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Old 10-24-2012, 05:24 PM   #1
ScienceOfDirt OP
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Ran out of gas today...I think

I was riding to meet a friend for lunch when the low fuel indicator light came on. It said that I had 34 miles until empty. No problem I thought. The place that we were meeting is only 6 miles from my work. I had lunch, and headed home. The distance to empty had dropped to 21, but I was only 5 miles from being back at work. I was going to get gas at a station I frequent near work. I accelerated, and the bike cut out, and it was done. I wasn't sure what happened, so I tried a few times to restart it. No luck. Hmm, I guess I'm going to push it the 2 miles to the gas station. About 25 minutes later, I arrive at the gas station. Thankfully, the area I was in was sort of flat, with gently rolling hills. Anyway, I fill it up to my usual level in the tank, and it will only take about 3.8 gallons to get it to where I usually stop. Normally when I fill it on reserve, it takes about 4.1 gallons. After filling, it started right up, and I was back at work about 30 minutes later than I had planned. What I am wondering is was the pump that far off, or did something prevent the bike from being able to use all of the gas in the tank. Any thoughts?
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:16 PM   #2
mrphotoman
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It was a ghost
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:47 PM   #3
JoelWisman
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The tell tail is that it only took 3.8 gallons to fill to the same level that normally takes 4.1 gallons to get too. Sounds more likely to me that your fuel pump cut out.

Hard to say but time will tell.

FYI. the fuel pump impeller is a rubber positive displacement type. It is lubricated by gasoline so when you run out, it shortens the fuel pump life.

Long before you run out the pump occasionally draws air into the fuel circuit. This air causes the pump to cavitate as well as causing the fuel injector pentles to impact and gradually causes metallic transfer that reduces the quality of the injector spray pattern.

Lastly the pump is cooled externally and internally by fuel. Around the time the low fuel light comes on, the top of the fuel pump becomes uncovered by fuel. By the time the bike needs 4 gallons the fuel pump is entirely above the level of fuel in the tank and therefore running much hotter.

None of the above causes instant failure, but all of the above causes the pump and injectors to age much more rapidly then otherwise and hence fail much earlier then it otherwise would.


I like money and run service departments for my living. From a business standpoint I love people that don't fuel up till the last minute. On an F8 I make about $300 profit from a fuel pump and injector replacement but........ I also like people and motorcyclist in particular. If money and reliability are important, consider habitually refueling before your tank needs any more then 3.6 gallons. If you truly hate making fuel stops, well I like making money and appreciate your fueling habits
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:23 PM   #4
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Thanks. Point taken. I didn't realize the pump was exposed when the low fuel light came one. If I understand the 3.6 gallon fuel point on a 4.1 gallon tank, then it would seem that 1/2 gallon would be left at that point. That's about the time the fuel light comes on and says I have 35 miles to go. I guess I'll watch the odometer, and fill up at 150 miles. I was trying to get as much fuel in the tank at each fill to minimize the effect of adding a hose full of the cheap 86 octane from the person that filled up just before me at the pump.
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ScienceOfDirt screwed with this post 10-24-2012 at 10:37 PM
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:05 AM   #5
Loutre
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always shake your tank so that the last bit will be used. Can safe your life. Of course I never tried it on the F series with the tank under the seat but I think this might work fine too :o)
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Old 10-25-2012, 12:09 AM   #6
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... Or to quote an inmate:

"GS Fuel gauge is for enterntainment puposes only"
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loutre View Post
... Or to quote an inmate:

"GS Fuel gauge is for enterntainment puposes only"
Apparently there's some truth to that statement.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:30 AM   #8
runnin4melife
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My fuel gauge will say full then goes to 1/4 then shortly after that running low. I just reset my mileage every time I fuel up as that is the best estimate I have. Plus I always have a liter on hand for emergencies such as this.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:37 AM   #9
Indy Unlimited
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I run mine down to the end regularly. Most I have ever filled up is 4.23 gallons.
My gauge consistently shows less miles to go than I can really do when down to 1 gallon ore less.
Most of the time when it says I have minimal miles to go I fill up for 3.6 to 3.8 gallon range. So I usually have 1/2 gallon left when the bike says I am nearly empty.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:38 AM   #10
JoelWisman
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The reserve lights don't all kick on at similiar times, but usually they kick on near when the top of the pump is near level with fuel level.

Half a gallon in the tank is as low as I would reccomend deliberately going, so shooting for your average fuel up to the bottom of the red limiter insert taking 3.7 gallons or less.
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Old 10-25-2012, 07:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin4melife View Post
My fuel gauge will say full then goes to 1/4 then shortly after that running low. I just reset my mileage every time I fuel up as that is the best estimate I have. Plus I always have a liter on hand for emergencies such as this.
I usually carry a rotopax with a gallon as well. I just lent it to a buddy going on a trip this past Monday. I guess my luck ran out.
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