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I am interested in how many members have experienced problems with the fuel gauge sensor. Did BMW acknowledge the issue with it?

My GS1200A 2010 had the sensor replaced three times in a five month period in 2013. My brother, who was the first owner, gave up taking it back even though it was still under warranty. The sensor was not redesigned until about 2013 with a different type.

I contacted BMW Customer Service to ask their opinion on the design of the sensor. They were unable to express an opinion but said that because of the age of my bike they could not help.

I believe the fuel gauge sensor was NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and therefore time limited BMW warranties do not apply. I am interested in other members experiences of speaking to BMW about this known issue.
 

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Riding a 2009 R1200gs
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I have a 2009 R1200GS, more than 60000 miles, never had any problem with the fuel strip.

I feed my GS only premium most of the time.
Ethanol-laced fuel (up to 10%) is common here in Canada, I just don't care (not avoiding it).

If my fuel strip fail, I will replace it by a float (conversion guide are easy to find on Internet).
 

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Fuel strip extended warranty was covered in the USA for 12 years from the in service date. 2004-2009 and some 2010’s are now no longer eligible.

the fuel strip is as accurate as the tachometer on a Guzzi. It lets you know there may or may not be fuel in-the tank. Resetting the ODO upon fillip is much more reliable.
 

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My 2007 GSA fuel strip is reasonably accurate and never gave me trouble. I still set the trip meter for the most accurate read.

Have a riding buddy whose 2009 GSA had it replaced 3 times on the extended warranty for the fuel strip issues.

A Google search should track down the program details when they replaced them post-warranty.
 

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My fuel strip also is not so accurate, as far as I know, this is a second, first is replaced because of recall about fuel pump and whole module (fiel pump, strip, controller and sealing) was replaced with new under recall. For me this is very rough reading of fuel level. First reading after full is approx half of tank, but every time after filling up to max, set the trip one to zero and know that up to next filling I have max 280 - 300 km range for 20 liters GS tank. Also hear that fuel act like a cooler for pump, and not so recommended to stay below min.
Actually when fill tank in 280 km reading I add about 12liters, that means I still have 8 liters in tank (4 liters in left and right halfs). Up to this moment still have not reading for last 4 liters on the display. More than this I think is under risk for empty/ overheat fuel pump and recommend fill up to max.
 

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This is an OLD problem, but ongoing for those affected. It has been extensively discussed on many bmw forums many times in the past 10 years or so. It gets revisited every year or so

It sucks big-time. It really does suck because it affects every minute of your ride, concern over how much gas you really have on board. If you haven't lived it you do not know.

Look over on the r1200r.com as well as other sites for more info. Search "BMW motorcycle fuel strip."

The problem is widespread and common. Not a problem these days because they went back to a float.

Resetting the odometer may work for some who ride regular routes, but for others does not work well at all. The problem is sometimes you're getting 35miles/gallon or less and sometimes 50 ish/gallon, so prudence dictates setting your odometer and filling sooner rather than later resulting in more stops than necessary. Your mileage changes so your range changes and unless you're constantly following fuel consumption, you may not realize it. To put it mildly, that detracts from the ride.

And you're doing mental calculations at every stop for fuel, trying to discern a pattern, but you never do.
If you're riding city, less of a problem, but if you're riding tank to tank long distance, can be a big problem. I've run dry at as low as 145 and as high as ~~~188. So I suppose you'd be safe refueling every 120 miles or so...do yu really want to do that??? I don't. Many riders rightly claim that if the fuel strip is there as a fuel gauge, it should damn work. I wound up carrying extra fuel on long rides just in case. On a bike as expensive as these are, that's absurd.

BMW initially stonewalled it--and many complained, but interestingly it also happend on their 5 series cars and they addressed it promptly.

There are two flavors of failure: one tells you you have much more gas than you do, and you run out very unexpectgantly (my experience), OR it says your tank is empty and you have lots of gas.
It is a STUPID design. If you look down the filler tube you can see the strip crossing your field of view. It is located right where the gas nozzle will hit it when you refuel.
So, the "engineers" at BMW put sensitive electronics right where the metal edge of the nozzle would hit it, and then pouring likely cold gasoline on it. What could go wrong, right?

Years ago, maybe 2010?, another inmate and I started a letter writing campaign to the NHTSA in the USA describing it as a safety factor, I had crashed once when I very unexpectedly ran out at about 80 mph outside of Granada, Miss with my range telling me I had 60 miles left. Many wrote in, but getting riders to join the campaign, even when they had the same problem, was difficult, with lots of snarky comments esp on the BMWMOA forum. It was the good ole boys against those they claimed didn't know how to ride. Got nasty. Screw the Luddites; we persisted, and ditched that forum.
Many claimed it was ethanol or sulfites in the gas doing it, but it happened in areas where no ethanol was employed.
There were cheap fixes listed over on advrider.com that ultized a BIC lighter (yikes), but with the next model years produced bikes with NO strip. They went back to a float. Wonder why?
But, after we did that campaign the BMW policy changed and the warranty was extended 12 years, but just in the USA. Not UK, not AUS. I was even reimbursed for a strip I had replaced at my expense.
My experience was on a 2009 r1200r. Same setup. I could never trust that bike, mostly because of the fuel strip (and the final drive, but that's another story), and it was a serious reason why I traded it in in 2015 for my 2016 WITH A trusty FLOAT that never fails.
Again, don't want to start any kind of war with those for whom the strip works or they have some other workaround. But, this IS a serious and potentially dangerous issue and you are right to complain and be concerned.
 

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Fantastically summarised doc! and its true for many of the BMW motorcycles.....like the rear brake issue......stanchion issue....they basically dont give a damn unless the heat is turned on them.....and that only happens in the USA....they dont give a damn here in India
 

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My '05 has a float and also a low warning light indicating about one gallon left (4 liters). Otherwise, the fuel level bars are not too accurate, but the system does alert you when you get low. Primitive but effective.
 

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This is an OLD problem, but ongoing for those affected. It has been extensively discussed on many bmw forums many times in the past 10 years or so. It gets revisited every year or so

It sucks big-time. It really does suck because it affects every minute of your ride, concern over how much gas you really have on board. If you haven't lived it you do not know.

Look over on the r1200r.com as well as other sites for more info. Search "BMW motorcycle fuel strip."

The problem is widespread and common. Not a problem these days because they went back to a float.

Resetting the odometer may work for some who ride regular routes, but for others does not work well at all. The problem is sometimes you're getting 35miles/gallon or less and sometimes 50 ish/gallon, so prudence dictates setting your odometer and filling sooner rather than later resulting in more stops than necessary. Your mileage changes so your range changes and unless you're constantly following fuel consumption, you may not realize it. To put it mildly, that detracts from the ride.

And you're doing mental calculations at every stop for fuel, trying to discern a pattern, but you never do.
If you're riding city, less of a problem, but if you're riding tank to tank long distance, can be a big problem. I've run dry at as low as 145 and as high as ~~~188. So I suppose you'd be safe refueling every 120 miles or so...do yu really want to do that??? I don't. Many riders rightly claim that if the fuel strip is there as a fuel gauge, it should damn work. I wound up carrying extra fuel on long rides just in case. On a bike as expensive as these are, that's absurd.

BMW initially stonewalled it--and many complained, but interestingly it also happend on their 5 series cars and they addressed it promptly.

There are two flavors of failure: one tells you you have much more gas than you do, and you run out very unexpectgantly (my experience), OR it says your tank is empty and you have lots of gas.
It is a STUPID design. If you look down the filler tube you can see the strip crossing your field of view. It is located right where the gas nozzle will hit it when you refuel.
So, the "engineers" at BMW put sensitive electronics right where the metal edge of the nozzle would hit it, and then pouring likely cold gasoline on it. What could go wrong, right?

Years ago, maybe 2010?, another inmate and I started a letter writing campaign to the NHTSA in the USA describing it as a safety factor, I had crashed once when I very unexpectedly ran out at about 80 mph outside of Granada, Miss with my range telling me I had 60 miles left. Many wrote in, but getting riders to join the campaign, even when they had the same problem, was difficult, with lots of snarky comments esp on the BMWMOA forum. It was the good ole boys against those they claimed didn't know how to ride. Got nasty. Screw the Luddites; we persisted, and ditched that forum.
Many claimed it was ethanol or sulfites in the gas doing it, but it happened in areas where no ethanol was employed.
There were cheap fixes listed over on advrider.com that ultized a BIC lighter (yikes), but with the next model years produced bikes with NO strip. They went back to a float. Wonder why?
But, after we did that campaign the BMW policy changed and the warranty was extended 12 years, but just in the USA. Not UK, not AUS. I was even reimbursed for a strip I had replaced at my expense.
My experience was on a 2009 r1200r. Same setup. I could never trust that bike, mostly because of the fuel strip (and the final drive, but that's another story), and it was a serious reason why I traded it in in 2015 for my 2016 WITH A trusty FLOAT that never fails.
Again, don't want to start any kind of war with those for whom the strip works or they have some other workaround. But, this IS a serious and potentially dangerous issue and you are right to complain and be concerned.
I have never seen 15 MPG swing no matter how I'm are riding. Maybe 5 MPG when traveling near triple digits for extended periods. I'm averaging 44 MPG tank after tank bike after bike. The fuel strip is not nearly as accurate as resetting the trip meter at each fill-up. Ther are 5 or 6 fuel bars on the LCD screen. The 1st bar on the fuel level indicator doesn't disappear until you get about 80 miles on the tank then the next couple happen in rapid succession leaving the last fuel bar on and not know if you have 2 gallons or 1/2 gallon left.

I know on a standard 20L fuel cell start thinking about fuel at 200 miles and the 30L tanks at 300 miles know I have a 30+ mile buffer left.
 

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Respectfully.....Your experience is different than mine...on two different bikes, the 09 roadster and the 16 GS, I've seen swings from ~~ 27-> ~~60+. Riding from ABQ southward on 25 toward Las Cruces once I had severe crosswinds from about 2 o'clock and the consumption was showing 27-29; likewise when sometimes drafting, or with a significant tailwind, or downhill, like miles LONG downhills I can see high 50s easily and sometimes into mid 60s. ON my daily commute the range, depending on traffic ranges 38-52, usually, usual conditions, 42-45.
Point I am making is that the total remaining fuel range for me was variable enough that it really limited the usefulness of the odometer method. The odometer does not take into account such variable riding conditions. IN addition, it is not a simple "push this button" to reset to zero. You have to go into the menu setup, unless you keep it on that trip A screen all the time, and I find that a useless screen for me for the most part.
I had a r1150r 2004 that had an analog odometer--and a float, with a single push button that I used all the time, but even on that bike the yellow warning light sometimes came on at 145 and sometimes just south of 200, depending on conditions.

I wouldn't accept the fuel gauge not working in my car and would not even try to get my wife, much less me, to remember to reset the odometer at Costco, why on a bike if it "claims" to have a gauge?

Yes, there are workarounds as you point out, but for me those workarounds have very undesirable baggage. If the odometer works for you, great. It doesn't work for everyone and it's not like they don't know to use it. It's just for them, and me, the "odometer solution" just ain't no solution at all.
:)
 

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What about bikes that don't have a fuel gauge like my DR650? How would one factor how much fuel is available in the fuel cell. I guess you could carry a "dip" stick and periodically stop and check the fuel level or you could just reset the trip-meter when you top up and know you average MPG.

Maybe the trip reset is a viable solution. Also much more reliable that the fuel strip that can give up the ghost at anytime without warning. I'd rather know how many miles I have on the current tank and calculate how far I can go than rely on an inaccurate LCD bar graph. To each his own. If the fuel strip not working is a deal breaker you can buy bikes without them. Or you can also spend the money and source a float and replace the fuel strip. Both are equally inaccurate however the float will not fail like the strip has a tendency to do.
 

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I am interested in how many members have experienced problems with the fuel gauge sensor. Did BMW acknowledge the issue with it?

My GS1200A 2010 had the sensor replaced three times in a five month period in 2013. My brother, who was the first owner, gave up taking it back even though it was still under warranty. The sensor was not redesigned until about 2013 with a different type.

I contacted BMW Customer Service to ask their opinion on the design of the sensor. They were unable to express an opinion but said that because of the age of my bike they could not help.

I believe the fuel gauge sensor was NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE and therefore time limited BMW warranties do not apply. I am interested in other members experiences of speaking to BMW about this known issue.
I have seen some glitchiness on my 2005 GS, too.
 
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