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Low Fuel indicator issues

  #1  
Old 08-26-2009, 11:38 PM
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Default Low Fuel indicator issues

Just got a 2002 F4i about 3 weeks ago and have been learning to ride and enjoying the hell out of it in the mean time. Like most new owners I thought the 4 bars were a fuel gauge and I was all full (which when checked visually in the tank seemed correct) but soon got an owners manual and realized they were low fuel indicator bars. Problem is that after a full tank is put in, to the metal piece on top that hangs down, the bars come up again after about 30 miles. I rode it to "empty" once scared sh!!tless I was going to be stranded only to pull in and have to fill 1.5gal up to top her off. I don't gun it, I usually keep the revs to under 7k, and all the mods to it are the fairing kit and Erion slip-on the last owner put on. Any ideas? I've already put techron concentrate in it and so far it seems to be holding steady at 4 solid bars but I know they will start flashing again soon.

Also, I looked down into the tank with a flashlight just to see what was going on and I noticed what looked like a piece of steel wool put in the bottom where the tubes are. Manual doesn't go into great detail but I assume this is not normal and is some sort of jerry-rig? I'm afraid to rip it outta there and be left with some bigger issue though. How do you drain these tanks safely before removing them? Again the manual I have is just really badly copied and it's hard to distinguish anything. Sorry for the lengthy first post just trying to sort it all out, not that big of an issue as I can just go by mileage, but if I was lazy or forgot it would be nice to have a back up.
 
  #2  
Old 08-27-2009, 12:44 AM
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i'm very interested because i'm pretty much in the same boat at you...<<<new rider, see my 4 bars of fuel kept blinking as well, i opened up the tank and it still had some gas, not too much though, i put about 1.8 gal in it...started blinking, but then turned off so i have no clue...my bike also needs an oil change...doubt that has much to do w/ it though. I don't have steel whool in my tank...or at least i did not see any when i opened it up.
 
  #3  
Old 08-27-2009, 04:04 AM
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Something is wrong with the sensor that checks your fuel capacity, or something related to it. The fuel bars should not come on until your fuel tank has approximately 1.5 gallons of gas left (0.9 gallon reserve, ~0.6 gallons to make sure your pump doesn't starve while running low). Typically once the reserve bars kick on, you should be able to put around 3 gallons into the tank, and above 4 gallons if you've ran it on reserve for a while.

I don't know how to really diagnose or fix this problem, but I can definitely tell you to pay more attention to the miles you've gone than the fuel gauge itself. Reset your trip meter each time you fill up, and keep an eye on it once you're over 120 miles (depending how I ride, I can get anywhere from 120 to 150 miles before reserve).
 
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Old 08-27-2009, 04:15 AM
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That seems to be the consensus from everything I've read as far as mileage goes. Any idea how much the sensor would be? I don't want to take it to a dealer to pay $85 an hour to find out it's a $20 part I can install myself in 30 min. Mainly I need to know how to safely drain this tank, I think I can get it off fine, so that I can really give it a good once over. Good to know on the reserve life capacity though, thanks.
 
  #5  
Old 08-27-2009, 11:23 AM
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On a full tank I ride about 140-150 miles, the indicator turns on. At this point I reset the mileage and never go beyond 30 miles before I fill it up again. I've run out of gas three times before and it sucks big time, once on the freeway.
 
  #6  
Old 08-27-2009, 10:34 PM
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When you hit 'reserve' all four bars light up on the display. Eventually, the bars start to disappear begin at the top, and ultimately all four bars begin to blink. I rode mine with all four bars blinking for about 5 miles and topped off the tank with 3.9 gallons. That means at that point, I had 1 gallon of fuel still in the tank (the manual states total fuel capacity at 4.9 gallons).
The moral to the story is that I panicked the first time the bars were blinking but you really have at least 30 miles before you are bone dry (assuming 40 mpg depending on how you drive).

 
  #7  
Old 08-28-2009, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cbrmeasap View Post
When you hit 'reserve' all four bars light up on the display. Eventually, the bars start to disappear begin at the top, and ultimately all four bars begin to blink. I rode mine with all four bars blinking for about 5 miles and topped off the tank with 3.9 gallons. That means at that point, I had 1 gallon of fuel still in the tank (the manual states total fuel capacity at 4.9 gallons).
The moral to the story is that I panicked the first time the bars were blinking but you really have at least 30 miles before you are bone dry (assuming 40 mpg depending on how you drive).

thanks that was very helpful
 
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:26 PM
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The bars will continue to disappear after they blink also. You can get down to a single blinking bar. Though I highly discourage trying to get that far
 
  #9  
Old 08-31-2009, 08:58 AM
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Not to sound ungrateful or like a d-bag but I am very aware of what the bars mean now after extensive research into this issue. My question is why are the bars coming on after so few miles and with plenty of gas left in the tank (often times it comes on after only 40 miles right after a complete fill up). I know how to fill it properly, it is full but it's acting strange. Sometimes even when the bike is cold the bars pop up but as it gets warm they go away. I need to get that steel wool stuff out first but tentative to just undo somebody's "fix" if it is going to screw the bike up in some unknown, weird, way.
 
  #10  
Old 08-31-2009, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by lax4ever View Post
My question is why are the bars coming on after so few miles and with plenty of gas left in the tank
Originally Posted by Aken View Post
Something is wrong with the sensor that checks your fuel capacity, or something related to it.
As for screwing up the tank, only you can know that as you have it sitting in front of you. You need to download a factory manual and read it carefully.
 
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