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Out of Gas and No Reading Glasses

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I ran out of gas on the DR650ES today. Or did I?. Was in the middle of one of the logging roads I ride and engine began to cut out. Suspected that fuel wasn't getting to the carburetor. Knew that there was a reserve tank position and possibly another position (found out later that it was a priming position for an empty carburetor). Didn't bring reading glasses so couldn't read the writing on the fuel positions. I just switched over to the reserve tank position and bypassed the prime position because I didn't know it was there. Tried to start engine on reserve tank position and still no fuel flow. Barely was able to call wife on the cell phone because I couldn't read the keys without reading glasses. After several failed attempts was finally able to get the call out. Only dumb luck that I could tell her where I was because about ten years earlier I took her to this road to show her a spot where I had shot a deer. She brought some gas and it solved the problem. The question I have is why didn't the reserve tank work? Was it because you had to prime the carburetor after running out of gas on the primary tank before switching over to the reserve tank? Or was it because the reserve tank had no gas because when I filled up I didn't switch to the reserve position to allow gas to flow into the reserve tank? Will gas flow into the reserve tank on fill-up if you don't switch to the reserve position during fill-up? In any case, several lessons learned- Check fuel before leaving, bring reading glasses, and make sure the wife knows in advance where you are if any trouble arises. Any information on the cause of the fuel problem I had will be appreciated.   

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There is no "reserve tank", just one tank supplying the fuel petcock.

 

The fuel petcock has two pipes sticking upward into the gasoline supply, one longer and one shorter.

When the gasoline level in the tank drops below the top of the longer pipe, you switch to the shorter pipe, which is the "reserve" position on the petcock.

 

If you run out again, switch to "prime" and wait a minute so gasoline will gravity feed into the carburetor.

With the petcock on the "on" or "reserve" position, fuel will flow only while the engine is turning over due to the automatic petcock (there is no "off" position because it shuts off automatically when the engine stops), so you'll have to crank and crank the engine over in order to get fuel to flow to the empty carburetor bowl.

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There is no "reserve tank", just one tank supplying the fuel petcock.

 

The fuel petcock has two pipes sticking upward into the gasoline supply, one longer and one shorter.

When the gasoline level in the tank drops below the top of the longer pipe, you switch to the shorter pipe, which is the "reserve" position on the petcock.

 

If you run out again, switch to "prime" and wait a minute so gasoline will gravity feed into the carburetor.

With the petcock on the "on" or "reserve" position, fuel will flow only while the engine is turning over due to the automatic petcock (there is no "off" position because it shuts off automatically when the engine stops), so you'll have to crank and crank the engine over in order to get fuel to flow to the empty carburetor bowl.

Thanks for the information. I remember reading in the owner's manual that there was a third position but didn't remember where it was or exactly what it was for. Without reading glasses, I didn't know where it was and I only turned the switch to the reserve detent. But I did crank the engine for a few seconds in the reserve position but apparently not long enough to get sufficient fuel into the carburetor. I was afraid to crank too long and run out of battery power. Then it wouldn't matter if the wife brought gas or not. Wish the bike had a kick starter instead of the battery starter. In any case, I now know the fuel flow design. The owner's manual is poorly worded in not telling you how long you need to crank the engine to get sufficient fuel into the carburetor or that you should go to the prime position before cranking the engine in the reserve position. It only tells you that you that need to prime when you run out of fuel but doesn't tell you "running out of fuel" applies also when there is still fuel in the reserve position. Thanks again.  

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Get your reading glasses on, see where the RES position is on the petcock... and memorize it.

You are supposed to be able to reach down and do this "on the fly" when the first indication of low fuel shows itself.

Edited by paul246

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Helps too to keep track of fuel supply by using the odometer. Zero it out at fill up and do the math with approximate mpg you are getting. Tire pressure has a big impact on the fuel efficiency of my dr650

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I am often guilty of this myself....BUT...........

 

If you ride alone you must have a few things in a survival bag including reading glasses. I too am handicapped without mine.

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Get your reading glasses on, see where the RES position is on the petcock... and memorize it.

You are supposed to be able to reach down and do this "on the fly" when the first indication of low fuel shows itself.

I knew where the RES position was because of the detent and went there. I couldn't see the Prime position and it didn't have a detent. When the bike first began cutting out I didn't immediately identify it as running out of fuel. After a few failed attempted starts in both the Primary and Reserve position, I didn't want to run the battery down. At this point, I still didn't conclusively identify it as running out of fuel. Had the wife bring gas to determine if the problem was caused by an empty fuel tank. Guessed right. 

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I am often guilty of this myself....BUT...........

 

If you ride alone you must have a few things in a survival bag including reading glasses. I too am handicapped without mine.

Been out about eight times and this was the one time I didn't bring the reading glasses. All survival items fit in a 16" long backpack because this is the longest which can fit on the grab bars and not extend into the air stream, not extend over the taillight, and still allow the wife to ride dual-up. I always take the backpack with me regardless of where I ride. Items in pack: Wallet, bike registration, bike insurance card, driver's license, AR-7, two clips, 50 rounds .22 LR, full water bottle, baseball hat, stocking cap, cell phone, reading glasses, sun glasses, 3 granola bars, flashlight, knife, magnesium fire starter, whistle, compass, sufficient number of zip-locks to keep water sensitive items in (wallet, cell phone, etc.), small flask of Jack (just kidding). Boots are waterproof Goretex, jacket is water proof and wind proof. If too hot, will stow jacket in the backpack. More items to add as I identify them. Plenty of space left to add to. Wife has her own backpack which will fit over my backpack when she goes. Backpacks are strapped to grab bars with two bungee cords. After last months spill a few feet from the telephone pole, probably need to have paper identifying our next of kin and estate executrix.

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Been out about eight times and this was the one time I didn't bring the reading glasses. All survival items fit in a 16" long backpack because this is the longest which can fit on the grab bars and not extend into the air stream, not extend over the taillight, and still allow the wife to ride dual-up. I always take the backpack with me regardless of where I ride. Items in pack: Wallet, bike registration, bike insurance card, driver's license, AR-7, two clips, 50 rounds .22 LR, full water bottle, baseball hat, stocking cap, cell phone, reading glasses, sun glasses, 3 granola bars, flashlight, knife, magnesium fire starter, whistle, compass, sufficient number of zip-locks to keep water sensitive items in (wallet, cell phone, etc.), small flask of Jack (just kidding). Boots are waterproof Goretex, jacket is water proof and wind proof. If too hot, will stow jacket in the backpack. More items to add as I identify them. Plenty of space left to add to. Wife has her own backpack which will fit over my backpack when she goes. Backpacks are strapped to grab bars with two bungee cords. After last months spill a few feet from the telephone pole, probably need to have paper identifying our next of kin and estate executrix.

Add first aid kit.

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What is this "prime" position you speak of?

NEVER heard of it or seen it. ???????????

You find it on bikes with vacuum-operated automatic petcocks.

These use a little hose drawing vacuum from the inlet tract to open a diaphragm and allow the petcock to flow fuel only when the engine is cranked over or running, eliminating the need to manually turn the petcock on and off.

Found on carb-equipped street bikes and dual-purpose bikes.

 

PRI (prime) allows the petcock to flow fuel even if the engine is not running, and is used to fill the carburetor bowl up if you run out of fuel.

You're supposed to turn the petcock back to ON once you fill back up and get the engine running.

Edited by YZEtc

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Add first aid kit.

 

I kind of thought I was preaching to the choir. Your list is better than mine.

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Get your reading glasses on, see where the RES position is on the petcock... and memorize it.

You are supposed to be able to reach down and do this "on the fly" when the first indication of low fuel shows itself.

 

You definitely want to know where it is if you're rolling down the interstate with traffic behind you.

 

OP, also know that a DR can be jumpstarted off a cage or another moto. Just make sure that the cage is NOT running when connected to a moto. A cage's alternator could overwhelm the reg/rect on a moto. The DR can also be push-started, if somebody around is fleet of foot or has another vehicle to push with. I've even push-started my DR on wet pavement. I haven't wanted for a kick-starter yet.

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You definitely want to know where it is if you're rolling down the interstate with traffic behind you.

 

OP, also know that a DR can be jumpstarted off a cage or another moto. Just make sure that the cage is NOT running when connected to a moto. A cage's alternator could overwhelm the reg/rect on a moto. The DR can also be push-started, if somebody around is fleet of foot or has another vehicle to push with. I've even push-started my DR on wet pavement. I haven't wanted for a kick-starter yet.

Running out of gas will never happen again as I'll check the tank each time before going out.

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I always have two pair of reading glasses with me when I ride.  One pair stores in a metal case, which I keep in my tool pack.  The other pair is in a plastic case, which I duct tape to the inside of the airbox cover.

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What happen if you try to start the bike on prime, will it not get enough fuel to stay running ???

A friend of mine couldn't start his bike, he was trying to start it on prime, after he drain the bowl, he never got it started, I left after the batterie died, he said he still haven't got it started, to make this easy what the process to start on a empty gas bowl.

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+1 on the readers. I keep two pairs of readers, one with my tools and one in my camelback. Been on several rides where I have been asked to check oil levels and petcock positions!

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I have a 28 liter Aqualine Safari tank on my DRZ, at 47, I know about not having the reading glasses and trying to figure out what the petcock says, I looked all over the web for anybody selling any kind of petcock decals I could put on the large space above the petcock

 

I never though to keep a spare pair of readers as part of my tool kit...gotta love the forum!

 

If anybody knows where I can get a tank/petcock decal let me know please!

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I have a 28 liter Aqualine Safari tank on my DRZ, at 47, I know about not having the reading glasses and trying to figure out what the petcock says, I looked all over the web for anybody selling any kind of petcock decals I could put on the large space above the petcock

 

I never though to keep a spare pair of readers as part of my tool kit...gotta love the forum!

 

If anybody knows where I can get a tank/petcock decal let me know please!

You can always use a color code, I use my girlfriend fingernail polish like RED for off,GREEN for on & BLACK for reserve, that eliminates glasses looking at PETCOCK wondering if its on the right mode,, ITs what I did,

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