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Reserve fuel tap

Ian Watson

Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hello.I trust you are enjoying your bike as I am. I'd be surprised if this hasn't been raised previously. Could you please clarify whether I should be riding my Shadow with the left (reserve ?) fuel tap off...as I was forced to do recently on a medium run, with no ill effect. I cannot find anything on this in "Richardson" or "Stevens". You will recall how Richard Hammond riding a Vincent in the "Top Gear" race, foregot to turn off his left fuel reserve tap.
Regards, Ian
 

Jim Richardson

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I only run on 1 tap, with no apparent problems, the plugs look right. last year however I couldnt go more than 65mph for more than a couple of miles before suffering from fuel starvation.
As part of some other jobs I did over the winter I fitted some new taps from Paul Goff and rerouted the pipework, now no more problems.

JimR
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I open my reserve tap when I run out of gas. I am told that the remaining volume is pretty small, so I look for a gas station at 100 miles to avoid "disappointment" and rarely have to use the reserve tap. When I make the time, I ought to check what that remaining volume really is.
 

ClassicBiker

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I've found that the fuel taps that I have starve the engine for fuel if I'm really revving the motor or at freeway speeds and have only one of them open. I'm suspecting they might be a little gummed up around the filter, so the plan for this winter is to drain the tank and check them out. Earlier this year I did the Comets as I couldn't get it to start. There wasn't any debris in the tank when I looked in and nothing came out when I rinsed it with fresh gas just this "goo" stuck to the brass filter screen of the taps.
Bottom line for me one tap open for easy surface street riding, both open on the expressway or getting a move on.
Steven
 

Jim Richardson

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
one of my taps was brass and had become very stiff in operation, apparently due the ethanol in modern fuel, the new ones are ethanol proof and move easily.

Jimr
 

wmg73141

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
On my Comet with a reserve tap I found it useful to extend the height of the reserve tube inside the tank because although there might seem to be plenty of fuel remaining when the main supply was empty on a static test, on the road the petrol seems quite capable of climbing over the upper frame member and into the non-reserve side leaving an indefinite but less than 10 miles worth of gas!

Later on I got another Comet, (£35.00 plus 1/2 a gallon of petrol to get it home). I bought it for spares but in the end never did have the heart to break it up, that one didn't have a push-me-pull-you-with-reserve type tap so I raised the pick-up tube on one side and ran it without any fuel starvation problems on just the one side. Unless you are a speed freak I don’t think it’ll bother a Rapide either if the fuel lines are good.

All that was fifty odd years ago but even then pushing a dry bike to the nearest petrol station was no fun even if I did happen to have the 3/9d for a gallon of petrol . . .

Back then eking out an apprentice’s pay packet was a very serious matter, now it’s eking out a state pension, nuffink much changes! I developed into a fine art the trick of turning off the fuel so that I would arrive home/work on the last drop in the carburettor to save on drips and evaporation!

'Appy days!
 

Alan J

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Yup! 10 miles- no more on reserve, a "Vinnie" is too heavy to push very far-about 50 yards is enough! :eek: :eek:
 

bmetcalf

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
That's the only thing I can do like George Brown, push it way too far like he did in the 1948 Clubmans TT!
 

TouringComet

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Website Administrator
VOC Forum Website Moderator
One year, riding across the US to one of the rallies, we were crossing a midwest state that at each exit, had a sign telling you how far the next exit with fuel was. That was great. Once I had run out of fuel with just the left side tap on, if it was just a couple of miles to one exit, but the next exit with fuel was only a couple more, I would skip the first exit and keep going, and so on. Plus, I would pop the cap off and look to see if I could see fuel at the bottom of the tank. Once, I looked in, and I could see dry floor on the inside of the tank, but there was still some fuel towards the back, being lower. I made it to the next stop, but that was cutting it a little too close.

There is a particular highway in Nevada that has a stretch of over 100 miles with no fuel available. I always had to make sure I filled up the tank as full as I could before that stretch, and at the other end, the bottom of the tank was like that, dry up towards the front. There was a nice downhill stretch leading up to that exit (going north at least), just in case.
 
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roy the mechanic

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
I'm not convinced that the left side of the tank is for reserve. Last week got my old goat out of the shed, looked in the tank through the filler, dry as the proverbial bone. Shook it about a bit, could hear some sloshing about in the other side(right side from the sitting position) . Pleased to report it got me to the local filling station to spend more money on "motion lotion"
 
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