Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

'92 Virago - No reserve fuel...

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' started by Noddy78, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Well, found out today that the reserve switch doesn't work... Fanging up a hill and it starts spluttering. "No worries" thinks I, "I'll just flick it over to reserve and get to the petrol station".. so I did. Unfortunately, that didn't work, bike continues to splutter then dies, sloshed the tank, not a drop left... Luckily a 2 minute walk from home, so go and grab some more fuel, all up and running again no worries, but does anyone know why I wouldn't be getting anything out of the reserve?


  2. Maybe your fuel switch has been replaced in the wrong way? so your reserve is your fuel and fuel is reserve?
  3. Hi Andrew, when you say switch, do you mean an electrical switch on the handlebars?
    I have a 1992 xv 535, and I had exactly the same problem. Researching, the problem seemed fairly common.
    The problem with mine was some corrosion around the shaft of the solenoid, stopping it from being able to pull in.
    Assuming your bike is the same, or at least runs the same electric reserve, here's a solution.

    There is a lot of misinformation on the net regarding these, a lot of it says that the switch "tricks" the fuel pump, but that is not correct.

    The bike has a reserve solenoid, mounted in/on the bottom of the lower fuel tank. In my case the solenoid wasn't working. I's easy to test up to the solenoid. Find the solenoid, trace the wires back to the last connector. Unplug the connector, check that there is 12 volts at the connector when the reserve switch (and ignition) is on. Use a multimeter or a test light. If you have 12V, then the solenoid is faulty. Don't give up yet, a new one is over $300, and I fixed mine.

    If you have power, and access to a multimeter, connect the multimeter across the solenoid on ohms (resistance) range. If there is a resistance, then the solenoid coil is fine, and chances are the problem is the same as mine.

    If this is the case, you'll need to pull the solenoid out. According to a manual, you'll need to pull the lower tank out. I decided that was too hard, and managed (just) to get it out in situ. Not particularly easy, but not difficult, just fiddly. Try to empty the tank as much as possible, as you will lose all the fuel held in reserve. Better that than a full tank.

    Once you have the solenoid out, pull the cover screws out and pull the solenoid apart gently. The problem spot on mine was the alloy plunger shaft had some mild corrosion, I cleaned it up and lubricated it with some lanolin spray. Take careful note of the order the parts come out in, as there are a few small parts.

    If you have additional questions, feel free to ask. I'm an electrician, so new largely what I was looking for, but it isn't a difficult job for a handyman etc. I'm also in Tassie, would gladly give you a hand, but I'm on the NW coast.

    Cheers, Dean
  4. Hi Dean, thanks for the long and detailed reply.. but no, not the electrical switch on the handlebars (don't have one of them!). The Fuel tap on the engine itself.

    Also not entirely sure how it could be installed the wrong way round because it has 3 positions, South (normal operation), West (PRI) and North (Res) so if it was the wroing way round the West position would become East?. Though the manual does day if you run out of fuel, start it on PRI then switch to reserve, so maybe flicking it over while riding isn't an option.. seems odd... and I'm pretty sure the tank was bone, bone dry...
  5. Flicking it over on the run should work. Sounds like the pickup tube on the fuel tap is either broken or fallen off. They usually have two different pickup heights, one for normal and the lower one for the reserve. If the tube is split or missing, the normal fuel position will suck from the bottom of the tank, leaving you with no reserve.

    After looking at a parts diagram, it could also be that the two lines between the pickup assembly and the fuel cock could be reversed.
  6. When was the last time you flicked to reserve and it worked?

    If you don't use if often there is a chance crud in the bottom of the tank will block the reserve pickup straw, then one day when you need it, you get nothing.

    Reserve should be used occasionally to ensure this doesnt happen. You don't need a near empty tank for this. You can switch to reserve any time. Just don't forget you have and run yourself totally out of fuel.
  7. Someone in the past might have connected the reserve and normal hoses to the wrong ports on the fuel tap.
  8. Yeah, given there was no fuel left in the tank whatsoever I'm going to go with the hoses being swapped around somewhere along the line. Getting round with it on Reserve at the moment, see what happens.

    Cheers for the suggestions all.