(Title taken from a very funny parody that appeared in a 1970s issue of Flying magazine called Japan Zero-00, are you declaring an emergency?, musing that WWII might never have happened had the FAA been controling the airspace over Pearl Harbor.)
(No, this thread has nothing to do with aviation.)
I took the XJ600 to the shop yesterday. I got it new in 1994, and it has 78,000 miles on it. I’d ridden it only twice since November 2003, and not too much since August 2003 when I got the YZF-R1. Of course riding in the PNW is rather weather dependent, too. I took it out a month or so ago, and it wasn’t running well. And there was a supicious squeek that I didn’t like. I decided that the next time I rode it, it would be to the shop.
The bike has great compression. 160 on all cylinders. When I got it back from the shop it was very smooth, with no more of the off-idle bogging. I decided to ride it to work today. I passed two gas stations on the way. Why would I need gas? I turn to reserve at about 200 miles, and I only had 160 on the clock. Approaching Bellingham International Airport (BLI) I felt a hesitation, a sure sign of impending fuel exhaustion. At only 170 miles? Hm. Well, maybe I burned a bit more than usual when I laid on the throttle yesterday. Shouldn’t be that soon, though. I reached down to turn the petcock to “reserve”.
Wha…? Huh? It’s already on reserve! I coasted to a stop on the side of the freeway.
I called work, and one of the guys brought a half-gallon of petrol. While I was waiting, I pushed the bike about a half-mile down the road. My co-worker arrived and I tried to start the bike. No joy. The fuel pump needs to be primed by turning the petcock to the “pri” position. Still not starting. I tried until the battery died. Now what?
My co-worker drove me home to Birch Bay and I got my Jeep. I bought a gallon of premium and went back to the bike. I’d hoped that the carbs would have filled up, but there just wasn’t enough juice to start it. I boosted the batter with the Cherokee. Ran like a champ. But now I had one vehicle too many.
I went to work and called U-Haul for a trailer. They were too busy to talk, so I called my best fiend. Twenty-two miles back to Birch Bay. We drove to the bike and he drove my Jeep back while I rode the Yamaha. I missed four hours of work.
I noticed a flap of rubber over the engine, so I called the bike shop. They said it’s a splash guard, but if I was concerned about it I could bring the bike in again for them to look at it. The mechanic also said that he had switched to reserve so that he would be sure not to run out of fuel while he was working on the bike. Seems he forgot to turn it back to the main tank. From now on, I’ll check the petcock every time I collect the XJ600 from the shop. (The R1 has a low-fuel light and no reserve.) And I’ll refuel afvet every visit as well.
Still, I should have had plenty of juice after only 170 miles. Maybe it evaporates when the bike sits for months?