Fuel strip fix?

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by wjrudo, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

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    Any news to report? :ear

    I was reading an article that quotes Hans Blesse BMW NA VP in the MOA mgagazine (Oct 12) saying that the problem is the "chemical coating/contamination". Apparently, "fuels have been sampled from all over the world in an effort to identify the culprit." The article goes on to say that, "they are making strides toward curing these woes...".

    I think what precipitated the problem on my 08 GS was a nap it took, fracturing the strip material. A week or so later I started having intermittent problems and before too long the problem became permanent. :cry
    #41
  2. jzeiler

    jzeiler ADWrencher

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    I am thinking if it was chemical contamination the spark treatment would not work. Unless it some how "purges" the contamination from the strip. Don't think that is possible.

    I believe it is the thick film resistor being a bit too brittle and once the strip flexes too much it fractures. The high voltage arc mearly "welds" the fractured thich film resistor back together, restoring normal operation. Thats my story and I'm sticking with it.
    #42
  3. AndyM

    AndyM Been here awhile

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    I'm on my 3rd tank of gas since doing "the fix" with a bbq igniter. It sort of works. Reads full when I fill it and the range seems about right. Then starts dropping as I burn off gas but only goes down to between 3/4 and 1/2. Any way to calibrate without going to the dealer?
    #43
  4. biometrics

    biometrics Been here awhile

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    Isn't there a danger of the "spark" setting off fumes in the tank and causing an explosion with this repair technique? :huh Am I missing something here? :eek1
    #44
  5. WOLVERINE

    WOLVERINE Keep her pinned!

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    Kinda,
    I believe there's no danger cause you're well below the LEL/UEL (Lower explosive limit/Upper explosive limit ) for it to ignite the gas in the tank. There simply isn't enough air in the tank or gas vapor to ignite nor do I believe the spark will be exposed in the tank rather than internally in the fuel strip.
    If it makes you feel better, fill the tank completely full than you'll be sure to be well below the LEL for Gasoline....
    Mine was well below less than 1/2 empty when I did it with the BBQ ignitor. Nothing happened....

    Ever see someone throw a lit match in a full container of gas? Guess what? The flame goes out because there isn't enough vapor mixing with oxygen to ignite it....
    #45
  6. Paul J Statham

    Paul J Statham Sign Maker

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    Hi Guys. Merry Christmas and Happy New year.
    The fuel strip is a mythical beast for sure. I had mine go at about 25000 kilometers on my 07 GSA.
    I am in Canada by the way. I did the odometer thing for a bit . Then on a trip to the States I stopped at a dealer who would order in the strip for me and send it to my house for half the price of the dealer 7 miles from my house.
    I am a handy guy and was not afraid to try the install my self. I also had worries about calibration as that is another BMW myth. You remove the old one put in the new one the BMW computer figures it out and it works.
    That being said the only problem I did have was with the gasket around the part that goes into the gas tank. the first time it leaked when I filled it up. I had to drain the gas out and do it again. That was do to inexperience and part of the learning process.:clap All in all not hard and cheaper that the $500 I was quoted to do the job of course that included the calibration LOL.
    I still have my one none working strip. I will measure the resistance then zap it to see if it is fixed . I hope it works.
    Good luck to all who do ether method .
    Paul
    #46
  7. jzeiler

    jzeiler ADWrencher

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    I only took me two tank fulls for the bike to "re-learn" the 'MTE reading' and 'low fuel light turn on' to all be correct again (or at least as good as when she was new). Maybe there was different sw in the early ZFE modules compared to the later ones (09 here). I don't believe there are levels to the fix (BBQ) you either zap it back or it still reads empty. But there may be differences in the ZFE SW that may require calibration.
    #47
  8. cliffy109

    cliffy109 Long timer

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    I really need to give this a try. My fuel gauge is really funky and it doesn't act like I read of others. When I fill my tank, it shows full and stays there for a LONG time. My miles to empty shows a range of 489-490 miles. Both the range and the gauge come down, but not nearly as fast as reality should dictate. It is as if the bike thinks I have 3 extra gallons at all times.

    Then, quite suddenly, the gauge will start working correctly for a few miles. The range drops back to reality and all is well for 5 to 10 minutes and then it goes right back to thinking I have 3 extra gallons again. Its the damnedest thing.
    #48
  9. WOLVERINE

    WOLVERINE Keep her pinned!

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    Mine was opposite from that. I would fill up, sometimes it would show all bars, other times 1 bar missing ( IIRC there's 8 correct). Range would show me 650+kms, I would ride, the range would count up in combination with kms travelled would go to 750-800kms and I'd have almost 150-200kms on. If I stopped and parked the bike on the sidestand it, after I jumped back on to ride the tank level would be down to 5/8bars. Ride some more, stop and start again it would read 3/8 bars, then the range would drop like birdpoop to 125kms left to empty and I only had gone 300kms. It would hold there for over 100kms and then drop til the fuel light came on. I'd fill up and it would take 26-28L so that means the fuel light is correct but the range was all over the place...
    #49
  10. Dorian

    Dorian huge carbon footprint

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    ^^^ This is what mine does ('08 r1200GS). When I get some time in the next few weeks I'm gonna zap my fuel strip (in-tank) with the BBQ igniter. Fingers crossed :pope
    #50
  11. jzeiler

    jzeiler ADWrencher

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    Mine did that initially although I never got the MTE up to the 400 range as I filled it up to see just how low it was when reading full. It took two gallons. Later I pulled it out of the tank and opened up the hard plastic shroud and I flexed the piss out of it looking it over and saw nothing. Put it all back together, then it showed empty all the time.

    Still going strong after the zap I did awhile back.
    #51
  12. leafman60

    leafman60 Long timer

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    Just amazing that this and other problems persist with the BMW brand.
    #52
  13. GP1200

    GP1200 Been here awhile

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    Even at day one, my GSA fuel indicator has been completely inaccurate, and does bizarre things. Starting it up in the morning is always a blast until it figures out how much fuel it actually has. I don't think I'd fix it if it completely broke . I'd just calculate the mileage I had for the volume I put in.

    As for BMW problems persisting, German engineers are very stubborn and reluctant to admit they effed up. BMW and their dealers are extremely good at denying, pointing fingers and covering up. Their cars are beautiful but have extremely unreliable electronics, and lot of their bikes have huge issues which they will just not fix. Vibrations on their K1300 series, final drive failures on all their bikes, bearings on the F800's are all well documented and yet they either ignore them or are verrrry slowwwww at fixing them.
    #53
  14. Dorian

    Dorian huge carbon footprint

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    The fuel gauge on my '08 12GS hasn't exactly been working properly for awhile. It reads full when I fill up but doesn't drop much, if at all, as I ride. Reads 215mi range, down to 192mi, then gradually climbs to 240mi to 260mi range - then stays there until I need to fill up again (appx 190mi per tank as I use my trip odo for my MTE). The fuel gauge worked fine for about 7K miles; I'd get the flashing low fuel message/yellow triangle etc, which would disappear once I filled up - just like it's supposed to.

    So I have some time today and figure I'll take my BBQ igniter and, per the well-documented steps in this thread, go out and "fix" my wayward fuel gauge. I zapped the two center pins a couple of times and rolled the bike out to start it for a test ride. A minute or two after starting the fuel gauge reads empty, the flashing FUEL! warning and yellow triangle are displayed - which I didn't have BEFORE I tried the fix. Oh, and the tank is full! WTF!?

    Looks like I succeeded in making mine worse than it was before. It was inaccurate as hell but at least I didn't have the flashing FUEL!/yellow triangle I have now. It pisses me off so much I think I'll take my 650L for a ride instead :lol3

    Anyway.. Happy New Year! :freaky

    Cheers, Dorian
    #54
  15. Dorian

    Dorian huge carbon footprint

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    I went out to the garage this morning and re-zapped the fuel gauge with my BBQ igniter. Started the bike and a couple of minutes later the gauge read full with 193mi range MTE - just like it should. Fuel gauge appears to be working normally again :hmmmmm

    All I can think of is that while connecting my multimeter yesterday I must've moved one/both of the two center pins just enuff to where it caused a fracture in the carbon strip? Or my GS didn't like watching me ride off on the Honda... Anyway not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth here. In a couple of hours after the roads thaw a bit I'll take it for a ride this afternoon and see if it's working properly. That is IF I can get my riding pants to zip shut. They seem to have shrunk a bit since November :dg

    - Dorian
    #55
  16. WeazyBuddha

    WeazyBuddha Carbon-Based Humanoid

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    One of these days I'll try zapping mine. If the thing bursts into flames I'd have an excuse to buy another. :lol3

    I wonder if there would be any benefit to making the zapping part of the scheduled maintenance. Might it be better to wait till it is needed or would regularly zapping--say, every 6k or so miles--be advisable. I suppose it would depend on what exactly is happening.

    Is the material really just carbon? Anybody know other applications where this material is used? Knowing that might shed further light on the problem.
    #56
  17. Dorian

    Dorian huge carbon footprint

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    Well, it worked for about 70 miles then quit again; FUEL!/yellow triangle now displayed. I stopped and filled the tank, rode home and re-zapped it a few times. It worked - this time for about 30 miles. For whatever reason my fuel strip doesn't seem fixable. :pope

    Good luck!

    - Dorian
    #57
  18. smile-maker

    smile-maker Long timer

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    The only way to force BMW to fix it, now that they have changed the fuel sender, is to report it to the government as a safety issue. if they get enough complaints, hopefully an investigation and then recall can be forced.

    If everyone with the strip fuel sender issue would file a complaint ...

    NHTSA Safety complaint site

    I have had a dealership tell me that it is the ethanol in our gas. No one seems to know or want to find out -- except we who were crazy enough to buy one. (I am on sender # 4 or 5 I've lost count.)
    #58
  19. caggs

    caggs Adventurer

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    Well my fuel strip went faulty on my 09 GSA last month and I couldn't handle the Yellow warning light any more so I decided to replace the fuel strip. Well that was until BMW in Australia put a price of $285 on it (part only, installation extra). After looking at the threads here, zapping it was definitely an option, but I am too chicken to do it whilst it was still in the tank. We pulled the tank off, drained it and eventually worked out how to get the Fuel Strip out. Checked the Fuel strip with a multimeter and sure enough - an open circuit. Out with the lighter and a few zaps later, multimeter shows 3.4k - hmm that's better.

    Put the Fuel Strip back in, reinstalled the tank, put the fuel back in, started the bike - and - a yellow warning lamp - "FUEL" - bugger!!!! Had another look back in the threads and "maybe it just takes a while". Had a cuppa tea, stated the bike - no change. Ignition off - restart - same same.

    Let's check the Fault Status, maybe we need to reset it. Out comes the GS911, ignition on - What's that???? No yellow light, no fuel alarm - hmmmmm. Checked the GS911, no fault code, started the bike, whooo hoo 2 fuel bars and no alarm.

    yehhhh - it works. :clap Put he bike back together and off to the servo - filled it up and whoo hoo, full tank showing on the gauge.

    Lets see how long it lasts........
    #59
  20. deciacco

    deciacco Adventurer

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    Just did this today on my 09 GS. This was my second failed strip. The first time it was the original and it left me stranded. I was using the trip odometer as well and I knew I was close, but since the light hadn't come on, I thought I had enough to get where I was going. This time it first told me I had a full tank when it was practically empty. On the next restart it simply went to no bars and yellow triangle. It's only been a couple of months since the new strip, so I'm well under warranty, but I thought I'd give this a try first.

    Zapped it while on the bike...have to admit I was a bit nervous to pull the trigger. It seemed to have worked as the bars are back and no more flashing triangle. I havent had time to ride it, but I'll report back. I noticed I get a reading of 2.49ohms from the two center leads. I siphoned out a bit of gas to see if it made a difference and sure enough if I take out some gas it drops a few bars...when I put it back the bars come back. It's not an instant reading, but if I changed the amount of gas and then cycled the key on and off, after a little bit the reading on the lcd would update.

    Those of you who have doen this, how long was it before the strip died again? Does it seem to be a one time deal or do we need to keep our zappers with us?
    #60