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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Perhaps this has been stated and I have just missed it all these years but does anyone know (with certainty) what the failure mode of the fuel strip is? I am not talking about the cause (possibly ethanol, possibly contaminated or stale fuel,…etc). I am talking about what actually breaks down in the fuel strip.

The BBQ lighter trick which seems to fix it ought to suggest the failure mode. Is it merely broken continuity? Hardly, I mean, Zapping it wouldn't rebuild a connection surely? Ideally I would like to get my hands on a fried fuel strip and a good one to examine them both side by side in excruciating detail and that way compare and contrast things like continuity, impedance,..etc. I asked my stealer for the old strip from my bike (2012 R1200R Classic) after they replaced it and he told me they couldn’t give it to me because they needed it for warranty with BMW. At this point, I think I am on my 5th fuel strip and my 12 yr US warranty will expire in 2024. If it’s continuity then surely a new wire could replace the one that is broken but I doubt it’s that simple or someone would have suggested and proven this as a fix.

So in a nutshell, what I have not seen or read to date is the actual reason for why the thing no longer works.
 
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2020 R1250R in Pollux Metallic Matte
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I remember reading about this problem in the forum archives. With a '20 1250R in my garage, I'm curious: Is this an issue that was ever resolved/fixed permanently in some model year by BMW?
 

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Mark – 2015 R1200R-LC Exclusive
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Is this an issue that was ever resolved/fixed permanently in some model year by BMW?
Yeah - they redesigned the whole bike and gave the fuel tank a traditional float. Colloquially known as the Wasserboxer. 😉
 

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The first fix on the pre water boxer was for the 2014 models....... it was an easy fix, they just removed the fuel strip and went with the idiot light only
 

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The first fix on the pre water boxer was for the 2014 models....... it was an easy fix, they just removed the fuel strip and went with the idiot light only
I have a 2014 model with 33000 km on it and the idiot light still works, so I guess kuip‘s info is accurate.
 

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In response to the OP, how much is a replacement fuel strip? The only option I see if you want to see the difference and am under warranty is to purchase a new strip, then when yours fails, do your comparison prior to taking it to have the warranty replacement done...
 

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I'm the wrong side of the pond but you could have mine. It failed 6-7 years ago and i don't intend to get it replaced. I wonder if there are any 2007-08 owners near you that don't intend to pay for a replacement now the 12 year warranty has expired.
 

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I also have a 2012 and I haven't had mine fail since the 4th one they replaced about 6-7 years ago. Is yours still failing?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I also have a 2012 and I haven't had mine fail since the 4th one they replaced about 6-7 years ago. Is yours still failing?
Yes, Mine still fails...about every 18 months it seems. I have been using 89 octane fuel (Chevron mostly but occasionally Shell). I plan to switch to 92 octane going forward to see if that helps. Apparently, a higher octane level is supposed to make the petrol more stable (not break down as easily as 89 or 87). I have 3 bikes, and with Covid making me work from home there is little riding happening so maybe the fuel sitting in the tank for weeks at a time is contributing to the break down of 'whatever' inside the fuel strip. Clutching at straws a bit....but until i can get my hands on a few busted fuel strips for some nerding-out analysis, what can one do except to try different things.

If anyone nearby (I'm in San Francisco) wants to send me their bust fuel strip, let me know. Of course, I'll need a known good strip too to complete the analysis.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In response to the OP, how much is a replacement fuel strip? The only option I see if you want to see the difference and am under warranty is to purchase a new strip, then when yours fails, do your comparison prior to taking it to have the warranty replacement done...
You might be right on the money there. I just don't want to buy until I am outta warranty.
 

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I have a tough time understanding why anyone would bother to repair the fuel strip, or would choose to pay any attention to what the readout says once you have repaired it. It's obviously a poorly designed system that relies on a completely unreliable component. OK, sure... for the money we pay for our bikes that shouldn't be true.. but it IS.

I ride a 2014 with the "idiot light" solution. It seems to work properly, I've seen it illuminate a few times about when it should have... but... I never rely on the idiot light.

I have a decent amount of aviation experience, and one thing that holds true across ALL my time in a good number of different planes is that fuel gauges are useless. They can be downright dangerous and I'd never rely on them. Instead I keep track of how much fuel was in my tank when I started, what my fuel flow is, and how long I've been in the air. I add an appropriate fudge factor for error. There are several highly detailed graphs in the Aircraft Operating Manual that allow me to determine exactly what my fuel state is. That's the only safe way to manage your flight.

It's much, much simpler on the bike. When I fill the tank on my 2014 R, I reset one of my 2 odometers to zero. Around 170-180 miles of my usual style of driving, I start thinking about getting some gas pretty soon. At 190 miles, it become a priority. That's usually about when the idiot light reminds me I'm being an idiot.

It doesn't have to be that complicated. Forget the fuel strip. Fill up every 180 miles or so. Problem solved.

But most of all, have fun and be safe!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for everyone’s responses so far.

Personally, I don’t want to repair a broken Fuel Strip. I want to understand the failure mode thoroughly so I can design and build a better/more robust one. When my Fuel Strip goes out, I lose all readout on my little screen. In addition to the fuel mile-measure (idiot gauge), I like to see the oil/engine temp. for example. It’s gone. All I have is a blank screen and a yellow alert light that screams Bike May Work(BMW).

I’m amazed we’ve all laid down, rolled over and played dead on this one. To each, their own though. My quest is to do something about my own situation and design a better sub-component for the fuel system. Not saying it will be successful but not prepared to play dead yet either.

The trip reset is the workaround. When my functioning fuel readout tells me I am running low, it’s usually pretty accurate in my experience (9th year riding my 2012 R).

If I manage to analyze and create something better, I’ll share the info.

Wishing us all miles of smiles ahead
 
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@resmonde - it would be easier to determine what the 'puter is expecting from a working strip for "full" and for "low" values, and then engineer an "idiot light" warning mode as a replacement than it will be to engineer out the failure...
 
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