Fuel reserve question


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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jimsgoldwing
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Fuel reserve question

Postby jimsgoldwing » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:36 am



I have a 1995 1500SE. The manual states the tank holds 6.3 gallons of fuel (to include the reserve). My low fuel light comes on around 180 – 185 miles and it will take approximately 5.3 to 5.4 gallons till fill-up like many others do. Recently, I serviced my bike to include the fuel filter; I noticed water in the filter so I decided to drain the fuel cell. I used low air pressure to achieve this. After I purge the tank, I put one pint of new fuel back in, enough to get me to the station. Once I arrived at the station, the bike held 5.4 gallons of fuel. My question is: where is this infamous reserve? Does the tank have another line to accomplish this? Reading through the posts, I am certain there is no reserve “switch”. The bike will spit, sputter and die once the level is below the 5.4 mark (ran out of fuel three weeks ago). Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Jim



It'sRuss
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby It'sRuss » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:20 pm

Jim, Not a lot of help most likely, but I would suggest that it has to do with terminology. To wit: We have a 6.3 gallon CAPACITY. Most likely, not all of that capacity is useable. This is true in any vehicle that uses a fuel pump. (My '28 Model "A" WILL use all the fuel via it's gravity flow! That's a rare breed however.) In other words, there is always that last little bit in the bottom of the tank that will not (can not) be drawn. As one who prefers to draw from the top half of a tank, I've never even had my warning lite come on. Hope this might answer your inquiry.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby artgrantz » Wed Sep 25, 2013 5:47 pm

My 1500, which is gone now so I can't check it, would also have the low fuel light come on at about 180 miles and would take a little over 5 gallons at that point. I know for certain it could go at least 33 miles after the light cam on because I did it. At that point it took about 5.9 gallons.
You are correct that there is no reserve switch, just the warning light.
If I understand you correctly you are saying that you run out of gas just about the same time that the light comes on. I now a lot of 1500 owners and never heard of that happening.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby dingdong » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:44 am

There is no reserve tank. There is just a thermistor at the 1 gallon level that turns on the reserve light. My guess is that you aren't filling the tank all the way to full. When the fuel hits the bottom of the filler neck it will still hold a half gallon or maybe more.
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby bjatwood » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:34 am

I fill my tank up to the rubber/antisplash parts that point down into the tank. My fuel light comes on exactly at 200 miles on the trip odometer. I have gone to 225 miles in a pinch but fill up based on where I might travel that day. I have been averaging 40+ 2 UP with my GL1500 lately.

jimsgoldwing
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby jimsgoldwing » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:43 am

About 15 miles is the max once the low fuel lights up. I understand the difference between the capacities vs. the actual usable means; these tanks are flat bottomed, not “U” shaped resulting in a certain amount of fuel not able to be accessed. When I do a fill-up, yes I make sure it is full, that means waiting and trickling the fuel in until the tank won’t hold anymore. I believe these tanks have a reserve pump under the primary that engages when the low fuel light comes on, but I am not certain. If this is the case, is there a check or procedure I can follow to insure it is working correctly? I would love to be able to go 33 extra miles!!

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robb
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby robb » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:15 am

Can't say that I have ever seen the reserve light come on, but at about 150 miles the gauge is entering the red zone. AT that point it takes 3.5 gallons to fill to top. For long trips I carry a 1 gallon can in saddlebag and at about 200-215 miles it starts to skip, but no reserve light. Only took 4.6 - 4.8 gallons to fill. Don't remember ever putting in 5 gallons. Just in case, bike is refueled at 150 mile intervals.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:49 pm

jimsgoldwing wrote:About 15 miles is the max once the low fuel lights up. I understand the difference between the capacities vs. the actual usable means; these tanks are flat bottomed, not “U” shaped resulting in a certain amount of fuel not able to be accessed. When I do a fill-up, yes I make sure it is full, that means waiting and trickling the fuel in until the tank won’t hold anymore. I believe these tanks have a reserve pump under the primary that engages when the low fuel light comes on, but I am not certain. If this is the case, is there a check or procedure I can follow to insure it is working correctly? I would love to be able to go 33 extra miles!!


No, there is no reserve fuel pump. There is one fuel pump:

GL1500 fuel pump
GL1500 fuel pump


In the picture, the low fuel sensor is in the foreground, the fuel pump is in the background. Actually, that low fuel sensor in the picture is a custom job that Virgil tried to make out of a thermistor and a piece of pipe when his failed.

In any case, when the fuel level gets below the low fuel sensor, the light turns on. When the fuel level gets below the fuel pump pickup, the engine stops. That's it - no reserve, no reserve pickup, no reserve fuel pump.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby Wingsconsin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:38 am

The GL1500 tank is 5.3 gallons to reserve which is another approx 1 gallons.

Noting that not all the reeserve is useable ; and using your own figures as stated in the first post...

185 miles to LIGHT ON = 185 divided by 5.3 = 34.9 MPG

So if you can use another 75% of the remaining gallon you have 26.1 miles to EMPTY.

Knowing your average MPG at any given riding condition is the most important thing; and only experience will be able to tell you the averages....

I know my averages based on over 75,000 miles of riding this one bike

Example -

ON the Interstate at 67-68 MPH (about 3000 RPMs) - MY bike averages 37 MPG.
On country back roads at 55-60 MPH I can average between 42-45 MPG with a HIGH of 50 (one time in Nebraska - flat and long)
On my morning commutes to work in mixed use driving I average 38 MPG
And on the OPEN HIGHWAY doing 80+MPH I can use fuel at an amazing clip of low-30's MPG

SO - When MY light comes on I KNOW I can go another 25 miles or so before I am EMPTY.



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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby robb » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:47 am

Best all around to refill at 150 miles and never test the limits. Only takes 1 time running to enpty to ruin a fuel pump. Where under normal conditions 25 to empty could be 15-18 on interstate.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby Wingsconsin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:47 pm

robb wrote:Best all around to refill at 150 miles and never test the limits. Only takes 1 time running to enpty to ruin a fuel pump. Where under normal conditions 25 to empty could be 15-18 on interstate.


Stop every 150 miles for fuel....? You will take forever to get anywhere....

The average fuel stop is 11 to 20 minutes for 2 bikes (I have timed many of them) from off cruise to back on cruise on the highway.

On a 600 mile trip I would stop twice - leaving with a full tank....

You would stop 3 times ....

I get there 15 minutes before you easily.... If I drive conservatively and average the 37 MPG I can stretch those stops out farther

If you are going on a real long ride - 750 to 1000 miles --- I'll have a cold one waiting for you when you arrive...

IF you know your average MPG you are not taking any risks almost anywhere in the USA to find fuel when you need it.
Knowing how to work a GPS will help as you can plan as you ride and determine the fuel stop that is farthest along the route you a traveling to stop at.... Of course you can only go as far as the smallest tank in the group will let you, so chooe your riding partners carefully...The 150 mile mark is a nice interval for easy traveling and stretch breaks however.
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby WingAdmin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:28 pm

I have the same flashing float/switch low fuel sensor in my tank that Virgil designed for his bike. I calibrated mine to start flashing the low fuel light when I have exactly one gallon of usable fuel remaining. Knowing this, as soon as mine starts to flash, I start looking for fuel.

I don't mind preemptive fuel stops - when I'm on a long distance trip, I will pull into a gas station, fill up, and leave, without even getting off my bike. 5 minutes tops. I'm always paranoid about running out of gas - but then, speaking as a pilot, we have been programmed that way. :)

I ran out of gas once while riding my old GSX-R750 (which didn't even have a fuel gauge), out in the middle of nowhere. I ended up pushing that thing over two miles up a hill to the nearest gas station.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby robb » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:18 pm

I might add that I've had 4 strokes to date and pushing is out of the question. Shorter stops and arrive alive. My stops are at stations that accept debit card at pump. Five minute gas and go has it covered.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby Wingsconsin » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:48 pm

I challenge you both to really TIME the gas stop...
From the time you begin to slow down from the road speed you are traveling to the time you retturn to the same speed..be it highway, Interstate or backroads...
If you are getting it done consistently in 5 minutes you are really hustling....
Your results will be interesting...5 minutes is pretty quick
My riding buddy & I have it down to 11 minutes from Interstate cruise OFF to Interstate Cruise ON.
And we don't mess around because we both like to do 800 mile days if we can,
In fact we went around the Great Lakes (IBA GL100 Ride) in 68 hours and 20 minutes..
2 -- 750 mile days and 1-- 1030 mile day.
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby robb » Fri Sep 27, 2013 8:57 pm

For trips I have a few rules; know the route before hand and never cross the road for fuel. Much faster to fill 3.5 gallons than 5+. My 34oz Butler cup goes a long way and storage pocket on my backrest carries ample food for a days ride. Unless nature calls its all ahead.

For leisure ride, anything goes.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby dingdong » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:03 am

As to the question of usable fuel, I have filled up before with 6.1 gallons. Bike still not out of fuel.
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby jimsgoldwing » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:46 am

@ dingdong, 6.1 galllons? Really? That is more like what I would expect. But, I got it. No reserve pump and plan your trips!! Thanks for everyone's imput; glad for the knowledge base present. And wingman, I fly as well, as a passenger of course, and I appreciate the fact you're aware of your fuel/flying distance!!!

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby snatcat » Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:39 am

dingdong wrote:As to the question of usable fuel, I have filled up before with 6.1 gallons. Bike still not out of fuel.


I don't think I've ever put more than about 5 gallons in. And that's at about 220 miles and the light on for some time. Guess I need to pack a spare gal. and see what happens.

I wonder if we can always trust the pump not to overcharge us a bit. I once got a reading of 5.7 when filling a 5 gal jerry can. It's a delicate balance to choose a speed that gives most distance between fuel stops and still not too slow. The other factor is that you should stretch your legs a bit at intervals of not over two hours (right?) so that's a good time to fill up. Anyway I'm a little older than I used to be and the fuel tank isn't the tank that limits my range.

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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby Uncle Fester » Sun Sep 28, 2014 8:48 pm

I have only owned my 'Wing since Apr of this year, but have done a few long trips ( 750 plus miles round trip ). I stop at 150-175 miles, NEVER even seen the reserve light ( often wondered if it worked ) and never added more than 5 gallons, EVER.

When I do long trips, I stop at Flying J truck stops as I have a rewards card that allows me to skip the prepay step, so I swipe the card, fuel up, walk in and pay, then back to the bike and ride. I have never had a stop take more than 10 min on the bike.

On my bike, I average about 35-40 on the open highway as I tend to set cruise at 80mph, and eat up fuel a bit faster.
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby bstig60 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 7:19 am

My fuel light on the 88 comes on at about 180 miles; on the 99 it comes on at about 200 miles. I have run 30 miles on both bikes after the fuel light comes on and not run out of gas. The most I have ever put in the tank on either bike is 6 gallons. Usually, 5.2 to 5.4 I fill with the bike on the side stand and up to the neck of the tank or as much fuel as I can get in. On trips, I carry an extra gallon of fuel in one of the bags. Some of the places I ride it is a long way between gas stations.
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Re: Fuel reserve question

Postby Wingsconsin » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:47 am

bstig60 wrote:My fuel light on the 88 comes on at about 180 miles; on the 99 it comes on at about 200 miles. I have run 30 miles on both bikes after the fuel light comes on and not run out of gas. The most I have ever put in the tank on either bike is 6 gallons. Usually, 5.2 to 5.4 I fill with the bike on the side stand and up to the neck of the tank or as much fuel as I can get in. On trips, I carry an extra gallon of fuel in one of the bags. Some of the places I ride it is a long way between gas stations.


6 Gallons :o - You were down to the last 3/10ths of a gallon...
The 1500s hold 6.3 (+/- depending on filling up the neck)
Typically the reserve light comes on at 5.3 gallons USED leaving a 1 Gallon reserve.
Light on at equals 33.95 MPG so you have Another 33 miles to dead empty
At 200 miles equals 37.75 MPG so you are going to go farther on that last gallon...
But the Pump will likely not be able to use ALL the fuel left ..there will be some residual in the tank even when the pump loses prime

When MY light comes on - I start looking for fuel immediately. I do not want to have to push the beast ... ;)


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