Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)? - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 8:23 am Thread Starter
 
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Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Hi folks,

I've just taken my 99 LT to France for the weekend and apart from some problems I'm not worried about (cruise control intermittent, heated seats not working, radio internittnet - all in posts here passim) I have one major quersion about this wonderful machine!

Why can I only fill her half full? I've done it on the side and centre stand but only get 12 litres in with the computer showing 30 miles left? When I do fill her up, I have to put the good stuff in slowly too as with the pump right in the filler cap it just clicks away every 2 seconds.

I'm sure I'm not the first to have this problem but I really do want to go more that 120 miles between stops.

Thanks,

Richard
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post #2 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 8:50 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrickyWoo
Hi folks,

I've just taken my 99 LT to France for the weekend and apart from some problems I'm not worried about (cruise control intermittent, heated seats not working, radio internittnet - all in posts here passim) I have one major quersion about this wonderful machine!

Why can I only fill her half full? I've done it on the side and centre stand but only get 12 litres in with the computer showing 30 miles left? When I do fill her up, I have to put the good stuff in slowly too as with the pump right in the filler cap it just clicks away every 2 seconds.

I'm sure I'm not the first to have this problem but I really do want to go more that 120 miles between stops.

Thanks,

Richard
It is hard to be sure without seeing the bike, but I would suspect that the computer/gauge is off rather than only getting the tank half full. I would suggest riding with someone who is carrying a gallon or so of petrol in their car or you might be able to carry it on the LT with the proper container. Run the LT until it quits and then you know how much fuel it really holds.

Or take it to a BMW dealer and let them calibrate the fuel sending unit.

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post #3 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 8:51 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

I have the same problem. I think there is something wrong with the sending unit. You have more gas in the tank, when it is reading that you are going to run out of gas.

Fill it on the sidestand and go 200 miles. Then see how much fuel you can get in the tank.

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post #4 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 9:00 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Ah! Does the naughty fuel sending unit give the info to both the BC and the fuel gauge then? The gauge shows more or less empty when the BC says the same and then when I fill her up both guage and BC say half full / 140 miles range. I though that, whilst the BC is electronic, the analogue gauge would be a more relaiable mechanical measure. Mind you, it doesn't work with the ignition off, in which case I refer you to the title of my post
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post #5 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 9:09 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

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Originally Posted by TrickyWoo
Ah! Does the naughty fuel sending unit give the info to both the BC and the fuel gauge then? The gauge shows more or less empty when the BC says the same and then when I fill her up both guage and BC say half full / 140 miles range. I though that, whilst the BC is electronic, the analogue gauge would be a more relaiable mechanical measure. Mind you, it doesn't work with the ignition off, in which case I refer you to the title of my post
I would have to check the CD to be sure, but I suspect that the gauge is driven by the BC and the BC likely is the only device connected to the sending unit. I doubt that a multi-bar display like on the LT would be connected directly to a sending unit. I suspect that would take a little bit more circuitry than you would want to use when you have the intelligent BC available.

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post #6 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 9:43 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

In that case, given that the analogue fuel gauge and BC are in unison, I think it would discount the fuel sender as the problem. It's an odd one though, because that fuel tank definitely is full in as much as the filler is full of fuel and won't go down. Odd indeed!
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post #7 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 9:53 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Hello TrickyWoog

Given that your bike is in good running order you should be getting 42-47MPG
and have a range of at least 252 miles .I also have a 99lt and will have to put about 5.3 us gal after riding 250 miles mixed highway/city riding . I have no BC so unable to help with it . If it were me do as Voyager advised ,run her dry and see what a 1 gal. looks like on the gauge.
The fuel tank level sending unit is not the typical float / resistance unit seen in automobiles it is some sort of capacitance unit .I have read that the dealer was to calibrate it when they un crated the bike . You could push it into the dealer dry and have them recalibrate it also =?$

Bob G
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post #8 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 10:35 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

The calibration by the dealer is ONLY to set the "low fuel" light trip point not the full point. I suspect a "dented" fuel tube that is preventing the float from rising all the way.

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post #9 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 10:51 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

When you remove the fuel cap on the tank do you hear or have you ever heard a "Wooshing" sound like there is a "Vacuum" in the tank? If so then your canister is clogged and has caused the tank to collapse on the sending unit and bending it as John stated.

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post #10 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 12:49 pm
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrickyWoo
...when I fill her up both gauge and BC say half full / 140 miles range.
The gauge should read full with a full tank. A gauge that reads half-full with a known full tank implies a sending unit 'float' that does not float all the way to the top. This needs to be corrected first.
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post #11 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 1:10 pm
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

The sending unit In the LT, is a float, within a soft aluminum tube. the tube gets distorted and the float doesn't move freely up and down. I took mine out and reconformed it by hand until the float moved freely. If you replace the sending unit with a new one it will need to be set to register predetermined fluid level for low fuel light.
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post #12 of 17 Old Feb 15th, 2009, 4:07 pm
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Smile Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

your float tube is likely bent, you can take it out and fix it by running a slightly smaller socket and extension down the inside of the tube, just do it carefully, this is likely caused by putting the gas nozzle into the tank too far and letting it rest against the tube in the tank
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post #13 of 17 Old Feb 16th, 2009, 2:50 am Thread Starter
 
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldan2
your float tube is likely bent,
Thank you for that.

I guess that even with the bent tube, I'm still filling the tank full. So, if I can't get the tube out I'll just ride until it's empty then use that range figure minus, say, 20 miles every time manually on the trip meter. Worked for decades before so it'll be fine again.

Thanks again,

Richard
London
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post #14 of 17 Old Feb 16th, 2009, 1:51 pm
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Smile Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Richard, I would not worry about it if you are ok with it, when you go to change out your fuel filter at you next service then take care of the problem, not much more work to get to while you are in there...


I guess that even with the bent tube, I'm still filling the tank full. So, if I can't get the tube out I'll just ride until it's empty then use that range figure minus, say, 20 miles every time manually on the trip meter. Worked for decades before so it'll be fine again.

Thanks again,

Richard
London[/QUOTE]
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post #15 of 17 Old Feb 17th, 2009, 2:58 pm
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by katnapinn
When you remove the fuel cap on the tank do you hear or have you ever heard a "Wooshing" sound like there is a "Vacuum" in the tank? If so then your canister is clogged and has caused the tank to collapse on the sending unit and bending it as John stated.

Is this also a good reason to do a cannisterectomy? I have read on other threads that filling too much on a regular basis causes the cannister to fail, also causing the vacuum in the tank, causing the stuck float or bent tube.

I have no experience with any of this. I am basing this on info from other threads.

Glenn
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post #16 of 17 Old Feb 18th, 2009, 2:12 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Just had a local take his vehicle to the dealership because he could only get a 1/2 tank of gas before it spilled over. The mechanic checked the tank-found it filled with $50,000 of marijuana. The vehicle was bought used from a rental agency.

At least I thought I was dancing, til someone stepped on my tongue.
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post #17 of 17 Old Feb 18th, 2009, 6:26 am
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Re: Can only fill tank half way - am I an idiot (again)?

Pretty sure it won't be a canister problem - the UK bikes don't seem to have the same type of canister as the US bikes.

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