Fuel Gauge


Information and questions on GL1500 Goldwings (1988-2000)
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shomann
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Motorcycle: 1999 GL1500 Aspencade

Fuel Gauge

Postby shomann » Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:51 pm



I've had my '99 Aspencade for about 2 weeks and have a fuel gauge question. When the tank is full, the fuel needle is maxed to the right side of the gauge. When the tank looks very low the needle is buried to the left and I haven't seen the low fuel light yet. It takes 5.2 gallons to fill to the bottom of the filler neck when the needle is buried to the left, beyond the red mark.

The low fuel light comes on upon initial start up (warning light test). Should I assume it will come on with about a gallon of fuel left in the tank, even the the gauge is inaccurate? I haven't dared running it out of fuel.
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NVSB4
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby NVSB4 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 3:26 pm

Mine is the same way, but I haven't dealt with it yet. I just fill up about every 150 miles, just to be safe.
It could be several things wrong. The easiest is that your fuel gauge arm needs to be bent.
Use the Advanced Search at the top of the page, I know that there are several threads here that discuss it.
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shomann
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby shomann » Wed Jun 29, 2016 4:25 pm

The main tank was pretty much dry when it took 5.2 G to fill, the fuel capacity is 6.4 G, and the low fuel light (indicates a gallon left) should have come on after burning another 0.2 G, but just didn't dare push it. It looks like the main float assembly runs down from the left side of the fuel neck.

I assume the low fuel light runs off a separate float in a lower compartment of the fuel tank that you can't see. Anyone know what device / float turns on the low fuel light?

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WingAdmin
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby WingAdmin » Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:54 pm

It's a completely separate system that uses a thermistor to sense the fuel temperature rather than a float valve, with the idea that when the fuel level drops below the thermistor, the temperature goes up. The thermistor is a common failure item.

Some of us have ripped this unreliable system out and replaced it completely. Have a look at Building a replacement GL1500 Low fuel sensor

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shomann
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby shomann » Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:13 pm

Sounds like a lot of work!

I should figure out what small gas container I can take to be on the safe side, and drive it until either the light comes on or not.

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:18 pm

My '97 fuel light doesn't come on until right at 5.3 gallons down. It has worked every time I've run it down that far, which has probably been only 3-4 times in 4 years. I actually tested it, just as you describe, to verify its operation. As long as your gauge is pretty consistent with regards to full, half, empty, I wouldn't touch it. Verify the fuel light operation, and when you get down to that "empty" mark. Fill it up. Why push your luck, when you know it's pretty near as empty as practical. The fuel lamp is a nice verification, but I watch my miles for confirmation, like the old days, before fuel gauges.

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Fiberthree
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby Fiberthree » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:34 pm

My thermistor failed and I opted to replace it this time. I had to cut open the protective housing to get to it and solder in a new one. Thermistors come in two varieties. If you choose to repair yours be sure to get one that has a similar value and decreases its resistance when it gets warm.
The fuel light is actually on all the time but the thermistor adds enough resistance to the circuit that you cannot see the light because it is too dim. When the fuel level drops below the thermistor, it warms up because of the current flow and the resistive value drops, allowing the bulb to slowly increase in brightness.
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Charlie1Horse
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby Charlie1Horse » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:42 am

Fill up an empty SeaFoam can with gasoline and carry it in your saddlebag for a while till you run out. That's a pretty tough can. I carry one sometimes just for the convenience when I ride longer distances. I usually fill up at 200 miles but, I seem to get better mileage than what I hear other riders get. And I try to stay under 3K rpm.
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shomann
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby shomann » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:43 am

Sounds like a perfect container. I've never used any additives, but Seafoam seems to be well liked.

At the time I traded it (owned it for 13 years & loved it), My ST1100's fuel gauge and low level light were super accurate and never waivered. Wonder why Honda didn't use the same components?

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joeincalif
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby joeincalif » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:42 am

When you turn the key on and the LOW FUEL light lights up it is only testing the light bulb, to test the sending unit
Pull the plug off of the sender unit, and short the green wire to the blue / white. The fuel light will come on if the unit is working. If you short to the other one from ground, your fuel gauge will rise up.
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shomann
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby shomann » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:52 am

Where are these wires Joe?

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kane67
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby kane67 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 11:44 am

I drained last fuel to extra canister (starting with almost empty tank) and kept power on to see when and if fuel light comes on.
It was about 1 gallon left when light turns on.
Now I know it's working. Fuel needle shows like in the pic, leftside of E.

-kane-

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Mh434
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby Mh434 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 12:06 pm

Knowing what kind of crud can sit in the bottom of a fuel tank has prevented me from riding past the 300km/186 miles range (whereupon it takes about 4.7 US gallons to fill it right to the cap). By that point the needle is firmly down to the "get thee to a gassery" end of the gauge. I guess that's pretty safe, as I'd still have about 1.5 gallons of fuel as a reserve (my latest tank gave me a hair under 40mpg US, so the reserve would theoretically give me another 60 miles or 100 km range).

Aside from the initial light test at every startup, I haven't had the light come on. I'd prefer to keep it that way (although I'd like to know the sensor works), as the consequences of drawing crud into the carbs doesn't bear thinking about.... :shock:

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MikeB
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby MikeB » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:45 pm

Mh434 wrote:Knowing what kind of crud can sit in the bottom of a fuel tank has prevented me from riding past the 300km/186 miles range (whereupon it takes about 4.7 US gallons to fill it right to the cap).... I'd prefer to keep it that way (although I'd like to know the sensor works), as the consequences of drawing crud into the carbs doesn't bear thinking about.... :shock:

That may be faulty thinking on your part since the fuel pick up is at the bottom of the tank. If there is any crud in the bottom of the tank, it has long since been picked up and sent through the fuel system.
MikeB
Tacoma, WA, USA

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Bluewaterhooker0
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby Bluewaterhooker0 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:54 pm

joeincalif wrote:When you turn the key on and the LOW FUEL light lights up it is only testing the light bulb, to test the sending unit
Pull the plug off of the sender unit, and short the green wire to the blue / white. The fuel light will come on if the unit is working. If you short to the other one from ground, your fuel gauge will rise up.


I didn't bother to look up the schematic on the fuel light system, but as far as I know, the only way to test the whole system is to run the fuel down to a point below the thermistor, and verify that the fuel light does indeed come on. You are correct about the bulb test on initial key switch activation. I'm not too sure about shorting the "green wire to the blue/white". I believe the other side of the thermistor is connected to ground, so connecting a hot wire (blue/white) wouldn't tell much. Again, I didn't look up the drawing. But most, if not all ground wires on these bikes, are one form or another of green, as far as I know. You could also read the resistance of the thermistor to determine its range, but simply running the gas down seems a much easier procedure for a device that is quite possibly working properly.

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Mh434
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby Mh434 » Thu Jun 30, 2016 7:04 pm

MikeB, you could well be right! As I've not had the opportunity (or the need, thankfully!) to get deep into my GL1500's fuel tank, it's possible that the system could well use every last drop in there. I suppose it's just been an abundance of caution on my part. I guess I really should explore the fuel limits a little more...

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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby WingAdmin » Thu Jun 30, 2016 9:57 pm

Bluewaterhooker0 wrote:
joeincalif wrote:When you turn the key on and the LOW FUEL light lights up it is only testing the light bulb, to test the sending unit
Pull the plug off of the sender unit, and short the green wire to the blue / white. The fuel light will come on if the unit is working. If you short to the other one from ground, your fuel gauge will rise up.


I didn't bother to look up the schematic on the fuel light system, but as far as I know, the only way to test the whole system is to run the fuel down to a point below the thermistor, and verify that the fuel light does indeed come on. You are correct about the bulb test on initial key switch activation. I'm not too sure about shorting the "green wire to the blue/white". I believe the other side of the thermistor is connected to ground, so connecting a hot wire (blue/white) wouldn't tell much. Again, I didn't look up the drawing. But most, if not all ground wires on these bikes, are one form or another of green, as far as I know. You could also read the resistance of the thermistor to determine its range, but simply running the gas down seems a much easier procedure for a device that is quite possibly working properly.


That is correct - the other end of the thermistor is grounded.

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lamasue
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Re: Fuel Gauge

Postby lamasue » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:05 pm

I hit the trip odometer every time I get gas old habit from no gauge that way ewhen I see 200 miles I'm getting close




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