99 GL1500Se fuel mileage poor - Steve Saunders Goldwing Forums

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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Location: North Dakota
Year: 1999
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Model: 1999 GL1500SE, soon to be sold 2007 GL1800 PA
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99 GL1500Se fuel mileage poor

I am thinking that my new to me 99 GL 1500 SE could get just a little better mileage. Smells quite rich when at idle even after warmed up. Almost always have to use enricher to get it to start unless I hold throttle slightly open. Runs very well and smooth, just stinks rich when running. Also idle speed adjustment does not effect idle speed when turned, just turns freely. Any answers from the 'old pros' out there??
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-02-2019, 11:08 PM
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MPG is directly related to:


  • Throttle Hand
  • Speed
  • Winds
  • Windshield size ( larger is worse )
  • Terrain
  • Load
I owned two 1500s, a 94 and a 98.
Overall, the average for the year was 33 mpg.


I have spreadsheets to document that.


I bought a '98SE in Tampa, FL and rode it home to Mesa, AZ.
a trip that was roughly 3,000 miles by the time I visited all my friends on the way back, side trips, etc.... Speeds of 45 for the day, and 85 for the day.
that one trip, gave me the same: 33 mpg.


both bikes had a Tulsa Tall windshield, I lived in the wide open spaces, and I ran the speed limits +3-5


the '94SE was a daily driver to work and back, a 34 miles/day round trip, on the Loops around Phoenix...
the go to work, go home crowds ran 65-85 mph and I followed them.


still, it was consistent, 33 mpg.
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 12:55 AM
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Yep, 33-35 mpg is what I've been getting on my '91 Interstate from day one.



You didn't say what your mpg is Limpy so its a bit tough to say if you're getting poor mileage.


The smell and the non-responsive knurled knob indicate an "issue" with the fuel, but more info would help the guru's come up with a solution.
What is your mpg at the last fill up?

Have you touched the carbs?
Have you checked the vacuum hoses?
How is the fuel filter, and when was it changed?
How's the air filter, and when was it changed?
When were the spark plugs changed and how do they look now?
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 02:14 AM
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What I did not say, was that at 40 mph, it will get about 40 mpg.
it is all in how it is ridden.


my spreadsheets show a couple of 40 mpg instances, and the comments explain why, very slow rides looking at fall colors in the mountains.

~ John


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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 05:41 AM
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Also............................

No one has mentioned fuel octane rating, E 10 - 15 (or not).......!!!!!!

Fuels can differ from different regions (East vs West coast and in between)........!!

Idle adjuster not working.....I suspect carbs have been removed/replaced at some point in time and the cable not reconnected.
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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 06:34 AM
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One possibility of a rich idle and poor fuel economy is a pinhole in the fuel petcock diaphragm allowing the engine to suck fuel down the vacuum line.

You can check this easily if you have a My-T-Vac, pull a couple inches of vacuum from the petcock and see if the vacuum holds, or it starts pulling fuel from the connection.

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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 09:42 AM
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I owned 3 1500's. 92, 98 and 97. I got right at 40 mpg on all of them. Once you go over 3000 RPM's on the open road it will drop a couple down to maybe to 36 mpg. But as stated before, lots of tghings can affect it, speed, wind, windshield size, weight, 1 up or 2 up. etc
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 11:14 AM
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My BIL has a 95,last week him n my sis moved from Houston back to Queen creek Az,I drove the truck and he followed on his Wing,In Houston I saw a gas can and suggested we take the can that had 2 stroke mixture JUST in case we needed it,WELL he ran out in Fort Stockton within sight of the station,put the mixed fuel in it and made it to the station,from there we ran no faster than 65 and he went 260 miles and had a gallon left on every tank to Queen Creek,he was jubilant to get 46 mpg because he never go over 40, he thinks the mixed gas helped it,my 1500 gets 40 if rpm stays 3000 or less,I run RXP in mine 2 or 3 t8mes a year.He filled up in Deming NM and went to Queen Creek non stop.

Love chasing white lines but they are difficult to catch.Hate drivers with no STOPLIGHTS.

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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 12:20 PM
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My '94 GL1500SE gives a pretty consistent 30 mpg, using the crappy 87 octane gas that California insists we use. But then I'm dragging around a sidecar that probably adds a couple of hundred pounds to the weight, and I've rarely been riding without my wife, so add in another 300 pounds or so for us...

Alan Hepburn
1994 GL1500SE with a California Sidecar
San Jose, Ca
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 06-03-2019, 12:24 PM
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My experience tells me that it is not so much of the magic 3000 rpms as it is just the higher speed & the big fairing up front. The few times that I got to play on some twisties, I hardly ever dropped below 3000 rpms & my mileage didn't really suffer, but I wasn't trying to go 70 mph either.

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