Ethanol Related Fuel Problems
by: Biker Chad
We all have seen the
signs and stickers on gas pumps everywhere stating that there is 10% ethanol
added to our gasoline. This Mixture of
90% gasoline and 10% ethanol is often referred to as E10 or “gasohol”. We usually just fill our tanks up and go not
ever giving a thought to what effects burning the added ethanol in our engines
may have. Does ethanol damage engines? Do you lose power, performance, and MPG with
ethanol? I have been asked these
questions and many more at our bike shop numerous times. In this article I will try to answer these
questions and tell you how to combat ethanol related engine problems. So read on and study hard, there may be a pop
Why is ethanol added to our fuel in the first place? The answer to this question goes back to
amendments made to the “Clean Air Act” in 1990.
This amendment stated that gasoline be oxygenated to cut down on Carbon
Monoxide emissions. The first additive
that was used to do this was Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MBTE). MBTE had a very strong turpentine smell and
it turned out to be proven to contaminate ground water. Little is known about the long term health
hazards from exposure to MBTE contamination in our water. MBTE had been used for this as early as 1979
in some states as a replacement for the lead in leaded gasoline, however due to
MBTE polluting ground water it was replaced by ethanol around the year
2000. I worked at a small engine repair
shop when MBTE was added to our gasoline.
Our shop went from one full time and one full time mechanic to three
mechanics working overtime to keep up with repairing damaged engines. It
should be noted that gasoline with MBTE and gasoline with ethanol should not be
mixed as this can cause precipitates that clog fuel filters and carburetors.
Are there positive effects of ethanol in our gasoline? Additives like MBTE or ethanol are used as an Oxygenate in gasoline. Adding an Oxygenate
like MBTE or Ethanol into gasoline reduces Carbon Monoxide emissions thus
reducing pollution but this reduction in pollution is really only noticed in
engines that have a carburetor and are not computer controlled by a “closed
loop” EFI computer system. Any vehicle
that has Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) uses at least one oxygen sensor to
analyze the exhaust allowing the vehicle’s computer to make adjustments to
control emissions so they benefit very little from an ethanol mixed fuel as far
as an emissions reduction goes. The main
reason ethanol has been added to our gasoline stems from the Bush administration’s push to reduce America’s
dependency on foreign oil so the result is 10% ethanol is added to dilute gasoline
to cut down on the amount of gasoline consumed and help reduce the amount of foreign
the negative effects of using ethanol in our engines? There are five major problems that I know of
from ethanol in our gasoline;
fuel / premature fuel breakdown.
It is almost impossible to empty all of the fuel from any engine system
so there is always old fuel somewhere in any fuel system. Straight gasoline starts to deteriorate around
30-60 days and ethanol fuels break down even faster than straight
gasoline. When gasoline breaks down
leaving gum and varnish in fuel tanks, fuel lines, carburetors, etc. Ethanol is also a great cleaner of gums, varnishes,
dirt and the rust that water in the fuel creates. That is why ethanol is used in almost every
bottle of carb / injector cleaner on the market. So when you fill up your tank you introduce fresh
ethanol to run through your fuel system and it will dissolve the deposits running
all that crud through the engine’s fuel system clogging fuel filters,
injectors, and carburetors. Clogged fuel
filters will drop fuel pressures telling the regulator to work the electric
fuel pump harder to keep the fuel pressure up.
This will burn out fuel pumps.
Gummed up carburetors and fuel injectors all lead to poor performance
and all of this leads to hefty repair bills.
Considering you never really
know how long the E10 sits at the refinery in a holding tank before it gets
transported to the pump station to sit in the underground storage tank just to
be purchased by you to sit in your tank before being burned in the engine, break
down of the E10 gasohol fuel can be a real issue.
fuel. Pure gasoline does not
absorb water but ethanol will. Ethanol
is hydrophollic this means it pulls moisture from the air and bonds with it. In ideal conditions E10 gasohol will keep
roughly .5% water by volume is suspended in gasoline. Our fuel tanks and fuel storage cans are
hardly ideal conditions as they need to be vented allowing the ethanol to
absorb more moisture from the atmosphere or in the form of condensation. Ethanol never truly bonds with gasoline
molecules it is a loose mixture at best so when the threshold of .5% water is
exceeded or the E10 gasohol mixture cools off every night the water / ethanol
solution falls out of suspension in the gasoline. Oil and gasoline float on water as they are
lighter than water so the water /ethanol mixture will stay at the bottom of
your fuel tank. The process of the water
and ethanol separating from the gasoline and sinking to the bottom is called
“Phase Separation”. Phase Separation is
a real problem because the water from the bottom of the tank is sucked up and
sent to the engine it causes a lean condition raising the engine temperature
causing valve damage, carburetor, fuel lines and electronic fuel injection
pumps pull fuel from the bottom of the tanks where the ethanol / water mix
stays and water doesn’t burn well in the engine leading to premature engine /
fuel system corrosion and poor engine performance. It gets worse, ethanol and water mix in E10 gasoline
is a breeding ground for microbes like bacteria and fungi which just adds to
the corrosion and debris in your fuel system.
power, octane rating, performance and mileage from E10 gasohol. Contrary to what most people believe, higher
octane gas does not make your engine more powerful. Only if your engine is built for performance or
racing with a higher compression rating do you will need to use a higher octane
gasoline. Your vehicle manufacturer
tells you what octane rating to use depending on your vehicle’s requirements. This information can be found in the vehicle owner’s
manual, on the fuel door or gas cap. At the pump you typically have three choices
of octane ratings use gasoline that has an octane ratings from 87 (lowest), 89
(mid-grade), and 91 or 92 (premium) this is due to a few factors, but it is mainly
relevant to the compression rating of your engine. The higher the compression the higher the
octane required. This is due to the fact
that gasoline and air mixture heats up as the piston moves on the compression
stroke gasoline will ignite before the spark plug fires. This is called pre-ignition and it will
damage the engine. Octane prevents this by
slowing down the burn rate from an early damaging explosion to a slower more
controlled burn. Pure ethanol has an
octane rating of 113, so adding ethanol will raise the octane rating of
gasoline. The gasoline blender has to
take this into consideration and uses a lower octane base gasoline so when the
ethanol is added you don’t get a higher octane fuel. Now what happens is this; you purchase E10
gasohol with an octane rating of 87, phase separation occurs and as the ethanol
sinks to the bottom of the tank the octane rating in the gasoline actually gets
lowered to around 82 to 84. This is too
low for a gasoline powered engine to run efficiently and causes loss of power
and engine damaging pre-ignition. Ethanol
produces about 34% less energy than the same amount one gallon of gasoline so
in an E10 mixture you will lose 3% - 5% of your horse power and MPG.
corrosive. Ethanol is an excellent
solvent and will clean all of the gunk and grime that an engine will accumulate
but these same strong cleaning qualities can lead to trouble for your
engine. As I had stated earlier in this
article ethanol is a great cleaner and this alone can cause issues as it
dislodges built up dirt sending harmful and filter clogging particles through
your fuel system and engine. Ethanol is
also a drying agent and can disintegrate plastic, rubber, some types of fiber
glass, aluminum and magnesium. Ethanol is most corrosive to ferrous metals (metals that contain iron, such as steel). This corrosion leaves behind salt deposits and a jelly
like substance, both of which can clog fuel filters, fuel pumps and carburetors. Ethanol also burns at a
higher temperature than gasoline causing damage to pistons. Any car or truck that is not a “Flex Fuel”
vehicle is most likely not equipped with ethanol resistant parts and even less small
engines like lawn mowers; motorcycles etc. are equipped with ethanol resistant
parts. Marine motors and ethanol just do
not get along at all due to the high water content in their operating
environment. Due to the high damage rate and risk of marine motors developing
polluting gasohol leaks from ethanol damage, a lot of marinas are currently offering
ethanol free gasoline. According to the
FAA ethanol is forbidden in airplane fuels (excluding
air craft licensed as experimental).
Using E10 in 2 cycle outdoor power equipment (weed whackers, chainsaws,
etc.) can seize motors and most manufacturers will not honor warranties on
their equipment if E10 is used. E10 is
bad enough, but if E15 is put into place we can expect severe damage to any vehicle
not equipped like an E85 Flex Fuel vehicle. Please consider that the levels of ethanol are
not closely monitored by most gas stations, but you can purchase inexpensive
ethanol test kits to be sure the ethanol percentage is not over 10%.
When it comes to using ethanol unfortunately we do not have a choice,
unless you are lucky enough to live in an area that still has real gasoline
available at the pumps. Total prevention
of ethanol problems is almost impossible, but there are some things we can do
to minimize the problems and damage ethanol can cause.
1. Every time you fill your fuel tank,
be sure to use a fuel stabilizer like STA-BIL or Amsoil Gasoline Stabilizer
even if you are not planning on storing the machine or fuel. These stabilizers
work by stabilizing otherwise unstable aromatic hydrocarbons and preventing
microbial growth in the gasoline. If
left untreated gasoline goes bad as fast as two weeks. Stabilized gasoline can last a year or two depending
on storage conditions. Properly stored
gasoline should be mixed with a fuel stabilizer, stored in a properly labeled
plastic gasoline container, away from any ignition sources, in a cool dry
place, and if stored on cement floor place a piece of plywood on top of cement. Rotate and use any gas that is in storage
regularly to keep storage time to a minimum.
2. Keep any fuel tanks around
90% – 95% to prevent condensation but still allow for expansion and contraction.
3. Change fuel filters
every year, or at the least every other year.
Keep in mind some vehicles can have more than one fuel filter.
4. For seasonally stored
small engines (lawn mowers, motorcycles, chain saws, weed whackers etc.) always
add a fuel stabilizer in the fuel. Be
sure to run the motor long enough to get the stabilizer through the entire fuel
system including the carburetor or fuel injection. After storage be sure to add Amsoil Quick
Shot before running the machine to prevent ethanol damage before the first
use. Quick Shot is specially formulated
for these types of small engines. This
information is especially important for any 2 cycle motor as they are VERY
susceptible to ethanol damage.
5. Adding an octane
booster may seem like a good idea to combat the octane drop E10 can have when
it deteriorates but keep in mind that a lot of fuel additives like injector
cleaner, carburetor cleaner, almost all octane boosters contain ethanol
alcohol, methanol alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or other forms of alcohol and
adding these to your E10 gasohol can raise the alcohol content and this is a
VERY BAD idea. Be careful what you add
to your fuel tank. A better idea would
be to purchase the appropriate octane level that your engine requires at the pump
and treat it with a stabilizer to prevent gasohol deterioration and octane
6. Buy your gasoline from
new modern gas stations whenever possible as they will have new storage
tanks. Gasoline is stored underground at
gas stations and older gas stations may have rotting storage tanks that allow
water to seep in.
7. Inspect fuel lines
every so often, like when an oil change is performed, or when washing the
vehicle. As we learned rubber, plastic,
and even steel and aluminum can be damaged by ethanol. Leaking fuel lines can lead to a vehicle
More Sound, More Power, Less Money
(A stage one project)
Written by: Biker Chad
Before I start
this article I would like to say thank you to all of you who have e-mailed me
your questions, compliments, ideas, and criticisms. I really appreciate all of your input. After reading all of my e-mails, there seemed
to be a common theme in a lot of the questions. To answer these questions, I
wrote this article.
The stage one
consist of installing: free flowing mufflers or entire exhaust, a high flowing
filter assembly or replacement air filter, and some method of getting more fuel
to the firing chamber by modifying the fuel injection or carburetor. A stage one is also the most cost effective
way to get more torque and horse power out of a stock Harley Engine.
addition of fuel injection has a lot of bikers too afraid to modify their
bikes, because they do not fully understand what to do. There is also a lot of incorrect information
and false scare tactics used to keep you in the dark about all of this. I will try to dispel some of the rumors and
educate you as best I can. With that in
mind, I will say that even my opinion is just that, an opinion. Every one will tell you what they think you
should buy. It is up to you to do your
homework, remember knowledge is power.
In this article I
will cover the first thing all Harley owners do to their new bikes, change
mufflers. Every one wants that classic
Harley rumble and the stock pipes are just too quiet. There are tons of mufflers and after market
exhaust for sale out there. I will (for
the sake of keeping cost down) rule out an entire exhaust system, and discuss
just “slip on” mufflers. A slip on
muffler is called such as it is as simple to replace them as; loosening the
muffler clamp, unbolting the muffler hangers to slip off the old muffler and
then slipping on the new muffler.
Why should you
replace your stock mufflers with an aftermarket free flow muffler? Stock mufflers slow down the flow of the
exhaust with a baffle design that forces it through twists, turns, and some
dead ends before it can exit the muffler.
This is done mainly for one reason, to quiet the sound of your
engine. The downside to the stock
muffler is it slows down the exit of very hot spent gasses from your engine,
which can cut as much as five horsepower from you engine’s output. Considering a stock TC88 motor only has
around 53 HP out of the box, losing 5 to a restrictive muffler is a big
deal. The other main reasons people
change their bike’s mufflers is, to gain the powerful rumble that a Harley is known
for and to change the look from the cookie cutter stock mufflers.
No matter the look
all aftermarket slip on mufflers do the same thing, allow the exhaust to exit
as fast as possible via a straight thru baffle design. This gains you around five horsepower over
stock, and gives you the classic Harley rumble we all love.
Some slip on
muffler manufacturers do not offer a choice of baffle sizes or “changeable”
baffles and some manufacturers do offer changeable baffles. The size of the baffle is the inside diameter
that the exhaust will run through. The
larger the size, the less restriction the exhaust has on the way out of the
muffler. The larger the size, the louder
the exhaust is. Too large of a baffle is
not good for your engine however; as you need some backpressure to keep the low
end torque that a Harley is loved for. A
straight through two-inch baffle is sufficient for most stock engines.
If all you want
out of your bike is sound and a few more ponies, a slip on muffler with a
straight through baffle is all you need.
As far as the baffle size goes, if you only plan on adding slip on
mufflers you should not go any larger than two-inches. Any larger than two inches and you will risk
running the bikes engine too lean and will have to add fuel with a dealer down
load or an E.F.I. modification box. If
you add a slip on muffler and a high flow air filter, you again will need to
add fuel to the engine or risk running the bike too lean. Running the bike too lean raises the engine’s
operating temperature, ruining the oil, robbing power and generally shortening
the motor’s life. A common sign of an
engine running too lean / hot is your mufflers will blue and yellow.
In the next part
of this article, I will talk about installing the next part of our stage one
Ride smart, Biker Chad.
Running Hot part II
Written by: Biker Chad
In the last
installment I discussed some of the high temp issues that all Harley riders
face and the main factors that effect our engine running temps. The first thing I talked about was the way
moving air helps cool our engines. There
are not a lot of options to keep air moving over our engines except to keep the
bike moving. I often shut my bike down
if I am caught at idle for a long time, like a train or traffic jam etc. I do know a few companies that offer parade
fans to mount on your bike. I don’t put
much merit into these fans, the help they may give is outweighed by the price
of the purchase in my opinion. If you
pull a lot of parade duty I could almost justify it, but I think there are
better things to do to cool down your bike.
quality synthetic engine oils can do wonders to lower your bike
temperature. You may have heard untrue
stories of how synthetic oils can hurt your engine or make your clutch
slip. Hear are some of the ones I have
I hear rumors
about a louder ticking in an engine when synthetic oil is used. This is supposedly due to some synthetic oils
being slightly thinner than their fossil oil counter parts. As long as I match the weight of the
synthetic oil to the weight recommended by your bikes manufacturer, I have
honestly never noticed this on any bike I have used synthetic oils in
Next, I hear
people talk about clutch slippage when using synthetic oil in their
primary. This can be true, but not
because synthetics are bad. It is due to
most synthetic oils having a friction modifier in them, although this is good
in your engine it may cause the clutch plates to slip sometimes. As long as you make sure to use synthetic oil
in the primary that does not contain friction modifiers (Amsoil does not use
any friction modifiers in there oil), you will get no slip along with a cooler,
happier running primary.
As far as the
transmission goes, good synthetic oil will allow a smoother, quieter shift, a
cooler transmission temperature, and prolong the life of your
Another question I
hear is, “will it void my warranty to use a synthetic oil.” The answer is no, it will not void your
warranty to use a synthetic oil (so long as it is the proper weight that is
recommended by your bike manufacturer,) you cannot void your warranty. If you don’t believe me Google search the
Magnusson Moss Act.
People have asked
me if you have to use a special oil filter when you use synthetic oil. The answer is no. The only difference in the
filters is that a synthetic designed filter has a larger filtration
surface. This is due to synthetic oils
lasting longer than fossil oils, so the filter has to last longer too. A regular filter will work fine, but it may
require you to change the regular filter before the synthetic oil needs to be
If cost is the
barrier that keeps you from using synthetic oils consider this. The higher cost of synthetic oil is way out
weighed by the benefits of using it.
When things like the longevity of your engine being increased, the fact
that synthetic oils last longer between changes (as long as the filter gets
changed regularly,) and better fuel economy are entered into the equation,
synthetic oils are much, much cheaper in the long run. So I really have to say there is no reason
not to use a quality, full synthetic oil.
So what synthetic
oil do I recommend? Amsoil all the way,
now remember I do not get paid to say this by Amsoil to recommend their products,
I just believe that Amsoil is one of the very best oils out there. I know for a fact that using Amsoil in my
engine, primary, and transmission has lowered my engine’s internal temp. by
about 15 degrees. I have had friends
tell me they dropped engine temps by almost 20 degrees using Amsoil! That is a huge difference.
Now that you know
that synthetic oil will defiantly keep your engine, primary, and transmission
cooler, while helping them last longer.
We can move on to discuss some other things to help cool off the Harley
Even when running
great synthetic oil like Amsoil in your engine’s crankcase you can still go one
step further to help your engine stay cool.
I always run, and recommend to every Harley owner that you run an oil
cooler. There are a lot of companies
that offer oil coolers, so how do you pick one?
First, the more surface
area you have on the oil cooler the more effective it will be at cooling the
oil. Six-row oil coolers help a lot, I
recommend an eight-row cooler, ten-row oil coolers can be better still. Keep in mind however, too many rows can drop
oil pressure, this is why I recommend an eight-row cooler. On built up engines with a high volume oil
pump pressure drop from larger oil coolers should not be a factor.
Second, good oil
coolers need to mix the oil to keep it at a uniform temperature, and evenly
disperse the oil in the cooler. This is
achieved by use of a “turbolator” in the oil cooler. Make sure any oil cooler you get has a
Third, an oil
cooler needs a thermostat. It is
possible to over-cool your oil.
Over-cooling can be as bad as being too hot, or worse. An oil cooler thermostat works by only
letting the oil flow into the cooler when it needs to be cooled, thus keeping
the oil from over-cooling in colder weather.
So make sure you get a thermostat with any oil cooler you buy.
There are several
manufacturers out there that make oil coolers for Harley engines. Jagg and Harley-Davidson are the two I like
most. Both are close in price, design
and function. I seem to install Harley’s
oil cooler more often only because it comes with a thermostat in the kit. With a Jagg cooler you need to purchase a
thermostat separately, I have used both and recommend either manufacturer.
Oil coolers do
work best when you are moving as it relies on moving air to cool it, just like
your engine. However when you are not
moving, the added surface area of the cooler will still help to keep the oil
temps down better than no cooler at all.
A smart guy would figure out how to incorporate a fan to blow air thru
the oil cooler, much like a car’s radiator fan (maybe we just found a good use
for the parade fan Harley sells!) Either
way, oil cooler technology has come a long way since the days when we used to
take the transmission oil coolers from junked cars and mount them on bikes for
home made coolers.
Oil coolers are
relatively easy to install for the at home mechanic, I do believe it is a job
you can do yourself to save some money.
Just be sure to purchase a 7/16” Alan wrench before you do the install.
Once your oil
cooler is installed you should check the oil level after you fill and run the
bike till it reaches normal operating temperature. This will ensure you have not under filled
the crankcase due the cooler being filled with oil.
Next month I will
get into the A.F.R. (air to fuel ratio) and how we can correct it to cool off
our engines and get more horsepower out of them at the same time.
I install oil coolers all the time. Most complete oil cooler kits run around $300 and with our shop rate at only $60 an hour, anyone can afford to have one installed on their bike. EVERY Harley owner should have an oil cooler installed due to the high running temps of any air and oil cooled V-Twin engine it is vital to the performance and longevity of you motor.
Harley-Davidsons are not the only bikes that can benefit from having an oil cooler installed, any bike without a radiator needs an oil cooler and in many cases there are kits that can be installed that will re-locate the hard to reach oil filters with a spin on filter to greatly reduce the cost and time of changing your oil. So no matter if you have a Honda, Susuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki or a Harley air cooled V-Twin cruiser in most cases I can make it run cooler. Come and see me anytime or email email@example.com or call me at 262-706-3278 to discuss options to cool off your ride.
Ride smart, Biker Chad
Running Hot Part I
Written by: Biker Chad
In this article
I would like to address an issue that a lot of my fellow Harley riders are
faced with. Running too hot!! We all know our engines feel hot to us but
how hot are they actually running? It is
not uncommon for a TC88 (twin cam 88 cubic inch) motor to reach temps of 230 -
260 degrees during periods of idle. I
know that the TC96 engines of late can run even hotter! This can put an extreme strain on the oil and
all the little metal bits that make up an engine. The optimal running temperature for your
engine is around 195 – 210 degrees.
Most of us will
never know how hot we run because there are almost no Harleys that come stock
from the factory with an oil temperature gauge, however Harley did fit our FLH
and FLT models with an almost useless outside air temp gauge? You can purchase a kit from Harley that will
allow you to take out that useless outside air temp gauge and put in a useful
oil temp gauge, the downside to this is it is around 300 bucks depending on
where you purchase it, and it is beyond the realm of most shade tree mechanics
to install at home. So you will most
likely end up forking out some more cash to pay your dealer to do it. And after all that you would only see that you
are running too hot and still have to spend more money to correct the problem.
There is a
slightly less expensive temp gauge option out there, you may purchase an oil
dipstick with a digital read out that tells you your oil temp. The downfall to that is, you will have to
look down and try to read it from the seated position, or get off the bike to
read it. I don't see that as a good
situation to be in while trying to ride through stop and go traffic.
Now we need to
understand the basics of an oil / air-cooled engine. Without getting too far into greasy details
of an internal combustion engine that is not liquid cooled (that is without a
radiator and coolant) we need to understand that the Harley V-twin engine
depends on two main things to keep it cool.
Moving air. I say moving air because as
we all have found out when we are stuck standing still for only a few seconds
the temp of our engine seems to soar.
This is partly because heat rises so we feel it more as we sit above the
engine at a stand still, but mostly because as the engine sits and runs at idle
the air that was rushing thru the cooling fins on the outside of the motor's
cylinders, or "jugs" as they are called, has stopped moving and is no
longer carrying away the heat that the engine creates, allowing the engine temp
Oil is your engine's lifeblood! I cannot
say enough about the importance of keeping your oil clean and cool. The single most important thing you can do to
save your engine from heat and prolong its life as a home mechanic is to change
your oil often (at least as often as your owners manual tells you
to.) Use high quality full synthetic oil
(like Amsoil) in engine, primary and transmission. No, you may not go down to your local farm and
barn and just run whatever is on sale!
Auto grade oils do not perform the same in modern hot running Harley
V-twin engines as the recommended motorcycle oil, if there is no bike oil
available, car oil is better than running your bike low or empty, but I still
recommend getting to a bike shop ASAP to get the required motorcycle oil. Every bike has its own oil needs so check
your owner’s manual or ask a dealer what weight you should use.
An oil change is
useless without an oil filter change!
With the invention of high quality full synthetic oils lasting twice as
long as conventional oils some people do not change the filter until they
change the longer lasting oil thus making the filter work twice as long as it
was designed to. Example: if your Synthetic oil lasts 6,000 miles without
needing a change, I would recommend changing the filter at 3,000 miles. The
filter cleans the oil by confining the contaminants the oil carries in it’s
filtering media, when the filter is full of contaminants oil no longer gets
filtered properly allowing dirt to circulate through the engine and slowing the
vital flow of oil through the engine. In
short, your oil can't cool or lubricate what it can't get to. It’s kind of like the arteries in your body,
too many good old American cheeseburgers and deep fried goodies, and you have a
clog in your body’s filter, you can get all the blood transfusions (oil
changes) you want but it won't stop a heart attack from killing you. Trust me your heart and your bike will thank
you for that bit of info. I will go into
more on how to cool off your oil in the next installment of this series.
that contributes to a hotter running engine is the bike engine’s A.F.R. (air to
fuel ratio.) This is simply the amount
of fuel your bike's fuel delivery system be it a carburetor or an E.F.I.
(electronic fuel injection) will send to your firing chamber during the intake
stroke. Harley has to set its A.F.R.
ratio on the lean side of things to meet emissions standards and to ensure the
best mix of miles per gallon while still producing the most horsepower a stock
bike can produce. People often add
aftermarket mufflers, high flow air filters thinking that they are adding
performance and horsepower. When in
reality adding these things without getting you A.F.R. corrected to compensate
for the added items makes the engine run even leaner and hotter than the
already lean factory settings. A factory
engine needs more fuel even without adding a high flow air filter or high flow
!! Don't be fooled by oils that claim to be a full synthetic oil, there are only three companies that make full synthetic oil. Come in and see me anytime to discuss the TRUTH behind the false synthetic oils and to talk aboput options to cool off your engine and get Amsoil put into your engine, transmission and primary, after all, why spend $20,000 on a bike just to use poor quality cheap oil in the heart of your machine?
Our oil changes start at just $20 (plus the cost of oil and filter).
As always ride smart my friends, Biker Chad
Motorcycle Winterization (An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure).
By: Biker Chad
Winter is here and most of us have put our bikes to sleep already, but did you properly prepare your bike for months of winter storage? Here are some tips that I can offer to be sure that your bike will be ready for that first spring ride.
The most common problem we fix each spring is dead batteries. Without putting your battery on a charger through the winter it may not work at all in spring, and even if it does you have shortened the life of it drastically.
You shouldn’t just put your bike’s battery on any old charger; it should be a “smart” charger. A smart charger will turn itself off when the battery is fully charged and then keep it charged without damaging the battery by overcharging. These chargers run around $30.00 at any bike shop. They usually come with a connector that you can leave hooked up to your battery all the time, so all you have to do is plug the charger in and forget it. So lets review, $30.00 for a good charger paid by you once, or $70.00 – $150.00 for a new battery paid in spring? Sounds like a no-brainer when you look at it that way, doesn’t it.
The second most common repair we do every spring, was carburetor rebuilds and fuel injector cleaning / replacements. When you park your bike all winter with untreated gas in the tank, you are asking for trouble. Within a few weeks gasoline will break down and gum up the fuel system if it is not treated, and the new reformulated gas is even worse at gumming up carburetors and fuel injectors. This leads to some expensive rebuilds at the garage.
So before you store your bike for the winter, fill the gas tank to keep internal condensation of water to a minimum, and add a good fuel stabilizer (we recommend Amsoil Fuel Stabilizer). Follow the directions on the bottle to get the correct mix ratio, slosh the tank around to mix the fuel / stabilizer mix. With the stabilizer properly mixed you will need to run the bike to get the stabilizer into the whole fuel system.
If you have a fuel-injected bike, start the bike and run it until the engine gets to normal operating temperature (or longer) as this will get the stabilizer all the way through the injectors.
On a bike that has a carburetor (if you have a choke, you have a carburetor) start the bike, run it till it gets to operating temperature (or longer), and then turn the fuel supply to off leaving it run until the engines dies. Now you have successfully taken care of the fuel system for the winter. So again lets review. Spend $10.00 for a bottle of fuel stabilizer, or a few hundred dollars at the garage to rebuild carburetors or to change gummed up injectors. It’s your call.
I stuff steel wool or a shop rags into the end of my mufflers to keep moisture and rodents out of the exhaust, removing them before I start it in spring of course.
I keep my bike on a bike jack taking the weight off of the tires and suspension, as it will prolong the life of them.
I change my engine oil before I park my bike for the winter, and again right after my first spring ride. Keep in mind that starting your bike during the winter to let it run for a few minutes is not a good thing. Running your bike for less than 20-30 minutes can actually do more bad than good; this is called “short tripping”. When you fire up your bike and only run it for a few minutes the oil does not get hot enough to allow the condensation moisture in the engine to burn off and this can cause internal engine rust.
A thorough wash & dry followed by a detailed waxing of the paint and chrome before storage will keep the finishes protected all winter and looking good for a long time.
Last but not least, all that cleaning will be meaningless without a proper breathable bike cover to keep dust off.
Its sounds like a lot to do, but by the time spring rolls around you will be ready to ride. Instead of listening to everyone else ride by your house, as you wait for the repair shop to call.
If any one needs any winterization products, smart battery chargers, etc please feel free to contact us at the Road Guardians compound as we can provide almost any motorcycle product needed through our S.O.S. store. If you have any question on this or any other of my articles you may e-mail me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org thank you.
-Ride Smart, Biker Chad
Rust Prevention: A tip to help keep your chrome looking good is to wax it after washing and drying it. That's right any automotive paint wax like “Turtle Wax” will keep water from pooling and rusting your chrome, sealing the elements out and protecting it to keep it looking good.
Rust removal: If you do find some bothersome rust on your chrome be sure to remove it ASAP! To do this I use Never Dull a.k.a. “Wadding compound”. It does not scratch or scuff chrome it will remove the rust and leave your chrome looking like new. I have used it for years to keep our chrome displays, shop bikes, and my personal bikes looking like new. You can purchase wadding compounds at most hardware stores. Try it out, it is cheap to buy Never Dull and a can of it will last for years. Wadding compound also polishes aluminum parts with little effort and makes them shine so bright it looks like chrome!!
-Ride Smart, Biker Chad