Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 30 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 4:14 pm Thread Starter
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Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

OK, 2004 LT, experimenting I have filled the tank both on the side stand AND on the centerstand, topping off the tank visually, literally drop by drop to the very TOP (and no, I didn't use a bic lighter to check how much was in it, but I AM almost dumb enough to do that, thankyouverymuch...).

Either way, sidestand or centerstand when filled, gas cap back on, ignition on and engine fired up, sit for a minute on idle and the fuel gauge never gets above about 6-degrees under the last hash mark on its way to "F"

I understand the trip computer registering "---" on miles to empty when you actually have .8 gallons left or whatever it is, I understand the fuel light popping on when you have 1.2 gallons left (I believe), I understand what the owner's manual says is just under a gallon left when the needle hits the red block of the gauge...because I've been stupid enough to run out of gas before, and better to err on the generous side when the machine tells the rider "you're in need of a fill-up, stupid!"

But what is the point of under-representing when you have filled the ol' girl to the brim?

what gives?

Pete

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post #2 of 30 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 4:25 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petevandyke
OK, 2004 LT, experimenting I have filled the tank both on the side stand AND on the centerstand, topping off the tank visually, literally drop by drop to the very TOP (and no, I didn't use a bic lighter to check how much was in it, but I AM almost dumb enough to do that, thankyouverymuch...).

Either way, sidestand or centerstand when filled, gas cap back on, ignition on and engine fired up, sit for a minute on idle and the fuel gauge never gets above about 6-degrees under the last hash mark on its way to "F"

I understand the trip computer registering "---" on miles to empty when you actually have .8 gallons left or whatever it is, I understand the fuel light popping on when you have 1.2 gallons left (I believe), I understand what the owner's manual says is just under a gallon left when the needle hits the red block of the gauge...because I've been stupid enough to run out of gas before, and better to err on the generous side when the machine tells the rider "you're in need of a fill-up, stupid!"

But what is the point of under-representing when you have filled the ol' girl to the brim?

what gives?

Pete
My 05 LT was the same from day one. At the 600 mile service the dealer did something to adjust. Now it shows full on the side stand without to much back and forth with the pump nozzle. Still shows one notch empty if I fill on the center stand.

Tony 05
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post #3 of 30 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 4:54 pm
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My 99' does the same thing. Fill'er to the top of the neck and she is always a hair below the full mark. It ticks me off every time I fill her up but what are ya gonna do. I guess it is something BMW isn't to concerned about since it is doing it on the newer models as well. I think they are more concerned with fixing the major problems like rear drives, slave cylinders, and stuff like that.

Well, one day they will.

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post #4 of 30 Old Sep 10th, 2006, 5:36 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petevandyke
But what is the point of under-representing when you have filled the ol' girl to the brim?

what gives?

Pete
Ok - I'll take to the other side with a who cares if it indicates full - you just filled it up. Do you really need a guage to tell you what you just did? Mine is full scale for about 2 minutes of riding then it drops down a notch.

I worry more about the other end of the scale as it just doesn't stay on full long when you'er rolling down the road.

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post #5 of 30 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 9:25 am
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2002 and never been full. Like you, I have added as slow as I could with the nozzle just out of the tank. Cap back on and oull out into the road and almost a full tank.

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post #6 of 30 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 11:00 am
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Quote:
Mine is full scale for about 2 minutes of riding then it drops down a notch.
Mine too, I also just worry about the lower end of the scale.

-Ekim
2005 K1200LT (R.I.P.)
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post #7 of 30 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 11:19 am
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I guess I'm the lucky one in the group when I fill her up to the brim my guage reads full. (butt not for long ). Also unless I'm on a trip I don't let her get much below a 1/4 tank before a refill

Stevie Shreeve
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post #8 of 30 Old Sep 11th, 2006, 11:21 am
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one word--OVERFLOW

Not being able to fill it "all the way" probably, is actoooly not a "fault" , but a "design feature" to prevent "burping" overflows due to expansion from colder underground storage. (And BTW, filling the cannister with petrol in the process.)

See ya just gotta think a leetle like a german.(lol)

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post #9 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 11:30 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by early1
Not being able to fill it "all the way" probably, is actoooly not a "fault" , but a "design feature" to prevent "burping" overflows due to expansion from colder underground storage. (And BTW, filling the cannister with petrol in the process.)

See ya just gotta think a leetle like a german.(lol)
That's one reason why I did the cannisterectomy........

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post #10 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 12:28 pm
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My never reads full either.

On the other hand, it seems like the guage will indicate empty long before I am out of fuel. It is usually on empty about 80 miles (on the BC) before it is actually empty. I usually start checking the BC fairly often when I get about 200 miles on a tank. I have never put in more than 5.8 gallons, even when the BC indicates <10 miles remaining.

Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?

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post #11 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 1:23 pm
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It is interesting how what didn't even exist previously is now expected to be perfect. If I remember correctly, and it has been a while, several of my first bikes did not even come with a fuel gauge. Simply a reserve valve that you turned, to get the last pint of gas before a fill up. Your first indication that you were running low, if you didn't remember to check your odometer, was a slow sputter as the carb ran out of gas. Kinda liked it that way and miss the lack of gas hesitation. I think my first VW had that too!

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post #12 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 1:33 pm
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My previous 1999 and my current 2002 never showed/show it full.
And I don't bother.
Actually, my theory is that it's full, but as soon as you turn on the bike, you will consume some gas, then it's not full any more

Just be aware that if you over-fuel it, you can send gas to the canister, and then you will have a big mess.. (ready here about Canister and Canisterctomy).

If you part on the side stand, in a flat, but incline surface (I mean, the bike is on the side stand and flat, but the front is higher then the rear), you will get most gas, but also the biggest chance to over-fill.

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post #13 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 1:40 pm
 
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It could also be affected by hysteresis. This is the same reason why a needle on a pressure valve will move just a little bit when it is tapped on.
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post #14 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 2:29 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dandiver
It is interesting how what didn't even exist previously is now expected to be perfect. If I remember correctly, and it has been a while, several of my first bikes did not even come with a fuel gauge. Simply a reserve valve that you turned, to get the last pint of gas before a fill up. Your first indication that you were running low, if you didn't remember to check your odometer, was a slow sputter as the carb ran out of gas. Kinda liked it that way and miss the lack of gas hesitation. I think my first VW had that too!
I agree that our expectations today are much greater than they were in the past.

I think that once you add a feature to a product today, people expect it to work correctly. When I learned to fly over 20 years ago, the instructors made it clear that the only time an aircraft fuel gauge had to be accurate was when it was empty. This attitude works well for other vehicles as well.

Res ipsa loquitur, sed quid in infernos dicet?

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post #15 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:30 pm Thread Starter
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gauges and full and empty, oh my...

devil's advocate to devil's advocate post...the only reason it would 'matter' to me that when I top off the ol' girl and it shows about 7/8th full on the fuel gauge is that it makes me wonder..."ok, if it's not accurate on the FULL side, is it going to be accurate on the EMPTY side if I make a mistake and find myself in trouble someday and am too far from a gas station when I realize that I am in trouble?"

Full face helmet with restricted downward sight lines, 6'1" tall, GPS system mounted, urban traffic, I don't always notice when the low fuel warning light pops on, and I also don't look at my fuel gauge often enough...

Besides, on a motorcycle that "stickered" at a hair shy of $19,500 when the previous owner bought it, I'd think something like a fuel gauge should be accurate...I struggle enough with the fact that throttle WFO my speedo shows just under 140 and below is what my now WAAS-enabled gps said I was really going (yup, that's 14 MPH off)...but built-in speedo error is a lot different than gasoline supply in my eyes.
\
I guess it's kinda' like when I bought my Bentley Azure and the damn cupholder wouldn't hold my super big-gulp cups, those bastards.

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post #16 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:53 pm
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Fuel gauge

My 2000 is perfect. Fill it too the very top on the side stand and the fuel gauge reads exactly full, but it does require filling right up to the tank opening (sometimes a little over with gas sloshing around in the fuel cap well). I have done the cannister removal, filling it to the very top does risk canister clogging.

The fix if you are fussy about your fuel gauge: I think that a BMW service department can calibrate the fuel gauge electonics with the MoDiTek computer. Next time you are in for service ask them if they can do it.
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post #17 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 5:53 pm
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Mine never shows full either. The bike computer however has never let me down, and caused me to run out of gas. Let's go ride. Just got back from Austin, and I'm headed back down on Saturday for the Tech Session.

--Bo
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post #18 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 7:01 pm
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FWIW, my '05 consistently shows full (and stays that way for several miles) when filled to just above the recess-thingy ("vapor cup"?) and on the side stand. On the center stand it always shows 1 LCD segment shy of "full".

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post #19 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 7:51 pm Thread Starter
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damn, missing another tech day? email me, the next few weeks are nuts, but gettin together for a ride would be great...

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post #20 of 30 Old Sep 12th, 2006, 11:52 pm
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I wasn't sure what a Bentley Azure was, so I looked it up in Google images. Nice wheels. But why does it come in colors other than blue?

To stay on topic, I also don't care what the gauge reads unless it's almost empty. I usually watch the BC when getting close. Did you know that when it goes from 10 to --- that you can ride 25 more miles. Almost.

Ken
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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #21 of 30 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 12:07 am
 
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Found that out--

Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
Did you know that when it goes from 10 to --- that you can ride 25 more miles. Almost.
--due to a detour around Amarillo on a Sunday, EVERY gas Station on that little road was closed, coasted in to a Mom and Pop store (house attached to station) (they were just closing up after taking a fresh produce delivery from a local farmer)
Put in 6.8 gallons if I remember correctly, and would have paid them anything they asked.
Nice people, good ride, learned to fillup BEFORE detours.
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post #22 of 30 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 12:55 am
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Glad you made it through. All I'm saying is that headwinds (natural or self-induced) really mess with your fuel range. And that AAA does work out in the middle of Nowhere, OR.

Ken
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Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...
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post #23 of 30 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 12:55 am
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meese
Did you know that when it goes from 10 to --- that you can ride 25 more miles. Almost.
My 2000LT BC is right on. It it says 10 miles remaining, I'm lucky to get 11 to 12 miles. I've run out of gas twice pushing the limits of my tank. Every 3 days I run my tank down close to the 10 mile threshold on my 84mile work commute. I'm usually putting in around 6 gallons.

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post #24 of 30 Old Sep 13th, 2006, 1:44 pm Thread Starter
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my "cage" is a used but still pretty 5-series. I didn't realize my lesser half left me on fumes...and a big flaw with the previous generation 5-series is that when you have your hands at 10 and 2, you block your view of the gas gauge. I ran out of gas 1/4 mile from a gas station, dressed in suit and tie. Between honks and being called a mo**erf**ker, I can just imagine the fun people had the rest of the day talking about the 'yuppie bastard who ran out of gas and had to push his precious BMW to the gas station..."

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post #25 of 30 Old Feb 4th, 2014, 6:13 pm
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Re: Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

When you run to often low of gas that damage the gas sensor and the result its that you never going to see the thank full.
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post #26 of 30 Old Feb 4th, 2014, 8:09 pm
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Re: Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

Are you aware that you are posting to a thread from 2006?

And we have a simple float system on the LT, nothing to damage.

53 MPG and life just keeps getting better

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post #27 of 30 Old Feb 4th, 2014, 9:08 pm
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Re: Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

Quote:
Originally Posted by regiok1200lt View Post
When you run to often low of gas that damage the gas sensor and the result its that you never going to see the thank full.
Just running low on gas will not damage the gage. The float inside the tank runs inside a tube, that tube can be bent by the fuel handle. If you let the handle hang from the tank it can bend the the tube the float runs inside of. Another possibility is the charcoal canister becomes plugged, this causes a vacuum to the tank that crushes the tank to the point it will also bend the float tube.

To get up to speed search for charcoal canister and you will find lots more threads on the bent tube issue.
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post #28 of 30 Old Feb 5th, 2014, 2:32 pm
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Re: Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

I would think more concern would be that the pump, which is cooled by the gas, is not submerged and you would shorten its life.

That said, I run mind down occasionally just to get on home w/o stopping or if I'm planning to remove the fuel tank (which I've done several times w/o getting the gumption up to do the job)

With you on folks posting on these old threads, wish they would start a new one and give a link to the 8 yr. old thread instead.

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post #29 of 30 Old Feb 15th, 2014, 7:49 pm
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Re: Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

I wonder if rate of fill is a factor.
I have noticed a couple things having to do with the fil'er up issue. Most times after gas up I am actually full at other times it a little below the max. mark. In my mind's explanation could it be the rate of flow especially coming to last few ounces and not wanting to overfill and also the lay of the land, the area at the pump where I deploy the side stand. How much lean. It was not an exact science but those where what I came up with. Main concern NOT TO OVERFILL.
ride safe
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post #30 of 30 Old Feb 16th, 2014, 7:16 am
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Re: Fuel Gauge--how come it's never FULL?

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Originally Posted by alabrew View Post
I would think more concern would be that the pump, which is cooled by the gas, is not submerged and you would shorten its life.
Fuel pumps are cooled by the gas going through them, not the gas around them. The only time you can overheat one and kill it is if you run it for a few hours while the tank is dry.

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