Damn! Can't... Out of ga...

(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. :frowning:

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? :confused:

Oh. In case you haven’t read a 30-year-old article in an aviation magazine, the idea was that “Japan Zero-00 and flight of 300” obeyed normal FAA communications. The FAA placed them in a holding pattern because of the expected arrival of a priority flight of B-17s from the mainland. (They should’ve read their NOTAMs!) The Japanese circled around in the holding pattern (“Japann Zero-00, are you declaring a fuel emergency?” “We’re jettisoning some… ah, cargo. I think we’ll be all right.”) until they ran out of fuel and crashed.

XJ 600’s rock. :smiley:

Mine’s at 29,000 kilometers right now, so I can only bow deeply for your very impressive 78,000 miles! Never ran out of fuel myself, but then , I’m completely anal about filling it up. I get uneasy when it gets past 200 kilometers or so (125 miles). And yes, time and again, I only have to fill up half the tank, as it takes 17 liters and does an average of 20 kilometers per liter. :smiley:

Someone pulled the “put the fuel gage on reserve” trick with my friend’s bike as it was parked outside. He ran out of fuel on a busy bridge with no emergency lane!

Speaking of your mishap, couldn’t you and your colleague have jump-started the bike? I’ve always found that while the Divvy is a notoriously bad starter (after months of being idle), it DOES clear the system quite quickly when you push it. The only trouble in pushing it is that it’s a relatively light bike, so popping the clutch while you run alongside it will only lock up the rear most of the time. However, get a friend to push it up to running speed, pop the clutch in 2nd, and it’ll start up within 2 or 3 tries, even on a dead battery, even after 4 months of disuse.

As for your unexplained fuel consumption: perhaps the mechanic left it running idly without riding it? At any rate, I’d be keeping an eye on that fuel consumption over the next few weeks.

Shiny side up!

I saw the title and the poster, then clicked on it and read it, and was relieved to see that it concerned a land vehicle.

Perhaps. I didn’t think to ask him if he carried booster cables. (I carry two sets in my Jeep.) I was a little nonplussed that it did not start right up. I knew that you have to turn to “pri” to fill the carbs, but in the past it never took so long. (Not that I’ve run out of gas before. This was found out after getting down to reserve and being a little slow switching over.)

Indeed, mon. I’ve always watched the trip meter and I make a point to fill up ASAP after hitting reserve. But in this case the numbers weren’t right and I didn’t notice the petcock position.

I like to fly with full tanks, even on a short hop. Some people call this “tankering”, but I would rather have fuel in the tanks than air. There are too many aircraft that crash because of fuel exhaustion. A couple of dad’s friends forgot to fil ltheir tanks on their Globe Swift and lost the engine on take off. They stalled (aerodynamic stall), recovered, stalled again, and would up upside-down on the runway with serious injuries.

I’m sorry, I used the wrong word - I din’t mean “jump start”, I meant push-start. :slight_smile:

What I’m saying is, I can usually push-start my Divvy on my own if I’m on dry and grippy tarmac. Brick roads, pavements - forget it, too slippery. Upon releasing the clutch, the rear will just skid. In which case, you just sit on the bike, and let a good friend push your fat ass down the street. Just tell him you need the pressure on the rear wheel, and they’re too light to provide it. :smiley:

Anyways, I wouldn’t recommend cable-starting from a car. I’m not entirely sure, but isn’t a car battery 12 volt, and a bike’s battery 6 volt?

Seca IIs have 12 volt batteries.

Since I damaged my knees, I can no longer push start a bike myself. I didn’t want to impose on my co-worker (who is only two years older than I, but seems to have a lot more miles on him), and I didn’t know how much pushing it would take anyway. (Besides, it would have been an uphill push.)

An uphill push, eh?

Here’s an idea, brainiac. Turn the bike around and let it roll downhill whilst you let the clutch come up in second. :smiley:

You damn mountain folk, taking your natural slopes for granted. I’d kill for a sloping driveway, dammit! :wink:

On the freeway? Anyway, I was at the bottom of the slopes.

I was just joshing with ya. :slight_smile:

Oh, uphill both ways, eh? I’ve heard that one before… :smiley: