Getting the Garage queen back on the road 

Description Get a bike that's been sitting too long up and running again!
Author Xumi Date Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:34 pm Type Tech Article

This article describes first start-up of a shed or garage kept motorcycle that was improperly stored or has been sitting for an extended period of time.

The longer the bike has been sitting, and the worse the conditions it has been sitting in, the more work involved. This guide covers most issues that result from improper storage of a bike. This guide is not a full restoration guide, but it will get most bikes back to a running condition. If the bike has been sitting for 10 years outdoors lying on its side in a muddy field, and had a bad starter and a blown regulator before it was parked... in that case, this will be a good start.

Yes, this is a long list.. but if you are diligent and careful, you can be up and running in a weekend.

Section 1: What happened

This story is one often heard on the boards: Bike won't start.. Parked last October when the weather got cold. Went out last Saturday and the battery was dead. Charged the battery, cranked on it for 20 minutes and still nothing. Battery is dead after cranking on it for so long. What's wrong?

In very simple terms:

Gasoline evaporates, but leaves behind some components, which often turn into a gooey syrup, or even harden into what is commonly referred to as "Varnish".

When the bike is parked for the winter, if there is fuel left in the carbs, it will evaporate out and leave syrup/varnish/gunk in the carbs, which prevents good fuel flow.

It is much better, if the bike is going to be parked for the winter, to fill the gas tank to the top with fuel, then turn off the fuel tap (petcock), and run the engine until it dies from lack of fuel. This ensures that the carbs are empty and will not get gummed up from evaporation. The fuel in the tank will help prevent rust in the tank. Be sure to add some fuel stabilizer such as Sta-bil to ensure the fuel does not 'get stale' and cause poor running in the spring.

Oil which was used all last summer, has various acids and moisture in it, has been sitting in the crankcase all winter too - not the best conditions for the bottom end of the bike. A much better way is to change the oil immediately before parking it for the winter.

Lead acid batteries will slowly lose charge (about 1/2% per day), and prefer to be charged all the time. If the battery was stored all winter on the bike, it *may* be ok after a slow (less than 2 amp) charge, but if it is older than 1 year, is likely time to buy a new battery.

So.. now we know that we have bad gas in the tank, syrup in the carbs, and old nasty oil in the crank case, and likely a dead battery.

Section 2 - Suggested materials:
1 can WD-40
1 can Spray carb cleaner
1 can Sea-Foam fuel treatment
2 New spark plugs (varies per motorcycle)
1 can Spray starter fluid
1 Small funnel
1 gallon gasoline
empty container for old fuel
Oil for 1 oil change (I recommend 10-40 dino oil, but .. everyone has a different opinion, so YMMV)
Oil filter if your bike uses disposable oil filter
Jumper cables
Car battery (in car is Fine)
1 roll Electrical tape
Various Screwdrivers - Phillips and flat head
Small jewelers screwdriver set
#000 Steel wool
5 small packs Electrical connector grease (AKA Lightbulb grease, dielectric grease)
1 can Spray electrical cleaner

These are all easily obtained at most auto-part stores.

Section 3: Repairs

1.Remove spark plugs
2. Spray some WD-40, PB-Blaster, liquid wrench, or equivalent into the cylinders. About 2 second burst into each cylinder should be plenty.
3. Inspect plugs. If the end of the plugs is a nice tan color, and look good - keep them. If in doubt, go to the auto-parts store and buy new.
4. Remove existing battery and set to slow charge (less than 2 amps) overnight.

Fuel system:
5. Drain gas tank completely:
- Shut off petcock (OFF position, or RUN position if vacuum petcock)
- Pull fuel line leading from petcock to carb, and place end of fuel line in suitable container
- Open petcock to reserve position
6. Drain carburetors
- Attach hose to bottom drain spigot of carbs
- put other end of hose in suitable container
- Loosen carb drain screw
7. If bike has been sitting for more than 1 year, take these additional steps:
- Remove tank
- Remove petcock
- Drain remaining fuel
- Backfeed petcock with spray carb cleaner.
- Rub petcock O-rings with glycerin or armor all
8. Inspect fuel tank for rust in full sunlight. If rusty, you have a few choices on how to remedy this:
- POR-15 tank treatment
- Electrolysis
- Naval jelly
9. Rinse fuel tank with WD-40
-Spray WD-40 thoroughly into tank
-Swirl around for about 3 minutes or until arms get tired
-Drain WD-40 from tank completely
-Watch for chunks of rusted metal during rinse. If present, Go back to step 8.
-Leave tank fuel cap off to allow WD-40 to evaporate
10. Connect fuel lines to carburetors, and pour sea-foam into carburetors. Use small funnel and patience.
11. Tap carburetor bowls with handle of screwdriver several times.
12. Soak for 1 hour
13. Drain Sea-foam/cleaner out using carb drain screw.
14. Repeat steps 11 - 13 until cleaner comes out clear
15. Change oil.

Air cleaner
16. Remove air filter and housing.
17. Replace air filter (or wash, depending on type of air filter)
18. Clean out all dirt/bugs/mice/whatever may be living in the air filter housing. Soap and water works well here.

Spark test
19. Connect car battery to bike using jumper cables. DO NOT START CAR!
20. Ground spark plugs to engine to protect TCI
21. Turn on key and stop/run switch
22. Briefly press starter. Do not crank for more than 15 seconds.
- Watch for spark at spark plugs. Should strong blue sparks
- If spark is weak, proceed to Electrical Cleanup
- If spark is strong, proceed to Reassembly

Electrical Cleanup - If no spark or weak spark
23. Disconnect jumper cables
24. Remove headlamp
25. Disconnect first connector you find.
26. Use steel wool to make male posts/blades of connector nice and shiny.
27. Use small screwdrivers to force steel wool into female portion of connector. Rub until they are shiny too.
28. Remove all traces of steel wool from connector (don't want any shorts)
29. Plug connector together again.
- Make sure male and female portions are TIGHT.
- If not, use small flathead screwdriver to bend female portion of connector inward to become tight again.
- Use some connector grease in the connection holes to protect against future oxidation

30. Place small piece of electrical tape on connector to mark it as "Done"
31. Repeat steps 24 through 29 for every connector and switch on the bike.
- Pay close attention to these very important areas:
- Start/run switch
- Ignition switch (where the key goes)
- Kick stand safety switch
- Starter button
- TCI connector (if this isn't tight, strange running can occur)
- Connection from Battery to ground (MUST be clean bare metal connection to frame to be sure)

32. Replace Spark plugs and spark plug cables if they are in any way suspect, or just to eliminate the possibility of spark issues
33. Re-install Headlamp.
34. Go back to Step 19
- If spark is still weak, ask for help.

Pre-fire Re-assembly
35. Re-install fuel tank
-Re-install petcock to tank
-Mount tank on frame
-Connect fuel lines from petcock to carburetor (or fuel pump)
36. Make sure fuel drain screw is closed.
37. Turn petcock to Prime (or reserve if On/off/reserve type petcock)
38. Pour in about 1 Quart of NEW gasoline
- Watch for Leaks. Address them if found.
39. If no leaks, pour remainder of gallon in tank + 1/4 can of Seafoam
40. Re-install spark plugs
- Put a light coating of engine oil on threads
- Hand tight + 1/4 turn MAX

Fire it up
41. Spray small amount (1 second) amount of Starter Fluid into the air intake (NOTE: no air cleaners installed)
42. Wait 1 minute
43. Turn on key to on position
44. Press starter
- Do not crank for more than 15 seconds or until engine starts.
- If No start, let starter cool for 30 seconds, and repeat steps 41-44.
- If still not starting or at least "trying" to start... STOP AND ASK FOR HELP.

45. Warm up bike for 5 minutes.
46. Shut her down.
47. Disconnect jumper cables
48. Connect motorcycle battery
49. Restart engine. If trouble restarting and battery is old, replace the battery.
50. Go for a nice long ride to burn up that Seafoam laced gas, and fill the tank properly.

Have a good season, and next winter, REMEMBER
- Change the oil
- Fill the gas tank to the top
- Add fuel stabilizer
- Run the carbs dry
- Disconnect battery and hook up battery tender

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