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Rubber Mount Sportster Motorcycle Talk (2004-2006) This area is to discuss issues, problems and anything else unique to the 2004 and above Sportster motorcycles

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Old 15th April 2012
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Default Petcock / Fuel Reserve Question

Ok, this is my first bike with a petcock. My previous cruiser was a fuelly & my FZ1 has a gauge. Riding back from my ride to day, I let it run down until it hit reserve (170 miles). (Of course, then I turned off the petcock instead of switching it to reserve & had to coast to the shoulder, but I'll chalk that up to a "Rookie Mistake", lol.)
While running on reserve, the bike seemed kind of sputtery, like it was on bad gas.
So here's the question: how does the reserve work on these bikes? With the petcock in normal position, is the fuel in the reserve left there while the fresh gas is in the rest of the tank? I've only had the bike about a month. I'm now concerned that I've unwittingly run degraded fuel through the carb.
Should I be turning the petcock to reserve when I refuel? When I fiiled up this time I left the petcock in reserve until the tank was filled, then turned it to normal. so I replenished the reserve.
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Old 16th April 2012
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I was always under the impression that its all the same tank but you have two straws so to say sticking up, one taller than the other. When the tall one starts sucking air then we switch to the shorter one. When that one starts sucking air then we are stranded. That's the way it always worked in my mind anyway.
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Old 16th April 2012
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But being this is the first time you've done this, then maybe the bike was sitting for a while and when you switched to reserve you just got some gunky gas left at the bottom of the tank. After a couple of fillups I'm sure it should be fine.
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Old 16th April 2012
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refill before hitting reserve to stay away from any bad gas you might be carrying.
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Old 16th April 2012
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If you have any bad gas it will be diluted when you refill. All in the same Tank, no seperate reservoir for fuel. It is like two straws with 1 higher than the other. If you are concerned with bad gas, pull the petcock and drain the tank. Then you'll know for sure.
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Old 16th April 2012
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This should help explain...

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Old 16th April 2012
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Excellent!
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Old 16th April 2012
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Excellent! Thanks for the replies. I just needed to know how far I can get on the main portion of the tank. This is the first time I let it go that far. It wasn't my first fill up, so I should be good.
I don't think the bike sat for a long period of time, because it wasn't on the dealer's (used) lot for long. But, you can never tell what the previous owner did. Judging from the overall condition, I think I'm good.
It just made me wonder if I had made a mistake by letting go that low. I'll run some SeaFoam through it just in case.

Wow, that illustration says it all. kewl!

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Old 16th April 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motorend View Post
I was always under the impression that its all the same tank but you have two straws so to say sticking up, one taller than the other. When the tall one starts sucking air then we switch to the shorter one. When that one starts sucking air then we are stranded. That's the way it always worked in my mind anyway.
You are right !!!!!
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