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Re: Tip for making your fuel level sensor last longer

At 11:58 AM -0400 10/6/05, Steve Makohin wrote:
>Hello all,
>I thought I'd pass a tip to you on how to slow down the 
>deterioration of your fuel level sensor, as learned from unfortunate 
>Short Version:
>Don't leave your bike with low fuel in the tank frequently, or for 
>extended periods of time.
>Long Version:
>Corrosion is a bitch, as is sludge build-up, or any other 
>contaminant. When you let your fuel run low, all or part of your 
>fuel level sensor is exposed to air, and is therefore more likely to 
>corrode or to get fouled. The longer this condition persists, the 
>more likely the sensor is to fail or to give inaccurate readings. 
>This condition is at its worst when you are in the habit of storing 
>your bike with low fuel, you store your bike for extended periods 
>like a Canadian winter (silence you British Columbians!), and/or if 
>you are in the habit of running your bike to a low fuel state, 
>parking it, and then filling just before you go for your next ride.
>The simplest precaution is to get into the habit of filling up your 
>bike at the *end* of a run if your bike is "low" on fuel, where 
>"low" means a fuel level at which all or part of your fuel level 
>sensor is exposed to air (I don't know what that level is for your 
>On a bike with just a low-fuel warning light, a faulty fuel level 
>sensor can manifest as false positives (light goes on when you have 
>plenty of fuel), false negatives (light is off at low fuel state), 
>and the false reading mean be intermittent (e.g., fill up your tank, 
>10 minutes later you get a low fuel light, a few minutes later it is 
>gone, a few minutes later it is back, and so on).
>-Steve Makohin
>'01 R1100S/ABS
>Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Good advice. Three additional points:

1. Parking a "hot" bike with a full tank can lead to overflow as the 
fuel expands from thermal effects. I try to fill up at night, on the 
way home, when the ambient temperatures are lower than during the day.

2. On many bikes, the fuel sensor is on the right side, yet the side 
stand is on the left... parking on the side stand is more likely to 
expose the fuel sensor elements to air, and hasten their corrosion.

3. When you pull the sensor out of the tank, it's easy to brighten 
the contacts with a rubber eraser or other SOFT abrasive. My GS 
benefits greatly from this annual maintenance item.

- - Andrew