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Old 04-19-2011, 10:22 PM   #1
paulhdick OP
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Pissed Fed-up with fuel strip problems?

I just had my fuel strip replaced for the third time on my 2009 R1200GS last week and it is still not working correctly. The first failure I ran out of gas during rush hour traffic and had to push my bike to the left side freeway shoulder, a dangerous situation at best. I previously suspected something might be wrong but the dealer had just done the brake recall on my bike and it was showing more fuel than was there before the repair. I just assumed they put more in, wrongly.

Now I read about a recent BMW auto recall ...

Summary: BMW IS RECALLING CERTAIN 2010 AND 2011 5-SERIES AND 5-SERIES GRAN TURISMO PASSENGER VEHICLES MANUFACTURED FROM JANUARY 12 THROUGH JULY 1, 2010. THE VEHICLE'S FUEL LEVEL SENSOR WITHIN THE FUEL TANK CAN BECOME WEDGED AGAINST THE TANK.

Consequence: IF THIS OCCURS, THE FUEL GAUGE IN THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER WOULD DISPLAY A LARGER AMOUNT OF FUEL THAN WAS ACTUALLY IN THE TANK. AS A RESULT, IF THE TANK BECAME EMPTY, THE VEHICLE COULD STALL INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.

This makes me mad as hell because my bike did “STALL INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH”!!!

Please, if you have had a similar experience with your fuel strip, go to:

https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ which is the NHTSA site for filing vehicle safety complaints. It only takes a few minutes to file one online. Maybe if they get enough of them BMW will figure out a better fix than just replace or recalibrate it!!
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:46 PM   #2
Cumminsman76
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You have 2 trip odometers. Better start using one for fuel.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cumminsman76 View Post
you have 2 trip odometers. Better start using one for fuel.
+1
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:48 AM   #4
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+2


And please don't cut and paste alarmist BS from other chain letters or whatever. Use your odometer, like the rest of us do...on ALL our bikes.

Your fault for running out of gas, not BMW's.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR1 View Post
+2


And please don't cut and paste alarmist BS from other chain letters or whatever. Use your odometer, like the rest of us do...on ALL our bikes.

Your fault for running out of gas, not BMW's.
Dare I say a bit of a harsh response. Let's face it, not that much new going on in the world of boxer GS's, and the fuel strip issue is easy pickings. Many of us are on our third, or soon to be third. Hell, I'm so paranoid about the fuel strip that I don't even trust the TRIP OD's, and always reset the GPS trip to ZERO when filling up!
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:57 AM   #6
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Cars also have 2 odometers. Nevertheless, this failure triggered a recall. I don't see why it should be different on bikes.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:08 AM   #7
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We are just a lazy bunch, spoiled with fuel level indicators. I still remember how appaled I was, when I realized that the R1150R I was renting once, had no gauge, just a low-fuel light.

Come to think of it, not a bad move by BMW: no fuel gauge problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulhdick View Post
.. a dangerous situation ...
I disagree. On a bike, it should be a mere inconvenience for a competent rider. It is different in a car, where a stalled engine provides no brake- and steering-assist.


Quote:
Originally Posted by genka View Post
...I don't see why it should be different on bikes.
OTOH, you are right, motorcycles are not afforded the same scrutiny as cars by the NHTSA. Justifiable or not, that is a different story... One could argue that motorcyclists are expected to be more aware of their machines than car drivers.

One could argue (and I do) that we should try to stay below the radar, lest all of the sport gets classified as hazardous activity and all motorcycles are recalled for good.

It's not an unthinkable scenario: think of the current motorcycle ban for children and youth riders, under the guise of protecting them from lead content inside of the engine. Stuff is real. We've got to pick our fights.

rdwalker screwed with this post 04-20-2011 at 06:50 AM
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:27 AM   #8
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Since the fuel strip issue is so well known of course common sense dictates one uses a trip meter to manage fuel level. Should go without saying.

But I really don't understand the apologist attitude that seems to say BMW has no reponsibility to fix this issue. Of course BMW knows it is a problem or they would not have reverted to a float sensor in 08/10.

It is really not about whether or not I can reach my destination without running out of fuel. I expect that everything work as it should on the most expensive motorcycle I will probably ever own.

Throwing up your hands and saying use a trip meter instead of demanding a TRUE fix is something I just don't get.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:30 AM   #9
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Yay! Another fuel strip thread.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:02 AM   #10
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My issue is that I paid for a new motorcycle that has a component from the factory that does not work. My dealer has replaced all three of my failures with out a single question. Good for MAXBMW! Where I am getting grumpy is that unfortunately MAXBMW is 194 miles from my house and I hate slabbing! It is time consuming, expensive and a PITA to be going to the dealer every 7500 miles to have this fuel sensor replaced with another that surely will fail again. I just want BMW to fix the little booger. When my warranty runs out I surely won't pay to fix it.

I love the bike and won't get rid of it because of this issue!, but I expect, just like I expect the switch on my new stove to work as the manufacturer intended, to be repaired...once and for all.

Is this too high an expectation I have for BMW motorcycles?

Even my '85 Honda 650 Nighthawk's fuel gauge works.
Rant over
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKFoster View Post
Since the fuel strip issue is so well known of course common sense dictates one uses a trip meter to manage fuel level. Should go without saying.
What do you mean "well known"? Is it in the owner manual?
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genka View Post
What do you mean "well known"? Is it in the owner manual?



Quote:
Originally Posted by genka View Post
I remember reading that these sensors fail all over the world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Norhasken View Post
Yay! Another fuel strip thread.
Seems to be fairly well known, if not officially documented in your owners manual.

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Old 04-20-2011, 10:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SR1 View Post
+2


And please don't cut and paste alarmist BS from other chain letters or whatever. Use your odometer, like the rest of us do...on ALL our bikes.

Your fault for running out of gas, not BMW's.
This was not alarmist BS ... I pulled the data from the NHTSA website. Check out NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 10V331000 ... It is real

If you ran out of gas in your brand new BMW car due to a faulty gas gauge do you believe it would be your fault, too. Do you really believe any BMW car owner would assume it was their fault?
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:07 AM   #14
paulhdick OP
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I use my trip odometers ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cumminsman76 View Post
You have 2 trip odometers. Better start using one for fuel.
First, I always use my trip meters to determine how much fuel I have, and I accept full responsibility for running out of fuel. As I had stated before I thought the service dept had added fuel to my tank and turns out it was about ¾ of a gallon down when I got it back. My trip meter and fuel gauge indicated I had fuel.

Second, the NHTSA Safety Recall (ID# 10V331000) I pulled the excerpt from is for 2011 model year 5 series BMWs. It only affects 6,080 vehicles but running out of fuel in a car due to a faulty gauge reading seems to be considered a safety issue important enough for BMW to do an immediate recall.

Third, my original fuel gauge reading problem showed I had significantly more fuel in the tank than was there. I (and apparently the NHTSA and BMW) consider that a Safety Issue. My other three subsequent failures the fuel light came on at about 130 miles on the odometer so a different problem now, and not a “Safety Issue”.

Fourth, some (maybe small) percentage of BMW motorcycles are seeing fuel gauge failures indicating they have more fuel than is actually in the tank (a Safety Issue). It appears from the forum sites I have looked at the predominant failure mode is indications of less fuel in the tank (not a Safety Issue). I have no idea what the percentages are, but I am sure BMW-NA does.

Fifth, this fuel gauge/strip problem seems to have started on RT models about five years ago and BMW has not addressed the “Safety Issue” aspects of this failure and it appears to have continued to be a problem through 2010 model year BMW motorcycles.

I, as I am sure many others on this forum, grew up riding dirt bikes. We opened the gas cap to check our fuel level. None of my dirt bikes had an odometer. And we seemed to get by without running out of fuel. But, I paid close to $20K for my GS and I expect things like speedometers, tachometers, temperature and fuel gauges to work. Any BMW car owner who paid $60K plus for their 5 series ( the safety recall, ones) would be furious to find out they might have a fuel gauge problem and BMW decided to do nothing about it … so why can’t I?

Lastly, this back and forth banter on this (and other forums) about how it is our (motorcycle rider’s) problem and responsibility to monitor our fuel levels ourselves gives BMW-NA more justification not to do anything about it. My running out of gas could have been a real safety issue. It was not, and I knew enough to lean my bike over to the left to get it restarted and ride off safely. A less experienced person may not have been …
I am sorry if I have offended anybody with my ranting … but I am still mad as hell BMW will fix the car “Safety Issue”, but not the motorcycle “Safety Issue”.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:12 AM   #15
Anorak
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The use of the odometer works well on motorcycles with a reserve position on the petcock. Once you hit reserve, you have a known amount of gas. On a bike without a fuel valve, an accurate low fuel indication works. Using the odometer to measure fuel range means you better be conservative with your range estimate.

Does BMW supply a fuel gauge as a gimmick or is it an integral part of the bike and the price?
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