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Old 13th January 2020, 17:11   #1
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Default Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

The purpose of this thread is for people to share their positive and negative experiences of their Fuel injection motorcycles here; at what kilometres did the ECU fail (if at all), in what manner did it fail etc. so the future owners of Fi motorcycles will have an idea of what to expect and how to maintain/ prolong the life of injectors/ECU.

To meet BS6 emission norms, most motorcycle manufacturers have started using Fuel injection instead of Carburettors. Not just in bikes, recently Fuel Injected scooters- BS6 Suzuki Access, Honda Activa were launched.

As last decade saw a transition from 2 stroke to 4 stroke motorcycles, this decade is seeing a transition from Carburettor to Fuel injection motorcycles, a transition which cars experienced >15 years ago.

As a user of Fuel injected motorcycle from 2010, I would love to share my 10 years of experience in using a Fuel injection motorcycle.

I bought a TVS Apache 160 Fi in early 2010. Fuel injection motorcycles available back then were Glamour Fi, Pulsar 220Fi and Apache 160Fi.

The Fi- specific advices I received were:
1. "Maintain atleast 2.5 litres of Petrol, enough to have Petrol pump submerged and not introduce air into petrol pump", I was told by TVS technicians.
2. To fill up petrol only in trusted petrol bunks with quality fuel. I filled it only in COCO for the first 5 years when I lived in Chennai. I couldn't follow this advice in my village.

My ECU went kaput prematurely at 15000kms when a college-mate who borrowed my bike rode it for a week after emptying the tank and filling it with Rs.50 petrol every day (like a Carburettor bike), against my advice to maintain half tank at all times.

It cost Rs.4500 to replace the Delphi ECU.

Then I moved to a village as a part of my work. ECU went kaput at 50,000kms after working for 35000kms without any problem. I suspect poor quality petrol in village for the failure.

This was in 2017. I couldn't source a replacement ECU and after waiting for 3 months, converted the bike to Carburettor. In these 3 years, I have covered 25,000kms without any major problems.

Both the times when ECU failed, the motorcycle did not break down. It went to 'Limp mode' showing 'Check Engine' sign. It didn't cross 20kmph, but I was able to reach TVS service station 20km away riding the bike, without getting towed.

The positives of Fi include, very smooth riding, extra 1Bhp power, more torque compared to Carburettor resulting in better acceleration, 60kmpl mileage. This motorcycle has done Kanyakumari to Kardhung La- Turtuk.

In summary, my experience with Fuel Injected motorcycle is not pleasant. With many owners facing problems, TVS discontinued the bike in late 2010.

I have booked BS6 Apache RTR 200 with Bosch closed loop EFi.

I hope that people share their positive and negative experiences of their Fuel injection motorcycles in this forum, at what kilometres did the ECU fail (if at all), in what manner did it fail etc. so the future owners of Fi motorcycles will have an idea of what to expect and how to prolong the life of injectors/ECU.
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Old 13th January 2020, 17:31   #2
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Default re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

The failure of ECU may not be related to poor fuel quality or low fuel.

The real reason could be low grade manufacturing or voltage fluctuations etc.
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Old 13th January 2020, 18:05   #3
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Default re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwin07 View Post
...
Both the times when ECU failed, the motorcycle did not break down. It went to 'Limp mode' showing 'Check Engine' sign. It didn't cross 20kmph, but I was able to reach TVS service station 20km away riding the bike, without getting towed.
...
I am wondering why the ECU would fail because of poor quality petrol or low petrol level in the tank. Do you mean ECU or fuel pump? The fuel pump can definitely be damaged by the above mentioned conditions.

Last edited by BlackPearl : 13th January 2020 at 23:14. Reason: Trimmed the post within quotes for better readability. Thanks.
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Old 13th January 2020, 18:09   #4
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Default re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhishek46 View Post
The failure of ECU may not be related to poor fuel quality or low fuel.
I'm guessing the OP is referring to his fuel pump going kaput rather than the ECU.
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Old 13th January 2020, 21:53   #5
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Default re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwin07 View Post
To meet BS6 emission norms, most motorcycle manufacturers have started using Fuel injection instead of Carburettors. Not just in bikes, recently Fuel Injected scooters- BS6 Suzuki Access, Honda Activa were launched.


The Fi- specific advices I received were:
1. "Maintain atleast 2.5 litres of Petrol, enough to have Petrol pump submerged and not introduce air into petrol pump", I was told by TVS technicians.
Considering the fact that scooters are being migrated to FI systems and the above mentioned criteria of maintaining at least 2-2.5lt of fuel, doesn't this move drastically reduce the practicality of scooters in terms of frequent fuel stops. Combined with the fact that people in general are used to refilling their scooters once it hits the last litre is surely a recipe for disaster.

For a typical scooter with fuel capacity of 5.5lt, it effectively reduces the tank range by ~100km.
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Old 13th January 2020, 22:03   #6
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Default re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

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Originally Posted by kedar3223 View Post
Considering the fact that scooters are being migrated to FI systems and the above mentioned criteria of maintaining at least 2-2.5lt of fuel
The quantity is for reference, not a hard and fast rule and can change depending on design.

The fuel pump depends on the fuel in the tank to dissipate heat, and the moment it starts running dry it starts heating up and is more prone to failure.

To put simply you should refuel as soon as the gauge indicates the same, the problem is Indian's in general are ignorant and do not generally believe in doing so for some misguided reason.

Regards,
A.P.
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Old 14th January 2020, 07:25   #7
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Default

Personally, I've long back switched to fuel injected bikes, and I'll never go back to dealing with a carb again.
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Old 14th January 2020, 07:51   #8
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

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Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
The fuel pump depends on the fuel in the tank to dissipate heat, and the moment it starts running dry it starts heating up and is more prone to failure
Misconception, atleast with my experience in CBR 250R

Mine is nearing 129000 in 8.5+ years & these days I almost run a dry tank as the usage is very less. And this is happening for last 2 years for sure & even before that I was refueling for nearly 12 liters most of the time (tank capacity is 13 liters) by pushing with one full tank between Chennai & Bangalore for nearly 2 years.

Once in GJ, I refueled for nearly 13 liters (12.x something to precise) & had run for over 42x Km (unbelievable till this date)

I would say, electronics are more reliable with Japs followed by Germans & the rest of the world
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Old 14th January 2020, 08:23   #9
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I was one of the first few owners of pulsar 220 FI and I guess that makes me qualified to share my views.


1. The throttle response is crisp- something you can never expect from carb variants (I converted the bike to carb later)

2. More mileage compared to similar carb bike.

On the negative side:

1. If the FI system is 'open loop' like p220 FI was, manual adjustment using diag tool is needed.

2. Throttle body needs to be cleaned every 3k KMs or so- service centers skip this unless you insist.

3. Fuel filter needs to be checked and changed periodically.

Finally the biggest downer

Roadside mechanics will not be able to help you if engine stalls/stops for whatever reason. Needs a diag tool.
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Old 14th January 2020, 10:38   #10
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arwin07 View Post
The purpose of this thread is for people to share their positive and negative experiences of their Fuel injection motorcycles here
My experience has always been positive especially with my closed loop CBR 250R, but for the one & only first few days of ownership which I ignore for the reason of sharing FI experiences.

Compared to my old 2S motorcycles & other 4S, no knob turns to turn fuel ON & OFF, no choke usage, no jerking & no worries on altitude. Ofcourse, one less headache of carb tuning. If electronics are reliable, any day, monotonous jobs that have computer controlled precision can never match human.
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Old 14th January 2020, 10:44   #11
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Misconception, atleast with my experience in CBR 250R
No no. He is right. These days manufacturers are even smarter than penny pinching fools like us and make sure a dedicated amount of fuel stays around the pump to ensure it remains submerged and cool even though the bike might stall for want of fuel.

Same system works for cars too.
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Old 14th January 2020, 10:44   #12
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

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Originally Posted by kedar3223 View Post
For a typical scooter with fuel capacity of 5.5lt, it effectively reduces the tank range by ~100km.
That is going to be awful.
It will be like standing in the Petrol Pump & refueling everyday before a ride !
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:12   #13
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

Ha! A thread after my own issues!

I ride 2008 Vintage Apache RTR 160 eFi. The very same bike the OP owns. I love the bike, but that does not mean it does not have issues or had issues.

Back in 2008 the bike was a hoot to ride, crisp throttle responses, till date one the best exhaust notes (TVS skipped the catcon for the fi) and great handling circa 2008 tyres not withstanding. But from the beginning we have had issues in the fueling. The fueling used to get cut abruptly. This was very evident when the ambient temperature was high. This was a major flaw. And we had to escalate the issue to TVS (helped that my brother was in Sundaram Clayton). TVS addressed it by replacing the ECU and Injectors. The fueling issue was gone, but the bike had mellowed down. Fuel efficiency was always between 38.5-40.5 KMPL. And I always revved my bike high - in the 6-8k rpm range.

After this also we had issues which I will list

- Availability of Fuel Filters - They are always in short supply. I have a fresh spare one, plus I don't throw my old ones. (just in case)
- Availability of tuning software - I have to go to Tristar TVS as they are one of the last dealerships having the ECU tuning software
-Fuel pipe got cut - The fuel pipe - a silicon pipe of 2 inches in length developed a crack and was spraying fuel every time I accelerated. It was tough to source this pipe. Meghdoot TVS managed to source it and I also picked up a spare.
- Fuel Pump - finally the big daddy. The Fuel pump failed in June 2019 with the vehicle having done 60K kms. I have always filled fuel pump at trusted regular pumps, but that time I filled up the tank from one of the tbhp recommended bunks (1st visit) near lalbagh. The pump failed the next day. could be a coincidence. and just plain bad luck. The issue was spare availability. Tried all sources, call up all dealers - no stock of the Fuel pump. Finally managed to get hold of a used pump from a mechanic and that is running in my bike. I use the bike sparingly now - knowing that the pump is probaly the last pump for the RTR 160 eFI. I have my old pump, just in case that can be fixed.

People would like to think that the bike was ahead of its time - maybe, maybe not. But the bike suffered from TVS's dithering policy and lack of support.

The problems I faced above, I think we might still face them with the introduction of Fuel injection in the upcoming bikes as we still face enough fuel issues in the country. But the bigger problem of lack of spares might not exist anymore with Fuel injection being the norm.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:15   #14
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles - RE Thunderbird 500

I bought Royal Enfield thunderbird 500 in Jan 2013. One fine day of summer of 2018, bike refused to start in office parking. I didn’t have access to to tool kit because some designer at RE, put a hex nut on cover of toolkit box. I had lost hex key provided with bike long back. My initial assumption was a spark plug have gone kaput as there was fuel in the tank and all electrical were working fine.

So, next day I went to office with tool kit and replaced both spark plug, but bike still refused to start. Called Mr. Umesh, owner of RE service centre in Pune. He diagnosed the issue on call. The fuel pump was the culprit and after a few gentle taps, motor started working and bike started.
I was pondering on changing FI to carb for a long time, and this incident helped me in deciding. Replacement of FI with carb was a hybrid. Instead of changing whole wiring, they made Carb to work with ECU. I am happy with the performance of bike post change. Instead of proving lambda sensor for cost cutting, RE had made the open loop FI bike. When i first saw the bike, I could not comprehend the presence Choke and kick starter on an FI bike.

Last edited by Who_are_you : 14th January 2020 at 12:17.
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Old 14th January 2020, 12:32   #15
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Default Re: Our experiences with fuel-injected motorcycles

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Originally Posted by Red Liner View Post
Same system works for cars too.
Well then sorry; I've read Dr Naren mentioning that his S Cross ran out of Diesel. So he went to fuel station, refueled, 2-3 cranks or something, his car is alive.

And by these days you mean post 2011 (or like 2018/19 times?) batch of vehicles? Reason to ask is, even I was into that misconception that fuel pump has to be submerged into tank for pump to remain cool etc. But then, a experimental head from CBR group who claimed to have run a dry tank intentionally on his CBR, refueled & rode again. Since I haven't done this before, I cannot vouch. His was not more than 2014/15 model though.

NOTE FROM SUPPORT - SCro = S-Cross. Please do NOT use acronyms (e.g. ANHC, T-Fort, ANHV) when referring to cars. You are ONLY permitted to use the full Make & Model name for cars. This will make our content useful, searchable & easy-to-understand for experts & newbies alike.

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Last edited by Sheel : 14th January 2020 at 13:16. Reason: Mod note attached.
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