$$$ Warning! E10 is in all local pump gas. $$$
Before you park your motorcycle for more than an hour please turn off your gas valve (if equipped) and read this:
If you even think you might not ride your bike for 7 days then PLEASE also drain your carburetor(s)
or use only ethanol free gas like VP- C9 unleaded fuel. The VP C9 fuel is not a guarantee that you will
be storage problem free but it is about 90% more stable than our local pump junk.
Remove, recycle and replace the E10 (local junk fuel) in your tank if it is more than 75 days old.
I am not a big drug company so I don't want to sell you the same service over and over again.
I want to cure and prevent these problems so you can buy accessories rather than repairs.
I want satisfied customers not frustration. I appreciate the business but believe me we always have plenty of service jobs to keep us busy. Please check your tire pressure before you ride.
Reviving motorcycles, scooters and ATVs from storage is a large part of our business.
- Uh...let me guess...did your bike run well when you parked it and now it won't start?
- Does it start but won't run without the choke?
- Does it run but won't idle or won't rev up?
- Does it now leak gas?
- Did it sit just 10 days of summer in your hot garage?
- Did you pay me last fall to clean out your carburetor and replace your battery and now it has the exact same problem?
- Are you in disbelief that today's fuel can cause a major problem after just 3 days of summer storage?
- Did you park it much longer than this before without a problem?
We hear these stories and deal with the realities here every day.
Below are helpful hints and result pictures of my fuel storage stabilizer test.
The short story is that fuel stabilizers (magic snake potions) do not work because they can not remove the sugar (E10) from your gas. In fact most of these so called "miracle cure additives" actually have alcohol (ethanol) in them as their main ingredient. Ethanol is in all local pump gas. I use a test kit and have found random results ranging from 5% to 23%. Super or Premium is usually worse as they use more alcohol to bump up the octane.
Premium does sit in storage tanks longer because it is only about 17% of the sales so it tends to be less fresh than regular. All of our California pump gas is sticky and corrosive and it also attracts water out of the air. It works fine in your car or the motorcycle that you drive every day as you replace the fuel every week or two but not sitting in your tiny and sensitive motorcycle carburetor.
The nasty chemical process works with air and any metal. The aluminum and zinc alloys of earlier bikes do not stand a chance nor do the rubber or plastic parts. It gets worse with time and heat. The attracted moisture then adds to the problem. Bikes with more than one carburetor, plus smaller motorcycles, ATVs and scooters suffer the most.
Every situation will vary and there is plenty of conflicting information out there on the internet especially when someone is trying to sell you some magic snake potion. Most info is geared to sell you something for your cold winter storage. We are unique here as we leave our bikes here to bake in the heat as we fly north for the summer.
The only way to almost completely eliminate fuel related storage problems is to remove all fuel and coat the inside of your tank with oil and fill your carburetor(s) with oil like 2 stroke oil or ATF or a thin oil. This is impractical in most cases so please keep reading.
For fuel injected bikes:
Fuel injected bikes are better off but you must protect the fuel tank and pump inside your tank.
Can you picture an electric motor with wires hanging off it?
Now imagine it submerged in gasoline and sugar for months and years.
I suggest starting the bike at least every 30 days and riding it at least every 60 days. For fuel injected bikes you are best off storing the bike with the tank filled to the top to keep out air and reduce the chance of moisture condensing.
You would still want to replace the fuel in your tank at least every 4 months and through summer storage every 2 months. Even better store it filled to the top with unleaded and ethanol free fuel safe for about 1 year or more. If you fill to top with ethanol free then please ride the bike for at least 5 miles to get the better fuel all the way into your injectors before storage.
For bikes with carburetors:
Again there is plenty of conflicting information out there. I no longer suggest letting your bike run with the gas valve off until it stalls. The jets do not reach to the bottom of your carburetor and will leave you with the worse situation which is a small amount of fuel at the bottom with lots of air.
First make sure that your gas valve turns all the way off without dripping into the inlet hose.
Below are three different solutions for carbureted bikes:
1. Ride or rev and idle the bike 10 minutes every 7 days or more.
In the hot summer do this every 3 days or more. In the coldest part of winter you could get away with 14 days. Some customers push their luck and get away with even 1 month. The problem with this is progressive rate build up and "luck"! How often can you eat bacon double cheeseburgers with extra mayo and fries before you have a problem?
This is a rough guide because models and climates vary so much. If you are away then you could ask a trusted friend or gardener or maid to just rev and idle the bike for 10 minutes. Be sure this person has a good understanding of motorcycles and safety. I may be able to make house calls to assist with this too.
2. Drain your carburetor(s)
First make sure the bike is in a well ventilated area away from your water heater or any place where you could be in danger of ignition, flame, heat or spark. The fuel tank can be stored empty (bone dry) or filled to the top to keep air space out. Remember stored fuel with air and heat are bad.
Step by step: Turn off your petcock and make sure it does not drip in the off position. Check this by pulling off the delivery hose. If it does drip in the off position you could clamp or pinch the hose for now. You would later need to rebuild or replace the leaking petcock. Locate the drain screw(s) at the very bottom of your carburetor(s). Most bikes have a small drain hose running from the bottom
of the carburetor to the underside of the bike.
You can direct this hose into a container to catch fuel. The other option is to put a rag under your carburetor to catch the fuel. Loosen the carburetor screw one whole turn. Once the carburetor bowl is empty tighten the screw. Some bikes have more than one carburetor to drain. Do not turn the petcock back on until you are ready to ride.
3. Store your bike with ethanol free fuel which I sell here.
The extra octane in the available ethanol free race fuel is not what we are after but it is the only way that I know how to find clean fuel here in California. The unnecessary extra octane will actually burn cooler and is good for your engine.
Race fuel is more than 3 times the price of pump gas so only use it just before you intend to store it.
You could use it all the time if you seldom ride. This is what many of my scooter owner customers do
because they also get better than 60 miles per gallon.
You could drain your tank completely or you could just run your tank as close to empty as you can without running all the way out, maybe 10 miles on reserve. Fill the tank to the top with ethanol free fuel and then ride or run it about 10 minutes to get it into the carburetors.
I can fill your tank here and I do a lot of this for my regular customers just before summer.
WARNING NOT ALL RACE FUEL IS FREE OF ETHANOL.
California just does not make it easy on us.
We don't have easy options like in other states.
Below are some pictures of clean fuel alternatives available in other states.
We can only dream of this here in California.
To cover myself I must state that race fuel is only to be used for closed course competition use.
What we want is simply ethanol free fuel that will store 5 times longer than California pump gas.
The extra octane in race gas will make your engine run a little cooler and happier but is not needed in today's motors. I simply do not know any other way to buy clean fuel locally. Please let me know if you find a clean source. It would be nice if we had a few more choices in other areas that our government has been slowly taking from us.
Keep in mind a full tank of gas will not have much air in it so it is better off no matter what quality or type you fill it with. 3/4 tank is better than 1/4 tank yet no gas at all is better than a low tank.
An empty tank is safer for the longer term but you may want to coat it with a little WD 40 or light oil like 2 stroke premix oil or ATF if stored empty for more than 6 months here in the desert. I have seen a brand new Honda tank destroyed in just 1 year.
Everything in this complimentary support article pertains to our dry, hot desert climate and local fuels. These suggestions are only guidelines.
In the hot summer I have watched carburetors gum up real bad in just 4 days with the gas valve left turned on or with the valve failing to turn off 100%.
If you are curious about my claim that fuel stabilizers do not work here in the desert heat with our local fuel then read on and see pictures of my experiment below. I used local super unleaded pump gas and the correct measured amount of the different manufacturers fuel additives.
I used all brand new identical carburetor pilot jets in the bottom of each jar. Each jar was filled exactly half way and has the same size hole drilled in the cap to simulate a carburetor bowl on a motorcycle which must also be able to breath a little.
Within 3 weeks at the end of August 2011 every pilot (idle) jet was plugged solid as I could no longer blow air through any of them with a small hose attached. The glass baby food jars would also preserve fuel much better than the metal bowls on your carburetor.
These pictures were taken 6 months later after most of the fuel had evaporated. Strangely the one jar with no additive (just gas) looked like it was a little less effected than the jars with stabilizers added.