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Running on empty

Discussion in 'Bling and Appearance' at netrider.net.au started by sarz, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. No doubt a very typically 'L-plater' question but I will put it forth nonetheless...

    What is the best way to gauge how empty my fuel tank is? When I bought my bike ('91 ZZR250) I was told I would be able to hear and/or feel a change in the engine before I needed to turn it to reserve, but so far I have managed to run it so low (once in the middle of peak traffic argh!) that switching to reserve doesn't get it started straight away ...I've needed to push the bike to the side of the road, switch to reserve, let it sit for a bit (we both need to regain our composure!), then finally she starts up ...having said that, the first time I did push way too many k's out of a tank (had no idea how many i'd get) but after the first time, I made note of how many k's I'd done (about 280) and figured I'd need to fill the tank after the next 200, but alas had only done about 170 when my bike & I coughed, spluttered & died in the middle of a right hand turn. Took a while to start up again. Looked in the tank & it looked low, but not what I'd call empty. What am I doing wrong? Is it that there actually is a change in the sound of the engine, but I'm not hearing it? Should I just adopt the safe option and fill it every 150kms?
    I would greatly appreciate any feedback, even if I'm doing/not doing something really obvious & you just wanna laugh at me :oops:
    Thanks in advance!!

  2. I use to refill my bikes at 200km and leave the rest for good measures also it wont get the shit in the bottom of your tank into your carbies when you run it to low.

    Also hitting before you switch to reserve and after the engine sounds like its dying it has to pump to fuel back into the carbies and such so that might take awhile. I like the refill every 200km.
  3. It's not really a change in the engine noise, more of a splutter-engine-out-of-fuel noise. It'll pop and crackle and you'll lose power, no matter how much you wind on the throttle - that's the time when you need to flick it over to reserve. If you do it quick enough, in a couple of seconds the bike will surge forward when it gets more fuel - if you don't, you'll stall and you'll have to wait until you get some fuel back into the lines & engine.

    You won't be doing damage to it by running it dry, unless of course your tank has something other than fuel in it. If it's spent a lot of time outside (in the rain) or you don't know it's history, cleaning the fuel tank might be a good idea.
  4. If your tap has a prime position, flick to that for about 10 seconds as your bike runs dry on the main tank, then go to reserve. The prime position does not rely on engine vacuum to stay on, and this can cause problems with the reserve position if selected too late....

    Regards, Andrew.
  5. You should comfortably be able to get 250K out of a tank regardless of what sort of riding you've been doing before hitting reserve on a ZZR250 so if you fuel up at the 250K mark you should be fine. That said, if you do find your bike cutting from lack of fuel every so often well before this point it could be due to a dodgy fuel tap. This is a fairly common issue on the ZZR250's and you can buy a reco kit for the fuel tap from Kawasaki for a few bucks that will most likely fix the issue.

    As to getting a feel for when it is going to run out of fuel it can be tough, if youre at speed and it dies just flick the bike over to reserve and it should refire, but if the bikes at idle, or very low rpm it will die very quickly, within a couple of seconds and they can be a pain to prime and restart, so its probably worth trying to avoid having this issue at all and just filling up in advance.
  6. You will notice a hesitation when trying to accelerate. You may also get a splutter under hard braking.

    bikes are meant to run all the way to reserve and beyond. In fact I used to switch the bike to reserve, if I hadn't run it for a few weeks, after it was warmed up, just to get any water etc out of the bottom of the tank. Better that then get it all when you do need the reserve. Just make sure your filters are good.
  7. Thanx for the advice guys! I will check out the fuel tap, thanx Mikek, and make sure I keep an eye on my odometer when getn close to 200. Hopefully it's all just teething problems (have only had my bike for 3 weeks!)
  8. A healthy zzr will go 350km before reserve with average riding.