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Gas or not? - winter storage  

Peter Lehman
(@16077)
Trusted Member Expired Membership

Had the tank off and completely dry. Replaced the petcock filters and had to fix the gas cap. So now it's completely empty. I also took off the carb float bowls and cleaned and dried. 

There will be the odd winter day to ride in New England, but the 1992 GS/PD has headed grips. Question: store it till March tank empty or fill it up, add a stabilizer? Which do you think preferable. Dry or full?

Thanks 

Quote
Topic starter Posted : 11/22/2020 09:57
Scot Marburger
(@8166)
Member Moderator

I believe your PD has a plastic tank, right? If so, I'd be hesitant to leave gas in it all winter for fear of either the gas or stabilizer attacking the material. I've taken to draining the carb bowls when the bike won't be ridden for more than a few weeks, and if I drain the tank, too, I spray the inside with Fluid Film to protect the metal from corrosion. And I drain the tank because the gas goes bad in a month or two, and it's too expensive to waste. I also don't like the idea of water collecting at the bottom, settling at the seam, and rotting the thing out. That's for metal tanks, though. So yea, I do as you've done, but if it were a plastic tank, I'd skip the fluid film and just leave it and the carb bowls dry. That means draining everything again if you go out mid winter, but I don't see any way around that if you're going to avoid trouble come Spring.

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Posted : 11/22/2020 11:50
Peter Lehman
(@16077)
Trusted Member Expired Membership

Oops, I'm thinking about the 1976 R90/6 with the metal tank. I've been riding the PD (yes plastic) and will keep that on the road. But storing the /6. 

I'm going to look for fluid film. Most of the inside of the tank is original red finish, but there's a small amount of dark discoloration way back by the petcocks. Of course pretty difficult to see. 

thanks

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Topic starter Posted : 11/23/2020 04:07
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator

Filling the tank was what our fathers did, but it no longer applies for 2 reasons.

1) We now have ethanol in our fuels. The ethanol will come out of solution with the gasoline when it's not stirred every week or so. You'll end up with 2 distinct liquids: a layer of alcohol and a layer of gasoline. The layer of alcohol actually attracts water. And so the rust in steel tanks begins. The water-alcohol mix is also not kind to the casting metals used for carbs either, and so you may see deep pitting in the bottom of your float bowls. 

2) The EPA has re-designed US gasolines to have fewer volatiles. In a carbureted engine, it's the fumes (or "volatiles") that the engine uses to start. (Your new car doesn't have this issue because the fuel injection system forces fuel into the cylinders "coming ready or not".) So the longer you wait to use the fuel in your bike or lawn mower, the fewer "fumes" will be wafting off the pool in the float bowl to help start the engine. When added to Reason #1 (above), your carb may additionally be supplying a very high ratio of alcohol, which will never burn in a standard compression engine anyway.

• So storing fuel in any form from Sept to March is simply a gamble most owners won't want to take. If you're so far north that you have a snow blower or snowmobile, then treat the fuel with a stabilizer and you'll be OK. But that situation is different because you're picking up the fuel can once a week, and stirring it as you pour fuel into the snowblower. That situation is not an "apples--to-apples" comparison with a bike, lawn mower, or can of gas that simply sits

• There will also be those who say "This is why I only use non-ethanol fuel, so this simply doesn't apply to me." I believe that is wrong thinking. Reason #2 (above) still applies to all fuel being consumed in the US. The percentage of volatiles still decreases over time. Stabilizers and other treatments don't retain fumes. So your Airhead is going to be very hard to start.

 

For all these reasons, new fuel next Spring is the best plan. That means the safest way to go is to run all your leaf blowers, lawn mowers, weed whackers, chain saws, and Airheads completely out of fuel before storing.

Hope this helps.

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 11/23/2020 07:13
Peter Lehman
(@16077)
Trusted Member Expired Membership

@wobbly Yes! very helpful indeed. The /6 is going to have to wait it out until spring with a dry tank. 

I don't think I'll put Fluid Film in there. Lanolin based and great rust proofing on the outside, but I think it would not be good once the gas goes back in. 

And, I assume the engine oil, transmission and final drive are OK for the winter? They don't separate like modern gas. 

Thanks a lot.

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Topic starter Posted : 11/23/2020 17:29
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @16077

And, I assume the engine oil, transmission and final drive are OK for the winter? They don't separate like modern gas. 

No the oils are OK in that they don't separate.

However, oils like the drive shaft, don't really get that hot either. That means they are not as likely to "cook off" water that collects inside the housing due to condensation and pressure washing. So the time to change them is at the end of the season, rather than have the gears and bearings sit in water for 6 months. 

Hope this helps.

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 11/23/2020 19:41
David Barnett
(@viejo)
Active Member Expired Membership
Posted by: @16077

@wobbly Yes! very helpful indeed. The /6 is going to have to wait it out until spring with a dry tank. 

I don't think I'll put Fluid Film in there. Lanolin based and great rust proofing on the outside, but I think it would not be good once the gas goes back in. 

And, I assume the engine oil, transmission and final drive are OK for the winter? They don't separate like modern gas. 

Thanks a lot.

You might want to consider changing the engine oil and filter before laying up for the winter in order to remove any combustion by-products/contaminants that the oil has picked up since the last change.  Two schools of thought on this one with solid arguments for both views, but, as long as oil is cheaper than crankshafts I would tend to err on the side of caution. *

Cheers,

Viejo

* Disclaimer:  I live in Central Texas where we're blessed with a twelve month riding season.

 

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Posted : 12/07/2020 14:24
Richard Whatley
(@wobbly)
Member Moderator
Posted by: @viejo

* Disclaimer:  I live in Central Texas where we're blessed with a twelve month riding season.

And that's the bit about winter storage that owners need to realize. All we're talking about here is "best practice". Each owner has to take that information and then modify it to their local weather conditions. 

In Georgia, we can ride about 11 months. All I need to do for fuel is to run a stabilizer/cleaner, because the bike will be run (on average) every 3 weeks during the winter, and almost daily during the summer. So the fuel never really "sits".

All my battery requires is disconnection in early January, with 1 or no maintenance charging sessions through February. And even then, the charging on the disconnected battery only lasts several hours. My battery never leaves the bike, but if you live in somewhere like Vermont, then the battery may require, in addition to maintenance charging, more moderate ambient temperatures for several months. This would probably mean the battery needs to be taken indoors, into the living space.

The answer for a bike in southern California or central Texas, might be "D. None of the above" !!

[color=blue]Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!
#15150[/color]

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Posted : 12/09/2020 09:15
john stirling
(@arni)
Trusted Member Expired Membership

leave things dry. the phase separation of water+alcohol depends on the amount of each in the mix and the temp. see:

https://petroclear.com/resources/dont-be-phased.php

There is much rattle about condensation on internet forums but unless one is an HVAC tech it is little understood. To vastly oversimplify things, condensation occurs when warm moist air meets a cold surface. Warm, cold and moist are all relative terms and pressure matters too but I am vastly oversimplifying here. There is no warm, moist air in the tranny or drive line because it has no way to get there, even if one is extremely foolish and uses a pressure washer. May be warm, moist air in the tank because as fuel is used outside air is drawn in. So that one depends on the climate. an engine that has been run is full of warm to hot very wet air. the water a a combustion byproduct  and making heat is what engines do. as this warm moist air passes down the cold exhaust system it condenses and water drips out the tailpipe. there is also condensation inside the cold block but the block heats up (past the dew point) so quickly it can be ignored. when the engine is shut down the metal retains heat for a long time so no condensation. leave it sit overnight in the cold and what used to be warm moist air inside becomes cold moist air. not much condensation even if fog is forming and if it is everything is so oily it doesn't matter,

 

winter gas is more volatile than summer gas. gas condenses on cold surfaces too, like the intake runners and combustion chambers. even with FI.

 

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Posted : 12/28/2020 07:51

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