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Discussion Starter #1
Hopefully this will just be a "reminder" thread and a heads up. Had a pretty gnarly scare yesterday on the bike that I DO NOT want to happen again. Scared the bejeebus out of me.



Around here, like most places I immagine, we have these "streets" that are 4 to 6 lanes, huge, with huge intersections and 45-50 MPH limits. People FLY down em like a freeway. I was heading back to work from the bike shop yesterday coming down from 50 MPH slowly downshifting for a red light about 1/4 mile away or less. As I was downshifting, the light turned green again and I hit the throttle and DEAD. Nothing. I had no motor. FARK! Quick glance in mirror showed several death cages bearing down. I tried a quick bump start, nothing, it only slowed me down. LUCKILY, I was in the far right hand lane, had enough momentum to just turn right and bump over the curb and stop on the sidewalk just as 5 cars blasted by about blowing me over with wind. It was damn scary. What the hell? If I was in the left or center lane, this could have ended very badly.



Turns out, I simply ran out of fuel in the "on" position. Problem is, on EVERY other bike I've owned, in the same condition I'd feel a flutter/sputter and usually have time to reach down, hit the reserve and continue on. Not this time. There was NO indication. The motor just DIED instantly.



My summary:

A. TW's have small carbs, it doesn't take much to drain that bowl.

B. I had been downshifting slowly over awhile, not hitting throttle, it must have ran out JUST before I started downshifting, and the downshifting drained the final drips out of the bowl without me knowing it.

C. I did not reset my trip meter upon last fillup, that wont happen again.

D. DONT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!



To do:

1. Set the damn trip meter after every fillup, know where your limit is and gas up BEFORE this happens.

2. Practice, while riding, reaching down and flipping to reserve.

3. When riding, always be looking for your "out". Could be chain, fuel, electrical, your bike CAN die on you anytime.



Keep on keep'n on boys. Cheers.
 

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I'll just chime in to confirm. Going, going, dead. Nothing in between. Sometimes I flip it on the fly and it starts right back up, sometimes not. (yeah, I've done it a time or two)
 

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I'll just chime in to confirm. Going, going, dead. Nothing in between. Sometimes I flip it on the fly and it starts right back up, sometimes not. (yeah, I've done it a time or two)


Well, it's NEVER happened to me before
but I've heard tell that it is exactly as described. I've heard that it has never failed to immediately restart on the highway, relatively level, but that on a steep slope - when it's a pain - those who've had the experience tell me that it's a PITA to hold everything and get the bowl to fill before the battery - which matches the limited capacity of the tank - goes dry. Can anyone say Clarke, we need you?
 

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I've always felt a light surge/leaning out for miles before mine runs out. If I'm trail riding I don't worry about it and wait til it dies (like to see how many miles I get on the tankful) but if gonna ride up a steep hill or hitting the pavement then switch to reserve or pull over in a nice shady spot and pull my koplin fuel jr off and refill tank. If it does just die then switching to reserve and waiting about 10 seconds should easily be enough time to refill bowl. No need to run battery down trying to start with dry bowl. Of course always have kicker as back up........
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I switched it to reserve, she fired right up no problem. If your floats are working properly, it should only take a few seconds to refill, if that.



I'm just say'n, when that sucker goes dry, it goes dry, and BAM, you got no motor. My last stret ride was an old R100GS Bimmer and that thing always sputtered for a bit, even at full throttle, giving me ample time to reach down and hit the reserves and hardly miss a beat. This little sucker really caught me off guard. Just spreading the word, preparing others like me and reminding others that know, that's all.
 

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I've always felt a light surge/leaning out for miles before mine runs out.


Ditto! Even on the street I get a slight hesitation when going from closed throttle to open.



Going 60 +mph it is usually sudden death, but not always. Sometimes it does give a warning. Maybe it is the gas sloshing around in the tank giving a small reprieve.



Good advice to practice switching. Turn the gas off, run until it dies and flip it to reserve and see if you can do it without stopping. This way you will get the full experience.

 

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Loppy, Could certainly see this happening while downshifting and slowing down on a long stretch. Good advice on learning to use fuel petcock (by feel and not having to look down to switch to reserve).
 

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Something else to practice is knowing when you are likely to run out of fuel. This is most important when you're pressing it through tight corners on a crowded 2-lane - you don't want to be just short of the apex and have that puppy die on you - if you're nearing reserve time in such conditions, switch to reserve and REMEMBER to stop for fuel SOONEST.



For example, on level pavement at secondary road speeds of 55 to 60, I usually get between 80 and 90 miles before fuel starvation on primary and needing to hit my reserve. It's a bit less on trails because of lower gears and idle speeds but, unless I'm on a steep section, it's not as important. I usually fuel up at about or 70 miles at a level safe spot when in the woods, just so I don't have to worry later.



Use care in switching to reserve early - I've been known to forget I'm riding reserve with only 35 to 40 miles to empty, and then I'm really in trouble!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ditto! Even on the street I get a slight hesitation when going from closed throttle to open.



Going 60 +mph it is usually sudden death, but not always. Sometimes it does give a warning. Maybe it is the gas sloshing around in the tank giving a small reprieve.



Good advice to practice switching. Turn the gas off, run until it dies and flip it to reserve and see if you can do it without stopping. This way you will get the full experience.


I wish I had that warning. Hopefully next time I will, or avoid it altogether. Good idea on training.



Loppy, Could certainly see this happening while downshifting and slowing down on a long stretch.


I think this is what got me. Just really bad timing. I just drained the bowl not being under load, so there was no way to know it until I went to throttle, no one was home...



Something else to practice is knowing when you are likely to run out of fuel. This is most important when you're pressing it through tight corners on a crowded 2-lane - you don't want to be just short of the apex and have that puppy die on you - if you're nearing reserve time in such conditions, switch to reserve and REMEMBER to stop for fuel SOONEST.



For example, on level pavement at secondary road speeds of 55 to 60, I usually get between 80 and 90 miles before fuel starvation on primary and needing to hit my reserve. It's a bit less on trails because of lower gears and idle speeds but, unless I'm on a steep section, it's not as important. I usually fuel up at about or 70 miles at a level safe spot when in the woods, just so I don't have to worry later.



Use care in switching to reserve early - I've been known to forget I'm riding reserve with only 35 to 40 miles to empty, and then I'm really in trouble!


Good stuff. I think I'm gunna pick 70 and start there, while I order my Clarke tank.
 

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That happened to me in the city, Baltimore, downtown. Like you said, got to a red and it just died.



Thankfully after several quick cranks it started up and didn't die until I was feet away from the pump. I must have turned the trip meter over late because I was only at 80 miles.
 

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Good stuff. I think I'm gunna pick 70 and start there, while I order my Clarke tank.


I know I am. The 4.1 gallon size.
 

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That sounds like a truly gut wrenching experience! Glad you were able to get off the road. Ever since I've had her I reset the odometer at each fill up. Additionally I rarely let her get to where I have 20 kilometers of gas left. So at this point have never needed the reserve.
 

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Wow, that was close! Glad things worked out for you. Thanks for the heads up and advice.
 

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Fun stuff. I have always ridden til I hit the reserve. Luckily it has never done it at a light. I have always been able to flip the switch and keep going usually only dropping about 5mph. But as some have pointed out, half the time it will hesitate a bit right before running out.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Fun stuff. I have always ridden til I hit the reserve. Luckily it has never done it at a light. I have always been able to flip the switch and keep going usually only dropping about 5mph. But as some have pointed out, half the time it will hesitate a bit right before running out.


One of the points of this thread... what you're "used to" may not happen. Same here, that's why it freaked me out and I dam near got run down. Never happened to me before either. Vigilance!
 

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Happened just the other day to my Girlfriend. She is a new rider (shes got 130 miles on her TDub..) She downshifted and the bike shut down, with a semi behind her. Luckly the road she was on had gravel shoulder, and she got right over. Gave her a little scare though. Took her a second and she remember to switch to reserve, and started it right back up.
 

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Loppy, glad you got through that without worse problems. It's really scary being in heavy traffic with a dying/dead engine. Before you order your Clarke tank, I have something for you to consider.



In 2005 I bought my DR650. It came with a 3.2 gallon tank, which seemed OK. I lived in Danville(Ca) at the time and had a boat in the water in Rio Vista. Coming back from Rio Vista I went over the Antioch Bridge which is quite high and long. At the start of the return trip I put the valve on reserve, knowing that I should have enough gas to easily make it home, and not wanting to deal with switching the valve in traffic.



Everything was fine going over the bridge until I got halfway down from the top. The engine coughed a couple of times and died. It's two lanes in each direction with virtually no shoulder. Not safe to pull over, but I had no choice.



The length and steepness of that downhill part of the bridge had caused the gas to move to the front of the tank, uncovering the reserve fitting. No gas was going to the engine.



After stopping, I leaned the bike over to the petcock side to let gas go there from the other side. After a moment it re-started and I continued on. I had never had anything like that happen before.



Afterwards I began looking for a larger tank, and one where the amount of fuel remaining would never be a mystery. I bought an IMS 4.9 gallon tank which shows the fuel level at a glance. I always run it on reserve, since I don't need any warning when the level gets low. Problem solved. I got the Clarke 2.8 tank for the TW in translucent as well for the same reasons.







At a glance this tank looks white, but it is translucent. I would not run anything else.
 

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Happened to me on a state road. Like you said it just died. Luckily I was going down hill so I just flipped it to reserve and never even pulled the clutch in. Like a boss. :fo2:
 

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Every time I've hit reserve on the TW, there has been no warning. Only once was it in a convenient spot. Three times it has been at a fresh green with vehicles stopped behind me -- light turns green, I start to go, TW dies -- I look like an ass that can't ride a motorcycle. The one time it happened on the highway there was an old Nissan mini pickup tailgating me. It had that uninsured motorist look. When it ran out it was like hitting the brakes -- no warning. Somehow I didn't get rear-ended.



My second vehicle was a baja bug, no gas gauge, no trip meter, just a reserve switch under the dash. It wasn't until I started riding Harleys about fifteen years ago that I experienced a gas gauge on a bike. Neat concept. I guess I really don't think about running out unless I'm on a leg of a ride where gas is not available. Once I hit reserve, I start looking for a gas station. I honestly never really put much thought into fueling before hitting reserve on a daily basis.



Mine always fires right back up, btw.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Loppy, ...Antioch Bridge .


Man, I know that bridge. That's some scary excrament right there brother! Worse than my spot for sure. I've had those tanks before on bikes, I like the idea. Kinda fugly, but pretty functional. Good idear...





More good stories and advise. I'm glad this is getting in our heads again, it really is one of those things that you dont really think about too much, until it soaks your Fruit of the Loom's.
 
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