Question about kawasaki VN 800 A Vulcan Motorcycles

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I have a stock petcock on my 2001 Vulcan VN800A. The three positions are run, reserve and prime. Do all of these positions allow constant fuel flow when the engine is not running?

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Run and reserve operate off the vacuum diaphragm. Prime is the only position that should allow fuel to flow with out having the engine turned on.

Posted on Aug 25, 2010

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The petcock valve on the Bigboy TSR 250. What position must the valve handle be when driving. Please explain the 3 positions on the valve.


Is the tap vacuum operated? There will be a pipe from the carb to the tap if there is, and when the engine is running the vacuum from the carb pulls on a diaphragm and opens the flow.
If this is the case, the 3 positions are "PRIME", "MAIN" and "RESERVE".
Disconnect the pipe from the outlet of the tap, but be prepared for fuel to come out. If it does, then the tap is set in the prime position so move it to another setting to stop it. If it doesn't start flowing then the tap is set to main or reserve.
Main and reserve are self explanatory and are standard on most bikes, but prime is not on as many. Never ride on prime as this just allows fuel to flow freely and is only used to start a long standing bike or one that has been run to empty. It does what it says and primes the carb. Once running switch over immediately to main or reserve.

Oct 22, 2015 | Motorcycles

1 Answer

Which way to turn the reserve tank switch on


There are 3 positions (as you probably know). Reserve, on and prime. Under normal conditions with a properly working fuel tap, prime is the by-pass that allows fuel to flow through without the engine running. On and reserve will only allow fuel to pass when the engine is running (uses vacuum from the carb).
  • PRIME has the handle facing down
  • ON is when it is facing the front
  • RESERVE when it faces the rear.
Do not leave the tap in the prime position EVER as this allows the fuel to fill the carb and with the engine running or attempting to start will cause hydrolock that will bend the pistons con-rods. Only use it to fill the carb with fuel and turn it to on or reserve as soon as you can.
If the bike runs using the prime position but will not run when on or reserve, then you may have a vacuum problem or a dodgy tap......assuming you have fuel that is.
Hope that helps.

Sep 14, 2015 | kawasaki KLE 500 Motorcycles

1 Answer

What is button on gas tank for?


It's the fuel petcock switch. Here are some pictures of it: https://www.google.ca/search?q=2004+kawasaki+vulcan+1500+fuel+petcock

Fuel petcock valves are common on motorcycles which don't have a dedicated fuel level gauge. They are use to turn the fuel tank "on" or "off", and they also have a "reserve" position which taps into a section of the fuel tank which contains reserve fuel to allow you to make it back to a gas station should you run out of fuel in the "on" position.

Sep 28, 2014 | 2003 kawasaki VN 1500 Vulcan Meanstreak

1 Answer

1981 yamaha 650 what position should the petcok b in? pri res oo on


Fuel petcock position depends entirely on what you're doing with your bike at the time.

In normal use, the fuel petcock should be set to the "on" position and left there. In that position, gasoline will be drawn from the tank only when the engine is running and generating vacuum. This prevents overfilling the carbs when the bike sits.

When you're riding the bike and it starts to sputter, it's time to move the petcock to the "reserve" position so that you can use the last few drops in the tank (on a 650 special, this was either .3 or .5 gallons--can't remember which off the top of my head) to nurse your bike to a gas station. Once you've filled the tank, move the petcock back to "on." The bike will still run fine if you keep the petcock in the reserve position, but when it starts to run low on gas--well, you won't have that emergency reserve to get yourself to the gas station.

If you've managed to run the bike out of gas completely, or if you are getting the bike ready for service after having drained the carbs for the winter, you'll need to move the petcock to the "prime" position for a few minutes. This by-passes the vacuum line cutoff mechanism and lets gasoline flow until the carb floats shut off the fuel valve (this is also how all older motorcycle fuel petcocks operated). A sticky float or poorly sealing float valve in the carb can, however, cause far too much gasoline to drain into the carbs (and into the crankcase, if you're particularly unlucky), which is why you should not leave the petcock in the prime position for an extended period of time.

Some Yamaha XS650 motorcycles (can't tell if that's the model you have) have a tank with two fuel petcocks, one on each side, to fuel each carb. If you have a tank with this setup, be aware that setting one fuel petcock to "prime" will affect both cylinders, as there's a crossover tube to equalize fuel levels between the carbs. Also, for reasons I could never figure out, on one XS650 I owned, moving either petcock to "prime" permitted fuel to flow on a gravity feed out of both petcocks simultaneously. I could never figure out exactly why it was doing that.

Jun 06, 2011 | Yamaha XS 650 G Motorcycles

1 Answer

Regarding the fuel stopcock of yamaha chappy, it has three settings: on, reserve and PRI, what is the neaning of PRI?, thanks...


You have a vacuum operated petcock....so that when engine starts and draws vacuum...a diaphragm lifts in the petcock to supply fuel to carb. When the engine shuts off...vacuum is lost and the petcock closes.
If you run the tank empty....in order to get fuel into the carb and get the bike started initially....you can open the petcock without engine vacuum by rotating petcock to the PRIME position. Once started return the petcock to the ON position. If you leave it on prime....with engine off...fuel may leak into carb and run into engine and contaminate crankcase oil with fuel.

Mar 22, 2011 | Yamaha YZ 125 Motorcycles

1 Answer

Dear P. I have YAMAHA VIRAGO 250 and have a problem with the fuel selector. I tried on all the three positions (ON, Reserve and Primary) but in all the choices I run out off fuel without any extra fuel...


To see what is wrong you will have to drain the tank and take off the fuel tank outlet(filter assembly). What you should see is a tube sticking up with a fuel filter over it. The tube allows the fuel to enter the carburetor down to that level , when the fuel petcock is in the ON position. When you switch to RESERVE the rest of the fuel flows down through a hole at the base of the fuel petcock. If the tube is missing from the fuel tank outlet(filter assembly) or/and the actual fuel petcock switch (sometimes a separate part )you will not have RESERVE. Another way you have no RESERVE is if you have a leaking four hole washer in your fuel selector. This allows the fuel to flow from RESERVE to ON inside the selector valve(gas leaking in petcock but not escaping outside petcock). "Honda" has all sizes of 4 hole washers available, but , the assembly may not be designed to be taken apart and reassembled. In either case you may end up having to buy an assembly to fix your problem.

Sep 30, 2010 | Yamaha RD 250 Motorcycles

2 Answers

Witch way do I turn fuel knob for gas on left or


prime fuel constant flow is to the right or 3 oclock fuel on down or 6 oclock reserve is on the left or 9 oclock

note prime is for when the bike as run out of fuel or been stood for some time and is used to fill carbs with fuel ounce engine is running turn to on or reserve position depending on amount of fuel in the tank

Jul 27, 2010 | 1989 Suzuki GSX 600 F (Katana)

1 Answer

Fuel shut off valve


Recent shut off valves don't have an off position anymore it's been replaced with PRi which is prime..The petcock lever has a long side and a short side.w/long side pointed down that is ON..long side up that is RESERVE..halfway between is PRIME which is used when cycle has sat for a long time or has run out of gas...off is not used anymore cause the petcock is vacuum actuated and only lets gas flow when engine is running...except for PRIME, these should all be printed/stamped on your petcock...Good luck to you friend....Tim

May 11, 2009 | 1999 kawasaki ZXR 400

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