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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Fuel Gauge: the elevator doesn't quite hit the top floor

A minor annoyance that I'll live with unless someone knows an easy/inexpensive means of calibration:

When the tank is full, the fuel gauge only shows 4 out of 5 bars. The display self-test shows all segments working, and if I cycle the ignition on, then off and on in time to cheat the fuel pump timer (ie the pump doesn't run on the second cycle), it will show all bars.

This is proving to be a consistent behaviour. Has anyone else experienced this?

Doug
DL650 K6
 

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My gas gauge is pretty flakey on top. Sometimes the top bar never shows. Sometimes I get 75 miles on the top bar. The trip meter is your friend!
 

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Can't seem to figure out how mine thinks either. I'd be under a gallon from full (trying to avoid top heaviness on the new bike) and it would light up. Once I got used to the bike, I filled it up all the way, and it took 5 minutes of riding to light the top bar.
The trip meter is going to be my friend unless those little digital bars start telling something that approximates reality. Whatever happened to good old analog gauges?
 

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I have found it will read less on the sidestand then when the bike is straight up riding. I also get about 80 miles to the first bar and about 50 to each of the others.
 

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<snip>
When the tank is full, the fuel gauge only shows 4 out of 5 bars. The display self-test shows all segments working, and if I cycle the ignition on, then off and on in time to cheat the fuel pump timer (ie the pump doesn't run on the second cycle), it will show all bars. <snip>
The fuel level is read by a float on an arm on the fuel pump that varies a resistance: low resistance for full, higher for empty. If the connectors have any resistance they will make the level read lower. The arm could be bent downward to make it read a higher level. (have to take the pump out). The reading is heavily dampened (slow to react) so that if doesn't fluctuate during leaning, braking, or lifting - so tilting up off the sidestand may take a while for an accurate reading.
 

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Mine does the same thing at the upper level of the fuel gauge, but the lower level and reserve light are pretty accurate. I wouldn't worry about it too bad.
 

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I had the same problem until I switched gas. I used Cheveron and it would only go up to 4 bars. When I switched to 66, full 5 bars every time. Strange, but still if I go back to Cheveron for a tank I will only get 4 bars. :confused:
 

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There was a thread about this a little while ago:

http://www.stromtrooper.com/showthread.php?t=19469&highlight=gauge

It seems like this a common fault on the stroms..
Yup, it's a very common problem. The fuel gauge is really an ohmmeter that measures the resistance in the fuel level sender. Only a couple of ohms mark the difference between the 5th and 4th bar. That's a very tiny amount, enough that a poor connection somewhere can throw it off. Resistance in the sender increases exponentially as fuel level drops so there's a much bigger jump between the last bars, big enough that a flaky connection is just noise and doesn't appreciably affect the reading towards the bottom of the scale.

Like I said in that link, I was able to fix mine by unplugging the electrical connection to the fuel tank, cleaning it out with electrical contact cleaner, filling it with dielectric grease, and plugging it back together. I did that around 7K miles IIRC, and I now have 21K mi, riding in dirt and all weather, and it still works. It's an easy fix, the connector is on the left side of the bike underneath the black plastic trim piece. You don't have to lift the tank or even remove the fairings to get to it.

I suspect that fix will work for a lot of bikes. Since there is no grease in any of the electrical connections from the factory, it just takes a little bit of moisture or some oxidation to throw off the top bar.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to all for the responses. I'll clean and dielectric grease up the connector some day. I'm a trip meter kind of guy, so I won't lose any sleep over it!
 

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I was able to fix mine by unplugging the electrical connection to the fuel tank, cleaning it out with electrical contact cleaner, filling it with dielectric grease, and plugging it back together. I did that around 7K miles IIRC, and I now have 21K mi, riding in dirt and all weather, and it still works. It's an easy fix, the connector is on the left side of the bike underneath the black plastic trim piece. You don't have to lift the tank or even remove the fairings to get to it.

I suspect that fix will work for a lot of bikes. Since there is no grease in any of the electrical connections from the factory, it just takes a little bit of moisture or some oxidation to throw off the top bar.
JJ, can you illuminate me on dielectric grease? When I first started lurking here, I read a couple of threads (maybe they were yours) about how it was useful to apply dielectric grease to as many contacts as you could find on the bike. So I dutifully went out and bought some (baaaaa - that's me making a sheep sound). But then I got to thinking :confused: - a dialectric is an insulator, conductivity-wise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dielectric). How is putting a bunch of insulating material into an electrical connection a good thing? I'm not saying it's not - I'm just saying I'm confused:bom_dunce2:. Educate me.
 

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JJ, can you illuminate me on dielectric grease? When I first started lurking here, I read a couple of threads (maybe they were yours) about how it was useful to apply dielectric grease to as many contacts as you could find on the bike. So I dutifully went out and bought some (baaaaa - that's me making a sheep sound). But then I got to thinking :confused: - a dialectric is an insulator, conductivity-wise (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dielectric). How is putting a bunch of insulating material into an electrical connection a good thing? I'm not saying it's not - I'm just saying I'm confused:bom_dunce2:. Educate me.
It seals things up and doesn't conduct electricity to where you don't want it.
 

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My bike began doing the same thing at about 25000km. I tried cleaning out the tank connector and greasing it up. Made no difference.
Seems to only affect the top bar. The rest seem accurate.

Next time I have the bike apart, I'll try cleaning that connector and others up again. Not a biggee, though.
 

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Yeah, those were probably my threads you saw. I recommend greasing the sparkplugs and any connectors you can find as a preventative measure. Basically, what jackpiner57 said. The contacts in the connectors will displace the grease when you plug them together and still make a good connection, while the surrounding grease will seal them and keep air, moisture, and dirt out. It's non-conductive so it doesn't short out adjacent contacts.
 

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My bike began doing the same thing at about 25000km. I tried cleaning out the tank connector and greasing it up. Made no difference.
Seems to only affect the top bar. The rest seem accurate.

Next time I have the bike apart, I'll try cleaning that connector and others up again. Not a biggee, though.
The connector isn't always the source of the problem, it's just the easiest one to check. canderson mentioned earlier in this thread his top bar is dependent on the brand of fuel they use, and I've heard others say the same. (Just speculating, but maybe running Seafoam through the tank may help?)

I knew it was the problem on my bike because I was fortunate enough to pinpoint the exact moment it stopped working. Had five bars, took the tank off to check the air filter, had four bars with the tank back on. Since the only thing I did to the tank was unplug it, I figured that's where the problem must be. Probably got some dirt in there when it was apart or something.
 

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I just picked up my 07 left over on Sat. the 12th. The fuel gauge read full all the time it is in the shop right now being replaced under warrenty. Makes it kinda rough when you leave the dealer with everyone thinking someone else filled the tank. Thank you to AAA and the great road side service at 9:30 pm in the dark on CA Hwy 20.
 
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