Freshen-up your bike’s fuel

The quick, easy and safe way to rid your mo­tor­cy­cle’s tank of stale, old petrol

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -

1 Bike been laid up?

If your bike’s been stored it’s easy to as­sume that you’ll need to strip in­jec­tors and fuel pumps to as­sess any dam­age caused from stag­nant fuel but it’s al­ways wise to try start­ing the bike up with a fresh tank of fuel, as it could save work. First, shine a torch into the tank to as­sess how much old fuel is in there, then find a suit­able con­tainer for the fuel to be drained into. Re­move the bike’s bat­tery and place it on charge.

2 Open wide…

Petrol vapour is very flammable, even an­cient old stuff that’s lost most of its zing is still pretty volatile. You should max­imise any ven­ti­la­tion by open­ing all the doors and win­dows in your work area. Make sure that the bike’s ig­ni­tion is switched off and that there are no po­ten­tial ig­ni­tion sources in the area. Ideally you should con­duct the whole pro­ce­dure out­side.

3 Don’t get a mouth­ful

Gone are the days when peo­ple used to cut a length of gar­den hose and phys­i­cally suck fuel from their tanks! This prac­tice meant there was al­ways a high prob­a­bil­ity of get­ting a toxic mouth­ful of petrol. Most mo­tor­ing shops sell var­i­ous types of pumpaction syphons – this de­cent-qual­ity Draper one costs just £13 but you can pick them up for as lit­tle as £3.

4 Get it all set up cor­rectly

Have a look un­der the tank to see where its low­est point is. Some­times it’s not ob­vi­ous as of­ten the depths are hid­den un­der fair­ing pan­els. When you’ve lo­cated the low­est part of the tank insert the syphon pipe into it. Of­ten the syphon will have a di­rec­tion ar­row printed on it and if there is en­sure it is point­ing in the di­rec­tion of the fuel con­tainer.

6 Time for some fresh gas

When all the fuel has been drained, re­move the syphon – tak­ing care not to drip fuel on your bike – then peer in­side the tank with your torch to check that all the old fuel has been drained out. When you’re sat­is­fied it’s empty, fill a jug with a mea­sured amount of fresh petrol and pour it into the tank via a fil­tered fun­nel.

8 Use some per­sua­sion

Press the starter. You should ex­pect it to take a lit­tle bit of time be­fore any­thing hap­pens, so try for three or four 15-sec­ond bursts. If the bike is still re­fus­ing to start, squirt­ing some carb cleaner or start­ing agent into the air in­take can help. Once the bike fires let it warm up slowly, check around the en­gine for any oil, fuel or coolant leaks. Ex­pect a slight burn­ing smell from the years of dust burn­ing off the down­pipes.

5 Now get pump­ing

Pump the syphon un­til you see the petrol start to rise through the pipe, and as soon as you see it pass lower than the tank you can let grav­ity take over. You need to make sure the end of the pipe in the tank re­mains at the low­est point. Check that as the jerry can fills up there is still suf­fi­cient vol­ume for the re­main­der of the petrol in the tank.

7 Don’t ig­nore the other flu­ids

As the bike has been stand­ing for a few years it’s best to check the oil level prior to crank­ing the en­gine. If the bike is wa­ter­cooled you should check and top up the coolant level if nec­es­sary. Re­fit the fully charged bat­tery and switch on the ig­ni­tion to check the lights and prime the fuel pump.

9 Take it for a (gen­tle) spin

If you’ve still got a valid MOT, give the bike a road test. Ride it gen­tly with modest revs at first, then in­crease both the rpm and throt­tle open­ing. You need to make sure there are no flat spots and that the bike ac­cel­er­ates through the gears smoothly, right through the rpm range with no stut­ter­ing in the fu­elling. This can also be car­ried out on a dyno if you have ac­cess to one lo­cally.

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