What Happens When Your Motorcycle Is Stalled On The Side Of The Road?

motorcycle fuel pumpsMotorcycles aficionados abound. In 2017, motorcycle enthusiasts bought approximately 427,000 motorcycles. For many motorcycle riders, basic upkeep, maintenance, and mechanical knowledge is paramount for street and off-road riders alike.

Have you wondered why your motorbike is starved for gas, or maybe it has simply stopped running as if out of gas? You fueled up a short time before, so it has to be either the fuel pump has died or the fuel filter is blocked, right?

Nobody wants to sit on the side of the road with his motorcycle asking this question. We’re going to look at some symptoms and try to answer the conundrum: fuel pump or fuel filter?

Blocked Or Damaged Fuel Pump Or Clogged Fuel Filter?

First, does fuel flow between the gas tank and the fuel pump? If by opening the shut-off valve on the gas tank, fuel flows through the fuel filter into the gas line, then the filter is good. Albeit, if gas is only dripping out or not coming out at all, then the filter is clogged and needs to be cleaned. Eventually, the filter will need to be replaced, although you’re probably not going to be able to do that on the side of the road.

Pumping Fuel Pump?

With the motorcycle idling, lean close to the bike and listen to hear the fuel pump. With a diaphragm fuel pump, the pump will “prime” on each ignition. Have your key turned to the “on” position, hit the engine cut-off to “on.” Listen and try to hear if the pump has primed or pumped itself anywhere from 6 to 10 times as it normally would. This is not always easy to do because of ambient noise. If there is no sound or only a “hiccup,” you most likely have found your problem.

  • In this instance, there may be an electrical problem with the circuit,
  • corrosion or debris has gummed up the working of the pump, or
  • another electrical issue is affecting the electrical system.

Mechanical 101

You can test the voltage on your pump with a voltmeter. If it is not registering, then you check the pump’s connections for loose wires, corrosion, and the like. Of course, you would not do more involved mechanical/electrical checks on the side of the road. If you’re in your garage, however, you can clean the connections with a contact cleaning spray or by using an instrument, such as an old toothbrush or wire brush to clean the connection(s). The contacts may be so worn that no cleaning will help. If this is the case, it’s time for pump and contact replacement. One sign of wear will indicate other wear that you may not see, such as a pump that has gone kaput.

As the saying goes, “If it quacks like a duck…” Well, if your fuel pump is not working, it has likely “quacked” out. If your motorcycle or fuel pump is new, you’ll not need to look for replacement fuel pumps since the warranty is in effect. Note: it is important to have not only your motorcycle checked regularly but your fuel pump as well, therefore, you’ll not have to look for replacement fuel pumps.

Replacement fuel pumps and replacement filters can be purchased at your local auto parts store or motorcycle specialty shop or dealer.