Replacing fuel level sensor...Help! - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2013, 8:43 pm Thread Starter
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Replacing fuel level sensor...Help!

Out on my first ride of the season and ran out of gas with a half tank showing on the gauge.
Has anyone written up how to replace the fuel level sensor?

Last year I rebuilt the ABS's sticking brushes, installed a chain guard and a new cam chain tensioner so i thought I was to be trouble free for a while!

Thanks

Dennis
Vancouver
2007 K1200GT
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2013, 9:34 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dennismo
Out on my first ride of the season and ran out of gas with a half tank showing on the gauge.
Has anyone written up how to replace the fuel level sensor?

Last year I rebuilt the ABS's sticking brushes, installed a chain guard and a new cam chain tensioner so i thought I was to be trouble free for a while!

Thanks

Dennis
Vancouver
2007 K1200GT

You do have to go into both the top (filler neck) and the bottom (fuel pump) holes. You will need to unplug the sensor strip wire where it plugs into the cap that the fuel pump is mounted to (inside bottom) before you can pull the assembly out through the top that has the strip mounted to it.
The new sensor strip gets attached to the rails on the filler neck assembly and gets lowered into the tank. There is some type of slot molded into the base of the spine of the tank (where your crotch is) that holds the end of the strip so it doesn't bounce around. You need to plug in the new one of course (the diagram doesn't show the wire and plug ...and I believe (but double check) it may require a dealer computer to "flash" the new strip once it is all back together...
http://www.maxbmwmotorcycles.com/fic...png?v=04302013

This diagram shows a little bit of the plug but the wire is relatively longer
http://www.maxbmwmotorcycles.com/fic...png?v=04302013

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old May 9th, 2013, 10:00 pm
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Dennis, Always, keep track of your mileage on each tank of gas. This has been a common problem on the 2006 to 200 8models. In 2009, the 1300 model got back the sensor float.

Larry
Deep Blue 2009 K1300GT
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 27th, 2017, 10:35 am
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BMW extended the warranty up to a total of 12 years without mileage limitation for the "Film Type Fuel Level Sender"
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old Apr 29th, 2017, 9:06 am
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The warranty replacement extension covers the US, I don't know if Canada has similar program.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old May 4th, 2017, 2:09 am
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Thumbs up

If there is still life left in that fuel strip you can re calibrate it but you will need a GS-911 to do it - it can be done, I did it on my own K1200GT.

Also while drifting on the web, I found this on YT, it is from a 1200RT but by the looks of it it's the same strip as in the GT!


and this for a 1200GS

good luck!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old May 21st, 2017, 8:57 am
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+1 on zapping the strip. I have done this to my GS twice and several RTs. The substrate fractures due to flexing and the zap "welds" it back together. And yes it is safe to do - no chance you will blow up the bike as the spark is inside the plastic strip and submerged in the fuel (no air).
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old May 22nd, 2017, 1:32 pm
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Originally Posted by jzeiler View Post
+1 on zapping the strip. I have done this to my GS twice and several RTs. The substrate fractures due to flexing and the zap "welds" it back together. And yes it is safe to do - no chance you will blow up the bike as the spark is inside the plastic strip and submerged in the fuel (no air).
Is it really "safe to do" or are the people who do this lucky?

1. Are you absolutely sure that the spark is not exposed? We already learned that the substrate fractures. Could cracks in the material or plastic expose the spark?

Assuming that we are absolutely, positively sure that the spark cannot be exposed, then:

2. Should people be reminded to fill their tank before trying this trick? I assume that "submerged in the fuel" happens when the tank is full, right?

Personally, I will rely on the dealer to replace the fuel strip, at least until the 12 year warranty finally runs out.

The problem I have with this procedure is my concern about the risk of death or injury from an explosion, no matter how small that risk may be. Things can go very bad very fast when you are playing with sparks in a fuel tank. Even if the risk is one in a thousand, the consequences would be disastrous if something goes wrong. Is it really worth it? Are these people smart, and they truly understand the safety issues, or is this a disaster in the making? (Perhaps someone has already been injured or killed from this, but it might not get reported or noticed. After all, it may look like just another stupid household accident; tragic for the affected rider and family, but not really news.)
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old May 23rd, 2017, 8:04 am
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Originally Posted by XMagnaRider View Post
Is it really "safe to do" or are the people who do this lucky?

1. Are you absolutely sure that the spark is not exposed? We already learned that the substrate fractures. Could cracks in the material or plastic expose the spark?

Assuming that we are absolutely, positively sure that the spark cannot be exposed, then:

2. Should people be reminded to fill their tank before trying this trick? I assume that "submerged in the fuel" happens when the tank is full, right?

Personally, I will rely on the dealer to replace the fuel strip, at least until the 12 year warranty finally runs out.

The problem I have with this procedure is my concern about the risk of death or injury from an explosion, no matter how small that risk may be. Things can go very bad very fast when you are playing with sparks in a fuel tank. Even if the risk is one in a thousand, the consequences would be disastrous if something goes wrong. Is it really worth it? Are these people smart, and they truly understand the safety issues, or is this a disaster in the making? (Perhaps someone has already been injured or killed from this, but it might not get reported or noticed. After all, it may look like just another stupid household accident; tragic for the affected rider and family, but not really news.)
X-man:
I was worried about the spark too. When I had my bike apart for rear shock install I took off the tank and tried the zap fix because relying on the dealer to replace the strip with another identical strip with the same bad design is such a waster of time. For many they just fail again, I suppose some work for a while or even years. Who knows?

My observation from my one experiment: The spark, if any, occurs external to the tank, at the connector outside and on top of the tank, where the two leads from the BBQ zapper are connected. If you actually connect the BBQ wires with proper single pin leads there is no visible spark at all. A very small current then travels down the internal wiring of the fuel strip on the 2nd and 3rd connector and down the 1st and 4th for the parallel heating element. Again, I observed the spark external to the tank at the connector. The "magic" happens inside the insulation of the strip in the tank. Remember, BMW designed the strip with two sets of wires inside insulation and one set is actually a heating element (!), with the other for sensing.

Sounds like the makings of a bomb to me...

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old May 26th, 2017, 7:16 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lhendrick View Post
[...]
Sounds like the makings of a bomb to me...
Made me laugh. Thanks.

I don't claim to understand the intricacies of the fuel strip. I assume that there are one or more shorts in the fuel strip, and that the piezoelectric spark jumps the gaps to reestablish conductivity in some way.

I wonder whether people are trading risk for convenience when they do this in the fuel tank. I suspect that a better procedure would be to remove the strip before zapping it. A lot more work, to be sure, but it sounds safer to me.

As I said before, when the dealer is willing to replace it for free, why take the risk? I hope to be riding my KGT past the 12 year extension, though. Hmmm.
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