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
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.
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
Guess what the gasoline blenders are NOT adding lubricants to gasoline, new
cycles don't need it,
BUT ALL CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES DO!
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
ALWAYS TURN OFF THE FUEL SUPPLY VALVE WHEN PARKING.
If you are done riding for the day and not going to be riding again for a day or
shut off the fuel valve off while the engine is running and allow the engine to
run until it runs out of fuel.
NEVER EVER PUT ANY CARBURETOR OR FUEL SYSTEM CLEANERS IN THE GAS TANK.
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!
DO USE STA-BIL & MARVEL MYSTERY OIL
Use only at their labeled/suggested mix rates, more is NOT
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.
4) FILL UP BEFORE WINTER STORAGE.
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
vapor left in it. So either way, if you donít take care, you could have a
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?