What to do with a cut ignition?


I’ve spent the last few days in Viña del Mar, Chile attempting to repair the cut ignition wires on my stolen motorbike. What I thought would be a simple reconnect has turned into a potentially serious repair that I’m not able to do myself.

The thieves cut into the ignition to hot wire the engine, but the R1200 GS has an authentication routine that queries a chip in the key at startup. If the correct key isn’t present, or if the antenna that queries the key is malfunctioning, or if the battery is discharged, the bike won’t start.

I reconnected the wires with every hope that the bike would start, but the instrument panel gives me an “EWS” error instead. It doesn’t even attempt to start.

Several helpful and experienced people have chimed in on my thread about the error.

There’s a high probability that the thieves damaged the key ring antenna and/or the electronic control unit with their hot wire attempt. And unfortunately, I don’t think the problem is just the antenna. A new one hasn’t resolved the error.

My last resort is to consult BMW in Santiago. The dealer can run a diagnostic on the electrical system and fix the bike. Now it’s just a matter of time and money.

On the bright side, the weather in Viña is stupendous, and I’m having a blast seeing this community and its nuances with my fellow stranded traveler and friend, Federico.

The streets of Viña del Mar are clean and organized. Buildings not only have paint and glass but also style. The name-brand stores sell the same luxury goods you’ll find in the States. This is a very modern and comfortable community. It feels safe, too.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d mistake this place for Santa Monica or even Hollywood Hills, California. The climate and geography are similar enough. There’s a beach to the west and arid, rolling hills to the northeast. It’s hot has hell, and everyone talks Spanish.

But it’s not. The Walmart is a Lider. The Home Depot is a Home Center. The restaurants only serve hot dogs. And everything but the wine is incredibly expensive. This is Chile, after all.

Our hosts in Viña have been delightful. We are staying with a family of bakers and chefs. Their business is cooking lunch every day for a dozen or more people and baking sweets for parties. Needless to say, Federico and I are eating and drinking away our sorrows since none of my mechanical attempts are helping.

We are obviously ready for this nightmare to end. Next week we will replace our passports. I expect to know more about the bike by then also.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I’ll keep you posted!


I'm a young man from the United States traveling the Americas by motorbike. I freely share my adventures here, and this wouldn't be possible without the generous support of my family, friends, and followers like you.

Please help me continue the adventure!

If you enjoy what you see, please say so in a comment. Better yet, comment, subscribe, and share!

You can also help by making your Amazon purchases via this link or by putting some gas in my tank with the button below!

I sincerely appreciate your support!