550 - fuel question - Ferrari Life
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 07:45 AM Thread Starter
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550 - fuel question

I am finding that I am unable to get as much fuel into my tank as I would have expected. for example, today the reserve light came on (while I was driving along the motorway, pretty much flat and fairly straight, so this should not have been a false reading due to incline / cornering forces) and I drove another 10 miles to a fuel station. I filled up to the brim (apparently - even though fuel was almost sloshing out of the top of the filler pipe, when I started the car, the gauge was showing about 7/8 full), but could only 82 litres into the tank. Given that the reserve is supposed to be 20 litres and the capacity 114, even ignoring the fuel that I used to drive the last ten miles, I should have been able to get 94 litres in.

Can anyone tell me from experience whether the reserve light usually comes on earlier than it theoretically should, or whether I have not actually filled it full (is there some technique to filling up to ensure that the tank is really full?). Thanks.

Best wishes, John
Ferrari: 550 Maranello S/N 110995, Dino 246 GT S/N 6934
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 07:59 AM
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John,

At best...and I'm being polite, the fuel gauge is a best guess in terms of just how much fuel really remains in the tank. My observations are that the low fuel lamp illuminates when 35-40 liters remains in the tank. And, the gauge will read about 7/8 or a tad high when filled...

My old Lotus 7 had a 'stick' to measure fuel level; the 550 is marginally better...

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, David, that's what I thought it would be, but I am grateful for your confirmation: I'll feel a bit happier about carrying on longer after the light comes on in future, instead of worrying about finding the first available petrol station.

Best wishes, John
Ferrari: 550 Maranello S/N 110995, Dino 246 GT S/N 6934
Other: 1990 Bentley Turbo R, 1989 Porsche 911 C2, 2004 Mercedes 500CLK, 2011 Mercedes E350 CDI, 1972 VW T2 Camper, 2014 Fiat 500C, 1963 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC, 2015 Maserati Granturismo Sport
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 08:46 AM
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My wife still gets bent out of shape if we don't stop for gas immediately after the light comes on...

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 09:09 AM
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The fuel tank in the 550 is a rather poor design. The filler hose is small and runs only slightly down hill, the filler only slightly elevated above the tank and the filler hose actually goes into the side of the tank, not the top.

That combination makes it very difficult to fill.

Additionally there is a micro switch on the gas filler door. It not only triggers the warning that it is open but it also triggers a solenoid valve that vents the top of the tank to the air allowing that large air bubble to be displaced by gas. If there is a malfunction of that system you will never get the tank full.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 10:34 AM
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Very interesting as the bluebird displays the same symptoms, when the fuel gauge moves to show a quarter full a few seconds later it shows empty and the fuel light comes on. Heart in mouth I find the nearest filling station and I can get no more than 80-85 litres into the tank. I have asked my trusted specialist to look at this for me when I take her to the Netherlands for her annual service.

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post #7 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 10:39 AM
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On re-reading Brian's most informative post, there is a malfunction with the bluebird's fuel filler door. It does not open using the switch inside the car, I have to open the fuel filler manually. Hopefully this crazy fuel gauge problem will be solved in August.

David

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post #8 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitalone View Post
Very interesting as the bluebird displays the same symptoms, when the fuel gauge moves to show a quarter full a few seconds later it shows empty and the fuel light comes on. Heart in mouth I find the nearest filling station and I can get no more than 80-85 litres into the tank. I have asked my trusted specialist to look at this for me when I take her to the Netherlands for her annual service.


You have a bad fuel sender. I have replaced many.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-26-2013, 12:18 PM
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Many thanks for your sage wisdom, Brian. I will ask my specialist to replace the fuel sender and to sort out the sensor on the fuel filler flap.

David

Current: 365BB, 550 bluebird and a few 911's
Past: 246gt, 512BB, 308 GTB "Michalone" and a few 911's
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Any volunteers for the "let's see how far I can drive after the light comes on before I run out" test?

Best wishes, John
Ferrari: 550 Maranello S/N 110995, Dino 246 GT S/N 6934
Other: 1990 Bentley Turbo R, 1989 Porsche 911 C2, 2004 Mercedes 500CLK, 2011 Mercedes E350 CDI, 1972 VW T2 Camper, 2014 Fiat 500C, 1963 Jaguar E-type 3.8 FHC, 2015 Maserati Granturismo Sport
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 02:18 AM
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I have had the fuel gauge at below 0 without running out. Even then, the most I've been able to get into the tank is 100 litres (official capacity 115). Certainly there is no need to panic when the fuel light comes on, you still have at least 80 miles in the tank (at moderate throttle - I have also managed to do only 90 miles on a tank - that was a nice trackday).


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post #12 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 06:37 AM
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David-Vitalone, the most probable cause of filure to operate by the fuel filler door is the switch on the dashboard. You can check this by swopping with the boot lid switch, which has the same function, just a different picture on it.
Bluebottle, my 550 fuel guage and light behave in a similar way to what you decsribe. I treat it part of the personality of the car and just top up the tank whenever the light comes on or when I think it is about to come on. I usually can add only about 80 to 85 litres before the fuel is visible in the filler neck.
David - Fluent in Ferrari, my wife has a similar aversion to seeing the fuel light.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-27-2013, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NigelV12 View Post
David - Fluent in Ferrari, my wife has a similar aversion to seeing the fuel light.
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