Bike won't start after running out of fuel in reserve?

Maintenance, repair, troubleshooting, etc.
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Lookin' Around
Lookin' Around
Posts: 33
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2016 7:26 am
Region:: PA
Motorcycles:: 1996 XJ600S

Wed May 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Just had this happen to me again today bike ran great from a full tank until I hit abiut 120 miles. Started sputtering and I flipped it to prime for a few seconds then to reserve and it just died. I'm thinking I'm going to try buying the factory fuel filter and see if that makes a difference. Right I'm just using one that fit from auto zone. Could it be the fuel pump? The bike works fine in on prime and reserve when the tank is full, just not when it gets low. I'm not sure what else it could be.
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XJ Enthusiast
XJ Enthusiast
Posts: 541
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:24 am
Region:: IL
Motorcycles:: 1994 Yamaha Seca II
Location: Illinois

Thu May 18, 2017 5:17 am

It may also be contaminated (namely water) in the gas which being denser than gas will settle low in the tank and effect operation of the bike only when switched to reserve. I suggest you drain the tank (just before hitting reserve so you don't waste any more fuel than necessary) and then fill the empty tank completely with fresh gas. Might want to add some Seafoam additive (about 3 oz) to the gas as well then dump the rest of the can in you car or truck. It will absorb any residual moisture and clean the fuel system too.
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New to XJR
New to XJR
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:48 pm
Region:: Il
Motorcycles:: 1993 Yamaha Seca II

Wed May 31, 2017 2:28 pm

If you run the carbs dry, it will take a very long time to get fuel back in them. This is especially true when the tank is near empty. The fuel level in the tank is not much higher at reserve than the carb bowls. The pump also restricts flow quite a bit. Even with a full tank, it takes about 1/2 hour on prime to fill the carbs enough to start the bike. This my normal spring ritual with all 3 of my Secas. With the tank on reserve, it takes about an hour! Don't ask how I know. Bottom line: don't run out of fuel on a Seca.

I have toyed with the idea of running a bypass line around the pump and filter using a couple of "T's" and an on-off valve from a lawn tractor. This, in theory, would speed up refilling the carbs after running out of fuel. Use this only for refilling the carbs, then turn the valve off to run through the pump and filter. Maybe someone can try it and post how it works.

You may want to check your gas cap as well. If the vent it plugged, the bike will run for about 50 to 100 miles then just die. As above, it will take a long time to refill the carbs. Mine wasn't plugged but I was using a tank bag that had a foam liner. A touch of rain and the foam sealed against the cap plugging the vent. I cut a hole out of the foam right above the cap so now it's all good.
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