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Old 11-11-2008, 09:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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2007 Sportster 1200C fuel reserve

I bought my 1st Harley back in July, a 07 Sportster 1200C. As you all probably know this model has the 4.5 gal fuel tank and the low fuel light, according to the owner's manual, comes on when 1.5 gal is left in the tank. I'm getting about 43 mpg with combined street and highway usage. So after the light comes on I ride about 40 miles before filling up. At that point the bike is starving for fuel and cutting out. But when I fill up, I can only put about 3.8 gal in it. This means I should have had 3/4 gal left in the tank. So why is it cutting out? Is there a minimum amount of fuel that should be left in the tank of these EFI models? Why have 3/4 gal of fuel that you can't use? Thanks, CJ
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Let me also add...

that the motor surges at times when using a steady throttle, not all the time and not predictable. Could this be a TT328 problem? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Have you checked for any codes???? There is the possibility the fuel line inside the tank has pin holes, but I've never heard of Sportsters having that problem. After the fuel level drops below the pin holes, the line starts sucking air .
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cj4567 View Post
I bought my 1st Harley back in July, a 07 Sportster 1200C. As you all probably know this model has the 4.5 gal fuel tank and the low fuel light, according to the owner's manual, comes on when 1.5 gal is left in the tank. I'm getting about 43 mpg with combined street and highway usage. So after the light comes on I ride about 40 miles before filling up. At that point the bike is starving for fuel and cutting out. But when I fill up, I can only put about 3.8 gal in it. This means I should have had 3/4 gal left in the tank. So why is it cutting out? Is there a minimum amount of fuel that should be left in the tank of these EFI models? Why have 3/4 gal of fuel that you can't use? Thanks, CJ
I have never trusted Harley fuel guages because they have never been reliable. I suspect the idiot fuel light is just as unreliable. Unless you want to be stranded on the road one day - out of fuel - i suggest you just pay attention to your odometer instead of the fuel light. With your bike i'd be looking for a gas station at around 140 miles.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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No codes, krayven.
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sounds as tho it's a fuel delivery problem which wouldn't throw codes unless it's an injector problem. Suggestion: Fill it up, ride until the problem starts and then look into the tank while it's running and see if any of the lines or connections are spraying fuel inside the tank.
I don't trust low fuel level lights either. My Ultra's sometimes comes on when I have 1 1/2 gallons, sometimes 1/4 gallon. Best keep track with the one of the odometers like suggested.

Last edited by Krayven Sumhead; 11-13-2008 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks, I always keep track. It's foolish not to.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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cj, one thing i have noticed is that the light will come on early if you turn the ignition on when the bike is on the jiffy stand OR if you go into a hard left turn. It only gives accurate readings when the bike is perfectly centered, but then what's the fun in that!

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Old 11-13-2008, 01:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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20538 is reading this now saying WTF is this?
could it be the fuel pickup is in the front of the tank and when in motion the fuel is at the back of the tank.

I had a similar problem years ago. I new the Sportster peanut tank 2.5 gallons could go only so many miles. But I had a brain fart and went more miles than I should which left me in the country 5 miles from a gas station. I ran out of gas and went and knocked on a door of some farmers house. I was mad at myself but figured what the heck, lets try and start the bike anyway. It started and I was able to ride into town and coasted into the gas station. An important lesson.

I concluded that when in motion the fuel wasn't getting to the pickup point but when I stopped it did and gave me enough to go another few miles.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have the same thing happen. I do not mind, I fill up. 4.5 gallon tank on a 2008 Sporty. I do notice that taking off fast with a low tank having only a gallon left causes a hiccup so I presume the pick up is in the front of the tank. I have another bike that stalls on low fuel when braking hard, so I think that bike has the fuel pick up in the rear of the tank.
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Old 11-15-2008, 03:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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its not the light that is wrong, he says when it sputters, he can only still put in 3.8 gal... but r u filling it all the way up to the top when u fill it? if u buy gas as soon as the light comes on, how much do u buy? i have a carb'd bike with reserve, but if i buy gas as soon as i switch to reserve, i put in 3.8, so i know i have .7 left, times 48mpg = 33 miles on reserve, and if i go 33 miles, its sputtering, so i limit it to 25 miles to be safe...
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Old 11-15-2008, 09:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have been doing a lot of EFI testing and tuning on a totally stock 2007 Low that has the large version tank. At any time that the fuel light is on, I can starve the motor for fuel in a first gear acceleration test.

The better you get the bike running the easier it is to starve it under hard acceleration.

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Old 11-16-2008, 02:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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its not the light that is wrong, he says when it sputters, he can only still put in 3.8 gal... but r u filling it all the way up to the top when u fill it? if u buy gas as soon as the light comes on, how much do u buy? i have a carb'd bike with reserve, but if i buy gas as soon as i switch to reserve, i put in 3.8, so i know i have .7 left, times 48mpg = 33 miles on reserve, and if i go 33 miles, its sputtering, so i limit it to 25 miles to be safe...

Matt, I put in all the fuel I can get in. The most I have ever be able to get in, is 3.9 gal. The owners manual says that when the light comes on I have 1.5 gal in reserve. I understand that is relative. At 43 mpg I should be able to go 65 miles. But after 40 miles I am sputtering on a normal take-off. It's no big deal I just know I need to get fuel within 40 miles after the light comes on. I just thought it should be able to go further with .6-.7 gal left in the tank. When this all started I said that this was my 1st Harley, it's also my 1st fuel injected bike, but it's not my first trip around the block. Not trying to sound like an @ss, it just comes naturally. Thanks for all the replies! CJ
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:30 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Hello cj4567, I'm new to this site looking for new ideas on things. I read your post regarding possible low fuel surging with a fuel injected bike. I have a thought on this issue and here goes.
Let's call the low fuel level .5gal. The tank has a tunnel dividing the two sides. Fuel will never gather to one side of the tank, that puts the volume at about a quart on each side. Now spread that quart out in the area of one side of the tunnel and you may have a fuel level of about .5-.75inch. I don't think the pump pick-up sits on the very bottom of the tank, that reduces the level from the top of the fuel to the pick-up line. I think at this level, it would be very possible for the pump to draw in air while the bike is in motion, as the fuel will be moving around. The pump keeps pressure on the injectors at all times. If the pump draws air, even just a minute amount, the injector is going to stop working until it gets the proper pressure. I'm no expert on this and I could be completely wrong, but it sounds possible.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:05 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks Lloyd...

it sounds possible to me as well. Problem is, the surging is unpredictable as to when it may happen and at any fuel level. The other day it stalled on me at an intersection at normal operating temp and about 40 miles from just filling up. I think I have a fuel pressure problem. I am going to take it to the dealer and ask them to do the TT328 fuel pressure regulator/fuel pump modification.
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