Cycle Service


Subject: Motorcycle carburetor issues related to low annual mileage and/or long storage periods.

From:     Cruiserís Notebook.

Like most of us you love to get out and ride as much as possible but with the busy schedules we all have, these days, 
youíre lucky to get out on your scoot at all.

Owning and caring for a 20 year old motorcycle with only 7,500 miles on it presents many maintenance issues
and fuel related problems are at the top of this hard to keep up with list. 

Letís examine this -- 7,500 miles over 20 years, is only 375 miles a year which assuming 50mpg is just about 2 tanks of gas a year.

Itís known that our current gasoline formula is loaded with ethanol and that ethanol is alcohol and alcohol is hygroscopic (absorbs water).
Alcohol is a strong degreaser and deteriorates rubber/plastic fuel lines and carburetor parts.

When ethanol gets enough moisture out of the air it forms acidís which strips away at the protective coatings in the fuel tank, fuel valve and the internal parts of the carburetor.
Pretty much everything it touches!

That plus who knows what other nasty stuff this gasoline has put in it.  Then there is the push for cleaner emissions that removes even more impurities
but also removes much of what once provided lubrication.

A related example is diesel fuel. When the refiners removed sulfur it wasn't long before many engine failures resulted. 
This lead many mechanics and fleet owners to assume, incorrectly, that sulfur was necessary because it is a lubricant.

Sulfur is NOT a lubricant, BUT the process that removes the sulfur ALSO removes components that ARE lubricants.
The diesel fuel refiners are now adding lubricant to the blend and the issues is resolved.
Guess what the gasoline blenders are NOT adding lubricants to gasoline, new cycles don't need it,

OUCH! And to make matter worse, in low usage, it stays in the entire fuel system way too long.
And these new gas blends has a very short in tank life.

What to do? Ė I have found that it takes just a few small changes in the way we fuel and park our motorcycles.

If you are done riding for the day and not going to be riding again for a day or two,
shut off the fuel valve off while the engine is running and allow the engine to run until it runs out of fuel.

These cleaner/solvents do lots of damage, eat diaphragms and turn non-metallic fuel system parts into junk.
Plus, and get the ironic part here, instead of cleaning the jets and passages (so the carb can do it's thing correctly)
The stuff actually does a job  loosening the crud in the the float bowl where it settles to the bottom,
and is then sucked up to further clog the passages and jets even more, OUCH!

Use only at their labeled/suggested mix rates, more is NOT better!
Use these two products (I DO) all year long.
I know STA-BIL is meant for lay-up storage, but are you sure that when you park you bike that you WILL be riding again BEFORE 30 days passes? 
Better to be protected, as doing it this way, every time, canít hurt.

This one gets the conversation going --- My dad used to drain the tank and carburetor BEFORE storage and had no problems.
Isnít a full tank of gas dangerous to store?
Well - YES, a full tank of gas is dangerous if improperly stored, BUT an empty tank is NEVER empty and UNLESS it is fully flushed out there is
ALWAYS explosive vapor left in it. So either way, if you donít take care, you could have a serious problem.
And if you donít completely OIL the inside of the empty gas tank it WILL RUST and wait until you deal with that mess.
If youíre putting the bike away for more than just the winter, extended storage, then by whatever SAFE means drain and flush ALL the FUEL
and COMPLETELY OIL the INSIDE of the fuel tank.

While I have seen that using this method works well, it is still not an absolute guarantee that you will avoid these low usage fuel issues completely,
but it can help make fuel related repairs much FEWER and/or usually LESS CO$TLY.

All I know is that it works on my cycles, and that I have had good results with my customer's various makes and models.
Always be careful  when handling; gasoline, flammables, and all chemicals.
Read and follow package instructions, and please use common sense.  

As always I offer these tips as "use at your own risk"  (no lawyer's got paid to write this)

Ride Safe & ENJOY, 

Questions? Ideas? Hints?