Friday, May 01, 2009

Maria and her magical gas tank?

A recent posting told you about a farkle I'd gotten for my motorcycles, that being an external Kolpin Gas can and mounting bracket. One of the objectives for said gas can was to ensure I would make it to the next gas station if the one I'd been counting on had been closed for example.

Yesterday, after I'd gotten home from the airport, my digital gas gauge (which had for months been displaying a bar or two too low) showed no bars. This is supposed to mean that I am soon to be low on gas. My odometer said I was at 195 miles since the last tanking up, and since I usually tank up around the 200 mile mark I figured it was time.

Cool I said to myself, good chance to see how long I can go AFTER the low fuel warning light comes on, which should be in the next few miles.

After dinner, I mounted the Kolpin gas tank and went to the gas station to put one gallon of gas in the external tank, nothing for Maria.

I then headed out to Quincy road for a safe road to "run out of gas" on since it had little traffic, was a paved two lane with mostly good shoulders to pull over on when I ran out of gas.

The "low fuel" warning light came on at mile 203, so far so good I said to myself, just as I expected it to. I wandered up and down Quincy Road, all the way to Tom Bay Rd and back to Gun Club Rd, racking up over 40 miles with no indication from Maria that she was out of fuel!

I maintained a steady 60 mph speed at 4100 rpm throughout this riding just to keep the variables to a minimum.

Weird I said to myself, but I kept on going. It was getting dark by now so I headed to the local auto parts store to pick up some Techron fuel injector cleaner and then wandered about the neighborhood streets. Still no signs of running out of gas!

Once I went over 51 miles with the yellow "low fuel" light still brightly lit I said the heck with this, the warning light must be skewed due to the fuel level meter having been skewed for some time. Remember, it had been reading one to two bars too low for quite a few months now.

So I headed for the gas station, figuring I'd fill up the tank to the brim and see how much gas I really had left.

Surprise, surprise, I was able to put in 6.8 gallons of fuel! Why surprise? Because the manual says the tank holds 6.6 gallons of fuel! So, either the gas station's pump is way off or I was at the cusp of running out of fuel or both.

I double-checked the manual for Maria and yep, she's supposed to hold 6.6 gallons only, and the "low fuel" light is supposed to come on when only 1 gallon of fuel remains.

I'll try it again when this present tank runs low again in 200 miles or so. On the plus side, I know I can go at least 40 if not 50 miles more when my "low fuel" light comes on. It'll be interesting to see if this is a constant and repeatable condition for Maria.


Arizona Harley Dude said...

Imagine not running out of gas, even when you want to. I have never experienced that one.

Once I sweated running out for 40 or so miles out in the middle of nowhere. when I finally found a station and stopped, I put 5.4 gallons in a 5 gallon tank. Either I was past borrowed time, or filling it up to the extreme top adds a bit to the total. Either way near the E on my gauge I quit taking chances.

bobskoot said...

I think it has more to do with the Gas companies' clever way of overcharging us by adjusting volume to a corrected temperature. I can't remember the exact wording but gas expands with temperature. (Look for the wording at your pump the next time you fill up.)
I don't have a gas gauge on my SV650, only a low warning fuel light. When I first got it I filled up right away as soon as the light went on to determine how much fuel was left, and I have done it a few times to ensure that it is consistent. I think my safety margin is around 80 kms (50miles) to "bone dry".

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Canajun said...

Is this the dreaded Imperial Gallon versus US Gallon issue?

1 Imperial gallon = 1.2 US gallons. So getting 6.6 gallons (US) in an imperial 6 gallon tank is possible.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

I rode home from a short ride with Dick Brgstein last Sunday, in 91┬║ weather. The gas light came on, but I was hotter than hell and figured I had enough to get me home. The fuel pump in the K&% tank makes a noise when the gas run s down. The pump is actually cooled by the gas.

Well I rode it home kind of hot, hitting three digits, at two points. I opened the tank in the garage, and couldn't even hear any liquid swirl around movinf the bike from side to side. I'll probably fill it from a can before I go out again, maybe tomorrow.

Fondest regards,
Twisted Roads