I recently read something that I found pretty scary, and I wanted the rest of the Forum to also be aware of this problem.
In the Nov/Dec 2011 issue of Roadbike
magazine, I was reading a monthly column (this time on page 60) there, that is written by a long-time career motorcycle mechanic.
As we all know, the fuel that’s most widely available now for us all is a gasoline/alcohol blend that’s usually 10% ethanol alcohol. This formula of fuel may indeed be pretty “clean” as it goes out the end of your bike’s pipes, but it is otherwise apparently much more harmful to your bike that we might realize.
Basically, the short version of the info given goes like this….ethanol is made from corn, and thus is a form of sugar, and...as sugar is burned…it produces carbon
Thus, it’s highly likely that as you burn this gas as you ride, carbon is accumulating in your bike’s upper cylinder heads.
The columnist describes one instance where this carbon build-up was so severe, that the valve springs on the bike could not close the valve, and thus the valve got whacked (and broken) by the piston below it.
The bottom line here is that….if you really care for your bike…apparently you need be sure to routinely add something to your bike’s fuel to burn this internal carbon build-up away.
The info that I read in the magazine listed a few examples of additives that do a really good job of removing carbon: Startron, and Techron. These were listed merely as examples—NOT
Startron is a fuel additive & conditioner that is specifically formulated to go after alcohol and water-related problems with gasoline, and is also a long-term fuel stabilizer, as well. I have routinely found it in the “marine” section at Walmart stores.
Techron is of course an additive in Chevron brand gasolines. It is also sold over the counter as a concentrate in bottles.
The same magazine column also discussed a recent model bike that had been in storage for two years with ethanol gas (but apparently with no fuel conditioner/stabilizer). In this case, the bottom of the bike's gas cap had been eaten away
—and the rest of bike’s fuel tank was in similar condition!!!
One possible option to help prevent these problems is to store (or feed) your bike with ethanol-free gas, which you can find via the following website: http://www.buyrealgas.com/
How practical this can be for you of course depends on your riding habits and how close you are to a station that sells ethanol-free gas.
In any case, it’s of course still very wise to use a proven fuel conditioner/stabilizer if you (still) plan to keep fuel in your bike’s tank for any extended period of time in storage—and be sure to top off the tank
as well, to keep condensation from forming and allowing your tank to rust inside. Personally, I habitually top off my tank at the end of each day I use it, even if I will ride it the next day—for this same reason.
Other Forum threads discuss how and when to drain & treat a bike’s carbs for proper long-term storage—I won’t go into that here.
Anyway, hopefully, each of you can prevent similar carbon & fuel-related problems with this above info!....