'88 V-MAX fuel issues - Star Motorcycle Forums: Star Raider, V-Max, V-Star, Road-Star Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-19-2018, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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'88 V-MAX fuel issues

So I was riding my 88 v-max the other night and suddenly the gas light came on although the tank was almost full. I had just filled it so I thought it was odd but I kept riding. Sure enough, it sputtered and died shortly thereafter. I shined a light in the tank to verify that there was indeed fuel in it. There was. About 20 minutes later, I was able to start it and I rode it home without issues. What could cause this? I'm afraid to ride it outside walking distance from home now.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-20-2018, 08:52 PM Thread Starter
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1 day ago #1
V max fuel problems
So I was riding my 88 v-max the other night and suddenly the gas light came on although the tank was almost full. I had just filled it so I thought it was odd but I kept riding. Sure enough, it sputtered and died shortly thereafter. I shined a light in the tank to verify that there was indeed fuel in it. There was. About 20 minutes later, I was able to start it and I rode it home without issues. What could cause this? I'm afraid to ride it outside walking distance from home now.

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1 day ago #2
Sounds like an intermittent electrical problem.

when it quit did the lights go dim? A bad battery lead or ground connection to the frame from the battery could make the ECM or ignition module drop out when you slow the engine down to an idle.

I had something similar happen in a dodge van years ago. The cruise control kept disengaging by itself. About 20 miles later the ignition dropped out. The alternator had quit and the battery voltage was slowly dropping as I kept driving.

If you were able to restart the bike later, and it cranked normally, I would look at the battery connections first, for corrosion or loose connections.

Hope its something that easy.
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1 day ago #3
BTW, Im not sure how the low fuel sensor physically works. The one on my 2000 royal star never goes on. I think its looking at the level in the tank, nothing to do with the fuel flowing thru the fuel pump, filter, or to the carbs.
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1 day ago #4
KCW said:
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Sounds like an intermittent electrical problem.

when it quit did the lights go dim? A bad battery lead or ground connection to the frame from the battery could make the ECM or ignition module drop out when you slow the engine down to an idle.

I had something similar happen in a dodge van years ago. The cruise control kept disengaging by itself. About 20 miles later the ignition dropped out. The alternator had quit and the battery voltage was slowly dropping as I kept driving.

If you were able to restart the bike later, and it cranked normally, I would look at the battery connections first, for corrosion or loose connections.

Hope its something that easy.

I believe the lights did go out yeah. It needed a battery at the time, which I replaced today, but I actually had to jump start it because the old battery never worked after the first try anyway. Not sure if that would be related to the fuel issue.

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1 day ago #5
the low fuel light could have come on because the battery was dying. When the voltage drops below 10V or so the engine control module (ECM) and the ignition module will start going wonky.

If the bike just quit without lights coming on, and without the headlights going dim, then it would point to a fuel issue. If you filled the tank and then it started to sputter I would think you got water in the gas. But with the lights acting up that points to an electrical issue, not fuel.

When it quit did it crank normally? Did it crank on the starter at all? A weak battery will be able to spin the motor over, a little slow, but it wont have enough voltage for the ignition module to fire the spark plugs.

If you got a new battery and the bike starts right up, I think you have already fixed the problem.
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1 day ago #6
KCW said:
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the low fuel light could have come on because the battery was dying. When the voltage drops below 10V or so the engine control module (ECM) and the ignition module will start going wonky.

If the bike just quit without lights coming on, and without the headlights going dim, then it would point to a fuel issue. If you filled the tank and then it started to sputter I would think you got water in the gas. But with the lights acting up that points to an electrical issue, not fuel.

When it quit did it crank normally? Did it crank on the starter at all? A weak battery will be able to spin the motor over, a little slow, but it wont have enough voltage for the ignition module to fire the spark plugs.

If you got a new battery and the bike starts right up, I think you have already fixed the problem.

It cranked normally for having a bad battery, so very weak. If it did indeed die because it lost electric power, then I'd be worried about the alternator, since even with a bad battery it should still be able to run once started. Only other thing I can think of would be the fuel pump starting to go, but I don't think that would trigger the low fuel light. I rode it briefly today with the new battery and it had an episode where the fuel light came on briefly and it sputtered a bit, but then was normal.
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1 day ago #7
IF you can get your hands on a volt meter put it right across the battery terminals with the engine running. When the engine is idling it should be right about 12V. If you rev the engine up a little the voltage should increase, 12.4.. maybe 12.8V or more.

If it does that the alternator is working correctly.

I would still take a closer look at the battery terminals. Take some fine sandpaper to the lugs on the ends of the wires or a wire brush and clean them up. Then follow the black wire down to where it attaches to the frame - that is your negative power connection, thru the frame of the bike. Take that bolt or screw off and clean that connection too.

If the bike is still sputtering with the new battery it sound like something intermittent (like a bad connection ^ ).
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half a minute ago #8
Well I'm not sure if I should feel dumb or not but I may have found the problem. When I started it this evening, I noticed that the start button was sticking down and thereby causing the fuel light and oil light to stay on. And the starter to continually crank [cringe] Only thing is, I'm not sure how it wouldn't become stuck partway through my ride the other night, and also, I'm not sure how that would relate to the engine sputtering and dying. Possibly the starter constantly cranking overpowered the alternators ability to power an already weak battery, and thereby no spark?? That's all I can think of, unless it was something totally unrelated to the button sticking
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-21-2018, 05:30 AM
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If the starter button was making the starter engage while the bike was running, it would make a terrible noise when it happened. When I first got my VS650 I pushed the starter button instead of the horn button while riding - wont ever do that again.

If the starter button is sticking its also possible it has a short in it - instead of engaging the starter its shorting the battery to ground, or to something else in the wire harness.

Have you recently moved the handlebars and the right grip position on the bike, and maybe twisted the wire harness?
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