Economy and Fuel Guage Questions - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2005, 12:20 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

I have a used 2000 model VN750 and I am rather confused about the gas guage and the kind of fuel economy I am seeing. How can you tell your tank is empty and when you must switch to reserve? Is this when your gas guage hits the red zone? Or is reserve when the gas guage shows empty? Secondly, I am not positive since I didn't keep very good track of it, but I think I am getting between 40-50mpg and I expected this to be around 60 for a 750cc bike. Is this normal? Does anybody get around 60mpg? If so, what can I do to improve the fuel economy of my bike? I am at altitude (about a mile high) so I figured with a leaner mixture, I'd be getting better than average fuel economy but with less power outputted. Is this incorrect? Any help would be much appreciated. My last question is about oil. I want to venture into my first ever oil change this next week but I wasn't sure what to put in. I don't know what the last owner put in to the bike, so I can't match the current oil. I know I'll be going synthetic and temperatures here at college get to be around 10-20 at the very lowest in the winter and 110+ back at home in the summer time, so what do you recommend I use?

Thanks VERY much guys for reading through all of this. I appreciate it!

-Josh (been riding going on 2 months now!)
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-20-2005, 09:47 AM
 
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

Q. How can you tell your tank is empty and when you must switch to reserve? Is this when your gas guage hits the red zone? Or is reserve when the gas guage shows empty?
A. It's time to switch to reserve when the engine stops running on the main tank. I try to avoid using reserve, by refueling before I have a need to switch to reserve. I save reserve for emergencies only, but occasionally I switch to reserve while riding close to home, just to make sure it still works properly. The fuel gauge is set up a little different than a car. When the indicator gets to the little gas pump on the dial, you need to get to a gas pump too. I generally refuel about every 60-80 miles. If I get a shot of "bad" gas at a fuel stop, at least there's a little "good" gas in there to mix with it to keep me going. I've gotten some funky gas a time or two. It ran terribly, but at least it kept going. I use regular unleaded fuel.


Q. Secondly, I am getting between 40-50mpg. Does anybody get around 60mpg?
A. I get around 45 mpg normally, but I carry full tool and accessory bags on it all of the time, and I have a jet kit installed. At higher altitudes when I'm away from my home area, my mpg goes down considerably due to the change in altitude, but partly because I'm packing additional camping gear too.


Q. My last question is about oil, what do you recommend I use?
A. I use Kawasaki KawChem 10w40 oil year around, and I change the oil and filter every 3000 miles. My '03 has 21,000 miles on it now, all with 10w40 KawChem. I used KawChem 20w50 initially for a year or so on my old VN750, but I got clutch slippage with it, so I switched it to 10w40 to smooth out the "coffee grinder" starts. My old bike has 32,000 miles on it, over half of those with 10w40.

CD in Frederick, OK
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2005, 01:04 AM
 
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

When the reserve kicks in depends. Drive vertical for a long perion it works fine. But just hit a few curves and the gas will find it way into the primary even if the the gas is the reserve stuff. some people think there are two tanks..just two holes ..one high and one low. The gas gauge is just for an estimate and here is how it breaks down on my bike.

I fill to the rim ..about 3.5 gallons

The gauge says FULL for about 60 miles...yeah

80 miles it shows to 3/4...ok

100 miles its half...not bad

then rapidly it falls to reserve line at 120...hey wait a minute

135 reads empty and when I refill I put 3 gallons to fill


135 / 3 = 45 miles per gallon...like clockwork

FYI - I have jets/windshield and drive very aggressive. 50-55 is possible without windshield and speedlimit.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-13-2005, 03:41 PM
 
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

Q How can you tell your tank is empty and when you must switch to reserve?
A as mentioned before, wait for the engine to sputter out - ususally this is at the very bottom of the red mark

The fuel gage is nowhere near accurate. One gallon is used as you come down off the Full mark, Two gallons are gone around the half tank mark, and three when you hit the redline. There's half a gallon left when you switch to reserve (give or take).

Q Does anybody get around 60mpg? If so, what can I do to improve the fuel economy of my bike?

A I have never heard of anyone getting 60. I've heard averages ranging from 40 to 55 mpg (depending on driving style, wind, elevation, etc). If I ride "stately" I can get 50 on the highway easily. If I'm doggin' it, I'll drop to 45 or a little less. With a headwind I have seen it drop to as low as 30mpg (OUCH). I have a National Cycle Plexifairing III windshield and my mileage was unaffected by the shield. *insert cliche: YMMV*

Q I am at altitude (about a mile high) so I figured with a leaner mixture, I'd be getting better than average fuel economy but with less power outputted. Is this incorrect?
A actually, higher altitude = richer mixture (less O2 more fuel) but our CV carbs take the altitude pretty well.

Q I don't know what the last owner put in to the bike, so I can't match the current oil. I know I'll be going synthetic and temperatures here at college get to be around 10-20 at the very lowest in the winter and 110+ back at home in the summer time, so what do you recommend I use?
A there are a ton of Shell Rotella T fans around here. You can also use synthetic (I've heard a few praises for Mobil) but make sure you don't use anything with "friction reducers" since you have a wet clutch system. In the hot summer you'll want thicker oil (10w40) and thinner oil (10w30) for the cold winter (if you're crazy enough to ride when it's 10 degrees outside).
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 09:40 PM
 
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

I have averaged between 44 and 64 mpg depending on my ride. Highway speeds, so 70 mph or more, against a head wind and I'm down to 44 mpg. Typically doing highway speeds with just me on the bike and I'll average around 49 or 50 mpg. The slower the speed I ride, the better the mileage, so if I'm mainly riding in the mountains, doing 60 mph or less, I tend to get upwards of 55 mpg. Cruising Arches National Monument and Dead Horse State Park, so riding between 30 and 40 mph, I got 64 mpg. It all depends on how fast your going and how agressively you're riding. I tend to figure 50 mpg on average.

The fuel guage ... as described above nicely, it's not that accurate. Hangs on FULL for a long time then drops like a rock. What I have come to use it for is two things. 1) Estimating my mpg on a ride, and 2) estimating when I may need to switch to Reserve. At the "halfway" point is how I judge my mpg. If I'm at 100 miles and it's "halfway", then I'm roughly getting 49-50 mpg. The more miles I get before that point,the better, the less miles, worse. If I hit it at 85 miles or so, then I know I'm doing mid-40's. When it gets to "empty" or near it, I know my reserve will seen be kicking in.

Theoretically the tank is a 3.6 gallon tank with 0.4 gallons reserve ... which would imply the main at 3.2 gallons. Thus, you'd expect to hit your reserve at 3.2 gallons. However, noting when I have to switch to Reserve, I am almost always consistantly hitting the reserve mark at 2.7 or 2.8 gallons. Perhaps that is just my bike. But given that, I then assume I don't get the full 3.6 gallons, but rather only a max of 3.2 gallons. So, if I'm averaging 50 mpg ... I should hit the reserve at 135 miles with another 20 miles left. Just my way of doing things.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 05:36 PM
 
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

I also noticed the same things with the fuel gauge on my '95. First 50-60 mi it doesn't even move. I recently started using Amsoil 20-50W (Dallas is HOT in the summer) and my mileage went up... to nearly 70mpg. It has gone >140 mi without going into the red or having to switch to reserve. I ride to/from work but I don't drive aggressively (open it up now and then) and have a full windshield.
I'm in the process of purchasing an '05 so I'm anxious to see how well it performs in comparison.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-07-2005, 08:22 PM
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

2005 VN750. I totally ignore the fuel gauge and just watch the odometer to know when I should be looking for gas, which is about 140 miles. I have to switch to "reserve" occasionally while riding, that's no problem. I get exactly 50mpg all the time. I am pretty light weight, 140 pounds.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 11-08-2005, 11:44 AM
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Re: Economy and Fuel Guage Questions

At altitude, you're getting less oxygen to your carbs - thereby richening the mix. You will not see an improvement in mpg at altitude unless you rejet your carb. Plus, you need to jet the bike to get it to run best. Try a step smaller on the main jets. Evaluate your pilot jet using your fuel screw (at 1 turn out or less try a smaller pilot).
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