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I was going to reply to this thread, but didn't want to hijack the post since it was pretty long. I think there's something more to this (maybe?) and it's frustrating the heck out of me. It's going to be a little long but please bear with me and read it when you got time.

First incident

I got a 16 Chieftain for 2 years now, typically I refill every time the gas light comes on and I fill about 3.4 gallons, didn't think much about it until few months ago. I was on a ride on the Blue Ridge Mountain back in May, 2 Indians (1 mine, other 16 Chieftain Dark Horse) and 4 Harley's similar to our Chieftain (street glides). One of our fill ups, my fuel light came on, everyone, including the other Indian, had a 1/4 tank left. Well that's odd. I fill up, the ONLY gas station where auto shut off didn't work and I wasn't paying attention, go figure. Mind you, I got 22k miles on this, so I drive it regularly and it never happened before. O well, life goes on.

Second incident

On our way home from the same ride, it was me and the other Indian at that point, I was roughly 8 miles from the house low fuel light has come on for some time so I decided to get gas so I didn't have to do it the next day. I fill up 3.5 gallons while the other Indian was slightly less than a 1/4 tank and fills up 4 gallons. Now I'm really confused and something doesn't make sense.

Trying to find out what's going on

I called my dealership and made sure I wasn't crazy and mine was actually 5.5 gallon tank capacity, it was. So I decided to ignore the gauges, maybe they're faulty. I reset my trip meter and I figured, I get roughly 39.5 MPG (according to the bike) so with a 5.5 gallon tank I should get 217 miles. To be safe and don't run out of gas completely, I'll fill up at 200 miles and see what happens. At ~145 miles I get low fuel, I said to myself: "B.S. this shit is crazy, no way it should be this early, the sensor must be wrong, I found the problem".

This was on my way to work, I live in upstate South Carolina, so most of my travel is on rural roads with few gas stations in between. As I pass a gas station with the next one about 4 miles away, no more than a 1/4 of a mile, damn engine starts sputtering, WTF!!! I made the most (il)legal u-turn if there ever was one, and started heading back to the gas station I just passed. Holding the clutch on downhills and giving just enough gas on uphills. This couldn't have been planned any better, the engine DIES on the last push uphill within eyesight of the station, luckily I had the clutch in already as I was just coming from a downhill and I am cruising a dead bike next to the side of a pump. OMG!!! I can't believe that happened. I look at my trip gauge, 188 miles!!! Damn near spot on at 40 miles after light came on. Unfortunately, I prepaid for gas and filled up 4 gallons I should've overpaid to see where it topped off, but I was just too clustered after all that to think straight.

Dilemma

So I thought to myself again, if the bike died at 188 miles, with my mileage is 39.5 MPG (reset recently as well), maybe that one is wrong. Where else would the other 30 miles go? Being my smart self, I decided to reset my trip meter again, ride until fuel light comes on, fill and do basic math. Sounds simple enough. Guess what, last fill up was on 8/5 for 3.964 gallons with a trip meter at 156.4, so I am getting... 39.5 MPG!!!! I even have pictures of this shenanigans. Absolutely ridiculous!!!

At this point I'm just convinced there's a damn troll in my tank that siphons my shit up. I'm going to find that SOB and shoot him one day.

____

What are your thoughts?
 

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Gotta watch those gremlins!
One thought... fuel mileage varies - sometimes by a pretty good amount. This can be attributed to road conditions and fuel mixtures as well as the twist of the wrist. I almost never let my Chieftain go to the empty/low-fuel light condition. It is best to keep your pump well submerged in fuel because this is the only cooling that the little bitty electric motor gets.
One other train of thought... Polaris has changed the fuel-pump assembly design several times with different float and rheostat and filter components. The float and rheostat are responsible for your gauge readouts. I do not recall anything specific about failures, but from my observations - they have improved that design multiple times and that usually happens in response to a specific need that is identified in the field.
 

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Final thoughts? Keep your tank full, carry a small emergency jug with you when out in uncharted territory. Do not worry too much about timing your refueling ops to the nth degree. I generally do the above and only rely on my fuel gauges as a peripheral assistant... They are not to be trusted. Enjoy the ride!
 

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It is most likely varying gas mileage. If I ride like a nice boy on flat ground, I can get about 49.5 mpg on my Springfield. But if I ride like I am on a flat track I get as low as 34 mpg. I would trust the low fuel light. Besides you can always use a Moon Pie break.
 

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I have a 2019 CDH, and I can tell you the avg. MPG calc is much more accurate than my 2014 Chieftain or 2016 Springfield. It is nearly exact and I have been checking it for the last 1500 miles. I typically fill up when I need 4-4.5 gallons.
 

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While during the week commuting... I fill when the low fuel light comes on... but before it asks you if you want to find a gas station... when it asks you that question you are super low.. when out just riding I'll stop and gas up anywhere from 120 -140 miles... or if I know the area sooner or later if needed
 

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MIne generally takes about 4.1-4.4 gallons when I fill up if I ride with light on and just watch the analogue gauge. I usually stop when it get close to the needle a actually showing close to empty. I don't the bikes will even run if you get below the 5 gallon mark inside the tank....
 

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I (think) I have just recently figured this all out due to my having swapped out the original gas gauge for a new black one for cosmetic purposes.

But I don't have time to type it all out right now (maybe tonight).

The quickie answer - I think the whole issue is the way the ECU calculates the average MPG and that (perhaps) the gas gauge is better thought of as a quick visual reference to how much *range* you have left at the *current* rate of fuel consumption.

But I kind of think the system is a bit more capable and useful than we think and that it is due to Indian not including a "here’s how you should use the fuel level / riding range tools" guide.

I'll explain it later with an example of why/what I think is happening.

HTH
 

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Coming from 2 different FI Harley's I am absolutely mystified on how the gas gauge is so inconsistent on the Indian. When my low fuel light illuminated on the Harley's I had exactly 1 gallon of gas left and the mileage for the low fuel was very consistent and could almost pin point the mileage to the tee. If I was riding in a head wind or really getting on the throttle that would affect it but when the light came on I knew that I had a gallon left and it didn't blink on and off as the Indian does. The Indian has been all over the place with the light coming on and putting 4 gallons in then again putting 3.5 gallons in, very inconsistent system.
 

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Rarely have I rode until low fuel indicator light comes on, I fill @ 1/4 of a tank no less. came close to running out ONCE!!
 

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The issue with he fuel gauges is they aren't. They are fuel totalizers and uses your last avg MPG to calculate how far you can go.So if on the last ride you averaged 45mpg, the tank display and miles is based on that, as you ride and the MPG changes, this will then change your tank level indication and miles to go. This is why everyone can get inconsistent fuel lights, because is based on projected fuel left and not actual.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Final thoughts? Keep your tank full, carry a small emergency jug with you when out in uncharted territory. Do not worry too much about timing your refueling ops to the nth degree. I generally do the above and only rely on my fuel gauges as a peripheral assistant... They are not to be trusted. Enjoy the ride!
Funny thing is I actually had one because I wanted to test my mileage, but I used it prior to this event and never refilled it. Go figure.

The issue with he fuel gauges is they aren't. They are fuel totalizers and uses your last avg MPG to calculate how far you can go.So if on the last ride you averaged 45mpg, the tank display and miles is based on that, as you ride and the MPG changes, this will then change your tank level indication and miles to go. This is why everyone can get inconsistent fuel lights, because is based on projected fuel left and not actual.
That does make sense and I wouldn't question it if it wasn't for my experience with the other Dark Horse. As I mentioned in the "Second Incident" we were riding in a group, we can take riding style into effect, but my fuel light has been on and filling up ~3.5 gallons, and his fuel gauge was at 1/4 and fills up 4 gallons, to me that seems a large discrepancy that's bothering (a bit too much maybe).

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I'm not so caught up on the MPG, I'm doing more tests as I ride to see how close the 39.5 is to what I'm actually filling up. I'm sure this number ranges from low 40s to low 30s depending on many factors, but my technical side is saying if the average is 39.5 with a 5.5 gallon tank, why am I not getting the 217 miles from the bike. In another sense, my fuel light should be coming on at around 177 miles, not 140. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
 

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Well IMO you are over thinking it... you already know your bike... you know when you should fuel... you know just how far you can push it... and you said you were not worried about MPG so it really doesn't matter... except for planning long rides..
 

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Funny thing is I actually had one because I wanted to test my mileage, but I used it prior to this event and never refilled it. Go figure.



That does make sense and I wouldn't question it if it wasn't for my experience with the other Dark Horse. As I mentioned in the "Second Incident" we were riding in a group, we can take riding style into effect, but my fuel light has been on and filling up ~3.5 gallons, and his fuel gauge was at 1/4 and fills up 4 gallons, to me that seems a large discrepancy that's bothering (a bit too much maybe).

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I'm not so caught up on the MPG, I'm doing more tests as I ride to see how close the 39.5 is to what I'm actually filling up. I'm sure this number ranges from low 40s to low 30s depending on many factors, but my technical side is saying if the average is 39.5 with a 5.5 gallon tank, why am I not getting the 217 miles from the bike. In another sense, my fuel light should be coming on at around 177 miles, not 140. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
On the last trip my wife and I took to Arkansas. We were coming back to Texas and on I75. We got stuck in heavy traffic and I'm watching the gas gauge very consistent due to gas station not really near us. So as we are putting along I get the low level light and damn am I gonna make it with putting along and all this traffic then the display just shows low for distance to go. We finally see an exit where there is a gas station and ride up to the pump thinking we are on fumes. Fill it up and takes 3.5 gallons; wife is like "are you kidding me, we get low miles to go and freak out and we still had 2 gallons in this bike".
 
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