Fuel Strip Zapper - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 19th, 2019, 9:57 pm Thread Starter
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Fuel Strip Zapper

2006 K1200s with about 26,000 miles. Coming home from the MOA rally in Lebanon Tennessee my fuel gauge quit working after a fill up. I thought it might come back, some computer glitch or something. It did not. I contacted BMW about the 12 year warranty extension that I read about on the web. They informed me that the 12 year extension period had run out on my bike on June 26. The rally was the first or second week of June. However I had just reported it so they would not be covering the replacement of the fuel strip under the 12 year warranty program.
I had read and watched videos on the web about taking a piezo grill lighter and fashioning some leads and connecting to the fuel strip plug at the gas tank fuel pump access. I pulled the trigger on the lighter 10 times on pins #2 and #3, then again on pins #1 and #4. Plugged everything back up, turn on the ignition and waited while everything reset and IT WORKS. My fuel gauge reads half a tank and the blinking yellow triangle indicator has quit flashing. Amazing.
Shop quoted me $400 to replace the fuel strip.
Zapping the fuel strip actually works!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 2019, 8:12 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by du907 View Post
2006 K1200s with about 26,000 miles. Coming home from the MOA rally in Lebanon Tennessee my fuel gauge quit working after a fill up. I thought it might come back, some computer glitch or something. It did not. I contacted BMW about the 12 year warranty extension that I read about on the web. They informed me that the 12 year extension period had run out on my bike on June 26. The rally was the first or second week of June. However I had just reported it so they would not be covering the replacement of the fuel strip under the 12 year warranty program.
I had read and watched videos on the web about taking a piezo grill lighter and fashioning some leads and connecting to the fuel strip plug at the gas tank fuel pump access. I pulled the trigger on the lighter 10 times on pins #2 and #3, then again on pins #1 and #4. Plugged everything back up, turn on the ignition and waited while everything reset and IT WORKS. My fuel gauge reads half a tank and the blinking yellow triangle indicator has quit flashing. Amazing.
Shop quoted me $400 to replace the fuel strip.
Zapping the fuel strip actually works!
Can you write up a detailed procedure on what you did. It will help others with the same problem...
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 2019, 11:54 am Thread Starter
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Fuel Strip Zapper - Step by Step

This is to repair/restore your fuel gauge when the fuel strip quits and your dash shows no fuel and the yellow caution and fuel light continuously blinks.

1) Go to Lowes or hardware store and get a piezoelectric grill starter/igniter. Get a good one about $5 - $10. It needs to have 2 wires coming from the trigger igniter. The piezo affect is a high voltage emitter from a certain type stone. Anyway most lighters have butane and a small hose that goes to the tip. When you pull the trigger, the high voltage arcs where the butane gas comes out and produces a flame. All you want is the two wires that goes to the end that makes the spark. Remove the butane and hose if you can, otherwise disable it. Remove the pipe and tip. Again, what you want is the two wires that connect to the trigger.

2) Get some small female wire connectors that you will push over the male spades of the connector at the gas tank. Sodder the connectors to the ends of the wires of the zapper or if you need to extend the wires to make it easier to connect add some wire to the ends of the existing wires from the piezoelectric igniter. Make sure you tape or use shrinkable tubing to cover any joints. You don't want any bare wires, remember this is a jolt of high voltage being transmitted! Make sure you cover the connectors right down to the ends. No exposed wires or joints from the igniter to the end of the connectors.

3) Depending on how small your hands are you can go in from the top of the gas tank without removal. You take out the screws that attach the gas cap and remove the fitting that is left. This is the fitting where you put in the gas hose when you fill up your tank. Work the fitting around and pull it out. The fuel strip and spillage hose are still attached so be careful. Now get a flash light and look down in the tank and you will see where the plug from the fuel strip is plugged in. If you hand is small enough reach into the gas tank and pull the plug loose. You can attach you "zapper" here. I could not get my hand into the tank so I had to go to PLAN "B". Remember to get the fuel strip installed correctly back into the tank. See diagram below.

4) PLAN "B": Remove the side body panels from the gas tank. Remove the two spindles at the base of the tank that the seat slides onto. Get some help or a block of wood and work the the gas tank up and back enough to get your hand down onto the tank access for the fuel pump, fuel strip, and vent hoses. Remove the gas hose first by pushing on the metal release button and carefully work the hose out of the fitting. This fitting is very fragile so be careful. Remove the electrical plugs, one goes to the fuel pump, the other goes to the fuel strip, this is where we will attach the zapper. Remove the vent hose and pull up and back and remove the gas tank.

5) There are two electrical plugs at the access. One plug has 3 pins the other 4 pins. We are interested in the 4 pin plug. Take your prepared zapper and push on one lead (it doesn't matter which wire) onto pin #2 and the other lead onto pin #3 (pin number is not important except that pin 2 and 3 are the two innermost pins). Pull the zapper trigger about 10 times. Remove connectors and place on pin #1 and #4 (the two outermost pins) and pull the trigger on the zapper about 10 times. Your are DONE!

6) Now put everything back together, attach the rubber hose, then the electrical connectors. Attach the fuel line last, it's the shortest. You might put a little grease on the o-ring to help it go in easier. Replace your fuel tank. Turn your key on and let the computer "boot up" like it always does. Remember it takes a little time for it to all come on, about 90 seconds. If it works you will get your fuel gauge back. It worked for me but there are no guarantees. I don't know how long the repair will last. I have seen posts that it worked for a couple of days to a couple of years. I wonder if you do yearly maintenance you could add this procedure to it. Good luck.

> First picture shows how to get fuel strip back into tank correctly.
> Second picture shows fuel strip plug (#3) to remove if doing this through the fuel filler opening from top of tank
> Third picture is an example of the modified zapper that someone else made.
> Fourth picture shows which plug to attach the zapper to. (4 pins)
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Last edited by du907; Sep 20th, 2019 at 12:06 pm.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 2019, 12:20 pm Thread Starter
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Explanation

Here is a quick explanation of how this repair works:

The fuel strip may be made of some kind of carbon or other transducer type material on a plastic substrate that after some time, cracks can form. The high voltage shock from the "zapper" causes the electrical current to jump or short across this crack dragging electrons and material with it. Again we are talking very minuscule amounts here. This "heals" the crack and makes the the strip work again. How long the repair lasts is anybody guess. A new fuel strip is about $125. My local shop quoted me $400 for the repair. There is an extended warranty of 12 years that BMW provides but that depends on the service date BMW has on file for you particular bike.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 20th, 2019, 7:25 pm
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Great write up.

Thanks for posting
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 21st, 2019, 12:11 pm
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Fuel strip

My fuel strip putzed out last fall and was beyond the 12 year warranty period also.
I finally got around to doing the same procedure to my strip. Unfortunately it didn't
work out for me. I zapped my strip on 3 separate occasions to no avail. Since I
really like to see my fuel level, I'll be making a trip to dealer before too long. It
apparently has worked for many owners. Glad it worked for you!

Jim
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 23rd, 2019, 11:29 am
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Question for those that have had this... I bought a 7,000 mile 2008 K1200S in early 2019 from my aunt after my uncle passed. The fuel gauge was working, but inaccurate and I ran out of gas. Had the local dealer replace the gauge under warranty, and within 2 rides the new gauge shows zero fuel on the bike.

Does the zapper trick fix a gauge showing zero reading, or a gauge showing inaccurate levels? Dealer has another gauge on order for me, but curious as I am nearly out of the 12 year period.

Thanks.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Sep 24th, 2019, 9:27 pm Thread Starter
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Rtzx9r,
Good question but I'm not sure. I believe the "zapper" fix bridges across minute cracks in the fuel level sensor strip to close a short or gap.
I have a question also. Does anyone know for sure if the K1300S float type fuel level sensor will work as a simple plug in fix or is there more stuff that would have to be changed. I have seen that the fuel pump is the same. So if you could change out the fuel strip and the fuel inlet tube because of the bracket that holds the float type sensor, looks like this could be done.
Does anyone know?
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