Faulty fuel level reading. - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-09-2006, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
Faulty fuel level reading.

Just recently, the top fuel bar (five bars in total) on the fuel meter of my 2004 DL650 seems to go out and then come back on, intermittently while riding in the first 120km (72 miles) of fuel. Seems ok on the lower bars (120km-450km).
Does anyone have any ideas or fixed such a problem?
Also, how does one fix/clean a fuel level sensor? Spray carby cleaner on it?
Is it possible to lower and raise the fuel float sensor while it is within the tank ....say with a peace of wire (maybe not a very safe thing to do)?

The story so far:
I refill my DL650 so the fuel was touching the bottom of the input neck. After about 60kms (36miles), I noticed that the top fuel bar had gone out. In the past, it goes out after around 120kms (~70miles). So I fill up the tank (about 2.5 litres) and the top bar still did not come on while riding 5 minutes to home. While riding more, the top (fifth) bar comes back on over ~10km of riding and then goes back out over 5km of riding. Noticed it has come on while riding over a few miles of rough road (makes me think either a loose wire or bad spots on the fuel level sensor's variable resistor). I have refilled the tank about 3 times, and each time it has had an inconsistent reading on the top fuel bar. One time, the fuel bar went off after about 30km (18 miles) from refilling.

After reaching about 120km (72 miles) on the tripmeter, the meter seems to be reading consistently (not up and down

With about 2 litres from a full tank but only showing 4 bars, measured the resistance on the fuel tank sensor/float as 4.7 ohms while bike was vertical and similar reading on the sidestand. On another week, did another reading when four bars were showing and with about 2 litres from a full tank. It showed 4.5ohms as expected. I put a ~5ohm resistor across the wires leading to the fuel meter and it showed 5 bars as expected. The Suzuki manual states the fuel level sensor reads 4ohms on a full tank and 6.5ohms when cutting out the top bar (after using about 4 litres).

I tested the fuel meter on the instrument panel by sticking five various resistors across it's two wires and it seems to show the right levels for each resistance valve (although the 7ohm resistor showed 5 bars rather than 4). So the fuel meter (instrument panel) sounds ok.

I stuck some fuel injector cleaner in the tank when I last refuelled, but still have an inconsistent top fuel bar.

Last night, I got home and the bike was showing 4 bars (after 50km), so I pulled off the fairing and disconnected the instrument panel. I checked all the wiring connectors from the fuel tank to the instrument panel were ok. Even reading 4.5 ohm at the wiring behind the instrument panel. Reconnected the instrument panel and it was reading 5 bars. I then put everything back together and put the bike upright and the it started reading only 4 bars. This morning, it read 4 bars when I rode to work (50km-80km on trip meter).

My last resort is to pull the fuel pump/level sensor out from the tank, clean it with carby cleaner (anyone got a better suggestion for cleaner?) and read the resistance valves while lifting the fuel float. I probably won't find any problems, put it back and find I still have the problem.

Just a couple of days before the fuel level problems started happening, I left the DL650 out in the rain to help clean all the dirt off it (we have water restrictions here). All the wire connectors look ok (no rusting).

The instrument panel was replaced under warrantee about 3,000kms ago due to a faulty speedo. This fixed the speedo problem, and the fuel meter seemed to be ok, until about 600kms ago. The bike has done about 17,000kms in total.

Normally I would put up with this problem, but I did this same with a sticking speedo needle, and it got progressively worse over time till it stopped working on occasions (same thing could happen with the fuel sensor or meter). Fix was to replace the instrument panel.

Dave M. (Australia)
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-10-2006, 12:01 AM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Greensburg, PA (near Pittsburgh)
Posts: 793
My '04 Wee does the same thing. Started intermittently about 5k miles ago, bike presently has 11,500mi on it, and now the top bar doesn't work at all. The pump still works fine, and the gauge reads correctly through the rest of the bars. I should probably see if its covered under the Suzuki extended warranty.

Last edited by spongebob218; 11-10-2006 at 12:03 AM.
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post #3 of 20 Old 11-10-2006, 10:51 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: SoCal
Posts: 211
Top Bar goes away

Me too at about 31000 miles (not that mileage has anything to do with it - just age, I suspect). The first time it happened, I was about 25 miles from having filled up and was going on a road that had 'No services next 77 miles." So I stopped, looked and sniffed around for any leaks, didn't see anything and proceeded along. The top bar came on after 20 more miles or so, and the guage acted normally thereafter. It has happened a few time since. I use the trip odometer, figuring I can go 250 miles on a full tank before worrying.

2004 dl650-the urban warrior.
2007 R1200RT - the highway beast
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post #4 of 20 Old 11-10-2006, 10:21 PM
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Location: Vermont
Posts: 2,809
Mine does it too. After I fill up to the filler neck, after a few miles the top bar goes out. It might come back on when I stop or go up or down a hill. It doesn't bother me because the rest of the bars work as intended.

"Build a man a fire and he'll be warm for the night. Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life." - Confuseus
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post #5 of 20 Old 11-10-2006, 10:52 PM
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Location: Rathdrum, Idaho
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My 06 Wee has done the same thing a couple of times.. As stated before, if the trip meter gets over 200 miles/322km, expect the bottom bars (the important ones!) to go out. I usually go by the trip meter rather than the gauge. Just be sure your consistant when filling up.

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post #6 of 20 Old 11-13-2006, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 4
Thanks for the replies on the matter.

It seems this problem with the top bar might only affect the 650.......instrument or fuel sensor different to the 1000? Will leave it be for now, as it seems the problem doesn't get worst and affect the fuel level reading on the lower bars. On my older bikes, I use to rely on the reserve tap to know when to fill up (and the tripmeter in case I forgot to reset the fuel tap when filling up). For the DL, will use the tripmeter more than the fuel meter as an indication when to fill up.

When the problem first occurred, I thought I had lost a few litres of fuel somewhere, as I had only done 60km (36miles) and it had cut over to the 4th bar. But luckily this was not the case

When I do my next major service, I will take out the fuel pump/sensor, check/clean it and report the results.

Dave M.
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-14-2006, 07:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Los Angeles
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No top bar since hitting 16.5k mile mark. Once in a great while it'll come on when I start up and diasppear again after 15-30 seconds. I also checked all the wiring and everything properly. So I'm curious to find out the results of your sensor disassembly/cleaning and reinstallation.
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post #8 of 20 Old 11-14-2006, 08:54 PM
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Jax. Beach, Florida
Posts: 223

Yep, my 05 wee does the same thing. But, thankfully the lower bars are always very accurate. I really can't say I can go a specific mileage distance before filling up. Because mileage is determined by so many different variables. I usually will start looking for a top tear gas station when only the last 1 or 2 bars remain.



Richard #3125
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-14-2006, 10:02 PM
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Hey guy's,

I have noticed that if I turn the ignition on while the bike is on the sidestand I get a lower reading on my fuel gauges. Like if I've got a few miles on a full tank, when I start it may only show four bars, but after riding a while I get the fifth one back. This happens all the way down to empty. Is this what you are refering to?

Nevermind.... MAybe I should read all the posts first.
post #10 of 20 Old 11-19-2006, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,376
Something you might try is Techron concentrate plus, it has an additive avertised as a filming agent that MAY prevent your fuel gauge from malfunctioning. The high sulfur content of some fuels will attack the metals used in some fuel gauges.
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