE unit in my 2005 GS. Poking around online I have found several for sale but I see that they differ one from another. Mine is a 'ZFE (LOW)', so I've narrowed it down to that variant, but amongst those, there are various part numbers that seem to correlate with date of manufacture.

This page seems to suggest that I can drop a some of the later model ZFE's (up to 2008!) into my bike, replacing the 61357680890 unit. Is this really the case? Would I have to have the thing reprogrammed by a dealer to suit my bike? Would I be better sticking with exactly the same ZFE as mine to avoid trouble and/or reprogramming?

I've found a couple for sale that give me that choice (see image below). One looks like it slightly precedes mine but much the same, and the other is the model immediately after mine, but still 2005. Maybe I'd be better off going with a later iteration if it is indeed 'exchangeable retrospectively'. I'd be keen to buy one that might have fixed whatever weakness mine has succumbed to.

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with swapping these things out?

[img]http://imgur.com/a/MojDv[/img]

#985102 - 04/18/17 03:39 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot
I'm starting a separate thread seeing as this is a separate subject from my original post that seems to point to a fried ZFE unit in my 2005 GS. Poking around online I have found several for sale but I see that they differ one from another. Mine is a 'ZFE (LOW)', so I've narrowed it down to that variant, but amongst those, there are various part numbers that seem to correlate with date of manufacture.

This page seems to suggest that I can drop a some of the later model ZFE's (up to 2008!) into my bike, replacing the 61357680890 unit. Is this really the case? Would I have to have the thing reprogrammed by a dealer to suit my bike? Would I be better sticking with exactly the same ZFE as mine to avoid trouble and/or reprogramming?

I've found a couple for sale that give me that choice (see image below). One looks like it slightly precedes mine but much the same, and the other is the model immediately after mine, but still 2005. Maybe I'd be better off going with a later iteration if it is indeed 'exchangeable retrospectively'. I'd be keen to buy one that might have fixed whatever weakness mine has succumbed to.

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience with swapping these things out?

[img]http://imgur.com/a/MojDv[/img]




Afternoon Boot

I don't have any first hand experience as the couple that I have worked with that were (suspected) bad I sent to the dealer as a new (or replacement) ZFE would probably need to be programmed into the bike that it was installed in.

Most BMW 1200 electronics need to be programed into the bike by a dealer for the bike's other electronics to accept it. (at least I don't think a replacement ZFE is just a plug & play item)-- The dash module & fueling computer definitely needs to be programmed into the bike so the ZFE & other electronics fully interface with them.


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#985149 - 04/19/17 12:04 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Morning dirtrider.

What you say makes sense. I was thinking that it'd have to be the case if units from 2008 are theoretically compatible with my 2005 bike, because by 2007 it was an entirely different braking system, for one thing.

So if/when I pick one up, I'll expect to have the thing re-educated by a dealer.

Looking at the labels on the ZFE's, I suspect that they give them a new part number when the OEM firmware is updated, but that's all that has actually changed. They say 'HW: C2', which I take as C2 hardware, then underneath 'SW: 3.0.0' or whatever, meaning same hardware, different firmware. Given that a dealer can and probably will already have flashed this to a newer version anyway, a lot of the variations in part numbers are trivial.

I could be wrong, but I'll update this thread with whatever happens. I'll try to first find some poor unsuspecting owner of an earlier 1200GS and convince him to be a temporary organ donor for my bike. If I plug a working ZFE in and most or all of my problems go away, I'll know I'm on the right track.

#985167 - 04/19/17 08:18 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Morning Boot

One thing that has changed is the power outlet amp protection (those are controlled by the ZFE). The early power outlets were protected at 5 amps & the later ones at 10 amps.


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#985168 - 04/19/17 09:04 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Evening dirtrider.

Interesting. Hopefully that difference won't matter too much in practical terms. I have the outlet under the seat hardwired with an inline fuse anyway. I never use the other one because I can never remember where it is or find it when I halfheartedly look for it. Pathetic, I know. No Sat Nav for me. I'm stuck in the paper map era, which helps me get lost, which I kind of enjoy. Sometimes.

#985169 - 04/19/17 09:21 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot
Evening dirtrider.

Interesting. Hopefully that difference won't matter too much in practical terms. I have the outlet under the seat hardwired with an inline fuse anyway. I never use the other one because I can never remember where it is or find it when I halfheartedly look for it. Pathetic, I know. No Sat Nav for me. I'm stuck in the paper map era, which helps me get lost, which I kind of enjoy. Sometimes.


Morning Boot

It shouldn't make any difference as even at 10 amps that is too low to run most tire air pumps or 2 sets of heated gear. A lot of us here in the U.S. just wire the stock power ports to 15 amp fused battery direct.

I just mentioned it as that could account for the part number difference.

I gave up on paper maps years ago as they are just too difficult to hold & use while riding at speed.

Long ago (before GPS) when my wife rode with me as pillion she would safety pin a map to the back of my riding jacket then be my navigator (kind of an early analog spousal GPS system)-- actually worked well as long as she stayed awake.


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#985170 - 04/19/17 10:17 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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I love the Wife Nav dirtrider. You should patent it. I hear you on the inconvenience of maps at speed too. I'm just kidding myself about them being better. They suck. I have to keep stopping to check my route. I used to have a transparent pouch on my tankbag, but I loaned it to a so-called friend who watched it blow off while he was riding and couldn't be bothered turning around to pick it up. Who need enemies?

By the way, what did you mean in the original post when you said there was a difference between bikes with onboard computers and those without? Which computer are you referring to?

#985171 - 04/19/17 10:34 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot


By the way, what did you mean in the original post when you said there was a difference between bikes with onboard computers and those without? Which computer are you referring to?


Morning Boot

My BMW parts book shows a different ZFE for the 1200 bikes with onboard computer (fuel mileage computer, remaining range, etc).

You riders manual should have details on the onboard computer & it's operation (that should tell you if you have it or not)


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#985179 - 04/19/17 01:16 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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All my manual talks about is a 'Tripmaster' that gives me two tripmeters, and residual range. I don't have fuel consumption or anything like that, so I'm guessing that this means I don't have the onboard computer you're referring to dirtrider. I didn't even know they were an option in my model year.

#985180 - 04/19/17 01:28 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot
All my manual talks about is a 'Tripmaster' that gives me two tripmeters, and residual range. I don't have fuel consumption or anything like that, so I'm guessing that this means I don't have the onboard computer you're referring to dirtrider. I didn't even know they were an option in my model year.


Morning Boot

I'm not sure what options were available in what countries or when certain options were phased into production.

If you have the part number on your old ZFE then maybe we can tell something.

Below is from the BMW parts book--



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#985187 - 04/19/17 02:28 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Nice work dirtrider. I think I've seen that table somewhere too, but couldn't figure out how mine fitted into the scheme because it is a 61357680890. Maybe different countries had different part numbers. Some for km/hr default, some mph?? Beats me.

#985188 - 04/19/17 02:35 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Morning Boot

Maybe this info will help (I can't verify it's total accuracy though)

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/partxref?q=61357680890


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#985258 - 04/20/17 02:06 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Yep, that's exactly the same page I linked to in my first post at the start of this topic. Great minds think alike. I'm hoping that it is correct because it broadens my options.

The nearest dealership says the same thing as you, dirtrider - that the ZFE almost never fails. My neighbour phoned them, very kindly. They reckon if I buy a replacement it'll have to be reprogrammed before it can be used, which is an annoying thought. They can look at mine, of course, and say that it will need to be reset seeing as I've disconnected it and mucked about. I don't know what that means, whether they're just talking about clearing the error codes. Maybe they'd be able to revive it by flashing it with a software update.

I'll have to think about which way to go as a first step.

#985259 - 04/20/17 02:22 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot
Yep, that's exactly the same page I linked to in my first post at the start of this topic. Great minds think alike. I'm hoping that it is correct because it broadens my options.

The nearest dealership says the same thing as you, dirtrider - that the ZFE almost never fails. My neighbour phoned them, very kindly. They reckon if I buy a replacement it'll have to be reprogrammed before it can be used, which is an annoying thought. They can look at mine, of course, and say that it will need to be reset seeing as I've disconnected it and mucked about. I don't know what that means, whether they're just talking about clearing the error codes. Maybe they'd be able to revive it by flashing it with a software update.

I'll have to think about which way to go as a first step.


Morning Boot

Sorry I didn't open your link (I seldom do unless it is linked to a specific picture).

In any case I doubt that you did anything to your ZFE by disconnecting it and mucking about as they are pretty locked in with both firmware & software being protected.

We still don't know for sure if your ZFE has actually failed (a few pointers that direction though) but noting solid.

I have seen so few ZFE failures that I have no idea on why yours would fail unless it saw high voltage a number of times.

If yours has failed it is more than likely a capacitor or diode failure-- if your neighbor has any basic electronics background maybe he can spot (or better yet smell) a failed component & replace that failed electronic part.


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#985425 - 04/22/17 02:05 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Thanks for the ideas again dirtrider. I'm glad you think the ZFE should still be intact software-wise despite my fiddling. Which assumes it isn't shot, of course.

I'm handy enough with electronics myself to replace a bad capacitor or diode, but you can only access the back of the ZFE's PCB without damaging the casing. There's nothing to see on the back except for a lot of traces and a few resistors. On the other side, the male connector pins seem to be permanently attached to the plastic case and PCB, holding them together, so you can't access most of the components. It's a throw-away part apparently.

#996429 - 09/09/17 08:01 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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#996441 - 09/09/17 12:41 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot
For the sake of historical completeness, I'm updating this old thread in case any other poor sod suffers the same symptoms and turns this up through a search:

After phoning around to various BM shops, I learned that only a dealership can flash the ZFE. What's worse, a ZFE cannot be re-used on another bike because each one is set at the factory to work with only a single VIN number. So all these units for sale second-hand are useless. I therefore had no choice but to take the bike to a dealer, who immediately got a fault code indicating that the ZFE was not receiving power - even though we knew it was. So he ordered a replacement ZFE from Germany and installed it several weeks later when it finally arrived. This solved the problem, vindicating my unlikely diagnosis, which was the only consolation for the AUD1200 bill for parts and labour, not to mention all the inconvenience.

Apparently it's a similar situation with the instruments and Motronic module. I was told that they can't be swapped between bikes either.

I don't know the reasoning behind all this, whether it's some kind of anti-theft measure, but it sure is a nice little earner for BMW. The way that the ZFE is effectively a sealed unit means that you're up for big bucks even if it's a simple blown capacitor (not that I could see any capacitors in there by peaking through the gap).

Why did my ZFE die? I don't know. I'd had my solar charger hooked up to it for about ten years with no problems. The battery voltage never exceeds 12.8 or so because the current is so low. I do occasionally hook up a manual battery charger for a brief burst of juice when needed, but I can't remember doing that prior to the troubles. Maybe I did, and maybe it overcharged the battery, and fried the ZFE. Or maybe the ZFE just expired because it was Mercury retrograde at the time. Who knows? I have a Noco Genius G1100 automatic charger on the way just in case it was an over-voltage state that caused so much grief.

Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere...


Reposting Boot's post. It was the ellipsis character.

#996443 - 09/09/17 01:25 PM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Reply to Boot

BMW does warn to never exceed 15 volts to the bike's battery (charging, jump starting, etc) without disconnecting the battery from the bike's electrical system.

Some battery chargers do exceed the 15 volt input if they have a battery reconditioning cycle or desulfation cycle.

Will a single 15v+ input kill the ZFE or other onboard computers? --Probably not, but still not suggested.


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#996588 - 09/11/17 08:02 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: dirtrider]  
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Thanks mnTwin! I pasted that text in from elsewhere, and couldn't work out why even editing it twice didn't seem to make it appear. I chalked it up to sheer insanity, and gave up for the day.

DR, I am now voltage-paranoid. The NOCO charger arrived in the mail, and my voltmeter registers just over 15.0 volts at the peak of its maintenance cycle before it cuts off. So hopefully this will be approximately acceptable to the new ZFE. I sure hope so.

As an extra note, the new ZFE and firmware seem to hate my HID headlights. Low beam is registering a fault now when it was usually fine before. So I've routed the high beam to power the low beam for the moment, and have ordered a CANBUS capacitor thing from eBay that will hopefully fix the problem. I do seem to have slightly smoother running on a closed and slightly open throttle, with less popping through the muffler and drivetrain snatching. Looks like BMW have richened the mix up or something since my older firmware. I'll be interested to see if I still get 450 to 500 kms (280-310 mi) per tank.

#996591 - 09/11/17 11:02 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: Boot]  
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Originally Posted By: Boot
Thanks mnTwin! I pasted that text in from elsewhere, and couldn't work out why even editing it twice didn't seem to make it appear. I chalked it up to sheer insanity, and gave up for the day.

DR, I am now voltage-paranoid. The NOCO charger arrived in the mail, and my voltmeter registers just over 15.0 volts at the peak of its maintenance cycle before it cuts off. So hopefully this will be approximately acceptable to the new ZFE. I sure hope so.

As an extra note, the new ZFE and firmware seem to hate my HID headlights. Low beam is registering a fault now when it was usually fine before. So I've routed the high beam to power the low beam for the moment, and have ordered a CANBUS capacitor thing from eBay that will hopefully fix the problem. I do seem to have slightly smoother running on a closed and slightly open throttle, with less popping through the muffler and drivetrain snatching. Looks like BMW have richened the mix up or something since my older firmware. I'll be interested to see if I still get 450 to 500 kms (280-310 mi) per tank.


Morning Boot

Your new ZFE should not have any effect on your engines fueling or running richer. Any change in engine runability is more than likely due to the long battery disconnect as that deleted all the fueling computer learned fueling adaptives.

It should slowly learns it's way back to where it was before.


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#996752 - 09/13/17 10:06 AM Re: Interchangeability of used ZFE units [Re: dirtrider]  
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Ah, yes, of course. Not to mention my frantic hand-grip twisting in the early stages to re-set the throttle position sensor. I look forward to teaching it good habits all over again.

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